Ramana Maharshi discourse on Absence of Mental Strength
Question : What is the reason for the absence of mental strength?
Ramana Maharshi : The means that make one qualified for enquiry are meditation, yoga, etc. One should gain proficiency in these through graded practice, and thus secure a stream of mental modes that is natural and helpful.
When the mind that has become ripe in this manner, hears about this enquiry, it will at once realize its true nature which is the Self, and remain in perfect peace, without deviating from that state. To a mind which has not become ripe, immediate realization and peace are hard to gain through hearing about the enquiry.
Yet, if one practises the means for mind control for some time, peace of mind can be obtained eventually.
Question : Of the means for mind control, which is the most important?
Ramana Maharshi : Breath control is the means for mind control.
Question : How is breath to be controlled?
Ramana Maharshi : Breath can be controlled either by absolute retention of breath (kevala kumbhaka) or by regulation of breath (pranayama).