Vritti-its Nature And Function
Vritti means a whirl-pool. It is a wave of thought that arises in the Antahkarana. Vrittis are modifications of the mind. They are the effect of Avidya. When Avidya is destroyed by Jnana, Vrittis get absorbed in Brahman (Laya), just as water thrown in a heated pan is absorbed in the pan.
Wherefrom does a Vritti arise? From the Chitta or mind. Why does a Vritti arise? It is Svabhava of Antahkarana. What is its function? It causes Avarana-Bhanga (removes the veil of Sthula Avidya that envelops the objects). It helps the evolution of a man till he attains perfection (Jivanmukti). It is Vritti that opens the Kundalini in a Jnani in the Ajna Chakra and joins it in Sahasrara. This is one path.
The Chitta is the mind stuff. It is the mental substance. Vritti or thought-wave is a modification of that mental substance. It is a process. Just as waves and bubbles arise from the surface of the ocean, so also these Vrittis arise from the surface of the mind-ocean. Just as rays emanate from the sun, so also these mental rays (modification of Vrittis) emanate from the mind-sun. Just as the sun merges itself in the horizon at sunset by collecting all its rays, so also you will have to merge in that Sun of suns, Absolute Consciousness, Eternal Peace by collecting all the dissipated mental rays and dissolving the mind itself.
The function of a Vritti in the mind is to cause Avarana-Bhanga (removal of the veil of ignorance covering objects). Sthula Avidya or gross ignorance is enveloping all objects. When the veil is removed, perception of objects becomes possible. The Vritti removes the Avarana or layer of ignorance. When you pass through a big crowd or persons, you are able to notice a few persons. You do not see some persons, though they happen to come in front of you. Why? Because there was not complete Avarana-Bhanga. When this is done, the object shines before you.
According to Raja Yoga of Maharshi Patanjali, Pramana (right notion or right proof), Viparyaya (misconception), Vikalpa (fancy or imagination), Nidra (sleep) and Smriti (memory) are the five mental Vrittis or mental functions. If these five mental functions are suppressed, the suppression of desires and other functions will follow.
Vishayakara Vritti And Brahmakara Vritti
Through its own efforts, the mind assumes the shape of any object, it concentrates itself upon. If it thinks of a woman, it assumes the shape of a woman. This is termed Vritti Tadakara. If it thinks of God or Brahman, Brahmakara Vritti develops. In the former case, Rajas (passion) will be infused into the mind; while in the latter, Sattva (purity) will be infused.
When the mind thinks of objects and dwells on them, it assumes the shape of those objects. It is termed as Vishayakara Vritti. When it thinks of Brahman or Infinity, the Brahmakara Vritti is formed. The Sadhaka should be very vigilant and circumspect in watching the mind and its activities. He must convert Vishayakara Vritti into Brahmakara Vritti. As soon as the mind drops down from Brahmakara Vritti into Vishayakara Vritti, he should again make the mind assume Brahmakara Vritti. There is very hard struggle, indeed.
You cannot have Vishayakara Vritti as Ghatapatadi Vritti (modification of pot, cloth, etc.) and Brahmakara Vritti (thought of Brahman) also at the same time. It is Sruti Virodha (i.e. against the utterances of the Srutis). It is against practical experience also.
It is not the object that binds you. It is Vritti and identification (Tadatmya Sambandha) with the Vritti that causes attachment and bondage. It is through Avidya or ignorance that you identify yourself with Vritti as, for instance, when you say: "I am angry."
Kinds Of Vritti
Vrittis have been classified into five kinds: (1) Mano-Vritti, (2) Buddhi Vritti, (3) Sakshi Vritti, (4) Akhandakara Vritti and (5) Akhanda Ekarasa Vritti. No. 1 belongs to the instinctive mind. Nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 belong to the Sattvic mind. Mano-Vritti is the Vishayakara Vritti of worldlings. Buddhi Vritti belongs to Vivekins. When you identify yourself with the Sakshi Vritti, you can witness the modifications of the mind. When you try to feel that you are the Infinite Self, the Akhandakara Vritti is generated. It is also known as Brahmakara Vritti. There is no Vritti in Brahman.
From Mano-Vritti, you must jump to Viveka Vritti. Mano-Vritti concerns Manomaya Kosha. Viveka Vritti belongs to Vijnanamaya Kosha. By developing the Vijnanamaya Kosha, Mano-Vrittis are conquered. From Viveka Vritti, you must jump to Sakshi Vritti. From Sakshi Vritti, you must jump to Akhandakara Vritti. From Akhandakara Vritti, you must jump to Akhanda Ekarasa which is Brahma Svarupa. This is Kaivalya or final goal of life.
Antarmukha Vritti And Bahirmukha Vritti
When the outgoing tendencies of the mind are arrested, when the mind is retained within the heart, when all its attention is turned on itself alone, that condition is Antarmukha Vritti. The Antarmukha Vritti is the indrawing energy of the mind owing to increase in Sattva. The Sadhaka can do a lot of Sadhana when he has this inward Vritti.
The Bahirmukha Vritti is the outgoing tendency of the mind due to Rajas. When the vision is turned outward, the rush of fleeting events engages the mind. The outgoing energies of the mind begin to play. Further, on account of force of habit, the ears and eyes at once run towards sound and sight. Objects and desire are externalising forces. A Rajasic man full of desires can never dream of an inner spiritual life with Antarmukha Vritti. He is absolutely unfit for the practice of introspection.
You will get Antarmukha Vritti (inward-moving mind) only after you have destroyed all the externalising powers of the mind. Vairagya and introspection help a lot in the attainment of this mental state. You must starve the mind by Vairagya and Tyaga (renunciation of desires, objects and egoism). You must learn the art of making the mind introspective or turned inward upon itself through the Yogic Kriya, Pratyahara (abstraction). Just as you have to take back with care your cloth that is fallen on a thorny plant by removing the thorns one by one slowly, so also you will have to collect back with care and exertion the dissipated rays of the mind that are thrown over the sensual objects for very many years.
You will have to gather them patiently through Vairagya and Abhyasa, through Tyaga (renunciation) and Tapas and then march boldly with indefatigable energy towards God or Brahman. Those who know this practice can really be peaceful. They only can be really happy. When the mental rays are concentrated, illumination begins. Mind cannot do any havoc now. The mind cannot externalise itself. It can be kept inside the Hridaya-Guha (cave of the heart).
Destruction Of Vrittis Leads To Mental Strength
Mind gains great strength when the Vrittis are destroyed. It is not easy to destroy Vrittis (thought-waves) because they are innumerable. They should be taken up one by one and dealt with separately. Some Vrittis are very strong. They demand strong efforts for their destruction. Most of the Vrittis are very weak. Weak Vrittis melt away like rent clouds. Strong thoughts remain and frequently recur daily in the morning as soon as you rise from your bed.
Be silent. Enter silence. Silence is Atman. Silence is Brahman. Silence is centre. Silence is the Hridaya-Guha (heart-cave). When the mind runs from one object to another, that state in the interval wherein you become mindless for a very short time is Svarupasthiti. That is Brahman. When the mind is controlled fully, Vrittis cease. When all the modifications subside, you enter into the silence then and then alone. Realise this, this very moment. Feel the divine glory and Brahmic splendour now by closing the eyes, by drawing the Indriyas, by stilling the mind, by silencing the thoughts, by sharpening the intellect, by purifying the Chitta, by meditating on Om, by chanting Om with Bhava (feeling). Keep up the continuity of Brahmic consciousness throughout the 24 hours. Have an unceasing flow of Atmic consciousness. This is very, very important. This is a sine qua non. This is a great desideratum.
When all the Vrittis die, Samskaras and the frame of the mind remain. Samskaras can only be fried up by Nirbija-Samadhi.
Theory Of Perception
"When one thinks, then he understands; without having thought, one does not know; it is only after having thought that one understands." (Chhandogya Upanishad, VII-xxi-1)
"I was absent-minded; I did not hear. I was absent-minded; I did not see. It is thus evident that a person sees with the mind, hears with the mind. Desire, determination, uncertainty, belief, disbelief, steadiness, unsteadiness, shame, intellect, fear-all these are in the mind alone. Therefore, when touched from behind, a person knows by the mind.
(Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I-v-3)
There are two compartments in the mind, viz., the thinking portion and the perceiving portion. It is easy to stop the thinking portion, but it is extremely difficult to stop the functioning of the perceiving portion.
It is only the individual mind that sees objects outside. If you see the same objects through a telsecope, they appear different. If you can see with the mind directly, you will have a different vision altogether. Hiranyagarbha or Karya Brahman has quite 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 your imagination at your will.
Theories Of Perception
There is the elastic theory of the mind. This school of thought says that the mind becomes elastic when several objects come in contact with the various senses and thus puts itself simultaneously into touch with various sense-organs or Indriyas of knowledge (Jnana-Indriyas). When the mind comes in contact with one object and one Indriya, it contracts to a point. This theory is exploded and refuted by the Vedantins as unsound.
There is another school of thought that says that there are different compartments or parts in the mind. One part of the mind connects itself with one sense (Indriya), another part with a second sense and so on. This theory is similarly blown up and discarded by the Vedantins as untenable and unsound.
According to the school of thought known by the name of Drishti-Srishti-Vada, the perceiver and the perceived are one. Just as the spider weaves out the web from its own body, even so the mind throws out this physical universe from its own body during waking state and withdraws the world into its womb during sleep. An object is a mental Vritti externalised or objectified.
The Drishya (what you see outside) is due to mental Avidya. There is only light outside. There is only vibration outside. It is the mind that gives colour and shape. It is all mental deception. This is one view. This is one theory of perception.
The interaction between the mind inside and the Tanmatric vibrations outside is the object or the world that you see outside. This is one theory of perception. Mind is formed out of the Sattvic portion of the five Tanmatras. There is light outside. The sun also emits light. The eye is made up of fire or Agni-Tattva. That portion of the mind which perceives is also made up of Agni-Tattva. So fire sees fire. Only that portion of the mind which is made up of Sabda-Tanmatra can hear. Sound comes from Akasa outside. So Akasa of the mind hears Akasa from outside. But, Atman can see, hear, taste and feel everything. Atman only can be seen by Atman. Therefore, whatever you see outside is Atman only. "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma-Everything is verily Brahman."
The View Of Western Medical Science
According to western medical science, light-vibrations from outside strike the retina and an inverted image is formed there. These vibrations are carred 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. Then only, you see the object in front of you.
Perception According To Sankhya Philosophy
According to Sankhya philosophy, the real back-ground of perception is the Purusha of whom the western doctors and psychologists have no idea. Fleshy eyes are only external instruments (Karanas) for perception. Eye is not an organ of vision. The organ of vision is a centre situated in the brain; so is the case with all senses. Mind is connected with the Indriyas, the Indriyas with the corresponding centres in brain and the centres, with the physical organs, to the external object. The mind presents the sensation to Buddhi; Buddhi takes it to the Purusha (which is pure Spirit, which is Immaterial). Now, real perception takes place. Purusha gives order to Buddhi. Then, Buddhi, after proper decision and judgment and after taking into consideration the pros and cons of the subject on hand, gives orders back to the mind, for execution through the motor centres (Karma-Indriyas or organs of action). Buddhi is the Prime Minister and Judge who hears the statements of the Advocate, viz., the mind. Mind plays two parts, viz., (i) that of an Advocate and (ii) that of a Commander-in-Chief. After receiving decisive orders from Buddhi, the mind acts the part of a Commander-in-Chief and executes the orders of Buddhi through the five soldiers, the five Karma-Indriyas. This is the theory of perception according to the Sankhya Philosophy. See how very clear matters are in Hindu Philosophy.
First of all, there is the instrument or Karana-for instance, the fleshy eye. It takes the sense-impressions to the centre or Indriya. The mind is then connected with the centre and the external instruments, namely, the physical eye, ear, etc. The mind carries the impressions still further and presents them to the Buddhi, the determinative faculty, which reacts. Then flashes out the idea of egoism or Ahankara, which self-arrogates and identfies with Abhimana. Then the mixture of action and reaction is presented to the Purusha, the real Soul who perceives an object in the mixture.
Knowledge comes through contact with objects (Indriyartha-Sannikarsha). To know a Prapancha Vishaya, Indriya, Antahkarana and Jiva are required. Indriya will see the Vishaya. Mind will make it appear. Buddhi, with the help of Abhasa Chaitanya, will understand it. Mind, senses and the Karanas (external instruments) such as the physical eye, ear, etc., should all be joined together. Then only perception of an object is possible. The object comes in contact with the senses. The senses are linked to the mind. The mind is connected to the Atman. The Atman illumines. This is with reference to the physical plane.
The Vedantic Theory
According to the Advaitic theory of perception, it is the Chaitanya within us that makes perception possible. The Chetana within us unites with the Chetana in the object and the result is perception. It does not follow from this that the mind and the senses are useless. The senses are necessary for the adaptation of perception to their approximate things. From the soul's essential nature being intelligence, it does not follow that the senses are useless, for they serve the purpose of determining the special object of each sense.
The Vedantic theory of perception is that the mind comes out through the eye and assumes the shape of the object outside. The Antahkarana-Vritti enters through the opening of the Indriya (eye), removes Vishaya Ajnana, assumes Vishayakara (the shape and form of the object it envelops), presents the objects to your view. The function of Vritti is to cause Avarana-Bhanga (removal of the veil or layer of Sthula Avidya that envelops all objects).
A ray of the mind actually goes out, assumes the shape and form of the object and envelops it. Then only perception takes place. The perception of a book is possible only when the mind has assumed the actual shape of the book. Mental image plus external something is the object. Whatever objects you see outside, have got their own images in the mind.
When you pass through a mango garden, a ray of the mind comes out through the eye and envelops a mango. It assumes the shape of the mango. The ray is termed Vritti. The enveloping process is called Vritti-Vyapti. The function of a Vritti is to remove the Avarana (veil) that envelops the object and the Upahita Chaitanya. The veil that envelops the mango is removed by the Vritti or the mental ray. There is Chaitanya associated with the Vritti (Vritti Sahita Chaitanya). This Chaitanya illuminates the object 'mango'. This is termed Phala-Vyapti. Just as a torchlight illumines an object in a flash, this Vritti-Chaitanya illumines the object. Then only does perception of the mango take place. Mind makes Sankalpa-Vikalpa: Is this a mango or not? Buddhi comes to help the mind and determines (this is a mango) through previous experience. Chitta makes Anusandhana (enquiry): "How can I get the mango? May I ask the gardener or the proprietor?" Ahankara asserts: "I must get the mango anyhow. I want it." Then the command is given by the mind to the Karma-Indriyas for execution.
When you see a mango tree, it is external to you. There is externality. The mango tree is a mental percept. It is a mental concept also. There is no mango tree apart from the mind. You know the existence of the tree through the mind only. There is a mental image in the mind. The image in the mind plus the external something is the mango tree. Even if you close your eyes, you can get at the image through memory. The green colour of the leaves is due to a certain rate of light vibrations (say, 10 millions of vibrations). These light vibrations strike at the retina and are taken to the vision centre at the back of the brain. The mango-leaves have the power to split the white rays and absorb the green colour only. So says science.
Your body also is as much external to you as that yonder mango tree. It is also a mental percept or mental concept. The mango tree is external to you with reference to your body only. The mango tree itself is a mere appearance that floats in the Absolute or the One Reality. As the mango tree is external to you from the standpoint of your body, and as the body itself is external to you, the idea of externality of the mango tree or this external universe is blown up now. The term internality also has a false existence only. There is internality only with reference to the externality. If the externality goes away, where is the internality? Both the terms internality and externality are mere illusions, creations of the mind. There is only the solid existence, the One Reality or Absolute behind the so-called internality and externality. That is the Real, Infinite 'I'. That is your own Self.
Mind Alone Creates Differences
The eyes present before the mind some forms or images. It is the mind that creates good and bad forms. It says, "This is good. This is ugly. This is beautiful." Here comes bondage and trouble. Good and bad, ugly and beautiful are pure mental creations. If mind can create, it can destroy also. Similarly, the ears bring some sound vibrations before the mind. It is the mind that says: "This is praise. This is censure." Eyes and ears are not to be blamed at all. They are innocent. Mind causes the mischief.
Mental Cognition Takes Place Serially
Mind can think of only limited things. Mind cannot think of greenness without thinking of a green object.
Mind is Niravayava (without parts, divisions, compartments). It can have only one idea at a time. This is the Siddhanta of Naiyayikas. Even those Vedantins who say that mind is Savayava (with compartments) on the analogy of Chora-Nari (the prostitute whose mind is on the paramour even while she works in her house) admit that the mind can have Visesha Vritti of the lover only and Samanya Vritti of the work on hand at the time.
The human mind has the power of attending to only one object at a time, although it is able to pass from one object to another with a marvellous degree of speed, so rapidly in fact, that some hace held that it could grasp several things at a time. Mind is a gate-keeper or guard who can allow only one person, one kind of sense-vibration at a time into the mental factory. You cannot hear and see at the same time. The mind can have only one idea at a time. But it moves with such tremendous lightning speed that an ordinary man thinks that he can have several ideas at a time.
Perception through the finite mind or cognition or experience takes place serially and not simultaneousely. Simultaneous knowledge can only be had in Nirvikalpa Samadhi where past and future merge in the present. Only a Yogin will have simultaneous knowledge. A man of the world with a finite mind can have only a knowledge in succession. Two thoughts, however closely related to each other, cannot exist at the same time. The nature of the internal organism (Antahkarana or Manas) prevents our having more than one aspect of an object at each instant presented to consciousness. Though several objects may come in contact simultaneously with the different sense-organs, yet the mind acts like a gatekeeper who can admit only one person at a time through the gate. The mind can send only one kind of sensation at a time into the mental factory inside for the manufacture of a decent percept and a nice concept.
When the mind gives attention and is attached to the sense of sight, it can only see. It cannot hear. It cannot hear and see at the same time. It is everybody's daily experience. When your mind is wholly absorbed in deep study of some interesting book, you cannot hear even if a man shouts, because the mind was not there (with the sense of hearing). "My mind was elsewhere, I did not see; my mind was elsewhere, I did not hear, for man sees with his mind and hears with his mind." Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, I-v-3). When you seriously think of a problem, you can neither see nor hear nor feel. All the Indriyas are detached from the mind. There is only the process of Anusandhana (enquiry or investigation) by the Chitta (the mental substance).
The best philosophers and seers, Rishis and sages, the best authorities, Eastern and Western, hold to the "Single Idea" theory as being correct. They are unanimously agreed that the mind cannot actually attend to more than one thing at a time, but when it appears to be doing so, it is only moving with prodigious rapidity backward and forward, from one end to the other. Illiterate people say that they can see and hear at the same time. The mind moves with a tremendous velocity backward and forward and people imagine that mind can do two things at a time. It is a sad mistake. A spark of light presents the appearance of a continuous circle of light if it is made to rotate rapidly. Even so, though the mind can attend to only one thing at a time-either hearing or seeing or smelling-, though it can admit only one kind of sensation at a time, yet we are led to believe that it does several actions simultaneously, because it moves from one object to another with tremendous velocity, so rapidly that its successive attention and perception appear as a simultaneous activity.
Compensatory Advantage In Sense Perception
In some persons, the sense of hearing is more developed than the sense of sight. Judges have acute hearing. Commanders-in-chief have acute sight. The profession itself forces them to develop the particular sense. Blind people have acute sense of hearing. If one Indriya is defective, nature compensates by developing more another Indriya. One of my friends knows of a blind man who can feel the nature of the colour by mere touch.
Speech is even the sight of the Purusha. Speech means here sound, the object of the sense of hearing. When this sense is enlightened, reflection is produced in the mind. By the mind effort to obtain external thing is made; for by the mind one sees, one hears. When one, at a time at night in the dark, cannot distinguish where sound arises (be it the neighing of horses or the braying of donkeys or the barking of dogs), he resorts there whence speech proceeds.
It is the mind that really sees, tastes, smells, hears and feels. When you begin to think of the picture of Lord Krishna with closed eyes, it is through the mind's eye that you see the picture.
An occultist can dispense with his physical, fleshy eyes and can see directly with his mind. A Bhakta (devotee), being one with Isvara (Lord), sees directly with the eye of Isvara (with the eye of Karana-Sarira, seed-body). A Jnanin sees with the eye of Knowledge of Atman (Divya Drishti or Jnana-Chakshus).
How Brahman Perceives
In the mind, will and sight are separate. In pure Chit, will and seeing are one; will and sight are combined and no longer, as in the case of mind, separated from each other.
Brahman does not need Antahkarana to sense, think and reason. Brahman does not need eyes to see. He is self-luminous. He gives light to everything. He imparts light to Antahkarana. He gives light and power to the Indriyas. He is Chit-Svarupa. He is Chidghana. He is a mass of knowledge. He knows everything through Self-knowledge. He sees within Himself through Self-knowledge the whole universe as His own Sankalpa, as Vivarta.
How To Perceive Brahman
Brahman is not an object or Vishaya. It is to be felt by Sakshatkara (direct spiritual cognition). Knowledge of Brahman (Existence or Truth Absolute) comes through feeling and meditation (spiritual Anubhava, direct perception or Atma-sakshatkara) wherein the seer, sight and seen merge into the one existence like the bubble in the ocean.
Chitta And Memory
What Is Chitta?
Chitta is termed as the mind-stuff or mental substance. It is the groundfloor, as it were. From it proceed the three Vrittis, viz., Manas, Buddhi and Ahankara. This word belongs to the Rajayogic terminology of Maharshi Patanjali. Also in the Gita, Lord Krishna uses the term Chitta in various places.
Chitta is a separate faculty or category in Vedanta. Sometimes it is Antargata, comes under Mind. In Sankhya philosophy, it is included in Buddhi or Mahat-Tattva. The Chitta of Patanjali Rishi's philosophy of Raja Yoga (Yogas-chittavritti-nirodhah) corresponds to the Antahkarana of Vedanta.
Subconscious mind is termed 'Chitta' in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences, memories thrown into the background but recoverable. The Chitta is like a calm lake and thoughts are like waves upon the surface of this lake and name and form are the normal ways in which these waves rise. No wave can rise without name and form.
The functions of the Chitta are Smriti or Smarana, Dharana, attention and Anusandhana (enquiry or investigation). When you repeat the Japa of a Mantra, it is the Chitta that does the Smarana. It does a lot of work. It turns out better work than the mind or Buddhi.
The Field Of Subconscious Mentation
The mental processes are not limited to the field of consciousness alone. The field of subconscious mentation is of a much greater extent than that of conscious mentation. The mind is not conscious of the greater portion of its own activities. As man can hold in consciousness but one fact at a time, only a fraction of our knowledge can be in the field of consciousness at any one moment. Only ten per cent of mental activities come into the field of consciousness. Ninety per cent of the mental activities takes place in the subconscious mind. Messages, when ready, come out like a flash from the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind through the trapdoor in the subconscious mind.
We sit and try to solve a problem and fail. We walk around, try again and again fail. Suddenly an idea dawns on us that leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at work.
You repeatedly fail at night to get the solution for a problem in arithmetic or geometry. In the morning, when you wake up, you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the subconscious mind. Even in sleep, it works incessantly without any rest. It arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and works out a proper, satisfactory solution.
Sometimes, you go to sleep at 10 p.m. with the thought, "I must get up at 2 a.m. in the morning to catch a train." This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. Subconscious mind is your constant, trustworthy companion and sincere friend.
With the help of the subconscious mind, you can change your vicious nature by cultivating healthy, virtuous qualities that remain dormant in every human heart. If you want to overcome fear, mentally deny that you have fear and concentrate your attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When courage is developed, fear vanishes by itself. The positive always overpowers the negative. This is an infallible law of nature. This is Pratipaksha Bhavana of Raja Yogins. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new ideals, new ideas anad new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by changing the old ones.
Smriti or memory is a function of Chitta (subconscious mind). Memory is used in two senses. We say, "Mr. John has got a good memory." Here it means that Mr. John's capacity of the mind to store up its past experiences is very good. Sometimes we say, "I have no memory of that incident." Here, you cannot bring up to the surface of the conscious mind, in its original form, the incident that took place some years ago. It is an act of remembering. You do not get any new knowledge through memory. It is only a reproduction.
If the experience is fresh, you can have a complete recall of your past experience through memory. In ordinary recollection there is a temporal coefficient. In personal memory there is a specific coefficient. That which acts together with another thing is a coefficient. In Mathematics, the numerical or literal factor prefixed to an unkown quantity in an algebraic term is a coefficient.
How Does Memory Arise
Suppose you have received a nice fan as a present from your amiable friend. When you use the fan, it sometimes reminds you of your friend. You think of him for a Smriti-Hetu (cause of memory).
If your brother is a tall man, the sight of a similar tall man in another place will bring to your mind the memory of your brother. This is memory due to the similarity of objects (Sadrisyata).
Suppose you have seen a dwarf at Madras. When you see a very tall man or Patagonian, this will remind you of the dwarf whom you saw at Madras. The sight of a big palace will remind you of a peasant's hut or a Sannyasin's grass hut on the bank of Ganga. This memory is due to dissimilarity in objects (Viparitata).
When you walk along the road on a stormy day, if you happen to see a fallen tree, you conclude that the tree has fallen owing to the storm. In this case, the memory is due to the relation between cause and effect (Karya-karana-sambandha).
The new Samskaras wash away the old Samskaras. If the Samskaras are fresh and recent, it is easy to recall them back quickly. They come up again from the depths of the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind. Revival of old Samskaras takes place. If you visit once the college wherefrom you received your education, ten years after you became an officer in the Government, all the previous Samskaras of your college days will be revived now. You will remember now your old professors, old friends, old books and various other things.
Characteristics Of A Good Memory
The following are the four good characteristics of a good memory: (1) If you read once a passage and if you can reproduce the same nicely, it is a sign to indicate that you have a very good memory. This is termed Sugamata. (2) If you can reproduce the same thing without increase or decrease, addition or substraction, it is called Avaikalya. (3) If you can preserve a fact or passage or anything for a very considerable period, it is called Dharana (retentive memory). (4) If you can reproduce a passage at once without any difficulty when it is needed, it is called Upaharana.
The Process Of Recollection
When you desire to remember a thing, you will have to make a psychic exertion. You will have to go up and down into the depths of the different levels of subconsciousness and then pick up the right thing from a curious mixture of multifarious irrelevant matter. Just as the railway sorter in the Railway Mail Service takes up the right letter by moving the hand up and down along the different pigeon-holes, so also the sorter subconscious mind goes up and down along the pigeon-holes in the subconscious mind and brings the right thing to the level of normal consciousness. The subconscious mind can pick up the right thing from a heap of various matters.
In a big surgical clinic, the assistant surgeon allows only one patient to enter the consultation room of the senior surgeon for examination. Even so, the mind allows one idea only to enter the mental factory at a time through the mind door (Manodvara). The subconscious mind brings to the threshold of the conscious mind, during an act of Smriti (memory), the right thing at the right moment, suppressing all others. It serves the part of a censor and allows only relevant memories to pass by. What a wonderful mechanism it is! Who is the driver for these dual minds? Who created these? What a magnanimous Being He must be! My hairs stand on their ends when I think of Him! My pen quivers when I write. Don't you like to dwell with Him? What a great privilege and joy it is to be in communion with Him!
When you try to remember something, sometimes you cannot remember. After some time, the forgotten something flashes out to the conscious mind. How do you explain this? It is a slip of memory. The Samkaras of the particular thing has sunk deep. The Chitta, which is the storehouse of Samskaras (and whose function is memory), has to exert a bit, to analyse and sort and bring it to the surface of the conscious mind through the trapdoor. After some exertion, revival of the old Samskaras takes place and the forgotten idea, or name of a person, which you wished to recollect sometime back, suddenly flashes to the conscious or objective mind. There ought to have been some congestion in the brain, which might have prevented the revival of a forgotten thing, idea or person. As soon as the congestion is relieved, the forgotten idea floats on the surface of the mind. When the mind is calm, memory becomes keen.
Power Of Memory
Those who overwork mentally, who do not observe the rules of Brahmacharya and who are tormented by many cares, worries and anxieties, lose their power of memory soon. When you show symptoms of losing your memory, as you grow old, the first symptom is that you find it difficult to remember the names of persons. The reason is not far to seek. All the names are arbitrary. They are like labels. There are no associations with the names. The mind generally remembers through associations, as the impressions become deep thereby.
Even in old age, you can remember old events, as there are associations with events. You can remember well in old age some passages that you read in schools and colleges. But, you find it difficult to remember in the evening a new passage you read in the morning. The reason is that the mind has lost its Dharana Sakti (power of grasping ideas). The brain cells have degenerated.
In early boyhood, the power of grasping in the mind is very marked. But, there is no power of understanding. In 16, 18, 20, the power of understanding becomes manifest. The power of retentive memory is also great in this age. The mind becomes settled only after 30. Below 30, there is much Chanchalatva (wandering nature). A man below 30-in the vast majority of cases-is not able to think and decide for himself. He has no power of judgment. After 45, power of grasping begins to decline. Memory also begins to decline. He has power of retention for what he has learnt before. He cannot learn new sciences. Brahmacharya helps a lot to develop the power of retention and various other psychic powers.
What Is Samskara?
Vritti (whirlpool, thought-wave) arises in the mind-ocean. It operates for sometime. Then it sinks below the threshold of normal consciousness. From the surface of the conscious mind wherein it was uppermost for some time, it sinks down deep into the region of the subconscious mind (Chitta). There, it continues to be a subliminal action and becomes a Samskara (impression). A conscious action-whether cognitive, affective or conative-assumes a potential and hidden (Sukshma and Avyakta) form just below the threshold of consciousness. This is termed a Samskara.
Memory-a Revival Of Samskara
The Samskaras (impressions) are embedded in the subconscious mind or Chitta. The subconscious mind is otherwise known as the unconscious mind. Subjective mind, subconscious mind, unconscious mind and Chitta are synonymous terms. The seat of this subconscious mind is the cerebellum or hindbrain. You can recall the past experiences from the storehouse of Samskaras in the subconscious mind. The past is preserved even to the minutest detail. Even a bit is never lost. When the fine Samskaras come up to the surface of the conscious mind back again as a big wave, when the past Vritti comes back to the surface of the conscious mind again by recollection, it is called memory or Smriti. No memory is possible without the help of Samskara.
How The Samskara Is Formed
An experience in the sense-plane sinks down into the depths of the subconscious mind (Chitta) and becomes there a 'Samskara' (impression). A Samskara of an experience is formed or developed in the Chitta at the very moment that the mind is experiencing something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of a Samskara in the subconscious mind. A specific experience leaves a specific Samskara. The memory of this specific experience springs from that particular Samskara only, which was formed out of that particular experience.
When you perceive an orange and taste for the first time, you get knowledge of an orange. You know its taste. You know the object, orange. A Samskara is formed in the subconscious mind at once. At any time, this Samskara can generate a memory of the object, orange and knowledge of an orange. Though the object and the act of knowledge are distinguishable, yet they are inseparable.
Cyclic Causation Of Thought And Samskara
An object awakens or revives Samskaras in the mind through external stimuli. Hence, a Sankalpa or thought arises subjectively from within, without a stimulus from outside. When you think of a cow which you have seen before, you repeat the word 'cow' mentally. Then only, the mental image comes. Then, a thought is formed. Samskara causes Sankalpa, and Sankalpa causes Samskara, just as seed is the cause of the tree, and tree is the cause of the seed, in turn. There is cyclic causation on the analogy of seed and tree (Bija-Vriksha-Nyaya). A Vritti in the mind produces a Samskara, and a Samskara, in turn, causes again a Vritti. Owing to the force of stimuli (Udbodhaka, Vyanjaka) either from within or from without, the seed-like Samskaras again expand and give rise to further activities. This cycle of Vritti and Samskara is Anadi (beginningless), but has an end when one attains Divine Knowledge and liberation. They get Laya (dissolution) into Prakriti. They cease to produce any effect on the Jivanmukta. The Samskaras should be fried up by continuous Samadhi. Then only you will be free from births and deaths.
Samyama Over Samskaras
Samskara is known as "residual potency" also. When all Vrittis or thoughts die away, the frame of the mind remains with the Samskaras. This is termed the Potential Mind. In Vedantic parlance, it is called Antahkarana Matra.
All Samskaras co-exist in the mind. The Vrittis slowly subside and leave traces in the mind. These traces are the Samskaras. From these Samskaras springs memory. If you have Yogic vision, you can vividly notice the marvels that take place in the mental factory of an individual, how the Vritti arises in the mind-lake, how it subsides and how a Samskara is formed. You will be struck with wonder. Samyama over these Samskaras brings out the direct knowledge of the residual potencies. A Yogin brings into direct consciousness the previous life-states by getting direct knowledge of their Samskaras. Such knowledge can hardly be acquired in Universities. A Yogin alone can impart this knowledge to deserving aspirants.
Virtuous And Vicious Samskaras
Like forces, Samskaras aid or inhibit one another. When you see a man in serious sickness and when the feeling of mercy arises in your heart, all the Samskaras of your previous merciful actions coalesce together and force you to serve and help that sick man. Similarly, all the Samskaras of charitable actions come forth to the surface of the conscious mind when you see a man in a serious distress and in straitened circumstances and they force you to help this man. You begin to share with him your physical possessions.
When one Samskara or virtuous action comes into play, another Samskara of dissimilar nature may emerge out and come in the way of its fulfilment. This is fight between a virtuous and a vicious Samskara.
When you try to fix your mind on God and think of purity, just at that moment, all evil thoughts and Samskaras burst forth with violence and vengeance to fight against you. This is termed 'crowding of Samskaras'. Good Samskaras also crowd together and help you to drive out evil Samskaras. The father of Sri Swami Advaitanandaji was a great Bhakta of Chandi. At the time of his death, he was semi-conscious. He began to repeat all the Slokas of Chandi-Stotra which he had got by heart while he was young. This is 'crowding of spiritual Samskaras'.
Past Samskaras Constitute Prarabdha
When you are born, the mind is not a mere Tabula Rasa (a smooth or blank tablet or a blank sheet of white paper). It is a storehouse of Samskaras, predispositions, predilections, etc. A child is born with his Samskaras. A child is born with his past experiences transmuted into mental and moral tendencies and powers. By experiences, pleasant and painful, man gathers materials and builds them into mental and moral faculties. The earthly experiences are worked up into intellectual faculty. The mind evolves through the impressions received from the universe through the senses. It will take many bodies till it gathers the complete experience of the world. Every man is born with his inborn or inherent Samskaras and these Samskaras are embedded, lodged or imprinted in the Chitta which is the seat for Prarabdha. In earthly life, he gains many more Samskaras or experiences through actions and these are added to the original store and become the future Sanchita Karmas (accumulated actions).
All Samskaras lie dormant in the Chitta as latent activities, not only of this life but of all previous innumerable lives from Anadi Kala (beginningless time). The Samskaras of animal life (those of dog's births, etc.), the Samskaras of a Deva life, the Samskaras of kingly life, the Samskaras of the life of a peasant, are all hidden there in the Chitta. In human life, only those Samskaras which are appropriate to that particular type of birth will operate and come to play. The other kinds of Samskaras will remain concealed and dormant.
"As a merchant closing the year's ledger and opening a new one, does not enter in the new all the items of the old but only its balances, so does the spirit hand over to the new brain his judgments on the experiences of a life that is closed, the conclusions to which he has come, the decisions to which he has arrived. This is the stock handed on to the new life, the mental furniture for the new dwelling-a real memory."
The gross body and the mind have, on account of your past Karmas, a tendency to act in a certain way and you act just in accordance with that tendency like a machine. You wrongly impute to yourself the authorship (agency) of these actions and thus make the matters worse. Most of your actions are done more or less automatically.
If you find it difficult to do your actions in a Nishkama spirit, have one desire for liberation in doing all things.
In Svarga or heaven, all earthly experiences of the mind are sorted and analysed. The essence is taken. The Jiva is born again in the physical universe with a new frame and bent of mind according to the nature of the essence extracted in the mental plane.
When you are writing a drama, if sleep comes in, you stop writing and retire to bed. As soon as you get up, you continue to write from where you have left the previous night. Even so, when you take up a new incarnation, you begin to continue the work which you had left unfinished in your previous life in accordance with the current of Vasanas of your past life.
Your next life will depend very largely upon the Karma you perform in this birth. There are probably many things which the man of the world does constantly and may do without much harm resulting in any way; if these things were done by those sincere aspirants who are treading the path of Realisation, they would be decidedly harmful.
Habitual study of abstract problems will result-in another earthly life-in a well-developed power for abstract thinking, while flippant, hasty thinking, flying from one object to another, will bequeath a restless ill-regulated mind to the following birth into this world.
The Enslaving Chains Of Samskaras
Mind exercises its suzerainty through Samskaras. From Samskaras emanate Vasanas like swarms of locusts. From Vasana flows the stream of desire and from enjoyment of objects of desires arises Trishna or internal craving (intense longing). Trishna is very powerful. The Samskaras are imbedded in the mind, in the Karana Sarira. There arises a memory of pleasure in the mind. Then the mind thinks of objects. Maya has her powerful seat in the imagination. There comes attachment. The mind plans and schemes. You are swayed by the passions. You exert yourself physically to possess those objects and enjoy them. In your efforts, you favour some and disfavour others through Raga and Dvesha. You will have to enjoy the fruits of your virtuous and vicious actions. Through this six-spoked wheel of Raga and Dvesha, virtue and vice, pleasure and pain, this Samsaric wheel of birth and death moves on without stopping from Anadi Kala (beginningless time).
Thoughts And Desires Depend Upon Samskaras
The nature of desires and thoughts depends upon the nature of your Samskaras. If you have good Samskaras, you will have good desires and good thoughts and vice versa. Even if you have indulged in vicious actions up to the age of forty, begin practising virtuous actions such as charity, Japa, Dama, Svadhyaya, meditation, service of the poor and the sick, service of saints, etc., from this moment and these Samskaras will prompt you to do more virtuous deeds. They will stimulate good desires and noble thoughts. The Lord says in the Bhagavad-Gita:-
Api chet suduracharo bhajate mam-ananyabhak
Sadhureva sa mantavyah samyag-vyavasito hi sah (IX-30)
"Even if the most sinful worships Me with undivided heart, he too must be deemed righteous, for he has rightly resolved."
Evil Samskaras-the Real Enemy
Who is your real enemy? It is your own evil Samskaras. Substitute Subha Vasanas in place of Asubha ones. Then you can approach God. The mind will be changed. Old Samskaras will be obliterated. Wrong suggestions of various kinds and crude fantastic superstitions are rooted deeply in your mind. They are harmful. You will have to knock them down by Vichara, sublime suggestions, right thinking. "I am body," "I am Mr. John," "I am a Brahmin," "I am rich"-these are wrong suggestions and wrong Samskaras. Suggest to yourself boldly that you are Brahman. The previous wrong suggestion and Samskara "I am body" will slowly melt away by strenuous efforts.
If you forget your real Brahmic nature even for a minute, the old Samskaras of Ajnana will try to come up and overwhelm you. See how Narada's determination began to fluctuate even though he was absorbed in meditation, when he saw some Deva-girls. He at once experienced the sexual desire in himself. The seed came out, he put it in a pot and Chudala in the form of Kumbha Muni emerged from out of the pot. (Yogavasishtha, story of Sikhidhvaja). Therefore, you will have to be very, very careful. Keep yourself away from all kinds of temptations-money, woman, name, fame, etc.
How To Acquire Good Samskaras
Try to acquire some good spiritual Samskaras in this birth at least, if you are not able to devote all your time in spiritual pursuit. Do some kind of meditation for a short time at least daily, say for half an hour in the morning and evening. Have a meditation room. Make some kind of Japa of any Mantra. Study the Gita regularly. Have Satsanga. Visit Rishikesh, Nasik, Varanasi, Haridwar, Prayag once a year for a week's stay. Have the Darshana of Mahatmas. By doing so, you will acquire some spiritual Samskaras which will be a valuable spiritual asset for a new, good life. You will have a very good birth. You will be placed in suitable environments in the next birth for unfolding the Divinity that is lurking in your heart, for practice of Yoga. All opportunities and facilities will be given to you by God, through His grace (Isvara-Kripa) for your spiritual Sadhana. Even by a little systematic spiritual practice (Yogabhyasa and Vedantic Sadhana), you can change your mentality, your old vicious Samskaras. You can cut short several future births. By practice for three years, you can free yourself from the clutches of births and deaths. You are bound to become a Sannyasin. Why not now in this very birth? Why don't you cut short the cycle of unnecessary births and consequent miseries? How long do you want to be a slave of the world, a slave of passions and Indriyas? Wake up now. Do Sadhana and get immortality. Udharet-Atmana-Atmanam-Rouse the self by the Self.
New, healthy Samskaras can be implanted by new, healthy suggestions. Suppose your brain is a plank in which are driven nails which represent the ideas, habits and instincts which determine your actions. If you find that there exists in you a bad idea, a bad habit, a bad instinct,-a bad nail, as it were, in the plank of your mind-you should take another, viz., a good idea, habit or instinct, place it on the top of the bad one and give a hard tap with a hammer. In other words, you should make a healthy, useful suggestion. The new nail will be driven in perhaps a fraction of an inch while the old one will come out to the same extent. At each fresh blow with the hammer, that is to say, at each fresh suggestion, the one will be driven in a little further and the other will be driven out just that much until, after a certain number of blows, the old habits will be completely replaced by the new habits, new ideas. It demands, doubtless, strenuous efforts. It needs constant repetition of the new, healthy suggestions. Habit is second nature. But, pure, irresistible, determined will is bound to succeed eventually.
When you repeat "OM" or the Mahavakya of the Upanishads "Aham Brahma Asmi" once, one Samskara of the idea that "I am Brahman or the Absolute" is formed in the subconscious mind. The object in doing Japa or silent repetition of "OM" 21,600 times daily is to strengthen this Samskara.
Death Of Samskaras Leads To Moksha
The physical body may die. But, the thoughts and Samskaras of actions, enjoyments and thinking follow you after death till you attain Moksha. These are variable Upadhis that accompany you after death. They are variable because you carry different kinds of Samskaras each time when you die. In defferent incarnations, you create different kinds of Samskaras. The permanent Upadhis that accompany you after death are the five Jnana-Indriyas, five Karma-Indriyas, five Pranas, fourfold mind and the Karana Sarira which is the support or Adhara for the Linga Sarira or astral body. It is the death of the Samskaras, it is the death of the Karana Sarira that leads to the final Moksha. It leads to the attainment of Brahma-Jnana. You will be getting fresh births so long as there are Samskaras. You will have to take birth again and again till all the Samskaras are obliterated or fried up by the acquisition of Brahma Jnana. When the Samskaras are wiped out, Brahmic Knowledge shines by itself in its own glory.
Sadhana Consists In Destroying The Samskaras
The aim of a Sadhaka is to fry out or burn or obliterate all these Samskaras through Nirbija Samadhi. Sadhana consists in wiping out the Samskaras. Breathing, hearing, seeing, feeling, tasting, smelling-all cause Samskaras or latent Smriti in the mind. The world enters the mind through the eyes, ears, tongue (speech) and old Samskaras. If you remain in seclusion, you can shut out the first three doors. Through Vichara (right enquiry of Supreme Self), you can destroy the fourth route. Then, Jnana (Knowledge of Self) will dawn. A Jnani is without Samskaras. They are fried out by Jnana. No doubt, the force of the Samskaras remains in the Antahkarana. But they are harmless. They will not bind the Jnani.
The Operation Of Thought
There is the spiritual life in God. This is what relates us to the Infinite. You get everything in Brahman, as He is self-contained and Paripurna (all-full). All your wants and desires are satisfied there. There is then the physical life. This it is that connects us with the universe around us. The thought-life connects the one with the other. It is this that plays between the two.
We have the power within us to open or close ourselves to the divine inflow exactly as we choose. This we have through the power of mind, through the operation of thought. If you are Rajasic, you are far from God. You have shut yourself up from God. If you are Sattvic, you open yourself to the divine inflow.
The sacred Ganga takes its origin in Gangotri (Himalayas) and runs perennially towards Ganga Sagar. Similarly, thought-currents take their origin from the bed of Samskaras (impressions) in the mind, wherein are imbedded the Vasanas (latent subtle desires), and flow incessantly towards the objects both in waking state and dream. Even a railway engine is sent to the engine-shed for rest when the wheels become overhot. But, this mysterious engine of mind goes on thinking without a moment's rest. The expansion of this mind alone is Sankalpa; and, Sankalpa, through its power of differentiation, generates this universe.
Ajnanins have fickle minds with a great deal of fluctuation and myriads of Sankalpas. Their minds ever vacillate through Sankalpas. But, Jnanins will be free from Sankalpas. They will be ever resting in their Atmic Jnana (Jnana-Svarupa) which gives the highest satisfaction (Tripti) and Supreme Peace (Parama Santi).
Sankalpa Only Is Samsara
When Sankalpa increases prodigiously, it is in no way beneficial. It is for evil only. The cause of bondage is Sankalpa. It is all the Sankalpas and Vasanas which you generate that enmesh you as in a nest. You become subject to bondage through your own Sankalpas and Vasanas like a silk-worm in its cocoon. Sankalpa of the mind itself is pain. Its absence is Brahmic bliss. Sankalpa only is Samsara; its destruction is Moksha.
It is the Sankalpa of the mind that brings about this world with all its moving and fixed creatures. The poisonous tree of the great Maya's illusion flourishes more and more out of the seed of the mind's modifications, full of Sankalpa, in the soil of the variegated enjoyments of the world.
Maya is a big poisonous tree. Trishnas and Vasanas water the tree of Mayaic illusion. Karmas are the fruits. Lust, anger, greed, etc., are the sprouts. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas are the buds. Indriyas are the twigs. Ahankara is the trunk. Raga and Dvesha are the two main branches. Various sensual objects are the leaves.
The individualised mind, which is full of Avidya and is all-pervading, though existing in name, has no form, either external or internal, like the Akasa permeating all space. The mere manifestation in all objects of (seeming) reality is the mind. Wherever there is Sankalpa, there does the mind exist.
The origin and the dissolution of this universe, which is nothing but a mode of consciousness, take place with the complete origination and destruction of the Sankalpas of the mind. Realisation of Brahman can be effected through the mind alone after abandoning its Sankalpas and Vikalpas. You should root out Sankalpa as completely as possible. This destruction of Sankalpa should be intelligently practised.
Annihilation Of Sankalpas Constitutes Moksha
You may perform Tapas for myriads of years; you may be able to travel at once through the three worlds; but, never will you be able to reach the stainless MOKSHA, except through the firm path of annihilation of Sankalpas. Therefore, endeavour to destroy this Sankalpa and, thereby, attain Brahmic bliss which is devoid of pains and heterogeneity.
It is only Sankalpa of the mind destroyed beyond resurrection that constitutes the immaculate Brahmic seat. Why can you not contemplate silently and secretly in your heart upon the destruction of this Sankalpa? Then it will so betide that even the throne of an emperor, who sways his sceptre over the whole earth, will be regarded by you as but a paltry bauble.
Remain without Sankalpa-Vikalpa and Dvaita-Bhavana (idea and feeling of duality). Divest yourself of all Sankalpas and be a Nirvikalpa. This is Brahma-Nishtha or Advaita-Nishtha. Strive hard to get this state. You will be then in perfect peace and joy.
The Svabhava Of Manas
The mind can very easily think of worldly objects. It is its Svabhava. Thoughts generally flow with ease towards objects. Mental energy will readily flow in that direction. The mental force can easily flow in the old grooves and avenues of mundane thoughts. It finds it extremely difficult to think of God. It is an uphill work for a Samsaric mind of Vyavahara. The difficulty in weaning the mind from objects and fixing it on God is the same as in making the Ganga flow towards Badri Narayan instead of its natural flow towards Ganga Sagar. It is like rowing against the current of the Yamuna. Still, through strenuous efforts and Tyaga it must be trained to flow towards God, much against its will, if you want to free yourself from birth and death. There is no other go if you want to escape from worldly miseries and tribulations.
How To Destroy Sankalpa
Destroy the stains of Sankalpa or the cloud of Sankalpa through the power of discrimination and constant efforts and be drowned in the ocean of Brahmic bliss with spiritual illumination. When you try to bury your shadow in the earth, it always comes out. Similarly, when you try to destroy the Sankalpas through Viveka-Vritti, they will come out again and again. Withdraw the mind from the objects and act according to your Guru's instructions. Purify the mind and fix it on the Akasa of the heart (Infinite Brahman). The mind will be destroyed in course of time. Be sure of this.
Do not for a moment contemplate upon the things of the universe. You need not exert yourself too much to rid yourself of this Sankalpa. With the checking of all thoughts, one's mind will perish. To crush a full-blown flower in one's hand requires a little effort, but even that little effort is not needed to do away with Sanklpa. Sankalpa is destroyed with the control of thoughts. Having firmly annihilated the external Sankalpa through the internal one and having destroyed the impure mind through the pure one, rest firmly in your Atma-Jnana.
When you are firmly established in the idea that the world is unreal, Vikshepa (through names and forms) and Sphurana of Sankalpa (thoughts) will slowly vanish. Repeat constantly the formula, "Brahma Satyam Jaganmithya Jivo Brahmaiva Naaparah" (Brahman alone is real. World is unreal. Jiva is identical with Brahman). You will gain immense strength and peace of mind through the repetition.
Having freed yourself from all desires for the visible objects before you and having made your impure mind firm and steady through your pure mind, eradicate all the Sanklpas that arise in the mind. Now, this mind, which arises through Sankalpas, perishes through it alone like a flame of fire which, though fanned by the wind, is yet extinguishable by the same.
The State Of Nissankalpa
With the extinction of the base Sankalpas, there is the extinction of Avidya and its effect, mind. Sankalpa is pain. Nissankalpa is all bliss. Sit alone in a solitary room. Close the eyes. Watch the mind and destroy the Vrittis one by one by continuous, energetic efforts. Asamprajnata Samadhi will ensue.
If, with the extinction of the pain-producing Sankalpas, the mind also is destroyed, then will the thick frost of Moha (delusion) affecting you from remote periods dissipate itself. Then, like an unobscured sky in the autumnal season, Brahman alone will shine resplendent, blissful, imperishable, non-dual, formless and without birth and death.
When your thoughts, which are now dispersed, shall be collected together and you will remain in a state of repose, then the eternally happy Atman will shine forth as the reflection of the sun is seen in a clear surface of water. Peace is not in money, woman or eating. When the mind becomes desireless and thoughtless, Atman shines and sheds forth eternal bliss and peace. Why do you search in vain for happiness in objects outside? Search within for bliss in the subjective, Sat-Chit-Ananda Amrita Atman.
Thought Creates The World
Thought, The Origin Of Everything
Everything in the material universe about us had its origin first in thought. From this, it took its form. Every castle, every statue, every painting, every piece of mechanism-in short, everything-had its birth, its origin, first in the mind of the one who formed it before it received its material expression or embodiment.
Mind has got various preoccupations. When an artist begins to draw a picture on the canvas, he draws the picture out of the material preconceived by the mind.
After all, the world is merely an idea or thought. Just as a seed begins to germinate at its proper time and place, so also the seer (knower) appears as the visible through the Sankalpa of the mind (the visible being no other than the seer itself). When the mind ceases to think, the world vanishes and there is bliss indescribable. When the mind begins to think, immediately the world reappears and there is suffering.
"Cogito, ergo sum-I think, therefore I am." This is Descartes's fundamental basis of philosophy. This is in accordance with Sri Sankara's statement that the Atman cannot be illusive; for he who would deny it, even in denying it, witnesses its reality.
The universe is rendered visible by mind. But, it is a pity that nobody has seen the mind save a seer. When you seriously and unceasingly think over the nature of the mind, it is nothing. When you begin to analyse mind, it is nothing. It dwindles to airy nothing. It is a bundle of thoughts and the thought 'I' is the root of all thoughts. This 'I' is a false idea, a non-entity. When the root of all thoughts vanishes into nothing, where is the boasted mind?
The first thought that arose in your mind was 'Aham', 'I'. The last thought or Vritti that will arise in the mind before it is absorbed in Brahman will be Brahmakara Vritti which is produced by your feeling that you are Infinity.
Universe, A Creation Of The Cosmic Mind
The universe is not mental creation of Jiva. One single, organised thought of the Cosmic Mind (Hiranyagarbha) has materialised as the seeming universe. This phenomenal universe is but an outcome of the Divine Will, seeming to be real through the workings of the mind.
Before you write out a drama, you have a vivid mental picture of the whole drama in your mind. Then you write it out in succession in four acts. When it is staged, it is acted in succession, part by part. Similarly, the universe with its movements is a vivid mental picture in the Cosmic Mind-in the mind of Isvara. There is neither past nor future for Him. Everything is 'Present' for Him. There is neither 'near' nor 'far' for Him. Every place is 'here'. Every time is 'now'. The events come out in succession on the stage of the long world-drama as Time rolls on. Atoms rotate continuously. Old becomes new and new becomes old. In reality there is no such thing as old; there is no such thing as single. The Jivas with individual minds are witnessing the events in succession. But Isvara knows all events at one sweep. He is Sarvajna (all-knowing). He is Sarvavit (all-understanding) also. He knows every detail of His creation. The Cosmic Mind creates the Maya. Individual minds receive things under delusion.
This universe is nothing but a mode of the mind, self-evolved from Brahman, the cause of the universe. All the universes which appear only through Manas are no other than its modes. The mind is subjectively consciousness and objectively it is this universe. Hence, this all-pervading world is nothing but consciousness itself.1
1. The Jiva and the universe are Brahman in their innate condition only.
Isvara And Maya
All the Samskaras float in Maya. Suppose there is a very big mirror. You can see in the mirror the reflection of all persons who move in the street, all carts, cars, all carriages which pass along the road. You can be simply watching these movements from a distance in the mirror without being affected in the least. Even so, the movements of this whole universe take place in the biggest mirror of Maya. Isvara or the Lord of the universe is simply witnessing everything. He is the silent Sakshi. When the Adrishta (the hidden power in Karmas) of the Jivas ripens, Isvara simply wills and the universe is projected.
Reality Of The Universe Lies In Sankalpa Of Manas
This ever-agitated Manas (mind), having come into existence out of the ineffable Brahman, creates the world according to its own Sankalpa (thoughts). This legerdemain of the universe springs out of the Sankalpa of your Manas. It is through the Sankalpa of your Manas that the universe appears to be and it is this Sankalpa that is asked to be given up by you if you wish to soar to the One Reality beyond the universe. "Sarvasankalpasannyasi Yogarudhastadochyate-He is said to be established in Yoga who has renounced all his Sankalpas." (Gita, VI-4)
With the growth of a paltry Sankalpa, there will arise the universe; with the extinction of the former, the latter also will disappear. With the annihilation of Sankalpa, all conception of differences between the seer and the seen will vanish and then the Reality of Brahman will begin to shine uninterrupted. Then the shadow of all the universe-movable and fixed-will be found absorbed in It in a non-dual state.
With the contemplation of 'I', all the train of ideas of the universe will set in; otherwise, all the universe will vanish as instantaneously as darkness before the sun. Mind and 'I' are one. Destroy the 'I', then the mind is destroyed.
"Manah-kalpitam Jagat-(Creation of) world is an imagination of the mind" (Yogavasishtha). This legerdemain of the world is enacted by the mind and the mind alone- "Manomatram Jagat. What you call world is the mind only." Mind is world. The mind manifests itself as the external world. This universe is no other than the mind itself. Like a dream generating another dream in it, the mind, having no visible form, will generate non-existent visibles. This perishable universe exists only when the mind exists, but disappears with the absence of the latter. If the mind, which is the insturument of knowledge, perception and activity, vanishes, with it disappears this subjective world also.
There is a corresponding notion and object for every Sabda (sound). There is a notion and an object for the Sabda "Cow." Maya is deceiving you through Sabda-jala. The whole world is a mere notion, mere idea. It is Sankalpamatra. It is Bhrantimatra. It is Kalpanamatra. It is Akasamatra. It exists in name only. "Vacharambhanam Vikaro Namadheyam Mritti-ketyeva Satyam-all modifications being only names based upon words, the truth being that all is clay." The whole world is a combination of five elements. Analyse, realise the illusory nature of all objects and abandon all false objects. When you begin to analyse, the whole world vanishes and with it the notion, sound, and objects also.
The happiness and misery experienced in this world are caused by the working of the mind. All the hosts of pains and pleasures arise from the mind only. They will perish if the mind perishes through stainless discrimination and spiritual Sadhana. The three worlds are created for the pleasures and pains of the mind. Suspension of the mental activity will cause the three worlds to disappear with their misery. With the destruction of the mind, all the three periods of time vanish into nothing. By controlling the mind, all occult powers are acquired. If the mind is not controlled, all else become useless and painful. Therefore, the mind should be annihilated.
Mind Functions Within The Three Categories
Mind always functions within the categories of time, space and causation. These three categories are mental creations only. A coconut tree is not really twenty feet high. The height is only a mental interpretation. There are vibrations only outside. It is the mind that creates length, breadth, height, thickness, dimensions, void, square, etc. A distance of two miles comes out of feeling only. You actually feel that you have walked so much distance. When you transcend the mind, all these categories vanish entirely. Annihilate the mind, therefore, through Brahmavichara. You will enter a realm of Peace and Ananda which is eternal, infinite and causeless (Parama Karana).
The Why And How Of The Universe-a Transcendental Question
Mr. Narain, my friend who is standing before me, is my own mental creation. Even this world is my own mental creation.
Abhava or non-existence is said to be an object of perception, since non-existence of a thing means its existence somewhere else.
According to the idealistic theory, there is no world at all in reality. It is all mere mental imagination. This is Vijnanavada of the Buddhists.
According to the realistic theory, the world is a solid reality. Even the dualist shool of Madhva and Visishtadvaita school of Ramanuja and Raja Yogic school of Maharshi Patanjali hold that the world is real (Jagat Satyam).
Kant has demonstrated that space, time and causation are not objective realities, but only subjective forms of our intellect, and the unavoidable conclusion is that the world, so far as it is extended in space, is running on in time and ruled throughout by causality, is merely a representation of our mind and nothing beyond it.
A finite mind that is gross and conditioned by time, space and causation cannot comprehend the why and how of the universe, a question that is transcendental. The question has never been answered by anybody, by any Sastra, by any sage or Acharya. Do not rack your mind on this point. You can never get a solution for this problem. It is Mauja of Brahman to create this universe. It is His Lila-Vilasa. It is His Maya. It is His Svabhava.
Non-Existence Of The World-what It Means
The Abhava of Jagat (non-existence of the world) or its Nasa (destruction) does not mean the annihilation of mountains, lakes, trees and rivers. When your Nischaya (determination) that this world is Mithya (unreal, illusory) gets stronger and stronger and when you are well-established on this idea that this world is illusory like Mrigatrishna (mirage), this alone is destruction of the world.
You cannot destroy a mountain, but you can destroy the idea of a mountain.
The universe is like a Svapna in Jagrat. Just as there is the image in the mirror, this world is a big image in the mind-mirror. The mind is like a big Chaddar (thick cloth) painted with various pictures. There is neither painter nor canvas nor any material for painting such as brush, dish, oil, powder, etc. The picture of the universe appears depicted on the spotless Jnana-Akasa (knowledge-space).
The play of the mind arising out of Chaitanya (pure consciousness) constitutes this universe. Mind is Maya. Maya is mind. The workings of the mind are nothing but the workings of Maya itself. Attraction or attachment in the mind towards forms is Maya. Identification of one's own self with the mind is Maya.
How The Mind Manifests As The World
The motion or vibration of Prana moves the mind. The movement of the mind generates the universe. The mind manifests itself as the external world. Nama-Rupa (names and forms) arise owing to Vikshepa Sakti, one of the powers of Maya. The Vikshepa force operates both in the Jagrat and the Svapna states. The whole world is projected on account of this power only. In sleep, it disappears.
The world enters the mind through the eyes, ears, tongue (speech) and old Samskaras. If you remain in the seclusion, you can shut out these first three doors. Through Vichara (right enquiry of Supreme Self), you can destroy the Samskaras, the fourth route. Then Jnana (Knowledge of Self) will dawn.
All the universes with their heterogeneity, though really Atma-Jnana, shine as worlds only through our illusory mind, like the blueness of the sky which is really non-existent. The Self-light of Para Brahman alone is appearing as the mind or this motley universe. Mind is Prajna-Sakti. Matter is Bhuta-Sakti. Prana is Kriya-Sakti of Brahman. Everything belongs to Brahman. In reality, there is no Jiva. There is Brahman only.
The mind which ever rises and falls with the ebb of desires, fancies this illusory universe to be through its ignorance; but it should be informed of the real nature of this world, then it will cognise it to be Brahman itself.
Avidya And Ahankara
The mind itself is a creation of Avidya (ignorance). It is a Karya (effect) of Avidya. It is filled with delusion. That is the reason why it deceives and tempts you. It makes you go astray. If you can destroy the cause of the mind, Ajnana, by getting Jnana (knowledge of the Supreme Self), mind is nowhere. It dwindles into an airy nothing. Manonasa (annihilation of mind) takes place when Jnana dawns.
Avidya works through Upadhis (attributes, limiting adjuncts). All the special apparatus required by Avidya constitute the Upadhis of the soul. Mind is an Upadhi; Buddhi is an Upadhi and Ahankara also is an Upadhi.
The sea of Avidya (ignorance) is in the mind of man. The explanation of the empirical concept must be sought in the nature of our cognitive faculty. Sri Sankara explains Avidya in this way. It is Naisargika; it is innate in our mental faculty. It is Mithyajnananimitta, based on wrong knowledge; and, knowledge is a function of the mind. It is Nityapratyayarupa; it consists in the form of a wrong conception. "All Jivas-human entities-which are really non-existent, are (with all concomitant appearance of birth, death, etc.) mere results of the objectivising tendency of the mind and nothing else."
The whole experience of duality, made up of perceiver and perceived, is pure imagination. There is no Avidya apart from the mind. On destruction of the mind, all is destroyed. The activity of the mind is the cause of all appearance. On account of Avidya or Bhranti (illusion) in the mind, you see the objects, trees, etc., outside and feel as if they are separate from you and real.
So long as there is mind, there are all these distinctions of big and small, high and low, superior and inferior, good and bad, etc. The highest Truth is that in which there is no relativity. If you can transcend the mind by constant and profound meditation on Atman, you will be able to attain the Nirdvandva state (a state beyond the pairs of opposites) wherein lies the supreme peace and highest knowledge.
There is no Avidya outside the mind. The mind itself is Avidya. Imaginations and Sankalpas are products of Avidya. Ignorance is imbedded in the mind. The mind needs thorough cleansing with Japa, Pranayama, Satsanga, Vichara and Nididhyasana, just as a rusty copper plate needs cleansing with earth, ash, tamarind, powder, etc.
Ahankara-how It Develops
Atman in conjunction with the Buddhi is Ahankara. The basis of Ahankara is Buddhi. As the Buddhi (Bheda Buddhi) is the cause for this differentiation (this little "I"), Buddhi is the cause or seed for Ahankara. Ahamta and Mamata ('I'-ness and 'mine'-ness) are Jivasrishti. It is Jivasrishti that binds a man to the world. Isvarasrishti (God's creation) helps man in his God-realisation.
The seed of mind is Ahankara. Ahankara is development through the thoughts of the mind. As the first thought is the 'I' thought and as this 'I' thought is at the base of all other thoughts, Ahankara is the seed for the mind. This idea of 'I' will bring in its train, the idea of time, space and other potencies. With these environments, the name Jiva accrues to it. Contemporaneously with it, there arise Buddhi, memory, Manas which is the seed of the tree of Sankalpa.
When you are a boy, the Ahankara is not very potent. It is like a shadow in a glass. It gets developed and firm-rooted during your adolescence after you marry and entangle yourself in the achievement of various worldly desires. You are fearless in your boyhood. The moment this little 'I' becomes stronger in your, side by side, various sorts of fears, various sorts of desires, a host of delusions take firm hold of you. The world appears to you more real, too.
The Curse Of Egoism
Ahankara is, after all, nothing. But, tremendous is its influence! Maya means Ahankara. Mind is another name for Ahankara. World means Ahankara. The sprout of Ahankara ramifies here and there with its long branches of 'mine' and 'thine'. It is inveterate. Ahankara wants to live in flesh (Abhinivesa or clinging to life), to eat flesh and to embrace flesh. This is pure Ajnana (ignorance) only. Look at Maya's deception and wholesale swindling! Beware! Awake! Get Jnana.
Just as the cloud screens the sun, so also this cloud of Ahankara screens the 'Jnana Surya', the Infinite Sun of Knowledge, Brahman. You cannot realise God, if you have the least tinge of egoism, if you have the slightest attachment to name and form, if you have the least tinge of Vasana or if you have the least trace of worldly desire in the mind.
How To Eradicate Ahankara
The deep roots of Ahankara should be burnt by the fire of knowledge (Jnanagni). Then you will quite easily get the wealth of Moksha. All tribulations, sorrows, miseries and afflictions will terminate now. Control of the Indriyas and Pranayama help to develop the Buddhi (Vikasa of Buddhi).
You cannot, all at once, eradicate Ahankara altogether. You can easily give up wife, children, money, anger. But it is extremely difficult to give up Ahankara. Try to minimise it little by little. Remove one anna of Ahankara within three months. Within four years, you will be able to root it out completely. You will have to remove it either by self-sacrifice through Karma Yoga-or self-surrender through Bhakti-or self-denial through Vedantic Atma-Vichara.
Through the Sankalpas of Manas, Ahankara is generated. If the modification of the mind which leans to sensual pleasures is destroyed, the Atman, divested of its Ahankara, becomes the unnameable Brahmic Reality.
Ahankara is like a thread. It connects or links all the Indriyas on itself. When the thread is broken, all the pearls fall down. Even so, when the thread of Ahankara is broken by 'Aham Brahma Asmi' Bhavana or Sakshi Bhava or self-surrender method by taking the Nimitta Bhava (instrument-in-the-hands-of-the-Lord attitude), all the Indriyas will be broken down or destroyed. The connection with Indriyas will be severed.
Even if you identify yourself with a subtle body inside, it will help you in your Self-realisation. It is only the identification with the fleshy physical body that brings all sorts of troubles through gross Ahankara and 'mineness'. The physical 'I' is a very great menace.
Whenever Ahankara asserts itself, raise a question within thyself, "What is the source of this little 'I'?" Again and again, moot this question and enquire. When you remove layer after layer, the onion dwindles to nothing. When you analyse the little 'I', it becomes a non-entity; it will gradually vanish. It will dwindle into an airy nothing. Body is not 'I'. 'I' remains even after the leg is amputated. Give up Jivasrishti.
Within the time taken to pluck a flower, within the twinkling of an eye, this Ahankara can be easily eradicated by right Sadhana or Brahma-Bhava.
When you assert 'Aham Brahma Asmi' (I am Brahman), it is Sattvic Ahankara. It is Moksha Ahankara. It will not bind you in any way. It will help you realise Brahman. The fire in a picture will not burn anything. A light in the presence of midday sun will not shine and shed its light. Even so, the Ahankara of a Sattvic person cannot do any harm to any person.
The Power Of Thought
Thought Is A Living Force
Thought is a vital, living force, the most vital, subtle and irresistible force that exists in the universe. The thought-world is more real relatively than this physical universe. Thoughts are living things. Every change in thought is accompanied by vibration of its matter (mental). Thought as force needs a special kind of subtle matter in its working.
Mind assumes the form of anything it contemplates. When you think of an object, your mind shapes itself into the form of that object. When you change your thought, your mind also changes its shape. Many modifications continually arise in the mind. Your thoughts rapidly change. Your mind also changes its shape rapidly. Every moment, mind is continually creating hundreds of these thought-forms and continually dispersing them again. It never holds on steadily to one thought-form for some time.
Every thought has a certain name and a certain form. Form is the grosser and name the finer state of a single manifesting power called thought. But, these three are one. It is the unity in trinity, the three degrees of existence of the same thing. Wherever the one is, the others also are there. Suppose your mind is now perfectly calm, entirely without thought. Nevertheless, as soon as thought begins to rise, it will immediately take name and form. Thus you find that every idea that man has, or can have, must be connected with a certain word as its counterpart.
Language is different, but thought is one. Mental image is the same in all. Sound has got four forms, viz., Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari. Vaikhari is the ordinary speech. It differs in different countries. But Para, Pasyanti and Madhyama are one and the same. Para is undifferentiated sound that lies dormant in Brahman. The language of the Devatas, the language in the mental plane is one. It is Madhyama. The rotatory vibration of the causal body (Karana-Sarira) is Pasyanti. That is your real name. When you operate through your Karana-Sarira, (lower Prakamya or lower Divya Drishti), you will hear the Pasyanti sound, your real name.
Thought Is Subtle Matter
Thought is subtle matter. A thought is as much solid as a piece of stone. You may die, but your thoughts can never die. They have form, size, shape, colour, quality, substance, power and weight. A spiritual thought has yellow colour; a thought charged with anger and hatred is of a dark red colour; a selfish thought has a brown colour; and so on. A Yogin can see directly with his inner Yogic eye all these thoughts.
The stronger the thoughts, the earlier the fructification. Thought is focussed and given a particular direction and, in the degree that thought is thus focussed and given direction, it is effective in the work it is sent out to accomplish.
Thought Is A Creative Force
Thought is a great force. Thought is a dynamic force. Thought moves. Thought is infectious. Thought creates. You can work wonders with the power of thought. Through the instrumentality of thought, you acquire creative power. There are nowadays numerous books on thought-power, thought-dynamics and thought-culture. Study them. You will then have a comprehensive understanding of thought, its power, workings and usefulness.
The power of thought is very great. Every thought of yours has a literal value to you in every possible way. The strength of your body, the strength of your mind, your success in life and the pleasures you give to others by your company- all depend on the nature and quality of your thoughts. You must know thought-culture.
Thought Gives Health
If you entertain healthy thoughts, you can keep good health. If you hold on to sickly thoughts in the mind, thoughts of diseased tissues, thoughts of weak-nerves, thoughts of improper functioning of organs or viscera, you can never expect good health, beauty and harmony. The body is the product of the mind. If you hold on vigorous thoughts in the mind, then the physical body also will be vigorous.
Evil thoughts of all kinds befoul and infure the mind and, if persisted in, will become veritable diseases and maimings of the mind, incurable during the period of life.
Thought Builds Character
"As a man thinketh, so he is." "Man is created by thought; what a man thinks upon, that he becomes." Think you are strong; strong you become. Think you are weak; weak you become. Think you are a fool; fool you become. Think you are God; God you become. A man forms his own character, becoming that which he thinks. If you meditate on courage, you shall work courage into your character. So with purity, patience, unselfishness and self-control. If you think nobly, you shall gradually make for yourself a noble character, but if you think basely, a base character will be formed. Steady persevering thought sets up a definite habit of the mind and that habit manifests itself as a quality in the character. The thread of thought is woven into mental and moral qualities and these qualities in their totality form what we call character. You can build your character as surely as a mason can build a wall, working with and through the law.
The first step towards a deliberate creation of character lies then in the deliberate choosing of what we will think and then of thinking persistently on the quality chosen. Ere long, there will be a tendency to evince that quality; a little longer, its exercise will become habitual. Thought makes character. You spin the thread of thought into your destiny.
Thought Weaves Destiny
That which man thinks upon in one life, he becomes in another. If the mind dwells continually upon one train of thought, a groove is formed into which the thought-force runs automatically and such a habit of thought survives death and since it belongs to the ego, is carried over to the subsequent earth life as a thought tendency and capacity.
Every thought has got its own mental image. Every man has a mental world of his own, his own views, his own sentiments, his own feelings, his own habitual thoughts, his own experience and his own mode of thinking. The essence of the various mental images formed in one particular physical life is being worked out in the mental plane. It constitutes the basis for the next physical life. Just as a new physical body is formed in every birth, so also a new mind and a new Buddhi are formed in every birth.
It is difficult to explain the detailed workings of thought and Karma. Every Karma produces twofold effects, one on the individual mind and the other on the world. Man makes the circumstances of his future life by the effect of his actions upon others.
Every action has a past which leads up to it; every action has a future which proceeds from it. An action implies a desire which prompted it and a thought which shaped it. Each act is a link in an endless chain of causes and effects, each effect becoming a cause and each cause having been an effect; and each link in the endless chain is welded out of three components-desire, thought and activity. A desire stimulates a thought; a thought embodies itself in an act.
Selfish coveting of the possessions of others, though never carried out into active cheating in the present, makes one a thief in a later earth-life, while hatred and revenge secretly cherished are the seeds from which the murderer springs. So again, unselfish loving yields as harvest the philanthropist and the saint; and every thought of compassion helps to build the tender and pitiful nature which belongs to one who is a friend to all creatures.
Like Attracts Like
The great law, "Like attracts like," is ever operating. This is a great cosmic law. This is a law in nature. This law operates in the thought world also. People of similar thoughts are attracted towards each other. That is the reason why the maxims run as follows: "Birds of the same feather flock together... A man is known by the company he keeps." A doctor is drawn towards a doctor. A poet has attraction for another poet. A songster loves another songster. A philosopher likes another philosopher. A vagabond likes a vagabond. The mind has got a 'drawing power'. You are continually attracting towards you, from both the seen and the unseen sides of life-forces, thoughts, influences and conditions most akin to those of your own thoughts and lives.
In the realm of thought, people of similar thoughts are attracted to one another. This universal law is continually operating whether we are conscious of it or not. We are all living, so to speak, in a vast ocean of thought; and the very atmosphere around us is continually filled with the thought-forces that are being continually sent or that are continually going out in the form of thought-waves. We are all affected more or less by these thought-forces either consciously or unconsciously and in the degree that we are more or less sensitively organised or in the degree we are negative and so are open to outside influences, rather than positive, which thus determine what influences shall enter into the domain of our thoughts and hence into our lives.
Carry any kind of thought you please about with you and so long as you retain it, no matter how you roam over land or sea, you will unceasingly attract to yourself, knowingly or inadvertently, exactly and only what corresponds to your own dominant quality of thought. Thoughts are your private property and you can regulate them to suit your taste entirely by steadily recognising your ability to do so. You have entirely in your own hands to determine the order of thought you entertain and consequently the order of influences you attract and are not mere willowy creatures of circumstances, unless indeed you choose to be.
Good Thoughts And Evil Thoughts
A good thought is thrice blessed. First, it benefits the thinker by improving his mental body (Manomaya Kosha). Secondly, it benefits the person about whom it is entertained. Lastly, it benefits all mankind by improving the general mental atmosphere.
An evil thought, on the contrary, is thrice cursed. First, it harms the thinker by doing injury to his mental body. Secondly, it harms the person who is its object. Lastly, it harms all mankind by vitiating the whole mental atmosphere.
Every evil thought is as a sword drawn on the person to whom it is directed. If you entertain thoughts of hatred, you are really a murderer of that man against whom you foster thoughts of hatred. You are your own suicide, because these thoughts rebound upon you only.
A mind tenanted by evil thoughts acts as a magnet to attract like thoughts from others and thus intensifies the original evil.
Evil thoughts thrown into the mental atmosphere poison receptive minds. To dwell on an evil thought gradually deprives it of its repulsiveness and impels the thinker to perform an action which embodies it.
The Progeny Of Thoughts
It is not sufficient that your thoughts are not bad. You must transmute bad thoughts into good thoughts. This is the first part of your Sadhana. You must make them helpful thoughts. When they are sent out, they must be capable of doing immense good and benefit to the suffering humanity and your neighbours.
Thoughts are your own real children. Be careful of your progeny of thoughts. A good son brings happiness, name and fame to the father. An evil son brings infamy, discredit to his father. Even so, a noble thought will bring happiness and joy to you. An evil thought will bring misery and trouble to you. Just as you rear up your children with great care, so also you will have to rear up good, sublime thoughts with great care.
Thought Is Contagious
Thought is very contagious, nay, more contagious than the Spanish Flu. Thought moves. It actually leaves the brain and hovers about. It enters the brains of others also. A sympathetic thought in you raises a sympathetic thought in others with whom you come in contact. A thought of anger produces a similar vibration in those who surround an angry man. It leaves the brain of one man and enters the brains of others who live at a long distance and excites them. A cheerful thought produces cheerful thought in others. A thought of joy creates sympathetically a thought of joy in others. You are filled with joy and intense delight when you see a batch of hilarious children playing mirthfully and dancing in joy.
In broadcasting, a singer sings beautiful songs at Calcutta. You can hear them nicely through the radio-set in your own house at Delhi. All messages are received through the wireless. Even so, your mind is like a wireless machine. A saint with peace, poise, harmony and spiritual waves sends out into the world thoughts of harmony and peace. They travel with tremendous lightning speed in all directions and enter the minds of thousands and produce in them also similar thoughts of harmony and peace. Whereas a worldly man whose mind is filled with jealousy, revenge and hatred sends out discordant thoughts which enter the minds of thousands and stir in them similar thoughts of hatred and discord.
Thought is very contagious. Keep a good and honest man in the company of a thief. He will begin to steal. Keep a sober man in the company of a drunkard. He will begin to drink.
Thought-Tranference Or Telepathy
What is the possible medium through which thoughts can travel from one mind to another? The best possible explanation is that Manas or mind-substance fills all space like ether and it serves as the vehicle for thoughts as Prana is the vehicle for feelings, ether is the vehicle for heat, light and electricity, and air is the vehicle for sound. Mind is Vibhu (all-pervading) like Akasa. Hence, thought-transference is possible. Thought-transference is telepathy.
If we throw a piece of stone in a tank or a pool of water, it will produce a succession of concentric waves travelling all around from the affected place. The light of a candle will similarly give rise to waves of ethereal vibrations travelling in all directions from the candle. In the same manner, when a thought, whether good or evil, crosses the mind of a person, it gives rise to vibrations in the Manas or mental atmosphere, which travel far and wide in all directions.
While electricity travels at the rate of 1,86,000 miles per second, thoughts virtually travel in no time, their speed being as much faster than electricity as their vehicle Manas is finer than ether, the medium of electricity.
Thoughts are like things. Just as you hand over an orange to your friend and take it back, so also you can give a useful, powerful thought to your friend and take it back also. You must know the right technique to handle and manipulate a thought. The science is very interesting and subtle. You can aid a friend in trouble by sending him thoughts of comfort, a friend in search of Truth by thoughts clear and definite of the truths you know. You can send into the mental atmosphere thoughts which will raise, purify and inspire all who are sensible to them.
If you send out a loving, helpful thought to another man, it leaves your brain, goes directly to that man, raises a similar thought of love in his mind and returns back to you with redoubled force. If you send out a thought of hatred to another man, it hurts that man and hurts you also by returning back to you with redoubled force. Therefore, understand the laws of thought, raise only thoughts of mercy, love and kindness from your mind and be happy always.
When you send out a useful thought to help others, it must have a definite, positive purpose and aim. Then only it will bring out the desired effect. Then only that thought will accomplish a definite work.
The Duty Of An Aspirant
You should learn the method of sending out helping, loving thoughts to others and the whole world at large. You should know how to remove distraction and collect all thoughts and send them out as a battalion of helpful forces to do good to the suffering humanity. Thought-transference is a beautiful science. It is an exact science.
Just as the flowing Ganga brings joy and coolness to those who live on its banks, so also your strong thoughts of love and peace must flow out as a healing stream to bring solace, peace and glee to those persons whose minds are filled with care, worry, anxiety, tribulation, affliction, etc.
Even some good natured householders entertain some occasional good thoughts and send out into the world some helpful thoughts. This is not sufficient for an aspirant in the path of Truth. A continuous stream of helpful thoughts must gush out from his mind. It must be a perennial, healing stream of loving, helpful thoughts. He must be able to charge groups of twenty persons, masses of hundreds and thousands with love, joy and cheerfulness. He must stir them with a mere glance and a few sweet, powerful words into enthusiasm, high spirits and exalted moods and exhilaration. That is spiritual strength, will-force (Atma-Bala).
How Sannyasins Serve The World Through Their Thought-Vibrations
Indians have now imbibed the missionary spirit of the West and cry out that Sannyasins should come out and take part in social and political activities. It is a sad mistake. A Sannyasin or a Yogin need not become the President of an Association or the leader of a social or political movement. It is a foolish and puerile idea. A true Sannyasin can do everything through his thought-vibrations.
It is not necessary that a Sannyasin, a saint should appear on the platform to help the world, to preach and elevate the minds of people. Some saints preach by example. Their very lives are an embodiment of teaching. Their very sight elevates the minds of thousands. A saint is a living assurance for others for God-realisation. Many draw inspiration from the sight of holy saints. No one can check the thought-vibrations from the saints. Their pure, strong thought-vibrations travel a very long distance, purify the world and enter the minds of many thousands of persons. There is no doubt in this.
A sage living in a Himalayan cave can transmit a powerful thought to a corner of America. He who practises Nishkama Karma Yoga in the world purifies himself through disinterested works and he who meditates in a cave in the Himalayas and tries to purify himself really purifies the world, helps the world at large through his spiritual vibrations. Nobody can prevent his pure thoughts coming out and passing to others who really want them. Worldly-minded social workers cannot understand this point.
Clear Thinking-how It Is Accomplished
The common man does not know what deep thinking is. His thoughts run riot. There is a great deal of confusion in the mind sometimes. His mental images are very distorted. It is only thinkers, philosophers and Yogins who have well-defined, clear-cut mental images. They can be seen through clairvoyance very vividly. Those who practise concentration and meditation develop strong, well-formed mental images.
Most of your thoughts are not well-grounded. They come and slip away. They are, therefore, vague and indefinite. The images are not clear, strong and well-defined. You will have to reinforce them by clear, continuous and deep thinking. Through Vichara (ratiocination), Manana (deep reflection) and meditation, you will have to make the thoughts settle down and crystalise into a definite shape. Then the philosophical idea will become firm. Through right-thinking, reasoning, introspection and meditation, you will have to clarify your ideas. Then confusion will vanish. The thoughts will get settled and well-grounded.
Think clearly. Clarify your ideas again and again. Introspect in solitude. Purify your thoughts to a considerable degree. Silence the thoughts. Do not allow the mind to bubble. Let one thought-wave rise and settle down calmly. Then allow another thought to enter. Drive off all extraneous thoughts that have no connection with the subject-matter you are handling at the present moment.
Independent And Original Thinking
Thinkers are very few in this world. Most of us do not know what right thinking is. Thinking is shallow in the vast majority of persons. Deep thinking needs intense Sadhana (practice). It takes innumerable births for the proper evolution of the mind. Then only it can think deeply and properly. A man who speaks the truth and has moral purity has always powerful thoughts. One who has controlled anger by long practice has tremendous thought power. If a Yogin whose thought is very powerful speaks one word, it will produce tremendous impression on the minds of others.
Independent and original thinking is resorted to by the Vedantins. Vedantic Sadhana (Manana, reflection) demands a sharp intellect. Hard thinking, persistent thinking, clear thinking, thinking to the roots of all problems, to the very fundamentals of the situations, to the very presuppositions of all thoughts and being is the very essence of Vedantic Sadhana. You will have to abandon an old idea, however strong and ingrained it may be, when you get a new, elevating idea in its stead. If you have no courage to face the results of your thinking, to swallow the conclusions of your thinking, whatever they may mean to you personally, you should never take the trouble to philosophise. Take up to devotion.
Applied Thinking And Sustained Thinking
Applied thinking applies the mind to the object and sustained thinking keeps it continually engaged; rapture brings about the expanding and bliss of the developing mind whose motives for non-distraction have been accomplished by those two kinds of thinking. Meditation can arise when applied and sustained thinking, rapture, bliss and collectedness of mind arise.
Thought is a great force. It has got tremendous power. It becomes a matter of great moment to know how to use this power in the highest possible way and to the greatest possible effect. This can best be done by the practice of meditation.
If a pebble in our boot torments us we expel it. We take off the boot and shake it out. Once the matter is fairly understood, it is just as easy to expel an intruding and obnoxious thought from the mind. About this there ought to be no doubt, no two opinions. The thing is obvious, clear and unmistakable. It should be as easy to expel an obnoxious thought from your mind as it is to take a stone out of your shoe; and till a man can do that, it is just nonsense to talk about his ascendency and conquest over nature. He is a mere slave and prey to the bat-winged phantoms that flit through the corridor of his brain. Pitiable, indeed, is the lot of these creatures!
Benefits Of Thought-Control
Thoughts lead to action. Thoughts are the sources of all actions. Thought is the real Karma. Thinking is the real action. If you can root out all evil thoughts in the beginning, you will not do any evil action. If you can nip them in the bud, you will be free from the miseries and tribulations of this world. Watch your thoughts with vigilance and introspection.
Thought is the real action. Activities of the mind are the real Karmas. Once the Vikshepa of the mind vanishes, you will get good Nishtha (meditation). The mind will be very, very calm. Get rid of the impurities of the mind. Have mastery over the mind. Then all the miseries of the Samsara with births and deaths will come to an end. If you free yourself from the clutches of the mind, Moksha (liberation) will come by itself. There is no doubt about this.
A wise man watches his thoughts and eradicates all evil thoughts as they arise from the surface of the mind. So he is happy. He has always pure thoughts. By meditation on God, pure thoughts emanate from the mind, because God is purity (Nitya Suddha).
If you have control over your thoughts, you can turn out immense work with intense concentration. Mental torments of all sorts, cares, worries and anxieties will disappear. The peace that you will enjoy cannot be adequately described.
Those who have even a little control over their thoughts and speech will have a calm, serene, beautiful, charming face, sweet voice and brilliant, lustrous white eyes. Just as sweet perfume continuously emanates from an incense stick, so also divine perfume and divine effulgence (magnetic, Brahmic aura) radiate from a Yogin who has controlled his thoughts and who is constantly dwelling on Brahman or the infinite. The effulgence and perfume of his face is Brahma-Varchas. When you hold in your hand a bouquet made of jasmine, rose and Champaka flowers, the sweet perfume pervades the whole hall and tickles all alike. Even so, the perfume of fame and reputation (Yasas and Kirti) of a Yogin who has controlled his thoughts spreads far and wide. He becomes a cosmic force.
Radium is a rare commodity. There are only 16 grains in the world. Yogins who have controlled their thoughts are also very rare in the world, like radium.
Conservation And Proper Utilisation Of Thought-Energy
Just as energy is wasted in idle talk and gossiping, so also energy is wasted in entertaining useless thought. Therefore, you should not waste even a single thought. Do not waste even an iota of energy in useless thinking. Conserve all mental energy. Utilise it for higher spiritual purposes in divine contemplation, Brahma-Chintana and Brahma-Vichara. Conserve all thought-energy and utilise it for meditation and helpful service to humanity.
Do not store in your brain useless information. Learn to unmind the mind. Unlearn whatever you have learnt. They are now useless for you. Then only you can fill your mind with divine thoughts. You will gain new mental strength as all the dissipated mental rays are collected now.
In physics you have the term 'power of orientation'. Though the mass of energy is there, the current will not flow. It must be connected to the magnet and then the electric current will flow through the power of orientation. Even so, the mental energy which is dissipated and misdirected in various worthless worldly concerns should be well-directed in proper spiritual channels.
Drive away from your mind all unnecessary, useless and obnoxious thoughts. Useless thoughts impede your spiritual growth; obnoxious thoughts are stumbling blocks to spiritual advancement. You are away from God when you entertain useless thoughts. Substitute thoughts of God. Entertain only thoughts that are helpful and useful. Useful thoughts are the stepping-stones to spiritual growth and progress. Do not allow the mind to run into the old grooves and to have its own ways and habits. Be on the careful watch.
You must eradicate through introspection all sorts of mean thoughts, useless thoughts, unworthy thoughts, impure thoughts, all sexual thoughts, thoughts of jealousy, hatred and selfishness. You must annihilate all destructive thoughts of disharmony and discord. You must develop thought-culture of good, loving, sublime thoughts, divine thoughts. Every thought must be of a constructive nature. It must be strong, positive and definite. The mental image must be of a clear-cut and well-defined nature. You must develop right thinking. Every thought must bring peace and solace to others. It should not bring even the least pain and unhappiness to anyone. Then you are a blessed soul on the earth. You are a mighty power on the earth. You can help many, heal thousands, spiritualise and elevate a large number of persons as did Jesus and Buddha.
Just as you grow jasmine, rose, lily, honolulu flowers in a garden, so also you should cultivate the flowers of peaceful thoughts of love, mercy, kindness, purity in the vast garden of Antahkarana. Through introspection, you have to water this garden of mind with meditation and sublime thinking and remove the weeds of vain, useless discordant thoughts.
Generally, in untrained persons, four or five kinds of thoughts occupy the mind at a time. Household thoughts, business thoughts, thoughts of office, thoughts of body, thoughts of food and drink, hope and anticipation, some kind of planning to get money, some kinds of thoughts of revenge, some habitual thoughts of answering calls of nature, bathing, etc., occupy the mind at a time. When you are studying a book with interest at 3.30 p.m., the idea of pleasure of witnessing a cricket match at 4 p.m. disturbs your study every now and then. It is only a Yogin with Ekagra mind, who can have only one thought at a time and can keep it as long as he likes.
If you watch the mind carefully, you will find that many thoughts are inconsistent. The mind wanders at random aimlessly. There will be some thoughts of the body and its wants, some thoughts of friends, some thoughts of acquiring money, some thoughts of eating and drinking, some thoughts of your boyhood, etc. If you can study the mind and if you have consistent thoughts of one subject or one kind only to the exclusion of all other thoughts, this itself is a very great achievement, is a great step in advancement in thought-control. Do not be discouraged.
Haunting Thoughts Of Sin
Thoughts of sin haunt the minds of some persons. One man always thinks, "I have committed a very heinous sin. I do not know what to do." Again and again, this one idea haunts his mind. This is a bad habit. These people do not know how to divert their minds. They become prey to these 'haunting thoughts'. Virtue and sin are relative terms. They are creations of the mind. Sin is nothing but a mistake. Japa of God's Name, charity and fasting will destroy at once any amount of sin. Why are you afraid? Even the worst sinner can attain salvation, can become holy of holies. What was the state of Valmiki, Jagai and Madhai and Ajamila in the beginning? Were they not rogues of the first water? Repeat OM, Rama and assert boldly, 'I am pure now' 'I am holy now'. Where is the room for despair? Nil desperandum. Do virtuous actions. Remember Him always. Be true to the Antaryamin (Indweller of your heart).
Techniques Of Thought-Control
The following are some of the auto-suggestions for controlling your thoughts: (1) I shall not think of anything. (2) I shall get peace, if I do not think of anything. (3) My will is growing strong. I can control my thoughts. (4) I will get perfect peace when I am thoughtless. I eagerly long for that thoughtless state.
Each thought, by itself, is extremely weak, because the mind is distracted into countless and ever-varying thoughts. The more the thoughts are restrained, the more is the mind concentrated and, consequently, the more does it gain in strength and power. Destroy the evil thoughts one by one. It doubtless needs patient work.
As soon as you slowly wake up in the morning, the first thought that comes is 'I'. Then comes the memory of the events of the previous evening. The strong thoughts that float in the mind this evening slowly emerge out the moment you rise from your bed in the following morning and materialise. Then come the thoughts that are to fructify in the course of the day. Watch this carefully.
When a thought hovers in the mind, fulfil it. Do not allow it to linger on for a long time. It will frequently recur again and again. It will be a source of great trouble. Whenever a thought flashes out to write a letter to your friend, then and there finish that piece of work. Do not procrastinate it.
There are four ways of destroying evil thoughts. A Jnana Yogin (student of the path of Knowledge) does it by living in OM or Truth. He destroys the evil thoughts by Vichara and attitude of indifference. He says, "This has nothing to do with me. I am Satchidananda-Svarupa, Sivoham, Sivoham. These impulses belong to the mind. I am distinct from the mind." A Bhakta destroys the same by prayer and self-surrender. He says, "O God! I have surrendered myself, the fruits of all actions and the actions themselves to Thee. Give me strength to drive away and destroy these evil thoughts." He gets help from God through self-surrender. God sublimates the sex-impulse into Sattva or Ojas (spiritual energy). The Raja Yogin destroys evil thoughts either by destroying the Vrittis as they arise or by substituting opposite, positive thoughts of Sattvic nature, by supplanting sublime thoughts in their stead (Pratipaksha-Bhavana).
The first and foremost of all thoughts-the primeval thought-is 'I'. It is only after the birth of this thought that any other thought can rise at all. It is only after the first personal pronoun 'I' has arisen in the mind that the second personal pronoun 'You' and the third personal pronoun 'He', etc., can make their appearance. If 'I' vanishes, 'You' and 'He' will disappear by themselves. Eradicate this false little 'I' of an illusory nature through proper Brahma Vichara. There is no other way.
Thinker is different from thought. Remember this. This gives the clue to the fact that you are the silent witness of the modifications that arise in the mind. You are Kutastha Brahman. You are Pratyagatman.
Destruction of Sankalpas
Raja Yoga teaches Yogas-chittavrittinirodhah:-"Yoga is the restraint of the mental modifications." It gives you the power of expelling the thoughts or, if need be, of killing them dead on the spot. Naturally, the art requires practice, but like other arts, when once acquired, there is no mystery or difficulty about it. It is worth practising.
Mark how one Sankalpa expands into many Sankalpas (imaginations) in a short time. Suppose you get a Sankalpa to have a tea-party for your friends. One thought of tea invites instantaneously the thoughts of sugar, milk, tea-cups, tables, chairs, table-cloth, napkins, spoons, sweetmeats, salted things, etc. So this world is nothing but the expansion of Sankalpas. There is no such thing as the world, independent of and apart from, thoughts. The expansion of thoughts of the mind towards objects is bondage (Bandha). Renunciation of Sankalpas is liberation (Moksha). In the string of Sankalpa, countless thoughts are strung like so many beads. If the string be cut into pieces, then you may infer what will become of the illusory thoughts which are strung on it. You must be very watchful and nip the Sankalpas in the bud. Then only will you be really happy. Mind plays tricks. You must understand its nature, ways and habits. Then only you can control it very easily.
Prana (energy) is the outer overcoat for the mind. The vibration of the subtle, psychic Prana gives rise to the formation of thought. By Pranayama (control of Prana or restraint of breath), you can also increase the mental energy and develop thought-control and thought-culture. This will help concentration and meditation. This will make the mind steady. This will remove Rajas and Tamas (passion and inertia). This will burn the dross in the mind.
If you think again and again on impure things, an evil thought gains new strength by repetition. It gets the force of momentum. You must drive them immediately. If you find it difficult to do so, entertain counter-thoughts of God. Cultivate sublime and elevating thoughts. Evil thoughts will die by themselves. A noble thought is a potent antidote to counteract an evil thought. This is easier than the former method. By repetition of God's Name thousands of times daily, good thoughts gain new strength by each repetition. By repeating 'Aham Brahma Asmi' thousand times daily, the idea that you are the spirit (Atman) becomes stronger. The idea that you are the body becomes weaker and weaker.
Control of Body and Speech
If you are not able to control any evil thought, control the body and speech first. Slowly you will gain mental strength and will-force and will be able to control the thoughts gradually. If, for a moment you think you will not succeed in vanquishing an evil thought, at once get up and set about some work involving physical labour. One effort after another will make gradually the task easy and, in a few weeks, you will obtain a complete control over your thoughts.
Control the physical body and the speech first. Then slowly proceed to control thoughts. Do not speak ill of others. Control the Indriya of speech first. Gradually the mind will not think ill of others. The mind will say unto itself: "Why should I think ill of others when the organ of speech is not prepared to express what I think?" You can control your actions only when you have become moral. When you speak ill of a man, you poison the mind of several people. It is extremely ignoble to speak ill of others. But just comment without hatred or malice is permissible occasionally.
Do not allow useless or evil thoughts to develop themselves into words. Curb the speech. Divert the mind at once to some good thoughts. Try to remember some Slokas from the Gita or repeat some prayers. Keep some 'word-image' as "Om Hari," "Om Siva," "Om Narayana." Observance of Mouna (vow of silence) for a couple of hours daily will check the impulses of speech and thinking, will conserve energy and help meditation and thought-control and thought-culture.
Fully realise for yourself the grave and ruinous consequences of evil thoughts. This will set you on your guard when the evil thoughts would come. The moment they come, exert yourself or divert the mind to some other object of divine thoughts, prayer or Japa. A real earnestness to drive away the evil thoughts will keep you on the alert so much so that even if they appear in dream, you will at once wake up. Should the enemy appear when you are awake, it will not be very difficult for you to cope with him, if only you are sufficiently watchful.
Keep the Mind Fully Occupied
When the mind is vacant, evil thoughts try to enter. Evil thinking is the beginning or starting point of adultery. Through a lustful look only, you have already committed adultery in the heart. Mental actions are the real actions. Remember this. God judges a man by his motives; worldly people judge a man by his external physical actions. You will have to look to the motive of the man. Then you will not be mistaken. Keep the mind fully occupied. Then evil thoughts will not enter. An idle brain is the devil's workshop. Watch the mind every minute. Always engage yourself in some work-stitching, cleaning vessels, sweeping, drawing water, reading, meditating, counting the beads, singing divine songs, praying, serving the elders or nursing the sick. Avoid loose talk and gossip. Fill the mind with sublime thoughts, such as those contained in the Gita, the Upanishads, the Yogavasishtha, etc.
Sattvic Background of Thought
The vast majority of people will always want something concrete to hold on to, something around which, as it were, to place their ideas, something which will be the centre of all thought-forms in their minds. That is mind's very nature. A background of thought is needed for fixing the mind.
Have a Sattvic background of thought or mental image. The mind assumes the shape of any object it intently thinks upon. If it thinks of an orange, it assumes the shape of an orange. If it thinks of Lord Krishna with flute in hand, it assumes the shape of Lord Krishna. You must train the mind properly and give it proper, Sattvic food for assimilation.
You must have Sattvic background of thought to take you to the goal (salvation). If you are a devotee of Lord Krishna, have a background of thought of His picture and the repetition of His famous Mantra "Om Namo Bhagavate Vasudevaya" and His qualities (Form-formula-qualities). A Nirguna Upasaka (Vedantin) should have a background of thought of 'OM' and its meaning (Infinite Ocean of Light, Satchidananda, Vyapaka, Paripurna Atman). Work in the world, and the moment the mind is free, begin to think of the background of thought- either Saguna or Nirguna background according to taste, temperament and capacity for Sadhana. By constant thinking, a habit in the mind will be formed and, without effort, the mind will run towards the background of thought.
It is a pity that the vast majority of persons have no ideal, no programme of life at all and no Sattvic background of thought. They are doomed to destruction. The background of thought of a young married lady is usually lustful. The background of thought of an old mother is the affection towards her sons and grandsons. The background of thought of the vast majority of persons is hatred and jealousy. Even the so-called educated persons with many university qualifications, which is only husk when compared with spiritual knowledge, have no ideal, no programme of life and no background of thought. A deputy collector, after getting pension, marries a third wife and goes on as a minister of a State.
A worldly-minded person is a prey to sexual thoughts and thoughts of hatred, anger and revenge. These two types of thoughts actually take possession of his mind. He is a slave to these two sets of thoughts. He does not know how to divert his mind and fix it on some other good, noble thought. He does not know the laws of thought. He is quite unaware of the nature and subtle workings of the mind. His position is extremely deplorable despite his earthly possessions and bookish knowledge obtained in universities. Viveka has not awakened in him. He has no Sraddha in saints, Sastras and God. He is unable to resist an evil desire, craving or temptation on account of his weak will. The only potent remedy to remove his world-intoxication, world-charm, world-delusion is constant Satsanga or association with Sadhus, Sannyasins and Mahatmas.
After retirement, everybody should have a background of thought and should spend his time in philosophical studies and divine contemplation. Old habits of loose thinking must be replaced by cultivating fresh habits of good thoughts. At first, a tendency to think of good thoughts will be formed. By continued practice, a positive definite habit of thinking of virtuous, helping thoughts will be developed. You will have to struggle very hard. The old habits will try to recur again and again. Till you are firmly established in the habit of thinking of good thoughts only, you will have to fill the mind again and again with Sattvic thoughts, divine thoughts, thoughts of the Gita, Lord Krishna, Lord Rama, the Upanishads, etc. New grooves and avenues will be formed now. Just as a gramophone-needle cuts a small groove in the plate, Sattvic thinking will cut new, healthy grooves in the mind and brain. New Samskaras will be formed.
Glory Of The Waveless Jnanin
Through constant and intense practice, you can become waveless (thought-free). The waveless Yogin helps the world more than the man on the platform. Ordinary people can hardly grasp this point. When you are waveless, you actually permeate and pervade every atom of the universe, purify and elevate the whole world. The names of waveless Jnanins such as Jada Bharata and Vamadeva are even now remembered. They never built Ashrams. They never lectured. They never published books. They never made disciples. Yet, what a tremendous influence these waveless Jnanins had produced on the minds of the people. Glory to such waveless Jnanins!
Vasanas-how They Manifest
Vasana (desire in subtle form) is a wave in the mind-lake. Its seat is the Karana Sarira. It exists there in the form of a seed and manifests in the mind-lake. Just as flowers are latent in seeds, Vasanas are latent in the Antahkarana and the Karana Sarira (seed-body). Daily new flowers blossom out. They fade out in a day or two. Similarly, Vasanas blossom out like flowers one by one, come out to the surface of the mind, generate Sankalpas in the mind of Jivas and goad them to strive to possess and enjoy the particular objects of enjoyment. Vasanas cause actions, and actions strengthen the Vasanas. This is a Chakra, vicious circle. On the advent of knowledge of Brahman, all Vasanas are fried out. The real enemies are the Vasanas within. Annihilate them. Eradicate them. They are inveterate.
The whole mango tree with branches, leaves and fruits is contained in a subtle form in the seed. It takes time for manifestation. Even so, the Vasana of lust lurks in the mind when you are a boy, manifests at 18, fills the whole body at 25, works havoc from 25 to 45 and then it gradually declines. Various forms of wrong-doing and mischief are done by human beings between 25 and 45. This is the most critical period of life. There is no particular difference between a boy and a girl in their characteristics when they are young. After attaining puberty they exhibit their characteristic qualities.
Chapalata is Vasana of a mild type. It lasts for a short time only. There are two kinds of important Chapalatas. There is the Jihva-Chapalata of the tongue where the tongue wants to eat the various things every now and then. It is a form of morbid appetite. Rich people who lead a luxurious life have this form of Chapalata. The other variety is the Upastha-Chapalata wherein the sex Indriyas wants to taste again and again the sexual enjoyment (Sparsa).
Vasana Causes Restlessness And Bondage
Vasana is the cause of restlessness of mind. As soon as a Vasana manifests, there is an intimate connection between the mind and the object through overflowing Vishaya-Vritti-Pravaha. The mind will not retrace its steps till it gets the object and enjoys it. The restlessness will continue till the object is enjoyed. The Vritti will flow towards the object till it is obtained and enjoyed. The common run of men cannot resist or suppress any Vasana owing to weak will.
It is the Vasana in the mind that causes attraction towards objects and brings about bondage; with the disappearance of Vasanas, bondage naturally vanishes. There will not be any attraction, admiration or excitement for any object outside, if there is no Vasana inside your mind. It is the Vasana that is at the bottom of all your miseries and troubles. There is no pain from Isvara-Srishti (objects created by the Lord). Water quenches your thirst. Breeze gives you comfort. Sunshine enlivens you. Fire gives warmth. It is Jiva-Srishti that brings about bondage. Ahankara, anger, Abhimana, attachment are all Jiva-Srishtis. Have Suddha Sankalpa, but no Vasanas.
By mere ethical training, jealousy, Raga, Dvesha, Krodha, Kama, etc., can be suppressed though not eradicated completely. These impure, Asubha Vasanas can be considerably attenuated (Tanu-Avastha) by moral culture. They attain a subtle condition. They cannot harm the individual. They remain under perfect control.
Eradication, Not Suppression, The Proper Remedy
A Vasana may be suppressed for the time being by an aspirant. But it again manifests with redoubled force when a suitable opportunity arises. Like a minister obeying the king, the five organs of the body act in accordance with the dictates of the mind. Therefore, you should through your own pure mind and proper efforts eradicate the Vasanas for objects. You should rend asunder, the long rope of Vasanas tied to the vessels of man, whirled on the ocean of Samsara, through enormous efforts on your part. Vasanas should be thoroughly eradicated. If these Vasanas are destroyed by Vichara (enquiry of Atman) and discrimination, the mind which is ever restless will get quiescence like a gheeless lamp.
How To Destroy Vasanas
Vijnanamaya Kosa serves as a great fortress for the aspirant. From there he can attack the Vasanas when they try to emerge from the seed-body (Karana Sarira) into the mind. Through the practice of Sama, the aspirant should destroy the Vasanas one by one with the help of Vijnanamaya Kosa (Buddhi). He should crush them as soon as they try to raise their heads on the surface of the mind-lake. He must not allow them to sprout forth. This is Vasana-Tyaga. This attack or fight is from inside.
When a Vasana or Sankalpa arises in the mind, the mind gives a push to the Antar-Indriya. From the Antar-Indriyas, this push is communicated to the Bahyakaranas (external instruments) such as hands, legs, eyes, ears, etc. The practice of Sama stops this very push which is the root cause of motion of all the Indriyas and Karanas.
Sama is peace of mind produced by the eradication of the Vasanas (Vasana-Tyaga). The Antahkarana of a man who possesses this virtue is cooler than ice. Even the coolness of the moon cannot compete with coolness of the Antahkarana of a man of Sama. Generally, the Antahkarana of a worldling is a blazing furnace. A man of Sama is neither exalted when he gets a desired object (Ishta) nor depressed when he gets an undesired thing (Anishta). He keeps a balanced mind always. He has no enemies. The happiness of an emperor is nothing, nothing when compared with the supreme spiritual bliss of a man of Sama. Sama is one of the four sentinels of Moksha. If you have Sama, you will get the company of the other three friends, viz., Santosha (contentment), Vichara (enquiry into Atman) and Satsanga (association with the wise and saintly).
The attack should commence from outside also. Bahyavritti-Nigraha should be done through Dama (restraint of the Indriyas). You must not allow sense-vibrations to enter from outside into the mind through the avenues of Indriyas. This is also necessary. Sama alone is not sufficient. The senses must be rendered blunt by Dama. The Vasana for sweets, for instance, should be destroyed by Sama through Vasana-Tyaga, by crushing the Vasanas within as soon as a desire arises; and the Bahyavritti, which arises by the sight of sweetmeat should be destroyed by withdrawing the eyes from the same when you move about the bazaar and by giving up taking sugar. Dama supplements Sama in the control of mind. Dama is an auxiliary for the complete eradication of Vasanas.
If you give up an old habit of taking tea, you have controlled to a certain extent the sense of taste. You have destroyed one Vasana. This will give you some peace, because the craving for tea has gone and you are freed from your efforts and thinking in getting tea, sugar, milk, etc. Thinking is pain, seeing is pain, hearing is pain for a philosopher and a Sadhaka. It is all pleasure for a worldling. The energy that was agitating you to run after tea is now transmuted into will. You gain peace and will-power by giving up one thing. If you give up fifteen things, your peace of mind will be still greater and the will still more powerful. This is the fruit of Tyaga. So, you are not a loser in Tyaga. You gain more knowledge, more bliss and more power. You give up something in favour of something higher. Is there anyone who will not give up black sugar in favour of white sugar? If you once control one Vasana, it will be easy for you to control other Vasanas too, because you gain strength and power.
Svadhyaya and Meditation
Increase your Sastra-Vasana in the beginning. Occupy your mind with the study of standard philosophical books. Thereby you can decrease your Deha-Vasana (thought of the body) and Loka-Vasana (desire for name and fame, Kirti, Pratishtha, etc). Later on, you will have to give up Sastra-Vasana also. You must entirely devote all your time and energy in meditation and meditation alone. Vasana-Kshaya (destruction of Vasanas) is caused through well-conducted deliberation (Vichara), Brahma-Dhyana, Vairagya and Tyaga.
Vichara and Brahma-Bhavana
The wise know that the mind associated with Vasana tends to bondage while the mind absolutely free from Vasana is said to be an emancipated one. Just as a lion that is shut up in a cage emerges out by breaking the bars of the cage, so also a Jnani comes out of this cage of physical body victoriously by breaking or by destroying the Vasanas of the mind through constant Vichara (Atmic enquiry), constant Nididhyasana (profound and constant meditation on 'OM' and its meaning) and Brahma-Bhavana. The more you attenuate your Vasanas by Svarupa-Bhavana or the Brahma-Bhavana, the happier you will become. In proportion to the thinning of the Vasanas, the mind also is proportionately thinned out. Mind is nothing but a bundle of Vasanas. Mind is no other than the Vasanas which generate an endless series of rebirths. The true nature of the mind is the Vasanas. The two are synonymous.
Conquest of Ahankara
If you destroy egoism (Ahankara, this false little 'I') and control the Indriyas (the senses), the Vasanas will die by themselves. The root cause for all troubles is Ahankara. Just as the dependants of a family hang upon the chief of the house- the father-similarly, all Vasanas, Trishnas, Kamanas, etc., hang upon Ahankara, the chief of this house-body.
Constantly generate from the Sattvic mind-battery the Akhanda electric current 'Aham Brahmasmi'-Vritti (Brahmakara Vritti). That is the potent antidote. Keep it safe in the pocket; smell it when an apoplectic attack of the Ahankaric false 'I' idea overcomes you. It is only when you eradicate the painful Ahankara of the mind and conquer the foes of organs (Indriyas) that the ever-waking Vasanas will subside.
The Meaning Of Moksha
The illusory Samsaric Vasanas that have arisen through the practice of many hundreds of lives never perish except through the practice of Yoga for a long time. Therefore, O Aspirants! After having put away at a distance the desire of enjoyment by discriminative efforts, practise the state of mind absolutely devoid of Vasana.
Moksha does not mean physical separation from all worldly affairs, but only a state of mind bereft of all impure Vasanas or clinging to worldly things, but yet working as usual amidst them. You must realise God in and through the world. This is the central teaching of the Gita. "But the disciplined (lower) self, moving among sense-objects with senses free from attraction and repulsion and mastered by the higher Self, goeth to Peace" (Gita. II-64). This is the central teaching of Yoga Vasishtha also.
There is no Vasana in Brahman. Complete annihilation of the Vasanas takes place only in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Only Nirvikalpa Samadhi can completely fry up the seeds of impure Vasanas. Through the knowledge of Brahman, there will be an extinction of all Vasanas, which form the medium of enjoyments. With the extinction of all Vasanas, the undaunted mind will get quiescence like a gheeless lamp.