The mind is restless, reasonless, ruthless, relentless

Why is controlling the mind so difficult? 

The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) explains using four describers, which can be summarized as four R’s:

Restless (canchala): The mind is like a child that doesn’t stay fixed on one activity, but keeps flitting from one thing to the next. Because the mind jumps from one thing to another to another, it obstructs us in doing things that require sustained attention.

Reasonless (pramathi): The mind is like a madman who doesn’t listen to reason. Whereas a child is relatively harmless, a madman can be hugely dangerous. Once the mind gets infatuated with something, it goes after that thing like crazy, impelling us to act senselessly.

Ruthless (balavad): The mind is like a bully who abuses their strength to cause others fear and pain – and delights in doing so. Once the mind gets captivated by something, it uses all its formidable power to coax and coerce us to get that thing. If we resolve to say no to whatever the mind is proposing, it sadistically intimidates us till we give up our resolution and give in to its will.

Relentless (drudham): The mind is like a leech. Once a leech finds a prey and starts sucking blood, it just doesn’t let go; if it is pulled, it pulls out the prey’s skin. Similarly, once the mind catches hold of something as its pet infatuation, it relentlessly holds fast. No matter how much we try to stop thinking of that thing, the mind sticks to it till we lose heart and do the mind’s bidding.  

When we unsentimentally understand how formidable an enemy the mind is, we become much more internally vigilant. Guided by Gita wisdom, we become diligent in allying with our greatest well-wisher, Krishna, who is far stronger than the mind and can empower us to rein it in. 

 

Think it over:

  • How is the mind restless and reasonless?
  • How is the mind ruthless and relentless?
  • How can we rein in the mind?

 

***

06.34 The mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krishna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind.


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