People also suffer due to egoism, arrogance,
exaggerated self-importance. If you feel you
are not getting the proper respect, or are being
treated in a slipshod manner, you can be terribly
upset, incensed for the whole day. "That person
ignored me, or spoke to me in that way; this person
did not pay me the respect I am due; they did not
give me the right seat." Because you feel you are
important, all these things can cause misery, sorrow
and torment. They are not from outside, but are
self-created, coming from within yourself.
Discretion being the better part of valor, it is
usually possible to escape from things outside you
or to be far away from them. You can master the external
objects and say: "No, I will not let them interfere
with my inner peace of mind." You may be able to avoid
them entirely. But how can you avoid things that emanate
from within you? You cannot run away from yourself.
So you have to realize that greater danger lies within
yourself, more harm can be done to yourself by yourself
than by all the objects of the external world put
together. Hence you will have to engage yourself in
an inner discipline, inner transformation, an inner
restoration of a right state of affairs within yourself.
Think about it. Then you will find that because the
state of affairs within you is not right, you are caused
much misery. You are made restless. You are at the mercy
of these things which come from within. And if you are
not able to clearly recognise their presence within you,
or if they are vague and illusive, you cannot deal with
them. You know that they are there when they manifest,
but otherwise you do not know where they are hiding, in
what form they are lurking in the depths of your mind.
Unless you find out, it is not possible to deal with
them. How can you deal with an unknown, unseen adversary?
They have to be brought to the surface. They have to be
cornered. You have to go after them.
That is why Guru Maharaj Swami Sivananda said: "Sit alone,
turn your mind inward, introspect, do self-examination,
try to find out what is within yourself, analyse the
inner contents." This is indispensable. Otherwise you will
not know yourself. And you will be surprised, amazed and
even dismayed by what things can come up from within
yourself when you sit for meditation, for example, or
when you are moving about in society. You will discover
things you never dreamt of, things you never suspected
you are capable of. You can be such a stinker. You can
be such a nasty person. Or, you can be dismayed by
seeing within yourself qualities you cannot stand in
others. Suddenly, you humbly experience, they are there,
right within you. It is a chastening experience.
If you are honest with yourself, if you are wise and if
you are keenly introspective and analytical, then these
things can be found out. However, they are not found out
in a day. One day's introspection will reveal nothing.
One week's introspection will reveal nothing. They have
been there for decades, from your birth, maybe from
another birth. Therefore, you must be after this sadhana,
this process of self-introspection, analysis, self-examination.
If you practice this unrelentingly, with determination,
if you persevere in this sadhana, you will be rewarded with
a lot of knowledge, a lot of revelation about yourself. Then
you are in a position to bring about the desired change, not otherwise. Until you know yourself, you cannot work upon
yourself, you will not be able to turn brass into gold, to
bring about the transformation that Yoga and sadhana are
supposed to bring about, that Guru, mantra, japa, prayer,
worship and bhajan are supposed to bring about. And they
must bring it about, but only when they are accompanied by
this type of honest self-examination, earnest introspection,
sincere desire to find out, see, know yourself, to discover
the inner contents of your mind.