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Conquest Of Internal Nature - Important Teaching In Hinduism

The Yogi believes in the conquest of internal nature. ‘How much have you gained towards that? How much control over your senses, over your body?’ — that is all the Yogi asks. The Yoga doctrine teaches that there is the soul, and inside this soul is all power. It is already there, and if we can master this body, all the power will be unfolded.

The Yogi says, religion is practical if you know first why misery exists. All the misery in the world is in the senses. The same fire that cooks your meal burns the child. Is it the fault of the fire? Blessed be the fire! Where can you lay the blame? Not on the elements. Circumstances can never be good or bad. Only the individual man can be good or bad. It is the touch of the senses that cause pleasure and pain, heat and cold. If we can control the senses and order what they shall feel — not let them order us about as they are doing now — if they can obey our commands, become our servants, the problem is solved at once.

We are bound by the senses; they play upon us, make fools of us all the time. Here is a bad odour. It will bring me unhappiness as soon as it touches my nose. I am the slave of my nose. If I am not its slave, I do not care. A man curses me. His curses enter my ears and are retained in my mind and body. If I am the master, I shall say, ‘Let these things go; they are nothing to me. I am not miserable. I do not bother.’ This is the outright, pure, simple, clear-cut truth. The other problem to be solved is — is it practical?

Can man attain to the power of mastery of the body? Yoga says it is practical. What is the difference between men and animals? ‘Food and sleep, procreation of the species, and fear exist in common with the animals. There is one difference: Man can control all these and become God, the master.’ Animals cannot do it. Animals can do charitable work. Ants do it. Dogs do it. What is the difference then?

Men can be masters of themselves. They can resist the reaction to anything. The animal cannot resist anything. He is held by the string of nature everywhere. That is all the distinction. One is the master of nature, the other the slave of nature. What is nature? The five senses. The conquest of internal nature is the only way out, according to Yoga. The day will come when I will be master of myself. If not in this life, in another life. I will struggle and never let go. Nothing is lost.

Source - From The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, (Kolkata: Advaita Ashrama, 2015), 1.497-501.