Tuesday, April 19, 2011






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.

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.


sa thu deergha kaala
nairantharya sathkaara
asevithah dridha bhoomih

Ø  sa = this (practice)
Ø  thu = and
Ø  deergha  kaala = for a long time
Ø  nairantharya = without interruption, continually
Ø  sathkaara =  devotion, sincerity, right action
Ø  asevithah = assiduously pursued or  practiced
Ø dridha-bhoomih = firmly rooted, of firm ground

In last aphorism (13), we saw that abhyasa or practice is required to control the chittha Vritthis. We also suggested that the practice of controlling chittha Vritthis is essentially - done by the process of witnessing.

Now, the next aphorism (14) states that, this practice (of witnessing) must be done for a long time, without interruptions, and steadfastly with great devotion and dedication, before it becomes firmly rooted in you and will gain a deep foundation – for success in Yoga.

Mind or Chittha is a very strong force to contend with. It always tries to  master us, enslave us and lead us behind it – in a stream of unending thoughts. The effect is – we lose track of our life and our goal. We will never find our true self. We begin to assume that the mind itself is our self.

To get over this perennial problem – we identified WITNESSING the mind and its Vritthis as the main weapon to control the mind.

But, mind does not accept defeat before our efforts to master the mind and accept our true mastery on it - in the very short time, or with a few small efforts of witnessing.

Patanjali is actually warning us of this great problem in this aphorism.

The practice (of witnessing, and other methods to control mind) must be –

(a)        done for a long time
(b)        continuous and uninterrupted, and,
(c)         done with great devotion

Only then, the practice will become deep rooted in us and will have a firm foundation – which means, witnessing and enslaving the mind become effortless, after such a long time, continuous, devoted practice. Let us look at the 3 conditions of success once again here, with consequences of not adhering to them :

(1)        Interruptions will put the clock back. We will be back at the first step, each time there is an interruption. In fact, Mind instantly tries to gain enormous strength to stop our efforts, by inducing laziness, giving us the inducement of comforts and so on. We will never know that our mind is silently stopping us from controlling the Chittha Vritthis
(2)        Casual approach is of no use. Devotion and dedication is essential. Every loop hole in our approach is taken advantage by the mind to put its mastery back on us.
(3)        Practice must be done for a long time too. We will find that mind is frequently rebelling against our efforts. It is a battle with our own mind. Therefore, it does take a long time.

For how long? As long as the practice gains firm foundation in us. As long as the mind retains even the slightest resistance to our practice – we must continue. The 3 conditions mentioned, as we can easily see, apply to SUCCESS, in any field of human Endeavour, and are not special, for Yoga.

These are normal, well-known success principles.

Take any Field of Human Effort - these are the standard SUCCESS PRINCIPLES, WELL RECOGNIZED BY ALL OF US TODAY.

Patanjali prescribed them - thousands of years ago - for YOGA.

Lord Krishna says in Dhyana Yoga, that your practice of Yoga (Dhyana) will never go waste. It will aid you in future practice. It will even come with you into your Next birth too.

Not only that – at each stage, you will gain small, small successes, and this must spur you to greater efforts.

There is no bigger success in this world, than success in controlling our own mind. Each stage of success will give you greater and greater, true Joy. So, Sadhaka will have sufficient incentive to do his Sadhana all the time.

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