Discipline Opens Up A Whole New World
22 Jun, 2007 l 0029 hrs ISTlDiscourse: Gurumayi Chidvilasananda
How can the mind learn to perceive its own source, the light of Consciousness or Chitprakasa? By learning to keep its energies centred. This is possible with discipline.
Krishna describes the necessity of discipline when he says to Arjuna: “The yogi should constantly discipline himself,/ remaining in solitude, alone,/ with mind and body well restrained,/ having no desires, and without avarice”.
In yoga, the word discipline has nothing to do with the rigours of boarding school or military life; it means to purify thought, speech and action.
Baba Muktananda placed great importance on spending time alone: “One should abandon all thoughts and practise watching what is happening within”.
This is not just a matter of distancing yourself from people, buildings and professional obligations. You must make space in the region of the mind. The mind consists of four psychic instruments: the intellect, subconscious mind, ego, and conscious mind. When you make space beyond all your mental activity, you discover the company of a deeper silence within.
Krishna began with discipline; then he asked Arjuna to remain in solitude. He added the word ‘alone’. Being alone means separating yourself from the things that keep you from being with God. In this aloneness, kaivalya, there is no loneliness.
‘Having no desires’ is the next teaching in this verse — becoming free from the clutches of sense objects, from the desires of the senses. When desires are not under your control, they drive you into a ditch. A yogi, therefore, must develop the power to say ‘no’ to unwanted desires. A yogi is free from avarice. When you look at history, it is clear that greed is the cause of downfall of empires. Avarice is like a disease invading the body. For the fulfilment of yoga, to become free from desires, one-pointedness is vital, ekagra manas. A stable mind is a tranquil mind. A scattered mind can never gather enough momentum to progress on the path of discipline. When you focus the mind on something, whatever it may be, you absorb its qualities. In a very real way, you take it into yourself.
At the same time, you infuse it with your own bhav. Devotion to God is much more than a feeling. Through your devotion, God comes alive for you. Through your devotion, you also invite the one you worship into your body and mind, into your life. The formless takes on a form that you can relate to.
Krishna says: “Whenever the unsteady mind,/ moving to and from, wanders away,/ the yogi should restrain it/ and control it in the Self/ with niyama, regularity.” In the Yogasutras, Patanjali lists the niyamas as cleanliness, contentment, austerity, regular recitation of scriptural texts, and the surrender of one’s limited will to God.
Contentment, austerity, chanting mantras, and samarpana or surrender to God, help liberate the mind and receive God’s grace. Constantly remember how much grace there is in your sadhana. It’s like going for a walk and having the wind at your back. When that happens, it’s as though when you are walking, the wind is behind you, supporting you.