The Dhammapada, (v.35), the sacred text of Buddha’s teachings, says, “Wonderful, indeed, it is to subdue the mind, so difficult to subdue, ever swift and seizing whatever it desires. A tamed mind brings happiness.”
(The Dhammapada, (v.35) tr. by Acharya Buddharakkhita)
On Quieting the Mind –
If one had control over anything, as a human being, it would be of the mind. That is all. Therefore the need towards meditation. Actions happen, but as they happen there is no attachment to it nor to its result. Everything happens through Nature/Prakriti. The universe takes one along the path. But being steadfast in the Self is the key.
The Bhagavad Gita says, “ I do nothing at all,” says the knower of the Truth…. seeing, hearing, touching, breathing, letting go, eating, sleeping etc… it is the senses moving among the sense objects….it is Nature that acts.”
(Srimad Bhagavad Gita ch V; v.8,9)
Thus, when one is aware that one is not the doer & every thing is happening through Nature, the acceptance & surrender happen on their own –
- Acting means doing whatever needs to be done, knowing that it is divine Nature that acts; and letting go of any attachment to the results of the action.
- Surrendering means letting go of any desire to control the outcome, leaving the results in the hands of the one Supreme Universal spirit.
- Acceptance is being at peace with whatever happened, is happening or is to happen.
Ramana Maharishi advocates the path of knowledge in the form of self-inquiry “Who Am I”, focusing on the heart centre. He says – “The Heart is the centre from which everything springs.”
He explains the nature of the mind in the following words – “What is called ‘mind’ is a wondrous power residing in the Self. It causes all thoughts to arise. Apart from thoughts, there is no such thing as mind.“
In addition, he speaks of surrender, and gives an analogy of placing one’s baggage on the floor of the train instead of carrying it on one’s head, allowing the train to carry the burden with ease.
When the Self is known through the inquiry of “who am I” the questions do not arise…
How does one inquire?
Ramana Maharishi explains –
“When other thoughts arise, one should not pursue them, but should inquire: ‘To whom do they arise?’ It does not matter how many thoughts arise. As each thought arises, one should inquire with diligence, “To whom has this thought arisen?”. The answer that would emerge would be “To me”. Thereupon if one inquires “Who am I?”, the mind will go back to its source; and the thought that arose will become quiescent.
With repeated practice in this manner, the mind will develop the skill to stay in its source.
When the mind that is subtle goes out through the brain and the sense- organs, the gross names and forms appear; when it stays in the heart, the names and forms disappear. Not letting the mind go out, but retaining it in the Heart is what is called “inwardness” (antar- mukha). Letting the mind go out of the Heart is known as “externalisation” (bahir-mukha).
Thus, when the mind stays in the Heart, the ‘I’ which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self which ever exists will shine. Whatever one does, one should do without the egoity “I”. If one acts in that way, all will appear as of the nature of Siva (God).”
(Who Am I? (Nan Yar?) The Teachings of Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi – Tr. by Dr. T. M. P. MAHADEVAN From the original Tamil)
On Overcoming Obstacles –
A Devotee asks: “When an endeavour is made to lead the right life and to concentrate thought on the Self, there is often a downfall and break. What is to be done?
Ramana Maharishi replies: “It will come all right in the end. There is a steady impulse of your determination that sets you on your feet again after every downfall and breakdown. Gradually the obstacles are all overcome and your current becomes stronger. Everything comes right in the end. Steady determination is what is required.”
(Talks with Ramana Maharishi -Talk 29)
In Conclusion –
The Ribhu Gita says, “ Seeing any thing apart from the Divine is the cause of the sense of difference and so of fear. The thought-waves that arise in the mind are the cause of bondage. When there is no mind, there is neither world nor individual soul. The conquest of the mind is the greatest of all conquests. It is the Divine himself who appears as world, individual and the beyond. So abidance as the Divine all times and in all places will result in conquering the mind. Then you will come to realise “ All is the Divine; I am that Self,” and you will attain the natural state.”
“The Essence of Ribhu Gita”, the English abridgement of the work by Professor N.R. Krishnamoorthi Aiyer)