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Articles from Pre-1998 Issues 

The Human Mind and Sadhana

by A. K. Kotha

The human mind is like that monkey, incessantly active by its own nature; then it becomes drunk with the wine of desire, that increases its turbulence. Desire begets jealousy at the success of others and last of all the demon of pride enters the mind, making it consider itself all-important. How hard to control such a mind.

The mind influences every cell in the body; human ageing is fluid and changeable; it can speed up, slow down, stop for a time, and even reverse itself! Hundreds of research findings of the last three decades have verified that ageing is much more dependent on the individual than was ever dreamed of in the past. To challenge ageing in its core, this entire world-view must be challenged first, for nothing holds more power over the body than ingrained beliefs of the mind.

Spirituality is not meant to be something that is unrelated to the body. Sickness and ageing result from the body's inability to reach its natural goal, which is to join the mind in perfection and fulfilment. Using meditation as way to defeat ageing is a legitimate spiritual goal.

There is nothing more powerful than holy company to uplift the depressed mind of a spiritual aspirant and infuse it with the favour of the spiritual mood.

Swami Vivekananda teaches:

"The mind has to be gradually and systematically brought under control. The will has to be strengthened by slow, continuous and persevering drill. The purer the mind, the easier it is to control. Purity of the mind must be insisted upon. The man who is perfectly moral has nothing more to do; he is free". A reverent study of lives and teachings of the great souls who have realised God will keep the mind pure, then there are powerful aids to steady the mind the study of good and holy books and contemplation on good topics. Malice, deceit and crookedness should be utterly given up. If the mind does not become steady when we sit for meditation, recite exalting prayers and cry to Him with a yearning heart. Keep a large picture of your chosen Deity (Ista-Devata) in front of you, and fixing your eyes thereon, pour forth your heart in prayer. A weak minded person will not pray; instead, he will simply sit brooding over his past or blaming other people for his misfortunes. Just as a cow yields much milk when it is well fed, likewise when the mind is provided spiritual food, it attains tranquility, spiritual food consists of meditation, prayer, contemplation and japam. Gossip, speaking ill of others, interference in matters not pertaining to oneself, the seeking of acquaintances, and idling away time in the company of others, are very harmful. It will not be difficult to control the mind if one resorts to solitude and divine contemplation from one's early years. Shri Krishna says in sloka 60 & 67 of chapter 2 in the Gita:

"The turbulent senses, O Arjuna, do violently snatch away the mind of even a wise man striving after perfection. For the mind which follows in the wake of the wandering senses, carries away his discrimination as a wind carries offits course a boat on the waters". As it is very difficult to gather the mustard seeds that escape out of a torn package and get scattered in all directions, so it is not a very easy affair to ingather and concentrate the mind which runs after worldly things in diverse directions. If therefore we are to nip the trouble in the bud, we must restrain the mind from thinking constantly about sense objects. The mind is like a spoiled child always restless. Practise of japa and meditation regularly is very helpful in controlling the mind.

The Gita also says in sloka 70 of chapter 2 "He unto whom all desires enter as waters into the sea. Which, though ever being filled is ever mentionless, attains to Peace and not he who hugs his desires". Undistrubed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating:

a. Friendliness towards the happy.

b. Compassion for the unhappy.

c. Delight in the good.

d. Indifference to the evil.

It will be impossible to control the mind

1. If we have strong likes and dislikes, attachments and aversions.

2. If we live an immoral life

3. If we have the habit of deliberately harming others.

4. If we indulge in intoxicants and live unbalanced chaotic lives.

5. If we habitually indulge in vain controversies.

6. If we torture our bodies unnecessarily, spend our energies in futile pursuits, force rigid silence upon ourselves or become too egocentric.

7. If we are over ambitious.

8. If we have a feeling of guilt.

The impurities of the mind can be gradually removed by providing the mind wholesome food on the one hand and by transforming theguna structure of the mind in order to bring about the preponderance of sattva in the personal nature, and finally by transcending even Sattva.

Swami Vivekananda says "the food that we eat is transformed in three different ways; that the heaviest part of it becomes the excrement, that of medium density is transformed into flesh and the subtlest part goes to from the mind". When the food is pure, the mind becomes pure, memory becomes firm; and when a man is in possession of a firm memory, all the bonds which tie him down to the world are loosened. A good memory is indispensable to sound judgement.
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