We are the gardeners of our minds
The mind is so powerful, so fertile that it has the potential to make us a saint, and also poses the danger of making us a demon.
Date: 23rd December 2015
If you have a garden in your back yard you would observe that you need to take good care of it. Whether you tend to the garden or not, if it is fertile something will definitely grow. When you tend the garden with patience and hard work, you can grow beautiful flowers like roses, marigolds and daffodils. On the other hand if you don’t care much about the garden the weeds will just grow on their own.
There is a thing about weeds – if you don’t pluck them they will not just remain in the garden they will bring more of their kind. They will continue to do so until the whole garden is overrun with weeds.
Similar to the garden is the mind which generates our thoughts. The mind is so powerful, so fertile that it has the potential to make us a saint, and also poses the danger of making us a demon.
If we take care of the mind and are careful about the thought seeds that we plant in it, we can reap a good harvest for ourselves. However, if we are not careful about the garden of our mind, it will be overrun with thoughts of anxiety, fear, tension, greed, envy and hatred. These negative thoughts will bring more such thoughts until we have a garden full of weeds. Such will be the state of our mind.
So as human beings, in this life we have a responsibility that God has given to us – what is that? He has made us the gardeners of our own minds so that we can reach sublime heights and attain everlasting joy. To reach that goal we need to tend to the mind. A good gardener not only sows the good seeds, he is also careful to pluck out the weeds.
Similarly, as spiritual aspirants we should sow divine thoughts of love and devotion for God. At the same time, as vigilant gardeners of the mind we should be careful to pluck out all those thoughts that are harmful and injurious to our spiritual growth. These could be thoughts of attachment, envy or hatred in the world which serve no purpose to us.
Finally the spiritual aspirant should water the garden of mind with sadhana every single day. Daily sadhana nourishes the garden of mind and makes it grow strong and beautiful, so that one day we can reap the fruits of divine love.
Editor’s Note: To learn more about sadhana, watch “Secrets of Spiritual Practice” lecture series by Swami Mukundananda on Youtube.
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Thank you Swamiji for such beautiful words of wisdom. Being vigilant and aware of our thoughts helps to stir them in the right direction. When we live mindfully, the mind becomes our best friend, else it is our worst enemy. No doubt, the onus lies upon ourselves to nurture the mind and intellect with true knowledge so that we may attain peace within.
Very nicely put Preeti…being vigilant and aware of our thoughts prevents our mind from deviating from our sublime path and the onus lies with us and only us to protect garden of mind from ravages of impure thoughts.
We are the gardners of our mind and should sow the divine thoughts of love and devotion to attain everlasting bliss. Also we need to tend to the mind and be vigilant so that negative thoughts like weeds don’t enter the garden of our mind and spoil our love and devotion for God and Guru. Elevate yourself with the power of your mind, not degrade yourself, for it can be your friend or the greatest enemy of the self.- BG 6.5 Finally we need to water the garden of mind daily with meditation and devotion to develop sublime thoughts and make it strong and beautiful. Thank you Swamiji for explaining in such clear and beautiful analogy the science of mind management.
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.
2 Corinthians 9:6
” Kar Sangat Nirbandh Ki, Pal Mein Let Chhdaay ” — Keep association with someone who is free and liberated, he will make you free within no time.
Well said Manju didi but not all have the opportunity to be in divine association, so the task is slightly uphill for them.
If I simply summarize the whole lesson, I learned these following points – 1. there is a garden; 2. the soil in this garden is fertile, so will grow something or the other; 3. thus, one needs to tend to the garden; 4. one needs to sow the right seed; 5. one needs to pluck out the weeds as soon as they emerge; 6. finally, one need to carefully water the seeds to help them grow.
The analogy between a fertile garden and a restless mind is simple yet beautiful. Sowing seeds in a garden or sowing divine thoughts in our restless mind is merely the first step. It is not good enough! One needs to provide nourishment, in the form of daily Sadhana, to help them grow. Again, this is not the end of it. Finally, one needs to pluck out the weeds of detrimental thoughts. But the critical point here is to remove them as soon as they emerge, else they will grow wildly. Hard work is required to execute all the three steps and to ensure a steady spiritual growth.
And what is the most beautiful thing I find about the whole lesson? We are assigned as the gardener of our mind. Although hard to understand, it is nothing but one of His infinite grace on us.
Thank you for the summary, Debasmita Ji. You are exactly right. Swamiji has mentioned this in his various discourses as well. The specialty about the human birth is – we have the power of discrimination to decide what is good for us and what is not good for us, and act accordingly. It is up to us to make the best of our human life.
Thank you Swamiji for such invaluable words of wisdom. The art of mind management is explained so clearly.
As Renjini Ji referenced to, Swamiji’s ‘The art of mind management’ series gives practical solutions to listeners, and the tools to make the garden of our mind sublime and uplifting. Swamiji gave a series of lectures on this topic in 2015. I am hoping to hear more of this lecture series in 2016, from Swamiji.
That’s Right. Art of mind management series was awesome! I doubt that series from last year will be repeated this year yet again. Only some fortunate souls got to hear the enlightening series of mind management. May be the video recordings will be available in future, and others can benefit from those.
Wonderful analogy, Swamiji. Thank you for helping us understand the importance of monitoring our thoughts and keeping a check on the unwanted ones. The mind is indeed the cause of bondage and liberation. Therefore, we need to exercise our intellect and be vigilant.
I agree wholeheartedly to your comment, Rohini Ji. The mind is the sole reason for our bondage and release. Human birth is a rare opportunity to release ourselves from the bondage of birth and death. With Swamiji’s grace, we should put in our best.
Thank you Swami Mukundananda Ji, for explaining this secret is a manner that is understandable to all. The analogy is perfect. If not for you, I would never have understood the value of my human birth, it would have been a total waste. But, with your grace, I feel confident in the spiritual direction of my own well being. Thank you Swamiji.
Very True Niraj ji. Swamiji is inspiring and guiding all of us in the Path of Happiness else we would have lived a life with no purpose and meaning less.
Very beautiful explanation given by Swami Mukundananda ji.
The mind is so powerful, so fertile that it has the potential to make us a saint, and also poses the danger of making us a demon. With our thoughts, We make our world.
Pujya Swamiji, your beautiful words and the underlying wisdom continue to inspire me. My sincere gratitude for sharing your wisdom to enable “preparation of the vessel” to receive Lord’s grace. I also appreciate the comments of fellow devotees. My thought is that frequently gardeners also need direction on how to create and maintain a beautiful garden, inside and outside, through all the seasons of life, weathering storms and embracing sunshine. Please show this poor gardener how to plan an exquisite garden.
Really nice article, thanks for the inspiration.
Wonderful article by Swamiji. We need to be careful about the kinds of thoughts that enter our mind. We must only think of noble and elevating thoughts.
Agreeing with you, Niraj, positive and elevating thoughts are useful for improving our personality and for serving others. I do not find it easy to only think like this all the time. I like Swamiji’s analogy of plucking out thoughts of anger,and greed like weeds. It seems that the weeds can be coming up at any time. So daily “gardening” is important.
Very True Swamiji, We have to be careful about the thoughts we will be bringing to our mind. Negative thoughts will have very harmful effect on our minds ans well as the physical body and health. We should practice cultivating good and divine thoughts to our mind by practicing Sadhana. It will be possible if we can see everything connected to God as he resides in every being and each and every particle of this entire universe.
Time to time you inspire us by these beautiful articles and messages and quotes They are giving us strength and inspiration to practice sadhana.
The analogy of “Gardeners of our Mind” is such a beautiful way to talk about how to manage one’s mind. In this clip and in the lecture series on Art of mind Management, Swamiji discusses the opportunity we have to accomplish the sole purpose of life, that is, to develop a divine relationship with God, having been gifted with a human form. He further says that while some scriptures suggest that the goal of life is to pursue dharma, artha, kaam and moksha, the bhakti saints suggest the goal of life is to accomplish para bhakti or divine love. We can only strive to achieve para bhakti through our sadhana but the gift of divine love can be conferred only through the grace of God and Guru.
Thank you Swamiji for your wonderful and inspirational lectures. Thank you so much!
Thank you Swamiji for such profound message and for reiterating the importance of Daily Sadhana.
Such nice thoughts, well articulated by Swami ji by comparing our mind to a garden and we are the gardener. Nothing more can be more sensible than this, when one takes care of mind responsibily, with diliginet care and naurishes it with good thoughts, hardwork and protects it from surroundings to retain it’s beauty just like a gardener. There is so much of wisdom within this article to practice everyday and get benefitted.
It is true, we need to be careful about our thoughts. And make sure always have positive thoughts. Swamiji always teaches us to be positive. I really like this article and also Swamiji’s quote ”We are the creators of our own destiny, Where we are today is because what we did yesterday. What we did today will decide tomorrow”
This commentary saturate the mind with the fragrance of divine knowledge.. The mind can b our best friend or our worst enemy, cultivating good habits and being in constant awareness of our thoughts is the only way to maintain mind control .Roopdyan allows us to bring God closer to us Sadhana is really important in ones life, it deters the mind from indulging in bad thoughts and .allows us to be compassionate and exhibit humility in our lives.