Learning to Stop Thoughts

The following post is based on acharya Mahapragya’s book nirvichaar ki or

A thought is like a ray emerging from the source of emotions.Unless emotions of cravings and aversions exist, so will thoughts.

The teachers of spirituality said-work without desires.Krishna on a similar note, instructed Arjun to perform his duty/work without attachments.This ability to work without attachments is attained when one gains control over feelings of cravings and aversions.Many times, people perform inexcusable acts and then put up an excuse of doing them without any attachment.The ability to work without attachments does’nt come easy.It requires Sadhna.

The Sadhna of prekshadhyan is a tool for transforming emotions and thus, for a gradual attainment of the ability to work in this world without attachments.The purpose of practicing prekshadhyan must not be to attain a healthy body and mind but to transform emotions.When emotions transform, the mind and the body also become healthy.

Mental diseases are created from emotions.Without transforming emotions, they cannot be fully cured.Psychiatrists give medicines for treating mental diseases.But I have seen the ones treating mental diseases are suffering from these diseases themselves.In this state how can they cure others?Medicines cannot cure mental diseases.Unless emotions of anger, hatred, jealousy, selfishness, egoism exist, neither mind nor body can stay healthy.

The Influx of Thoughts

At this point, we are faced with the matter of influx of thoughts.We need to stop some thoughts (by consciously ignoring them) and we need not stop some thoughts.A thought whose basis is of an emotion of craving or aversion needs to be stopped while a thought whose basis is of knowledge must not be stopped.

Let us consider an example at the worldly level to understand the need of the above principle.The world of things has been developed with the development of thoughts.Things such as motor, ship, bulb etc have contributed to the progress of mankind while bombs, guns have contributed to the destruction of mankind.Creation and destruction, hence, are fructifications of thoughts.Therefore the ability to discriminate between thoughts worth stopping and thoughts worth encouraging is necessary.If we stop every thought, progress will also stop.If this happens there will be no difference between humans and animals.And learning to stop some thoughts is also necessary as thoughts have also caused and are causing harm to humanity.

Now, let us consider an example at a subtle level.A thought makes one happy or sad.A man is sitting happily.A thought strikes him and he is filled with sadness.No such situation, no such event but just a thought and he is filled with sadness.A man is suffering misery but a thought strikes him and he becomes happy.So a thought is a creator of happiness and sadness, both.In consideration of this, we found that if thoughts arise, let them but at least we must stop thoughts of cravings and aversions.But thoughts do not stop.Then we found that emotions, the subtler layer to thoughts, is responsible for all our thoughts and therefore, we must stop these emotions.Therefore, the meaning of stopping the influx of thoughts is infact, stopping or changing the influx of emotions.This truth must be inscribed in our hearts.

Disapassion

Now the question would be-what will the change in emotions which are driven by attachments result into?The opposite of raag (attachments) is Viraag (dispassion), which means neither raag nor dvesh, neither cravings nor aversions, neither likes nor dislikes.Dispassion brings forth the ability to work in this world, without attachments.Dispassion does’nt only mean becoming a saint.It means being aware of the truth.Knowledge of truth,experience of reality and dispassion – all are same.When we know the truth and begin to live it, that is dispassion.When we only believe in truth and do not live it, that is not dispassion.

There is a huge difference between knowing the truth and believing in it.Knowing the truth implies experiencing it while believing in truth implies imposition.Most people believe in the truth but do not know it.There is a difference between the speech and action of people who just believe in the truth or what their religion says and asks them to do.That is why, today’s religious one speaks of something else and does something else.S/he does not live the truth but bears its burden.There is no relation of truth with their lives since through belief, we can only hold on to the words of scriptures but cannot live the truth which permeates through those words.This is the fruit of only believing.

A small story can illustrate the problem effectively.A child sat sadly near the sea.He had a small cup in his hands.He would look at the sea and then look at his tiny cup.A man asked him the reason for his sadness.He replied “I want to fill my cup with the waters of this sea but don’t know how ?”

We all are going through a stage similar to that of this child.We also want to fill the grand truth in our small cups of logic and words.In this state, action and words cannot be, but different.Unless we don’t cross over words and logic and enter the world of emotional purification, we cannot fill the sea of truth.Our thoughts and knowledge has limits and unless we cross these limits ,we cannot experience the limitless.We must cross these limits and purify our emotions through Sadhna/meditation as when our emotions are not pure, we are unable to see the truth even if it is right in front of us.

Unless the difference between knowing the truth and believing in it does not become clear, there will be differences between knowledge and behaviour, doing and talking.People will remain deceived.One’s likes and dislikes keep one entangled in the outer world.

Once, a soldier got killed.A man eater lion ate him.The headquarters were informed.The deputy commissioner asked the head “find out if the lion really ate the soldier?Was the soldier in uniform at the time of the incident?If he was in uniform, the lion would have not been able to eat him.”

Man is entangled in his beliefs.Unless a man does’nt break the cycle of beliefs and concepts and does not experience the truth naturally, this cycle of thoughts won’t break.That is why, to stop the influx of thoughts, dispassion is necessary.

Parigrah

All of us have seen the cycle of sorrow.There is a lot of sorrow in this world.The creator of sorrow is parigrah (ie accumulation).Mahaveer said, unless one does’nt become free from it, one cannot be free of sorrow.A man has a huge repository of thoughts.He thinks, if money is not there, what will happen?What will happen in old age?How will I get my daughter married?Accumulation of thoughts breeds accumulation of other things as well.He, unconsciously or consciously concludes money is life.That, money is everything.On the outside,he declares that religion and God is very dear to him but on the inside, parigrah becomes his dear religion and God.

A businessman came to a saint.He had lots of money but no peace.He pleaded the Saint “maharaj! I am very sad.Can you tell me a mantra which can put an end to my sorrow.” The Saint replied ” first, give me something to eat.I’m hungry.Then I will give you the mantra.” Feeling helpless, he ordered some milk.Taking his own utensil out of a bag, the Saint remarked, “I won’t drink the milk from your utensil.I will consume from my own.” Pointing towards a utensil with millions of pores, the Saint asked the businessman to pour the milk inside it.Seeing the pores, the baffled businessman remarked,”how, Saint, will you be able to drink from this?Not a drop will be able to stay on it.”On this, the Saint smilingly said,”you are right.If your milk won’t be able to stay on my porous utensil,how will my mantra stay with your porous mind?Bring to me a retentive mind,then I will give the mantra divine.”

The habitual feeling of accumulating has made the utensil of mind so porous, that no sutra of spirituality is able to stay with it.It is surprising that people hear so many spiritual/religious lectures, study scriptures and perform jap-tap, but still no positive effect is brought on the mind.How will any of it be able to produce an effect when the mind is full of pores?

The mind needs to become non-porous.This can happen through emotional purification.Kayotsarg is an important means through which this can be achieved.The meaning of Kayotsarg is, dropping the body.Our bodies drop after death but how does one drop the body, while being alive?Desire less work or the yoga of dispassion is dropping the body while being alive.It means the body continues to exist but dropping one’s attachments to it.

Dropping the body while alive means attacking at the root of  parigrah.The body is the biggest parigrah.All other worldly accumulations are born out of one’s attachment to one’s body.When this attachment weakens, the desires of accumulation also become weak.Kayotsarg is relaxing every muscle and cell of the body.Loosening one’s hold on the body.The feeling of, “this is my body” needs to be loosened during this process.The first step towards emotional purification is Kayotsarg.Three things are involved in this process-relaxation of body,awareness towards it and dissolving the feeling of mine-ness.

Unless one’s feeling of mine-ness is not dropped, Kayotsarg will not be performed in its true sense.Unless this is not done, the hold of parigrah will not loosen and unless this does not happen, our emotions will not become pure.And without emotional purification, sorrow will not end.

Meditation is not just a stress buster.It is a means to uproot the basis of sorrow.When this happens, diseases of the body, mental confusions and emotional problems will resolve.Through Kayotsarg, we must make our emotions simple & natural and attack at the root of sorrow.This attack will be valuable.Non-meditators can never understand the significance of such an attack.A person who does’nt meditate also wants freedom from sorrow but does not know how to attack at it’s root.A person who meditates focuses more at the question, what is the cause of sorrow?

If we learn to attack at the root of sorrow, the sorrows of this worldly life won’t seem to be sorrowful any more and a new world can be created.

Our Lives: Reflections of Our Thoughts

The following post is based on Acharya shree’s book nirvichaar ki or

Three kinds of lifestyles (jeevanshaili) exist:
1.Padarthpeksh jeevanshaili- matter bound lifestyle
2.Atmapeksh jeevanshaili – soul bound life
3.Ubhyapeksh jeevanshaili

The first kind entails a person to regard the world of matter as everything.People living such lifestyles believe that the essence of life is things, living or non-living.Eat, enjoy and collect things- this is the mantra of such a life.A life revolving around things.The second kind of lifestyle is based only on the search for the truth.Such people are focused only on their inner selves. The third kind of life entails focussing on things and consciousness,both.

A person meditating, should at least develop a life of the third kind.The second kind of life is not easy for everyone.Forget regular people, even munis do not reach there.In terms of behaviour, we can also term them as unbehavioural.Such a person is of no use to society and therefore, let us leave him.Today’s man is living a life of either the first kind or the third kind.Meditation changes a life bound to matter.One begins to think about one’s consciousness.One begins to wonder what is the truth?Is the material world, the truth?When we don’t think deeply, only matters belonging to this material existence matter to us and we live a life of the first kind.When we begin to think, the illusionary nature of material things becomes clear before us.

The Nature of Matter

Shankaracharya said-” Brahm or the universal consciousness is the truth while the world is an illusion.Basically it is a sutra of spirituality. Matter(ie material things) is an illusion in the sense that today what exists may not exist tomorrow.Something which satisfies us today will dissatisfy us after a few days.

Yesterday, I happened to be standing in the hall when a stream of water was falling down a pipe.Looking at the flowing water, I thought to myself, does this water hold some value?Maybe not.Just a moment later, I realised I had just had some water, a few minutes ago.If I had seen this water flowing after a five day water fast, the same water would have been very valuable to me.

Therefore, a thing by itself has no value.Its value is only realised at a moment of desire or unfulfillement.But the uniqueness of matter is that it never lets one feel fulfilled.One feels fulfilled only for a moment.We have some water.For one hour, we may not want to have it again but after sometime the desire for water is born again.A natural question arises- people have been enjoying different kinds of sense-objects for such a long time but have they achieved fulfilment?If they have become fulfilled after eating, then why are they repeating the same sequence?The truth is that degree of dissatisfaction has only increased with an increase in consumption of the sense-world.That is why, despite lack of hunger, one feels unfulfilled after a certain point in time and consumes food without being hungry.The nature of sense objects is to give a sense of satisfaction for a moment and create an impression of dissatisfaction, a moment later.

The Severity of the Sun
The dearest queen of the king, once, due to some reason went out in the sun.Her body burnt down due to the severity of the sun.Burnt and hurt, she went to the King and complained “everyone says you are a perfect King but I think you are weak.In your kingdom ,everyone does what they like.This sun has troubled me badly.Unless you do not throw him out of the kingdom, I will not speak to you.”
The queen’s demand was weird but in anger, everyone does what they like.The King was smart.He ordered his commander-in chief to throw as many missiles as required, so as to make the sun invisible.This order was put to action.Aiming at the sun, missiles were thrown.The clouds of smoke made the sun invisible.The queen was content that her desire was fulfilled.

The Story of Current Lifestyle
Attachments of likes and dislikes enrapture people’s minds so intensely that the truth is considered false.The feeling of unfulfillment created by sense objects creates such an impression that a man is led to believe that only sense objects constitute life and nothing is beyond them.This kind of a mind set creates a lot of delusions.Many diseases such as cancer, heart-attack, peptic ulcers, hypertension, insomnia etc. have been a result of this kind of thought process and its consequent lifestyle.This blind race towards sense objects needs to be abandoned and the lifestyle of the third kind which has place for both, the material and the spiritual, needs to be adopted.In the language of percentage, if 50% place is given to one’s consciousness/spiritual growth and 50% place is given to the material world, a big change can take place.Such a life can witness a positive transformation of emotions.Upon transformation of emotions, thoughts will change automatically.

A Depth to Thoughts
One result of the search for truth is change of emotions which leads to change of thoughts, which further ,leads to a change of lifestyle.This is the sequence of devlopment.Meditation is not just spending time with eyes shut.It is a life philosophy.I believe that essential dimensions of a society such as politics, economics etc. are all incomplete without the subtle touch of meditation.Politics, society, economics – are all run by thoughts.Just as a ship cannot travel in shallow waters, thoughts cannot be developed at a shallow level.Thoughts must be given the depth of truth.Then only our thoughts can become so deep that anything can be made to float on it and any problem can thus, be solved.