The Three Modes of Maya and Their Impact on the Mind

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Date: 5th December 2023

Continuing with the next two lines of the ‘Sadhana Karu Pyare’ series.

सदा सोचहु जाने कब छिन, जाय तनु यह प्यारे।
मन को मानो शत्रु उसकी, सुनहु जनि कछु प्यारे।।

Sadā sochahu jāne kab chhin, jāya tanu yah pyāre
Man ko māno śhatru usakī, sunahu jani kachu pyāre

God has made our mind as a machine that continuously thinks.

न हि कश्चित्क्षणमपि जातु तिष्ठत्यकर्मकृत्
कार्यते ह्यवश: कर्म सर्व: प्रकृतिजैर्गुणै:

na hi kaśhchit kṣhaṇam api jātu tiṣhṭhatyakarma-kṛit
kāryate hyavaśhaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛiti-jair guṇaiḥ

There is no one who can remain without action even for a moment. Indeed, all beings are compelled to act by their qualities born of material nature (the three guṇas).
Bhagavad Gita 3.5

It is the inherent nature of the mind to think constantly. Hence, by considering ourselves as the mind, we get tensed. And what does the mind do? It wanders around in the three modes of Maya. This world comprises three qualities of Maya. They are Tamo guna (mode of ignorance), Rajo guna (mode of passion), and Sattva guna (mode of goodness). The mind is made up of these three modes of Maya. The particular mode that predominates at any moment depends upon the exposure you get from the outside world and the outside environment.

For example, every morning, you visit the place of worship at your home and pray to God. And because of the sattvic environment, sattva guna emerges in your mind, and you are in a sattvic mode. Your mind becomes calm and pure. The mind starts getting absorbed in God. At that moment, you are approached by your son or your grandchild. He crawls on the floor and keeps his little hand on your back. You hear him, feel his loving touch, and immediately start thinking of your little grandchild. You say, “O my dear child!” Now, see the mind, which was chanting Hare Ram, gets distracted and gets absorbed there. It means that the environment changed, and your mind got dominated by rajo guna. You are still chanting Hare Ram, but your mind is somewhere else. You lift the child and place him in your lap. Just then, your neighbour comes in and angrily says, “What were you saying to me yesterday?” The moment you hear this, you become angry and go from rajo guna to tamo guna. You say, “Mind your language and speak!”

Observe how the outside environment affects the modes of every individual’s state of mind. It shows the constantly fluctuating modes of Maya. Hence, these modes keep on changing in our minds. That is why you sometimes get a feeling from within, “I should practice devotion every moment.” You say, “I will get up early at 4 am and practice devotion.” And sometimes you say, “Why get up so early? I will get up at 7 or 8.” Sometimes, you say, “Has anyone seen God or not? These saints keep lecturing day and night without reason.” Just see how the state of mind of an individual keeps changing. You get nervous and say, “Swamiji, Why does this happen? Why does our mental state keep changing; our feeling keeps fluctuating towards Saints as well as God according to the three modes of Maya?”

The reason is the constantly changing state of an individual’s mind. Therefore, Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says, “Do not consider the mind as your friend. Consider it as your enemy. It will surely mislead you and will keep you in delusion. That is why, when you get up in the morning, curse your mind, saying that you will not listen to it. Make a firm decision that you will not listen to your mind but listen to your intellect. The intellect is beyond our minds and hearts. Therefore, we have to grasp the true knowledge in our minds. When we acquire proper knowledge, then the intellect will control the mind, and we will follow the spiritual path sincerely.
If you get devotional feelings by yourself, then it is the Grace of God. Because of good deeds of previous lifetimes, you automatically think of God and are attached to Him. If these feelings are not present, you must forcefully attach your mind towards God using the Divine knowledge and control the mind. This is the sign of a true devotee. We should try hard to learn and realise the true knowledge in our minds constantly.

Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says, “Always remember – You never know when this life will be over. We may not get to the next moment as life is transient. No one knows when it will come to an end. And when this life ends, you will realise that you lost this golden chance of progressing on the spiritual path. But if we think that today could be our last day, then we will not procrastinate in practising devotion, and we will strive to attain our goal as soon as possible.” And if you say, “What is the hurry? I am only 50 years old. I will do it when I retire and have more time.” Later, you say, “I am now retired, but my children still need my guidance. I also have to worry about my grandchildren. I will do it when my responsibilities to my grandchildren are complete.” And one day, we die, losing a golden opportunity to uplift ourselves. If we become careless towards achieving our goal, our devotional zeal will also reduce.

Once, two Brahmins of Janakpur discussed that their king, despite his material opulence, is not attached to it. He possesses so much wealth, luxury and richness, yet he is detached from it. One of the two said, “Let us go and ask the king himself how he can remain detached amidst such wealth.” The other Brahmin said, “No, we should not ask the king. Kings are not predictable.” But, the first Brahmin insisted on going and meeting the king. So they both went. After reaching the palace, they asked, “O King, we are curious how, despite the many luxuries and wealth you possess, you don’t have any attachment to it?” The king got angry and answered, “How dare you ask me this question? I will sentence you to death.” The king ordered the servants to take the two Brahmins and hang them to death the next morning. “But feed them nice tasty food tonight”, he said.

They were taken to sleep on a comfortable soft mattress sprinkled with rose water. They both started cursing each other, saying, “We should not have come here in the first place. We have lost our lives.” They were tense the whole night and couldn’t sleep. The next morning, they were called by the king. He said, “I have changed my mind. I am giving you both one more chance to save your lives. Take a bowl of oil in your hands and walk around my capital city, Janakpur. Be very careful that not even a single drop of oil should fall down. Otherwise, you will be hanged to death.”

Now, both Brahmins took a bowl full of oil and, holding it in their hands, started to walk around the kingdom. When they came back, not a drop of oil had fallen down. So, King Janak asked, “You roamed in my territory and came across many attractive, alluring things like restaurants, cinema halls, hotels, and gardens. Did any of these things distract you, or did you get attracted to them? They both replied, “How could our mind go elsewhere? It was alert with the fear of losing our lives if we dropped even a single drop of oil.”

So, King Janak said, “This is the answer to your question which you asked me, despite these luxuries, how am I detached? You had this fear that you could die anytime. Similarly, I always realise that this human form is temporary. It could be snatched away from me any moment.”
Hence, we must always remember this fact and never procrastinate. We must practice devotion without any delay and try to progress quickly on the spiritual path. When we constantly have this fear in our minds that life is transitory, the mind will automatically come under control. This is what Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj says in these two lines.

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12/12/2023 9:55 pm

Very nice,

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