Concept of Chitta
The Upanishads talk about four parts of the antahkarana, namely chitta (storehouse of samskara), buddhi (decision-making faculty), ahankar (the ego), and manas (the synthesizing faculty). In Sankhya philosophy, the antahkarana comprises only buddhi, ahankar and manas. It does not make any mention of chitta. Here, buddhi may be additionally considered as the storehouse of samskara. In Paatanjali Yoga Sutra, there is no mention of buddhi. Therefore, we may consider chitta of Paatanjali to be the same as buddhi of Sankhya philosophy. The chitta in Paatanjali is used a number of times to denote ‘mind of Western psychology. When the chitta is thus considered as “mind, the chitta is used in a comprehensive sense to include the functions of buddhi, ahankar and manas can be better understood as Mind stuff or mind-field.
The mind is Trigunatmaka, three-qualitied, i.e., Satvic, Rajasik and Tamasic. Depending upon the domination of the chitta by these gunas, we can say that there are five states of the chitta.
Kshipta(disturbed), mudha (dull), vikshipta (distracted), ekagra(one-pointed), nirodhah (mastered).
1. Kshiptam: ‘rajasá vishayaeshveavaritimat’’ the state of mind is called kshiptam’ which is always involved in those things that are caused to agitation and anxiety by the provocation of Rajas quality.
2. Mudham: ‘tamasa nidradivrittimat’ the state of mind is called “mudham” which is always involved in those things that are caused to stupid and moron, by the provocation of tamas quality.
3. Vikshiptama: This state of mind is a little better than the state of kshiptam, etc. state. In this state one can be immersed in samadhi for quite sometime, but by the cause of battering of the rajoguna, emotional feelings, the mind darts along for other things, This state of mind is called ‘vikshipta.
4. Ekâgram: In this state of mind the sattvilka vritti, the mood of entity remain engaged with any one thing. Rajaguna and Tamoguna are in a suppressed state. Hence, that state of mind is called “ekagrabhumi, in which, the mood is a heading towards any one subject.
5. Niruddham: In this state, sattvik moods along with the tamas and rajas ones are obstructed. Then obstruction impression only lies there, which is called niruddha bhumi.
The first three levels of chttia are not considered in the category of yoga. But ekagra and niruddha are being considered under yoga category because only through these states the state of samadhi can be attained.
Chitta is known as antahkarana cathustaya, the four inner entities, viz., Manas, budhii, chitta, ahamkara. When all kinds of samskará, like parabadhasamksaras, which are the accumulated impressions of the so many previous births, and vasaná samskar, etc., are restrained, then nirodha samskar remains in chttia, only.
(Notes- Chitta is the memory bank, which stores impressions and experiences, and while it can be very useful, Chitta can also cause difficulties if its functioning is not coordinated with the others).
The theory of chitta bhumi originates through Paatanjali’s Yoga Sutras and is elaborated upon by sage Vyasa in his commentary on the said Yoga Sutras, Chitta Bhumi refers to the condition or state of mind in its aspect of concentration. This aspect defines and differentiates among human beings,
Sage Vyasa speaks about five Chitta Bhumis-
Moodha Chitta- The moodha Chitta is forgetful, blinded and possessed of the sleep modification. This Chitta possesses the least concentration.
Kshipta Chitta-The Kshipta Chitta is restless and in extreme motion.
Vikshipta Chitta- This Chitta is one that oscillates between opposites.
Ekagra Chitta-The Ekagra Chitta is one- pointed and concentrated.
Niruddha Chitta-The Niruddha Chitta is completely restrained and – a “no mind stage”
Yoga can commence only with the Ekagra state of Chita.
(Note- In the stage of Kshipta, the distracted mind, being overpowered by Rajas, is extremely unsteady, unable to concentrate or decide, and is the source of pain.)
III. Chitta-Vrittis and ChittaVrittinirodhopaya
The modifications of the mind, i.e., chiita vrittis, are divided into five parts.
ChiattaVrittayah panchatayyah Kishtaaklishta (yogadarsana-1.5) Paatanjali says the five Vrittis are either klistha, i.e., accompanied by Kleshas/ painful or aklishta, i.e., not accompanied by kleshas/not painful.
The five varieties of thought patterns (Vrittis) are:
1. Knowing correctly (pramana)
2. Incorrect knowing (viparyaya),
3. Fantasy or imagination (vikalpa),
4. The devoiding aspect of mental status that is deep sleep (nidra)
5. Recollection of memory (smritti).
These Vrittis, the moods, are named as Klishta and aklishta, Klishtavrittis generate sufferings and they generate Karma samskara. The action of virodhini (anti) vrittis of vivaekakhyati, etc., qualities are called akilshta vritti. The klishta vrittis are painful because they generate samskara, which keep man bound in the chain of life-death-rebirth cycle. These kleshas which accompany the vritti are five in number, viz., avidya, asmita, ragga, dwesha, and abhinivesha.
Vrittis are our mental responses to external stimuli. The mental responses are modifications in the form of waves. The stimuli comes from attractions, distractions, pleasure, pain, joy, sorrow, etc. in the universe around us. The ego sense identifies with these thought waves. If the thought waves are pleasant, the ego sense says, “I am happy’. If the thought waves are not pleasant, the ego sense says, “I am unhappy’. This wrong identification of the ego sense with the “I” (or the purusha or the indweller) is the cause of all miseries.The purusha cannot be affected by thought waves. It is eternal, pure, enlightened and free. As long as thought waves and ego sense are identified with each other, man will never be able to know his real Self.
Enlightenment is possible only if the thought waves are brought under control so that the ego sense falsely stops identifying with the “I” altogether.
Example: To understand the action of thought waves, let’s take the example of water in a lake. When the water surface is calm and clear, it is possible to see the bottom of the lake but if it is covered with ripples or if it is muddy, it will be quite impossible to see the bottom. The bottom of the lake represents our true self or purusha, the lake represents the mind or Chitta and the ripples (and muddiness) are the wanderings of the mind or the Vrittis. Thus, if the mind is calm and clear, it will be possible to see our true Self or purusha.
A sattvic person is calm. He has control over the thoughts that flit in and out of his mind. Yoga aims at restraining the mind’s tendency to go outwards and draw it inwards to its natural, pure state because only in this way can the mind get into its proper course.
Nirodhah: Cessation of the Functions of Mind
Nirodhah is made up of the roots ‘ní’ and ‘rud’ Ni means “under’ and rud means to “restrict or suppress’. Taken together however, they can mean “a process of ending, elimination, cessation, dissolution, etc.”
The Upanihad compare the four parts of the mind (chitta, budhhi, ahamkar and manas) to a wheel with four spokes, “the wheel keeps rotating whereas the center of the hub remains motionless but appears to be rotating too, similarly the Self operates in the apparent manifestations through the four parts of the mind.
The Ten Senses (indriyas) are directed by Manas
5 Active Senses/kamendriyas are-
Eliminating, reproducing, moving, grasping, speaking
5 Cognitive Senses/Jnanendriyas are
Smelling, tasting, seeing, touching, hearing which connects to the external world.
Nirodhah or cessation needs to happen to all the movements/modifications in the Chitta. The five modifications of the mind are, as already mentioned, right knowledge, false knowledge, imagination/fancy, deep sleep, and memory. In the above five, questions as regards stopping of right knowledge and deep sleep may arise. But, these two also being Vrittis give rise to samskara, which in turn, give rise to further Vrittis and further samskaras, etc., thereby keeping man bound in the seemingly infinite life-death-rebirth cycle. Also, only when Vrittis happen, does mind/chitta comes into existence and because of that there is false identification between the purusha ( pure consciousness-the Real Self of the human being) and chitta, leading to miseries and sufferings,
When nirodhaha of all Vrittis happen, the purusha is established in its own nature (tada drashtuhu swarupe avasthanama).