By Swami Nityananda Giri
In present day world we all have become slaves to our mind. Whatever we do, we do simply being swayed away by our emotions, influenced by our thoughts and desires or being attracted by allurements. But this should not be like this. We have to be master of our mind. If we go according to the wrong ideas of our mind we will commit mistakes. For example we may meet a person ugly in outlook and develop an unwelcome attitude towards the person but the person may be very nice by nature. This means we are deluded by the ideas of our mind and could not be able to take a right decision. But all our activities are first done in mind and then are expressed as speech and/or actions. And here our mind is cheating us. Therefore we have to clean our mind so that we are not cheated.
A pampered child demands a toy, then starts crying for it and after getting it soon he is dissatisfied and either throws away or breaks the toy to cry for a second one, similarly for third, fourth and so on. Our mind is like a pampered child, like the spoiled son of a rich person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs, wastes money and does not obey his parents and elders. First he did not control his son from the beginning and now cry to the situation, still then is not able to leave attachments. Similar is the situation of our mind. Can we do anything positive with such a mind? We want to do something then after doing that we think this was wrong. Again we want to do something and again commit the same mistake. When shall we come out of the wrong impressions of the mind? If our mind accepts something as noble even if that is not worthy to be noble, we accept it as noble. Similarly if mind accepts something as horrible even if that is honorable we accept it as horrible. Sometimes even if we understand proper, we neglect it and do not work on it. We want to follow our ego blindly. This ego is the spoiled child of our blind mind. This blind mind is king Dhŗtarāstra and ego is its elder son Duryodhana, full of desires. We live in this kingdom of lawlessness. This is the reason we create problems for ourselves, and dangers for others.
In Śrimad Bhagavad-Gitā (3-42) Lord Kŗşna has said,
indriyāņi parāņyāhurindriyebhyah param manah,
manasastu parā buddhiryo buddheh paratastu sah.
Our organs, indriyāņi, viz. sense organs and action organs are said to be greater, parāņyāhuh (than our body), mind is greater than the organs, indriyebhyah param manah, intellect is greater than the mind, manasastu parā buddhi, and one who, yah is greater than the intellect is He, buddheh paratastu sah, the Self.
In this saying lies the solution to our problems. We have to bring our mind under the control of our intellect means under the control of the discriminating intellect, and intellect under the control of the Self. Then in our life it is only happiness. According to the sayings of Lord Buddha, “From right understanding proceeds right thought; from right thought proceeds right speech; from right speech proceeds right action and from right action proceeds right livelihood”. So we have to make noble our thinking, belief-system and thought processes means we have to make our internal organ, mind, pure. According to Upanişads,
śreyaśca preyaśca manuşyameta-
stau samparītya vivinakti dhīrah,
śreyo hi dhīrobhi preyaso vŗņīte
preyo mando yogakshemadvŗņīte. (Ka. U.: 1-2-2)
The preferable (the exulted ones), śreyah, and pleasurable (the attached ones), preyah, both approach a man, manuşyametah. A man with discriminating intellect, dhīrah, separates, vivinakti, the two, tau and chooses, abhi vŗņīte, the preferable in place of pleasurable, śreyo hi preyaso; but a man with dull intellect, mandah, prefers the pleasurable for the growth and protection, preyo yogakshemadvŗņīte, of the body (for him body is the self).
But how a discriminating intellect will develop, how mind will be cleaned? For this we need faith and devotion, we should read scriptures, control the senses; and all these happens in mind only. So we need some thing where mind is absorbed and that is our prāņa, the vital force. It was said in Yogic scriptures, ‘indriyāņām mano nāthah manonāthastu mārutah’, mind is the master of sense organs and the air (breath) is master of the mind. So we have to take the help of our breath. Everyone experienced that when there is anger, greed, fear, sex, frustration, desires, emotions etc are in our mind our breath also becomes different. That is the reason to keep our mind in equanimity we have to make our breath stable. This is our practice. Entire Vedic literature sings the glory of the knowledge of prāņa, prāņavidāya. According to Prśnopanişad (6-4), “sa prāņamasŗjata prāņācchradhām kham vāyujyotirāpah pŗthivīndriyam manh, annamannādvīryam tapo mantrāh karma lokā lokeşu ca nāma ca”, He has first created the prāņa, the Life Force. From prāņa he created faith, ether, air, fire, water, earth, organs, mind, food, vigour, austerities, mantras, actions, worlds and name (for explanations see ch. Prāņavidyā). Prāņa is the first part out of the sixteen parts of the God. Everything has been created from prāņa and merges in prāņa and to know the prāņa we have to take the support of our breath, prāņavāyu. We have to learn prāņopāsnā, worship of prāņa; by that our internal subtle organs viz. mind etc will be pure, concentration will increase, intellect will be sharp and discrimination capability will develop. That is yoga, which is the practice part of yoga. That has been known as kriyā-yoga. This is the technique to balance the exhalation, prāņa, and inhalation, apāna; this is technique of suspension of breath, prāņāyāma. This is the technique of merging the prāņa and apāna, inhalation and exhalation in to vyāna, the air that wholly pervades in the body. And for higher yogis it is the technique of winning over udāna, the air in body that has upward trend. These all are called Kriyā-yoga. If we practice then there will be no tension in our life, we will not become living dead-bodies. We will always remain in life. This is the key to the happy life.