Vicharo Ka Mahatva – Importance of Thoughts (April, 2015)
If you were to ask people to think of their biggest asset, majority would think of wealth, some would think of health, and an even smaller number would think of brain prowess. But, aren’t they all mistaken; isn’t mind the biggest asset humans have? A person who has ample wealth, perfect health, a sharp brain, and a mind filled with destructive thoughts is destined to fail. Despite all the apparent fortunes, such a person will bring disaster. On the other hand, a person with positive and virtuous thoughts will always achieve success and peace. Such a person will always find ways to worthy accomplishments despite other inadequacies. It is not a coincidence that, at the dawn of creation, our sages identified the importance thoughts play in human lives; in the Gayatri mantra, devotee prays to God for inspiration and pure intellect. This month’s topic is “विचारों का महत्व” (Importance of Thoughts).
The Vedic scriptures are replete with mantras focusing on the righteous thoughts. During hawan, we chant the mantra Tanme Manah Shiv Sankalpamastu (तन्मे मनः शिव संकल्पमस्तु) three times. This mantra, which means “May my mind be full of good thoughts,” is a standalone mantra as well as embedded in several others. In the 34th chapter of the Yajurved, there are several mantras, called Shiv Sankalpa Sutras. These mantras, while outlining the role thoughts play in different contexts, pray to fill devotees’ minds with auspicious thoughts.
Behind everything that we see and experience, there is some action; behind every action, there is a resolution; behind every resolution, there is an inspiration; and, behind every inspiration, there is a thought. Often, the original thought is so subtle that we do not even recognize it at the onset. If this very initial thought is pure and uplifting, the outcome will inevitably be auspicious. If the purity of thoughts and mind is so vital, why don’t we harbor benevolent thoughts only? For that, it is important to understand the relationships among mind, thoughts, and actions. Mind is like a fertile land; thoughts, like seeds; and, actions, like fruits. Whether or not we are aware of it, we are planting every thought and experience in our mind. And mind, in return, generates similar thoughts that are much more powerful than the planted thoughts and experiences.
To attain prized outcomes, it is a must for us to dwell in pure thoughts and experiences. What we see, speak, and experience have profound impact on what we become. And then what we become defines our future thoughts. It is a cycle – whether it is a virtuous or vicious cycle depends upon the quality of the initial thoughts.
It is not a surprise that we often see our elders, scholars and wise folks stressing the importance of what we feed to our minds. Those lessons (like, avoid watching graphic shows, refrain from badmouthing, not entertain low thoughts; instead read the autobiographies of pure souls, seek out good in others, stay in the company of positive people, engage in uplifting experiences and thoughts) are not without merit.
This month, kids will define, in their own words, importance of thoughts and its impact on their lives. They can use real-life examples. In addition, they can also cover some of the Shiv Sankalpa Sutras. I came across a good site (http://www.maharishidayanand.com/vedic-night-prayer) that captures these sutras. It’s in Hindi; please help translate it for kids.
Let’s make it a worthy exercise with lifelong lessons for kids – and ourselves.