Monday Musings 47

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मन: प्रसाद: सौम्यत्वं मौनमात्मविनिग्रह: |
भावसंशुद्धिरित्येतत्तपो मानसमुच्यते
Bhagavad Gita 17.16

Lord Krishna gave us interesting five techniques for mind development in the above sloka. They are Cheerfulness, Gracefulness, Silent (introspection), Self-restraint & Purity of intent in that order.

We ended the last episode of MONDAY MUSINGS with a message that ‘Your mind is your best friend and can turn out to be the worst enemy as well”. This powerful message is from a Bhagavad Gita sloka and let us understand this sloka.

उद्धरेदात्मनात्मानं नात्मानमवसादयेत् |
आत्मैव ह्यात्मनो बन्धुरात्मैव रिपुरात्मन: || 6.5||

uddhared ātmanātmānaṁ nātmānam avasādayet
ātmaiva hyātmano bandhur ātmaiva ripur ātmanaḥ

Three words atma, bandhuhu and ripuhu in this sloka are important to understand and appreciate this powerful message.  The word Atma has multiple meanings.  Let us define atma as ourselves or simply our mind and intellect. Bandhuhu and ripuhu in Sanskrit mean the pair of antonyms, friend and enemy.  Message is very simple and clear now and that is the #SecretFormulaForGrowth.

Uplift and not degrade yourself using the power of the mind as your mind is your best friend and can become your worst enemy as well.

We have been created with our mind programmed as our friend but unfortunately a friend can turn into an enemy as well. This depends on how well we treat our friend.  We are responsible for our elevation as well as our disgrace, not our circumstances. Even our mentors / teachers can only show us the way. It is for us to traverse the path. As a first step, we must accept responsibility for our growth. Our growth is in our hands and not in the hands of luck or fate or anyone else

If you want to develop your health and fitness, you must exercise regularly and direct your mind to delve on right eating habits. To learn, you must cultivate the urge to learn and acquire knowledge. Learnings does not come just by attending training programs. To develop your mind, you need to cultivate positive thoughts and shun negativity. #PowerOfMind.

Shakepeare quoted similar idea in his Sonnet1

Making a famine where abundance lies,
Thyself thy foe, to thy sweet self too cruel.

He thinks of ‘nothing’ though there is `everything’.

Shakespeare narrates his imaginary young man’s cruel self an enemy of his “sweet self”. Shakespeare probably used the contrasting words famine and abundance, sweet self to cruel self to describe the selfishness of the young man.

Mind is the best friend and can become worst enemy as well. OK.  When will the mind be our friend and when will it turn into an enemy? We need to know this secret to make permanent friendship with our mind.  Lord Krishna does not leave any question unanswered.  He answered this in the very next sloka.

बन्धुरात्मात्मनस्तस्य येनात्मैवात्मना जित: |
अनात्मनस्तु शत्रुत्वे वर्ते तात्मैव शत्रुवत् || 6.6||

bandhur ātmātmanas tasya yenātmaivātmanā 
anātmanas tu śhatrutve vartetātmaiva śhatru-vat

Mind will work as your best friend for those who have conquered their mind. Mind can become an enemy for those who cannot conquer their mind.

You have created your present situation. You can redeem yourself through this knowledge and the right effort. You must do this in every aspect of life. This cannot be delegated to someone else.

Therefore, Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves, be ye a refuge to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the Truth as a lamp; hold fast to the Truth as a refuge. Look not for a refuge in anyone besides yourselves.   – Mahaparinabbana2 sutta

The above quote is ascribed to Gautam Buddha.



1The word sonnet is derived from the Italian word “sonetto,” which means a “little song” or small lyric. In poetry, a sonnet has 14 lines and each line has 10 syllables. This poem is the first sonnet of 154 sonnets published by Shakespeare

2The Mahāparinibbāṇa Sutta is Sutta  16 in the Digha Nikaya, The Great Discourse on  Buddha’s Extinguishment, end of Gautam Buddha’s life.

Interpretation of both the Bhagavad Gita slokas 6.5 & 6.6 taken from my book GRANDMA IN THE BOARDROOM.

Disclaimer: The views/opinions expressed in this article belong to the author. is neither responsible nor liable for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information in the article.


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