Beyond the Mind

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

You must observe your desires and the source from which they arise. After all, to put an end to something you have to know where it resides, what it looks like, how it behaves and how it occurs. The root of desire is attachment, which springs from raga, or intense liking. The opposite of raga is dwesha, or intense dislike. Although they appear opposite, raga and dwesha are actually two sides of the same coin. They always co-exist together. Where one exists, you are sure to find the other.

Focus on desire

Raga is one of the powers of maya which limits the power of icchashakti, or willpower, by creating intense attachment and repulsion, thus giving rise to increasing discontentment. Maya is the veiling power of unified consciousness, which springs into action during the course of evolution from spirit to matter and becomes the cause for the notion of duality and difference in unity. Once you realize that desire keeps you in bondage, you can set about uprooting it from its very source.

However, that is easier said than done because desires spring from the storehouse of past impressions which you carry with you in the form of samskaras, or archetypes. The storehouse for these samskaras is the subconscious and unconscious realms of the mind, and it is difficult to know what lies there unless you can delve into those spheres. Even if you come to know what lies down there by some quirk of fate, and you do not like what you see, how are you going to eliminate it?

Until and unless these samskaras are rooted out, one remains on the periphery without ever entering the spiritual dimension. So the answer lies in focusing on the desire itself. Practise dharana on the desires which arise from the subconscious and unconscious in a flash. Gradually, through concentration and focus on the desire itself, you will be able to put an end to it. This will take you to the source of the desire, which is the unified consciousness beyond the mind.

The exceptional mind

To distinguish between friend and enemy or honour and dishonour is the quality of the ordinary mind and the average person. But exceptional minds experience equality in all beings and in all acts, whether they are beneficial or detrimental, pleasant or unpleasant. This means that such a mind has surpassed the influence of raga and dwesha, like and dislike, and experiences everything and everybody as a receptacle of that all-pervading Brahman.

This realization leads to the ultimate happiness because one experiences eternity. The notion of death is replaced with the firm conviction that, although the body ultimately decomposes, there exists within it the tattwa known as atman, or self, which is immortal. Each individual atman is connected to every other, as well as to the universal atman.

This understanding results in completeness, wholeness and happiness, because the very cause of unhappiness is the belief that you are mortal and subject to death and decay. But once you experience the immortal atman which resides within, all unhappiness, fear and apprehension will be eradicated.

Published in Vigyan Bhairava Tantra