Swami Veda Bharati holds the prestigious title of Mahamandaleshwara in the Swami order of monks. He is also the Chancellor of HIHT University, Dehradun, which was established by Master Swami Rama. He has authored approximately 18 books on Indian spirituality including a 1500 page comprehensive commentary on two of the four chapters of Patanjali's Yoga-sutras. Before taking the vows of Swamihood in 1992, Swami Veda Bharati was known as Dr. Usharbudh Arya.
If one were to ask: on which science the Indian sages have done the most thinking, short of meditation itself, the answer would be 'psychology', understanding mind. It has been done not by objective observations alone. The sages have used themselves as guinea pigs. They led their own mind through various states of sentiments (bhavas), concentrations, visualizations, silent recitations and other interior devices and observed their effects on the mind. Of these methods and devices we shall speak later in greater detail. Here we continue with attempting to understand the definition of mind and its stages.
Here it must be remembered that there is no such thing as one single collective Indian philosophy, just as there is no such thing as one single collective European philosophy in which all philosophers may agree on certain premises and draw identical conclusions. The various systems of philosophy differ widely. For example, if we were to expound the Indian theory of mind according to the vijnana-vada or yogachara doctrine, or were to give all the thousands of charts of terminologies worked out by the abhidharma philosophers, it would take us several generations to complete this article.
Here we are using as our resources
It must be emphasized repeatedly that all of this vast detail about the mind can be understood holistically as one single frame only in the context of the practice and experience of meditation. Self-observation in meditation is the root, all the rest are branches.
In other words, these statements about the mind and its functions are not to be believed as sacred doctrine, inspired word, final authority and so forth. They are to be verified through the lab work of spirituality called meditation. By the 'laboratory' methods prescribed in the science of meditation, one tests the various states of the mind. If the internal test supports the previous 'laboratory notes' like those of Patanjali, one believes them to be true. Even if a few beginning level tests render desirable results, one proceeds with the rest. Similarly one tests the suggestions about emotional states through self observation and inner experimentation. Only then one accepts statements like "through the practice of non-violence all enmity ceases in the vicinity of the practitioner".
In the first part of the series we spoke of mind as an energy field.
An energy field may be weak or strong; so a particular mind-field may be weak or strong.
A weak energy field may be made stronger through the application of appropriate technology. A weakened mind may be made stronger through the application of certain methods of self-experimentation in mental, vocal, and physical behavior, self-observation, concentration, and meditation.
A weakness is a weakening of some strength. A darkness cannot be removed by sweeping it out with a broom; it is only a relative weakening of light. Appropriate strengthening, brightening, of light removes the darkness. One seeks to find the strength of which a particular weakness is a weakening. Increase that strength and the weakness vanishes (This applies to individuals, societies, religions, nations or any other groupings as well).
A part by part strengthening, replacing individual weaknesses with particular strengths will not be holistic, complete or permanent, atyantika in the words of Ishvara-krshna, the author of Sankhya-karika. Any re-strengthening of a particular weakened area of the mind must be accomplished within the context of the strengthening of the total mind field of an individual. This totality of re-strengthening is obtained through meditation.
These are some of the basic principles of 'therapy' , or rather, personal re-construction, applied by the spiritual guides to help elevate their beloved students and disciples. The same may be used by parents, teachers and counsellors (or leaders of groups and nations).
What are the signs and symptoms by which we know a (a person who has a) weak or a strong mind. Here are some of the indices.
A weak mind is hard; it lacks in resilience and fluidity, and compassion.
A strong mind is resilient, fluid, and compassionate.
A weak mind is egotistical; a strong mind is humble.
A weak mind makes statements that contradict each other; a strong mind is consistent, harmonious.
A weak mind looks at oppositions; a weak mind seeks to see complements and helps with 'resolution' (samadhana).
A weak mind starts its sentences ( in speech and writing) with "I" and frequently repeats the various forms of this pronoun. A strong mind avoids the first personal pronoun and its variants.
A weak mind is addicted to the words like No, Not, Refuse, Deny, Challenge, 'my stand', 'my view', and such other expressions. When a strong mind 'refuses'. it does not hurt like a refusal.
A weak mind feels that others are resisting him/her, refusing him/her. A strong mind has faith in others' positive and good reaction.
A weak mind remembers what hurt and harm others have cause to him/her; a strong mind forgets these.
A weak mind forgets the good and kind acts others have done to him/her; a strong mind remembers these.
A Weak mind forgets what hurt and harm s/he has caused to others; a strong mind remembers these.
A weak mind forgets the good and kind acts others s/he has done for others; a strong mind forgets these.
People do not say 'No' to a weak mind , out of fear; people do not say 'No' to a strong mind out of love.
A weak mind defends his/her own position; a strong mind defends his/her opponent's position; finds excuses for the situation of one who has given him a refusal.
A weak mind forgets things for lack of interest in others, and because of emotional befogging;
A strong mind remembers what interests others, and the emotional fog does not obscure his/her 'recall' mechanisms.
A weak mind justifies his/her acts; a strong mind apologizes
A weak mind does not forgive; a strong mind forgives and also forgets the incident.
A weak mind criticizes others, speaks ill of them; a strong mind does not criticize in his/her own mind but rather seeks the reasons for another person's weaknesses and grants strength.
A week mind gets tense and stressed; the same stimuli that cause tension in a weak mind immediately trigger a relaxed state in a strong mind
A weak mind resists others and blames them for resisting him/her; a strong mind meets no resistance and his/her paths are made easy by others.
A weak mind is hurt by others' angers; a strong mind sympathetically seeks to find the history of the pain and suffering that is causing anger and seeks to remedy the same.
A weak mind sees others' fault; a strong mind sees its own faults.
A person with a weak mind is easily fatigued; one with a strong mind regenerates quickly.
One with a weak mind makes body's illness into a mind condition; a strong mind introduces mind's healing into the body.
A weak mind seeks others to be responsible for him, and then resents them; a strong mind takes responsibility for others without feeling burdened.
A weak mind follows set patterns; a strong mind invents.
A weak mind is lethargic and complacent; a strong mind takes initiative.
A weak mind is suspicious; a strong mind trusts.
A weak mind struggles to accomplish any objective; a strong mind does without doing and accomplishes by his/her mere presence.
A weak mind finds small irritants to be too large to suffer; a strong mind has an oceanic capacity to absorb and not feel that there had been any irritation.
A weak mind cannot taste the fullness of any experience and therefore his/her craving is never satiated; a strong mind, being well centered, tastes and experiences everything in fullness, enjoys 'more of less' and is contented.
A weak mind is self-centred, seeking its own pleasure and often being thwarted in it by those in whom he generates resistance; a strong mind constantly seeks the fulfillment of others, thereby ceases to evoke resistance, and it is others who then find pleasure in giving him fulfillment.
A weak mind reacts to small things, small events that have the duration of an instant only and are of temporary worth; the strong mind ignores such matters and holds a larger picture in a more expansive time frame (dirgha-darshin and dura-darshin), therefore is not disturbed by small events, little words, temporary situations.
A weak mind has a small horizon; a strong mind has a large horizon in all subjects and matters.
A weak mind sees only parts; a strong mind carries the vision of a complete whole in which all atoms and galaxies, all ideas and sciences are a single interconnected Whole.
A weak mind finds it difficult to learn new things; all sciences are easily opened to a strong mind.
A weak mind lives in fear ( of loss, repeat of natural disasters, ghosts and possessions, attacks, illness, poverty, death); a strong mind grants reassurance to all beings by his/her very presence.
A weak mind, suffering from inferiority, keeps reasserting his (individual, religious, national, tribal, political) superiority; a strong mind holds back on such assertions because of an interior self-assurance which embraces all opponents and opposite views.
A weak mind is full of inner conflicts and a thousand question about the smallest step, seeking answers to each question and each answer raising a crop of a million more questions; a strong mind flows in harmony and his/her questions have not been answered but have been resolved.
A weak mind demands; a strong mind gives.
A weak mind feels insulted; a strong mind gives honour.
A weak mind rejects everything; a strong mind assimilates what may seem most unacceptable in appearance.
A weak mind seeks its own pleasure and gratification; a strong mind discovers a subtler, more refined, more intense and more lasting pleasure, that of knowing that someone has been pleased by his/her acts.
A weak mind speaks loudly; a strong mind speaks only from within a depth of interior silence. A weak mind struggles to choose one of many options; a strong mind incorporates the most contradictory options into a single scheme.
A weak mind overindulges, overeats, over-possesses, overstates, overdresses - because it tries to fill its emptiness with exterior objects; a strong mind has an inner fullness, is therefore mild, restrained, without feeling restricted or deprived. A strong mind under-indulges, under-possesses, understates.
A weak mind lives in fear of others, constantly overprotecting oneself and thereby inviting attack; a strong mind lives in love and that love alone is his/her protection.
A weak mind's endeavors and relationships are unstable; in the presence of a strong mind all is stabilized.
A weak mind cannot concentrate on any effort, and wanders around; a strong mind is a concentrated one and thereby well centered in life and in meditation.
A strong mind, finally, is a saintly mind that grants to others freedom and liberates them from their own self-enslavement.
This is a very incomplete list, only an indication for assessing whether we are of weak mind or of strong mind, that is, whether our mind field is fully energized or only partly or feebly so.
We shall discuss later how the feeble minds may be made into strong minds by above definitions.
May all enfeebled minds, that cause conflicts and wars, regain their divine strength and become playgrounds of gods.