Human beings gain knowledge of the objective world through the five sensory organs. While the objects of perception are insentient, the mind is sentient and hence emotionally reacts to sensory perceptions in the form of likes and dislikes, joy and sorrow. Hence the mind is responsible for the pleasantness and troubles that beset human beings.
The mind can be drastically changed to respond to the stimuli it receives through the techniques of yogic methods of enquiry to remain peaceful even in the midst of trying circumstances.
A mental world is created in us through sense organs during the /wakeful phase of mind. This inner mental world comprises of the sights and forms seen by eyes; sounds heard by ears; the tastes sensed by the tongue; the smells/fragrances smelt by nose; and the touches, warmness, hotness, coolness sensed by the skin. All these are technically called vishayas) and the remembrances they simultaneously create are technically called vasanas (which remains is vasana). These vasanas (experiences –happiness, sorrow, unhappiness / insight / understanding / meaning / sense/ mood) constitute our memory.
Our memory is also made up of the traits we get with this body – the genetic/hereditary – in the form of personality traits, instincts, intuitions, urges, senses, comprehending abilities, intelligence, desires, longings, other intellectual and emotional abilities, common sense, power of imagination, dreaming capabilities. Thus our memory is constituted and composed of all experiences / moods/understanding/insight and the like acquired or inbuilt.
Our language acquisition and communication abilities comprising of meanings/senses of words also fall under this. Our mental functions start with mood, insight, remembrance, understanding, experience, urge, intuition, insight and instinct – our direct or in-built/genetic perceptions and experiences. These are then converted into thoughts and feelings which are then expressed.
As is mentioned we cognize and know through our sense organs: through the eye we detect forms and scenes, through the ear sounds, through the tongue tastes, through the nose smells and via the skin touch and heat. These cognitions are received in accordance with manas, and perceived. Together with the experiences they create, they are stored within us as remembrances and memory.
When our memory is activated, they generate moods, thoughts and feelings. This is the two-way (reversible or forward/ backward) functioning of mind when we express or perceive, understand/experience.
We have four phases of conscious states of mind which automatically are activated and changed. They are: (a) wakeful Sleep, (b) deep sleep, (c) wakeful or awakened and (d) dream. The above functions take place and cease to take place depending on mental phase. Human consciousness is always on as conscious awareness and only mind rises or sets during these conscious states of mind causing cognition and cognition-related experiences, storing and retrieving them in respective phases.
Human consciousness is the form, the structure and the consequence of breathing process and generates psychic energy that does all human cognitions and cognition-related functions. Cognition and cognition-related functions are the result of reversible becoming of this psychic energy and human consciousness bifurcates as consciousness that is aware of the cognitions and related activities and the occurrence of the activities themselves. When these activities are taking place, such a dual role is played by the human consciousness (during wakeful/awakened and dream phases or conscious states of mind).
There is also a phase when no cognitions or cognition-related activity is taking place and it is the original or normal or natural state of human mind, the non-dual or peaceful, blissful or silent phase of mind (Wakeful Sleep and Deep Sleep phases or conscious states of mind). The Wakeful Sleep conscious state of mind is also known as the Real I state. No experiences, thoughts, feelings or traits of the individual do not activated. Once we think of or feel “I”, many moods, feelings, thoughts appear on our mental screen.
We normally identify “I” with the body. And ”I” is also associated with the personality that is created in us through various mental traits, emotional and intellectual bonds, likes, dislikes, social status, age, gender, nationality, religion, region, language, culture, our mental faculties, abilities, emotional and intellectual aspirations and the like. This happens in wakeful and dream conscious or phases of mind. We rejoice, feel hurt, struggle within, with associated happy and unhappy experiences, thoughts and feelings. If no pleasant or unpleasant mood is created or no experience is activated or no thoughts and feelings are generated and continuous peace, bliss and silence are in the experience as experience that is the Real “I” state.
All the Jnaanis, seers, saints and realized souls live in this peaceful, silent and blissful state. If we also become aware of this phase of mind, and convert that insight into experience we too can be like a water drop on a lotus leaf merely remaining, though on it and touching but untouched moves freely on the leaf.
This is not a mere philosophical statement or spiritual injunction. It is the reality we are all experiencing during deep sleep phase of mind but are unaware of it. When we cultivate this phase of mind we bear all the vicissitudes of life with less disturbed state of mind. We will perform our ordained duties with serene mind. Our intellect gets sharpened. We become efficiently intuitive and useful and pleasant sphuranas (intuitive feelings) are generated. Our mental faculties improve. We live cheerfully and cheer our near and dear.
This serene state of mind is the state of Atman/Brahman. This quietness of mind is state of Atman or state of Self. This is our real state. This is our real form. This is our real trait. This is our real person and personality; our real sound from which all languages originate; our real sounding. This state is to be made our own rather we become and be that state. This state is always present in us.
When the mind is functioning and various mental functions are taking place, they superimpose on this state. This state remains in the background as the “sruti” (constant frequency sound maintained behind for the benefit of the musician) while music is being played. It is one as sweetness in the honey and fragrance with the flower.
When mental functions are not taking place this state becomes our current experience. We will be peace-bliss-silence filled. We will be peace, bliss and silence. When mind is tuned to the Self and merges in the Self, we enjoy peace, bliss, silence. This is the serenity of mind and serene mind.
Various methods of yoga are designed to understand this working of the mind and cultivate it so that its vagaries are understood and taken care of and that psychological remedies are prescribed and implemented. Yoga is not merely about doing physical exercises. Physical exercises are just a starting point just as primary school is a starting point for more complex learning. Unfortunately, many practitioners and gurus of yoga teach and promote an incomplete type of yoga which starts and ends in physical exercises.
Kind of Yoga to be followed must be prescribed to the individual only after analyzing the individual’s culture, mental make-up, emotional and intellectual capabilities, social background and faith followed.
In brief, serenity of mind is cultivated by also changing the inputs we give to our sense organs and mental worlds we create. If the inner mental world is filled Divine Information, we get peaceful and blissful thoughts and feelings. If we give other fleeting, sensuous and like worldly inputs to our sense organs and mental world with them is created, we get those thoughts which cause us joy and sorrow. It is in our hands to be peaceful or disturbed. Let us cultivate serenity of mind consciously, intelligently and wisely.