We say that we want peace of mind but what we really want is peace from mind.
– Naval Ravikant
A person’s mind is like a mirror. He does not have to ask anyone while doing good or bad deeds; his mind gives him instant feedback. It is much easier to win over the world than over the mind. A monk renunciates worldly affair, but he still has to attend to his mind. The mind is the heart of human life and the beginning of his life’s journey. Every day, about 60,000 thoughts cross a person’s mind. The body may travel, but the mind thinks. As the mind moves, one has thoughts. We do not have a remote control for the mind to stop it from thinking continuously. The mind enjoys absolute authority over our consciousness.
There are a couple of keys that can be used to tame the mind. For example, Ahimsa (Non-violence), Aparigraha (Self-restraint), Anekantvad (Multiplicity), Satya (Truth), Tap (Austerity), Jap (Recitation), and Dhyana (Meditation).
Ultimately, we all strive for salvation. Nobody aspires to go to hell. But what will happen just by striving for salvation? One needs to march towards it. The journey towards salvation is embedded into spirituality with four dimensions: Darshan (insight; perception), Shravan (Listening to the teachings of sages), Manan (Reflection on the teachings) and Nididhyasan (Profound meditation on “That Thou Art”).
Darshan means faith. It is said in the Upanishads that there is no knowledge without reflection, and no reflection is possible without faith. Thus, faith, reflection, and knowledge are systematic stages of development.
The Acharanga Sutra (First of the twelve Angas, part of the Agamas, the religious texts of Jainism) mentions Diththam Suttu Mayam Vinnayam mentioning the above four stages. Samyakdarshana (Pure perception), Samyakgyana (Pure Knowledge) and Samyakacharitra (Pure character) are the trio-gems that can lead anyone to salvation. First, we get Darshana followed by the knowledge which shapes our character. As discussed, Darshana refers to faith, and faith leads to knowledge. Then, the character illumines and enables a person to attain salvation. Samyakadarshan includes both kinds of knowledge; one attained by listening and the other attained by intelligence. These are basically Shravan and Manan, and Manan is but ‘Mati’. As Poojyapada (Poet, Philosopher and an expert in Ayurveda) has mentioned ‘Mati’ twice in his Sarvarthsiddhi, a commentary on Tatvarthsutra (composed by Acharya Umaswami).
Manana Matram, Va Mati:
Manan is ‘Mati’. The fourth dimension is Nididhyasana. Meditation is the best of Abhyantar Tapa (There are six internal keys namely Atonement, Politeness, Service, Renouncing attachment for the body, Spiritual study leading to self-realization and meditation). One can consider meditation as the highest quality of a good character, and ‘character’ can be considered as a part of the meditation process.
These four dimensions are the basis for salvation. The journey through our Karma is not as simple as we may think. We might be aware of a number of things, but our mind is too lazy to implement any of it. It reminds me of a quote of Swami Vivekananda, “a person has to prosper from within which no teacher can teach.” Only the soul of the person can lead him there. Once upon a time there lived a Guru, whose hut was located near a crematorium. The crowd would always gather around the crematorium for the final rituals. One day, a disciple asked the Guru, pointing at the passing corpse, whether his soul would go to heaven or hell. The Guru said, to heaven. The next day, he asked same question for another passing body, the Guru responded that it will go to the hell. The questions continued for the next six days, the disciple was observing his Guru’s response. On the 9th day, the disciple asked, “Do you know how to prophesize?” To which the Guru denied. But the Guru said that he assumed the journey of the soul based on what other people were talking about the dead and his Karma. A person’s direction is decided by his Karma and Karma’s direction by the mind. As the number is at the centre of mathematics, point in geometry; the eyes are at the centre of the body. , In the same way, a person’s virtuous nature is the key to his success. It is said that a spoiled tea can ruin your day, spoiled pickles can ruin your whole year, a bad wife can ruin your entire life, but if your nature is spoiled, your many births are ruined. Therefore, before the direction of life changes, let’s change our Mati – nature. It is said that if your horoscope has bad signs, you are likely to suffer, but if your nature is not good, you will definitely suffer. Horoscope issues can be resolved by a pundit, but a person has to work on himself to change and improve his own nature. One might have good photos on social media but if his x-rays look ugly, indicating as failing health then such photos will be of no use. A person might be handsome, but if his nature is terrible, it is dangerous for both the soul and the family.
Let’s consider it further. The difference between the good and bad nature is the same as the rain and the thunder respectively. The rain brings greenery on the earth and happiness in the life of a farmer, whereas the thunder attacks the earth and spoils everything. Similarly, a person with a bad nature hurts many people emotionally. Such bitterness increases distance in relationships too.
Once there was an intense quarrel between a husband and his wife. We are living in an era of point-of-view. Everyone is safely enjoying one’s point-of-view, one’s own centre and periphery without any attempt to cooperate. At the end of the quarrel, they decided to write about each other in their personal diaries and exchange them at the end of the year, but will not dispute about it daily. They exchanged their diaries at the year-end. The wife had noted, ‘Since you arrived late, we could not go out for shopping, you don’t have time for me.’ Husband kept flipping the pages and accepted his mistakes. He accepted all the mistakes of 365 days and assured her that he would not repeat them. Then it was the wife’s turn to read the diary. Husband had written, ‘Not that you have not made any mistake and I did not notice but it is because of my love for you, I don’t feel like writing those mistakes.’ Tears flooded her eyes. She kept on looking at her husband, who had kept blank pages because of love! All of us need to understand that when true love dominates mistakes seem to matter less and less; but the absence of true love magnifies mistake. It is a cent percent fact that more the love, less are the mistakes and the less the love, more are the mistakes. This is an impact of our thoughts. These days we get to hear about the generation gap between mother and child, daughter and mother, which increases conflicts. They say it is because of the generation gap, but there is none between husband and wife; then why are they suffering? What is the reason for their being not on good terms with each other? Perhaps, it is the mind that plays a part here.
The stability of mind takes a person closer to the truth. When a person has genuine human qualities, is aware of life and eager to find solutions, he definitely marches towards the ultimate goal by testing his experiences.
Dr. Sejal Shah ( Ph.D)