Thursday, April 14, 2011
PATANJALI YOGA SUTRAS = POST-13 :VERSE.13 = TOOL.1.FOR MIND CONTROL = PRACTICE = DON'T FIGHT THE MIND = BE A WITNESS = HOW GANDHI USED IT
CHAPTER.1 : SAMAADHI PAADHA
Be in the Now; Because, now starts the discipline of yoga. Practice Yoga as a Discipline. Be a devoted disciple of the discipline of Yoga. Yoga is mastering of the mind. Do not remain the servant or slave of your mind.
Become a witness to all that the mind does. This automatically restrains your wayward mind. Then, you, as your own true self, arise in your true form.
Your Mind works in five ways; some times, these are painful and some times, painless. These are (1) right Knowledge having valid proof; (2) wrong knowledge without valid proof; (3) Delusion / fantasy (4) deep (dreamless) sleep and (5) remembering or recall.
This implies that Chittha Vritthis are – (i) Storage processes for right knowledge and wrong knowledge (ii) Swinging between past memories and future fantasies and (iii) Deep, dreamless sleep.
All these actions of mind ignore the Now – the present moment and tend to run away from it. The mind refuses to stay in the present. In the present, it only sleeps. But, it is in the Now, that the yoga discipline lies.
Our mind is too strong and fickle for us to control. It doesn’t easily obey us. Then, how to make the mind obey us? Patanjali (and Lord Krishna in Gita and Adi Sankara in his writings) give us 2 methods : (1) abhyasa or repeated practice and (2) vairagya = non-attachment or dispassion
But, repeated practice of what? Patanjali has already indicated this: Be a witness to your mind. Stand behind the thought-filled mind and watch what the mind is doing. The moment, the witness starts watching – the mind’s power comes down drastically.
Vairagya is also a much misunderstood word. To achieve non-attachment also – just be a witness of your mind. Do not run after your thoughts. Do not create fresh thoughts by your efforts. Just remain a witness.
When you are not the witness, you become the thought your self. Mind is so powerful. Either you are the thought, or, you are the witness. Witnessing requires great care, caution and consistent practice.
When you are the witness, non-attachment to thoughts, their sense objects etc is almost automatic. This becomes easier – if you adopt a saathvic mind-set, eat saathvic food and speak saathvic words . We will see more of these 2 weapons going forward.
thathra sthithau yathnah abhyasah
§ thathra = there;of these;(practice and dispassion)
§ sthithau = stability, steadiness,
§ yathnah = persistent effort, sustained endeavour
§ abhyasah = repeated practice
We are now defining abhyasa. It is continuous, repeated practice by us to keep the mind stable and steady.
Keeping the mind stable and steady needs constant practice. Later, Patanjali gives us some useful tips for practicing abhyasa. But, for now, let us stick with our “witnessing” method.
There should be no great effort in witnessing. Easy continuous witnessing of the mind itself makes the mind stable and steady after some amount of witnessing is done.
Are you going to fight with your mind? Your mind really wants it.
It wants a fight – either with some thing or some one outside – or with you, if no one is available.
You don’t have to fight the mind. In any fight, the Mind wins! In a fight, you lose - always.
But, if you are a non-fighting witness – you win. The mind will call you for a fight, when you are the witness. Or, it will try to run away with some thoughts. And, it will ask you to follow it and catch it.
Don’t do either of these two things.
Stay as a non-moving, steady witness. Then, mind also stops. It loses all its thought-power, which is its only power to defeat you and enslave you.
When the thought power becomes weak – it also becomes a stable, steady servant of you.
Yes. This requires, repeated, constant, continuous practice.
As you go on this path, the mind loses all its habits, good and bad both, which turn you around them and enslave you all your life.
The practice, the abhyasa, is – to become free of all thought processes, of all habits, which are all Chittha Vritthis. The tool is – witnessing.
Mahatma Gandhi was himself a Great Yogi - and he adopted this non-fighting, active witnessing stance - to control the minds of all people, not merely his own. Whether, it is your mind, or, others 'minds, the tool is same.
He may have called them as Love and Non-violence, but, these are tools that Patanjali himself indicates at different places in Yoga Sutras. These are various forms of Abyasa and Vairagya.
Of course, later, Patanjali gives many useful tips to strengthen the witnessing process - all of which were effectively used by Mahatma Gandhi.We will see them as we move forward.
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