True Victory

True Victory

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.

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  1. Jesper

    Hi David

    According to your understanding, does the world change when we change internally or do we simply become better at managing and flowing with life, which then changes the world? Or both?

    1. Hi Jesper
      Both. In some ways it’s about getting out of the way and allowing life to flower as it is. But also in there is learning to work with nature more directly.

      Further, the deeper we settle, the more powerful the attention and the more universal we’re working from.

      I’ve been surprised by some of it. For example, when the core of some dynamics is resolved, it is resolved throughout its history. This effectively changes the past too.

      1. Jesper

        So to take a current situation: if my neighbours listen to very loud mmusic, and I let go of the anger arising in me, can that by itself cause them to lower the volume of the music? Or would I just be able to ask them more calmly to lower the volume?

        1. Hi Jesper
          Superficially, yes. At first it is just about cooling things down so better results might be met.

          But more deeply, why has that arisen in your experience? As the noisy neighbors are an aspect of yourself, what has caused them to arise there and behave this way? Of course, trying to answer that question with the mind is pointless. Hoʻoponopono explores this, for example.

          And the quote above is about ending the internal enmity that leads to external experiences.

          You can experience this quite directly by having someone approach you in anger. If you put up a barrier, you amplify the energy and conflict. If you are transparent, the energy flows through and dissipates.

          I know of many cases like this. Like friends whose long-standing family conflicts vanished when they let go of their part in the drama.

          Some of this stuff can be deep and many-layered. But the effort is very rewarding.

          1. Jesper

            Hi David

            Thanks. The reason I ask is that I’ve noticed that when anger arises, it tries to convince me that I have to do something otherwise this and that will happen. It is like a must. But if I understand that I myself might be creating the situtation, then it becomes easier to simply let go of it all.

            I’ve had similar experiences to the ones you mention, but there is still a voice doubting and saying that it was just a coincidence.

          2. Right. It makes conscious where we’re attached.

            Also, part of the dynamic is the mind making stories so it feels in control. So there is anger, then a story about the anger, and a feeling of needing to do something. Letting go of that means admitting you’re not in control of everything.

            That need to cover all the gaps leads to all kinds of difficult circumstances that are actually pretty pointless.

            Of course, sometimes it is necessary to act. But driven my sense rather than reaction.

            You’ll find the dynamic is more difficult in some areas of life and easier in others. That gives us a sense of where we have work to do. 🙂

    1. Hi Tim
      Good question.

      I’ve not run into that either. The emphasis may have been due to the translation.

      For example, Shadbhava is an Ayurvedic reference to the 6 houses of birth influence. That might be described as a hexagram of influence.

      I don’t think this is meant to mean a literal hexagram but rather the 6 things that give us trouble and get in the way of the “unbiased” state that arises in Self Realization. I’m also dubious about the source of “imagination”.

      This is why I prefer having the source so I can review such details. Although in this case, it’s probably in Hindi. Spoken in the late 40’s or early 50’s and written from a wire recording.

      Various traditions talk of similar things, like Yoga.
      “The causes of suffering are ignorance, individuality, attachment, aversion, and clinging to life. Ignorance is the source of the others, whether they are dormant, weak, suspended or active.”

  2. Uli

    Pondering about the patriarchal bias in some spiritualities: “a path of power or domination, its underlying metaphor is war.
    …a path of heart, its underlying metaphors are to explore and to blossom.”

    1. Yes, there has been a history of patriarchy in many traditional religions. Ironically, some consider this “traditional” when there is evidence, for example, that Vedic pandits where once women.

      On the other hand, Swami Brahmananda Sarawati became Shankaracharya of the North in the early 1940s during the WWII. It was also a time of great unrest against the British “Raj” that occupied India. Both ended during his short time in the role.

      We’re now in a time of the revival of enlightenment as a lived reality and that is also reviving the divine feminine in the world. But thats about restoring balance.

  3. Suz

    When you think about it, all of those six inner enemies are based on fear. Fear of not enough, fear of loss, fear of being taken advantage of and not having enough resources to deal with it. Mainly — fear of not enough.

    1. Hi Suz
      Yes, that’s one way to see it. Or fear of not being enough. And that core fear arises because of our loss of connection with source/ the divine.

      A few comments ago, I quoted Yoga which frames it as ignorance of our true nature.

      Curiously, all this is just perceptual. When we perceive enough, know who we are, etc then the fears vanish and with them these effects.

    1. Right, Jesper
      Key is shifting out of a me that is defending its story. And/or resolving the inner conflicts.

      Then we step out of reactivity. But this does not prevent us from being firm when required.

      Recognizing who we are beneath all the stories can be profoundly empowering.

  4. K

    Hi – the concept of concept of arishadvargas ( are well-known but what I had not considered is that they are linked in a hexagon. Though I vaguely remember that in the Gita there is talk about how lust leads to obssession which leads to anger which leads to destruction of intelligence etc. Buddhist thought and especially tantric Buddhism looks at these differently. The anger etc. are not meant to be rooted out. But actually it has a positive aspect. With anger there is usually clarity of thought and expression (of expression at least :-)). I think in Tantric Buddhism people are taught to channel or control anger – I may be wrong – so please correct. My feeling is that these negative impulses are not bad – one has to just accept them as part of the human condition. For e.g., if one gets jealous it is useful to hold it and examine it. A while ago someone told me about a fun trip with their kids. I normally don’t get jealous 🙂 but was startled to feel the movement of some emotion which was possibly related to jealousy or a sense of begrudging. I stayed with it just out of sheer surprise – a little while later I experientially understood that “Jealousy is felt because of the false belief that all good things should happen to oneself, i.e. not others”. The key is the false belief. Because if one were asked – should you get all the good things ? – one can see how silly that is. With that understanding that I had a false belief my begrudging sensation has vanished and I don’t feel that jealous or begrudging anymore. I think the negative urges are gateways to understanding. I am not sure about the positive urges though 🙂

    1. Hi K
      I’m not sure if the hexagram reference is a literal thing or if that’s a translation artifact.

      From the devatta level, everything is interrelated. And after the vibratory level, those relationships are manifest as subtle geometry. (what some call sacred) But I wouldn’t read too much into this as a literal hexagon. That may lead to confusion similar to the idea that the 8 limbs of yoga are a ladder – ie a sequence rather than limbs, like legs on a table. Related, yes.

      It’s one way of looking at the ties that bind.

      The wiki article itself is a little extreme. Kama means desire which includes lust. Desire itself isn’t “evil” – it’s necessary for acting. The problem is when were bound by unresolved desires, we experience suffering.

      Similar to anger – that has value when appropriate. But when unresolved it builds up and binds us.

      I would also not frame it as having power over ones destiny with Self Realization. Thats an ego perceptive. It’s more like the Yoga sutra – when non-theft (attachment to others possessions) ends, all jewels (wealth) rise up.

      So yes, I fully agree that acceptance of all aspects of who we are and what we have to work with is key. As Yoga puts it, grasping after pleasure and resistance to pain lead to suffering. Gratitude for what you have leads to more and better ability to make use of it.

      Positive is the same. Grasping after pleasure is binding while allowing it to come and go is liberating. And then we go deep enough that we don’t to look for that outside of ourselves.

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