Power of Emotions
By Swami Rama
Today, there is chaos all over the world, not because there are no intelligent people, no emotional human beings or no healthy persons. What is the problem with our human society? Despite many experiments conducted on three levels—mind, body, and matter—we have not been able to create an integrated human being. We have not understood the importance of an integral way of life. The power of thought and the power of emotion are both great powers. For total integration, we need to know how to use the power of emotion and how to prevent the mind from being disturbed by our emotions.
You may have heard this analogy. Once there was a lame man. He couldn’t walk. He had no crutches, he had nothing at his disposal. And there was a blind man. Both wanted to go to the same village. They started talking to each other, “Is there a way? We both have the same destination.” And after discussion they found a way. The lame man climbed onto the shoulders of the blind man and guided him to their common destination. So too should the power of thought and the power of emotion combine forces to achieve an integrated way of life.
It also means that after introspection and proper understanding of the various aspects of your internal states, you can all find solutions in life. Learn to think, not to brood or to worry. Have clarity of mind. Don’t become a worrier, become a warrior. All problems can be solved because all these problems are self-created. As you are responsible for creating your problems, you have the power to be freed from these very same problems.
Now, virtually all our actions are controlled by our thoughts. And all our thoughts are controlled by our emotions. You may be a cultured and highly educated person in society, but suddenly a single emotion upsets you and you start doing things that should not be done. One emotion can disturb your whole being. You spend so much time and energy in culturing, in cultivating, in educating yourself. Yet, one single emotion can disturb you and make you a monster.
Therefore, let us find out why emotions disturb our entire being. Let me explain. There are six main emotional streams arising from the four primitive fountains of food, sleep, sex, and self-preservation. The first, the primary emotion is desire, also called kama. Kama is the prime desire from which arise all other desires. If this desire is fulfilled, you become proud and this is a serious problem. If it is not fulfilled, then you get angry (krodha). What is anger? Unfulfilled desire is called anger. The desire is not fulfilled, that’s why you are angry. Your husband wanted you to do things in a certain way and you have not done it. He’s angry. Or you are angry with him because he did not come home on time. Unfulfilled desire means anger. “Why are you angry honey?” he asks. You tell him, “I told you to bring something for the children and you forgot to bring it. You started drinking with your friends and you forgot. I told you not to drink and you are drunk, that’s why I’m angry.” Anger means unfulfilled desire. If kama, desire, is not fulfilled you get angry. If it is fulfilled, you become proud (mada). And then you get intoxicated (moha).
Pride is not self-respect, that is a false notion. I think, “This table is mine.” Is it? No, it belongs to this organization. I am supposed to use it. I am not supposed to own it. So what happens? You don’t know how to use the things of the world and you start owning them, that’s a serious problem. You are not enjoying the house, beautiful house in which you live. But you possess it, “My house, my house, my house.” And then becoming proud, you get intoxicated and then you get attached. When I go, I leave the table behind and nobody will disturb me. But when my work is done, if I say that I am going to carry the table home with me, the organization will say, “Stop! This is not yours. What is wrong with you?” All the things of the world belong to Providence. Please use them. Don’t try to own them. That’s a serious mistake that you are committing; something wrong with your thinking, something wrong with your behavior, something wrong with your understanding. So, there is a formula: all the things of the world can be used by you but please do not get attached, because they are not yours, they are given to you. If with this understanding, wife and husband sit down, talk and discuss, life will be beautiful. Your home will be a garden of Eden, but you modern people do not have the time to do so.
Let me tell you a story. There was a doctor, a very famous and extremely busy doctor. He had three children. At five a.m., he used to get up and go to the hospital, coming home late at midnight. His wife used to look after the children. One day the children woke up at night, saw him and asked, “Mommy, who is this rascal?” So is the case with all of you. You don’t have time for children, you don’t have time for your wives. What are you doing? Why are you doing all this? Tell me. Why this competition? Because my neighbor has ten million and I have only five million. To make it ten million you are working hard, ignoring your wife and children. Don’t do that! There is something that is called peace. Learn not to be attached to the things of the world. Attachment is the mother of all miseries.
Then you get jealous (matsarya). I once visited a Greek church in Minneapolis in the United States. It was my first chance to visit a Greek Orthodox Church, not that I believe in churches, mosques, and temples. My temple is, “Thou art That.” You are my temples, living temples. If I have not learned to see the Lord in you, I will be very unhappy. A mass was being performed. The priest did all kinds of rituals that I did not understand but I could accept because of the difference in cultures. In front of me there was a woman. Behind me there was another woman. These women were jealous of each other and were always competing with each other. The woman in front was muttering to herself, “What does she think of herself? She is wearing a diamond that is bigger than my diamond. She is wearing this fancy gown. Who does she think she is? Next Sunday, I’m going to wear a better gown.” She was talking to herself and was frowning all this time. And she was looking backwards and I was caught in between. So I quietly asked her, “Ma’am, who is she?” She replied, “She is my next door neighbor, a nasty woman. How do you know her?” I said, “I don’t know you and I don’t know her.” I told the doctor who took me to this church, “All these men and women are trying to show off in the church. It’s like a club.” Wherever you go, you carry your mind with you. Whether you go to a temple, to a yogi or to a swami, anywhere, your mind is always with you. At least you should learn to understand what is good for you and help yourself.
One of the sages beautifully said, tulasi sant svamba taru phoolphale parahetu ichetete pahan hane vuchetate phala det. A good man, a man of wisdom is like a tree, a mango laden tree. When there are mangoes on the tree, the tree bows down and the children throw rocks at it. What does the tree do? Nothing bad. It gives them fruit in return for the rocks. That is a sign of greatness. That we can attain in this world. It can be done. Human beings have done it in the past, we too can do it.
After kama, krodha and moha, comes lobha or greed. Greed turns you into an animal. You are a human being, but greed makes you lose all your human potentials. However, of all the emotions, the most dangerous is ego. You know what is this ego? There is body, breath, conscious mind, unconscious mind, and the center of consciousness. There are four different aspects of the inner instrument called antahakarana, the totality of mind, namely manas, buddhi, chitta and ahamkara. Ahamkara, or ego, is the greatest of all barriers in going to the source of light and life and wisdom, in attaining intuitive knowledge.
The final barrier is ego. Have you read in the history of Muslim kingdoms? The king, the father brings up his child with great care and love, but the boy thinks, “Let me put my father behind bars, let me arrest him. I can then become the king.” Ego problem! When you are egotistical, you forget your own people whom you love and who love you. That creates a barrier between you and the reality. That creates a wall between you and the truth. So kama, krodha, moha, madha, lobha, and ahamkara, these are the six emotions arising from the four primitive fountains. If you understand a little bit of the anatomy of the inner person, the one within you, it will be easy for you to enjoy life.
I have seen you living, but I have not seen you enjoying life. Ok, is it necessary for you to have objects in order to enjoy? That means you are a slave of these objects. Nowadays, you talk of love, man needs a woman, woman needs a man. That’s not necessary. You should learn about love without an object. So when you talk of something higher, about wisdom, it’s love without an object and that sets you free. Freedom will come to you when you have organized yourself.
What is misery? Can you give me your misery? I am prepared to take it. No, you cannot because you have created these miseries for yourself. Will you please help yourself? It’s a simple way. Don’t try to become miserable. Buddha said, “Ye light thy own lamp, nobody will enlighten you.” If people become miserable, it’s because they want to be miserable, they want to create misery for themselves, there is no remedy. I will tell you how. Now do you exist? Everybody will say, “Yeah.” I say you don’t exist because I am blindfolded. I am speaking the truth. That’s what we do to ourselves. There is nothing like misery, it is all joy, all joy. These are the various images of joy. Where is misery? Tell me what type of misery. What is its shape, what is its form? It is nothing.
Whenever negativity comes and you say, “I am bad.” I say you are not bad. Who are you to condemn yourself? You belong to God. How can you be bad? Tell me. These negativities should not be entertained. You need to practice. Cleansing the mind, purifying the mind means not being negative, being positive, being realistic, being subtle, being practical.
You will have to work with your habit patterns. When a thief is caught, you ask him, “Do you know it’s bad?” He replies, “Yes, I know that. I know it as you know it.” “Then why are you committing thefts?” He says, “It’s my habit.” You’ll have to learn to work with your habits. What are your habits? This personality of yours is composed of your habits. That becomes your character. But, if you start doing new actions consciously, repeatedly, you will create new habit patterns. You come out from old habit patterns and start new habit patterns. You will be transformed. It can be done.
Sankalpa shakti, determination, is the pillar of success. Don’t condemn yourself if you fail. When a child starts walking, it falls many times. That does not mean that the child will not get up and walk. We have all fallen many times in our childhood but we are walking today. We are bound to fall when we start learning to walk. Determination is like that. If you fail in the beginning, it doesn’t matter. Make efforts. Don’t stop making efforts, that’s very important. To know the truth, there should be truth in mind, action, and speech. And if you are committing mistakes in the quest of truth, you will be on the path, don’t worry. Truth will support you, help you, if you are practicing truth. Don’t worry about your mistakes.
These human prejudices hamper the progress of humanity. Only individuals, those who are aware, can do something in life and they can help others and we all have such potentials. Take some time, a few minutes in the morning and evening, and think about it. How can you improve yourself? How can you improve your personality? You cannot change it but you can improve it. Death has no power to change you, but you have the power to transform yourself. You have tremendous power.
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of Swami Rama of the Himalayas