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Nature of the mind

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Bhagavad-gita As It Is

BG Chapters 1 - 6

The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogī has to control the mind; the mind should not control him.
BG 6.26, Translation and Purport:

From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.

The nature of the mind is flickering and unsteady. But a self-realized yogī has to control the mind; the mind should not control him. One who controls the mind (and therefore the senses as well) is called gosvāmī, or svāmī, and one who is controlled by the mind is called go-dāsa, or the servant of the senses. A gosvāmī knows the standard of sense happiness. In transcendental sense happiness, the senses are engaged in the service of Hṛṣīkeśa, or the supreme owner of the senses—Kṛṣṇa. Serving Kṛṣṇa with purified senses is called Kṛṣṇa consciousness. That is the way of bringing the senses under full control. What is more, that is the highest perfection of yoga practice.

Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 4

Unless one is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, material desires will come and go. That is the nature of the mind—thinking, feeling and willing.
SB 4.29.68, Purport:

The activities of the living entity in the body of a dog may be experienced in the mind of a different body; therefore those activities appear never to have been heard or seen. The mind continues, although the body changes. Even in this life-span we can sometimes experience dreams of our childhood. Although such incidents now appear strange, it is to be understood that they are recorded in the mind. Because of this, they become visible in dreams. The transmigration of the soul is caused by the subtle body, which is the storehouse of all kinds of material desires. Unless one is fully absorbed in Kṛṣṇa consciousness, material desires will come and go. That is the nature of the mind—thinking, feeling and willing. As long as the mind is not engaged in meditation on the lotus feet of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, the mind will desire so many material enjoyments. Sensual images are recorded in the mind in chronological order, and they become manifest one after another; therefore the living entity has to accept one body after another.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Madhya-lila

This is the nature of the mind of an uncommon personality. Sometimes it is soft like a flower, but sometimes it is as hard as a thunderbolt.
CC Madhya 7.72, Translation and Purport:

This is the nature of the mind of an uncommon personality. Sometimes it is soft like a flower, but sometimes it is as hard as a thunderbolt.

The softness of a flower and the hardness of a thunderbolt are reconciled in the behavior of a great personality. The following quotation from Uttara-rāma-carita (2.7) explains this behavior. One may also consult the Madhya-līlā, Third Chapter, verse 212.

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

The nature of the mind is flickering. Sometimes it accepts something, and immediately it rejects the same thing.
Krsna Book 1:

"The nature of the mind is flickering. Sometimes it accepts something, and immediately it rejects the same thing. Accepting and rejecting is the process of the mind in contact with the five objects of sense gratification—form, taste, smell, sound and touch. In its speculative way, the mind comes in touch with the objects of sense gratification, and when the living entity desires a particular type of body, he gets it. Therefore, the body is an offering by the laws of material nature. The living entity accepts a body and comes out again into the material world to enjoy or suffer according to the construction of the body. Unless we have a particular type of body, we cannot enjoy or suffer according to our mental proclivities inherited from the previous life. The particular type of body is actually offered to us according to our mental condition at the time of death."

Lectures

Bhagavad-gita As It Is Lectures

Nature of mind is always agitated, and if we artificially give impetus to the mind to be more agitated, then where is the question of samādhi? There is no question of samādhi.
Lecture on BG 2.40-45 -- Los Angeles, December 13, 1968:

Samādhi. The yoga process is to achieve the stage of samādhi. That means the mind being fixed upon the Supreme. But if our mind is... Nature of mind is always agitated, and if we artificially give impetus to the mind to be more agitated, then where is the question of samādhi? There is no question of samādhi. They'll never be able to concentrate the mind. That is not possible. So in this age no process will be successful. Simply this process, this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa. Anyone, it doesn't matter, in whatever condition he is, as soon as he'll hear Hare Kṛṣṇa, he'll immediately join. His mind will be attracted immediately. Simplest process. Vibration. There is no question of time to practice some breathing exercise, some sitting posture, because these things are not possible in this age. Simply we invite you to come here and simply join this chanting Hare Kṛṣṇa, and very quickly you'll be spiritually advanced. This is a fact. Otherwise there is no second alternative.

Our mind is never vacant. Always think something. We think of something always, twenty-four hours. That is mind's nature.
Lecture on BG 9.34 -- August 3, 1976, New Mayapur (French farm):

So what is the difficulty? Kṛṣṇa is recommending these four things: man-manā bhava, "always think of Me." You, man-manā bhava mad-bhaktaḥ. "You become My devotee." Unless you become devotee, you cannot think of Kṛṣṇa. That is automatic. If you think of Kṛṣṇa always, that means you are devotee. Otherwise, why a person wastes his time thinking of Kṛṣṇa? He can think of business. He can think of so many other things. Only the devotee can think of Kṛṣṇa. So if you think of Kṛṣṇa, then automatically you become devotee. Is there any objection? Who can think of Kṛṣṇa always? Not always even, think of Kṛṣṇa? Unless one is devotee? And to think of Kṛṣṇa, what is the difficulty? Huh? Is there any difficulty? To think of Kṛṣṇa? Thinking power we have got. We think so many... Our mind is never vacant. Always think something. We think of something always, twenty-four hours. That is mind's nature.

Srimad-Bhagavatam Lectures

Everyone knows the nature of the mind, sometimes accepting one thing, again rejecting it, saṅkalpa-vikalpa. This is the quality of the mind or nature of the mind.
Lecture on SB 7.9.8 -- Mayapur, February 28, 1977:

So ugra-jāteḥ means demonic family, passionate. Ugra. There are three qualities within this material world. Therefore it is said guṇa-mayī. Daivī hy eṣā guṇa-mayī (BG 7.14). Guṇa-mayī means three guṇas, three modes of material nature: sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa and tamo-guṇa. So our mind is jumping. Everyone knows the nature of the mind, sometimes accepting one thing, again rejecting it, saṅkalpa-vikalpa. This is the quality of the mind or nature of the mind. Sometimes the mind is jumping over sattva-guṇa, sometimes on the rajo-guṇa, and sometime on the tamo-guṇa. In this way we are getting different types of mentality. In this way, at the time of death the mentality which is just at the moment of leaving this body will carry me to a different body of sattva-guṇa, rajo-guṇa, tamo-guṇa. This is the way of transmigration of the soul. Therefore we have to train up the mind until we get the another body. That is the art of living. So if you train up your mind simply to think of Kṛṣṇa then you are safe. Otherwise there is chance of accidents.

General Lectures

This subtle body—means mind, intelligence and ego—that carries me to another body according to the nature of my mind.
Lecture at the Hare Krsna Festival at La Salle Pleyel -- Paris, June 14, 1974:

So this is going on daily in our experience, that I leave this gross body, I take my subtle body, and I do something else, although my body is here. The conclusion is therefore that I, the soul, am changing my body from the gross to the subtle, from the subtle to the gross. In our daily life we have got experience that I accept this subtle body. The subtle body is there. There is no question of acceptance. But with the subtle body I dream, and again when the dream is over, then I come to this gross body. So death means when the subtle body carries the soul to another gross body, not this gross body, that is called death. So this subtle body—means mind, intelligence and ego—that carries me to another body according to the nature of my mind. At the time of death, as the mind is absorbed, I mean to say, full of thoughts, according to that full of thoughts, we are given another gross body. That is stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, that anta-kale, yaṁ yaṁ vāpi smaran bhāvaṁ tyajaty ante kalevaram (BG 8.6).

Philosophy Discussions

Unless he comes to the final cause, this research goes on. That is the nature of advanced mind. They are called munis, those who are very thoughtful. So that is the nature of greater mind, mahātmā, to find out the ultimate cause.
Philosophy Discussion on Immanuel Kant:

Prabhupāda: Yes. That is called philosophy. That inquisitiveness is called philosophy. Cause of the cause: this is caused by this; what is the cause of this? Unless he comes to the final cause, this research goes on. That is the nature of advanced mind. They are called munis, those who are very thoughtful. So that is the nature of greater mind, mahātmā, to find out the ultimate cause. That is human nature. Therefore, athāto brahma jijñāsā. The Vedānta-sūtra says this jijñāsā, inquiry, "What is after this? What is after this? What is brāhmaṇas? What is Brahman? This is not Brahman. This is not Brahman..." The next answer is that "Brahman means janmādy asya (SB 1.1.1), the supreme source from where everything emanates." So unless he goes to the supreme source, he is not satisfied. So those who are going by mental speculation, they come to that impersonal feature. Then, if he makes further advancement, just like in Īśopaniṣad, that "You wind up Your glaring impersonal feature so that we can see You brightly." So this glaring impersonal Brahman, if you go, penetrate, again through this impersonal Brahman, when you come to Kṛṣṇa, then you will be satisfied.

Correspondence

1972 Correspondence

Our thoughts are always changing, that is the nature of the mind, so you cannot expect that even the great saintly persons are free from thoughts coming and going.
Letter to Satyabhama -- Mayapur 28 February, 1972:

You are experiencing some doubts, that you cannot believe that the Krishna from Krishna Book can be the Supreme Personality of Godhead, that it must be like some fairy-tale. To clear up these things the best remedy is to discuss amongst yourselves all members regularly all our books in classes, then these doubts will be killed. Without reading books it becomes hackneyed and such obnoxious ideas trouble us. Our thoughts are always changing, that is the nature of the mind, so you cannot expect that even the great saintly persons are free from thoughts coming and going. But after thinking there is feeling and willing, willing being the stage of putting the thoughts into action. So if we are able to employ our intelligence, then we kill the thoughts before they become manifest in activity, but because we are so much inclined to enjoy something unintelligently, we have to therefore daily sharpen our intelligence faculty by reading and discussing and preaching to others. In this way we are able very easily to defeat all challengers to our philosophy and everything becomes very clear as it is revealed from different angles of vision.

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