WISE SAYINGS FROM DIFFERENT FAITHS
"It is our mind that takes the lead, of all that we think and feel and dream; -- for it is in our mind that thoughts are born and thrive on, holding the mind supreme, -- If for one's words and actions, there is a mind that is good and pure, to guide; -- then, just as the shadow does not forsake the body, joy shall be by his side."
"Fixing their minds on Him, at one with Him, abiding in Him, realising Him alone as the Supreme Goal, they reach a state from which there is no return, their sins having been destroyed by Knowledge."
DISCOURSES OF SAI BABA
WHAT IS MIND?
The inner motivator (Antahkarana) is used both in common speech and in spiritual parlance. What is its form, its nature, its special quality, and what is its purpose? When we inquire along these lines, we find that the mind itself takes the subtle form of the inner activator. The mind assumes four forms: mind, intellect, consciousness or memory, and ego. Intellect, memory and ego are three subtle forms of the mind. According to the function that is performed, the particular name is given. The same Brahmin, when he is performing ritual worship in a temple, is called a priestly Brahmin; when he is working in the kitchen, he is called a Brahmin cook; when teaching students, he is called a Brahmin teacher; and when interpreting the almanac he is called an almanac Brahmin.
In the same manner, when the mind is engaged in thought processes, it is called mind. When it is engaged in the process of enquiry and discrimination between right and wrong, it is called intellect. The third name is the will or the decision-making agency. It has the function of memory. When the mind identifies itself with the body in action, it is called ego (I-am-the-doer).
The mind, although one, displays these varied forms on account of the different roles it assumes. The mind is the cause of all things. The whole cosmos is a projection of the mind. "The mind is at the root of the cosmos".
Man derives his name from the possession of the mind. As a man thinks, so he becomes. Man means mind and mind means man. What is the mind? It is a bundle of thoughts. What we enjoy or suffer in this world are the consequences of these actions. The good and bad things in the world are dependent on man's actions. What is the impulse for these actions? Thoughts. It follows that only when man's thoughts are good, his life will be good.
Thoughts are highly potent. They survive the death of man. Hence, it is essential to keep out bad thoughts from our minds. (240590)
MIND CREATES WORLD, BONDAGE AND LIBERATION
Men are accustomed to treat the mind as part of the body. This relates only to the sensory activities of the mind. This mind is made up of thoughts and doubts. But the mind that is associated with the Divine Atma transcends the body. Consequently, it is only when the ordinary thought processes are extinguished that the divinity within can be experienced. The consciousness that goes beyond thought is a reflection of the Atma. (020392)
The study of the mind and the science of perfecting consciousness has not developed because man seeks peace and joy in external things and objective pleasures. The attention all along has been on the outer senses and methods by which they can be used to collect information and pleasurable experiences. The vast regions of inner consciousness have been left fallow; the fact that the mind is the creator of the multiple world of the senses is ignored. When a thorn enters the sole, it has to be removed by another thorn, and after that is done, both thorns are thrown away. So, too, the world of things that the mind has projected has to be negated by the clarified and concentrated mind, and then both the universe and the mind disappear. The thorn it is that pricks; the thorn it is that removes the thorn. The mind binds; the mind releases. (020259)
It is the mind that continually interposes itself against the Atma. Like the cloud formed out of the water vapour produced by the sun, which hides the sun, the mind, which has arisen from the Atma covers the Atma. As long as the mind exists, man cannot comprehend the nature of the Atma or realise the Atma. Only the person who is aware of the Atma in all the different states of consciousness can be said to have direct vision of the Atma. (290590)
INTELLECT IS IMPORTANT
The intellect is very close to the Atma and therefore well located to receive 90% of the Atmic energy and illumination. The mind derives its power from the intellect, the senses from the mind, and the body from the senses. In this process of the flow of power from the Atma to the body in stages, there occurs a gradual quantitative and qualitative diminution of the power. (SSB 90,90)
The intellect (Buddhi) is generally regarded as the power of intelligence. This is not correct. It is really the discriminating power of the Atma. There is a vital difference between intelligence and the intellect or discriminating power. Intelligence exists as a physical entity in man. It is the centre of the nervous system, a kind of control-room for man. But intellect represents a superior power derived from the Spirit. It is not related to the physical body or to the physical phenomenal world. By its relationship to the Atma, it has divine attributes. (050290)
The ways of the mind are remarkable. The Scriptures have pointed out that when man follows the senses he becomes an animal. When he follows the mind he becomes a man. When he acts according to the intellect, he achieves the state of recognition of his great potentialities. When he recognises his identity with the Atma, he becomes the Supreme Being.
If man cannot follow the intellect or the Atma, he should at least follow the mind so that he may be human. It may be asked whether the mind is not prone to bad tendencies. The truth is, the mind by itself is pure. It is by succumbing to the senses that it goes astray. If the mind allows itself to be guided by the intellect, it will not go astray. (270590)
What is needed is to regulate our thoughts in the right manner. As soon as a thought arises, we should not rush into action, but should subject the thought to the scrutiny of the intellect for a correct decision before implementing the thought. But now-a-days most people have the tendency to be in a hurry to put their thoughts into action without any such deliberation. That is the reason for the statement, "Haste makes waste, waste makes worry, so do not be in a hurry". Therefore, action undertaken after deliberation alone results in peace. (SSB 90,74)
TURN THE MIND INWARD
One must constantly develop the consciousness that the Atma is everything - the doer, the deed and the outcome thereof. When the consciousness is broadened in this way, in due course it leads to Self-realisation. If your vision is broad, your destination will also be of the same magnitude. A narrow outlook can only lead to a narrow alley. If you are immersed all the time in the petty trifles of mundane existence, when will you ever understand the Reality which is beyond the physical and the mental? Set your sight on the Supreme. The illumination will come in a flash. (300387)
If man embarks on the process of casting off one by one the five sheaths which envelop the Atma, he will experience his true Self. This process consists in the practice of hearing, reflection in the mind, and meditation on the Divine. The body, the mind and the senses are merely like the husk which encases the grain. When the husk is removed, the rice alone remains. As long as man is enveloped in this husk, he cannot escape birth and death. When the husk (in the form of the five sheaths) is cast off, man is freed from rebirth, just as the rice without husk cannot sprout.
Even as you do not need a lamp to see the sun, there is no need to search for the Atma when it is omnipresent. The Atma shines eternally. No other spiritual practice is required to recognise it. As long as man is not aware of his own true nature, he will be under the delusion that the Atma is somewhere else remote from him. Like the ashes hiding the fire in burning charcoal, the delusion regarding the body is covering the Atma. Once the delusion goes, man will experience true bliss and understand the Cosmic Reality. (070790)
The physical body which performs repetition of the Name or meditation or the various other physical practices is but a water bubble. The mind which is based upon this physical body is but a mad monkey. With the help of this mad-monkey mind and this water-bubble body, how can you hope to achieve the permanent Atma? Repeating the Name, meditation, devotional singing, austerities, sacrifices, these are all methods for temporarily controlling the mind. But there is one practice that will have a permanent effect, and that is inquiry. You should go on inquiring, "Who am I? Who am I?", until you reach the stage where you find out who you really are. The inquiry should go on thus, 'Here is my body, here is my mind, my heart, my feelings, my intellect, my memory power ... I am not any of these. Someone has praised me; someone has censured me, but to whom does this pertain? Only to this physical body'. In this way, you have to develop a sense of detachment and a sacrificing nature. (300387)
Q: In what way can life without desire make Gods of men?
Baba: Life without desire means the realisation of the pure, genuine self that is Atma. Bound to desire, the self degenerates into selfishness. Atma turns into ego. The way of self-realisation is to cleanse the self of this ego of selfishness. Then you reach a state of consciousness beyond the mind or intellect, revealing the true self that is God. The mind is like a cloth that covers and stifles consciousness, the threads of which are desires. If we give up the desires, the threads fall and the cloth disappears, revealing our true nature. This is what the Vedanta (epic of ancient wisdom and knowledge) means when it enjoins that one must get rid of the ego to realise oneself.
Q: You mean that the mind of man as such creates the block between man and God?
Baba: Yes. One must make a distinction between the mind that is the ego, and the real Self that is consciousness. The latter helps us to cross the frontiers of the ego-mind and become aware of oneself as the witness of truth. Normally the scientist of the mind looks outside to what can be perceived by the senses existing in the world of the mind to ask: What is this? The scientist of consciousness, on the other hand, always looks inside to that which is beyond the senses or the grasp of the mind to ask: What is that?
One has, therefore, to rise beyond the mind to consciousness to achieve Self-realisation. To gain the infinite, universal Atma, the embodied self must break out of the puny, finite little prison of individuality. Desire belongs to the senses, the brain, the mind; once you become free of it, you realise the self, Atma, consciousness, enlightenment, and become one with the cosmic power. Self-realisation is God-realisation. Thus man reaches God. (Spirit and the Mind 240)
Develop the unshakeable conviction that the Divine is present in everyone. Then there will be no room for developing differences of any kind. Conflict and disorder will have no place. Likes and dislikes will go.
Once you direct the mind towards the Atma, you have learnt the supreme mantra: I am the Brahmam. Whatever you do, eating or walking or seeing or speaking, do it with the Atmic consciousness.
To start with, the individual must reform himself. Without the individual realising his true nature, all other accomplishments are of no avail. Man is exploring the most distant regions in space, but is not moving even an inch towards understanding his heart. Is this the journey man should undertake? He must turn the mind inwards. Turning the mind towards the external world can only breed sorrow. Enduring bliss can be got only by directing the mind towards God. That is the real spiritual practice. Without mental transformation all other changes are meaningless. Without changing your qualities, you remain in the same state as before. Develop good qualities and sanctify yourself. This is the message for everyone. (070790)
FIVE PERSCRIPTIONS FOR PURIFYING THE MIND
It is the agglomeration of body, mind and the senses which is preventing you from recognising your inherent divinity. You are covering yourself in this manner. You are the cause of your bondage through the body and the mind. When you understand the nature of the body-mind complex, you will realise your true essence. It is enough if you develop the conviction that you and the Divine are one. Cultivate steadfast faith in this Divine oneness through love. That love will lead you to Self-realisation.
Wherever you may be and whatever you do, regard yourselves as instruments of the Divine and act on that basis. You need not wait for a whole year to observe Gurupoornima. Treat every moment of your life as being intended for dedication to the Lord. This is the way to experience the Divine all the time at all places. This is the true goal of life. Serve all and love all. Firmly believe that the Divine is in everyone and constantly act on this belief. Only by continual practice can you develop this sacred attitude. Fill yourself with self-confidence and courage. Make your life a complete offering to the Divine, who is the real source of all that you are and all that you have. (070790)
All that you have to do to achieve purity in thought, word and deed is to follow these five injunctions
See no evil; see what is good.
Think no evil; think what is good.
Hear no evil; hear what is good.
Talk no evil; talk what is good.
Do no evil; do what is good.
When you adhere to these five prescriptions as the very breath of your life, you will achieve purity of mind and experience ineffable bliss. From this moment, you have to cultivate control of the body, the mind and the senses, when you have the vigour and strength of youth. Acquire God's grace in abundance now, when the time is opportune. Your future will then be bright and secure. (250590)
The world will exist for you as long as you have the feeling of duality. In the deep sleep state you enjoy real bliss. You are not aware at that time of your body, your mind, your feelings, your qualities, or thoughts, but still you exist. That same pure you exists in the waking state, the dream state and the deep-sleep state. In the gross, the subtle and the causal states, you exist. In all these changing states and stages, it is the Atmic principle which remains, without undergoing any change. (300387)