Control of the Mind – Sarada Devi

Teachings of Sri Sarada Devi, the Holy Mother

Control of the Mind (Part 1)

1. “Everything depends on one’s mind. Nothing can be achieved without purity of mind. It is said, ‘The aspirant may have received the grace of the Guru, the Lord, and the Vaishnava; but he comes to grief without the grace of  the ‘one’. That ‘one’ is the mind. The mind of the aspirant should be gracious to him.”

2. “My child, this mind is just like a wild elephant. It races with the wind. Therefore one should discriminate all the time. One should work hard for the realization of God.”1

3. Disciple: “I cannot concentrate my mind well during meditation. My mind is fickle and unsteady.”

Mother: “Don’t worry! Restlessness is the nature of the mind, as it is of the eyes and ears. Practise regularly. The Name of God is more powerful than the senses. Always think of the Master2, who is looking after you. Don’t be troubled about your lapses.”

4. “Whenever the mind goes after anything other than God, consider that as transient and surrender the mind at the sacred feet of the Lord.”

5. “The mind naturally tends towards evil deeds. It is lethargic in doing good works. Formerly I used to get up at 3 a.m. and sit up for meditation. One day I felt disinclined to do so on account of physical indisposition. That one day’s irregularity resulted in the upsetting of my routine for a number of days. That is why I say that perseverance and tenacity are necessary for success in all good work.”

6. Mother forbade a disciple to make pilgrimages without discrimination of time and company. Quoting from a song, she said, ” ‘Pilgrimage and excursion are causes of misery. Oh my mind, don’t be restless about them.’ You can attain more in your house, if you are really earnest.”

7. Regarding weakness of the mind, Holy Mother said to a disciple, “Child, this is the law of nature. Have you not noticed the full moon and the new moon? Likewise the mind is sometimes dominated by good, and sometimes by bad tendencies.

8. Disciple: “Mother, my mind becomes restless now and then. It craves for enjoyments. That frightens me.”

Mother: “Don’t be afraid. I tell you that in this Kali Yuga mental sin is no sin. Free your mind from all worries on this account. You need not be afraid.”

9. “Can anyone altogether destroy lust? A little of it remains as long as one has the body. But it can be subdued, as a snake can be subdued by charmed dust.

10. Disciple: “However I may try to remove evil thoughts, I do not succeed.”

Mother: “This is the result of what you have done in your past life. Can one get rid of it by force? Cultivate good company, try to be good, and in time you will succeed. Pray to the Master. I, too, am here.”

1  Here is a story told by Swami Purushothamananda (Ramakrishna Mission Ashrama, Belgaum, Karnataka) regarding the nature of the mind. A honeybee was drinking honey from a lotus flower. The evening came and the bee thought, “Why should I leave now? Let me stay in the flower for the night and I will fly off tomorrow morning when the flower opens up again.” As the evening progressed, the petals of the lotus flower closed. The bee was caught inside the flower. In the night, a group of wild elephants came to the pond and in their excitement and play, crushed the lotus plants and flowers. The lotus flower in which the honeybee was imprisoned was no exception and it is needless to say what happened to the honeybee – the flower never opened and the bee died inside the flower.

A moment of weakness on the part of the honeybee ended its life. Temptations are the nature of the mind. Only by conscious effort, one will be able to overcome such temptations and direct the mind towards God. Japa (continuous recitation of God’s names) and meditation help one to strengthen the mind and pull it away from its weak nature.

2 Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa