All of its manifestations, including shyness, resentment, indignation, fury, wrath, and irritation, are great enemies of peace. Anger is a modification of lust; when one's desires are not gratified, one becomes angry. The mind becomes confused; memory and understanding are lost. Things are said and done without awareness or control. Anger does great damage to one's own physical and psychic bodies, as well as those of others. The whole nervous system is shattered by a fit of anger.
Occasionally a spiritual teacher expresses anger outwardly in order to correct a student; this should not be confused with an emotional outburst. Though he may appear hot and indignant, the true master remains cool within, for his motive is the growth of his disciples.
One should watch the mind carefully for any signs of irritability. Frequent irritation over trifling matters is a sign of mental weakness. This can be overcome by developing its positive counter-force: patience.
Anger gains strength with repetition; by checking anger one gradually strengthens the will. The practice of meditation itself helps to eliminate the causes of anger, for it slowly changes values and perspectives. By learning to remain silent even in the face of insult and abuse, it becomes easier to check the impulses and emotions before they take form.
Depression arises in neophytes as a result of many things, including previous tendencies, the influence of astral entities, bad company, cloudy days, etc. It can be counteracted by taking a brisk walk, running in the open air, singing divine songs or chanting OM loudly.
When faith weakens, the student is in danger of slackening his efforts and giving up his practice altogether. When doubts arise, the student should at once seek the company of spiritually elevating people. Satsang with people of firm and clear faith clears all doubts.
When a student's expectations are unrealistic, doubt is bound to raise its head. The beginner thinks that the kundalini will be awakened quickly, and he will blossom with psychic powers. Doubt can be removed by study of religious books, right inquiry and reasoning.
Looking back invigorates memory-pictures, and pulls the mind away from sadhana. This applies also to daydreams. A sage never looks back, but concentrates on identification with the Absolute.
These manifests in many forms: fear of death, fear of disease, fear of solitude, fear of company. Taking hold of the mind, imagination works havoc and makes one prey to all sorts of fears. Fear of public criticism especially stands in the way of a student's meditative progress. Fear is an imaginary non-entity. It can be overcome by self-inquiry, devotion to a higher cause, and the cultivation of courage.
It is insatiable, agitates the mind and assumes various subtle forms. A person who thirsts for fame and power will be deterred in spiritual progress. Wanting to found great ashrams and have thousands of devotees is a form of greed. One must constantly scrutinize motives. Infatuation, attachment and greed are destroyed by vigorous self-inquiry and regular meditation.
Hatred may temporarily subside, but can burst out again with redoubled force. Contempt, prejudice and ridicule are all various modes of hatred. It may take the form of animosity against another religion, or a different ethnic sect or nation; it runs rampant in this Kali Yuga (Iron Age). Constant selfless service combined with meditation serves as an antidote.
For serious spiritual progress, Brahmacharya is essential. This refers to the total control of all the senses. Celibacy as a concept is foreign to the Western mind, yet it is an ancient and timeless aspect of all religious traditions of the world. It has been said that ninety-nine per cent of the spiritual goal is attained when one has control over sensual experiences. This is difficult because of the gratification derived from the senses. It is the inherent nature of all living things to procreate; the most powerful impulse in nature, after breathing. In the sexual experience, energy is dissipated and lost. Through Brahmacharya, this energy is converted into the most powerful force of all: Kundalini Shakti.