Q: Guruji, what are the modulations of the mind?
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar – The mind is the biggest mystery. Your own mind can be your best friend or your worst enemy. The mind is responsible for our happiness as well as misery. When the mind is in the present moment, everything appears to be beautiful. However, when the mind is a mess; even in the best of places, it can find a thousand reasons to be miserable.
Maharishi Patanjali has said ‘Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha’ (Yoga is the act of restraining or freeing the mind from the clutches of its modulations).
There are five types of modulations of the mind, which can be painful or not painful.
The first modulation is Pramaana – always thinking if this is right or wrong, wanting proof for everything. There are 3 kinds of proof the mind looks for- Pratyaksha (experiential proof), Anumaana (inferential proof) and Agama (scriptural proof).
The second modulation is Viparyaya – wrong understanding. We spend three-fourths of our time in Viparyaya. Either our opinions about people will be wrong or their opinions about us will be wrong. You think one person is bad and another person is good, but your opinions change after some time. Not knowing things as they are is Viparyaya.
The third modulation is Vikalpa – imagination, hallucination. It is imagining something that is non-existent. Some people imagine that something has happened to them and become afraid. A twenty-year-old youth had come to me. Though he was healthy, he felt that he had a lot of diseases. Doctors checked him and found that everything was fine, but he still wouldn’t believe it. Illusion about the existence of something that is non-existent is Vikalpa.
The fourth modulation is Nidra – Sleep. If you are not doing anything, you feel sleepy. Nowadays, people sleep even when they are working! A lot of people in the parliament are seen sleepy and yawning.
The fifth modulation is Smruti – Memory, remembering all that has happened in the past.
These five modulations prevent one from being alive in the present moment and enjoying it. We have to become free from these five modulations. Only then does the mind become pleasant. How is that possible?
It is possible through Pranayama and by being aware that all that has happened so far is like a dream. You brushed your teeth, took bath and ate breakfast in the morning. At this moment, look back and see, you will feel that they are like a dream. Similarly, some more decades will pass, and some days will be good and some days will not be so good. We need to observe ourselves if we are able to keep our mind balanced through the ups and downs. This is Yoga. ‘Tada Drusthu Swarupe Awasthanam’ – the seer reposes in the self.