A devotee asked Swami Chinmayanandaji:

Q: Swamiji, what is the way to purify the mind, to make it meditation worthy?

A: All outside purifiers can destroy sins only, like the Ganga, Japa and Tapa, but they cannot destroy the sinner. It is only the Guru who by giving gyan can destroy the Karma Bandha—all know that the world is perishable—what they don’t know is that it is “perishing”, dying moment to moment. We think that we are “not” perishing. So, a Guru is required to show you the imperishable reality first. If you just keep saying that the world is an illusion without understanding the permanent “Brahman” you will never have faith in it. The order of understanding has to be 1) Brahman Satyam; 2) Jaganmithya. Once the Guru shows you the rope, the snake becomes non-existent, it was never there. Once you have been convinced of the reality, you will never even want to remember that once you thought of yourself as a body, because it is something embarrassing, laughable and ridiculous, like, if a man had been thinking that he was a dog suddenly realises that he is a man, he will never like to be reminded by anyone that he thought himself to be a dog! After this he stressed the importance of a true Guru who could change your thinking and purify your mind.

Q: We have heard of falls in Sadhana. How can we protect ourselves?

A: The glory lies not in never falling but in rising every time you fall. Don’t fall like a rock which gets embedded in the earth and will take 1000 years to break up. Fall like a rubber ball. Put the oil of surrender before you enter the sea and the water will not touch you. Don’t be ashamed of the fall, it was a vasana (deeply rooted desire) that drove you to it. Exhaust it without ego and rise up purged of it with a calm mind.

Prarthna Saran, President, Chinmaya Mission, Delhi.

Email: prarthnasaran@gmail.com