There is a certain restlessness in us that makes us search for “something more” in this material world. This state is similar to that of a child who joins a colourful procession, attracted by its wonder and gaiety. The child follows the crowd and after some time realises that this is not where he belongs and experiences an untold longing for his home.

Unfortunately, he can neither recall nor identify his home or family. So too, we have lost our moorings and are directionless in our search. We are at a loss since we do not know where to search, how to search and what to seek. But when we are sensitive to this inner quest and pursue it relentlessly, it is shown to us that what we seek is within us and has always been so, pointed out Swami Bodhananda in a lecture. This affirms that there is within us a strong desire for liberation, more than for what is generally regarded as pleasure or happiness in materialistic terms.

Our essential nature is pure, blissful and the essence of consciousness. In the worldview of Patanjali, Yoga refers to this union with the true self or God. There are two basic truths — Purusha (the consciousness aspect) and Prakriti (the material component) that are intertwined and delicately balanced in this universe.

Like a door which opens both ways, the human mind provides knowledge of the world and also of the Self. But its extrovert nature readily gets attracted to the objective world. In such a situation, it is not able to access any subjective insight which is gained through deep self-analysis.

The mind is called the “antakarana” (the inner organ) that performs complex functions in association with the sense organs, intellect, and ego. It hides the truth from us but is also capable of removing the ignorance generated in us.

It can reflect like a mirror. If the mirror is clean, the objects reflected are clear and precise. If it is dust-laden, what we see is blurred. If the mind is dull, distracted or wandering, it distorts one’s understanding.