The senses by themselves, are innocent. They don’t bother you. No. The senses are only gadgets. What is the power that works through senses? Mind. It’s your mind working through the senses. Just an example, you are deeply interested some love story. Very interested. Your friend comes in, “Dan, are you in? What are you doing?” you won’t hear anything. She calls you a number of times standing next to you. You are interested in your reading. Your ears are open, is it not so? Why didn’t you hear her? Because all your senses are in the senseless reading. Nonsense. That’s what. If one sense takes all the mind’s attention, the other senses are dull. That itself is the proof: without the connection of the mind, the senses are dummies. So, learn to control the mind. But of course, it’s impossible to control the mind directly, so you can go through the senses to control the mind.

It’s almost like applying the brake on the wheel to control the engine. When you apply the break on the wheel, the car stops. But the wheel is not the cause for the motion of the car. The engine is the cause. The engine moves the wheel. But if we want to stop it, we brake the wheel. So through the senses you try to train the mind. How do you do that? Little by little, little by little. Say if you take three spoons of sugar for a cup of tea. The tongue senses, “That tastes good,” and it says, “I want three spoons of sugar.” So, then simply make a small condition; say to the tongue sense, “OK, only two and a half spoons for this week.” In the beginning, “Ah, I don’t like this,” then we learn to like it. One week, two and a half spoons in the tea. Second or another week, two spoons of sugar in the tea. You can gradually control the taste, the tongue.

Like that, little by little. For example, you are sleeping with three pillows. One on the side, one on the other side, one under the head. And today you say, “OK, I’m going to get rid of one of my pillows. I’m going to sleep with only two pillows.” First night you may find it difficult. Then, slowly you get used to two pillows. Then, you get rid of one more pillow, then get rid of that pillow also. You can sleep the same way as before, little by little, little by little, training the mind. Because you get confidence. “Ah, I can sleep without three pillows.” You gain confidence. “OK, let me try without two pillows.” That’s what.

The senses are very delicate. They’re almost like children, like babies. We don’t put conditions on the babies right away. Little by little, little by little, we train them. By doing that you are indirectly training the mind. And the mind gets strong. And that’s what happens even in your Mantra Japa, in your practices, you are training the mind. When the mind becomes calm, nothing is impossible. But, it’s impossible to calm the mind unless it’s clean. A clean mind could be calmed easily, so clean the mind.

What makes the mind dirty? All the dirty thoughts. Because the mind is nothing but a bunch of thoughts. When the thoughts are clean, the mind is clean. When the thoughts are ugly with jealousy, hatred, or vengeance,  it’s a dirty mind that thinks and becomes those thoughts. And the dirty mind makes a dirty body. Yes, the minute you see someone you say, “Look at that crook.” You see the person’s face which shows the crooked mind. Your thought is expressed in your body. “Ah, look at that happy baby. Hah!” See, the  mind is happy, the face looks happy. The mind is sad, the face looks sad. So everything that you think is transformed in the body.

So even to look beautiful, you don’t need makeup. Don’t waste your money on cosmetic beauty. Make your mind beautiful without any cosmetic beauty and you will have cosmic beauty. And cosmetic beauty  products have their own side effects also. If you keep on putting on makeup then the lips get dry; the eyes get dry. Powder begets dry skin and it affects the body also. Whereas with cosmic beauty, with mental beauty, you are always beautiful. Even that holy old lady Avaayar says that. “A beauty based on your hairdo or your dress, or the powder, is not the real beauty. What is the real beauty? Keep your mind clean and well balanced. That will give you indestructible beauty.”

Even if you look chubby or have your nose this way or this way, don’t go for plastic surgery. Even with all that, if the nose is this way, or that way, you will look beautiful if the mind is beautiful. That’s what. If the mind is beautiful, they will see you as beautiful, even though the face may look a little crooked. So, keep up the mind, mind you.

The question states that you “always want to do things that are not wholesome and healthy.” That is because the monkey-mind doesn’t allow you to do that. The worst monkey is the mind-monkey. You have to gradually tame it, tame it, tame it. There’s one solution to train the mind: give it to God. Shankaracharya says that.

According to the Hindu culture, Lord Siva Himself at one point goes out begging for food. Why He should go begging for food is yet a different story. But the case is that He is begging for food, and that too, with an upturned skull as His bowl, because He did something that was a mistake, a terrible mistake, and He is paying the karma. Because even Siva cannot escape His karma. But Shankara says, “I know You go begging for food. If You go empty-handed just with the skull, nobody is going to give You money or food. If You take a monkey with You, and make the monkey play, jump around, do this, do that, they’ll watch the show and give You more food.” And Siva said, “Where am I going to get a monkey from?” And the answer from the devotee  was, “Oh, don’t worry, I have a monkey. I have a monkey I can give to You; You can take the monkey: You’ll get better food, and I will also be free from that problem.”

So, surrender your monkey-mind to God. That’s the simplest way. You don’t have to do anything. “God, it’s yours, it’s yours. Do whatever you want. No problem.  Whatever You do to me, towards me, through me, good or bad, clean or evil, it’s none of my business. You are using it, You use it any way You want. You may have a reason to use it, go ahead, do it. I’m not responsible for that. Because I gave it to You.” That’s another simplest, easiest way, but very hard to practice.

Swami Satchidananda

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