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Every day observe a period of Silence

At least for a few hours a day you should observe silence. Then the mind will get some rest from words and thought waves. Repetition of the holy name and concentration on the Lord can also be practiced to give some rest to the mind. Repetition of the name and thinking of the Lord brings about both inner and outer purity. Just as you bathe your body every day and transform it into a clean outer vehicle, the mind, too, has to be given a regular purification bath to renew its freshness and sacredness. Now you are concerned mostly with physical cleanliness, but you must also engage in mental cleanliness, which is equally essential to life. Good thoughts, good feelings and good actions go a long way to bring about inner cleanliness.

Austerity truly means bringing about a physical, vocal and mental unity by letting actions words and thoughts become one. This is the real austerity. A great soul is one who has been able to enjoy the unity of all these three attributes. If the thoughts, the words, and the actions are different, then a person cannot be considered a great person.

Worldly experiences are governed by combinations of the three attributes. Of these, inertia and chaos give rise to a slothful nature, action and reaction give rise to an active, passionate nature, and rhythm or calm gives rise to a pure, harmonious nature. Austerity refers to transforming the first of these two, the slothful and passionate natures, into the pure, calm, harmonious nature. This can be brought about by controlling sloth with the help of the passionate nature and then by controlling passion with the help of the pure calm nature. In this way you can enjoy the harmony of all three natures, being joined together as one. Ultimately, when all your actions, words and deeds have become totally unified, you will have overcome all worldly attributes and you will be free even from the limitations of the pure calm nature.

For example, suppose you have stepped on a thorn. If you want to remove the thorn from your foot there is no need to look for a special instrument. Another thorn is sufficient to remove the first one. Then you can throw both thorns away. In the same way, the two lower natures which have been giving you so much trouble, can be removed with the help of the thorn of the calm pure nature. Until you have removed these two lower qualities, you need the calm quality. The calm quality may be described as a golden chain, the passionate quality as a copper chain and the slothful quality as an iron one. All three chains bind you in the same way. The value of the metal of the chain may be different, but they all bind nevertheless.