Organization and Discipline

From On the Wings of the Swan, Volume VIII, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

People think that organization and discipline relate to external actions, but in reality, they reflect the state of the mind. Organization and discipline represent a balanced behaviour of mind. In order to know how balanced the mind is, just take a look at your own bedroom and you will discover that your room reflects your mind. If the clothes are thrown on the bed, if the plates are put on one side without any care, if the almirah has become a dumping place for your clothes and other items, then that shows the state of your own mind and mental character. If you are habituated to maintaining your room properly, it reflects a better mental character. So it is not a big thing for me to know somebody's mind and how they are; I simply have to look at their room, nothing more than that. I do not even have to talk to the person to know what they are like, I just look at their bags, how they pack things and the items they carry with them. If you look at that, you know what they are like, because mental behaviour, mental organization and discipline are always reflected in the outer behaviour.

Here is another example: it is a common thing that can happen to any one of us any time. You receive a plate full of five, six, seven different items of food, and each of those items looks tasty and palatable to you. Now, you look at all that and you feel so happy thinking, 'Oh, food of my liking has come finally and not the dry roti and the saltless dal', and in that moment of greedy elation you want to consume all the items together. You have a bit from here, a bit from there, a bit from here, a bit from there and the interesting part is that while you are picking up one thing your eyes are looking at something different and your thoughts are thinking about the third or fourth item that is on the plate. Try it one day and you will see what your behaviour is. That type of behaviour indicates blocks in the free flow of natural mental discipline, the state of mental organization. If I have to eat the same food I will eat one item first and enjoy it, then the second item, then the third, then the fourth, because I know that those items will not run away anywhere. I do not have to take a bite from each item in the first round. Why not enjoy one item to its fullest and then move on to the second item?

Now this is an example of how the mind, even in the normal little things, is so disorganized that it cannot make up its own mind. This reflects a lack of mental organization and inner discipline. Organization means first defining the priorities, then defining the sequence in which the work will be performed – defining the sequence for the expression of your creativity. This happens when you have attained some knowledge and awareness of your own mental states. For this reason, yoga begins with anushasana, observation and management of the arising mental behaviours. When the mind has been pacified then the outer environment is also organized spontaneously.

10 February 2008