Mind is the only tool we have as human beings to investigate and inquire into what is, if anything is, beyond the physical world of objects which we know from our direct perception (pratyaksha pramANa) using the five sensory organs. We want to know “That” which supports this solid looking world and the animate and inanimate creatures populating it. The “driver” for such an enquiry could just be an inborn curiosity or a desire to attain unswerving freedom from unhappiness.
As a matter of fact, we are already accustomed to use our ‘mind,’ without being ever even aware of doing so, for ensuring ‘security,’ which we believe gives us happiness. We have been able to detect certain “patterns” in the world. One is that all things are always changing. As a measure of this change, we ‘invented’ time. So time dimension or factor in the world is known to us only through the mind.
Notice that you do not have any sensory organ to detect time. You can detect light, distance etc. with eyes, sound with ear, smell with nose, taste with tongue and pressure, temperature etc. with skin. What detects the time? It’s the mind.
The second significant pattern we discovered is causality — a cause-effect relationship between different events as well as things. Based on these two, we evolved complicated structures for our security. But we still see a gap in obtaining guaranteed happiness. So what is to be done?
Our ancient Sages had already given us necessary clues. They found that ‘mind’ worked like a key. Just as we use the same one key to lock or unlock, we can use the mind to find eternal happiness or to incessantly wallow in misery.
The amritabindu upanishad tells us:
मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयोः। — mantra 2, amRitabindu.
Meaning: In human beings, mind is the cause for bondage (to unhappiness) or freedom (from unhappiness).
Then arises the Question “What do I do with the mind I have?”
We have maitri Upanishad instructing us:
चित्तमेव हि संसारं तत् प्रयत्नेन शोधयेत् यच्चित्तस्तन्मयो भवति गुह्यमेतत् सनातनम् | — 6.34, maitri upanishad
Meaning: Mind alone is the saṁsAra, man should strive to purify his thoughts. What a man thinks that he becomes. This is the eternal mystery.
The world which we take as causal to our troubles and misery is not out there. It is none other than our own mind! So drop all the stink of the “other” from it.
Okay, even if I got rid of all of the muck in my mind, what about the mind of the fellow next to me?
Well, the very thought of the presence of another entity itself is the cause for problems, troubles for a ‘me.’
We have from brihadaranyaka:
द्वितीयाद्वै भयं भवति ॥ — I–iv–2, brihadAranyaka
Meaning: It is from a second entity that fear comes.
But suppose the second entity is a Saviour, a Protector, a Godhead?
(To continue … Part – 2)
[Note: Narada’s Image at top left is from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narada ]