Sunday 16 July 2017


2017 079 29  Bhagavad Gita 17.16: Penance of Mind [मानसं तपः Manasam Tapah] 

मनःप्रसादः सौम्यत्वं मौनं आत्मविनिग्रहः   |
भाव संशुद्धिः इति एतत्तपः  मानसं उच्यते  ||         BG 17.16

manahprasadah saumyatvam maunam atma-vinigrahah
bhava-samsuddhi ity etat tapah manasam ucyate             

Cheerfulness of mind, placidity or gentleness, calmness and contemplation, mastery over mind, purity of thought—these together constitute penance of mind.

1] मनःप्रसादः manahprasadah: Cheerfulness of mind: Manah-prasadah is mental cheerfulness. A discipline, which helps you acquire and maintain mental cheerfulness, is called manasa tapas. 

It involves a prayerful attitude, and an acceptance of yourself and of the situation in which you find yourself. This includes acceptance of the past, and of the world as we find it. Futuristic conjectures are also resolved in an attitude of surrender and simple appreciation.

When you get up in the morning, acknowledge that it is nice being alive. It is one more day for celebration. Anything that you do is a celebration. ‘I am alive today. It is nice being alive. It is nice doing what I do.’ That is what the attitude is. This is manah-prasadah. 

2] सौम्यत्वं saumyatvam: Saumyatvam: When manaprasada is there, there is an external expression evident on the face, and that is what they call saumyatva. It reveals a cheerfulness in the mind. From the mouth, eyes, eyebrows, words, the whole demeanour of the person, you infer that he is pleased.

The tapas here is, when you are displeased, you bring back a pleased condition of mind, which will bring about a smile. This is not a behavioural modification, but a change that comes about by a process of thinking. 

3] मौनं maunam:  Calmness and Contemplation:  Mauna is restraint in speaking. Even though it is a discipline of the organ of speech, and might be included in the discussion of vak tapas, here it is considered as a mental discipline. Why? Speaking properly, and sometimes not speaking, is possible only when you have mauna inside.

The effect of the absence of a necessity to talk is externally expressed as mauna. Generally there is always a pressure to talk. We build it up. The absence of such a pressure to talk to another person is what is called mauna.

This silence at the level of speech is because of the mind being silent. It is a tapas because it can be accomplished only by discipline. There is an attempt involved, by proper thinking, to bring about mauna.

4] आत्मविनिग्रहः atma-vinigrahah:  Mastery over Mind:   Atma vinigraha is mastery over the ways of the mind, in general. There is no ambiguity about the meaning of the word atma here. Since the topic is mental tapas, it can only mean mind. Mauna is a particular aspect of this tapas with reference to speech. But atma vinigraha is mastery with reference to everything.

By proper discipline, one gains a certain mastery over the ways of thinking and is not carried away by a thought process. Whatever is necessary in following this discipline is called tapas.

All your emotions have to be put in order, and whatever you do to accomplish that comes under atma vinigraha. Anything you do for the sake of mental health is a sadhana. It is not outside yoga. 

5] भाव संशुद्धिः bhava-samsuddhi: Purity of Thought:  Bhava-samsuddhi is clean intentions when you are dealing with people. Whether your motives are understood by others or not, they are clean. The motive is at the level of the mind, not action. If the motive is not clean, we analyse why this is so, and thereby, get rid of the particular type of thinking that allowed such a motive to come. All these together constitute manasam tapas.  

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