Make Your Mind Your Friend

Paramahamsa Vishwananda regularly reminds us of the importance of the Bhagavad Gita. Once a month we'll share insights into the Bhagavad Gita to help you learn and live its teachings. In today's post, we'll focus on Chapter 6, verse 18.

Mural Painting at Bhakti Marga Ashram

Written by: Swami Kanjalochana 

When the subdued mind rests in the Self alone, free from all material desire, one is said to be well established in yoga.

Bhagavad Gita, 6.18

Guruji is always talking about how to change the mind, how to transform it. If the mind is so restless, how would it be possible to develop bhakti? If the mind is uncontrolled and runs in all directions, chasing the never-ending stream of desires, how can we direct it towards God? Many people say, do bhakti! But, how to do it with that kind of mind? 

If the mind is full of desires for material pleasures, for ego-gratification, for creating a more comfortable throne for the pride to sit on, then it won’t have much pleasure in listening to the divine stories, to sing kirtans, to offer puja, to study the scriptures, to meditate and so on. You cannot fake bhakti

Guruji often reminds us to self-analyse. Why is it so important? If we don’t do the deep-cleaning, our mind will keep on creating the mental rubbish, weeds that will be even harder to uproot. Introspection will enable us to not only see what is there but to make space for God. God needs a well-prepared soil, a cultivated land on which He can grow divine thoughts. 

Either the mind needs to be exhausted to capitulate or convinced that divine thoughts are more fruitful than the existing worldly ones. Another method is to abandon it by setting it aside as much as possible. It is important to mention that abandoning doesn’t mean to kill it or suppress it in any way, as this may lead to unhelpful places. We have no power to destroy it and we should not. The mind has its purpose and it was given to us for a reason. 

The mind defeated by exhaustion, abandonment or conviction is thus ready for surrender. The word surrender is an unpleasant word for the ego-centred mind, but the mind is already a great expert in surrendering – to all kinds of selfish desires, sense objects, to the ego identity – and is very proud of one’s pedigree and held prisoner to its own self-created hypocrisy. 

The mind doesn’t need to be killed but transformed or redirected – from the ego-motivated desires to the highest divine aspirations. Thus the mind will become our greatest friend and cease to be the enemy. The mind will finally serve its original purpose to dwell on God and assist the Self in tracing its footprints back to Sriman Narayana. 

Therefore, thinking on God as much as we can, creating His image on our mind, calling on Him by repeating many of His names and feeling His presence in our hearts is very good practice. For that Guruji recommends om namo narayanaya as a moksha-mantra (liberating mantra). We are liberating our mind so that we can use it to dwell forever on God. It can offer unbroken eternal loving service to the Lord. 

When the mind is revolving around the Divine, we can truly be established in yoga – the unbroken divine communion with Sriman Narayana. That is what yoga really is. That is what bhakti actually is. Bhakti is not fantasising about the lilas of the Lord, but it is an actual meeting with Him. 

Guruji has said, 'When, through deep meditation, one has perceived the true reality, when one has perceived and attained this bliss through meditation on God; when God has revealed this supreme aspect of Himself within oneself, established therein, the soul can no longer fall away from the spiritual truth of its being. In this state, one perceives this oneness and the everlasting, imperishable joy and bliss emanating from God within oneself. One is God-realised, one is a true yogi and one is never disunited from God. When bliss awakens inside of you, it starts to consume you and it is forever. It will keep growing. There is not an end to that bliss…'