Some of the functions of the mind are mechanical, but there are some which are volitional. As in the case of our nerves, which are sympathetic and otherwise (involuntary and voluntary) , such is the case with our mind also. The mechanical functions of the mind are planted by nature with a special purpose, and the chief part of that purpose is preservation and sustenance of the life of the jiva. Unless we exercise the voluntary functions of the mind, we can make no progress in the furtherance of the cause of our peace and of the world peace. It is therefore our duty to think consciously and by our thought to direct the machinery of the mind towards a particular goal. It is important. This is called spiritual living.
Then there is another thing that we should occasionally still our mind, that is to say, place its functions in abeyance. This is called meditation. When the mental functions are placed in abeyance voluntarily, then the result is emergence of the sattvic vrittis, the vritti of devotion, the vritti of universal compassion, the vritti of vairagya or detachment. In order to suspend the functions of the mind, we say “OM” and take a deep breath and retain the breath, and we say “OM” again. We say “OM” with the feeling that it is all the best, the highest, the noblest, and the sound of “OM” is verily God himself. And then to focus the mind on it will lead to the suspension of the functions of the mind.
Care has to be taken that this voluntary mental life is not interrupted either by the earthly desires or by associationship with the undeserving objects. Have faith in the law of karma. Whatever you have sown you will reap. If my past karma warrants that I should suffer from a symptom called purgation of the mind, that is, some illness and so forth, it is better to let it come and to endure it patiently. It is silliness to think “I may always be healthy”.
If you want always to be healthy, then do good karma, do benevolence. If you have by thought, word or deed inflicted on any jiva pain, if you have been selfish and taken undue advantage of a simple friend or a companion or a neighbour , you have sown the seeds of trouble for yourself and you will have to suffer. You say: “Will Yoga not help us in overcoming it?” We do not want to apply Yoga for this purpose. Yogic life is to cultivate an equipoised mind, mind it, an equipoised mind. The mind which is not disturbed by illness and any other adventitious occurrence, the mind which is not elated by success, that is the state to be cultivated. And this state is cultivated by meditation and by self-study.
It is a whole-time job. You cannot say: “Well, I have lived the Yogic life up to 5 o’clock, but now it is the club time, I can have a few games of cards over a few drinks”. That will not do. You can easily undo what you have done, very easily indeed. The desires that arise in the mind are due to the desires you have harboured in the past.
If you ever harbour a desire – that you have may have a good horse! – and you are not critical of it, it will go deep, and then it will change your mind and you will perform the actions which will bring a horse to you. But you may have a horse and be a member of the mounted police – you have a horse! You may have a horse and be in the cavalry. You may have a horse and become a hunter. But the horse you will have, if you have desired to have it. Those who have started the Yogic path, their desires become strong as they progress and they are fulfilled. Therefore let us be very careful what to desire. There is only one thing to desire: knowledge of truth, knowledge of truth, knowledge of truth. This is about the discipline which is for you and it is for you to share it with others.