How does sattvik mind help in leading blissful life?


1. Soul, mind and body

1.1 Self-realisation

The soul of every individual is a minute part of the universal soul i.e. God. God is omnipresent and He dwells in each one of us. The Vedanta states that knowledge of the Self is itself the true knowledge. Unless you know by experience who you are, how can you know others? After experience, the individual realises that he is the soul principle and not the body or the mind. Our life is a constantly active amalgamation of the body, mind and soul which act as one unit. The soul does not have any qualities hence it is impossible to describe it. A yogi following the Path of Knowledge (Dnyanyoga) experiences the soul as Absolute Knowledge and Bliss. A devotee following the Path of Devotion (Bhaktiyoga) experiences the soul as spiritual love, beauty and Bliss. One following the Path of Action (Karmayoga) experiences the soul as infinite creativity, activity and Bliss. Even the eternal Truth – God who is formless and devoid of qualities (nirgun) is experienced by the spiritually evolved according to their own path.

The mind exists in the form of energy. It is an instrument of acquiring knowledge about the Self as well as the external world.

The body exists as matter. Matter always degrades and dies. Hence for the body, death is unavoidable but the soul is immortal. The soul has neither a beginning nor an end. The innate energy of the soul gives rise to the mind and the mind gives rise to the body.

When an individual realises that in reality he is the soul principle and not the body, his fear of death disappears as the soul is immortal. In reality, we die only once but we die thousands of times due to the fear of death. When the fear of death disappears, the individual appears peaceful and Blissful even at the time of death. The seeds of all the diseases are implanted in fear. Even a beautiful person appears ugly when in a state of fear.

When afflicted by a disease everyone should take treatment as advised by the physician. However one must bear the following points in mind which will help one to get rid of the disease and lead a happy and beautiful life.

1.2 Deny the presence of the disease

An individual is the soul and not the body. The soul is immortal and Blissful. It cannot suffer from any ailment. Whether it is cancer or some hereditary disease, the firm belief that I cannot suffer from a disease helps one to get cured even from an incurable illness. Even if the illness is not cured or it advances, one does not suffer because one can look at the illness with the stance of a spectator (sakshibhav).

1.3 Faith

Faith plays a significant role in the life of every individual. The Upanishads state, ‘Man is faith (श्रद्घामयोऽयं पुरुष:)’. Everyone receives different results for the same action depending on one’s faith. If one believes that getting wet in the rain will give rise to cold and cough, one will certainly suffer from it when one gets wet in the rain. On the other hand, people who enjoy getting wet in the heavy showers hardly ever catch cold on getting wet.

The very feeling that I am a sinner and I am suffering from a disease due to sins in my past life becomes an obstacle to getting rid of the disease. Swami Vivekanand says, ‘You are the sons of immortality – God. How can you commit sins ?’

Live with full faith in God and be sure that God will definitely cure one. Instead of keeping the mind engrossed in thoughts about the ailment, concentrate on some useful activity, repeat (chant) The Lord’s Name or meditate. Despite the ailment, one will be able to live a happy and beautiful life.

1.4 Love

Immense faith in God and His creation enhances beauty. God is love and beauty. If the physician and relatives of the patient treat the patient with love and compassion, he will get cured very fast. Love is the tonic for the mind and in turn for the body.

1.5 Getting rid of your real enemies

Cravings, greed, ego, jealousy, anger, etc. are one’s real enemies. They make the mind restless and ultimately one develops ailments like high blood pressure. Even a beautiful person looks ferocious when he gets angry.

1.6 Truth

Truth is beautiful and untruth is ugly. Diseases which arise from untruth get cured by following the path of truth. Diseases, misery, sins and death do not have a real existence. They arise from ignorance.

1.7 Beautiful and ugly

Shakespeare says that there is nothing beautiful or ugly in the world. It is our thoughts which make them so. A person with good thoughts sees everything as beautiful and himself becomes beautiful.

God is beauty Himself. Naturally, the universe created by Him is overflowing with beauty. Look at the mountains, rivers, sea, sunset, moon or stars. How beautiful they are ! Look at the plants and animals. What natural beauty they exhibit in their appearance, their look, their movements, their gestures ! Go to any forest. How clean and beautiful it looks ! Man has lost his natural beauty. Therefore wherever he goes, he carries with him dirt, foul odour and jealousy.

Plants and animals are naturally beautiful. All infants and children appear naturally beautiful because their mind is simple and straightforward.

When a diamond appears more beautiful than a stone, the beauty is of the diamond. If the stone appears as beautiful as the diamond then it is one’s inner beauty of the mind and the soul. Everything in the world is beautiful. We only have to change our ideas and attitude.

We spend a lot of time, money and energy to appear beautiful. It is important that we ourselves (i.e. our mind) become beautiful. When we become beautiful, the inner beauty radiates outside and the external appearance automatically improves.

Worship (upasana) of Shri, the deity of beauty: Deity Shri is also known as Lakshmi, the deity of wealth; Dhanalakshmi, the deity of money; Dhairyalakshmi, the deity of courage; Vijayalakshmi, the deity of victory; Shouryalakshmi, the deity of bravery; Vidyalakshmi, the deity of knowlege; Kirtilakshmi, the deity of fame; Rajyalakshmi, the deity of the kingdom; Bhagyalakshmi, the deity of fortune and Soundaryalakshmi, the deity of beauty.

Thus, deity Shri or Lakshmi is the deity of beauty, wealth, cleanliness, purity, success, fame, prosperity, etc.

The Shri sukta is the Vedic hymn consisting of 16 stanzas (ruchas). The word sukta means well spoken. The Shri sukta mentions how one can please deity Shrilakshmi by repeating (chanting) verses in Her praise, which describe Her divine qualities.

Once a devotee asked deity Shri, “O mother, where do you dwell ?” The deity answered, “I dwell in courage and adventure (साहसे श्री: प्रतिवसति ।)

It is important to repeat (chant) the Shri sukta by understanding its meaning and imbibing the divine qualities of deity Shrilakshmi by emulating Her.

Deity Lakshmi sits on a lotus in a lake. Though the lotus floats on water, it still remains aloof from it as water does not adhere to the leaves of lotus. Just like deity Lakshmi we too should learn to remain aloof or detached from worldly objects and transactions. Though Lakshmi is the deity of wealth, prosperity, success and fame and despite her being the consort of Lord Vishnu, she sits at His feet and serves Him by gently pressing His legs. This shows Her humble nature and servitude. If we imbibe such qualities of deity Shrilakshmi, our mind too will become beautiful along with the body.

One should repeat (chant) the 16 stanzas of the Shri sukta (verses in praise of deity Lakshmi) daily as well as the 10 stanzas about the benefits (phalashruti) of repeating (chanting) it. The first stanza of the Shri sukta and the ninth stanza about the benefits of repeating (chanting) it are given below along with their meaning. Undertaking repetition (chanting) of these two stanzas, nine times a day after completely comprehending their meaning serves the same purpose.

हरि: ॐ – श्री सूक्‍त
हिरण्‍यवर्णां हरिणीं सुवर्णरजतस्‍त्रजाम्‌ ।
चंद्रां हिरण्‍मयीं लक्ष्‍मीं जातवेदोम आवह ।।१।। – श्री सूक्‍त

O Jata Veda (the deity of the sacred fire), who has complete knowlege of the entire universe, we pray unto you to invite deity Shrilakshmi, who adorns gold ornaments, whose radiance is lustrous akin to pure gold, who loves to wander from one place to another like a deer, whose effulgence radiates light and who imparts happiness to the entire world, into my house. – Shri sukta 1

श्रीवर्चस्‍वं आयुष्‍यं आरोग्‍यमविधाच्‍छोभमानं महीयते ।
धान्‍यं, धनं, पशुं बहुपुत्रलाभं शतसंवत्‍सरं दीर्घमायु: ।। लक्ष्‍मीसूक्‍त ९

O deity Shri, bless your devotees with good position, victory, prosperity, sound health, beauty, fame, healthy progeny and a long, wealthy and useful life of a 100 years. – Lakshmi sukta 9

ॐ महालक्ष्‍म्‍यै च विद्‌महे महश्रियै च धीमही । तन्‍नो श्री: प्रचोदयात्‌ ।

We are aware of the divine nature of deity Mahalakshmi. We meditate upon deity Shri. May deity Shri enlighten our intellect.

2. Beauty of the mind

The word ‘mana’ is derived from ‘मन (mana)’ which means the mind. The one who can think [मनन (manan)], is a man. The mind is also called as the antahkaran i.e. the inner sense organ in relation to the five external sense organs of hearing, touch, vision, taste and smell. The antahkaran is composed of –

  • Ego (ahankar)

  • Mind (mana)

  • Intellect (buddhi)

  • Subconscious mind (chitta)

The qualities of the mind which is subtle and those of the gross body differ. Increase in weight and attachment make the body strong. The mind becomes strong by becoming subtler and detached. The speed of the mind varies. At times it exceeds the speed of light while in the meditative state (samadhi) or deep sleep, its speed becomes nil.

The mind manifests through the nervous system. It is composed of subtle components of sattva, raja and tama. The sattva component is composed of subtle knowledge, light and pleasure. It manifests as love, gratitude, compassion and other divine qualities. The raja component has the basic qualities of misery and movement. It manifests as sexual desire, anger, greed, selfishness, craving for power, jealousy, etc. Ignorance and darkness are the basic qualities of the tama component. It manifests as laziness, sleep and jealousy.

Though the tama component is subtler than electrons yet it is more gross as compared to the sattva and raja components. The raja component is subtler than the tama component while the sattva component is the most subtle one.

2.1 Psychological constitution

Indian philosophers classify the qualities of the mind into good qualities i.e. the sattva component and undesirable qualities. The undesirable qualities are further divided into raja and tama components. All of us possess both, good as well as bad qualities. Individuals are classified into the following groups depending on the predominance of the sattva, raja or tama component.

2.2 Tamobhuyishta or tamasik (tama predominant) individuals

Individuals who come under this category are less intelligent, in a depressed frame of mind and generally prone to laziness. The slightest mental exertion tires them easily. A common feature is a tendency to feel sleepy even during the day. They take the path of least resistance and eat, drink, sleep and indulge in sex to a greater extent. They are extremely greedy, irritable and do not have consideration for others. They may go to the extent of even harming others to safeguard their vested interests. In these people, the id dominates over ego and super ego.

Pashav (animal), matsya (fish) and vanaspatya (vegetable) constitutions represent the three types of tamasik personalities.

2.3 Rajobhuyishta or rajasik (raja predominant) individuals

These individuals are egoistic, proud, ambitious and have a tendency to boss over others. They are loquacious and though hardworking, their endeavours lack proper planning and direction. Their mental makeup is not so strong as that of sattvabhuyishta individuals. Emotions such as anger, joy, attachment, jealousy, etc. dominate their personality. They are prone to emotional outbursts and hence their mental energy is wasted. They require eight hours of sleep. They are calm and patient, only so long as their interests are not affected. They are good, friendly and faithful only to those who are helpful to them. In these people, the ego usually dominates over the id and super ego. Asura and rakshasa (demon), pishachcha and preta (ghost), sarpa (serpent) and shakuna (bird) constitutions represent the six varieties of rajasik (raja predominant) personalities.

2.4 Sattvabhuyishta or sattvik (sattva predominant) individuals

These individuals have a steady and pure mind. They have a religious inclination and follow the path of Truth and Righteousness (Dharma). They stand out by their good manners and good character. They possess a great deal of self-control and do not get easily upset or angry. Even a considerable amount of mental activity does not result in mental fatigue. They need hardly four hours of sleep. They respect their teachers and always try to improve their knowledge, proficiency and skill. They are capable of taking correct decisions after careful and mature thinking which is derived from a clear intellect. Religious by nature, they have an insatiable thirst for knowledge and take a detached view of problems. In sattvik people, the super ego dominates over the id and ego. Brahma and Arsha (saint), Indra, Yama, Varun and Kubera (God) and Gandharva (celestial musician) constitutions represent the seven types of sattvik personalities.

2.5 Trigunatit (one beyond the three components)

A trigunatit person is one who has mastered all the mental processes. He ceases to have any desires, aversions, emotions and attachments. As he has no desires or aversions, he performs his activities without expecting any returns. As he has full control over his emotions, all attempts to make him angry, frighten him or make him elated prove futile. Even Menaka, the celestial beauty cannot stimulate his sexual instinct. He is a fearless person, not even afraid of death. Free from all attachments, he renounces all worldly pleasures. He is least concerned about what the society thinks of him. As he has lost his identity, he is neither happy when honoured nor unhappy when insulted. He is engrossed in elevating his own mental level and lies in his own realm of peace and happiness. A renunciant (sannyasi) who has renounced all worldly pleasures and spends his life in meditation is a trigunatit person.

2.6 Ideal individual (Purushottam)

How then should we categorise an ideal individual ? What are the components which give shape to such a balanced personality ? An ideal individual should have all the qualities of the mind and heart of a trigunatit and sattvik (sattva predominant) personality. Complete and total detachment of the former should combine with a friendly, helpful and social nature of the latter. He should place service unto others before self. Though detached, he should perform all his activities in a masterly manner for the benefit of his fellowmen and upliftment of society. Lord Krushna may be cited as an example of an ideal individual. Lord Krushna’s detached attitude towards life is well portrayed in the following episode which took place when He was at the tender age of twelve. Kansa, the maternal uncle of Lord Krushna was the king of Mathura at that time and a tyrant. He came to power by imprisoning Ugrasen, the rightful ruler. Lord Krushna killed Kansa when He was twelve years old. The people of Mathura were grateful and happy to be relieved of Kansa’s tyranny and wanted Lord Krushna to become their king. Though Lord Krushna had the ability and wisdom to rule the kingdom, He refused. Detached as He was, He handed the kingdom to Ugrasen the rightful ruler and left Mathura. Throughout His life there are many such instances wherein He fought for justice and played the role of a king maker but never accepted the role of a ruler.

Lord Krushna had exemplified perfection in various spheres such as music, philosophy, politics, war, etc. Even the animals and birds were enchanted with the melodious notes which flowed from His flute. The victory of the Pandavas in the Mahabharat war was on account of Him. Arjun, the most renowed archer of His time, could not combat Lord Krushna on the battlefield. In a duel between Lord Krushna and Arjun, Arjun was humiliated in no time. The Bhagvadgita, one of the most phenomenal philosophical discourses of all times was narrated to Arjun by Lord Krushna within a few hours on the battlefield. The teachings of the Bhagvadgita and the life of Lord Krushna portray how an ideal individual should be.

A tamasik (tama predominant) person has an ugly personality. A rajasik (raja predominant) person has a changing personality. He looks ferocious when angry and affectionate when loving. A sattvik person has a pleasant personality due to his Blissful state of mind. A trigunatit person appears beautiful due to His Blissful state. He radiates Bliss and attracts people. An ideal individual (Purushottam) is the healthiest and the most beautiful and attractive person.

2.7 Diet and the mind

According to the Chandogya Upanishad, the sattva, raja and tama components in the food, supply these components to the mind. Diets which dominate in sattva, raja and tama components are given below.

Sattvik (sattva predominant) diet: Cow’s milk, butter, ghee, fruits, dry fruits like almonds, walnuts and food items which do not ferment or putrefy easily increase the sattva component of the mind.

Rajasik (raja predominant) diet: Spicy, pungent, sour, salty and hot food items, garlic and onion increase the raja component of the mind.

Tamasik (tama predominant) diet: Unclean, stale, dry, fermented and putrefied food items increase the tama component of the mind.

Food bought with money acquired through righteous means increases the sattva component of the mind. Food bought with money acquired through selfish motives increases the raja component of the mind. Food bought with money acquired by stealing or cheating others increases the tama component of the mind.

Food offered heartily by sattvik (sattva predominant) people or eaten as a holy sacrament (prasad) increases the sattva component of the mind. Food eaten at parties increases the raja component of the mind. Food given by or eaten in the company of a wicked person increases the tama component of the mind.

When every morsel of the food is eaten while repeating (chanting) The Lord’s Name, it increases the sattva component of the mind. Food eaten while gossiping increases the raja component of the mind. Food consumed with alcoholic drinks increases the tama component of the mind.

Fresh fruits increase the sattva component, pickles prepared from fruits increase the raja component while wine prepared from fruits increases the tama component of the mind.

Buffalo’s milk increases the strength of the body and the tama component of the mind while cow’s milk increases the strength of the mind and the sattva component.

Good thoughts, righteous conduct and good speech increase the sattva component of the mind. Thoughts have an immediate and 100% effect on the mind as thinking is the function of the mind. Food can affect the mind only to the tune of 5%.

Birth in a pious family, the holy company of saints and sattvik people and visits to places of pilgrimage increase the sattva component of the mind.

2.8 Qualities of an individual with a healthy mind

Individuals with a healthy mind are intelligent and have a good memory. They execute the job entrusted to them skillfully. Their thoughts are pure and pious. They are enthusiastic, brave, courageous and believe in the existence of God. They respect learned people, saints and the Guru. They are humble and grateful. They face any calamity fearlessly. They have good tolerance and have full control over their mind as well as the sense and motor organs. They are well wishers of others and work for the upliftment of the society.

Individuals with a weak mind require constant support. They are fearful and lose their mental balance easily. Their mind is unstable and they feel embarassed and become restless by minor disturbances. They do not have control over their mind as well as the sense or motor organs.

2.9 Beautiful life

The beauty one acquires at a beauty parlour lasts only for a few hours. If one makes one’s heart beautiful, the whole world will always appear beautiful.

Beauty does not lie in external objects. Rather beauty manifests when one gets engrossed in the object. Dance and music appear beautiful when one is so engrossed that the dancer and the musician disappear and only the dance and music remain. Similarly, when one is fully engrossed in whatever one is doing, life becomes beautiful at every moment.

2.10 Lord Krushna – The ultimate beauty

Life is defined as constant amalgamation and union of the body, mind and soul. An ideal individual must have an ideal body and mind. The soul never gets destroyed and remains eternally in a state of Absolute Knowledge, Bliss and beauty (सत्‍यं शिवं सुंदरम्‌). For an ideal healthy body one should have –

  • A balanced state of the five great cosmic elements (panchabhautik panchamahabhutas) i.e. an ideal quality and quantity of absolute ether (akash), absolute air (vayu), absolute fire (tej), absolute water (apa) and absolute earth (pruthvi) i.e. panchabhautik beauty.

  • A balanced constitution (sama prakruti) i.e. an ideal quality and quantity of vata, pitta and kapha i.e. molecular beauty.

For an ideal mind, the mind should be of a sattvik (sattva predominant) or trigunatit (beyond the three components) nature.

Lord Krushna had an ideal body and mind and He lived an active, healthy, happy and useful life of a hundred and sixty years.

He had a healthy, beautiful and attractive body and mind. Every part of His body and every action was beautiful. Vallabhacharya Mahaprabhu, a great scholar, saint and an ardent devotee of Lord Krushna was overwhelmed with the beauty of Lord Krushna and composed a song of 8 stanzas on the beauty of Lord Krushna whom He calls Madhuradhi pati – the king of beauty and sweetness.