Sep 3, 2023

Book Review: Mind, mind management and Raja Yoga by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

 Before we manage something, we first need to understand it. Be it our habits, lifestyle, or behaviors, understanding comes first before we start to take action. The same principle goes with mind as well. Our minds play such a crucial role in our day-to-day lives and choices. Yet, we invest very little time and effort to understand it.

This book gives us a glimpse into the various facets of our mind. The author talks about the four components of the mind - Ahamkara (ego), Chitta (memories), Buddhi (intelligence), and Manas (lower mind). He then deep dives into each component - the characteristics, functions, and ways to manage them. Though these might sound theoretical, it is quite simplified and made interesting with relevant anecdotes and examples.

The classification of mind based on perception range and the gunas were super insightful. I loved the doorway depiction of how the mind operates in the space between transcendental reality and material reality.

This book is yet another reminder of how one needs to be conscious of the inputs we feed into our minds. The author talks about how everyone's mind is "constipated" because of an overload of sensory inputs and a lack of processing and elimination of unwanted thoughts. He recommends certain practices that one can incorporate to cultivate a positive state of mind - kirtans, mantras, and the practice of santosha and shraddha among others.

The characteristics of mind and mind management gradually lead one to understand the relevance and path of Raja Yoga as advocated by Sage Patanjali. The eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga are elaborated along with the rationale behind the step-wise progression.

Favorite Lines

"It is the mind which guides every action and reaction, idea and thought, desire and expectations in life"

"Chitta (memories) will attract you, but buddhi will attach you"

"Accept what has happened, don't oppose it, but don't allow it to be amplified"

"Bhoga takes you far away from transcendental reality whereas Yoga brings you closer to it" 

"When the attractions for sense objects and sensory fulfilment reduce, the mind becomes peaceful and quiet" 

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