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By Sri Swami Sivananda

A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY PUBLICATION Sixth Edition: 1997 (2,000 Copies) World Wide Web (WWW) Edition : 1999 WWW site: HTTP://WWW.SHIVANANDADLSHQ.ORG/ This WWW reprint is for free distribution © The Divine Life Trust Society Published By THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY P.O. Shivanandanagar249 192 Distt. Tehri-Garhwal, Uttar Pradesh, Himalayas, India.


    Mind its Mysteries and Control
    1. Facts About Mind

1. Mind is not only daily made, but hourly made. In every minute it changes its colour and shape like a chameleon. It is very wavering and unsteady (Chanchalam and Asthiram).

2. The mind had a pernicious habit of externalization from time immemorial. The constant utterance of Holy Names of God as Hari Om, Narayana, Rama, Siva, etc., purifies the mind-stuff and helps to make the mind introspective (Antarmukha-vritti).

3. Time is but a mode of mind. It is Kala-Sakti. It is also illusory like the objects. When your mind is deeply concentrated, a period of two hours appears like five minutes. If the mind is distracted and wandering, half an hour appears as two hours. This is everybody’s experience. In dream also many events that last for fifty years take place within ten minutes. Through the play of the mind, a Kalpa is considered by it as a moment and vice versa.

4. Perception through the finite mind or cognition of experience takes place serially and not simultaneously. Simultaneous knowledge can only be had in Nirvikalpa Samadhi where past and future merge in the present. A Yogi only will have simultaneous knowledge. A man of the world with a finite mind can have a knowledge in succession only. Though several objects may come in contact simultaneously with the different sense-organs, yet the mind acts like a gate keeper who can admit only one person at a time in the gate. The mind can send only one kind of sensation at a time into the mental factory inside for the manufacture of a percept and concept.

5. There are secretions from endocrine glands which are ductless. viz., Thyroid, Thymus, Parotid, Pineal, Suprarenal, etc. These secretions are directly absorbed into blood. They play a vital part in constituting the temperament of every individual. The temperament of a man can be greatly modified by environments, education and experience. It can hardly be changed in toto. That is the reason why the Gita says: “Sadrisham cheshtate svasya prakriter jnanavanapi—Even the man of knowledge behaves in conformity with his own nature” (Chap. 111-33).

6. It took me many years to understand thoroughly the secret subtle workings of the mind. Mind havocs through the power of imagination. Imaginary fears of various sorts, exaggeration, concoction, mental dramatization, building castles in the air, are all clue to the power of imagination. Even a perfect, healthy man has some imaginary disease or other due to the power of imagination of the mind. A man may have a little weakness or Dosha (fault). When he becomes your enemy you at once exaggerate and magnify his weakness and Dosha. You even superimpose or concoct many more weaknesses and Doshas. This is due to the power of Imagination. Much energy is wasted on account of imaginary fears.

7. Belief, reasoning, knowledge and faith are four important psychic processes. First you have belief in a doctor. You go to him for diagnosis and treatment. He examines you and then prescribes certain medicines. You take them. You reason out: “This is the disease. The doctor has given me Iron and Iodide. Iron will improve my blood. The Iodide will stimulate the lympathis and absorb the exudation and growth in the liver.” Then the disease is cured by a course of these drugs for a month. Then you get knowledge and perfect faith in the medicine and the doctor. Then you recommend to your friend this doctor and drugs: “Dr. James is a clever man. He is an expert. Huxley’s tonic is a very good nervine and blood tonic.”

8. The mind wants always to be doing something and when it attaches itself with the objects it cherishes, it feels amused and happy. A play at cards has nothing in it but the attachment and attention gives pleasure. It is difficult to divert the mind which from infancy has fallen into the pernicious habit of seeking pleasure outwardly 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.

9. The mind in the vast majority of persons has been allowed to run wild and follow its own sweet will and desires. It is like a spoiled child who is given to much indulgence by its parents or a badly trained animal. The minds of many of us are like menageries of wild animals, each pursuing the bent of its own nature and going its own way. Restraint on the mind is a thing unknown to the vast majority of persons.

10. You know the experience of a tree through the mind only. You must have an intellectual grasp, intellectual conviction and comprehensive understanding of Brahman first through the purified mind. The help of the mind is always needed either for perfection of an object or the understanding of Brahman. Meditation proceeds from the mind only.

11. Mark how one Sankalpa expands into many Sankalpas (Vistara) in a short time. Suppose you get a Sankalpa to have tea-party for your friends. One thought of tea invites instantaneously the thoughts of sugar, milk, teacups, tables, chairs, table cloth, napkins, spoons, sweetmeats, salted things, etc. So this world is nothing but the expansion of Sankalpas. The expansion of thoughts of the mind towards the objects is bondage (Bandha). Renunciation of Sankalpas is liberation (Moksha). You must be ever watchful in nipping the Sankalpas in the bud. Then only you will be really happy. Mind tricks and plays. You must understand its nature, ways and habits. Then only you can control it very easily.

12. The mind assumes the shape of any object it intently thinks upon. If it thinks of an orange it assumes the shape of an orange. If it thinks of Lord Krishna with flute in hand, it assumes the shape of Lord Krishna. You must train the mind properly and give it proper Sattvic food for assimilation. Have a Sattvic background of thought or mental image.

13. If you tasted Ovaltine for a month, ‘mental adhesion’ to Ovaltine comes in the mind. If you are in the company of Sannyasins, if you read books on Yoga, Vedanta, etc., a similar mental adhesion takes place in the mind for attaining God-consciousness. Mere mental adhesion will not help you much. Burning Vairagya, burning Mumukshutva, capacity for spiritual Sadhana, intense and constant application and Nididhyasana (meditation) are needed. Then only Self-realisation is possible.

14. The form which the endless Atman (Supreme Spirit) assumes through Sankalpa is Manas (mind). The mind attains the quiescent state of Para-Brahman through its enemy of discrimination. It first turned its back upon discrimination and hence entangled itself in the folds of Vasanas of objects.

15. Mind is ever changing and wandering. This wandering habit of the mind manifests itself in various ways. You will have to be on the alert always to check this wandering habit of the mind. A householder’s mind wanders to cinema, theatre, circus, etc. A Sadhu’s mind wanders to Benares, Vrindavan and Nasik. Many Sadhus never stick to one place during Sadhana. The wandering habit of the mind must be controlled by making it stick to one place, one method of Sadhana, one Guru and one form of Yoga. A rolling stone gathers no moss. When you take up a book for study you must finish it before you take up another. When you take up any work, you must devote your wholehearted attention towards the work on hand and finish it before you take up another work. “One thing at a time and that done well is a very good rule as many can tell.” This is Yogi’s way of doing.

16. If all the thoughts are eliminated, then there remains nothing which can be called the mind. So thoughts are the mind. Again there is no such thing as the world independent of and apart from thoughts.

17. The mind is generally attracted by brilliant light, beauty, intelligence, varied colours and pleasant sounds. Do not be deceived by these paltry things. Enquire within. What is the Adhishthana or background for all these things? There is one Essence at the back of the mind and all objects of this seeming sense-universe. That Essence is all full (Paripurna) and self-contained. That Essence is the Brahman of the Upanishads. That Essence verily you are. ‘Tat Tvam Asi,’ my dear readers.

2. Thought-culture

1. When you sit for meditation thoughts of your friends and office work, memory of conversation that took place in the previous evening with your friends and relatives will disturb your mind and cause distraction. You will have to withdraw the mind again and again, cautiously from these extraneous worldly thoughts and fix it again and again in your Lakshya or point. You will have to disregard and ignore the worldly thoughts. Be indifferent. Do not welcome these thoughts. Do not identify yourself with these thoughts, ideas. Say within yourself: “I do not want these thoughts. I have nothing to do with these thoughts.” They will vanish gradually.

2. The mind is a mischievous imp. It is like a jumping monkey. It must be disciplined daily. Then it will gradually come under your control. It is only by the practical training of your mind that you can prevent bad thoughts and actions from arising and can prevent bad thoughts and actions that have arisen from recurrence. It is only by the practical training of your mind that you can encourage good thoughts and actions to arise and can maintain good thoughts and actions when they have arisen.

3. Watch your mind always very carefully. Be vigilant. Be on the alert. Do not allow waves of irritability, jealousy, anger, hatred, lust to arise from the mind. These dark waves are enemies of meditation, peace and wisdom. Suppress them at once by entertaining sublime and divine thoughts. Evil thoughts that have arisen may be destroyed by originating good thoughts and maintaining them by repeating any Mantra or Name of the Lord, by doing good actions, by dwelling on the misery that arises from evil thoughts, by abstracting the mind, by analysing the origin of the thoughts, by enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ or by the force of the will resolving to suppress the evil thought. When you attain the state of purity, no evil thoughts will arise in your mind. Just as it is easy to check the intruder or enemy at the gate, so also it is easy to overcome an evil thought as soon as it arises. Nip it in the bud. Do not allow it to strike deep root.

4. In the beginning all sorts of evil thoughts will arise in your mind as soon as you sit for meditation. Why does this happen during meditation when you attempt to entertain pure thoughts? Aspirants leave their spiritual practices of meditation on account of this. If you try to drive a monkey it attempts to pounce on you with vengeance. Even so the old vicious Samskaras and old evil thoughts try to attack you with vengeance and redoubled force only at the time when you try to raise good, divine thoughts. Your enemy endeavours to resist you vehemently when you try to eject him out of your house. There is a law of resistance in nature. The old evil thoughts assert and say “O man! Do not be cruel. You have allowed us to stay in your mental factory from time immemorial. We have every right to abide here. We have helped you up to this time in all your evil actions. Why do you want to oust us from our dwelling place? We will not vacate our abode.” Do not be discouraged. Go on with your practice of meditation regularly. These evil thoughts will be thinned out. Eventually they will all perish.

5. Positive always overcomes the negative. This is the law of nature. Negative evil thoughts cannot stand before positive good thoughts. Courage overcomes fear. Patience overcomes anger and irritability. Love overcomes hatred. Purity overcomes lust. The very fact that you feel uneasy now when an evil thought comes to the surface of the mind during meditation indicates that you are growing in spirituality. In those days you consciously harboured all sorts of evil thoughts. You welcomed and nourished them. Persist in your spiritual practices. Be tenacious and diligent. You are bound to succeed. Even a dull type of aspirant will notice a marvellous change in him if he keeps up the practice of Japa and meditation for 2 or 3 years in a continuous stream. Now he cannot leave the practice. Even if he stops his practice of meditation for a day, he will actually feel that he has lost something on that day. His mind will be quite uneasy.

6. If you place a big mirror in front of a dog and keep some bread in front, the dog at once barks at its reflection in the mirror. It foolishly imagines that there is another dog. Even so, man sees his own reflection only through his mind-mirror in all the people but foolishly imagines like the dog that they are all different from him and fights on account of hatred and jealousy.

7. You will be able to enter into deep meditation only if you lead a moral life. When you have led the moral life, you may further try to build up discrimination and the other steps in your mind. You can cultivate the mind in concentration and can finally devote yourself to meditation. The more you lead the moral life, the more you meditate, the greater likelihood will then be for you to enter into Nirvikalpa Samadhi which can liberate you from the round of births and deaths and can confer on you eternal Bliss and Immortality.

3. Control of Thought

1. The mind is like a wheel which revolves endlessly with tremendous velocity. It generates new thoughts with every revolution. This wheel is set in motion by the vibration of psychic Prana or subtle Prana. The practice of Pranayama lessens the velocity of the mind and slows down the wheel gradually. Perfect control of Prana will bring the wheel to a standstill.

2. Alcohol, meat, Rajasic foods, cinema, novel-reading, obscene songs, obscene sights, evil company, obscene talks will make the wheel of mind revolve very rapidly whereas fruits, Sattvic food, company of Mahatmas, study of religious books, solitude, Japa, Kirtan, concentration, meditation, enquiry of ‘Who am I?’ will slow down the wheel and eventually bring it down to a standstill.

3. Identify yourself with the Immortal Self. Enquire ‘Who am I?’ whenever thoughts arise in your mind. All the thoughts will gradually die.

4. Fewer the desires, lesser the thoughts. Become absolutely desireless. The wheel will stop entirely. If you reduce your wants, if you do not try to fulfill your desires, if you try to eradicate your desires one by one, your thoughts will diminish in frequency and length. The number of thoughts per minute will also decrease. Fewer the thoughts, greater the peace. Remember this always. A wealthy man who does speculation in a big city and who has a large number of thoughts has a restless mind, in spite of his comforts, whereas, a Sadhu who lives in the cave of Himalayas and who is practicing thought-control is very happy in spite of his poverty.

5. Concentration will increase by lessening the number of thoughts. Certainly it is an uphill work to reduce the number of thoughts. In the beginning it will be taxing you much. The task will be very unpleasant. But later on you will rejoice as you will get immense strength of mind and internal peace by reduction of thoughts. Armed with the patience, perseverance, vigilance, fiery determination and iron will, you can crush the thoughts easily just as you crush a lemon or an orange with ease. After crushing, it will be easy for you to root them out. Mere crushing or suppression will not suffice. There may be again resurrection of thoughts. They should be totally eradicated, just as a loose tooth is rooted out.

6. When you give a blow on the head of a snake with a stick and crush its head, it remains absolutely motionless for some time. You think it is dead. All of a sudden it raise its head and runs swiftly. Even so the thoughts that were once crushed and suppressed by you regain strength and raise up their heads. They must be destroyed totally beyond resurrection.

7. It is very difficult to fix the mind on one thought in the beginning. Diminish the number of thoughts. Try to have thoughts on one subject. If you think of a rose you can have all sorts of thoughts connected with rose only. You can think of different kinds of roses that are grown in different parts of the world. You can think of the various preparations that are made out of roses and their uses. You can allow even thoughts of other kinds of flowers to enter; but do not entertain thoughts of fruits and vegetables. Check the aimless wandering of the mind. Do not have thoughts at random when you think of a rose. Gradually you can fix the mind on one thought. You will have to discipline the mind daily. Eternal vigilance is needed in thought-control.

8. Fewer the thoughts, greater the mental strength and concentration. Suppose the average number of thoughts that pass through your brain within one hour is one hundred. If you succeed in reducing them by constant practice of concentration and meditation to ninety you have gained ten per cent of power of concentration of mind. Every thought that is reduced adds strength and peace to the mind. Reduction of even one thought will give you mental strength and peace of mind. You may not be able to feel this in the beginning as you do not possess a subtle intellect; but there is a spiritual thermometer inside to register the reduction of even a single thought. If you reduce one thought the mental strength that you have gained by this reduction will help you to reduce the second thought easily.

9. In rubber plantation, planters take recourse to the method of thinning out the rubber trees by cutting the small surplus trees which stand in the vicinity of big trees. By so doing they can tap more milk or rubber juice from the big trees. Even so you must thin out the thoughts by destroying them one by one to drink the ambrosial milk or nectar of Immortality.

10. When the tail of a lizard is cut, the cut end will flutter about for some time, as there is still a little residual Prana in the tail. After one or two minutes all motion will cease. Even so, even after thinning and reduction of thoughts, some thoughts will move about like the tail of the lizard. But they are powerless. They cannot do any serious havoc. There is no vitality in them. Just as the drowning man tries to catch anything to save himself, so also these lifeless thoughts try their level best to come back to their previous state of life and vigour. If you go on with your daily practice of concentration and meditation regularly, they will die by themselves like a gheeless lamp.

11. In the beginning of your practice of thought-control you will experience great difficulty. You will have to wage war with them. They will have to struggle their level best for their own existence. They will say: “We have every right to remain in this place of mind. We have a sole monopoly from time immemorial to occupy this area. Why should we vacate our dominion now? We will fight for our birthright till the end.” They will pounce upon you with great ferocity. When you sit for meditation only all sorts of evil thoughts will crop up. As you attempt to suppress them they want to attack you with redoubled force and vigour. But positive always overcomes the negative. Just as darkness cannot stand before the sun, just as a leopard cannot stand before the lion so also all these dark, negative thoughts, these invisible intruders, enemies of peace, cannot stand before the sublime divine thoughts. They must die by themselves.

12. Just as the warrior chops off the heads of his enemies one by one, when they come of a fortress through a trap door, so also chop the thoughts one by one when they emerge out through the trap door to the surface of the mind.

13. The substitution method is very easy and effective in the destruction of evil thoughts. Cultivate positive virtuous thoughts of mercy, love, purity, forgiveness, integrity, generosity, humility, etc., in the garden of your mind. The negative vicious thoughts of hatred, lust, anger, greed, pride, etc., will die by themselves. It is difficult to destroy the evil thoughts by attacking them directly. You will have to tax your will and waste your energy.

14. Suppose the evil thoughts stay in your mind for twelve hours and recur every third day. If you can make them stay for ten hours and recur once in a week by daily practice of concentration and meditation that is a decided improvement. If you continue your practice, the period of stay and recurrence will be gradually lessened. Eventually they will disappear altogether. Compare your present state of mind with that of last year or year before last. You will be able to find out your progress. The progress will be very slow in the beginning. It will be difficult for you to gauge your growth and progress.

15. Thoughts gain strength by repetition. If you entertain an evil thought or a good thought once, this evil thought or good thought has a tendency to recur again. Thoughts crowd together. Just as the birds of the same feather flock together, so also if you entertain one evil thought all sorts of evil thoughts join together and attack you. If you entertain any good thought, all good thoughts join together.

16. Like attracts like. If you entertain evil thought that thought attracts all sorts of evil thoughts from others. You pass on that thought to others also. Thought moves. Thought is a living dynamic force. Thought is a thing. If you allow your mind to dwell on a sublime thought, this thought will attract good thoughts from others. You pass on good thoughts to others. You pollute the world with your bad thoughts. You help the world with your good thoughts.

17. When you reach the spiritual summit of thoughtlessness you will reach the abode of Immortality and eternal peace and supreme bliss. O Ram! Start your homeward journey. March boldly in the spiritual path. Be not afraid of difficulties. Be bold. Ascend peak after peak. Cross the deep ravines of subtle Moha and pride that come on your way. Take a long jump and cross the mystic frontier of Avyaktam. Chop off the thoughts that wage again and again a guerrilla war. Enter now the infinite domain of pure bliss and highest knowledge. Regain your old pristine divine glory. Rest in your Sat-chit-ananda Svarupa.

4. Purification of Mind

1. You must have a pure mind if you want to realise the Self. Unless the mind is set free and casts away all desires, cravings, worries, delusion, pride, lust, attachment, likes and dislikes, it cannot enter into the domain of Supreme Peace and unalloyed felicity of the Immortal Abode.

2. Mind is compared to a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden by ploughing and manuring the land and removing the weeds and thorns and watering the plants and trees, so also you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your mind by removing the impurities of the mind such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, etc., and watering it with Divine thoughts. Weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season, disappear in summer; but their seeds remain underneath the ground. As soon as there is a shower, the seeds again germinate and sprout out. Even so the Vrittis or modifications of the mind manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed-state, the form of Samskaras or impressions. The Samskaras again become Vrittis either through internal or external stimulus. When the garden is clean, when there are no weeds and thorns you can get good fruits. So also, when the mind is pure, when the mind is free from lust, anger, etc., you can have the fruit of good deep meditation. Therefore cleanse the mind of its impurities first. Then the current of meditation will flow by itself.

3. If you want to keep a garden always clean, you will have to remove not only the weeds and thorns and other small plants but also the seeds that lie underneath the ground which again and again germinate during rainy season. Even so, you will have to destroy not only the big waves or Vrittis of the mind, but also the Samskaras which are the seeds for births and deaths, which germinate the Vrittis again and again, if you want to enter into Samadhi and attain liberation or perfect freedom.

4. If you apply fire to a green wood it will not burn, but if you apply fire to a piece of dried wood it will at once catch fire and burn. Even so, those who have not purified their minds, will not be able to start the fire of meditation. They will be sleeping or dreaming or will be building castles in the air if they sit for meditation. But those who have removed the impurities of their minds by Japa, service, charity, Pranayama, etc., will enter into deep meditation as soon as they sit for meditation. The pure ripe mind will at once burn with the fire of meditation.

5. If you do not clean a plate daily, it will lose its lustre. It is the same with the mind too. The mind becomes impure if it is not kept clean by the regular practice of meditation. Meditation removes the dross of the mind in an effective manner. Therefore practice meditation in the early morning regularly.

6. Do not cause pain or suffering to any living being from greed, selfishness, irritability, annoyance. Give up anger or ill-will. Give up the spirit of fighting, heated debates. Do not argue. If you quarrel with somebody or if you have a heated debate with anybody, you cannot meditate for 3 or 4 days. Your balance of mind will be upset. Much energy will be wasted in useless channels. The blood will become hot. The nerves will be shattered. You must try your level best to keep a serene mind only. A serene mind is a valuable spiritual asset for you.

7. You must practice austerity of speech if you really want to attain quick progress in meditation. You must always speak sweet, loving words. You must speak truth at any cost. You must not speak any harsh word or any indecent word that is calculated to hurt the feelings of others. You should weigh your words well before they are spoken. You must speak a few words only. This is austerity of speech or Vak-Tapas that will conserve energy and give you peace of mind and inner strength.

8. Examine your character. Pick up the defects in it. Find out its opposite. Let us say that you suffer from irritability. The opposite of irritability is patience. Try to develop this virtue by meditating on the abstract virtue of patience. Regularly every morning sit down at 4 a.m. in Padma or Siddha Asana in a solitary room for half an hour, and begin to think on patience, its value, its practice under provocation, taking one point one day, another on another day, and thinking as steadily as you can, recalling the mind when it wanders. Think of yourself as perfectly patient, a model of patience and end it with a vow: “This patience which is my true Self, I will feel and show from today.”

9. For a few days probably there will be no change perceptible. You will still feel and show irritability. Go on practicing steadily every morning. Presently you see an irritable thing, the thought will flash into your mind: “I should have been patient.” Still go on in practice. Soon the thought of patience will arise with the irritable impulse and the outer manifestation will be checked. Still go on practising. The irritable impulse will grow feebler and feebler until you find that irritability has disappeared and that patience has become your normal attitude towards annoyances. In this manner you can develop various virtues such as sympathy, self-restraint, purity, humility, benevolence, nobility, generosity, etc.

10. It is the actions of the mind that are truly termed Karmas. True liberation results from the disenthralment of the mind. Those who have freed themselves from the fluctuation of their minds come into possession of the supreme Nishtha (meditation). Should the mind be purged of all its impurities, then it will become very calm and all the Samsaric delusions attendant with its births and deaths will be soon destroyed.

11. Concentration of the mind on God after purification can give you real happiness and knowledge. You are born for this purpose only. You are carried away to external objects through Raga and Moha. Dive deep. The Divine Flame, the Light of lights is burning there. Plunge deep. Merge within.

5. How to Steady the Mind

1. The external objects are continuously acting upon the brain. The sense-impressions reach the brain through sense-avenues and produce mental stimuli. Now you are conscious of the external objects. Consciousness may be caused by an awakening either by external stimulus, i.e., stimulus from a sense-impression or an internal stimulus through memory. Each simple sense-impression is a highly complex bundle of afferent stimuli. ‘Afferent stimuli’ mean stimuli that are carried from outside towards the brain. A stimulus is an awakening in the substratum of the mind. The associations of awakenings which arise from a single sense-impression are very complex.

2. When you meditate, disregard the substratum awakenings in the mind that arise out of the senses. Avoid carefully the comparisons with all other cross references and memories of ideas. Concentrate the whole energy of the mind on the one idea of God or Atman itself without any comparison with any other idea.

3. Avoid all other sense-impressions and ideas. Prevent the complications that arise out of correlated action in the substratum of the mind. Abstract the mind and the one idea alone. Shut out all other process of mentation. Now the whole mind will be filled with the one idea only. Nishtha will ensue. Just as the recurrence or repetition of a thought or action leads to perfection of that thought or action, so also does recurrence of the same process on the same idea lead to the perfection of abstraction, concentration and meditation.

4. You will find very often these terms in the Gita: “Ananya-chetah, Machitta, Nitya-yukta, Manmanah, Ekagram Manah, Sarva-bhava.” These terms denote that you will have to give your full mind, entirely 100 per cent of mind to God. Then only you will have Self-realisation. Even if one ray of mind runs outside, it is impossible to attain God-consciousness.

5. You cannot enjoy peace of mind and cannot practice meditation if there is Vikshepa (tossing) in your mind. Vikshepa is oscillation of mind. Vikshepa is Rajas. Vikshepa and desire coexist in the mind. If you really want to destroy Vikshepa, you must destroy all mundane desires and cravings through dispassion and self-surrender to the Lord.

6. To practice meditation or contemplation in a mind unprepared by non-adherence to the moral precepts is like building a house on a rotten foundation. You may build up the house, but it will surely fall. You may practice meditation for many years but you will not realise any tangible result or fruit, if you have no ethical foundation. You will fall down. Therefore mental purity through ethical training is of paramount importance, if you wish to achieve success in meditation and Samadhi. Before you attempt to practice meditation, you must lead the necessary correct moral life. You must have the necessary right understanding. Then only you will have sanguine success in meditation. Much more time is required in the preparation of the mind for meditation than for the actual practice.

7. Drive off negative thoughts. Become positive always. Positive overpowers negative. You can do nice meditation when you are positive.

8. If the mind constantly dwells on sensual objects, the conception of the reality of the universe will surely increase. If the mind ceaselessly thinks of Atman (Absolute), the world appears like a dream.

9. Free yourself from the base thoughts of the mind, the various useless Sankalpas (imaginations). Make ceaseless enquiry of Atman. Mark the word ‘ceaseless.’ This is important. Then only there will be dawn of spiritual knowledge. The Jnana Surya (the sun of knowledge) will arise in the firmament of Chidakasa (knowledge-space).

10. Just as you render the turbid water pure by the addition of clearing-nut (strychnos potatorum), so also you will have to make the turbid mind filled with Vasanas and false Sankalpas, pure by Brahma-chintana (thinking and reflection on the Absolute). Then only there will be true illumination.

11. Just as the man who foolishly runs after two rabbits will not catch hold of any one of them, so also a meditator who runs after two conflicting thoughts will not get success. If he has Divine thoughts for ten minutes and then worldly conflicting thoughts for the next ten minutes, he will not succeed in attaining the Divine Consciousness. You must run after one rabbit only with vigour, strength and one-pointedness. You are sure to catch it. You must have only Divine thoughts at all times. Then only you are sure to realise God soon.

12. Just as you saturate the water with salt or sugar, you will have to saturate the mind with thoughts of God and Brahman, with Divine glory, Divine presence, with sublime, soul-awakening spiritual thoughts. Then only you will be established in the Divine Consciousness always.

13. In Nididhyasana (meditation) you will have to develop the Sajatiya-vritti-pravaha. Make the thoughts of Brahman or Divine Presence flow like inundation of flood. Do Vijatiya-vritti-tiraskara. Renounce the thoughts of objects. Drive them away with the whip of Viveka and Vichara. There is struggle in the beginning. It is trying indeed. But later on as you grow stronger and stronger and as you grow in purity and Brahma Chintana, Sadhana becomes easy. You rejoice in the life of unity. You get strength from Atman. Inner strength grows when all the Vishaya Vrittis are thinned out and the mind becomes one-pointed (Ekagrata).

14. During meditation note how long you can shut out all worldly thoughts. Watch the mind very carefully. If it is for twenty minutes, try to increase the period to thirty or forty minutes and gradually to two or three hours. Fill the mind with the thoughts of God again and again.

15. The mind can be controlled by continuous practice. You must keep it always occupied in Divine contemplation. If you slacken your efforts, idle thoughts will at once enter. Continuous practice can bring the mind under control, quite easily. Samadhi is possible by the practice of continuous meditation with a light diet.

16. Put a piece of iron rod in the blazing furnace. It becomes red like a fire. Remove it. It loses its red colour. If you want to keep it always red, you must always keep it in fire. Even so, if you want to keep the mind charged with the fire of Brahmic wisdom, you must always keep it in contact or touch with the Brahmic fire of knowledge through constant and intense meditation. You must keep up an unceasing flow of the Brahmic consciousness. Then only you will have the Sahaja Avastha (natural state).

17. Sit at ease. Close your eyes. Look within. Withdraw the rays of the mind. Silence the thoughts. Meditate on Atman or the Absolute. Chant Om. Sing Om. Feel Om. Mentally repeat Om. The mind will move now to its centre or source slowly. You will forget the body and the world. The breathing will become very slow. The breath will move within the nostrils. Your heart will be flooded with joy and bliss. Divine nectar will trickle down. Drink it to your heart’s content and attain Immortality. Divine peace, eternal tranquillity will roll over your head, wave after wave. Plunge deep in the ocean of peace. Swim freely and rejoice. What a magnanimous, happy state! What a blissful freedom! What a wonderful perfection and independence!

18. The fight between old, evil Samskaras and new Sattvic Samskaras will come to an end now. The eternal war between Sattva, Rajas and Tamas will cease. The rebellious mind and senses will be obedient captives now. The conflict between evil and sublime thoughts will terminate. Impulses and emotions will vanish in toto. How pleasant and delightful is the eternal life in the Atman! How sweet and enjoyable is this Divine Life! Realise this and be free.

6. Control of the Senses

1. Many aspirants fail to enter into Samadhi or Brahmic Bliss on account of restlessness of any one of the Indriyas (senses). Control of Indriyas is indispensably requisite for spiritual Sadhana.

2. Develop Vairagya. Without Vairagya and restraint of Indriyas no meditation or Samadhi is possible. Energy will leak out if Vairagya wanes. Vairagya is non-attachment to sensual objects. It is a mental state.

3. Control the Indriyas. Through introspection find out which Indriya is troubling you and curb it ruthlessly. Give up the objects which the particular Indriya tries to grasp. Destroy the thirsting for objects and sense-enjoyments. Then you will be established in Samadhi or Supreme Peace.

4. Discipline the Indriyas. Speak truth. Talk little. Observe Mouna for two hours daily. Speak sweet, loving, soft words. Do not utter harsh words. Do not abuse anybody. This is the discipline of Vak-Indriya, the organ of speech.

5. Do not go to cinemas. Do not look at ladies with a lustful look. When you move in the streets look at the tip of the nose or big toe and walk. Do not look hither and thither. This is the discipline of eye, the organ of sight.

6. Do not attend nautch party and do not hear vulgar music. Give up musical entertainments. Do not hear worldly topics. This is the discipline of ear, the organ of hearing.

7. Do not use scents. This is the discipline of nose, the organ of smell. Give up salt and sugar for a week. Live on simple food. Fast on Ekadasi days or live on milk. This is the discipline of tongue, the organ of taste.

8. Observe Brahmacharya. This is the discipline of the reproductive organ. Sleep on a hard mat. Walk bare-footed. Do not use umbrella. This is the discipline of the skin, the organ of touch.

9. Fix the mind on your Ishta Devata. Bring it back again and again when it wanders and fix it on the image. This is the Sadhana for checking the wandering mind and developing concentration. By constant, regular practice, you can fix the mind on God steadily.

10. You may think or falsely conjecture that the senses are under your control. You may be duped. All of a sudden you will become a victim or a slave. You must have not only control of one Indriya but also Parama Vasyam or supreme control of all the Indriyas. The senses may become turbulent at any time. Reaction may set in. Beware!

May the Lord bestow on you Vairagya, Viveka and inner spiritual strength to control the senses and enter into Samadhi.

7. Conquest of Mind

1. The mind can be controlled by Abhyasa and Vairagya. Abhyasa is constant effort to fix the mind on God or Atman. Vairagya is dispassion or non-attachment to sensual objects.

2. Enquire ‘Who am I?’ Do Vichara. Do mental Japa of Om and meditate on Atman. All thoughts will die by themselves. You will rest in Sat-chit-ananda Atman.

3. Sit alone and watch the Vrittis of the mind. Be indifferent. Remain as a Sakshi. Do not identify yourself with the Vrittis. The mind will come under your control.

4. Destroy the fuel of desire; the fire of thought will be extinguished. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, the reality of Brahman will shine.

5. Cultivate Divine qualities such as friendliness, mercy, gladness and indifference towards happiness, pain, virtue and vice. You will get peace of mired.

6. Do not think of the past. Do not plan for the future. Do not allow the mind to build images. Live in the solid present.

7. Do a thing which the mind does not want to do. Do not do a thing which the mind wants to do.

8. Do not try to fulfil your desires. Do not hope. Do not expect anything. Destroy the vicious desires through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desires also through one strong desire for liberation.

9. Practice of Pranayama destroys Rajas and Tamas; make the mind steady and one-pointed.

10. Study of religious books, Tapas, charity and Satsanga with Mahatmas, Sadhus and Sannyasins overhauls worldly vicious Samskaras and paves a long way in the control of mind.

11. Japa of any Mantra and Upasana destroy the impurities of the mind, make the mind inward, induce Vairagya, help concentration and eventually lead to control of mind and attainment of God-consciousness.

12. ‘Kalau Kesava-kirtanat.’ In this Kali Yuga the easiest way for controlling the mind and attaining Moksha is Kirtan or singing the Name of the Lord.

13. Food has influence over mind. Sattvic food (milk, fruits, etc.) calms the mind. Rajasic food (meat, alcohol, etc.) excites the mind. Take Sattvic food. Have Mitahara (moderation in diet).

14. Destroy evil habits by establishing new good habits. Control the lower instinctive mind through the higher Sattvic mind.

15. Constant selfless service with Atma Bhava is highly efficacious in purifying and controlling the mind.

16. Do not wrestle or struggle with the mind. Be regular in your concentration and meditation. May Peace, Joy, Bliss and Immortality abide in you for ever and ever! Om Santi, Santi, Santih!

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