Free your Mind

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

When the relationship between guru and disciple is established, the only thing that is expected of the disciple is that he free his mind. Making the mind free is difficult to explain. The mind is always engaged on the sensory, mental, emotional or deeper planes, and often we don’t even know what holds our mind.

Have a free mind

Every thought of the past, present or future, every association with pleasant and unpleasant, with a person or an object, should be separated from the mind. None of these things should hold our awareness. When the mind becomes free from these involvements, then it expresses itself as a powerful force in the form of an experience, vision, light or revelation. This is precisely what I expect from my disciples.

Two thousand years ago, when the disciples of Christ carried his teachings from continent to continent, who were they? They were the people with a free mind, and that is why they could illumine the minds of people and distribute healing energy to the sick. And this is what I expect from you.

You may be able to work in the ashram or outside as a very good yoga teacher, but this is a gross and simple quality of a disciple. There will always be better teachers than you, just as many people have grown to be better teachers than me. They have better power of expression, and they can speak and sing better than I can.

If you are not learned, I don’t care. If you have not read spiritual books, I don’t mind. Even if you do not have a good power of expression, it doesn’t matter. You have a mind, and you have a body and senses, and you have knowledge of the objects of pleasure and pain. And from time to time you will be drawn to pleasant things and you will withdraw from unpleasant things. This does not matter; it is the natural and habitual behaviour of the mind, body and senses. However, it should not arrest the free expression of the mind.

The mind should remain free whether you live amidst pleasure or pain, wealth or poverty, young people or old. The mind must not identify itself with the external circumstances and think, “I am poor,” “I am rich,” “I am in pain,” or “I am very unfortunate.” As sannyasins, we live a life of poverty by choice. Why? Because our minds must be free. Wealth, name, fame and passion hold down this great energy of man.

The disciples, particularly the younger sannyasins, should understand that they have not undertaken this particular way of life just to represent a particular sect or order. We are trying to simplify our lives on the physical, mental and emotional planes so the mind will remain free. If we can keep the mind free, awakening will take place automatically, even without any sadhana. This is a simple and scientific principle.

Have a pure mind

You know what happens in physics? You take matter and you disintegrate it. In the beginning it is a composition of many elements, but when you separate those elements from the matter, what remains is energy. Today, it is called nuclear energy. Energy is always present in matter, but it is dormant and invisible. If you take a handful of uranium or plutonium, you can’t see anything but a handful of sand. You cannot see or perceive it, but there is energy hidden in the gross matter. Just as a scientist removes those elements, one by one, and finally liberates energy, in the same way, when the mind is freed from the tattwas, or elements, then it becomes a power.

Every disciple must awaken this energy and then move amongst the people, giving them whatever help they need, whether it is healing, peace of mind or spiritual illumination. This energy is untapped in man. It is in everybody and at any time it can come out. Sannyasa, the discipleship in which you are ordained, facilitates this process. When this energy is at your disposal, you must be very careful not to misuse it, either consciously or unconsciously. If you have a revolver it can kill either a friend or a villain. It depends on what is in the mind. Therefore, it is of utmost importance that the mind is purified. That is the second thing I expect from my disciples.

If this energy wakes up, then, with an impure mind which is withdrawn or filled with anger, prejudices, passions, hatred, jealousy, greed and likes and dislikes, one will do more harm than good. Whatever the situation may be, the disciple should be very calm and quiet within himself. Even if he is being choked or punished he should still have peace of mind, equal vision, total humility, no hatred and no sense of revenge or defence. A calm, quiet and serene disciple, filled with understanding and compassion for all, is ready to use his awakened power for the good of humanity.

Today you are very few, because we only started our work a few years ago, but I am certain that in a short time, my disciples are going to be the guiding stars of the whole of humanity. The signs are very clear. Therefore, I expect two things from my disciples: a free mind and a mind that is pure.

—13 January 1980, Satyananda Ashram Mangrove Mountain, Australia, published in Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati Vol. 2