Aum Shri Gurave NamaH!
Mind-conquest by the Four Traditional Methods
A digest of Sivananda's description of the four traditional methods of annihilating the mind, runs thus.
A Vedantin destroys the mind through Self-expansion; he practices self-denial, identifies himself with the Supreme Brahman, and thus brings about the annihilation of the mind.
A Raja Yogi achieves the same goal, by stilling the mind, eradicating the Vrittis.
A Bhakti Yogi obtains the death of the mind by contracting and reducing it to zero; he practises self-surrender, places his mind at the feet of the Lord.
A Karma Yogi slays the mind by removing selfishness and by selfless service; he practises self-sacrifice identifies himself with the Cosmic Being, and expands his heart by total elimination of all selfish desires.
Mind-conquest by Meditation on ‘Om' with Tadrupas-Tadartha-Bhavanam
A hundred methods there are for mind-conquest. Equally as many are the types and tastes of mind. To suit the different types of mind, Sivananda prescribes different methods of conquest. To approach the Infinite and transcend the mind, one of the important methods of Sivananda is the Meditation on Om with Tadrupas-Tadartha-Bhavanam. Om is the symbol of the Immortal, all-pervading Self; it is the perfect sound-representation of the timeless, soundless, infinite Reality. Sivananda says: Think of Om to the exclusion of everything else. Shut out all mundane thoughts. They may, of course, recur again and again; but you will have to generate the thoughts of the pure Self repeatedly. Associate the ideas of purity, perfection, freedom, knowledge, immortality, eternity, infinity etc. with Om. Association with Om is to become one with the thing signified. ‘Tadjapas-tadartha-bhavanam.' Try to identify yourself with the all-blissful Self when you think or meditate or chant Om and negate the five Koshas as illusory adjuncts created by Maya. You have to take the symbol Om as Satchidananda Brahman. This is the meaning. During meditation you should feel that you are all-purity, all-light, all-pervading existence, etc, Meditate on the Self daily. Think that you are entirely different from the mind. Constantly meditate upon the following thoughts and mentally repeat: All-pervading Ocean of Light I am, Om Om Om; Omnipotent, Omniscient I am, Om Om Om; All-bliss, all-purity, all-glory, all-joy, all-health, all-Peace I am, Om Om Om.
Mind-conquest by the Method of the Vedantic Kumbhaka
Regarding his method of the Vedantic Kumbhaka for mind-conquest, Sivananda has this to say, in his work, Science of Pranayama - Being without any distraction and with a calm mind, one should practise Pranayama. Both expiration and inspiration should be stopped. The practitioner should depend solely on Brahman; this is the highest aim of life. The giving out of all external objects is said to be Rechaka. The taking in of the spiritual knowledge of Sastras is said to be Puraka and the keeping to oneself of such knowledge is said to be Kumbhaka. He is an emancipated person who practises his Chitta thus. There is no doubt about it. Through Kumbhaka, the mind should always be taken up and through Kumbhaka alone it should be filled up within. It is only through Kumbhaka that Kumbhaka should be firmly mastered. Within it, is ‘Parama-Siva.' At first in this Brahmagranthi there is produced soon a hole or passage. Then having pierced Brahmagranthi, he pierces Vishnugranthi, then he pierces Rudragranthi, then the Yogi attains his liberation through the religious ceremonies, performed in various births, through the grace of Gurus and Devatas and through the practice of Yoga.
Mind-conquest by the Method of the Gayatri Sadhana
A total illumination of the inner being, and the ascension of it into the infinitude of the self-luminous Consciousness and illimitable Powers of Being, is brought about by the continuous repetition with feeling, faith and concentrated force, and the consequent unfolding of the limitless Sakti inherent in the Gayatri Mantra. This Vedic Mantra of the ancient Sages of India is bequeathed to every man as his most invaluable spiritual heritage for mind-conquest, self-conquest and realisation of the endless and eternal Light of the Brahman within and without. At length Sivananda has described this method in his special pamphlet on Gayatri Mantra and also in his magnum opus on Spiritual practices, ‘Sadhana'.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Sakti Yoga
Freedom from the thraldom of mind, matter and Maya, maintains the Sakta-guru, is impossible of achievement except through the Grace of the Endless Sakti or Power that the Divine Mother is. If the Mind is to be conquered, the Maya is to be transcended, the Matter is to be transfused into absolute Consciousness, one has to awaken the Supreme Power latent in oneself, as the Kundalini Sakti, as the Divine Mother, by Dhyana, by Bhavana, by Japa, by the force and potencies released from Mantra Sakti. One attains Siddhi or Perfection when the latent infinite Power is awakened, and the entire process and the subtleties of the discipline have to be conducted and obtained from the Guru.
Observe in these passages of Sivananda, how the mind which is nothing but a configuration of Vasanas, Samskaras, thoughts, is quite sublated into the integral experience of the infinite Whole, the infinite Light, Power and Delight: - The person who follows this Sakta method enjoys Bhukti (the pleasures in the world) and Mukti (liberation from all worlds). Siva is an embodiment of Bliss and Knowledge. He himself appears in the form of man with this life that is a mixture of pleasure and pain. If you remember this point always, all dualism, all hatred, all jealousy, all pride will vanish, and with them the mind too vanishes. You must consider every human function as worship or a religious act. Answering calls of nature, micturation, talking, eating, walking, seeing, hearing become worship of the Lord, if you develop the right attitude. It is Siva, who works in and through man. Where then is egoism, or individuality, or the mind? All human actions are divine actions. One universal life throbs in the hearts of all, hears in the ears of all. What a magnificent experience it is, if one can feel this by crushing this little, ’I' which is another name for mind! The old Samskaras, the old Vasanas, the old habits of thinking, stand in the way of your realising this Experience-Whole. When the Kundalini Sakti sleeps, man is awake to the world, the mind begins to work, and he has objective consciousness. When Kundalini Sakti awakes, man sleeps, loses all consciousness of the world and body and becomes one with the Divine, attains the Knowledge of the Imperishable Absolute.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Will-culture
From pages? of this book let us compile here those relevant passages of Sivananda that present to us his method of will-culture for mind-control. Mind-control is extremely difficult.
But, it has to be done. Therefore Sivananda says on page?, - You will have to struggle hard for a long time with patience and perseverance. Nothing is impossible for a Sadhaka who has an iron will and a strong determination.
When a doubt arises, - whether or not I succeed in controlling the mind, it must be dispelled, Sivananda says, by direct suggestions and affirmation 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, and particularly so in the conquest of mind.
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.
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.
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'.
When the mind is enraged and about to smite the enemy, check yourself and say, ‘I am no victim of anger and hatred'. Thus the mind is controlled by the development of an invincible will.
Mind-conquest by Higher Philosophical Thinking
The true philosopher's mind is like a shining crystal. It is able to grasp at once the nature of the Reality. The moment such a person sits for meditation, his mind will fly into the depths of being. He will not experience any tossing of mind or any disturbing factor, for his mind has been already purified by the fire of philosophical thinking. This higher philosophical thinking Sivananda recommends to those that are intellectually gifted, for mind-control.
Mind-conquest by Diverting One's Attention
There is another method of Sivananda, for mind-conquest which he recommends to those that constantly complain of the temptation and desires that they encounter in such large numbers. When you are presented with an object of temptation, when a desire 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. Do not identify yourself with the desire, and if the worse comes to the worst, if the desire is strong, be stubborn, do not submit to it, divert your attention. Try always to nip the desire in the bud. When a desire comes in the form of a ripple, try to liquidate it then and there itself. But if due to lack of your vigilance it takes the form of an impulse, see that it is not fulfilled. Do not make Chestha outwardly. If a desire comes, - I should go and gossip, say, - No. I will not allow the body to move. If the body does not move, the mind cannot fulfil its desire, and ultimately the reverse process will happen, and the desire will sink back into the mind, and there will be control of mind, and calmness.
Mind-conquest by Japa Yoga Sadhana
On Japa as one of the most powerful methods of mind-control, we have this inspiring guidance of a many-sided nature, from Sivananda: - Japa of any Mantra destroys the impurities of the mind, makes the mind turn inwards, induces Vairagya, helps concentration and eventually leads to control of mind and the attainment of God-consciousness. In this Kali Yuga, the easiest way for controlling the mind and attaining Moksha is Kirtan or singing the Name of the Lord.
Elsewhere Sivananda speaks of the advantage of Dhyana or meditation on the Form of the Lord, side by side with the repetition of the Name or the Mantra of that Lord. - Side by side with Japa, think of the Lord as present before you and picture His entrancing and beautiful form. This adds tremendously to the efficacy and power of your practice. The mind is fully engrossed in the form of the Lord by this practice and there is no chance for the mind to get hold of the objects of senses which are like straw or chaff before the bliss of the presence of God.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Prayer
Not demanding any feats of high intelligence nor gifts of eloquence, for its effective exercise, except a little devotion, a spirit of reverence, a little faith, a little earnestness, prayer brings a hundred rewards, exerts a tremendous influence on the whole of the nature of man, and brings the mind into purity and tranquillity. Sivananda finds prayer one of the best methods of conquering the mind. His only condition for real praying is that prayers should be raised in sincerity, must proceed from the heart, must be for divine light, purity and spiritual guidance, and not for selfish ends or petty gifts and worldly prizes and goods.
Prayer, Sivananda says, is a mighty spiritual force. It elevates the mind, destroys its impurities, keeps it in tune with the Divine Being. Sincere devotees realise the importance, the power, the value and the splendour of prayer. A Yogi can actually visualise, through his inner eye, the dynamic and beneficial effects produced on the mind by prayer. Get up in the early morning and repeat some prayers. Pray in any manner you like. Become as simple as a child; open freely the chambers of your heart. You will get everything.
Namadev prayed and Vittal came out of the image to eat his food;
Ekanath prayed and Lord Hari showed His form with four hands;
Damaji prayed and Lord Krishna played the part of a menial in paying his dues to Badshah. Draupadi prayed fervently, Lord Krishna ran from Dwarka to relieve her distress;
Gajendra prayed ardently, Lord Hari appeared with a disc to protect him.
It was Prahlada that rendered cool the boiling oil when it was poured over his head; it was the power of prayer of Mira that converted the bed of nails into a bed of roses, cobra into a flower-garland. In temptations, in despondency, in trials, in every mood and condition of mind, prayer affords the best relief, and if tried gives itself as the easiest means of transforming the entire inner nature and establishing a perfect mastery over the mind.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Sankirtan Yoga
Of particular interest to the modern temper is the case Sivananda makes out in a chapter on Sankirtan Yoga, in his Sivananda Yoga Samhita for Sankirtan as the easiest and the cheapest method of mind-control and God-realisation. - Sankirtan Yoga is the easiest, surest, quickest, safest, cheapest and best way for conquering the mind and attaining God-realisation in this Kali Yuga. There is infinite Sakti in the Lord's Names. It will remove all impurities from your mind. Vedantins say that there are three kinds of obstacles to Self-realisation - Mala, Vikshepa and Avarana. To remove them they prescribe Nishkama Karma, Upasana and Vedantic Nididhyasana. This Sankirtan alone can achieve all these together. Sankirtan removes the impurities of the mind (Mala); it steadies the mind and checks its tendency to vacillate (Vikshepa); and ultimately it tears the veil of ignorance (Avarana), too, and brings the Sadhaka face to face with God.
When the Divine Names are chanted and sung, a significant change takes place in the entire organism of the person chanting and singing. There is a twofold effect produced by the utterance of the Divine Name. The Mantra-sakti or the power generated by the juxtaposition of the letters of the Mantra and by the utterance of the same sets the whole nervous system of the person in vibration, a vibration which brings about rhythm, harmony and equilibrium in it. When the system is in such a harmonised state, the breath, too, flows rhythmically and the mind rests in a state of tranquillity. It is in this peaceful state of the mind that the divine consciousness is reflected and the supernal joy of the Eternal is experienced. Secondly the idea of the Divine being generated in the mind at the time of the repetition of the Name gives a direct fillip to the mind in its attempt to unite itself with the Divine Being.
The nervous system is in a state of perfect harmony when the vibration produced by the chanting of the divine Name pervades it with a force of integration. The Divine Name is not merely a sound; it is a force which can overcome all the distractive forces in the human system and render it pure and make it fit for the experience of Sattva, the highly transparent medium through which the Immortal Being is reflected.
What a mighty power is latent in the Divine Name! Only those who are endowed with devotion know it. The scientists now declare that sound-vibrations have such a tremendous force that they can direct this power to silk fabrics and cleanse them of all dirt more thoroughly than a washerman can. But they have yet to realise that vibrations produced by the singing of the Name of God will cleanse their very hearts, will purify their very souls, will remove all the invisible dross accumulated in their minds since many births.
Mind-conquest of Raga-dvesha and Anukula-Pratikula-Jnana
Raga-dvesha is the current of attraction and repulsion, likes and unlikes, lover and hatred, constitutes the real mind, the whole of the wheel of Samsara, the cycle of individual's births and deaths, the real chain of Karma. Through Raga you may be attracted to anything, a man or a woman, cat or a dog, a stick or a clothing, a house or a town, a view or a religion, and commit virtuous or vicious actions, entertain fears of losing the object of your liking, become a victim of anger when something stands between you and the object of your liking, and reap pleasure or pain. Through Dvesha one may dislike anything, a man or a woman, a cat or a dog, a stick or a clothing, a house or a town, a view or a religion, and involve himself in one after the other progeny of ignorance, and reap sorrow. So long as this current of Raga-dvesha persists in an individual, his mind will remain agitated, restless, peaceless.
Sivananda says, - The waves of Raga-dvesha are ever disturbing the mind. One wave of Raga-dvesha arises in the mind and subsides after some time. Again another wave rises and so on. There is no balance of mind; there is no possibility of control of mind. Wherever there is pleasure, there is Raga, wherever there is pain there is Dvesha. Though the objects that give pain are far away from you, the memory of the objects will give you pain. It is the removal of the Dvesha currents only that will give you happiness. It is the Vritti or thought-wave that gives pain, but not the objects. Hence try to destroy the Raga-dvesha currents by developing cosmic love and Brahma-Bhavana or Isvara-Bhavana in all objects. Then the whole world will appear to you as the Lord in manifestation. The world or the worldly objects are neither good nor bad, but is your lower, instinctive mind that makes them, good or bad. Remember this point well, always. Do not find fault with the world or objects. Find fault with your own mind. Destruction of Raga-dvesha means destruction of the mind or the ignorance and the idea of the world.
Do not come under the domination of these two currents of Raga-dvesha. Crush them. Develop the opposite virtues, viz., Vairagya or dispassion and Cosmic Love. Vairagya will crush Raga; cosmic love will crush Dvesha. Kill Raga by the sword of Vairagya (non-attachment or dispassion or indifference to sensual objects) and Dvesha by developing cosmic Love. The cultivation of virtues like Maitri (friendship), Karuna (mercy), Mudita (complacency) and Upeksha (indifference) can only thin out or attenuate Raga-dvesha. The fire of devotion also can burn Raga-dvesha in toto.
Excellent matter on the nature of this problem of Raga-dvesha, and the other methods of resolving it, are given on page? of in this book.
Mind-conquest by Anvaya-vyatireka Method
Every object in the universe, every person on earth, all that we see and experience with the senses, are constituted of Names and Forms, Namarupa. Names and forms are mental creations, they are not eternally existent in their own right: they are products of Maya, of mind. What is eternally self-existent is the infinite Reality which gives itself to us as the Infinite Existence, Infinite Consciousness or Knowledge, and Infinite Delight. This alone is everywhere and is all. Every object (and the mind itself) has five aspects: Nama, Rupa, Asti, Bhati, Priya - Name, Form, Existence, Knowledge and Bliss. Names and forms, as we have noted, are illusory. They belong to Maya, the relative plane also called the non-existent Being or the non-Being. Asti, Bhati, Priya are the very nature, the very Svarupa of the infinite Brahman. They are real, Asti is Sat aspect of the Reality. Bhati is the Chid, or the Consciousness or the Knowledge aspect of the Reality, Priya is the Bliss, the Ananda aspect of the Reality. With persons and objects and with all that we see names and forms, Nama-rupas differ, but the Asti, Bhati and Priya are the same in all. They are the attributes of the Infinite Being. Asti, Bhati, Priya are Anvaya. Names and Forms are Vyatireka. - Through Anvaya-Vyatireka Yukti, Sivananda says, - you will have to eliminate, for the conquest of the mind and the realisation of the Absolute, the name and form, and realise or take out into yourself the Asti, Bhati, Priya Atman that is hidden in all objects and persons. Reject names and forms. Identify yourself with Asti, Bhati and Priya in all things, in all persons. Through constant thinking and force of meditation, the names and forms will vanish. Asti, Bhati, Priya alone will shine everywhere. Practise this always, even while you are at work.
Mind-conquest by the Neti-Neti Method
Not different in particulars, is the method of Neti-Neti doctrine for mind-conquest and Self-realisation. Sivananda describes this method as follows: - This is the method of negation. The Upanishads proclaim, this physical body is not the Brahman, this Prana is not the Brahman, this mind is not the Brahman, this Buddhi or the intellect is not the Brahman, this Anandamaya Kosha is not the Brahman. Therefore the balance left after negating or sublating these false, illusory, limiting adjuncts, which are superimposed on the Atman or Brahman, is the Suddha, Vyapaka, Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman. You are in truth, in reality this Brahman. Realise it, and be free.
Mind-conquest by the Laya Chintana Method
Sivananda explains the Laya Chintana method of mind-conquest, thus: - Laya means involution of the effect into the cause. There are three kinds of practices. The first is, that you will have to think that the mind is merged in Buddhi, Buddhi in Avyaktam, and Avyaktam in Brahman. The second is, that you should think that the earth gets merged in water, then water in fire, fire in air, air in Akasa (ether) and Akasa in Avyaktam and Avyaktam in Brahman. The third process is. that you should think that Visva (microcosm) gets merged in Virat, (macrocosm), Taijasa in Hiranyagarbha, and Prajna is Isvara. The Kutastha becomes one with Brahman. Thus here you see that all the external elements or the attributes gradually get merged in the One common source, i.e., the Brahman. You go back to the original source, the Brahman who is the womb for all minds and Panchabhutas. Finally you rest in the Brahman alone.
Mind Conquest by the Pursuit of Any Ideal Recognised by You as the Highest
There is this inspiring little passage on the value of the pursuit of an Ideal for mind-conquest, in Sivananda's book, Sadhana: - Abandon the eat-drink-and-be-merry policy. Look always upwards and onwards. Have an ideal before you. Live up to it at any cost. You can become as great as anyone else. Give up this inferiority complex. Give up the superiority complex also. The idea of inferiority and superiority is born of ignorance. Inferiority complex will cause worry. Superiority complex will generate pride and vanity. Put up the switch of the eternal Light in the innermost chambers of your heart. Keep the Divine Flame burning steadily. Feed it regularly. Through your whole heart and soul in spiritual practices, or practices that will lead you to the realisation of the Ideal you have framed for yourself. Waste not even a single minute. Be persistent and methodical in your practices. Marshal up all your forces properly and powerfully even as the Lieutenant-General in the army marshals up the armies on the battle field. All miseries will melt away soon. You will shine as a glorious Jivanmukta with the highest realisation. All sense of separateness, distinction, duality, difference, will vanish out of sight. You will feel that there is nothing but Brahman or God. You will feel oneness and unity everywhere. What a magnanimous vision you are blessed with! What an exalted state, what a sublime, soul-stirring and stupendous experience will be yours! You will get dumbfounded. This state is indescribable. You must experience it by direct intuitive perception.
Mind-conquest by the Method of Mumukshutva or Strong Yearning for Liberation
Sivananda always insists on the possession of the burning desire to be spotlessly pure and to realise the Divine in this single-minded devotion to the Divine. For immediate mastery over the mind, the method of Sivananda is reflected in the condition of yearning, burning, longing in which he requires the aspirant to maintain himself. - If the clothes on your body catch fire, - You run breathlessly 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, Mumukshutva or strong yearning for liberation will dawn in you. The result is complete mastery of the mind.
Another form of this method of Mumukshutva is implicitly found formulated in this on page?: "Destroy the vicious desires through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desire also through one strong desire - Liberation.
Mind-conquest by the Method Dietetic Discipline
The chemical components of different articles of food, vibrate at varying rates. The intake of certain foods set up discordant vibrations in the physical body, throws the mind-stuff into a state of restlessness and disequilibrium, renders the very living of spiritual life, difficult. Mind-control is made an easy affair by strict regulation of food.
Speaking of the method of dietetic discipline for mind-control, Sivananda says at page?, - Sattvic food (milk, fruits, etc.) calms the mind; Rajasic food (meat, alcohol, etc.) excites the mind. - Avoid pungent, hot dishes. Take light, nutritious, simple vegetarian food. Avoid heavy and late night meals. (p. 1?.) - Too much salt too much chillies, too much tamarind, make you impulsive and cause anger. Hence avoid them, or take very small quantity of these articles. (p. 2?) - The subtle part of food forms the mind, is transformed into the mind. Purity of mind depends on the purity of food. (p. 155?)
Mind-conquest by the Method of Abhyasa or Constant and Protracted Practice of Concentration on a Single Object or Figure or Dot
The effort to steady the impetuous mind by any means is Abhyasa. Concentrate the mind on a black dot or any figure. The mind will run away; it is its habit. Gradually withdraw it from the objects and try to fix it at the lotus-feet of the Lord. The mind will run away one hundred times today; but after three months of practice, it would not run for more times than 96; after some more months it would be 70, and so on. Thus would you steadily progress and it will soon become one-pointed and you can fix it on the Lord and meditate for a long time Sa tu deerghakala-nairantarya-satkaraa-sevito dridhabhumih. The remedy to mind-wandering is Abhyasa - Abhyasa continuously and regularly for a long time. Ultimately you will realise your identity with the Supreme Soul. If you practise for two months and then leave it off, you won't be able to ascend to the summit. Regularity is of paramount importance. Let it be even for ten minutes, you must be regular in your practice daily. In this book, light on the method of Abhyasa is thrown at pages 9, 12, 56 (?).
Mind-conquest by the Method of Dosha Drishti, or the Constant Perception of the Limitations of Life
The mind is filled with sensual Samskaras. It is very difficult to wean the mind from the objects. Through Dosha Drishti or the finding out of the defects in sensual life, you can develop dispassion and control the mind. The method is: remember the description of the world given by the Lord in the Gita, Anityam Asukham Imam Lokam, Asasvatam Duhkhalayam - this world is impermanent, full of sufferings, the abode of sorrow. All the sensual pleasures appear to be pleasant in the beginning, but in the end they are like poison.
Remember the Vairagya Dindima of Sri Sankaracharya:
‘Kamah krodhascha lobhascha dehe tishthanti taskarah,
jnanaratnapahraya tasmat jagrata jagrata.'
These are the thieves lurking in the mind; the jewel of wisdom is plundered by these dacoits. Therefore wake up, O man of this Samsara.
‘Mata nasti pita nasti nasti bandhuh sahodarah,
artham nasti griham nasti tasmat jagarata jagrata.'
Wake up; life is waning; you are caught up in this wheel of Samsara.
You are roasted by various kinds of anxieties and expectations.
You don't realise, but this life is gradually waning away.
Constantly dwell on these thoughts; you will gradually control the mind. Read Vairagya Prakarana of the Yoga Vasishtha. Thus runs a portion of the sermon Sivananda delivered in 1954. It relates to the method of Dosha Drishti for the conquest of Mind. This piece of instruction has to be related to the one on page 34? of this book, which reads thus: - The physical body has no beauty of its own; 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 passion and mind, by such a mental drill.
Mind-conquest by the Cultivation Even Under the Worst of Provocations, Insults and Injuries, a Composure Comparable to Inanimate Nature
For an effective control of mind, Sivananda has evolved a simple Sadhana in chapter 79. The method consists in the cultivation even under great provocations, insults, injuries, a composure comparable to inanimate Nature. - Become a block of stone, he says. What does he mean by this is that we should refuse yielding a reaction to the worst of experiences.
Mind-conquest by the Uses of Adversity and the Rewards of Suffering
The human mind refuses to surrender its inveterate habits and gross limitations, unless battered by circumstances and brought into the disciplines of suffering. Comfort and coziness settle the mind in lazy complacency. Stress and strain stir its powers; suffering and sorrow render it sensitive to the higher realities that never fail it. Pain and privation purify the heart, develop will-power and discipline the entire nature; they aid the mind examine itself, take an inventory of its resources, and establish a mastery over its own weaknesses.
Easy life engenders faith in fictions. Nothing can disenchant and disillusion the human mind, of the fictions and pleasures that perpetuate the forces of ignorance, than severe knocks and blows of existence. Not for nothing the great in religious history have prayed for suffering. The Stoics sought it to prove by their lives the greatness of their Idea; the devotees resort to it to aid them pursue with single-minded devotion the Goal of their Love. The Vedantins ask for it to illustrate the truth that they are the body-less, mind-less, self-contained, all-sufficient Reality. The true religious individuals fast and observe vigil. The monks robe themselves in poverty and live by alms.
With a view to throw more light on the value of pain and suffering for the control of mind, Sivananda says, - It is the chill penury that turns the mind of man towards God. Knocks and blows of severe type wean the mind of man from sensual objects and turn it towards the path of spirituality.
Always presenting themselves in disguise, pain and suffering are blessings. They are the best teachers that impart the most valuable lessons; they purify man, heighten the powers of endurance and patience, transform his nature, alter his angle of vision. Sivananda says that pain and poverty, evil and misery, censure and blows teach more than wealth and pleasure, praise and honour; they produce immediately the power of discrimination and the spirit of renunciation, Viveka and Vairagya; they lit up the spiritual fire in the heart of man; and make the most difficult of conquests, the conquest of mind an easy affair.
On page 92 of this work, Sivananda says: - 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.
And, on the value of self-punishment for mind-conquest Sivananda has this passage on page 188: - 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-conquest by Control of Speech
Thought and word are intimately bound up with each other; mind and speech are inextricably related to one another. The culture of the one results in the culture of the other; the control of the one is the control of the other. Sivananda prescribes Mouna Sadhana, or the observance of suspension of speaking, the control of speech, the preserving of silence, for a few hours every day, and for a longer time on special days. This discipline helps one use measured, effective words during speaking, it conserves the energy that is wasted in idle talking and worldly gossiping; it helps one think much, and accomplish much, attain peace of mind.
Sivananda says, - The organ of speech brings great distraction of mind. Control of speech really means control of mind. When the speech is measured, sweet, and full of wisdom, it makes for serenity, peace, happiness of mind. The discipline of speech, is one of the main methods of controlling the restlessness, the distractions, the oscillations of mind. Speech-control is mind-control. Any clam reflection on the results of real observance of Mouna reveals that control of speech conserves energy, controls emotions, develops will-power, checks irritability, exercises a soothing influence on the brain and the nerves, favours introspection and self-analysis. Rightly then does Sivananda say, - If you control this Vak-Indriya, you have already controlled half the mind. Vang-Mouna is only a help to the attainment of Maha Mouna wherein the mind rests in Sat-Chit-Ananda Brahman and all thoughts are completely annihilated.
Mind-conquest by Kabir's Method of - Detach-Attach
Somebody asked, Sivananda writes, - Kabir, ‘O Sant Kabir! What are you doing?' Kabir replied, ‘I am detaching and then attaching, as is done in the railway junction. Bogies are detached from one train on one line and then attached to the other train on the other line, Even so, I detach the mind from sensual objects and attach to the Atman or Brahman, the all-pervading Satchidananda Paramatman.' Follow Kabir's method. Detach and attach. This same process is mentioned by Lord Krishna, ‘As often as the wavering and unsteady mind goeth, so often reining it, let him bring it under the control of the Self'.
Mind-conquest by Sivananda's Method of - Remember-Forget
The guidance on this method of - remember-forget Sivananda gives thus: - Why have you forgotten your essential nature, Brahman, the Satchidananda Paramatman? Because, you are remembering always your body, wife, children, world, objects, etc. Now make an attempt to forget the body, wife, children, to forget the surroundings, to forget the past, to forget what you have learnt. Then you will remember only Atman, Brahman. Forgetting is an important Sadhana for mind-conquest.
Mind-conquest by Psychological Self-examination
Cast X-ray eyes upon your own inferior nature. Introspect and scrutinise your motives. Examine the factors that cause your outer behaviour, from the states and conditions of your mind, Sivananda admonishes.
This guidance is given as a measure in the control of mind, because no man can easily acquit himself of the terrific havoc wrought in himself by the hidden animal impulses and common human emotions. Very strong cross-currents of likes and dislikes, love and hatred sway his mind. Secret longings and veiled desires destroy his happiness and ruin his peace and wisdom. Passionate impulses lurk somewhere in the crannies of his nature; ungratified wishes lie in wait for a gross manifestation and render his senses ungovernable, his circumstances unmanageable, his wisdom feeble. Understand this inner psychological nature, thoroughly. Survey, it. Examine it. Scrutinise it. This examination is almost half the cure.
After a thorough grasp of the inner inferior nature that renders the mind so wild and unruly, fraught with the potentialities for errors and misery, sit not idly nor resign your will to fate. Start vigorous Sadhana right now. Throw out completely the whole of this inner dross. Bring about a radiant transformation of the entire inner nature. Sivananda says, - A fanciful interest in the spiritual path is of no use. Take recourse to dynamic and many-sided Sadhana. Sivananda says, - Relentless effort to live a spiritual life is very necessary. The angle of vision has to be changed. Regular Sadhana will keep the mind always clean and conquered.
Mind-conquest by the Practice of 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 to the mind, only then does it become 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 practice of meditation. Be regular in your meditation. You will attain success.
Let us relate the above matter on meditation to the one on page 138, - As gold purified in crucible, shines bright, so constant meditation on Atman makes the mind pure and effulgent with spiritual lustre. A purified mind can grasp anything. It can dive deep in the subtlest subject, and understand even transcendental things. - Meditation is an effort in the beginning. Later on it becomes habitual and gives bliss, joy and peace. Only when you have practised preliminary stages of Sadhana such as Yama, Niyama, you will obtain the full benefit of meditation. Meditation is the key to spiritual illumination, to unfold the divinity or Atman hidden in all names and forms. And on page 144 we have this piece of advice: - By constant meditation on the Self, one attains liberation. Meditate. Root yourself in Divinity. In meditation, shut down the conscious mind, that part of your mind which thinks of the external world, your body and its wants. Meditation on Brahman is the highest form of religion. You can realise Brahman when you have stillness or serenity of mind. The meditative mood comes and goes. Restrain the senses. Be eternally vigilant. Meditate regularly in the early hours of the morning.PRECEPTS FOR PRACTICE OF MIND-CONTROL by Swami Sivananda
The mind is weak. The senses are strong. The bonds of temptation are stronger still. In the midst of these three, you are tossed up and down. Spiritual Sadhana alone can really impart to you the inner Santi or eternal peace. Do Japa, meditation, Kirtan, Satsanga and study of spiritual books. These will help you and not the temptation that assails you. Do not think of the objects of the senses. Cessation from worldly enjoyments is Uparati. Constant practice to fix the mind in God is Samadhana. Deep concentration is Samadhana. Do not allow the mind to externalise. This is Sama. Checking the external instruments of the sense-organs is Dama.
Ninety per cent perspiration and ten per cent inspiration make a genius or prodigy. Intelligence is ninety per cent memory. When the sense-object attracts you, withdraw the mind from the object. To see Rama or Krishna in a sense-object is possible only for well-advanced aspirants. - I am non-doer. This is the Bhava of a Vedantin. The devotee offers all his actions as sacrifice unto the Lord. He feels that he is an instrument in the hands of the Lord (Nimitta Bhava).
The Lord knows what is best for you. He moulds you in a variety of ways for His unhampered play or Lila and for the attainment of the final beatitude. Therefore resign yourself to His supreme will and be satisfied with whatever happens and thus prepare yourself for the attainment of that balanced state (Samata) wherein there is absence of likes and dislikes or the pairs of opposites.
Lust deals a deadly blow to spiritual Sadhana. Kill this lust by diverse methods. Do not entertain lustful thoughts. Do not look at figures that create the mental sensation of passion. Avoid going to cinemas. Do not mix with all sorts of people who take pleasure in lustful speech. Think of the Lord when the idea of sex enters the mind. Pray to Him fervently.
The conception that the body is the Atman constitutes Avidya or ignorance.
(Dehadishvan-atmasu aham asmi ityatmabuddhiravidya).
From it spring desires with regard to whatever promotes the well-being of the body and aversion with regard to whatever tends to injure it. There further arises fear and confusion when we observe anything threatening to destroy it. All this constitutes an endless series of manifold evils. A sage always rests in Samadhi or Turiya state. He has only one state, the state of Turiya or the fourth. He has none of the three states. He neither wakes, dreams nor sleeps. He has neither past, nor present nor future.
If you fail in keeping your resolves, make fresh resolves. Just as the child falls many a time when it tries to walk without the help of the wall, just as the new cyclist falls from the cycle a number of times before he learns to sit steadily in the seat, so also the new aspirant will fail a number of times in his resolves. He has to make repeated attempts. Ultimately he will come out victorious. Just as the tongue is not affected by Ghee ( Clarified butter/ Vegetable fat), so also the skilful aspirant is not affected by the temptations of the world. He takes shelter in the Lord, in His name and grace.
Sometimes you get the solution for a certain difficult problem as soon as you get up from sleep. The subconscious mind is working when you go to bed. The subconscious mind has the impressions of all actions of the past. It lays before you by a sudden flash the hidden mysteries, when you concentrate. A lustful look itself is break in Brahmacharya. There is internal discharge. Veerya is separated from the system.
Make the mind understand by repeated hammering and Vichara that all sexual pleasure is false, utterly worthless and extremely harmful. Clearly think over how very illusory and full of pain it is. On no account should you listen to the promptings of the impure mind. Place before the mind the glory and the advantage of a life in the eternal and all blissful, omniscient, Atman. He who is humble, calm, quiet in mind, and controlled in conduct, and who is content in his heart finds the whole universe full of joy and bliss. All rivers find their centre in the ocean, all touches in the skin, all tastes in the tongue, all smells in the nose, all colours in the eye, all sounds in the ear, all percepts in the mind, all knowledge in the heart, all actions in the hands, all movements in the feet and all the Vedas in speech. Even so the centre for all individual souls and all beings is Brahman or the Supreme Self.
If the Jivahood is a reality, it can never be destroyed and freedom would be impossible. The Jiva becomes one with the Supreme Self on release. There is nothing like Jivahood - an unreality, a creation of ignorance, the Jiva being identical with Brahman. In reality the Jiva is neither created nor destroyed. It is your ignorance that makes you see the individual soul or Jiva limited by Upadhis as something different from Brahman. When the dark ignorance, the deluder of all men, the great nescience, the veil that covers the individual soul is rent asunder, then he realises the Nirguna Brahman, within him dwelling in the intellect, in cavity of his heart. Brahman is to be realised by meditation alone and not otherwise.
When you practise Yoga, certain Siddhis like celestial scents, sounds, sights, the most agreeable sensations of taste and touch, pleasurable sensations of coolness and warmth, will come to you. Disregard them. Shun them, as they will bind you and cause distraction and downfall. They are distractions on your path. March forward and try to attain the summit of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Restrain speech and the senses and practise meditation during the hours after dusk, the hours before dawn and at dawn of day. These periods are quite congenial for the practice of Yoga. The mind will soon come under your control.RAJAYOGIC METHOD FOR MIND-CONQUEST by Swami Sivananda
Raja Yoga means ‘King of all Yogas'. It aims at controlling all thought-waves or mental modifications. Raja Yoga is suitable for men of mystic temperament with leaning towards the occult. A serious practice of Raja Yoga can be thought of only after you have purified your mind and have gained some control over your senses and appetite.
The eight limbs of Raja Yoga are Yama (self-restraint), Niyama (religious observance), Asana (posture), Pranayama (restraint of breath), Pratyahara (abstraction of the senses), Dharana (concentration), Dhyana (meditation) and Samadhi (super-conscious state).
I. YAMA AND NIYAMA
Yama is the practice of non-injury, truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-covetousness in thought, word and deed. This is the foundation of Yoga.
Niyama is the observance of the five canons - internal and external purity, contentment, austerity, study of religious books and worship and surrender to the Lord.
Impure motives, lack of celibacy, overeating, indolence, oversleeping, false fears, building castles in the air, allurement of minor supernatural powers like clairaudience and clairvoyance are all obstacles in this path.
II. ASANA AND PRANAYAMA
Any comfortable and steady pose is Asana. A steady pose gives concentration of mind. If you have mastery over the seat, the dualities of heat and cold and all other pairs of opposites will not disturb you. You must be able to sit in one Asana for three hours at a stretch. The pose becomes steady by thinking of the Infinite.
There are some other Asanas such as Sirshasana and Sarvangasana that are very useful for the preservation of good health and Brahmacharya (celibacy).
Prana is energy. It is life-breath. It is the life-principle. When Prana vibrates, the mind begins to think. Prana is expended in thinking, willing, acting, talking, etc. The excess of Prana is stored up in the brain and nerve-centres.
If you can control Prana, you can control all the forces in the universe.
Prana manifests as motion, gravitation, magnetism, electricity. The knowledge and control of Prana is what is really meant by Pranayama. Pranayama removes diseases of the body, steadies the mind and purifies it. It strengthens the intellect and augments the intellectual capacity. It increases the power of memory. When you practise Pranayama, you will have to be careful about your diet. You should avoid overloading the stomach. You should take light, easily digestible and nutritious food.
III. PRATYAHARA AND DHARANA
Pratyahara is abstraction or withdrawal of the senses from their objects. Pratyahara checks the outgoing tendency of the senses. The practice demands considerable patience and perseverance. It gives tremendous power. During the course of the practice you will have to withdraw the mind again and again from the sense-objects and fix it on the point of meditation. That Yogi who is well-established in Pratyahara can meditate quite calmly even in the battlefield where countless machine-guns roar in a continuous stream.
Dharana or concentration is centering the mind on one single thought. During concentration the mind becomes calm, serene and steady. The various rays of the mind are collected and focussed on the object of meditation. There will be no tossing of the mind. When there is deep concentration you will experience great joy and spiritual intoxication. You will forget the body and surroundings.
Concentration increases by curtailing wants and desires, by observing silence for one or two hours daily, by practising Pranayama, by prayer and by increasing the number of sittings in meditation daily. You must always try to be cheerful and peaceful.
IV. DHYANA AND SAMADHI
Meditation (Dhyana) follows concentration. The mind dwells on God alone during meditation. Deep meditation cannot come in a day, or a week or a month. You will have to struggle hard for a long time. Gradually you will enter into deep meditation and Samadhi (superconscious state). You will have to pass through the six stages of meditation and finally you will enter into perfect Nirvikalpa Samadhi or super- conscious state. Form perception will totally vanish.
V. REWARDS OF SAMADHI
The meditator and meditated become one. You will attain highest Knowledge and Supreme, Eternal Peace. This is the goal of life. This is the aim of existence. This is the final beatitude of life. You will be absolutely free from pain, sorrow, fear, doubt and delusion. You will experience: - I am the Immortal Self. All indeed is God. There is nothing but God.
You will feel that the whole world is nothing but pure consciousness. The tables, chairs, men, women and other things will appear to contain this consciousness just as vessels contain their contents. You will feel that the Lord is sporting in all things as this pure consciousness. You will actually lose the sense of material nature of things around you. This rare experience will give you great bliss.
May you all attain success in Yoga and enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi or the Blissful Union with the Lord by controlling the mind and the senses and practising regular and constant meditation!IMPORTANT MATTERS ON MIND-CONQUEST by Swami sivananda
I. CONQUEST OF DESIRE
Desire is death. Desirelessness is immortality. Desire is an enemy of peace. It cuts at the root of wisdom and knows no satiation. Therefore, cultivate dispassion, discrimination, meditate and enjoy everlasting bliss. Conquer desire and attain self-realisation or knowledge of Atman. Resist. Conquer all worldly attractions through prayer, Japa, meditation and Vichara. Craving for sensation gives pain. Cultivate dispassion and discrimination. Meditate. This craving will die. Peace is the fruit of the death of all emotions, cravings and desires.
Perfect life is attained by liberation from desires. The cause of all pain and sorrow, is rooted in desire. If desire is annihilated all pain and sorrow will vanish. Detach. Control desires. Meditate on Atman. You will attain self-realisation.
The dynamic power of substitution is the safest way to conquer desire. Your longing for objects will disappear if your eyes turn upwards to God. The practice of contentment and meditation leads to a few wants and peace.
Freedom from passion is the truest enjoyment. True serenity dawns by subduing your passions. Vasanas or desires tend towards bondage; but the extinction of them leads to Moksha or salvation.
II. RENUNCIATION - THE REAL STRENGTH
Vairagya or dispassion is true power. With the development of dispassion and discrimination all pains will cease. You will attain bliss eternal.
Walk in the path of renunciation of desires. Consider as fire or poison all objects which are said to be pleasures. The longing after the stainful material enjoyments, is itself bondage; the renunciation of the same is Moksha or freedom.
Attraction and repulsion towards objects alone is bondage and nothing else. The more you try to get away from sense-objects, the more you get into them. But dispassion, discrimination and meditation will make you free. Detachment comes through discrimination (between the real and the unreal).
Sensual pleasures make you oblivious of the painless blissful Moksha or emancipation. Renunciation of worldly pleasures, is only an effective means to attain God-realisation, but not an end in itself.
Empty your mind, you will be filled with God. Wisdom is a better support than all other possessions. Dispassion is wisdom. Therefore, attain the wisdom of Atman. Make wisdom your provision for the journey from this world to the Absolute or the Domain of eternal bliss.
III. NEED FOR A THOROUGH STUDY OF THE MIND
You must know thoroughly the nature of mind and its activity. Mind constitutes the root of the tree of Samsara or Ajnana (ignorance).
If the baneful root of mind is destroyed, the tree of birth and death will also be destroyed. This body is the seed from which generates the sprout of pleasures and pains, giving rise to the ever-gyrating creeper of Samsara.
The cause of the seed of body is the mind which following the track of desires, is the receptacle of pleasures and pains arising from births and deaths. The mind that is ever hankering after, and involved in, sensual pleasures, is the seed of all Maya.
It is the imagination of the individual that is the cause of his bondage and not the mere existence of the universe as an object of perception.
It is through the mind that the hosts of bodies, which do not exist, though seeming to exist, arise beyond number. It enjoys these bodily objects as in a dream. The mind is brought under control by mental discipline such as Sama, Dama, etc.
The best means of conquering Maya which involves all in pains, is the destruction of mind.
Atman begins to dawn with the destruction of the mind. You should so destroy the mind that it will not afterwards be able to rear up its head at all.
Destroy the mind past all resurrection through Vichara or enquiry and ceaseless meditation on Atman. Annihilate Vasanas and egoism. Now the mind will be emptied. Just as the flame of a lamp is extinguished when the oil and wick are burnt only, so also the mind gets immediately dissolved and becomes one with Brahman when the Vasanas or desires and egoism are destroyed.
The real Samata is the absorption of the mind in the contemplation of Brahman. Destroy the impure mind through your higher mind and get yourself firmly seated in the Supreme Paramatman.
IV. NOBLE IS RESTRAINT
Learn to control desires and emotions. Learn to subdue, to purify, to order all your thoughts. Fight against all negative thoughts and doubts. Let sublime divine thoughts come to you from every side.
Be careful of your thoughts. Whatever you send out of your mind, comes back to you. Every thought you think, is a boomerang. If you hate others, hate will come back to you. If you love others, love will come back to you.
Thoughts of depression, failure, weakness, darkness, doubts, fear, etc., are negative thoughts. Cultivate positive thoughts of strength, confidence, courage, cheerfulness. The negative thoughts will disappear.
V. MASTERY OF MIND
Mind is the thief who had robbed the Atmic Jewel, viz., the Self. Slay by the arrow of Viveka the demon of lower, selfish mind whose form covers up the five senses of knowledge and the five senses of action.
Sensation are turned into percepts, and percepts are converted into concepts. It is the life-experience in the sense-universe.
No thought of anything is possible, where neither the eyes have seen nor the ears have heard. The senses do not perceive anything. It is the mind that perceives through the senses. The mind is often directed by the senses.
The Vasanas generate never-ending pains arising from mental actions. Therefore, they should be made to wear themselves away. The great Vasanas are the nets to catch the fishes of Jivas who are worldly-minded.
A mind which is never disturbed with its worries, will reach the Nirvana seat, devoid of actions through the extinction of Vasanas. Power intoxicates. Be careful. Beware. It will bring about your downfall quickly.
Where wealth and power reign, contentment runs away. Even wise men lose all sense of moderation when invested with vast powers. With the growth of Sankalpa (thought, imagination) there will arise the universe; with the extinction of Sankalpa, the world also will disappear.
If after destroying your mind ever surging through the Vasanas of Ajnana in this world of objects replete with its cause and effect, you give up even the Vasanas of the body, then you will attain Brahma-Jnana or the knowledge of the Supreme Self.Suddha And Asuddha Manas by Swami Sivananda
Through the discriminating mind, the lower mind is powerfully mastered by the wise.
"Uddharet-atmana-atmanam-Let him raise the self by the Self." (Gita, VI-5)
The Two Kinds Of Mind
Suddha Manas or Sattvic mind (pure mind) and Asuddha (impure) Manas or the instinctive mind or desire—mind as it is called are the two kinds of mind according to Upanishadic teaching. There is the lower mind filled with passion. There is the higher mind filled with Sattva (purity). There are two minds. You will have to make it into one—Sattvic mind only—if you want to meditate. It is through the higher or Sattvic mind that you will have to control the lower or instinctive mind of passions and emotions.
There are two kinds of Buddhi also—Vyavaharic Buddhi and pure Buddhi. There are two kinds of Aham or Ahankara, viz., Suddha Aham which identifies with Brahman (Sat-Chit-Ananda) and Asuddha Aham which identifies with the body. There are two kinds of Sankalpa (resolve, conation), viz., Suddha Sankalpa (thoughts of God) and Asuddha Sankalpa (thoughts of body and the world).
The Asuddha Manas which creates Asuddha Sankalpa, the Vyavaharic Buddhi and Asuddha Ahankara—all these three form a vicious circle. These three work in co-operation. The seed of the mind is Ahankara. Mind is merely a bundle of thoughts. Of all thoughts, the ‘I’ thought is the root thought. It is the first thought also that emanated from the mind. Therefore, mind is only the thought ‘I’. Buddhi is the basis of Ahankara. It is Buddhi that forces you to identify yourself with the physical body. It is Buddhi that creates difference (Bheda) and Nana Bhava (the idea of many in the world).
Characteristics Of The Sattvic Mind
A Sattvic mind like solitude, silence, simple living, high thinking, study of spiritual books, philosophical discussions, concentration of mind and company of Sadhus, Mahatmas and Sannyasins. A stainless mind can be judged through speech, face and eyes. Through these expressions, the opinion can be formed whether a person has stainless mind. Higher desires, noble aspirations, lofty ideals, true religious feeling, mercy, sympathy, pure unselfish love, devotion, Vichara (Atmic enquiry), inspiration, genius-all come from the higher, pure Sattvic mind. Suddha Manas (pure mind) is Brahman itself. It is an embodiment of purity itself.
Characteristics Of The Rajasic Mind
A Rajasic mind likes crowded cities, much talking, luxurious life, low thinking, the company of women, study of romantic novels, eating dainty dishes and selfish works. Instinctive mind is the lower, impure Kama Manas with desires, passions and appetities. The vast majority of persons have this instinctive mind only. Even the so-called civilised and educated persons live on the plane of the instinctive mind. Their senses are very sharp and acute and they run after more refined things for their sense-gratification. They identify themselves with the physical body and the senses. They have no idea of the subtle Atman which is entirely distinct from the body and the Indriyas. Their ‘I’ is the physical, gross body only though they know that there is a mind.
Sensual enjoyment brings on diseases and destroys the power of discrimination (Viveka). It makes the mind Malina (impure). Therefore, shun Vishayabhoga (sensual enjoyment). Try to realise the Self within wherein lies eternal bliss and immortality.
Sattvic Mind Needed For Atma-Vichara
A sharp, subtle, one-pointed, Sattvic (pure) mind is needed for Atma-Vichara (enquiry into Atman or the Supreme Spirit) and study of Upanishads. A gross mind or practical (Vyavaharic) Buddhi with selfishness and lust is absolutely unfit for Vichara and philosophical ratiocination. Selfishness clouds understanding. Selfishness is the bane of life. The mind of a worldling is ever ready to absorb sexual thoughts. It cannot imbibe subtle, philosophical ideas. It is callous and cannot vibrate properly to take in philosophical ideas. You can drive a nail in clay, but not in a stone. The mind has to be purified by Nishkama Karma, Japa, Pranayama and other spiritual Sadhanas.
Mind is compared to a mirror. If the mirror is dirty, you cannot see your face clearly. Similarly, if the mind-mirror is dirty (full of Mala, impurities-Kama, Krodha, Lobha, etc.), you cannot see God clearly; you cannot see the Self clearly. The light of Brahman cannot shine efficiently. Clean it up with effort daily, through spiritual Sadhana, meditation, strenuous Nishkama Karma Yoga, devotion, etc. You will realise God.
"Manasaiva-anudrashtavyam" is the utterance of the Srutis. Brahman is to be seen by the mind. Here ‘mind’ means the Suddha Manas (pure mind). Brahman can be seen by a mind which is equipped with the four means of salvation; which is rendered subtle and pure by the practice of Sama, Dama, Yama and Niyama; which is furnished with the sacred instructions of a qualified Guru and which does Sravana (hearing), Manana (reflection) and Nididhyasana (constant musing). Should the pure mind concentrate itself for some time through a study of Jnana Sastras, association with the wise and an uninterrupted practice of meditation, then in such persons developing Jnana, a divine vision will dawn in which there will be a direct cognition of the one Reality.
Slay The Impure Mind
The enemy of Atman is the impure mind, which is replete with excessive delusion and a host of thoughts. This mischievous and powerful imp of lower mind is the generator of all pains and all fears and the destroyer of all noble, spiritual wealth. Your real enemy is this impure mind only which is full of delusion, Trishnas, Vasanas and host of other impurities. Lest this enemy of mind should spoil you in diverse ways through the "enjoyments" of the many "pleasures" in this world, slay it in the hope of getting eternal bliss and spiritual illumination. Destroy the lower Asuddha (impure) Manas through the higher Suddha Manas. Destroy your instinctive mind through discrimination and help of your higher, Sattvic mind. Then and then alone will you get eternal, infinite peace and bliss of Atman. Then alone will you become a Jivanmukta.
Sattvic minds and Rajasic minds move in diametrically opposite directions. Sattvic mind unifies. Instinctive mind separates and divides. Voice from the instinctive mind will mislead you. Purify the mind and hear the voice of conscience (Sattvic mind). You will have to develop the Sattvic part of the mind by annihilating the lower, impure, instinctive mind. If the lower mind is done away with through the higher mind alone, then only will you have eternal happiness and peace. Then alone will you attain Moksha, supreme knowledge and perennial bliss. Slay this mind through constant Vichara and meditation on Om and rest in your own Svarupa, Sat-Chit-Ananda state.
How To Purify The Mind
As one iron shapes another iron, the pure mind of a person which makes efforts in the virtuous path should correct and mould his impure mind. Mind is unfailingly rendered pure through true, virtuous and pure actions and constant Satsanga (association with the wise). Speaking the truth and practice of Daya (pure compassion) are very great purifiers of mind. All lofty aspirations, all-embracing tendencies and pity-all go a long way in increasing the Sattvic material of the mind. The higher Manas is developed.
Sacrifice, gift, compassion, study of the Vedas and speaking the truth: these five are purifying. The sixth is penance well-practised. The last one is highly purifying. Pilgrimage to sacred places is also purifying. You come in contact with holy persons there. You can have good Satsanga.
Charity, Japa, Nishkama Karma, Yajna, Agnihotra, Brahmacharya, Sandhya, Tirtha-Yatra, Dama, Sama, Yama, Niyama, Svadhyaya, Tapas, Vrata, service of saints-all tend to purify the mind. There will be, doubtless, unalloyed bliss in the mind thus purified.
A Mantra purifies the mind. Mere repetition of a Mantra, parrot-like, has very little effect. It has some benefit. It must be repeated with Bhava (feeling). Then it produces wonderful effects. The Mantra, unless inspired with the powerful will-force of one’s own mind, cannot produce much effect.
Study of philosophical works, right thinking, exercise of good and noble emotions, prayers and beneficent endeavours and, above all, regular and strenuous meditation are the means to improve the mind. These will bring about the rapid evolution of the mind.
When the mind is purified, a hole is formed in the centre through which purity, light and knowledge flow from Brahman.
A goldsmith converts 10 carat gold into 15 carat gold by adding acids and burning it several times in the crucible. Even so, you will have to purify your sensuous mind through concentration and reflection on the words of your spiritual preceptor and the Upanishadic sentences, meditation, Japa or silent repetition of the Name of the Lord, etc.
It takes a long time to purify Harital (yellow oxide of arsenic orpiment). It has to be soaked in cow’s urine for seven days, in lime water for ten days and in milk for seven days. Then it has to be burnt out hundred and eight times before a Bhasma or proper oxide (ash) is obtained. Even so, it takes a long time to effect Chitta-Suddhi, purity of mind. Severe Tapascharya (austerity) is needed.
As a result of purification of the mind, it becomes more sensitive, gets easily disturbed by a sound or shock and feels any pressure acutely. An aspirant must be sensitive and yet have the body and nerves completely under his control. The greater the sensitiveness becomes, the more difficult is the task; there are many noises which pass unheeded by an ordinary person, but which are torture to one who is very sensitive. You must do your best to get over this oversensitiveness.
Initiation Of Pure Mind Leads To Quiescence
Purification is the first part of Yoga. When purification is over, the natural tendency of the mind is to go towards liberation, Moksha. If only a disciple whose mind is cleansed of all its impurities, is initiated into the sacred mysteries by a Guru, then his mind will get complete quiescence. He will enter into a Nirvikalpa state. The Nirvikalpa state is termed Asamvedana.
To Follow: MIND VIIIAum NamaH Shivaya!
Sianala, Montreal, Feb 2008