It is a shame that neither Sigmund Freud (1856-1939), father of psycho analysis or Carl Gustav Jung (1875—1961), founder of analytical psychology, are here today to study the Hindu Yogis. Hindu saints have tremendous knowledge of the function of mind and thought power. They understood the power of mind and demonstrated it publicly. I don’t know how people like Freud and Jung missed those saints and their views and coined new terms and misinterpreted dreams etc. Hindus are well ahead of western researchers on mind. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa is one of the saints who explained it in crystal clear terms. So let me start with Sri RKP.
Following are some of the quotations of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and Swami Vivekananda:
The mind is everything. If the mind loses its liberty, you lose yours. If the mind is free, you too are free. The mind may get dyed in any colour. Like a white cloth fresh from the laundry. Study English and you will mix English words in your talk in spite of yourself. The pundit who studies Sanskrit must quote verses. If the mind is kept in bad company, the evil influence of it will colour one’s conversation and thought. Placed in the midst of devotees, the mind is sure to meditate on god and god alone. It changes its nature according to the things amongst which it lives and acts.
The mind is everything. The attraction for the wife is of one kind, and the affection for the child is of quite a different nature. On one side is one’s wife, on another side is the child, one caresses both , but moved by quite different impulses.
Bondage is of the mind; freedom too is of the mind. If you say, “ I am a free soul. I am a son of god! Who can bind me?” free you shall be. If one is bitten by a snake and can say with all the force of will and faith, “ There is no venom, there is no venom”, one will surely get rid of the venom.
Mind and machines (Swami Vivekananda)
Machines never made mankind happy and never will make. He who is trying to make us believe this will claim happiness is in the machine; but it is always in the mind. That man alone who is the lord of his mind can become happy, and none else.
Kill the Mind: The direction of the mind which always runs after the senses has to be turned within. The mind has to be killed. The body dies and dissolves in the five elements. But the bundle of mental impressions which is the mind does not die soon. It remains for sometime in seed form and then sprouts and grows in the form of a tree – it takes on another physical body and goes the round of birth and death, until self knowledge arises. Therefore I say, by meditation and concentration and by power philosophical discrimination plunge this mind in the ocean of Existence-Knowledge- Bliss Absolute. When the mind dies, all limiting adjuncts vanish and you are established in the Brahman.
Source: Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna , Sri Ramakrishna Math, Mylapore, Chennai 600 004 and Selections from The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta 700 014.
Lord Krishna in Bhagavad Gita
Without doubt, O Might armed (Arjuna), the mind is difficult to control and restless but it can be controlled. O,Son of Kunti, , by constant practice and non attachment (6-35).
Even here on earth the world is overcome by those whose mind is established in equality (5—19)
Purushasuktam of Rik Veda also confirms one can attain mukti/liberation even on earth (tam evam vidvan amruta iha bhavati).
TIGER: Adi Shankara in Viveka Chudamani
"In the forest tract of sense pleasures there prowls a huge tiger called the mind. Let good people who have a longing for liberation never go there" ( Viveka Chudamani--176)
Source: Viveka Chudamani, Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta 700 014
In Shankara’s Question and Answer hymn (Prasnottara Ratna Malika ) there are a few questions on the mind:
Q: What spoils the mind (madhi) and brings down its efficiency like an
A: Love (or) Friendship (snehah) of the abnormal or extreme kind.
Q: Where is the receptacle of poison (Visham)?
A: In the mind of evil men (dushta-jane)
Q: Whose mind is always on the right track?
A: Of one who honours holymen.
Q: What is difficult for human beings (Kim Dushkaram Naraanaam)?
A: The constant control of Mind (Yan Manaso Nigraha: Satatam).
Buddha on Mind (from The Dhammapada)
The mind is wavering and restless, difficult to guard and restrain: let the wise man straighten his mind as a maker of arrows makes his arrows straight(33)
Like a fish which is thrown on dry land, taken from his home in the waters, the mind strives and struggles to get free from the power of death (34)
It is good to control the mind; a mind self controlled is a source of great joy (35)
Considering that this body is frail like a jar, make your mind strong like a fortress and fight the great fight against MARA, all evil temptations. After victory guard well your conquests, and ever forever watch (40)
An enemy can hurt an enemy, and a man who hates can harm another man; but a man’s own mind, if wrongly directed, can do him a far greater harm (42).
Source: Penguin 60s Classics Buddha’s Teachings