“One who panders to his senses can never hope to achieve spiritual progress. He who has a tight control over the senses alone can succeed.” – Shri Sai Samartha Satcharita, Ch. 24, Ovi 43.
Frederick the Great of Prussia was walking along a road on the outskirts of Berlin.
One day when, accidentally, he brushed against a very old man. “Who are you?” Frederick asked out of idle curiosity as the two came to a halt.
“I am a king,” the old man answered.
“A king?” echoed Frederick. “Over what principality do you reign?”
“Over myself,” was the proud reply. “I rule myself because I control myself. I am my own subject to command.”
All of us can be kings, in the sense of the old man’s words. But how many of us actually are? Instead of being in command, often we let ourselves be ruled over by the tyrant of temper or laziness or passion. We cannot hope to influence others if we are, as the common expression puts it, “not ourselves.” And we can only be ourselves by controlling ourselves.
Difficult to conquer oneself. But when that is conquered, everything is conquered.