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Study Of Self And Asceticism In Hindu Religion

Just as in order to rebound, a ball has to be thrown on the ground and the seed is sown with due attention to the requirements of agriculture, a lamp is taken in hand in order to light the way in darkness, water is put at the root of a tree in order that the branches and fruits might grow, and just as the looking glass is kept clean over and over again in order that it might reflect one's own image more properly, so one should study the teachings of the Upanishads, in order that the deity described in the Vedas might be reached. In this way, the Upanishads serve their purpose to the very learned, whereas the ordinary incantations and recitations serve the purpose to the ordinary men. This is called the study of Self.

What is given away in charity is the only good. The rest of the expenditure is useless. Just as trees dry up, after they have given the fruits, incense emits scent while it is burning, gold loses its luster, while it is being purified, and in the dark half of the moon, the size of the moon diminishes, similarly all exertions made by the vitality, the body and the senses for the attainment of Brahman are to be regarded as asceticism. There are other ways of asceticism. The constant thought of the awakened soul to keep separate the physical body from one's true self is also asceticism. The mind is then turned to the soul and the intelligence turns away from objects of senses. Activity in 'thoughts of Self is the second and higher form of asceticism. Gentility towards all living beings is necessary, just as the milk of the mother is for the benefit of the child (without reservation) and just as life and vitality activate everything in the universe (without distinction).