My thoughts of sin are scotched, but not killed. If I had acquired perfect mastery over my thoughts, I should not have suffered from pleurisy, dysentery and appendicitis as I have during the last ten years.1 I believe that when the soul is sinless, the body which she inhabits is healthy too. That is to say, as the soul progresses towards freedom from sin, the body also tends to become immune from disease. But a healthy body, in this case, does not mean a strong body. A powerful soul lives only in a weak body. As the soul advances in strength, the body languishes. A perfectly healthy body might yet be quite emaciated. A strong body is often diseased. Even, if there be no disease, such a body catches infection soon, while a perfectly healthy body enjoys complete immunity from it. Pure blood has the power of expelling all obnoxious germs...
Brahmacharya in the popular or current acceptance of the term means control of animal passion
in thought, word and deed. The same stress has not been laid upon the control of
the palate, and hence the control of passion has grown more difficult and almost
My experience is that one who has not mastered taste cannot control animal passion
either. It is no easy task to conquer the palate. But conquest of passion is
bound up with the conquest of the palate. One of the means of controlling taste
is to give up spices and condiments altogether or as far as possible. Another
and a more effective means is always to cultivate a feeling that we eat just in
order to sustain the body and never for taste. We take in air not for taste, but
for life. Just as we take water to quench our thirst, in the same way we should
take food only to satisfy hunger. Unfortunately, parents make us contract a
contrary habit from very childhood. They corrupt us by giving us all manner of
delicacies not for our sustenance, but out of mistaken affection. We have got to
fight against this unfavourable home atmosphere.
But our most powerful ally in conquering animal passion is Ramanama or some similar
mantra. The Dwadasha Mantra2 will also serve the same purpose.
One may repeat any mantra one pleases. I have suggested Ramanama as I
have been familiar with it since childhood, and as it is my constant support in
my struggles. One must be completely absorbed in whatever mantra one
selects. One should not mind if other thoughts disturb one during the jap a
(recitation). I am confident that one who still goes on with the japa in
faith will conquer in the end. The mantra becomes one's staff of life and
carries one through every ordeal.3
One should not seek wordly profit from such sacred mantras.
The characteristic power of these mantras lies in their standing guard
over personal purity, and every diligent seeker will realize this at once. It
should, however, be remembered that the mantra is not to be repeated
parrot-like. One should pour one's soul into it. The parrot repeats such
mantras mechanically, we must repeat them intelligently in the hope of
driving out undesirable thoughts and with full faith in the power of the
mantras to assist us to do so.