You Cannot Change Nature, Change Your Attitude

Published: 23.09.2007
Updated: 15.02.2008

22 Sep 2007

A man tried to blow out an electric lamp. When he failed, he was puzzled. Why didn't the 'flame' get extinguished? In spiritual matters we too are like the ignorant man. We are unaware of the process of self-transformation. The aim of Sadhana is to transform the self.

Knowledge is the first prerequisite of this transformation. The second is practice. We know that we inhale and exhale air through each nostril by turns and we have also learnt that in the exercise of controlling breathing the mind goes in and comes out with each breath.

Mere knowledge is not enough. We often commit errors of judgment in the practice of meditation, and our success depends on repeating the process intelligently. Mahavira observed that knowledge combined with practice is the only path leading to deliverance from miseries. Both are inseparable elements of spiritual exertion. Moreover, practice cannot bear fruit without discernment. Only a combination works.

Meditative practice should begin with a correct disposition of the mind that can be strengthened by willpower. Develop the urge to achieve with faith. Be self-critical. The more the disposition develops, the more self-watchful will you become. Remind yourself that your self has to perceive itself.

To develop this disposition change your attitude. A changed attitude brings about a transformation in the very course of your life. Nobody can change nature. What we can and should do is to change our attitude towards it.

A preceptor had two disciples. He asked one of them as to how the latter felt the world to be. The disciple replied that it was a hopeless world. Even the bright day lost its value when he saw that it was preceded and followed by dark nights. The darkness was disgusting. The preceptor put the same question to the second disciple. He replied that it was a wonderful world. How bright the days were! Of course, the nights were dark, but then each night was followed and preceded by a bright day.

The first disciple saw only the nights and their darkness. The second saw only the days and their brightness. It is the attitude which matters. It is the mind which makes a heaven of hell and a hell of heaven.

The Anitya Anupreksha medi-tation is performed in the early hours of the morning. During this meditation we try to feel that the body is transitory. The idea gradually develops into a felt experience. We know that the body undergoes continuous change, affected by heat, cold, wind and atmosphere. It is subject to disease, old age and death. But if we could know the truth about these changes and the body, it will be a happy experience. As soon as we have known the true nature of disease and death, our attitude towards them will certainly change.

Death is a terrible thing no doubt, but one who has known the truth about it will be prepared to welcome it whenever it comes. We can develop this attitude through the Anitya Anupreksha meditation. The greatest punish-ment the state can award is the death sentence. Death appears to be a terrible thing but to the Sadhaka it is no longer so. Sadhana brings about a complete self-transformation. It is also a transvaluation of values. A change in our attitude towards life and death is the prerequisite of Sadhana. It means getting rid of all kinds of predispositions, predilections and preconceived notions.


Times Of India, by the efforts of Mr. Lalit Garg.

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  1. Anitya
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