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Relevance of ancient Indian scriptures: A quiet mind

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How can the mind become quiet? The mind that always jumps around like a monkey? How do I make it calm and still so that I can go deep into the reservoir of all peace and energy and creativity? How do I do it? Is there a way? Can it be done as a deliberate act?

Well, the great rishis have said that when the mind becomes still, when it has reached its original state of complete vacuity, stillness, then it’s full of energy, and not otherwise. It’s no more dissipated and from such a mind springs forth creativity, creative thought and creative action and great joy for it has somehow come out of the throes of sorrow. Sloka 3 of Section 2 of the Keno Upanishad is a rather startling statement. It says:

Yasyamatam tasya matam matam yasya na veda sah

Avijnatam vijanatam vijnatam avijanatam

This means, those who think that they know, do not know and those who think they do not know, perhaps they do know. Those who think they understand it, do not understand it. Those who think that they do not understand, perhaps do understand it.

The problem still persists. You try again, harder and harder and you become desperate. You get into what is now so common—depression.


Now, don’t you see how wonderfully the idea of fossilising your thought is dealt with in the Upanishad? It says that you cannot form an image or come to a conclusion about something that is constantly on the move, which is the mind and the self. It is constantly expanding, it never stops and therefore, if you think it is this and forget about it and say this is what it is, it cannot be that. It is ever on the move and it is not that which can be understood by the ordinary modes of thought.

That supreme truth, the self that you seek, is beyond the understanding of the ordinary modes of linear thinking. It can be understood only when the mind, having discovered the futility of all the exercises of ordinary thinking, has quieted down and become absolutely still. When it thus becomes still, then the mind has reached its source and the source is the creative source of everything in this universe. And that source is the supreme being. So, therefore, if somebody says he knows, he does not know. That which he says he knows cannot be known by the ordinary mind. Perhaps, if he says, “I do not know,” he is confessing the fact that, with the ordinary faculties available, one cannot understand it and, therefore, one does not know. This opens the possibility of it being known in some other way.

Now, bringing it down to ordinary life, to day-to-day experience, it is as if you have a problem that appears insurmountable and you have tried all your known ways of dealing with it. It’s not solved, you have tried everything, from what the expert says to what the quack says, and it doesn’t work. The problem still persists. You try again, harder and harder and you become desperate. You get into what is now so common—depression.

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