Real atonement involves coming to real knowledge, and for this there is a standard process. When one follows a regulated hygienic process, he does not fall sick. A human being is meant to be trained according to certain principles to revive his original knowledge. Such a methodical life is described as tapasya. One can be gradually elevated to the standard of real knowledge, or Kṛṣṇa consciousness, by practicing austerity and celibacy (brahmacarya), by controlling the mind, by controlling the senses, by giving up one's possessions in charity, by being avowedly truthful, by keeping clean and by practicing yoga-āsanas. However, if one is fortunate enough to get the association of a pure devotee, he can easily surpass all the practices for controlling the mind by the mystic yoga process simply by following the regulative principles of Kṛṣṇa consciousness—refraining from illicit sex, meat-eating, intoxication and gambling—and by engaging in the service of the Supreme Lord under the direction of the bona fide spiritual master. This easy process is being recommended by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī.
First one must control his speaking power. Every one of us has the power of speech; as soon as we get an opportunity we begin to speak. If we do not speak about Kṛṣṇa consciousness, we speak about all sorts of nonsense. A toad in a field speaks by croaking, and similarly everyone who has a tongue wants to speak, even if all he has to say is nonsense. The croaking of the toad, however, simply invites the snake: "Please come here and eat me." Nevertheless, although it is inviting death, the toad goes on croaking. The talking of materialistic men and impersonalist Māyāvādī philosophers may be compared to the croaking of frogs. They are always speaking nonsense and thus inviting death to catch them. Controlling speech, however, does not mean self-imposed silence (the external process of mauna), as Māyāvādī philosophers think. Silence may appear helpful for some time, but ultimately it proves a failure. The meaning of controlled speech conveyed by Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī advocates the positive process of kṛṣṇa-kathā, engaging the speaking process in glorifying the Supreme Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa. The tongue can thus glorify the name, form, qualities and pastimes of the Lord. The preacher of kṛṣṇa-kathā is always beyond the clutches of death. This is the significance of controlling the urge to speak.
The restlessness or fickleness of the mind (mano-vega) is controlled when one can fix his mind on the lotus feet of Kṛṣṇa. The Caitanya-caritāmṛta (CC Madhya 22.31) says:
- kṛṣṇa-sūrya-sama; māyā haya andhakāra
- yāhāṅ kṛṣṇa, tāhāṅ nāhi māyāra adhikāra
Kṛṣṇa is just like the sun, and māyā is just like darkness. If the sun is present, there is no question of darkness. Similarly, if Kṛṣṇa is present in the mind, there is no possibility of the mind's being agitated by māyā's influence. The yogic process of negating all material thoughts will not help. To try to create a vacuum in the mind is artificial. The vacuum will not remain. However, if one always thinks of Kṛṣṇa and how to serve Kṛṣṇa best, one's mind will naturally be controlled.
Similarly, anger can be controlled. We cannot stop anger altogether, but if we simply become angry with those who blaspheme the Lord or the devotees of the Lord, we control our anger in Kṛṣṇa consciousness. Lord Caitanya Mahāprabhu became angry with the miscreant brothers Jagāi and Mādhāi, who blasphemed and struck Nityānanda Prabhu. In His Śikṣāṣṭaka Lord Caitanya wrote, tṛṇād api sunīcena taror api sahiṣṇunā: "One should be humbler than the grass and more tolerant than the tree." One may then ask why the Lord exhibited His anger. The point is that one should be ready to tolerate all insults to one's own self, but when Kṛṣṇa or His pure devotee is blasphemed, a genuine devotee becomes angry and acts like fire against the offenders. Krodha, anger, cannot be stopped, but it can be applied rightly. It was in anger that Hanumān set fire to Laṅkā, but he is worshiped as the greatest devotee of Lord Rāmacandra. This means that he utilized his anger in the right way. Arjuna serves as another example. He was not willing to fight, but Kṛṣṇa incited his anger: "You must fight!" To fight without anger is not possible. Anger is controlled, however, when utilized in the service of the Lord.