Mantra and the Mind

When we are practising mantra, should we let the mind wander or should we concentrate?

There are different theories about it. I do not want to criticize anyone of them. There are some people who believe that when the mind wanders, bring it back. There are those who say when the mind wanders, let it wander, and there are people who believe that when the mind wanders, let it but you follow it, you witness it. I am with the opinion you have to deal with the mind with your own capacities or according to the nature of your mind. If your child is being naughty, you just tell him not to do it and he will listen to you. But if he is completely rowdy, what will you do? If you tell him not to do it, he will still do it; if you give a slap, he will still do it; if you beat him cruelly, he will run away, leaving you in pain and remorse. You have to deal with your child according to his nature and according to the situation.

If your mind is tamasic, rajasic or sattwic, your attitude and behaviour with the mind will have to be different. If your mind is comparatively quiet, but sometimes it makes a little bit of mischief, then the moment it goes away from the centre draw it back because it is a good child. If your mind is rajasic, every time it gets out and you have to bring it back sometimes you do not even like to bring it back! Sometimes you are swayed by the mind. At that time what will you do? If you force the mind, then you will have headaches and hysteria, pain in the heart, lack of sleep, indigestion, all kinds of mental problems. Why? Because if you try to control the mind too much in the rajasic state, you create a conflict.

In the sattwic state of equilibrium, if you try to control the mind you don’t create a conflict because the whole battery is one-sided. In the rajasic state, there is confrontation. The mind wants to do this. You say, ‘No’, the mind says, ‘I will do it’. There is confrontation. In the sattwic state there is no confrontation, the mind agrees, ‘Since you say so, I must do it’, so there is no confrontation.

In the tamasic state you cannot do anything with the mind because there is neither confrontation nor any reaction. The tamasic state is that of the slumbering mind. You have to awaken the tamasic mind by hatha yoga, kirtan, austerity, mouna, there are many methods. Awaken the mind by these practices. In the tamasic state, there is no question of controlling the mind, there is only a question of awakening the sleepy child. In the rajasic mind, you let it do whatever it likes, you just follow it. In the sattwic state, pull it back immediately.

20 February 1980, Bombay, Maharashtra