Used by Swamiji for guiding spiritual aspirants during the Spiritual Festival of 2009 and Year of Sanctity culminating with the 2010 Events in Rishikesh, these continue to provide guidance for the ongoing practice.
In the first part of the series we spoke of mind as an energy field. An energy field may be weak or strong; so a particular mind-field may be weak or strong.
A weak energy field may be made stronger through the application of appropriate technology. A weakened mind may be made stronger through the application of certain methods of:
A weakness is a weakening of some strength. Darkness cannot be removed by sweeping it out with a broom; it is only a relative weakening of light. Appropriate strengthening, brightening of light removes the darkness. One seeks to find the strength of which a particular weakness is weakening. Increase that strength and the weakness vanishes (this applies to individuals, societies, religions, nations or any other groupings as well).
A part by part strengthening, replacing individual weaknesses with particular strengths will not be holistic, complete or permanent - atyantika in the words of Ishvara-krshna, the author of Sankhya-karika. Any re-strengthening of a particular weakened area of the mind must be accomplished within the context of the strengthening of the total mind field of an individual. This totality of re-strengthening is obtained through meditation.
These are some of the basic principles of ‘therapy’; or rather, personal re-construction, applied by the spiritual guides to help elevate their beloved students and disciples. The same may be used by parents, teachers and counsellors (or leaders of groups and nations).
What are the signs and symptoms by which we know a (a person who has a) weak or a strong mind. Here are some of the indices.
A weak mind is hard; it lacks resilience, fluidity and compassion.
A strong mind is resilient, fluid and compassionate.
A weak mind is egotistical; a strong mind is humble.
A weak mind makes statements that contradict each other; a strong mind is consistent and harmonious.
A weak mind looks at oppositions; a strong mind seeks to see complements and helps with ‘resolution’ (samadhana).
A weak mind starts its sentences (in speech and writing) with “I” and frequently repeats the various forms of this pronoun.
A strong mind avoids the first personal pronoun and its variants.
A weak mind is addicted to the words like - No, Not, Refuse, Deny, Challenge, ‘my stand’, ‘my view’, and such other expressions.
When a strong mind ‘refuses’, it does not hurt like a refusal.
A weak mind feels that others are resisting him/her, refusing him/her.
A strong mind has faith in others’ positive and good reaction(s).
A weak mind remembers what hurts and what harm others have caused to him/her; a strong mind forgets these.
A weak mind forgets what hurt and harm s/he has caused to others; a strong mind remembers these.
A weak mind remembers the good and kind acts s/he has done for others; a strong mind forgets these.
A weak mind forgets the good and kind acts others have done to him/her; a strong mind remembers these.
People do not say ‘No’ to a weak mind out of fear.
People do not say ‘No’ to a strong mind out of love.
A weak mind defends his/her own position.
A strong mind defends his/her opponent’s position; finds excuses for the situation of one who has given him a refusal.
A weak mind forgets things for lack of interest in others, and because of emotional befogging.
A strong mind remembers what interests others; the emotional fog does not obscure his/her ‘recall’ mechanisms.
A weak mind justifies his/her acts; a strong mind apologises.
A weak mind does not forgive; a strong mind forgives and also forgets the incident.
A weak mind criticises others, speaks ill of them.
A strong mind does not criticise in his/her mind but rather seeks the reasons for another person’s weaknesses and grants strength.
A weak mind gets tense and stressed; the same stimuli that cause tension in a weak mind immediately trigger a relaxed state in a strong mind.
A weak mind resists others and blames them for resisting him/her.
A strong mind meets no resistance and his/her paths are made easy by others.
A weak mind is hurt by the anger of others.
A strong mind sympathetically seeks to find the history of the pain and suffering that is causing anger and seeks to remedy the same.
A weak mind sees others’ faults; a strong mind sees its own faults.
A person with a weak mind is easily fatigued; one with a strong mind regenerates quickly.
One with a weak mind makes the body’s illness into a mind condition.
A strong mind introduces mind’s healing into the body.
A weak mind seeks others to be responsible for him/her, and then resents them.
A strong mind takes responsibility for others without feeling burdened.
A weak mind follows set patterns; a strong mind invents.
A weak mind is lethargic and complacent; a strong mind takes initiative.
A weak mind is suspicious; a strong mind trusts.
A weak mind struggles to accomplish any objective.
A strong mind does without doing and accomplishes by his/her mere presence.
A weak mind finds small irritants to be too large to suffer.
A strong mind has an oceanic capacity to absorb and not feel that there had been any irritation.
A weak mind cannot taste the fullness of any experience and therefore his/her craving is never satiated.
A strong mind, being well centred, tastes and experiences everything in fullness, enjoys ‘more of less’ and is contented.
A weak mind is self-centred, seeking its own pleasure and often being thwarted by those in whom s/he generates resistance.
A strong mind constantly seeks the fulfilment of others, thereby ceases to evoke resistance; it is others who then find pleasure in giving her/him fulfilment.
A weak mind reacts to small things, small events that have the duration of an instant only and are of temporary worth.
A strong mind ignores such matters and holds a larger picture in a more expansive time frame (dirgha-darshin, dura-darshin and sukshma-darshin); therefore is not disturbed by small events, little words or temporary situations.
A weak mind has a small horizon; a strong mind has a large horizon in all subjects and matters.
A weak mind sees only parts.
A strong mind carries the vision of a complete whole in which all atoms and galaxies, all ideas and sciences are a single, interconnected whole.
A weak mind finds it difficult to learn new things; all sciences are easily opened to a strong mind.
A weak mind lives in fear (of loss, repeat of natural disasters, ghosts and possessions, attacks, illness, poverty, death).
A strong mind grants reassurance to all beings by his/her very presence.
A weak mind, suffering from inferiority, keeps reasserting her/his (individual, religious, national, tribal, political) superiority.
A strong mind withholds such assertions because of an interior self-assurance which embraces all opponents and opposite views.
A weak mind is full of inner conflicts and a thousand questions about the smallest step, seeking answers to each question and each answer raising a crop of a million more questions.
A strong mind flows in harmony; even though his/her questions may not have been answered, they have been resolved.
A weak mind demands; a strong mind gives.
A weak mind feels insulted; a strong mind gives honour.
A weak mind rejects everything; a strong mind assimilates what may seem most unacceptable in appearance.
A weak mind seeks its own pleasure and gratification.
A strong mind discovers a subtler, more refined, more intense and more lasting pleasure; that of knowing that someone has been pleased by his/her acts.
A weak mind speaks loudly; a strong mind speaks only from within a depth of interior silence.
A weak mind struggles to choose one of many options.
A strong mind incorporates the most contradictory options into a single scheme.
A weak mind overindulges, overeats, over-possesses, overstates, overdresses - because it tries to fill its emptiness with exterior objects.
A strong mind has an inner fullness; is therefore mild, restrained, without feeling restricted or deprived. A strong mind under-indulges, under-possesses, understates.
A weak mind lives in fear of others, constantly overprotecting oneself and thereby inviting attack.
A strong mind lives in love and that love alone is his/her protection.
A weak mind’s endeavors and relationships are unstable; in the presence of a strong mind all is stabilized.
A weak mind cannot concentrate on any effort; it wanders around.
A strong mind is a concentrated one and thereby, well centred in life and in meditation.
A strong mind, finally, is a saintly mind that grants to others freedom and liberates them from their own self-enslavement.
This is an incomplete list. It is only an indication for assessing whether we are of weak mind or of strong mind, that is, whether our mind field is fully energized, or only partly or feebly so.
The path of peace, purification and spirituality is comprised of recognizing and giving way to our natural urges. Some of these urges are:
• To love,
• To give,
• To share,
• To perform selfless acts without seeking a return,
• To sacrifice oneself for others,
• To generate peace in one’s surroundings,
• To seek solitude,
• To recognise the spiritual resource within oneself,
• To aspire to purify oneself to add to the sattvic content of one’s personality,
• To create a bonding with others,
• To energise oneself when feeling low,
• To postpone death by will,
• To heal oneself by the power of will,
• To exercise control over one’s senses and desires,
• To seek knowledge,
• To seek self-knowledge – to know ‘What am I’,
• To forgive,
• To respond to hate with love,
• To wish to reduce our aversions,
• To seek to make oneself small before others, cultivating humility,
• To reduce one’s wants and material possessions,
• To practice cleanliness,
• To be loyal,
• To reduce the level of one’s anger,
• To learn to live by wisdom,
• To be patient,
• To withstand the forces of opposites like heat and cold,
• To conquer sloth and sleep,
• To be creative and inventive,
• To appreciate virtues of others,
• To be grateful to other living beings for what they render to us,
• To honour beauty and nature,
• To create arts as an expression of seeking beauty even in the most mundane objects,
• To refine language to be poetic, expressive of love and beauty,
• To protect knowledge,
• To venerate and worship,
• To harmonise the opposites,
• To reduce conflict,
• To see and seek mother, sister, daughter, father, brother, son in the persons of the opposite gender,
• To remain calm in the face of provocation,
• To speak truth,
• To avoid defending oneself,
• To teach, for the sake of sharing knowledge,
• To increase knowledge,
• To increase the availability of knowledge,
• To protect the sources of knowledge,
• To search within for intuitive knowledge,
• To cultivate the strengths of mind as partially listed in Segment 2 of these excerpts,
• To encourage and help others to develop all of the above.
We see proof of these natural urges within ourselves in our daily desires, actions and interactions.
Enlightenment is not a one time dramatic event. It is progression to an awakening, an expansion towards infinity, to becoming boundless. At present we are asleep to our boundless nature, to our limitless consciousness. We are confined to limitations of times, spaces and directions. As we progress towards enlightenment, the boundaries gradually decline and like the abandoned snakeskin are finally left behind.
We are told that as a bird flying leaves no feather print in the sky nor the fish leave fin prints in the sea, so a saint ascending the ladder to these heights, diving to these depths (heights = depths, all the same, problem of paradox for the language-bound), leaves no marks.
But the observant disciple does observe some characteristics, changes. Let us take the question of what is enlightenment in two stages.
• The visible changes that progressively occur in an aspirant; and
• the changes in consciousness that are not visible to an observer but are experienced internally.
The two go hand in hand together. It cannot be stated as to which one is a prerequisite of the other. Let us take the first of the two. The vast world literature depicting these changes cannot be summarized in a short article. We can only give a few glimpses. Christian, Mazdayasnian, Buddhist, Hindu, Yoga literature is replete with the description of these changes that occur. Some of these are:
• Absolute compassion
• Inability to become angry
• Ability to observe the causes of someone’s anger and the power of quietude to pacify it
• Sensitivity to what is causing someone to become frustrated – and helping him/her to the utmost of one’s spiritual ability
• Total abandonment of ego, utmost humility, defining success as the ability to become very small
• Absolute selflessness – only the ‘other’ counts
• After a while the concept of ‘an other’ ceases
• Never becoming agitated
• Using a willfully generated display of emotions – like anger – to help, guide and purify others
• A peaceful (saumya) presence so that even the most agitated person coming on to such presence goes away pacified
• Forgetting instantly whatever benevolence one has conferred
• Remembering what benevolence one has failed to confer
• Total concentration and absorption so that no exterior noises and such factors distract one
• Equanimity – total peacefulness when obvious causes for agitation, frustration, anger or other such arousal are intensely present
• Finding excuses in favor of someone whom others would view as an opponent; having no concept of ‘adversary’ or ‘opponent’ or outsider as against an insider
• Seeking no return for one’s selfless acts
• Feeling no need to defend oneself
• Having no fears – not because of bravery but because of the confidence in one’s lovingness; therefore being no danger to any living being (having no fear because one generates no fear)
• Mildness, even when displaying a pretended intensity to help and guide or purify others
• Making absolutely no differentiation between one life form or another
• Awareness of the totality of consciousness in the entire universe simultaneously
• Easy access to knowledge – all vidyas present themselves to him/her upon internal evocation
• Mastery over the three states of consciousness – wakefulness, dream and sleep
• Mastery over desires. One may accept a sense experience and may switch it off at will
• Sense experiences being viewed as doorways to inward perception – all sensations on the body surface becoming pathways to enter the inward consciousness
• Not accumulating karma – by performing all acts only altruistically
• Ability to remain on both shores simultaneously – a married yogi(ni) may be in the arms of one’s spouse giving full attention to lovingness and at the same time be fully merged in the divine consciousness - without the spouse suspecting (reference to story of Chudala)
• Speaking only when in silence; sleeping only when awake; eating only when fasting
• Ability to guide one or a million persons, close by or in intercontinental distances, into a state of meditation – as one transcends the boundaries of space and time
• Mastery over the forces of time
• Choosing the time of one’s apparent so-called death, and leaving the body consciously
• Total awareness of beauty in the universe, science becoming a poem, all acts being aesthetic and refined – such a person’s walk is a dance and the normal gesticulation is a divine mudra that attracts all
• Not identifying with body states; not being mentally affected by the presence of disease which is understood as a mere chemical reaction in the body’s test tube
• Carefully concealing one’s spiritual attainments
• Having a mastery over the means to liberate others from their fears, angers, limitations, ‘opponent’ concepts, and from all that binds and delimits our consciousness
• Ability to know the minds of others but not exhibiting that ability – only using it to help others
• Ability to evoke peaceful, benevolent ‘mood’ in others by one’s presence, demeanour and speech
• When powers over nature present themselves, ignoring them, renouncing them. Thereby they follow him/her, using them only to help others very unobtrusively and denying that one did confer any benefit.
These are just some of the symptoms of gradual enlightenment, not an exhaustive list but a demonstrative one, as stated in the texts like Bodhi-charyavatara and dasha-bhumika-sutra. The paths to these are shown by the sages like Patanjali and numerous others . These have been stated over the ages with an impressive unanimity among the sages of all countries and spiritual climes.
As to full enlightenment, perfect awakening, what is it? Think of any limits and finitudes there are in your being. Drop them and try to imagine what that delimitation into the Infinite Consciousness might be – and you will know what enlightenment is.
For Further Study
Yoga Sutras: Chapter I, Verse 33.
(Definition of Chitta Prasadhana)
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 17, Verses 14,15,16.
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 2, Verses 54 to 72.
(Definition of Sthita-prajna)
Bhagavad Gita: Chapters 14, 17 and18.
(Definitions of the three gunas: sattva, rajas, tamas)
Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 13, Verses 1 to 12
(Basic principles of Sankhya philosophy)
Articles from a Series of Articles by Swami Veda in Life Positive Magazine of New Dehli.
1. Mind as the Playground of the Gods
- Sources of the Mind. What is Mind?
- Definition of Mind as an Energy Field
- Definition of Strong Mind and Weak Mind
2. Signs of Enlightenment
The Meditation Center's Online Bookstore offers a CD "Marks of Spiritual Progress." The online bookstore ships nationally and internationally. https://www.themeditationcenter.org/jnana/index.php?