Thought: The Informer

With the wind, fragrance comes and so does foul smell.In reality there is neither fragrance with the wind nor foul smell.Now let us observe an example of a real situation-A lot of good thoughts are coming in someone’s mind. He is happy, thinking what a good day today, such good thoughts my way.In the evening the same man is experiencing a rush of bad thoughts in his mind, making him feel sad. He wonders whose face did he encounter that such thoughts are coming his way.

The fact is that a thought is neither good nor bad. It is like the wind. The function of wind is just to send out. A thought is an informer. It informs us of the emotions within. Just as the fragrance of flower or the foul smell of garbage is spread through the wind, similarly bad or good emotions within ourselves are carried through thoughts. It is just a messenger who sends us the message.

A thought is also an informer of external influences. The effect of planets influences minds. Without a  reason one may experience despair or anger.Feelings of lack and egoism may also come up. Effect of environment , planets, things and people influence the mind.The mind has to bear the burden of the external as well as the internal (ie the emotional reactions which come from within).To bear burdens has become mind’s job.

A Messenger/Informer Cannot Be Killed

If we hold onto a thought, we won’t be able to solve the problem of having to bear burdens. The Acharyas of spirituality understood this long ago.Therefore, they said “Do not put excessive burden on thoughts. Nothing will come out of doing so.”Keep peeling the layers of an onion and nothing will be left. Neither be angry nor be happy at the informer. Just understand that it is simply doing the work of transmission. In Sanskrit literature, it is clearly said – a messenger cannot be killed. In ancient times, a king used to send his message to another king through messengers. That was the only medium of communication, then. Even if a messenger said something terrible, he could not be punished. He was always forgiven. Nobody could break this rule, despite the king having to face insults from the informer belonging to the other side.

A thought is also a messenger.If we we get angry or happy at a thought, we unconsciously start holding it, giving rise to delusions (ie bhranti). Neither get stuck in the world of thoughts  and neither wander in it.Just know that you have been given a message through a thought and now, you must become alert.If you have been given a good message in the form of a good thought, then resolve to go ahead with it.If a bad thought comes up, resolve to refine it.

How to Change Thoughts?

The question would be how to make such resolutions possible?For this we need to focus on a principle-‘Learn to change your thoughts.’Meditation helps us in this.A principle purpose of meditation is to change thoughts.We have already discussed that thoughts come from within and are like the wind.How can we change the smell, a wind carries?We can never change the result.In this condition how can we change our thoughts?

The implication of changing thoughts is changing emotions.Emotions are like the smell, a wind carries.If an emotion is like a fragrance then the thought must be developed and if an emotion is like a foul smell, then it must be refined.

Search for the Truth

The acharyas of meditation have suggested that searching for the truth is the way  towards changing emotions.Let us not get stuck at the gross and instead, go deeper.A person living in the gross world and regarding it as the only reality cannot change his life.Only one who ponders upon the subtle level of existence, can change his concepts, thought process and life.

I’m reminded of an old and poignant story.2500 years ago, there lived the king Shrainik who one day, sat in his court.All courtiers were present.A discussion was being held.The subject of the discussion was “What is the most valuable thing?”Somebody stated diamonds are the most valuable thing.Someone said emerald.Someone said gold. Everybody presented an answer in accordance with their concepts.In the end, the noble courtier Abhaykumar presented his stand.Preceding with a silence of two minutes, he replied “the most valuable thing is meat.”Listening to this, courtiers in the court laughed within themselves, thinking how can something costing a quarter be the most valuable.The king also could not accept this answer and therefore asked him to prove his statement or take it back. Abhaykumar replied that he will definitely prove his point.The king gave him a time of one week.The assembly dispersed.

Three days passed away.On the fourth day, Abhaykumar made an announcement to the public- the king is diseased and the doctors have said that the medicine to be given to him must be given along with a piece of flesh of a human heart.Therefore, anyone giving a pound of flesh of their heart will be given one lakh gold coins.The members of the court, hearing this immediately rejected the proposal.Who would accept death in exchange of gold coins?

On the eighth day, the announcement of the king becoming healthy without needing human flesh, was made.Meanwhile the king was unaware of the sequence of announcements or even his own health requiring someone’s flesh. Abhaykumar told the king about the events and the king’s own requirement of flesh for his wellbeing.He told him despite best efforts and a hefty amount being promised, nobody was ready to give a pound of flesh of their heart.The king was a bit surprised and asked “even at such a hefty amount, nobody was ready to give a piece of flesh?”

Abhaykumar replied -“My lord! how could have been this possible?I already told you that the most valuable thing on this planet is flesh”

He went on to say “it is so uncanny that all our high-ranking courtiers are consumers of meat but do not have the strength to take out a pound of meat from their own bodies.They cannot even think of the pain which innocent animals have to go through.”

Hearing this, everybody in the assembly had their heads bent in shame.

The Sequence of Finding the Truth

When a person moves in the direction of searching the truth and goes within its depth, then the secret which he finds, changes emotions.It is important to understand that thoughts are not the root.The root is emotions and going towards the truth can gradually change emotions and associated patterns.It is difficult to purify thoughts of people who talk a lot at the surface.This is because of apparent lack of opportunity to purify one’s emotions.

Meditation is a prelude to the search of truth.The truth starts showing up for the one who meditates.Emotions, thoughts, concepts and life all change for the better .The one who goes into the depths of existence, his life changes.




Observing Thoughts

(This is a translated part of the acharya shree’s book nirvichaar ki or)

The Maze of Thoughts

Thoughts cause one to wander.When a man enters a maze, he gets lost at every step.He is unable to find a way out of it.The maze of thoughts similarly, is so huge that if one gets lost in it, it is not easy to get out of it.

A blind man ,once, entered a vastly spread four walled structure.There was only one doorway of entering and leaving. While walking he took the support of the walls and in his bid to leave, tried to find the doorway. When he came near the door, his head started itching. The moment he scratched his head, he lost the opportunity and got ahead of the door.

Humans are in a similar state. Thoughts create such a huge force of wandering that wherever one finds the door out of the maze, some kind of itching starts. We lose the opportunity to get out. The question is what to do? Should we leave thinking or learn how to think?The purpose of meditation is not to leave thoughts. If thoughts come, do not get upset. The purpose of meditation is to become awake towards thoughts. Observe thoughts. Do not get lost in their flow.

There is a door for entering a house. It is impossible to make an arrangement which disallows entry of anybody. But it is possible for the house owner to become aware of who is coming inside.The owner must be aware if the entrant is well- meaning or not.

If one is aware of thoughts coming to the mind, one can choose to ignore negative thoughts.Thoughts of causing hurt to someone, selfish thoughts, bad thoughts of any kind stop coming in a regular meditator as purity of consciousness is developed.

Another purpose of meditation is to stop unnecessary thoughts. If the thought process does not develop in a person doing meditation, no one would even come near it. We do not need to stop thoughts entirely. We just need to be free of thoughts which are nonsensical in nature. Such thoughts cause stress and burden the brain. People have sleeping problems because of such thoughts. There are many people who while sleeping are continuously thinking. They are unable to stop. Either thoughts come or sleep.

Objects  and Thoughts

The purpose of meditation is not stopping development of thoughts but on the contrary, it serves to develop thoughts. If unnecessary thoughts come then the power of thoughts will weaken and the ability to think clearly will decline. On the other hand, necessary thoughts will increase this ability. There are several problems regarding the field of thoughts. One problem is objects. Our development of thoughts is related to objects. Objects induce creation of thoughts. Remembering a sense object creates a series of thoughts. One’s selfishness and other emotions are also associated with objects. These associated emotions make different people think in different ways.

I’m reminded of a story. Once, a man educated his two children.One day, he sat worried. On being asked about his cause of worry, by a friend, he explained about a confusion he faced. He told him “One of my sons is a doctor and another is a lawyer. A few days ago, my leg got a little hurt in a bike accident. My doctor son says I must get it treated soon or else injury will deepen and my lawyer son  says that I must let the injury deepen so that a big amount of compensation can be obtained from the court. I’m confused as to whose advice should I follow.”

The basis of these two advices is indeed selfishness. Objects are associated with selfishness , making thoughts of the selfish kind. So many streams of thoughts have been developed and their purpose is gaining or creating objects. The acharyas of spirituality have, therefore, advised to not just develop thoughts. After a limit, we need to stop. The problem has been that there has been no regulation on thoughts and putting a brake on them was never considered important by the modern world. As a result thoughts have spread so much that today’s man is lost. Celibacy is a an example.In the language of psychology, sexual desire is a basic psychological desire.It is in every creature.Man developed it from a thought point of view and developed to an extent that now free sex is being talked about.

Results of crossing the limit are also showing up.People have reached dangerous diseases.Now, people are thinking that there must be some regulation.

Inner Consciousness

The first stage of human development is thoughts.Then, the second stage is that of thoughtlessness. the meaning of thoughtlessness is not becoming empty of thoughts.It implies after a certain limit, putting a stop to thoughts and awakening the consciousness within.It does not mean losing energy but developing it.Thought has great power but it is not as powerful as we think it to be.The ability of thoughts is much smaller when compared to the consciousness within.While the power of keval gyan is much more when compared to this state of consciousness or avadhi gyan.

The mind is not everything to us.It is a quality of human development.But we are more capable. Many times, you must have experienced- sitting at home, you suddenly have a feeling that some friend is going to be coming and the friend really comes on the same day.It is the inner consciousness at work.Knowing someone’s thoughts, knowing about an event before its occurrence  all are beyond the ability of the mind ;inner consciousness is at work in these cases.

Through meditation, we must open a new dimension, that of awakening this inner consciousness. The question is – when will it awaken? There are three conditions for its awakening –

  1. Thoughts of lower quality stop
  2. Unnecessary thoughts stop
  3. Thoughts of all kinds stop coming

This is the sequence of development. Do not think that sitting in meditation for a day will stop the influx of thoughts. This is impossible because we have numerous associations. A person sitting at home, is thinking about his work. One has come for a meditation program but one’s mind is occupied with worries about  one’s family  at home.

This is a rule – more elaborate are one’s associations, more will be the thoughts.Unless our stupor involved in these associations is not lessened, we will have to go through this flux of thoughts.

It is expected out of a meditator to stop worrying about thoughts. If thoughts come, what kind of damage do they incur  to you?When you get associated with these thoughts, then only are they able to influence you.When one is influenced by thoughts and gets worried over them, one is troubled.We must not flow with our thoughts.Let them come and go.

Vehicles run day and night on the road of chandani chowk in Delhi.If the shopkeeper near the road begins to give attention to these vehicles, he will go mad.He will not be able to perform his business.He ignores everything but his purpose of standing there – to make profits from his shop.A meditator, similarly needs to ignore this flux of thoughts.

The Power Of Seeing

If a lot of bad thoughts come up during mediation, meditation becomes impossible and if no thoughts come, we’ve reached the state of samadhi or equanimity and we would not require meditation.Therefore, our technique of meditation is a medium path.Observing thoughts has a lot of power.We must increase the practive of seeing. The meaning of seeing is becoming aware.The more we observe, the frequency of thoughts will reduce.Where there is no respect, nobody would like to come there.Similarly, if you welcome thoughts and make them your own, then these thoughts will try to become permanent guests.If you ignore, thoughts will go away on their own.The more this awareness rises, the problem will get solved gradually.