Recently, a friend sent me a quote from Swami Brahmananda Sarawati, a famous Shankaracharya from the Shankara lineage. He was the teacher of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and some other well-known teachers.
I was not able to determine the source of this quote or who translated it but I have seen reliable sources who quoted him saying somewhat similar things. I thought it insightful enough to share in any case.
“Real victory is that, after which there can never be a reverse. Nobody can call himself a victor forever merely by crushing an external foe, because such foes can spring up again. A real victory is achieved by bringing under control the internal foes. A check over the internal enemies is therefore the only way of conquering the external enemies forever, because we should bear in mind that it is our own internal enemies which create the external enemies.
These inner enemies are ambition, anger, greed, false attachment, vanity and jealousy. It is this hexagon sitting inside us which makes a cat’s paw of anything in the outer world in order to create enemies for us. Therefore if anybody wants to enjoy peace and happiness through victory over all enemies, then he should raid the very source of all physical enemies – the subtle hexagon living in us. Destruction of enemies by root is not possible without breaking up this hexagon. This is axiomatic.
It is a fact established by practical experience that anyone who has conquered these subtle inner enemies, has broken up the central source of all external enemies. Therefore, all enemies are nipped in the bud. Then he has no enemies left to be defeated. It is only such a victor who can be called a real victor. Then the gates of true and lasting peace and happiness are opened for him.
For a nation which desires to be completely free from enemies and to build a world of peace and happiness, it is necessary to have such men at the helm of its affairs who have conquered their inner hexagon. Otherwise they would destroy themselves along with many others. The history of the last several centuries shows that the rulers of powerful nations have given a bloodbath to the world under the influence of their hexagon. This is brutish. Those who carry the burden of guiding a nation should particularly act with insight. It is no greatness or humanism to be carried away by one’s hexagon and spread a wave of suffering over the earth.
After all, how long can we go on destroying the external enemies? As soon as we get rid of one, another one is ready to engage us. In this way we not only remain ourselves perpetually disturbed, but we also keep a cold war going on which threatens the peace and happiness of the whole of mankind all the time. This is certainly neither a sign of any victory nor of the suppression of any enemies. Hence it is most essential that people who rule nations should be those who have conquered their inner hexagon. It is these really victorious leaders who can successfully guide the societies, the nations and the world on to the path of lasting peace and happiness.
It is not too difficult to win over the hexagon. But people take it to be impossible without giving thought. Most of them hold the belief that only a perfect saint who has renounced all worldly concerns can break up the inner hexagon. This belief is based on complete ignorance. A renouncer renounces the very cause of the hexagon, so in his case the question of conquering the hexagon does not arise at all. A victor over the hexagon is one who maintains his worldly attitudes but does not allow himself to be subordinated by them. Let the enemy have an occasion to strike, but let him find that he cannot do so because he finds you too strong for it. Only then can he be treated as defeated. Mere engagement in bona fide worldly activities is no hindrance in keeping the inner hexagon in a state of subjugation.
For liquidisation of the subtle cell of inner enemies, it is not necessary to make warlike preparations over a number of years and then start a slaughter which keeps the world hanging between life and death. The only thing necessary for this is to become unbiased and to act with imagination.“