How Can I Overcome Strong Bad Thoughts And Impulses?


These days I have bad thoughts about God. Someone inside me is shouting bad words about God. Sometimes bad sexual thoughts win over God. Please help me to overcome this, I don’t like it. Basically I’m a Brahmin, purely spiritual. I’m very much afraid about this sin, and afraid that God will punish me for it, even though I don’t like these thoughts. Whenever they arise I try to control them, but I can’t. Please help me. Sai Sai.

—Balaji, India


Dear Balaji,

God himself created maya, temptation, illusion, delusion. He has put us on this battleground of life, to gradually grow and learn. So He knows we are imperfect, He knows we will make mistakes, He knows we are “work in progress”. I am saying all of this to make it clear that God can’t and won’t expect perfection from us. He loves us always. God is pure bliss, and pure love. How can He punish us?

It is we ourselves who punish us. If we put our hand on a fire, it burns. If we eat wrong things we get sick. If we let wrong thoughts win we will suffer.

So yes, work hard on overcoming these bad thoughts, but never with the fear of God’s punishment.

How to overcome these negative thoughts? Watch your mind carefully and constantly. Whenever a bad thought about God enters your mind, immediately replace it, vigorously, with a positive thought about God.

Also, next time when a bad thought comes, identify it as being not yours, but coming from the universe (because thoughts are not really ours, they are universally rooted.) Command to to that thought: “GET OUT!” And then think your positive thought.

When sexual thoughts come up, immediately react: do something creative, even creative thinking, or creating (producing) something. If you have the possibility, move the body and transmute that sexual drive into physical energy. Practice Sri Yukteswar’s advice in the Autobiography of a Yogi: “Roam in the world as a lion of self-control; see that the frogs of weakness don’t kick you around.”

You say you can’t control these things. You can. A little at a time. The important thing is to go to battle, every day, even if you don’t win every single fight. Stay there. This is your inner Bhagavad Gita. You are fighting for your soul, and for God. It is the most noble battle. In the end you will win.

Whenever you don’t succeed, affirm: “I haven’t succeeded yet.” This implies, “But I will succeed.”

Think of your Guru, or if you don’t have one, of a great saint, and ask him/her for inner help in this battle.

And analyse yourself. Look at those parts in you which don’t really want to win the battle, which don’t want to overcome those sexual thoughts. Remember: they are not you. They are enemy warriors. Identify them and tell your inner good soldiers (Arjuna, Bhima, they all are within you): “Get to battle and overcome this bad warrior.”

Chant to God. Chanting is half the battle. And surround yourself with persons who have a positive and elevating influence on you. Avoid all those who nourish in you those bad thoughts.

In divine friendship, all the best in your fight for liberation,