Richard (now Radhanath Swami) was excited to see a sign, ‘The World Yoga Conference’ and learnt that 800 yogis had assembled for the event. In the giant tent where the conference was held, Richard saw even small children perform difficult asanas, postures, with ease. Richard was impressed by Swami Rama, the renowned founder of the Himalayan Institute. Swami Rama demonstrated yogic trance and showed how he could slow his heart rate, produce specific brain wave patterns on demand, consciously move a physical object half way across the room, and even stop his heart all together, all by the power of yoga asanas, being in a trance. His message was simple, “All of the body is in the mind. Mind over matter is developed by control of consciousness. You really do not need to know many things, but you definitely need to practise what you know.” He blessed Richard to be able to cross all obstacles on his spiritual path.
Radhanath Swami also emphasizes that a spiritualist must try to control the mind and bring it back from wherever it wanders, to focus on the Lord. He once narrated an interesting anecdote of a man who was sitting under a tree and a snake bit him. He wondered what bit him and as he turned around he saw a rat, and concluded that a harmless mouse had bit him. He survived the bite A few days later as he was sitting once again under a tree, a mouse bit him. Again he wondered and looked around and saw a snake slither by. He thought the snake must have bitten him and died of the shock. Radhanath Swami points out that in most cases it’s the mind that convinces us of a reality and causes bias and prejudices in our hearts. Speaking on the basis of the Bhagavad Gita Radhanath Swami explains that the mind can be the best of our friends or the worst of our enemy. If the mind is controlled, it is the best of our friends, and if uncontrolled, it can be the worst of our enemies.
Radhanath Swami explains that mind is neutral like a knife. A knife becomes dangerous in the hands of a criminal but becomes a welcome asset in the hands of a surgeon. Similarly, mind is neutral. If we use it for the right purpose, it becomes our best friend. “For a man, the mind absorbed in sense objects is the cause of bondage, and mind detached from the sense objects is the cause of liberation.” Therefore we should learn the technique of controlling the mind for the best use.
Radhanath Swami answers the question on how we can control the mind. He gives two steps; detachment from sense objects and feeding the mind with positive alternatives. He compares a spiritualist with a car driver and a jockey. Initially when learning to drive, the driver feels difficulty and is not able to keep the car on the road. Later by practice he does. Similarly a yogi can bring the mind on the track of God consciousness. An expert jockey controls the horse by not restraining the horse too much and also by not allowing it too much freedom. Similarly a spiritualist regulates his horse like mind and gradually but surely advances in his spiritual life.