World Experience is Mind Experience
Our experience of the world is the result of the projections and opinions that mind throws back at us, about the world. Hence our opinions, views and perspectives are colored heavily with the mind’s own programming. This means that the mind is adding a whole lot of subjectivity to the actual view of the world. This makes the mind, a highly uncontainable animal with regards to its painting a world-view before us. Depending on our opinions of the world, we react, respond or manipulate our actions. This makes it important for us to find the leanings of the mind so that our experiences of the world become relatively pleasant and close to “AS IT IS” rather than being tainted, owing which, our responses to worldly situations could turn unpleasant or inappropriate.
4 Defects of the mind
The mind is prone to four defects according to the Vedic Scriptures, clearly mentioned in the Srimad Bhagavatham. They are confusion and procrastination (प्रमाद pramada), inadvertence and inattention leading to illusion (भ्रम bhrama), cheating mentality (विप्रलिप्सा vipralipsa) and imperfection of senses (करणापाटव karanapatava). The mind and the senses, owing to these inherent deficiencies are in no way able to capture the nature of inconceivable reality, Truth in all its glory. Hence acquiring knowledge through sense-perception and mental deliberation shall prove largely unreliable. We shall cover the four aspects to some detail.
Pramada (Confusion and procrastination)
Human beings, right when they are in the cradle are given to rest and sleep. This is an inescapable trait that has been bestowed on human beings as a law of Nature. In most human beings, this trait remains through their growing years. The mind remains suspended and inactive and not worked upon. This being the case, generally the mind is in the mode of ignorance. Thus, indolence, inertia, shirking activity becomes a driver for the mind to remain non-functional. The view of the world that such a mind receives is distorted, and aligned towards the mode of ignorance. The view of a man with Pramada is that, there is no need to work for such individuals. It is better for them to postpone work and responsibility. One feels that it is alright to pass on the buck and find shortcuts to shirk work as the chief operating principle of life. Owing to this shirking mentality, one cannot have interest in work to be able to understand the mechanics and philosophy of work. Naturally one is prone to misinformation and confusion regarding activities that he is supposed to take up and execute. Even if work is undertaken, it shall have too many mistakes and errors. But Pramada can never work to one’s advantage, the reason being that man is governed by the stringent laws of Karma. That is the reason that he is born and has a body. If the law of Karma is not understood and realized, Pramada shall dominate. One has to undertake resolute training in the way Karma works and the way it distributes activity. When some form of Yoga is undertaken with proper understanding of Karma and its functions with regards to life-management skills, Pramada can be overcome.
Bhrama (Inadvertence and Inattention)
This happens when Pramada has become a way of life for the individual. When postponement and shirking of work dominates, the mind manufactures mechanisms to view the world in an “imagined way”. The Mind is great in manufacturing disoriented and disjoint logic with which one learns to lie around and become heedless to life situations. Serious life situations will be viewed as unimportant and useless, while trivial things of the world will be viewed as an escape mechanism and will be regarded as very important. Lies will be viewed as Truth and vice-versa. For example when someone is ill at home and requires attention, one will tend to neglect or ignore the situation, thinking that there are better things to do. On the other hand money and time will be spent on watching gossip news and trivialities that wastes one’s time and life in the long run. This is when illusion dominates and disturbs the mental balance of the individual. Cheating mentality is a result of such an approach towards life situations.
Vipralipsa (Cheating Mentality)
Vipralipsa is a result of skewed view of life situations owing to illusion and inadvertence. People find shortcuts to lead their lives in a reckless manner. The first thing to happen with the mind is that, it becomes heavy with compromise and is unaligned with what is true. Life principles and Value systems that are the very basis of existence are ignored and trampled upon. Man employs whatever means to earn his living and does not care about the process or mechanics of life. The greatness of life is not about the goal or destination but the way or process undertaken to reach the goal irrespective of whether one attains the goal or not. This is Dharma. When Vipralipsa takes over, the position of Dharma is reversed to Adharma. Here goal becomes predominant. Goals are also set in such a way that it may be unethical, hideous and harmful. All ways and means are applied without care for any process or person. This is the most toxic matured state of Pramada. This paves the way towards the ultimate doom of the individual whose mind has been destroyed by Vipralipsa.
Karana Patava (Imperfection of Senses)
This is an overarching position of the senses over all the previous three states of mental deformations. Senses are imperfect by their inherent nature. Since the senses remain sullied in materialistic engagements they are blunt and weak. Our eyes prefer to see lusty and obscene visuals. Our tongue is given to taste all types of desirable and undesirable foods that include animal meat. We talk without control and gossip about all things misusing the tongue. Our nostrils are addicted to pleasant smells and hence pampered. We want to hear things in praise of us although we bitch and bicker about others. We like the touch of the opposite sex and want to indulge in immoral acts. Given that our senses stand tainted, their ability to transmit and receive higher knowledge is minimal or negligible given to the fact that higher knowledge is subtle, refined and superior, unable to be picked up by our matter-stricken senses. Thus, our senses contribute heavily towards the sullying of our mind and emotions.
Spiritual Practice has the answers
The 4 defects of the mind contribute in creating a pseudo-personality within us. This personality distorts and demeans the very purpose of life. Purpose of life is to realize our infinite potential and revel in the gift that awaits us within our hearts. However most of us are messing it up in the mind and left far behind from where we see very little chances of retrieving our real self. The answers lie in the problem stated. The defects of the mind can be easily sorted out, if we are to undertake spiritual training and discipline revolving around the innate abnormalities of the mind that an average man unfortunately, accepts as normal. Nothing is normal, since our life is driven by goals, ambitions, selfishness, avarice and lust. Only when these impurities, which contribute to the 4 defects of the mind mentioned above, are filtered out, can man graduate towards the infinite divine.