Yogic Way of Controlling of Thoughts
As described in my earlier article... thoughts in the mind generate because we have five senses. So broadly there are five kinds of thoughts. Again each thought may either be of pleasure or of pain. This way there are ten types of thoughts. Patanjali further describes each of these ten types of thoughts may be based on proof(pramana), or an opposite(viparyay), or an alternative(vikalpa), or forming sleep(nidra) or forming memory(smriti).
Patanjali emphasized that thoghts based on proof should be accepted, because these are directly perceived. There are six things in the world which can be directly perceived; these are sight, sound, smell, taste, touch and soul(true self). While senses perceive sight, sound, smell, taste and touch, soul(atman) is perceived in the mind through total concentration(samadhi). No seventh thing exists in the whole universe that can be perceived directly. The thought of God and heaven as separate from soul is opposite to proven thought. This is because those who are unable to realise true self or are ignorant about the greatness of true self, depend upon alternative thought or dualism where soul is separate from and inferior to God. Such people remain in constant sleep and bear in themselves all past memories which include all traditional and religious believes and practices.
In order to control thoughts Patanjali teaches - thoughts may be controlled throgh practice(abhyasa) and detachment(vairagya)(I.12). Then he describes what practice is. Practice is to stay there carefully(I.13). But where is to stay? The answer lies in his previous instruction. A seer or practitioner should try to reach or stay there in true self.
In order to practice controlling of thoughts, one has to practice eight limbs(parts) of Yoga. The eight limbs of Yoga shall be described in a later article. At present, there are numerous Yoga shops operating accross the globe and selling yogic exercises, breathing exercises and meditation practices. But these are flawed and hazardous. Practitioners shall get the benefit of exercise only. They may not achieve the aim of Yoga, which is to realise true self.
This practice should continue regularly for a long time with sincerity and confidence(I.14). The final result may come later; but once a seeker starts practicing, he feels the difference. The body and mind becomes pure and light by dispelling undesirable elements like germs and disease from the body and evil thoughts from the mind. Mind becomes pure and intelligence becomes sharp. Such a mind overcomes ignorance, bondage and fear of death.
Now let us see what detachment(vairagya) is. Patanjali teaches - to remain dispassionate and to subjugate those things that are seen or heard of, is detachment(I.15). The world constitutes of all living beings and material things and to bring this world under control is subjugation(vashikara). Subjugation is not to bring everything under control through power, but to remain dispassionate to everything. This subjugation is detachment. One does not have to run away from the society; but by remaining in the society one may subjugate everything and develop detachment. Detachment is non-attraction. One should not be attracted to those things that are seen or heard of.
We see the attractive and beautiful objects of the world. But we should not be attracted towards them. Because the world is ultimately false. Objects that are seen and thoughts relating to them are based on proof. But they are of no use in realisation of true self. Similarly we should not believe those things that are heard of only. Gods and Goddesses, heaven and hell, angels and ghosts are only heard of. So Patanjali instructs a seer should not be attracted to those things that are either seen or heard of.
Author Mr Premansu Chand, 40, is and Indian and Govt. servent. He reads scriptures and practices Yoga. He has published a book "Quest for Truth: the spiritual and yogic way" recently. The aim is to spread true spiritualism and yoga.