The mind is restless, reasonless, ruthless, relentless

The Bhagavad-gita (06.34) explains why controlling the mind is extremely difficult using four describers, which can be phrased 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 requires 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 it like crazy, impelling us to act senselessly.

Ruthless (balavad): The mind is like a bully who abuses their strength to cause fear and pain to others – 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 (drdham): 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 rein it in for us.

Think it over:

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


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