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Bhakti will Cleanse the Mind
Bhakti will Cleanse the Mind
Question by a devotee: In today's materialistic world, the soul takes a beating, and the extent depends on the society, the profession, the community and each person's ability to bear it. How does one cleanse or heal the soul?
Answer by Swamiji: You are the soul, which is a part of God, and hence, by nature you are perpetually divine. You do not need to cleanse the soul. The problem is that the soul is identifying with the body, mind, and intellect. Hence, when the mind feels tormented, the soul experiences the misery. For example, if someone cuts your head in a dream, even though the dream is not a reality, you will experience the suffering until you wake up from the dream of the mind in the materially conditioned state because it identifies with it.
So when you say that the soul takes a beating, what you mean is that the mind takes a beating, and the soul experiences the pain vicariously. Once the mind is sufficiently cleansed, the soul will be able to perceive the distinction between itself and the mind, and distance itself from its dualities. Hence, we must endeavor to cleanse the mind.
Many materialists too are awake to this need for purifying the mind, since the soul naturally feels disconcerted by an impure mind and yearns the state of purity that is natural to it. A plethora of techniques and self-help books are available in the world for practicing positive thinking in its various forms and connotations. However all these techniques have very limited effectiveness, and the results achieved are temporary. We must remember that the mind is made from Maya, which is God's energy, and it cannot be conquered by self- effort alone. The mind can be permanently and totally healed only by the grace of God.
So the most powerful practice for cleansing the mind is to engage it in Bhakti, or love for God. That is the verdict of all the Vedic literature and essence of all religions. Shree Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Gita that Maya has three gunas - sattva, rajas, and tamas. These three gunas, or modes, are also present in the mind, which fluctuates between these 3 gunas. Based on the guna of the environment or the object to which one is attached, the corresponding guna becomes dominant in the mind. However, God is beyond these three gunas. He is divine, and so when we attach our mind to Him, it too rises beyond the three gunas and becomes divine.
The Ramayan states:
प्रेम भगति जल बिनु रघुराई | अभिअंतर मल कबऊं न जाई ||
prema bhagati jal binu raghuraai
Abhiantara mala kahabhun na jai (Ramayan)
“Until we wash our mind in the water of love of God, its dirt will never go.”
The Bhagavatham states:
धर्मः सत्यदयोपेतो विद्या वा तपसान्विता|
मद्भक्त्यापेतमात्मानं न सम्यक् प्रपुनाति हि ||
Dharmaḥ satyadayopeto vidyā vā tapasānvitā
Madbhaktyāpetamātmānaṁ na samyak prapunāti hi (Srimad Bhagavatham 11.14.22)
“We may follow all the rules of proper conduct, we may perform severe austerities, and we may accumulate the most esoteric knowledge, but without bhakti, none of these practices will suffice in cleansing the mind.”
So, do try to understand and sincerely practice the various facets of science of devotion to God. Use that knowledge to attach your mind to Him, relishing the bliss of divine love, and very soon you will experience the mind being elevated and cleansed from endless lifetimes of impurities.
- Taken from ‘Spiritual Dialectics’ by Swami Mukundananda