Control of Mind
by Swami Sivananda
by Swami Sivananda
The mind is Atma Shakti. It is only through the mind that Brahman or the Supreme Self manifests as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects.
The mind is nothing but a collection of Samskaras (impressions). It's just a bundle of habits. The true nature of the mind is the Vasanas (subtle desires). The idea of "I" or selfishness is the seed of the tree of mind. The sprout originating from the seed of this selfishness is Buddhi (intellect). From this sprout originate the branches called Sankalpas (thoughts, imaginations) .
The mind consists of Sattvic matter. According to the Chhandogya Upanishad, the mind is formed from the subtlest portion of food.
The mind is of two kinds, ashuddha (impure) and Shuddha (pure). The former (impure mind) leads to slavery while the latter (pure mind) helps the aspirant to achieve liberation.
Manolaya (temporary absorption of the mind) in the object of meditation will not help you achieve liberation.
Manonasa (annihilation of mind) will allow you to reach the final liberation (Moksha). Do not long objects. Reduce your desires. Cultivate Vairagya (dispassion or detachment). Vairagya thins the mind.
Do not mix much. Do not talk much. Do not walk much. Do not eat too much. Do not sleep much.
Control your emotions. Abandon desires and Vasanas (subtle desires). Control irritability and lust.
Slay the impure mind through the pure mind and transcend the pure mind through meditation.
Practice perfect Brahmacharya (celibacy or chastity in thought, word and action). There is no half measures on the spiritual path.
Never wrestle with the mind. Do not use any violent effort in concentration. When the mind jumps and wander much, Make no violent effort to control the mind, but rather allow it to run along for a while and exhaust its efforts. It may take some time to tame the mind, but each time you try, it will come round to you in shorter time. It will take advantage of the opportunity and will jump around like an unchained monkey at first, until it gradually slows down and looks to you for orders.
If evil thoughts enter your mind, do not use your will-force in driving them. You will lose your energy only. You will tax your will only. You will fatigue yourself. The greater the efforts you make, the more the evil thoughts will return with redoubled force. They will return more quickly also. The thoughts will become more powerful. Be indifferent. Keep quiet. They will pass off soon. Or substitute good counter-thoughts (Pratipaksha-Bhavana method). Or think of the picture of God and Mantra again and again forcibly. Or pray.
Never miss one day your meditation. Regularity is of great importance. When the mind is tired, do not concentrate. Give the mind some rest. Don´t eat heavy food at night. This will interfere with your morning meditation.
Japa, Kirtan, Pranayama, Satsanga (company of sages), the practice of Sama* (serenity), Dama** (self-restraint), Yama*** ((self-restraint), the Sattvic or pure food, the study of scriptures, meditation, Vichara (enquiry on Atman), all this will help you to control the mind and attain eternal bliss and immortality.
Sama *: Sama is serenity of mind produced by the constant eradication of Vasanas or desires.
Dama** : Dama is the control of the external organs, i.e., the organs of action or the five Karma-Indriyas, viz., organ of speech, hands, feet, genitals and the anus as well as of the five Jnana-Indriyas or organs of knowledge, viz., ear, skin, eye, tongue and nose; the organs are withdrawn and fixed in their respective centres.
Yama***: Yama is practice of
- Ahimsa (non-injury),
- Satya (truthfulness),
- Asteya (non-stealing),
- Brahmacharya (celibacy in thought, word and deed.)
- and Aparigraha (non-covetousness)
This is the foundation of Yoga.