Yogi Alert! What keeps you from being boundlessly happy, unconditionally joyful, peaceful and alert? Are you really who you think you are in your mind? What is the nature of this mind? Would you like to befriend your mind? Here in this invaluable, extraordinary yet succinct commentary, Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a global humanitarian leader and the spiritual guide for millions over the world, who have found the path of happiness in their lives through his teachings and knowledge, explains the five modulations of the mind that keep you from experiencing your own bliss.
“Often, you become the object of your perception. What generally happens is that your mind is engaged in the outside world all the time. You are caught up in all that you see, smell, hear, touch, taste. If not, you return to sleep or to the state of dreaming where you are completely shut off from the world. In the sleep and dreaming state, the same memories return but you are never to yourself, calm and quiet.
Discipline is to unite yourself, to unite all the loose ends of your existence. The seer is one who remains in his/her own nature. The whole purpose of yoga is to be one with the self, to bring integrity and make you whole. Abiding in the form, in the nature of the seer is yoga. Whenever you experience — joy, ecstasy, bliss, happiness in life, knowingly or unknowingly, you are abiding in the form or in the nature of the seer.
Otherwise, at other times you are engaged with the different activities of the mind. In other words, you identify yourself with the modulations of the mind all the time.
If you see innocent people or children, when they are watching a movie, they are so totally involved in the movie and nobody, besides the movie, exists for them at that moment. They wouldn’t even know if their legs were hurting or if they had a back ache. They do not feel pain. They do not feel their body at all. This happens because your consciousness assumed the form of that movie, of that vrutti or modulation of the mind.
The modulations of the mind are of five-fold, meaning ‘the mind wanting proof, wrong understanding, imagination, sleep and memory.’
1. Wanting Proof
The first modulation mentioned in Rishi Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is Pratyakshanumanagamaha pramanani
Meaning: The different kinds of proof the mind requires are the obvious, experiential proof, inferential proof and scriptural proof.
Pratyaksha means obvious, experiential. Our mind constantly wants to have an obvious, solid experiential proof. This is one mode of activity of the mind. Another is Anumana, which means, it is not so obvious, but you infer and whatever you infer, you believe. Agamaha is the proof the mind takes from scriptures or from books simply because it is written. We are constantly looking for proof of something or anything.
2. Wrong understanding
Viparyayo mithyajnanamatadrupa pratishtam
The second modulation is when most of the time you impose your own ideas and views and feeling on others and you think that is how they are. Wrong understanding is knowing of the unreal in a form that is not its own. For example, you have an inferiority complex or you suddenly see someone else behaving very arrogantly. They might not be arrogant and you are not being ill-treated by them. But you suddenly feel that you are being ill-treated. You think that others do not respect you. This tendency of your mind is viparyaya.
3. Hallucination and irrational fears
Shabdajnananupati vastushunyo vikalpaha
The third modulation of mind or chitta is called vikalpa. It is a sort of hallucination followed in sequence by mere words or knowledge and which in reality is devoid of truth. Nothing of that sort exists, just mere words which do not carry much meaning, hover in the mind. Vikalpa can be of two types. One could be a joyful pleasurable fantasy and the other could be baseless fears. “What will happen if I die tomorrow? What if I have an accident?” These are all just simply baseless fears in the mind which have no value.
If the mind is not in any one of the above mentioned three modulations, then in the fourth place it goes to sleep. Meaning ‘sleep is that modulation of the mind which has for its objective substratum, the cause of non-existence’.
Anubhuta vishaya sampramoshaha smrutihi
The fifth activity of the mind is smruti, which is remembering the past experiences it had.
Yoga is when you drop this search and then abide in the self. Abiding in the self does not need proof. Truth cannot be understood through proof. God is beyond proof. You cannot prove God, nor can you disprove God. Proof is connected to logic and logic is very limited in its preview. It is the same with enlightenment and with love. Love can never be proved or disproved. This is not in the realm of the seer. The seer is beyond proof.”
About The Author
Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar is an international humanitarian leader and a spiritual master who is the global rallying voice of this generation’s collective call for peace.
Named one of the “Seven Most Powerful People in India,” by Forbes, his world-renowned meditation techniques helped end the 60-year conflict in Colombia. He has been credited with bringing opposing parties together to facilitate meditation and peace talks in Iraq, Cote d’Ivoire and India.
Founder of the Art of Living Foundation and International Association for Human Values, Sri Sri is leading the way toward peace and tolerance through meditation and humanitarian efforts. Over 35 years, his programs and initiatives have touched the lives of over 370 million people in over 150 countries.
“Sudarshan Kriya,” the meditation technique introduced by Sri Sri is backed by research and implemented in schools, corporations, prisons, refugee camps and retreat centers around the world. As a spiritual teacher, Sri Sri has rekindled traditions of yoga and meditation that have helped millions of people achieve personal and social transformation by relieving stress and discovering inner peace in daily life.
If you want to live and experience what peace is, even if for a few minutes in your day, here is a short guided meditation led by Gurudev, for just the right start of your day or may be the mid-day boost of Prana (life force) that you need for your day.