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Practice Of Self Control Leads One To Realize Unity With The Absolute – Hindu Teaching

The concept that the practice of self-control leads one to realize unity with the Absolute is a profound teaching in Hindu philosophy. This principle can be understood through various texts and practices within Hinduism, such as the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, and the Upanishads.

Self-Control in Hindu Philosophy

Self-Control and the Mind:

Bhagavad Gita: In the Bhagavad Gita, Lord Krishna advises Arjuna on the importance of self-control (Sanskrit: dama) for spiritual growth. Krishna explains that controlling the mind and senses is crucial for achieving a higher state of consciousness and ultimately realizing one's unity with the divine (Brahman).

Example: Krishna says, "For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, the mind will remain the greatest enemy" (Bhagavad Gita 6.6).

Yoga and Self-Discipline:

Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: Patanjali outlines the eight limbs of yoga, with Yama and Niyama being the first two, focusing on ethical discipline and self-control. These practices help purify the mind and body, preparing the practitioner for deeper meditation and realization of the self's unity with the Absolute.

Example: The Yamas include Ahimsa (non-violence), Satya (truthfulness), Asteya (non-stealing), Brahmacharya (celibacy or moderation), and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness). These practices cultivate self-control and help in transcending the ego.

The Upanishads and Realization of the Self:

Upanishads: These ancient texts emphasize the importance of self-control in attaining knowledge of the self (Atman) and its unity with the Absolute (Brahman). The Kathopanishad, for instance, discusses the necessity of subduing desires and controlling the senses to perceive the true nature of reality.

Example: The Kathopanishad states, "When the five senses, along with the mind, remain still and the intellect is not active, that is known as the highest state" (Kathopanishad 2.3.10).

The Path to Unity with the Absolute

Purification of the Mind: Self-control helps in purifying the mind by reducing distractions and attachments that cloud one's perception. A purified mind can focus inwardly and realize the inner self's connection with the universal consciousness.

Detachment and Liberation: Practicing self-control leads to detachment from material desires and the ego. This detachment is essential for attaining Moksha (liberation), the realization of one's unity with the Absolute. By transcending the ego and desires, one can experience the non-dual nature of reality.

Inner Peace and Equanimity: Self-control fosters inner peace and equanimity, which are necessary for deep meditation and spiritual insight. A balanced and controlled mind is more capable of experiencing the profound states of consciousness where the individual self merges with the Absolute.

Practical Application

Daily Practices: Incorporating self-control in daily life can involve practices such as meditation, ethical living, mindful consumption, and self-discipline in thoughts and actions.

Spiritual Disciplines: Engaging in regular spiritual disciplines like prayer, chanting, and study of sacred texts can strengthen one's resolve and understanding of self-control's role in spiritual growth.

In conclusion, the practice of self-control in Hindu teaching is not merely about restraint but is a transformative process that aligns the individual's consciousness with the ultimate reality, leading to the realization of unity with the Absolute.