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How to control thoughts? || Acharya Prashant, with youth (2014)
Author Acharya Prashant
Acharya Prashant
7 min
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Question: Sir, there are thoughts which distract us and make us restless and there are thoughts, which do not distract us and calm us down. Something is on the sideline of mind and then those thoughts get us distracted and we are distracted. So, how to have control over those thoughts?

AP: Tell me. What’s your name?

L: Divyanshu.

AP: Diyanshu. How do you know that it is important to have control over thoughts? Come sit over here….


Divyanshu is saying that there are thoughts that distract, there are thoughts which do not distract, thoughts of thousands of flavors and colors. How to have control over them?

Surely, this too is a thought that I want to have control over them. From where did this come? It’s a good game. Participate. If you are talking about thoughts, playing with thoughts is a very good game. From where did this thought come that thoughts must be controlled?

L: During class, during lectures, we are attending it, is a chain of moments.

AP: There is an assumption you are making without realizing that it is an assumption. The assumption is ‘Thought is bad’ and every assumption is another thought.

There is no way that any intelligent person would at any point suggest to you that there is something evil about thought. Thinking is a wonderful activity. Thinking is a beautiful instrument. Faculty of thought is one of the great power of mind. Or, do you want to be one of those madmen who, due to some injury to brain, or some disease to the brain have lost their capability to think.

How many of you want to be like them? Or, even when they think, they can’t think straight. How many of you want to be like them?

Please get rid of this notion that thought is sinister. Thought is good, thought is wonderful. Another word that you have twice used is ‘distraction’. I am inviting you to inquire whether we really understand what is this distraction thing. Is it not just another label?

One thought you label as concentration, another thought you label as distraction. And, why must you do that? Just because somebody must have told you that at this moment do this thing and any other thing that you do is a?

L: Distraction.

AP: And why must you simply buy that? Why don’t you inquire that what is this distraction stuff? And what is all this thing about concentration? Why must I concentrate? I assure you, right now I am not concentrating. I am just present. There is no need to concentrate. But have you inquired?

We said thought is wonderful. Thought is sublime power of the mind. Thought, we said is a very useful instrument. Now I am asking you, everybody, here and reply. What is the use of thought? When must you think? Quickly. Quickly, quickly. Don’t you know when to think?

L: To do action we think…

AP: So that?

L: So that we can accordingly apply.

AP: No, there is the action. No, no, we will proceed with what she is saying. Before acting, you said you want to think. You want to think so that?

L: To get a desirable reaction.

AP: Before you act, you probably have choices in your mind, right? Let’s say five different ways are open to you. And you think, so that? You think so that you can zero them down upon one. And after you have reached the solution, do you still need to think? Do you still need to think?

Now, the choices have gone. Now, there is choiceless action so what is the use of thought. The use of thought is that it helps the mind to come to solution . It enables the mind to come at understanding, and that is why I insisted that thought is beautiful. But thought is beautiful only if you use the instrument rightly used. If you abuse the instrument then thought is dangerous and violent and very very harmful.

For a long time, you are going to talk about thought. Please be very clear about this. Thought must automatically settle down – then it is wonderful. Do you keep sitting on a boat after you have crossed a river? Thought is that boat. Use the boat to cross to cross the river and then get down. If you make the foolishness of sticking to the boat, becoming attached to the boat even after crossing the river then we are an idiot.

Use thought and then let thought stop. Thought is not a problem, you do not need thought control Divyanshu. Thought is not a problem. Use thought, use thought with the right kind of mind, mind in the right place. It is not a question of being in control. Control is a word that denotes dominance. Who will control? The same mind in this condition. I am talking about being aware of what is happening.

There is one kind of thinking which never comes to an end. You would have seen people who keep on thinking and thinking and thinking incessantly. Without the thinking ever settling into understanding. Have you seen such people? And they are continuously thinking about the same thing since years. Their mind just want something to play with. They will never let the thought to subside. And this is misuse of thought.

Use thought, so that thought can stop. Are you getting this? Use thought, so that thought can stop. Use boat, so that you can get down from the boat. Get on the boat, start using it, and then there a point must come when you should be able to get down. Use thought and then thought should stop on its own because thought has reached understanding, thought has reached solution.

But if you are attached to thought. Thought has become past time with you then such thing will not happen. Divanshu, getting it?


Be cautious of what that thought is about. Look at it and ask yourself, “Is it needed?” If it is needed then proceed, think with all your power. And if it is not needed, then realize it is not needed. Realization is sufficient, no control is needed. I am repeating this, “Realization is sufficient. Control is not needed.”

No control is needed. Thus, this word – control, let it not be present in your vocabulary at all. See, so many of you are sitting here. If you are in attention and most of you look so peaceful, your faces are settled, your bodies are not fidgeting, who wants to control you? There is no need to control. The need to control comes only when this is lost.

And then control is violent, then control is suppression. I don’t think, here, as you are, you need to be controlled. We just need to understand our mind. We just need to understand what all this thought business is all about. Then there is no need to control.

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