Spiritual Questions and Answers with Radhanath Swami

During meditation, the mind wanders here and there. What to do?

By on September 15, 2010 in Life with 49 Comments

Out-of-Contol ChildQuestion to Radhanath Swami: During meditation, the mind wanders here and there. What to do?

Radhanath Swami: Krishna explains in Gita, “From wherever the mind wanders due to its flickering and unsteady nature, one must certainly withdraw it and bring it back under the control of the self.”

The mind is a small child. The nature of small children is to get into trouble. One of my friends was telling me about his little child who has just learnt to run around. So he and his wife try to keep everything safe in the room. They get soft toys for the child to play with, and so many nice little soft beds for the child to lie in. Still, one day as they came in the room, they found the child playing with a little razor blade.  How did he find that little razor blade? Why did he choose that razor blade out of all the dozens and dozens of nice things in the room? Because that’s the nature of the child. Many automobile manufacturers now make rear windows that go down just half the way, because so many little children just jump off the window from the moving car. There are so many nice things in the car, but the child chooses to jump off the window! So the nature of the mother is, wherever the child runs, whatever dangerous situation it gets into, she keeps bringing it back to safety.

Our intelligence is like the mother and the mind is like the child. Therefore the intelligence has to keep bringing the mind back. Suppose we are mediating on the holy names, it is the safest situation. Bhakti Vinod Thakur, a saint of the 19th century says, “I have seen and considered the whole fourteen worlds of the universe, and my conclusion is that the safest place is wherever there is chanting of the Holy Names.” But when we sit to chant, the mind leaves that safety. But we shouldn’t be discouraged. Using the intelligence, we have to bring the mind back.

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