In introspection, the mind itself is the subject of study. – Chinmaya
In every field, we find the instruments tamed to ‘dance’ to the tunes of their wielding masters – be it the violin of a violinist, the sword of a soldier, the bat of a batsman, the axe of a wood-cutter, the brush of a painter or the plough of a farmer. Experts perfect their instruments before entering their respective fields of expertise.
So too, to be a master of all situations, the mind, the instrument with which we respond to the outer world, has to be trained to remain efficient by not allowing it to lose its equipoise even in trying circumstances.
Once in America, Swami Vivekananda gave a reverberant speech proclaiming that fearlessness is the message of all Upanishads. A few young men decided to put the Swami to test. They invited him to deliver a lecture.
On the appointed day, within a few minutes after Swamiji started his speech, bullet shots were heard inside the hall. People fled in panic, women shrieked in fear and some fell unconscious. Amid these confusions, there was only one man – Swami Vivekananda – who stood firm, immovable as a rock, fearless like a lion.
Soon the shots ceased. Swamiji resumed his talk exactly where he had paused. People returned to the hall, things returned to normal and it seemed as though nothing had happened.
After the lecture was over, the youngsters approached Swamiji and said, “Sir, please forgive us. The shots were fired to see how fearless you were. Your faith and courage have put us to shame.”
The thoughts entertained, the words spoken and the deeds done – all of them indicate the state of our mind. Hence it is absolutely essential to take charge of our mind to ensure a life of peace and harmony within and without. And the most efficient way to master one’s mind is through the method of introspection.
In introspection, the mind itself becomes the subject of study – that is to say, instead of applying the mind one starts observing the mind. Great inner secrets are revealed when we thus watch our mind remaining as an alert, impartial witness, without coming under the sway of its likes and dislikes.
A self-examiner in his early days of introspection gets to witness innumerable manifestations of one’s own devilish mind – an indisciplined mind taking delight in the lower, vulgar pleasures of the senses… a disturbed mind tormented by worries, fears and anxieties… a dull mind showing a lack of interest in everything… or a stubborn mind unwilling to give up its old unhealthy habits… a tempting mind compelling to yield to temptations disregarding all intellectual convictions and moral principles… a deceitful mind posing itself as saintly for the seemingly selfless acts of charity and service… an accusing mind eagerly trying to cover up its weakness by finding fault with others… a boastful mind revelling in its own achievements and accomplishments… a wandering mind unable to abide in the Higher … a doubting mind questioning the very existence of God…
The silent moments of ‘witnessing the within’ in the brilliant light of the Pure Awareness speak volumes to the alert and the vigilant.
Once Acharya Vinoba Bhave received a letter from Mahatma Gandhi in which the latter had showered praises on the former saying that he was one of the noblest men on earth. Vinoba ji immediately tore away the letter before anyone could read it and put it to the dustbin. He never allowed the wicked ego to wallow in self-glorification or even to raise its hood!
Maintaining a clean garden of conscience within is possible only by those, who, like a good gardener, time and again clear up the fallen leaves and worthless weeds of mental garbage along with nourishing the plants of noble thoughts.
A person went to a mahatma and asked how to gain peace of mind. The mahatma mockingly remarked, “You have made your mind like the waiting room in the railway station. How can you have peace when you indiscriminately allow all ignoble and vulgar thoughts to enter your mind? So from now on maintain your mind like you maintain your Pooja room. Chant the Lord’s name. Enthrone Him in your heart. Allow Him to remain there, and He will purify you. From then on you will never know misery.”
Let us set aside a definite time every day to peep within ourselves and have a look at what is going on in the mental factory. The poisonous negativities detected while churning the within will then automatically goad us on until we attain the summit of inner perfection called liberation.
O M T A T S A T