Mind is a wonderful force inherent in the Self. That which rises in this body as ‘I’ is the mind.
When the subtle mind emerges through the brain and the senses, the gross names and forms are cognized. When it remains in the Heart, names and forms disappear…. If the mind remains in the Heart, the ‘I’ or the ego which is the source of all thoughts will go, and the Self, the Real, Eternal ‘I’ alone will shine. Where there is not the slightest trace of the ego, there is the Self.
Mind and breath have the same source. Hence breath is controlled when mind is controlled and mind when breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form of the mind.
Pranayama (breath control) is only an aid to subdue the mind and will not serve to kill it.
Like pranayama, worship of a deity, japa (repetition) with a mantra, strict regulation of diet are all aids for mind control.
Control of breath (pranayama) may be internal or external. The internal is as follows: Naham (the idea I am not the body) is rechaka (exhalation), Koham (Who am I?) is puraka (inhalation), Soham (I am He) is kumbhaka (retention of breath). Doing this, the breath becomes automatically controlled. External pranayama is for one not endowed with the strength to control the mind. There is no way so sure as control of mind. Pranayama need not be exactly as prescribed in hatha yoga. If engaged in japa, dhyana (meditation), bhakti, etc., just a little control of breath will suffice to control the mind. The mind is the rider and breath the horse. Pranayama is a check on the horse. By that check the rider is checked. Pranayama may be done just a little. To watch the breath is one way of doing it. The mind is drawn away from other activities by being engaged in watching the breath. That controls the breath, and the mind in its turn is also controlled. If rechaka and puraka are found difficult to practise, retention of breath alone for a short while may be practised while in japa, dhyana, etc. That too will yield good results.
There is no other way of controlling the mind except as prescribed in the books like the Gita, drawing in the mind as often as it strays or goes outward, and fixing it in the Self. Of course it will not be easy to do it. It will come only with practice or sadhana.
God illumines the mind and shines within it. One cannot know God by means of the mind. One can but turn the mind inwards and merge it in God.
The body composed of insentient matter cannot say ‘I’ (i.e., cannot be the cause of the ‘I-thought’). On the other hand, the Eternal Consciousness cannot have such a thing as birth. Between the two something arises within the dimensions of the body. This is the knot of matter and Consciousness (chit-jada-granthi), variously called bondage, jiva, subtle body, ego, samsara (attachment), mind, etc.
Bhagavan pointed to his towel and said, ‘We call this a white cloth, but the cloth and its whiteness cannot be separated; and it is the same with the illumination and the mind that unite to form the ego. The following illustration is given in the books: The lamp in the theatre is Para Brahman or illumination. It illuminates itself, the stage and the actors. We see the stage and the actors by its light, but the light still continues when there is no more play. Another illustration is an iron rod that is compared to the mind. Fire joins it and it becomes red hot. Like fire, it glows and can burn things, but still it has a definite shape unlike fire. If we hammer it, it is the rod that receives the blow, not the fire. The rod is the jivatman, the fire the Self or Paramatman. The mind can do nothing by itself. It emerges only with the illumination and can do no action good or bad, except with the illumination. But while the illumination is always there, enabling the mind to act well or ill, the pleasure or pain resulting from such action is not felt by the illumination, just as when you hammer a red hot iron it is not the fire but the iron that gets the hammering.
If we control the mind, it does not matter where we live.