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I And Mine: [01.11] - I And My Mind - Contexts Of Mental Development

Published: 25.10.2005
Updated: 06.08.2008

Mind is a part of our awareness. To know one's mind is in some way to know one's self. To be acquainted with its workings is a sign of alertness. Thus, knowledge of the mind can be of immense use. Moreover, it can also enable us to develop its potentiality, power, and mode of working.

Mind is halfway between the senses and self-awareness. The former have contact with the external world, and awareness has the inner being as its centre. Mind analyses and experiences the output of both.

According to psychologists, genetics and environment are the two means of mental development. The first is a gift of nature; the second is generated by practice. Similarly, poets are also of two kinds, those who are born poets, and those who cultivate poetry. This is true of all fields of human endeavour.

When Lord Krishna was asked how to control the mind, he replied:

Practice and detachment are the two means of controlling the mind. Both require effort, neither is endowed by nature.

The sage Patanjali has also expressed the same opinion. Anything achievable through human exertion entails practice. Development requires sustained practice.

The great preceptor Hem Chandra has also shed light on the question of mental development. In this respect, he mentions four contexts:

  1. Vikshep - Being instable or distracted

    At this stage, the Sadhak (seeker) starts meditating in order to understand the mind. He comes to know that it is instable. It is an illusion that prior to meditation the mind appears to be stable. The truth is, that without meditation the consciousness of the true state of the mind cannot be developed. All the underlying instability of the mind is revealed only by meditation. This is not difficult to understand. Normally we are too inured to mental instability to be aware of it.

  2. Yatayat - Rising and falling or ups and downs

    If distractions and instability assail the mind when one starts meditation, it should not worry the seeker. It is like the last flicker of the lamp. When the ant puts on wings, it presages death.

    Swami Vivekanand faced a similar situation and complained about the storms of passion in his mind to his Guru , Ramakrishna Paramahansa. The latter acclaimed it as a very good sign and said that it showed how the mind was purging itself of inner filth that lay congealed in it. He advised Vivekanand not to suppress the rising passion.

    Do not stop the mind from wandering. Just as sudden brakes applied to a speeding car or an attempt to sharply bring down high temperature can prove disastrous, any suppression of instinctual drives can also be harmful. Leave the mind free to empty and run itself out. By adopting the above procedure, a stage comes when there is alternation between stable and an instable state of mind.

  3. Shlisht - Clinging or union

    Cohering or clinging merely denotes a stage when the mind is tuned to or united with the aim in view. Constant practice makes the two almost inseparable.

  4. Suleen - Complete absorption or dissolution

    It means complete absorption in the aim almost like the dissolution of sugar in milk. Both maintain their independent existence and yet a certain unity is achieved. In Yoga terminology, it is called Samarasi bhav or samapatti, i.e., a completely similar mental and emotional orientation. In this context the seeker and sought become totally fused into each other.

Patanjali has put it somewhat differently. With the mind wandering under Vikshep, there is no joy possible. Under Yatayat, some joy or trans-sensual nature is possible. Under Shlisht, there is immense joy. Finally, under Suleen there accrues perfect joy or bliss.

I read an article last year, which spoke of two closely juxtaposed glands, one of happiness, the other of unhappiness. When excited, the former creates infinite joy, immune to all external circumstances. The latter, on the other hand, becomes the source of pervasive unhappiness.

Our sustained endeavour to seek spirituality excites the gland of happiness so much, that even a momentary set back results in unhappiness. Because of our abysmal ignorance, we are totally unaware of the boundless ocean of joy surging within us.

  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Consciousness
  2. Environment
  3. Genetics
  4. Guru
  5. Krishna
  6. Meditation
  7. Patanjali
  8. Sadhak
  9. Swami
  10. Vivekanand
  11. Yoga
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