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Comprehensive Knowledge and Techniques for Mind Conquest

By Swami Sivananda


Mind creates this universe. Subjectively it is the universe. Slay the mind through destruction of Vasanas, Pranayama and Brahma Vichara. You will attain Self-realisation.

Mokshapriya said: Gurudev! May I know all about mind in a nutshell?

Swami Sivananda answered: Mind is Atma-Sakti. It is born of Prakriti. It is the Principle of thinking and sensation. Mind connects itself with the five senses of perception and enjoys all sensual objects. Mind is the dividing wall between the individual soul and the Supreme Soul. If the mind is destroyed the individual soul becomes identical with the Supreme Soul.

If the modifications of the mind which lean towards sensual pleasures are destroyed, then the individual soul attains Supreme Peace. Mind is a bundle of Vasanas, Sankalpas and likes and dislikes. If you free yourself from these, the mind dwindles.

It is the mind that creates this universe. Manomatram Jagat; Manah Kalpitam Jagat. In deep sleep there is no mind. Therefore there is no world also in deep sleep. Dispassion, discrimination, renunciation, meditation are all enemies of the mind. You can destroy the mind easily, if you possess these virtues. The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains and pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness, while objectively it is this universe. The mind has the potency of creating or undoing the world in the twinkling of an eye. Slay this mind. O Mokshapriya, through the destruction of the Vasanas (desires) or the control of the Prana and Brahma Vichara (enquiry into the nature of Brahman). Meditate on the innermost Self ceaselessly. The mind will be absorbed in Brahman. You will attain Self-realisation.


How to control the mind? Eradicate all desires and thoughts. Control the mind through Yoga, Jnana, Bhakti and Nishkamya Karma.

Mokshapriya said: O Lord! Please tell me the methods to control the mind. The mind is very turbulent. It is very mischievous. It is ever jumping like a monkey, which has drunk wine and which is bitten by a scorpion.

Swami Sivananda replied: O Mokshapriya, I shall give you suitable methods to control this mind. Mind is a bundle of Vasanas and thoughts. It has attraction and repulsion, likes and dislikes. It is filled with egoism and cravings. It is born of ignorance. If you eradicate all desires and thoughts, it will die by itself. Vairagya (dispassion) and Abhyasa (concentration and meditation) are the weapons to annihilate this turbulent mind. Do not use any violent method to control the mind. You will lose your energy and weaken the will. Use intelligent methods to curb the mind.

Mind cannot be controlled by mere human efforts. The grace of the Lord and the Guru is necessary. Pray fervently. Surrender completely to the Lord. You will surely obtain His grace. You can control the mind through Yoga and Jnana. For some it is easy to control the mind through Yoga and Jnana. For some it is easy to control the mind through Yoga; for some through Jnana or wisdom.

Enquire - Who am I? Do Brahma Vichara. Enquire into the nature of the Absolute. Meditate ceaselessly on the all-pervading immortal, innermost Atman or the Self. The mind will be absorbed into its Source. O Mokshapriya, you can control the mind through the practice of Bhakti Yoga. This is more easy than the practice of Raja Yoga or Jnana Yoga. Do Japa. Sing the Lord's glory. Cultivate the nine modes of devotion.

Nishkama Karma Yoga is another method. It will purify the mind and lead to the descent of divine grace and divine light. Temperaments, tastes, and proclivities differ. Hence various Yogas are necessary to control the mind and to attain Immortality and Eternal Bliss. O Mokshapriya, you are fit for the practice of Bhakti Yoga. You have a good heart and you are emotional, too.


Mokshapriya said: O Swamin! Please throw some light on Sankalpa and its destruction.

Swami Sivananda answered: O Mokshapriya! Sankalpa is thought. This is the function of the mind. The life of the mind is Sankalpa. The Svabhava of the mind is Sankalpa.

Tamasic Sankalpa generates pain. It is base. Rajasic Sankalpa leads persons naturally into the mundane existence. The pure Sattvic Sankalpa leads to good or virtuous actions, Jnana or wisdom and salvation. It is only Sankalpa destroyed beyond resurrection that constitutes the immaculate Brahmic Seat of ineffable effulgence and splendour. Sankalpa only is Samsara. Its destruction is Moksha or the final emancipation. If you are Sankalpa-less, you will attain Self-realisation very easily.

Free yourself from all desires. Steady your impure mind through your pure mind. Then eradicate all Sankalpas. You will be able to attain Moksha or the final beatitude only through the annihilation of Sankalpa. Therefore. O Mokshapriya, endeavour to destroy this Sankalpa and attain the immortal Bliss of Brahman or the Absolute, devoid of pains and heterogeneity. Sankalpa is destroyed with the control of thoughts. The highest goal can be attained through the extinction of Sankalpa. Sankalpa arose through Ajnana or nescience. Do not contemplate upon the objects of the world. Observe silence towards material pleasures. The seed of ignorance or Ajnana is the sprout of Sankalpa alone. One Sankalpa multiplies and increases prodigiously. The Sankalpa of tea multiplies in a minute. There comes the Sankalpa of tea, sugar, milk, tea-cups, tables, table-cloth, biscuits, fruits, etc. Think of objects; entertain sensual desires, then Sankalpa reigns supreme.

Rising from a small beginning, the Sankalpa gradually increases and clouds the one, clear, self-luminous Atman. Man forgets all about his divine nature. He identifies himself with the body and external objects. You will be able to attain the stainless Moksha only through the firm path of the annihilation of Sankalpa. In the string of Sankalpa, countless thoughts are strung like so many beads. If the string is cut to pieces, the illusory thoughts. which are strung on it, will disappear at once. O Mokshapriya! Annihilate all Sankalpas through meditation on your innermost Atman and attain the immortal, eternal Bliss here and now.


Mokshapriya said: O Swamin! May I know, what this Ahankara is?

Swami Sivananda replied: O Mokshapriya! Hearken! Ahankara is - I-ness or - egoism. This is generated through delusion. It permeates the Jiva or the individual soul all throughout. It is only through Ahankara that all the mental cares, dangers and the ever-increasing actions of life arise. There is no enemy greater than Ahankara. Ahankara is born of Ajnana or ignorance. The real secret of divine life lies only in the renunciation of this dire Ahankara. So long as this Ahankara beclouds you, so long the flowers of desires bloom and abound in you. This baneful Ahankara is the source of all dangers in this world. It is evanescent. It has its seat in the mind. It is foolish and stupid in its nature. It is without due discrimination and intelligence. It is one of the five afflictions that are enumerated in Raja Yoga. Raga and Dvesha (like and dislike) are its offsprings. If the cloud of Ahankara called - I screens the sun of Jnana then the lily of Brahman which is - Non-I will never bloom. The original sprout of the painful Ahankara within tender stem of rebirths ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of - mine (Mama) and - thine (Tava) and yields its unripe fruits of hell and all sorts of pains, sufferings and sorrows. This tree of Ahankara can be destroyed to its root by Jnana (wisdom) fire only.

The idea of - I which contains all frailties, is the seed of the tree of the mind. The sprout which is at first generated from this seed of Ahankara, is termed Buddhi or intellect. From this sprout the ramifying branches called Sankalpas (thoughts) take their origin. Manas (or mind). Chitta (subconscious mind) and Buddhi (intellect) are but the different names or qualities of the one Ahankara. If you destroy the idea of - I at the root of the tree (mind), then it will not again spring up.

Atma-Jnana or a knowledge of the true nature of - I is the fire which destroys this egoism. - Aham Brahma Asmi - I am Brahman or identification with the Supreme Being is Sattvic Ahankara. This Sattvic Ahankara will not bind you; on the contrary, it will help you to cross this Samsara and attain Moksha or emancipation.

O Mokshapriya! That Ahankara which makes you identify yourself with the body of flesh and bone is the cause of the poisonous tree of rebirth and dire pains. Destroy it by cultivating the Sattvic Ahankara. - I am Brahman, and enjoy the immortal Bliss of the Eternal.


There is a desire to increase your possessions. You may have 5 lakhs of rupees. But you desire to possess one crore. This is Trishna or craving. There is a desire to complete. You may have wealth but you may not have a son. You desire to have a son. This is Ichha. There is a desire to protect what you have. This is Spruha. There is a desire to procure your wants. You want to protect yourself from heat and cold etc., this is Vasana.

Trishna is intense craving. Vasana is subtle form of desire or tendency. Ichha is desire. Kamana is longing. Spruha is yearning. Chapalata is strong craving of tongue and genitals. Eshana is desire for son, wealth, name and fame. All are forms of desire.


When you are in a state of unconsciousness, or when you are under chloroform, anaesthesia or when you are in deep sleep, you cannot see, hear or taste, because the mind is not there. When you are looking at an object, when you are absorbed in that object, or when you study a book intensely, you do not hear the voice of your friend who is shouting for a few minutes; because, the mind was elsewhere. It was not connected with auditory centre. In the brain and the external instrument ear, mind may be there, the instrument may be perfect, but if the centre is not functioning properly, you cannot hear or see. It behoves, therefore, that perception is possible, only when the mind is linked with the centres in the brain and the external instruments: eye, ear, etc.


A great Badshah purchased a horse for ten thousand rupees. The horse was restless. No one was able to ride on that horse, but his son Sikhandar said - Beloved father, I can ride on this horse. He sat on the horse and rode in the direction of the sun. The horse galloped. The Badshah was quite astonished. He said - O Sikhandar! how did you manage to ride? Sikhandar replied, - The horse was afraid of his shadow. I made the horse run towards the sun. Such is the restless mind-horse also. If you turn it towards Atman, it will be peaceful. Turn it towards Maya, it will jump and dance.


The mind cannot do any mischief without the help of the senses. The senses cannot do any harm without the help of their leader, mind. Desire moves the mind and the senses. The force of desire, or impulse moves the mind and the senses. It makes the mind outgoing. Abandon desires, control the senses first. Then alone you can easily control the mind.


Thinking starts the process of creation. Thinking means externalisation or objectification. Thinking means differentiation, quality and multiplicity. Thinking is Samsara. Thinking causes identification with the body. Thinking causes - I-ness and - mine-ness. Thinking causes time, space, etc. Stop this thinking through Vairagya and Abhyasa, and merge yourself in the Pure Consciousness. Where there is no thinking or Sankalpa, there is Absolution or Jivanmukti.


O mind! you cannot be my friend now. I know your worth and nature. I was deluded till now through your tricks. We move now in diametrically opposite poles. You want fleeting sensual pleasure from objects outside. But I want Immortal Bliss of Soul inside. You are ever restless and worried. I am peaceful and tranquil now. You are full of passion, fear and attachment. I am dispassionate, fearless and unattached. You want women, wealth and property. I am dispassionate and full of renunciation. We cannot agree on many points now. Therefore, leave me quickly and quietly. Good-bye, friend, my old comrade.


O mind! Give up thy folly. Do not associate thyself with this perishable body. It will burst like a bubble or pot. It will vanish like the flash of lightning. It is full of imparities. You will be drowned in miseries. Soar high, aim high, think high. Seek the Immortal Bliss of Atman within. Enquire, cogitate and meditate.

O devilish mind, listen! Do not wander in sensual objects. You cannot find the Truth in objects there. Wake up! Seek the Eternal Bliss in Atman. Do not keep friendship with the body. Keep company with the sages. The whole world is a modification of the five elements only. Do not be deluded. Beware! Beware! O truant mind. Meditate on the feet of Guru. Your ignorance will be burnt. Light of the Atman will shine in your heart. The ghost of egoism will run away. The pairs of opposites will be annihilated. The five afflictions will be destroyed. You will enjoy Bliss Immortal. You will be ever peaceful.

O mind! Drink the nectar of Lord's name. Give up evil company. Live in the company of the sages. Hear the Lilas of the Lord. Do Japa, sing, pray and meditate. Give up lust, anger, greed, etc. Do not keep company with the senses and objects. You will enjoy Immortal Bliss.

O mind! Eradicate evil qualities. Cultivate virtuous qualities. Do not join with the senses in future. Go back to your original home. There alone you will find eternal peace.

O mind! Drink the nectar of the holy Name. Shun evil company. Seek the company of saints. Sing the Glory of the Lord. Abandon lust, anger and greed. Cultivate purity, love and generosity. Wander not aimlessly. Rest at the lotus-feet of the Lord. Thou art indeed blessed.

O Mind! give up pride, vanity and egoism. Be balanced in pleasure and pain, censure and praise, honour and dishonour, success and failure. Do not stroll here like a street-dog. Go back to your original abode of Bliss. Thy original nature is purity.

O deluded mind! Wealth and property will not follow you. Virtue and vice alone will follow you. This body will perish like a flash of lightning. This world is a jugglery of Maya. Walk in the path of virtue or Dharma. Control the senses and the mind. Meditate on your own Atman and attain Self-realisation now and here.

O head! bow to the Lord. O tongue! praise the Lord. O ear! hear the Lilas of the Lord. O eye! behold the form of the Lord. O hand! serve the Lord. O feet! perambulate round the Lord. O mind! think of the Lord.

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