This article is a chapter from the book Conquest of Mind.
Mind, through ignorance and indiscrimination, considers its false personality to be true and thinks it is the doer of all Karmas and thus becomes egoistic. It imagines that it is in bondage. It identifies itself with the Jivatma; it becomes Jivatma itself and takes the responsibility upon itself for doing good or bad Karmas and enjoying or suffering from their fruits. Hence is mind the doer of Karmas (action), and responsibility for the Karmas, therefore, rests with it.
Mind is the stealer of Atman. It is a thief. Mind drags the Jivatma into Vishaya (sensual enjoyments). Jivatma is the Abhasa of Chaitanya or reflected intelligence in mind. Mind and Jivatma always live together. They cannot be separated. Slay the mind, the stealer of Atman, through Vichara, Manana and Nididhyasana (constant and profound meditation) on Brahman.
Mind has the potency of creating or undoing the whole world in the twinkling of an eye. Therefore, slay this mind the slayer of Atman, whether through the destruction of Vasana (latent, subtle desires) or Vakya Chintana. The best means of disposing of the great danger of Maya, involving all in pains, is the destruction of mind. With the destruction of the mind, all the three periods of time vanish into nothingness. With the destruction of mind, Atmajnana begins to dawn.
The extinction of Vasanas (Vasana-kshaya), Manonasa (annihilation of the mind), and Tattva-Jnana (understanding of the Reality), when practised together for a long time, are regarded as fruitful. They should be practised at a time. So long as these three are not equally practised, again and again, the Supreme Seat (Parama Pada) cannot be attained even after a lapse of hundreds of years. Through the practice of these three for a long time, the firm knots of the heart are cut without doubt, like the breaking of the threads in a lotus-stalk rent in two.
Destruction of the mind does not mean annihilation of the self. The Vedantin divides the mind into the higher and the lower, of which the lower one leading to desires is asked to be destroyed.
Destruction of desires, annihilation of Ahankara, destruction of Sankalpa—all mean control of mind or annihilation of mind (Manonasa or Amanaskata). Destruction of egoism, raga-Dvesha (attraction and repulsion for objects) and all Vasanas along is Manonasa. Manonasa comes through the destruction of the Vasanas. Manonasa does not mean that you should take a sword and cut the mind to pieces.
Manonasa means the death of the present form of the mind (i.e., the instinctive mind of emotions and passions), the form which perceives differences where none exists, which identifies the Self with the body. Its death really means its transformation into and, therefore, the birth of cosmic consciousness.
Vast majority of persons live in Annamaya Kosa only. Their thoughts are directed towards eating, cleansing the body and putting on neat dress. That is all. Even the so-called educated persons live in Annamaya Kosa only. Sometimes, they live in Manomaya Kosa (mental sheath). A spiritual aspirant and Viveki live in Vijnanamaya Kosa (Buddhi Sheath). The Vijnanamaya Kosa is developed by abstract thinking and reasoning by systematic meditation, Brahma-chintana, study of the Upanishads, Yoga-Vasishtha and Brahma Sutras. You must all develop the Vijnanamaya Kosa by the study of Vedantic literature and pure thinking. Then you are safe. Mind will stop to deceive and torment you.
Mind is absorbed in Mahat or Buddhi. Individual Buddhi is absorbed in the Cosmic Buddhi; Cosmic Buddhi in Avyakta; Avyakta in Brahman. This is the Laya-Chintana of Antahkarana or Mind.
Sambhavi Mudra, Bhrukuti-Drishti (looking at the spot midway between the two eyebrows), Nasikagra-Drishti (looking steadily at the tip of the nose), Nadanusandhana. (hearing the sounds of the ear)—all belong to Laya Yoga. By these practices the mind gets Laya soon. The Unmani state supervenes rapidly. The Unmani Avastha of Laya-Yogis corresponds to the Bhava-Samadhi of Bhaktas. In Sambhavi Mudra, the eyes are open but the mind is fixed on the Lakshya. The eyes do not see the external objects.
When the mind and senses are thinned out and eventually controlled, Smaranendriya-vyapara (the various activities of Antahkarana and senses) ceases. Jivatva (personality-nation and sensation) vanishes. Brahmatva (existence) remains. That is Kevala Asti.
Manonasa is of two kinds, viz., (1) Svarupa Manonasa, destruction of the Svarupa of mind, as in the case of the Jivanmuktas and (2) Arupa Manonasa, destruction of the very form of the mind, as in the case of Videhamuktas, when they leave off their physical bodies. The first is termed “destruction of the mind with form.” The second is termed “destruction of the mind without form.”