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Chapter 4: Understanding the Mind

This is true: our thought processes travel on these three ships. And anyone who travels on these ships will not become pure in thought. He will have pure thoughts only when he gets off these three ships. So it is important for everyone to observe the thoughts that recur in his mind; what are the wounds in his mind around which his thoughts revolve. The thoughts to which his mind returns again and again will be his basic weakness. So everyone must discover this: is it money, is it sex or is it power? Do you constantly think about one of these things? Do you think about lying? Do you think about dishonesty, about cheating? These are all the minor things, the first three are the major points. If your mind revolves around these three then your thoughts are impure. They are called impure thoughts because as long as you are thinking them you cannot know truth.

Purity of thought is the same as what in India we call truth, goodness and beauty. Pure thoughts focus on these three states. How much do you think about truth? Do you think about truth at all? Do you ever wonder what truth is? In a quiet moment, does your mind ever wonder about it? Are you ever in anguish over the thought of truth? Do you ever feel you want to understand what beauty is? Do you ever feel you want to understand what happiness is?

If your mind is troubled by impure thoughts, then your mind is impure, and it is not possible to attain to enlightenment with an impure mind.

Impure thoughts take you outwards and pure thoughts take you inside. Impure thoughts flow outwards and downwards and pure thoughts flow inwards and upwards. It is impossible for someone who is thinking of truth, of goodness, of beauty, to not find his life colored by them.

Gandhi was once in prison. He used to constantly think about truth, about renunciation, about non-attachment. In those days he used to eat ten dates soaked overnight in water for breakfast. Vallabhbhai Patel was also in jail with him. He wondered, “Is this any kind of breakfast, just ten dates? How can it be enough?”

He used to soak the dates for Gandhi, so one day he soaked fifteen dates. He thought, “How will this old man know whether there are ten dates or fifteen? He will just eat them.”

Gandhi saw that there were a few more dates. He said, “Vallabhbhai, please count the dates.”

When the dates were counted there were fifteen of them. Gandhi said, “There are fifteen.”

Vallabhbhai said, “What difference will it make if there are ten or fifteen?”

Gandhi closed his eyes and thought for a few minutes. He said, “Vallabhbhai, you have given me a great idea. You said, ‘What is the difference between ten and fifteen?’ so I have understood that there is no difference between ten and five either.

Gandhi said, “From today onwards I will only eat five dates. You have shown me a most wonderful thing, that there is no difference between ten and fifteen.

Vallabhbhai became afraid. He said, “I said that only so that you would eat a little more. I never imagined that you would think this way.”

Someone who is always thinking about eating less and less will always give this kind of answer, and someone who is thinking about eating more will not see any difference between ten and fifteen. But for someone who continuously thinks of eating less and less, there is no difference between five and ten. So what you think will begin to show in your daily habits.

I will tell you one more story..

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