Third chapter has four verses and reprimands the mind.  Prabodhasudhākara in these four verses say that mind is like a devil and has all diabolic qualities. It engages with extremities such as extreme happiness and intense sorrow. It does not take a middle path {Training the mind to take a middle path is extremely difficult, unless the mind is subdued by intense meditations and reaching the stage of different levels of samādhi (different stages of samādhi are discussed in Guruji Speaks}. Mind swings from one extreme to another; for example from love to hatred; happiness to anger; virtuous to disgust, etc (these are known as contradictory dyads). Apart from these inherent qualities, mind is also afflicted with ego, pride, prejudice, etc. Prabodhasudhākara compares the mind to flesh being pulled by dogs. This means that the mind is being pulled on all sides by various qualities such as ostentation (a gaudy outward display; lack of elegance as a consequence of being pompous and puffed up with vanity), egotistic, craving, desire to have a life style beyond one’s capacity, etc. When desires are not fulfilled, one becomes frustrated, which leads to anger, greed, jealousy, etc which assassinates all the inherent good qualities of a person. What is the way out to subdue the mind? It says that one has to be dispassionate (unaffected by too much of emotions). Dispassion is extremely difficult practice. Dispassion is a product of your mind. Unless the mind is a composed state, dispassion cannot be practiced, as emotions arise from desires and attachments. Let us take this example. Someone aspires for a high end home or car and his or her financial position does not permit this. This desire will attain potency over a period of time and this will erode all the auspicious qualities of the mind. Ultimately, this will lead to the state of frustration, anger and jealousy, thereby changing the soft nature of a person. Practically speaking, dispassion can be practiced to a certain level, but cannot be pursued totally. This, in no way alters one’s spiritual goal. Even, in the state of sthitaprajña or in the final state of of jīvanmukta, one will still remain with the traces of dispassion. However a yogi or a jīvanmukta will not accrue any further karmas after the state of Self-realization.)

Further reading on mind: MIND YOUR MIND

Chapter four Prabodhasudhākara has nine verses and they deal with ways to restrain senses (विषयनिग्रह). Material world is compared to deep water which is filled with sensory objects, which are realised through five tanmātra-s or five rudimentary elements such as hearing, touch, sight, taste and smell. (Tanmātra-s are known as primary elements of perception and originate from ego. According to Trika Philosophy, antaḥkaraṇa consists of mind, intellect and ego. From ego, originates karmendriya-s, jñānendriya-s and tanmātra-s. From tanmātra-s originate five gross elements.). This means that the material world is full of pleasures originated from tanmātra-s. Human body is compared to a boat. This boat is driven by wind, known as karma. The power of karma decides how far one gets associated with tanmātra-s. As long as mind is associated with the pleasures of tanmātra-s, karmas continue to accrue and if karmas continue to accrue, there is no way to realize the Self. According to the intensity of karmas, one is pushed into the deep waters of tanmātra-s. Now, in the deep waters of tanmātra-s, boat (human body) moves in a particular direction according to the wind (karma).

This boat (human body) has nine openings. The soul within (individual soul or the self; when the Self is veiled by māyā, it is known as individual soul or the self) does not act on its own or cause an action, but remains only as a witness. The individual soul is termed as the boat man, who rows the boat. Because of the nine apertures in the body, water (sensory afflictions in the form of tanmātra-s) enters into the body through the nine openings (pair of eyes, two nostrils, two ears, mouth, organ of excretion and organ of procreation) and makes the body sink deep. {The individual soul does not take the boat at its own discretion. The boat man merely goes along with the boat and the boat goes along with the direction of the wind. When the wind is bad, the boat struggles to move forward and during this time, water (afflictions of tanmātra-s) enter the boat and make the boat sink into the fathomless waters, which means no end to miseries and transmigration continues}. How to overcome sinking to the fathomless waters is explained in the next verse.

By pursuing restraint over the usage of sensory organs, the nine apertures can be effectively controlled and by doing so, the fathomless waters (worldly existence or too much of affliction in the material world) can be safely crossed, which means one can be liberated. Sensory organs are intended to carry out karma yoga.  Karma yoga can be explained as actions that are performed without expecting anything in return. Performing one’s duty for the sake of duty alone and not for any gratifications is known as karma yoga. Kṛṣṇa says pursuing the true karma yoga is difficult. There is no beginning or end to this yoga. The karma yoga is eternal, because this forms the basics of spiritual pursuits. The results of karma yoga are not realized because of its tough terrain. If it is not pursued to its logical conclusion and deferred halfway through, even then its fruits to the extent it was pursued goes to the karmic bag. When the soul enters another form in the next birth, this gets manifested from where it was left in the previous birth. (Further reading on karma yoga. Excessive and adverse use of sensory organs causes afflictions in the mind and when the mind is impure, realization is not possible. As long as long one does not realize the Self within (the Self already exists within, but not realized because it is veiled by māyā), the intended purpose of this life is lost.

Some examples are given in Prabodhasudhākara in the succeeding verses. Lust is described as mortal sin. If a man who looks at other man’s young wife inappropriately, he becomes a great sinner. This is with regard to sight, one of the five components of tanmātra-s. As far as sound is concerned, using abusive language against others is considered as a sin and if that man dies out of humiliation, the one who abuses commits mortal sin. It is also said that even listening to such abusive languages is also a sin. This could possibly be interpreted like this: whenever and wherever abusive and foul languages are used, one should not remain in that place. Prabodhasudhākara says that even listening to these types of abusive languages cause sin. (The intended meaning could be that one should not simply remain as a spectator to such situations but should ensure that such ignominious language is not used anymore; if this is not done, it could also be considered as sin. Each individual has got responsibilities to establish dharma, subject to his limitations.) When the mind is afflicted, one tends to speak lies and one lie leads multitude of lies and rebukes. Such people accrue great sins. Unless there is no wind, only then the boat can sail safely towards the shore (shore is the Self).

When sensory organs come into contact with sensory objects, immense pleasure is experienced. Pleasures from such objects are only transitory in nature. According to Upaniṣad-s experiencing Bliss is everlasting and not these transient pleasures. Therefore, wise men carefully avoid such sensory pleasures, as they feel such pleasures ultimately cause only pains and miseries during rest of life. (It is often misunderstood that pleasures should never be experienced. This is mythical. What is said is that one should not transgress established guidelines known as dharma śāstra-s; Tantra śāstra-s call this as kula dharma). This chapter ends by citing few examples. Ultimate point is that one should not get engrossed into too much of pleasures arising out of sensory objects, as such pleasures lead to endless desires and attachments and in order to fulfil such desires, one lies and one lie leads to multiple lies and ultimately one becomes embodiment of evil qualities. This can be easily avoided by not overdoing anything related to sensory objects.

More related articles:

Prabodhasudhākara - Part 2

Prabodhasudhākara - Part 4