Mind Management

Why is the mind always turbulent?

The fire is hot, not cold. If it were cold, it would not be fire. We would say that it has died out. Water is liquid, not solid. If it solidifies, it is ice, not water. The wind blows because it is its nature to blow. The nature of fire is heat, and the nature of the mind is to be turbulent. If you force the mind, if you try to beat it into quietness, you will be admitted to a mental hospital. When people go crazy, display abnormal or imbalanced behaviour, it is because they tried to quieten the unquiet mind.

The mind is restless, what is new about that? I need to go to the toilet every day, what is new about that? I need to sleep every day, what is new about that? I feel hungry every day, what is new about that? The mind will be restless. If you want it to be peaceful, then find the other thing inside called atman, the self. Beyond the mind is another thing, the self. When the mind moves, the self moves; the restlessness of the mind creates restlessness in the self in the same way as the flag of Hanuman moves with the movement of the wind. It is not the nature of the flag to move; the nature of the flag is to be absolutely still. The wind moves it. The atman is within you. The only way to quieten the mind is through devotion to God and selfless work.

Asana and pranayama remove disease. Pratyahara is hypnotism. These are not permanent solutions, they are temporary aids. The permanent solution is: engage your whole mind in God. The whole mind, not half the mind. Engaging the whole mind in God is bhakti, engaging the whole mind in the world is asakti. Prayer and worship are also bhakti, ringing bells and applying sandalwood paste is also bhakti, wearing a tuft and the sacred thread is also bhakti, but these are inferior forms of bhakti. Superior bhakti is immersing your mind in God. If you immerse your mind in God, you will not ask such questions. One whose mind is absorbed in God experiences such bliss that he does not care for the lack of money or bodily illness. How can his mind be restless? It cannot be.

When people experience distress, what do they do? They get drunk. They do that because it feels good, they experience bliss, and in that bliss they forget their sorrows and pain. They forget their losses, they forget that their wife divorced them. Whatever sorrow they have, they forget it. When a small bottle of alcohol can make a man forget his sorrows, what will God’s name do? It is the biggest intoxicant! The effect of alcohol wears off the next day, but the intoxication of God’s name does not go down. One who experiences that high never comes down. Once you are drunk with God, that drunkenness will never leave you. It never left Mirabai. It never left Anandamai Ma. It never left Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. How many people should we name?

Peele peele Hari ke naam kaa pyaalaa
Isako peekara aura pilaakara
Banajaa tu matawaalaa

Drink, drink the peg of God’s name
By drinking it and making others drink it
Become intoxicated.

God’s name is super intoxication. When a person is drunk, all the sorrows of the world due to which the mind becomes restless are left behind. The mind becomes restless due to desire, anger, greed, attachment. But once you experience bhakti, these things do not enter the mind. If someone wants to abuse us, they can; if someone dies, they can die; someone wants to live, they can live. In brief, this is the method. All saints have said this.

The other method is selfless work. Usually, whatever you do, you do for yourself and not for other people. And if you must do something for others, you do it with half a mind. The way you people perform karma yoga, you want the time to be up quickly. This is called disinterested service. I do not call karma yoga selfless service; I am calling it disinterested service. You have no interest yet you are doing it. I see this every day. I have been watching karma yoga from the time of our Guruji. I was also a karma yogi. But now I have become a drashta, witness. It is very hard to do something for someone else. When you perform a task for someone else, your interest goes down. However, when a person performs a task with the same interest, involvement and honesty for someone else as he would for himself, it is called selfless work. So in Kali yuga, there are only two ways to find peace: bhakti and selfless work.

What spiritual method should we follow to make the householder life happy and blissful?

Dukha darda museebata kee duniyaan mein aramaan tarapte rahate hain
Kuchh tu saha le kuchh main saha loon, yaha jaga chaara ghadee kaa melaa hai

In the world of sorrow, pain and trouble, desires go on erupting. Bear with all, this world is a festival that lasts for a very short time.

To live with joy in the world, every person should have patience. They should have elevated emotions. A person with elevated emotions can live happily anywhere in the world. Wherever you go in the world you will find joy as well as sorrow.

How can we undo defamation of character? Will penance of some kind be effective?

You do not need to do any penance for this. An elephant should go on walking, let the dogs bark. Every person in this world has to face criticism and abuse. No one can remain untainted by them. Mahatma Gandhi tried to live his life so appropriately, but he wasn’t free of criticism. His character was vilified by certain writers and there was no dearth of people who believed them. If you start punishing yourself for every negative thing that is said about you – “I will not eat for two days, I will keep a fast” – you will die!

Kaajala kee kotharee mein koee sayaano jaaye daag lagee hai.

This is a chamber of kohl. You cannot remain unmarked if you walk in here.

A person should only try to live his life well. If people say things, let them. It does not matter.

I have come to an understanding which is very important. People talk for their own sake. When someone indulges in criticism, they do it for their own satisfaction. Why do you listen to them? That which is true is true, and that which is not true, is not true. Know this: no man in this world has been able to live free of criticism, not even the saints and sages. Everyone has been criticized. If you bow your head before criticism, your personality will become dissipated and broken.

If one contemplated on criticism and tried to change oneself, would one experience a sense of inferiority?

The first thing about criticism is that you should not care for it. And if you change yourself going by someone else’s words, you will create problems for yourself. A person should not change himself going by another’s judgement. Why should we do so? Is he our guru? If you try to move a little to the left, a little to the right every time someone says something to you, you will always be swaying. You must understand this well that there isn’t a dearth of people in this world who will criticize you and praise you, within your home and outside. If you go on measuring yourself according to what they say, your trousers will one day turn into shorts, then underwear, and then not even that. However, if a saint or a good person tells you, “Son, you are doing something wrong, don’t do it,” then you may say, “Yes Guruji, we will change ourselves.”

We must certainly listen to the advice of the wise and the good. If our mother or father is wise, we should listen to them as well. But if the father is a smoker and an alcoholic yet wants to receive the respect that is due to a father, it is not possible. Instead, the son will have to tell the father what to do. Unless the one who criticizes is walking the right path, you should not listen to him. The one who is going on the wrong path cannot tell you the right thing. He criticizes you because it is his habit. He enjoys indulging in criticism just as some people like a lot of salt in their daal. People criticize saints, prophets, avataras and ordinary people. Why should you be left alone? To endure criticism is also a power.

—30 April, 2000