Man and His Mind

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Radiant Atman! Man is man because he has a mind. Thinking, reasoning, feeling, that alone makes man. If he has no mind he is an animal. But mind can make a man a beast also. Mind can make a man a demon. Because if the mind is not made sattvic, if it is not governed by an awakened, discriminating, ever alert, vigilant and keenly enquiring intellect, then mind becomes the greatest problem; it becomes the greatest trap, the greatest enemy, the greatest complication, the greatest source of all types of troubles to the aspirant, to the seeker. One can become helpless, mercilessly tormented by the mind. It takes charge of one’s life, and one is ruled by emotions, sentiments, passions and error.

Because the nature of the mind is to always create confusion and constant restlessness, constant activity, constant thinking of sense-objects, constant going outside, constant involving and entangling itself in things. It is a bundle of desires, cravings and imaginations. It is a companion with whom you should deal with great caution. It is there; you cannot help it. You cannot get rid of it; you have to live with it. But you must know that it is your problem, it is your trouble maker. You should not think it is your friend.

But it is the mind, the manas, that is your problem, not the antahkarana. The antahkarana (inner being) also contains your great helper. It contains your greatest asset which can make you divine. Because the antahkarana contains not the mind only, it contains the buddhi (intellect). And it contains the chitta (subconscious mind), Pandora’s box, which contains all that is wonderful and beautiful and also all that is ugly and not so wonderful.

You have no control over the chitta. If you want to get the best out of it, you have to transform it where it is. Even without being able to control it, you can transform it. You can gradually lessen and eliminate all its unfavourable tendencies and subtle impressions by a constant process of deep innermost transformation, purification.

The power of the Name of God can reach where you cannot reach. It does not need to see. You are blind; you have to grope in darkness when you try to enter the mind, when you try to turn the gaze within and do introspection, analyse yourself, study yourself. The Name of God does not require any light to see, because it itself is the Light. The moment it goes, it goes on its own light. It goes deepest into the mind and through its power it gradually brings about a total transformation, a revolutionary transformation. It makes the mind no mind, fills it with sattva. It brings light into the darkness of the mind, and it is able to rid the chitta of all its negativity.

Because chitta is necessary. That which is in the chitta is not entirely valueless, though it is a constant source of thought, desire, craving and imagination. Nevertheless, it contains precious gems, all the nine gems. Because anything you hear or read, anything sublime, elevating, noble, inspiring, is stored in the chitta. You must know how to take it out. Anything ugly, dirty, indecent—that too is stored in the chitta. Whatever you perceive, whatever you see, whatever you hear, immediately gets lodged in the chitta. So you must know the necessity of being selective, closing the windows of the senses, not allowing wrong things to get into the chitta. Allow only that which is valuable, which can be a wealth, an asset to you. That alone should be given entry.

That which has got in from previous births you cannot help. That you have to transform through japa, meditation, prayer, satsanga, svadhyaya, nishkama-karma-yoga. That you must do. It is a gradual process.

But what gets into the chitta now and in the future—that you can help. That is under your control. That is why they say you must have samyam, self-control. That is why they say you must be discriminative, you must have pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses) when you go amidst sense-objects, when you go amidst people.

Some people will talk sense; some people will talk nonsense. Some will talk wisdom. You must know what to take in and what not to take in, what to ignore, bypass. Even in satsang everything that is said cannot be meant for everyone. You must know what is meant for you, take what is helpful or required and leave the rest. A listener is supposed to be a viveki. And when you go out, you must know what to open the senses to and what to close them to. You must be determined to keep your chitta pure. You should not allow impurity to enter through bad company or wrong perceptions, unnecessarily absorbing through the senses things which are likely to create problems.

So you must be wise, you must be alert. You must live and move through each day of your life wakefully, wisely. That is the hallmark of a sadhak—wisdom, wakefulness, alertness, discrimination, selection and rejection. Yes, this is the great necessity; otherwise, mind can bring about a downfall. Mana eva manushyanam karanam bandhamokshayoh—mind alone is the cause of bondage and liberation of human beings.

Buddhi is the balancing factor. Buddhi is the redeeming feature of the antahkarana. Mind is the mischief-maker, buddhi is the redeeming factor. Buddhi should be cultivated, enriched by satsang and svadhyaya, constant reflection, manana, also. Then buddhi becomes a valuable friend; it is constantly present to help you.

Aspiration too should be constantly kept up. It does not blaze by itself. The fire of aspiration has to be stoked time and again, day after day. It has to be fanned. Then alone it will always be fully blazing. Any fire if neglected gradually becomes embers and then covered with ash. And this fire of aspiration also can die out, God forbid. If further neglecting it, one dampens it with water or some contrary element, it will die out; you will have ashes only—neither useful to you, nor to anyone. Then no use weeping and putting those ashes on your body, no use. It is futile. And it will be no one’s fault but your own.

Therefore, man is man because he has a mind. The hallmark of a sadhak is not merely activity of the mind and intellect, but the right activity of the intellect and the conscious control of the mind. Terrorists also have an intellect, but they use it in a perverted way, a horrible way. And often they imagine that what they are thinking, saying and doing is right. So, if the buddhi is perverted, it is dangerous. It must be alert and endowed with right perception and divine virtues.

Therefore, know your inside. Know what part mind plays. Know the great important part the intellect must play. Give attention to the intellect. Cultivate the intellect through svadhyaya, reflection and satsang. These are the three ways: daily study; daily introspection and reflection; satsang. Time and again the spiritual history of India recounts the downfall of various seekers through lack of svadhyaya, lack of satsang, lack of discrimination.

People who have ascended very high have had terrible downfalls. Visvamitra did not have satsang. He was alone, doing tapasya in solitude, seclusion. What happened? He had no one to keep his buddhi elevated, awake, alert, vigilant—no satsang. He was dominated by the ego; even his tapasya was dominated by the ego. What happened? He very easily had a downfall. The celestial nymph Menaka came—finished. All Visvamitra’s tapasya was lost.

Helped by satsang, svadhyaya and discrimination, intellect becomes our friend. Mind is not our friend. Chitta is neither friend nor foe. It contains stored wisdom; it contains stored perversion, evil also. It contains both. What is important is how you manage to gradually purify it, what you take out of it. First let the intellect deal with it and then only let it percolate into the mind. If chitta and mind are directly connected—finished, you are lost. The buddhi must be there between the chitta and the mind. Then your antahkarana is in a proper situation. Think of all these very essential and important things. Be a buddhisali, buddhiman (one endowed with proper intellect). Therefore we say: “dhiyo yo nah prachodayat—May He illumine my intellect. Illumine my intellect with Divinity, O Sarasvati.”

Thus keeping watch over our intellect, keeping watch over our chitta and mind, making our intellect full of wisdom, discrimination, analysis and enquiry, let us proceed towards the Goal, attaining which we become blessed!





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