Restraint is control over desires. Desires are innumerable but broadly they have been grouped into three categories :
Desire for offspring
Desire for money
Desire for fame.
It has been observed that even distinguished people such as great sages who have won over the desires of offspring and money fall prey to the desire for fame in the end. So it needs great care to steer our desires in the right direction.
The first point to be understood is that the mind is an inanimate object. Just as a car is inanimate and the driver can take it where he wants, similarly the mind is inanimate and we can steer it according to our will and can lead it to any desirable goal. We do not hesitate to say that the mind is very fickle and it does not keep still, but when we sit peacefully and contemplate on the issue minutely, we find that this fickleness of the mind can be brought under control because the thoughts arising in our mind are actually initiated by us. They don’t arise of their own. We and we alone make them arise. All that is required, therefore, is to steer it right. And steering it right needs restraint.
He who longs for true happiness follows the path of restraint. When we embark on a task, thoughts are born inside us and when we aptly plan handling, controlling and directing these thoughts, our system of working improves. Staying disciplined will then become easy for us.
As long as the river water remains confined within the limits of its banks, it is useful for mankind. People bathe on the shore. Morning-walkers stroll by its side. Dams harness the river’s water to produce electricity for factories and industries and to illuminate homes, cities and villages. Irrigation relies on river water which bestows greenery to fields and farms, and life to humanity. But when the same water overflows across the river banks, it forms the fury of floods. Dams are devastated, cities get submerged in water and a horrific scene presents itself all around, which later gives birth to epidemics.
The loss incurred to life and property is beyond imagination. This example brings us face-to-face with both the scenarios. Restraint gives life while indiscipline leads to destruction.
Restraint is vital for anyone desirous of happiness. The word ‘moderation’ gives the true essence of restraint. Restraining of desires is necessary but if the task becomes too arduous and they (desires) pop up over and over again, we have to intelligently orient them in the right direction, towards moderation : Moderate path is the best path.
For restraint or moderation continuous practice is required and then you will emerge victorious in the end and no desire will be able to deter you from righteousness. You will become your own master and will thus capture the essence of life, for now you won’t be blown around here and there with every gust of wind, like a helpless kite whose string has been cut.
By reigning over your senses you are able to control the overall behaviour. You become masters of your body and administrators of your senses. Your children also imbibe these sanskaars and in that way you yourself contribute in the creation of a healthy society devoid of uncouthness and terror. When you lead a life of restraint, a better society is born where every individual performs his respective duties to perfection. And perfection brings a sense of fulfillment.
TO REMEMBER AND DO :
1. Restraint establishes decorum.
2. Virtues and vices differ only in terms of their extremism. So moderation is restraint.
3. If you want to obtain the maximum possible enjoyment in life, live with restraint.
4. The path of discipline is the path of wellbeing.