All positive qualities weaken the ego and increase universal love.
So any good quality cannot harm a person's self-development.
What do you mean by self-development?
Self-development means the ego self, which is always seeking the worldly
pleasures (name, fame,
and getting involved in negative ways of life), is turning to opposite
direction. All positive qualities
come in our self-development.
It seems that the higher Self doesn't need to be developed because it is already
developing the lower self, how would that be different from developing the ego
Lower self is the ego self —I am this mind-body complex. When this notion of
I am this mind-
body complex changes to I am the Self, then the ego self merges in the
How is swabhava different from dharma?
Swabhava is one's own nature created by samskara. The dharma of human beings is
the world and to achieve liberation. Then according to swabhava, the person will
be attracted to
positive or negative experiences. We have a superior mind. We know what is good
for our self-
development and what is not.
If you are performing action with no expectation of return for yourself, but we
are still acting
with some purpose. How do we know if it is a good purpose?
There is a purpose of self-development. If a person steals and says 'I am
stealing for God, or for
poor people,' then it will not work. Because the person is stealing for his or
her own desire which is
If one is engaged in spiritual practice out of a sense of duty or a fear of
criticism, and doesn't
feel the desire to do the practice, should one continue to do the practice or
Faith is developed by practice. But doing it by outer pressure and not wanting
it from inside is not
right. Fear is always a cause of spiritual practice. We know our limitation and
we have no cure for
our pains, so we are pushed to believe that there is a superpower which can
rescue us. Also
experience and getting liberation is in human nature. For some reason, if a
person is not pursuing
his path of self-development now, later he or she will.
How do we develop discrimination in daily life?
You have to see what helps in your self-development and what harms. If anything
harms, that you
have to reject. That rejection may harm worldly life, but will help spiritual
Could you elaborate on the part about not reading inappropriate materials, that
avoid reading books or having discussions which are contrary to our self-
Like violent stories create violent dreams. It proves that such things sink in
the mind and fill the
mind by its color.
Could you elaborate on the rule about do not engage in unnecessary talks?
Unnecessary talks bring nothing positive. It may create some negativity. That
negativity goes deep in
the mind and creates negative nature. Also when we don't get any positive result
then it is a waste of
Could you elaborate on do not let laziness or dullness control your mind?
When laziness and dullness overpower the mind, we lose our discipline, our aim,
and we just live in
our own desires.
When the mind gets dull, lethargy sets in, and you don't feel motivated to do
sadhana, and you
are barely able to gasp out a prayer, what do you recommend?
The only thing that works is kick yourself. It always works. No one wants to
live a miserable life
so we have to do something to get out of that mental bog. Even a little prayer
will give energy to
stand up and do something.
You have said that our parents are the first gurus, and the scriptures tell us
to obey our
parents. If they tell us to do something that is contrary to our spiritual
growth or development,
what should be our attitude?
Parents are the first gurus because the baby learns to talk and recognize the
world from them. Then
a child grows up and develops his or her discrimination and chooses his or her
own path, then
contradiction arises. If the chosen path is conducive to one's self-development,
even if it is not the
same path as the parents, then the wise parents simply accept it. If both dwell
in their own fanatic
beliefs, then no acceptance, no compromise.
© 2001 Sri Rama Publishing
To the Index