04 By chanting the holy name, the mind becomes controlled

By Chanting The Holy Name, The Mind Becomes Controlled

One should control the mind by chanting the Hare Krsna mantra, which engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krsna:

One should not trust his mind, which is so fickle that it can give way to enemies at any moment. The mind is always accompanied by six enemies−namely, kama, krodha, mada, moha, matsarya and bhaya−that is, lust, anger, intoxication, illusion, envy and fear. Although the mind may be merged in spiritual consciousness, one should always be very careful in dealing with it, just as one is careful in dealing with a snake. One should never think that his mind is trained and that he can do whatever he likes. One interested in spiritual life should always engage his mind in the service of the Lord so that the enemies of the mind, who always accompany the mind, will be subdued. If the mind is not engaged in Krsna consciousness at every moment, there is a chance that it will give way to its enemies. In this way we become victims of the mind. 

Chanting the Hare Krsna mantra engages the mind at the lotus feet of Krsna constantly; thus the mind's enemies do not have a chance to strike.

– Sri Caitanya caritamrta Madhya lila 11.10

The chanting of the maha−mantra fixes one's mind upon Krsna:

Narada Muni mentions this sadhana−bhakti in the Srimad−Bhagavatam, Seventh Canto, First Chapter, verse 32. He says there to King Yudhisthira: "My dear King, one has to fix his mind on Krsna by any means." That is called Krsna consciousness. It is the duty of the acarya, the spiritual master, to find the ways and means for his disciple to fix his mind on Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana−bhakti. 

Sri Caitanya Mahaprabhu has given us an authorized program for this purpose, centered around the chanting of the Hare Krsna mantra. This chanting has so much power that it immediately attaches one to Krsna. That is the beginning of sadhana−bhakti. Somehow or other, one has to fix his mind on Krsna. The great saint Ambarisa Maharaja, although a responsible king, fixed his mind on Krsna, and similarly anyone who tries to fix his mind in this way will very rapidly make progress in successfully reviving his original Krsna consciousness.

– The Nectar of Devotion

The easiest way to control the mind is to chant Hare Krsna in all humility:

[Arjuna to Lord Krsna]: For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it is, it seems to me, more difficult than controlling the wind.

The mind is so strong and obstinate that it sometimes overcomes the intelligence, although mind is supposed to be subservient to the intelligence. For a man in the practical world who has to fight so many opposing elements, it is certainly very difficult to control the mind. Artificially, one may establish a mental equilibrium toward both friend and enemy, but ultimately no worldly man can do so, for this is more difficult than controlling the raging wind. In the Vedic literatures it is said:

atmanam rathinam viddhi sariram ratham eva ca
buddhim tu sarathim viddhi manah pragraham eva ca

indriyani hayan ahur visayams tesu gocaran
atmendriya−mano−yukto bhoktety ahur manisinah

"The individual is the passenger in the car of the material body, and intelligence is the driver. Mind is the driving instrument, and the senses are the horses. The self is thus the enjoyer or sufferer in the association of the mind and senses. So it is understood by great thinkers."

Intelligence is supposed to direct the mind, but the mind is so strong and obstinate that it often overcomes even one's own intelligence. Such a strong mind is supposed to be controlled by the practice of yoga, but such practice is never practical for a worldly person like Arjuna. And what can we say of modern man? The simile used here is appropriate: one cannot capture the blowing wind. And it is even more difficult to capture the turbulent mind. The easiest way to control the mind, as suggested by Lord Caitanya, is chanting "Hare Krsna," the great mantra for deliverance, in all humility. The method prescribed is sa vai manah krsna− padaravindayoh: one must engage one's mind fully in Krsna. Only then will there remain no other engagements to agitate the mind.

– Bhagavad gita As It Is 6.34

One can control the mind by fixing it upon the sound of Krsna's name:

The mind is always flying to this and that, but one must always practice concentrating the mind on the form of the Supreme Lord Sri Krsna or on the sound of His name. The mind is naturally restless, going hither and thither, but it can rest in the sound vibration of Krsna. One must thus meditate on paramam purusam, the Supreme Person, and thus attain Him.

– Bhagavad gita As It Is Intro

Chanting Hare Krsna controls the wild horses of the mind:

When the mind is finally trained to the point where it will think of nothing but Krsna, it will attain peace and will become very tranquil.

prasanta−manasam hy enam yoginam sukham uttamam
upaiti santa−rajasam brahma−bhutam akalmasam

"The yogi whose mind is fixed on Me verily attains the highest happiness. By virtue of his identity with Brahman, he is liberated; his mind is peaceful, his passions are quieted, and he is freed from sin." (Bg. 6.27)

The mind is always concocting objects for happiness. I am always thinking, "This will make me happy," or "That will make me happy. Happiness is here. Happiness is there." In this way the mind is taking us anywhere and everywhere. It is as though we are riding on a chariot behind an unbridled horse. We have no power over where we are going but can only sit in horror and watch helplessly. As soon as the mind is engaged in the Krsna consciousness process−specifically by chanting


Hare Krsna Hare Krsna Krsna Krsna Hare Hare
Hare Rama Hare Rama Rama Rama Hare Hare

then the wild horses of the mind will gradually come under our control.

– On the Way to Krsna

It is only by transcendental vibration (chanting, etc.) that the mind can be stabilized:

"When the yogi, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in Transcendence−devoid of all material desires−he is said to have attained yoga." (Bg.6.18)

The perfection of yoga means keeping the mind in a state of equilibrium. Materially speaking, this is impossible. After reading a mundane novel once, you will not want to read it again, but you can read Bhagavad−gita four times a day and still not tire of it. You may chant someone's name a half an hour, or sing a mundane song three or four times, but before long this becomes tiresome. Hare Krsna, however, can be chanted day and night, and one will never tire of it. Therefore it is only through transcendental vibration that the mind can be kept in a state of equilibrium. When one's mental activities are thus stabilized, one is said to have attained yoga.

– The Path of Perfection

Author: ISKCON Desire Tree

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