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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Disposing the mind

By Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi Mahaswamiji

Mind refuses to be disposed off. What exactly is this mind? It is the instrument which creates thoughts. If the creation of thoughts stops, mind will also not be there. But we are not able to stop the creation of thoughts. All the time it is galloping to go somewhere.

We go through lots of experiences and enjoyments. We also keep seeing them; those of this birth that we know, and many more in the other births that we do not know. Each of them has left an impression in our mind. They keep running in our mind and sprout numberless thoughts.

It is like the smell that persists in the bottle in which we kept spicy asafoetida. So also even after we have gone through experiences and enjoyments, their smell persists in our mind. This is what is called VAsanA, or JanmAntara VAsanA (VAsanA that comes from other births), or SamskAra VAsanA.

What does it do? It keeps surfacing thoughts about that enjoyment and becomes the cause for further thoughts about how to have that experience again. These thoughts are the plans which the mind makes. This ‘smell’ of the past has to subside. That is what is called ‘VAsanA-kshhayam’ (Death of the VAsanA). And that is the ‘disposal of the mind’!

‘Disposal’ implies the ‘end’. What keeps running all the time has an end when it stops running. When a large flow of water is dammed, the flow stops. In the same way when the flow of the mind is stopped, it means that is the end of the mind.

When I say mind is stilled or stopped I do not mean the staying or resting of the mind on one object. That is something different.

Here when I say the mind is stopped or stilled, I mean something else. When the mind stays on some one object, it means the mind is fully occupied with that object. No other object can have then a place in the mind.

Even to keep the mind still like that is certainly a difficult process. This is actually the penultimate step to ‘dispose off’ the mind. When a wild animal is jumping and running all around, how do you shoot it? It is difficult. But when it is made to stay at one place, we can easily shoot it.

Similarly the mind that is running in all directions should be made to stay at one place in one thought. It does not mean the mind has disappeared then. No, the mind is still there.
Only instead of dwelling on various things it is now full of one and only one thought. This is the prerequisite to what I call the ‘disposal’ of the mind. After this the mind has to be vanquished totally. That is when Realisation takes place -- Realisation of the Atman. In other words the being as a JIva goes and the being as Brahman sprouts.

This process of stopping the mind at one single thought and then vanquishing even that thought in order to dispose off the mind along with its roots is a Himalayan achievement. Our scriptures very often refer to “anAdyavidyA-vAsanayA”, meaning “because of vAsanAs of ignorance going back to beginningless antiquity”. This is the reason for the dirt of the mind being so thick and dense. Removal of that dirt is no doubt a most difficult job.