Do not try to control the mind, just leave it alone and it will extinguish || Acharya Prashant (2015)

Question:  How can a person be the master of his mind, so that his mind is under control?

Speaker: Under whose control? Who is demanding this control? You are asking, “How can a person be the master of his mind, so that the mind is under his control?” Under whose control?

Listener 1: Under the person’s control.

Speaker: Who is the ‘person’?  Where does he live? Who is talking right now? Who is desiring to control the mind? From where do all desires come?

From where do all desires come?

Listeners: Mind.

Speaker: So the mind is saying, “I want to control the mind.” A desire in the mind, is asking to control the other desires in the mind? Yes, is that so? You see the impossibility of this, right?

But this has been happening for long. We have been trying to control the mind. And that is one advice that has often been given to us that – control the mind. “Be the master of your mind.” And not only such advice has been given, a lot of tricks, technique, methods are floating, in order to control the mind. And some of them, wonderfully, also seem to work. The mind is controlling the mind.

This is just a deception of the mind. And whom is it deceiving? Itself. All the games are in the mind; the mind itself is full of games. Now we come to the root of the question. When you say, “I want to control he mind,” what you mean to say is, that the mind suffers because of its own actions, and the mind is demanding that it does not want to suffer anymore. Is the question more accurately put now?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: The mind has desires, and it chases those desires. It gets hurt. The mind gets lazy, bored, tired, ambitious; different colors. And then it has to pay the price for everything that it thinks, does, plans, executes, right? Your experience has been that going by your tendencies and desires, you have often suffered. Has that been the experience of few other people as well?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: That we let the tendencies play, we chase the desires. Or you could say that there is a system, in which the desires are born, and then desires are chased. Thoughts rise, and thoughts are given energy, and then soon those thoughts gain a life of their own, and keep circulating, and circulating in the mind. Have you seen that? And you do not like that. You do not like that, for the simple reason, that you suffer. So when you talk of ‘mind control’, what you want is an end to the suffering that the processes of the mind bring upon itself. Remember, I am saying – the suffering that the processes of the mind bring to ‘the mind’ itself.

Now whatever be the process of the mind, whatever be the process of the mind, it seems like bringing us suffering. Even an attempt to end the processes, is another process. ‘Your’ attempts cannot be any bigger and better than what you are. You see, we try a lot of things, and we do not have the energy. We find ourselves short and lazy. Now even if we try another new thing, how will the story be any different? We might again find ourselves short and lazy. After all, the attempt is arising from ‘us’; ‘us’ meaning ‘the mind’, and the inherent tendencies of the mind are the same.Thinking

Anything arising from these tendencies cannot bring these tendencies to an end. A new thought will not bring the old thoughts to an end, because the new thought is the furtherance of the old thought. It is actually ‘old’.

What to do then? Not to do anything. Not to do anything is the answer to – what to do? Will you remember this? What to do? Not to do. What does that mean? Whatever the mind does, even though it does it as a conditioned machine, yet that machine seeks its fuel from outside. Just as a car is there, a car is a conditioned machine. Is a car a conditioned machine, or not? Its design is preset. A car cannot fly; it is conditioned to run on the road. It is conditioned, every machine is conditioned. But a car seeks its fuel from outside. No car is self-sufficient in terms of generating its fuel.

No conditioned system is so self-sufficient that it can survive and thrive on its own. This fundamental thing has to be understood. (Pointing at the camera placed in front, for recording) This camera might be a self-sufficient in terms of recording what is going on, but still it is dependent on somebody else for its operation, and for its energy. There has to be somebody behind it, to control it, and there has to be an external source from where it is gaining electrical energy. Is that so, or not? Even though it is totally conditioned, yet there is then some kind of a choice available.

You are the one who can make that choice. You are not the one who goes by the automatic choices of the mind. You are the one who can choose to be swept away by the mind; if you are unaware, if you are inebriated, if you are drunk. Or you may be the one, who can decide, whether or not give energy to the mind.

Take a simple example. A thought arises. What is the process through which a thought arises? There is an external stimulus, and because you have an inherent tendency to think, you are conditioned to think, so because of the stimulus, a thought arises. But that is all about it. That is the maximum the stimulus can do. It can provoke a thought within you. But then you provide fuel to that thought; you provide energy to that thought. And then the thought becomes a fixation with you. You are now thinking the entire day.

Now you are thinking the entire day. Does that happen or not? At the moment when you are providing the energy, there is a faint choice available to you. “Yes the thought is arising, but I see that the thought has been provoked by an external agent,” and the moment you realize this, there is no need to give any more energy to the thought.

Remember: you are not controlling the mind; you are just cutting-off the supply of its fuel. You are the one who supplies energy to the mind. The mind might be automatic. Somebody presses a button; the mind wants to get angry. And people know your buttons. Somebody can come and press a button, and you may get angry; a wave of anger surges. But that’s about it. The wave can arise, but the wave cannot sustain itself for long, without your help.

Stop helping. Your help is your doing. That is what I replied to the question – what to do? “Not to do.” Do not provide it energy anymore. But if you say, “I want to control the mind,” then you are providing it energy, by trying to control it. You see, every trying involves effort, and effort is energy. In trying to control the mind, you will only keep the mind continue doing, what it does. Have you not seen this tendency of the mind, or your own? When you prohibit it from doing something, it wants to that thing all the more. Have you seen this?

If somebody tries to control you, or if somebody tries to bar you, or prohibit you from doing something, you feel all the more curious and inclined to doing that thing. Does that happen or not?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Speaker: So, an effort to control, actually results in continuation of the same thing, that you try to control. It will not succeed, it will only fail. No effort can bring the existing momentum to a halt. It is impossible. Cut-off the supply. See the needlessness of thinking, and that is ‘mind control’. That is real ‘mind control’. Just realize that all this thinking is just mechanical, and it hasn’t served any purpose ever, to you, to anybody. Realize that you can be and survive, without all this continuous churning and thinking.

Have you seen how you often find yourself constantly worrying and thinking? Does that happen with you? All day you are thinking. Thinking what? The same thing, like a cycle. This thought is not reaching anywhere, it is a circuit; not going anywhere, just circulating. And you are busy thinking, you are giving energy to the thought. Same thoughts; again and again, and again. And same deadlocks and stalemates; again, and again, and again.


Your obsession with the thought, continues the thought. Stop being obsessed, stop giving the thought more energy, and the thought will go away, because the thought has no organic life of its own. It is a dead thing; like a car, it depends on somebody else to give it fuel.

Do not give it fuel, and see for how long it sustains. Soon it will drop down.

Is that clear?

Listeners: Yes, Sir.

Watch the session at: Prashant Tripathi: Do not try to control the mind, just leave it alone and it will extinguish The transcription has been edited for clarity.

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  1. Thanks sir for explaining mind cunningness in so simple way, my mind also tells me to write a book on how to control the mind, however you are right the mind wants to control the mind by the words motivated by the mind.


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