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Table of Contents
|Letter to Aspirant||v|
|Sri Swami Sivananda||viii|
|1. What Is Mind?||3|
2. Mind and Body
|3. Mind, Prana and Kundalini||28|
|4. Mind and Food||32|
|5. The Three Avasthas||36|
|6. The Three Gunas||42|
|7. The Psychic States||45|
|8. The Mental Faculties||54|
|9. The Three Doshas||58|
|10. Suddha Manas and Asuddha Manas||60|
|12. Theory of Perception||70|
|13. Chitta and Memory||79|
|16. Thought Creates the World||99|
|17. Avidya and Ahankara||106|
|18. The Power of Thought||110|
|23. Pleasure and Pain||152|
|25. Vairagya and Tyaga||160|
|26. Control of Indriyas||166|
|27. Mauna and Introspection||173|
|28. Evil Vrittis and Their Eradication||178|
|29. Cultivation of Virtues||203|
|30. How to Control the Mind||205|
|33. Experiences and Obstacles in Meditation||254|
|36. The Mind Compared||280|
|37. Essence of Jnana Yoga||285|
|38. The Mind in a Jivanmukta||298|
|39. The Powers of a Yogi||302|
|40. Necessity for a Guru||304|
|41. Hints to Aspirants||306|
|APPENDIX I – To the Mind||309|
|APPENDIX II – Psychic Influence||329|
|APPENDIX III – Annihilation of Mind||342|
1st July 1946
Fear not. the mind is no doubt extremely turbulent. Through repeated attempts you can perfectly subdue it.
You are the master of the mind. By Abhyasa and Vairagya assert your mastery. Feel the power, bliss and splendour that result from perfect self-conquest.
Curb the mind ruthlessly. Annihilate desire. When desire dies mind is your slave. Become desireless and be victorious.
May you rest in your pristine freedom!
O Thou Invisible One! O Adorable One! O Supreme! Thou permeatest and penetratest this vast universe from the unlimited space down to the tiny blade of grass at my feet. Thou art the basis for all these names and forms. Thou art the apple of my eye, the Prema of my heart, the very Life of my life, the very Soul of my soul, the illuminator of my intellect and senses, the sweet Anahata music of my heart, and the substance of my physical, mental and causal frames.
I recognise Thee alone as the mighty Ruler of this universe and the Inner Controller (Antaryamin) of my three bodies. I prostrate again and again before Thee, my Lord! Thou art my sole refuge! I trust Thee alone, O ocean of mercy and love! Elevate, enlighten, guide and protect me. Remove obstacles from my spiritual path. Lift the veil of ignorance, O Thou Jagadguru! I cannot bear any longer even for a second, the miseries of this body, this life and this Samsara. Give Darsana quickly. O Prabho! I am pining. I am melting. Listen, listen to my fervent, Antarika prayer. Do not be cruel, my Lord. Thou art Dinabandhu. Thou art Adhama-Uddharaka. Thou art Patita Pavana (Purifier of the fallen).
Om Santih Santih Santih
To everyone striving for success in life, the invariable stumbling block proves to be the turbulent vagaries of the mind. An undisciplined mind makes a man slave and wrecks his life. Controlling and subduing it is the most vexing of problems to the earnest seeker of happiness. The vital importance of the subject, therefore, prompted H.H. Sri Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj to write this comprehensive work “MIND–ITS MYSTERIES AND CONTROL.” It is meant to serve as a valuable guide to all aspirants and it is also of immense help to anyone in any walk of life. Being the outcome of personal experience of the revered author and written with a practical end in view, “MIND–ITS MYSTERIES AND CONTROL” is a treasure worthy to be possessed and studied constantly.
–THE DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY
Born on the 8th September, 1887, in the illustrious family of Sage Appayya Dikshitar and several other renowned saints and savants, Sri Swami Sivananda had a natural flair for a life devoted to the study and practice of Vedanta. Added to this was an inborn eagerness to serve all and an innate feeling of unity with all mankind.
His passion for service drew him to the medical career; and soon he gravitated to where he thought that his service was most needed. Malaya claimed him. He had earlier been editing a health journal and wrote extensively on health problems. He discovered that people needed right knowledge most of all; dissemination of that knowledge he espoused as his own mission.
It was divine dispensation and the blessing of God upon mankind that the doctor of body and mind renounced his career and took to a life of renunciation to qualify for ministering to the soul of man. He settled down at Rishikesh in 1924, practised intense austerities and shone as a great Yogi, saint, sage and Jivanmukta.
In 1932 Swami Sivananda started the Sivanandashram. In 1936 was born The Divine Life Society. In 1948 the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy was organised. Dissemination of spiritual knowledge and training of people in Yoga and Vedanta were their aim and object. In 1950 Swamiji undertook a lightning tour of India and Ceylon. In 1953 Swamiji convened a ‘World Parliament of Religions’. Swamiji is the author of over 300 volumes and has disciples all over the world, belonging to all nationalities, religions and creeds. To read Swamiji’s works is to drink at the Fountain of Wisdom Supreme. On 14th July, 1963 Swamiji entered Mahasamadhi.
Happiness has for ever been the prime aim of every human being. All activities of man are directed towards acquiring the maximum happiness in life. But, through the wrong deluded notion that objects will give happiness, man searches for it outside. The result is that in spite of all his lifelong efforts, he gets disappointment only. Vexation and misery alone are to be seen everywhere. The real lasting happiness lies within man. Such happiness or Ananda is the Inner Self, the Antaratman. The very nature of Atman is pure Joy. This is never perceived because the mind is completely externalised. As long as the mind is restlessly wandering about amidst objects, ever fluctuating, excited, agitated and uncontrolled, this true joy cannot be realised and enjoyed. To control the restless mind and perfectly still all thoughts and cravings is the greatest problem of man. If he has subjugated the mind, he is the Emperor of emperors.
For gaining mastery over the mind, you have to know what it is, how it works, how it deceives you at every turn and by what methods it can be subdued. In this book, the subject has been dealt with; and the nature of the mind, the various forms that it assumes, the secret of its inner workings and the way to control it are fully and clearly explained. The previous editions were eagerly read and appreciated by thousands of aspirants who wrote to say how immensely they were helped by the instructions. The lessons and instructions are eminently practical and many helpful ideas and suggestions got during my meditations have been recorded and put down here. Very useful hints on concentration and meditation will be found in the book which, if faithfully followed, will bring success in a short time without fail.
I pray to every aspirant to study constantly the valuable instructions with care and follow the practical hints given in his Sadhana and daily life. It will doubtless enable you to gain control over your passions and cravings and to get established in Yoga. The Bhakta, the student of Vedanta, the Raja Yogin, the Karma Yogin–all will find this book an indispensable guide. The later stages of Yoga Sadhana are common in all the four paths and Dharana and Dhyana are quite impossible without first subduing the mind. All Sadhanas are, therefore, aimed at obtaining mastery over the mind. Hence it is that I have tried to present the ways and means of achieving this through simple, yet well-tried and effective methods. My efforts would be amply fulfilled if even a single earnest aspirant is helped on the spiritual path and attains the Goal.
May the Lord, the Antaryamin, the Supreme Indweller inspire all to attempt mind-control and Yoga! May He bestow success on the sincere aspirants that struggle to master the unruly mind! May you reach the Goal of Life, Immortality, Supreme Knowledge and Bliss!
WHAT IS MIND?
“He who knows the receptacle (Ayatana) verily becomes the receptacle of his people. Mind is verily the receptacle (of all our knowledge).” (Chhandogya Upanishad, V-i-5)
That which separates you from God is mind. The wall that stands between you and God is mind. Pull the wall down through Om-Chintana or devotion and you will come face to face with God.
THE MIND–A MYSTERY
The vast majority of men know not the existence of the mind and its operations. Even the so-called educated persons know very little of the mind subjectively or of its nature and operations. They have only heard of a mind.
Western psychologists know something.
Western doctors know only a fragment of mind. The afferent nerves bring the sensations from the periphery or extremities of the spinal cord. The sensations then pass to the medulla oblongata at the back of the head, where the fibres decussate. From there, they pass on to the superior frontal gyrus or superior frontal convolution of the brain in the forehead, the supposed seat of the intellect or mind. The mind feels the sensations and sends motor impulses through the afferent nerves to the extremities–hands, legs, etc. It is a brain-function only for them. Mind, according to them, is only an excretion of the brain, like bile from liver. The doctors are still groping in utter darkness. Their minds need drastic flushing for the entry of Hindu philosophical ideas.
It is only the Yogins and those who practise meditation and introspection that know the existence of the mind, its nature, ways and subtle workings. They know also the various methods of subduing the mind.
Mind is one of the Ashta-Prakritis. “Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason and egoism–these constitute the eightfold division of My Nature” (Gita, VII-4).
Mind is nothing but Atma-Sakti. It is brain that wants rest (sleep), but not the mind. A Yogi who has controlled the mind never sleeps. He gets pure rest from meditation itself.
HOW THE MIND ORIGINATED
Mind is Atma-Sakti. It is through mind that Brahman manifests Himself as the differentiated universe with heterogeneous objects. Brahma thought, “There, indeed, are the worlds; I shall create the protectors of the worlds.” He gathered the Purusha (Hiranyagarbha) from out of the waters only and fashioned him. He heated him by the heat of meditation. When he was thus heated, his heart burst out. From the heart, the mind came; from the mind the moon, the presiding deity of the mind. (Heart is the seat of the mind; so, the mind came out when the heart burst out. In Samadhi, the mind goes to its original seat, i.e., heart. In sleep also, it rests in the heart with a veil of ignorance between it and Brahman) (Aitareya Upanishad, 1-3-4).
COSMIC MIND AND INDIVIDUAL MIND
Hiranyagarbha, otherwise known as Karya Brahman and Sambhuti, is cosmic mind. He is the sum total (Samashti) of all the minds. The individual mind is connected with the cosmic mind. Cosmic mind, Hiranyagarbha, superconscious mind, infinite mind, universal mind are synonymous terms. Different authors have used different terms. Do not he puzzled. Do not be confused. It is Sabda-bheda only.
Hiranyagarbha is cosmic Prana also. He is the Sutratman (thread-like Self). He represents the electric, cosmic, power-house. The different Jivas represent the different, small bulbs. Electricity from the power-house flows through the insulated copper wires into the bulbs. Similarly, the power from Hiranyagarbha flows into the Jivas.
The mind, being very subtle, is in close apposition or contact with other minds, though the human skull intervenes between them. As mind evolves, you come into conscious relation with the mental currents, with the minds of others-near and distant, living and dead. The individual mind of A, although separated from the mind-substance used by other individuals, B, C, D, E, X, Y, etc., by a thin wall of very finest kind of matter, is really in touch with the other apparently separated minds and with the universal mind of which it forms a part.
If A is a friend of B, A’s mind is connected with B’s mind. The minds of friends, relatives, brothers of A are attached to A’s mind. Several minds are similarly linked to B’s mind also. The minds of those who are attached to A’s mind are, therefore, connected, in turn, with the minds of those who are hanging on B’s mind. In this manner, one mind is in touch with all minds in the whole world. This is the Vibhu theory of mind of Raja Yoga.
MIND IN SANKHYA PHILOSOPHY
In Sankhya philosophy, Mahat is the term used to denote “cosmic mind” or “universal mind.” It is the first principle that is derived from Avyakta. It is the first principle that is manifested out of the unmanifested Avyakta. The wheel of the bullock-cart rests on the spokes. The spokes rest on the nave. Even so, the mind rests on Prakriti and Prakriti rests on Brahman.
From Mahat comes Ahankara. From Sattvic Ahankara comes mind; from Rajasic Ahankara comes Prana; from Tamasic Ahankara, Tanmatras; from Tanmatras, gross elements; from gross elements, the gross universe. Mind is no other than Ahankara, the idea of ‘I’. It is, indeed, difficult to eschew this idea of ‘I’. Mind always attaches itself to something objective (Sthula). It cannot stand by itself. It is only this mind that asserts itself as ‘I’ in this body.
The idea of ‘I’ is the seed of the tree of mind. The sprout which first springs up from this seed of Ahankara is Buddhi. From this sprout, the ramifying branches called Sankalpas have their origin.
LINGA SARIRA AND ANTAVAHA SARIRA
Mind is the most important Tattva of Linga Sarira. Linga Sarira is the astral body or Sukshma Sarira that is linked to the physical body through physical Prana. It separates itself at death from the physical body and travels to Svarga or heaven. It is this body that does Avagamana (coming and going). This body melts in Videha Mukti (disembodied salvation).
There is a difference between Linga Sarira and Antarvaha Sarira. Linga Sarira is astral body with seventeen Tattvas, viz., five Karma-Indriyas, five Jnana-Indriyas, five Pranas, Mind and Buddhi. Antarvaha Sarira is very pure. It is full of Sattva. It is free from Rajas and Tamas. It is with this body that a Yogi passes from one body to another (Parakaya-Pravesa). Lila, through the grace of Sarasvati, came out of the physical body and travelled to higher worlds with this Antarvaha Sarira. You will find this in the Yogavasishtha. Sri Sankaracharya, Raja Vikramaditya, Hastamalaka and Tirumular had Antarvaha Sarira. With the help of this special kind of pure body, they passed into the bodies of other persons. A Yogi with Antarvaha Sarira has Sat-Sankalpa or Suddha Sankalpa.
MIND IS SUBTLE MATTER
Mind is not a gross thing, visible and tangible. Its existence is nowhere seen. Its magnitude cannot be measured. It does not require a space in which to exist.
Mind and matter are two aspects as subject and object of one and the same all-full Brahman, who is neither and yet includes both. Mind precedes matter. This is Vedantic theory. Matter precedes mind. This is scientific theory.
Mind can be said to be immaterial only in the sense that it has not the characteristics of ponderable matter. It is not, however, immaterial in the sense that Brahman (Pure Spirit) as such is. Mind is the subtle form of matter and hence the prompter of the body. Mind is made up of subtle, Sattvic, Apanchikrita (non-quintuplicated) Tanmatric matter. Mind is all electricity. According to the Chhandogya Upanishad, mind is formed out of the subtlest portion of food.
Mind is material. Mind is subtle matter. This discrimination is made on the principle that the soul is the only source of intelligence; it is self-evident; it shines by its own light. But the organs (mind and senses) derive their principle of activity and life from the soul. By themselves, they are lifeless. Hence the soul is always a subject and never an object. Manas can be an object of the soul. And it is a cardinal principle of Vedanta that that which is an object for a subject is non-intelligent (Jada). Even the principle of self-consciousness (Aham Pratyak-Vishayatva) or Ahankara is non-intelligent; it does not exist by its own light. It is the object of apperception to the soul.
THE MENTAL BODY
Just as the physical body is composed of solid, liquid and gaseous matter, so also the mind is made up of subtle matter of various grades of density with different rates of vibration. A Raja Yogi penetrates through different layers of mind by intense Sadhana.
The mental body varies much in different people. It is composed of coarse or finer matter, according to the needs of the more or less unfolded consciousness connected with it. In the educated, it is active and well-defined; in the undeveloped, it is cloudy and ill-defined.
There are several zones or slices in the mental body just as there are various compartments in the brain for particular types of thought. During intense anger, the whole mind is suffused with the black hue of malice and which expresses itself in coils of thunderous blackness, from which fiery arrows of anger dart forth, seeking to injure the one for which the anger is felt.
TYPES OF MIND
Every man has a mental world of his own. Every man entirely differs from another man in mode of thinking, temperament, taste, mentality, physical characteristics, etc. Physically also a man differs from another man, although there might be slight resemblance. Observe carefully the nose, the ears, the lips, the eyes, the eyebrows, the arrangement of teeth, the shoulders, hands, fingers, toes, look, voice, gait, way of talking, etc., of different men. You will find vast differences between any two persons. Even the lines of the palm will differ. No two leaves are alike. Variety is the beauty of creation.
There are various types of mind. The Bengali type of mind is emotional and fit for devotion and art. The Madrasi type of mind is intellectual and clever in Mathematics. The Punjabi type of mind and Maharashtra type of mind are chivalrous. Bengal has produced emotional saints, Lord Gouranga or Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa Deva, etc. Madras has produced intellectual philosophers like Sri Sankara and Sri Ramanuja. Punjab has produced Guru Nanak, Guru Govind Singh, etc. The Sadhana and path of Yoga vary according to the type of mind, temperament and capacity. Tastes also differ. The sight of a fish brings excessive joy to a Bengali. The sight of tamarind and chillies excites the glosso-pharyngeal nerve of a Madrasi. The sight of a Palmyra fruit excites the Jaffna Tamil of Ceylon and brings excessive joy. The sight of meat brings a peculiar joy to a meat-eater. Is this not a mystery that an object lies outside and saliva appears in the tongue at the sight of it? Because you have this experience daily in everyday life, you do not attach much importance to it. Mind is very mysterious. So is Maya, too.
Even an infinitely superior mind is yet a mind and of the same mould as any man’s.