April 2024

Silence the Mind

Silence the Mind

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From the Editor’s Desk

In the sacred journey of spiritual awakening, one of the most profound practices is to silence the mind by taking a solitary pilgrimage within ourselves. Such a practice unearths secrets related to the mysteries of the mind, intellect, ego, and soul. Let us delve into the essence of silencing the mind, understanding its significance, its impact, and the techniques to attain stillness that will open many doors for an inner awakening.

Within the depths of Vedic knowledge (i.e., tatvagyan) and the timeless wisdom taught by Swami Mukundananda, this month’s Samarpan presents another small piece of vast knowledge to gain insight into ways to harness the divine silence within for a better quality of life.

Vedic Wisdom & Application

Challenge of the Month

Silence the Mind

Reflection Questions

  • What Does it Mean to Silence the Mind? 
  • What Happens When We Silence the Mind? 
  • How do We Silence the Mind?

Research evidence suggests that silence is highly beneficial for the brain and elevates the quality of the mind. However, the last few decades have witnessed an overwhelming increase in environmental noise – from blaring sirens and traffic sounds to all the gadgets and devices at home that entertain the senses. As if in response, the internal space in the mind is also invaded by the non-stop chatter that is hard to stop. It is then that we seek the quiet – to silence the mind. 

What Does it Mean to Silence the Mind?

In the spiritual realm, silencing the mind transcends mere quietude; it is a sublime state where the incessant chatter of the material world fades, allowing the soul to commune with the divine. According to the Vedic scriptures, the mind is often likened to a restless monkey, constantly leaping from one thought to another. However, it can be stilled through disciplined practice and divine grace and become a conduit for higher truths.

To silence the mind means to quiet the constant flow of thoughts and mental activity. It involves bringing a state of stillness and calmness to the mind, free from distractions and unnecessary thinking. It also allows one to experience inner peace, clarity, and a deeper connection with oneself. In other words, to silence the mind entails withdrawing the senses from outward pursuits and turning inward towards the eternal source of bliss – the divine realm.

What Happens When We Silence the Mind?

Many people plan pilgrimages as a way to find peace of mind or to meditate in solitude and connect with the divine. In The Power of Thoughts, Swamiji explains that there is another pilgrimage that is more profitable because it reveals the treasures of everlasting joy within. This is the inner journey that souls should engage in until the goal is reached. 

There are many benefits of silencing the mind. A few are noted below. 

  1. Divine Inner Revelations. As we embark on the journey of silencing the mind, profound transformations unfold within the depths of our being. Drawing from Vedic wisdom, we understand that the mind, when tranquil, becomes a sacred vessel for divine inner revelations through grace, to the extent of our surrender. In this state of profound stillness, we experience a sense of peace, joy, and unity with the universe. Silencing the mind allows us to disengage from the endless stream of worldly desires, attachments, and distractions.
  2. Ignorance is Dispelled. When the mind is silenced, the cloak of ignorance dissipates, and the light of knowledge illumines the soul. We awaken to the eternal truths beyond the illusions of the material world and at least for short periods, we realize the soul’s inherent divinity and interconnectedness with all of creation. Silencing the mind enables us to perceive the subtle vibrations of the divine, guiding us along the path of righteousness and spiritual fulfillment. It helps to cultivate a sense of tranquility and enhance our ability to be present in the moment. 
  3. Inclination for Solitary Places. The most beautiful and beneficial outcome of silencing the mind is that even spiritual aspirants are not driven by the need for companionship to overcome feelings of loneliness. They naturally prefer solitude which enables them to engage their mind in contemplation, self-examination, and communion with God. Shree Krishna told Arjun that elevated devotees are naturally inclined to choose solitary places, where they can more deeply absorb themselves in devotional thoughts (Bhagavad Gita 8-12). 
  4. Perfect Yog with God. In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita (18:51-53), Swamiji further explains that the silenced mind does not indulge in likes and dislikes. “The senses are restrained, and the impulses of the body and speech are tenaciously disciplined. The activities for bodily maintenance, such as eating and sleeping, are wisely held in balance. Such a yogi is deeply contemplative and hence prefers solitude. The ego and its lust for power and prestige are dissolved. Constantly engaging the mind in transcendence, the yogi is tranquil and free from the bonds of desire, anger, and greed. Such a yogi attains the realization of the Absolute Truth as Brahman.”  

Becoming a true yogi is a very elevated state, however, knowledge of the goalpost is just as important as attaining the goal itself. Thus, as material souls and spiritual aspirants, we should continue our attempts to silence the mind to become eligible for divine grace that will allow us to be in a state of yog with God eternally. 

How do We Silence the Mind?

In The Power of Thoughts, Swamiji explains that silencing the mind is a sacred endeavor that requires dedication, discipline, and divine grace. The Vedic scriptures prescribe various spiritual practices to aid seekers on this transformative journey. 

  1. Meditation. Of all the transformative practices, the most fundamental is meditation, wherein the mind is trained to focus single-pointedly on the divine, gradually transcending the realm of thoughts and entering into the realm of pure consciousness. 

    Engaging in meditation can quiet the mind by focusing on a single point of concentration – God or any element in the divine realm. This is the Roopdhyan meditation that enables the mind to attach to God during sadhana or devotional practice. Meditation should start by first bringing the image of God into the mind’s eye by focusing on His divine names, forms, virtues, leelas, rasas, madhuris, abodes, and saints. The most important part of sadhana is the loving remembrance of God. The ultimate goal is to increase our love for God and serve Him selflessly.

    In whichever way we meditate upon God, He compassionately graces us by enabling us to silence the mind. Meditation strengthens one’s willpower by activating the three faculties – becoming aware of the goal, keeping distractions away, and focusing exclusively on the divine realm that will take us closer to the goal. With abhyas or repeated practice, when we start focusing on God, He will grace the souls by adding His divine power to further our devotional practice (i.e., Shuddha Sattwa). 

    Example: One can silence the mind by meditating on establishing a connection with God through personal seva or service. This exquisitely soulful meditation from Swamiji’s Challenge series on Getting Closer to God will enable us to focus exclusively on Him by visualizing serving God by preparing a garland for His pleasure.

  2. Strengthen Willpower. A strong willpower will greatly improve the quality of one’s life as it directly enables us to silence the mind by focusing on the goal. Instead of choosing the easier path to a lower goal (e.g., being the richest person in the world), we must strive to choose the difficult path to a superior goal (i.e., attaining selfless love for God). The mind naturally gravitates toward a variety of worldly pleasures, but by exerting one’s willpower with a sense of purpose, one can strengthen it through repeated practice. 

    Swamiji explains that willpower has three aspects: I won’t, I will, and I want. We must practice the self-talk to say (a) “I won’t” when any of the five senses crave sensual pleasures; (b) “I will” when we desire to avoid difficult tasks by not procrastinating; and (c) “I want” to remind oneself of the higher goal and purpose of life, which will make the previous two aspects possible. 

    The willpower is like a muscle, thus, it is best to do difficult tasks in the morning when the willpower is at its peak. If it is exerted throughout the day on lower goals, it will be expended by the time we do something toward the higher goal. 

    Example: Meditating on Connecting with God in the early morning hours will help to focus on the higher goal, and deliberately depriving the mind of sensual pleasure for short durations later in the day, can strengthen one’s willpower.

  3. Mindfulness. Practicing mindfulness involves observing thoughts without judgment and bringing attention to the present moment, helping to reduce mental chatter. Through mindfulness practice, individuals learn to observe their thoughts, feelings, and sensations with a sense of detachment, allowing them to transcend the incessant chatter of the mind and attain inner peace. 

    Example: You are sitting in a beautiful garden surrounded by vibrant flowers while keeping an eye on your child playing on the swing. As your eyes focus on a distant object, you become aware of the thoughts swirling in your mind – worries about the future and regrets from the past. Instead of getting entangled in these thoughts, you simply observe them and acknowledge their presence without judgment. With each breath, you anchor yourself more deeply in the present moment, experiencing a profound sense of calm and clarity.

  4. Developing Sakshi Bhav or Witness Consciousness. In The Power of Thoughts, Swamiji describes how saints like Jagadguru Shree Kripalu ji Maharaj and Raman Maharshi, possessed the capacity to “see” the pain in their physical body as a witness without being affected by it. They tolerated the pain during surgery because at the level of consciousness, they were beyond the body. However, we sadhaks or spiritual aspirants need to start to gradually develop the ability to remember that we are the divine soul, not the physical body nor the material mind. 

    When negative thoughts arise, we need to practice observing sensations in our mind and body without immediately reacting to them. We must disengage from the constant stream of negative thoughts that occupy the mind. By consciously separating oneself from the content of thoughts and recognizing them as transient phenomena, we can cultivate a sense of inner detachment to silence the mind without letting our raw emotions take over. 

    Swamiji beautifully explains that compared to mindfulness, sakshi bhav emphasizes the understanding of the true self as a humble servant of God and distinct from the mind and body. Such consciousness is rooted in spirituality and considered a stepping stone towards higher states of consciousness. It is only when the mind purifies through continuous devotional practice and recognizing the true nature of the soul, that we can develop the capacity to perceive ourselves as the divine soul.

    Example: You are walking down the street in a marketplace and see someone who insulted you a few weeks ago. Immediately, the feelings of resentment, bitterness, and anger arise. However, you remember Swamiji’s teachings and disassociate yourself from negative feelings. You start using the self-talk taught by Swamiji and tell yourself, “S/he insulted me but I do not have to accept the slur. If I harbor anger and resentment, I will hurt my own devotional sentiments. Tolerating the insult will purify my heart and attract divine grace.” 

  5. Abhyas and Vairagya: As mentioned by Maharshi Patanjali, repeated practice and detachment from worldly distractions can help to silence the mind. Both of these are fundamental principles in the yogic tradition that describes how to silence the mind. Abhyas involves the dedicated practice of connecting with God, our eternal father, and remembering Him with humility, gratitude, and love. We must feel grateful for the blessings that equip us to stay on the spiritual path, opportunities to learn life lessons gently, and His graces that enable us to forge ahead with confidence. Alongside, the contemplation that only God loves us unconditionally in the material world and He alone is ours, will increase the vairagya necessary to cultivate detachment from worldly desires and attachment to fame and fortune. 

    Example: Watch this very powerful video message that describes the importance of practicing the attitude of gratitude and detachment from the world. These are two of the six principles of surrender to God which will silence the mind. 

In conclusion, silencing the mind is not merely an esoteric pursuit reserved for sages and mystics, but a sacred duty incumbent upon all spiritual aspirants. Through Swamiji’s timeless teachings and Vedic wisdom, we must embark on this transformative journey to transcend the limitations of the mind and realize our eternal union with the divine.

Tools for Your Personal Growth

Hope you read the Vedic knowledge or tatvagyan shared above to silence the mind. Here are some steps for putting that knowledge into practice on the downloadable tracking sheet available for you to use.

Tool to Practice How to Silence the Mind

Apply your Vedic knowledge on how to silence the mind using the steps described in the downloadable document.

Love to Hear from You

Please share your comments under “Join the Discussion” below.

Gems of Wisdom from Swamiji

Here are a few YouTube video titles with related links and books where Swamiji has described the meaning and procedures for how to silence the mind.

Hold Your Breath! Check out Upcoming Events

We are very excited to share the most awaited and dynamic event with you! It is being conducted at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen), the official US Headquarters of JKYog.  

Bhakti Kirtan Retreat with Swami Mukundananda 2024

JKYog’s Bhakti Kirtan Retreat with Swamiji

All JKYog devotees are extremely blessed to have the opportunity to partake in the devotional bliss of a Bhakti Kirtan Retreat with Swamiji at the start of his 2024 US Tour. 

  • Was your most memorable moment in Swamiji’s divine presence? 
  • Do you revel in Swamiji’s soulful heart-melting kirtans? 
  • Do you pine for Swamiji’s Pad Vyakhyas filled with sweet ras?
  • Do Shree Maharajji’s divine kirtans remind you of the immensely loving names, forms, virtues, leelas, abodes, and saints of God? 

If you answered “Yes” to any of the questions, then obviously JKYog’s Bhakti Kirtan Retreat is for you. You will have the first-hand opportunity to directly connect with Swamiji to soak in the bliss of deeply devotional and soulful kirtans that have the potential to intensify your sadhana. 

This is the most wonderful opportunity to relish the 3-day Free Retreat with Swamiji at the Radha Krishna Temple of Dallas (Allen). Even though the retreat is entirely free, participants are requested to register to enable the host team to plan accordingly. 

JKYog Transforming Communities

Here, we typically share amazing activities and news about JKYog USA. 

Life Transformation Programs (LTP)

Life Transformational Programs with Swamiji are the highlight of his US tour. Spanning ten cities from coast to coast between April and August 2024, the LTP is a much-awaited event. The week-long program truly transforms the lives of people in ways that are difficult to quantify. For many, this is the first opportunity for a direct connection with Swamiji, and to learn the divine knowledge in an easy-to-understand manner. 

Each LTP event may have minor differences but some common aspects in all include: 

  • Meet-n-Greet sessions
  • Divine discourses on a specific topic or theme
  • Devotional kirtans
  • Guided meditation
  • Morning Walk, Satsang, and Breakfast

The topic of his divine lectures this year is The Power of Thoughts in most cities and Patanjali Yog Sutras in the Bay Area. 

Participants utilize the informal sessions to interact one-on-one with Swamiji, seek answers to complex concepts, and clarify their doubts. This is one of the most inspirational of all events with a schedule convenient to most working professionals. 

Check the dates for the LTP in your city and register for the free program. Seva opportunities are also available for interested participants.