H: (HISLOP) The mind is said to be dangerous. What does that mean?
SAI: It is the same mind that can liberate or enslave. The mind is like a snake with long poisonous fangs. When the poison is removed from these fangs, then the danger is removed. In like fashion, when desire disappears, the danger of the mind disappears.
H: But it is always said that all troubles arise from the mind ?
SAI: From desires.
H: Then, one should control his thoughts?
SAI: Thoughts and desires are not the same. There are many thoughts that are not desires. If thoughts go too deep into objects, desires arise. If there is a desire, there was a thought. But not all thoughts are desires. Dark clouds bring rain, but there can be clouds without rain. God's grace is in drops like rain. They accumulate and then there is a torrent. If there is a very strong desire for God, even bad thoughts just pass through the mind and are not held on to. Desire directed to God brings the discrimination. Intelligence, which is discrimination, is not the mind, nor is it thought. Intelligence is direct Atma Shakthi, a direct force of the Atma (the spirit).
A Visitor: How is one to handle bad thoughts arising from envy, hatred and laziness?
SAI: No use resisting or fighting thoughts. If suppressed, they are always ready to spring forth at weak moments - like snakes in a basket; if the cover gets loose or is removed the snakes spring forth. The way to overcome bad thoughts and impulses is by having thoughts of serving the Lord, good conversation with wise people, good actions and words. The weight of good acts and thoughts will bury the seeds of bad actions and thoughts. Both good and bad thoughts and impulses are like seeds in the mind. If buried deep enough in the earth, seeds rot and waste away. Good thoughts and deeds bury bad seeds so deeply that they rot and pass away and are no longer ready to spring forth.
H: Swami, when thoughts are troublesome. I say, 'Thy mind, Swami; it is not mine', and that particular thought-stream stops.
SAI: That is right. At that moment there is no ego. That is the easy path.
H: Swami, what does the mind know? There is much knowledge in the mind, but what does it really know?
SAI: The mind does not know anything. So-called education is just book knowledge. Hand in hand with knowledge must go philosophy. Philosophy is not religion, it is love for God, it is cultured by reciting the Name, singing Bhajans, thinking spiritual thoughts, desiring union with God. Union with God - as the bubble upon breaking finds itself the whole ocean. From the cultivation of philosophy comes will power. Without will power, knowledge is useless.
On Heart And Mind
H: Swami, in the West, will power is thought of as a quality one is born with.
SAI: Will power is brought about by philosophy. Will power is the direct manifestation of the Atma Shakti (Power of the Self).
H: In the West, great value is given to mind. It is felt that unless one develops a skilful mind he cannot gain success in life. For instance, I needed to develop skill of mind to get an education and earn money to travel and see Baba.
SAI: You came to see Baba because of the heart, not the mind, isn't it? The viewpoint that there is a mind is useful up to a certain stage, university, science, and so forth. But after a certain stage, science falls away and philosophy comes to the front. Heart is then used instead of mind. The other day, someone mentioned the illustration of the mirror. As one moves away the image grows smaller and smaller, although actually, the image has not changed at all. The same happens with the world. As one turns to God with stronger love, the world recedes, appearing smaller until it can hardly be noticed at all. Really, there is only the heart.
H: The belief that we are self-willed, separate beings moving about in the world - what is the cause of this illusion?
SAI: The whole mirage, the whole thing, arises from the ‘I’ thought. From identification with the body, all complications arise. Since it is the mind that has woven this web of identification with the body, it is the mind that must now turn and seek one's true nature through inquiry, discrimination, and renunciation.
On ‘Mind Senses’ and ‘Body Senses’
H: Swami has said that the mind need not be dangerous. But with all the trouble it has brought about, it seems to be very dangerous.
SAI: The mind creates no harm and gives no trouble as long as it is not merged with the body senses. For instance, the mind has a thought of the theatre. No harm. But if mind picks up body and carries it to theatre, then it becomes involved with the picture, the people, the emotions, the concepts, and peace is lost. The mind should not engage itself in the body senses. The body senses should serve the needs of the body only.
Mind should be engaged in the five ‘mind senses’, which are: truth, concentration, peace, love and bliss. As long as the mind is so engaged, all is well and the person is happy and peaceful. Physical objects have a temperature potential. If the breathing is fast, body temperature rises. If objects subject to temperature are added to a fire, the fire burns more fiercely. That which is subject to temperature may join with that which is subject to temperature. Mind, however, has no temperature. God is without temperature. So mind and God may merge.
H: In this, Swami, what is the definition of 'mind'?
SAI: The whole complex, ego through intelligence may just be called 'mind'.
H: Whenever the mind falls away from necessary work, I call it to attention and keep it engaged in repeating, 'Sai Ram, Sai Ram.’ Is this all right?
SAI: Quite all right.
H: When the mind is not engaged in any particular work, where should the attention be kept?
SAI: Between the eyebrows. That is the Eye of wisdom of (Lord) Siva.
On Nature of Mind
H: The flow of thought interferes with concentration. How to diminish thinking?
SAI: The habit of thinking is long standing. Even if the habit is broken, there is a slow cessation. For example, a fan continues to revolve for a time after the switch is turned off. But the train of thought can be changed. One train of thought can stop another. The best way is to divert the train of thought to a spiritual topic. This attraction to God is spontaneous. It is the turning back to the source; all other attractions are self-imposed. The fish is placed in a gold and jewel vase of greatest value, but it has no interest in the gold and jewels; it wants only to get back to the sea. Man comes into his limitation from his home; he is really of the nature of God, of this Ocean of Delight, of Rama, of He who attracts. The Soul attracts us. Rama was God, that Ocean of Delight in human form. Everybody wanted to be close to him, to look at him.
H: Well, Swami, perhaps if one were to follow thought inward to its source and observe the source of thought, one might then have a quiet mind? In affairs of the world thought is both necessary and practical. But when there is no need to be thinking, the mind still keeps on going with all sorts of idle thoughts; whereas one would be much better off if the mind would just be quiet.
SAI: That is really the wrong way to approach the matter. The nature of the mind is restless, just like a rat whose nature is always to nibble to something, and just like a snake whose nature is to be biting at something. The nature of the mind is to be occupied. And, even when still, like the feathers on a peacock, there is a shimmering, an apparent movement in the mind. Like the aspen tree, even on a still morning its leaves seem to tremble and move, it is the nature of the mind to dwell upon things. So, the proper method to deal with the mind is to direct the mind's activity towards good deeds, good thoughts, repetition of the Name of the Lord, and not allow it to aim at harmful objects, harmful thoughts and deeds. In that way, the mind's natural tendency to be occupied will be fulfilled and yet it will keep out of mischief.
Another essential means for keeping the mind away from harmful activities is work. Man is made to work hard, and if one is working hard in service to the Lord in one way or the other, the mind will not have time to be occupied with useless, random thoughts. And if there is no outside work, then the work of spiritual endeavour should go on, in the way of meditation, recitation of the Name, reading good books, talking with good people, and so on.
One might find it difficult to surrender to God, but every man surrenders to time, and time is God. Day by day one's life is shortened and one surrenders his life to that time; time conquers one's life and that time is God. Therefore, first there is work, then wisdom, then love, and the time will come in a person's life when work itself is love, or work itself is God.
H: But Swami said the other day that if the mind was quiet and receptive, then perhaps Swami would come into the mind and speak.
SAI: If the desire to communicate with Swami is sufficiently intense and strong, then the mind will be sufficiently quiet for Swami to speak; but the problem is that we do not have that intensity in our lives.