You may call it the heart, or you may call it the mind; but through its hands people are selling themselves. Under the control of mind, one remains but a man of the world, for mind is not made of consciousness but matter. Each and every thing has its source and is naturally drawn to that; you can demonstrate this for yourself by throwing a ball of clay in the air as far as your strength will allow, yet it will return to its own source, the earth. Or you can try to keep a flame upside down; it will not burn downward, but will rise upward, for its source is the sun.
Anyone whose soul is under the mind's influence and control becomes an image of the mind, for he forgets his true self. We call this ego or I-hood for one thinks "I am everything." Yet, one does not know that true "I." If one has forgotten one's true Self, then who is it that will realize the Lord? The heart is a huge ocean of unlimited waves of desire, rising and falling; many great swimmers have drowned in it. It is impossible to cross this ocean without a very wise boatman. The ocean of heart cannot be crossed without the Competent One. Maharishi Vashisht said to Lord Rama, "O Ram, if someone tells you that the rivers have stood still, you may perhaps believe it, or if someone says that the heat has left the fire, you may also believe this; but if a person declares he has controlled his mind, never believe this until you have seen it with your own eyes."
All Masters stress that one should know oneself, for having identified ourselves with mind, which in turn has identified itself with the senses, indeed complete forgetfulness has taken place. Birth after birth, the soul thrashes itself to pieces at the hands of the mind, and as long as the mind does not emancipate itself from the senses and the soul gain freedom from the mind and come to know itself in truth, it is impossible to know God. One great Master says that if you are willing to make a strong resolution to realize the Lord, then put one foot on your mind - to make it still - and without any effort the next step you take will take you to your Beloved. To win the mind is to win the world.
You will find that even great Rishis and Munis have suffered through the mind. The important thing is to make it understand the true facts, for this life is but for a few days; no one has ever lived here permanently, or ever will. To sacrifice one's spiritual future just for a few days' dancing to the mind's tune - is this intelligent? The Masters try to help us to see the true facts, and bring our attention to the soul - that we are soul, the indweller of the physical body. This world is not our world. O beloved soul, your true home is above the illusion; you have burdened yourself with illusion's company. It is said also, Yours is the caste of Sat Naam.
My Satguru used to say that the soul's marriage should have taken place with an Emperor, but instead she became attached to a garbage collector, for the whole time she is submerged in dirt and filth. What else is there to enjoy under the senses' influence but filth upon filth? The dirt comes out from all orifices of the body; even the pores exude a perspiration which smells unpleasant. So what can we call him who ever remains in this body, but a garbage collector? We have forgotten who we truly are. We should feel ashamed to hear the words of one Master, who says, O soul, you are a dweller of high regions; why are you stuck in the mire of mud and water?
The mind is difficult to understand, for its net is strong and it has many departments. There is the Pind or physical mind, lost in the outer enjoyments. Then And and Brahmand, astral and causal mind. If one transcends all three, one realizes who one is. Mind is no small thing, and is not easy to conquer, but we should start by changing its direction. While its face remains turned toward the worldly things, the soul will be worldly, but if it turns around and faces the soul, the soul will become spiritual. We must turn it around. Like fire, it is a good servant but a bad master. While you are in control, fire can do any amount of work for you - it will drive machines or cook your food and many other things; but once out of control it can consume you to ashes. You may remember the story of the man who was given a genie as a present, and was told at the time that the genie would do all his work for him, but was not to be allowed to remain idle, for it would eat him up. After one or two days, all the work was finished, and not knowing what to do, the man consulted a great Mahatma. The Mahatma advised him to erect a tall strong pole, and order the genie to continue climbing up and down the pole until told to stop. It illustrates that a vacant mind is the home of the devil, and if left vacant, it will devise some mischief or other. To fully control it, Naam is the only solution. In the Koran it says that he who has recognized the beat of his mind has recognized his God. Many great Rishis, Munis and Mahatmas have remained in the domain of the mind's illusion: causal or astral. Only the Saints - the True Masters - succeed in unraveling the mystery, by going beyond the mind and thereby gaining the knowledge of how the mind tricks the soul into miserable unending imprisonment in this world.
As I speak on this subject, a certain hymn of Swami Ji comes to mind, in which he has described with great beauty the tribulations of soul and mind. I have never taken this hymn before - listen attentively, for the Masters open up the subject with deep clarity.
O mind, listen to my words!
If any man looks into his heart, he will have to admit if he is honest that it is filled with unhappiness, through the mind's dominance; yet he knows no remedy for it. If you know that someone is stealing your money, one way of controlling the situation is to praise his honesty and work, and make him your treasurer. Swami Ji advises us to Make a friend of the mind. It is our cruel enemy which will go on tormenting our life, but by making friends with it we take the first step toward gaining the desired control. If one makes friends with an enemy, he may not immediately cease his enmity, but it will lessen the lengths of his cruelty. In this way there are chances of his becoming stilled, during which time you will be more awakened.
Here the soul is pleading to the mind: "Just listen to one word of mine! You are unhappy and I am unhappy - listen, and you will gain peace as well as I." After all, the mind is rarely happy - do we not say so often, "My heart is so sad?" When we are restless, he is also restless. So this is an appeal from the soul, asking the mind to listen carefully.
"From the day we were separated from God and came into creation, I have been your slave and have ever danced to whatever tune you chose. I have always been completely yours - please listen to me for once. I did not even obey God's word or the Guru's; but whatever you ordered I obeyed. I read page upon page of holy scriptures, but threw them all away and turned my face from the Lord - just to obey you. Never once did I become God's servant, never once did I serve the Guru; I served only you. So today I pray you, listen to me."
"You are the lord of the physical, astral and causal regions; you are the master there, with control over all the gods and goddesses." If you read authoritative books on the subject, you will find that the mind's orders are carried out on every plane; he is a great lord, and all due respect is paid to him. Even when you rise above the physical form, you are still under his orders - Andi or astral mind - and then also in the causal plane, you are under the Brahmandi mind. It is his habit to again and again bring about your downfall. If the gods and goddesses bow down to him, what is the poor condition of Man?
You are not even aware of what you are before transcending all three regions. The gods and goddesses are anxious to get the human form, and it means only that the human form is the highest in all creation due to its great spiritual possibilities; but man, who has been given this desirable boon, is selling himself to the mind. But one cannot say that it is entirely his fault, poor thing. O Nanak, mind can be controlled, but only through His full mercy. When God showers all His mercy and takes the soul above all three regions, then mind is powerless. Up to this point, the danger from the mind remains, to lead the poor soul astray.
During the time of Guru Gobind Singh, a certain story tells that there was a rishi who left everything and went into the forests to do his meditation. Now there was also a certain king who had conquered many people and places, but whose greatest ambition was to conquer the rishi and make him obey his wishes. This strange ambition arose from the fact that the rishi was formerly a great king before he had renounced everything for a spiritual life. So when the king's advisers told him to go and conquer the rishi, he prepared himself and his army for battle and marched into the deep forests. On approaching the rishi, he found he was in meditation, but undaunted he accosted the holy man and told him, "Prepare yourself for a fight, I have come to do battle with you." The rishi calmly surveyed the king and his mighty armies, and replied, "Fight! I ran away from the worldly life for fear of my one great enemy, and hid myself here in these woods. My soul yet shivers to hear the sound of his name - even to take his name myself, my heart is quivering." The rishi went on describing his enemy to the king, until finally the king grew angry and shouted, "Is he stronger than me, this enemy of yours?" The rishi replied, "Even the thought of him almost destroys my soul - I have left everything to escape from him." The king then demanded to know the name of this fearful enemy, "What is the use?" said the rishi; "you will not be able to conquer him." The king boldly replied, "If I cannot conquer him, I will burn myself to death." The rishi then told the king that the great enemy he spoke of was the mind. From that very day the king tried everything possible, using all manner of means to gain control over his mind, but found that he could not. Finally, after admitting that he had failed, he burned himself alive at a place called Katasraj.
Because of its vast area of rule, everyone is under the mind's control, so among those who practice meditation, very few rise above even the first region. Even fewer rise above the second, and to rise above the third is really something rare.
The means of freedom lie in leaving the outer enjoyments of senses, but if these outer tastes are not cast aside, one remains imprisoned here. Just look at the condition of the world today: Whatever the mind orders is carried out unquestionably, and what is more, those very orders are highly praised throughout the world! The Guru's word and holy books are all ignored, but the mind's desires are fulfilled.
If one has served a person devotedly, one can claim at least some rights from that person. So - "Will you not listen to me just once? You are unhappy and so am I ... just grant my one request, and you will also accomplish something worthwhile ... only one word must you hear." All Masters have explained this situation in their different ways, to help the dear souls to realize the facts. Swami Ji Maharaj has personified the soul and the mind and has given expression to the plight of both.
"In this body full of filth there is only dense darkness, so why remain imprisoned here? - you who are lord of all three regions! Have you forgotten how great you really are? You are really an emperor, yet you have become a garbage collector. Think! Awaken!"
The mind is also a brilliant magistrate who sits in judgment upon his own actions.
Satguru told me one thing: "Take the mind with you."
The Satguru advises the soul to take the mind along if it wants to return home. He never says to ignore the mind, or leave it behind, but that the soul should make it understand and make it agreeable. As long as man does not kill the physical mind and withdraw from the sense level, he cannot proceed. One must leave all sense attractions and rise above body consciousness, otherwise it remains impossible to go higher and taste the Nectar of the Lord. Excessive eating and drinking, frittering away the attention on worldly sights, sounds and sensation - all these are outer enjoyments which deny one the bliss of the inner enjoyments. Lord Buddha said we should Be desireless, for desire is but sense enjoyment. Only by stepping aside from all this can one truly take a step ahead. If you can take the mind with you, it will be easier, but if you forget yourself and your aim in the mind's enjoyments you will lose all desire to progress. Make it your companion, and make it understand the situation, for the mind is unhappy - so much so that at times it cries out in torment.
The world is a mere nothing - a place full of illusion and wrong-doing - valueless, with no virtue, a place where the darkest deeds are carried out. What is there here that can hold any real value for either the soul or the mind? Make it understand these realities for at present it is strongly attached to all the falseness of the world and it simply has to turn and face the truth to become attached to something higher. If the soul does not leave the senses, how can it transcend the body? If it does not transcend the body, how can it realize what it is? It is a straightforward matter, requiring no special philosophy to understand. Where the world's philosophies end, there religion truly starts.
So the very first step is to withdraw from outer attractions and learn to lead a life of tranquility; only then will you be able to gain steady progress toward the Truth. Nothing can be gained by cursing the mind, for the mind is no small thing; so the Master's advice is to befriend it. There is the story of a clever man who was traveling alone with a huge load of valuables, when he encountered five or six men whom he knew to be rogues and tricksters. With dismay he thought to himself, "These men are rogues and will take all my goods, for I am alone and helpless." So as the men drew close he said to them, "My friends, I am so glad I have met you - kindly look after my things for me until we reach the destination."
The mind's habit is to drag everything downward, yet as your friend, even if it wants to hurt you, it will not do so. Under such an arrangement, he might even cooperate with you. If he desires food, then agree - "Yes, I will give you food, but first let us do a little meditation, then we will have food." If you immediately refuse the food, he will be tormented with the desire for it. He is like a stubborn donkey; the more you restrict him, the more stubborn he becomes. It is a very accurate definition of the mind. If you make a note in a book, "do not read page so-and-so," it will be the first page people will read; they won't be able to resist the temptation! So make your mind a companion; don't fight with him.
So I plead with thee: Why delay? Transcend body consciousness.
There is no Truth in this world, no righteousness, no justice. Why not rise above and place all your attention in the Ineffable One Lord? Until this happens, that eye is not developed through which you will have true perception.
Two very powerful forces are anger and lust. They rule over everything. If the attention dwells on lust, the soul falls very low; in anger, the ego expands. The soul cannot be linked with Naam until it withdraws inwardly and rises above the senses. Our attention has instead become like an image of the mind. We want to enjoy all the low, worldly things, yet we say we want the highest thing of all - the Nectar of Life! It is all wrong - how far do we think we will go? Do one thing at a time; but do not remain under this false impression. One Saint says, Where there is Naam, there is no kam (lust) - where there is kam there is no Naam; Two cannot remain at once - light and darkness.
Most of our precious time is wasted in indulgence of jealousies, ego, scandal, criticizing, backbiting, possessiveness, etc. There are other degrading pitfalls, but remember that lust and anger are the most powerful, and a soul under their influence can never go very far within, for there is no tranquility, serenity or oneness. He who has no lust and anger is the image of God. Just think, the merest glance from such a person can still the mind and the undesirable things leave their hold for a while. The words that come forth from this rare personality are charged with his inner tranquility, so much so that men who hear them will also enjoy a serene stillness. It follows that air which passes close to ice will bring a refreshing coolness, as the air which passes near the fire will give warmth. So whatever the inner condition of a person, so his words will be charged with that atmosphere -- be it anger, lust, or a sweet tranquility. Out of the abundance of his heart, a man speaks.
Everyone, literate and illiterate alike, is trapped in the powerful grip of these two most damaging traits. You have been asked to fully understand this, perhaps a thousand times, and you still do not understand the danger. Still, when the mind suggests something, you say, "Yes sir, whatever you say." Guru and God are very easily and quickly pushed aside. Very few people want to admit their mistakes, and with such conditions, salvation is very far away. To become a human being is most difficult; to realize God is not at all difficult. If only the soul would leave the senses and the mind, and come up above the body consciousness, it would achieve something great.
The mind is a lover of enjoyments, and in the Naam there is the Maha Ras - the most delectable Nectar one can ever taste. If only the mind would take one true sip, it would never again yearn for lower enjoyments. This place is insipid, O friend (mind); Drink the Nectar of Naam. We have also, When that Nectar comes, this other taste is not to one's liking. Now you are dragging the mind with you, to get inside. Then, you will have to persuade it to return! Beauty and attractive sounds are two principle factors in keeping one's attention outside, dragging it away from its natural, inner inclinations. The poisonous mind gets intoxicated while enjoying beautiful sights and sounds. Even a snake, on hearing the music of the vina, rests its head down and cannot move; it becomes helpless. If outer sounds can have such magnetism, what might be the attractive power of the inner spiritual music and beauty? All glory and beauty lie within you. Tulsi Sahib says, When I went to Brahmand the world became insignificant; When I reached Par Brahm, Brahmand became like a washroom.
So it is possible to gain control over the mind only in the company of a Satguru. He will help you to befriend it, and so make the path easier. Then it may start to listen to you, whereas it usually does not. Many find this difficulty in meditation, and say that their mind does not allow them to meditate. So Swami Ji is so beautifully advising one to: With love, make it your companion. Love is such a magnificent thing, that it can control even the worst-charactered person. No matter how much you may hate your pitiful situation, yet hate will only serve to increase the problem. You may throw all the filth out of a dirty house, yet the smell of that will spread and permeate not only the interior of the house but the surroundings too. The true solution is to start washing with the water of Love, and gradually the badness will be washed away forever. If you are good to your enemy, his enmity will be softened somewhat. Rise above the body, and if you would then care for a thousand things they will be given unto you. Guru Amardas says, O mind, you desired a thousand things yet not one was fulfilled; Take my advice, and complete fulfillment will come. One has seen this world and lived in it - now go up and enjoy that place.
If you do not stop enjoying the senses, you will not be able to leave the body. If there is filth stored up inside, you may cover it with the finest silks, yet you will not succeed in disguising the smell. You can pour the strongest perfume on it, yet the odor will penetrate through. If you cover a block of ice with a blanket, you will still get the effect of its coolness by sitting close by. Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. To be born again is not something new, but an old old thing which we have forgotten. Those who in the olden days used to take discipleship from a brahmin learned how to rise above body consciousness. And who was a true brahmin? He who knew the Brahm (Lord). A brahmin was one who gave experience of the Beyond. These days, only the custom remains. The same thing applies to the sacred thread given by the brahmin. It is made from three threads in one, and means that for as long as one wears that thread one will live in truthfulness, desirelessness, and forgiveness. When all three virtues were established within one, one was born anew. The Holy Light which has been given to you people should be carefully guarded and practiced regularly.
At present you are at the mercy of the mind, for no one can say he is free, although at least you may not return to the world. When the mind tastes the Nectar of Naam, he will not wish to indulge in the lower enjoyments. Do this much, and you will have inner peace and happiness. There are other stages ahead wherein the soul falls again and again, even though she is not in this world.
Under the influence of the senses, it is very hard to reach the gaggan (the seat of the soul in the body) or rise above the body consciousness. If a man has even one strong desire, say that of lust, outwardly people may consider him to be a great soul, yet inwardly he is dancing to the tune of that desire. Outwardly he may be impressing people in many ways, but inwardly he is digging deeper that very pit into which he is fallen. Directly or indirectly he is drifting away from the Truth, and whatever he has learned has become null and void. So I humbly repeat that to become a human being is very difficult, whereas it is not difficult to realize the Lord. But the attention must persuade the mind to leave the senses and become proficient in the science of rising above into the Beyond. When the senses are won, the five enemies will not attack. The five enemies are lust, anger, greed, attachment and ego. Furthermore, If the ten senses are controlled, the Light is manifest in that soul. God's Light will fully manifest itself in that body wherein the five gross and five subtle senses are fully under control. Merely bowing down and making an outer show of respect to the Master will not help. No matter to what religion you belong you will have to do this to succeed, for without it the Truth will not be opened up to you. It is not a subject to listen to or read about alone, it is a matter of doing.
Have you ever studied yourself to see if you have progressed at all? We usually find that we were better before and now we have become worse, for this is the condition of the whole world today. A businessman gives great thought to the method of his business before he starts it, and every so often reviews the position of profit or loss, but we unheedingly throw away our precious lives, day after day, with never a care about how we stand spiritually. The aim was to gain freedom, but we are daily· sinking into more slavery under the whip of our desires. If we live recklessly when our hair is black, at least when it turns to white we should give some thought to how we are living, and what it will avail us. Hindu or Muslim, Sikh or Christian - regardless of our religion we have to get out of the mind's clutches. But the same devilry continues! Merely learning a few words on the subject and then nodding the head as if one knows everything - is this Spirituality? We may be able to fool the world, but never the Lord. To deceive people will avail nothing, particularly not God-realization. The Lord is not an innocent child, to believe anything you wish; He sees the true condition of your life, inwardly and outwardly.
The soul offers the mind a token of friendship - "I have no other friend but you, for we have been companions for birth after birth - so listen to me today - I who have been a slave to you for so long" - with love and persuasion it tries to help the mind understand the situation.
Whether it is said in very simple words or in a complicated fashion, the fact remains the same: the only way is to leave the senses behind and transcend into the Beyond. If you are really interested in Spirituality, you will be wise to fully accept this. You will also have to make your life pure and chaste. All Masters say the same, even those with a simple vocabulary: What is there to realizing the Lord? Uproot it from here and plant it there!
So ethical life is an important stepping stone to Spirituality. Truth is said to be above all, but Guru Nanak said that true living is yet above Truth, for without it one cannot recognize the Truth. No matter what your past has been - stop now! View the facts and start afresh. Stand still, and become tranquil - or you will not succeed.
Our Hazur used to say that people carry on eating the poison, and simultaneously groan and moan over its effects, but they will not stop eating more. Spiritual diaries have been prescribed after careful thought, and with deep purpose. Daily self-introspection must be kept up, and through this you will be able to see for yourself how far you are coming out of the senses' influence. With the Satguru's mercy one gets a little connection with the Light and Sound Principle, but if the life is not kept pure and chaste, the curtain of darkness will obscure the Light again. Some people say that when they come and meditate in the Ashram they get experience, whereas at home they do not. If your mind is pure you can sit anywhere at all; you will always have experience. In St. Luke, Christ says, Take heed therefore that the Light which is in thee be not darkness. You must be regular in your meditation to maintain that Light; there are important reasons behind the keeping of diaries.
But what is our condition? The same ungainly gait, which was there before and is even now. We just know how to say, "Yes, yes" and nod our heads in a knowledgeable fashion. We know how to speak all right, but we do not do anything! We do not do enough bhajan and simran, and we do not care how incorrectly we live. O brothers, why do you come to a Master? Do you come just to bring him a bad name by not obeying his words? I have to speak of these things; how else can I make you understand how you are throwing your lives away?
It is difficult to obey. To give money is easy; it is also easy to bow down and make a show. To dance, sing, play religious music - all these things are simple matters; but to control the mind is exceptionally difficult. However, it must be done. Those who have taken initiation and do not meditate hardly ever show me their faces. When asked about this, they say, "But we attend Satsang." What is the use of this half-hearted effort? They do not keep a diary, and so there is no self-introspection. I always say, "Fold your hands to me, that is enough." Bowing down amounts to nothing if you are not obeying the Master's wishes. True prostration at the Guru's feet is really obeying his instructions implicitly. Make your life pure and chaste. Be a humane being - a man of use to other men. Do your bhajan and simran; release the soul from mind and senses. Bhajan and simran are food for the soul - do not give food to the body without first giving food to the soul. This type of obedience is truly bowing down in respect to your Guru.
It is most necessary to lead a pure and chaste life; not to go on remembering what we were, but to make sure of our future. To fall in sin is manly, but to remain there is devilish. One falls often, no doubt, but one becomes a good rider only after many a fall. But don't lie down and remain wherever you fall; that is bad. In the Koran it is written that God will not change any people who have no thought to change themselves. When there is a will, there is a way. Keep your aim before you always, and work for it; then you will be sure of success. "O mind, listen once to me, your slave. Go above the body and make your home there!" To make a home in the Beyond means to learn to remain there for longer and longer periods; not for one or two minutes only. That place should gradually become more like one's home than this world.
Go back to whence you came and enjoy the real and lasting happiness there. There are unending miseries and joys in this world; none of them are real. The more you live above body consciousness, the more peace will reign in you. Even when you daily have to return, yet the coolness of spirit gained there will protect you from the heat of the world. And you can always go again at will. The world is suffering from illusion only. The world is being consumed in illusion's invisible fire; As the inner fire of passion burns, so does the outer fire of illusion. In sparsely scattered places you may find a complete Master sitting. One can enjoy the refreshing coolness only in their company.
For as long as the mind remains within its own territory, you have to take it with you. If you want to start from the beginning alone, that is more difficult - almost impossible. Why? Because you have become the very image of mind, and cannot separate yourself from it.
Cooperation from the mind is necessary, for where does one contact the Shabd? Above the body consciousness, after leaving the senses. The soul cannot hear the Sound without rising above the physical, above the nine centers, reaching the tenth; and without the mind's help, the process is very long. This is an appeal to the mind so that it will agree to help - like a man inducing his friend to do some of his work for him.
If the mind does not listen and cooperate, then one has to continue on the wheel of births and deaths. So, it is to the mind's own advantage to be agreeable, if it wants to gain freedom from the coming and going in creation.
There is a Sound of Truth vibrating within - a song which is sung in every being. There is a great attraction in hearing this Sound, through which all other attractions will fade away, and the stage of senses will be left behind: one becomes free of them. This mouse-mind has become heavy; by drinking the weight of God's Name. The mind can be weighted down by the mercury-like quality of the Naam, rendering it impossible to run around loose or engage in its ever-constant oscillations. There is no other means of controlling the mind. The accounts of Lord Krishna's life state that he jumped into the River Jumna and controlled the hydra-headed serpent there with the sound of his flute. This many-headed serpent is the mind, which has a thousand ways of inflicting its poison, and without that Sound from the Beyond, it cannot be controlled or overcome. Outer intellect and knowledge have no power over it, for though it may remain quiet for a short time, it will then run away again. If you cover a fire with ashes, it would seem there is no fire at all, yet a strong breeze will revive it and reveal the heat lying beneath. However if you throw water upon it, even a thousand tornadoes would fail to revive it.
Keep the company of those who are the Naam itself. The Word was made flesh and dwelt among us. In the atmosphere surrounding such personalities, there is a charging - a radiation - a rare tranquility. One Muslim prophet declared that the mind cannot be killed until it comes under the shadow of a Perfect Master. Even one thousand practices will be of little avail if you cannot leave the senses and get a contact with Naam, without which there is no salvation.
Sumera lies above the physical plane, and the soul says, "Come, let us go there -- the days are hot here, and there we will enjoy a cool breeze - the whole world is being consumed in flames - come, let us rise above the heat of physical consciousness and enjoy the coolness - O mind, we will be happy there, for here we are both unhappy."
The mind becomes King of Triloki (the three regions - physical, astral and causal) and remains there, for mind is the instrument of the Negative Power, just as the soul is an entity of God, the Ocean of All Consciousness. So the mind comes into its own kingdom, blending in one with the Lord of the three stages, and the soul goes to its true home.