Controlling the mind

By Swami Bhakti Aloka Paramadvaiti

The subtle body (mind intelligence and false ego) puts us in difficult situations, and the one that causes the most problems is the mind. At each moment the mind wants another thing, and what it obtains, it no longer wants and yearns for something else. The mind tortures us frequently, and controlling it is one of the principal steps of yoga. The first step to control the mind is to recognize authority, because one has to become the authority of one's mind and the latter will argue. It is there where we must recognize that the authority of the mind can only be truth. It is difficult, but necessary.

If we live in a world of lies, we feel no satisfaction, we feel only defrauded. Controlling the mind means to occupy it in the service of God. Only in this way, will we feel true satisfaction. And if we feel this satisfaction, we are going to pursue practicing control. Controlling the mind is not a luxury; it is something essential. One needs intelligence to control the mind. Intelligence needs memory in order to be able to assimilate the propositions of the mind in accordance with previous experiences. Memory turns to the subconscious, and the result of turning to the subconscious is to take good decisions from God, because it is only God who allows us to remember and understand things. We are all dependent on Him.

When we accept the authority of the guru, the scriptures and the sadhus (saints), and if we associate with people who equally accept this authority, our position is fortunate. In the contrary case, we should reject false authorities in order to accept the authentic authorities. Even though it is a painful process, it is the price of progress. The process of discrimination is based on elimination, analysis and acceptance. Even doubt is created by God, even if at times it is bothersome. Therefore controlling the mind is very difficult; but if this recourse did not exist, we would accept any thing as the Absolute Truth and we would be diverted.

But also the moment comes, when we should doubt our doubts until finally reason will conquer them with something genuine, when we no longer have or no longer want to have anything else. As in the case of marriage; you may question getting married, but when you find someone special and decide to have that person as a companion, then there is no more doubt. Because if there is doubt after getting married, it will be something complicated. Therefore doubt is difficult to overcome, especially for those who only desire to gratify their senses and serve their selfish purposes. But Krishna helps those genuine seekers of the truth, liberates them from doubt and insecurity. In Krishna consciousness, to liberate oneself from doubt means to chant the Holy Names of God.

Hare Krishna Hare Krishna
Krishna Krishna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama
Rama Rama Hare Hare


Associating with persons who are also genuine seekers, studying the Holy Scriptures daily and identifying ourselves with the task given by the authorities; by identifying ourselves with this task, we are immediately under a great protection. It is necessary to identify ourselves with service and to try to perfect it; if this is an offering that we make to God, He will help us immensely to control the mind.

Other processes to control the mind are artificial. For example, some processes to control the mind and addictions suggest dedication to sports or the development of some art, but really this is not sufficient, because the mind can only be won over with something that has conquered the heart, with some love. And it should be love for God, not material love, because as always, deception will come - sooner or later. Therefore, why not deliver the heart to God and His sweet message through transcendental therapy? And the best therapy is spontaneous loving devotional service. This is the secret of bhakti yoga (devotional yoga).

Swami B.A. Paramadvaiti
Translation: Erica Wolski