What is Will Power? How to Gain it?
Surrender to the Higher Power and It will take over your activities and results

What is Will-Power? How to gain it?

The term Will-Power is very intriguing, but can also be confusing or baffling. The term Will-Power usually seems to be understood or referred to in two ways.

In the First Way, the manner in which the term Will-Power is used, is outgoing, worldly and materialistic. It can be considered as acting according to what the Ego dictates. It occurs in the manner of, “I want to develop Will-Power so that I can get what I want, or achieve what I desire or I want to control the world and people” and so on. 

In the Second Way, the manner in which the term Will-Power is used, is inward oriented, spiritual, and controlling one’s mind. It can be considered as denying the Ego’s dictatorship and knowing the True Nature of OneSelf. It is of the manner, “I want to develop Will-Power so that I can control my wandering mind, restrain my desires, and gain the mental strength to turn inward and realize the Real Self.”

I will now offer a few conversations that Devotees had with Ramana Maharshi, which shed immense light on this very important topic, “Will-Power”. These teachings by Ramana, educate us about Will-Power, and they also remove wrong ideas that we may have about Will-Power.

Here are the conversations.

Talk 423. A conversation.

A young devotee asked: I try to cultivate will-power but do not succeed. How should I do it?

Maharishi did not answer. He was silent.

D.: I came here three years ago and Sri Bhagavan said that will-power is necessary for strength of mind. Since then I have been desiring to cultivate it but without success.

Maharishi still did not answer.

D.: During these years I have had 4 or 5 reverses. They upset me considerably. There is always the fear of failure haunting my attempts. This results in want of faith in myself which certainly foredooms my efforts to failure. Nothing in fact succeeds like success; and also nothing foils one’s attempts or prevents from succeeding like failure. Hence my question.

Maharishi still did not answer.

D.: Is not will-power necessary for success? It should ensure success and also rule out failure.

Maharishi still did not answer.

D.: I try to gain will-power. After these years I find myself only where I began. There is no progress.

Maharishi still did not answer.

D.: What are the means for gaining will-power?

Then Maharishi spoke as follows.

M.: Your idea of will-power is success insured. Will-power should be understood to be the strength of mind which makes it capable for meeting success or failure with equanimity, composure, evenness of temper. It is not synonymous with certain success. Why should one’s attempts be always attended with success? Success develops arrogance and the man’s spiritual progress is thus arrested. Failure on the other hand is beneficial, inasmuch as it opens the eyes of the man to his limitations and prepares him to surrender himself to the Higher Power.

Self-surrender is synonymous with eternal happiness. Therefore, one should try to gain the equipoise of mind under all circumstances. That is will-power. Again, success and failure are the results of Prarabdha, Destiny, and not of will-power. A man may be doing only good and noble actions and yet prove a failure. Another may do otherwise, and yet be uniformly successful.  This does not mean that the will-power is not present in the one and that it is present in the other.

D.: Is it not said in the book Ulladu Narpadu, i.e., Truth Revealed or Reality in Forty Verses, that the world is a product of the mind?

M.: Yes.

D.: Does it not follow that the mind that has grown strong brings the world under control?

M.: The mind in its external activities gives rise to the world. Such activities fritter away the strength of the mind. Its strength lies in being confined to itself with the external activities arrested.

D.: There is an idiot who cannot count up to ten. His mind does not certainly wander as does that of a thinker. Is the former idiot a better man than the latter thinker?

M.: Who says that he is an idiot? Your mind in its wandering says so.

D.: Is will-power gained by divesting oneself of thoughts?

M.: Rather, it is gained by confining oneself to a single thought. Ultimately this thought will also disappear, leaving Pure Consciousness behind. Concentration helps one to gain it.

D.: So then, it is gained by directing the mind and concentrating it. The personality has nothing to do with it.

M.: Personality is the root-cause of external activities. It must sink for gaining the highest good.

Another conversation :

In the course of a conversation, Maharshi said :

Will-power or any other, is gained by Practice (Abhyasa).

D.: Is success not dependent on Guru’s Grace?

M.: Yes, it is. Is not your practice itself due to such Grace? The fruits are the result of the practice and follow it automatically. There is a stanza in Kaivalya Upanishad which says, “O Guru! You have been always with me watching me through several reincarnations, and ordaining my course until I was liberated.” Maharishi continued. “The Self manifests externally as Guru when occasion arises; otherwise He is always within, doing the needful.”

Talk 453. Another Conversation.

A lady asked Maharshi about someone’s action being right or wrong. Maharshi pointed out that to see wrong in another is one’s own wrong. He said that one’s own sin is reflected outside and the individual in ignorance superimposes it on another.

He further said : Besides, however much you might advise them, your hearers may not rectify themselves. Be in the right yourself and remain silent. Your silence will have more effect than your words or deeds. That is the development of Will-Power. Then the world becomes the Kingdom of Heaven, which is within you.

Talk 350. Another Conversation.

People think that the Guru teaches the disciple something like “TATVAMASI” and that the disciple realises “I am Brahman”. In their ignorance they conceive of Brahman as something more huge and powerful than anything else. With a limited ‘I’ the man is so stuck up and wild. What will be the case if the same ‘I’ grows up enormous? He will be enormously ignorant and foolish! This false ‘I’ must perish. Its annihilation is the fruit of Guru seva. Realisation is eternal and it is not newly brought about by the Guru. He helps in the removal of ignorance. That is all.

Talk 469. Another Conversation.

M.: Can anyone say that he is not already realized or that he is apart from the Self? No. Evidently all are realized.

What makes a man unhappy is the desire to exercise extraordinary powers. He knows that he cannot do so. Therefore he wants God to appear before him, confer all His powers on the devotee, and keep Himself in the background. In short, God should abdicate His powers in favour of the man.

D.: It is all right for Mahatmas, Great Ones like Sri Bhagavan to speak out so plainly. Because the Truth does not swerve from you, you consider it easy for all others. Nevertheless, the common folk have a real difficulty.

M.: Then does anyone say that he is not the Self?
D.: I meant to say that no one else has the courage to put things straight like Maharshi.
M.: Where is the courage in saying things as they are?

Talk 534. Another Conversation.

Sri Bhagavan often used to say, “Mowna, Inner Silence, is the utmost eloquence. Peace is utmost activity. How? Because in such a state, the person remains in his essential nature and so he permeates all the recesses of the Self. Thus he can call up any Power into play, whenever or wherever it is necessary. That is the highest Siddhi, Accomplishment.”

Here, I conclude the conversations that Maharshi had with Devotees about Will-Power.

Surrender to the Higher Power and It will take over your activities and results

What is Will-Power? How to gain it?

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