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Mind and Its Mysteries

by Swami Sivananda

Just as a busy officer works alone in a room by closing all the doors, so also the busy mind works alone in a dream by shutting out all the doors of the senses.

Mind is a power born of the soul. It is through mind that the Lord manifests Himself as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects.

Mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. Of all thoughts the thought 'I' is the root. Therefore, mind is only the thought "I".

Mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras or impressions. It is nothing but a bundle of habits. It is nothing but a collection of desires arising from contact with different objects. It is also a collection of feelings aroused by worldly botherations. It is a collection of ideas gathered from different objects. Now these desires, ideas and feelings constantly change. Some of the old desires are constantly departing from their storehouse of the mind, and new ones are replacing them.

In the waking state, the seat of the mind is the brain; in the dreaming state the seat of the mind is the cerebellum; in the deep sleep state it rests in the heart.

Mind always attaches itself to something objective. It cannot stand by itself. It is only this mind that asserts itself as 'I' in this body.

The things that we perceive all round us are only mind in form of substance. manomatram-jagat manah-kalpitam jagat. Mind creates. Mind destroys.

The occult phenomena that take place in the mental world are all based on scientific laws. Occultists and Raja Yogins should have a comprehensive intelligent understanding of these laws. Then only will they be able to control the psychic forces easily.

Practice of telepathy, thought-reading, hypnotism, mesmerism, distant healing, psychic healing, etc., clearly proves that mind exists and that a higher developed mind can influence and subjugate the lower minds. From the automatic writing and the experiences of a hypnotised person, we can clearly infer the existence of subconscious mind which operates throughout the twenty-four hours.

If an idea is planted in the mind, it grows at night through the operation of the subconscious mind. The subconscious mind never takes any rest. It works vigorously throughout the twenty-four hours. Those who know how to manipulate this subconscious mind can turn out tremendous mental work. All geniuses have control over their subconscious mind. You must understand the ways of extracting work from the subconscious mind. Subconscious mind is a wonderful underground mental factory.

Mind is the greatest force on this earth. He who has controlled his mind is full of powers. He can bring all minds under his influence. All diseases can be cured by psychic healing. One is struck with awe and wonder at the marvellous and mysterious powers of the mind of a man. The source or home or support of this mysterious mind is God or Atman.

Any action that is done by the physical body is the outcome of a preconceived idea. The mind thinks, plans and schemes at first. Then the action manifests itself. He who invented a watch at first had all ideas in his mind about the construction of the lever, various wheels, dial, minute-hand, second-hand, hour-hand, etc. These ideas materialised later on into actuality.

A spark of light presents the appearance of a continuous circle of light if it is made to rotate quickly. Even so, though the mind can attend but to one thing at a time, either hearing or smelling, though it can admit of but one kind of sensation at a time, we are led to believe that it does several actions at a time, because it moves from one object to another with tremendous velocity, so rapidly that its successive attention and preception appear as a simultaneous activity.

The best philosophers and seers (Rishis and sages) are unanimously agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but it only appears to be doing so when it is shifting with prodigious rapidity backward and forward from one end to the other.

Change of thought, relaxation of mind by dwelling on thoughts of pleasant objects, cheerfulness, Sattvic food, mental recreation of Sattvic nature are necessary for mental health.

The mind assumes the shape of any object it intently thinks of. If it thinks of an orange it assumes the shape of an orange. If it thinks of Lord Jesus on the Cross it assumes the shape of Lord Jesus on the Cross. You must train the mind properly and give it proper pure food for assimilation. Have a Divine background of thought or mental image.

If all the thoughts are eliminated, then there remains nothing which can be called mind. So thoughts are the mind. Again there is no such thing as world, independent of and apart from thoughts. Two thoughts, however, closely related to one another, cannot exist at the same time.

The mind becomes that on which it dwells. This is an immutable psychological law. If you begin to think about the Dosha or defects of a man, for the time being at least your mind dwells on the bad qualities and becomes charged with these qualities, whether the man possesses these bad qualities or not. This may be your vain imagination only through your wrong thinking, wrong Samskaras or wrong (bad) habits of the mind. He may not possess even a bit of the bad qualities which you have superimposed on him through ill-will or some form of jealousy or petty-mindedness or habitual Dosha-Drishti or fault-finding nature. Therefore, give up the dangerous habit of censuring others and finding fault in others. Praise others. Develop the power or vision of finding only good in others. Do not bark like a wild dog about the bad qualities of others. Glorify others. You will grow spiritually. You will be liked, honoured and respected by others.

Deep sleep (Sushupti) is not merely a state of inactivity or passive repose. It has deep philosophical significance. Vedantins study this state very deeply and carefully. It gives the clue for non-dual philosophers to trace, search and find out the hidden, silent witness.

Atman is ever awake, although all the minds are at rest. Mother of this world, Rajesvari, takes the Jivas back to Her and Her Lord during deep sleep, hugs them to Her bosom, bestows on them refreshing peace, new vigour, vitality and strength and makes them quite fit for the ensuing battle of life on the following day. But for this sleep, life would have been absolutely impossible in this physical plane when miseries, diseases, cares, worries, fears and anxieties of various kinds trouble men every second. If a man does not get sound sleep even for one night, if he loses his sleep one night for three hours by keeping watch over a sick patient or attending the cinema, how miserable, gloomy, depressed he feels the next day!

Mind is atomic according to the Indian school of logic. It is all-pervading according to Raja Yoga school of Patanjali Maharshi; it is of the middling size (same size as that of the body) according to the Vedantic school.

Mind is material. Mind is made up of subtle matter. This discrimination is made on the principle that the soul is the only source of intelligence: it is self-evident; it shines by its own light. Mind is formed out of the subtlest portion of the food.

Mind can be compared to water. Water exists in four states, viz., causal state, in the form of hydrogen and oxygen; subtle state, in the form of water; gross state, in the form of ice: and gaseous state, in the form of vaporised steam. Even so the mind is in a gross state during Jagrat state when it enjoys sensual objects, is in a subtle state when it functions in the dream state, is in a causal state when it gets involved into its cause, Mula-Avidya, during deep sleep and it evaporates as gas when it melts or dissolves in Brahman during Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

Just as the physical body is composed of solid, liquid and gaseous matter, so also the mind is made up of subtle matter of various grades of density with different rates of vibration. A Raja Yogi penetrates through the different layers of the mind by intense practice.

Just as you nourish the physical body with food, so also will you have to give food for the mind and spiritual food for the soul.

When your business fails, or when you are in heavy grief by the death of your only son, you get emaciation of body even though you eat nourishing, substantial food. You feel tremendous internal weakness. This clearly proves that mind exists and cheerfulness is a good mental food.

When a lady is deeply engaged in the management of the affairs of her daughter's marriage, she forgets to take her food. She is always happy. Her heart is full of joy. The joy and cheerfulness are powerful tonics for her mind. She gets inner mental strength although she does not take any food.


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