Free Press Journal

What impacts the mind?


We are all blessed with remarkable discriminatory power. It is for us to break the barrier and exit the comfort zone to become achievers through sacrifice, writes RAVI VALLURI.

The Bengali siblings were my close companions; their staple diet was fish curry with rice. Our conversations veered around politics, girls, religion (Durga Puja) and sports. The older one idolized Amitabh, Netaji Bose and Imran Khan.

He was an idealist and the younger brother was the pragmatic one. The elder sibling was pushed into pursuing sciences much to his disapprobation. Their father died of Alzheimer’s and mother succumbed to abdominal cancer. Though they seemed to have recovered from the twin tragedies and proceeded with their careers and lives, they could not realise their full potential. The mind of the elder one especially swayed like a pendulum between the past,present and future. There are many of us like him who continue to be regretful of the past and anxious of the future, never living in the present.

 Marketing lexicon talks of 4Ps-product, place, promotion and price. I choose to add a few more to the cocktail that impinges human mind. These are our Past impressions, Partaking of food and the Path of timewe traverse on this planet. All the Ps are laced and inextricably interwoven.

Human talent spans from the ordinary to the exceptional. This is the product available. It is genetic and has to be accepted. Richards and Sehwag were exceptionally gifted batsmen; something a less accomplished batsman cannot quibble about. Now, the product can be harnessed and developed through Tapas. Resolute practice embellishes and burnishes the product. Sadhana and breathing techniques can magnify the mind’s potential so that it can be high yielding and profitable for the self and society.

Let us envisage a house enveloped with positive and negative auras. This is the place where the mind resides. The quality of the mind to be in the present moment would appreciably increase when affected by positive thoughts, incantations, meditations, inspirational speeches or soulful singing. The same mind becomes unsettled and distraught by provocative speeches, squabbles and contretemps. Therefore it is a prerequisite to protect the positive disposition and aura of the house.

How does one promote the mind? The mind loves challenges, however daunting they may be! Maj DP Singh runs with a prostheticleg. During the Kargil conflict he lost his limb but resolved to acquit himself with every activity those with normal limbs can undertake. The organization of amputees was suitably christened,” The Challenging Ones” (with a membership of 800 runners). Oscar Pistorius is of course the original blade runner.

Price of the mind is directly proportional to the quantum of sacrifice tlead 1he body is willing to undertake. Both mind and body are conjoined in this endeavor. Mind may bewilling; but the body may not submit to its authority. Or the body is disposed to take up the combat, but the mind declines to undertake the activity. If the mind becomes the parachute to transport the body to scale greater heights it will command a greater price and approbation.

 We are all blessed with remarkable discriminatory power. It is for us to break the barrier and exit the comfort zone to become achievers through sacrifice. Stephen Hawking despite suffering from motor neuron disability is a cosmologist, physicist, unravelling the mysteries of the universe.

Past impressions have a profound impact on the mind and its performance.Tulsidas writes,” Our destiny was shaped long before the body came into being.”

Impressions or Karmas are impacted by our thoughts, attitudes, acts, and actions which others undertake under our orchestration and administration. As per Hinduism there are three types of Karmas or impressions namely, Sanchita(that is accumulated Karma – which we cannot bear all in one lifetime), Prarabdha Karma(fruit bearing Karma) and Kriyamana Karma (this can change our destiny). The first is carried on forward to the next lifetime. Prarabdha Karma can be mitigated through meditation and yogic techniques, while proper action (Kriyamana Karma) can reduce sufferings.

Positive impressions lead to positive intent and a healthy impact on the mind. Negative impressions have an antipathetic and gloomy impression on the mind. Practioners of yoga, pranayama, SudarshanKriya develop the wherewithal to annihilate impressions /karmas. This needs to fostered through knowledge, awareness, service and positive company among others.

Partaking of food has a consequential impact on our thoughts and thereby minds. Thoughts are opinions or conceptions. We can have brooding or glum thoughts, celebratory ones or meditative ones. Augustus Hare writes,” Thought is like the wind, knowledge the sail, and mankind the vessel.”

The human vessel consumes three kinds of food products, namely Sattvik, Rajasik and Tamasik.  Sattvikfood is easily digestible, generally consisting of fruits, nuts and vegetarian fare. It keeps us alert and aware. Disciplined practitioners of Yoga consume this food.

Rajasik foods are neither overtly beneficial nor harmful. It includes oily, starchy, aerated drinks, caffeine products, overtly salty and sugary  items. Such individuals are excitable or irritable and generally not at peace with themselves.

Tamasik food consists of meat, alcohol, tobacco, onions, garlic,fermentedand canned food items. These take a long time to digest and make individuals sluggish and torpid.

Therefore generally speakingthose consuming Sattvik food attain a contemplative or a meditative state of mind in comparison to those partaking Tamasik or Rajasik food.

The trajectory path of time traversed has an expansive influence on the mind. Various times of the day, months and years impact our self. Incidents,events occurring shape the thought processes, alertness and decision making capabilities of our minds. Further during this span of time we are likely to encounter a large number of people, friends and associates who also influence our thinking pattern.

Human mind through discipline, practice of yoga and pranayama and various breathing techniques can acquire a superior intelligence and develop an investigative mind, which can surmount challenges confronted and live in the present moment. As that is the only state of bliss.