The Fickle Mind

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THE FICKLE MIND


 The Sage Vasishtha said: Some minds burst forth like the torrents of the flood-tide, heaving up and overflowing the earth on all sides. They reduce the great to lowliness, and raise the lowly to greatness. They make strangers of their friends, and friends of strangers.

 The mind makes a mountain out of a mote by its thought, and imagines itself a lord from a small trifle. Becoming elated through the fortune which attends on it by the Divine Will, the mind spreads out a large establishment for itself for a while, and then is reduced to poverty in a moment through loss.

 Things in this world are seen as stationary or changing according to the accident of being viewed in this or that light, just as a passing boat is thought stationary by its passengers, but as moving by spectators on the shore. The mind is so affected by the influence of time and place and the powers and natures of acts and things that it continually shuffles from one feeling to another, like an actor displaying his many roles upon the stage.

 The mind takes truth for untruth, and untruth for certainty, and so long as it takes one thing for another, its joy and grief are all of its own making. The fickle mind experiences all things according to its own doings, and all the actions of our hands, feet and other members of the body are regulated by it.

 Hence, it is the mind that reaps the rewards of good and evil according to its past acts, just as the tree bears its fruits according as it is pruned and watered in time. As a child makes a variety of toy figures from clay, so the mind is the maker of all its good and evil fortune, according to the merit or dement of its past deeds.

 Therefore, the mind situated in the earthen vessel of the human form can do nothing of its own will unless it is so destined by virtue of its former acts. As the seasons cause the changes in trees, so too, the mind draws out the differences in the dispositions of living beings.

 The mind indulges its fancy, deeming a step to be a league or the reverse, just as in the fanciful activities of dreams. Akalpaage is shortened to a moment, and a moment is prolonged into a kalpaby the different modes of the mind, which is the regulator of both the duration and distance in time and space.

 Perceptions of the rapidity and slowness of motion, of the greatness or smallness of quantity, as also the swiftness and tardiness of time, belong to the mind and not to the dull material body. So too, impressions of sickness, of error, of sadness and danger, along with the passing of time and the distance of places, all rise in the mind like leaves sprouting on the branches of trees.

 The mind is the cause of all its feelings, as water is the cause of the sea and heat is the cause of fire. Hence, mind is the source of all things and intimately connected with whatever is existent in this world. The thoughts that we have of agency, effect and instrument, as well as of viewer, view and the instrumentality of sight, all belong to the mind.

 Mind is to be known as the one existence in this world. The spectacle of great forests and all other things are but variations of itself. Thus, the wise are like those who see nothing in the various shapes of bangles and bracelets, but perceive only the substance of gold.

Yoga Vasishtha Maharamayana
Utpatti Khanda

Valmiki