Swami Vivekananda is a name to reckon with, not just for introducing Indian philosophies of Vedanta and Yoga to the Western world but also for his belief that noblest ideas can be brought “to the doorstep of even the poorest and the meanest”.The world remembers him for his stellar speech at the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Chicago in 1893, where he represented India.
A philosopher, an orator, an artist, and a widely-travelled monk, it is often said about Swami Vivekananda that “In him everything is positive and nothing negative”. He espoused the idea of ‘focused thought’ and recommended his disciples to “Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life – think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone.”
Vivekananda’s Observations on Benefits of Mind Control
For Swami Vivekananda, an uncontrolled mind leads to negativity in life and a controlled mind saves us and frees us from such thoughts. He propagated the idea that ‘Self-awareness’ is the best way to control one’s mind. Will power and determination can also stop mind from wandering. However, his advice comes with a caveat: To keep the mind under control one has to practice and repeat the same thought over and over again. Practice of controlling one’s mind should be done twice a day especially in the morning and evening as those are the calmest times of the day. This, he believed, would decrease vagaries of the mind. When it comes to mind control, Vivekananda observed that it is the concentration that separates men from animals and it is the difference in concentration that makes one man different from another.
Morality and Control of Mind in Vivekananda’s Discourse
The common string that connects all his philosophical discourse is the message of oneness with God and the development of the mass. For him, morality is directly related to the control of mind. A mind which is strong and controlled is altruistic, pure and brave.
Vivekananda’s Multi-faceted Contributions
Vivekananda was born on 12 January 1863 in Kolkata, India. Each year his birth anniversary is celebrated as the ‘National Youth Day’. The worthy disciple of Saint Ramakrishna tried to disseminate a profound yet simple fact:“Each soul is potentially divine. The goal is to manifest this Divinity within by controlling nature, external and internal.” His poignant words inspired generations of freedom fighters including Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, Aurobindo Ghose and Bal Gangadhar Tilak.
Vivekananda’s Words of Wisdom on How to Control Mind
Controlling mind is not a one day’s job but it needs a regular and systematic practice. It comes under control when there is a feeling of oneness with God.
Your body is a weapon and consider it very strong. Consider your mind to be very strong as only with strong mind and body you will be able to cross the ocean of life. Have a strong faith in yourself, your body and mind.
Be religious. This will make you happy and your mind will be under control.
Get hold of the mind. The mind is like a lake, and every stone that drops into it raises waves. These waves do not let us see what we are.
Sit quietly and let the mind wander where it wants to go. Keep a strong faith that you are watching your mind drifting in all random directions. The mind is not you or I. Now try connecting with God but not with any worldly thing or relationship. After some time you will see that your mind is calming down like a serene lake. This will slow down the wandering of mind. Each day practice this and identify yourself. With time your mind will be under your control.
Let the mind be cheerful but calm. Never let it run into excesses, because every excess will be followed by a reaction.
Meditation means the mind is turned back upon itself. The mind stops all the thought-waves and the world stops. Your consciousness expands. Every time you meditate you will keep your growth.
We have to seize this unstable mind and drag it from its wanderings and fix it on one idea. Over and over again this must be done. By power of will we must get hold of the mind and make it stop and reflect upon the glory of God.
The flow of this continuous control of the mind becomes steady when practiced day after day, and the mind obtains the faculty of constant concentration.
All these senses, external and internal, must be under the disciple’s control. By hard practice he has to arrive at the stage where he can assert his mind against the senses, against the commands of nature. He should be able to say to his mind, “You are mine; I order you, do not see or hear anything”, and the mind will not see or hear anything — no form or sound will react on the mind.