By Sanskrit Kannan (SRCM Preceptor)
Mind plays a vital role in the human existence, for it is the mind which distinguishes man from other species. The word manuṣya (man in English) is derived from the root ‘man’, i.e., to think. Hence, Raja Yoga (the royal path of Yoga) mainly focuses its attention on the mind. Every action is preceded by thought and mind is the origin for it. Hence, by cleansing the mind, by transforming it from its animalistic tendencies to human and divine level, it becomes purified and becomes the divine mind. Patañjali has defined ‘Yoga’ itself (YS I.2) as “yogaḥ cittavṛtti nirodhaḥ”, i.e., the cessation of the tendencies of the mind is Yoga. In his Yoga Sūtras, he has given prominence to the mind and not to the other physical activities like the Āsanas, Prāṇāyāma and there is no mention about the later texts of Haṭha Yoga. Even the texts which extol the merits of Haṭha yogic practices, say that Haṭha Yoga is only the preliminary step to Raja Yoga.
Sahaj Marg has fully understood this aspect and it focuses its attention on the mind, the root of everything. The Amṛtabindu Upaniṣad, which is one among the Yoga Upaniṣads say,
“mana eva manuṣyāṇāṁ kāraṇaṁ bandhamokṣayoḥ |
bandhāya viṣyāsaktaṁ muktyai nirviṣayaṁ smṛtam” ||
(“The mind is the root cause for both bondage and liberation. If the mind is attached with worldly things, it is bondage and if it is not so, it is liberation”).
One important aspect of Sahaj Marg teaching and training is that the mind should not be controlled by force. Here, the mind is slowly and gently refined and regulated in a very natural way by the transmission of divine energy by the Master and the Preceptors appointed by Him. The cleaning practised regularly by the abhyāsis backed up by the meditation as prescribed by the Master, strengthens the mind and will power and checks the outward tendencies of the mind. Thus, slowly the mind is transformed and gets divinised by attaching oneself with the Master.
“kāmaḥsaṅkalpovicikitsāśraddhā'śraddhādhṛtiradhṛtirhrīrdhīrbhīrityetatsarvaṁ mana eva”
(“Desire, resolve, faith, lack of faith, steadfastness, lack of steadfastness, shyness, intellect, fear – all these are the mind only”)
That is why Sahaj Marg emphasises the need to regulate the mind and not control it by any forceful means. It may also be noted that Patañjali, who propounder of Yoga system of thought has recommended Samādhi by giving more attention to the mind. The word ‘Samādhi’ can be explained as Sama + Ādhi, i.e., equilibrium of the mind (Ādhi means mental disturbance). The word vyādhi is used to denote physical disease, which means that our ancients know that the mental disturbance could cause physical ailment too. Hence, even in the Haṭha Yoga, control of mind is considered as a very important aspect and different means are adopted for the same. But Sahaj Marg teaches a gentle, soft, natural and highly efficient path for this. It says, “As you have to ride on a horse to train and master a horse, you have to start with the mind, train the mind and become the master of it”. Training in Sahaj Marg gives more prominence to the mind than to the other organs.