Param Para: Answers to Questions on the Spiritual Path  
by Swami Amar Jyoti

We use the word “mind” very freely and I would like to know what is the meaning of mind.

Mind is simply thoughts, imagination, desires and memories, in short: vibrations, waves or modifications. It is where all the strains of thoughts come and go. Supposing that I put a pot in the ocean filled with ocean water and allow it to float. That is the mind. Though outside it is ocean - pure consciousness - within a certain barrier - the pot - it becomes mind. It says, “I exist.” This is ego, limited consciousness, whereas the ocean is unlimited consciousness.

I once read a report that compared the brain and the mind to a computer, the brain being the hardware and the mind being the software.

Whereas a computer is a limited apparatus into which you feed data and accordingly it gives you results, the mind is not limited. It is creative also. A computer is not creative. It depends upon the data you feed it. That may be one million or a trillion possibilities, but it ends there. The mind has a creative genius. It can be Enlightened.

So is the source of creative genius the mind or the brain?

The brain is just an apparatus; it receives and expresses. The mind is higher than the brain: it is astral. The mind creates the vital body, which we call prana, and prana creates the physical body. In other words, the mind creates the body. But intelligence or creative genius is higher than brain or mind. It comes from Spirit. When someone dies their brain is still there but it does not work. Why? Intelligence is not pouring into it.

When you reach the stage where you are egoless, and you have dissolved the mind, what aspect of self is that? Is there a step in between or do we just go from mind to egolessness?

It is more or less automatic but there is a stage in between, which we call Samadhi or spiritual absorption. That is, you have dissolved the total mind with all its component parts and you come to that which could be called, for the time being, nothingness. In that nothingness you are not ignorant; you are conscious of being. But this lasts for a very short period. As you prolong in that consciousness you enter into superconsciousness, transcendence. You may persist in that stage of spiritual absorption for a certain amount of time, lost from the world, in pure awareness. That is called Nirvikalpa Samadhi, formless absorption. But you cannot stay for long at that stage either, because the body will perish. Normally the maximum time is twenty-one days.

But in transcendence, superconsciousness, you can retain the body for years and decades. That is called sahaja, a normalized state of consciousness. Then while working, speaking, talking, sleeping, eating, meditating, and so on, you are constantly in that all-pervading consciousness. You are awakened and aware day and night, waking and sleeping. You become one with everything. That is the meaning of the Vedic aphorism: Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma, “Everything is divine.” That is the culmination of your seeking.

You often mention about desires and passions on the subconscious level, that even if we think we have got rid of them, they may spring up later on. Is there some way that we can focus and see better before this happens?

Silence, meditation, contemplation and retreats are exactly for this purpose. What I am doing is trying to make you see your mind. If some box is filled in a room in your house and you want to see what is in it, you have to look inside. You have to be focused there and not busy elsewhere. If you are busy in the surface mind and trying to catch your subconscious thoughts, you cannot do it. That is why dreams come to you only when you sleep. Why don’t they come while you are awake? Because you are busy on this level. In sleep, you are not busy on this level so the dreams come up. Even now you are dreaming but you are not seeing that; you are busy on this level of the senses. So you have to have silence, contemplation and meditation in order to see your subconscious mind. It is another question whether you care to do anything about it. You can choose to put what you see back into the box. That is mostly what we do. Even that would be okay if it was once or twice, but it is repeated a thousand, a million times. We open the box and then close it.

Sometimes I wonder about just looking for our own peace. Aren’t we supposed to be doing something for others?

I don’t believe that wanting your own peace denies any benefit to others. This is my own experience. If you are disturbed you cannot help others much. In other words, achieving your own peace does not take away anything from others. Peace is limitless. On the contrary, you can work better for others, you can help them more, if you are in peace. You are more selfless, and your inner power is greater. If you are selfless, in peace, others will look to you with more respect and love than if you are disturbed. It does not take away anything from others.

My feeling is that if you are in peace or in God, He will let you know whether you are supposed to be doing for others or not.

There are two ways. First achieve peace and God and then He will let you know what you should do - that is the best way. A second way - because it may take time for you to achieve peace and God - is that if you want to do for others, as much as possible be selfless. So we never say do not try to help others until you achieve God Realization. Just try to be selfless.

© 2014 by Truth Consciousness. Excerpted from the Satsangs: Love, Freedom and God (A-30), The Joy and Bliss of Surrender (C-40), Changing Our Mind Patterns (J-35), and On Humility (K-21). For further information on the audio Satsangs of Swami Amar Jyoti, please see page 54 or online at