3. Watch Your Thoughts:
Ancient Indian scriptures declare: ‘Mana Eva Manushyanaam Kaaranam Bandha Mokshayoh’, one’s mind alone is the cause of both one’s bondage and one’s liberation from delusion. Baba also adds that mind is nothing but a bundle of thoughts. Our thoughts are the cotton; the desires they mould are the threads; the intermingling and the interaction of these desires is the cloth, made out of warp and woof. When the threads (desires) are removed one by one, the cloth (mind) disappears.[i] As put by Maxwell Maltz in his work Psycho-Cybernetics, “It is no exaggeration to say that every human being is hypnotised to some extent, either by ideas one has uncritically accepted from others, or ideas one has repeated to oneself or convinced oneself as true”.
Krishna’s Concern For People With Pure Thoughts: A Story
|Message of the Bhagavad Gita|
Dhyana is not mere sitting erect and being silent. Nor is it the absence of any movement. It is the merging of all one’s thoughts and feelings with God. Without the mind dissolving in God, Dhyana cannot succeed. The Gita declares genuine Dhyana as ‘Ananyaaschintayantomaam Ye Janah Paryupaasate’ [Those persons who adore Me (God) without any other thought or feeling]. Krishna has assured such persons that He would Himself carry their burden and be by their side, guiding and guarding them. Persons adept in this Dhyana are very rare. Most people go through the external exercises only. Therefore, they are unable to earn the grace of God. Why does Lord Krishna attract all to His Presence? To plough the heart, prepare it for receiving the shower of Grace, to grow the seeds of Love, weed it of all evil thoughts that smother the crops of joy, and enable it to gather the harvest of wisdom. That wisdom finds its fulfilment in Krishna Himself, for Krishna also means pure essence, the Supreme Principle, the Sat-Chit-Ananda.
It is the mind, which directs the brain and the nervous system (referred to as ‘servo-mechanism’ in the parlance of Psycho-Cybernetics), that determines the self-image of an individual. Self-image is a foundation upon which a person’s entire personality, behaviour and circumstances are formed. Thoughts (which are continuously repeated over a period) form one’s self-image, and influence the behaviour of an individual in a sub-conscious manner. Therefore, if thoughts are positive, the self-image will be positive, and if they are negative, the self-image will be negative, resulting accordingly in either positive or negative behaviour. As such, it is very important for all those interested in personality development to take care of ‘thoughts’ at the first instance. It is said that the rate of thoughts changes in proportion to the rate of breathing: inhalation and exhalation. It can be noticed at a particular moment, if a person is thinking intensely, as the rate of breathing gets accelerated at such a time. If one wishes to have some sort of regulation of thoughts, then one should regulate the process of breathing through regular practice of ‘Pranaayama’, which is the fourth of the eight steps of Ashtanga Yoga [ii] (eight-fold path) propounded by Sage Patanjali.
Your Thoughts Affect The Food You Cook: A Story
To purify the mind and the intellect for the correct reflection of the truth, the first caution is with regard to food. This is a very serious matter for Sadhakas (spiritual aspirants). There lived in Mallur, Mysore State, a pious Brahmin who was a great scholar. He had an equally pious wife. He was always intent on Puja (worship), Japa (repetition of a Mantra or the name of the chosen deity), Dhyana (meditation), etc., and was known everywhere for his virtuous character. One day, a Sanyasi called Nityananda came to his door seeking alms. Seeing him, he was happy beyond measure. He invited the monk to take dinner with him the next day so that he might honour him with due hospitality. He hung green festoons over his doors and made elaborate arrangements for the reception. However, at the last minute, physical impurity rendered his wife unfit to prepare food for the honoured guest or for anyone else. A neighbour volunteered to cook the meal and she was brought in and introduced into the kitchen. Everything went off well and all were happy. Only the Sanyasin during meals, was overcome by an overpowering desire to steal the silver cup, which the host had placed near the plate. In spite of his best efforts, the evil idea won and the Sanyasin hurried to his abode with the cup hidden in the folds of his robe. He could not sleep that night, for his conscience pricked him so. He felt he had brought disgrace to his Guru and to the Rishis whom he invoked by the Mantras he recited. He could not sleep until he ran back into the Brahmin’s house and, falling at his feet, restored the article with tears of repentance trickling down his cheeks. Everyone wondered how such a saint could stoop so low. Then someone suggested that the person who cooked the food transmitted the fault to the food the saint ate. When they examined the past of the neighbour, they found that she was an irrepressible thief! The thieving tendency had, by subtle contact, affected the food she prepared. This is the reason why Sadhakas are advised to live on fruits and tubers only when they reach a certain stage of spiritual achievement.
[i] “Thoughts ever rise and subside as ripples on the surface of water. You have to look at the mass of water, not merely at the ripples. Similarly, the Atman ever dwells in peace; but man fails to realise this, and remains ever absorbed in the vacillations of the mind. Nityavadhan (constant vigilance) is needed to ignore the waves and watch the water. Restlessness is but the rise and fall of the wave on the ocean that you are.”
[ii] Ashtanga Yoga is concerned principally with the cultivation of the mind using meditation (Dhyana) to further one’s acquaintance with reality and finally achieve liberation. It was first described in the Yoga Sutras of Sage Patanjali, and forms part of the six Indian Systems of Philosophy (Shad Darshanas).
Continued to Part 5
Continued to Part 5
Source: WATCH Method of Transformational Leadership, Chapter 23, Man Management: A Values-Based Management Perspective