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CAN THE MIND BE OUR FRIEND?
Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavad-gita (B.G. 6.6):
bandhur atmatmanas tasya yenatmaivatmana jitah
anatmanas tu satrutve vartetatmaiva satruvat
"For him who has conquered the mind, the mind is the best of friends; but for one who has failed to do so, his very mind will be the greatest enemy."
Thus the disposition of the mind determines one's happiness or distress. The mind can be compared to a sharpened knife. The sharpened knife is used by miscreants to cause violence, but the same knife is used by an expert surgeon to save one's life. The knife in itself is neither good nor bad. When the mind is controlled one achieves the highest per-fection of life. He voluntarily agrees to abide by the direction of the Personality of Godhead, who is situated within the heart of everyone as the Supersoul. Such a person is unaffected by the dualities of material existence, namely distress and happiness, cold and heat, etc. This state is practical Samadhi, or absorption in the Supreme.
In the Bhagavad-gita Lord Krishna also explains the nature of the uncontrolled mind. Such a mind is always making plans to enjoy the different sense pleasures. Lord Krishna says, "While contemplating the objects of the senses, a person develops attachment for them, and from such attachment lust develops,and from lust anger arises. From anger, complete delusion arises, and from delusion bewilderment of memory. When memory is bewildered, intelligence is lost, and when intelligence is lost one falls down again into the material pool." [B.G.2.62-63]. The un-controlled mind is thus the cause of our material existence and all the sufferings we experience in this world. If the mind is controlled the senses will not trouble us. The intelligence of a person must be strong, so that the mind is under its control, and then the senses are automatically subdued. The driver of the chariot must be stout, strong and expert in holding the reins tightly so that the horses are in check. The intelligence must be strengthened by hearing instructions from a superior authority. Lord Krishna says in Bhagavad-gita (BG 4.34):
tad viddhi pranipatena pari prasnena sevaya
upadeksyanti te jnanam jnaninas tattva-darsinah
'Just try to learn the truth by approaching a spiritual master. Inquire from him submissively and render service unto him. The self-realized souls can impart knowledge unto you because they have seen the truth.'
By this process the intelligence will become strong and the uncontrolled mind will be subdued. Good spiritual instructions are food for the intelligence. They nourish the intelligence and purify the mind. When the intelligence (driver) is strong, then he will be able to control the mind (reins) tightly, and the soul (passenger) will have a peaceful journey. But as long as the intelligence is weaker than the mind, there is no possibility of any peace or happiness in our life.