We live in the twenty-first century, but we still refer to our minds as “monkey minds.” Isn’t it strange that, despite all of our achievements in various fields, our own thought has the power to ruin our life? Anxiety, depression, and stress have spread like wildfire throughout the world. Anxiety disorder is now the world’s leading mental health concern. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), one in every thirteen people worldwide suffers from anxiety, which is concerning.
Obviously, there is something we are not doing correctly. When we are looking for answers, we frequently turn to sacred texts or scriptures to show us the way. One such classic literature is the Bhagavad Gita, an ancient Hindu text that is a part of the Mahabharata epic. Prince Arjuna is caught in a moral quandary on the battlefield of Kurukshetra, where he is expected to kill his own brothers in order to reclaim his kingdom. Despondent and perplexed, he seeks advice and wisdom at the feet of Lord Krishna, his war charioteer. Lord Krishna then gives him an enlightening discourse on his responsibilities and the proper way to live his life. His mind was calmed by the teachings and his anxieties melted away.
We’ll look at a few verses from the discourse that deal specifically with mind regulation and centering. We, like Arjuna, can find peace after hearing these words if we understand and apply them.
1st: Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 35
“O Mighty armed one, the mind is undoubtedly fickle and difficult to master; but it can be controlled by diligent practise, O Arjuna, and detachment from sense enjoyment,” Lord Krishna says to Arjuna. Lord Krishna, who is beyond the mind, never once tells Arjuna that the mind is simple to master. He recognises that the mind is restless, and that bringing it under the control of the Intellect and Spirit is not an easy task!
At the same time, he gives Arjuna two potent tools for disciplining his wandering and reckless mind. They are as follows:
- Practice – We are all aware that whatever we do repeatedly becomes a habit by being stored in our subconscious mind. Driving is the best example of this. We can become seasoned drivers by driving on ‘automatic pilot’ mode with regular practise. Similarly, our mind becomes a slave to undesirable habits, which can lead to addictions. Restlessness and distraction are also habits that the mind has developed. However, Lord Krishna claims that through earnest and consistent practise, the mind can be broken of its old habits of restlessness and fickleness. What practise, we might wonder. Krishna is speaking of the practise of remaining in the Self.
We may refer to the ‘Self’ by various names, such as God, Supreme Consciousness, Divine, or Higher Self, but all of these names refer to the same thing: the One Truth. Lord Krishna describes the Self in the Bhagavad as “a permanent individual, an eternally conscious entity — an imperishable, nonmaterial particle, the spiritual Soul that gives consciousness to the otherwise dead body.” The mind is accustomed to running towards sense objects, and it takes an equally strong pull to bring it back and centre it. That pull is found in the ‘Self’ — the True Peace that exists in every human being forever. Krishna, on the other hand, claims that this practise alone will not suffice. We also require another tool. That is to say:
- Non-attachment – Attachment refers to the invisible strings that bind us to the material world and thus keep our minds in a constant state of unease and anguish. We can always feel a strong pull towards sensual pleasures. Someone is ‘overly attached’ to a relationship, another to food or alcohol, and yet another to gadgets or clothes! The list goes on and on! The problem with indulging in sensory pleasures is that no matter how much we consume, we are left wanting more. Detachment is desperately needed. We must consider whether material possessions have truly provided us with lasting happiness. Didn’t our addictions and cravings frequently leave us feeling empty or betrayed?
The Bhagavad Gita wants us to understand that true happiness does not come from material and transient things, but rather from a loving relationship with God or our Inner Higher Self, as we choose to call it.
These are two extremely effective methods for gaining mental control.
2nd: Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 6, Verse 1
“The true mystic is not the one who doesn’t light a fire or do any work, but rather the one who is unattached to the fruits of his labour and fulfils his duties as required. This is what Lord Krishna tells Arjuna. Lord Krishna teaches supremely in this verse about the true meaning of renunciation. The ancient Vedic texts of India describe certain ritualistic activities, such as fire sacrifices, that were expected of yogis or monks of the time. The rules forbade them from even touching fire for the purpose of cooking, and they had to rely on alms to survive.
However, Lord Krishna states unequivocally that such external acts of asceticism do not qualify one to become a renunciant. He sheds light on the true meaning of a yogi. The true renunciants or yogis, according to this verse, are those who can renounce the fruits of their actions by offering them to God. As a result, to be a renunciant, one does not have to abandon his responsibilities and flee to a forest or monastery. Even if a person has a family, if they can perform all of their activities in the spirit of humble service to God, without any desire for rewards, they are a true renunciant. This teaching can assist us in achieving true mental peace and stability.
First of all, we are confident that we do not need to frantically seek tranquilly. Stability and tranquilly depend more on how we react to life than any other external setting. As long as we base our happiness on how our actions turn out, our mind will be restless and unsettled; when the results are good, we will be thrilled, and when they are not, we will be dissatisfied. There is no end to this loop. By submitting our acts and their results to a higher ideal, we can stop this cycle since the results will no longer be able to inspire us to act selfishly in the future. When one stops worrying about the results, their mind is no longer focused on the future but is instead in the “now moment,” which is where they can find peace and tranquilly.
3rd: Bhagavad Gita, Verse 17 in Chapter 6
“But those who are moderate in eating and leisure, balanced in work, and regulated in sleep, can ameliorate all miseries by practising Yog,” says Lord Krishna to Arjuna. Finally, Lord Krishna offers still another crucial instrument for a calm and focused mind: Moderation According to the poem, a person who is moderate in their eating and leisure activities, controlled in their labour, and moderate in their sleep and alertness can be liberated from physical and mental suffering. Hence, Lord Krishna here exhorts us to live regulated and balanced lives rather than engaging in unrestricted indulgence or unending abstinence.
This lesson is particularly applicable to how we conduct ourselves in daily life. Do we maintain good eating practises? Are we exercising in any way to keep ourselves physically healthy? Do we allow our bodies enough time to rest? We should be asking ourselves these important questions. Our bodies are holy, yet we frequently take them for granted. We frequently overeat or exert ourselves excessively without noticing the negative impacts on our bodies and minds. The body and the intellect are closely related. If the body is ill or incapable of supporting it, it would be difficult to achieve peace and composure of mind. Uncontrolled living is a hindrance to practising yoga and meditation as well as seeking inner calm.
Three quotations from the Bhagavad Gita have been analysed; each of them offers a unique method for calming, regulating, and concentrating the mind. These are the remedies:
- Detachment and constant practise
- Doing action without thinking about rewards
- Living a regulated and balanced existence
Without a doubt, the restless character of the mind would gradually give way to peace, attention, attentiveness, and stability if these principles are applied holistically. The ups and downs of life don’t disturb such a mind; it stays steady and at ease. The Bhagavad Gita offers useful advice for everyday life. Its lessons cut beyond all boundaries of religion, caste, and place. Let’s put these lessons into practise to enhance our mental health.
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2 Comments Add yours
Garima – Beautifully summed up with the gist of 3 remedies to practice daily:
Detachment and constant practise
Doing action without thinking about rewards
Living a regulated and balanced existence
well written!!!! https://ruparaoruminates.wordpress.com/
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Thank you Rupa.