The above quotations are thought-provoking. We must begin again to analyse these vices, watch for their effects, and so get a deeper view. Let us also look at Mr. Judge's article, "Culture of Concentration," where he tells us what happens to the newly-forming permanent astral body when we give in to some of these vices. As would-be aspirants to the spiritual life, we shall find in this article much food for thought.
"Three poisons" are mentioned in the second quotation. There is first of all anger which causes uncontrollable trembling and pulls apart or bursts into fragments the newly-forming astral body. These fragments fly back into the body and we have to begin building over again. We can experience this for ourselves, for it takes time for us to get to the steady centre of consciousness and calm the quivering body after a burst of anger. We also know that anger is explosive.
As we are told to look for the cause behind every effect, we must seek the cause of anger. The dictionary tells us that it may be prompted by a sense of wrong, and a growing resentment or indignation. So we see that anger has many causes and that there are other poisons related to it.
The opposite virtues or qualities to be cultivated include Kshanti-patience which will prevent us from falling prey to irritability; Dana-love which keeps us from hurting another; Shila-harmony which puts an end to disharmony in word and act. Light on the Path tells us that our voice must lose the power to wound. What causes the desire to wound? Delusion, based on many thoughts and sensations, on the pride of self and the greed to possess.
What is greed? In The Dream of Ravan it is called an insatiable craving. Through the Gates of Gold gives good descriptions of this craving and where it leads to. The greed to possess, to hold, to take from another, to demand more and more, works on all planes. Sensuality is one form, ambition is another, envy yet another, but all are rooted in the love of self and the feeling of insecurity. All these lead to such a disturbed condition that no progress is possible. Jealousy arises, envy takes hold of us, and we want what others have and take what does not belong to us. We centre our consciousness on possessions.
If we can find the cause of this insatiable craving of greed we can start to destroy it by practising the opposite virtue—dispassion which keeps us from desiring more and more possessions. The possessions which come to us in the natural course are lawful; those that we snatch from others or from Nature herself are unlawful, for perfect balance must reign throughout. So it is said that the "spoiler robs, to render." Nothing that we possess is ours, for everything belongs to all. Hence the idea that we are only the trustees of whatever possessions, physical, moral or mental, we have. Karma brings us our own; selfishness makes us take more; unselfishness alone will rid us of this craving.
Looking at the offspring of greed, we find such vices as envy, resentment, vanity, pride and fear. We fear to lose what we have, and fear shrivels up the newly-forming permanent astral body which coagulates and contracts. Have we not here a picture of the miser?
What is delusion? It is that which we see through our defective sense-organs, sensations, preconceptions and prejudices. It leads to unbelief. It comes from slothfulness which will not let us examine and prove anything, but makes us take the attitude that we alone are correct. One who is obsessed by a sense of his own importance is like the fool who sits high up in a tower, unperceived by any but himself. He has to come down to appreciate his real position, and be ready to learn, to seek advice, to be humble. Pride makes us mad; vanity destroys the newly-forming astral because it draws to our sphere elementals which fracture it as with an explosion. This, by repercussion, changes the whole nature, and may result in insanity and excesses of one kind or another.
To get rid of our delusion, we need to control our ideas, thoughts, sensations. We certainly need Viraga as also Virya to have sufficient energy to "fight our way to the supernal Truth" out of the mire of falsehoods and delusions. The fight against delusion has to continue throughout every aspect of life. The reason for living and the inner motive behind everything must be to live to benefit others. That is the central position to be maintained. When that is the motive for living, all our vices will fade away, except perhaps one—pride. "A sense of pride would mar the work." To avoid this, we have to make ourselves one with Nature's Soul-Thought. Any lurking idea of separateness will disturb the balance of Nature. Today we are only conscious of our separateness from others. The very idea of our identity with others makes us feel lost. But in reality we are lost only when we are separate, for separateness implies that our puny self is pitted against great nature's forces. To go outward and draw all into ourselves, to feel at one with Nature in all her forms, is to lose our sense of "I" while becoming the greater "I" of the Universe. We must open our doors of self to let in all creatures, even the ill and the wicked. We need strength to help the wicked if we would not fall prey to them, at the same time struggling to recognize their brotherhood with us.