The mind is a subtle machine that constantly generate thoughts. These thoughts create our personality. You look at someone and say, “He seems to be a very angry person,” or “He appears to be a very simple, straightforward person,” or “He seems to be very kindhearted,” etc. The kind of thoughts they kept in their minds, moulded their personality, and physical appearance as well.
The Latent Powers of the Mind
Modern scientists estimate that we use only three percent of the potential of our mind. At present, our mind is scattered. Just as, if the channel button of a television set is spoilt, the channels keep changing sporadically. Similarly, our mind too keeps flitting from topic to topic. But if we can learn to concentrate our mind, we can increase the extent to which we are able to utilize its potential.
Concentration increases the effectiveness. Water vapour keeps rising from lakes, and ineffectively drifting in the sky. But the same water vapour, when concentrated in the form of steam and focussed on the piston of the railway engine, becomes so powerful that it is able to push the engine along with thousands of tonnes of carriages at the speed of hundreds of kilometers on the railway track. Similarly, an unwavering mind has tremendous powers. This is the reason why different peoples in different cultures around the world use a variety of meditational techniques to improve their concentration. Some meditate on the breath, others on the centre of the eyebrows, other on the psychic centres in the spinal chord, others on a still lake, and still others on a light, etc. These different meditations do improve the focus of the mind, however, their benefits are incomplete and impermanent. The reason is that they do not address the issue of purification of the mind. And as long as lust, anger, greed, envy, illusion, etc. reside in the mind, these forces again destroy the gained concentration. It thus becomes vitally important to understand how to purify the mind.
Purification of the Mind
To cleanse the mind, we must fix it on an object of meditation that is itself pure. The material realm is dominated by the three modes of material nature – sattva, rajas and tamas (goodness, passion and ignorance). If the object of meditation is material, it cannot purify the mind. Beyond this material realm, is the Divine realm of God – His Names, Forms, Virtues, Abodes, Pastimes, and Saints. If we fix our mind anywhere in this area, it will become pure. Shree Krishna told Arjun in the Bhagavad Geeta:
“I am Divine. If you fix your mind on me, it will rise above the three modes of material nature.” Jagadguru Shankaracharya says:
“The inner self – the mind – cannot be cleansed without fixing it in devotion on God.” Jagadguru Shree Kripalu ji Maharaj says.
Hence in Jagadguru Kripaluji Yog, we learn to meditate on the Names, Forms, Virtues Pastimes, Abodes and Associates of God. Meditation on God can be of endless varieties, of which a few sample meditations are described below.
Meditation on Noble Thoughts
We should attempt to bring about good thoughts and emotions. We need to change the way we think and feel, from the inside. This will help us calm the mind and brings a sense of tranquillity that we haven’t experienced before. Let us learn to create thoughts of forgiveness, mercy, compassion, understanding, tolerance, friendship, devotion, servitude and so on. This is generally called as “Positive Thinking” and quite commonly known to us. These thoughts strengthen the mind and at the same time, help us get rid of impure thoughts that plague us continuously and weaken our minds.
Think that God is standing right in front of you. He is the ocean of eternal happiness. Try to feel the peace and calm radiating from within God. Feel the tranquillity slowly overtake your senses and fill your inner self. Your body is completely relaxed and free of stress.
Now think about God and how tolerant He is. He is the protector of countless souls and knows each soul’s every problem. Yet, he does not get angry or tensed. His whole presence radiates peace, tranquillity and calmness. Now, try and absorb the same feeling within you. Feel the calm presence of Shree Krishna in front of you and relax your body and mind. Stop thinking of matters related to the outside world. Think of yourself to be a tolerant person and try to increase this feeling. People are disturbing and creating problems for you but you remain calm in front of any difficulty. You do not loose your mind or balance. You are now becoming as tolerant and humble as a tree.
God has all the noble characteristics we admire. He has the best characteristics and is the noblest of them all. Feel that all these good qualities are flowing from God towards you, into your body and your mind. As the goodness of God enters your system, you feel more peaceful and calm. Now, all the negative feelings are flowing out of your body. Out of them, the one that hurts you the most, your ego is leaving you. You feel more humble in the presence of the almighty God who is the humblest of all. Humility is one of the best qualities one can posses and you are now learning to be humble and gentle with everyone. You take great pleasure in honouring others whereas not seeking fame yourself.
All the negatives thoughts and feelings in your body have gone away. You are now surrounded and filled with all the good qualities that belong to God. Your mind is as clear as a mountain stream and very balanced. It has lost all the bad thoughts and is now thinking only of the Lord. Slowly, you begin feeling the mercy of the Lord towards you and a feeling of gratefulness starts to flow through your body. It is due to the Lord’s grace that all your negative feelings have gone away and you feel so good and positive. You have never felt this good before. Feel humble before God and see him smile back at you. Look at the people around you, many of them leading a sad and dejected life. Just like you, they are children of God but they do not realise it. Pray to the Lord that He brings them on the right path and graces them so that they can follow him truthfully and sincerely.
These good feelings in you gives immense pleasure to the Lord as he now sees you as a changed person with all the Divine qualities taking seed in your thoughts. Continue to feel positive and pray to the Lord for the well being of this whole world.
Increasing the Longing for God
In search of happiness, we humans create countless desires that we think will satisfy our senses and mind. Yet, we don’t seem to have attained the ever elusive happiness that eternally overcomes all the sadness and suffering in our lives. The state of our inner and private world has remained the same, for we constantly harbour desires, anger, disappointment, greed, jealousy, anxiety, lust and other mental ailments. Yet, we remain optimistic that one day, peace and happiness will arrive on a magic carpet, ready to sweep us away to a world of fulfilled desires and never ending material comforts. Amazing!
To develop an appreciation for the true meaning of happiness and the way to attain it, let us start by diverting our material desires towards God. Let us begin by desiring things associated with God and the people related to him. By associating our mind in him frequently, our mind will slowly get attached to him. Practising this regularly will help us fix our mind on him firmly. The more we attach our mind on God, the more we get detached from the material world and our hearts will also be cleansed to the same proportion.
God has gifted us five senses (eyes, ears, mouth, nose and skin) in their physical as well as subtle form. The eyes can see, but vision is something more subtle and internal to us. In the same way, ears can hear but listening is a subtle faculty. The ability to recognise taste, the sense of feeling (touch) and smell are the other capabilities that we possess in the subtle form. The great thing about them is that all the five senses also reside within our minds. What else can explain the phenomenon of being able to see, hear, smell and touch various objects in our dreams? When we are asleep, all the five senses organs also go to rest. We are unable to see or hear anything. But, in our dreams we perform all sorts of activities like seeing, walking, talking, hearing and eating. How is this possible? It is due to the presence of the five senses in their subtle form in the mind. This is known as cognizance in the scientific world. We will now learn to divert these subtle senses in our mind towards God, by concentrating our mind on aspects associated with God.
Imagine that you have just arrived in the Divine Abode of Vrindavan. Create a picture in your mind of all the beautiful things that you would like to see in Vrindavan. The lush greenery, the huge eucalyptus and banyan trees, cows grazing on the meadows far and wide, birds chirping, the peacocks calling and a stream flowing lethargically like a well-fed snake. As this is the Divine Abode, everything here has a special significance. The warm fragrance of the Divine trees brushes your nostrils and elevates your senses to a new level. Start walking in the lane lined by trees. Watch the branches gently sway to the tunes of the Divine breeze. The nearby woods provide plenty of fresh air to breathe.
As you take a stroll, your ears are instantly captivated by a hypnotic melody being played over the hills and far away. Deeply attracted and mesmerized by the Divine tunes, imagine yourselves being magically transported in the direction of the tantalizing notes. You wonder who could be playing such a wonderful instrument and realize that this Divine music is being played by none other than your soul beloved, Shree Krishna. You are now running in the direction of the music, stumbling over mounds, wading through ankle deep water and across the green meadows disturbing the cattle’s peaceful grazing and throwing their rhythm out of gear.
Unmindful of this, your senses are now firmly attached to the harmony still flowing generously across the lowly hills. The tunes get closer and sweeter, your heart beats faster but you still can’t see him. You plead him to show you a glimpse of his true self. His Divine melody has all but captured your breath.
At that very instant, you think of your beloved Spiritual Master (Guru) and beg him to show you a glimpse of Shree Krishna. You pray at his lotus feet to shower his grace upon you so that you can meet your soul beloved.
Your Guru agrees to your prayers and offers his re-assuring hands which you gladly hold on as if your life depends on it. Slowly, you gather yourself and follow your guru in the direction of the soothing notes. Accompanying the melodic flute is the graceful tune emanating from the anklets of Shree Krishna. Unable to comprehend or digest the sweetness of this Divine music, you resist the urge to ask your Guru to go faster. Your Guru smiles at your thoughts and comes to a stop.
Your eyes scan the horizon as your eyes fall upon the mighty and Divine River, Yamuna, flowing silently across the fields of maize, corn and wheat. The crystal clear water attracts your attention but you remain unmoved. Your revered Guru gestures at you as your gaze reaches the Divine Kadamba tree on the banks of the river. Nearby, standing on the tender grass, wearing a yellow top-cloth, Pitambar, and holding the flute in the both his hands, is your soul beloved Shree Krishna.
Your eyes cannot believe that Shree Krishna is indeed in front of you, playing the most attractive melodies. Shree Krishna gestures at your Guru to bring you closer to him. As your Guru steps towards you with his arms wide open, look at yourself fall at his feet and then embrace him. Tears roll down your eyes in humble submission towards your revered Guru with whose grace this auspicious moment has arrived. He then hands you over to your Beloved Lord, Shree Krishna who waits patiently for you to step forward.
Leaving your Guru’s shadow, you are drawn closer to Shree Krishna like a moth is to limelight. Behold the lord with all your eyes for this is the ultimate moment of your life. You have been blessed and graced with the greatest of all boons and the most expensive of all treasures there is or will ever be. The most awaited day of your entire existence has now arrived, for you have a private audience with the lord himself!
You and your Guru are now witness to Shree Krishna’s Roop Madhuri, or the Nectar flowing from His Divine Form, due to which the Lord of lords appears the most beautiful and handsome. As you lift your head and look into his eyes pouring with love, and a gaze that pierces your heart with a thousand arrows, tears of joy cascade down your cheeks. Your voice is choked, throat dry and unable to utter much. Your eyes now fall upon his admirable crown made of peacock feathers, perched so perfectly on his tender head. The feathers fluttering in the gentle breeze appear to fan his soft and curly hair. Your eyes are drawn loving to his perfectly carved eyes that resemble that of peacock. You are now looking at the prominent Tilak on his forehead placed so expertly.
Shree Krishna is wearing a Divine garland made of the choicest of Divine flowers (Vaijayanti Mala) whose fragrance fills the air around. Every flower in the garland seems to reach out towards Shree Krishna’s nostrils, trying to impress him with their exotic effervescence. Decked in the choicest of jewellery and the exquisite Kaustubh mani, Shree Krishna looks extremely attractive. His trunk is partially covered in the softest of silk dupattas that seems to gently kiss his skin so as to not pain his soft and delicate body. He is clad in yellow clothes, held in its place around his tender waist by a gold band. Your beloved wears a silver anklet that sings as he steps towards you. The sound of the anklets rings in your ears like a symphony of a hundred musicians, elevating your joy to unknown heights.
Shree Krishna now plays the flute for you drowning you deeper in the bliss of Divine love for your Beloved. Slowly and steadily, you and your Guru move towards Shree Krishna’s feet to take your rightful place.
As He stands tall, you watch the grass gently support his tender feet and go head over heals to massage them. Every thing and every being that you see around you is doing its best to be of service to Shree Krishna. Your concentration is now on His feet as you thank Him and your Guru profusely for this most fortunate event of your life. Pray to Shree Krishna to grace you in such a way that your permanent place will remain at His lotus feet in eternal service for his happiness alone. Realise yourself to be the humblest of all souls and a sinner beyond redemption. Shed tears of repentance for his happiness and wash His feet lovingly for his comfort.
Think of yourself to be the most fallen soul and beg for His forgiveness. Break the chains of your heart and fill it will love for Shree Krishna. Seeing that His devotee has truly surrendered himself, Shree Krishna now lifts you with both his arms and embraces you with all his heart. When you thought that the ultimate joy had been attained, your Beloved now fills your heart with more Divine love and bliss that is a countless times higher than what you received earlier. Shree Krishna himself is very pleased with your selfless love and showers more of his Divine love upon you. The tears in yours eyes have now formed a constant stream and cleansed your heart for ever.
Shree Krishna now instructs your Guru to take you back to earth and asks you if you will continue to love Him more than ever. Reluctantly, you leave his arms and again prostrate at his feet. Shree Krishna again flashes his bewitching smile once again and says, “I shall never leave you even for a moment. I am always with you and in you. Think of me always and you shall be eternally blissful.”
With these words, Shree Krishna bids adieu. Your lovelorn eyes are still filled with tears as you request the lord for his permission to leave. Shree Krishna sends you off with his blessings as you and your Guru slowly make your way out of Vrindavan. Everything looks pale and lifeless without your Soul-Beloved but His reassuring words lift your spirits.
Open your eyes and bring yourself back home.
For more details and further information, please read
“Yoga for Body, Mind and Soul” by Swami Mukundananda
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