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The Cause of Unhappiness : 6.

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Now, this is an indication of what is to be done. We have suffered from various diseases for the last ten years. What are the kinds of disease that attacked us? We can find out the predominance of these illnesses and the peculiar characters of the diseases to which we are susceptible – the major problems of our life as illness. Likewise, the major or predominant character of the vrittis of the mind can be discovered by a careful analysis of an average taken in this manner. Everyone has desires; everyone has vrittis; everyone has distresses, anguishes, etc., but they vary in tones of expression.


The way in which one reacts to the external conditions of life, normally speaking, is the nature of one’s person – and it is this that has to be subdued.  It is not one vritti that we are subduing; it is the entire tendency of the mind to manifest as vrittis. It may manifest itself as many vrittis, many types of vrittis, but whatever be the types or the ways in which it manifests itself, it ha…

The Cause of Unhappiness : 5.

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Thus, it has been pointed out that the klesas – avidya, asmita, raga, dvesa, abhinivesa – are sources of unending trouble. They are made up of trouble itself. There is nothing else of which they are made; and, unfortunately, everyone and everything is made up of these complexes called the klesas. They have also motivated another peculiar law, which is called the law of karma – all of which is a different way of describing the manner in which desires function and the reactions that are produced by the desires. The one mistake that has been committed in the form of error of perception – namely, affirmation of the individuality, asmita – has caused us so much trouble.


These conditions cannot be overcome merely by an action in an ordinary sense. There should be an overall transformation brought about for the purpose of dealing with these vrittis, because any one-sided approach to it will not succeed. If we touch any one aspect of these vrittis, other aspects will revolt. They will suppor…

The Cause of Unhappiness :4.

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The impressions formed by experiences in this life will produce effects of a similar character at a time when they come as pain rather than as pleasure. Thus, pains and pleasures are both things which we have asked for. They have not been thrust upon us by anybody. When our individual constitution is in harmony with those external conditions, objects, etc. which come in contact with us or with which we come in contact, we call that experience a pleasure. But if that relationship between ourselves and the external circumstances is disharmonious for any reason whatsoever, then that experience becomes unhappiness. Well, this is a very strange thing which the mind at the present moment cannot understand. It is sowing the seeds of its future sorrow now, by pursuing pleasures of sense which it thinks are desirable at present, but later on they will come like pricking thorns. This is the sorrow of samskaras.


Also, the gunas of prakriti are the cause of all experience. These gunas are called…

The Cause of Unhappiness : 3.

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A third difficulty is that this experience of pleasure produces an impression in the mind; it creates a groove. A vasana is produced, and these vasanas, these grooves formed in the mind, will remain there latent for all time to come. They are permanent copperplates produced in the mind, and we can manufacture any number of gramophone records so that there is an urge for repetition of these experiences, manifest or unmanifest. If the conditions are favourable, they will manifest immediately.


If conditions are not favourable, they will keep quiet, and when conditions become favourable – even after years, even after births – they will again motivate the mind towards that enjoyment. Thus, the samskaras produced by a particular experience of pleasure are going to be sorrows in the future.
There is another danger about this: if the samskaras are very strong, if the impressions or grooves formed are very marked, then what will happen is that they may take effect even in future lives.


And, w…

The Cause of Unhappiness : 2.

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A desire, when it is fulfilled, should not create a greater desire. If that is the case, the very purpose of the fulfilment of the desire is defeated. What is the intention of our efforts at fulfilling desires? It is so that they do not, once again, come and trouble us. The satisfaction should be there. That is the purpose of the attempt of the mind to gain pleasure of any kind. But, the satisfaction does not come. What comes is a greater desire. How is it possible that the flames of desire get fanned more and more rather than extinguished in a large measure, in spite of hard effort? Whatever be the effort, whatever be the manner adopted, whatever be the kind of object one contacts – we may move earth and heaven – yet, the result is the same.


There is a parinama, or a consequence of unhappiness, that follows happiness. This is something very strange. How can unhappiness follow happiness? How is it possible that something contrary to the nature of the cause can follow as the effect? I…

The Cause of Unhappiness : 1.

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The happiness that we pursue should be unmixed, if it is genuine. It should not be contaminated by other features, as that would go to prove that there is some defect in the way in which happiness is being pursued. It will be observed that every passing phase of pleasure or joy in life is accompanied by another character altogether which precedes it, comes with it, and also follows it – namely, a kind of sorrow. An immediate consequence that follows the experience of contacting a pleasure is a feeling of having lost it, because it has not continuously become a part of one’s experience.


There is no such thing as a continuous, unbroken experience of happiness, because the happiness was caused by certain efforts and certain conditions. When the efforts cease or the conditions disperse, the effect also must vanish; therefore, there is the consequence of an unhappiness of having lost the happiness that was once there. This peculiar character of unhappiness following a temporary experience…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 8. ( Last Part )

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There are also objects in the world other than the one towards which the mind is moving. What will happen to them? Because of the interrelated structure of all things, it is impossible to avoid the intrusion of other factors into our experience. We cannot have summer always, or winter always, or rain always, or a particular kind of season always, because the planets move according to their own way, and so seasons change, naturally.


Experiences also must change. Everything in this world is subtly connected with everything else. Therefore, if we interfere with any particular thing, we will be interfering with everything else also – knowingly or unknowingly. But, due to the ignorance of this peculiar way in which nature works, the mind takes into consideration only that particular object or group of objects which is visible to its mental eye, as if it is looking at things with blinkers, and completely loses consciousness of other factors with which the very existence of this object or g…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 7.

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Thus, the repeated cycle of birth and death continues endlessly, unbroken, and we cannot know where it begins and where it ends. This cycle is called the samsara chakra, the wheel of birth and death. All this trouble has arisen on account of the original mistake committed – namely, the assertion of individuality as a principle, independent by itself, whose erroneous presence compels it to come in contact with other individuals, objects, etc. Unfortunately for it, it has the temptation of enjoying pleasure in contact. If that had not been there, perhaps it would have caught the lesson immediately at the very first contact itself, but the memory of a previous pleasure becomes a cause for working further to repeat the contact for the purpose of the experience it once had.


The sutra, refers to the immediate consequence of self-assertion. What is this immediate consequence? It is the conviction that arises in oneself that there is a purpose in self-affirmation. What can be the purpose, ot…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 6.

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Therefore, the pleasures always remain unsatisfied. Inasmuch as what we ask for is an infinitude of pleasure, we cannot be satisfied with a little of it. Hence there is an urge to repeat the contact of the mind and senses with the object, endlessly. Throughout life we can go on having these contacts; and yet, there can be no end to it. So, what happens? These peculiar types of tendencies with which we are born get exhausted, get worn out. The senses also become tired because of repeated activity; then, their momentum ceases. The momentum of these tendencies ceases on account of exhaustion and inability to fulfil themselves to the extent they require from within, and also because the tendencies with which we are born are finite – they are only certain aspects of the possibilities of other types of contact we can have.


What happens is these tendencies have to come to an end one day or the other by exhaustion of momentum, and then the organisation dwindles; that is called the death of t…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 5.

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The sense of individuality is, therefore, a combination of the principle of Pure Being and the principle of externality. When we assert or feel ‘I am’, we have a phenomenal sense of ‘I am-ness’. It is not the consciousness of existence as it is, because this existence is present everywhere – it is in me, it is in you, it is in everything. Why don’t we feel that everything ‘is’? Why is it that there is a peculiar feeling of ‘I am, independent of others’? The pure universal character of existence is restricted in its operation, localised by the distracting activity of the mind that is an aspect of existence drawn into activity. Only a phase of this existence is made to be felt in our sense of personality, so that we have a feeling of localised being, and not a sense of All-being.


This feeling of localised being is brought about for a purpose. The purpose is the fulfilment of the urges mentioned, these tendencies with which we are born – the frustrated desires, we may say, the samskaras…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 4.

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So the asmita, or the principle of individuality, which is the cause of all our further troubles in life, is brought about by a peculiar kind of internal, mutual superimposition of aspects. And once this superimposition has taken place, we cannot get out of it. Various kinds of examples are given to illustrate how this has happened and what it actually means. A heated iron rod or iron ball becomes red-hot, so that we are unable to distinguish between the iron and the fire. When we touch the iron ball, it burns us. What is it that we are touching – fire, or the iron ball? Well, either or neither, we may say. What burns us is the fire, but what we actually touch as a tangible, physical, concrete, solid substance is the iron ball. They have become one. There is a glow we see, that is all. It is only fire. The iron is not visible; it has lost its presence. It has identified its being with the being of the fire, for the time being. Likewise, we will find that this distracting medium calle…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 3.

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Sometimes, in traditional language, we call these groups of tendencies prarabdha karma. We are compelled to move in a particular direction on account of our personality being nothing but an embodied form of this distracting principle. This mind that we are speaking of, through which the Infinite is reflected or refracted, is not an outside medium that we operate as independent individuals. It is not a fountain pen with which we write a book and which is not vitally connected with our body, which we can throw off after some time – not so. What we mean by ‘mind’ is nothing but the totality of what we really are in our individuality – the whole structure of our tendencies, ways of thinking, etc. We will study in the system of Patanjali, in a future sutra, that these so-called tendencies condition the place in which we are born, the time period into which we are born, the society into which we are born, the length of life which we live, and the various types of experiences we have to pas…

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 2.

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 The thinking principle gets identified with the thinker. Asmita means the sense of being individual. It has arisen on account of an identification of two factors: the thinking principle – the medium through which thought is projected – and the real thinker that is responsible and is behind this process. It is difficult to define the nature of the thinking principle, because this principle is a blend of two different sides, or aspects. On one side there is the capacity to think, understand, illumine, and judge the values of things. On the other side there is the aspect of projecting this intelligence into space and time in an externalised manner, and locating it or pinpointing it upon an object.


The true thinker, if one would like to call it so, is the principle of consciousness itself, which cannot be limited to objects and which is not in space and time. But the awareness of an object outside is a specific function that is performed by the asmita, or the individual sense, and this pa…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 1.

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 1.: The incapacity to feel the infinitude of Consciousness at once manifests itself as a consciousness of finitude. This is a peculiar s...

Pursuit of Pleasure is Invocation of Pain : 1.

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The incapacity to feel the infinitude of Consciousness at once manifests itself as a consciousness of finitude. This is a peculiar sudden development which is almost simultaneous with this incapacity mentioned. A foolish person does not keep quiet. He has to do some mischievous deeds, at once. That is the very essence of foolishness, or lack of knowledge. Absolutely keeping quiet is not possible unless there is a complete withdrawal of sensation itself.


The absence of the consciousness of the infinitude of oneself is not an absence of all kinds of consciousness. It is an absence of a specific type, simultaneous with the presence of a different type of consciousness. Just as in a mathematical calculation we may be unconscious of an error that has been committed in calculation, but at the same time there is a positive effort at developing the series of calculations on the basis of that error; the consciousness has not ceased to operate but now it is operating in a wrong direction altoget…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5. ( Last Part )

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5. ( Last Part ): Apart from the usual and obvious forms of dependence, such as the need for food, clothing and shelter, there are other types of depen...

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5. ( Last Part )

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Apart from the usual and obvious forms of dependence, such as the need for food, clothing and shelter, there are other types of dependence which are secret, subtler in their nature, and these are more important for the purposes of investigation than the grosser needs, because the grosser needs are well known to everyone. Everyone knows that we will be hungry, and will feel heat and cold, and that we need a shelter for living. But there are other things which may not be known to everybody. We have weaknesses other than the feeling of hunger, thirst, etc., and these are the harassing factors of life. We are worried not so much because of food, clothing and shelter, but due to other things which are the secret wire-pullers of the individual's existence. These other things are not minor factors. They are made to appear as if they are insignificant and secondary on account of a trick played by the mind, because if they are brought to the forefront they will not succeed in their attempt…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5.

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5.: Broadly speaking, there are various phases of the individual – the physical needs and the psychological needs experienced by us dai...

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 5.

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Broadly speaking, there are various phases of the individual – the physical needs and the psychological needs experienced by us daily which make us hang on to things, like slaves. We cannot bear extreme heat; we cannot bear extreme cold; we cannot bear hunger; we cannot bear thirst. These are the immediate creature needs of the individual which makes it totally dependent on external factors. We cannot control these urges by any amount of effort. There are other vital needs of the individual which press it forward towards fulfilment. The vital urges are forceful impulses which drive the mind and the senses towards their objects of fulfilment, and these are, again, the weak spots. If we are in a position to fulfil the needs of the body, the mind and the senses in any measure whatsoever, we become friends. A friend is one who can fulfil our needs; and this is, of course, how we usually define a friend. My needs have to be fulfilled, whatever the needs may be, and when the needs are analy…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 4.

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 4.: This is the sort of attitude we have to adopt in respect of the Supreme Absolute. We run to it for every little thing, even if it i...

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 4.

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This is the sort of attitude we have to adopt in respect of the Supreme Absolute. We run to it for every little thing, even if it is such a silly thing as a small need of our physical body. We cry only before that, and we do not ask for anything anywhere else. This sort of utter and total dependence on the Supreme Being for everything, at all times and all places, is called brahmabhyasa. This will cut at the root of all misconceptions of the mind. But this is a very difficult practice that is meant for very advanced seekers, and not for beginners.


Hence, the Yoga Vasishtha prescribes other psychological methods of mind-control apart from this utter dependence on the Absolute, which is meant only for very advanced practioners. Psychological techniques of mind-control are of various types. We have to determine the weaknesses of the mind first. The weak spots and the vulnerable areas of the mind have to be detected before we tackle the mind's functions in respect of objects. Everyone …

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 3.

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 3.: What is this peculiar situation? The situation, precisely, is a misplacement of the values of life by a limitation of consciousnes...

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 3.

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What is this peculiar situation? The situation, precisely, is a misplacement of the values of life by a limitation of consciousness to a location called the individual. Therefore, yo buddhe? paratastu sa? – there is something higher than the buddhi (the intellect) and the mind, in which we have to take refuge in order that even the mind may be directed along proper channels. Inasmuch as the mind is the general who orders the senses, if it has been instructed properly and advised well, then naturally it will give instructions to the senses accordingly. It comes finally to this: we have to take refuge in the Self – not in the individual self, but in the higher self, whose principle alone can regenerate the mind and remove the miscalculated attitudes of the mind in respect of things, consequently enabling the mind to properly direct the senses in a desirable direction.


The special term used in the Yoga Vasishtha for this kind of practice of the principle of the Self behind all things is &…

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 2.

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According to ancient systems of spiritual practice, self-control is effected by three main methods: the control of the prana, the control of the mind, and concentration of consciousness. These are the three standard methods of atma vinigrah or self-control. This is a triple method prescribed in the Yoga Vasishtha, for instance. It does not mean that each method is mutually exclusive of the other; they are connected with one another. Also, it is not possible here to say which should precede and which should succeed. Are we to control the prana first and the mind afterwards, or the mind first and the prana afterwards, or are we to practise concentration first? We cannot do all of these things in a linear fashion. They all have to be worked at simultaneously in some acceptable degree.



In the Bhagavadgita, we have a hint of the method of self control where, in a very cryptic sloka, Bhagavan Sri Krishna says that the senses are turbulent and cannot be easily controlled unless resort is take…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 1.

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 1.: The term 'indriya nigrah' means sense-control; 'atma nigrah' means self-control. Both these terms are often though...

Defence Mechanisms of the Mind : 1.

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The term 'indriya nigrah' means sense-control; 'atma nigrah' means self-control. Both these terms are often thought of as having a synonymous meaning and are used as such, but the term 'self' has a larger connotation than 'sense', as we already know. So the term 'self-control' should mean something much more than what is indicated by the term 'sense-control', because the senses are only a few of the functions of the self and not all the functions, while self-control implies a restriction imposed upon every function of the self, meaning thereby the lower self, which has to be regulated by the principle of the higher self. The self that has to be controlled is any self which is lower than the Universal Self. The degrees of self gradually go on increasing in their comprehensiveness as we rise higher and higher, so that it becomes necessary that at every step the immediately succeeding stage, which is more comprehensive, acts as the governin…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...: Last Part- Many of the things that we thought as children may be lying deep-seated at the bottom, not having found an opportunit...

The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : 10.

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Last Part-



Many of the things that we thought as children may be lying deep-seated at the bottom, not having found an opportunity to express themselves. When we were small children, we must have thought very seriously about some things, and we could not fulfil those ideas for various reasons. Now we have become different people altogether due to the pressure of circumstances, etc. But those ideas have not gone – they are there. They may be in a mild form or an intense form, they may be in an interrupted form or they may be in an expressed form. Whatever the form is, they have to be brought to the surface of consciousness.


There should be a total awakening of the personality to the conscious level before one takes up yoga practice. There should be nothing hidden inside. If we start hiding things to our own selves, we are fools of the first water. We cannot hide things like that. Hence, the first thing that is required of a meditator is to bring every subconscious urge into the conscious …

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...: T here are hundreds and thousands of methods of concentrating the mind, according to the way in which the mind works at a particular...

The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : 9.

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There are hundreds and thousands of methods of concentrating the mind, according to the way in which the mind works at a particular given moment of time. It is not one single method. Also, the method of concentration has to be accompanied by many other accessories, such as a particular physical posture. A single posture cannot be prescribed for everybody. There are various other moods of the mind that have to be adopted, as well as the type of atmosphere in which one has to find oneself. Many other things have to be considered. Hence, we are here at a stage when personal guidance is necessary. It is not easy to give a public lecture on this subject, nor can we find this information in textbooks, because it is all general information that books give. A very detailed analysis of the individual situation cannot be found in any textbook, and it is not possible to listen to it in a lecture. But this is the crucial point and most important thing to be remembered and taken into consideratio…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...: Generally, when we speak of a point, we think of a geometrical location. This is what an ordinary schoolboy will define ‘point’ as –...

The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : 8.

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Generally, when we speak of a point, we think of a geometrical location. This is what an ordinary schoolboy will define ‘point’ as – it is a point in space. This is the crudest definition of a point that can be given. A dot, a full stop, is a kind of point. The centre of a circle is a point, and so on. Inasmuch as it is a geometrical point that we are conceiving, naturally it has to be in space. Because every point is a point in space, and because space is outside as well as inside, this point can be outside as well as inside. Wherever space is, there the point also is, because a point is nothing but a part of space. Where is the point of concentration? It is outside, or it is inside.



This is a general definition of the location of an object of concentration. But we have to say something more about this point. Are we meditating on a point in the sense of a dot or an ink spot? Or is it something else? This point is not merely a dot. It is a figurative term used to designate an ideal whi…

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...

Mind : ( 24/10/2012. ): The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : ...: Likewise, we will find that in concentration an undercurrent of thought may be there, which is subconsciously working in a different ...

The Effect of Dharana or Concentrating the Mind : 7.

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Likewise, we will find that in concentration an undercurrent of thought may be there, which is subconsciously working in a different direction. That is called distraction. Hence, in dharana, or concentration, a wholesale and thoroughgoing fixing of the attention will not be possible at the very outset. That takes place at a later stage. What happens at this point is that we undertake a kind of activity in the mind which, together with its endeavour to allow a continuous flow of thought on a particular point, tries at the same time to eliminate certain other thoughts which are adverse or derogatory to the issue on hand. When we want to think of ‘A’ in concentration, we also feel a necessity to eliminate all thoughts which are concerned with ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’. We do not want ‘B’, ‘C’ or ‘D’ to interfere with the idea of ‘A’, which we are trying to entertain in our mind. Thus in dharana, or concentration, there is a double activity.


This is what is known in Sanskrit as vijatiya vritti nirod…