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New Approaches to the Mind, its Mysteries and Conquest

by Swami Sivananda


The human mind, at birth, resembles a writing table that has never been used. With the dawn of reason comes the first moral principle. Mind is subtle matter. It is the instrument for manifesting Prana. The condition of the body depends on how the Prana works. The condition of Prana depends upon how the mind works and what desires it has. Your inner nature is revealed by your manners, behaviour, conduct and character. Your mind is known by your speech and action. When the mind is serene, the body also becomes healthy. The mind cannot grasp more than one thing at a time. The mind is a bundle of thoughts, desires, cravings and impressions. The whole history of creation is inscribed in the mind. Mind is power that moulds and makes a man. Mind alone is Maya. The man dances in the theatre of this world to the music of the organs. The mind is not self-luminous. It fluctuates. It is sometimes dull and sometimes brilliant. It cannot be the self-luminous Atman. The mind is the battlefield or Kurukshetra where the forces of good and evil are pitted against each other.


Your greatest enemy is your own lower mind. Slay this mind with the sword of dispassion and discrimination. It is the inner enemy that is more dangerous than any other enemy outside. That inner enemy is your lower nature. The task of fighting with the lower mind requires single-minded and courageous effort. The deluding mind is the thief who has stolen the Atmic pearl. Slay the mind and get back the Atmic pearl. Be quick. Tarry not even a minute. Iron is cut by iron. Even so, the lower mind is destroyed by the higher mind.


What is the highest achievement? It is mastery over one's own mind. It is Self-realisation. He who has controlled his own mind, knows the secret of every mind. Develop an attitude of non-attachment and of witnessing the activities of the mind.

Goodness dawns when the mind ceases to function in the lower plane.


Maya is mind. Maya is egoism. All troubles come to an end when mind perishes, when ego dies. The mind as the locus of nescience (Avidya) is a finitising principle which veils the Truth and distorts it, presenting another false picture in its stead. The lower mind is the great slayer of Atman or the soul. The mind is no other than the Vasanas generating many rebirths. All the delusions of pains and pleasures are the attributes of the mind and not of Atman. With the growth of the mind, the pains increase; with the extinction of it, there will be bliss. The most important thing in the world of experience, is the mastery of the mind. The victory of man over nature, will be fruitless unless he attains victory over his mind. Mind is no other than Ahankara, the idea of 'I'. The ego is the veil between God and the soul. Ego is the veil between man and God. This ego is like a cloud. When the cloud disappears you can see the sun. Even so, if the ego vanishes you can see God.

If this idea of 'I' be destroyed through the desireless Atma-Jnana - this idea which is the source of all accidents, non-eternal, dependent, discriminationless, seed of all sins, Ajnana and the seed of birth and death - then this very destruction is the seat of the stainless Jivanmukti state. The experience - I am is prior to the experiences, - I know, I feel, I see, I think.

Egoism is an error, an illusion, a dream. Wake up from the slumber of ignorance. Open your eyes. He who has realised the nature of the rope that seemed to be a serpent, no longer trembles with fear. The identification of 'I' with this body, produces bondage. Mind is a bundle of thoughts. The source of all thoughts is the 'I' thought. Find out the real 'I'. The mind will vanish. After destroying the idea of 'I' contemplate upon all objects through the idea of Abhava (non-existence), as formless as Chit, and quiescent.


There is no enemy outside you. Turn your gaze within. This mysterious mind, the most potent instrument in the hands of Maya, the power that deludes all, is your enemy. A real hero is not he who is a conqueror in a battle, but he who subdues his senses and conquers his mind. The first thing that an aspirant has to acquire, is mastery over his mind. By constant practice of meditation, by right discernment, by renouncing his own personality, the aspirant can manipulate his mind and focus it on the Atman. Through the discriminative mind, the lower mind is powerfully mastered by the wise. A well-directed mind becomes your Guru. It is conducive to happiness. It elevates you. Control the mind and the senses. Cultivate non-attachment. Mastery of the mind leads to the renunciation of all. Be watchful or alert about every thought, feeling or desire that comes to your mind. Your mind will become quiet. Purity of mind results in happiness. Pray. Purify. The lower desire will be transmuted into aspiration and higher, divine will. Detach the mind from the objects. Do not allow the mind to go out. You will attain serenity and wisdom.

If you have dispassion and serenity, the mind is not affected by the external objects. The objects cannot produce any effect on the mind. Self-withdrawal and poise come if you practise self-restraint, discrimination and dispassion. When the mind, through the powerful Pratyahara, hankers not after desires, then it will remain still. This effort is called Asamvedana. That which is described as the imperishable state of quiescent Jnana is Asamvedana. That Jnana which tends to the destruction of the mind, is Asamvedana. Asamvedana will confer upon one, Moksha as its result.


Manas is mind. Manava is man. The stuff of the world is the mind-stuff. Mind has created or projected this world. The mind connects us with the whole of the external world. It is a receiving station for all communications from outside. The mind will exist only so long as you think of external objects. If you withdraw the mind from the external objects and make it think of Atman or the Universal Self, the source of the mind, it will cease to exist. Mind is conscious of separateness. Mind differentiates, separates, dwells in distinctions and differences. Mind doubts. Doubt destroys. Intellect gives certainty. Pride, illusion and desires are the binding-chords of mind. Thought includes feeling. By thought you are made; by thoughts you can change your character; by thought you can become that on which your heart is set. Find out on what your heart is set. The thoughts and outlook of individuals, differ owing to temperament, Samskaras and past lives. Sankalpa only is Samsara; its destruction is Moksha.

Sankalpa is the cause of bondage and all Karmas. The destruction of Sankalpa is itself Moksha or salvation. Ideas are the food of the mind. Bombs and bullets are not half as harmful as evil ideas. If the ideas are sublime, divine, uplifting and cultured, one prospers. The mind becomes good when it lives and acts in the company of sages; it becomes bad when it lives and acts in the company of wicked people. A God-filled mind moves towards God, perfection and illumination. A sense-object-filled mind moves towards darkness and ignorance. Empty the mind of sense-objects and fill it with God-thought. You will attain God-realisation.


When the rays of the sun pass through a lens, they are concentrated. They can burn anything. Even so when the rays of the mind are concentrated, the mind can do anything. It can work wonders.

Mercury-particles are scattered. When they are collected and made into a pill and when the pill is kept in the mouth, the Yogi can fly in the air. Similarly when the scattered rays of the mind are collected. The Yogi can attain anything.

Withdraw the mind from its engagements in sense-experience and use the mental energy in meditation and pure positive thoughts. Do not stuff your mind with all sorts of information. It is a huge burden on the mind. You cannot meditate. Do not make the mind dull and passive. Bring it to a deep silence.

Japa, repetition of Lord's Name, Kirtan, prayer, enquiry, meditation melt the mind and dissolve the ego. Restrain the mind from the objective world and focus it on the Atman which abides secretly in the innermost cave of the heart. You will transcend pain and sorrow and enjoy infinite bliss. To go beyond mind, is to go beyond time, space and causation. Pure consciousness or the Absolute consciousness is the ultimate Reality manifested in different forms and expressed by different names.

Pure consciousness is the supreme principle of the universe. It is all-pervading, all-comprehending, infinite, eternal, indivisible, all-full, existence, bliss. It is Para Brahman.

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