Chapter 111 — The Necessity to Control the Heart & Mind

Vasishta continued:—

Now listen to what I will tell you is the best remedy to heal the disease of the heart. It is within one’s own power and harmless and a sweet potion to taste.

It is by your own exertion of your own consciousness and by diligent renunciation of the best objects of your desire that you can bring back your unmanageable mind under your control. He who remains at rest by giving up the objects of his desire is truly the conqueror of his mind which is reduced under his subjection like an elephant lacking its tusks. The mind is to be carefully treated like a patient with prescriptions of reason and by discriminating truth from untruth, just as we distinguish a good diet from what is injurious. Mold your heated imagination by cool reasoning, by precepts of the scriptures, and by association with the dispassionate, as they do heated iron with a cold hammer.

Like a boy who suffers no pain turning himself this way and that in his play, so it is not difficult to turn the mind from one thing to another at pleasure. Employ your mind to acts of goodness by the light of your understanding and join your soul to the meditation of God by light of your spirit.

The renunciation of a highly desirable object is within the power of one who resigns himself to the Divine Will. Therefore, it is a shame to that worm of human being who finds this teaching difficult to practice. He who in his understanding can take the unpleasant for the pleasurable may with ease subdue his mind, like a giant by his might overcomes a boy. 10 It is possible to govern the mind by one’s attention and effort, like controlling a horse. When the mind is brought still, it is easy to enter into divine knowledge.

11 Shame on that jackass man who does not have the power to subdue his restless mind. It is entirely under his own control and he can easily govern it. 12 No one can reach the best course of his life without tranquility of his mind. This is to be acquired by means of his own effort to get rid of the fond objects of his desire. 13 By destroying the mind’s appetites and through reason and knowledge of truth, one can have his absolute dominion over the mind without any change or rival in it.

14 The precepts of a teacher, the instructions of the scriptures, the efficacy of mantras, and the force of arguments are all trifles like bits of straw if the mind is not calm. Calmness can be gained by renouncing our desires and knowledge of truth. 15 Only when all the desires of the mind are cut off by the weapon of indifference to all worldly things can the one all-pervading quiescent Brahman be known. 16 All men’s bodily pains are quite at an end as soon as the mind is at rest, after the removal of mental anxieties by means of true knowledge.

17 Many persons turn their minds away from mindfulness by too much trust in their efforts and imagined expectations, and disregarding the power of destiny that rules over all human efforts.

18 The mind when is becomes long practiced in its highest duty, the cultivation of divine knowledge, becomes extinct in consciousness and is elevated to its higher state of intellectual form. 19 Join yourself first to your intellectual or abstract thoughts, and then to your spiritual speculations. Then, being the master of your mind, contemplate on the nature of the Supreme Soul. 20 Thus relying on your own efforts and converting the conscious mind to its state of detached unconsciousness, you can attain that highest state of stability that knows no decay or destruction.

21 It is by your efforts and fixed attention, O Rama, that you can correct the errors of your mind, just like one gets over his wrong perceptions of mistaking one thing for another. 22 Calmness of mind dispels anxiety. A man who is able to subdue his mind doesn’t care a fig for his subjection of the world under him. 23 Worldly possessions are attended with strife and warfare. The enjoyments of heaven also have their rise and fall. But in the improvement of one’s own mind and nature, there is no contention with anyone or any obstruction of any kind.

24 Those who cannot manage to keep their minds under proper control find it hard to manage their affairs well. 25 The thought of being dead and being born again as a man continually occupy the minds of the ignorant with the idea of their ego. 26 Nobody is born here or dies at anytime. The mind conceives its birth and death and migration in other bodies and worlds. 27 It goes from here to another world, and there it appears in another form, or it is relieved from the encumbrance of flesh, which is called its liberation. Then where is this death and why fear to die?

28 Whether the mind wanders here or goes to another world with its earthly thoughts, it continues in the same state as before unless it is changed to another form by its attainment of liberation. 29 It is in vain that we are overwhelmed in sorrow upon the death of our brethren and dependents. We know it is the nature of the mind to be deluded from its state of pure consciousness to that of error. 30 It is repeatedly stated, both before and afterwards and in many other places (of this work), that there is no other means of obtaining true knowledge without subduing the mind. 31 I repeat the same lesson, that there is no way except by government of the unruly mind to come to the light of the truly real, clear and universal knowledge of the Supreme.

32 The mind destroyed, the soul attains its tranquility and the light of the intellect shines forth in the cavity of the heart. 33 Hold fast the discus of reason, and cut off the bias of your mind. Be sure that no disease will have the power to molest you if you can have the good sense to despise objects of pleasure that are attended by pain. 34 By lopping the members of the mind, you cut it off altogether. These members, the essence of the mind, are ego and selfishness.

Shun your sense that “It is I” and “These are mine.” 35 Without these feelings, the mind is cast down like a tree felled by the axe. It is dispersed like a scattered cloud from the autumn sky. 36 The mind is blown away by its lack of ego and selfishness, like a cloud by the winds.

37 It is dangerous to wage a war against winds, weapons, fire or water in order to obtain the objects of worldly desire, but there is no danger whatever in destroying the growing soft and tender desires of the mind. 38 What is good and what is not are well known for certain, even to children. Therefore employ your mind to what is good, as they train children in the paths of goodness.

39 Our minds are as stubborn and indomitable as ferocious lions of the forest. They are true victors who have conquered these and are thereby entitled to salvation. 40 Our desires, with their unsatisfied thirst after monetary gain, are like fierce lions. Desires lead us to dangers and are as delusive as the mirage of the desert.

41 The man without desires cares for nothing: whether the winds howl with the fury of storms, or the seas break their bounds, or the twelve suns (of the Zodiac) rise at once to burn the universe. 42 The mind is the root that grows the plants of our good and evil and all our happiness and sorrow. The mind is the tree of the world, and all peoples are like its branches and leaves. 43 One who has freed his mind from its desires prospers everywhere. He who lives in the dominion of detachment rests in his heavenly joy. 44 The more we curb the desires of our minds, the greater we feel our inward happiness. Like the fire being extinguished, we find ourselves cooled from its heat.

45 Should the mind long for millions of worldly mansions in its highest ambition, it is sure to have them spread out to view within the minute particle of its own essence. 46 Opulence in expectancy is full of anxiety to the mind. When gained, the expected wealth is no less troublesome to the mind. But the treasure of contentment is filled with lasting peace of mind. Therefore, be victorious over your greedy mind by abandonment of all your desires.

47 With the highly holy virtue of your un-mindfulness, and with the even-mindedness of those who have known the Divine Spirit, and also with the subdued, moderated and defeated yearnings of your heart, make the state of the uncreated One as your own.