Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mind's restlessness

Mind is like a monkey which has had a lot to drink. After that it's been bitten by a scorpion. On top of that some demon has possessed it.

Can there be anything more chaotic than the above monkey? Likely not. By it's very nature, monkey is always on the move. Additionally if you introduce 3 extras, it will become so restless that no monkey tamer can handle it.

Several sages have used above simile to convey the restless of our minds. At the best, it is a decent monkey which has been trained quite well. At the worst, you have monkey on extras.

Another beautiful simile is - mind is like a restless trunk of an elephant. Always reaching out to this or that. Grab this here. Grab that  there. Once whatever is grabbed, put it in it's large mouth and that's the end of it.

Elephant trainers have a simple technique to manage the restless trunk of the elephant. Before they take the elephant in a procession through streets, they simply give bamboo stick and ask the elephant to hold it in its trunk. Since the elephant has been trained to obey its trainer, it does what's asked of it and then the procession starts. Since the elephant knows that it has to hold the bamboo stick in it's trunk, it does not move it's trunk here and there. Thus the stores along the street, which stock goodies like fruits and nuts that elephants like very much, are spared from the elephant grabbing them for free.

So is our mind. It needs something to grab on to. If it does not get something to grab on to, you know what it does. It will grab a bad movie here, a violent song there, some gossip somewhere else and so on.

So, what do we give to our mind? Hindu teachers from ages have asked us to choose a mantra (holy name or holy word) and repeat it all the time. It does not matter even if you repeat it mechanically. It's going to serve the exact purpose of that bamboo stick and help steady our restless mind.

Of course, elephant's trunk is nothing compared to our mind in terms of restlessness. Mind is not going to repeat 'mantra' as sincerely as a well trained elephant holds on to the bamboo stick. It's going to 'forget' repeating the mantra and we have to consciously bring it back to repeating it. It takes time and lifetime's effort.

Great sages have guaranteed from their personal experience that after a long time, sincere aspirants get to the state called as 'ajaapjapam'. In that state, the person does not repeat the mantra, it repeats by itself and delivers tremendous benefits in turn. It's a goal worth shooting for.

Now choose a mantra and start repeating. It's good for you and more importantly good for everyone around you. One less monkey to worry about. Just kidding! :)

Cheers to a calm and quality mind!

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