MIND acronym 1 – Magnifies the problem
Congregation Program at Alachua
MIND Acronym 1 – Magnifies the Problem
So today I welcome all of you to this talk on ‘Managing the Mind’s moods’.
I’ll talk this in 4 parts. Bases on acronym – M. I. N. D. How the mind acts on us? While explaining the practical action, ways in ways the mind acts on us, we also discuss some philosophical points about the mind.
‘M’ is the mind magnifies the problems. Whatever the problems we have Mind tends to magnify them.
‘I’ is my imagines’ pleasures.
‘N’ is it neglects opportunities.
And ‘D’ is it denies realities.
So let’s start with ‘M’ -Magnifies problems.
The world gives us work to do. The mind converts the work into a workload. That means most of us when we usually don’t have to do physical work. Suppose a porter was asked to lift up, say 20kg weight and that was what he was paid to do but he takes 10 more Kg weight and puts it on his head. If he is carrying with the hands, that would be the unnecessary burden. Now imagine the porter was supposed to carry 5 kg weight and porter puts 45 kg more that would be stupidity.
So the mind adds to our problem. In the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna talks about the unavoidable problems of material existence. In the 13th chapter in the 19th verse He talks about
janma-måtyu-jarä-vyädhi-duùkha-doñänudarçanam there are problems in life as it is. There is old age, disease and death. There are 3 kleshas; aadhyatmik, aadidaivik, aadibhoutik. But later on in the 15th chapter where Krishna talks about the soul suffering in the material existence and that time when He talks about mamaiväàço jéva-loke jéva-bhütaù sanätanaù manaù-ñañöhänéndriyäëi prakåti-sthäni karñati
so there He says the soul which is the part of me is struggling Karshati, is struggling and suffering in material existence; with the six senses which include the mind. So here Krishna talks about the suffering which is associating the senses in the mind that is not necessarily Janma, mrityu, jara, vyadhi. That suffering of old age, disease and death, will come to everyone in this material existence. But Krishna is talking about further suffering which is caused when we come under the control of the Mind and now in what ways does the mind add to our problems or magnifies our problems?
There are multiple ways but I focus on one aspect of this in today’s talk that, the mind adds the past and the future to the present. What does it mean? that say if we are doing some work and we are trying to do something new at that time we commit a mistake. We make mess of things. Now it’s natural that if you are trying something new it is quite likely that we will make a mistake. It is said that if we never make mistake, that only means that you’ve never done anything new. –5.35– it is natural that human make mistakes but quite often when we do something wrong. Now correcting the wrong thing, suppose say somebody is cooking and something spills and falls. Now actually the rectifying the action is not very difficult. Clean it up, whatever need to be done do it earlier. Take a few minutes to do it. But the mind assigns meaning to that event and that meaning often tends to be negative –‘You are good for nothing. You are careless. You are reckless, you are useless. So the mind transforms an event into a self definition. So what has happened is one thing has gone wrong but the mind translates that particular event into a self conception- This is how you are. And that can burden us and even crush us.
So quite often when we face problems in life often what disheartens us is not this specific challenge that we are facing but all the mental baggage that the mind brings us with it and in that way the mind magnifies the problem. I’ll elaborate this with other examples but we may go to the other phase now. So the mind is based on past, ok maybe some other time I may have done the same thing. Something may have slipped and fallen; we may have made some mistake. And the mind just brings those back in a flashback sort of thing and builds a whole mental conception of oneself. Failure is an event, failure is not a person. That the people may fail at different times, they can always learn and succeed. But the mind by giving the meaning to that event makes it into a self definition.
hetuù prakåtir ucyate
bhoktåtve hetur ucyate
In the 13th chapter in the Bhagavad-Gita, Krishna talks about how this soul interacts with material nature. In fact in almost same verse in 13.21 is also there in the Srimad Bhagavatam. There are 2 verses from the Bhagavad-Gita which are almost 90% similar in the Bhagavatam. One is
vinäçäya ca duñkåtäm
that comes in the end of the 9th canto just where the Krishna’s pastimes are being described. So almost 90% identical verse and this is other verse which is very similar. So what is this verse saying?
hetuù prakåtir ucyate
so prakriti is material nature, in material nature Kaarya and kaarana. Kaarya and kaarana refers to basically cause and effect. So material nature is the sub-8.32- is the foundation, is the arena where cause and effect take place. So for example say, as someone carrying a glass of water and because there was some slippery thing below the glass slipped and fell. So that is a event which has a material cause, which lead to material effect. But Krishna says
bhoktåtve hetur ucyate
but the Sukh-dukhah, the happiness and the distress that comes from whatever happens in material nature. That is bhoktåtve hetur ucyate. Then the soul bhoktåtve has the idea, conception that and will enjoy through material nature, that I’ve become a controller of material nature and tried to enjoy through material nature; that causes the enjoyment and the suffering. So what this verse is talking about is, there are different things:
there are events which happen in material nature and there are experiences which happen in our consciousness. The events that happen in the material nature are not in our control, quiet often. They just happen. But how we interpret them what those events mean to us, how we experience them, that is something happens in the consciousness and that is something which we can change.
In modern philosophy, modern science also there are 2 ways of looking at things, there are objective and there are subjective.
So t objective means that is based on facts, for example say there is a pillar over here, so this is a objective fact, but subjective means, say if we take some food, we eat it. The same food somebody find it different. Somebody else find it Ok. Somebody else will find it, not at all good, I don’t want to eat it. So there is objective fact we see and there is subjective perceptions, subjective feelings. Now there is difference between subjective & objective at one level say for example there is a Gulab Jamun. Now most people say Gulab Jamun they like it because it is delicious. But somebody has got diabetes then that same sight of Gulab Jamun creates a tug of war in the heart- ‘I want to eat it but I can’t eat it’. But there is a different emotion that comes over there to that particular person,
So now the mind we say usually is subtle matter. So now what this subtle matter exactly mean? It is like the software in computer, the hardware is like the gross matter. Software is like the subtle matter and the soul is like the computer user. So the objective events which happen in the world they are not something which you can always control, but subjectively how we interpret them? What meaning we assigned to them? That varies according to person to person and in fact the whole principle process of Bhakti, if we see is all about how devotees when faced with different difficulties are able to assign a meaning that is radically different from what would be assigned by normal materialistic person.
When Parikshit Maharaja is cursed to die, when he was, practically speaking, in the prime of his youth. He was the emperor of the world and he had this whole life to live and he had a wonderful. It is not that he had to build the life he already had it. He said enjoyed that time and he got a curse. It could have been devastating but the way he interpreted it was this is an opportunity for me to detach myself and focus myself on Krishna. So what happened is the event is the same. In today if some of us gets a diagnosis and we have got a cancer and we are going to die in seven days. Cancer also usually at least you get 7 months, few months we get unless it is very advanced. It would be devastating diagnosis. And we may try to think of it- OK! Let me intensify my Krishna consciousness. But the way he interprets so dramatically, essentially the event was negative but the way he experienced it was different. So what we see in today’s world is that there are problems but the mind magnifies the problems, whereas we see Parikshit Maharaj he had a huge problem. But he didn’t see that as a problem.
Just a week ago I wrote an article in The Guardian about some young woman. There is a –13.53– called and I don’t know how exactly it is pronounced. Basically what happens, people are excessively obsessed with their shape and with their figure and its constant obsession with food, so ‘if I eat too much then I don’t look attractive and then they got the whole paranomia…. So now this young woman she was fairly good looking and she just one night ate a lot and she felt so miserable because of eating, she took several pills for vomiting out the food and then by doing various other things, finally she got so frustrated that just the previous night she had gone for a party enjoying and the next morning she was so filled with guilt that she took pills for committing suicide. She was rushed to the hospital but it was too late. So now she was not even obese actually. It was just a mental perception that because that I’ve eaten so much I might become obese. So here we see something which is a small problem, it is made in such a big thing that a person may even end up committing suicide.
Another interesting thing is that, not interesting, it is sobering actually, that nowadays there is so much concerned about say terrorist attacks, people have guns they may go out and shoot innocent people. This is a very important concern. But statistics show that more than the number of people, who are killed by others, be the homicides or wars or terrorist attacks, more than number people who are killed by others are the number of people were killing themselves. These suicides every year is 1 million, which works out to be now of course 1 million is just the reported number of suicides. Especially in the –16.13– reported. 1 million works out to be one suicide every 40 seconds. Ever since we have started this talk almost 50 people have committed suicide, 30-40 people. Now suicide of course is a very complex phenomena and there can be various causes but one underline cause is the person feels that the problems that facing are so overwhelming that death is better than being weak. So now yes most often when people do commit suicide are those problems so overwhelming that they are not manageable at all? If we see there are other people who have gone similar and worst problems and they have lived through it. So at physical level it is not necessary that the problem is so bad that the person has to end one’s life. But it is the mind which makes that problem into an unmanageable burden. The mind magnifies problems and this is not just a problem that is something which is within our philosophy, OK we have a concept of a mind and it’s a universal problem. And what causes this? So people in general throughout history have recognized that there is something within us which makes us act foolishly, which makes us act destructively. Now what that is? Different traditions have come up with different ideas. In the Roman tradition, they say that when the God wants to destroy someone they make that person angry. So anger is something by which people act in self-destructive ways. So this is that anger is something which is within us. The Native Americans has the idea that there is a good dog and bad dog within us. The bad dog prompts us to do bad things.
So now in the Bhagavad-Gita, the thing which impels us to do wrong is often referred to as the mind. Technically it is not that the mind which impels us to do wrong, it is the programming within the mind and this programming is last time -18.32- illusion, the 6 anarthas. These are what currently the default program of the mind. And they act in different ways. Normally when we say about lust, that say it makes us think that there is pleasure somewhere. So about imagining pleasure I talk tomorrow. But lust is not just the craving for sensual pleasure. Yes! that is the primary emotion. But associated with that craving sensual pleasure whole lot of baggage comes along with it. As I gave example of this young woman who committed suicide while suffering from ‘—-‘. It was the obsession with the figure which she had, which is all of course associated with one’s sex appeal which springs from lust and then there is also greed which one wants to eat a lot. If we just specifically think of lust, anger, greed as individual problems on a individual seeker’s path. We miss out on the fact that these have a much bigger relevance.
Today if you see most of the crimes that happen in the world, they are like; if we talk about crimes related with corruption they are all related with greed. Most of the crimes related to sexual crimes they are related to lust. Most of the crimes which are done in fits of rage, much of the violent crimes originate in anger.
So this bad programming of the mind has multiple, huge catastrophic effects. Not just in individual’s life but society at large. So one aspect is that the mind magnifies the problems. It magnifies problems by one part of it is, it brings a whole lot of meaning to an event based on a selective recollection of past experiences. Yes if person may have over eaten but there are times also when we have controlled our eating. But when the mind goes into that mode of one need to crush us with some negativity; it will recollect only that part that we have –20.56– When we are over eaten then it can crush in person like that. The other is the mind adds the future to the present. Add the future to the present means that it imagines various terrible scenarios that mig ht result from a particular situation. And by that imagination that are wild, the person becomes paranoid. In the Bhagavad-Gita, there is differentiation between lamenting and grieving. Now lamenting – ma suchaha, Krishna says —do not lament. Now on one side Krishna says ma suchaha but the Ramayana describes and even the Mahabharat also describes, that when someone dies, for example when Dasharath dies at that time there was a state wide mourning for several days. Similarly when the news of Pandu’s departure comes to the residents of Hastinapura; at that time they have also statewide mourning, so of course Pandavas were in the forest, and that’s why when he dies they do not come to know about that immediately. Eventually when Kunti comes back then they take –22.30—
So when a person dies if you feel grief and do mourn for that, that is a way in which you honor and remember that person. Same emotion when it is in an unregulated way which completely overwhelms and misleads the person that is undesirable. There is a way in which emotion is to be expressed, and there is a way in which emotion is expressed excessively that can be harmful. So Krishna tells Arjuna that ma suchah so he is not talking about a suppression of emotions. The same Krishna who tells Arjuna ma suchah do not lament, he says that your lamentation is a sign of ignorance. That same Krishna when in the Mahabharat war Abhimanyu is killed, Krishna doesn’t go into giving elaborate philosophy telling Arjuna that you are a foolish sentimental. No! That time he is very emphatic. Then he exhibits very sensitive and consoled the Arjuna.
The point that I’m making here is that I was talking about the mind imagining worst case scenarios and making us paranoid. The difference between grieving and the lamenting is that grieving is in the mode of goodness. If somebody has passed away, honoring the memory of that person is a way in which you respect that person. That is in the mode of goodness, whereas lamenting is in the mode of ignorance. So similarly with respect to a particular situation that make you problem come up and anticipating that problems and preparing for those problems is in the mode of goodness. So for example If I’m driving and then if I have a car and in which say the brake is not working very well then I need to think, ‘OK! May be I should get a mechanic here and get it repaired or I should take the car first to mechanic and get it fixed. So anticipating possible dangers and preparing for them is a sign of intelligence, that is goodness. But if I’ve a reasonably functioning car and suddenly as start we are seeing some movies and I’m going in the car and suddenly the wheel comes off, and the wheel spins off and my car goes and crashes into a tree and suddenly it explodes. Now if I started imagining all the possible dangers that can happen then I’ll get paranoid. So imagining worst case scenarios, as a matter of taking healthy precautions, that is good. But often when the mind goes into a hyper-anxiety mode, there is usually difference between the mode of goodness and the mode of ignorance. Externally both may look the same. For example, if 2 people are sitting in a class, both of them are hearing the class but in one of them may be just hearing and thinking and the other is hearing waiting for the class to get over. So there is no thinking going on over there. So the point here I’m making is, that the mode ignorance and the mode of goodness may externally look similar. In passion there is a lot of activity. In both goodness and in ignorance there is relatively less activity but the difference is, in goodness there is internal activity which is self driven. That means there is conscious thinking which is self driven; whereas in ignorance, the mind never stops being active, but there is internal activity which is largely mind driven-‘think of this! Think of that!’ and in this way the mind when it is driven through the mode of ignorance, it goes into a variety of thoughts about the future and those thoughts add to the present.
So sometimes people get panic attacks. Now in some cases this can be a psychological condition which needs some proper medical treatment but in a general there are human problems and these need human solutions. We can’t have chemical solutions to human problems. It is not that every time I face an anxiety, I take a pill and that can relieve the anxiety. It will not work in such –27.38– So when the mind goes into this mode of imagining various things in the future, so Krishna talks about Vishaad is moroseness. Every situation that is brought in front of a person, ‘if you do this, this problem will come! this problem will come! this problem will come!’ And therefore what should we do? We should do nothing. The mind is hyper active in the mode of ignorance is usually paralysis. The mind is hyper active imagining things externally but internally it becomes almost like paralyzed. If a soldier is fighting a war and one soldier is fighting with another soldier. The two of them they can fight. And a soldier has a fair chance of fighting against the opposite soldier and win it but if this one soldier has to fight say against 3 soldiers then the odds become heavily start against the soldier. So one to one is a fair chance but 3 to 1 is very unfair odds. So like that, if we are to face the present problem, it’s like a 1 to 1, we can fight. But when the mind adds the past and the future to the present then the odds shift up drastically for us. Based on what is happening right now, the mind adds the past, ‘oh! You did this mistake, you did this mistake, therefore you are useless’, that becomes a big burden. Similarly the mind adds the future, all kinds of worst case scenarios come up and even if I do this, ‘this may go wrong! this may go wrong!’, and basically the mind adds problem.
So once a couple had a court case and then I think this may be in America, in India parents are worried that our parents should have very good carriers. So the court case was, the mother was saying our son should become a doctor and the father was saying our son should become an engineer. The judge said, ‘why do you have to have a court case? Just ask the son’. They said, ‘we can’t ask him’. ‘Why?’ ‘He is not yet born’.
So what mind does is, it can create huge amount of problems above situations which may not even happen. The son may have mind of his own and the parents are fighting whether he should become a doctor, engineer and he says he wants become an artist. Something else can happen. So if we look at many of the worries that we have, the most of the worries are far more imagined than real. And quite often most of the worries that we worry about don’t happen in real. Some of them do happen. But because of the mind’s hyper imagination, we go through life far greater mental burden than we need to.
When the mind magnifies our problems, what do we do? How do we deal with it? Krishna says in 18.58,
if you become conscious of me- matcittah sarva durgani, in all obstacles, all problems mat-prasädät tariñyasi you will pass over all the problems with my grace. Usually when we are faced with some threat, for example, If you are going on the road, and if it is dark and then we see some strangers walking around that road and these strangers look like a thief, you will get nervous at that time. But if we just see ahead that there is a cop and the cop has the gun ready. Then whatever anxiety is there that will go down. The mind is like that potential threat and if we become conscious of the mind then we will actually disempower ourselves. If we are walking alone we see somebody looking like thief we start at second thoughts. ‘Should I go ahead? Should I go back? Should I run away? Or should I try to being myself invisible? With this we will not be able to go through the normal course of action. But if we see that there is a police over there –35.28–and so like that when we become too conscious of the mind, by conscious of the mind I don’t here mean that we understand –‘this is the mind and the mind is speaking it .’ by conscious of the mind I mean is, we start listening to the mind. This is what the mind says. This is how the things are. If we start listening to the mind then we become disempowered in our actions. But the cop is like Krishna. If we become aware of Krishna’s presence, then we understand that Krishna is bigger than whatever problem we have.
Sometimes when we have big problems, we go to the temple, go in front of the deities and pray, ‘Krishna please help me, I’m facing such a big problem.’ Yes it is good that we go to Krishna whenever we face problems. Krishna describes as aarto – distressed. As one of the categories of people who come to Him and He call such people as Sukrutinah. That it is good that people come to Him. Along with telling Krishna what are the problems we are facing, we also need to change our internal dialogue. The internal dialogue means the mind is speaking. Everything that happen, there are some people who like to pass comments. They are sitting ideally and somebody walking along, then they say how that person has worn his dress. How that person walks. He likes to pass comments. So like that everything that happens, the mind keeps passing comments on it- ‘This is like this! This is like that’. When we face problems the mind passes comments – ‘This is going to be a disaster’. When we practice Bhakti, when we pray to Krishna, we should take shelter of Krishna. But taking shelter of Krishna doesn’t just mean that we tell Krishna our problems and ask Him to solve them. It also means that we change our internal dialogue. Change our internal dialogue means rather than just listening to the mind, as the mind says, ’Oh! This is such big problem, everything is going to go wrong’. The life is going to be wrecked and at that time change the internal dialogue. ‘Don’t just tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how God big is’. Tell the mind which is filled with problem, ‘that may be a big problem, but Krishna is bigger, Krishna can deal with that.’ So changing our internal dialogue means rather than just passively listening to whatever the mind is speaking. We check it and we use the Krishna conscious philosophy to counter- ‘Ok this is what happening but what are the things that can go wrong? Rather than just going passively, passively letting the mind go away with all those things, we can examine- ‘if this goes wrong, I can do this’. That way if we subject the mind’s idea to critical thoughts, critical examination, most of the phantom inside the mind has created. We say that this phantom –36.17– that is not going to happen.
When we say chant Hare Krishna and be happy. Yes! That is something that naturally happens as we come towards goodness and move towards transcendence but while that is happening, as we are getting purified and moving towards the higher modes, where the causes of misery will become less and less; but along with that because that is a gradual process. Moving towards goodness and transcendence is a sustained practice. But during the intermediate process, we can consciously, by the process of chanting, by the process of connecting with Krishna we can also consciously strive to cultivate goodness. That means if we are all in anxieties and start chanting Hare Krsna.
Once Srila Prabhupada was asked, ‘if we’re confused and we don’t know what to do. What should we do, he replied,’ Chant Hare Krishna’. Now what does ‘chant Hare Krishna’ mean? It doesn’t mean that we forget that there is a problem and neglect the problem; we can’t do that in real life. But chanting Hare Krishna as Srila Prabhupada explained, it’s a prayer for service. ‘Krishna please engage me in your service’. What that means is if you chant sincerely, ‘dadami buddhiyogamtamm yen mam upayanti te’, we pray to Krishna, ‘ Please Krishna guide how can I serve You in this situation. I don’t know please guide me’. Then we will get the intelligence about how to deal with that situation. What to do in that situation by which we can emerge and deal with the problem effectively. So that also means that we use our God given intelligence.
Generally the process of chanting and the process of using our intelligence can work symbiotically. That means if we are too agitated about something, we desperately, intensely chant the Holy names, by that our mind becomes calmer and after the mind becomes calmer then we can think more clearly and we can deal with practical problems. But sometimes it can work in other way also. Now we are so agitated that we just can’t chant. When we try to chant but we are not able to connect, absorb. So chanting is not just a ritual. We want to take shelter of Krishna and when we want to take shelter of Krishna then we need to —–33.51– So if I’m chanting and my mind is just not focusing on Holy names. So it’s not just I just keep chanting, may be at that time I talk with someone, if my mind is burdened with tremendous anxiety and we read some philosophy, contemplate something. Some other way I come to the mood of goodness and then I chant and I’m going to take shelter of Krishna. So when somebody is going to a war, can’t go with stereo type formula. ‘I’m going to do like this. Do like this! do like this!’ when we check how the enemies are attacking. Suppose a warrior goes with a sword and he says, ’where enemy is going to come, I’m going to beat them and I’m an expert sword fighter.’ But if the enemies are attacking with the arrows and I’m swinging my sword all around, but I’ll not touch the enemy only and the enemy kills me. So in a war, there are strategies and there are tactics. Tactics are more like short term –39.47– But strategy is something for more long term. That will vary according to how the enemies attack. So when we are dealing with the mind’s problem, we need both; we need the chanting of the holy names, which is the ultimate weapon, but along with that we also need the intelligence that comes from the mode of goodness and that comes from the study of the scriptures, that comes from hearing scriptures in the association of devotees, by which we can challenge the mind’s dialogue. Mind is saying, ‘this will happen, this will happen’, let’s see! What is realistic is going to happen and what can I do to deal with it? So by that we will be able to counter this mind’s problems. When the mind starts magnifying the problems, if we stay problem conscious that, ‘oh! This problem is so big! So what happens the problems in our minds will become bigger and bigger and bigger and we start thinking smaller and smaller and smaller. So more this sort of shape morphing happens within the mind then we start feeling more and more demoralized and disempowered, thinking that I can’t do that thing at all. But rather if we connect with Krishna then by connection with Krishna, through both – meditation and through philosophical contemplation, through kirtan, through prayer, philosophical contemplation through study of scriptures. By that we beat the problems down the size. We don’t let the mind inflate the problems to be bigger than what it needs to be.
So matcitta sarva durgani mat prasadat tarishyasi, tarishyasi means float over. So here Krishna says whatever problems will come we’ll float over them by My grace. We will be able to cross over them. Well this is not just some mystical phenomena by which some super natural miracle will happen and we will get rid of all our problems. Yes sometimes that can happen also. Krishna can arrange the resolution of problems in anyways but usually on a routine bases when you face problems, the way it will work is, you take shelter of Krishna means we don’t let the mind inflate the problem bigger than what it is.
Now we see in Srila Prabhupada’s life that he was trying to assist his spiritual master’s mission by running a business and he worked very hard, he tried to open his business at one place and in another place then he joined hands with another enterprise and tried to work with them. So he was trying vigorously. No matter whatever he does, but was repeatedly getting setbacks and eventually when he met final setback where as shoppers and –42.42– . so that time he just decided that yasyamanugranami harishye taddhanam shanai. That this is Krishna’s special mercy and He has taken everything away from me so that I’ll have nothing and that helps me focus on preaching His mission. So here also what did he do exactly? Now there was an event i.e severe financial reversal but rather in that event, which is a big problem, there was a different experience. The event we can’t control but the way we experience it can be controlled and by taking shelter of Krishna, he saw that as an opportunity for focusing entirely in Bhakti. And that is how the whole Krishna conscious movement has spread.
So that way the whole philosophy and practice of Bhakti is not just about doing some chanting, it is not just about coming to the temple and if we feel good that we come to the temple or we understand that this is a part of my duty so I should come to temple. That’s good. But if we understand the application of the Bhakti philosophy in a whole life then it can empower us in all aspects of our life. Because the mind troubles us even in our material life, the most of the example that I gave of the mind’s troubles, they are from material secular life. They are nothing to do with Bhakti. The way the mind troubles us in Bhakti is in different ways. Suppose we have some lapse and some standards. We slip and fall in our Bhakti . and what mind does at that time is, it reminds us, ’hey you fell at the past, you fell at the past, you are never going to become a devotee, you are a fallen devotee, so stay fallen’. Now see when we fall down, we don’t have to fall away. Falling down means we are on the path but we fall down, fall away means we just give up with the process of Bhakti. So what the mind does is it adds the past, ‘all the time you’ve fallen down, what is the use? Just give it up’. And somehow if we shake off the mind and say, ‘no! I’ll practice Bhakti seriously, then the mind is at other strategy. It says, ‘OK! You are Chanting attentively so nicely, how long you’re going to do this? You will not be able to do it. Why are you doing it now?’ but the point is even if I not be able to chant attentively in future, even if I not be able to follow the high standards of Bhakti in the future, doesn’t matter. If I practice Bhakti strictly right now, I’m getting purifies right now and that purification is a valuable gift. In fact if I become purified right now by contact with Krishna that will also make me spiritually stronger and when we become spiritually stronger, in the future battles which I have to face of my anarthas, I’ll be more to face those battles.
So when we are chanting, if you think, ‘oh so many rounds I’ve chanted with attention, if I think, ‘I’m only on the third round right now, even if I chant attentively I still have 13 more rounds to go. How will I chant all attentively? If you start thinking I have to chant 16 rounds attentively, I’ll end up not chanting one mantra attentively. So we think it such a big task. Sometimes when we are chanting just take out and look at the beads, we say 108 beads or 1008 beads. We just think when it will over, what is happening? If somebody is cycling on the top of the mountain, climbing uphill towards the mountain or somebody say doing mountaineering in upper mountain, one of the things they often say is that, ‘don’t look how far away the peak is. Just take one step. Keep paddling, keep paddling and eventually that took the peak. If start saying that how far I have to go, then that will demoralize us. So even if you are chanting, what the mind is doing? The mind is adding the future to the present and disempowering us in the present. But if we just simply focus on the present, that I’ve this situation, let me deal with the situation and whatever happens in the future I’ll deal with it that time. That way we can deal with the problems effectively, if we don’t let the problems become inflated. If you don’t let the mind magnify the problem to bigger than what it is.
Srila Prabhupada says in one purport that the devotee may be perplexed but the devotee is never discouraged. The difference between being perplexed and being discouraged is that, perplexed means we don’t know what to do. Being discouraged means we don’t feel like doing anything.
So a devotee is never discouraged. A devotee always thinks Krishna is always there in my heart and I can serve Krishna, but perplexity is always irresponsible for a devotee, because life can bring us into such situation that, ‘should I do this? Or should I do that?’ so that perplexity refers more to indecision, not knowing what to do. Whereas discouraged refers to not wanting to do anything. The life can make us perplexed but it is the mind that makes us discouraged. We may come to a situation where it is not clear, what should I do? So that time if this specific course of action is not clear, we may have to pray and introspect and consult some other senior devotees and then a gradually course of action will be much. So perplexity is something which the world will put in us, but discouragement it’s when the mind misinterprets the situation, that’s when we become discouraged. So devotees by understanding how the mind works and especially the tendency that how it magnifies the problems we can ensure that we don’t fall for this trick and trap of the mind; by our chanting and by our study of scriptures, if we can change that internal dialogue, when the mind starts speaking negatively to us, we counter it, using our philosophy, how the mind is working. Then we can beat the problems back to size and we can deal with them much more effectively.
Related with these problems, how the mind magnifies the problems, whenever that problems that come are associated with mind’s imagination of pleasures.
In the next session I’ll talk about how the mind imagines pleasures and because of imagining the pleasure, how it gets us into a whole vortex of situations, where problems also made magnified.
I summarize what I talked today:
I started by talking about the world gives us work but the mind makes it into workload. Like a porter who supposed to carry a 5kg and porter adds 45 kg more weight and gets crushed. So how does mind magnify or add the problems? By adding from the past and adding from the future. Adding from the past; I talked about how the mind assigns meaning to events. Say I slip and spill something and the mind says, ‘You are careless, you are good for nothing.’ So that is what it causing the discouragement. So the event something that happened we can deal with it practically but when we let the mind assign meaning to it then it becomes the problem.
The mind takes the objective reality that is there and use it as subjective …. which is often harmful for us . then the mind also adds the future. In the future it takes some situations and imagines various worst case scenarios and paralyses us.
So both learning from the past and preparing for the future, both are good. They are both in the goodness but agonizing over the past or worrying about the future they are in ignorance and the difference between the goodness and ignorance primarily is in the direction of internal dialogue. In ignorance it is the mind that is dictating the dialogues. The mind is selectively recollecting things from the past and crushing us or it is in a negative fantasy, it is imagining all the worst case scenarios and just dictate it that worst, whereas in goodness the internal dialogue is reversed. We look at the past but we learn from it, we are the in charge. We look at the future and we will prepare for it. When the mind tries to magnifies the problems let’s say there is potential thief coming, if we see that cop is there we’ll not be so worried by the thief. So similarly when mind starts telling that there is such a big problem, what we need to do is, we need to connect with Krishna. Don’t just tell God how big your problem is, tell your problem how big god is. We become more conscious of the problem, conscious of Krishna than of the problem. So when you become conscious of Krishna then the problem comes back to size. We can beat it back to size. And that happens though chanting as well as through our study of philosophy. These 2 work symbiotically. Chanting connects us with Krishna, gives the experience of Krishna, helps us understand, ‘yes there is a higher reality, there is a shelter that I can experience and along with that the philosophy helps us recognize, ‘this is the mind and this mind is tricking me and trapping me, burdening me and then we can change the mind’s negative dialogue and counter it.
We concluded by talking about how the problems of the world can make us perplexed but it is the mind which makes us discouraged. If we non devotional practices, even if we’ve had some falls in the past, even if we may not be able to manage the high standards in the future, right now we can practice and we practice whole heartedly that will empower us for the present as well as for the future.
Thank you very much!!!