This article is from the book Meditation Know-How.
Worldly thoughts will trouble you a lot in the beginning of your meditation. If you are regular in meditation, these thoughts will gradually die by themselves. Meditation is a fire to burn these thoughts. Do not try to drive all the worldly thoughts. Entertain thoughts concerning the object of meditation.
Watch your mind always very carefully. Be vigilant. Be on the alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred and lust to arise in the mind. These dark waves are enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom. Suppress them at once by entertaining sublime and divine thoughts. Evil thoughts that have arisen may be destroyed by originating good thoughts and maintaining them, by repeating any Mantra or Name of the Lord, by thinking of any form of the Lord, by practice of Pranayama, by singing the Name of the Lord, by doing good actions, or by dwelling on the misery that arises from evil thoughts. When you attain the state of purity, no evil thoughts will arise in your mind. Just as it is easy to check the intruder or enemy at the gate, so also it is easy to overcome an evil thought as soon as it arises. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to strike deep root.
Just as you close your door or gate when a dog or an ass tries to come in, so also, close your mind before any evil thought can enter and produce an impression on your physical brain. You will become wise soon and attain eternal, infinite peace and bliss.
When you pass through the market of a big city, you will not be able to notice small sounds; but when you sit for common meditation with some of your friends in a quiet room in the morning, you will be able to detect even a little sneezing or coughing. Even so, you are not able to find out the evil thoughts when you are engaged in some work or the other, but you are able to detect them when you sit for meditation. Do not be afraid when evil thoughts pass through your mind when you sit for meditation. Do vigorous Japa and meditation. They will pass off soon.
An aspirant complains: “As I continue my meditation, layer after layer of impurities rise from the subconscious mind. Sometimes they are so strong and formidable that I am bewildered as to how to check them”.
If evil thoughts enter the mind, do not use your will force in driving them. It is difficult to destroy the evil thoughts by attacking them directly. You will only lose your energy. You will only tax your will. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. They will return more quickly also. The thoughts will become more powerful. Be indifferent. Keep quiet. They will pass off soon. Or substitute good counter-thoughts through the Pratipaksha Bhavana method. Or think of the picture of God and the Mantra again and again forcibly or pray.
In the beginning of your practice of thought control, you will experience great difficulty. All sorts of evil thoughts will arise in your mind as soon as you sit for meditation. Why does this happen during meditation when you attempt to entertain pure thoughts? Aspirants leave their spiritual practices of meditation on account of this. If you try to drive a monkey, it attempts to pounce upon you with vengeance. Even so, the old evil Samskaras and old evil thoughts try to attack you with a vengeance and with redoubled force only at the time when you try to raise good, divine thoughts. Your enemy endeavours to resist you vehemently when you try to eject him out of your house. There is a law of resistance in nature. The old evil thoughts assert and say: “O man, do not be cruel. You have allowed us to stay in your mental house from time immemorial. We have every right to stay here. We have helped you up to this time in all your evil actions. Why do you want to oust us from our dwelling place? We will not vacate our abode”. Do not be discouraged. Go on with your practice of meditation regularly. These evil thoughts will be thinned out. Eventually they will all perish.
Only when you sit for meditation, all sorts of evil thoughts will crop up. You will have to wage war with them. They will try their level best for their own existence. They will say, “We have every right to remain in this palace of mind. We have a sole monopoly from time immemorial to occupy this area. Why should we vacate our dominion now? We will fight for our birthright till the end”. They will pounce upon you with great ferocity. As you attempt to suppress them, they want to attack you with redoubled force and vigour. But positive always overcomes the negative. This is the law of nature. Just as darkness cannot stand before the sun, just as a leopard cannot stand before the lion, so also, all these dark, negative thoughts, these invisible intruders, enemies of peace, cannot stand before the sublime thoughts. They must die by themselves.
Negative evil thoughts cannot stand before positive good thoughts. Courage overcomes fear. Patience overcomes anger and irritability. Love overcomes hatred. Purity overcomes lust. The very fact that you feel uneasy now when an evil thought comes to the surface of the mind during meditation indicates that you are growing in spirituality. In those days you consciously harboured all sorts of evil thoughts. You welcomed and nourished them. Persist in your spiritual practices. Be tenacious and diligent. You are bound to succeed. Even a dull type of aspirant will notice a marvellous change in himself if he keeps up the practice of Japa and meditation for 2 or 3 years in a continuous stream. Now he cannot leave the practice. If he stops his practice of meditation even for a day, he will actually feel that he has lost something on that day. His mind will get quite uneasy.
Suppose the evil thoughts stay in your mind for twelve hours and recur every third day. If you can make them stay for ten hours and recur once in a week by daily practice of concentration and meditation, that is a decided improvement. If you continue your practice, the period of stay and recurrence will be gradually lessened. Eventually the evil thoughts will disappear altogether. Compare your present state of mind with that of last year or the year before last. You will be able to find out your progress. The progress will be very slow in the beginning. It will be difficult for you to gauge your growth and progress.
Your mind will sometimes shudder when evil thoughts enter your mind. This is a sign of your spiritual progress. You are growing spiritually. You will be much tormented when you think of your evil actions committed in the past. This also is a sign of your spiritual upheaval. You will not repeat now the same actions. Your mind will tremble. Your body will quiver whenever a wrong Samskara of some evil action urges you to do the same act through force of habit. Continue your meditation with full vigour and earnestness. All memories of evil actions, all evil thoughts, all evil promptings of Satan will die by themselves. You will be established in perfect purity and peace.