Question 35: How to control the mind?

pathwayRamji asks a question that – probably – does not occur to many: control of the mind. Most humans – embodiments of the Divine – are not aware that they are not the body, not the senses, not the mind. For many, the mind takes over subtly, and they are caught in the noose of attraction and aversion, of pain and pleasure, satisfaction and suffering. Religious principles have to be practised in daily life and their validity experienced. This how we learn we are not the mind.

samata: evenness
santosh: contentment, peaceful, fulfilment, satisfaction
chitta: individual consciousness
chitta: chitta San. noun. the mind (the seat of understanding and awareness, of intellect and will); memory, thought, reflection; the soul, heart. It is the individual consciousness, composed of intelligence and intellect (buddhi), ego (ahamkāra) and mind (manas). In Vedānta, chitta is one aspect of Universal Consciousness (chit). The world hangs on the thread of consciousness – without consciousness, there is no world.
sham Hin. m. shama San. n. (from sham – to become quiet, cease) rest; tranquillity, peace of mind, having the mind under control.
shama: the discipline or practice of not allowing the mind to externalise.
śama — control of the mind

Question 35: Sir, how to control the mind?

Answer: Ramji, there are two ways to control the mind, and these promote gyan (knowledge).

They are :
(i) evenness (samata) and
(ii) contentment (santosh).

A jiva who obtains tranquillity on attaining gyan, is always unaffected by anything and he is not aware of the existence or non-existence of the world. Such a jiva is liberated and is established in the Absolute.

Question 36: Sir, what are quiescence (shama) and contentment (santosh)?

Answer: Ramji, of the four sentinels of liberation (moksha) state, quiescence (shama) and contentment (santosh) are two. The control of chitta is quiescence (shama). The universe that is perceived is like a mirage. The ignorant, believing it to be real, struggle hard for the enjoyment of material objects but they never attain peace. When a jiva Withdraws his chitta from the material objects and directs it towards Atma, only then he attains peace — the Shiva state. When he attains that state, his adversaries too become his friends and all his sins are washed away. He attains peace. When quiescence is attained, intelligence becomes pure and illumined. At that stage, a jiva becomes fearless.

He who is without the feelings of likes and dislikes towards sound, touch, form, smell, taste, etc is said to be contented. Such a person is unaffected by virtue and vice and has always equanimity and peace. A contented person is never ruffled by pain and pleasure ; he is absolutely quiet and blissful within, and is divested of impurities. Such a person, although apparently in action, is always without action, because he is never affected by any action. A contented person is highly esteemed. Therefore, a seeker should first practise to achieve tranquillity. This attribute is developed after intense and prolonged endeavour and practices. When this is attained, a jiva crosses the ocean-like world.

One fact has to be noted here. If a person has this knowledge of the immanence of the Divine, and even of its transcendence, he cannot be honoured as a Jnani (wise, liberated person). For, the knowledge has to be digested through actual experience. Religious principles have to be practised in daily life and their validity experienced.

For most who live immersed in the stages of life: student, householder and retiree, the mind is engaged in the external world and its pastimes. There are two sides to this coin; many do not look to the other side. The outward going mind seeks satisfaction; none know they are masters of the mind and the mind is the servant. Just like the noose that is put through the nostrils of the cow and the bull, they are led around by their desires, attachments and aversions. This is the life of pain and pleasure, satisfaction and suffering.

Many pass over in such a state and reincarnate immediately, for they – as consciousness – are still enamoured of their attractions and aversions. They wish to experience the same again. The Buddha once told a story about a man who had reincarnated 64,000 times and had been buried on the same spot just so many times. The Buddha told the man’s wife to ignore his wishes and let him move on to the next step.

Moving on to the next step requires us to be the witness of all comes by us in this world of illusion. Yes, it is perfectly OK to have clothing and shelter commensurate to your needs and station in life, but not to excess nor greed. One keeps the mind under control and management. Ditto clothing and possessions: it is perfectly OK to be clothed (society judges you by your dress) and to have the necessities of life (car, cellphone, footwear, sports clothing and accessories, like this) so long as these do not take centre-stage and take control of your life. The mind is like a child that has to be taught right from wrong, good from bad, and the boundaries of acceptable behaviour. The five human values of truth, love, right conduct, non-violence and peace have to be elicited and practised.

Treat your mind as a little boy. Bring up that boy, train it to become wiser and wiser, caress it onto good ways, make it aware that all objects that are ‘seen’ are just products of one’s own illusion, remove all its fears and foibles, and focus its attention steadily on the goal only.

Never deal forcibly with the mind; it will yield easily to tenderness and patient training. Correct its waywardness by means of the attitude of renunciation. Destroy its ignorance by means of instruction in the knowledge of the soul. Strengthen the interest by which it is already endowed toward the realisation of God; let it give up the attraction toward the evanescent and the false mirages created by fancy and fantasy; turn its face inward, away from the external world. By these methods, concentration can be firmly established.


To have clothing and shelter commensurate to your needs and station in life is OK, but not to excess. The pathway through life is one of balance and mind management.