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Paperback: xlviii+320 pages
ISBN: 81-7052-060-6
Book Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.65 inches
Shipping Weight: 370 grams

CONQUEST OF MIND

by Swami Sivananda

Table of Contents

About This Book (Back Cover)  
Introductory xvii
     i. Western Psycho-Analysis And Eastern Brahmavidya xvii
     ii. Yoga Vasishtha And Western Psychology xx
     iii. Methods of Mind-Conquest xxiii
          1. Mind-conquest by the Four Traditional Methods xxiii
          2. Mind-conquest by Meditation on ‘Om’ with Tadrupas-Tadartha-Bhavanam xxiii
          3. Mind-conquest by the Method of the Vedantic Kumbhaka xxiv
          4. Mind-conquest by the Method of the Gayatri Sadhana xxv
          5. Mind-conquest by the Method of Sakti Yoga xxv
          6. Mind-conquest by the Method of Will-culture xxvi
          7. Mind-conquest by Higher Philosophical Thinking xxviii
          8. Mind-conquest by Diverting One’s Attention xxviii
          9. Mind-conquest by Japa Yoga Sadhana xxviii
          10. Mind-conquest by the Method of Prayer xxix
          11. Mind-conquest by the Method of Sankirtan Yoga xxx
          12. Mind-conquest of Raga-dvesha and Anukula-Pratikula-Jnana xxxii
          13. Mind-conquest by Anvaya-vyatireka Method xxxiii
          14. Mind-conquest by the Neti-Neti Method xxxiv
          15. Mind-conquest by the Laya Chintana Method xxxv
          16. Mind Conquest by the Pursuit of Any Ideal Recognised by You as the Highest xxxv
          17. Mind-conquest by the Method of Mumukshutva or Strong Yearning for Liberation xxxvi
          18. Mind-conquest by the Method of Dietetic Discipline xxxvii
          19. Mind-conquest by the Method of Abhyasa or Constant and Protracted Practice of Concentration on a Single Object or Figure or Dot xxxvii
          20. Mind-conquest by the Method of Dosha Drishti, or the Constant Perception of the Limitations of Life xxxviii
          21. Mind-conquest by the Cultivation Even Under the Worst of Provocations, Insults and Injuries, a Composure Comparable to Inanimate Nature xxxix
          22. Mind-conquest by the Uses of Adversity and the Rewards of Suffering xxxix
          23. Mind-conquest by Control of Speech xli
          24. Mind-conquest by Kabir’s Method of "Detach-Attach" xlii
          25. Mind-conquest by Sivananda’s Method of "Remember-Forget" xlii
          26. Mind-conquest by Psychological Self-examination xliii
          27. Mind-conquest by the Practice of Meditation xliv
     iv. Western And Indian Psychology--Comparative Study xlv
   

Part One
STAGES OF MIND-CONQUEST

 
1. Mind-conquest by Introspection 3
2. Mind-conquest by Discrimination 4
3. Mind-conquest by Yoga and Jnana 5
     i. Removal of the Three Mental Defects 5
     ii. The Difficulty of Mind-control 5
     iii. Conquest by Yoga and Jnana 5
     iv. Need for Intelligent Methods 5
     v. Pratipakshabhavana 6
     vi. Conquest by Abhyasa 6
     vii. The Role of Pranayama 7
4. Mind-conquest--Ten Important Methods 8
     i. By Vichara 8
     ii. By Eradication of Ego 8
     iii. By Vairagya 8
     iv. By Abhyasa 8
     v. By Non-attachment 9
     vi. By Vasanakshaya 9
     vii. By Pranayama 9
     viii. By Control of Thoughts 9
     ix. By Renunciation, Equanimity and Balance 9
     x. By Devotion and Service 10
5. Mind-conquest by Thought-culture 11
6. Practical Instructions on Mind-control 13
7. Higher Methods for Mind-conquest 16
     i. Achievement of Manojaya 16
     ii. Inner Yogic Sadhana 17
     iii. Secret of Yoga Sadhana 18
     iv. Secret of Manonasa 19
8. Meditation for Mind-control 20
     i. Hints on Mind-control 20
     ii. Meditation--The Divine Way to Subdue the Mind 21
     iii. Training the Mind to Its Task 22
     iv. Greatest Hidden Enemy 23
     v. Mastery Over the Mind 24
9. Conquest of Mind’s Strongholds 26
10. States of Mind and Principles of Mental Discipline 28
     i. The Four States of Mind 28
     ii. Waking, Dreaming and Sleep 28
     iii. Sleep-walkers 28
     iv. Vikalpa Vritti 29
     v. Mental Discipline 29
     vi. Pure Mind, Pure Reflection 31
11. Method of Self-analysis 32
12. Fruits of Self-control 34
     i. Mind-control by Self-control 34
     ii. Mind-control by Asanga and Mumukshutva 36
13. Rajayogic Method for Mind-conquest 37
     i. Yama and Niyama 37
     ii. Asana and Pranayama 37
     iii. Pratyahara and Dharana 38
     iv. Dhyana and Samadhi 39
     v. Rewards of Samadhi 39
14. Mind-conquest by Religious Life 40
15. Corner-stones of Mind-control 42
16. The Art of Talking the Mind Into Control 44
     i. To the Mind 44
     ii. Listen, O Mind 44
     iii. Soar High Like a Kite 44
     iv. Roam Not, O Mind 44
17. Questions and Answers on Mind-control 46
18. Mastery Over the Mind 48
     i. Disentanglement of the Mind 48
     ii. Peace of Mind 48
     iii. Barrier of Egoism 48
     iv. The Deluded Mind 49
     v. The True Source of Delight 49
     vi. Liberation by Mind-dissolution 49
   

Part Two
FIRST PHASE OF MIND-CONQUEST--
ITS THEORY AND PRACTICE

 
19. Mind-Studies in Its Structure 53
     i. What Is Mind? 53
     ii. Mind as the Universe 53
     iii. Mind as Sankalpa 53
     iv. Storehouse of Impressions 53
     v. Stuff of the Mind 54
20. The Many Phases of the Mind 55
     i. Fourfold Antahkarana 55
     ii. Strata of Mind 55
     iii. The Three Avasthas 55
     iv. The Three Forms of Mind 55
     v. The Sattvic Guna 55
21. The Dynamics of the Mind 57
     i. Pure and Impure Mind 57
     ii. Functions of the Mind 57
     iii. Power of the Mind 57
     iv. Play of the Mind 57
     v. The Mischievous Mind 58
22. Mind--Its Manifestations and Its Resistances 59
     i. Thought and Facial Expression 59
     ii. The Inner War 59
     iii. Fight With Evil 59
     iv. Remove the Dirt in the Mind-radio 59
     v. The Creeper-mind 60
23. Mind, World, Inner Discipline and Spiritual Progress 61
     i. Mind and the World 61
     ii. Analysis of Mind 63
     iii. Inner Discipline 64
     iv. Mind and Spiritual Progress 65
     v. Watch the Mind 66
24. Basic Tendencies of Mind and Their Control 67
25. Studies in Instincts and Emotions 70
26. Psychology of Sentiment, Conscience and Spiritual Progress 72
27. Lessons in Analogies, on Mind 74
     i. Mind Is Very Treacherous 74
     ii. Do Not Co-operate With the Mind 74
     iii. Mind Is Like Ghee 74
     iv. Mind Is Like Rice-paste 75
     v. Mind Is Like the Fountain-pen 75
     vi. The Tainted Mind 75
     vii. Ripples of the Mind 75
28. Philosophical Studies in Egoism and Its Elimination 77
29. Guiding Lights for Self-conquest 83
30. Precepts for Practice of Mind-control 87
31. Mind-conquest by Spiritual Culture 90
32. Importance of Thought-force 93
   

Part Three
SECOND PHASE OF MIND-CONQUEST--
ITS THEORY AND PRACTICE

 
33. Mind--Its Features, Nature and Conquest 97
     i. Philosophy of the Mind 97
     ii. Conquest of the Lower by the Higher 98
     iii. Mind as the Basis of the World-process 98
34. Mind--Its Forms, Its Disciplines and Its Subdual 100
     i. Mind as the Tree of Samsara 100
     ii. The Higher Mind 100
     iii. Ego as the Fundamental Mode of Mind 102
     iv. Obstacles to Mind-conquest 103
     v. The Impure Mind 103
     vi. The Inner Training 104
     vii. Power of Thought 106
     viii. Nature and Fruits of Meditation 107
35. Mind-Its Functions, Its Force, Its Facts 109
     i. Mind Creates the World 109
     ii. The Thought-force 110
     iii. Some Facts of the Mind 111
     iv. Mind-conquest by Self-knowledge 111
36. Mind-Its Unchanging Substratum and The Suppression of Its Changing Nature 113
     i. Atman Is the Witness 113
     ii. Mind Alone Sees and Hears 113
     iii. Mind, the Synthetic Organ 114
37. Important Matters on Mind-conquest 115
     i. Conquest of Desire 115
     ii. Renunciation--the Real Strength 115
     iii. Need for a Thorough Study of the Mind 116
     iv. Noble Is Restraint 117
     v. Mastery of Mind 117
38. Some Secrets of the Mind 119
     i. Mind--The Cause of Everything 119
     ii. The Instrumental Status of Mind 119
     iii. The Laws of Thought 120
     iv. Culture of the Mind 121
     v. Mysterious Human Mind 121
     vi. Vasanas and Vrittis 122
     vii. Secret of Sadhana 123
39. New Approaches to Mind--Its Mysteries and Its Conquest 125
     i. The Mysterious Mind 125
     ii. The Lower Mind 125
     iii. Mastery Over Mind 126
     iv. Maya Is Within You 126
     v. Master the Mind; Vanquish Maya 127
     vi. Man’s Mind, a Great Mystery 127
     vii. Harnessing the Powerful Mind 128
40. Mind--Its Philosophy and the Disciplines for Its Conquest 130
     i. Mind--A Philosophical Explanation 130
     ii. Beyond Mind 131
     iii. Methods for Mind-control 131
     iv. Mind a Goat, Chitta a Pig 133
41. Comprehensive Knowledge and Techniques of Mind-conquest 135
     i. All About Mind 135
     ii. How to Control the Mind? 136
     iii. Sankalpa and Its Destruction 137
     iv. Egoism 138
     v. Four Forms of Desire 139
     vi. Mind-centre and Instrument 139
     vii. Mind--A Restless Horse 140
     viii. Control of Mind 140
     ix. Stopping of Thought 140
     x. Good-bye Mind! 141
     xi. To the Mind and the Senses 141
   

Part Four
MORE METHODS FOR MIND-CONQUEST

 
42. Mind-conquest by Sakshi Bhavana 145
43. Mind-conquest by Brahma-vichara and Brahma-jnana 147
44. Mind-conquest by Pranayama 149
45. Mind-conquest by Sama and Dama 150
46. Mind-conquest by Pratipaksha Bhavana 151
47. Mind-conquest by Kirtan 152
48. Mind-conquest by Passionlessness and Bodily Control 153
49. Mind-conquest by Freedom from Thoughts and Desires 154
50. Mind-conquest by the Master-thought 155
51. Mind-conquest by a Triple-process 158
52. Mind-conquest by the Method of Opposition 159
53. Mind-conquest by Overcoming Raga-dvesha 160
54. Mind-conquest by Universal Love 161
55. Mind-conquest by Spiritual Vision 163
56. Mind-conquest by Thought-discipline 164
57. Mind-conquest by Elimination of Negative Thoughts 165
58. Mind-conquest by Full Occupation 166
59. Mind-conquest by Mind Itself 167
60. Mind-conquest by the Extinction of Kalpanas 168
61. Mind-conquest by the Conquest of Mental Habits 170
62. Mind-conquest by a Positive Method 173
63. Mind-conquest by Through Profiting by Adverse Conditions 174
64. Mind-conquest by With the Help of Aiding Forces Within 175
65. Mind-conquest by Association With the Spiritual 176
66. Mind-conquest by Persistent Spiritual Efforts 178
67. Mind-conquest by An Affirmation of Spiritual Suzerainty 180
68. Mind-conquest by Circumspection 181
69. Mind-conquest by Withdrawal from Senses-pleasures 182
70. Mind-conquest by Self-watchfulness 184
71. Mind-conquest by the Exhaustion of the Egoistic Forces 186
72. Mind-conquest by Self-purification 187
73. Mind-conquest by Ethical Sadhana 188
74. Mind-conquest by Continued Thought of God 191
75. Mind-conquest by Generation of Spiritual Currents 192
76. Mind-conquest by the most Important Sadhana 193
77. Mind-conquest by a Dynamic Sadhana 195
78. Mind-conquest by Antaranga Sadhana 198
79. Mind-conquest by Simple Sadhana 199
80. Mind-conquest by Fivefold Method 201
81. Mind-conquest by a Sevenfold Method 203
82. Mind-conquest by a Many-sided Sadhana 205
83. Nature of the Conquered Mind 211
84. Absolute Subdual of the Mind 212
   

Part Five
POEMS ON MIND-CONQUEST

 
Transcend the Mind 217
Negate the Mind 217
Slay the Mind 218
I Am Not the Mind 218
Mind and Meditation--I 219
Mind and Meditation-II 219
Mind and Cosmic Consciousness 220
Mind-and Maya 220
Mental Pose 220
War with the Mind 221
Vedanta on Mind 221
Advice to the Mind--I 222
Advice to the Mind--II 223
Shave the Mind 223
Weaning the Mind and the Senses 223
Destroy the Upadhi--Mind 224
Control of Mind Is Not Easy 224
Need for Mental Purity 225
Price for Mind-conquest 225
Way to Control the Mind 226
Wear the Shoe of Discrimination 226
Conquest of Hope and Anticipation 226
Sadhana for Mind-control 227
Song of Sadhana 227
The Mind-lake 229
The Mind-river 229
Loadstone, Mind and Its Absorption 230
Freedom from Mind and Its Friends 230
Control of Mind and Its Attendants 230
Mind-conquest by Thought-culture 231
More Methods for Mind-control 231
   

APPENDICES
Appendix One
HOW TO FIND PEACE OF MIND

 
Prayer and Devotion for Peace of Mind 235
Root Cause of Restlessness 235
Peace of the Self Within--Many Methods for Finding It 236
Peace of Mind Through Many-sided Self-culture 236
World-peace and Peace of Mind Through Spiritual Awareness 237
Meditate and Bring Peace to the World 238
Peace-techniques for the Nations 239
Spiritual Nature of Peace 240
Greatness of the Men of Discrimination and the Infinite Peace 240
Peace of Mind through Desirelessness 241
Supreme Peace by Self-conquest 241
Peace--A Positive Value 242
A Life of Spiritual Peace 242
What Is Peace? 243
Where Is Peace? 244
How to Find Peace? 244
Enemies of Mental Peace 245
Realms of Inner Stillness 245
Self-knowledge for Peace of Mind 247
Nature of Inner Peace 247
Men of Peace--Their Message 248
Peace from Loyalty to God 248
Peace by a Simple Life 249
Peace Through Self-exertion 249
Peace by Psychological Self-awareness 250
Peace of Mind by Egolessness 250
Peace by Doing Good to Others 251
Peace by Perseverance in Sadhana 251
Secret of Mental Equipoise 252
Universality of Restlessness and the Way to Peace 253
Mental Peace by Fewer Wants 254
Peace and Happiness by Self-knowledge 255
Mental Peace Through Saintliness 255
Real Education for Finding Peace 256
Eighteen Lessons for Mental Peace 256
Nineteen Lessons for Mental Peace 257
Achievement of Peace--A Slow Process 258
Peace as God and the Key to It 258
Peace Through Avoidance of Comparisons 258
Samahita Chitta and Freedom from Wrong Mental Modifications 259
Peace Amidst Din and Bustle of Life 259
Ignorance the Cause of Peacelessness 259
Mental Peace Through Non-attachment 260
Mental Peace Through Contentment 261
Mental Peace Through Adaptability 262
How I Abide in Peace, Now! 262

Recipe for Peace of Mind

263
Enemies of Eternal Peace 263
Prayer for World-peace 264
Peace Through Perfection 264
The Art of Finding Peace of Mind 265
Universal Message of Peace and Love 267
   

Appendix Two
A SYMPOSIUM ON SIVANANDA’S PSYCHOLOGY

 
1. Sivananda’s Psychological Techniques for Mind-control
--Dr. K.C. Varadachari, M.A., Ph.D.
269
2. Sivananda and the New Psychology
--Dr. George Arnsby-Jones, M.A., Ph.D
270
3. Status of Consciousness in Sivananda’s Philosophical Psychology
--Sri Swami Krishnananda
272
4. Sivananda’s Conception of Psychological Perfection
--Jnana-Bhaskara K.S. Ramaswami Sastri
280
5. Sivananda on Indian and Western Psychology
--Jnana-Bhaskara K.S. Ramaswami Sastri
296
6. Sivananda’s Psychology
--Sri Swami Venkatesananda
299
7. Sivananda as a European Psychoanalyst Understand Him
--Dr. Maryse Choisy, D.Psy
300
8. Pursuit of Psychology as Sadhana
--Dr. Sri Indra Sen
302
9. Significance of Sivananda’s Yoga Exercises for Modern Experimental Psychology
--Dr. R. Nagaraja Sarma, M.A., Ph.D., D.Litt
312
A Glossary of Sanskrit Words 314

About This Book

Sri Swami Sivananda has always laboured in a Divine Way, on a grand scale, for the spread of the Wisdom of spiritual India, and for the dissemination of practical knowledge on Mind and its total control and conquest. So great has been his contribution to the world’s spiritual literature, human happiness and enlightenment, and so high is his spiritual Eminence that he has been justly esteemed as at once a Patanjali, a Vyasa, a Yajnavalkya, a Sankara, an all-compassionate Saint and a dynamic integral Yogi.

This book presents a number of most helpful hints on the Nature of Mind and many methods for the successful conquest of mind. By aspirants, devotees, seekers after Truth, psychologist, and others who are seeking peace of mind and happiness in life, this work will be found highly useful.


INTRODUCTORY
I
WESTERN PSYCHO-ANALYSIS AND EASTERN BRAHMAVIDYA

Psycho-analysis is a very important subject. You will find the principles of psycho-analysis in Indian philosophical systems, too. You know that the real origin of all diseases is in the mind. From the mind the disease is communicated to the physical body. There is, therefore, not much use merely treating the physical ailment; you must go to the very root, to the mind, find out the mental ills and eradicate them there. Then you can enjoy good health. This is the burden of Ayurveda also, where it is termed as Adhivyadhi. The same thing has been said by Hahnemann also. Various impure Vasanas in the mind cause various poisons in the system which produce diseases. Nowadays all the Allopathic doctors are advised to take up a study of psycho-analysis. Then only can they understand the origin of the disease. Psycho-analysis should be introduced even in Schools and Colleges. The Teachers and Professors should all have a thorough knowledge of this science.

There is something beyond the mind too. That is the Self, Consciousness. Psycho-analysis should be combined with Raja Yoga. We must not only have a thorough knowledge of the Western science of psycho analysis, but combine with it Raja Yoga and spirituality also. Psycho-analysts should have a perfect knowledge of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga, and the Yoga Vasishtha also. They will be able to understand the workings of the mind better. Then, they will be able to do more service to the world.

Everybody should have a knowledge of the workings of the mind: What are the Gunas? How do they operate? They should have a knowledge of the Vasanas, Subha Vasanas and Asubha Vasanas; and of the three states of consciousness--waking, dreaming and deep sleep, and also find out where the mind rests during these states. All these things are necessary. After that you should practise a little Yoga, Japa and concentration. It is then that you can have perfect mastery over the mind.

In reality mind is nothing it has no existence. But it works wonders! Though it is nothing, it is everything for a man who has no understanding of the nature of the mind Mana eva manushyanaam kaaranam bandhamokshayoh--mind alone is the cause for bondage and liberation. Manomatram jagat--the world is mind only. The world is a thought. Mind alone exists in the universe. Though it is nothing, it works wonders! It plays havoc. You should understand this through the Yogic method and psycho-analysis, become a good psycho-analyst and enjoy good health, do Japa, meditation and attain the goal of life.

There is a science, the supreme science or Brahma Vidya that teaches you That knowing which everything becomes known. We should attempt to study the Upanishads, the Prasthanatraya. Then this psycho-analysis will be nothing. Try to understand the Brahmavidya. Then alone can you understand all the sciences and have perfect knowledge and attain God-realisation which is the goal of your life, wherein you will attain Samadhi and become one with the supreme Brahman.

The mind wants supreme Delight, unalloyed Happiness, Bliss unmixed with pain. That you can attain only in the Atman. Jyotishamapi tat jyotih... hridi sarvasya vishtitam--The light is seated in your heart. Yo vai bhuma tat sukham--do not forget this Upanishadic Vakya. If you want supreme bliss, you can have it in the Bhuma alone, in the unconditioned Self which is beyond time, space and causation. Study psycho-analysis; become a great psycho-analyst, and then attain your goal of life, the realisation of Bhuma!


II
YOGA VASISHTHA AND WESTERN PSYCHOLOGY

The Vasishtha Maha Ramayana is the earliest Indian philosophical work of the highest order on Vedanta. It is a monumental work wherein Sri Vasishtha, the great sage, taught the principles of Vedanta to his royal pupil Rama, the victor of Ravana and hero of the epic Ramayana. A study of this work raises any person to the lofty heights of divine awareness and splendour. Those who practise Atma-Chintana or Brahmabhyasa or Vedantic meditation will find in this marvellous work, a priceless treasure. Even the most worldly-minded person will become dispassionate and will attain peace of mind, solace and consolation by a study of this book. The practical hints on Sadhana are unique.

Yoga Vasishtha is a comprehensive, deep, systematic and literary philosophical work of ancient India. It embodies in itself the science of ontology, the knowledge of the Self, the principles of psychology, the science of emotions, the tenets of ethics and practical morality, discourses on theology, etc. According to this work, the world of our experience with various objects, time, space and laws is a creation of the mind, i.e., Idea or Kalpana.

Mind is endowed with creative power. Just as objects are created by the mind in the dream, so also everything is created by the mind in the waking state also. Expansion of the mind is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation generates this universe. Time and space are mental creations only. Through the play of the mind in objects nearness seems to be a great distance and vice versa. Through the force of the mind a Kalpa is regarded as a moment and vice versa. A moment of waking experience may be experienced as years in the dream. The mind can have the experience of miles within a short span and miles can also be experienced as a span only. Mind is the cause of bondage and liberation.

The mind manifests itself as the external world in the shape of pains or pleasures. The mind subjectively is consciousness. Objectively it is this universe. The mind attains through its enemy of discrimination the quiescent state of Parabrahman. The Sankalpas and Vasanas or subtle desires, which you generate enmesh you as in net. The Self-light or Parabrahman alone is, appearing as the mind or this universe.

Only those persons who are without Atmic enquiry will see as real this world which is nothing but of the nature of Sankalpa, mind. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa. Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe. Extinction of Sankalpas alone is Moksha.

This impure mind which is filled with excessive delusion and a host of worldly thoughts, is the real enemy of the Atman. There is no other vessel on this earth to wade through the ocean of rebirth than the mastery of the antagonistic mind. Destroy this mind to its roots, by the fire of the Knowledge of the Self. This is the essence of Yoga Vasishtha.

The conception of mind in the philosophy of Vasishtha is most rational, most dynamic, and truer than any presented in Western or Eastern psychology. It satisfies the latest conclusions in modern science, modern psychology, modern theories of philosophic thought. In comparison with the wonderful psychology Yoga Vasishtha presents us, the whole of the contemporary Western psychology looks so very valueless for a practical grasp of the nature and the powers of the human Mind, for a resolution of all problems of life, which are brought to being by the mind alone, for the perfection of human life possible only by a mastery and conquest of the Mind.


III
METHODS OF MIND-CONQUEST

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 practises 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 30, 85, 173, 180 and 182 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 36, "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." (See page 40)

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, Vikshena 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 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 160 of 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 Chit, 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 battlefield. 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," Sivananda writes on page 36, "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 40: "Destroy the vicious desires through virtuous desires and destroy the virtuous desire also through one strong desire--Liberation."

Mind-conquest by the Method of 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 41, "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. 15.) "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. 193.) "The subtle part of food forms the mind, is transformed into the mind. Purity of mind depends on the purity of food." (p. 120.)

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 to 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 6, 8, 43.

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, jnanaratnapaharaya 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 jagrata 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 26 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 86 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 171: "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 108,. "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 112 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."


IV
WESTERN AND INDIAN PSYCHOLOGY--COMPARATIVE STUDY

(a)

Each of the senses of man, executes only one function. Eyes can only see; ears can only hear; tongue can only taste; skin can only touch; nose can only smell. But the mind can see, hear, taste, touch and smell. All, the sense-faculties are blended in the mind. You can see and hear directly, through the mind by Yogic practice (clairvoyance and clairaudience). This blows out the Western psychological theory of perception. Mind and Indriyas are related this way; the Indriyas are a prolongation of the mind. Mind is a mass of Indriyas. Mind is a consolidated Indriya. Indriya is mind in manifestation. Indriya represents backwaters. The desire in the mind to eat has manifested as tongue, teeth and stomach. If you can control the mind, you can control the Indriyas. If you have controlled the Indriyas, you have already controlled the mind.

(b)

According to Western medical science, light vibrations from outside strike the retina and inverted image is formed there. These vibrations are carried through optic tract and optic thalamus to the centre of vision in the occipital lobe of the brain in the back part of the head. There, a positive image is formed. Only then does one see the object in front of one. The Vedantic theory of perception is that the mind comes out through the eye and assumes the shape of the object outside. It is only the individual mind that sees object outside. If you see the same objects through a telescope, they appear different. If you can see with the mind directly, you will have a different vision altogether. Hiranyagarbha or Karya Brahman has a different vision. He sees everything as a vibration or movement within himself as his own Sankalpa, just as you can imagine within your own mind that a big war is going on and many people are dying on either side. You withdraw the imagination at will.

(c)

The Western psychologists’ exposition of dream-psychology, though having much to its credit in the shape of research and some valuable information, yet leaves much unexplained. It lacks much that can be supplied only from theories of the East. They can only be explained by thoughtful inferences from the theories of rebirth, the Law of Karma, the operation of external factors like the Akasic records and occult factors like thought-transference and action of astral entities like Pretas of deceased persons. Only a sincere attempt to make a deep study into the working of these factors can form a full and more adequate exposition of the mysterious subject of dream. To the Yogi who has successfully transcended the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep, the knowledge of all these comes perfectly. To the Jnani, no doubt with intuitive perception, the mystery of dreams becomes perfectly solved.

That the Western dream theory is sex-ridden is due to the fact that they start with a wrong notion of what in reality constitutes Man. To them, man is mainly a physical creature endowed with a mind and possessed of a soul. This is just the contrary of the Oriental view that man in reality is a Spirit, expressing himself through the medium of a mind, which has the physical body as its counterpart to function upon the gross external plane. Thus, we see, to the Indian mind, the true Self of man is entirely devoid of sex. It is the body that suffers under the tyranny of a gender. This body is the least part of man as defined by the philosophical mind of the East. Sex is therefore just but one aspect-though a dominant one perhaps--of the individual soul that goes about as Man upon this earthly stage.

(d)

Psychologists say that the functions of the organs are controlled by the nerves and nervous system. They also say that the organs, etc., are controlled by the mind. Devotees say that the organs are controlled by the presiding deities. Vedantins say that the organs are controlled by the Inner Ruler or Antaryamin. The nerves, the mind and the senses and the gods derive this power and light from the Inner Ruler who is the ultimate source for everything. This is the truth. If the mind is pure and free from distractions, you will behold the supreme Self (Atman) within and everywhere, Know That--the impeller of actions.

There are some psychologists and philosophers who do believe that mind is a secretion of the brain. What a wild, absurd conviction! They have come to admit the presence of the subconscious mind, however, the "Dual-Mind Theory"--which is known to the Hindu sages from time immemorial. Mind is not self-luminous like the Self-effulgent Atman or the supreme Spirit. It shines in borrowed feathers.

Just as a piece of iron moves in the immediate presence of magnet, even so this insentient mind moves and works in the presence of the Inner Ruler. This point has not been properly understood by the Western psychologists, rationalists, free thinkers, economists, socialists and others. Hence, they are always restless and are groping in total darkness. The vibrations of psychic or subtle Prana manufacture thoughts in the mind.

The mind is insentient (Jada) but it appears as Chaitanya (Chaitanyavat) by borrowing the light from the Adhishthana (source)—Atman--just as water exposed to the sun borrows the heat from the sun. Because there is reflection of intelligence in the mind from the background, the source or womb for this mind, this insentient mind appears as intelligent. This is the real truth. This is the bold, genuine philosophy of the Hindu sages of yore.


PART ONE
Stages of Mind-conquest

CHAPTER 1
MIND-CONQUEST BY INTROSPECTION

Man can bore a diamond with a bristle; he can tie an infatuated elephant with a slender silken thread; he can exercise his ingenuity and through the instrumentality of a mirror bring down the moon for the play of the child; he can make the flame of fire burn always downwards; but it is difficult for him to establish a control over his own mind. For gaining mastery over the mind, he has to know what the mind is, how it works, how it deceives him at every turn and by which methods it can be subdued. As long as the mind restlessly wanders about amidst objects, ever fluctuating, excited, agitated and uncontrolled, the true joy of the Self cannot be realised and enjoyed. To control the restless mind and bring, all thoughts and cravings to a stillness and sublimation, is the greatest problem of man. If he has subjugated the mind, he may be said to be, in his subjective freedom and power, the Emperor of emperors.

In introspection the mind itself is the subject of study. A portion of the mind studies the remaining portion of the mind. The higher mind analyses the processes of the lower mind. Introspection is a perception. Just as we watch the work done by a coolie, a portion of the mind watches the movements of the rest of the mind. By a careful watch and vigilance, many defects are detected and removed; by suitable spiritual discipline and Sadhana, the mind comes within one’s easy control. We need to seek out and utilise an environment which is conducive to calming the mind, and making its higher enlightened activity possible. We must watch the mind carefully and through subjective introspection find out what the mind is engaged with at a particular time and occasion.


CHAPTER 2
MIND-CONQUEST BY DISCRIMINATION

The tendency of mind, seeks a repetition of the pleasure it once enjoyed. When memory of pleasure arises in the mind, it induces the work of wishful imagination and thinking; and by this process gives an issuance to attachment. Through repetition a habit is formed. Habit in its turn causes a strong craving or Trishna. Mind then exercises its rule and sway over the poor, helpless, weak-willed worldlings. But, as soon as the enlightened process of discrimination begins to work, the power of mind becomes weakened in its downward strength. The mind with all its dissipative activities and extrovert tendencies tries to recede, to retrace its steps to its original home--the spiritual heart. The action of discrimination dispels the darkness of ignorance; its light eliminates the wrong modes of mental work. When discrimination is awakened, the limitations of the mind are transcended and the will becomes stronger and stronger.

In the Yogi, the discrimination assumes, at the final stage, a sevenfold status: first four relate to the objective side and the next three to the subjective side. In the first stage, the Yogi has the strong sense that all that has to be known, has been known, that there remains nothing further to know. The dissatisfied state of mind has disappeared and all his doubts have vanished. In the second stage, his experience finds that nothing can impart pain to him; in the third, he feels that by attaining Kaivalya, he has attained to everything. The positive sense of having fulfilled his duties, occupies the fourth stage, and here he is known as Kritakritya. In the fifth plane of discriminative consciousness, the mind finds itself in complete rest; in the sixth, the modes of Nature efface themselves totally, never to rise again. In the seventh stage, the yogi establishes himself in his own inner Being of Delight and Knowledge, the Kevala Purusha.


CHAPTER 3
MIND-CONQUEST BY YOGA AND JNANA

I. REMOVAL OF THE THREE MENTAL DEFECTS

The three defects or Doshas of the mind are Mala (impurities such as lust, anger, greed), Vikshepa (tossing or oscillation) and Avarana (veil of ignorance). Mala is removed by selfless service. Vikshepa is removed by Upasana, Trataka and Pranayama. Avarana or veil is removed by study and practice of Vedanta.

II. THE DIFFICULTY OF MIND-CONTROL

It is possible to drink the contents of the ocean, walk over fire and water, fly in the air, eradicate the Himalaya to its root, and swallow the flaming fire, but it is difficult to control the mind. The struggle with the mind is most distasteful and bitter in the first stage of the Sadhana. Mind cannot be controlled by mere human effort. The grace of the Lord and Guru is necessary. Control of the mind is the first step to spirituality. Victory over the mind means victory over the world. Self-conquest or conquest of the mind is the greatest victory. Yoga aims at arriving at the silence of the mind which makes possible the right meditation.

III. CONQUEST BY YOGA AND JNANA

You can control the mind through Yoga and Jnana. For some it is easy to control the mind through Yoga, for some through Jnana. All the practices which go in the name of Yoga are just to concentrate the mind and still it. When the mind goes outward, restrain and steady it on the innermost Self or Atman that dwells in the chambers of your heart. When your mind is agitated withdraw into silence and regain the inner calm and tranquillity. The mind attains through discrimination enquiry and meditation the peace of the Eternal.

IV. NEED FOR INTELLIGENT METHODS

Do not try to control the mind through violent methods. You will miserably and hopelessly fail. Conquer the mind slowly and carefully through intelligent means. Overcome desires and aversion by means of meditation. Enter silence and rest peacefully forever. The mind must be slowly and carefully conquered by this power of the will diverted from the path of unrighteousness to the path of meditation. The impurities of the mind are removed and Tamas is annihilated by the ceaseless practice of selfless service, feeling all the time that service is the worship of the Lord. Mind is the dividing wall between the individual Soul and the supreme Soul. If the mind is destroyed the individual Soul becomes identical with the Supreme Soul.

Mind in its natural state is endowed with purity, immortality and peace. When the oil in a lamp becomes exhausted, the flame is absorbed in its cause; similarly, the mind deprived of the support of all objective pleasure-seeking centres, becomes calm and gets absorbed in Brahman or the Absolute.

V. PRATIPAKSHABHAVANA

Do not fight evil. Replace it by the opposite good, and the evil automatically will vanish. Do not try to drive away impure thoughts. The more you try, the more they will return. Entertain pure thoughts. Pure Vasanas tend to develop the true Jnana or wisdom. Annihilate the impure or lower mind with the help of the pure or higher mind and transcend the higher mind also. Fill the mind with divine thoughts. The impure thoughts will gradually vanish by themselves. Like an iron shaping another iron, the mind should correct and mould your impure mind.

VI. CONQUEST BY ABHYASA

Steadying or fixing the mind on one point is called Abhyasa. If you eradicate all desires and thoughts, the mind will die by itself. Dispassion and inner and outer control must be practised together with intense meditation on Atman. When the mind wanders bring it back and try to fix it on the Divine Light within the centre of your Heart. Detach the mind from all thoughts of sense-objects through Vairagya (dispassion) and centre it upon the Lord. Vairagya (dispassion) and Abhyasa (concentration and meditation) are the weapons to annihilate this turbulent mind.

VII. THE ROLE OF PRANAYAMA

The mind attains steadiness through the practice of Pranayama or regulation of breath. Slay this mind through the destruction of the Vasanas or the control of Prana and Brahma-Vichara, (enquiry into the nature of Brahman). The mind is purified by the practice of selfless service, Japa, Tapas, right conduct, practice of Yama, Niyama and meditation. Overcome sleep by regulating your diet and taking only light, Sattvic food and by the practice of Asanas and Pranayama. As gold melted in fire is purified of its dross, so can the mind be purified by control of Prana or the vital airs.


CHAPTER 4
MIND-CONQUEST--TEN IMPORTANT METHODS

Mind is a bundle of Vasanas (desires) and Sankalpas (thoughts, imagination). Mind is a bundle of Raga-Dvesha (likes and dislikes). Annihilation of mind is Mano-Nasa.

Manolaya is temporary absorption of the mind. This cannot give Moksha. The mind can come back again and wander in sensual objects. Manonasa alone can give release or Moksha.

I. BY VICHARA

How is the mind purified, brought under control and how are its activities stopped, and how is it annihilated? Here are some useful and practical points. Mind can be controlled and annihilated by Vichara or enquiry of ‘WHO AM I?’. This is the best and most effective method. This will annihilate the mind. This is the Vedantic method. Realise the unreality of the mind through philosophical thinking.

II. BY ERADICATION OF EGO

Eradicate the feeling of egoism. Ego is the seed of the tree of mind. "I" thought is the source of all thoughts. All thoughts are centred on the little "I". Find out what the little "I" is. This little "I" will dwindle into airy nothing. It will be absorbed in the Infinite "I" or Para Brahman, the source for the little "I" or Ahamkara (egoism).

The Sun of Self-realisation is fully seen when the cloud of ego disappears.

III. BY VAIRAGYA

Vairagya (dispassion) is another method for annihilating the mind. It is distaste for objects of sense-pleasures by finding out the defects in the sensual life. Objects are perishable. Sensual pleasure is momentary and illusory.

IV. BY ABHYASA

Abhyasa or practice is another method. Concentrate the mind by fixing it on Brahman. Make it steady. Abhyasa is ceaseless meditation. This leads to Samadhi.

V. BY NON-ATTACHMENT

Asanga or non-attachment is a sword to destroy the mind. Take the mind away from objects. Detach Attach. Detach it from the objects and attach it to the Lord. Do this again and again. The essence of the seed of the sprout of world-experience, which is desire, can be destroyed by the fire of non-attachment.

VI. BY VASANAKSHAYA

Vasanakshaya is another method. Vasana is desire. Renunciation of desires leads to Vasanakshaya. This will lead to annihilation of mind (manonasa). Desire for objects of pleasures is bondage; giving it up is emancipation. Desire is the most essential nature of the mind. Mind and egoism are synonymous.

VII. BY PRANAYAMA

Vibration of Prana causes movement of the mind. It gives life to the mind. Pranayama or control of Prana will stop the activities of the mind. But it cannot destroy the mind to its roots like Vichara.

VIII. BY CONTROL OF THOUGHTS

Control the thoughts or Sankalpas. Avoid imagination or day-dreaming. The mind will be annihilated. Extinction of Sankalpas alone is Moksha, or release. The mind is destroyed when there is no imagination. The experience of the world illusion is due to your imagination. It vanishes away when imagination is completely stopped.

IX. BY EQUANIMITY AND BALANCE

Mental renunciation of possessions is another method. The absolute experience can also be realised if you learn to be in a state of thought-suspending Samadhi.

Attainment of equanimity is another method. Be balanced in pain and pleasure, heat and cold, etc.

X. BY DEVOTION AND SERVICE

Japa, Kirtan, prayer, devotion, service of Guru and study are also means to annihilate the mind.

He alone experiences everlasting peace and Eternal Bliss who has transcended the mind and rests in his Own Satchidananda Atman.

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Last Updated: Sunday, 22-Nov-2009 02:10:54 EST
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