Chapter 5 Mind Your Own Mind

Written in Tamil by Vidwan V. Lakshmanan

An  American Professor of Psychology Mr. Young, although by name he sounds young, by experience he is more an adult with wisdom. Being a psychologist for long he has expressed a valid point which ought to be treated as golden words even more precious than our eyesight.

Bones, nerves and similar organs within our body can be perceived and treated for any damage done. But what about the complexities and disturbances affecting the mind. Science can never find the reasons or solutions to treat or eradicate them. 

He emphasizes the limitations of Science. He has drawn a boundary line to it. Science can calculate the size of the universe and beyond. So much of inventions and discoveries. Undoubtedly the benefits and influence of Science and Technology in this world of ours deserves all praise. 

Travelling has become easy and fast in minutes. Communication has become easy, fast and cheaper. Standard of living, one of the important determinants of well-being or happiness soaring high all over the world. Lifestyle has vastly improved through the advent of new technologies.

Scientific and human limitations cannot go beyond the comforts of the physical human need.  Can the mind be visualised or Xrayed by science or human eye. So much turmoil and waves of disturbances in our inner mind. How can they be removed? Science cannot analyse the philosophy of mind.

Can Science decipher the cause of all miseries in human life. Science is concerned only with progress for betterment or destruction. They are subject to limitations and tied up with notions of ifs and buts with no proper solution to break through philosophy of mind.  These are the words of Professor Young and not mine. 

He goes on to say.. Listen ‘’Prayers with complete faith in God can be the only remedial medicine and nothing but devotion towards God is my final strong diagnosis for treatment and cure for the wavering mind caught in the abyss of mental agony of hurricanes and tornadoes. 

Spirituality began to denote the mental aspect of life, as opposed to the material and sensual aspects of life, “the illuminating sphere of light against the dark world of matter”.

Of late Spirituality acquires a social and psychological meaning. Psychologically, it denotes the realm of the inner life: “The purity of motives, affections, intentions, inner dispositions, the analysis of the feelings and emotions towards tuning the body, mind complexities away from materialism. 

In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture, and a search for knowledge. In this sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions, such as “how are we to live” and “what is the nature of reality.” A broad and impartial conception of philosophy, then, finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality, morality, and life in all world civilizations.

Tiruvalluvar in his two lined verses of the Kural has emphasised the ways and means to follow a proper disciplinary life to overcome  body, mind complexes. Like Prof Young said, “The mind has to be cured by mind alone. One’s own Mind is the instrument to cure the doubts circulating in one’s mind.” It is not an easy process. To bring the mind to your control requires a lot of practice or sadhanas to be cultivated.

To indulge in those sadhanas, first and foremost one must seek proper guidelines from learned elders or teachers or Spiritual Masters. Next our duty is to follow them by all means. We must bear in mind to follow the guidelines as well as do our day to day routine such as the responsibilities of running a family, duties entrusted to us as citizens of our society, city, state and country we live in.

To do the duties properly without any obstruction we need the Grace of God. Some are blessed with Grace easily while some have to work for it hard. The accumulated punyas or good deeds will fetch immediate Grace whereas the accumulated sins or bad deeds will sure delay or deny the Grace of God. 

 The burden of accumulated vasanas good and bad are the main cause of all miseries suffered by human beings in this birth and the next..

Will they not be able to overcome this phase; ‘Will they not find a remedy? Why not? Sure they will. The holy scriptures namely the Vedas condemn the sin, not the sinner.

The evil ways of the sinner are but expressions of evil thoughts in his mind. But they have to go in search of remedy. They have to take every effort. Why does an infant cry when he is hungry? The child knows nothing but cry to be fed with milk by his mother. Unless he cries he will not get his food. It is the nature of the baby to cry. Something induces him to do so. Maybe it is the grace of God within him that a child can cry for his needs..

Can elders cry? But elders can walk, work and know the ways and means to get what they want. They have their sixth sense namely their intellect which will guide them to choose what is best for them.

By the capacity to think they ought to realise the reasons for their miseries, mend their ways not to sin anymore, nourishing the body with healthy food for a healthy life, thus strengthening both body and heart  to start a new life with renewed efforts making use of proper decisions through proper channels. This will sure enable clarity of mind.

A purified mind has more concentration and single pointedness’ says Lord Krishna in the holy scripture of the ‘Bhagavad Gita’. A mind free from agitations is called a purified mind. Equanimity of mind alone can bring out the beam of inspiration and give to one’s achievements the glow of real success. 

With that clarity of mind loaded with consistent thoughts of the Lord, he accomplishes the warmth of his growing devotion; his behaviour gets transformed that he cannot thereafter carry on his career of sin.

Next question arises. Just by praying, will all our problems be cleared. If just prayers are enough then a situation will arise where no one will work. Is it practical and possible? For example a feast is before your eyes. Unless you use your hands to eat,  how it will be eaten or tasted. In the same way the Grace of God is like the feast on the table. To gain that Grace we should do our duties.

We should do good deeds, speak good words and have good thoughts in mind. Be kind and loving to one another. Purity in thought, word and deed will fetch God’s Grace easily. Truthful words come out from purity of thoughts followed by honest actions.

Our actions and speech reflect our thoughts. The spring for our thoughts is our mind. The teachings of Masters or elders bring clarity of wisdom to mind. The energy to follow those guidelines are obtained from our devotional prayers to God.  From this we learn the necessity of constant devotion towards God as well as doing all our duties in the proper conscientious way. Never engaging oneself to deceit and treacherous actions by which we will surely find redemption from accumulated sins. We will also gain strength to overcome the evil forces that tend to distract us and deviate us from beneficial tasks for the welfare of all. 

“It would do good to include Dhyana Yoga to train young students along with regular academic courses”, said Sir Arthur Koestler, an Hungarian novelist. He has emphasized that students need to spend some time in such yoga practices which would help in building a strong mind.

How to build a strong mind?  Cultivating the five qualifications such as  Confidence, Courage, Commitment, Control, and Purpose in life. Training the mind to acquire these qualifications will bring their mind to focus towards proper utilisations of their academic qualifications.

This in return would pave way to succeed in their passions and pursuits and result in enabling them to become future exemplary citizens of the world. Education with knowledge of the self and Yoga practices will bring peace and harmony for the  general welfare of mankind. 

In this book my aim is to bring to the readers the doctrines or maxims that the Kural teaches mankind. Just in a few words, kural spreads the rules or codes of good conduct to be followed by man in general, as a leader of a society, or as a ruler of a state or a country in large. Kural consists of social, economic and administrative doctrines like Arthasatra or Manusmriti that can be easily understood by even a layman. Just a recap of the compilation of the Kural.

Book I – Aṟam (அறம்): Book of Virtue (Dharma), dealing with moral values of an individual and essentials of yoga philosophy (Chapters 1-38)

Book II – Porul (பொருள்): Book of Polity (Artha), dealing with socio-economic values, politics, society and administration, (Chapters 39-108)

Book III – Inbam (இன்பம்): Book of Love (Kama), dealing with psychological values and love (Chapters 109-133)

Based on the above doctrines mentioned in the Kurals which are also  closely linked to remedial measures of which my articles focus in this book, I had explained above the opinions given by two great professors on this aspect. 

Our mindset is our collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape our attitude and behaviour. They affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. They reflect how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of yourself. The degree of sorrow we feel is only determined by us. The more you are engrossed by sorrow the more time it takes to leave you. 

According to researchers it is believed there are 3 components making  up an attitude:

An Emotional Component: How the object, person, issue or event makes you feel.

A Cognitive Component: Your thoughts and beliefs about the subject.

A Behavioral Component: How the attitude influences your behavior.

Your attitude is how you feel about something.  Your mindset shapes your attitude, and your attitude reinforces your mindset.

The maxims of the Kurals helps management of our minds and enables us to focus in the right direction.So let us analyse some more of them. Let us learn and modify ourselves from them. They are the highest form of instruments to lead a virtuous life in this birth of ours. There are plenty of Holy Scriptures and Books of Ethics or Morals.

We are all familiar with the Bhagavad Gita, meaning  “Song of the Spirit,” the divine communion of truth-realization between man and his Creator, the teachings of Spirit through the soul, that should be sung unceasingly. The underlying essential truths of all great world scriptures can find common amity in the infinite wisdom of the Gita’s mere 700 concise verses in  the Sanskrit language. Likewise we are also aware of Tirukkural written by Saint Tiruvalluvar bringing out the essence of all the shastras in the Tamil language. 

In this electronic computerised fast world of ours finding time to read each and every book is not possible. Where is the time to contemplate on them. With the little time available the Kurals containing all the essence of morals and ethics are really a boon for us. The voice of the Kurals made to echo in our minds is the best possible move. 

If readers take my words as some simple spiritual advice I cannot give any suitable answers to them. Only I can assure ‘Yes I agree. They are spiritual advice for their own good’  There are many people who have benefitted from such preachings from learned scholars and saints even before I have come to stress its importance in this book.  To lead a calm undisturbed peaceful life everyone, whatever their status be, celebrity or a layman, there is much need for their minds to be purified with good thoughts and matured wisdom. Without clarity of thought and impure mind it is impossible to be relieved of troubles and worries. They would be in a never ending doom for ever. 

Lakshmi Vilas or Auspiciousness is much yearned for in life by every one. A kural deals with this topic. It is customary to put up a name board with the words ‘Lakshmi Vilas’  inscribed in front of the house to bring all Auspiciousness. We all know Lakshmi means Auspiciousness. Does that alone bring all good tidings to the house. It depends on various factors. A Kural points out the attitude of welcoming our guests  with a cheerful face and feeding them with good food is very important. Hospitality  was a practice followed in every household those days. Another Kurals adds more to it by emphasising that by this gesture, ricelands owned  by the host would yield him more produce. This means he will not be short of food commodities to feed his guests at any point of time. Fertility and prosperity are assured

Next a kural analyses sweet behaviour. Uttering sweet words is far better than happily parting with money or goods. Another kural modifies the same by emphasising that words spoken must not be superficial but must come straight from the heart.  Kind words uttered will swipe off miseries of poverty. Humility and kind words  are the jewels to be worn by human beings. All these Kurals teach the behavioural concepts to be followed by an householder  which will sure remove all sins and pave the way for righteousness. Dharma will be established. 

Finally  “will any one feed on the unripe fruit when ripe fruit is available” says one kural. It is similar to speaking harsh words instead of kind pleasing words. In fact on a daily basis, don’t we see the reason for quarrels and misunderstanding arise from rude and harsh words exchanged. Have we heard at any point of time use of kind words causing a quarrel or fight?  A Kural even points out that harsh words can hurt a person more than physical pain. So think before you speak. There are no better ornaments than utterance of sweet pleasant words stresses another Kural.

Refer Kurals 81 – 100 for the detailed explanation of the above mentioned attitudes to be practiced.

I have given few of the Kurals related to the above mentioned essential practices to be followed in our day to day routine.

இருந்தோம்பி இல்வாழ்வ தெல்லாம் விருந்தோம்பி 
வேளாண்மை செய்தற் பொருட்டு. 81

பொருள்
இல்லறத்தைப் போற்றி வாழ்வது, விருந்தினரை வரவேற்று, அவர்க்கு வேண்டிய உதவிகளைச் செய்வதற்காகவே.

Tamil Transliteration
Irundhompi Ilvaazhva Thellaam Virundhompi 
Velaanmai Seydhar Poruttu.

The purpose of nurturing wealth and leading a family life,
is to be able to be hospitable to guests.

அகனமர்ந்து செய்யாள் உறையும் முகனமர்ந்து 
நல்விருந்து ஓம்புவான் இல். 84

பொருள்
மனமகிழ்ச்சியை முகமலர்ச்சியால் காட்டி விருந்தினரை வரவேற்பவர் வீட்டில் அமர்ந்து செல்வம் எனும் திருமகள் வாழ்வாள்.

Tamil Transliteration
Akanamarndhu Seyyaal Uraiyum Mukanamarndhu 
Nalvirundhu Ompuvaan Il.

The Goddess of wealth will reside happily with someone
who attends to his guests with a smile on the face.

வித்தும் இடல்வேண்டும் கொல்லோ விருந்தோம்பி 
மிச்சில் மிசைவான் புலம். 85

பொருள்
விருந்தினர்க்கு முதலில் உணவளித்து மிஞ்சியதை உண்டு வாழும் பண்பாளன், தன் நிலத்திற்குரிய விதையைக்கூட விருந்தோம்பலுக்குப் பயன்படுத்தாமல் இருப்பானா?.

Tamil Transliteration
Viththum Italventum Kollo Virundhompi 
Michchil Misaivaan Pulam.

Does one even need to sow his field, if he always eats
only what remains after feeding his guests?

மோப்பக் குழையும் அனிச்சம் முகந்திரிந்து 
நோக்கக் குழையும் விருந்து. 90

பொருள்
அனிச்சம் எனப்படும் பூ, முகர்ந்தவுடன் வாடி விடக் கூடியது அதுபோல் சற்று முகங்கோணி வரவேற்றாலே விருந்தினர் வாடிவிடுவர்.

Tamil Transliteration
Moppak Kuzhaiyum Anichcham Mukandhirindhu 
Nokkak Kuzhaiyum Virundhu.

The flower, anicham, shrivels when it is smelt. A guest will wilt
if the host’s face betrays the slightest twitch.

அகன்அமர்ந்து ஈதலின் நன்றே முகனமர்ந்து 
இன்சொலன் ஆகப் பெறின். 92

பொருள்
முகம் மலர்ந்து இனிமையாகப் பேசுவது, அகம் குளிர்ந்து ஒன்றைக் கொடுப்பதை விட மேலான பண்பாகும்.

Tamil Transliteration
Akanamarndhu Eedhalin Nandre Mukanamarndhu 
Insolan Aakap Perin.

To be someone who speaks sweet words with a smile
is even better than being philanthropic with a happy heart.

முகத்தான் அமர்ந்து இனிதுநோக்கி அகத்தானாம் 
இன்சொ லினதே அறம். 93

பொருள்
முகம் மலர நோக்கி, அகம் மலர இனிய சொற்களைக் கூறுவதே அறவழியில் அமைந்த பண்பாகும்.

Tamil Transliteration
Mukaththaan Amarndhuinidhu Nokki Akaththaanaam 
Inso Linadhe Aram.

To look at someone with kindness, to smile at them
and to say pleasant words, is a nice virtue.

துன்புறூஉம் துவ்வாமை இல்லாகும் யார்மாட்டும் 
இன்புறூஉம் இன்சொ லவர்க்கு. 94

பொருள்
இன்சொல் பேசி எல்லோரிடத்திலும் கனிவுடன் பழகுவோர்க்கு `நட்பில் வறுமை’ எனும் துன்பமில்லை.

Tamil Transliteration
Thunpurooum Thuvvaamai Illaakum Yaarmaattum 
Inpurooum Inso Lavarkku.

Painful poverty will not afflict someone who speaks
only pleasant words to everyone.

பணிவுடையன் இன்சொலன் ஆதல் ஒருவற்கு 
அணியல்ல மற்றுப் பிற. 95

பொருள்
அடக்கமான பண்பும், இனிமையாகப் பேசும் இயல்பும் தவிர, ஒருவருக்குச் சிறந்த அணிகலன் வேறு இருக்க முடியாது.

Tamil Transliteration
Panivutaiyan Insolan Aadhal Oruvarku 
Aniyalla Matrup Pira.

Humility and pleasant words are the true jewels
for anyone and not anything else.

இன்சொல் இனிதீன்றல் காண்பான் எவன்கொலோ 
வன்சொல் வழங்கு வது. 99

பொருள்
இனிய சொற்கள் இன்பத்தை வழங்கும் என்பதை உணர்ந்தவர் அதற்கு மாறாக எதற்காகக் கடுஞ் சொற்களைப் பயன்படுத்த வேண்டும்?.

Tamil Transliteration
Insol Inidheendral Kaanpaan Evankolo 
Vansol Vazhangu Vadhu?.

Having seen the sweet benefits of pleasant words,
why should one utter harsh words?

இனிய உளவாக இன்னாத கூறல் 
கனிஇருப்பக் காய்கவர்ந் தற்று. 100

பொருள்
இனிமையான சொற்கள் இருக்கும்போது அவற்றை விடுத்துக் கடுமையாகப் பேசுவது கனிகளை ஒதுக்கி விட்டுக் காய்களைப் பறித்துத் தின்பதற்குச் சமமாகும்.

Tamil Transliteration
Iniya Ulavaaka Innaadha Kooral 
Kaniiruppak Kaaikavarn Thatru.

To say harsh words when you have nice words, is like
plucking an unripe fruit when there is ripe at hand

How interesting, informative and comprehensible we find these Kurals? Aren’t they valuable values for all?

Let us move on to the next chapter ‘Ingratitude. Until then keep contemplating on minding your mind and chewing the cud the above Kurals.

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