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Mind - Its Phlosophy and the Disciplines for its Conquest

by Swami Sivananda


Bhoomirapoanalo vayuh kham mano buddhireva cha ahankara iteeyam me bhinnah prakritirashtadha. According to Sankhya cosmology, mind is the fourth principle that has emanated from the Self-asserting principle, Ahankara or egoism or Asmita. Prakriti or Avyaktam (matter in an unmanifested state) is styled as - Ashtangini or eightfold Prakriti (Prakritirashtadha). Mind is one of the eight limbs or Ashtangas.

Mind is itself a word whose meaning is extremely vague, one incapable of being clearly defined except in terms of some questionable and speculative hypothesis. No one can point out to a mind and say: - That is what the word mind shall denote. Mind consists of a bundle of faculties, viz., the faculties of cognition or perception, volition or will, imagination, judgment, reason, understanding, memory. Character concerns the effective or conative organism of the mind. Knowledge concerns the cognitive organism. There are different channels of communication through which the cognitive and conative faculties are directed. There is only one mind which has diverse names according to the plane on which it functions, viz., the subjective mind, the objective mind, the universal mind (cosmic consciousness), or the superconscious mind, the subconscious mind, the instinctive mind, the spiritual mind. The Vishaya or function of the mind is cognition (Sankalpa-Vikalpa or will, thought, doubt).

The doubting mind is a collective aggregate of all Jnana-Indriyas or organs of sensation or perception. Mind is bellow will and above Prana or energy or matter. Mind is a relative manifestation of the Absolute. Mind is positive to Energy and Matter, but negative to will, which is again positive to mind, but negative to Atman. Mind when purified becomes your real Guru. You will hear the voice of conscience. You will get answers for your insoluble problems. A pure mind is no longer a subtle matter but Brahman itself.

The original home for the mind is Omkar in the Sahasrara or thousand-petalled lotus. Mind has become impure by your own desires. How the pure Brahman has become the impure Jiva is a problem that has baffled all human efforts for a clear, correct and satisfactory solution. This is a question which has no answer. This is the mystic side of nature. You cannot solve transcendental divine problems that belong to supramental plane, with the finite intellect or the physical plane. Develop intuition. Acquire transcendental wisdom. Look within through cosmic consciousness. Then you will get a real solution.


Through the searchlight of the concentrated mind, you will have to behold the treasures of the Soul or Atman. Just as rays permeate solid bones or block of wood, the concentrated mental rays of a focused mind will pass through the different forms of matter and reveal their nature. During cosmic consciousness, you are aware of the oneness of life. You will find that there is no such thing as dead matter, but all is alive, vibrating and intelligent. You will see the universe as the all, the Atman which is the essence or background of this sense-universe, of this world of Dvandvas or opposites, of this world of mere conceptions of ideas, of this world of names and forms.

In Svarga or paradise or heaven, you are in the - thought-world. You feel or experience no pain. Why? Because you get whatever you think of or imagine. Your desires are immediately gratified. Your thought instantaneously materialises, crystalises, and precipitates before you. You are satisfied. But this is not real.


The science of Raja Yoga deals with the methods of controlling the ever-oscillating mind, under the command of the will. Manoyama is superior to Pranayama; but the Adhikaris or qualified persons for practice of Manoyama should be very intelligent with bold understanding and tremendous will. Sit on Padma or Siddha Asana facing East or North. Make Trataka or Dharana on Trikuti, the space between the two eyebrows with closed eyes. Control the force of thought by meditation on Pranava or Om and its meaning. Practise regularly from half to two or three hours daily. You will become a Yogi and an Atma-Jnani soon.

Listen, to this mystery of mysteries, by knowing which man is freed from the illusion of the world, which is only due to the action of the mind having no existence in fact. First of all I shall tell you about the nature of Maya, then about the means of attaining knowledge and lastly about knowledge and realisation.

I shall also tell you of the subject of knowledge, the Supreme Self, by knowing which one is freed from fear. The perception of Self (Atman) in the non-Self, the body and the rest, is verily Maya; by it is this world taken to exist. There are two modes of Maya, Avarana and Vikshepa (veiling and oscillation of mind). It is the Vikshepa-Sakti that creates the world. Avarana-Sakti envelops all knowledge. By the power of Maya this world is superimposed upon the Supreme Self which is non-dual, just as the snake is superimposed on the rope. In reality, nothing exists. All that is seen, heard or remembered by men, is like a dream. Attachment is the root cause of this world.

The gross body is composed of the five elements of ether, air, fire, water and earth. The subtle body is made up of the five subtle elements (Tanmatras), Ahankara (egoism), intellect, the five Karma-Indriyas (organs of action) and the five Jnana-Indriyas (organs of sense-knowledge), the reflection of the Supreme Self (Chidabhasa), the mind and the Mulaprakriti (primordial matter). This is known as Kshetra or body.

The Jiva is other than this. It is the Supreme Self - diseaseless, undecaying. Listen now to the means of attaining knowledge. Give up pride and violence. Absence of egoism, balance of mind in pleasure and pain, single-minded devotion to the Supreme Self, freedom from attachment to sons, wives and wealth, residence in a place free from the society of men, having no contact with worldly persons, constant effort towards attainment of Atma-Jnana, reflection upon the meaning of Vedanta - through these, knowledge is acquired.

The Atman is all-pervading. It is different from the Buddhi Prana, Ahankara. It is ever pure. That by which this is known is knowledge. The same knowledge when realised becomes direct perception.

Unattached, it is the self-effulgent seer. When knowledge of the unity of the embodied and the Supreme Self arises, through the teaching of preceptor expounding the Sastras, Avidya, together with its effects and instruments, is merged in the Supreme Self. This is emancipation. Just as in the night even those having eyes cannot see their way, but those carrying a lamp can, in the same way to those possessed of devotion unto the Supreme Self, the Atman appears in its real nature.

Company of Bhaktas, service of the Lord and His devotees, fasts on the days of Ekadasi and the like, observances of days sacred unto Him, constant love for hearing, reading and expounding stories relating to the Lord, faith in worshipping Him and recitation of His sacred Name - these are the means to the attainment of this knowledge.

To the person who is devoted to Him comes forth knowledge and Realisation.


Mind is like a goat. The goat jumps from one plant to another plant. It never eats a plant fully. Even so, the mind jumps from one object to another. Instead of killing a goat in sacrifice, kill the mind. This is real sacrifice. Do not kill the innocent goat to satisfy your palate or tongue. Senses are the bulls. Do not kill a bull in sacrifice. Slay or sacrifice the senses. Egoism is like a cock. A cock sits at the top of a house and shouts. He thinks that he is the first to get up in the morning. He becomes egoistic and proud. When he shouts the whole body becomes stiff. When a man becomes egoistic his body also becomes stiff. Slay your egoism instead of killing a cock. Chitta is like a pig. The pig revels in the filth. The Chitta ever thinks of foul things. Slay this Chitta, instead of sacrificing a pig.

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