Absent-minded means not that the mind is absent, but that our control on it is absent

In common parlance, the word ‘mind’ refers to one’s attention, as in, “Give your full mind to what you are doing.” In the Bhagavad-gita’s philosophical parlance, ‘mind’ refers to something deeper – the subtle object that underlies our capacity to be attentive. The mind is the interface between us souls and the outer world.

Its assistance enhances our attentiveness, whereas its interference sabotages our attentiveness. Pertinently, the Gita (06.05) warns that the mind can be our friend as well as our enemy.

As the mind is essential for the flow of consciousness between the world and us, it can never be absent, even when we are absent-minded. At those times, what is absent is our control on the mind. Due to this lack of control, the mind misdirects our attention away from where we wanted to focus it to whatever catches the mind’s fancy.

Bhakti-yoga changes the mind’s fanciful nature by introducing it to the supremely fulfilling object of thought: Krishna. And this yoga of devotion reveals how Krishna is present everywhere, thereby enabling us to connect the mind with Krishna and thus stabilize it even when it wanders out of control. Many mind control teachers advocate combating absent-mindedness by conscientiously striving to keep the mind in the present. But often the present is just not interesting enough to retain the mind’s attention. Bhakti-yoga offers a more workable and even relishable alternative: keep the mind in Krishna. As he is unlimitedly attractive, he can retain the mind’s attention – a retention that increases as we become more and more purified.

Moreover, because Krishna permeates everything including the present, keeping the mind in Krishna enables us to when necessary keep it in in the present too – and keep it not only controlled but also contented.

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