Thursday, November 09, 2006

Understanding how Mind works

Question:
I have a few doubts ...
Does bad thought mean bad karma ??
and
God "created" everything( action ). So is he too bound by the laws of karma ??
Is that why he has to incarnate himself ???
What does our scripture say about Karma ??
Does bad thoughts result in "bad" Karma.
Please enlighten me !!


My Reply:

>> Does bad thought mean bad karma ??

Very nice topic, something which was never discussed here. We can discuss the working and control of mind first (this in itself is a great topic). As “though” is something to do with mind, once we understand the working of mind, we can understand the whether it has any effect on the karma or not.

The Hindu view is that there are three states of mind:

1. Sub-conscious
2. Conscious
3. Super-conscious

Conscious state is when we are aware of what we are doing, what we are think etc etc. The intellect is working in this state.

Then there is the sub-conscious state. We may not be directly aware of its working, but it plays a more important role in deciding the things. Our dreams, or things like hypnotism etc are based on this state.

The western psychology also agrees with the same till now. But Indian psychology has one more level, what it calls, Super-conscious state. Here the person is more than awake. But limited logic is no longer binding on him. This is the state in which what we call things like intuition, telepathy etc etc happen.

When we perceive something through our senses (in the conscious plane) it creates a respective effect on the sub-conscious plane. If mind is compared to a lake, then the new though in it can be compared to a new whirlpool into it. This whirlpool is called vritti

Just like a lake may take and exhibit disturbances only on the surface for us to perceive, all the working is in the sub-conscious. Or you may take another example, the conschious mind is the all the info we dump into a computer from the input-output divises. But the working of that system will work not just on the latest signal, but all the previous stored up signals as well.

The mind also works something in those lines. Vritti (whirlpool, thought-wave) arises in the mind-ocean. It operates for sometime. Then it sinks below the threshold of normal consciousness. From the surface of the conscious mind wherein it was uppermost for some time, it sinks down deep into the region of the subconscious mind (Chitta). There, it continues to be a subliminal action and becomes a Samskara (impression). A conscious action-whether cognitive, affective or conative-assumes a potential and hidden (Sukshma and Avyakta) form just below the threshold of consciousness. This is termed a Samskara.

If vritti is the disturbance in the mind (disturbance here need not be seen only in a negative manner- its just an additional information from outside), this vritti creates a corresponding samskara or impression on the mind.

Today I may read about such and such person. From reading it either a positive or negative impression is created about that person in my mind. But the moment I change my attention to some other thing, this will be lost from the conscious mind. But it will be still stored in the sub-conscious mind. When I again in later time happen to meet this person, all the old impressions from the sub-conscious mind will come again and corresponding emotions will also accompany and I will feel happy or angry seeing that person.

What a person is decided by sum total of these samskaras. If there are more good samskaras in him, he is said to be good and if has more number of bad samskaras, he is said to be bad.

So essentially, Samskaras decide what a person is and how he behaves. Vrittis or thoughts from the conscious mind decide what Samskaras are formed.

Thus in a way every though has its effect on making a person what he is. So, the answer to the question is yes. Bad thought does mean bad karma (for karma is nothing but accumulated past impressions)

And this is the way Karma works… though our own minds… not by some supernatural phenomenon, with a chitragupta sitting somewhere in sky and keeping track of our karma account.


Question:

>> So, the answer to the question is yes. Bad thought does mean bad karma (for karma is nothing but accumulated past impressions)

What abt inauspicious thoughts that crosses the mind in a flash? do they also become a bad karma?

>> Today I may read about such and such person. From reading it either a positive or negative impression is created about that person in my mind

now I read abt Hilter and concentration camp, then I am bound store a negative impression in my mind...so if I meet him(Juz imagine), I am bound to get angry...now will that also become a bad karma?

What I want to know is, do all negative thoughts mean bad karma?

>> If I day night fill my mind with good thoughts then acting good will not be even take any effort… its will become a instinct.

Problem is with filling the mind with only good thoughts...Its damn difficult...Actually I have heard a saying

"Try to forget me, thats the best way to remember me"

Personally, I experience the same thing...The more I force myself, the monkey mind never listens and takes me in the opposite direction...So, How to fill ourself with good thoughts alone?

PS: MIND is awesome and very powerful...juz try to control it, to realise its true power


My Reply:

>> [So, the answer to the question is yes. Bad thought does mean bad karma (for karma is nothing but accumulated past impressions)]

>> What abt inauspicious thoughts that crosses the mind in a flash? do they also become a bad karma?

In auspiscious thoughts are more a result of karma, not the cause.

Why does inauspicious thoughts flash in the mind? It is coz they are not in the conscious mind, they are present in the sub-conscious and they come to the conscious level due to some stimuli.

For example, I see a certain guy and immediately I am full with anger. Here the thought you are seeing is not the cause, but the effect of previous anger stored against him.

So, such thoughts does not become bad karmas- rather they are the results (unless one instead of containing them tries to harness them)


>> [Today I may read about such and such person. From reading it either a positive or negative impression is created about that person in my mind]

>> now I read abt Hilter and concentration camp, then I am bound store a negative impression in my mind...so if I meet him(Juz imagine), I am bound to get angry...now will that also become a bad karma?

What I want to know is, do all negative thoughts mean bad karma?


Yes negative inputs does mean bad Karma. But there are two important things to remember:

1. Negative here means not in the real world, but our reactions to it. For example, if you read the history of Hitler and concentration camps, they in themselves does not invoke any karmas. Rather, it is your reaction to those which will evoke thoughts. Thus if reading them invokes a feeling of sympathy and concern in you, then they become good thoughts and Karma, not bad. Instead if the suffering invoke a sort of pleasure in you and you enjoy that sort of violence, then it leads to bad karma.

Hence, the word “negative” here is to be used here referring to our reactions, not merely to physical things.

2. The second point is the difference between the cause of negative thoughts and the negative thoughts coming as an effect.

If you input a vritti in the mind lake, that disturbance, though lays hidden for sometime, will come out one day. But in the first case you are introducing a vritti and in the second, it is coming out as a result. Once this comes out, you can contain it and hence end that karma there or you can let yourself further be controlled by that thought and thus make that earlier impression much stronger.

So it NOT the case that every thought that crosses the mind will create bad karma- rather it will be our reaction to it that will decide what will happen.

One more word in this regard. Many people might have experienced that in the beginning of their spiritual life, the negative thoughts seems to be increasing, instead of decreasing.

There is nothing to be worried about it. This happens coz now they are more conscious of the negative thoughts that’s all. Also, when you start cleaning an ink pot by pouring water in it, all that residual ink starts coming out of the bottle. Same will be the case with the mind. When we start pouring in good thoughts, all the previous negative impressions will start coming up.. and sometimes with much more vigiour. There is nothing to be worried about it… continue to pour in good thoughts and in due course they will subside.


>> [If I day night fill my mind with good thoughts then acting good will not be even take any effort… its will become a instinct. ]

>> Problem is with filling the mind with only good thoughts...Its damn difficult...

Of course it is… it is not the work of a day or two-it requires a lot of practice.

Also, as Krishna says in Gita, even a little of this Yoga will bring immense help.

And that’s the beauty in Hinduism- you have infinite number of chances- the war continues until you finally win… and there is no defeat for you; there is only postponement.

I may go at a snails pace, will very little improvement in a day…. doesn’t matter. What matters more is the direction you are going. Are you improving or falling further. No problem, even if the smallest of the improvement, it is an improvement never the less

The key line here is NOT whether you are being successful or not, but it is are you making an attempt?


>> Actually I have heard a saying

>> "Try to forget me, thats the best way to remember me"

>> Personally, I experience the same thing...The more I force myself, the monkey mind never listens and takes me in the opposite direction...So, How to fill ourself with good thoughts alone?


That depends on one’s personal nature. Even there you are trying to “forget Him”, hence you are in a way remembering Him.

It is indeed very difficult to get the monkey called mind into the control, but the key line as I said earlier is “are you improving; are you making an attempt”. Just think of this, and leave the results to the feet of the Lord. As Ramakrishna Paramahamsa used to say, if you take one step toward God, God will take ten steps towards you. But you have to fist take that one step.

1 Comments:

Blogger arthi said...

Beautiful!...everytime I read this, I am filled with awe! This is ur best piece acc to me :)

continue to pour in good thoughts and in due course they will subside

u know I am already finding some improvements :)

4:22 PM  

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