The practice of mind control (Raja Yoga) – Renunciation and Silence

There are many different types of personality or temperament in those who are interested in learning and practicing the ancient yoga technique of how to control the mind and how to be really peaceful and happy unconditionally through the path of yoga and meditation.

It doesn’t matter what type of personality that we have, some of us (the mind and the ego) might prefer a passionate outgoing life and like to be active and sociable, some of us might prefer to live a quiet inner life and have less social activities for conserving energy and focusing on the yoga and meditation practice for attaining Self-realization, and some of us find a balance point between the active sociable outgoing life and the quiet inner life (this exists in those who have self-discipline and self-control).

There is nothing right or wrong with all these different types of personality and temperament in different people.

That’s why there are many different paths in yoga to suit everyone of all types of personality and temperament.

People who are outgoing and like to be active and sociable are suitable for Karma Yoga (the path of selfless action, or renouncing the action and the fruit of action) and Bhakti Yoga (the path of devotion).

People who are not outgoing are suitable for Raja Yoga (the path of mind control) and Jnana Yoga (the path of wisdom).

All paths are not separated from each other and will lead to mental peace, contentment and annihilation of the ego (the realization of selflessness and compassion) if the practice is being performed with the correct attitude and effort. You’ll see Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga and Raja Yoga existing in one another. All these paths are being practiced at the same time when the mind has reached the state of purity and selflessness, or oneness/non-separateness/namelessness/formlessness/attributelessness.

But, no matter which type of yoga or what type of path, the upmost important practice of non-attachment, dispassion and right discrimination, having intense yearning for liberation and the cultivation of the sixfold paths – tranquility of mind, control of the senses, satiety (renouncing from worldly affairs, objects, enjoyments and activities), the power of endurance and forbearance, immovable faith (in God for those who believe in God, or in Self for those who disbelieve in God, in the teacher, in the teachings), and indifference (balance state of the mind, or equanimous), are the essential basic qualities or cultivation in a Sadhaka/Yogi.

The path of mind control is to turn the outgoing mind inward and making the mind introspective.

In order to achieve this inward state of mind, the observation of self-restraint (control of our own thoughts, action and speech), morality, silence (Mauna) and celibacy (control of sexual desire), the practice of Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses from the objects of the senses) and one-pointedness of mind (concentration), lessening the number of thought activities, the cultivation of physical/mental/emotional non-attachment and the reduction of wants and desires, avoid too much talking and walking, avoid too much eating or fasting, avoid too much physical activities, avoid too much mixing with worldly minded people, avoid novel and newspaper reading, avoid visiting theatres, cinemas or movies watching, develop Antarmukha-Vritti (making the outgoing tendency of the mind turn inward upon itself), and etc, all these are the very important practice in the path of yoga and meditation.

These practice are not just to purify and calming the mind, but also to conserve energy and channel the externalizing energy inward for spiritual Sadhana to realize the Truth.

All these practice can be performed and should be performed while living in the midst of the distracting world of names and forms. If we only can observe these practice while in an Ashram or in a retreat centre for a short period of time, but once we go back into the worldly life, we cannot or do not follow or continue all these practice, and are constantly being distracted and disturbed by all the names and forms, then whatever kind of yoga practice we perform will not bring us to the realization of unconditional peace (free from doubts, ignorance, hurts, fear and worry).

At one moment we might feel peaceful and at some other times, we might feel unpeaceful and restless due to the fluctuation of the mind activities or mental thought-waves (come from ceaseless egoistic actions and reactions towards all the mind inputs – perception of names and forms through the senses; as well as the mind outputs – expression of ideas, thoughts, feelings, emotions and egoism through action and speech, physically, mentally and emotionally).

Yoga and meditation is to starve the mind or deprive the mind from activities (ideas and thoughts) by the practice of Vairagya and Tyaga (renunciation of desires, objects and egoism).

But this type of inner life is being criticized by the passionate worldly people as “anti-social”. But a true Yogi or Sadhaka is not a bit disturbed or moved by this type of criticism that comes from the worldly minded people, as they cannot understand the importance of the practice of renunciation and silence, and they have not yet experience the eternal and unconditional inner peace that comes from renunciation and silence. Worldly minded passionate people seek after the momentary and conditional satisfaction and happy feelings that come from the gratification of desires by doing the things and getting the objects that we want and like. There is nothing wrong with this. But when things don’t turn out the way that we want them to be, we’ll get disappointed, frustrated and unhappy, forever restless being influenced and over-powered by all the attachments and the desire of craving and aversion in our own mind.

When the mind is rendered pure, calm and at peace, undisturbed nor distracted by all the names and forms, then this Yogi or Sadhaka can mix freely in the world to perform selfless service but will not be influenced nor affected by the world and the fruit of action, as he is firmly established in non-attachment and renunciation. He can be truly compassionate when he knows non-attachment and renunciation. He won’t be disturbed nor affected by the result of the selfless compassionate actions. There is no difference between respectful and disrespectful, success and failure, good and bad beings, censure and praise, pleasurable enjoyment and suffering. He is unconditioned by all the names and forms projecting the quality of good and bad.

Be free. Be really peaceful and happy unconditionally.

Om shanti.

 

When the outgoing tendencies of the mind are arrested, when the mind is restrained within the heart, when all its attention is turned on itself alone, that condition is Antarmukha-Vritti. The Sadhaka can do a lot of Sadhana when he has this inward Vritti. Vairagya and introspection help a lot in the attainment of this mental state.

He who has controlled his mind is really happy and free.

Concentration and Meditation – Swami Sivananda

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