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Date: Tue Aug 25 1998 - 09:39:50 PDT

"During meditation, my mind wanders" is the universal complaint for
which many seek remedies.. 
We are all aware of the fact that when we are engrossed in an item of
work in which we are deeply interested, the mind stays focused.
Doing Gayatri Japa is also a work for the mind. If the repetitive nature
of the work does not keep the mind interested, it reverts to its true
nature -- wandering. Those who are successful in Japa are those whose
minds are totally committed to the Japa.  This happens when one receives
initiation from a revered Guru and stays focused because that is what
the Guru had instructed the Sishya to do.
To most of us who do not have this Bhagyam of unquestioning obedience to
a Guru, the scriptures generally prescribe control of breath as an aid
to meditation.  Like the pilot of an airplane who can switch to
auto-pilot and engage in other activities, our minds entrust the work of
breathing to the autonomous system and starts wandering in a maze of
thoughts. Since breathing is the single most essential activity for
life, a deliberate process of steady controlled breathing, including
holding of breath for a few seconds at the end of each inhalation and
exhalation, forces the mind to concentrate totally on this activity to
the exclusion of all other thought-manufacturing processes.  Ramana
Maharishi refers to this procedure as "Praana bandhanaath, leena
maanasam" and proceeds to state that like the bird captured in a net
which flies away when the net is opened, the mind controlled in this
manner again becomes restive when the controlled breathing process is
ended. But to us who desire to be initiated into the first stages of
meditation-exercise, this is a very useful tool. Later, one could start
following the Bhakti-marga, reduce desire for possessions and pleasures
over a period of time, increase the periods of meditation and try to
achieve a fair amount of mind-ego-control.  A realization that the
complete process takes many birhs to complete and accepting this truth
in all humility will curb the power of the ego to achieve realization in
this birth and for itself, as if it is another possession to be had by
the ego!  As every saint has pointed out, however, the ego has to vacate
first for realization to happen. 
The Mukthi that we seek is the release from the hold of this magician,
the ego, who constantly weaves enchanting patterns in our minds leaving
no space for God's magic to work.  The choice between the two,
unfortunately, is ours to make and it seems to be a very difficult one
to make, as we all realize very late in our lives.

Adiyen Dasan
MK Krishnaswamy