The Mind of a Bhakta

There are two types of mind. The lower mind filled with passion and the higher mind filled with purity. There are two kinds of intellects: the worldly intellect and the pure intellect. There are two kinds of egoism, pure egoism which identifies itself with the divine, and the impure egoism, which identifies itself with the body. There are two kinds of thoughts: pure thought and impure thought. The pure thought pertains to God and the impure thought pertains to the body and the world. The lower mind creates impure thought, impure intellect and impure egoism. All these three form a vicious circle. The three work in co-operation. The pure mind and the impure mind move in diametrically opposite directions. The higher mind unifies, whereas the instinctive mind separates and divides.

The mind of a bhakta is the pure or sattwic mind. A pure mind likes solitude, silence, simple living, high thinking, study of spiritual books, philosophical discussions, concentration, and the company of sadhus and sannyasins. A stainless mind can be judged through one’s speech, face and eyes. Through these expressions, the opinion can be formed whether a person has a stainless mind or not. Higher desires, noble aspirations, lofty ideals, true spiritual feeling, mercy, sympathy, pure unselfish love, devotion, enquiry into the nature of the atman, inspiration, genius – all these come from the higher, pure, sattwic mind. The pure mind is Brahman itself. It is an embodiment of purity itself.

An impure or rajasic mind likes crowded cities, much conversation, luxurious life, low thinking, company of the opposite sex, reading romantic novels, eating dainty dishes and selfish activities. The instinctive mind is the lower, impure mind of passion and desire. The vast majority of persons have this instinctive mind only. Even the so-called civilized and educated persons live on the plane of the instinctive mind. Their senses are very sharp and acute, and they run after more refined things for their sense gratification. They identify themselves with the physical body and the senses. They have no idea of the subtle atman which is entirely distinct from the body and the senses. Their ‘I’ is the physical, gross body only, though they know that there is a mind.

A gross mind is absolutely unfit for the practice of bhakti. The substance of such a mind is callous and cannot vibrate properly to feel the presence of the divine. You can drive a nail into clay but not into stone. Before the practice of bhakti can really begin, the mind has to be purified by selfless service, japa, pranayama and various other spiritual practices.

The sattwic mind must be developed by annihilating the lower, impure, instinctive mind. The lower mind should be overcome by the higher mind. You will have to make them one, into one sattwic mind. It is through the sattwic mind that you will have to control the lower or instinctive mind of passion and emotion.  Santosha or contentment, shanti or peace, balance of mind, inner spiritual strength, fearlessness and absence of irritability are some of the signs of spiritual progress. It is only when one has acquired these attributes that the practice of bhakti truly begins.