Advaitam and Science

OM, Purnamata purnamitam purnat purnamutachyate, purnasya purnamataye purnamevavasishyate – Bri.Up V.i.1


                                               QUIETUDE OF THE MIND

Quietude of the mind is an important concept in Vedanta.  The nature of the mind is to create thoughts.  It is always turned external.  The doors of the mind are the sense organs.  The sense organs collect information from the external world and feed the mind with information.  The mind churns out thoughts based on it.  Even if the senses are closed, the mind churns out thoughts based on the previously collected information.  A part of the mind will work even in deep sleep.  Therefore, the mind of the person is always active.  When the mind is always active one cannot realize the truth.  The thoughts of a person always dominate over the truth.   The mind has to be made silent to realize the truth.

Different methods are used in different philosophies to make the mind silent.  The method of Pathanjali’s yoga uses the prana to control the mind.  Prana and the mind are closely related.  When we control the prana, the mind can be controlled.  Initially, the prana is controlled to control the thoughts.  In the Hatha yoga various yogic postures are practiced to control the thoughts.  Karma yoga reduces the thoughts to a large extent.  It makes a person free of desires and in that way controls the thoughts.  Bhakti yoga controls the thoughts by bhakti (devotion).  When our mind is devoted to Bhagavan the thoughts become streamed in one direction; and this reduces the unnecessary thoughts drastically.  Jnana yoga makes one understand the concept and by this way it helps one realize the truth.  When the truth is realized, the mind becomes automatically clam.  In the stillness of the mind the truth is automatically revealed.  Therefore, all the efforts in the path of self-realization are done to quite the mind.  If the mind is made still, then the self-reveals automatically.

 The desires, attachment and ego create thoughts in the mind.  All the philosophies give importance for unattachment (asangathva).  A person must understand the concept of ego.  Only then (asangathva) unattachment can be practiced.  It is the ahankara (ego, individual “I” consciousness) that separates us from the Universal Consciousness.  As soon as the ego is formed, the thoughts will be formed based on the individual consciousness.  Mainly the thoughts will be of ahankara (I consciousness) and mamakara (Mineness).  These types of thoughts continue to dominate our life.  The ego is formed due to maya and it continues to exist till one attains liberation.  To attain liberation, one has to cross over the thoughts.  To cross over thoughts, one has to practice unattachment and desireless nature.  So, all these are interconnected with one another.  When the ego exists, one cannot realize the truth. 

It is very important to practice to make the mind quite.  Normally, when we concentrate on one matter, the mind will be in the grasping mode and it will not create thoughts.  When it creates thoughts while we are concentrating on one matter, then our concentration is lost.  After the mind is out of the grasping mode, it will begin to create thoughts based on what it has grasped.  If the mind concentrates on bhakti or jnana, then even if it creates thoughts based on it, it will help the mind to calm down and be silent.  It will reduce the thoughts.  That is why Vedantist, give importance for Jnana.  When a person read the scripture, understand the concept and practice nidhidhyasana, then it will quite the mind gradually.  Prior to nidhidhyasana, one should practice shravana (hearing or reading scriptures), manana (analysing the scriptures).  Shravana and manana leads to nidhidhyasana, and nidhidhyasana leads to quietude of mind, and quietude of mind leads to self-realization.

One has to learn the scriptures and do self analysis, and cross over the thoughts to realize the Self.


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