Laulya (Mental restlessness)

Laulya (Mental restlessness)

Jana-saṅga (Association with worldly-minded persons)Jana-saṅga (Association with worldly-minded persons)
Utsāha - EnthusiasmUtsāha (Enthusiasm)


This article Laulya (Mental restlessness) is the sixth in a series of articles published in the 10th Volume of Sajjana Toṣaṇī which deals with the six things that are favourable to bhakti and the six things that are unfavourable according to the second and third verses of Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī’s Upadeśāmṛta. This sixth article deals with Laulya (Mental restlessness) and how taking shelter of Bhakti is the way to avoid this.

Listen to this article:

The meaning of the word laulya is restlessness, greed, and desire. Restlessness is of two kinds-restlessness of the mind and restlessness of the intelligence. The citta, or mind, has the propensity for following the dictates of the senses. When the mind follows the dictates of the senses and becomes absorbed in a particular subject, attachment or aversion arise. Therefore, restlessness of the mind is of two types-restlessness due to attachment and restlessness due to aversion. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.67) it is said:

indriyāṇāṁ hi caratāṁ
 yan mano ‘nuvidhīyate
tad asya harati prajñāṁ
vāyur nāvam ivāmbhasi

“As a strong wind sweeps away a boat on the water, even one of the roaming senses on which the mind focuses can carry away a man’s intelligence.”

Again in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.34) it is said:

 rāga-dveṣau vyavasthitau
tayor na vaśam āgacchet
 tau hy asya paripanthinau

“There are principles to regulate attachment and aversion pertaining to the senses and their objects. One should not come under the control of such attachment and aversion, because they are stumbling blocks on the path of self-realization.”

In order to regulate laulya, in the form of restlessness of the mind, one has to take shelter of goddess Bhakti-devī. The instruction of Bhakti-devī is this: When the cause of the mind’s restlessness is sense gratification and this restlessness is the main obstacle in the practice of devotional service, then all sensual activities should be dovetailed in the service of the Lord and the attachment to sense gratification should be transformed into attachment for the Lord. Then the mind becomes fixed in devotional service by taking shelter of that attachment. The eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, and the sense of touch are called knowledge acquiring senses. The hands, the legs, the anus, and so on are the working senses. When the objects of all these senses are associated within a devotional mood, then the mind becomes fixed on the Lord. Taste, form, smell, touch, and sound-these are the objects of the senses. One has to arouse a mood of devotion in all these objects, and enjoy them, then devotional service is cultivated. Among the objects of the senses, aversion should be applied on any that are unfavourable for devotional service and attachment should be applied on any that are favourable for devotional service. But until the restlessness of the intelligence is vanquished, how will the restlessness of the mind be checked? When the restlessness of the intelligence is vanquished, the mind can regulate attachment and aversion for sense objects by the strength of the intelligence.

The intelligence is that which discriminates between the mind’s good and bad propensities. That intelligence is of two types-resolute and many-branched. There is one type of resolute intelligence, and there are unlimited types of many-branched intelligence. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā (2.41):

vyavasāyātmikā buddhir
 ekeha kuru-nandana
bahu-śākhā hy anantāś ca
buddhayo ‘vyavasāyinām

“Those who are on this path are resolute in purpose, and their aim is one. O beloved child of the Kurus, the intelligence of those who are irresolute is many-branched.”

Disturbances such as lust, desire to attain the heavenly planets, increasing activities that produce enjoyment and opulence, and rejection of the spiritual world all arise from the many-branched intelligence of irresolute persons. Therefore, in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.44) it is stated:

vyavasāyātmikā buddhiḥ
 samādhau na vidhīyate

“In the minds of those who are too attached to sense enjoyment and material opulence, and who are bewildered by such things, the resolute determination for devotional service to the Supreme Lord does not take place.”

Those whose intelligence is fixed in samādhi are transcendentally situated and have steady minds. Their symptoms are given in the Bhagavad-gītā (2.55-56) as follows:

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
prajahāti yadā kāmān 
sarvān pārtha mano-gatān
ātmany evātmanā tuṣṭaḥ
 sthita-prajñas tadocyate
duḥkheṣv anudvigna-manāḥ
 sukheṣu vigata-spṛhaḥ
 sthita-dhīr munir ucyate

“The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: O Pārtha, when a man gives up all varieties of desire for sense gratification, which arise from mental concoction, and when his mind, thus purified, finds satisfaction in the self alone, then he is said to be in pure transcendental consciousness. One who is not disturbed in mind even amidst the threefold miseries or elated when there is happiness, and who is free from attachment, fear and anger, is called a sage of steady mind.”

These two verses from the Gītā clarify the process of tolerating the urges of speech, mind, and anger as recommended in the first verse of Śrī Upadeśāmṛta.

Now it should be known that there are two types of intelligence. The propensity to discriminate between good and bad under the dictation of the mind is called mundane intelligence, and the intelligence to discriminate between good and bad under the dictation of the soul is called spiritual intelligence. That is why in the Bhagavad-gītā (3.42) it is said:

indriyāṇi parāṇy āhur
 indriyebhyaḥ paraṁ manaḥ
manasas tu parā buddhir
yo buddheḥ paratas tu saḥ

“The working senses are superior to dull matter; mind is higher than the senses; intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he [the soul] is even higher than the intelligence.”

The intelligence also pervertedly accepts materialism only when under the control of the false ego. When under the control of the pure ego, in the form of identifying oneself as the servant of Kṛṣṇa, the intelligence is always naturally pure. Therefore, the Vedas establish that the knower of the body is intelligent. That spirit soul is higher than the intelligence, because intelligence is only the soul’s propensity.

When a living entity realizes himself as a pure spiritual particle, then his spiritual ego, in the form of identifying himself as the servant of Kṛṣṇa, naturally arises. At that time the intelligence in its pure form rejects materialism and accepts spiritualism. At that time a living entity has no desire other than the service of Kṛṣṇa, and he rejects material desires as insignificant. In this position the living entity is known as sthita-prajña, transcendentally situated, or sthita-dhī, steady-minded. Being empowered by spiritual potency, the intelligence then becomes steady and controls the mind and heart by regulating them. Then the mind, under the direction of the intelligence, controls the senses by regulating them, and a favourable mood for devotional service manifests in the sense objects (indriyasya arthe). This is called indriya nigraha, controlling the senses in devotional service. Whatever arrangements are there for controlling the senses in the paths of dry knowledge and renunciation does not properly control the senses. In Bhagavad-gītā (2.59) it is said:

viṣayā vinivartante
 nirāhārasya dehinaḥ
rasa-varjaṁ raso ‘py asya
 paraṁ dṛṣṭvā nivartate

“The embodied soul may be restricted from sense enjoyment, though the taste for sense objects remains. But, ceasing such engagements by experiencing a higher taste, he is fixed in consciousness.”

This is real sense control. One should spiritualize the senses and control them with the mind, and one should spiritualize the mind and control it with the intelligence. By this process, laulya, in the form of restlessness of the intelligence and mind, is vanquished. When the intelligence is restless, the mind cannot be fixed. The restless intelligence wanders—sometimes in karma, sometimes in yoga, sometimes in dry renunciation, and sometimes in dry knowledge. To fix the intelligence in bhakti by giving up restlessness, the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (11.20.32-34) prescribes:

yat karmabhir yat tapasā
 jñāna-vairāgyataś ca yat
yogena dāna-dharmeṇa 
śreyobhir itarair api
sarvaṁ mad-bhakti-yogena
 mad-bhakto labhate ‘ñjasā
svargāpavargaṁ mad-dhāma
 kathañcid yadi vāñchati
na kiñcit sādhavo dhīrā
 bhaktā hy ekāntino mama
vāñchanty api mayā dattaṁ 
kaivalyam apunar-bhavam

“Everything that can be achieved by fruitive activities, penance, knowledge, detachment, mystic yoga, charity, religious duties and all other means of perfecting life is easily achieved by My devotee through loving service unto Me. If somehow or other My devotee desires promotion to heaven, liberation, or residence in My abode, he easily achieves such benedictions. Because My devotees possess saintly behaviour and deep intelligence, they completely dedicate themselves to Me and do not desire anything besides Me. Indeed, even if I offer them liberation from birth and death, they do not accept it.”

Considering all this, the practicing devotee should give up laulya in the form of restlessness and attain fixed intelligence in devotional service.

Another meaning of the word laulya is greed. If greed is directed to other objects, then how can it be applied in relation with Kṛṣṇa? Greed should be carefully engaged in the service of Kṛṣṇa. Greed for material enjoyment should be conquered by the above-mentioned method. That is why it is said that persons who are overcome by lust and greed cannot become as pure through the process of yoga (beginning with yama) as they can by serving Kṛṣṇa. As stated in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.6.36):

yamādibhir yoga-pathaiḥ
 kāma-lobha-hato muhuḥ
mukunda-sevayā yadvat
 tathātmāddhā na śāmyati

“It is true that by practicing restraint of the senses by the yoga system one can get relief from the disturbances of desire and lust, but this is not sufficient to give satisfaction to the soul, for this [satisfaction] is derived from devotional service to the Personality of Godhead.”

Because śamo man-niṣṭhatā buddher “Absorbing the intelligence in Me constitutes mental equilibrium.” (Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam 11.19.36) By developing greed for Kṛṣṇa’s service, the Vaiṣṇava’s service, and chanting the holy names, there will be no greed for inferior things. One who becomes greedy by seeing the Vraja-vāsī’s service to Kṛṣṇa is very fortunate. By the mercy of that greed, he attains the qualification for rāga-bhakti. One’s material greed is vanquished in proportion to the development of greed for rāgātmikā service. If one has greed for nice foodstuffs, drinks, sleeping, smoking, and drinking wine, then one’s devotion diminishes. Greed for wine, wealth, and women is most contrary to devotional principles. Those who have a desire for attaining pure devotional service should carefully give up such things. Whether for auspicious things or sinful things, greed for anything not related to Kṛṣṇa is most despicable. Greed only in relation to Kṛṣṇa is the cause of all auspiciousness. The greed attained by the mahājanas for topics of Kṛṣṇa is mentioned in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.1.19) as follows:

vayaṁ tu na vitṛpyāma
yac chṛṇvatāṁ rasa-jñānāṁ 
svādu svādu pade pade

“We never tire of hearing the transcendental pastimes of the Personality of Godhead, who is glorified by hymns and prayers. Those who have developed a taste for transcendental relationships with Him relish hearing of His pastimes at every moment.”

Another name for greed in relation to Kṛṣṇa is ādara, or respect. We will discuss this in detail later.

Another meaning of laulya is desire. Desires are of two types—desire for material enjoyment and desire for liberation. Unless one gives up these two types of desires, one cannot practice devotional service. Śrīla Rūpa Gosvāmī has written in the Bhakti-rasāmṛta-sindhu (1.2.15):

bhukti-mukti-spṛhā yāvat
 piśācī hṛdi vartate
tāvad bhakti-sukhasyātra
 katham abhyudayo bhavet

“The material desire to enjoy the material world and the desire to become liberated from material bondage are considered to be two witches, and they haunt one like ghosts. As long as these witches remain within the heart, how can one feel transcendental bliss? As long as these two witches remain in the heart, there is no possibility of enjoying the transcendental bliss of devotional service.”

There are two types of material enjoyments-worldly and heavenly. Wealth, women, children, opulences, kingdom, victory, good food, good sleep, associating with women for sense enjoyment, good birth, and other pleasures are all worldly enjoyments. Going to heaven and drinking nectar there, as well as sense gratification free of old age are all heavenly enjoyments. When the heart is filled with the desire to enjoy, one cannot selflessly worship Kṛṣṇa. Therefore, unless the desire for enjoyment is completely uprooted from the heart, one’s progress in devotional service will be obstructed. In this regard, there is one thing to be said: If all these material enjoyments are favourable to devotional service, then householders can accept them without sin. In that case all these enjoyments are not called enjoyments, but rather they are means of progress in a devotee’s life. Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam (1.2.9-10) has stated:

dharmasya hy āpavargyasya
 nārtho ‘rthāyopakalpate
nārthasya dharmaikāntasya
 kāmo lābhāya hi smṛtaḥ
kāmasya nendriya-prītir
 lābho jīveta yāvatā
jīvasya tattva-jijñāsā
 nārtho yaś ceha karmabhiḥ

“All occupational engagements are certainly meant for ultimate liberation. They should never be performed for material gain. Furthermore, according to sages, one who is engaged in the ultimate occupational service should never use material gain to cultivate sense gratification. Life’s desires should never be directed toward sense gratification. One should desire only a healthy life, or self-preservation, since a human being is meant for inquiry about the Absolute Truth. Nothing else should be the goal of one’s works.”

Another name of dharma, or occupational service, is yukta-vairāgya.

Desire for liberation must be rejected. There are five type of liberation; namely, sālokya—living on the same planet; sārṣṭi—having the same opulence; sāmīpya—to be a personal associate; sārūpya—having the same bodily features; and sāyujya—oneness. Sāyujya, liberation in the form of merging with the Lord, is hated by the practitioner of devotional service. Although sālokya, sārṣṭi, sāmīpya, and sārūpya are devoid of the desire for enjoyment, still they are undesirable. As soon as a living entity becomes free from material bondage by the strength of devotion, he immediately attains liberation. That liberation, however, is not the principle fruit of bhakti. The pure love for Kṛṣṇa attained by liberated souls is the principle fruit of sādhana-bhakti. In this regard, the statement of Śrī Sārvabhauma Bhaṭṭācārya is appropriate. From Caitanya-caritāmṛta (Madhya 6.267-269):

‘sālokyādi’ cāri yadi haya sevā-dvāra
tabu kadācit bhakta kare aṅgīkāra
‘sāyujya’ śunite bhaktera haya ghṛṇā-bhaya
naraka vāñchaye, tabu sāyujya nā laya
brahme, īśvare sāyujya dui ta’ prakāra
brahma-sāyujya haite īśvara-sāyujya dhikkāra

“If there is a chance to serve the Supreme Personality of Godhead, a pure devotee sometimes accepts the sālokya, sārūpya, sāmīpya or sārṣṭi forms of liberation, but never sāyujya. A pure devotee does not like even to hear about sāyujya-mukti, which inspires him with fear and hatred. Indeed, the pure devotee would rather go to hell than merge into the effulgence of the Lord. There are two kinds of sāyujyamukti: merging into the Brahman effulgence and merging into the personal body of the Lord. Merging into the Lord’s body is even more abominable than merging into His effulgence.”

The purport is that the liberation of a devotee, in the form of freedom from bondage, is easily attained by the will of Kṛṣṇa. That is why one should not pollute his endeavoūr for devotional service with desires.

It is the essential duty of the practicing devotee to carefully give up materialistic laulya.

(Laulya (Mental Restlessness) is the sixth in a series of articles published in the 10th Volume of Sajjana Toṣaṇī by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura. This article was translated by Bhumipati Dasa)
Jana-saṅga (Association with worldly-minded persons)Jana-saṅga (Association with worldly-minded persons)
Utsāha - EnthusiasmUtsāha (Enthusiasm)

Share this article!

More Articles by Bhaktivinoda Thakura

Genuine improvement within Brahmo Dharma (Brāhmo Dharma Prakṛta Unnati)

‘Brāhmo Dharma Prakṛta Unnati' 
(Genuine improvement within Brahmo Dharma) was first published by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura in Sajjana Toṣaṇī Vol.2. issue 3 in 1885. In this article, the Ṭhākura rejoices in the news that the ācārya of the Brāhmos (a sect of impersonalists in Kolkata founded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy) is favouring the concept of prema over jñāna.

Sad-guṇa and Bhakti

Sad-guṇa and Bhakti was first published in 1893, in Volume 5 of Sajjana Toṣaṇī, this article describes the many auspicious qualities found in the personality of a Vaiṣṇava, and Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura points out how all such qualities naturally appear wherever bhakti is found.

A Question and Answer Concerning Śrī Kṛṣṇa Saṁhitā (Praśnottara)

Praśnottara (A Question and Answer Concerning Śrī Kṛṣṇa Saṁhitā) is an undated article by Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura which was republished in the 18th volume of the Gauḍīya Magazine in 1939. Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura answers a question concerning the Bhāgavatam’s narration of kṛṣṇa-līlā, as found in his work, Śrī Kṛṣṇa Saṁhitā.

Go to Top