Feb 19, 2008

MIND-IX

Aum Shri Gurave NamaH

COMPREHENSIVE KNOWLEDGE AND TECHNIQUES OF MIND-CONQUEST

by Swami Sivananda

I. ALL ABOUT MIND

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

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

Swami Sivananda answered:Mind is Atma-Sakti (Soul Power). It is born of Prakriti(Nature). 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-realization.

II. HOW TO CONTROL THE MIND?

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.

III. SANKALPA AND ITS DESTRUCTION

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-realization 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.

IV. EGOISM

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.

V. FOUR FORMS OF DESIRE

There is a desire to increase your possessions. You may have 5 Lakhs of rupees ( Five Hundred Thousands of Rupees). But you desire to possess one Crore (100 Lakhs). 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.

VI. MIND-CENTRE AND INSTRUMENT

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.

VII. MIND - A RESTLESS HORSE

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.

VIII. CONTROL OF MIND

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.

IX. STOPPING OF THOUGHT

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.

X. GOOD-BYE MIND!

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.

XI. TO THE MIND AND THE SENSES

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 dishonor, 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 (Illusion). Walk in the path of virtue or Dharma. Control the senses and the mind. Meditate on your own Atman and attain Self-realization 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 around the Lord. O mind! think of the Lord.

Guide to Mind Control

"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 (Truth) and Brahmacharya (Celibacy), 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 (Fourth Chakra) 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 (Millions) 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-realization 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.

Note: Read as if you are aspiring for spiritual growth etc. then these statements appear OK, other wise if you make these statements in front of ordinary people, they might call you a MCP, particularly Women, and for Women they might be called, Feminist etc. but if you have taken this direction of Spiritual growth, then they are to be followed religiously.)

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.

HIGHER METHODS FOR MIND-CONQUEST by Swami Sivananda

I. ACHIEVEMENT OF MANOJAYA

To the wheel of Moha (delusion, infatuation) mind is the axle. If by dint of discrimination your mind is destroyed, then Maya will not affect you. Mind is the container of matter and form, time and space.

Mastery over the mind and impulses is life victorious. Disciplined thinking and feeling will give you strength and peace and help you in the attainment of God-realization.

Control of the emotions is of paramount importance if you wish to commune with God. When a Vritti arises, do not think about it, divert your attention, let it sink back. Do not spin your imagination. It is imagination that strengthens the Vritti.

From the experience you get Samskaras (impressions), from Samskaras you get Vasanas, from Vasanas you get Vrittis or thought-waves. The imagination makes the Vrittis into a desire. Then ego attaches itself to the desire and it becomes then an urge, a Trishna. Then you are forced to do Cheshta to fulfil the desire. The process of the mind is going on.

You can prevent the formation of new Samskaras, and stop past Samskaras to get further strengthened by fresh ones. The Vasanas are the woven nets to bind man. If the Vasanas are mastered, then you have scored a tremendous victory. The Vrittis and Samskaras are countless and deep-rooted, but they have an end through Vichara, Viveka, Japa, Satsanga, Svadhyaya, meditation and prayer.

The mind associated with objects leads to bondage, and dissociated from objects to emancipation. The secret of strength lies in the calm and serene mind. When the mind remains without any attraction or repulsion towards objects, it will cease to exist. When the mind is dull, rouse it by Kirtan; when it is distracted, bring it back to calmness through Pranayama, worship and meditation, when it becomes attached get it detached through dispassion and discrimination. Thought is motivated by desire. Desire is the motive-force that makes the mind move. Desire and thought are closely connected. Every thought is prompted by the desire that stands behind it. Desire is the fuel. Thought is the fire that is kept up by the fuel of desire. Desire is another name for mind. Desire is constantly feeling the ego. So desire is at the root of our fears. Give up the load of excessive desires. If desires are allowed to grow, then they become the fuel for the fire of thought.

With the passing away of the fuel of desires, the Sankalpas or thoughts also perish. Annihilate your Sankalpas or thoughts. You will not be subject to the trammels of birth; and, the mind is extinguished like a lamp without Ghee or oil.

The mind is a blessing of God. Because without mind you cannot think of God. Without it you cannot concentrate and meditate. Without mind and emotions, thoughts and feelings, you cannot have Bhava and Bhakti.

II. INNER YOGIC SADHANA

So long as the mind is not destroyed, the Vasanas are not destroyed; vice-versa, so long as the Vasanas are not destroyed, the mind is not destroyed. Vasana is the ignorance which enslaves us in sensual objects after giving up true discrimination. Form exists in the mind, so long as the Vasanas are coupled with it. The conception of the heterogeneous objects in the mind, through a conception of their reality and the enjoyment of the pleasures therein, can be said to be of the form of the mind.

So long as the knowledge of Brahman is not attained, so long will the mind be not destroyed; conversely, so long as the mind is not destroyed, so long will knowledge of Brahman remain unattained.

If thoughts are destroyed through the extinction of Vasanas, the quiescence of the mind will result and the mind's destruction will ensue. It is only to control this heterogeneous mind, that the intelligent Yogins perform Pranayama through the control of Prana. The fluctuation of Pranas and Vasanas are the two seeds of mind. Of these, if either of them dies both perish. Through Vasanas Prana's motion is caused; through Prana's motion Vasanas are caused. These two are the seeds and the sprouts to the ripe dried fruit of the mind. These two have their root in the visibles of the universe. If the visibles are destroyed, then Prana's fluctuation and Vasanas will be eradicated to their root like a tree. It is the mental actions that are the seeds of the visibles. If the intelligence does not play its part in the visibles, then the visibles cease to exist.

The beneficent control of Prana leads to that of the mind and causes in one equality of vision over all. Through aspiration, Pratyahara and indifference, you can effectively burn away the impressions of the objects at their initial stage. Repetition of God's name and deep meditation enable the mind not to retain in itself the remembrance of anything other than God. Just as the bee which drinks the honey, does not desire the scent, the mind which is ever absorbed in the Nada (sound Om) does not desire the objects.

To transcend time and space is to control the mind. Have unshakable faith in the Lord. Cling to His Divine Name. Surrender unto Him. Pray to Him sincerely. The mind will be powerless to do anything to you.

III. SECRET OF YOGA SADHANA

I solemnly affirm that the fell disease of birth and death can be removed only through the divine panacea of the mind-mastery and not through any other means. The path of annihilation of your mind will be most beneficial to you and will never generate the least of pains. If the mind is destroyed by dint of discrimination, then Maya will not affect you.

Moksha means nothing but the destruction of the impurities of the mind. If your mind is free and pure, you will not again enter into birth. Control of mind is not done in a day. But by constant practice and sustained Vairagya, the victory is yours. Become a true hero. Have self-conquest or mastery over mind. Enter the illimitable realm of immortal bliss. Blessed is he who has controlled his mind and has achieved Self-conquest.

IV. SECRET OF MANONASA

The root of all evil is the sense of ‘‘I'' and ‘‘mine''. If you destroy the Ahamkara or egoism and conquer the foes of senses, the Vasanas or subtle desires will vanish. Slay egoism which appears in the forms of fear, hate, envy, doubt, deception and anger. When ego perishes God reveals Himself. Emancipation is release from bondage of the ego and its desires, of the ego and its propensities, its cravings for the sensuous. The original sprout of the painful egoism with its tender stem of rebirths ramifies itself everywhere with its long branches of ‘‘mine'' and ‘‘thine'' and yields its unripe fruits of pain, sorrow, delusion, etc. Egoism obstructs vision of truth and causes death. Annihilation of egoism bestows immortality, freedom and everlasting peace. Egoism or individuality takes man away from Truth and consequently causes discord, pain, sorrow, fights, quarrel and war. Die to the lower self to become alive to the Brahman within you. Sin emanates from the ego's assertion of its will. The ego subjecting itself to the clutches of Vasanas which make it to be transformed into the object it sees to the exclusion of others, fancies that object to be real and is deluded by the same. In the presence of fire, iron appears to gleam. Iron by itself has no brightness of its own, but its contact with fire makes it appear so. Similarly, the intellect borrows the light of Atman and feels, ‘I am the doer, I am the enjoyer', etc.

The true egoism can be destroyed to its root by the fire of Jnana only. When the spirit is freed from its relationship with the mind in the state of Jnana, or illumination, the world vanishes like the mirage-river in the sandy desert. The cognition by one, of the Reality, after true discrimination that he is not in this world and that the universe is not, constitutes mind's destruction.

CONQUEST OF MIND'S STRONGHOLDS by Swami Sivananda

You have the whole menagerie within you - the lion, the tiger, the serpent, the elephant, the ape and the peacock. Bring them under your control. The beauty of the flesh is really due to the life-giving principle, Prana. The beauty is attributable to the light that emanates from Atman. The nasty body with oozing discharges from nine gutters composed of the five elements is a Jada Vastu and Apavitra. Always entertain this idea. Have a clear-cut, well-defined, image or picture like this. You will conquer lust by such a mental drill. If you understand the doctrine of unity in diversity, if you know there is only one matter, one energy, one mind-substance, one life, one existence, one Sat, one Reality, and if you entertain always such a thought, you can control Krodha (Anger). If you remember that you are only an instrument in the hands of God, that God is everything, that God does everything, that God is just, then you can get rid of Ahamkara. You can annihilate Dvesha by Pratipaksha Bhavana. Look to the brighter side of persons. Ignore the dark aspect.

Emotion is a motive power like the steam of an engine. It helps you in your evolution. Had it not been for the presence of emotion, you would have passed into a state of passivity or inertia. It gives a push for action or motion. It is a blessing. But you must not become a prey to emotions. You must not allow them to bubble out. You must purify and calm the surging emotions. You must allow it to rise slowly and subside quietly from the mind-ocean. You must keep the emotion under perfect control. Do not mistake physical sensations for higher sublime emotions. Do not be carried away by emotions. There are certain people who like to hear of new sensational events just to arouse their emotions. They live on emotions; otherwise they feel quite dull. This is a great weakness. This must be eradicated if they like to lead a calm and quiet life.

All evil qualities proceed from anger. If you control anger, all evil qualities will vanish by themselves.

Ahamkara, Samkalpa, Vasana, Prana have intimate connection with the mind. There cannot be any mind without these four. Prana is the life of the mind. Ahamkara is the root of the mind. Sankalpas are the branches of the mind-tree. Vasana is the seed of the mind. This deep-rooted tree of Samsara which ramifies in various directions with branches full of flowers, tendrils, fruits, etc., has the mind as its root. If this root-mind is destroyed, the tree of Samsara - this tree of birth and death - will also be destroyed. Cut this root - mind - with the axe of Brahma Jnana. Chop off the branches (Sankalpas) with the knife of Viveka-Vichara.

ABSOLUTE SUBDUAL OF THE MIND by Swami Sivananda

Mind, through ignorance and indiscrimination, considers its false personality to be true and thinks it is the doer of all Karmas and thus becomes egoistic. It imagines that it is in bondage. It identifies itself with the Jivatma; it becomes Jivatma itself and takes the responsibility upon itself for doing good or bad Karmas and enjoying or suffering from their fruits. Hence is mind the doer of Karmas (action), and responsibility for the Karmas, therefore, rests with it.

Mind is the stealer of Atman. It is a thief. Mind drags the Jivatma into Vishaya (sensual enjoyments). Jivatma is the Abhasa of Chaitanya or reflected intelligence in mind. Mind and Jivatma always live together. They cannot be separated. Slay the mind, the stealer of Atman, through Vichara, Manana and Nididhyasana (constant and profound meditation) on Brahman.

Mind has the potency of creating or undoing the whole world in the twinkling of an eye. Therefore, slay this mind the slayer of Atman, whether through the destruction of Vasana (latent, subtle desires) or Vakya Chintana. The best means of disposing of the great danger of Maya, involving all in pains, is the destruction of mind. With the destruction of the mind, all the three periods of time vanish into nothingness. With the destruction of mind, Atmajnana begins to dawn.

The extinction of Vasanas (Vasana-kshaya), Manonasa (annihilation of the mind), and Tattva-Jnana (understanding of the Reality), when practised together for a long time, are regarded as fruitful. They should be practised at a time. So long as these three are not equally practised, again and again, the Supreme Seat (Parama Pada) cannot be attained even after a lapse of hundreds of years. Through the practice of these three for a long time, the firm knots of the heart are cut without doubt, like the breaking of the threads in a lotus-stalk rent in two.

Destruction of the mind does not mean annihilation of the self. The Vedantin divides the mind into the higher and the lower, of which the lower one leading to desires is asked to be destroyed.

Destruction of desires, annihilation of Ahankara, destruction of Sankalpa - all mean control of mind or annihilation of mind (Manonasa or Amanaskata). Destruction of egoism, raga-Dvesha (attraction and repulsion for objects) and all Vasanas along is Manonasa. Manonasa comes through the destruction of the Vasanas. Manonasa does not mean that you should take a sword and cut the mind to pieces.

Manonasa means the death of the present form of the mind (i.e., the instinctive mind of emotions and passions), the form which perceives differences where none exists, which identifies the Self with the body. Its death really means its transformation into and, therefore, the birth of cosmic consciousness.

Vast majority of persons live in Annamaya Kosa only. Their thoughts are directed towards eating, cleansing the body and putting on neat dress. That is all. Even the so-called educated persons live in Annamaya Kosa only. Sometimes, they live in Manomaya Kosa (mental sheath). A spiritual aspirant and Viveki live in Vijnanamaya Kosa (Buddhi Sheath). The Vijnanamaya Kosa is developed by abstract thinking and reasoning by systematic meditation, Brahma- chintana, study of the Upanishads, Yoga-Vasishtha and Brahma Sutras. You must all develop the Vijnanamaya Kosa by the study of Vedantic literature and pure thinking. Then you are safe. Mind will stop to deceive and torment you.

Mind is absorbed in Mahat or Buddhi. Individual Buddhi is absorbed in the Cosmic Buddhi; Cosmic Buddhi in Avyakta; Avyakta in Brahman. This is the Laya-Chintana of Antahkarana or Mind.

Sambhavi Mudra, Bhrukuti-Drishti (looking at the spot midway between the two eyebrows) Nasikagra-Drishti (looking steadily at the tip of the nose), Nadanusandhana (hearing the sounds of the ear) - all belong to Laya Yoga. By these practices the mind gets Laya soon. The Unmani state supervenes rapidly. The Unmani Avastha of Laya-Yogis corresponds to the Bhava-Samadhi of Bhaktas. In Sambhavi Mudra, the eyes are open but the mind is fixed on the Lakshya. The eyes do not see the external objects.

When the mind and senses are thinned out and eventually controlled, Smaranendriya-vyapara (the various activities of Antahkarana and senses) ceases. Jivatva (personality-nation and sensation) vanishes. Brahmatva (existence) remains. That is Kevala Asti.

Manonasa is of two kinds, viz., (1) Svarupa Manonasa, destruction of the Svarupa of mind, as in the case of the Jivanmuktas and (2) Arupa Manonasa, destruction of the very form of the mind, as in the case of Videhamuktas, when they leave off their physical bodies. The first is termed - destruction of the mind with form. The second is termed - destruction of the mind without form.

GUIDING LIGHTS FOR SELF-CONQUEST by Swami Sivananda

Mind cannot by itself illumine the objects. Without the Atman, which is of the nature of intelligence, no cognition is possible. The function of the mind is to go out to the object through the senses and manifest it. Just as the water flowing from the tank to the fields through channels assumes the forms of the respective fields, so also the mind which pervades an object assumes the form of that object. Every object is an idea. It proceeds from the mind, exists in the mind and merges in the mind.

Just as the light of the sun takes the shape of the object it illumines, the mind which enlightens everything assumes the form of the object it reveals.

When the eye sees in orange, the mind projects itself through the eye and takes the form of an orange. When the mind, conceives of an orange, perceives an object, it transforms itself into the object.

The perceiver in spite of the presence of the sense-organs and the objects, can perceive the object only when the mind is attached to it. Therefore, the mind is the instrument.

Just as a lion that is shut up in a cage is restless, so also, the mind-bird that is shut up in the cage of our brain is restless. The mind runs after objects passionately. Fix it on the all-peaceful Atman. It will attain Supreme Peace.

If the mind is pure, even enemies become friends. Tigers and serpents cannot harm you. Poison will become nectar. The flames of fire become cool. All these things will happen, when you know that there is the same Immanent Being in the hearts of all. The lives of Mira and Prahlada confirm this.

Knowledge dawns only in a man who is endowed with a contented mind. A contented mind is ever calm and serene. He who does not wish for things which he has not got, who is not affected by what he possesses, and who is never elated or dejected, is a contented man. The heart of a man of contentment is ever full. He is ever happy. A disciplined and one-pointed mind is the essential requisite to God-realisation.

Conquest of the mind is possible only by lessening the desires. Therefore, abandon all desires through dispassion, discrimination and meditation on Brahman.

The mind of the cat is ever on the milkpot. The mind of the snake is ever on the frog. Even so, the mind of a passionate man is ever on the small, vulgar, sensual pleasures. O ignorant man! aspire for the big eternal bliss. The methods, the weapons, used to combat the enemy mind and watchwords of those who have attained Self-realisation are different in each case.

A potter moulds the clay; goldsmith moulds the gold; and a blacksmith moulds the iron; but an aspirant moulds his mind. Detect the dodgings of the mind and overcome them. The mind will cheat you in a variety of ways when you want to sit for meditation.

Prepare the ground first. Purify the mind first. Only then the Governor of the mind will enthrone Himself in your heart.

Tune the instrument first. Keep everything in order before the Master of music arrives to play on the instrument, viz., mind. Spiritual experience does not remain constant when the mind is not perfectly purified. The Jiva descends again into the egoistic life. The higher consciousness is withdrawn from him.

The more the mind is withdrawn from the outer world, the more it is making headway in the realm of spirit or Atman. A pure well-directed mind will do you tremendous service. It will become your obedient servant, true guide or Guru and an affectionate mother.

To have control over the mind and the senses is real heroism. To refrain from harming other creatures is the highest charity. To abandon desires is the true Tapas. Whatever brings about unity and harmony is Dharma. Only when you have purified the vehicles of Adhara, only when the mind is serene, you can behold the majesty and glory of the Self.

Lead a well-regulated, disciplined life. Control the senses first. Subject them absolutely to the mastery of the mind. Then bring the lower mind under the control of the higher mind. Balance of mind or mental equipoise is an indispensable element in spiritual life. Develop this again and again.

A very big needle is of no use in stitching a fine cloth. Even so, a gross mind is of no use in realising the Supreme Self. A vacant mind cannot be called a serene mind. There is no thinking, no conception, no mental action, in a vacant mind. The most essential prerequisite in the spiritual path is an undivided, one-pointed mind.

When the mind is longing for a particular food or drink, when the thing is right in front of you when you are just putting out your hand to grasp it, do not touch it. Stop and say, - I am not a slave of any particular food or drink or any object. I can leave it any moment. My will is powerful now.

As a diamond can be cut only by a diamond, so also, the mind can be conquered only by the mind. The lower instinctive mind should be conquered by the higher, pure, Sattvic mind.

When the mind is rendered pure and one-pointed, it gets established in the one Supreme Self which is of the nature of pure-consciousness, that is all-pervading like the ether, homogeneous like a lump of salt. Adversities become sweet when your mind is turned towards God.

Mind is like a monkey. It is never satisfied with the objects which are already under its possession. It jumps to other unattained ones. It always wants variety and gets disgusted with monotony. Tame this mind by making it taste the nectar of the Atman within, by regular meditation.

Your mind swings like a pendulum between a tear and a cheer, between fleeting pleasure and pain. Regular and constant meditation can stop this swinging of the mind, and bestow on you unalloyed felicity. Therefore, meditate. When you try to fix the mind, only then it becomes restless, and the thoughts which you never dreamt of before enter the mind. Your enemy becomes more violent only when you begin to attack him. Even so, are the thoughts. Gradually they will lose their vigour and die. Persist in your Sadhana. Be regular in your meditation. You will attain success in concentration.

Gradually empty the mind. When the attraction for objects dies through dispassion and discrimination, the number of thoughts or ideas gradually decreases. Meditation keeps only the one idea or God or Atman. Gradually the mind is emptied of all worldly thoughts and is filled with Atman or God.

The spiritual practices begin to take firm root when the mind becomes concentrated. The mind that takes refuge in inactivity mistakes inertia for liberation.

Close the senses through Pratyahara or abstraction and Dama or self-restraint. Make the mind steady. Let it cease vibrating. Let it become still. Allow not any desire to disturb its tranquillity. Behold now the majesty and glory of Atman in the silence.

Negate your ego; deny your separateness; efface yourself; suffer pains and sacrifice pleasures. Deny the wants of thyself; it asks for many a cup of poison. It is a moth that falls into the fire thinking it is pleasant. It is a child that walks into the well. Humble thyself, annihilate thyself, if you wish to Live.

Shame upon the man of mere dry intellect without practical wisdom. He cannot avoid crookedness and cunningness. He is self-deceived and a husband of everlasting misery. He is far away from the Real. He has married sin.

Throw away your learning, O basket of vanity! Give away everything that is dear and behold the light within. The ego bursts into Infinity or sinks into nothingness. These are the two paths by which the ego loses itself in toto.

Realisation of the Supreme State can come only if one is sincere and earnest in practical Sadhana. The lesser the connection with the ego and the greater the detachment from objective consciousness, the quicker is the Realisation of the Absolute.

The more the ego-sense is pressed down, the nearer we are to the Eternal. The place of the annihilated ego is taken by the revelation of the Absolute Reality.

METHOD OF SELF-ANALYSIS by Swami Sivananda

Daily self-analysis or self-examination is indispensable. Then alone can you remove your defects and can grow rapidly in spirituality. A gardener watches the young plants very carefully. He removes the weeds daily. He puts a strong fence around them. He waters them at the proper time. Then alone they grow beautifully and yield fruits quickly. Even so, you should find out your defects through daily introspection and self-analysis, and then eradicate them through suitable methods. If one method fails, you must adopt a combined method. If prayer fails, you should take recourse to Satsanga or association with the wise, Pranayama, meditation, dietetic regulations, enquiry, etc. You should destroy not only big waves of pride, hypocrisy, lust, anger, etc., that manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, but also their subtle impressions which lurk in the corners of the subconscious mind. Then only you are perfectly safe.

These subtle impressions are very dangerous. They lurk like thieves and attack you when you are napping, when you are not vigilant, when your dispassion wanes, when you slacken a bit your daily spiritual practice, and when you are provoked. If these defects do not manifest even under extreme provocation on several occasions, even when you are not practising daily introspection and self-analysis, you can assure yourself that the subtle impressions also are obliterated. Now you are safe. The practice of introspection and self-analysis demands patience, perseverance, leech-like tenacity, application, iron will, iron determination, subtle intellect, courage, etc. But you will gain a fruit of incalculable value. That precious fruit is Immortality, supreme peace and infinite bliss. You will have to pay a heavy price for this. Therefore you should not murmur when you do daily practice. You should apply your full mind, heart, intellect and soul to spiritual practice. Then only, rapid success is possible.

Keep daily spiritual diary and practise self-analysis (self-examination) at night. Note down how many good actions you have done, what mistakes you have committed during the course of the day. In the morning resolve: - I will not yield to anger today. I will practise celibacy today. I will speak truth today.

CONTROL OF MIND by Swami Sivananda

1. Control by Abhyasa and Vairagya

Their (the mental modifications) control is done by practice and non-attachment.

NOTES

Through Vairagya you will have to check the out-going Vishaya Vrittis and through Abhyasa you will have to cut the new spiritual path for the mind to move on. Vairagya serves the part of an anicut on the river of Vishaya Vrittis. It forms a strong embankment. It does not allow the Vishaya Vrittis to pass outside. Vairagya removes Pratibandhas or obstacles. Abhyasa gives Kaivalya Moksha. Without Vrittis one cannot enjoy sensual objects, (Vaishaya-Vyavahara). If the Vrittis along with Samskaras are destroyed, Manonasa or annihilation of the mind follows.

Here is the gloss of Vyasa: The stream of mind flows both ways; flows towards good and it flows towards evil. That which flows on to perfect independence, Kaivalya, down the plane of discriminative knowledge is named the stream of happiness. That which leads to rebirth and the flow down the plane of indiscrimination or ignorance, is the stream of sin. Among those, the flow towards objects is thinned by Vairagya or desirelessness; the flow of discrimination is rendered visible by habituating the mind to the experience of knowledge. Hence the suppression of the mental modification is dependent upon both.

2. What Is Abhyasa

Of these (Abhyasa and Vairagya), practice is the effort to secure steadiness of (the modifications of mind).

NOTES

The effort to restrain all the Vrittis of the mind and to make the mind steady like the jet of a lamp in a windless place is Abhyasa. To drive back the mind to its source - Hridaya Guha, and get it absorbed in Atman is Abhyasa. To make the mind inward and to destroy all its out-going tendencies is Abhyasa. And this practice should be done for a long time without any break and with perfect devotion. This is mentioned in Sutra I-14.

In this Sutra Abhyasa is explained. As for Vairagya, refer to Sutra I-15.

3. Control by Suppression of Vrittis

The suppression of the modification of mind (the Nirodha Bhumi) is the junction with the moment of suppression, when the out-going impressions and impressions of suppression disappear and appear.

NOTES

In other words, we can say that, by the suppression of the out-going Vrittis of mind and the development of modifications of control, the mind rests firm in Nirodha Bhumi. This is Nirodha Parinama (modification of control).

The mind remains in its real, unmodified state. It is very difficult to understand this and the following four Sutras. You must clearly understand the Chapter on ‘Samadhi.’ Vyutthana means the mind goes outward. Here it means Samprajnata Samadhi. When compared with Asamprajnata Samadhi, Samprajnata Samadhi is outward. Samprajnata Samadhi itself is a distraction of the mind. The passage from the Samprajnata to Asamprajnata Samadhi is very difficult and critical process. It is a trying stage. The Yogi must be very, very vigilant. If one out-going Vritti is checked and controlled, that powerful Vritti which checks the out-going Vritti is itself a modification. This also must be controlled. The mind should become absolutely waveless before Asamprajnata Samadhi is attained.

4. Make the Suppression Steady

Its undisturbed flow becomes steady by habit (continuous practice).

NOTES

The controlling modifications (Nirodha Parinama) must arise so continuously as to become a regular habit. Habit will come only by continuous practice. Then alone Samadhi will come by itself.

5. Control Mind by Virtues

By cultivating the habits of friendliness (towards equals), mercy (towards inferiors), gladness (towards superiors), and indifference towards happiness, pain, virtues and vice, comes peace of mind.

NOTES

The best and easy way of keeping the mind in a state of equanimity or evenness, which is conducive to the attainment of Samadhi, is described here. Maitri and Karuna will eradicate hatred. Mudita will remove jealousy. Mercy softens the hard heart and removes the cruel, harsh nature. By this practice, anger, Abhimana, hatred, egoism, envy of various sorts will vanish. Rajas and Tamas will be removed. The mind will be filled with Sattva. The fickleness of the mind will disappear. Ekagrata state of mind will come in. The mind becomes pure.

Samadhi cannot come in a mind that is filled with hatred, jealousy and anger. By the method of Pratipaksha Bhavana, any good virtue can be developed.

6. Control Mind by Pranayama Or by exhalation and retention of breath.

NOTES

In the previous Sutra it is stated that by developing virtues you can control the mind. Here, in this Sutra, another method of controlling the mind is given. All Vrittis will cease by the practice of Pranayama. Rajas and Tamas will be removed. The mind will become one-pointed. The body becomes light. The mind will become calm. Different exercises in Pranayama are given in Chapter VII of this book.

Note: I will cover "Pranayama" in one of my future posts.

7. Control Mind by Vedantic Method

Cut off daily the branches of Sankalpa from the tree of Manas and ultimately destroy the tree of the mind at its root completely. The cutting off of the branches is only secondary. The eradication of the tree by the removal of ego is the primary thing. Therefore, through virtuous actions, if you destroy the idea ‘I’ which forms the very root of the mind, then it will not spring up again. The Brahma Jnana which enquires the true nature of ‘I’ is the fire which destroys the mind. It is the Jnanagni referred to in the Gita IV-37: The fire of wisdom reduces all actions (and the false ‘I’) to ashes.

He who knows the receptacle (Ayatana) verily becomes the receptacle of his people. Mind is verily the receptacle (of all our knowledge). (Chhandogya Upani- shad V-i-5)

FRUITS OF SELF-CONTROL by Swami Sivananda

I. MIND-CONTROL BY SELF-CONTROL

Self-control is indispensable for the living of a truly ethical life. Without self-restraint, the practice of ethics is quite impossible. You may possess sublime sentiments and noble intentions. But when you have no self-control, you will be a slave to base passions. You will succumb to every temptation and commit endless wrong actions. You want to lead an ethical life, but due to weak will and lack of self-control you fail. It is self-control which enables you to stick to the laws of ethics.

Self-control leads to the highest merit. Self-control is the eternal duty of man. Self-control surpasses in merit, charity, sacrifice and study of the Vedas.

Self-control increases your energy. Self-control is highly sacred. Through self-control you will be purified of all your sins, and gifted with energy and thereafter you will acquire the highest blessedness.

There is no other duty equal to self-control. Self-control is the highest virtue in this world. Through self-control you can enjoy the highest happiness both in this world and in the next. Gifted with self-control you will win great virtue.

The self-controlled man sleeps happily and awakes happily and moves through the world happily. He is always cheerful.

The man who is without self-control always suffers misery. He brings upon himself many calamities, all begotten by his own faults.

Forgiveness, patience, abstention from injury, impartiality, truth, sincerity, control of the senses, mildness, modesty, firmness, liberality, freedom from anger, contentment, sweetness of words, benevolence, freedom from malice - all these combined make up self-control. It also consists of respect for the preceptor and mercy for all. The man of self-control avoids both adulation and slander. Depravity, infamy, falsehood, lust, covetousness, pride, arrogance, self-justification, fear, envy and disrespect are all shunned by the man of self-control. He never incurs obloquy. He is free from envy.

That eternal region of Brahman which originates from Vedic penances and which is concealed in a cave can only be acquired through self-control.

The self-controlled man is never fettered by the attachments originating from earthly connections and sentiments.

There is only one fault in self-control. No second fault is seen in it. A man who has self-control is considered by men as weak. By forgiveness the man of self-control may easily acquire happy worlds.

That is a forest where the man of self-control lives. That is ever a very sacred place. Of what use is a forest to a man of self-control? Of what use is the forest to him who has no self-control?

The man of self-control acquires great reward in the next world. He acquires esteem in this world and attains to high stage hereafter. He acquires the state of Brahman. He attains liberation.

In all the modes of life the practice of self-control is distinguished above all virtues. The fruits of self-control are much greater than those obtained in all the modes of life.

The self-controlled man becomes desirous of liberation. He quietly bears present joys and griefs and he is never overjoyed or depressed by prospective ones.

He is shorn of vindictiveness and all sorts of guile. He is unaffected by praise and censure. He is well-balanced. He has good manners. He has purity, fortitude. He is a perfect master of his passions.

He gains honours in the world. He goes to heaven after he departs from this world. He makes all creatures gain what they cannot acquire without his help. He rejoices under all circumstances. He is ever happy.

II. MIND-CONTROL BY ASANGA AND MUMUKSHUTVA

Thinking of sensual objects is Sanga or attachment. Non-thinking of sensual objects is Vairagya. Stop thinking of objects by thinking of Brahman or the Eternal, or of your Ishta Devata (tutelary Deity). Keeping the Vasanas in the mind is keeping a black cobra within and feeding it with milk. Your life is ever in danger. Kill these Vasanas through Vichara, Vairagya and meditation on the Atman. Tamoguna (inertia) is brutal, Rajoguna (passion) is human. Sattva Guna (light, harmony) is divine. If the clothes on your body catch fire, you want to run towards water for cooling yourself. You must feel like this from the burning of the fire of Samsara. You should feel that you are roasted in the fire of Samsara. Vairagya (dispassion) and Mumukshutva (strong yearning for liberation) will dawn in you. The Aspirant in olden days used to approach the Guru with a bundle of sticks (Samit) in his hand for spiritual initiation. What does this indicate? He prays to his preceptor: - O, Adorable Guru! Let my bundle of sins and worldly Vasanas be burnt in the fire of Wisdom through Thy Grace. Let the Divine flame grow in me. Let me attain Self-effulgent Atman. Let my senses, Vasanas, mind, Prana and egoism be given as oblation.

To Follow: MIND X

So "Empty mind is a devils workshop", and a mind full of distractions is a waste of time and is like a monkey, the mind needs to be first emptied of all unnecessary things and then fill it with good habits, then empty them again and then fill it with devotion, then empty it again and fill it with God, It is the same way the cells in a tissue culture lab are purified by passaging, keep purifying it till you achieve 100% result, and then in that pure mind other then GOD nothing can reside.

Aum NamaH Shivaya!

Sianala,Montreal, Feb 2008

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