PARAMAHANSAJI: There is a way to conquer life. Real victory consists in conquering yourself first. The attitude of the mind toward conditions about you is of utmost importance. If the attitude of the mind changes constantly according to your tastes, then you are losing. The man who is physically and mentally lazy is the one who is the real failure in this life. Not he who is constantly trying, nor the one who is physically ill. He who is undefeated within is the victorious person in life.”
“Lord, You are with me, I am all right”
…To be always centered in that Divine Beloved no matter what happens in this world… Yes, life is not easy, I admit it. Life has it’s crosses. But to carry them with faith, to carry them with strength, to carry them with a sense of, “Lord, You are with me, I am all right.” That’s the way we must live in this world. ….
Guru says…“Therefore each one of you must carry your bag of duties while thinking of Him.” He is the strength given to us to carry all of these duties, all of these assignments. And when He has decided that we don’t need this particular assignment anymore, He will lift that burden from our back. And he will give us another one, no doubt! (lots of laughter). But he will also give us the matching strength to deal with it. He wouldn’t give a little child on the path the cross of Christ to carry. He gave that to one who had the strength to carry it.
We never receive any burden that is greater than our ability to carry it. But he brings us just to the point where we think we can’t carry it because, you see, if we wanted to strengthen this muscle, and we used just a little, what do you use, a tiddly wink? (laughter) You know what a tiddly wink is? [YoganandaSite: a tiddly wink is a tiny, very light disc of plastic used in a child’s game]. It isn’t enough to strengthen the muscle, isn’t it? So what you do, you get a five or ten pound rock and try to lift it (Ma pumps her arm up and down) and by George it’s giving this some exercise.
So whenever you get a burden, think that the Lord has not given you some tiny, light pebble to carry, but has given enough to carry to strengthen your faith, to strengthen your determination, to give you a chance to develop this marvelous machine the mind that hasn’t even been tapped by science yet, but will only be fully tapped by Christ Consciousness, will only be fully tapped when we become united with the Divine Beloved. Such is His greatness.
from “Security in a World of Change” DVD/Rental Daya Mataji
Devotee: I have often heard that God gives a person only as much as he or she can bear—that God will not allow us to be tested beyond our strength to endure and overcome. If this is so, then why do some people who are under tremendous stress have a nervous breakdown or even lose their minds? I work in a mental hospital, and I see so many people who suffer in this way.
DAYA MATA: Every one of us, having been created in the image of God, is innately endowed with the divine strength and wisdom to conquer and overcome all the tests that life may bring. But it is one’s karma—accumulated throughout this life and in past incarnations wherein there has been wrong thinking or living—that impedes the full expression of that indomitable soul power and the spiritual progress that comes from utilizing that power. A person gradually, over many lifetimes, takes on weaknesses and negative qualities in his or her ego-nature and can no longer perceive the ever-perfect, crystal-clear qualities of the God-image within the soul.
It is absolutely true that no one is tested beyond his level of strength and endurance. But the point is that not everyone persists in the effort required to manifest that strength! Do you see? Some people can withstand a lot of suffering, a great deal of hardship; they face it with courage and come through it. They are better for it, and grow from that experience. But other persons, the moment they are confronted with adversity, they collapse. They have not sufficiently developed the perseverance to cultivate that inner fortitude, to take hold of and use the strength that is latent within them. That is why it is so important to begin from childhood to train the thoughts and will power to remain positive and God-directed, to infuse the consciousness with courage and faith. Help your children to cultivate the right attitude toward the difficulties of life, and encourage them to be mentally strong.
Guruji used to tell us how in India some yogis would lie on a bed of nails, or practice certain austerities for years in order to build within themselves tremendous mental power. Of course, he didn’t recommend such measures; rather, that you should use the little experiences that come to you every day to train yourselves toward greater endurance. If you cut your finger, don’t go to pieces over it. If some larger misfortune happens to you, refuse to let it throw you into a tailspin. You have to learn self-control; use it to lift your mind higher than your troubles. Draw on your belief in God; affirm that He is with you, that His power is within you. Realize that you do not have to get excited or let your emotions take over every time something adverse happens. The individual who does that never realizes the potential of his God-given innate strength.
To return to your question about the mentally ill, when individuals have mental breakdowns so that they lose touch with reality, it is because they have lived wrongly in this life or a past life. They have accumulated such a karmic weight of wrong thoughts or actions that the burden has become overwhelming. When that happens, the mind stops. It can hold no more; it cannot function normally—and a breakdown follows.
If that occurs, you should not think that all hope of soul progress is lost to that individual. When people have “lost their mind,” so to speak, they may not behave in a way that is normal to us, but still through the mental limitations and dysfunction that they have to cope with, they work off much of their karmic debt. Meanwhile, from the onset of their illness, their actions do not affect them karmically, because the choices they make are not from a normal, rational consciousness; they cease to be aware of the right or wrong of what they are doing…
This you can say is the compassion of God. Know this for certain: God has not forsaken such souls. He cannot; He will not. Each one of His children is precious to Him. We need to remember this and have compassion, and we should pray for such individuals.
For those like you who serve in mental hospitals, let your main endeavor in helping the mentally ill be to show them every kindness and love. They need that…They of course require proper therapy, but above all, they are helped by love, by kindness and patience. God’s love is the true panacea for all ills. Whatever external methods may be used, it is ultimately His power working through our love, our prayers, and our healing skills that enacts the healing. To whom else can we turn when we are suffering?
One of the traditional Bengali chants Guruji sang with us describes this recourse to the blessings of God:
Those who are in despair, wipe Thou their tears!
They have come to Thy door, Lord; give them an audience, Lord.
Those who are drowned in sin, to whom will they go?
They have no one, Lord; do not turn them away.*
(from “They Have Heard Thy Name,”
Excerpts from Self-Realization magazine, Fall, 2007