Mana: The Mind

#Charaka suggests “Only healthy mind leads to healthy body” also, that "If a mind is healthy, body is healthy. If the mind is not healthy even a healthy body will become infested with diseases... Health is impossible without a steady & calm mind."

Let me begin with an engaging parable from my book Rishi Tales 2:

Long ago there lived a greedy person who always sought to easy ways to make quick money. He persuaded a Rishi to give him some sort of a magic spell which could make him rich instantaneously. The Rishi tried his best to dissuade him, but the person was rather too persistent. Eventually, when this individual turned into a pain, the Rishi reluctantly agreed. He said “I will give you a magic spell, and a Rakshasa (goblin) will appear in front of you. However, you must be extremely careful, because the Rakshasa is restless and needs to be constantly given work to do. Be warned: If you do not have work for him to do, he will kill you that very moment. Now, do you still want the magic spell?”

The man, who was already fantasizing about his riches, laughed and said, “I will give him enough and more work to do! I will keep him busy day and night.”

The Rishi gave him the magic spell along with some guidelines. The person did as he was instructed. And, as foretold, the Rakshasa appeared. “Hey, why did you summon me?” said the Rakshasa. Remembering the Rishi’s warning, the man immediately instructed the Rakshasa to construct a ten-story building. He thought this project would keep the Rakshasa busy for at least two years. However, the task was completed almost immediately. Quickly he told the Rakshasa to build all the furniture and decorate the rooms. Within no time, the Rakshasa returned asking for more work. Whatever the man told him to do was completed in a moment’s time. Whenever the Rakshasa returned it said, “Give me work, or I will kill you!”

The person began to feel nervous. “Oh, Rakshasa,” he said, rather timidly. “Kindly wait here for just a few minutes and I will be right back.” Then he took off running as fast as he could to the Rishi’s abode. When he arrived the man was out of breath and soon fell to the Rishi’s knees and said in a pleading voice “Revered sire, you must help me. Because of my foolishness, I am in big trouble. I wanted quick success and I got it. But now I am stuck with this dreaded Rakshasa who will not hesitate to kill me if I do not keep it busy. Sire, I have run out of things for this Rakshasa to do. Please help me. I am desperate.”

The Rishi gently patted his head and calmly told him, “My child, do not despair. Tell the Rakshasa to dig a well to draw water. When he is finished, have him attach seven iron rungs on each side, like a ladder that one can use to go up and down. Instruct the Rakshasa to go down the seven rungs and then come up continuously until you tell him to stop.”

The man hurriedly made his way back to the Rakshasa, who by now had grown quite impatient. He immediately repeated what the rishi told him to say. The Rakshasa followed the given order, and from that time on it never troubled the man again.

The Rakshasa in the story is none other than the mind. The mind needs some activities; it needs to be kept constantly busy. If you do not keep the mind engaged, like the Rakshasa in the story, it will make your life miserable. It is not healthy to allow the mind to do whatever it wants. Therefore, keep the mind busy with something constructive and it will not have time to cause you any trouble.

No matter what you want to achieve; there will be detractors and supporters. Detractors who will try to discourage you and supporters who will try to encourage you. However, neither that discouragement nor the encouragement would work unless your mind approves of it. The mind is the supreme judge, jury as well as executioner of all decisions, perceptions as well as paths you take. The mind is, therefore, the supreme reason for. your success or failure That is why Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita says “Mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy.” But how do we make our mind our best friend? How do we ensure that our mind, against all external influences, continues to inspire us on the path of success and never gets demotivated?

According to Charaka in Charaka Samhita, a pioneering work on Ayurveda, “Healthy mind leads to healthy body”. Amirtabindu Upanishad suggests “Mind is the cause for both; problems as well as solution.” Mind is the tool which enables us to understand and undertake that which is unknown. Unknown can be known exclusively through the known. Since mind is the instrument of knowing – we need to know our mind first!

Western philosophies suggest that “I think therefore I am”. It suggests we are thought. But, then, thoughts emanate in and from the mind. External influences are just reason. The mind is not static. Like our body, it is ever subjected to change in diverse ways. If our mind is happy today; tomorrow it could be acting contrarily. The mind is, then, also, a chain of emotions of variety.

According to Charaka in Charaka Samhita, a pioneering work on Ayurveda, “Healthy mind leads to healthy body”. Amirtabindu Upanishad suggests “Mind is the cause for both; problems as well as solution.” Mind is the tool which enables us to understand and undertake that which is unknown. Unknown can be known exclusively through the known. Since mind is the instrument of knowing – we need to know our mind first!

When the mind acts irrationally, it is untamed. To Vedic Seers, insanity was a condition where there is no control of the self over mind. Many of the Vedic rituals were essentially designed by the Rishis for controlling the uncontrollable mind as well as to focus it on specific objective(s).

Katha Upanishad places mind above the Indriyas (senses) but below Buddhi (intellect): “Know that the self (Atman) is like the lord of the chariot. Know that intellect is the charioteer and the mind the reigns. The senses they say are the horses are to be controlled by the buddhi (the charioteer) through the reigns (mind).” The mind is often lured by sensory organs towards sensual pleasures or they may lead to the path of joyous experience of the bliss.

To achieve anything worthwhile, it is important that you calm your mind. This is done by understanding and overpowering the six natural enemies – Arishadvargas. Ari means negative, Shad means Six and Vargas means qualities. These are Kama (Lust), Krodha (Anger), Lobha (Greed), Moha (Infatuation), Mada (Ego) and Matsarya (Jealousy). Unless these six quintessential elements are won to a certain level – the mind can seldom be at peace. And when the mind is not calm there can seldom be peace in life either! Healthy mind ensures a healthy body and body when unhealthy can seldom achieve anything worthwhile.

It is important to know that while western philosophers have often looked outside the mind and body for joy and happiness – Vedic seers saw deep within also to answer trivial questions facing mankind. For Vedic Seers instrument of knowing became the object of investigative research. So, their understanding of the mind is by far unbeatable; you only need to read the Vedic texts to admire it more.

The focus of Vedic seers was to find that knowledge which when known everything becomes known the highest knowledge; to achieve salvation “here and now” in this life and not the post-mortem heaven.

Meditation or Dhyana when reached China became ‘Chen’ and on reaching Japan became ‘Zen’. “Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection, and those who strive and succeed scarcely one knows me in truth.” says Krishna in Bhagavad-Gita. Krishna advocates the attainment of the state of steadiness of mind (Stithaprajna), mental evenness (Samatvam) and mental peace (Shanti).

Troubles of mind are from within – not outside. Adi Shankaracharya suggested that there are no devils other than those in the mind of men. So mind your very own mind before anything else.

4 responses on "Mana: The Mind"

  1. Nice Article.Thanks for sharing.

  2. Thank You for this particular piece and indeed all such articles You post. I look forward to receiving notifications of your posts. The Vedic Management Centre initiative and its style of delivery of Vedic insights is most timely and much needed . Gratitude and thanks for all that youre doing.

    Luke McDonald
    London UK

  3. Very Nice Article. Thank you for posting.

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