E-mail this to a friend
Printable version
Related Pages
Font Size    

Guide to Mind Control

By Swami Sivananda

"Manojaya eva mahajayah-Conquest of mind is the greatest victory."

"Man jita, jag jita--If you conquer mind, you have conquered the world." (Hindi Proverb)

In Hindu philosophy, you will always find an esoteric and an exoteric meaning. This is the reason why you need the help of a teacher. It is extremely difficult to comprehend the esoteric, inner meaning. You will find in Hatha Yogic books: "There is a young, virgin widow seated at the junction of the Ganga and the Yamuna." What will you make out of this? It is difficult to understand. The young widow is the Sushumna Nadi. The Ganga is Pingala Nadi. The Yamuna is Ida Nadi.

In Katha Upanishad, you will find a word whose meaning is brick. 'Brick' means here 'Devata' or deity.

The Secret Of Ramayana

There is also a Rahasya (secret) of Ramayana. The secret of Ramayana is control of mind. Killing the ten-headed monster Ravana of Lanka means the annihilation of the ten evil Vrittis of the mind such as Kama, Krodha, etc. Sita is mind. Rama is Suddha-Brahman. Bringing Sita back from Lanka is concentrating the mind on Rama (Brahman) by withdrawing it from Vishaya (objects) and uniting it with Rama. Sita (mind) unites with Rama (Brahman), her husband in Ayodhya (Sahasrara Chakra). Mind merges in Brahman. This is, briefly, the esoteric meaning of Ramayana. This is the Adhyatmic exposition of Ramayana.

Mastery Of Mind, The Only Gateway To Moksha

On this side is matter; on the other side is pure Spirit (Atman or Brahman). Mind forms a bridge between the two. Cross the bridge (control the mind). You will attain Brahman.

He is a real potentate and a Maharaja who has conquered the mind. He is the richest man who has conquered desires, passions and the mind. If the mind is under control, it matters little whether you stay in a palace or a cave in the Himalayas like Vasishtha-Guha, fourteen miles from Rishikesh, where Swami Ramatirtha lived, whether you do active Vyavahara or sit in silence.

It is, indeed, a rare thing to find a mind that is not affected by its contact with fluctuation. Like heat which is inseparable from fire, fluctuation which debases the mind, is inseparable from it. Devoid of this fluctuation, the mind ceases to exist. It is this fluctuation-potency of the mind that you should destroy through ceaseless Atma-Jnana enquiry.

Mind is the cause of Sankalpa-Vikalpa. Therefore, you must control the mind. You must bind it.

True freedom results from the disenthralment of the mind. Reflection of the Self made upon the mind cannot be perceptible when the mind is not free from its fluctuations, as the reflection of the moon made upon the surface of a turbulent ocean cannot be visible or perceptible. To attain Self-realisation, one must constantly struggle with the mind for its purification and steadiness. It is only the power of the will which can control it and stop its fluctuations. With the triple weapon of strong desire, Sraddha (faith) and strong will-power, you can have sanguine success in any attempt you undertake. If the mind is purged of all its impurities and worldly taints, it will become exceedingly calm. All fluctuations of the mind will cease. Then the supreme Nishtha (meditation) will supervene. Then all Samsaric delusion, attendant with its births and deaths, will come to an end. Then you will get Parama Dhama (supreme abode of peace).

There is no other vessel on this earth on which one can cross the ocean of metempsychosis than the mastery of the antagonistic mind. They alone will reach the world of Moksha who have controlled the serpent of mind replete with desires and impure Vasanas.

To lovers of Moksha, in whom the invincible desires have been destroyed and who try to win their way up to Salvation through their own efforts, the easy abandonment of their dire mind is itself their transcendental path and they then feel as if a great load were off their heads. No other path is truly beneficial.

If you get the mastery over the mind and get true Jnana or illumination after destroying Ahankara and subjugating the Indriyas (organs), you will be doubtless free from the trammels of births and deaths. The differentiations such as 'I,' 'you,' 'he' will vanish. All tribulations, annoyances, miseries, grief will cease with the destruction of the mind.

Who Can Control The Mind ?

The mind can be controlled by untiring perseverance and patience equal to that of one engaged in emptying the ocean, drop by drop, with the tip of a blade of grass.

A bird laid its eggs on the seashore. The waves came in and washed away the eggs. The bird became very angry. It wanted to empty the ocean with its beak. It applied all its energy in emptying the ocean. The king of the birds pitied its condition and came to its help. Narada, the peace-making Rishi, also came and gave some advice to the bird. When the king of the ocean saw all these, he was very much terrified. He brought back all the eggs of the bird and handed them over to the bird with apology and prostrations. Sadhakas (aspirants), who are attempting to control the mind, should have the same asinine patience and untiring perseverance as that of the bird which attempted to empty the ocean with its small beak.

You must have the knack or the pluck or the aptitude to tame the mind. To tame a lion or a tiger is far more easy than taming one's own mind. Tame your own mind first. Then you can take the minds of others quite easily.

Mind Is The Cause Of Bondage And Liberation

Mind is the cause of bondage and salvation of man. "Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh"-The mind has two aspects-one is discriminative and the other is imaginative. Mind, in its aspect of discrimination, releases itself from the bondage and attains Moksha. In its aspect of imagination, it binds itself to the world.

It is the mind which binds a man to this world; where there is no mind, there is no bondage. Mind imagines, through indiscrimination and ignorance, that the soul has been confined and located in this body and hence it perceives the soul to be in bondage. Mind exactly identifies itself with the Jivatman and feels itself to be 'I' and hence thinks, 'I am in bondage.' The egoistic mind is the root of bondage. The non-egoistic mind is the root of Moksha.

Destroy Mind Through Mind

The sovereign specific presented by the wise sages for the eradication of the mind's disease can be had easily through the mind alone. The intelligent cleanse a dirty cloth with the dirty earth only. A murderous Agni-Astra (missile) is counteracted by Varuna-Astra. The venom of serpent-bite is removed by its antidote of an edible poison. So also is the case with Jiva. Having developed discrimination, destroy the delusions of the heterogeneous mind through the one-pointed Manas, like an iron severing another iron.

Purify The Mind

You must be saved from the malformation and the miscarriage of your mind. Mind is like a playful child. The clamant energies of the mind must be bent to become the passive channels for the transmission of truth. The mind must be filled with Sattva (purity). It should be trained to think of Truth or God constantly.

The Yoga system requires us to go through a course of mental and spiritual discipline. The Upanishads also emphasise the practice of austere virtues before the goal can be reached. Tapas destroys sins, weakens the Indriyas, purifies the Chitta and leads to Ekagrata (one-pointedness of mind).

The penances will give you mental quiet and remove the restlessness of the mind which is a great obstacle to knowledge. The life of celibacy (Brahmacharya), where you will have no family attachment to perturb your mind, would enable you to give whole-hearted attention to your spiritual Sadhana. If you practise Satya and Brahmacharya, you will become fearless (Nirbhaya). You will eventually realise Brahman also. Get hold of one thing firmly with leech-like tenacity. Sraddha or faith is necessary.

Arsenic, when purified and administered in proper doses, is a blessing. It removes many diseases. It improves the blood. When it is not purified properly and given in overdoses, it brings about many ill-effects. Even so, when the mind is rendered pure and Nirvishaya, it leads on to Moksha. When it is impure and Vishayasakta (fond of sensual objects), it leads on to bondage.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will have Darshan of the Lord. The heart must be pure. The eye also must be chaste in its look. There is a tongue in the eye. A lustful eye wants to taste the different types of beauty for its selection. Lust of the eyes is as much dangerous as lust of the flesh. Beauty of nature emanates from the Lord. Train the eye properly. Let it see Atman everywhere.

The Yogic methods give directions as to how you should purify and refine the mind and improve the mirror and keep it clean by getting rid of the impurities such as lust, anger, greed, vanity, jealousy, etc. The aim of Dana, Japa, Vrata, Tirtha-Yatra, Seva, Daya, Svadhyaya, Agnihotra, Yajna is purification of the mind.

The Sermon on the Mount by Lord Jesus is the essence of Raja-Yogic Yama practice. It is difficult to put the teachings into practice. But, if they are put into practice, mind can be easily controlled.

This is the summary of the Sermon:

"Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted."

"Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth."

"Blessed are they who do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled."

"Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy."

"Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God."

"Blessed are the peace-makers; for they shall be called the children of God."

"Blessed are they who are persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceedingly glad; for great is the reward in heaven; for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you."

"But I say unto you, that ye resist not evil; but whosoever shall smite on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also."

"And if any man shall sue thee in the law and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also."

"Love your enemies as thyself, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."

Before you go to work daily, study once carefully this Sermon of Lord Jesus in the morning and remember the teachings once or twice during the course of the day. In course of time, you will be able to regulate your emotions and moods, cultivate virtue and eradicate vice. You will have immense peace and will-force.

The spiritual path is rugged, thorny and precipitous. Sruti declares: "Kshurasya dhara nisita duratyaya durgam pathastat kavayo vadanti,-The path is as sharp as the edge of a razor and impassable; that path, the intelligents say, is hard to go by." The thorns must be weeded out with patience and perseverance. Some of the thorns are internal; some are external. Lust, greed, wrath, delusion, vanity, etc., are the internal thorns. Company with the evil-minded persons is the worst of all the external thorns. Therefore, shun ruthlessly evil company.

Do Good And Introspect

Do always virtuous actions. Watch the mind and see what it is doing. These two methods are quite sufficient to control the mind.

Awaken your spiritual Samskaras by Satsanga, Japa, etc. Protect them. Develop them. Nourish them. Vichara, Sadhana, Nididhyasana, Satsanga will all pave a long way in the control of the mind and the attainment of Moksha.

Introspect. Have an inner life always. Let a portion of the mind and hands do their work mechanically. An acrobat girl, while exhibiting her performances, has her attention riveted on the water-pot she bears on her head although all the time she is dancing to various tunes. So does truly pious man attend to all his business concerns, but has his mind's eye fixed upon the blissful feet of the Lord. This is Karma-Yoga and Jnana-Yoga combined. This will lead to integral development. This is balance. This is synthetic Yoga. Some Vedantins have one-sided development. This is not good.

Do Kirtan

A serpent is very fond of music. If you sing Punnagavarali tune melodiously, the serpent will come in front of you. Mind also is like a serpent. It likes melodious tunes very much. It can be entrapped very easily by sweet sounds.

Fix the mind on the sweet Anahata sounds that emanate from the heart by closing the ears. It can be controlled quite easily by this method. This is Laya-Yoga. The Ganika Pingala fixed her mind on the "Rama, Rama" sound uttered by the parrot and attained Bhava-Samadhi. Ramaprasad of Bengal, a famous Bhakta, controlled the mind through music. Music exercises a tremendous, soothing influence on a ruffled mind. In America, doctors use music in curing many diseases, particularly of nervous origin. Music elevates the mind also.

Kirtan, which is one of the nine forms of worship (Navavidha Bhakti) causes Bhava-Samadhi (union with God through Bhava or feeling). It is prevalent throughout India. It corresponds to the singing of hymns by Christians. Ramaprasad realised God through Kirtan. His songs are very famous in Bengal. In this Kali-Yuga or Iron Age, Kirtan is an easy way to God-realisation. Sing the Name of Hari constantly. Praise constantly His qualities. You will have Darshan of Hari. Those who can sing well should retire to a solitary place and sing heartily with Suddha Bhava. In course of time, they will enter into Bhava-Samadhi. There is no doubt about it.

Always Think Of God

CONSTANTLY THINK OF GOD. YOU CAN VERY EASILY CONTROL THE MIND. Even if you think of Lord Vishnu or Siva only once, even if you once form a mental image of these deities, the Sattvic material will increase a bit. If you think a crore of times, your mind will be filled with a large quantity of Sattva. Constant thinking of God thins out the mind and destroys the Vasanas and Sankalpas.

When you fix your mind on Lord Krishna in the lotus of your heart, your attention is fixed on the figure of Lord Krishna. When the attention is fixed, the spiritual current is started. When you meditate, the flow of the current becomes steady and when the meditation gets very deep and intense, 'Union' (Samadhi) takes place. You become one with the Lord. All Sankalpas and Vikalpas stop. There is complete 'Chitta-Vritti-Nirodha' (restraint of the modifications of the mind).

Practise Pranayama

To bring about control of mind, two things are essential, viz., Prana-Nirodha (control of Prana) and Sanga-Tyaga (renunciation of Sanga or association). By the latter is meant dissociation, not with the world, but only with the longing after or the attraction towards the objects of the world.

Pranayama or control of breath checks the velocity of the mind and reduces the quantity of thinking. It removes the dross (impurities) in the form of Rajas and Tamas from the mind.

For control of the mind, Kumbhaka (retention of breath) is indispensable. You will have to practise Kumbhaka daily. You will have to practise Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka (inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath) regularly and rhythmically. Then the mind will become Ekagra. The period of Kumbhaka will increase by systematic practice, with regulated diet and proper dietetic discipline (light, nutritious, Sattvic food). This is the Hathayogic method. The practice of Kumbhaka must be done under the guidance of a Guru who is a developed Yogin.

Practise Sama And Dama

Uparati of mind (calmness) comes through the practice of Sama and Dama. Sama is calmness of mind induced by the eradication of Vasanas. Vasana-Tyaga (renunciation of desires) through discrimination constitutes the practice of Sama, one of the sixfold virtues (Shatsampatti). If a desire arises in your mind, do not give way to it. This will become the practice of Sama. Sama is keeping the mind in the heart by Sadhana. Sama is restraint of the mind by not allowing it to externalise or objectify. The restraint of the external activities and the Indriyas is the practice of Dama (Bahyavrittinigraha).

If you renounce the desire for eating mangoes, it is Sama. If you do not allow the feet to carry you to the bazaar to purchase the mangoes, if you do not allow the eyes to see the mangoes and if you do not allow the tongue to taste them, it is Dama.

A desire arises to eat sweets. You do not allow the feet to move to the bazaar to purchase the sweets. You do not allow the tongue to eat the sweets. You do not allow the eyes to see the sweets also. This kind of restraint of the Indriyas is termed Dama.

It is termed Sama when you do not allow any thought to arise in the mind concerning sweets by eradication of Vasanas (Vasana-Tyaga). This eradication of the Vasanas can be accomplished through Vichara, Brahma-Chintana, Japa, Dhyana, Pranayama, etc.

Sama is an internal restraint. Dama is a restraint of the Indriyas. Though the practice of Sama includes the practice of Dama, as the Indriyas will not move and work without the help of the mind, yet the practice of Dama is necessary. The practice of Dama should go hand in hand with Sama. Sama alone will not suffice. You must attack the enemy, desire, from within and without. Then alone you can control the mind quite easily. Then alone the mind will be in perfect control.

Develop Vairagya

Those who practise Vairagya are real tamers of their minds. Have no longing for objects. Avoid them. Vairagya thins out the mind. Vairagya is a drastic purgative for the mind. The thief-mind shudders and trembles when it hears the words, 'Vairagya,' 'Tyaga,' 'Sannyasa.' It gets a death-blow when it hears these three terms.

Destroy all the pleasure-centres of the mind such as frequently eating dainty dishes, gossiping, sightseeing, music and company of women slowly and cautiously. Keep up three Sattvic pleasure-centres such as study of books dealing with Atma-Jnana, meditation and service of humanity. When you advance in meditation, give up service and study also for some time. After you have attained Nirvikalpa state, preach, work and distribute divine knowledge (Jnana Yajna of the Gita, XVIII-70).

Whatever object the mind likes much must be given up. Whatever object the mind dwells upon constantly, thinks about very often, must be abandoned. If you like brinjals or apples much, give them up first. You will gain a great deal of peace, will-power and control of mind.

Suppose you like tea, mangoes, grapes and sweets very much. Make it a point to renounce them and even the desire for these objects. After some months, the craving or the hankering will be attenuated and will slowly vanish. You must be devoting three or four hours daily in proper prayer, Japa and meditation of God. The above objects which used to attract you before very much seem very loathsome now. They present the very reverse of your former feelings. They give you intense pain. This is a sign of true Vairagya (dispassion) and destruction of the mind.

If all objects which have an enchanting appearance become eyesores and present the very reverse of the former feelings, then know that the mind is destroyed. When the mind is changed, the objects which gave you pleasure before will give you pain. That is the sign of annihilation of the mind.

Things which used to upset you easily will not touch you now. Occasions which would have made you irritable do not make you so now. You have gained strength, power and endurance, power of resistance, power to deal with troubles. Certain unkind words from other people which used to torment you, no longer give you the trouble now. Even if you become irritable and show signs of anger, you are able now to compose yourself quickly. These are all the signs of your gaining mental strength and will-power. Meditation brings about all these beneficial results.

When there is quiescence in the mind and an indifference in it towards all enjoyments and when the powerful Indriyas are turned inwards and the Ajnana of the mind is destroyed, then and then only all the noble words of the wise Guru will infiltrate and spread in the mind of the disciple, just as rose-coloured water impinges on a perfectly white cloth.

Have Santosha

The mind is ease-loving, easy-going and happy-go-lucky. You must check this nature. The desire for ease and comfort is ingrained in the mind. Aspirants should be very cautious and careful. Do not try to fulfil your desires. This is one way of controlling the mind.

You must not take back those things which you have once renounced. Whenever you give up an object, the desire for that particular object becomes keen and strong for a few days. It agitates your mind. Keep quiet. Stand firm. It gets thinned out and dies eventually. Whenever the mind hisses to get back the objects that are rejected, raise the rod of Viveka. It will lower down its hood. It will keep quiet.

You must not give indulgence or leniency to the mind. If you increase your wants even by one article, the articles will begin to swell in number. Luxuries will come one by one. If you allow it to take one luxury today, it wants two tomorrow. Luxuries will increase daily. It will become like an overfondled child. Spare the rod and spoil the child; this also applies to the mind. It is worse than the child. You will have to punish it by fasting for every serious mistake it does. Keep the organs in their proper places. Do not allow them to move an inch. Raise the rod of Viveka whenever an organ hisses to raise its head. By this practice you will get a concentrated mind. Those who, without longing for objects, avoid them can be termed the subjugators of their minds.

Those who are not content with anything that comes in their way are of weak minds only. Santosha (contentment in the mind) is a very great virtue. "Santoshat paramam labham-by contentment, you will have great gain." It is one of the four sentinels of the vast domain of Moksha. If you have this virtue, it will lead to the attainment of Satsanga (association with the wise), Vichara (enquiry of Self) and Santi (peace).

When you do not want to store things for tomorrow, it is called "Asangraha Buddhi." It is the mental state of a true Sannyasin. A Sannyasin has no thought of tomorrow; whereas a householder has, on the opposite, Sangraha Buddhi. We must be as free as a lark which has no "Sangraha Buddhi."

Take Everything As It Comes

Take everything as it comes, instead of complaining. By this means, one seizes every opportunity. One develops easily, gains a great deal of mental strength and evenness of mind. Irritability vanishes. Power of endurance and patience will develop.

If you have to live amidst noise, do not complain of it, but profit by it. One may make use of outer disturbances for the practice of concentration. You must develop the power to work undisturbed by whatsoever may happen nearby. The power comes with practice and it is then useful in a variety of ways. To learn to work under different conditions means progress and a great deal of mental control.

Have Recourse To Satsanga

Without being impressed with a clear idea of the nature of the mind, you cannot bridle it. A sublime thought checks the mind and a base idea excites it. It is necessary for a man to keep company with spiritual men and to avoid the company of the dregs of society.

Company of spiritual persons and good environments play a tremendous part in the elevation of the mind. Satsanga helps a long way in the attainment of Moksha. There is no other way. It thoroughly overhauls the mind and changes the current and its Rajasic nature. It removes the old Vishaya-Samskaras and fills the mind with Sattvic Samskaras. It destroys the three fires-Adhyatmic, Adhibhautic and Adhidaivic Tapa-and cools the Antahkarana. It destroys Moha. If you can have Satsanga, you need not go to any Tirtha. It is Tirtha of Tirthas. Wherever there is Satsanga, the sacred Triveni is already there.

Annihilate this mind of Ajnana (ignorance) through the power of constant association with holy men (Satsanga). In the absence of positive good company, have negative good company of books written by realised persons and books dealing with Atma-Jnana (spiritual knowledge) such as Sri Sankara's works, Yogavasishtha, Sri Dattatreya's Avadhuta Gita, the Upanishads, the Brahma-Sutras, Atma-Purana, Sarva-Vedanta-Siddhanta-Sara-Sangraha, Sri Sankaracharya's Aparokshanubhuti, etc., etc.

Study of inspiring books helps spiritual Sadhana but too much study brings about muddy condition of the brain. When you come down from meditation, you can study occasionally for a short time book slike Avadhuta-Gita, Yogavasishtha, Katha-Upanishad, Brihadaranyaka-Upanishad. This will elevate the mind.

If you are in the company of Sannyasins, if you read books on Yoga, Vedanta, etc., a mental adhesion takes place in the mind for attaining God-consciousness. Mere mental adhesion will not help you much either. Burning Vairagya, burning Mumukshutva, capacity for spiritual Sadhana, intent and constant application and Nididhyasana (meditation) are needed. Then only is Self-realisation possible.

Annihilate Sankalpas

The ideas of differentiation of this person or that person or 'I' or 'thou' or of this or that object do pertain to the mind only. Put an end to the mind with the sword of Abhavana (non-thought). Kill the soldiers one by one when they emerge out of the fort. Eventually you can get hold of the fortress. Even so, destroy every thought one by one as it arises in the mind. Eventually you can conquer the mind.

If you can do the extinction of all sorts of Kalpanas (imaginations, thoughts). like thick clouds that are dispersed through stormy gales, the mind will get absorbed into the Source, Chit (Absolute Consciousness). Then you will be free from all sorts of tribulations and worries and miseries. Then only you will have perennial happiness and the wealth of Moksha.

Mind is Maya. If the mind runs towards the sensual objects wildly, Maya takes a stronghold of the man. Maya havocs through the mind. This lower impulsive mind drags you down in all kinds of petty sensual enjoyments and deludes you in a variety of ways. Maya, through her power, raises millions of Sankalpas in the mind. The Jiva becomes a prey to the Sankalpas.

This lower Manas cannot approach those who have a strong Viveka (power of discrimination) between Sat and Asat (the real and the unreal). Maya is very easy to be detected and Self to be realised by men who possess discrimination and strong determination. Through these powers, viz., Viveka and will, it can be controlled.

Slay the lower mind, the enemy of Atman through the higher and Sattvic mind. Use your Vichara, Viveka and pure reason constantly when objects trouble you, delude you. After reason has dispersed the darkness of the illusions of sense which cover the mind, it still returns to those things which are deceitful as the appearance of water on sandy deserts. Again and again, exercise your reason till you are established in knowledge. The power of Avidya is great, indeed.

Renounce desires; renounce Sankalpas of objects. Cultivate Vairagya. Give up this little false 'I.' All the Sankalpas encircle and envelop this 'I.' Do not pay much heed to the body. Think of the body and its wants as little as possible.

Have no Sankalpa. The fluctuating mind will die by itself. It will melt in Brahman (Arupa Manonasa). Then you will have the Sakshatkara (Beatific vision of Atman). When the mind dies, 'I,' 'you,' 'he,' 'this,' 'that,' time, space, Jiva, Jagat, all will dwindle into nothing. Idea of inside and outside will vanish. There will be only one experience of the One, Akhanda (the indivisible) Chidakasa which is Paripurna (all-full). All the doubts and delusions will disappear through the Jnana in the heart.

Destroy The Ego

You should try to destroy not only the thoughts (Sankalpas), but the mind itself and the Aham Vritti that identifies with the body and the Vyavaharic Buddhi that creates the Jiva-Bhava and differences in the world. Then you will be established in Svarupa (Sahaja-Sat-Chit-Ananda-Nirvikalpa) state. That is the real Mouna state or Advaita Brahmanishtha. Control of mind includes control of Buddhi and the annihilation of the little 'I,' the false self-arrogating personality.

Lord Jesus says, "Empty thyself and I will fill thee." The meaning is: "Destroy your egoism. You will be filled with God." This emptying means "Yogas-chittavrittinirodhah- restraining all the mental modifications." This emptying process or "making the mind blank" is, no doubt, a trying discipline. But, continued practice of an intense type will bring success. There is no doubt about this. It is only through the rigorous discipline that you can rise to that height of strenuous impersonality from which the gifted souls of the world see distant visions and enjoy a higher, divine life.

If the mind is divested of all the Sankalpas of 'I,' then, through meditation of Atman after being initiated by a Guru and having known the real significance of the Vedas, the mind can be turned back from various pains and made to rest on the subjective blissful Atman.

Practise Brahma-Vichara

Do not wrestle or struggle with the mind. It is wastage of energy. It is great strain and drain on the will-force. Do not fight with the mind. Live in Truth. Live in OM. Live in Atman through Vichara, Brahma-Bhavana and Nididhyasana. All obstacles, all disturbing factors, all emotions will vanish of themselves. Try, practise, feel and realise the usefulness of the Vichara method. Perfect control of mind can be effected only through Brahma-Vichara. Pranayama, Japa and various other methods are only auxiliaries.

Do Not Let Failures Discourage You

Do not let failures discourage you, but go on doing your best. Do not brood over your faults and failures. Only look at them to see the reason why you failed and then, try again. So doing, you will starve out the tendencies which led you into them; whereas, thinking about them only gives them new strength. Do not make too much fuss about little failures. Do not sit down and brood over failures.

There are some people who have got the habit of trying to do one thing while thinking of another. These people always fail in undertakings. The thinking part of the mind should work in harmony with the acting part of the mind. While attending to any one object, our thoughts ought not to wander on another. While you are reading, think of reading only. Do not think of cricket match. While you are playing in a cricket match, do not think of studies. The frequent cause of failure is striving to think of more than one thing at a time.

Whenever you observe Niyama (religious observances) do it to the letter rigidly. Do not say, "I will do it as far as possible." This term ''as far as possible' will give leniency to the mind. The mind will be simply waiting for an opportunity and it will yield to the first temptation quite readily, whenever the first chance arises. Be strict, therefore.

Check The Wandering Habit Of The Mind

The mind in the vast majority of persons has been allowed to run wild and follow its own sweet will and desire. It is ever changing and wandering. It jumps from one object to another. It is fickle. It wants variety. Monotony brings disgust. It is like a spoiled child who is given to much indulgence by its parents or a badly trained animal. The minds of many of us are like menageries of wild animals, each pursuing the bent of its own nature and going its own way. Restraint of the mind is a thing unknown to the vast majority of persons.

This wandering habit of the mind manifests itself in various ways. You will have to be alert always to check this wandering habit of the mind. A householder's mind wanders to cinema, theatre, circus, etc. A Sadhu's mind wanders to Varanasi, Vrindavana and Nasik. Many Sadhus do not stick to one place during Sadhana. The wandering habit of the mind must be controlled by rendering it chaste and constant by Vichara. The mind must be trained to stick to one place for five years during your meditative life, to one method of Sadhana, to one path of Yoga-either Karma, Bhakti or Vedanta-to one spiritual objective and to one guide. "A rolling stone gathers no moss." When you take up a book for study, you must finish it before you take up another. When you take up any work, you must devote your whole-hearted attention to the work on hand and finish it before you take up another work. "One thing at a time and that done well is a very good rule as many can tell." This is Yogin's way of doing. This is a very good rule for success in life.

Do not have a goat's mind or a prostitute's heart. A goat grazes for a few seconds in one patch of green grass and then immediately jumps to a far distant patch, even though there is plenty of grass to eat in the first patch. Even so, a wavering mind jumps from one Sadhana to another Sadhana, from one Guru to another Guru, from Bhakti Yoga to Vedanta, from Rishikesh to Vrindavana. This is extremely deleterious for the Sadhana. Stick to one Guru, one place, one form of Yoga, one kind of Sadhana. Be steady and firm. Then only, you will succeed. Have a steady, resolute mind.

Discipline the mind. Tell the mind, "O Mind! Be steady. Be fixed on one idea. Absolute is the only Reality." If it wanders, if it wavers, go to a lonely place, give two or three sharp slaps on your face. Then the mind will become steady. Self-punishment helps a lot in checking the wandering mind. Frighten the mind as if you will beat it with a whip or rod, whenever it wanders from the Lakshya, whenever it entertains evil thoughts.

Mind tempts and deceives you through object. Distance lends enchantment to the view. Until you attain the object, it will seem to you as a pleasurable object from a distance. When you actually get it, it becomes a source of vexation and pain. Desire is mixed with pain. Objects are so delusive that they often deceive even the wise in this way. He is a really wise man who can detect the illusive nature of these objects.

Mind always tempts you to have various sightseeing. It is all vain trick of the mind to divert you from the goal. Use your Viveka always. Address the mind thus: "O foolish mind, have you not seen before, various places and scenery? What is there in sightseeing? Rest in Atman within. It is self-contained. You can see everything there. It is Purnakama; it is Purnarupa. (It contains all forms; it is Beauty of beauties). What are you going to see outside? Is it not the same sky, the same earth, the same passions, the same eating, the same gossiping, the same sleeping, the same latrines, the same urinals, the same cemeteries everywhere?"

In the beginning, I used to give a long rope to my mind. It will whisper to me, "Let me go to Allahabad Kumbha Mela." I would say, "My dear friend, my mind! You can go now." As soon as I return, I would ask, "O mind, are you satisfied now? What did you enjoy there?" It would hide itself and drop down its head in utter shame. Gradually, it left off its old habits and became my true friend, guide and Guru through true counsels it imparts in the way of obtaining the highest goal.

Do not allow the mind to wander here and there like the strolling street dog. Keep it under your control always. Then alone you can be happy. It must be ever ready to obey you, to carry out your behests. If the mind says to you, "Go eastward," then go westward. If the mind says to you, "Go southward," then march northward. If the mind says to you, "Take a hot cup of tea in winter," then take a cup of icy cold water. Swim like fish against the mental current. You will control the mind quite easily.

Order the mind to do a thing which it does not relish and it will revolt. Coax and it will obey.

If the mind is deprived of its pleasure-centres of all sense-objects, it clings to Vairagya and Tyaga and must naturally move towards Atman. Renounce everything mentally and destroy the mind through the attainment of Atma-Jnana. Rest in the self-existent Brahmic seat. It is only through dauntless energy that the painless wealth of Moksha can be acquired.

Change The Habits

Mind is a bundle of habits. Bad habits and prejudices hidden in one's nature will necessarily be brought to the surface of the mind when the proper opportunity comes. If you change the habits, you can also change your character. You sow an act; you reap a habit. You sow a habit; you reap a character. You sow a character; you reap a destiny. Habits originate in the conscious mind. But, when they become established by constant repetition, they sink down into the depths of the unconscious mind and become 'second nature.'

Though habit is second nature, it can be changed by a new healthy, agreeable habit of a stronger nature. You can change any habit by patient efforts and perseverance. Habits of sleeping in the daytime, late rising, loud talking, etc., can be gradually changed by developing new habits.

By new practice, you can change the manner of your handwriting. So also, by a new mode of thinking, you can change your destiny. When you draw water with a rope and bucket from a well with a brick parapet, a definite groove is formed along the brick and the rope readily runs along the groove. Even so, the mental force (the mind) runs easily or flows readily along the grooves in the brain made by continuous thinking on certain lines. Now you are thinking, 'I am the body.' Think, 'I am Brahman.' In course of time, you will be established in Brahmic consciousness.

By spiritual Sadhana, Vichara, meditation, Pranayama, Japa, Sama and Dama an entirely new mind is formed in a Sadhaka with new feelings, new nerve-channels, new avenues and grooves in the brain for the mind to move and walk about, new nerve-currents and new brain-cells, etc. He will never think about affairs that tend to self-aggrandisement and self-exaltation. He thinks for the well-being of the world. He thinks, feels and works in terms of unity.

Do not be a slave to one idea. Whenever you get new healthy ideas, the old ideas must be given up. The vast majority of persons are slaves of old outgrown ideas. They have not got the strength to change the old habits in the mind and the old ideas. When you hear a new and striking news, you are startled. When you see a new thing, you are startled. It is natural. It is much more so with new ideas. The mind runs in ruts-in its old, narrow grooves. It is directly or indirectly attached to some pleasing or favourite ideas. It unnecessarily sticks to one idea like glue and never gives it up. It is a great ordeal for the mind to take up a new idea. Whenever you want to introduce any new, healthy idea in the mind and eschew any old outgrown idea, the mind fights against it and rebels with vehemence. Place the idea near the ruts. It will slowly take it. It may revolt furiously to take it up in the beginning. Later on, by coaxing and training, it will absorb and assimilate it.

In the mind, there is an internal fight that is ever going on between Svabhava (nature) and will, between old worldly habits and new spiritual habits in the case of the aspirants, between old Vishaya-Samskaras and new spiritual Samskaras, between Subha Vasanas and Asubha Vasanas, between Viveka and instinctive mind and Indriyas. Whenever you try to change an evil habit and establish a new habit, there will ensue an internal fight between Will and Svabhava. If you try to drive away anger, lust, etc., they say and assert, "O Jivas! You have given us permission to stay in this house of flesh and body for a long time. Why do you want to drive us now? We have helped you a lot during times of your excitements and passions. We have every right to remain here. We will persist, resist all your efforts to drive us; we shall disturb your meditation and recur again and again." The Svabhava will try its level best to get back to its old habit. Never yield. The will is bound to succeed in the end. Even if you fail once or twice, it does not matter. Again apply the will. Eventually, will-pure, strong and irresistible-is bound to succeed. There is no doubt about this. When your reason grows, when you become wiser and wiser by study, contact with the wise and meditation, your mind must be well prepared to take up at any moment new, healthy, rational ideas and eschew old, morbid ones. This is a healthy growth of the mind.

Mind Is Your Tool Only: Handle It Nicely

Mind is your tool or instrument only. You must know how to handle it nicely. When emotions, moods, sentiments, arise in the mind, separate them, study their nature, dissect and analyse them. Do not identify yourself with them. The real 'I' is entirely distinct from them. It is the silent Sakshi. Master your impulses, emotions and moods and rise from the position of a slave to a spiritual king who can rule over them with force and power. You are eternal, all-pervading Atman in reality. Shake yourself from the tyranny of the mind that has oppressed you for so long, domineered over you and exploited you uptil now. Rise up boldly like a lion. Assert the magnanimity of your Self and be free.

Become an expert driver of the subtle, powerful 'machine-mind.' Use all the mental faculties to your best advantage. Mind will become quite a good, willing servant when you know how to tackle with it ably. Use the subconscious mind also; pass on orders to work for you while you are asleep and even while you are conscious. It will sort, analyse and rearrange all facts and figures for you in the twinkling of an eye.

The mind is very plastic if you know the secret of its manipulation. You can bend it any way you like. You can create a dislike for the things you like best now and a liking for the articles which now you dislike most.

Do a thing which the mind does not want to do. Do not do a thing which the mind wants to do. This is one way of developing the will and controlling the mind.

Maintain A Positive Attitude

Try to acquire the power of closing yourself against detrimental or undesirable influences by making yourself positive by a particular attitude of the mind. By so doing, you may be receptive to all higher impulses of the soul within and to all higher forces and influences from without. Make a suggestion to yourself, "I close myself; I make myself positive to all things below and open and receptive to all higher influences, to all things above." By taking this attitude of the mind, consciously, now and then, it soon becomes a habit. All the lower and undesirable influences from both the seen and the unseen side of life are closed out while all higher influences are invited and, in the degree that they are invited, they will enter.

In the mind there is doubt; there is reality also. A doubt arises whether there is a God or not. This is termed Samsaya-Bhavana. Another doubt crops up whether I can realise Brahman or not. Then another voice yells: "God or Brahman is real. He is a solid, concrete Reality as an Amalaka fruit in my hand. He is a mass of Knowledge and Ananda (Prajnanaghana, Chidghana, Anandaghana). I can realise!" We have clearly understood something and these ideas are well-grounded and ingrained. Some ideas are hazy and not firm. They come and go. We will have to cultivate ideas and ground them till they are firmly fixed and implanted. Clarification of ideas will remove perplexity and confusion in the mind.

When a doubt arises, "whether there is God or not, whether I will succeed in Self-realisation or not," it must be dispelled by well-directed suggestions and affirmations such as: "It is true; I will succeed. There is no doubt of this." In my dictionary, in my vocabulary, there are no such words as 'can't,' 'impossible,' 'difficult,' etc. Everything is possible under the sun. Nothing is difficult when you strongly make up your mind. Strong determination and firm resolution will bring sanguine success in every affair or undertaking.

The Power Of The Helping Forces

Inside, there are helping forces also to act against the hostile forces of demoniacal nature. If you once repeat 'Om' or 'Rama' ten times, if you once sit in meditation for five minutes, the Samskara of this will force you to repeat the Mantra again many times, to sit again in meditation for some time though you forget all about spirituality owing to the force of Maya or Avidya. The hostile forces, e.g., lust, anger, etc., will try to bring you down; the spiritual currents, the force of Sattva and Subha Vasanas will try to take you up to God. If evil thoughts enter your mind once in a month instead of thrice weekly (remember that evil thinking is the beginning of adultery), if you become angry once in a month instead of once weekly, that is a sign of progress, that is a sign of your increased will-power; that is a sign of growing spiritual strength. Be of good cheer. Keep a diary of spiritual progress.

A mind always hopeful, confident, courageous and determined on its set purpose and keeping itself to that purpose, attracts to itself, out of the elements, things and powers favourable to that purpose.

Some Guide-Lines In Mind-Control

Mind is so framed that it runs to extremes. Through Sadhana or spiritual practice, it should be brought to a balanced state (Samata). It is one-sided by its very nature. It is through mental drill or training that integral development must be achieved.

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

Mind exercises its sovereignty over man through the force of attachment, craving, Samskara and Vasana (tendency, latent desire, will to possess and enjoy, world-desire). It does various tricks. When you once know its ways, it lurks like a thief. It will no longer trouble you.

In controlling the mind, you have to do seven things: (1) You must get rid of all desires, Vasanas and Trishnas. (2) You must control your emotions. You must control the temper so that you may feel no anger or impatience. (3) You must control the mind itself so that the thought may always be calm and unruffled. (4) You must control the nerves through the mind so that they may be as little irritable as possible. (5) You must give up Abhimana. Abhimana strengthens the mind. It is the seed of the mind. When you have become a Nirabhimani, how can criticisms, taunts and censure affect you? (6) You must destroy all attachments ruthlessly. (7) You must give up all hopes and prejudices.

The following will bring you peace of mind undoubtedly. (1) Avoid the company of evil persons. (2) Live alone. (3) Reduce your wants. (4) Do not argue. Arguing creates sense of hostility. It is a sheer waste of energy. (5) Do not compare yourself with others. (6) Do not lend your ears for public criticism. (7) Give up the idea of name and fame.

According to Patanjali Maharshi, Maitri (friendship between equals), Karuna (mercy towards inferiors), Mudita (complacency towards superiors), Upeksha (indifference towards rogues), will bring about Chittaprasada or peace of mind.

You should, through your higher Sattvic mind, avoid the mind which runs in the direction of objects and, progressing higher up, should, without any despondency of heart, accumulate wealth of Tapasya for acquiring that imperishable Supreme Seat (Parama Pada). Like an emperor who brings under his sway all kings on earth, the fluctuating mind should be brought under the perfect control of the non-fluctuating mind and then, the latter reaches its own state which is the Supreme One.


copyright © 2011 the divine life society. All rights reserved.