“For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his mind will remain the greatest enemy.” – (Bhagavad Gita 6.6)
“I could call a helpline or police if I am abused”, said Ritesh, a twenty one year old engineering student, “but whom to call for help if it’s my own mind that’s relentlessly abusing me, and forcing me to do things I don’t want to do?”. I could empathise with this young practitioner of Krishna consciousness. As a practising Hare Krishna devotee, we have a rich source of spiritual happiness. Yet the reality of a rebellious mind can’t be wished away. The mind is a veritable foe and he’s there to challenge all our attempts to come closer to Krishna.
The mind’s desperate shouting, screaming and begging for relief could be intense. One could easily be misled to believe that he or she is miserable in life, and needs to take some desperate steps to pacify the mind. For many that usually involves doing what the mind says; be it watching a mundane movie, engaging in sense gratification or venting out our frustrations on someone else.
But this is big time cheating by the mind, and can’t be taken seriously at all. The mind’s relief seeking is like a mad man’s rambling; if you ask him if he’s happy, a few minutes after you’ve given him what he badly wanted, he’d most likely say, “but I never wanted it; why did you give it to me anyway?” “But you were desperate for that, I heard your cry and appeals, and unable to tolerate your screaming, I gave it to you, hoping you’d be grateful”. “Oh, but that’s not what I wanted”, the mind says with equal ferocity now as he did a few minutes before, “In fact I didn’t want it; why the hell do you torture me by giving me things that I don’t want”
As you sit confused, the mind again gently prods which soon turn into a scream, “I want ————“ (you can add so many of your own items to this blank)
“But …are you sure”, you ask, and instantly you hear a loud yelling, “I want it, now”
As you dutifully oblige your mind, you could see his wicked smile, and sadistic delight.
Please know friends, the mind is not our friend. He is our enemy at this stage of our lives.
The game of hankering and lamentation
And especially if we seek to commit to some serious spiritual practises, he’d most likely protest and use up the entire arsenal he has to take us away from Krishna. And that involves playing the most predictable game of ‘hankering and lamentation’
One moment the mind would hanker for sense gratification, and moments after you give in, the same mind would lament. This goes on endlessly until the mind finds yet another sense object.
It’s a cruel game that you neither win, nor can you give up playing. It’s like a boxer getting knocked out badly, and as he rises, he’s once again knocked out. Realizing he stands no chance, he looks for an escape route but no, he can’t stop playing. He plays only to be beaten badly, and then he’s unable to quit.
Winning the mind game
What’s the way out of this mad game which you can neither win nor stop playing? Simple! Call upon someone who loves to play this game and who assuredly wins always. And that’s Krishna. If you read the historical account of Krishna’s activities, he never lost any battle to any demon. Not only did he win effortlessly, even when he apparently escaped from Jarasandha, he eventually won. Krishna is a master strategist, and He’s always there, just a simple ‘hare Krishna’ call away. Dial the hare Krishna maha mantra number, that goes as follows
Hare Krishna Hare Krishna Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare
When we sincerely vibrate this number, Krishna responds, and rushes to the aid of His devotee who’s helplessly getting beaten by the monster Mr. Mind.
Then with Krishna behind you, you can see the mind knocked out. And soon you’d be amazed how the very enemy of mind would relish Krishna’s association. The boxing punches then appear to be sweet nectar. Just be there as Krishna stands right behind you in your helpless condition of being abused by the mind. Soon you’d be surprised to see the mind enjoy Krishna’s association. And then he’d get reasonable, and cooperate fully with your desire to be Krishna conscious.
But if you fail to call Krishna, then you are all alone, and Mr. Mind would surely punch, knock, and pulverise you to endless misery. But here is an easy way to subdue your enemy, and make him your friend. Just call for Krishna and never let Krishna leave your side.
Ritesh returned the next week, and shared his joy, “It works, I saw Krishna help me, and it isn’t so difficult after all. Just be attentive while chanting and the mind is no cause of worry” I thanked him and remembered my own spiritual master’s words, “attention contains the seed of love”
The more I am attentive to Krishna while I chant the Holy Names of Krishna, the more I am assured of developing a more intimate relationship with Him. And the more I feel loved in Krishna’s presence, I now realize, the less the mind would be a botheration.