An excerpt from THOUGHT POWER By SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
Understand the Laws of Thought
Every man should have a comprehensive understanding of the laws of thought and their operations. Then alone can one live in this world smoothly and happily. He can utilize the helping forces to serve his ends in the best possible manner.
He can neutralize the hostile forces or antagonistic currents. Just as the fish swims against the current, so also he will be able to go against the hostile currents by adjusting himself properly and safeguarding through suitable precautionary methods.
Otherwise he becomes a slave. He is tossed about hither and thither helplessly by various currents. He is drifted like a wooden plank in a river. He is very miserable and unhappy always, although he is wealthy and possesses everything.
The captain of a steamer who has mariner’s compass, who has knowledge of the sea, the routes and the oceanic currents can sail smoothly. Otherwise his steamer will be drifted here and there helplessly and wrecked by dashing against some icebergs or rocks. Likewise, a wise sailor in the ocean of this life who has a detailed knowledge of the Laws of Thought and Nature can sail smoothly and reach the goal of his life positively.
Understanding the laws of Thought, you can mould or shape your character in any way you like. The common saying, “As a man thinketh so he becometh,” is one of the great laws of Thought. Think you are pure, pure you will become. Think you are noble, noble you will become.
Become an embodiment of good nature. Think good of all. Do always good actions. Serve, love, give. Make others happy. Live to serve others. Then you will reap happiness. You will get favourable circumstances or opportunities and environments.
If you hurt others, if you do scandal-mongering, mischief-mongering, backbiting, talebearing, if you exploit others, if you acquire the property of others by foul means, if you do any action that can give pain to others, you will reap pain. You will get unfavourable circumstances or opportunities and environments.
This is the law of thought and nature. Just as you can build your good or bad character by sublime or base thinking, so also you can shape your favourable or unfavourable circumstances by doing good or bad actions.
A man of discrimination is always careful, vigilant and circumspect. He always watches carefully his thoughts. He introspects.
He knows what is going on in his mental factory what Vritti or Guna is prevailing at a particular time. He never allows any evil thought to enter the gates of his mental factory. He at once nips them in the bud.
By his good thinking, by watching the nature of his thoughts, by introspection, by active noble thinking, the man of discrimination builds his noble character, forms his high destiny. He is careful in his speeches. He speaks little. He speaks sweet loving words. He never utters any kind of harsh words that can affect the feelings of others.
He develops patience, mercy and universal love. He tries to speak truth. Thus he puts a check on the Vak-Indriya and the impulses of speech. He uses measured words. He writes measured lines. This produces deeply profound and favourable impression on the minds of the people.
He practices Ahimsa and Brahmacharya in thought, word and deed. He practices Saucha and Arjava (straightforwardness). He tries to keep up balance of mind and to be always cheerful. He keeps up Suddha-Bhava. He tries these three kinds of Tapas (physical, verbal and mental), and controls his actions. He cannot think any evil. He cannot do any evil action.
He prepares himself to get always favourable circumstances. He who spreads happiness will always get such favourable circumstances as can bring him happiness. He who spreads pain to others will, doubtless, get according to the law of thought such unfavourable circumstances as can bring him misery and pain. Therefore, man creates his own character and circumstances, by the manner of his own thinking.
Bad character can be transmuted into good one, by good thoughts, and unfavourable circumstances can be changed into favourable circumstances by doing good actions.
The Laws Implied in Higher Thoughts
As you think, so you become. As are your thoughts so must be your life. Improve your thinking. Better thoughts bring better actions.
Mere thinking of the objects of this world is pain. Bondage is caused by the very act of thought. Pure thought is a mightier force than electricity.
The mind which is attracted by objects of sense, tends to bondage, while that which is not so attracted tends to emancipation. Mind is a dacoit. Slay this mind-dacoit. You will be happy and free for ever. Manifest all your strength in the task of conquering your mind. This is true manliness or Purushartha.
Self-denial is a means to the purification and refinement of mind. Purify and still the thoughts. The layers of ignorance covering knowledge, will not be removed without a calm mind.
The subtle part of food forms the mind. Mind is manufactured out of food. The subtle part of food is transformed into mind. Food does not mean merely what we eat, but what we gather through all our senses.
Learn to see God everywhere. This is real food for the eye. Purity of thought depends upon purity of food. You can see better, hear better, taste better, think better, when you entertain sublime divine thoughts.
Look at an object through a green or red glass; the object appears green or red. Even so, the objects are coloured by the desires through the mirror-mind. All mental states are transitory; they produce pain and sorrow.
Have freedom of thought. Free yourself from the slavery of prejudice that blunts intellect and dulls thoughts. Think of the immortal Atman. This is the right method of direct, original thinking. The Atman reveals Itself after the purification of thoughts. When the mind is serene without any want, without any motive, without any craving or desire or thought, without any compulsion, without hope, then the supreme Atman shines. There is the experience of Bliss. Live the way in which saints live. This is the only way to victory over thoughts, mind and the lower self and until you have conquered mind, there can be no sure and permanent victory.
Be careful of your thoughts. Whatever you send out of your mind, comes back to you. Every thought you think, is a boomerang.
If you hate another, hate will come back to you. If you love others, love will come back to
An evil thought is thrice cursed. First, it harms the thinker by doing injury to his mental body. Secondly, it harms the person who is its object. Lastly, it harms all mankind by vitiating the whole mental atmosphere.
Every evil thought is as a sword drawn on the person to whom it is directed. If you entertain thoughts of hatred, you are really a murderer of that man against whom you foster thoughts of hatred. You are your own suicide, because these thoughts rebound upon you only.
A mind tenanted by evil thoughts acts as a magnet to attract like thoughts from others and thus intensifies the original evil.
Evil thoughts thrown into the mental atmosphere poison receptive minds. To dwell on an evil thought gradually deprives it of its repulsiveness and impels the thinker to perform an action which embodies it.
Thoughts and the Waves of the Sea
Thoughts are like the waves of an ocean. They are countless. You may become desperate in the beginning of your attempt to conquer them.
Some thoughts will subside while some other thoughts will gush out like a stream. The same old thoughts that were once suppressed may again show their faces after some time. Never become despondent at any stage of practice. You will surely get inner spiritual strength. You are bound to succeed in the end. All the Yogins of yore had to encounter the same difficulties that you are experiencing now.
The process of destruction of mental modifications is difficult and long. All thoughts cannot be destroyed in a day or two. You should not give up the practice of destroying the thoughts in the middle when you come across some difficulties or stumbling blocks.
Your first attempt should be to reduce your wants and desires. Reduce your wants and desires; then, the thoughts will decrease by themselves. Gradually all thoughts will be extirpated.