It is the heart that swells you up.It is again the heart that sinks you down. Feelings of elation or depression ,that of joys and sorrows spring out of it. If the heart upbeats at times , it sinks low on other occasions. You are impelled and elated by feelings for the welfare of the nation, for the love of mankind, but often you go down with feelings of hatred, jealousy and revenge. With positive feelings you are apt to rise high but negative emotions hurl you to the ground and you are buried with shame and disgrace.As the thoughts are in the heart ,so is the man . It is the feelings that grow up in the heart that constitute the personality of an individual Take the example of Shivaji. His father worked under the mogul emperor.But his mother never allowed his son to bow down before the moguls. Instead she filled her sons heart with the love for the country and Hindu dharma. As Shivaji grew up he conquered many mogul fortresses. But the mother desired that he should defeat the moguls by conquering the strongest fortress of Toran.And Shivaji after conquering this fortress went to his mother for her blessings and putting the sword down on her feet , asked what more she wanted from him. The reply of the mother is to be noted here.She said your body is mine,and I do not need your money,I only ask for your heart,a heart that will ever cling to my ideal.
How much can we speak about this heart whose glories are tremendous. It has a magical power beyond words. In whichever direction it swings it forces one to work.Good feelings raise the person to the heights while bad feelings push him to the ground. Anger,lust,vengeance,jealousy,and hatred can pull down a person ,while love , compassion and understanding can raise him high.. All these feelings ,good or bad ,take birth only in the heart.It is a place that is pure, a place where God resides.Lord Krishna himself says :-
Indrayualam manushchasme.meaning I am the heart. Arjun I am the one who stays in the heart Ishwar sarvbhutanam hriddashoarjun tishthati
Bhramasyansarvbhutani yantraruhani mayya.
Chapter 18 verse61
We are born with a heart that is pure. But then gradually as we grow up it begins to gather dust.Unpleasant ideas and thoughts crop up.We more than often fail in chosing a right direction,though it becomes a primary duty on our part to control the heart and put it on the right path. Here I am reminded of an instance in the life of Shravan Kumar.He had a feeling of devotion for his blind old parents.On their request he took them both on a pilgrimage. Ill treatment given to his parents by his wife further pushed Shravan kumars heart to take them away. His heart was happy that he was on a noble nission, to serve his parents. He went around to some places,when all of a sudden his heart took a strange turn. He was overtaken by a feeling of disgust.What was he doing? Only he was ruining his life.Those were the days for him to enjoy. He was young. He had a wife who loved him and he had lovely children.He should be spending time with them.Youth meant pleasure. He ran away fast, listening to this voice of the heart, immediately putting down the scale on which he carried the parents as he feared that he might not change his decision.Running,he got tired.He happened to see a group of men and women who were being addressed by a yogi.He also sat down there to take breath as he was panting.The yogi was trying to elaborate and explain the episode of Ganesh,who circled round his parents and felt that he had traversed the whole world .Lord Shanker was then trying to explain to Kartiki and others present there that Ganesh was absolutely right , because one cannot achieve anything more in this world than by serving the old parents.Shravan Kumar got a big jolt on hearing this.He got highly annoyed with the feelings of his heart that tempted him to leave his parents.He ran back to the place where he had left his parents.He took the rod of the scale on which the parents sat and went on to the pilgrimage with greater joy and satisfaction.
As the heart is,so is the man.
First is our natural instinct,where happiness is momentary and is confined for the time being to the object only.Heart is happy when it hears a sweet melody or views a good sight.It is confined to that moment and is then forgotten.A beautiful sight touches the heart and sweet music refreshes it. It stays for some time only. If these sights are unpleasant the heart is repelled.
The second level of the heart is when it begins to seek the happiness for others,in which it feels lies his happiness also. He tries to work for others,to give inspiration to others, towards a more meaningful life.He goes a little beyond his own self .Self-centeredness begins to melt.Here there is the power to think, to argue and to give lessons to others.He wants to build a structure on the foundation of his thoughts and ideas.For example by writing poems,essays and novels. We have Kabir, Meera, Tulsi to sing and inspire us in Hindi Literature.We have similar writers in other litratures also.The great sages with their pious thoughts rose to give us, The Ramayan and TheGita. These all had put their thoughts of their hearts.The same can be said about great artists,architects and sculptures,who had put their hearts into their creations. They all try to lift us up and speak to the hearts of others through their creations.
The third level of the heart is when together with its own happiness,it seeks the happiness of others also. The sight of suffering seems to hurt him.It wants to lend its helping hand if one wants him.If one is drowning,he jumps to take him out.It is a heart that finds happiness in the motto Live and help others to live.Such a heart refuses to look for its own interest only. It is a heart that finds great joy in bringing a ray of hope to the distressed..It wants that if he eats,he should help others also to eat. If it is happy,he should create a similar world of happiness for others.If he rises ,he must help others to rise and not cut their throats.
The fourth level of the heart is the highest type which links itself with the Lord.It is the spiritual heart.It cannot bear the sight of suffering.It feels the misery, the misfortune and the pain of others.To make my point clear,I would like to cite an incident in the life of Swami Dayansnd Sarswati.Once a farmer was beating brutally an ox.,because it could not pull the cart which had got struck into the mesh. Swami felt the pain of every blow on his body and could not control himself.He came up,stopped the man from beating the ox. He then took the rod of the cart on his shoulders and pulled the cart out of the mud applying all the force at his command.Such a heart feels a bliss in living for others.It is a spiritual heart.It is a heart that feels the pain of others.This is the highest level of a heart.This is a heart that joins itself to God. It sees God everywhere and in everyone,all woven in one thread of love and understanding. The Lord is all round and the heart opens itself to visualize this truth and be with the Lord. The heart then begins to take only one direction,the love of God, which makes it to love all,men and animals.This is the internal heart ,the heart that is joined to Divinity.A new culture comes up,the culture of widening the heart and the spirit.It then follows its own vision.
But the heart is very unstable,changing at the slightest provocation.One minute it may raise itself but then it is slung into the mud again the next minute.So an important issue before us is how to make it stable.Then,the other question is how to make it rise from one level to another.It runs so fast that it is very difficult to control it,even more difficult than the course of a wind. This was what Arjun felt and so he asked The Lord:-
Chanchlam hi manah Krishna
The Lord says that in reality it is very difficult to control the heart,more than it is to control the force and direction of the wind.But there is no problem that does not have a solution.And what Lord Krishna says is really inspiring:-
Abhyasen tu Kauntai vairagyain ch a grihayte
It means that heart can be controlled by practice and renunciation.It is the practice for something high ,something ideal.If the heart runs away from it do not be disappointed,try to turn it back, do it every time it tries to go off.This is practice.It is quite natural for bad thoughts to overcome the good ones every now and then. But to turn away from them,always remembering the Lord, is Practice.Gradually the bad thoughts will leave the heart. The heart has to be its own guard.What may look impossible in the beginning ,by a spirit of dedication and determination, you can achieve your end. .Practice and determination will work wonders towards a direction of which you and others may be proud of .Whenever there is a turn towards the ugly, turn it towards the good. Practice this. .Remember your determination to succeed in your mission by constant practice will take you on the right path.Sometimes you may go astray,do not worry,continue your practice,try again and again.Do not forget that failures are the pillars of success.There is nothing higher than a heart which is determined to achieve its end, even though it looked impossible in the beginning .This in it self is tapasya .. You heart then is your major responsibility.It is the most powerful part of your body. You have a duty towards it. Your tapasya is to control your heart, to give it a right direction, a meaningful direction. If you can make your heart , not to waver,with the blow of the breeze of lust and passion,your senses will be pleased and you will be intellectually elevated.The desire to live for others , will enable you to do noble tasks. And finally practicing , you will feel the presence of God within your heart.This feeling will always inspire you to love one and all
So lift your heart, call the Lord to help you in your noble journey.If you have intentions that are good, He will definitely come forward to help you to walk on the path of righteousness Remember He comes to those who call Him and look to Him to move forward in His mission of love and understanding. It is hard to beat a person who never gives up but moves on and on .