Feb 19, 2008

MIND- V

Aum Shri Gurave NamaH!

Chitta And Memory by Swami Sivananda

What Is Chitta?

Chitta is termed as the mind-stuff or mental substance. It is the ground floor, as it were. From it proceeds the three Vrittis, viz., Manas, Buddhi and Ahankara. This word belongs to the Rajayogic terminology of Maharshi Patanjali. Also in the Gita, Lord Krishna uses the term Chitta in various places.

Chitta is a separate faculty or category in Vedanta. Sometimes it is Antargata, comes under Mind. In Sankhya philosophy, it is included in Buddhi or Mahat-Tattva. The Chitta of Patanjali Rishi’s philosophy of Raja Yoga (Yogas-chittavritti-nirodhah) corresponds to the Antahkarana of Vedanta.

Subconscious mind is termed ‘Chitta’ in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences, memories thrown into the background but recoverable. The Chitta is like a calm lake and thoughts are like waves upon the surface of this lake and name and form are the normal ways in which these waves rise. No wave can rise without name and form.

The functions of the Chitta are Smriti or Smarana, Dharana, attention and Anusandhana (enquiry or investigation). When you repeat the Japa of a Mantra, it is the Chitta that does the Smarana. It does a lot of work. It turns out better work than the mind or Buddhi.

The Field Of Subconscious Mentation

The mental processes are not limited to the field of consciousness alone. The field of subconscious mentation is of a much greater extent than that of conscious mentation. The mind is not conscious of the greater portion of its own activities. As man can hold in consciousness but one fact at a time, only a fraction of our knowledge can be in the field of consciousness at any one moment. Only ten per cent of mental activities come into the field of consciousness. Ninety per cent of the mental activities takes place in the subconscious mind. Messages, when ready, come out like a flash from the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind through the trapdoor in the subconscious mind.

We sit and try to solve a problem and fail. We walk around, try again and again fail. Suddenly an idea dawns on us that leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at work.

You repeatedly fail at night to get the solution for a problem in arithmetic or geometry. In the morning, when you wake up, you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the subconscious mind. Even in sleep, it works incessantly without any rest. It arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and works out a proper, satisfactory solution.

Sometimes, you go to sleep at 10 p.m. with the thought, "I must get up at 2 a.m. in the morning to catch a train." This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. Subconscious mind is your constant, trustworthy companion and sincere friend.

With the help of the subconscious mind, you can change your vicious nature by cultivating healthy, virtuous qualities that remain dormant in every human heart. If you want to overcome fear, mentally deny that you have fear and concentrate your attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When courage is developed, fear vanishes by itself. The positive always overpowers the negative. This is an infallible law of nature. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana of Raja Yogins. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new ideals, new ideas and new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by changing the old ones.

Memory

Smriti or memory is a function of Chitta (subconscious mind). Memory is used in two senses. We say, "Mr. John has got a good memory." Here it means that Mr. John’s capacity of the mind to store up its past experiences is very good. Sometimes we say, "I have no memory of that incident." Here, you cannot bring up to the surface of the conscious mind, in its original form, the incident that took place some years ago. It is an act of remembering. You do not get any new knowledge through memory. It is only a reproduction.

If the experience is fresh, you can have a complete recall of your past experience through memory. In ordinary recollection there is a temporal coefficient. In personal memory there is a specific coefficient. That which acts together with another thing is a coefficient. In Mathematics, the numerical or literal factor prefixed to an unknown quantity in an algebraic term is a coefficient.

How Does Memory Arise

Suppose you have received a nice fan as a present from your amiable friend. When you use the fan, it sometimes reminds you of your friend. You think of him for a Smriti-Hetu (cause of memory).

If your brother is a tall man, the sight of a similar tall man in another place will bring to your mind the memory of your brother. This is memory due to the similarity of objects (Sadrisyata).

Suppose you have seen a dwarf at Madras (Chennai). When you see a very tall man or Patagonian, this will remind you of the dwarf whom you saw at Madras. The sight of a big palace will remind you of a peasant’s hut or a Sannyasin’s grass hut on the bank of Ganga. This memory is due to dissimilarity in objects (Viparitata).

When you walk along the road on a stormy day, if you happen to see a fallen tree, you conclude that the tree has fallen owing to the storm. In this case, the memory is due to the relation between cause and effect (Karya-karana-sambandha).

The new Samskaras wash away the old Samskaras. If the Samskaras are fresh and recent, it is easy to recall them back quickly. They come up again from the depths of the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind. Revival of old Samskaras takes place. If you visit once the college where from you received your education, ten years after you became an officer in the Government, all the previous Samskaras of your college days will be revived now. You will remember now your old professors, old friends, old books and various other things.

Characteristics Of A Good Memory

The following are the four good characteristics of a good memory: (1) If you read once a passage and if you can reproduce the same nicely, it is a sign to indicate that you have a very good memory. This is termed Sugamata. (2) If you can reproduce the same thing without increase or decrease, addition or substraction, it is called Avaikalya. (3) If you can preserve a fact or passage or anything for a very considerable period, it is called Dharana (retentive memory). (4) If you can reproduce a passage at once without any difficulty when it is needed, it is called Upaharana.

The Process Of Recollection

When you desire to remember a thing, you will have to make a psychic exertion. You will have to go up and down into the depths of the different levels of subconsciousness and then pick up the right thing from a curious mixture of multifarious irrelevant matter. Just as the railway sorter in the Railway Mail Service takes up the right letter by moving the hand up and down along the different pigeon-holes, so also the sorter subconscious mind goes up and down along the pigeon-holes in the subconscious mind and brings the right thing to the level of normal consciousness. The subconscious mind can pick up the right thing from a heap of various matters.

In a big surgical clinic, the assistant surgeon allows only one patient to enter the consultation room of the senior surgeon for examination. Even so, the mind allows one idea only to enter the mental factory at a time through the mind door (Manodvara). The subconscious mind brings to the threshold of the conscious mind, during an act of Smriti (memory), the right thing at the right moment, suppressing all others. It serves the part of a censor and allows only relevant memories to pass by. What a wonderful mechanism it is! Who is the driver for these dual minds? Who created these? What a magnanimous Being He must be! My hairs stand on their ends when I think of Him! My pen quivers when I write. Don’t you like to dwell with Him? What a great privilege and joy it is to be in communion with Him!

When you try to remember something, sometimes you cannot remember. After some time, the forgotten something flashes out to the conscious mind. How do you explain this? It is a slip of memory. The Samskaras of the particular thing has sunk deep. The Chitta, which is the storehouse of Samskaras (and whose function is memory), has to exert a bit, to analyse and sort and bring it to the surface of the conscious mind through the trapdoor. After some exertion, revival of the old Samskaras takes place and the forgotten idea, or name of a person, which you wished to recollect sometime back, suddenly flashes to the conscious or objective mind. There ought to have been some congestion in the brain, which might have prevented the revival of a forgotten thing, idea or person. As soon as the congestion is relieved, the forgotten idea floats on the surface of the mind. When the mind is calm, memory becomes keen.

Power Of Memory

Those who overwork mentally, who do not observe the rules of Brahmacharya (Celibacy) and who are tormented by many cares, worries and anxieties, lose their power of memory soon. When you show symptoms of losing your memory, as you grow old, the first symptom is that you find it difficult to remember the names of persons. The reason is not far to seek. All the names are arbitrary. They are like labels. There are no associations with the names. The mind generally remembers through associations, as the impressions become deep thereby.

Even in old age, you can remember old events, as there are associations with events. You can remember well in old age some passages that you read in schools and colleges. But, you find it difficult to remember in the evening a new passage you read in the morning. The reason is that the mind has lost its Dharana Sakti (power of grasping ideas). The brain cells have degenerated.

In early boyhood, the power of grasping in the mind is very marked. But, there is no power of understanding. In 16, 18, 20, the power of understanding becomes manifest. The power of retentive memory is also great in this age. The mind becomes settled only after 30. Below 30, there is much Chanchalatva (wandering nature). A man below 30—in the vast majority of cases-is not able to think and decide for himself. He has no power of judgment. After 45, power of grasping begins to decline. Memory also begins to decline. He has power of retention for what he has learnt before. He cannot learn new sciences. Brahmacharya helps a lot to develop the power of retention and various other psychic powers.

Samskaras by Swami Sivananda

What Is Samskara?

Vritti (whirlpool, thought-wave) arises in the mind-ocean. It operates for sometime. Then it sinks below the threshold of normal consciousness. From the surface of the conscious mind wherein it was uppermost for some time, it sinks down deep into the region of the subconscious mind (Chitta). There, it continues to be a subliminal action and becomes a Samskara (impression). A conscious action-whether cognitive, affective or conative—assumes a potential and hidden (Sukshma and Avyakta) form just below the threshold of consciousness. This is termed a Samskara.

Memory-a Revival Of Samskara

The Samskaras (impressions) are embedded in the subconscious mind or Chitta. The subconscious mind is otherwise known as the unconscious mind. Subjective mind, subconscious mind, unconscious mind and Chitta are synonymous terms. The seat of this subconscious mind is the cerebellum or hindbrain. You can recall the past experiences from the storehouse of Samskaras in the subconscious mind. The past is preserved even to the minutest detail. Even a bit is never lost. When the fine Samskaras come up to the surface of the conscious mind back again as a big wave, when the past Vritti comes back to the surface of the conscious mind again by recollection, it is called memory or Smriti. No memory is possible without the help of Samskara.

How The Samskara Is Formed

An experience in the sense-plane sinks down into the depths of the subconscious mind (Chitta) and becomes there a ‘Samskara’ (impression). A Samskara of an experience is formed or developed in the Chitta at the very moment that the mind is experiencing something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of a Samskara in the subconscious mind. A specific experience leaves a specific Samskara. The memory of this specific experience springs from that particular Samskara only, which was formed out of that particular experience.

When you perceive an orange and taste for the first time, you get knowledge of an orange. You know its taste. You know the object, orange. A Samskara is formed in the subconscious mind at once. At any time, this Samskara can generate a memory of the object, orange and knowledge of an orange. Though the object and the act of knowledge are distinguishable, yet they are inseparable.

Cyclic Causation Of Thought And Samskara

An object awakens or revives Samskaras in the mind through external stimuli. Hence, a Sankalpa or thought arises subjectively from within, without a stimulus from outside. When you think of a cow which you have seen before, you repeat the word ‘cow’ mentally. Then only, the mental image comes. Then, a thought is formed. Samskara causes Sankalpa, and Sankalpa causes Samskara, just as seed is the cause of the tree, and tree is the cause of the seed, in turn. There is cyclic causation on the analogy of seed and tree (Bija-Vriksha-Nyaya). A Vritti in the mind produces a Samskara, and a Samskara, in turn, causes again a Vritti. Owing to the force of stimuli (Udbodhaka, Vyanjaka) either from within or from without, the seed-like Samskaras again expand and give rise to further activities. This cycle of Vritti and Samskara is Anadi (beginningless), but has an end when one attains Divine Knowledge and liberation. They get Laya (dissolution) into Prakriti. They cease to produce any effect on the Jivanmukta. The Samskaras should be fried up by continuous Samadhi. Then only you will be free from births and deaths.

Samyama Over Samskaras

Samskara is known as "residual potency" also. When all Vrittis or thoughts die away, the frame of the mind remains with the Samskaras. This is termed the Potential Mind. In Vedantic parlance, it is called Antahkarana Matra.

All Samskaras co-exist in the mind. The Vrittis slowly subside and leave traces in the mind. These traces are the Samskaras. From these Samskaras springs memory. If you have Yogic vision, you can vividly notice the marvels that take place in the mental factory of an individual, how the Vritti arises in the mind-lake, how it subsides and how a Samskara is formed. You will be struck with wonder. Samyama over these Samskaras brings out the direct knowledge of the residual potencies. A Yogin brings into direct consciousness the previous life-states by getting direct knowledge of their Samskaras. Such knowledge can hardly be acquired in Universities. A Yogin alone can impart this knowledge to deserving aspirants.

Virtuous And Vicious Samskaras

Like forces, Samskaras aid or inhibit one another. When you see a man in serious sickness and when the feeling of mercy arises in your heart, all the Samskaras of your previous merciful actions coalesce together and force you to serve and help that sick man. Similarly, all the Samskaras of charitable actions come forth to the surface of the conscious mind when you see a man in a serious distress and in straitened circumstances and they force you to help this man. You begin to share with him your physical possessions.

When one Samskara or virtuous action comes into play, another Samskara of dissimilar nature may emerge out and come in the way of its fulfilment. This is fight between a virtuous and a vicious Samskara.

When you try to fix your mind on God and think of purity, just at that moment, all evil thoughts and Samskaras burst forth with violence and vengeance to fight against you. This is termed ‘crowding of Samskaras’. Good Samskaras also crowd together and help you to drive out evil Samskaras. The father of Sri Swami Advaitanandaji was a great Bhakta of Chandi. At the time of his death, he was semi-conscious. He began to repeat all the Slokas of Chandi-Stotra which he had got by heart while he was young. This is ‘crowding of spiritual Samskaras’.

Past Samskaras Constitute Prarabdha

When you are born, the mind is not a mere Tabula Rasa (a smooth or blank tablet or a blank sheet of white paper). It is a storehouse of Samskaras, predispositions, predilections, etc. A child is born with his Samskaras. A child is born with his past experiences transmuted into mental and moral tendencies and powers. By experiences, pleasant and painful, man gathers materials and builds them into mental and moral faculties. The earthly experiences are worked up into intellectual faculty. The mind evolves through the impressions received from the universe through the senses. It will take many bodies till it gathers the complete experience of the world. Every man is born with his inborn or inherent Samskaras and these Samskaras are embedded, lodged or imprinted in the Chitta which is the seat for Prarabdha. In earthly life, he gains many more Samskaras or experiences through actions and these are added to the original store and become the future Sanchita Karmas (accumulated actions).

All Samskaras lie dormant in the Chitta as latent activities, not only of this life but of all previous innumerable lives from Anadi Kala (beginningless time). The Samskaras of animal life (those of dog’s births, etc.), the Samskaras of a Deva life, the Samskaras of kingly life, the Samskaras of the life of a peasant, are all hidden there in the Chitta. In human life, only those Samskaras which are appropriate to that particular type of birth will operate and come to play. The other kinds of Samskaras will remain concealed and dormant.

"As a merchant closing the year’s ledger and opening a new one, does not enter in the new all the items of the old but only its balances, so does the spirit hand over to the new brain his judgments on the experiences of a life that is closed, the conclusions to which he has come, the decisions to which he has arrived. This is the stock handed on to the new life, the mental furniture for the new dwelling-a real memory."

Karma

The gross body and the mind have, on account of your past Karmas, a tendency to act in a certain way and you act just in accordance with that tendency like a machine. You wrongly impute to yourself the authorship (agency) of these actions and thus make the matters worse. Most of your actions are done more or less automatically.

If you find it difficult to do your actions in a Nishkama spirit, have one desire for liberation in doing all things.

In Svarga or heaven, all earthly experiences of the mind are sorted and analysed. The essence is taken. The Jiva is born again in the physical universe with a new frame and bent of mind according to the nature of the essence extracted in the mental plane.

When you are writing a drama, if sleep comes in, you stop writing and retire to bed. As soon as you get up, you continue to write from where you have left the previous night. Even so, when you take up a new incarnation, you begin to continue the work which you had left unfinished in your previous life in accordance with the current of Vasanas of your past life.

Your next life will depend very largely upon the Karma you perform in this birth. There are probably many things which the man of the world does constantly and may do without much harm resulting in any way; if these things were done by those sincere aspirants who are treading the path of Realisation, they would be decidedly harmful.

Habitual study of abstract problems will result-in another earthly life—in a well-developed power for abstract thinking, while flippant, hasty thinking, flying from one object to another, will bequeath a restless ill-regulated mind to the following birth into this world.

The Enslaving Chains Of Samskaras

Mind exercises its suzerainty through Samskaras. From Samskaras emanate Vasanas like swarms of locusts. From Vasana flows the stream of desire and from enjoyment of objects of desires arises Trishna or internal craving (intense longing). Trishna is very powerful. The Samskaras are imbedded in the mind, in the Karana Sarira. There arises a memory of pleasure in the mind. Then the mind thinks of objects. Maya has her powerful seat in the imagination. There comes attachment. The mind plans and schemes. You are swayed by the passions. You exert yourself physically to possess those objects and enjoy them. In your efforts, you favor some and disfavor others through Raga and Dvesha. You will have to enjoy the fruits of your virtuous and vicious actions. Through this six-spoked wheel of Raga and Dvesha, virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, this Samsaric wheel of birth and death moves on without stopping from Anadi Kala (beginningless time).

Thoughts And Desires Depend Upon Samskaras

The nature of desires and thoughts depends upon the nature of your Samskaras. If you have good Samskaras, you will have good desires and good thoughts and vice versa. Even if you have indulged in vicious actions up to the age of forty, begin practising virtuous actions such as charity, Japa, Dama, Svadhyaya, meditation, service of the poor and the sick, service of saints, etc., from this moment and these Samskaras will prompt you to do more virtuous deeds. They will stimulate good desires and noble thoughts. The Lord says in the Bhagavad-Gita:-

Api chet suduracharo bhajate mam-ananyabhak
Sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah (IX-30)

"Even if the most sinful worships Me with undivided heart, he too must be deemed righteous, for he has rightly resolved."

Evil Samskaras-the Real Enemy

Who is your real enemy? It is your own evil Samskaras. Substitute Subha Vasanas in place of Asubha ones. Then you can approach God. The mind will be changed. Old Samskaras will be obliterated. Wrong suggestions of various kinds and crude fantastic superstitions are rooted deeply in your mind. They are harmful. You will have to knock them down by Vichara, sublime suggestions, right thinking. "I am body," "I am Mr. John," "I am a Brahmin," "I am rich"-these are wrong suggestions and wrong Samskaras. Suggest to yourself boldly that you are Brahman. The previous wrong suggestion and Samskara "I am body" will slowly melt away by strenuous efforts.

If you forget your real Brahmic nature even for a minute, the old Samskaras of Ajnana will try to come up and overwhelm you. See how Narada’s determination began to fluctuate even though he was absorbed in meditation, when he saw some Deva-girls. He at once experienced the sexual desire in himself. The seed came out, he put it in a pot and Chudala in the form of Kumbha Muni emerged from out of the pot. (Yogavasishtha, story of Sikhidhvaja). Therefore, you will have to be very, very careful. Keep yourself away from all kinds of temptations-money, woman, name, fame, etc.

How To Acquire Good Samskaras

Try to acquire some good spiritual Samskaras in this birth at least, if you are not able to devote all your time in spiritual pursuit. Do some kind of meditation for a short time at least daily, say for half an hour in the morning and evening. Have a meditation room. Make some kind of Japa of any Mantra. Study the Gita regularly. Have Satsanga. Visit Rishikesh, Nasik, Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayag once a year for a week’s stay. Have the Darshana of Mahatmas ( Super Souls). By doing so, you will acquire some spiritual Samskaras which will be a valuable spiritual asset for a new, good life. You will have a very good birth. You will be placed in suitable environments in the next birth for unfolding the Divinity that is lurking in your heart, for practice of Yoga. All opportunities and facilities will be given to you by God, through His grace (Isvara-Kripa) for your spiritual Sadhana. Even by a little systematic spiritual practice (Yogabhyasa and Vedantic Sadhana), you can change your mentality, your old vicious Samskaras. You can cut short several future births. By practice for three years, you can free yourself from the clutches of births and deaths. You are bound to become a Sannyasin. Why not now in this very birth? Why don’t you cut short the cycle of unnecessary births and consequent miseries? How long do you want to be a slave of the world, a slave of passions and Indriyas (Senses)? Wake up now. Do Sadhana and get immortality.

Udharet-Atmana-Atmanam-Rouse the self by the Self.

New, healthy Samskaras can be implanted by new, healthy suggestions. Suppose your brain is a plank in which are driving nails which represent the ideas, habits and instincts which determine your actions. If you find that there exists in you a bad idea, a bad habit, a bad instinct,-a bad nail, as it were, in the plank of your mind-you should take another, viz., a good idea, habit or instinct, place it on the top of the bad one and give a hard tap with a hammer. In other words, you should make a healthy, useful suggestion. The new nail will be driven in perhaps a fraction of an inch while the old one will come out to the same extent. At each fresh blow with the hammer, that is to say, at each fresh suggestion, the one will be driven in a little further and the other will be driven out just that much until, after a certain number of blows, the old habits will be completely replaced by the new habits, new ideas. It demands, doubtless, strenuous efforts. It needs constant repetition of the new, healthy suggestions. Habit is second nature. But, pure, irresistible, determined will is bound to succeed eventually.

When you repeat "OM" or the Mahavakya of the Upanishads "Aham Brahma Asmi" once, one Samskara of the idea that "I am Brahman or the Absolute" is formed in the subconscious mind. The object in doing Japa or silent repetition of "OM" 21,600 times daily is to strengthen this Samskara.

Death Of Samskaras Leads To Moksha

The physical body may die. But, the thoughts and Samskaras of actions, enjoyments and thinking follow you after death till you attain Moksha. These are variable Upadhis that accompany you after death. They are variable because you carry different kinds of Samskaras each time when you die. In different incarnations, you create different kinds of Samskaras. The permanent Upadhis that accompany you after death are the five Jnana-Indriyas, five Karma-Indriyas, five Pranas, fourfold mind and the Karana Sarira which is the support or Adhara for the Linga Sarira or astral body. It is the death of the Samskaras, it is the death of the Karana Sarira that leads to the final Moksha. It leads to the attainment of Brahma-Jnana. You will be getting fresh births so long as there are Samskaras. You will have to take birth again and again till all the Samskaras are obliterated or fried up by the acquisition of Brahma Jnana. When the Samskaras are wiped out, Brahmic Knowledge shines by itself in its own glory.

Sadhana Consists In Destroying The Samskaras

The aim of a Sadhaka is to fry out or burn or obliterate all these Samskaras through Nirbija Samadhi. Sadhana consists in wiping out the Samskaras. Breathing, hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling-all cause Samskaras or latent Smriti in the mind. The world enters the mind through the eyes, ears, tongue (speech) and old Samskaras. If you remain in seclusion, you can shut out the first three doors. Through Vichara (right enquiry of Supreme Self), you can destroy the fourth route. Then, Jnana (Knowledge of Self) will dawn. A Jnani is without Samskaras. They are fried out by Jnana. No doubt, the force of the Samskaras remains in the Antahkarana. But they are harmless. They will not bind the Jnani.

Sankalpa by Swami Sivananda

The Operation Of Thought

There is the spiritual life in God. This is what relates us to the Infinite. You get everything in Brahman, as He is self-contained and Paripurna (all-full). All your wants and desires are satisfied there. There is then the physical life. This it is that connects us with the universe around us. The thought-life connects the one with the other. It is this that plays between the two.

We have the power within us to open or close ourselves to the divine inflow exactly as we choose. This we have through the power of mind, through the operation of thought. If you are Rajasic, you are far from God. You have shut yourself up from God. If you are Sattvic, you open yourself to the divine inflow.

The sacred (River) Ganga takes its origin in Gangotri (Himalayas) and runs perennially towards Ganga Sagar. Similarly, thought-currents take their origin from the bed of Samskaras (impressions) in the mind, wherein are imbedded the Vasanas (latent subtle desires), and flow incessantly towards the objects both in waking state and dream. Even a railway engine is sent to the engine-shed for rest when the wheels become overhot. But, this mysterious engine of mind goes on thinking without a moment’s rest. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa; and, Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe.

Ajnanins have fickle minds with a great deal of fluctuation and myriads of Sankalpas. Their minds ever vacillate through Sankalpas. But, Jnanins will be free from Sankalpas. They will be ever resting in their Atmic Jnana (Jnana-Svarupa) which gives the highest satisfaction (Tripti) and Supreme Peace (Parama Santi).

Sankalpa Only Is Samsara

When Sankalpa increases prodigiously, it is in no way beneficial. It is for evil only. The cause of bondage is Sankalpa. It is all the Sankalpas and Vasanas which you generate that enmesh you as in a nest. You become subject to bondage through your own Sankalpas and Vasanas like a silk-worm in its cocoon. Sankalpa of the mind itself is pain. Its absence is Brahmic bliss. Sankalpa only is Samsara; its destruction is Moksha.

It is the Sankalpa of the mind that brings about this world with all its moving and fixed creatures. The poisonous tree of the great Maya’s illusion flourishes more and more out of the seed of the mind’s modifications, full of Sankalpa, in the soil of the variegated enjoyments of the world.

Maya is a big poisonous tree. Trishnas and Vasanas water the tree of Mayaic illusion. Karmas are the fruits. Lust, anger, greed, etc., are the sprouts. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are the buds. Indriyas are the twigs. Ahankara is the trunk. Raga and Dvesha are the two main branches. Various sensual objects are the leaves.

The individualised mind, which is full of Avidya and is all-pervading, though existing in name, has no form, either external or internal, like the Akasa permeating all space. The mere manifestation in all objects of (seeming) reality is the mind. Wherever there is Sankalpa, there does the mind exist.

The origin and the dissolution of this universe, which is nothing but a mode of consciousness, take place with the complete origination and destruction of the Sankalpas of the mind. Realisation of Brahman can be effected through the mind alone after abandoning its Sankalpas and Vikalpas. You should root out Sankalpa as completely as possible. This destruction of Sankalpa should be intelligently practised.

Annihilation Of Sankalpas Constitutes Moksha

You may perform Tapas for myriads of years; you may be able to travel at once through the three worlds; but, never will you be able to reach the stainless MOKSHA, except through the firm path of annihilation of Sankalpas. Therefore, endeavour to destroy this Sankalpa and, thereby, attain Brahmic bliss which is devoid of pains and heterogeneity.

It is only Sankalpa of the mind destroyed beyond resurrection that constitutes the immaculate Brahmic seat. Why can you not contemplate silently and secretly in your heart upon the destruction of this Sankalpa? Then it will so betide that even the throne of an emperor, who sways his sceptre over the whole earth, will be regarded by you as but a paltry bauble.

Remain without Sankalpa-Vikalpa and Dvaita-Bhavana (idea and feeling of duality). Divest yourself of all Sankalpas and be a Nirvikalpa. This is Brahma-Nishtha or Advaita-Nishtha. Strive hard to get this state. You will be then in perfect peace and joy.

The Svabhava Of Manas

The mind can very easily think of worldly objects. It is its Svabhava. Thoughts generally flow with ease towards objects. Mental energy will readily flow in that direction. The mental force can easily flow in the old grooves and avenues of mundane thoughts. It finds it extremely difficult to think of God. It is an uphill work for a Samsaric mind of Vyavahara. The difficulty in weaning the mind from objects and fixing it on God is the same as in making the Ganga flow towards Badri Narayan instead of its natural flow towards Ganga Sagar. It is like rowing against the current of the Yamuna. Still, through strenuous efforts and Tyaga it must be trained to flow towards God, much against its will, if you want to free yourself from birth and death. There is no other go if you want to escape from worldly miseries and tribulations.

How To Destroy Sankalpa

Destroy the stains of Sankalpa or the cloud of Sankalpa through the power of discrimination and constant efforts and be drowned in the ocean of Brahmic bliss with spiritual illumination. When you try to bury your shadow in the earth, it always comes out. Similarly, when you try to destroy the Sankalpas through Viveka-Vritti, they will come out again and again. Withdraw the mind from the objects and act according to your Guru’s instructions. Purify the mind and fix it on the Akasa of the heart (Infinite Brahman). The mind will be destroyed in course of time. Be sure of this.

Do not for a moment contemplate upon the things of the universe. You need not exert yourself too much to rid yourself of this Sankalpa. With the checking of all thoughts, one’s mind will perish. To crush a full-blown flower in one’s hand requires a little effort, but even that little effort is not needed to do away with Sanklpa. Sankalpa is destroyed with the control of thoughts. Having firmly annihilated the external Sankalpa through the internal one and having destroyed the impure mind through the pure one, rest firmly in your Atma-Jnana.

When you are firmly established in the idea that the world is unreal, Vikshepa (through names and forms) and Sphurana of Sankalpa (thoughts) will slowly vanish. Repeat constantly the formula, "Brahma Satyam Jaganmithya Jivo Brahmaiva Naaparah" (Brahman alone is real. World is unreal. Jiva is identical with Brahman). You will gain immense strength and peace of mind through the repetition.

Having freed yourself from all desires for the visible objects before you and having made your impure mind firm and steady through your pure mind, eradicate all the Sanklpas that arise in the mind. Now, this mind, which arises through Sankalpas, perishes through it alone like a flame of fire which, though fanned by the wind, is yet extinguishable by the same.

The State Of Nissankalpa

With the extinction of the base Sankalpas, there is the extinction of Avidya and its effect, mind. Sankalpa is pain. Nissankalpa is all bliss. Sit alone in a solitary room. Close the eyes. Watch the mind and destroy the Vrittis one by one by continuous, energetic efforts. Asamprajnata Samadhi will ensue.

If, with the extinction of the pain-producing Sankalpas, the mind also is destroyed, then will the thick frost of Moha (delusion) affecting you from remote periods dissipate itself. Then, like an unobscured sky in the autumnal season, Brahman alone will shine resplendent, blissful, imperishable, non-dual, formless and without birth and death.

When your thoughts, which are now dispersed, shall be collected together and you will remain in a state of repose, then the eternally happy Atman will shine forth as the reflection of the sun is seen in a clear surface of water. Peace is not in money, woman or eating. When the mind becomes desireless and thoughtless, Atman shines and sheds forth eternal bliss and peace. Why do you search in vain for happiness in objects outside? Search within for bliss in the subjective, Sat-Chit-Ananda Amrita Atman.

Vasanas by Swami Sivananda

Vasanas-how They Manifest

Vasana (desire in subtle form) is a wave in the mind-lake. Its seat is the Karana Sarira. It exists there in the form of a seed and manifests in the mind-lake. Just as flowers are latent in seeds, Vasanas are latent in the Antahkarana and the Karana Sarira (seed-body). Daily new flowers blossom out. They fade out in a day or two. Similarly, Vasanas blossom out like flowers one by one, come out to the surface of the mind, generate Sankalpas in the mind of Jivas and goad them to strive to possess and enjoy the particular objects of enjoyment. Vasanas cause actions, and actions strengthen the Vasanas. This is a Chakra, vicious circle. On the advent of knowledge of Brahman, all Vasanas are fried out. The real enemies are the Vasanas within. Annihilate them. Eradicate them. They are inveterate.

The whole mango tree with branches, leaves and fruits is contained in a subtle form in the seed. It takes time for manifestation. Even so, the Vasana of lust lurks in the mind when you are a boy, manifests at 18, fills the whole body at 25, works havoc from 25 to 45 and then it gradually declines. Various forms of wrong-doing and mischief are done by human beings between 25 and 45. This is the most critical period of life. There is no particular difference between a boy and a girl in their characteristics when they are young. After attaining puberty they exhibit their characteristic qualities.

Chapalata

Chapalata is Vasana of a mild type. It lasts for a short time only. There are two kinds of important Chapalatas. There is the Jihva-Chapalata of the tongue where the tongue wants to eat the various things every now and then. It is a form of morbid appetite. Rich people who lead a luxurious life have this form of Chapalata. The other variety is the Upastha-Chapalata wherein the sex Indriyas wants to taste again and again the sexual enjoyment (Sparsa).

Vasana Causes Restlessness And Bondage

Vasana is the cause of restlessness of mind. As soon as a Vasana manifests, there is an intimate connection between the mind and the object through overflowing Vishaya-Vritti-Pravaha. The mind will not retrace its steps till it gets the object and enjoys it. The restlessness will continue till the object is enjoyed. The Vritti will flow towards the object till it is obtained and enjoyed. The common run of men cannot resist or suppress any Vasana owing to weak will.

It is the Vasana in the mind that causes attraction towards objects and brings about bondage; with the disappearance of Vasanas, bondage naturally vanishes. There will not be any attraction, admiration or excitement for any object outside, if there is no Vasana inside your mind. It is the Vasana that is at the bottom of all your miseries and troubles. There is no pain from Isvara-Srishti (objects created by the Lord). Water quenches your thirst. Breeze gives you comfort. Sunshine enlivens you. Fire gives warmth. It is Jiva-Srishti that brings about bondage. Ahankara, anger, Abhimana, attachment are all Jiva-Srishtis. Have Suddha Sankalpa, but no Vasanas.

By mere ethical training, jealousy, Raga, Dvesha, Krodha, Kama, etc., can be suppressed though not eradicated completely. These impure, Asubha Vasanas can be considerably attenuated (Tanu-Avastha) by moral culture. They attain a subtle condition. They cannot harm the individual. They remain under perfect control.

Eradication, Not Suppression, The Proper Remedy

A Vasana may be suppressed for the time being by an aspirant. But it again manifests with redoubled force when a suitable opportunity arises. Like a minister obeying the king, the five organs of the body act in accordance with the dictates of the mind. Therefore, you should through your own pure mind and proper efforts eradicate the Vasanas for objects. You should rend asunder, the long rope of Vasanas tied to the vessels of man, whirled on the ocean of Samsara, through enormous efforts on your part. Vasanas should be thoroughly eradicated. If these Vasanas are destroyed by Vichara (enquiry of Atman) and discrimination, the mind which is ever restless will get quiescence like a ghee ( Clarified butter/ Vegetable fat less lamp.

How To Destroy Vasanas

Sama

Vijnanamaya Kosa serves as a great fortress for the aspirant. From there he can attack the Vasanas when they try to emerge from the seed-body (Karana Sarira) into the mind. Through the practice of Sama, the aspirant should destroy the Vasanas one by one with the help of Vijnanamaya Kosa (Buddhi). He should crush them as soon as they try to raise their heads on the surface of the mind-lake. He must not allow them to sprout forth. This is Vasana-Tyaga. This attack or fight is from inside.

When a Vasana or Sankalpa arises in the mind, the mind gives a push to the Antar-Indriya. From the Antar-Indriyas, this push is communicated to the Bahyakaranas (external instruments) such as hands, legs, eyes, ears, etc. The practice of Sama stops this very push which is the root cause of motion of all the Indriyas and Karanas.

Sama is peace of mind produced by the eradication of the Vasanas (Vasana-Tyaga). The Antahkarana of a man who possesses this virtue is cooler than ice. Even the coolness of the moon cannot compete with coolness of the Antahkarana of a man of Sama. Generally, the Antahkarana of a worldling is a blazing furnace. A man of Sama is neither exalted when he gets a desired object (Ishta) nor depressed when he gets an undesired thing (Anishta). He keeps a balanced mind always. He has no enemies. The happiness of an emperor is nothing, nothing when compared with the supreme spiritual bliss of a man of Sama. Sama is one of the four sentinels of Moksha. If you have Sama, you will get the company of the other three friends, viz., Santosha (contentment), Vichara (enquiry into Atman) and Satsanga (association with the wise and saintly).

Dama

The attack should commence from outside also. Bahyavritti-Nigraha should be done through Dama (restraint of the Indriyas). You must not allow sense-vibrations to enter from outside into the mind through the avenues of Indriyas. This is also necessary. Sama alone is not sufficient. The senses must be rendered blunt by Dama. The Vasana for sweets, for instance, should be destroyed by Sama through Vasana-Tyaga, by crushing the Vasanas within as soon as a desire arises; and the Bahyavritti, which arises by the sight of sweetmeat should be destroyed by withdrawing the eyes from the same when you move about the bazaar and by giving up taking sugar. Dama supplements Sama in the control of mind. Dama is an auxiliary for the complete eradication of Vasanas.

If you give up an old habit of taking tea, you have controlled to a certain extent the sense of taste. You have destroyed one Vasana. This will give you some peace, because the craving for tea has gone and you are freed from your efforts and thinking in getting tea, sugar, milk, etc. Thinking is pain, seeing is pain, hearing is pain for a philosopher and a Sadhaka. It is all pleasure for a worldling. The energy that was agitating you to run after tea is now transmuted into will. You gain peace and will-power by giving up one thing. If you give up fifteen things, your peace of mind will be still greater and the will still more powerful. This is the fruit of Tyaga. So, you are not a loser in Tyaga. You gain more knowledge, more bliss and more power. You give up something in favour of something higher. Is there anyone who will not give up black sugar in favour of white sugar? If you once control one Vasana, it will be easy for you to control other Vasanas too, because you gain strength and power.

Svadhyaya and Meditation

Increase your Sastra-Vasana in the beginning. Occupy your mind with the study of standard philosophical books. Thereby you can decrease your Deha-Vasana (thought of the body) and Loka-Vasana (desire for name and fame, Kirti, Pratishtha, etc). Later on, you will have to give up Sastra-Vasana also. You must entirely devote all your time and energy in meditation and meditation alone. Vasana-Kshaya (destruction of Vasanas) is caused through well-conducted deliberation (Vichara), Brahma-Dhyana, Vairagya and Tyaga.

Vichara and Brahma-Bhavana

The wise know that the mind associated with Vasana tends to bondage while the mind absolutely free from Vasana is said to be an emancipated one. Just as a lion that is shut up in a cage emerges out by breaking the bars of the cage, so also a Jnani comes out of this cage of physical body victoriously by breaking or by destroying the Vasanas of the mind through constant Vichara (Atmic enquiry), constant Nididhyasana (profound and constant meditation on ‘OM’ and its meaning) and Brahma-Bhavana. The more you attenuate your Vasanas by Svarupa-Bhavana or the Brahma-Bhavana, the happier you will become. In proportion to the thinning of the Vasanas, the mind also is proportionately thinned out. Mind is nothing but a bundle of Vasanas. Mind is no other than the Vasanas which generate an endless series of rebirths. The true nature of the mind is the Vasanas. The two are synonymous.

Conquest of Ahankara

If you destroy egoism (Ahankara, this false little ‘I’) and control the Indriyas (the senses), the Vasanas will die by themselves. The root cause for all troubles is Ahankara. Just as the dependants of a family hang upon the chief of the house- the father-similarly, all Vasanas, Trishnas, Kamanas, etc., hang upon Ahankara, the chief of this house-body.

Constantly generate from the Sattvic mind-battery the Akhanda electric current ‘Aham Brahmasmi’-Vritti (Brahmakara Vritti). That is the potent antidote. Keep it safe in the pocket; smell it when an apoplectic attack of the Ahankaric false ‘I’ idea overcomes you. It is only when you eradicate the painful Ahankara of the mind and conquer the foes of organs (Indriyas) that the ever-waking Vasanas will subside.

The Meaning Of Moksha

The illusory Samsaric Vasanas that have arisen through the practice of many hundreds of lives never perish except through the practice of Yoga for a long time. Therefore, O Aspirants! After having put away at a distance the desire of enjoyment by discriminative efforts, practise the state of mind absolutely devoid of Vasana.

Moksha does not mean physical separation from all worldly affairs, but only a state of mind bereft of all impure Vasanas or clinging to worldly things, but yet working as usual amidst them. You must realise God in and through the world. This is the central teaching of the Gita. "But the disciplined (lower) self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion and mastered by the higher Self, goeth to Peace" (Gita. II-64). This is the central teaching of Yoga Vasishtha also.

There is no Vasana in Brahman. Complete annihilation of the Vasanas takes place only in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Only Nirvikalpa Samadhi can completely fry up the seeds of impure Vasanas. Through the knowledge of Brahman, there will be an extinction of all Vasanas, which form the medium of enjoyments. With the extinction of all Vasanas, the undaunted mind will get quiescence like a ghee (Clarified butter/Vegetable fat) less lamp.

Raga-Dvesha by Swami Sivananda

Raga-dvesha-viyuktaistu vishayanindriyais-charan
Atmavasyair-vidheyatma prasadam-adhigacchati

"But the disciplined (lower) Self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion and mastered by the Higher Self, goeth to Peace." (Gita, II-64)

Raga-Dvesha, The Cause Of Bondage

Raga (attraction), Dvesha (repulsion) and Tatastha Vritti (indifference) are the three important Vrittis of the mind. Raga and Dvesha (like and dislike or love and hatred or attraction and repulsion) are the two currents in the mind which bind a man to the Samsaric wheel of birth and death. Raga and Dvesha are the two Doshas or faults in the mind that have brought you to this world. The Svarupa of Bandha (bondage) is Raga and Dvesha. The Svarupa of Ajnana is Raga and Dvesha. All the emotions come under the category of Raga-Dvesha. These two currents are the Dharma (characteristics) of the mind and not of the spirit. Pleasure and pain, Harsha and Soka, exhilaration and depression are due to Raga-Dvesha. If Raga and Dvesha vanish from the mind, Harsha-Soka also will disappear.

Selfish Love And Divine Love

When two forces of equal quality or power meet, a third force is formed. When two people of equal force and quality are attracted towards each other, a third force is formed between them. That is termed love. This is the scientific way of explaining what love is. Attraction is Akarshana-Sakti. Repulsion is Vikarshana-Sakti. When I see myself in another man, when I see him as my own self, I begin to love him as my own self. When I find something in you that I myself possess, I am naturally drawn towards you and begin to love you. This is Vedantic way of explaining love. Love is pouring forth one’s affection (Prema) on another. Love is God. Love is of two kinds, viz., selfish or physical love and real Love or divine Love which is unselfish and lasting. The first kind is love with attachment. The second one is love without attachment. He who is a real aspirant of Vedantic path, who feels his own self everywhere and a real Bhakta who sees Narayana everywhere in everything can really love others. When an inferior person hangs on another person for his happiness or existence, physical attachment crops up. Attachment causes slave mentality and weak will. Attachment is death. Physical love is death. "Asangasastrena dridhena chhitva-Cut all sorts of attachment by the sword of non-attachment." (Gita, XV-3)

Raga As Painful As Dvesha

Raga (attraction) in the mind is as much dangerous as Dvesha (hatred or repulsion). Whenever there is Raga, there is Dvesha also. Not only the Dvesha-Vritti (the modification of dislike), but also the Vritti of Raga gives pain to man. If an object gives pleasure, you get Raga for the object. But when there is Viyoga (separation) from the object, as in the case of death of your dear wife or son, you get immense pain which is indescribable. Suppose you are in the habit of taking fruits after food. Fruits give you pleasure. You get Raga (liking) for fruits. But if you cannot get fruits in a place, you get pain.

Whenever there is pleasure and Raga, there exist side by side fear and anger. Anger is only a modification of desire. Fear and anger are two old associates of pleasure and Raga. Fear and anger are hidden in Raga. They constantly torment the mind.

Fear is hidden in Raga. When you have got Raga for body, fear of death comes in. When you have Raga for money, there is fear of losing money, as money is the means of getting objects of enjoyment. When you have Raga for a woman, you always take care in protecting her. Fear is a very old, intimate friend of Raga.

The Different States Of Raga-Dvesha

Raga-Dvesha has four Avasthas, viz., Dagdha (burnt up), Tanu (attenuated or thinned out), Vicchinna (concealed) and Udara (fully expanded). The first two states pertain to a Yogin; the last two to worldlings. In a fully developed Yogin, the Vrittis of Raga-Dvesha are burnt up by Nirvikalpa Samadhi. They are Dagdha (like burnt-up seeds). In a Yogin who is practising, the impressions of Raga-Dvesha are tenuous. They are in a fine state. He has control over these two Vrittis. In those who are given to enjoyments (ordinary mortals), they are concealed and fully expanded. In the Vicchinna state, they are concealed. When the wife shows affection to her husband, when the Raga-Vritti is in operation, her anger and hatred remain concealed for the time being. The moment she gets displeased with him for some reason or other, the Dvesha-Vritti manifests itself. In the last (expanded) state, the Samskaras of Raga-Dvesha, having favourable surroundings, attain to great activity. A worldly-minded man is a mere slave of Raga-Dvesha currents. He is tossed about hither and thither by these two currents of attraction and repulsion.

In sleep, these two emotions exist in a man in a Bija state (seed form). They are not destroyed. As soon as the man gets up from sleep, they begin to operate again.

In children, these twin currents manifest for a short time and disappear soon. They fight in this second and join together with joy the very next second. They do not keep up any ill feelings in their minds. They do not brood also over the wrongs done by others. They do not exhibit any grudge. The wave comes and passes away. As the child grows, these currents assume a grave phase by constant repetition and become inveterate.

Dvaita slowly develops when the child reaches the second year. Place a baby within one year of age in any place. It will remain there like a block of stone. It will laugh and see alike all people without any Raga-Dvesha. Ask a child of two years of age to sit. It will stand. Ask the child to come near. It will recede back to a distance. Tell the child, "Do not go to the street"; it will immediately march to the street. It will do contrary actions, because Dvaita is developing now in the child.

The Causes Of Raga-Dvesha

Raga-Dvesha is due to the Anukula-Pratikula Jnana. You have Raga for things favourable (Anukula) and Dvesha for things unfavourable (Pratikula). When this Anukula-Pratikula Jnana which depends upon Bheda Jnana disappears, Raga-Dvesha will vanish.

Raga-Dvesha is also due to Abhimana-Ahankara. As soon as Abhimana manifests, there comes Raga-Dvesha. When you conceive yourself as husband, there comes the attachment (Raga) for your wife. As soon as you conceive yourself to be a Brahmin, there comes the love of the Brahmins. Give up Abhimana, if you want to eradicate Raga-Dvesha. If this Abhimana, the result of Avidya (ignorance) vanishes, Raga-Dvesha will vanish.

Some minds hang on you through Raga, while some others hang on you through Dvesha. Ravana’s ( The Demon King) mind was hanging on Sri Rama through hatred and fear. He was seeing Rama everywhere and in everything through constant, intense thinking of Rama. Similarly, Kamsa’s ( The Demon King) mind was hanging on Sri Krishna. This is also a form of Bhakti (Vaira-Bhakti). Anyhow their minds were on God.

Raga-Dvesha Constitutes Real Karma

Raga-Dvesha in the mind is the real Karma. It is the original action. When the mind is set in motion or vibration through the currents of Raga-Dvesha, real Karmas begin. Real Karma originates from Sankalpas of the mind. It is the actions of the mind that are truly termed Karmas. External actions manifest later on. It is desire that sets the mind in motion. When there is a desire, Raga and Dvesha exist side by side in the mind. Desire is a motive force. Emotions and impulses co-exist with desire.

From Avidya emanates Aviveka (non-discrimination). From Aviveka originates Ahankara and Abhimana. From Abhimana emanates Raga-Dvesha. From Raga-Dvesha comes Karma. From Karma comes the body. From body comes misery. This is the chain of bondage with seven links. This is the chain of misery.

If you do not want misery, do not take up the body. If you do not want body, do not do Karma. If you do not want to do Karma, give up Raga-Dvesha. If you want to give up Raga-Dvesha, give up Abhimana. If you want to give up Abhimana, give up Aviveka. If you want to give up Aviveka, give up ignorance. O Rama! If you do not want ignorance, get Brahma-Jnana.

This Samsara or world process is kept up by the six-spoked wheel, viz., Raga, Dvesha, merit, demerit, pleasure and pain. If the root cause, the original Avidya, is destroyed by attainment of Brahma-Jnana, the whole chain of Abhimana, Raga, Dvesha, Karma body, merit and demerit, pleasure and pain will vanish. One link hangs upon another. All the links will be broken totally on the advent of Jnana. Sruti says:

"Rite Jnananna muktih-Liberation comes from knowledge of Brahman."

Absence Of Raga-Dvesha Makes For Freedom

That Yogin or Jnanin who has destroyed these two Vrittis of Raga and Dvesha is the highest man in the three worlds. He is the real King of kings, Emperor of emperors. The chief Linga or distinguishing mark of a Jivanmukta or a liberated soul is freedom from Raga-Dvesha. Even if a Jnanin or Yogin sometimes exhibits traces of anger, it is Abhasamatra (mere appearance). Just as the impression made in water with a stick passes away soon, as also the anger will disappear in the twinkling of an eye, even though it manifests in a Jnanin. This can hardly be understood by worldly people.

He who has no Raga but possesses Titiksha (power of endurance) can do anything. He can move about wherever he likes. He is as free as the atmospheric air. His happiness, freedom and peace are unbounded. Their extent can hardly be imagined. The freedom and joy of such Sannyasins cannot be imagined by the poor, petty-minded worldlings. It is Raga and luxury that have enfeebled the householders.

Destruction Of Raga-Dvesha Constitutes

The Essence Of Spiritual Sadhana

I shall tell you the gist or essence of spiritual Sadhana. Destroy the true modifications of the mind, Raga-Dvesha, by Vichara and Brahma-Chintana (right thinking and meditation). Go beyond the Dvandvas (pairs of opposites). You will get eternal, infinite bliss and peace. You will shine in Brahmic glory. You will become Brahman. YOU ARE BRAHMAN.

Just as heat in fire can be removed by Mantra and Oushadha (recitation of God’s Name and medicine), so also the Raga-Dvesha currents, the characteristics of the mind, can be removed by Yogic Kriya (practices of Yoga). These can be completely fried up by Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Asamprajnata Samadhi.

Amongst the several Vrittis in the mind, Raga-Dvesha and Moha are very deep-rooted. They demand strenuous and persistent efforts for their eradication. In your mental lives, you can either keep hold of the rudder and so determine exactly what course you take, what points you touch or you can fail to do this and, failing, you drift and are blown hither and thither by every passing breeze, by every emotion, by petty Raga-Dvesha currents.

Pleasure And Pain by Swami Sivananda

Pleasure And Pain Pertain To Mind

Pleasure and pain are the effects of virtue and vice. They are two kinds of emotions that pertain to the mind alone. It is the mind alone which brings pleasures and pains on itself and enjoys them through its excessive inclination towards objects. Mind contracts during pain and expands during pleasure.

Ahankara creates the body. Prana does all sorts of Cheshtas (efforts). Mind experiences pleasure and pain. If you perform actions through a stainless mind (with Akartri Bhava and Nishkama Bhava), your body will not share their fruits.

There are only facts, vibrations or phenomena outside. Prakriti is blind. Prakriti is quite indifferent. There is neither pleasure nor pain in objects. It is all mental creation, mental perception, mental jugglery. It is only the mental attitude or certain kind of mental behaviour towards objects that brings joy or grief, pleasure and pain. Maya has her powerful seat in the imagination of the mind.

All pains are not equally felt. There is no pain when you are asleep. It is only when the mind is connected with the body that pains arise. It is the identification with the mind and body, Abhimana owing to Avidya, that causes pain.

When the mind is intensely fond of anything, there will be no perception of pain even if destruction awaits the body. When the mind is completely drowned in any object, who else is there to observe and flee from the actions of the body?

When you put one drop of oil on the surface of water, it spreads throughout the surface of water and makes it oily. Even so, a little pain for a luxurious man spoils all his pleasures and makes all objects appear very painful. When you are in acute agony, a cup of coffee, milk or tea does not give you any pleasure. When you are in acute agony, the whole world which appeared to you to be full of bliss while in good health, appears quite dreary. The world loses all its charms while you are seriously ailing.

If the pessimist changes his mental attitude, the world will appear to him to be full of Ananda.

Mind always runs after pleasure, because it is born of Ananda Brahman. You love a mango, because it affords you pleasure. Of all things, you love your own self most. This love of the self gives the clue to the fact that Ananda or bliss must be the nature of the Self.

Atman Has No Pleasure And Pain

Freedom from the body and mind is the real nature of the Self or Atman and, consequently, there being no possibility of virtue and vice, very much less is the chance for any effects of these on the Atman, hence, pleasure and pain do not touch Atman. Atman is Asanga, Anaasakta, Nirlipta (unattached). It is Sakshi of the two modifications, pleasure and pain that arise in the mind. Mind enjoys. Mind suffers. Atman is a silent witness. It has nothing to do with pleasure and pain.

Sense-Pleasure Is Only A Mental Deception

Pleasure and pain, beauty and ugliness are all false imaginations of the mind. Mind is a false illusory product. Conceptions of the mind also must, therefore, be false. They are all Mrigatrishna (like a mirage in the desert). What is beautiful for you is ugly for another. Beauty and ugliness are relative terms. Beauty is only a mental concept. It is only a mental projection. It is only a civilised man that takes much of symmetry of form, good features, graceful gaits, elegance of manners, graceful form, etc. An African negro has no idea of all these things. Real beauty is in the Self only. Pleasure and beauty reside in the mind and not in the objects. Mango is not sweet; the idea of mango is sweet. It is all Vritti. It is all mental deception, mental conception, mental creation, mental Srishti. Destroy the Vritti; beauty vanishes. The husband stretches his own idea of beauty in his ugly wife and finds his wife very beautiful through passion. Shakespeare has rightly expressed this in his "Mid-summer Night’s Dream": "Cupid is painted blind. It finds Helen’s beauty in the brow of Egypt."

Pleasure arising from external objects is evanescent, transitory and fleeting. It is mere nerve-titillation and mental deception. Jiva joins with mind and Vritti and enjoys the Vishayas (sense-objects). The thing that gives you pleasure gives you pain also.

"Ye hi samsparsaja bhoga duhkhayonaya eva te—

The delights that are contact-born, are verily wombs of pain."

The body is an abode of misery and disease. Wealth brings a lot of trouble in acquiring and keeping safe. Sorrow springs from every connection. Women are a perpetual source of vexation. Alas! People prefer this path of misery to that of spiritual enjoyment.

No true, lasting satisfaction comes from the enjoyment of worldly objects. Yet, people rush headlong towards objects even when they know that the objects are unreal and the world is full of miseries. That is Maya. When the mind rests on Atman, then only Nitya-Tripti (eternal satisfaction) will come; because, Atman is Paripurna (all-full), you get everything there. It is self-contained. All desires are gratified by realisation of Atman.

Some say that children are very happy. It is wrong. They only become exuberant. They get serious reaction also. They have no balanced mind. They weep for hours together for nothing at all. It is only a man of balanced mind that can really be happy.

Pleasure Arises From Vritti-Laya: Not From Sense-Objects

Really, there is no pleasure in objects. Atman gives a push to the mind and sets it in motion. A Vritti or thought-wave arises in the mind on account of the force of a Vasana. The mind is agitated and runs towards the particular object. The agitation will not subside till the mind gets the desired object. It will constantly think of the object. It will scheme and plan various methods to achieve the desired object. It will be ever restless. It will be ever assuming the shape of the object. As soon as the object is obtained and enjoyed, the particular Vritti that was causing agitation in the mind gets dissolved. Vritti-Laya takes place. When Vritti-Laya takes place, you get peace and Ananda from the Svarupa or Atman within only and not from the object outside. Ignorant persons attribute their pleasures to external objects. That is a serious blunder, indeed.

There is no happiness at all in any of the objects of the world. It is sheer ignorance to think that we derive any pleasure from the sense-objects or from the mind. Whenever we feel our desires are satisfied, we observe that the mind moves towards the heart, towards Atman. In pleasure also, there is exercise of the mind. It expands. It turns inward and moves to its original home, the place of its origin, Atman and enjoys Atma-Sukha (Bliss of the Self).

Real Happiness Lies Within

Why do you search, in vain, for your happiness, O worldly fools, outside, in objects, money, women, titles, honours, name and fame, which are false, worthless and like cow-dung? You cannot get your happiness there. You are entirely deluded. Search within the heart, subjectively in the Atman, the source and fountain of all happiness.

Real happiness is within you. It is in the Atman. It is subjective. It is in the Sattva Guna and beyond Sattva. It manifests when the mind is concentrated. When the Indriyas are withdrawn from the objects outside, when the mind is one-pointed (Ekagra), when there is Vasana-Kshaya (annihilation of the Vasanas) and Manonasa (annihilation of the mind), when you become desireless and thoughtless, Atmic bliss begins to dawn; spiritual Ananda begins to thrill.

Attachment And Pleasure

The mind is the cause of attachment to delusive objects. It is the mind which is the germ of all Karmas. It daily agitates this body of ours to work and secure for its enjoyment various pleasurable objects.

The mind always wants to be doing something and, when it attaches itself with the objects it cherishes, feels amused and happy. A play at cards has nothing in it; but, the attachment and attention produce pleasure.

There can be attraction without attachment. You can be attracted by a beautiful cabbage rose or a young lady. But it is not necessary that you must be attached either to the rose or to the lady. Attachment comes after possession and enjoyment.

Attachment, love and Ananda (bliss)-all go together. You are attached to your wife and children; you love them also, because they give you Ananda. As this world is illusory and as through Bhranti (illusion) pain appears as pleasure, you must cut asunder all worldly attachments ruthlessly and direct your love and attachment towards the Reality, Brahman, the Adhishthana (substratum or basis) that lies at the back of mind and all objects and is the Sakshi (witness) for all the activities that take place in Buddhi.

It is difficult to divert the mind which, from infancy, has fallen into the pernicious habit of seeking external pleasure and it shall ever persist in doing so, unless you give it something superior to be amused with, a greater form of pleasure to delight in.

Kinds And Degrees Of Pleasures

Intellectual pleasure is far superior to sensual pleasure. Ananda from meditation is far superior to intellectual pleasure. Spiritual bliss or Atmic bliss from Self-realisation is infinite, immeasurable and unbounded. It is Anandaghana (solid mass of bliss).

The Golden Mean

Keep the mind in a state of moderation or happy, golden mean. Never let it run to excesses. People die of shock from extreme depression as well as from extreme joy. Do not allow Uddharsha to crop up in the mind. It is excessive merriment. Mind always runs to extremes-either to extreme depression or extreme joy. Extremes meet. Extremes bring about reaction. Mind can never be calm in excessive joy. Let the mind be cheerful but calm.

Be always cheerful. Laugh and smile. How can a mind that is gloomy and dull think of God? Try to be happy always. Happiness is your very nature. This is termed Anavasada (cheerfulness). This spirit of cheerfulness must be cultivated by all aspirants.

Study spiritual books. Have constant Satsanga. Repeat "Aum / OM" 21,600 times daily with Bhava. It will take you three hours. Meditate on Atman or Krishna. Realise Brahman. Only this will free you from all mundane miseries and afford you eternal peace, knowledge and bliss.

With the growth of mind, pains increase; with its extinction, there will be great bliss. Having lorded over your mind, free yourself from the world of perceptions, in order that you may be of the nature of Jnana. Though surrounded by pleasurable or painful objects to disturb your equilibrium of mind, remain immovable as a rock, receiving all things with equanimity. The final cool joy and laugh consequent upon it is the bliss arising from the mind merging into the stainless Brahman.

To Follow: MIND VI

Basically the respected Guru said: Shun all that which gives you pleasure, because with external pleasures come pain, so find your inner peace and you will end up "Ever Happy".

Easier said then done, it needs lot of determination, patience, and above all time.

Aum NamaH Shivaya!

Sianala, Montreal, Feb 2008

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