What is Mind
Sri Swami Sivananda
This article is a chapter from the book Yoga And Realisation.
Mind is the cause for bondage and freedom of man. A mind that is filled with impure Vasanas tends to bondage; whereas a mind that is destitute of Vasanas tends to freedom. Mind is no mind when the Vasanas are destroyed. You become mindless. When you become mindless, intuition dawns and you are endowed with the eye of wisdom. You enjoy indescribable peace.
Mind is Vasanamaya. This world is Vasanamaya Jagat. Mind clings to sensual objects through Vasanas and constantly thinks of objects. If the Vasanas perish, the mind ceases thinking of objects and we attain the state of thoughtlessness.
One of the most common habits of mind is the wandering habit. It cannot stick to one point as it is of the nature of air. Sri Krishna says, “O mighty armed (Arjuna)! The mind is hard to curb and is restless; but it may be curbed by constant practice and by dispassion.”
Destruction of desires and control of Indriyas are the essential steps for the control of mind. It is the desire that makes the mind restless. The Indriyas run after objects and the mind also follows the Indriyas just as a dog follows the master. Therefore if you want to check this wandering mind, you will have to renounce all sorts of desires and control the Indriyas first. Then alone will you be successful in the practice of concentration, meditation, will-culture, memory-culture and thought-culture.
The vital point in concentration is to bring the mind to the same point or object again and again by limiting its movement in a small circle in the beginning. That is the main aim. A time will come when the mind will stick to one point alone. This is the fruit of your constant and protracted Sadhana. There should be one line of thought. There should be one continuity of thought like the steady flow of oil from one vessel to another vessel, like the continuous sound of a church bell.
You must be regular in your practice of meditation. You must sit daily both morning and night and at the same hours. The meditative mood or Sattvic Bhava will manifest by itself without exertion. You must sit in the same place, in the same room. Regularity in meditation is a great desideratum and a sine qua non.
Even if you do not realise any tangible result in the practice, you must plod on in the practice with sincerity, earnestness, patience and perseverance. Your efforts will be crowned with sanguine success after some time. Do not stop this practice even for a day, under any circumstance, even if you are ailing! Meditation is a first class tonic. The wave of meditation will remove all sorts of diseases. It will infuse spiritual strength, give new vigour and vitality.
Pray fervently: “O All-merciful Lord! Through Thy grace, may I realise the Truth. May I always entertain sublime thoughts. May I realise myself as the Light Divine. May I serve humanity with Atmabhava. May I be free from greed, lust, egoism, jealousy and hatred. May I behold the one sweet immortal Self in all beings. May I realise Brahman with pure understanding.
“May that Light of lights ever guide me. May He cleanse my mind of all impurities. May He inspire me. May He bestow on me power, courage and strength. May He remove the veil in the mind. May He remove all obstacles in the spiritual path. May He make my life happy and fruitful. I bow to Thee O God of gods, O Brahman of the Upanishads, Support for Maya and Isvara, the Bridge to Immortality.”
Without Self all is void. It is a well-known fact that any number of zeroes has no intrinsic value unless a number is placed before them. Even so, the wealth of all the three worlds is nothing, if you do not lead a spiritual life, if you do not try to acquire the spiritual wealth. You will have to live in the Self within. You can influence others, radiate joy and peace to millions of people, far and near, if you attain Self-realisation. You will be drowned in the ocean of bliss and infinite knowledge.