How to Control the Mind?
From the many responses to the previous article about controlling the mind I can see this is a topic many are interested in. Controlling the mind is a challenge we all face and it’s something that intimately affects every one of us. Krishna continues speaking to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-gita (6.6) on the same subject of controlling the mind:
“For him who has conqured the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy.“
In this Sixth Chapter of Bhagavad-gita Krishna will instruct Arjuna on the meditational system of yoga. So here, in the beginning of the chapter, Krishna is letting Arjuna know he has to control his mind, and later in this chapter Krishna will describe to Arjuna the process of meditational yoga like astanga yoga or hatha yoga as a way to control the mind. So these verses on controlling the mind are an introduction to the yoga system.
The purpose of the yoga system is to control the mind in order to make it a friend so that it can help us in reaching perfection in the human form of life. Unless the mind is controlled the practice of yoga is simply a waste of time. The modern so-called yogis generally do not take the necessity to control the mind and the senses at all seriously, so for them the practice of yoga is simply a waste of time.
One who can not control his mind lives always with the greatest enemy and thus his life and its mission are spoiled. The eternal natural position of every living entity is to carry out the order of the superior but as long as one’s mind remains his unconquered enemy, one has to serve the dictations of lust, anger, avarice, illusion, etc. But if we can conquer the mind and voluntarily agree to follow the dictation of the Personality of Godhead who is present within the hearts of everyone as Supersoul then the mind will be automatically controlled.
Real yoga means meeting the Paramatma within the heart and then following His direction. For the devotees who take to Krishna consciousness and really follow the process as it is taught to us by Srila Prabhupada perfect surrender to the dictation of the Lord takes place automatically.
Many people have asked for the exact details of how to control the mind, but the simple answer is a devotee of Krishna automatically controls his mind, so to control the mind one simply has to become a real devotee of Krishna. And the process of becoming a devotee of Krishna is also simple. We just have to live in such a way that we always remember Krishna and never forget Krishna and we can adjust our lives so our every action is service to Krishna under the direction of our bona fide spiritual master, Srila Prabhupada, who is a pure devotee of Krishna.
There is no way we can become Krishna conscious on our own strength, so in the same way we can not control our minds on our own strength. We have to surrender to the pure devotee of Krishna and follow his instructions and by the mercy of the pure devotee of Krishna we will be able to control our minds and make further advancement in Krishna consciousness. It is possible by Srila Prabhupada’s mercy and Krishna’s mercy only, it is not possible to control our mind by our own strength.
“For one who has conquered the mind, the Supersoul is already reached, for he has attained tranquility. To such a man happiness and distress, heat and cold, honor and dishonor are all the same.” (Bg. 6.7)
Every living entity is intended to follow the dictation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead who is within everyone’s heart as the Supersoul (Paramatma) however when the mind is mislead by the external energy, maya, one becomes engaged in material activities. The goal of the yoga system is to fix one’s mind on the superior nature, Krishna. When one’s mind is fixed on Krishna he has no other alternative but to follow the dictation of the Supreme.
The mind must accept some superior dictation and follow it. The effect of controlling the mind is that one automatically follows the dictation of Paramatma or Supersoul. This transcendental position is at once achieved by one who is in Krishna consciousness. The devotee of the Lord is unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.
So from this we can understand that one who is actually in Krishna consciousness will automatically follow the superior dictation of Krishna who is situated in everyone’s heart as Paramatma or Supersoul. And for one who is following the dictation of Krishna in this way, his mind is already controlled.
So the question we should really be asking therefore, is not “How can I control my mind?”, rather we need to ask “How can I become a pure devotee of Krishna?” Because for one who is engaged in pure devotional service his mind is automatically controlled.