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How To Counter Old Mental Impressions?

There are many things that are lying hidden in the corners of the mind, and when we begin stirring them up, they will arise and become very troublesome. You will be astonished to find how much dirt has accumulated in all the nooks and corners of your mind, and what a lot of cleaning is needed before you can successfully proceed on your spiritual path.

Our mind may be likened to a gramophone record with all its lines. Everything is recorded there. But see how small and insignificant the lines look! You would never think that they produce such a noise, that every single note of every single instrument is recorded in them and can be heard. It is the same with our mind. When one comes to have fewer and fewer impressions from outside, when one begins to avoid all dangerous outside stimuli, then this nice music of old impressions goes on and on. But this is an unavoidable stage and must be overcome. After having got rid of the outside stimulus, we should control the inner stimulus, lying hidden in the mind, ever ready to come up. We should stop all the wild thinking of wild thoughts. Very often, if we are not sufficiently introspective, we find that these outside stimuli leave impressions, and at some time or other these impressions which are unknown to us are going to create some serious trouble for us. All these thoughts and pictures arise especially during meditation, and then you must be able to bring very strong and definite counter thoughts, thoughts that are clearer and stronger, pictures that are more definite than those old impressions rising in your mind. Very often this means tremendous struggle.

The semi-conscious thinking along impure, evil lines is a very dangerous thing and may create great trouble, as it makes the impressions all the more deep and lasting. One day you will realize how true all this is. You should be very very careful about what impressions you allow yourself to take in and what talks you indulge in or listen to. Never think there is no danger in them because you do not feel that any impression is being made. The impression will come up later, and then you will be at a loss what to do with it.

Never dwell on old impressions, on old associations, on old worldly company and thoughts, not even subconsciously or semi consciously. This is one of the greatest dangers for the spiritual aspirant who really wants to go through the necessary cleaning process. There must be a definite cut, and then: thinking along new lines; new, good associations; new, good, pure thoughts and ideas.

Be as wide awake as possible so as not to take in bad impressions either through the eye, or through the ear; and if you do take them in, root them out immediately. Use your utmost discrimination as to the company you allow yourself to be in and the things you allow yourself to hear.

Our mind is very much like a photographic plate. If we could project what lies hidden in it – one picture after the other — what a nice cinema show that would make! Everything gets recorded, mercilessly, and very often we would shudder if we could see all that lies hidden in the depths of our mind, all the impressions that are unknown to us, that we have taken in semi consciously or subconsciously, and that are bound to rise sooner or later during our sadhana.

Purity is the sine qua non of all spiritual life, and real bhakti (devotion) can never be had without perfect purity in body and mind. The jnani purifies himself through tremendous self-control, the bhakta by directing all his feelings and passions towards Bhagavan, making Bhagavan the only thought of his mind.

You [the aspirants who are seriously committed to the spiritual path] must not allow yourselves to have direct relations with others. Your country and all others may only be loved through God and in God, never in any other manner; otherwise you will entangle yourselves in the meshes of God’s maya.

In time you will come to realize the extraordinary usefulness of the personal ideal, the ishta, for your sadhana. The advantage of the personal ideal, the ishta, is that when the heart longs after a personal relationship, the devotee will not be allured and tempted to descend to the animal plane and to take up false human relationships. Real devotion for the ishta always acts as a brake. The ishta, as it were, says: ‘Look here, you shouldn’t be allowed to go down any further!’

First, Bhagavan watches the aspirant, seeing what he is and what he does. Later, if he finds that the aspirant is worthy of serving as an instrument for his cause, he does everything else. He gets the necessary money and all that is needed for his work. But first the aspirant has to prove his sincerity, purity, and worth. Nobody is allowed to serve Sri Ramakrishna who is not perfectly pure in body and mind, nobody who has got any personal ambition to satisfy. And if he is not pleased, nothing happens — whatever the aspirant may do, or not do.