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Thoughts Become Powerful Because Of These Two Factors

Harinath, later Swami Turiyananda, asked Sri Ramakrishna how to destroy all the passions — hate, greed, love, lust, anger. He was told that one cannot destroy them. Then what is to be done? Turn the course of the mind. What happens then? The thoughts become ineffective.

Thoughts become powerful because of two factors — you are interested in them, you pay attention to them. If you go on pondering over them, entertaining them, they become very powerful. If you are not interested, if you don’t pay attention, gradually they lie down. They then become unmanifested impressions; they are all submerged, they do not manifest; they are still there, you cannot destroy them.

You can neither destroy nor forget any thought. The more you try to forget a thought, the more
you remember it. Never try to forget a thought, instead be detached. After appraisal say: ‘It is not to be entertained.’ Look at it clearly and know that it is not to be harbored, not to be entertained, not
to be identified with, not to be attached to, that is all. Don’t try to forget; the more you try to forget,
the more they come up. That is why suppression or repression doesn’t help, you have to resolve them: silence them by becoming aware, by knowing the tendencies; then the mind-stuff retains the impressions only in the unmanifested form. Due to the constant practice of cessation of mental activity, in the final stage, all the impressions remain down [buried in the chitta] and you see nothing there.

It is just as if all the creatures in the water are down below, you see nothing moving on or in the water; the ocean is calm and quiet, they are all deep down, they create no waves, the water is clear, clean, and calm — but throw in a bait and again the creatures come up and disturb the waters. Likewise, the thoughts are all down in the mind-stuff, inactive. That is why it is said that one must be very careful until the end — never take it for granted: ‘Oh, I am quite alright.’ Some people think: ‘Oh, I have attained this, I am safe now.’ Until you are absolutely merged in the last stage you are never safe. Until you reach that stage you can be disturbed at any time, the thoughts are ready.