Overcoming mind

Forums Mind and Psychology Overcoming mind

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    Hare Krishna

    Who is that person who can overcome the control of his mind?


    You cannot overcome the mind easily. But the mind has certain useful and useless proclivities. Use the useful proclivities for constructive activities. And refrain from useless proclivities and destructive activities. You have a choice. Use it. If you use it well, then the mind will be a friend. Otherwise, it will be an enemy. Don’t try to be a master of the mind. Try to be a friend with the mind and use its help.

    Imagine you have a friend you helps you in your studies. And the same friend goes out for drinks. You can accompany the friend during the studies. And you need not accompany the friend for drinks. This is called choice. It is responsible for the association and withdrawal of consciousness. You associate with the friend when you like it. And you withdraw from the friend when you don’t like it.

    This is also the process of detachment and attachment. We can progressively detach from our bad habits, harmful ways of thinking, and negative emotions. We can progressively attach with the good habits such as reading, chanting, worshipping, etc. By this process of attaching and detaching, the mind is slowly purified. It takes time. But it will be purified, and then there is no need for detachment.

    We have to know that the mind is a part of material energy. Conquering the mind is as hard as conquering the material energy. She is very powerful. In BG 7.14, Lord Krishna calls this material energy mama māyā duratyayā. Duratyayā means unfathomable, inscrutable, unconquerable. So, don’t try to control it. But learn to attach and detach by your will. This is the method to change the mind.

    It takes time. An example is a rope being used to pull water out of a well. The metallic wheel over which the rope is pulled is very hard. But as you pull the rope everyday, even that hard metal wheel will wear off. But it is not going to wear off in a day. It takes time. But rest assured that the rope is always wearing off that wheel. The problem is that sometimes the rope wears off faster than the metal wheel. We lose enthusiasm and hope. So, we have to persist and success is assured.


    Thank you for the wonderful insight on this. Especially the last line was very deep, how sometimes the rope may wear off faster than the wheel. As you mention enthusiasm can you please write an article/book on the flow of Upadeshamrita by Srila Rupa Goswami, how the instructions progress and what is the link for what stage. How enthusiasm helps us, and is it really a choice to be enthusiastic.


    We cannot understand the next stage until we come to the end of the previous stage. For example, in Śikṣāṣṭakam, the second of the eight verses states:

    nāmnām akāri bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis
    tatrārpitā niyamitaḥ smaraṇe na kālaḥ
    etādṛśī tava kṛpā bhagavan mamāpi
    durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ

    In the first line, the name is called akāra, which means non-activity. This non-activity is the automatic springing of the holy name. It is also called “svayameva sphurati”. Lord Chaitanya calls it akāra or non-activity. This manifestation has many personal powers of the Lord (bahudhā nija-sarva-śaktis). But we may not have the realization that the name is manifest automatically or that it has numerous potencies of the Lord. This is because the name is not manifest automatically for most of us. We are struggling to chant. Then, we don’t realize that this sound itself has all the meanings including the speaker, their mood, intentions, concepts, reference, and powers to create an effect, by which everything can be recreated just by sound.

    Even if we talk about such things, nobody is convinced. They question the basic idea of sound having meaning, the reference (the Lord in this case), along with the power in the sound to recreate the effect (that we can perceive the Lord just by chanting the sound). The reason is that we haven’t come to the point where we feel regret about our life (durdaivam īdṛśam ihājani nānurāgaḥ—I am so unfortunate that I have no attachment to chanting). Unless we get this regret, we cannot understand the philosophy of sound, namely, that it contains all the meanings.

    So, what is the value of talking about the additional stages? The words in these verses are perfect, but those words cannot be understood unless one has the appropriate type of experience. Like you can talk about the taste of ginger to someone who has never tasted ginger. Their words are perfect but the listener cannot grasp the intended meaning unless they taste ginger themselves.

    This is why we must confine ourselves to ceto-darpaṇa-mārjanaṁ bhava-mahā-dāvāgni-nirvāpaṇaṁ. Just trying to purify the consciousness and end the forest fire. Forest fire means that we are running in various directions to escape the fire, but it has completely surrounded us. This is the situation for most people. Try a new job, try a new relationship, try a new hobby, try to get money, try to get a house, try to go to another place, try various foods, try new clothes, try new entertainment, try to spice up your life with a different kind of holiday. This is running here and there in order to escape the forest fire. But wherever we go, we cannot escape it.

    When this stage ends, then we have stopped the forest fire within us. Then, the following sentence is applicable, namely, śreyaḥ-kairava-candrikā-vitaraṇaṁ vidyā-vadhū-jīvanam. This means that we have acquired the perfect theoretical knowledge and we can spread that knowledge like the moon spreads its rays. The forest fire is hot, and the rays of the moon are cooling. So, after the end of the forest fire, we become soothing like the moon, and we can spread the rays of knowledge.

    This also means that one should not try to teach unless the inner forest fire is over. But if we say that, then people will get offended. But the fact is that unless the forest fire has finished, there is no knowledge. And yet, people keep trying to teach others. This is because their hearts are burning, which makes them run here and there to escape it. Their attempts at teaching others are not the effects of a soothing moon spreading its cooling rays. It is the heat of the forest fire that is pushing them here and there. They may even reject the actual moon. They want to fight fire with fire. This is because they haven’t realized the first sentence of Śikṣāṣṭakam.

    If we say all these things, then people get demoralized. So it is better to keep quiet. But since you are asking about how one step goes to others, the response is that we cannot understand the whole thing although it has been presented. Just try to understand the first step. When we succeed in that, then we can understand the second step. Each step is qualitatively different from the previous step. Both ginger and turmeric are astringent. But ginger is not turmeric. So, one has to experience a stage and then the goals of the next stage will become clear automatically.


    Yes prabhuji I can appreciate, thank you for the deep response especially your snippet explanation of the sikshashtakam verses line by line was very beautiful.

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