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MIND, ITS MYSTERIES AND CONTROL BY SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA (Message 9)
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 different 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.
CHAPTER 15 – SANKALPA
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.
CHAPTER 16 – 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’ 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.
(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. “sarvasankalpasanny asi yogarudhastadochyat e—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.
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Chapter 16, `Thought Creates the World’, will conclude next week with, `Non-Existence of the World – What It Means’.
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