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Mind - its Features, Nature and Conquest

by Swami Sivananda

I. PHILOSOPHY OF THE MIND

Mind is made up of subtle matter. It is through mind that God manifests as the universe. Mind is a subtle force. Prana vibrates on mind and mind generates thoughts. Mind is a bundle of impressions, thoughts, Vasanas (desires) and cravings. The seed of mind is egoism.

Mind can do five functions of the five senses of perception or knowledge (Jnana Indriyas). There are three Gunas or qualities, viz., Sattva, Rajas and Tamas in the mind. Lust, anger, greed, jealousy, pride, delusion, egoism, likes and dislikes are waves in the mind. The ever-restless mind becomes quiescent when all desires perish. The mind is purified by the practice of selfless service, Japa, Tapas, right conduct or practice of Yama (self-restraint) and meditation. The mind filled with Sattva is Suddha Manas or pure mind. The mind filled with Rajas and Tamas is Asuddha Manas or impure mind. Relaxation of mind, Japa, prayer, meditation, cheerfulness, Sattvic food, study of religious books, are necessary for keeping up mental health.

The mind assumes the form of any object it intensely thinks of. If it thinks of an apple, it assumes the form of an apple. If it thinks of the form of Lord Jesus, it assumes the form of Lord Jesus. As you think, so you become. This is an immutable psychological law.

In waking state mind has its abode in the brain. In dream state it has its abode in the throat. In deep sleep it rests in the heart.

Prana is the connecting link between body and mind. If you control Prana or sex-energy, you can control the mind. If you can control the mind, you can control Prana also. Through control of breath you can control the mind. Cosmic mind is the universal mind of the Lord. It is superconscious mind. Conscious mind operates through the brain in the waking state. Subconscious mind is Chitta. All impressions are imbedded in the subconscious mind. Practice of Pranayama helps to attain mental equipoise. It can hear and see at the same time.

Mind is the dividing wall between soul and body. Mind is the commander-in-chief. The senses are the soldiers. Egoism, greed, jealousy, vanity, etc., are the attendants of the mind. Man says, - My mind was elsewhere; I did not see. My mind was elsewhere; I did not hear. Man sees with his mind and hears with his mind. Steadying or fixing the mind in one point is called Abhyasa.

II. CONQUEST OF THE LOWER BY THE HIGHER

You can control the mind through Abhyasa or practice and Vairagya. You can be established in Samadhi or superconscious state only by long practice, with zeal and faith. Without dispassion or non-attachment or indifference to sensual enjoyments no spiritual progress is possible. Annihilate the impure mind or the lower mind with the help of the pure or the higher mind and transcend the higher mind also.

The senses cannot do anything without the cooperation of the mind.

Do not try to drive away impure thoughts. The more you try, the more they will return. Fill the mind with divine thoughts. The impure thoughts will gradually vanish by themselves. Do not try to control the mind through violent methods. You will miserably and hopelessly fall. Use the approved and intelligent methods. You can control the mind easily.

III. MIND AS THE BASIS OF THE WORLD-PROCESS

The mind is at the root of Samsara or world-process. Desire is the fuel. Thought is the fire. Withdraw the fuel of desire, the fire of thought will be extinguished. Mind is like an ocean; thoughts are the waves. Mind is the organ of sensation and thoughts. Mind thinks, intellect determines, egoism self-arrogates, subconscious mind memories. When the mind is Sattvic, calm and pure, you will get glimpses or flashes of intuition.

Mind and Prana are interdependent. Prana is the overcoat of the mind. Wherever there is Prana, there is mind; wherever there is mind, there is Prana.

Waking state, dream state and deep sleep state are the three states of the mind.

Mental actions are the real actions. Thought is the real action.

A Rajasic mind wants variety and new sensations. It gets disgusted with monotony. Change of work is change for the mind.

Mind is a gatekeeper. It allows only one thought at a time to enter the mental factory or the mental palace.


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