E-mail this to a friend
Printable version
Font Size    

Mind Conquest by the Conquest of Mental Habits

By Swami Sivananda

T
he mind in the vast majority of persons has been allowed to run wild and follow its sweet will and desire. It is ever changing and wandering. It jumps from one object to another. It is fickle. It wants variety. Monotony brings disgust. It is like a spoiled child who is given too much indulgence by his parents or 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 of the mind is a thing unknown to the vast majority of persons.

This wandering habit of the mind manifests itself in various ways. You will have to be 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 Varanasi, Brindavan and Nasik. Many Sadhus do not stick to one place during Sadhana.

The wandering habit of the mind must be controlled by rendering it chaste and constant by Vichara. The mind must be trained to stick to one place for five years during your meditative life, to one method of Sadhana, to one path of Yoga - either Karma, Bhakti or Vedanta - to one spiritual objective and to one guide. - A rolling stone gathers no mass. 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 whole-hearted attention to 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. This is a very good rule for success in life.

Do not have goat's mind or a prostitute's heart. A goat grazes for a few seconds in one patch of green grass and then immediately jumps to a far distant patch, even though there is plenty of grass to eat in the first patch. Even so, a wavering mind jumps from one Sadhana to another Sadhana, from one Guru to another Guru, from Bhakti Yoga to Vedanta, from Rishikesh to Brindavan. This is extremely deleterious for the Sadhana. Stick to one Guru, one place, one form of Yoga, one kind of Sadhana. Be steady and firm. Then only, you will succeed. Have a steady, resolute-mind.

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 tempts and deceives you through objects. Distance lends enchantment to the view. Until you attain the object, it will seem to you as a pleasurable object from a distance. When you actually get it, it becomes a source of vexation and pain. Desire is mixed with pain. Objects are so delusive that they often deceive even the wise in this way. He is a really wise man who can detect the illusive nature of these objects.

Mind always tempts you to go to various places for sight-seeing. It is all a vain trick of the mind to divert you from the goal. Use your Viveka always. Address the mind thus: - O foolish mind, have you not seen before, various places and sceneries? What is there in sight-seeing? Rest in Atman within. It is self-contained. You can see everything there. It is Purnakama; it is Purnarupa. (it contains all forms; it is beauty of beauties). What are you going to see outside? Is it not the same sky, the same earth, the same passions, the same eating, the same gossiping, the same sleeping, the same latrines, the same urinals, the same cemeteries everywhere?

In the beginning, I used to give a long rope to my mind. It will whisper to me, - Let me go to Allahabad Kumbha Mela. I would say, - My dear friend, my mind! You can go now. As soon as I would return, I would ask, - O mind, are you satisfied now? What did you enjoy there, It would hide itself and drop down its head in utter shame. Gradually, it left off its old habits and became my true friend, guide and Guru through the true counsels it imparts in the way of obtaining the highest goal.

Mind wants repetition of a pleasure once enjoyed. Memory of pleasure arises in the mind. Memory induces imagination and thinking. In this way, attachment arises. Through repetition, a habit is formed. Habit causes strong Trishna. Mind then exercises its rule over poor, helpless, weak-willed worldlings. As soon as discrimination arises, the power of the mind becomes weakened. The mind tries to recede, to retrace its steps to its original home - the heart. Its poisonous fangs are extracted by discrimination. It cannot do anything in the presence of discrimination. It gets dethroned. The will becomes stronger and stronger when discrimination is awakened. Thanks to Viveka which enables us to get out of this miserable Samsara.


copyright © 2011 the divine life society. All rights reserved.