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Mouna and Introspection

By Swami Sivananda

Mouna-its Practice And Benefits

Miscellaneous talking is a very bad habit. It distracts the mind. It keeps the mind always Bahirmukha (outgoing) and makes a man unspiritual. A vow of silence must be practised once a week. Much energy is wasted in talking.

The Vag-Indriya (organ of speech) seriously distracts the mind. "Speech is the fourth 'foot' of Mind-Brahman, because it is by means of the 'foot' of speech that the mind approaches the denotable objects such as cow, goat, etc. Therefore speech is like a foot of mind. In the same manner, nose is a 'foot', because it is through nose that the mind approaches objects of smell. Similarly, the eye is a 'foot'; the ear is another 'foot'. This constitutes the four-footed character of the Mind-Brahman" (Chhandogya Upanishad).

Do not allow anything to come out from the mind through the Vag-Indriyas (organ of speech). Observe Mouna (a vow of silence). This will help you. Considerable peace follows Mouna. The speech energy becomes transmuted into spiritual energy (Ojas). Sankalpas become much decreased. Will becomes stronger. Now you have shut out a big source of disturbance. You will rest now in peace. Meditate on God or Brahman now in right earnest.

Spiritual aspirants must observe Mouna for some hours daily.

Be careful in the selection of your words before you speak. Think thrice before you speak. Consider what effect the words will produce on the feeling of others. Observe Mouna for a couple of years. It is Tapas of speech.

Do not argue unnecessarily. Argument brings about hostility, heated feelings and wastage of energy. Every man has got his own views, his own opinion, ideas, sentiments, beliefs and convictions. It is very difficult to change the views of others. Do not try to convince others. When you are an aspirant, when you are gathering facts and knowledge from the study of sacred lore, do not argue with others till your thoughts have become mature and steady.

Imagination in the mind always exaggerates. Exaggeration is a modification of lie. Aspirants should not exaggerate. They should utter words with mathematical and scientific precision.

An aspirant is asked to give up company and observe Mouna, because on account of Raga, he will multiply acquaintance; on account of Dvesha, he will incur the displeasure of others by uttering some unpleasant words. There is a sword in the tongue. Words are like arrows. They injure the feelings of others. By observing Mouna and giving up company, one can control the Vag-Indriya and remove Raga. Then the mind will become calm.

There are fifteen Doshas that arise from company. An aspirant should, therefore, preferably remain alone during the period of Sadhana. The Doshas of company are: (1) Misunderstanding, (2) Ill-feeling, (3) Displeasure, (4) Raga-Dvesha, (5) Jealousy, (6) Vampirism, (7) Attachment, (8) Mental sharing of pain of another man, (9) Criticisms of others, (10) Anatma topics, (11) Habit of talking, (12) Bahirmukha Vritti, (13) Idea and Samskara of duality, (14) Slavish mentality and weak will, (15) Contempt. Love little, but love long.

When you take a vow of silence, never assert from within very often, 'I won't talk'. This will produce a little heat in the brain, because the mind wants to revenge on you. Simply once make a determination and then remain quiet. Attend to other affairs. Do not be thinking always, 'I won't talk, I won't talk.'

In the beginning, when you observe Mouna, you will find some difficulty. There will be a severe attack of Vrittis. Various kinds of thoughts will arise and force you to break the silence. There are all vain imaginations and deceptions of the mind. Be bold. Concentrate all energies on God. Make the mind fully occupied. The desire for talk and company will die. You will get peace. The Vag-Indriya (organ of speech) considerably distracts the mind.

Mouna Of The Mind

Mouna of the mind is far superior to Mouna of Vak (speech). Mouna should come of itself. It must be natural. Forced Mouna is only wrestling with the mind. It is an effort. If you live in Truth, Mouna will come of itself. Then only will there be absolute peace.

What is wanted is natural Mouna and mental nudity. Physical nudity has no meaning. It is Tamasic Tapas of fools, that is not countenanced by Sastras and reason. In a Jivanmukta or a liberated soul, nudity comes of itself as he is absorbed in Brahman, when he is in the Saptama Jnana-Bhumika (the seventh stage of knowledge).

Introspection-what It Is And What It Does

The self-existent Brahman created the mind and senses with outgoing tendencies. The mind has a pernicious habit of externalisation from time immemorial. So you behold the external universe and not the internal Self. It is the Vikshepa-Sakti or Maya that draws you out. From your childhood, you are taught to look to the external world and not to the internal, psychic world. You have entirely lost the faculty of introspection. To have a comprehensive understanding of what is going on in the inner 'mental factory', a Suddha Buddhi (pure reason) and subtle intellect with power of introspection is needed. You will have to turn the mind inside, then concentrate all its powers and throw them upon the mind itself, in order that it may know its own nature and analyse itself. This is Raja Yoga.

Make a vigorous and earnest search within. Do not trust the mind and the Indriyas. They are your enemies. Woman and wealth are your bitter foes. These are two great evils.

In introspection, the mind itself is the subject of study. A portion of the mind studies the remaining portion of the mind. The higher mind studies the lower mind. Introspection is apperception. Just as you watch the work done by a coolie, a portion of the mind watches the movements of the rest of the mind. If you are one with the mind, if you identify yourself with the mind, you cannot know your defects. If you are a Sakshi or silent witness of the mind and if you practise introspection, you can know your various defects.

By a careful watch, many defects are detected and removed by suitable Sadhana. Enter a quiet room. Enter into silence daily for about fifteen minutes, morning and evening. Introspect. Watch the mind carefully. The mind will be doing either thinking, planning, feeling, knowing or willing. You will have to find out through subjective introspection what the mind is exactly doing at a particular time. To go through this practice, you must have Antarmukha Vritti, a subjective mind and a subtle Buddhi. Buddhi can be rendered subtle by study of philosophical books, Satsanga, control of Indriyas (Dama) and Sattvic food. The constant utterance of holy Names of God as Hari, OM, Narayana, Rama, Siva purifies the mind-stuff and helps make the mind introspective (Antarmukha).

How To Practise Introspection

You are the best judge of your mind. Introspect by living alone in solitude or retiring into a calm room for an hour. You must sit quiet in a solitary room alone, with closed eyes and watch the activities of the mind. You will then know your defects and weaknesses very clearly.

You should afterwards feel the necessity of removing them. Then your Svabhava should agree to change. You must know the right method to remove the defect. You must apply the method constantly. Then only improvement will set in. Constant application of the Sadhana is an indispensable requisite. You must watch the improvement every now and then, say, once a week, a fortnight or a month. You will have to keep a record of your progress (spiritual daily diary). You must watch carefully whether you are progressing in the spiritual path, whether you remain stationary or retrograding, whether the mind is distracted or concentrated. If it is distracted, you must remove the distracting causes one by one with patience and vigilance by suitable methods. If one method fails to bring about the desired results, you will have to combine two methods (the Yogic methods and Vichara).

Remember the triplet, viz., self-analysis, self-reliance, self-determination. It will be of immense use in your spiritual Sadhana. Analyse your self through introspection. Find out the nature of your Vrittis. Find out what Guna (quality) is predominating at a particular moment, whether it is Sattva, Rajas or Tamas. How long can the mind be absolutely fixed on your Lakshya (point of meditation)-either God, Brahman, idea or object, whether internal or external? How long can the mind be fixed on the object, rose and rose alone to the exclusion of all other objects-whether two seconds or two minutes or five minutes or half an hour? This is self-analysis. Rely on your self alone. You are your own redeemer and saviour. Nobody can give you Moksha. You will have to tread the spiritual path step by step. Books and Gurus can show the path and guide you. This is self-reliance. Make a strong self-determination, "I will realise God. I will have Atma-Sakshatkara or Brahmanubhava this very moment and not in the uncertain future." This is self-determination.

Wordlings have no time to think over even for a few minutes the life-problems, the mystery of life, etc. They get up in the morning. Their minds usually run to the special objects of enjoyment on account of Raga. Their mental energies are poured forth in the usual grooves and avenues-in thoughts of body, thoughts of eating and dressing, thoughts of wife, children, friends and also thoughts of office-work and business; and thus, the day is over. The same routine follows day after day, week after week. Years roll on and life is wasted. It is highly lamentable, indeed!

Only he who does Manana (reflection) and introspection through Antarmukha Vritti can change his worldly nature. In him only the idea of Brahman can get permanently lodged.


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