Sri Adi Shankaracharya “Nirvana Shatakam” starts with mano, buddhi, ahamkara and Chitta, which translates as:
मनो /मनस— Mano — The Mind
भुधि — Buddhi — The intellect
अहंकार — Ahamkara — The Ego
चित्त — Chitta — The Memory
The shloka or the Verse:
मनोबुद्ध्यहङ्कार चित्तानि नाहं — mano buddhi ahankara chittani naaham (I am not the Mind, the intellect, the ego or the memory,)
न च श्रोत्रजिह्वे न च घ्राणनेत्रे ।- na cha shrotravjihve na cha ghraana netre ( I am not the ears, the skin, the nose or the eyes,)
न च व्योम भूमिर्न तेजो न वायुः — na cha vyoma bhumir na tejo na vaayuhu(I am not space, not earth, not fire, water or wind,)
चिदानन्दरूपः शिवोऽहम् शिवोऽहम् ॥१॥- chidananda rupah shivoham shivoham (I am the form of consciousness and bliss, I am Shiva who is in eternal Bliss.)
The four qualities in us are like four wild horses. They run in different directions all the time. How can we control these qualities to have a peaceful state of Mind and consciousness?
Let me compare this situation with Cesar Millan training an undisciplined and challenging Dog.
What does he do? Initially, he observes the Dog, takes it for a walk, gets to know it and then uses commands to control it, ultimately bringing it under his control. Cesar Millan does not directly try to control the Dog until he gets acquainted with it.
The four qualities in us are responsible for making us what we are.
Let us start with Manas or the Mind. It is challenging to control the Mind or Manas. That is why it is compared in the scriptures with a wild horse. Thousands of wanted and unwanted thoughts are going on in our minds, making them very cluttered and busy.
We need to understand our thoughts and then be able to differentiate the quality of them. Bring these thoughts into consciousness through meditation. Sustain both the good and bad thoughts for a while, then drop all these thoughts.
Naturally, the Mind goes through thousands of thoughts in various directions, but this can be managed and controlled through Abhyasa ( Practice) and Vairagya (non-attachment or renunciation).
Buddhi or Intellect can be made positive through good acquaintances, being in the company of positive people and atmosphere. As Adi Shankaracharya’s Bhajagovinda Slokam,
सत्सङ्गत्वे निस्सङ्गत्वं निस्सङ्गत्वे निर्मोहत्वम् ।निर्मोहत्वम् निर्मोहत्वे निश्चलतत्त्वं निश्चलतत्त्वे जीवन्मुक्तिः ॥ ९
From satsanga, company of good people, comes non-attachment, from non-attachment comes freedom from delusion, which leads to self-settledness. From self-settledness comes Jeevan mukthi or liberation.
Ahamkara, or the Ego, can be controlled by taking a non-dualistic approach to life. When we understand that there is no dualism and the entire cosmos, including all of us, is the manifestation of the single super consciousness that makes us move, talk, and achieve things we are intended to. When this layer of Agnana or ignorance is torn, and there is knowledge of non-dualism, ego can be shattered.
Chitta — the memories can be controlled through being in the present moment. Many things are not under our control. We might have done many things in the past in a specific way that we do not like now. What is the use of brooding over the things that happened in the past? Similarly, what is the use of worrying about things that have not yet happened?
So it is the best way we approach life from the present moment perspective. The present moment is a true present to mankind. We can make this present so beautiful and peaceful.
To summarize, we can control the four wild horses, i.e. the Mind, the Intellect, the ego and the memories, through proper practice and adopting non-attachment or vairagya.
I have stumbled upon a beautiful Meditation by Swami Niranjananada called Antar Mouna, or Inner Silence Meditation. This meditation can help people struggling to control the four wild Horses.
I have benefitted from practising this meditation, and I hope you can.