Sri Sathya Sai expounds on Tantra for Mind-Control – Part 2

… Continued from Part 1

Shanmukha Mudra: 

This is a very sacred exercise. It is also a very difficult one to practice. It consists in closing with the fingers of both the hands, the eyes, the ears and the two nostrils. By gradual practice, one should try to practice this Mudra for as long as seven minutes at a stretch. Inhaling of breath should be done once in seven minutes. Through regular practice, this form of sense control can become a habit. No discomfort will be felt from control of the breath. By this practice, all the sense organs and the mind get absorbed in exploring the internal. The purpose of this discipline is to turn the sense organs away from the influence of happenings and objects in the outer world. For instance, when the ears hear sounds from outside, the mind gets excited or pleased. Similarly when the eyes see certain objects or persons, the mind is influenced one way or the other. But by closing the eyes and the ears, the mind is induced to think less about the outer world and thereby made to achieve some kind of serenity. By closing the nostrils, the mind is saved from the influence of odours. Hence, when the organs of sight, hearing and smell are controlled, the mind is turned inwards. Today all our sense organs are totally absorbed in experiencing the external world. Listening to some gossip or hearing about some stranger, people develop an unhealthy curiosity regarding people and things.

Shanmukha Mudra

All our thoughts are influenced by what we see, hear or smell. We must try to control the sense organs, especially the ears and the eyes. When you close your eyes even for a brief moment, you will be able to hear the sound ‘Om’ coming from within you. This Pranava sound can be heard when you close all the doors and windows in a room and let the wind blow through a small gap. The body is like a house which contains the ten Indriyas (sense organs), of which four are important – the eyes, the ears, the nose and the mouth. When you close these four openings, the sound ‘Om’, which arises from within can be heard. It represents the primal sound - Nada Bindu. The light of the Atma shines beyond this primal sound. Hence the Divine is hailed as Nada Bindu Kalaateeta (One who transcends the range of the all-pervading Nada – the Pranava). The purpose of the Shanmukha Mudra is to reveal to us the vibrations of the ‘Om’. When we concentrate on this ‘Om’; the senses and the mind turn away from the external world to the inner world of the Spirit. Control of the mind is the means to Moksha (liberation). Purity of mind is the primary requisite. When the mind is free from bad thoughts and is filled with good thoughts it is called Chitta (consciousness). The Tamil saint Tiruthondar declared in one of his hymns: “Oh Rama! I am worshipping you with a pure mind!”

Saambhavi Mudra: 

This Mudra aims at controlling the 5 Karmendriyas (the 5 organs of action – the vocal organs, hands, feet, genitals and the anus), the 5 Jnanendriyas (the 5 organs of perception – eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin) and the 4 psychic agencies – Manas (mind), Buddhi (intellect), Chitta (consciousness) and Ahamkara (egoism/body consciousness). All these 14 elements have to be directed towards the spiritual quest. The Aham (‘I’) is sustained by Ahamkara, Chitta, Buddhi and Manas. When Ahamkara is destroyed, the Chitta becomes purified. A pure Chitta imparts illumination to the Buddhi (endowed with the power of discrimination). When the Buddhi is illumined, the mind becomes pure. Only a pure mind can control the sense organs and direct them on the right path. 

Knowledge has to be converted to Action

The ego may be inflated by any number of things. It may be wealth, knowledge, power, position, beauty or intelligence. Such self-conceit is invariably associated with bad traits. It indicates the dominance of the sense organs over one’s mind. Many are likely to feel proud about their knowledge or intellectual abilities. But knowledge and intelligence without character and good conduct have no value. Learning by rote what is contained in books, without fully understanding their meaning, and without putting the knowledge to practical use, is a futile verbal exercise. Information from books and intellectual ability do not constitute culture. A truly cultured person is one who understands what he studies and makes proper use of that knowledge.

As regards the knowledge of the Mudras referred to earlier, some may try to practice them. There is nothing wrong in doing so. The three Mudras - Khechari Mudra, Shanmukha Mudra and Saambhavi Mudra are of immense value in developing control of the mind. The practice of these Mudras is closely related to the awakening of the Sapta Chakras (the 7 centres) in the spinal column.

The quintessence of the teachings of the Upanishads, the Gita and Vedanta is control of the mind. The first step in the process is developing faith in God. Without genuine and deep faith in God, it is utterly useless to master all the 700 Shlokas in the Gita. It is simply a burden on the memory. Reciting the Vedas or ritual reading of the Puranas, dozens of times may be mental gymnastics, but are of little spiritual value. Reading or listening to stories about sages with superficial interest is valueless. It is only when they are studied with faith and earnestness that they can have an effect on our thoughts and actions. They will then cease to be mere stories and become sources of inspiration and solace for transforming our lives. 


You must develop self-reliance to face the problems of life with ability and fortitude. You must discharge your duties with devotion. You must draw the right lessons from the stories of the epics and the Puranas. Even while eating you reject bad food, you must reject bad thoughts and take in only good wholesome thoughts in the mind. Do not bear any ill-will towards those who may have done some harm to you. By returning evil for evil, how are you better than the other person? It is only when you do good even to the person who causes harm to you, that you can show your true nature. Be good, do good, see good, this is the way to Sai!

Source: Tantra for Mind-Control, Discourse 24, My Dear Students Volume 5, Divine Discourse delivered on July 31, 1986 at the Prasanthi Nilayam Campus Auditorium, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning

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