The man, who has control over his emotions, can go very far. The man who cannot fully control his emotions, but has limited capacity and controls his passions to some extent, is able to maintain the status quo. But the man, who is a slave to his passions, forces himself into a miserable plight and soon degenerates. Let us realize this truth that without exercising control over emotions, we cannot make any progress in life.
The Western world is a case in point. The contemplation of it offers a new insight. Despite tremendous intellectual development and the growth of a scientific outlook, despite wealth and manifold amenities, the situation in the West is extremely distressing on account of the licentiousness of the senses.
The question arises: How to exercise control over one's feelings? A man lives and is moved by feelings, sensations. In such a condition, it is not easy to exercise, control over them. To rise above sensual gratifications may be all right for hermits and monks, but for a student it is very difficult.
Today's child lives for sensual gratification from the very beginning. After school is over, the student immediately longs to go to the movies. On his return home he stands transfixed by the TV. He listens to the cricket-commentary or the film songs. The whole of his day is spent in seeking sensual gratification. Gradually, it becomes his second nature. He is totally unmindful of the consequences; knows nothing about the fruition of karman. The fruit of 'kimpak' is very attractive, its shape and color most alluring. But the partaking of it results in death. Certain actions are very gratifying in the beginning, but their consequences are bitter. Others taste bitter at first, but their consummation is sweet. In Indian philosophy only those actions are recognized to be good which yield beneficial results.
The result of sensual gratification is never good. A child does not know this fact. It therefore devolves upon his parents and teachers to strive to make him realize how very necessary control over the senses is for progress in life. A child is dependent upon others. It is very important for him to imbibe the value of self-discipline. One method of controlling emotions is to cultivate an awareness of consequences. It is necessary to imbue the child with such an awareness, to make him understand what might be the consequences of a particular action.
The second method of exercising control over feeling is - control of breath. It is the technique of deep breathing. Breath-control means - complete and deep inhalation. This is very necessary for a student because his brain needs plenty of oxygen. Education is linked with the brain. The amount of oxygen required by the brain is three times the quantity required for the rest of the body. This need is fulfilled through deep breathing. Through deep breathing, the brain becomes very active. It develops at a faster rate; its capacity increases. If oxygen is not available in sufficient quantity, the brain will not be able to function properly. The student will then be overpowered by sloth and negligence; he will lose interest in studies. He will not be able to concentrate and this will give rise to a lot of confusion and disorder, His receptivity will be adversely affected.
Therefore, the exercise of deep breathing is very beneficial for the student. Deep breathing also should be rhythmical. Rhythmical breath has been expounded in two ways:
1. The time taken for inhalation should be equal to that taken for exhalation. The same sequence is repeated each time
2. The time taken for exhalation should be more than that consumed in inhalation. If inhalation consumes eight units of time, exhalation should last for one and a half times more, i.e., 12 units, so that the carbon dioxide is wholly expelled. When the carbon dioxide is completely exhaled, there is no restlessness or yawning.
Thus rhythmical breathing will be uniform, whichever method is adopted - whether time taken for inhalation is equal to that taken for exhalation or the time for exhalation is more than that taken for inhalation. It is also necessary to know how it is beneficial.
When a child reaches the age of 13-14 years, his sexual complexes start developing while his thymus and pineal glands become inactivated. As a result of the inertness of the thymus gland, his powers of tolerance, alertness, joy, etc. are adversely affected. The passivity of the pineal gland results in a lessening of the adolescent’s power of control, and he falls a victim to many evils. This is the scientific point-of-view. From the viewpoint of yoga, the centre of the sexual instinct is the space between the navel and the anus, the genital region. As long as the vital energy controls the anus, all instincts stand tranquillized. With the lessening of that control, the lower instincts become operative.
A comparative view reveals that the conclusion of science as well as that of yoga is one and the same. Through deep breathing, control is established over the anus. If the student is taught to practice it well, he will not be caught in bad habits from the very beginning, and will thus avoid many a pitfall.
Many people tell me that they are too much afflicted by evil thoughts and they want to know if there is a way to forestall them.
Here is a very simple way to do it. Practice deep breathing for ten minutes. Take only two breaths per minute. Your problem will be solved. Not only a student but anybody may benefit from this exercise. Whenever one is assailed by evil thoughts, low instincts, and passions, the practice of deep breathing would help forestall them. Deep breathing is evil-resistant.
Deep breathing is also very necessary for regulating emotion. You must not think that control of feeling would create difficulties in your household. You need entertain no worry on that account; no obstacle would arise. Rather you will be freed from many problems born of sensual unrestraint.
For control of feeling, you must focus your attention on the Centre of Vitality located on the tip of the nose. The nose is intimately connected with the passions. Both the ear and the nose are associated with defilements. One part of the brain - the animal brain - is responsible for the rise of beastly instincts in man. It is directly connected with the nose and other sense organs. The ancient masters experienced this truth and they talked about conquering the passions through meditation on the tip of the nose. In Lord Mahavira's meditative posture, both eyes are seen focused on the nose.
From whatever angle we consider it - whether for intellectual and emotional development, or for earning a living or for successful co-existence - we will have to exercise control over our feelings. There is a way to go about it; it is not as if there is no method. Without the method, without the right technique, one cannot succeed. He, who possesses the technique, reaches his goal in a short time. So, one must find a way, follow it and attain one's objective. The technique of achieving control over the passions is beneficial for all. If, from the very beginning, the student is acquainted with the technique and an awareness of the consequences of any action he contemplates, is developed in him, not only will it be good for his life as a student, but also it will improve the quality of his social life. Thus the student will become an important factor in the creation of a new social order. A new path and a new direction shall be opened unto him.