UPSC Exam is not just about the testing of Knowledge range and Skillset practice. It tests (in purpose) the resilience of personality, ability to persevere for one goal for longer duration and most importantly, the power of Mind to concentrate on subjects. Especially, Prelims tests the ability to retrieve, analyse and arrive at the conclusion for the precise data questioned.
Howsoever hard work you put throughout the year, that deadly 2 hours decide your fate. If you can not able to concentrate and command your mind in a perfect shape, you will be defeated easily.
Hence, if you are aiming to cut the wood, spend a good amount of time in sharpening the axe. Below is the excerpt from Swami Sivananda’s lectures on Achieving Mind Power through Concentration. Hope it helps for your success.
“Tat-prati-shedha-artham-eka-tattva-abhyasah – To remove this (tossing and various other obstacles which stand in the way of one-pointedness of mind), the practice of concentration on one thing alone (should be made).”
(Patanjali Yoga Sutras, I-32)
Sri Sankara writes in the commentary on Chhandogya Upanishad (VII-xx-1) that a man’s duty consists in the control of the senses and concentration of mind. So long as the thoughts of one are not thoroughly destroyed through persistent practice, he should ever be concentrating his mind on one truth at a time. Through such unremitting practice, one-pointedness will accrue to the mind and instantly, all the hosts of thoughts will vanish. Concentration is opposed to sensuous desires, bliss to flurry and worry, sustained thinking to perplexity, applied thinking to sloth to torpor, rapture to ill-will.
You are born to concentrate the mind on God after collecting the mental rays that are dissipated on various objects. That is your important duty. You forget the duty on account of Moha for family, children, money, power, position, respect, name and fame.
What is Concentration?
“Desa-bandhas-chittasya dharana-Concentration is holding the mind to one form or object steadily for a long time” (Yoga Sutras, III-1).
“Dharana is fixing the mind on an external object or an internal Chakra or one abstract idea as Aham brahmasmi” (Yoga Sutras, III-1).
How to Concentrate?
Fix the mind on one object, on one idea. Withdraw the mind, again and again, when it runs away from the Lakshya and fix it there. Do not allow the mind to create hundreds of thought-forms. Introspect and watch the mind carefully. Live alone. Avoid company. Do not mix. This is important. Do not allow the mind to dissipate its energy in vain on vain thoughts, vain worry, vain imagination and vain fear and forebodings