Purity in Spiritual Path | Swami Paramananda
PURITY is real strength, purity is real health. Gather your strength from that source. Never forget this; then you will become immortal. Purity will make you fearless, purity will make you cheerful. Have strength. Have courage, no matter what may come before you. Overcome all weakness by the strength of purity. Move onward boldly, having real faith in the Lord. He will always protect you.
With purity, whatever you do, that will shine. So there is nothing to fear. This is the secret. One learns it through the blessings of the Lord. His power is great and His manifestation will be seen in a pure soul. He will always guide you through the right path. But work in strength, not in weakness. March on! March on! The path lies before you and the goal must be reached. No sleep, no rest. Awake! Arise!
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You must not be disheartened if sometimes the pure surface of your mind becomes dim and clouded. It will not last. After a great storm comes the calmness. After restlessness comes peace. One must follow the other; this is the law of nature. Without suffering we cannot realize what happiness means. So we must always remember that whatever happens in our lives has some deep meaning to give us only better understanding. It is natural that after the exercise of great strength there should come a reaction, exhaustion, weakness. Such moments are tests for the true devotee. He who can keep the balance and stand firmly in both conditions, holding to his faith and purity of purpose, is a perfect character. Others are like babies. Anyone can remain happy when everything goes well, but he is a real devotee who can remain undisturbed when everything goes wrong and against him. Stand firm on purity and faith, then strength is sure to come and the path will become clear to you.
A sincere devotee is never at rest, but is constantly trying to be a little unselfish and to get a glimpse of purity, which is the foundation of every true character. It is indeed very great to be unselfish. Pray with your whole heart and soul to become unselfish and pure, because this is the only way to freedom. All other ways lead to bondage.
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Unselfishness and purity are inseparable. One follows the other. Through unselfish work the heart becomes pure, and in pure heart remains nothing but love. Love, unbounded love, that love comes like a flood and sweeps away everything. Anything that is earthly finds no room in that heart. Sorrow, pain, misery, jealousy, hatred and whatever is worldly can no more exist there. This is what I understand by “Divine Love.” This is the only thing I understand and take as religion.
Be absorbed in this love and forget everything else. Do not care what others say. Care for Him and Him alone. Let this outward world vanish from you entirely. It is time for you to become mad in that love. “All are mad, some for money, some for name, fame, etc.,” says Śrī Ramakrishna. You be mad for your Ideal. Be steady, be firm in faith and move onward and onward. Why should you fear? Fear must not have any room in your heart. Be fearless, cheerful, pure and divine. Let the world see that you are the child of Divinity. Remember that infinite strength is behind you. So be strong, knowing that nothing can shake you. No matter what happens, you must always remain undisturbed. In the pure heart there is no anxiety or sadness. Let your face be always cheerful, like a child who rests happily in his mother’s arms.
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It is only when the heart is absolutely pure that real devotion comes, and you know how devotion makes us unselfish. Take for instance mother’s devotion towards her child. She forgets everything about herself, but remains always busy for the welfare of her child. The mother is ready to meet any danger for the sake of the child. She is ever anxious to keep him on the safe side even at the cost of her own happiness. This way, forgetting one’s own self and self-interest for the sake of the Ideal, is the only way to become unselfish. This is what real devotion means.
We must always move onward holding this great ideal before us. Never mind whether body goes or remains. Never mind what others say. We must worship the Ideal, the Lord, the Master. Worshipping Him with whole-hearted devotion will bring peace and happiness. Nothing else can bring peace, neither name, fame, nor immense wealth. So we must serve our Ideal with determination, without caring for the results. This is true religion.
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Purity, strength, fearlessness and peace of mind, these are what religion gives. Religion is realization, is building up one’s own character. Belonging to any society or church cannot make anybody’s life happy. See everything in the true light. Whom to fear? God is our most loving Mother. Can that Mother do any harm to Her child ? Be true, practise purity and patience.
To practise purity, you must first learn to control your senses; then keep your mind fixed on the Ideal. Without self-control glimpses of the Truth may occasionally come to you, but they slip away again. Only through the constant control of the senses can you keep the vision of the Truth. The mind that yields to the senses loses all its wisdom. So long as it tries to gratify them, it is restless and unhappy. But when it realizes that only through the influence of the outside world all disturbances come, while in control of the senses alone true peace is to be found, then it turns away from outer things and the heart is gradually purified.
When the heart becomes pure, we get the vision of our true Self or the Ideal. Our heart is like a mirror. As long as it is covered with the dust of impurity, so long it cannot take the reflection, of the true Self, which dwells within all living beings. So the purification of the heart is the most essential thing for spiritual attainment.
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Purification of the heart is indeed the essence of all religion. The observance of outer cleanliness without inner cleanliness cannot ever bring a sense of purity; so do not make too much of external practices. Know that you are pure, you are clean, whether you touch water or not. Everything becomes pure and clean in His Name. Repeat the Holy Name of the Lord with sincere faith and earnestness and all impurities will be washed off. Keep your mind always in a pure environment, that is, think holy thoughts and seek holy company; then purity will shine in your heart.
Above all give up all egotism. There is no greater impurity than this. Nothing so quickly covers the mirror of the heart with the dust of delusion and selfishness. If you wish to be a true devotee, you must resign the little “I,” which always leads to darkness and bondage. When you have resigned this little “I”, then the great "I” will shine for you and cover the whole universe. You must give up the idea that you are something. That you do or do not do, both must be given up. Give up taking the credit for anything; root out this idea, then you will become unselfish. Root out all selfish desires and you will reach the goal.
If you serve your Ideal without selfish desires, you work freely, and that work is the only real work. One can attain perfection through it. Such unselfish service to the Ideal will remove all bondages from the heart and give purity.