Thursday, April 21, 2011






Patanjali prescribes 2 methods for mind control (1) abhyasa or  repeated practice and (2) vairagya or non-attachment.

But, repeated practice of what?

Simple; Just be a witness to your mind functions or Chitta Vritthis.

The moment, you, as witness, start watching – the mind’s power comes down drastically.  When you are not the witness, you become the thought your self and become the slave of the mind. Either you are the thought, or, you are the witness.

Witnessing  requires great care, caution and consistent practice. This practice (of being a witness to mind function) must be done (a) for a long time,(b) without interruptions, (c) steadfastly with great devotion and dedication and (d) in right manner, before it becomes firmly rooted in you and gain a deep foundation – for success in Yoga. As we analyzed in last post, we found that these are the Standard Success Principles for any great effort.

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

Vairagya (or, non-attachment) is that state of mind, in which the mind loses all desire for all such objects, even those mentioned in tradition or scriptures as worth possessing. Mind now has neither attraction nor aversion for any object or matter.

We saw in last post that desires and possessions have 3 major draw backs: 
(i) all desires are mixed with sorrow 
(ii) all desires  / possessions create bondage / slavery and
(iii) all possession / desires have a finite, temporary existence period.

Non attachment is actually a state of blissful desire-less-ness.  You start desiring less and less because, your interior is getting filled with more and more bliss which needs no external support. We will now see Verse.16: 


thath param
purusha khyatheh
guna vaithrshnyam

Ø  thath = that
Ø  param = superior, supreme
Ø  purusha =  consciousness, Self
Ø  khyatheh = knowledge, perception
Ø  guna = elements, qualities, attributes
Ø  vaithrshnyam = freedom from (the three gunas of nature)

Purusha is your innermost self, the in-dweller, the real ‘You’.

Your mind is like a contact lens for the purusha to look at the world. The five senses are the mind’s power. The body is its carriage.

You, as purusha, are always looking at and perceiving the external world through the mind, which acts through through its five senses, which are carried by the body.

If, at some time, you are not looking at the external world, you are looking at your body and assuming that, the body is real you. You spend a lot of your 
life, protecting, beautifying, strengthening, displaying or covering your body. Most of your pleasures and pains stem from your body.

If you are not bothering much about the external world and your body – then, you will spend your time with and within your mind, thinking deeply, widely, critically, creatively and so on and creating their associated emotions as well. The balance of your pleasures and pains therefore stem from your mind. Actually, All pleasures and pains, wherever they stem from, are felt in the mind.

The external world is a very gross world, with gross forms of life and non-life. You can see them, hear them, touch them, smell them and talk to them too (in case of live beings). You can, eat them, drink them, taste them, break them, throw them out or in, cut them, join them and do many other things – because they are gross things available to you in the external world, and you feel, free to use them in all these ways. The external world also includes your parents, spouse, children, friends, neighbours, your house, furniture, bank balance, and all that is outside of you. It includes the distant stars and galaxies too. This external world is made of the Pancha Bhoothas or the five gross elements of space, air, fire, water and earth.

But, your body – is what you consider as yours ,or, even, as YOU. YOU – are your body. You point to your body, when asked to point to you. This is your personal identification. Your identification marks are a few scars on your body.

Therefore, you care for your body a lot more. All the outside world – exists to take care of your body, its hunger, thirst, breath, comforts and so on. This body is a little more subtle, compared to the world outside of you. And, it is also made from the Pancha bhoothas only – from what you eat, drink and breathe.

But, most of the time, your interaction with your body and the outside world – is happening through your five senses – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin – each of which carries just one particular type of sensation to your mind (or, brain).

All the knowledge gained through the five senses are processed in the mind (or Brain), synthesized therein and arranged in the form of knowledge – or “thought patterns + associated emotional patterns”.

The mind (or brain) is much more subtler than the body – but is still made up of the same Pancha bhoothas.

Your thoughts plus emotions – what do you think of them – they are the subtlest parts of your body, part of the manomayakosa, and they are also made up of the same Pancha bhoothas.

What you are not yet conscious of, is your real, true, self – and is called the purusha, the real you.

This real you is – not made up of the Pancha bhoothas.

There are so many layers of the Pancha Bhoothas which you have to transcend, or, go beyond, before you can experience your real self.

You must become totally free from the constituents of the Pancha Bhoothas!!

And – all of them  consist of the Sathva, rajas and thamo gunas, which they retain as their characteristics.

We are yet to discuss the Sathva, rajas and thamo gunas in detail – which we will do in a later Post.

The whole universe is filled with the Pancha bhoothas and the Pancha bhoothas are filled with the three Gunas of Sathva, rajas and Thamas.

You must get over the three gunas – to discover and to uncover, your true self, the purusha that is you.

There is a trick here. You don’t have to get over the three gunas in the whole universe. You don’t even need to get over the three gunas in your body, though this will help.

You only need to get over, or transcend the three gunas in your mind, first and foremost. The primary method, for it, again, is ‘WITNESSING’. This is such an extraordinary method.

BE A CAREFREE, DEVOTED, CONTINUOUS, CONSCIOUS WITNESS – of your own thoughts and emotions!!

Yet, a knowledge of the three gunas, their composition in you, their treatment by you etc will give great insights to you and be of great help to you in the process of witnessing; in the mastering of your mind and in discovering your true self.

We will discuss all these in the next Post.

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