There are three types of power: Iccha Shakti, Jnana Shakti, and Kriya Shakti. Iccha Shakti is thought power, Jnana Shakti is will power, and Kriya Shakti is action power. Everything originates in thought power. When thought power is intensified and made pure it becomes will power and when will power becomes stronger and purer you will have action power in your physical body. You all had a desire to come for a Yoga Vacation, a Teachers’ Training Course or an Advanced Teachers’ Training Course. That is thought power, but that thought power is not sufficient. Many people want to do what you are doing but they don’t have the will power. Will power will not come by merely thinking. How do you increase your will power? Will power comes by practice. It comes by performing action. Practice is the only way that you will get will power. We have lost our power due to our wrong living, wrong conditions, wrong thinking. We have to relearn everything, just like a man who is paralysed goes to physiotherapy and relearns how to use his limbs again. In the same way, our will power is paralysed. Only when you have will power can you do anything you want. Nothing can stand before you. The only thing that stands in your way is lack of will. That is all. All the great achievements by any human being on this planet are done through the power of will, either good or bad. The people who climbed Mount Everest, how many times did they fail? How many lost their lives? But still they did not stop; they went on until they reached the top. That is called will power, but that will power did not come by merely wanting it. It came through action, suffering and pain. You must understand that you can gain nothing without intense effort, without pain. That’s the law: no pain, no gain. You will see one day that your pain will be converted into sweet fragrance, but you won’t see it now, today, when you are suffering. “The purpose of all this physical discipline through action – the asanas and pranayama – is to increase your inner will power. ” I went as an eighteen year old boy to Master’s Ashram. I lived in the Himalayan caves. I lived in the tiger-infested forest. I lived alone. I did intense sadhana for years and years. Four times a day I did my sadhana, morning, mid-day, evening and midnight. I hardly slept – only two or three hours. The will power created during that intense sadhana created all these Ashrams. The strength I gained through my will power and discipline is the cause of the materialisation of the Yoga Camp. So whatever you are doing, the pranayama, the asanas, getting up in the morning, it actually adds to your will power, your shakti. Don’t think that what you are doing now is just a temporary thing. All of this has a cumulative effect. The purpose of all this physical discipline through action, the asanas and pranayama, is to increase your inner will power. It will make it pure. At that time thought becomes very powerful. Anything that you think will materialise. That is the law. Nothing happens in this universe without your thought. But at present your thought is very vague. Like water flowing in a wide area it doesn’t have any power. Samadhi Estates, where my house is now, was a marshland, a complete swamp. Nobody could even walk there. I drained the marsh, made a small lake with an outlet, and created a waterfall and an island. It took planning. But without that planning that marshland would still be there and the mosquitoes would still be breeding. It is the same thing with your mind. Your mind contains the power, the energy, but it is just like a swamp. It has no force. A little water goes here, a little water there, a little stagnation. Mosquitoes start breeding. Somewhere some plants are growing, and some weeds. That can all be converted through positive action. That is what Yoga is all about. Asanas are not just physical exercises. Asanas belong to the system of Raja Yoga: yama, niyama, asana. It’s the third anga, the third limb. Asanas and pranayama are part of Raja Yoga. Patanjali did not elaborate on asanas and pranayama in the Raja Yoga Sutras except for ‘Sthira-sukham asanam’ – easy comfortable pose – and inhale, exhale. Why? Patanjali did not elaborate on them because in the ancient days in the Gurukula system they were practicing the yama, niyama, asanas, and pranayama in their daily life. Later on the energy level started to go down, people became tamasic, and their will power went. They were only thinking that they were Raja Yogis. They didn’t want to practice any physical exercises. They lost their will power. The asanas and pranayama got watered down and became empty rituals that were performed without understanding. In every religion you will find empty ritual because the action is no longer understood. Action without understanding will not bring will power. Blind faith will not bring will power. Mechanical action and blind faith are not the purpose of Yoga. We have both theory and practice: theory to understand the purpose behind it and then the practice with proper understanding and physical discipline. Then you become strong physically, mentally and spiritually. It’s called the holistic approach. So don’t learn anything blindly, just because Swami Vishnu says so. Grain contains a lot of stones: you can remove the stones without removing the grains, or you can remove the grains without removing the stones. Once you have taken the grains away from the stones you throw the stones away. In a similar way, there are many stones in your mind so you extract the good things by repeating your mantra. Another example is a field with weeds. A field contains many weeds so you just pull them out. This is the purpose of mantra, the purpose of pranayama, and it is also the purpose of asana. It is not just physical exercise; it increases your will power.
Desire, thought, will and action: these all go together. Only then will you have pure will power. Thought means inquiry, reasoning. That is also very important. Without reasoning you cannot think properly. Your thought becomes merely instinct, blind. A child also thinks, but his thought is instinct. When he is unhappy he will cry. He doesn’t know how to express his emotions, or how he feels. When he is happy he laughs. When you are happy you know there must be a reason for it. You know you are going to get married tomorrow and so you are happy today. The reason should be pure. The only purpose here is to find our freedom. We have lost our freedom. We have tremendous power and strength within, unbelievable shakti, but all is lost because from childhood onward we never learned how to discipline ourselves. In ancient days they taught that discipline. A child went into the Gurukula system and then married and became a householder. Before that he had all the strength and power to control himself. He could change his environment through thought alone. That is what he was practising. We have lost all these things. Many of you are starting later in life, some are starting earlier in life. It makes no difference because this is not the first time you have started. Just because you started late in your life that doesn’t mean that you did not have training in your previous life. If you didn’t have training in your previous life you would not be able to practise intensively because your will power would not be sufficient. Obstacles will dampen your will power. When you face these obstacles head on then the will power will come. When we retreat from these obstacles – ‘Oh, it’s too much; I don’t want this’ – it is finished. Obstacles will come, especially when you are on the spiritual path. The entire universe is going to stop you because you are going upstream and everything is going downstream. You are opposing these forces which are pushing you downstream. All these years, all these thousands of lifetimes, you are going downstream. Now you are pushing upstream. Upstream is not easy. Your hands are aching, your muscles are aching. Before, downstream, the water is pushing you along. You can go downstream like everybody else. Downstream is very easy, no will power is necessary. To climb up, even five feet upstream, tremendous energy is necessary. It’s the same on the spiritual path too. Training in Yoga is only a way to increase your strength to go upward, but the more you go upward the more the current will push you down. There will be so many obstacles. The higher you reach the more obstacles there will be. So don’t think that there will be less obstacles. They will increase. You will be bewildered. Before you started practising asanas, pranayama and japa your life was very easy and comfortable. Now everything becomes very horrible. You see peoples’ thoughts. We start to blame everybody when things are going wrong. You don’t understand that things are not going wrong when you are struggling harder. You are progressing. You just don’t understand: no pain no gain. That is the law of the universe. Everywhere there is pain if you want to gain something. But if you don’t want to gain anything then you can just move on downstream. What Yoga gives you is a method to go against the current according to your strength. We have to go upward. There should be no going backward. That is not going to be easy, but don’t stop. As the purification goes on you will feel the benefit. At an early age you can put tremendous effort into your sadhana. If you wait until your children have grown and you have a big bank balance you’ll never do it. Unless you have tremendous will power when you are younger you will never be able to sit for asanas, pranayama and meditation when you are older. Your mind will have been with your wife, your husband, your children, and your career for all these years. It cannot just run after God at a later date. So, increase your will power. There will be temporary setbacks and depression, but when there is depression just change a little bit: take a walk, take a swim, repeat some mantras or go to the Temple. Do an additional fifteen minutes of pranayama, meditation and japa. Do not neglect your practice. Take it seriously and practise with full understanding. Understand why you are doing all these things. Don’t practise mechanically just because Swami Vishnu says so. It is your life. You have to put in the effort and then you will increase your will power. Anything that you have done is not lost. You can use it, just like money that you have earned and put in the bank. If depression comes you can take a few deep breaths and then strength will come and you will become a strong, powerful person. Peace and joy will come and you will get your freedom. Om Shanti