Two ways to quieten the mind

Acharya Prashant
9 min readDec 18, 2020

The following is an excerpt from a samvaad (dialogue) session with Acharya Prashant.

असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् ।

अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ।। 6.35 ।।

asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam

abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate

The Blessed Lord said: O mighty armed one, undoubtedly the mind is untractable and restless, but O son of Kunti, it is brought under control through practice and detachment.

~ Shrimad Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 6, Verse 35

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Questioner (Q): What is meant by bringing the mind under control? Also, please explain how practice and detachment help in achieving the above.

Acharya Prashant (AP): In the very same chapter of the Bhagavad Gita, Shri Krishna has very lucidly explained what is mind control. Mind control is not about suppressing the mind. It is about supporting the mind to take the right route and reach the right destination.

The word ‘control’ has not very friendly vibes or connotations. One controls a disease. One controls something that must not be there. The mind does not really need control. The authority in the Gita makes it amply clear. The mind needs to be brought to Ātmān. That is the central message of Chapter 6 — bring the mind to Ātmān.

What is Ātmān?

Ātmān is the highest potential of the mind; Ātmān is the destination of the mind. It is for the Ātmān that the mind exists, and it is due to the Ātmān that the mind exists.

Therefore, the Ātmān is the beginning and the end of the mind. Therefore, the Ātmān is the point from where the mind emerges and the point into which the mind submerges.

That is what is mind control.

The mind really wants peace. Peace is Ātmān. But the mind is a little foolish. Why do I say so? Had the mind not been foolish, why would it have left its Ātmān state and…

Acharya Prashant