Recently, I have become aware of a burden of thoughts weighing down upon me. Intrusive, endless, unstoppable, uncontrollable, unwanted thoughts. If I desire to sit quietly for five minutes, without fruitless thoughts buzzing constantly in my mind… I can not! Sometimes, I become aware of a new thought arising.. in a parallel thought, I even realize that the newly arising thought is pointless and unproductive.. that I should not be entertaining it.. but that realization is impotent. I watch helplessly as the unwanted thought blooms and grips my mind for the next N minutes, until it is swapped out by another chain of thinking, often equally unwanted.
This is not good. The mind is an instrument.. a tool. It should do the bidding of the Self, not run amok wreaking havoc. In an earlier blog post, we have seen the analogy of the mind and the chariot and how an ill-managed mind leads to destruction. I feel like I’m on the verge of some tipping point into uncontrolled madness.. that this is the time to pause and start a rigorous program of mental well-being. Of simplification, purification, balance, calmness, and focus of the mind.
It is said that when the student is ready, the teacher (or teaching) appears. The other day, I came across chapter 34 of Yajurveda and it felt like a right manifestation of content at the right time. The chapter includes six verses that comment on the nature of the mind and urge it to hold auspicious thoughts. These verses are known as the Shiva Sankalpa Suktam. A sukta is a (divine) song; sankalpa means resolve. Shiva sankalpa refers to an auspicious resolve. So these verses can be thought of as a chant of auspicious resolve for the mind. Dwelling on their meaning and guiding the mind towards them when unwanted thoughts arise, seems like a good way to start the process of mental well-being.
Shiva Sankalpa Suktam शिव सङ्कल्प सूक्त
यज्जाग्रतो दूरमुदैति दैवं तदु सुप्तस्य तथैवैति।
दूरङ्गमं ज्योतिषां ज्योतिरेकं तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥1॥
1. That mind which wanders in the waking state as well as in sleep, the far-wanderer, that which is the one and only illuminator of knowledge, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.
येन कर्माण्यपसो मनीषिणो यज्ञे कृण्वन्ति विदथेषु धीराः।
यदपूर्वं यक्षमन्तः प्रजानां तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥2॥
2. That mind, by the help of which men who are well-versed in a variety of knowledge perform sacred sacrificial fire ceremonies, which is unique and is the inner power of all people, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.
यत्प्रज्ञानमुत चेतो धृतिश्च यज्जोतिरन्तरमृतं प्रजासु।
यस्मान्न ऋते किञ्चन कर्म क्रियते तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥3॥
3. That mind which is embodied with knowledge, consciousness, and steadfastness, that which is the inner light and ambrosia of the people, that without which no action can be performed, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.
येनेदं भूतं भुवनं भविष्यत्परिगृहीतममृतेन सर्वम्।
येन यज्ञस्तायते सप्तहोता तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥4॥
4. That immortal one with which the past, present, and future are grasped, that by which the sacred fire ritual is performed by the seven priests, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.
यस्मिन्नृचः साम यजूंषि यस्मिन् प्रतिष्ठिता रथनाभाविवाराः।
यस्मिश्चित्तं सर्वमोतं प्रजानां तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥5॥
5. That mind in which the knowledge of Ṛg, Sāma, and Yajur Vedas is placed like the spokes in a chariot wheel, which is intertwined with the minds of all people, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.
सुषारथिरश्वानिव यन्मनुष्यान्नेनीयतेऽभीशुभिर्वाजिन इव।
हृत्प्रतिष्ठं यदजिरं जविष्ठं तन्मे मनः शिवसङ्कल्पमस्तु ॥6॥
6. That mind which leads men to discover their inner immortal self in the heart like a good charioteer leads horses, which is quick and most speedy, may that mind of mine hold auspicious thoughts.