Mind management is essential if any is to achieve anything in life. One can only be a child for so long; seeking and grasping the objects of desire to not lead to human flourishing. Scientists and observers of human progress tell that delay of gratification produces personal self discipline and the achievements of the goals of life. Here, we share the writing of one who walks his talk, Sri Narasimhamurthy, formerly Warden of the Brindavan Hostel, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
ABCD of Mind Management
Sri Sathya Sai Baba replied, “Yes, for you, you have Sai. You will pray to Him and get any work done by Him. But whom shall I call? I have no Sai. I am anath!“
This statement throws revealing light on the working of the Avatar. He does not use His immense powers for Himself or for His work. He lives and works like a human for all practical purposes. He sets an ideal example for mankind to follow. All His powers are utilised totally selflessly for the sake of others. Pure, selfless and infinite love is His hallmark. The path of the Avatar is the path of true love or Prema Yoga. Nay, His life is itself Prema Yoga!
(Source: Sri Sathya Sai Divya Kripasraya, p214)
Guidelines for Mind Control
Sri B.N. Narasimha Murthy, Warden of the Hostel, Sri Sathya Sai Institute of Higher Learning, Brindavan Campus has written of the activities and disciplines which he followed during his life.
These disciplines and practices Sri Narasimha Murthy took up as a young man, whilst teaching at the Loka Seva Vrinda, in Alike and Muddenahalli, when he was a member of staff of this institution. He has continued these disciplines during his service as Warden of the Hostel at Prashanti Nilayam and Brindavan. In the epilogue to his autobiography, Sri Sathya Sai Divya Kripasraya (Under the Umbrella of Divine Grace of Sathya Sai), Narasimha Murthy offers these words for spiritual seekers, especially the youth among them:
- A healthy and strong body is important for spiritual progress. One has to build up the body and maintain it well with regular exercises, healthy eating habits and by avoiding any bad habits that may weaken the body. All habits that weaken the body will weaken the mind also.
- Moderation in food, sleep and activity helps one progress on the path. Extremes should be always avoided. ‘Middle path’ is the golden mean in one’s life.
- Sense control is not repression of the senses; it is the capacity to utilise the senses in right activity in a desirable way that helps one’s progress. Getting immersed in any beneficial work is a good way to control the senses.
- Developing and intensifying one’s feeling of devotion to God is most important for anyone. Seeking out a lonely place and crying for God at least once in a day is the best catalyst on the path. Constant namasmarana and prayer are very helpful even if there is no emotion backing the act. Doing namasmarana and prayer constantly, even mechanically is better than not doing them at all. Of course, the best way is to do it with deep feeling of devotion.
- Study of the lives of great devotees and saints, listening to devotional music and spending some time on the lap of nature enjoying the beauty of creation help in intensifying one’s devotion.
- Swami says, “Where there is faith, there is love. Where there is love, there is peace. Where there is peace, there is bliss. Where there is bliss, there is God.” This is the simplest formula for one’s spiritual progress. Strong faith is the foundation of spiritual life.
- The best way to get rid of any desire is to replace it with a higher desire. The decision as to which is lower and which is higher depends on one’s stage of evolution. For example, the desire to have a good-looking body is a higher desire for a drug addict where as it is not so for a serious aspirant. Similarly, any worldly ambition may spur on a young man to get over bad habits but such an ambition will come in the way of earnest spiritual pursuit. Of course, the highest desire is the desire for God and ultimately one has to replace all other desires with desire for God.
- The best way to control the mind is to keep it happy. Despair and despondency have to be always avoided. There is no doubt that only intense spiritual happiness can purge the mind of its obsession with sensual cravings. But it is not possible for a beginner to keep the mind at the highest level all the time. There are five sources of happiness for human beings, the lowest being indulgence in sensual pleasures and the highest being experience of the Self. In between these two, there are three more sources of happiness for man. The first among them is the higher physical happiness derived out of physical culture, sports, athletics and games. The second is the emotional happiness, which comes out of study of good literature, enjoying the beauty of Nature or listening to good music. To love others and being loved by others ensures great emotional happiness. Getting absorbed in creative activity also gives deep emotional happiness. The third is the intellectual happiness, which comes from serious pursuit of study and research in subjects like philosophy, science, mathematics, commerce, history or any subject of one’s interest. Also there are some simple and harmless hobbies and pleasures that keep the mind away from sadness and despair. But ultimately one has to learn the techniques of deriving spiritual joy for complete control of the mind.
- Generally people have many wrong notions as to how to assess one’s spiritual progress. But there are four interdependent yardsticks of true progress. We can call them the A, B, C, D of spiritual progress:
A – Awareness of inner joy and selfless love
B – Balance of mind or equanimity
C – Control of senses or Ceiling on desires
D – Dedication to the welfare of the world
May He lead us to the final beatitude of Oneness with Him!
Source: Sri Sathya Sai Divya Kripasraya, pp 333-336