Peace is a state of mind that shuns agitation. We can contemplate on transcendental thoughts only if the senses, heart and mind are at rest. If these are restless and in search of worldly goals, there is no chance to locate the Supreme Self in one’s inner being. The Upanishads prefix their teachings with a prayer for peace and though it is in the form of a personal appeal, it encompasses an impersonal aim of conferring peace to all, said Swami Atmashraddhananda in a lecture.

The hub of spiritual training rests on the control of the senses. “May I see and hear good things, have firm limbs and may my body be strong. May I enjoy the life given to me by God. May He who is full of knowledge and experience protect me and nourish me. May the knower of the world Bruhaspati protect the sharpness of my intellect,” are the strains of the prayer.

When there is a grasp of the truth of reality, material possessions get submerged in spiritual attainments. Our entities comprise a gross body as well as a causal and a subtle one with the Self at its core. The Self is the essence of eternity, consciousness and Bliss and this has to be realised to attain salvation.

The implication is that the eyes and ears should seek only the good things and imbibe all that is noble, elevated, cultured and refined.

Mind the mind

But the senses operate with the power of the mind. The mind is the fulcrum that makes the senses function choosing what the self has to see, hear, taste, feel, etc., and thereby imbibe. Even if we are forced to see or hear some things that are not good, we should have the will power to shut it out of our ken. This is also a caution not to have a brush with evil.

Bringing peace is the purpose of the Upanishads. Peace is sought at three levels — on things that are controlled by elements of nature (air, water, earth, ether, and fire), on those beings who interact with each other and on oneself. We should learn to be at peace and not bring unhappiness on ourselves. There is no dogma in the approach of the Upanishads which makes the disciple a participant in the search for Self and peace.