Vanjanai pori vaayilil;
Vidaadhu veezhndhu viLikkum en mana
Paeyai vaavena vaaLuvaai.
adadha seigai = inappropriate actions; indhiyam = indriyas (sense organs); vanjanai = deceiving, deceit; pori = senses; vidaadhu = without leaving; veezhndhu = fall(ing); viLi = to cause the death of, to ruin; manappaey = ghost mind, devil mind; aaLuvai = conquer.
Oh Ramana! Please conquer my mind and the deceitful sense organs that impel me to do things I am not supposed to do, so that I don’t fall in their ‘mouth’. Call such a mind of mine to you and conquer it.
The treacherous and out-of-control nature of mind is a subject that has been addressed by many sages. Saint Thayumanavar in Tejomayananada says:
It is easy and possible to tame a mad elephant;
To muzzle a bear to a ferocious tiger;
It’s easy to ride on the back of a lion
Or charm snakes and make them dance.
You can put mercury in a furnace turn base metals, sell then and live off the proceeds.
You can become invisible and travel the world
And command devas and make them your servants
You can remain forever youthful
And transmigrate into another body, achieve supernatural powers
You can walk on water or sit amid flames
But it is harder to control the mind and sit still.
In the Bhagavad Gita (Ch 6, Verse 34) Arjuna appeals to Lord Krishna thus:
chañchalaṁ hi manaḥ kṛiṣhṇa pramāthi balavad dṛiḍham
tasyāhaṁ nigrahaṁ manye vāyor iva su-duṣhkaram
Meaning: The mind is very restless, turbulent, strong and obstinate, O Krishna. It appears to me that it is more difficult to control than the wind.
Lord Krishna agrees and offers advice:
śhrī bhagavān uvācha
asanśhayaṁ mahā-bāho mano durnigrahaṁ chalam
abhyāsena tu kaunteya vairāgyeṇa cha gṛihyate
Meaning: Lord Krishna said: O mighty-armed son of Kunti, what you say is correct; the mind is indeed very difficult to restrain. But by practice and detachment, it can be controlled.
We see that mind control and its wayward nature is as old as mankind. Many saints and sages have appeared over time and given us directions to bring the senses under control so we can transcend the limitations of the monkey-mind.
Bhagavan advises two methods, which are complete surrender to the guru or enquiry as to whose mind needs to be controlled. ‘Mind is a bundle of thoughts, you have to enquire to whom do the thoughts occur’, he used to say.
From Gems from Bhagavan:
Mind and breath have the same source. Hence breath is controlled when mind is controlled and mind when breath is controlled. Breath is the gross form of the mind. Pranayama (breath control) is only an aid to subdue the mind and will not serve to kill it. Like pranayama, worship of a deity, japa (repetition) with a mantra, strict regulation of diet are all aids for mind control.
There is no other way of controlling the mind except as prescribed in the books like the Gita, drawing in the mind as often as it strays or goes outward, and fixing it in the Self. Of course it will not be easy to do it. It will come only with practice or sadhana. If we control the mind, it does not matter where we live.
But he also warns:
Breath control may serve as an aid but can never by itself lead to the goal
In this verse, SV appeals to Bhagavan to ‘call his (and our) mind and conquer (vaa ena aaLuvai) as His grace is essential for us in our practice.