While being spiritual, a true yogi is also empowered with a high level of intelligence, and is capable of controlling his own mind
When we think of a yogi, we imagine someone sitting in seclusion in a cave or on a mountain top, meditating for hours on end, oblivious of the world outside. Many believe that yogis are so spiritual that they hardly ever have occasion to use their intellect. But all these beliefs are, indeed, misconceptions and far from the truth.
The truth is that while being spiritual, a true yogi is also empowered with a high level of intelligence.
The Bhagavad Gita repeatedly refers to the importance of the intellect and Lord Krishna describes His teachings as Buddhi Yog or the “Yoga of the Intellect,” says the US-based Swami Mukundananda, an alumnus of both IIT and IIM.
The intellect is the master of the mind, and if “we learn to harness the power of the intellect, we will discover immense ability to manage our mind,” he adds.
The intellect makes the decisions and the mind engages in sankalp (hankering) and vikalp (aversion). Between them, the intellect’s position is of paramount importance.
The Yajur Veda states:
vijñāna sārathiryastu manaḥ pragrahavān naraḥ
so ’dhvanaḥ pāramāpnoti tadviṣhṇoḥ paraṁ padam (Kaṭhopaniṣhad 1.3.9)
“To cross over the material ocean and attain your divine goal, illumine your intellect with divine knowledge, then with the illumined intellect, control the unruly mind.”
Swami Mukundananda in his book, The Science of Mind Management, says: “Controlling the mind requires us to empower the intellect with divine wisdom. The ability of the intellect to control the mind is called vivek (power of discernment). We all possess it and use it to varying degrees. But since we have not harnessed its full potential, we erroneously conclude that the mind is not under our control.”
The big question, though, is where do we find that divine wisdom to empower the mind? Do we need to spend years in studying, researching and finding it? Not really, for the answers are found in our scriptures. We can find the right knowledge from the scriptures to empower the intellect. Then we can use that illumined intellect to govern the mind, properly.
Thus, it is now amply clear that the yogi is, indeed, capable of empowering himself intellectually. As the Bhagavad Gita states:
buddhi-yogam upāśhritya mach-chittaḥ satataṁ bhava (BG: 18.57)
“Taking shelter of buddhi yog, keep your consciousness always absorbed in Me.”
It implies surrendering oneself to God. Lord Krishna repeatedly instructs Arjun to surrender his intellect to God.
However, the most accomplished of yogis, with greatly empowered minds constantly face a roadblock. In order to fully conquer the mind, it is mandatory to subjugate maya. “Only that person can conquer the mind who can defeat maya,” says Swami Mukundananda in his book.
He adds: “Anger, greed, hatred, envy, and illusion among other negative emotions, are all weapons of maya. Since our mind is material, all these defects exist within each of us. Hence, we cannot succeed in fully uprooting them from inside until the material energy itself releases its hold on us.”
But can we conquer maya on our own? The only way to overcome it is to take the help of its Master, who is God. Thus, it is important for us to always keep ourselves, and our consciousness linked to God.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Arjun confesses to Lord Krishna that he finds the mind even more difficult to control than the wind. Lord Krishna responds saying, “O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.” (BG, 6.35)
Vairāgya (detachment) and abhyās (practice)are twin remedies. Vairāgya means detachment from the material world. It prevents the mind from running in the direction of its attachment, towards the objects it has been habituated to desiring in the past.
Abhyās means practice or a concerted and persistent effort to change an old habit to develop a new one. Practice is an essential factor in mind management, as it opens the door to mastery and excellence.
Similarly, it is essential that the obstinate and turbulent mind has to be made to rest at the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord through abhyās, concludes Swami Mukundananda.
Oswald Pereira, a senior journalist, has also written eight books, including The Newsroom Mafia, Chaddi Buddies, The Krishna-Christ Connexion, How to Create Miracles in Our Daily Life and Crime Patrol: The Most Thrilling Stories. Oswald is a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda, and practises Kriya Yoga.