Soap and water are needed to wash accumulated dirt off one’s clothes. So too, spiritual knowledge and penance are essential when one is anxious to remove dirt that is stuck to the mind. Only when both are done, can levels of consciousness be thoroughly cleansed. No vehicle can move without two wheels, nor can birds fly on one wing. So too, none can be purified or rendered holy without spiritual learning and spiritual austerity. Spiritual austerity (tapas) doesn’t mean positioning oneself upside down, head on ground & feet held up, like bats. Nor is it renunciation of possessions, properties, wife and children, or holding nose to regulate breath. Physical actions, vocal assertions, and mental resolve — all three must be in unison. Thoughts, speech, and actions - all must be pure. This is real spiritual austerity. Moreover, these three must be coordinated not by compulsions of duty; but for the contentment of the Self. Spiritual Effort (Tapas) must be undertaken to satisfy one’s inner yearnings. This struggle is the essence of Tapas! (Vidya Vahini, Ch 12)
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