The mind is the same but one person seems to be bound and the other seems to be free. The reason is that the mind alone is the cause for bondage and freedom. While bondage is caused by impure qualities such as agitation and inertia, the cause of liberation is the pure Sattvic mind, which is free of Rajas and Tamas.
The Vivekachoodamani of Sri Adi Sankara says that for a mind to look towards the direction of liberation, it must become pure—one-pointed with the qualities of discrimination between what is the self and what is not, and a dispassion towards what is not the self. If the seeker is keen on liberation, it is this discrimination called viveka or right intelligence and vairagya or dispassion that must be kept strong.
The teacher warns the student who is wandering in the fields of ignorance. The mind is a big tiger that is roaming around in the forest of objects of sight, smell, taste, touch and feeling. “Do not go there, O good one seeking freedom!” he warns.
It is the mind that constantly generates thoughts of sense objects that are gross and subtle. The thoughts of the body, castes and stages in life and all other differences, the different qualities, actions and their results.
While the consciousness, which is not attached to any thought, feeling, emotion or body is the only reality, the mind confuses the body, senses, energy and qualities, ties up with them and entertains the strongly binding thoughts of I and mine, and roams around always in the experiences derived out of its own actions and keeps enjoying or suffering the results.
While the seer or the Purusha is ever the same and unchanging, due to the error of superimposition, there appears to be change. The bondage that we experience in life is an imagination of the mind. It is caused by the faulty perceptions on account of agitation and inertia. This leads to the sorrows of birth and its attendant difficulties.
Therefore, the learned people who have experienced the truth themselves say that the mind alone is ignorance. It is because of the mind that the universe is seen in all its differences and diversities just as a giant formation of a group of clouds is scattered by a strong gust of wind.So what is the task of a seeker of liberation? It is only the purification of the mind and it has to be done with great effort. If the mind is pure, then liberation will be experienced as clearly as a gooseberry in one’s palm.