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The Science of Mind

The science of mind

Edited by Marco Ferrini

From the Book: Thought, Action, Destiny

The word "psychology" seems to be a modern definition, but its components, psyché and logos, are Greek words. For the ancient Greeks psyché was the soul and logos was the power of reasoning, so as you can understand there is not so much difference between psychology and philosophy; in fact such a distinction has been made in Western culture only a couple of centuries ago.

Within Tradition these two disciplines were, and still are, considered two aspects of the same knowledge. If we study one of the most famous texts of classical India, certainly the most loved and appreciated, the Bhagavad-Gita, we will see how much space is given there to the science of thought, psychology. This book explains, for example, that the mind that has not been trained properly remains our worst enemy, an enemy at home, hidden behind the scenes: someone who stabs us in the back, an assassin who threatens our life. This killer is particularly dangerous because it is invisible: there are very few people in the world who are able to “see” the mind, especially the subconscious and deep mind, situated below the conscious ego. I recommend that you get some of our texts to understand this topic more deeply. You may also want to use the audio recordings of this seminar because, by listening to the tapes at home, you will become able to reflect, understand better and find many answers. There are many texts, but I would suggest you to start with “Psychology of Bhagavad-Gita”, “Psychology of Yoga” and “Introduction to Indian Psychological Thought: India and the West”, a text that presents the different perspectives through which we can consider the world. As you will see, in Indovedic tradition the mind is an object, while the subject is the self. Jung, who deeply appreciated this tradition and was probably a most prolific author of psychology books, also used this terminology. He used to quote many oriental classical texts, especially those about Yoga, Gita, Vedanta and Upanishads. Usually the first time we hear these topics we can't understand them thoroughly, so we should listen to them for a second time and take notes, and then hear them for a third time and meditate on them. If you have some texts on which you can write down comments and ideas, these will remain as stepping stones in your life, and you will be able to get back on them and meditate more. The more you ponder over the topics, the deeper you will penetrate into each point, and the better you will understand the importance, not so much of the events in themselves, but of your attitude and views of the events, or of experience in itself. This will be your real patrimony, your treasure, and your wealth. There is also a science in hearing (shruti). The ancient sages, who have perfectly measured this phenomenon, have defined it in all its variety. Shruti comes from the Sanskrit root shru, which precisely means ‘listening, revelation’. It is also a name of the Vedas, the scriptures that have been revealed, not through a superficial hearing but through the proper technique, according to the proper teachings and guided by the proper teacher: such hearing requires not only the use of the mind but the heart as well.