Yoga Philosophy: Understanding Mind and its Nature
What is mind?
According to the Patanjali Yoga Sutras, the mind is a field of pure consciousness that is the source of all thoughts and emotions. It is the instrument through which we perceive the world and our place in it. The mind is often described as being like a mirror, reflecting the external world and our internal states without judgment or attachment. It is the seat of our ego and the source of our sense of self. By cultivating awareness and control of the mind through the practices of yoga, we can gain greater clarity and peace of mind, and eventually achieve the ultimate goal of yoga: self-realization. Yoga philosophy is based on the concept of achieving union with the Divine, or ultimate reality, through the cultivation of the mind and its states.
One of the central tenets of yoga is the belief that the mind is the source of all suffering and that, by mastering the mind and its various states, one can achieve liberation from suffering and enlightenment. This entails investigating the nature of the mind and its various states, such as the ego, ego-self, and higher self, as well as learning how to control and transform these states through practices such as meditation, mindfulness, and self-inquiry. The ultimate goal of yoga philosophy is to cultivate inner peace and clarity as well as to realize the ultimate unity of the individual self with the Divine.
The mind is not only made every day but also every hour. It always changes. Like a chameleon, it changes color and shape every minute. Chanchalam and Asthiram: “It is not stable.” The mind has always had a strange habit of putting things outside of itself. Constantly saying and thinking of God’s holy names, like Hari Om, Narayana, Rama, Siva, etc., cleans the mind and makes it more introspective. It is also a trick, just like the objects and things that don’t move.
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Mind and its nature
Yoga philosophy teaches that the mind is a complex and multifaceted entity, with various states and qualities that can be cultivated and transformed through practice.
When your mind is completely focused, two hours seem like five minutes. When the mind is distracted and wandering, a half-hour appears to be three hours. This is something that everyone has gone through. In dreams, many events that last for fifty years occur in ten minutes. It considers a Kalpa (one era) to be a moment and vice versa. Perception via the finite mind or cognition of experience occurs gradually and serially rather than simultaneously. Only in Nirvikalpa Samadhi, where past and future merge in the present, can one have simultaneous knowledge.
A yogi can only know everything at once. A man of the world with a limited mind can only learn new things one after the other. Even though different sense organs can be touched by different things at the same time, the mind is like a gatekeeper who only lets one person in at a time. The mind can only send one type of feeling at a time to the mental factory, where perception and a concept are made. The power of imagination can be seen in things like making up fears, exaggerating, making stuff up, putting on mental plays, and building castles in the air. Even a man who is perfect and healthy can make up a disease because the mind is so powerful.
A man might have a small flaw, or dosha (fault). When he becomes your enemy, you immediately make his vulnerabilities and Dosha seem worse. You even add many more weaknesses and doshas on top of the ones you already have. This is because imagination is so powerful. People waste a lot of energy on fears that really don’t exist. There are four important psychic processes: believing, reasoning, knowing, and faith. You must first trust a doctor. You go to him to figure out what’s wrong and seek help. He looks at you and then tells you what medicines to take. You take them. “This is the disease,” you figure out. I got iron and iodide from the doctor. Iron will make my blood healthier. Iodide will make the lymphatic system work better and soak up the fluid and growth in the liver. Then, taking these drugs for a month cured the disease. Then you know everything about both the medicine and the doctor and seem to have full faith in them. Then you tell your friend about this doctor and these medicines: “Dr. John is an intelligent individual.” He has extensive knowledge. Barkley’s blood tonic is really good.
“Yoga is the progressive settling of the mind into silence.Yoga Philosophy, Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Mental adhesions and conditioning
According to yoga philosophy, the mind takes on the shape of any object on which it focuses. If it thinks of an apple, it assumes the shape of an apple. If it thinks of Lord Krishna with a flute in hand, it assumes the shape of Lord Krishna. For assimilation, the mind must be properly trained and fed Sattvic food. Have a Sattvic frame of mind or mental image. If you tasted blueberries for a month, you would develop “mental adhesion” to them. A similar mental adhesion occurs in the mind to achieve god-consciousness when you are in the company of saints and yogis or read books on yoga, Vedanta, and so on. Mere mental adhesion will not help you much. Burning Vairagya (detachment), burning Mumukshutva, capacity for spiritual sadhana, intense and constant application, and meditation are needed. Then only self-realization is possible.
The wandering habit of the mind manifests itself in various ways. You’ll have to be on guard all the time to keep your mind from wandering. A householder’s mind wanders to the cinema, the theatre, the circus, etc. A Sadhu’s mind wanders to Benares, Vrindavan, and God. Many sadhus never stick to one place during sadhana. The wandering habit of the mind must be controlled by making it stick to one place, one method of sadhana (yoga practice), one Guru (master), and one form of yoga. A rolling stone gathers no moss. When you take up a book for study, you must finish it before you take up another. When you take on any work, you must devote your wholehearted attention to the task at hand and finish it before you take on another. “One thing at a time, and that done well, is a very good rule, as many can tell.” This is Yogi’s way of doing it.
If all thoughts are removed, there is nothing left that can be called the mind. So there are thoughts in the mind. Again, there is no such thing as a world apart from or independent of thoughts. Our thoughts create the entire world. The mind is naturally drawn to material things like beauty, intelligence, a variety of colors, and pleasant sounds. Don’t be fooled by these outward appearances. Investigate within. What is the background for all of this?
Culturing your thoughts
The mind is like a spoiled child who never stays still for long. It’s like a monkey that jumps around. It needs to be trained every day. Then you will slowly be able to control it. Only by training your mind in the real world could you indeed stop bad thoughts and actions from coming up and prevent bad thoughts and actions that have already come up from happening again. You can only keep good thoughts and actions going if you train your mind in the real world. When you sit down to meditate, you’ll think about your friends, work, and the conversations you had with family and friends the night before. This will keep you from focusing on what you’re doing. You will have to carefully pull your mind away from these outside thoughts over and over again and keep it in your focus. You will have to ignore and dismiss the thoughts of the world. Be indifferent. Be an observer. Don’t let these ideas in. Don’t think or believe these things about yourself. Say to yourself, “I don’t want to think these things.” “These thoughts have nothing to do with me.” They will slowly go away.
In the beginning, all sorts of evil thoughts will arise in your mind as soon as you sit down for meditation. Why does this happen during meditation when you attempt to entertain pure thoughts? Aspirants leave their spiritual practises of meditation on account of this. If you try to drive away the monkey, it attempts to pounce on you with vengeance. Even so, the old vicious Samskaras (karmic impressions from past and past lives) and old evil thoughts try to attack you with vengeance and redoubled force only at the time when you try to raise good, divine thoughts.
Your enemy endeavours to resist you vehemently when you try to eject him from your house. There is a law of resistance in nature. The old evil thoughts rise up and say, “O man!Do not be cruel. You have allowed us to stay in your mental factory since time immemorial. We have every right to abide here. We have helped you up to this point in all your evil actions. Why do you want to evict us from our dwelling place? “We will not vacate our abode.” Do not be discouraged. Go on with your regular practise of meditation.
These evil thoughts will be thinned out. Eventually, they will all perish. You will be able to enter into deep meditation only if you lead a moral life. When you have led a moral life, you may further try to build up discrimination and the other steps in your mind. You can cultivate the mind through concentration and finally devote yourself to meditation. The more you live a moral life and meditate, the more likely it is that you will enter Samadhi, which will free you from the cycle of births and deaths and grant you eternal bliss and immortality.
“Plant the seed of meditation and reap the fruit of peace of mind.”Patanjali Yoga Sutras
Hari Om Tat Sat !!!