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Chapter 4: Understanding the Mind

Gandhi used to drink warm water with a little honey and lime in it. Mahadev Desai was his close companion, and one day he was preparing the warm water for him. The water was hot, boiling hot; there was steam coming out of it. When Gandhi came after a few minutes Mahadev Desai gave him the water. Gandhi looked at it for a moment and said, “It would have been better if you had covered it.”

Mahadev said, “What can happen in five minutes? And I was watching it, nothing fell in it.”

Gandhi said, “It is not a question of anything falling into it. There is steam coming out of it which must have hurt some organisms.” Gandhi said, “It is not a question of covering it or anything falling into it, but there is steam coming out of it and it must have harmed many organisms in the air. There is no other reason, but they could have been saved.”

It is natural for someone who is always thinking of non-violence to think and act like this. So I tell you, if you are continuously thinking about something it will bring about a change in your everyday behavior.

This morning a friend came with this news. He said, “It is very sad that in spite of inviting some people twice, they are still not here, they are ten minutes late.” He felt sad that in spite of inviting people twice, they had not come. If it were me, I would say instead that it is nice that so many people have come after being invited only twice, and I would say that it would have been even nicer if the people who didn’t come could also be here. This would be the non-violent approach. His was a violent approach, there was violence in it.

So what I am saying to you is that if you think a little, if you create a few devices for yourself to purify your thoughts, you will find that slowly, slowly there will be changes in even your smallest actions. Even your language will become non-violent, your movements will become non-violent. Your thoughts can transform your whole life. Whatever you think has an effect on your life because your thoughts have immense power.

So much depends on what you think about all the time. If you are constantly thinking of money and you are trying to meditate, then you are moving in two opposing directions. It is just as if you were to tie two buffalos, one on each end of a cart. The cart will break in two with the force of the buffalos pulling in opposite directions, and it will not move forward.

If your thoughts are pure then you will find that there will be immense changes in even your smallest acts. Life is not made of great deeds, it is made up of small things. How you get up, how you sit, how you talk, what you say -much depends on this. And the main source from where all this action emerges is the mind.

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