Published in: The Pioneer
    Category: Spirituality
    Dated: 5/26/2003
In Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, there is a description of Alice being lost in underground caves. She is running from one cave to another till she reaches a junction leading to several paths. She finds a rabbit standing there and inquires from him about the path she should take. The rabbit asks her, "Where do you want to go ? Alice replies, "I don't know". The rabbit replies “Take any of these routes, it wouldn't matter."

There is a similar confusion in the name of meditation ; the practitioners are lost in the labyrinth of solutions offered by various societies. Some recommend blanking the mind, while others would have their followers allowing complete freedom to the mind. Still others would have one focusing on some external object, and others would guide their followers to imagine an internal illumination. The list is endless with subtle variations in the methods offered. As a result, the general public is left utterly confused.

There are two main purposes of meditation. One is, of course, to relax and calm down the overactive mind. The other ( and more important ) purpose is to be able to control one's own mind. Human society, which is becoming increasingly materialistic, is finding it hard to cope with stress, fears, anxieties, worries , insomnia, depression, panic attacks, etc. These problems are generally a result of faulty thinking and defective life-style. Human mind, which is part of its subtle body, if properly used, is a wonderful instrument. It has many functions such as, desiring, thinking, feeling and willing. But, when misused, the mind can cause havoc. Many of the fears, which cause unnecessary suffering, are the result of faulty thinking. Lord Krishna informs through the Bhagavad-Geeta, "For him, who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best friend ; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain his greatest enemy"(6.6).

Therefore, one can conclude that something needs to be done with the mind’s health to overcome problems, like worries and anxieties. For this, a person needs to understand the true nature of his mind. Arjuna describes : “The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind" (6.34). One can understand from this verse the degree of difficulty involved in being able to control one's mind. However, Lord Krishna shows the way, "O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and detachment" (6.35).

Detachment, which the Lord refers to here, is easy to understand. It pertains to detaching oneself from excessive material obsession. Since rampant materialism is the prime reason for mental stress, moving away from this would surely help. In human body, mind is placed below intelligence and soul. Again we learn from the Geeta : “The working senses are superior to dull matter ; mind is higher than the senses ; and intelligence is still higher than the mind" (3.42). Therefore, the soul needs active help from the intelligence. However, intelligence which is material is no match for one's mind ; one needs real intelligence, that is, spiritual intelligence to lead a peaceful life. This intelligence can be obtained by following spiritual practices referred to by Lord Krishna in text no. 6.35 mentioned earlier. Lord Krishna has given detailed instructions in the Geeta about these spiritual practices and one needs to follow them in right earnest to be able to control one’s wayward mind.

And this is confirmed in the Geeta : "One should steady the mind by deliberate spiritual intelligence and, thus, by spiritual strength conquer this insatiable enemy known as lust" (3.43). Some of these practices are listening to spiritual discourses, chanting holy names, selfless service, being thankful to the Lord, etc. These practices are easy to perform and very effective. The teachings of the Geeta are faultless. One need not experiment with one's life ; one should diligently follow God's instructions for achieving sure success.
  Designed and Developed by: