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Introspection is a process of self-analysis of one's activities performed during the day. At the initial stage it may be performed only for a few minutes at any convinient time, preferably before going to bed. Sadhak should try to remember atleast the main events of the day and gradually cover as many details as possible. With consistent and sincere application, more activities reveal themselves to his memory, until at last he is able to remember and recollect thue minutest details of all that he has done during the day, with less effort and time. When such introspection is practised regularly, the constant observation of one's own action with there merits and demerits helps him to remember and observe them even at the time of performance. Thus man beceomes conscious and watchful of all his activities day in and day out. To pause,To think, to judge and then act needs consentration which is provided by introspection. Introspection, therefore, prepares the seeker to think, to speak and to act rightly at the right moment of time as the Sadhak progresses in observation of one's own self, correction comes automatically when he becomes fully aware of his imperfection's. He develops ethical and moral values, mental equanimity and intellectual poise. With these qualities his concentration on any matter is perfected and he emerges successful in any walk of life. The more he lives righ values of life the more he shall succeced in introspection.Thus, the right way of living and introspection promise each other and they to gather help on to reach the Divine abode of truth.

When a state of observation is sustained, then change comes about in a person spontaneously. We see how anger creeps up and how selfishness and pettiness are there in us. Then, when we go back to our worldly relationship, we remain aware of our own susceptiblity to anger greed, jealosy ect.., and when we are fully aware of these traits raising there heads at a givn moment of time, we shall never succumb to them if we are further aware of the fact that these vices are self annhiliating. Thus, this proces of introspection or say observation of one's own slf or say "looking within", will then take place as naturally as inhalation and exhalation of breath takes place. It becomes natural.

Now a man is said to be rational animal. A man thus, inherently, is an animal with all traits of animalism in him. However, he has been endowed with the gift of intellect, by which he is capable of conquring all his animalistic tendencies. It's only by "looking within" that he can trace these tendencies in himself and make an attempt to over come the same. Not only that he will find the Divinity shining in himself which has been temporarily enveloped by the demoniec tendencies in him. It is thus the priviledge of man and not of animal to "to look within" and discriminate between the demoniec and the divine traits in his bossom and see that the later has a upper hand over the foremer. No animal is endowed with discapacity to discriminate between the fair and the fowl. Nature thus has blessed us with the power of discrimination between the right and the wrong, or true and the false. It is thus for us to weild this power at every moment of life by "looking within, and act rightly in all our transections of life, both inner and outer.

Now a look at the animal kingdom will reveal to us that each species has only one or the other animalistic tendencies to harm others and not the congregation of all such traits eg. a tiger is known for his thurst for blood of other animals; a surpent is known for giving poisonous stinct to other beings, donkeys are known for giving kicks to others by hinder leg; dogs are known for there unnnecessary barking when they are in a crowd; fox is known for it's cunninness; a monkey is well known for it's michiviousness and sheeps known for there blind following without discrimination.Now if we have developed an art of "looking within", we will undoubtebly find all the afforsaid traits of all the above-stated animals in our own bosoms, always ready to raise there hoods as and when the occassion arises. All thess traits are outcome of the demoniec tendencies broadly classified by our great Rishis in six groups as our deadly enemies, such as Kama(Passion). Krodh(Anger), Lobha(greed), Moha(Delusion), Mada(Ego) and Matsar(envy), which all the time are playing a game of hide-n-seek every moment in the secret chambers of our heart. Unless we are fully aware of the same and fully alert to check them before thy raise there hoods, it is quite likely that we may come under their sway to become a pray to them and loose the battle of life. "Look within" and "Discriminate rightly" is the only remedy to save ourself from the outburst of our demoniec traits out to annhiliate us and the society around us.

When we are constantly watching our bosom, we shall at the same time find that the very same bosom is full of Divine virtues like love,goodness, mercy,etc. which are generally missing in the animal kingdom.These virtues can be well developed by adhering to Satya(truth), Ahimsa(non-violence),Asetya(honesty), Brahamacharya(control over senses), Apaarigriha(non-possessiveness),Saucha(purity),Santosh(contentment),Tapa(austerity),Swadhayay(self-study) and Ishwar Pranidhan (surrender to Almighty).

 Thus so far as human life id concerned, it is endowed both with the demonic as well as divine traits of living and is further endowed with discriminate intellect to keep former tendencies under it's complete controlby devloping the later virtues in one's own life day by day. The choice is thus left to us to make or mar ouyr life by following either of these traits in our daily life our choice for the former will make us, two-legged animals and the choice for the later will make us Narayana from Nar, meaning a living god upon the earth.

'Look within' and 'discrimniate rightly' is the only way to conquer the demon in us with the aid of the Divine, which is our real nature. The questioner is himself the answerer in this inquiry of Self and if he is sincere and truthful,the answer is bound to be correct provided the mind does not take resort to its defence mechanism.Such a correct answer is bound to lift you up even from its grassroot level and by scrupulously adhering to the same, one can easily realise the SELF (ATMAN) which is eagerly awaiting to take us in its lap and shower its Bliss on us.

 But unfortunately, we are today so much pre-occupied with our activities in our outer world of objects and beings that we hardly find any time to 'look within' and 'discriminate rightly' in the great rush of events of our hurried life from the womb to the tomb.

We have no great ideal to live upon nor do we ever think of higher goal to be acheived in this short span of our life. We are living a routine mechanical life as others live in the society around us. A great ideal or the higher goal is a prerequisite for treading on the path of spirituality. It is only with the help of this torch-light that we can dive deep into our bosom and have a vicitory over the demonic tendencies in us.

 This process of introspection or say 'Looking within' should start from our childhood and mus tcontinue till we breathe the last. A lapse even for a moment is likely to cause great harm not only to us but to all around us. We have, therefore, to be always vigilent to ourselves and allow not the demonic tendencies to raise their hoods even when the situation so demands. this is possible only when we have developed a capacity to observe every thought arising at every moment in our mind and to discriminate it rightly.

The Rishis of the ancient time have, therefore, divided our life span into four parts with specific duties to be performed by us in each span of life. These spans in our scriptural language are known as Ashramas (Stages of life) namely : Brahmcharyashrama or the period of training. Grahasthashrama or period of work in the world as a house holder. Vanprasthashrama or the period of retreat for loosening the social bonds and Sanyasashrama or period of renunciation. In the first span of our life, namely Brahmcharyashrama, we are required to devote ourself single pointedly only to our studies which should be both academic and spiritual. In this span we prepare ourself steadily to plunge into the life of the householder to live a controlled life of Dharma(Righteousness), Artha (Security), Kama(Desires) and Moksha(Liberation) and which are the four Purusharthas (ways of life) to be accomplished in our life while living. Dharma in its right spirit and not only in its usual meaning of rituals etc etc. as understood nowadays, has got to be adhered to while accomplishing Artha and Kama. To indulge in wealth and desire without adhereing to righteousness in its right meaning, is not only self destructive but destroys the culture of the entire society. Once these Artha and Kama are accomplished to the extent necessary, one should start withdrawing oneself from the same and gracefully enter the period of retreat, which is the third span of life. In this stage which can be said to the golden period of life, one should devote himself to the serious study of scriptures and live a life of selfless service of the society around us without expecting any reward whatsoever even in the form of recognition from others. The study of the scriptures helps us a lot in rendering great service to our fellow beings in the right spirit of the great aphorism appearing in shrimad "Bhagwad Geeta"

       "To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits"

This in turn gives us great strength and courage to live the life of spontaneous Bliss and joy. We then reach the state of renunciation where we try to tune ourselves with nothing but the Truth, the Self, the Atman which is the Lord of the Lords and merge therein to become one with the same and thus attain liberation from limitations meaning bondage of life, commonly known as Mukti alais Moksha in this very life while alive and are never reborn after the fall of the body.

 

This is the life that we are expected to live in the short span of about eighty to hundred years and reach the pinnacle of Truth while alive and that is possible only if we adhere scrupulously to the teachings of our scriptures laying down the fundamentals of life. 'Look within' and 'Know thy self' is therefore the screamiry of our Rishis for treading the path of spirituality leading us to the pinnacle of Truth.

 Let us all wake up to this great call of our great Rishis and redeem ourselves from the vagaries of our present day life.

 

Try...Try we can...Try we must.