Pure Mind

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

It is not easy to have a pure mind. I will say it is very difficult to have a pure mind. When you dig a lot of minerals from the earth which contain gold, the gold is not pure gold. It is mixed, so the mineral has to undergo a chemical process, and finally the gold is extracted. In the same way, everyone’s mind is full with garbage, so you have to put your mind through a chemical process. That chemical process is spiritual life.

Spiritual life consists of spiritual thinking and spiritual practices, like visiting the places of pilgrimage, going to sacred places, where you have high energy, then going to ashrams to meditate for a few days. Then at home, you have your daily morning and evening prayer, take care of your food, and then you also have a philosophy of Life. After all you have to work in a shop or factory or in college or whatever – you must have a philosophy of karma, a philosophy of work. Why do you live? What is the purpose of Life?

These things are the chemical processes through which the mind has to pass. There comes a time when the mind becomes pure like the full moon. I think the most important thing in life is to have a pure mind. It is a central point. Of all the religions, whether Christianity, Islam, Hinduism or Buddhism or any religion, purity of the mind is the first step.

But you have to understand what mind is. We have never seen the mind. We have only seen the behaviour of the mind, the passion and jealousy. That is all we have seen, but then what is the mind? How does the mind produce these impure thoughts? The mind which likes to think of good things is the same mind which thinks bad things. This means that the mind has double behaviour: one part of the mind is pure, one part of the mind is impure. One part of the mind likes holy things, another part of the mind likes unholy things. Now how to deal with this? Very difficult.

In India we believe that gradually, step by step, year by year, you should try to improve the quality of your feelings. It cannot happen very fast. Therefore, the whole life must be divided into four areas: the first area is when you are studying and learning, the second area is when you are a householder, when you have family, duties and responsibility. The third area is when you start contemplating higher things, not the daily life of the family but something else. Then finally, you should separate yourself from every karma, and live alone in your mind. Life has to be planned this way.

23 December 1997, Rikhiapeeth, India