The Garden of Your Heart

Swami Sivananda Saraswati

The mind is like a garden. Just as you can cultivate good flowers and fruits in a garden by ploughing and fertilizing the land and removing the weeds and thorns and watering the plants and trees, in the same way you can cultivate the flower of devotion in the garden of your heart by removing the impurities of the mind such as lust, anger, greed, delusion, pride, and watering it with divine thoughts.

Weeds and thorns grow in the rainy season and disappear in summer, but their seeds remain underneath the ground. As soon as there is a shower of rain, the seeds again germinate and sprout. In the same way, the vrittis or modifications of the mind manifest on the surface of the conscious mind, then disappear and assume a subtle seed state in the form of samskaras or impressions, and again become vrittis either through internal or external stimulus.

When the garden is clean, when there are no weeds and thorns, you can obtain good flowers and fruits. So also when the heart and the mind are pure, you can have the fruit of good deep meditation. The mind becomes impure if it is not kept clean by the regular practice of meditation. Therefore, cleanse the mind of impurities first.

Pierce through the steel armour of biased thoughts and try to see the divinity in every object. With each divine thought, the mind rends the thin rinds of the visible and finite and comes out into eternity.

Your destiny is mapped out by your thoughts. You have only as much power as you imagine you have. The limit of your thought is the limit of your possibilities. Your circumstances and environments are the materialization of your thoughts. Whatever thought you cherish will be ultimately realized.

The mind is a mischievous imp. It is like a jumping monkey. It must be disciplined daily. Only then will it gradually come under your control. It is only by the practical training of your mind that you can encourage good thoughts and actions to arise, and sustain good thoughts and actions when they have arisen.

Thought is a good servant. It is an instrument. Utilize it tactfully and properly. The prime requisite for happiness is control over the thoughts. Your thought is imprinted over your face; thought is a bridge that connects the human with the Divine.

Drive away from your mind all unnecessary, useless and obnoxious thoughts. Useless thoughts impede your spiritual growth; obnoxious thoughts are stumbling blocks to spiritual advancement. Useful thoughts are stepping-stones to spiritual growth and progress.

Send out a steady stream of thought and goodwill to all creation. The energizing motive behind every thought should be service and friendliness.