Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


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The Inner Battle

Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

We are now undertaking basic technical discourse on Vedanta. The text forming the basis of these posts is 'Kindle Life'. Please do reread previous posts using the labels 'Workings-days' or 'Kindle Life'.

How has the Gaayatri practice been going? Short and regular practice is likely to yield greater result than every now and then at length. A daily dose of ten minutes will begin to imprint the mantra.  Indeed, one of the common remarks made by those who make such a commitment is that they find the mantra/s somehow always playing in the 'background' of their mind… this is good, this is japa!

We now enter chapter 29 of Kindle Life which, whilst it is not the last chapter in the book, (the others spread out over other posts - remember to use the relevant label to read the whole), has been left till last here as it deals with something with which we are all familiar.

Chapter 29: AT WAR WITH MIND.

The technique of japa lies in engaging the mind totally in a self-repeated sound, having a very subtle and profound philosophical significance. After a time, when the mind is fully engrossed in it, we will then cease from it, withdrawing the mind from a sole occupation and back into daily mode. With each practice, the theory is, that the mind wishes to linger longer and longer in the state of japa, wishing to experience 'the silence of the heart'.

However, in fact, with the practice many experience (regardless of technique and wisdom propounded) there are hurdles. The mind wanders even when deep in japa. To gather the mind and to hold it as an integrated whole at the point of meditation calls for a painful and difficult strategy. This inner struggle is really the battle of the Mahaabhaarata (in the section which is separately called the Bhagavad Gita); and it is an eternal one.  This struggle is the price that we must pay for the eternal reward of liberation.

Mind, we have seen, is a product of the impressions we have gathered so far in all our lives, from the beginning 'time' until now. In all our incarnations, we have been living, moment to moment, endless experiences and each such lived moment could not have but left a few dots and dashes on our mental sheath.  Goaded by these impressions, an irresistible mind, wild and surging, drives our physical structure endlessly hither and thither. Tossed between them, we earn our agitations and feel shattered in our attempts at our meditations.  When the good and the bad meet face to face, there must be a field of tension and activity.  It is an eternal law.  We can never mentally get away from these two feelings and, as such, identifying with them, we suffer the consequent dissipation.

At one moment we are identifying with the call of the good in us - 'the soft small voice of the within' - and feel unhappy that, in spite of ourselves, we are tempted to act in contradiction to it.  At another moment, strangely, in spite of our darker inclinations, we succeed in doing good and from this feel elated. This tension between the light and dark (the Pandavas v. the Kauravas) within the bosom is ever there, for all seekers. All the scriptures in the world unanimously declare that ultimately the success belongs to the 'Arjunas' who have made the Lord Himself their 'charioteer'.

To the seeker who has given up his body-chariot entirely to the supreme control of the Divine Charioteer, even disasters may be turned to successes!

The challenge facing every meditator is the threat of the mind. The mind by its very nature is ever running into is own self-chosen, instinct-ploughed ruts (the vaasanas).  The seeker's attempt is to bundle up all the wasteful vaasanas and to make the waters of the mind run through one redefined channel, which will then irrigate the field of the divine within his or herself.  A thorough knowledge of the strategies of the mind and full control of ourselves by which we can hold the mind back to the point of concentration becomes absolutely essential, if we are to win ultimately in this subjective war against our lower-selves.

Next, we will see some recommendations of Gurudev for methods to begin taming the mind. They are not all to be employed at once but trying each one out, over a period of time, will enable each to find what works best for them. At different times, different methods may be required also, so paying attention to all initially ought to help you 'choose your weapon' with which to fight your own, individual battle.

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Hari OM
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