Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
What is the obstacle to one-pointed meditation? The answer is the
mind. All problems are caused by the mind, by the desires arising in it.
is not easy to control the mind and keep it away effectively from
we ask the mind to think of an object, it seems to obey us for a moment,
but soon it takes its own course, wandering off. When I speak to you
about meditation and tranquillity, for a moment your mind will perhaps
become still and you will be happy. But in a trice it will go astray and
calm you experienced for a few seconds will give place to unquietness.
If you bid your mouth to keep shut, it obeys you for a brief moment.
Similarly, if you close your eyes asking them not to see anything, they
shut themselves off from the outside world for some moments. But try as
you might to tell your mind not to think of anything, it will not listen
The mind must be kept under control. Thinking and non-thinking must be
governed by your will. Only then can we claim that it is under our
that we are masters of our own consciousness.
Lunatics are usually referred to as people with no control over their
minds. In fact none of us have any control over the mind. A madman
keeps blabbering. But what about us? We let the mind go freely to keep
Do you know what it means to have mental control? Suppose you are
suffering from a severe pain. If you ask your mind not to feel the pain,
shall not feel it in obedience to you [that is you will not feel the
Even if a tiger comes face to face with you and growls you will feel no
if you ask your mind not to be afraid of the beast. Now we keep crying
no reason. If the mind is under control we will keep smiling even if
is cause for much sorrow. And under the gravest of provocations it will
not be roused to anger and will remain calm.
First we must train our mind not to keep wandering. One way of doing it
is to apply it to good activities. When oil falls in a steady flow,
spraying, it is called "tailadhara". The mind must be gathered together
and made steady. It must be accustomed to think of noble and exalted
objects like the Lord. Eventually, the very act of "thinking" will cease
we will dissolve in Isvara to become Isvara.
Yoga is controlling the mind in this manner.
Before we pass on, we must find a way to control the mind. Otherwise,
we will be born again and we will be subject to the constant unquietness
of the mind again. So we must use the opportunity of this birth itself
subdue the mind even while we are in the midst of so much that can
rouse our desire or anger. A man who has succeeded in bridling his mind
thus is called a "yukta" by the yogins. He is a "sukhin", one who truly
experiences bliss, so says Sri Krsna You must not turn away from yoga
thinking that it is meant only for people like the sages. Who needs
medicine? The sick. We suffer from manovyadhi, mental sickness. So we
must take the medicine that cures it.
There are two different ways of mastering the mind- the first is outward
(bahiranga) and the second is inward(antaranga). We must have recourse
to both. The Matha has a cartman and a cook. Their work is outward in
nature. Then there are those who prepare the wicks of the lamps, gather
flowers for the puja - they are "inward" workers. Both types are needed
for the functioning of the Matha. By employing both the outward and
inward means, the mind must first be applied to good things onepointedly
and eventually lead to a state in which it does not think of
anything at all.
The outward means consists, for example, of sandhyavandana, sacrifices,
charity and so on. The best inward means is meditation. There are five
inward (antaranga) means to aid meditation. They are ahimsa
satya (truthfulness), asteyam (non-stealing), sauca (cleanliness)
and indriya-nigraha [subduing the senses, if not obliterating them]. To
practise ahimsa is to imbue the mind with love for all and not even
of harming others. Asteyam means not coveting other people's goods.
For satya, or truthfulness, to be complete one's entire being, including
body, mind and speech, must be involved in its practice. Sauca is
observing cleanliness by bathing, maintaining ritual purity, etc.
implies limits placed on sensual enjoyment. "The eyes must not
see certain things, the ears must not hear certain things and the mouth
must not eat certain things"-restrictions with regard to what you can
listen to, eat and do with your body. The body is meant for sadhana, for
Atmic discipline. The senses must be "fed" only to the extent necessary
keep the body alive. These five dharmas are to be practiced by all
without any distinction of caste or community.