Monday Musings 50

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When your focus is singular and your intention pure, the fragrant flowers of success blossom naturally.

Lord Krishna gave us interesting five techniques for mind development through Bhagavad Gita sloka 17.16. They are Cheerfulness, Gracefulness, Silent (introspection), Self-restraint & Purity of intent.

Tapas or techniques

Lord Krishna called these techniques as tapa. What is tapa?

Tapa in Sanskrit means penance or austerity. Most of the interpretations of the above sloka and the two previous slokas indicate a meaning of ‘penance’ or ‘austerity’. Tapa also means ‘to heat up’. Metals are heated and melted to remove the impurities and make it flexible to make into beautiful and useful forms. When gold is placed in the fire, its lustre increases. Similarly, when our body, speech and mind are put to tough discipline as suggested by Lord Krishna (five discipline each), the soul gets purified and growth gets assured.

It is interesting to look at this Rigveda sloka to understand tapa better:

प॒वित्रं॑ ते॒ वित॑तं ब्रह्मणस्पते प्र॒भुर्गात्रा॑णि॒ पर्ये॑षि वि॒श्वत॑: । अत॑प्ततनू॒र्न तदा॒मो अ॑श्नुते शृ॒तास॒ इद्वह॑न्त॒स्तत्समा॑शत ॥
Rig Veda 9.83.1

English translation of this sloka is

O Paramatma, Master of the soul; Your appearance is holy and can permeate anything. You are the master of everyone.  You pervade everything all through. He whose body has not suffered in the heat of the fire, has not practiced tapa, is unripe and not ready. They cannot experience your bliss. They are able to bear the bliss and enjoy it who have been prepared by the flame.

It is very essential to put our body, speech and mind through a tough regime of practice. Being in your comfort zone will not allow tapa to start. Come out of your comfort zone.

We will now discuss about the last in the list of mind development techniques, regime of practice, suggested by Lord Krishna and that is bhāva-sanśhuddhiḥ, ‘purity of intent’. What is bhava-sansuddhih?


‘Purity of intent’ could mean having only God as the object of our love, desires, thoughts, and actions. Since Lord Krishna’s advice is on ‘mind development’, We can infer that he meant single minded focus with good intention and tuning the thoughts and actions well aligned to the purpose.

When your focus is singular and your intention pure, the fragrant flowers of success blossom naturally.

‘Purity Of Intent’ need not always allude to notions of nobility or morality. ‘Purity of Intent’ can include materialistic intents including maximizing profit as well.

After all Chanakya said

 “Sukhasya moolam dharmaha,
Dharmasya moolam Artha “

I heard some businessmen mentioning that the purpose of their business is to increase employment opportunities and help others, etc. This is a noble thought but may not be an ideal example for ‘purity of intent’.

Sustainable businesses are not built with the intention to help others. They are built with the intention to add value to the lives of those buying [or using] your goods or services. From such value, you generate income which you may then utilize to help others. Generating value through your offering has to be the primary intention of every business or it has no hope of ever becoming profitable. 

No matter what you undertake, if you want to succeed, you must acquire the most fundamental ingredient of success and that is, purity of intent. If your intention is pure, you will gain determination and inner strength naturally. This universe has abundant resources. The universe can align resources for you easily, if you can show ‘purity of intent’.

In simple terms, ‘purity of intent’ means ‘Being true to your cause and being honest with yourself’.

All resources we require to do anything at all in life are already there in this universe in one way or the other. It’s the purity of intention that brings those resources together. If you are not confused about what you want and your actions align with your intention, you are well on your way to success.

Being honest to yourself includes living as a role model to demonstrate what you preach. Vivekananda gave a clarion call “Arise, Awake” and demonstrated the spirit by swimming in the ocean to reach the rock which eventually became Vivekanandar Rock. Imagine the call being given by a wobbling old man who could not stand steady.

A leader must live as a ‘role model’ for his followers. Gandhiji practiced what he believed and preached what he practiced. That is the essence of ‘being honest with yourself’. A leader cannot expect commitment from the staff if he/she does not practice commitment.

Do you want to practice ‘Purity of Intent’?

    • Believe in your purpose with a single-minded focus.
    • Practice what you believe. Preach only what you practice.
    • Share your purpose and beliefs with people. Don’t keep it hidden.
    • Never pretend. Readily accept your faults.
  • Be true to your cause and be honest to yourself.

Thus we complete the tapa for the mind ie the tough practice of sustaining good and positive thoughts and the list given by Lord Krishna are Cheerfulness, Gracefulness, Silence, Self-restraint and Purity of intent.

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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