Suitable Practice - Part 1

Hare Krishna Prabhujis and Matajis,
Please accept my humble obeisances! All glories to Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudev!

The following is a humble effort to transcribe the Srimad Bhagavad Gita class on BG verse 6.35, by HG Devakinandan Prabhuji on 19th February 2013, in Sri Sri Radha Neelmadhav dham.

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
asaṁśayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ calam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa ca gṛhyate

Lord Sri Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, it is undoubtedly very difficult to curb the restless mind, but it is possible by suitable practice and by detachment.

This is a very important verse for all of us because no matter how many years we are in Krishna consciousness, the most difficult companion we have is the companionship of the mind. The mind will never leave us, even if we want to leave the mind. The mind will always find favorable arguments to make us do anything and everything except to remember Krishna. This is the nature of the mind.

The different qualities of the mind: Just before this verse in BG 6.34, Arjuna says,

cañcalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛṣṇa pramāthi balavad dṛḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva su-duṣkaram

For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.

Thus Arjuna says that the mind is made up of four different qualities. They are:

a. The mind is restless (cañcalaṁ)
b. The mind is turbulent (pramāthi)
c. The mind is stubborn (dṛḍham)
d. The mind is very strong (bala-vat or vīryaṁ)

a) The mind is restless: The nature of the mind is to be restless. This is the mother of all the other qualities. Mind has very little rest. Maharaj says restless means less rest. So when the mind has less rest, it means it becomes disturbed. When we do not have enough sleep, we feel disturbed because there is less sleep. Maharaj said, that is why we have the word, sleepless. The problem is how much ever we give body rest, if the mind is not rested, no amount of rest to the body will be enough.

b) The mind is turbulent: The restlessness of the mind will lead to it becoming turbulent. Restlessness means the mind cannot stay still. But turbulence means the mind is moving in a much greater speed and intensity. The more upset we become because of something, we realize that more the mind becomes turbulent. Like a strong wind, it picks up speed and at the point when we are really upset, we try to find out the reasons why we are upset. These reasons, very often, the mind transforms into criticism. That is what the mind does. It turns the episode of being upset, into an opportunity to criticize. Maharaj said, that is why when something goes through turbulence, it does not come out in the right form. Maharaj said, if you put an object through heavy turbulence, it comes out squeezed or it comes out moulded differently. That is why even when a great powerful object like an aero plane goes through turbulence, and when you actually step out and see what happens to that plane, you will never want to fly again. The plane is huge and the engines are strong but one turbulent hit of the wind from the top and another from the bottom, you will see that the plane is like a small piece of paper being tossed in the wind and we do not realize how precarious we are because we are forced to be inside the plane. Maharaj said, because you are paying ticket money, your mind tells you whatever happens, it is worth it to sit inside. Thus restlessness leads to turbulence.

Prabhuji went on to explain the other qualities of the mind and the same shall be transcribed and offered in the next mail, Krishna willing.

Thank you very much.
Yours in service of Srila Prabhupada and Srila Gurudeva,
Vaijayantimala devi dasi
Abu Dhabi.