Question: What is the nature of the mind?
Answer: The mind is the inner sense that perceives all the sensations coming from the external senses, as well as the emotions coming from the citta. Its nature is to stamp each sensation as “like” or “dislike”. It is unstable, looks for pleasurable sensations without considering the outcome of such an enjoyment, gets bored by a repetitive sensation, likes change and abhors fixity. It likes to dream about future and ruminate on the past and does not like to stay in the present.
Question: Why does it appear to have its own personality and keep suggesting things which are often against one’s self interest?
Answer: This happens because you have never bothered to control it. If you leave your servant free and do not control him, he will start bossing you around. He will become your master. That is what has happened.
Question: How can one stop the mind’s babbling? Or at least guide it to work for one’s benefit (through practice/learning)?
Answer: Practice observing it. It takes a lot of practice because the mind has been independent for a long time. Japa is a powerful means to quieten the mind. It should be done with attention and not mechanically.
Question: Sometimes devotees like to serve the Lord in specific mood. Is this mood conditional? To put a context to this question, for example an elderly devotee may consider the Lord as son and serve in that mood, a young girl may consider the Lord to be her beloved, a boy may consider the Lord to be his friend. When a practitioner leaves his or her body and accepts a new body would the same mood continue, or would it be a different mood based on external conditions like the body of the jīva? Should a devotee simply serve the Lord without getting too much muddled up in the mood?
Answer: These days people are doing all kinds of things based on some hearsay. There are two paths of spirituality. One is śāstric and the other, social. Most people follow the second path, but they want the result of the śāstric path. That will never happen. So, you are also using the word “devotee” as per social convention, but you are asking me to reply based on śāstra. This does not work. Either you follow your mind (society) or follow śāstra. If you want to follow properly, and want proper result, then follow śāstra.
Question: I agree with you. Can you recommend some readings on how the jīva attains his svarūpa as per śāstra and what is recommended for those trying to follow the process of sādhana bhakti?
Answer: Read Mādhurya Kaḍambinī of Śrī Viśvanātha Cakravartī.
Question: Is the jīva free to choose his svarūpa, or is it predetermined?
Answer: He is neither free to choose, nor is it predetermined.
Question: So what determines the jīva’s svarūpa?
Answer: The svarūpa of the jīva is fixed. Read the second chapter of the Gītā beginning with verse 2.12. You are assuming that the svarūpa is based on your choice. This is not true.
It is said that by praising oneself one destroys one’s good quality and karma, and by criticizing others, one acquires the bad karma and quality of the person criticized. We create wrong samskaras in our heart which will continue to trouble us. Therefore, Krishna advises against it.
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