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Pick Your Precious Gems on the journey to the symbolic Lake Manasarovar

Nov 12th 2010 at 7:02 PM

There is a freshwater lake in Tibet up in the highest mountains of the world, the Himalayas, called Mana Sarovar, which means the lake of the mind. It is situated on Mt. Kailash, the abode of Shiva and is relatively round in shape and 55 miles in circumference with a surface area of 120 sq. miles. The lake water there is untouched by the pollutants of the world, pure and serene. As per Hindu theology, Lake Mana Sarovar is a personification of purity and one who drinks water from the lake will go to the abode of Shiva after death.

Many people embark on the once hazardous and arduous pilgrimage going up the mountain range to witness that panoramic view of the sacred lake and feel sanctified and blessed. They then bring down the pebbles and water from the lake to give their kith and kin as blessings from that holy place.

However, what is this symbolic Lake Mana Sarovar? Can it be experienced as sure and definitely as the highest freshwater lake found in Tibet? The answer is a definite yes. Look at all the great saints of the world and you will know they have been to that symbolic lake Manasarovar, the lake of the pure mind in themselves. What do they come back with? They come back to us ordinary folk and share the gems of wisdom they pick up from that lake. This lake is nothing but pure consciousness or awareness that reflects the gems of pure thoughts that can be collected and viewed with crystal clarity in all its radiance. However, just like treading the arduous journey in the physical world, only the brave and determined souls can embark on this journey to the symbolic lake of the pure mind by preparing themselves with the necessary prerequisite of the right attitude of courage, determination and perseverance in the face of all odds.

The preparation for this is called 'chatushthaya sadhana', the four means of practice which include the six virtues to be cultivated on the path of self-realization. They are

1. Viveka, Discrimination between the real and the unreal.

2. Vairagya, Non attachment- a decrease in attraction to the objects of the world and the inner desires for those worldly fruits.

3. Shat sampat, six virtues, areas of mental training and attitudes are cultivated so as to stabilize the mind and emotions, allowing the deep practice of contemplative meditation to be performed.

4. Mumukshutva, an intense, passionate, longing or desire for enlightenment and liberation from the levels of suffering that causes the repeated cycles of suffering and delusion. It is a longing that is so strong that it gradually swallows up all of the other smaller desires.

The ground below the water of the lake is symbolic of the supreme consciousness that is untouched by the water whether it is pure or dirty. However, when the water is pure you can see the ground right through the water. This water is the thought entertained by the mind. When the consciousness observes everything going on in the mind like a witness it does not get involved in the drama of the different thoughts and feelings. However, when the consciousness starts judging, it gets involved as the player in that drama. The many thoughts that are entertained indiscriminately cause chaos and confusion. But when they are discriminated, and unnecessary and impure thoughts weeded out, they bring out order and peace to the mind. A mind that entertains pure and good thoughts is like a garden with beautiful flowers, pleasing to the beholder and yields beneficial fruits. Just like a gardener tends and cultivates a beautiful garden, so also the awakened conscience tends and cultivates the beautiful garden of the mind. As mentioned in the book, "As a Man Thinketh" by James Allen, "Just as a gardener cultivates his plot, keeping it free from weeds, and growing the flowers and fruits which he requires, so may a man tend the garden of his mind, weeding out all the wrong, useless and impure thoughts, and cultivate toward perfection the flowers and fruits of right, useful and pure thoughts. By pursuing this process, a man sooner or later discovers that he is the master-gardener of his soul, the director of his life.

Just as when a stone is thrown into the lake, waves of ripples are formed in the water, a thought in the lake of the mind causes ripples in one's life affecting not only oneself but all the people around as well. Similar is the effect in the symbolic mana sarovar, the lake of the mind when the thought causes a ripple effect sending out concentric waves that come right back to the point of origination. When the thoughts are pure and good, the ripples are geometrically symmetrical, gentle and soothing but when the thoughts are negative and full of hatred, the ripples are strong, scattered without any symmetry and disturbing.

A mind that is calm and soothing is like the cooling moonlight. A mind that is vibrant and brilliant is like the powerful sun giving out enlightening radiance. A mind with impure thoughts is like a lake with muddy water which blurs the vision of the sturdy ground at the bottom - the unshakable rock that is unchanged and unaffected by all that goes on around it. Taking that journey to the symbolic Mana Sarovar within, puts us in touch with that solid rock of supreme consciousness that is untouched by the stresses of daily life, taking us to Mt. Kailash, the heavenly abode of Lord Shiva. And along the way we can pick up the gold and diamonds of truth connected with our true being.

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