The Art of Taming the Mind

Srimad Bhagavatam 11.20.21 - The Art of Taming the Mind (download mp3)
by Sridama Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 11.20.21
esa vai paramo yogo
 manasah sangrahah smrtah
hrdaya-j├▒atvam anvicchan
 damyasyevarvato muhuh

An expert horseman, desiring to tame a headstrong horse, first lets the horse have his way for a moment and then, pulling the reins, gradually places the horse on the desired path. Similarly, the supreme yoga process is that by which one carefully observes the movements and desires of the mind and gradually brings them under full control.

Just as an expert rider intimately knows the propensities of an untamed horse and gradually brings the horse under control, an expert yogi allows the mind to reveal its materialistic propensities and then controls them through superior intelligence. A learned transcendentalist withholds and supplies sense objects so that the mind and senses remain fully controlled, just as the horseman sometimes pulls sharply on the reins and sometimes allows the horse to run freely. The rider never forgets his actual goal or destination, and eventually places the horse on the right path. Similarly, a learned transcendentalist, even though sometimes allowing the senses to act, never forgets the goal of self-realization, nor does he allow the senses to engage in sinful activity. Excessive austerity or restriction may result in great mental disturbance, just as pulling excessively on the reins of a horse may cause the horse to rear up against the rider. The path of self-realization depends upon clear intelligence, and the easiest way to acquire such expertise is surrender to Lord Krsna. The Lord says in Bhagavad-gita (10.10):

tesam satata-yuktanam
 bhajatam priti-purvakam
dadami buddhi-yogam tam
 yena mam upayanti te

One may not be a great scholar or spiritual intellect, but if one is sincerely engaged in loving service to the Lord without personal envy or personal motivation the Lord will reveal from within the heart the methodology required to control the mind. Expertly riding the waves of mental desire, a Krsna conscious person does not fall from the saddle, and he eventually rides all the way back home, back to Godhead.

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