How can we keep our mind steady amidst outer agitation and inner temptation?
From Ayushi Mataji
Can you please tell me how to keep mind steady and calm because our mind is driven by many factors beyond ones control and is subjected to evil which he never wants to do.Than we regret but krishna will not always forgive us.so how can we make our mind steady
Transcription by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Edited by – Sesa Vishnu Das
Question : can you tell how can we keep our mind steady and calm and steady when it is provoked by so many disturbing situations and it is prone to evil which one actually doesn’t want to do? We may regret afterwards but Krishna will not always forgive. What should we do in such a situation?
Answer: I am also in the same boat. We are all struggling with the mind. This struggle, although difficult it doesn’t have to be disheartening. Just like when we are in an ocean there are going to be waves and if you become disheartened by the presence of the waves then there is no hope for us. We have to accept the reality of the waves and when we become an expert in keeping our boat on track even amidst the waves. First is that unrealistic expectation of the mind will become calm overnight or by just short practice that is bound to be dashed. What creates disheartening is not the inability to control the mind; the disheartening is caused at the thought of the expectations. So if you don’t keep too high expectations and know that the mind is going to go up and down and I need to prepare to deal with it then we will be able to make realistic plans and execute those plans and achieve tangible success in controlling the mind. now as far as Krishna not forgiving our wrong doings, Krishna is always forgiving. If we sincerely repent and practice bhakti, Krishna will forgive. The important point is not whether Krishna forgives or not, the important point is that whether we become rectified or not? Krishna’s forgiveness is in what form? Whatever wrong doings we have done, Krishna may forgive us from the sinful reactions, aham tvam sarva papevyo moksha isyami ma sucha. The external sinful reactions may not come but the inner sinful mentality is still there. From that we have to battle and free ourselves. Again going back to the example of a boat in the ocean, if a boat is having more mass or it is anchored to something heavy then it’s likelihood of being shaken by the wave is much lesser. So similarly if we can anchor ourselves to something heavier than ourselves that helps us to stabilize ourselves and not get too affected by the waves. By waves I am referring to both the external and internal ups and downs that we face. The external circumstances that cause our mind to sometimes go toss in duality- happiness, distress, temptations, renunciation but also the inner temptations which may arise without any external cause also. Both can be referred to as waves. Either way the heaviest object, the best object we can connect with is Krishna. If we anchor our consciousness in Krishna then our vulnerability to the oscillations to the mind will become much lesser.
Now how do we anchor ourselves to Krishna? That we have to find how we can do it best. The yuga dharma for this age is chanting of the holy name. japa and kirtan both are extremely helpful. Definitely chanting the holy name on a regular basis as a meditation or as a prescribed meditation is very helpful in gradually purifying us. Definitely we can do our regular sadhana for that but along with that especially when our mind gets agitated we may not always be able to take shelter of the holy name. So we have to find which activity we get shelter in. For some of us it may be just hearing kirtans and singing kirtans. For some of us it may be just taking darshan of the deities. We can take darshan on our phone or on our computer or in the alter at home etc and we can calm our mind. or it may be in reciting verses. For some it may be in doing some specific devotional activity. Meeting some devotees or hearing from some class. We have to individually observe and improvise how best we can connect with Krishna. How we can anchor our consciousness to Krishna may vary according to person to person. Therefore we shouldn’t think that there is some stereotyped way of taking shelter of Krishna because if one particular way of taking shelter of Krishna doesn’t work at that particular time that simply means that our consciousness is not in the mood or not suited right now for that devotional activity. But there are other activities we can do by which we can still take shelter of Krishna and move on in our devotional life. so that way we can find out how we can take shelter of Krishna. That can be a ready shield and weapon, as a shield we protect ourselves from the temptations and agitations that trouble us and by the weapon we counter and drive them away. This is a slow process and if we keep practicing it then it becomes easier. Say if we are studying or working then by keeping ourselves around people who are not grossly materialistic at least, little studious or they have some ethics that also reduces temptations considerably and if we can keep ourselves in the devotee association then it is the best. So in this way by not having unrealistic expectations and by finding out how best we can anchor our consciousness to Krishna and by trying to place ourselves in a safe situation where we are less vulnerable to situations and practice, we can come gradually to a level of steadier and calmer mind and it is described that as the devotee becomes more and more purified then the mind becomes so calm like a lamp in a windless place.
yathä dépo niväta-stho
neìgate sopamä småtä
yuïjato yogam ätmanaù (BG 6.19)
He becomes very steady and focused. The wind refers here to the agitations that cause our mind to oscillate. Actually the fixed practice and the purification that happens by that, it actually removes the wind of agitation to become silent and die out. And then we can actually become much more expert at calming the mind and preventing the mind from getting disturbed at a fundamental level.