The Subjective Mind
The third chamber or factor of knowledge is the subjective mind (the second being the objective mind).
But the fundamental entity behind this faculty of knowledge is the Supreme Subject. This entity is the noumenal factor behind each and every action, but it does nothing by itself. Everything takes place because of His presence. His presence is an obligatory prerequisite for everything. It can be compared to the catalyst in a scientific experiment.
Though the catalytic agent itself has no direct role, its presence makes the whole process work very smoothly, and thus it is a great help. While preparing makaradhvaja (a special Indian áyurvaedik medicine) gold is added. Gold is not mixed directly with the makaradhvaja, but its presence in the process is essential.
Similarly, behind the faculty of knowledge, behind the action of knowing, behind the function of the objective mind and the subjective mind, there is invariably the presence of the Supreme Subjectivity which makes all things work smoothly, and without which nothing can happen.
This Entity can neither be called the subjectivated mind, nor the objectivated mind; He is only a presence, a distinguishing presence. He may be likened, as it were, to the head of a family celebrating marriage.
He does not do anything specific, he neither cooks, nor distributes the food, nor busies himself in any particular work, and yet he is still the central figure, the supreme guide of the whole celebration, overseeing, supervising and directing everyone and everything everywhere, sitting silently on a chair in one corner of the house. Apparently he is inactive, but it is his commanding presence alone which keeps all the participants in the celebration alert. Those people who are allotted specific duties carry them out properly to the satisfaction of the head of the house. Likewise, the Supreme Entity is also the Supreme Subject.
The subjectivated mind is the witnessing counterpart of the objectivated mind, and may take its object both from the external physical world and the internal psychic world. It may create an object within itself; it can convert its own subject into an object. For example, you see an elephant in the outside world; your objective mind takes its form, and your subjective mind witnesses it.
This is one aspect. Later, though there is no elephant in the external world, you may engage a portion of your mind in taking the form of an elephant. You can visualize that imaginary elephant of your mind and argue within yourself: “Well, the trunk is all right but one of the tusks seems to be a little small, I’ll make them the same length.” And so you make the smaller one a little larger. All this is done within the mind.
“The other day Rambabu said so many unpleasant things to me. I should have spoken back, but instead I kept silent, swallowing the insults. In future, if I meet him again, and the same unpleasant thing happens, I’ll give him a piece of my mind.” Here, one becomes as one perceives.
Suppose you went to visit your aunt, and at the time of departure she did not request you to visit her again. In your mind you utter the following words to the mental image of your aunt: “I shall not visit you any more.” If she asks why, I shall say, “Oh no, I shall not go to your place.” These words are said mentally to the aunt of your mental creation. But the real aunt remains far away, completely ignorant of what you are thinking.
Can the unit subjective mind ever know or think of the Supreme Subjectivity? In the world of humans we notice that those people participating in a celebration, or in-charges having specific duties, never sit idly looking towards the Supreme, the Supreme Subjectivity. If those to whom special roles have been allotted do not act properly, the Supreme Head will be displeased. He will be all the more displeased if you sit idly, looking towards Him with a vacant expression. Moreover, if you tell Him, flatteringly, “How kind you are, how merciful! How fine you look in your gorgeous apparels and ornaments!” He will say in reply, “What audacity! Stop this silly nonsense.” It is most improper to treat the Supreme Subjectivity in this way.
Now, let us discuss this from the psychological point of view. The subjective mind is the objective mind’s subjective counterpart; that is to say, the objective mind is the “known” and the subjective mind the “knower”. Similarly, in the case of the relationship between the unit subjectivity and the Supreme Subjectivity, the former is the known and the latter the knower. The snake looks at the frog. The snake is the subject, and the frog the object. The frog watches the mosquito. The frog is the subject, the mosquito the object. The mosquito looks at the dew-drop. The mosquito is the subject, the dew-drop the object. But the snake itself is not aware that it is being watched by the peacock; and the peacock is not aware that it is being watched by the fowler. The fowler is the subject, the peacock the object. Nobody looks at the subject. This is the usual practice in the world. Had people chosen to look at the subject, everything would be in proper order.
Everything takes place within the mental arena of the Supreme Subjectivity.
The objective counterpart, too, is within the Cosmic Mind.
In other words, all the objectivities of the world together are the object of the Supreme Subjectivity.
A boy is studying. While doing so the thought may pass through his mind that if he does not pass his examination he will have to face much criticism, and he will have to repeat the same class, along with boys younger in age who may then no longer respect him for his seniority as they did in the past.
These mental thoughts may help his concentration of mind; that is, such thoughts keep the objective and subjective minds engaged, no doubt, but they create a bifurcation in the mind. One mental flow is engaged in memorizing the subjects being studied, while another mental flow entertains various other thoughts such as: “What will my parents and seniors say if I fail in the examination? The juniors in my locality will cease to respect me, they will say all kinds of unpleasant things…” and so on. Obviously that boy’s mental power has become bifurcated. What should a wise person do in such circumstances? He should think nothing else except: “I will memorize whatever I’m reading now, without bothering about my gains if I succeed or my losses if I fail in the task. I will not allow any portion of my mind to flow in an undesirable direction, and thus I will keep my mind exclusively engrossed in the task of learning.”
In the case of unit beings, what should the subjective mind do when it sees something in the external world? It should see it, and know it perfectly. When you convert a portion of your subjective mind into an object, it can be done perfectly. So, at the time of learning something, you should empty your mind of all other thoughts, giving full importance to what is being learned. Then, in the future, when you attempt to convert your subjective mind into objective mind, you will do it well because, when you received the objectivities of the external world, you were fully concentrated. As a result, you will develop your thinking capacity.
Now, along with thinking comes the question of retention. For example, after reading 200 pages of a book you will surely forget 199 of them. You cannot remember even one complete page, not even one full sentence. You are likely to confuse this word with that. What is the cause? The cause is that you did not pay full attention. Then how can you become more attentive? Usually you acquire academic knowledge by studying with the help of the eyes. To aid the process of memorization, however, you may also use your tongue. That is, while reading loudly, two sense organs are used, the eyes and the tongue, and thus you will derive a double benefit.
Moreover, if you read aloud, your ears will also hear those sounds, and thus this method of reading is more beneficial for students. In the case of fiction and plays, however, it is better to read silently. And moreover, there is a special advantage with silent reading: the parents are unaware of what their children are reading.
As I said before, retention is facilitated by reading aloud: one can have great control over the objective mind, the objectivated subjective mind, and all that the objective mind receives as its object from the objective or objectivated subjective world. Often part of the incoming message is lost due to a defective vibration of the nerve cells. This is purely a physical defect of the human body, and to rectify it, one will have to adopt physical means to make the brain function properly; and for this there are certain physical processes. If you are interested in those, I can help you.
Moreover, when psychic vibrations are carried through different nerves – optical, auricular, the nerves of the tongue, etc. – they often need proper adjustment. For example, some people may be able to see things distinctly and read with ease and yet not be able to hear very well. In such a case, the vibrational wave that comes through the ears has trouble adjusting with the optical nerves. A particular man may have a bit of a stammer: he does not pronounce words as distinctly as he sees them with his eyes. There is a maladjustment which can be rectified if a psychic approach is adopted.
Here the physical approach would not be appropriate. Physical waves cannot bring a mutual adjustment amongst themselves; for that psychic pressure is required. By exerting this psychic pressure the maladjustment can be rectified. For this there are two approaches: (1) pure psychic approach and (2) psycho-spiritual approach.
What is the pure psychic approach?
When you receive an object or an idea through either the ocular or auricular nerves you should bring it into a certain rhythm: your object of vision or ideation should dance rhythmically.
Such a rhythmic vibration can rectify the defects in the eyes, ears and tongue. For this very purpose the rágas and ráginiis were created: whatever the mind receives through rhythm and melody brings about this proper adjustment. There is no scope for any deviation this way or that.
On this basis, Sadáshiva developed the science of musical notes, svara shástra or svarodaya, or shabda shástra. Due to the strict rules as outlined in svara shástra, there is no room for any deviation at the time of singing. If any deviation is attempted, one will have to break the established rules.
While attempting to go beyond the set rules, kheyál was invented, and, in adjustment with tál (metre), gazal was composed. Indo-Aryan music is based on a system, a rhythm; there is no room for any mistake, no scope for deviation.
Initially kiirtana was in vogue, which at first was not based on hard and fast rules, just as folk songs do not conform to many rules. Later, however, it was also subjected to fixed rules. Just as the different schools (gharáńá) of rága and ráginii evolved out of various rhythmic expressions, similarly, as soon as kiirtana was brought within the framework of fixed rules, it became elevated from folk music to classical music.
Another aspect of the psychic approach is that when you want to memorize something, you should subdivide the matter into meaningful parts or components. Suppose a boy wants to memorize the spelling of the word “assassination”. He may have some difficulty because the word is lengthy and difficult to remember; there is a good chance of omitting one of the letters. Therefore, the word can be split into four parts: ass-ass-i-nation. Now, as the boy already knows the meaning of all four words, he will easily memorize its spelling. This is another aspect of the pure psychic approach.
A good way to stabilize the memory is to meditate on someone who has a unique photographic memory.
- This will increase your own memory.
How can we know the Supreme Subjectivity?
If we simply look towards that Subject who remains the witnessing entity and goads us all into action, He will be displeased. He will say: “Go and do some work.”
It is enough if we only think that the Subject is watching each action we are doing.
By ideating that the Supreme Subjectivity is watching everything, we are thinking of Him as well, and this idea itself becomes objectivated.
The Supreme Subject does not become objectivated, but the thought of the Supreme Subjectivity does.
Ultimately, the best way to meditate on Parama Puruśa, or remember Him, is to bear in mind that in all actions, the Supreme Subjectivity is maintaining a constant and close watch on me.
Thereby, the subjectivity as such does not come within your objectivated mind, but the ideation of the Supreme Subjectivity becomes objectivated.
When this ideation becomes clear, stable and permanent, then one fine morning you will see that you have become one with the Supreme Subjectivity.
This is the final stage of the faculty of knowledge.
2 June 1980, Calcutta