Question asked by a devotee. How does one cleanse or heal his or her soul? The soul in today's materialistic world is taking a beating and the extent depends on the society, the profession, the community and each person's ability to sustain/accept it for a variety of reasons?
Answer by Swamiji: You are the soul, which is a part of God, and hence by nature you are perpetually Divine. The problem is that the soul is identifying with the body, mind, and intellect, and so, when the mind feels tormented, the soul experiences the misery. For example, if someone cuts our head in our dream, even though the dream is not a reality, we experience the misery until we wake up. Similarly, the Divine soul experiences the miseries of the mind in the materially conditioned state, because it identifies with it. So, when you say that the soul takes a beating, what you mean is that the mind takes a beating, and the soul experiences the pain vicariously.
When the mind is sufficiently cleansed, the soul will be able to perceive the distinction between itself and the mind, and rise above the dualities of the mind. Hence, to cleanse or heal the mind is the paramount goal of a spiritual aspirant.
Many materialists too are awake to this need of purifying the mind, since the soul naturally feels disconcerted with an impure mind, and yearns to experience the state of purity that is natural to it. A plethora of techniques and self-help books are available in the world for practicing positive thinking in its various forms and connotations. However, all these techniques have very limited effectivity in purifying the mind, and the results too are only temporary. We must remember that the mind is made from maya, which is God’s energy, and it cannot be conquered merely by self-effort. We can permanently and totally heal the mind only by the Grace of God.
So the most powerful practice for cleansing the mind is to engage it in love of God, or Bhakti. That is the verdict of all the Vedic literature, and the essence of all religion. Shree Krishna explains in the Bhagavad Geeta that maya has three gunas - sattva, rajas, and tamas. These three gunas, or modes, are also present in the mind, and hence the mind oscillates between them. Whatever atmosphere one gets or wherever one attaches the mind, the corresponding guna becomes dominant. However, God is beyond these there gunas. He is Divine, and so if we attach our mind to Him, it too rises beyond the three gunas and becomes Divine.
The Ramayan states:
Prem bhagati jal binu Raghurai, abhi antar mal kabahun na jayi.
“Until we wash our mind in the water of love of God, its dirt will never go.”
The Shreemad Bhagavatam states:
Dharmah satya dayo peto…
“We may follow all the rules of proper conduct, we may perform severe austerities, and we may accumulate the most esoteric knowledge, but with devotion to God, none of these practices will be sufficient in cleansing the mind.”
So, do try to sincerely understand and practice the various facets of the Science of bhakti, or devotion to God, and very soon you will experience the mind being elevated and cleansed from endless lifetimes of impurities. If you have the book “Prem Ras Siddhant – Philosophy of Divine Love” by Jagadguru Shree Kripaluji Maharaj, please read the chapter on Bhaktiyog, where he has lucidly described the science of sadhana bhakti. Use that knowledge to attach your mind to God, and experience the Bliss of Divine Love.