The guideline given in Bhagavad Gita(6,7) for ensuring that one becomes his ally in his own progress is strikingly similar to a powerful and remarkable quote of A J Cronin. He notes, “The virtue of all achievements is victory over oneself. Those who know this victory can never know defeat.”
This simple message is also contained in an ancient proverb, which observes that none is to be deemed free who does not have perfect selfcommand. Indeed, it is this virtue of ‘victory over oneself’ that distinguishes those who finally do justice to the gift of human intellect.
The manifest signs of one who has attained progress in obtaining the needed control over his unrefined instincts are continued peace and that ‘sacred, substantial, neverfading bliss’.
This tranquility, in the manner it works, has also been conceived of very aptly by Benjamin Franklin in his words, “Be not disturbed at trifles or at accidents common or unavoidable.”
The key to attaining that state of control, poise and clarity lies, as James Allen notes, in right thinking. Observing that “the wise man controls his thinking, the fool is controlled by it”, he also points out that the wrong thinker goes through life as a ‘helpless tool of impulse, whim and passion’.
Victory over oneself thus begins through self-restraint and in ensuring that one not only does or says the right thing at the right place and time but even more importantly, in leaving undone or unsaid what he otherwise would by any impulse, whim or passion.
The process thus commences first with the realisation that one has many flaws within, that he needs to improve and that he is still at the starting level. This very realisation is that stepping stone, which, when discovered through the needed analysis, as applicable to one’s own self, would lead naturally on to the subsequent stages.
Indeed, all journeys commence but with the first step. It is in this spirit that Gita too points out (6,25) that the needed tranquility and steadiness is to be attained ‘little by little’ (shanaihi, shanaihi).
Doubtless, this earnest beginning, characterised by searching self-honesty and also accompanied by the needed will and patience, is the true road map to winning over one’s base self. In this, is naturally inbuilt, that sublime achievement of victory over oneself — a victory that ‘can never know defeat’!
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