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The Power of Conscious Restraint

When it comes to conscious restraint the effects are equally apparent. When we restrain ourselves voluntarily we feel uplifted and energetic. There are times in everyone’s life when the disastrous effects of license, craving, weakness and pettiness are felt and we bitterly berate ourselves on our folly. On retrospection we invariably tell ourselves that it would have been better if we had exercised restraint. Deep down we know of the evil consequences of unrestrained thought and action.

On the advantages of restraint Swami Vivekananda says - Self-restraint is a manifestation of greater power than all outgoing action. A carriage with four horses may rush down a hill unrestrained, or the coachman may curb the horses. Which is the greater manifestation of power, to let them go or to hold them? A cannonball flying through the air goes a long distance and falls. Another is cut short in its flight by striking against a wall, and the impact generates intense heat. All outgoing energy following a selfish motive is frittered away; it will not cause power to return to you; but if restrained, it will result in development of power. This self-control will tend to produce a mighty will, a character which makes a Buddha. Foolish men do not know this secret.

It is precisely this idea of conscious restraint of the mind sustained by willpower that yoga advances. This restraint leads humans to higher endeavours and opens up new vistas in their personality.

We know how the mind wanders. The mind has to be put on a leash. Resist all evils, mental and physical; and when you have succeeded in resisting, then will calmness come.