Purifying the Mind

1.33 maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam

In daily situations, the mind (chitta) becomes purified (prasadanam) by cultivating feelings of friendliness, compassion for those who are suffering (duhka), goodwill towards those who are virtuous, and equanimity (upekshanam) towards those pleasant and/or good, and most importantly, acceptance for the non-virtuous (apunya), for we also were there once and the way to God-Head has too pass through the alley of neutrality.

It is now an acknowledged fact that any form of strong hatred towards anything is indicative of a mental complex. We may have a view, but we need not be worked up about it. Vivekananda explains, "Higher attitudes of the mind towards the different subjects that come before it will make the mind more peaceful. Most of our difficulties in our daily lives come from being unable to pay attention to our minds. For instance, if a man does evil to us, instantly we want to react with evil. Every reaction in the form of hatred or evil is of great loss to the entire creation.

This does not mean that we are complacent when something wrong has been done, but rather, we must learn to act without attachment to rectify it. If at this time one cannot do so, then they must adopt the attitude of indifference while working towards the development of a higher state of being.

This World has been Carefully Designed for the Practice of Yoga

Our daily struggles is where spiritual action of mindful yoga is put into practice for the purpose of self-realization. By cultivating habits (bhavanatas) of loving kindness (maitri), compassion, (karuna), peace (prasadanam), goodwill (mudita), acceptance (vishayanam), and virtue(punya).

To begin Yoga immerse yourself in compassion. Leave, asanas, mindfulness, concentration, and meditation for last. First learn to sacrifice your life and labour for the selfless service of others. Feed others, serve others, teach others, house others, innovate for others, write to uplift others, develop projects that empower and evolve the consciousness of others, whatever you do, do it for others by trying to see Divinity in them.

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger, and you welcomed me.
Matthew 25:35

Our requirements are minimal, for all a person needs is a place to work, a corner to meditate and sleep in, and one to two meals a day. If more comes, think how you can use that to make this world into a better place...quietly. What business have you in Yoga if your heart is bereft of humility and compassion.

Review Your Daily Activities of Mind and Heart

The field of action is the human body with its physical, mental and soul faculties. A spiritual aspirant, must review daily his or her day's events and their response to those events. Through honest introspection, the Yogi analyzes the deeds and examines the strength and the weaknesses of both, their good and bad tendencies. The adept then matches the thought, speech, and action that they engaged in, against the above spiritual determinants of friendship and compassion to get a sense of how they fared.

Then gathering the information from the analysis, the Yogi plans, and strategizes for the next battle determining where their weaknesses are and resolves to put more awareness and practice in those areas. Tomorrow is another day that will bring opportunities for spiritual advancement. And I will do better tomorrow, the Yogi commits.

(The Bhagavad Gita, God Speaks with Arjuna, by Paramahansa)

Question: How Does One Demonstrate Friendship, Compassion, and Goodwill?

The following is an except from the Sigalowada Suta in Buddhism, The Sermon to Sigala on friendship, compassion, and goodwill by the Blessed One in the park Kalanda Nivapa in Rajagaha now known as Rajgir in Bihar.

  • There are four types of friendship qualities that must be cultivated, and four kinds of good-hearted friends who should be associated with.

    The 4 qualities are:

    1. Willingness to render a friend help whenever the need arises.
    2. Sincerity to participate in a friends weal and woe whenever the need arises.
    3. Selfless motivation to cause the advancement of a friends prosperity whenever the chance arises.
    4. The capacity to be compassionate whenever the need arises.
  • 4 Ways In Which a Good Friend Renders Help
  • A good friend will safeguard his/her friend on the occasion of any delay due to drunkenness and the like. They will protect the friends property against theft. They will console their friend when there arises in them any cause for fear. And whenever there arises an occassion to render help, a good friend will selflessly give more than needed.
  • 4 Ways in Which a Good Friend will Participate in Your Weal and Woe
  • In a good friend all secrets that are concealed can be confided. A good friend will never devulge any secrets confided in them. A good friend will not forsake his/her friend whenever calamity befalls them. And a good friend will consent to sacrifice his/her life for the sake of their friend.
  • 4 Ways in Which Good Friend will Cause the Advancement of your Prosperity
  • A good friend will dissuade their friend from committing sinful actions. They will establish them in the performance of meritorious deeds. They will cause them to hear good teachings that have been unheard of before. And they will point out to them the path that leads to haven.
  • 4 Ways in Which a Friend will be Ever Compassionate to You
  • They will sympathize with their friend in times of adversity. They will rejoice in their welfare. They will disuade others from enumerating their friends bad qualities. And they will praise the person who extols their good qualities.
  • How many friends do you have as such, and how many people can speak of you as thus?
  • There are four types of 'friends' who appear in the guise of friends but act in an unfriendly manner.

    The 4 guises are:

    1. One who comes emptyhanded, but takes care to carry away something. This one is a selfish 'friend'.
    2. One who displays attachment only by word is a 'friend' steeped in hypocrisy.
    3. One who tells you things in kindness but in reality wishes you evil in heart is an deceptive one.
    4. One who will join you with the object of ruining your fortune is a 'friend' filled with envy.
  • 4 Features of the Selfish One
  • They will visit with the definate object of taking away something. They will give little with the sole objective of receiving much. They will help you only at such a time when some cause of fear has come upon them with no genuine affection in their heart. They will associate with you out of purely selfish motives.
  • 4 Features of the Hypocrite.
  • They will display affection by mere words in talking about past events. They will display affection by mere words in talking about future events. They will display affection by mere words in talking about profitless things. When an appeal for help is made in a time of need, they will repel the appeal by tendering groundless excuses.
  • 4 Features of the Deceptive One.
  • When invited to commit sin, they will offer encouragement. When invited to perform meritorius deeds, they will refrain from providing you encouragement. In your presence, they will extol the good qualities inherent in you. In your absence, they will enumerate the bad qualities inherent in you.
  • 4 Features of the Envious One.
  • They will accompany you again and again in going to places of intoxication. They will parade around with you in public places at unreasonable hours, and visit places of disrepute such as brothels repeatedly. They will associate with you in frequenting places of singing, dancing, music, and the like. They will associate with you in continually going to places of gambling, which causes the neglect of necessary duties.
  • 1.33 maitri karuna mudita upekshanam sukha duhka punya apunya vishayanam bhavanatah chitta prasadanam
  • maitri - friendliness, pleasantness, lovingness

  • karuna - compassion, mercy

  • mudita - gladness, goodwill

  • upekshanam - acceptance, equanimity, indifference, disregard, neutrality

  • sukha - happy, comfortable, joyous

  • duhka - pain, misery, suffering, sorrow

  • punya - virtuous, meritorious, benevolent

  • apunya - non-virtuous, vice, bad, wicked, evil, bad, demerit, non-meritorious

  • vishayanam - regarding those subjects, in relation to those objects

  • bhavanatah - by cultivating habits, by constant reflection, developing attitude, cultivating, impressing on oneself

  • chitta - mind field, consciousness

  • prasadanam - purified, clear, serene, pleasant, pacified, undisturbed, peaceful, calm