Scenario 01 – Just visualize that you have come across a breathtakingly pristine lake while travelling in the higher altitudes. The water is absolutely mirroring the beautiful landscape – the clear blue sky, the snow capped mountains, the tall slender alpine trees, and whatever all you see, where you are. You feel drawn towards the water. On going closer, you see beautiful, colored pebbles at the bottom of the lake. You actually realize how still and clear the water surface is – reflecting everything on the surface and revealing everything beneath the surface, as it is. You quietly sit by the shore and let your eyes close, allowing yourself to get soaked in this powerful pristine energy of Nature, of stillness and silence. 

Scenario 02 – Some time has passed now, you sense the touch of a cool breeze on your bare face and breathe deeply. Gently then you let your eyes open, to see that the water has now gone out in ripples. The mirror like reflection on the water surface has blurred. The pebbles at the bottom are not as clearly visible as earlier. 

Scenario 03 – Some more time passes, a still different scenario arises.  There are few more travellers who have arrived at the spot. They probably do not share the same temperament as yours. Before you realise it, some of them have started to swim in the clear waters.[This actually happened when we travelled to Chandrataal @ feature image. We luckily got initial few minutes window to appreciate and capture the mirror effect on the waters until everything was hijacked by few enthusiastic, noisy swimmers😏😀] Now fine sediments from the bottom have started to come up, making the water quite opaque. You can no more see any reflections on the water surface or the pebbles at the bottom of the lake. 

So, what are we getting at, by observing all of this? To the nature of our own mind.

Come to think of the water surface as our mind,

the ripples/ waves are our thoughts, 

the dirt/ sediments are our negative tendencies

and the beautiful lake bottom is our own true self, the pure Divine essence.

The way we can see the bottom of the lake, only and only when the water is still and clear. Similarly, to be able to get to our own true self, the mind has to be calm and clear. So, there are the two non negotiable conditions – Purity and Stillness.

This understanding is the basis or start point of the philosophy of Yoga, wherein all the practices are directed towards bringing the mind to this state, and then channelise it higher towards the transcendental. 

The very 02nd verse of PaatanjalYogaSutra (the principle text of Yoga philosophy), defines Yoga as :

योगश्चित्तवृत्तिनिरोधः॥ PYS 1.2॥

Yoga (yogaḥ) is the cessation (nirodhaḥ) of the modifications (vṛtti) of the mind (citta).

In simplest terms, citta can be understood as the mind, vritti as thoughts, nirodha as cessation.

Hence, Yoga is the tool/ technique to master the mind such that it does not go out into any mental modification or thought waves.

Or simply, Yoga is stilling the ripples of the mind. Period.

So, what is the state of the mind now? Like a still pristine lake or the small ripples in that water or the giant tides of a choppy ocean? 

You can meet yourself only there, where it is still and clear.😇❤️

Feature Image – Chandrataal Lake, Lahaul Valley, Himachal Pradesh@ Sept’2016