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YOGA OF MIND – 23. Mind and Concentration

Pathanjali Yoga afforism say that – yoga is a method to stop mind’s ability to create thoughts. The yogis of the ancient lore said that “Chitta” is sub-conscious mind whereas the ignorants have said it as mind. We have already said that fore-mind is the projection of sub-conscious mind. The outstretched legs of the tortoise is like the fore-mind and the tortoise is the sub-conscious mind. 

We saw earlier that the sub-conscious mind stores in its mind the influences and those influences stored become the cause for one’s future births. One enjoys the good or bad effects of his influences and his life is accordingly shaped. Yoga is for stopping all the actions of mind as propounded by some is not correct. The correct interpretation is that, yoga is for stopping all actions of “chitta” the sub-conscious mind. 

In Raja Yoga, how the, mind and sub-conscious mind are made to stop functioning? Let us takeup the study of them in this chapter. Ashtanga or eight steps of yoga are yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, prathyahara, dharana, dhayana, breathing exercises, emotion control, concentration, meditation and Samadhi). The regulations (Yama), rules (Niyama) Asanas (the yogic postures) are all the steps to attain certain physical requirement before controlling the subtler vehicles of man. Pranayama is meant for calming the mind of a person. If the nerves and the brain do not calm down, one cannot control the mind. While calming down the mind through “Pranayama” the nerves and the brain also calms down. Prathyahara is emotion-control. Once these vehicles are calmed down the mind can function. 

Next step is concentration, to channelise the thoughts in one point is called concentration. The mind keeps on wavering from one thing to another like a monkey jumping from one branch to another. Through the practice of yoga the wavering mind is made to think of one subject pointedly for a long time. A mind which is not made to concentrate will sometime waver more or function on greater frequency or vice-versa. A mind trained to concentrate will function on a fixed frequency and such mind waves will not have many variations. 

A fully concentrated mind will be without any ups and downs. It will be a straightline like an arrow travelling straight after being released from the bow. It will strike the mind of the person about whom we think. Thus the concentrated mind will function in one direction  and in steady speed, 

For example, if an ordinary mind transforms itself to external stimuli, say 10 times in a minute the concentrated mind will remain is the object thought of for any length of time. We can easily understand the benefits of a min that is trained to concentrate will confer on the man. If we see ten scenes, we cannot remember all of them. If we see one scene with very deep concentration we can know lot of things about it.  

 Similarly if a strong man beats ten persons he cannot beat all of them with same force. But if he gives a blow with all his might to one man, he will not be able to bear it. Similarly a wavering mind will not have enough strength and mind trained in concentration will have full strength. That is why we insist on concentration.

Thus a concentrated mind not only functions very clearly and knows lot of facts about the thing though of an will attain the object thought of. If a man thinks ill of others, evil will befall him. One should cultivate to think always good thought and it will result in beneficial effects being conferred on him. If one concentrates on health and strength, he will be strong and healthy.

To find success in concentration one has to think about good thoughts, one should bring back ones thought to good things. The mind will thus automatically start thinking of good things and will become a mind which can concentrate easily on an object. Soon you will be able to fully concentrate on a thing desired.

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