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Citta and Antahkarana

Patanjali defines yoga as “citta vritti nirodhah”, that is, stopping (nirodha) the vibrations (vritti) of the consciousness (citta). Let’s take a closer look at what chitta is, because consciousness is a fairly broad concept. Different teachings give their own interpretations of this term, but in fact, chitta manifests itself in a person as antahkarana. We can say that antahkarana is different levels of citta, consciousness.

The very concept of antahkarana means “an internal tool or organ of mental activity”, and usually includes three components:

Buddhi — intelligence that gives us the ability to distinguish between good and bad, right and wrong, to make certain decisions.

Manas is a sensual mind, subject to the formation of thought forms and desires due to constant contact with the objects of the world through the organs of perception. The phenomenal world that we know through the senses is due to illusion, limitations in time and space. Therefore, manas also thinks in a limited way, full of illusions and duality.

Ahaṃkāra — the ego element, the feeling of “I”, the mechanism for identifying the soul with this particular body and personality, with the doer. Ahaṃkāra is associated with human karma, we can say that it contains various experiences of cognition and various identifications.

Sometimes citta itself is also included in the concept of antahkarana, where it manifests itself as memory, awareness, assimilation of knowledge and experience.

When it comes to stopping the vibrations of the citta, this means, first of all, that the disturbances of manas subside. Further, this means that buddhi does sway in duality, trying to decide what is good or bad, but simply knows. Clarity sets in. Finally, what happens to the ahaṃkāra? At this level, the fundamental ignorance, which implies separation of oneself from the rest of the world, from God, loosens its grip, and begins to realize the connection of everything with everything, as well as the karmic prerequisites for actions. Along with ignorance, identification with accumulated karma weakens, this leads to spiritual purity.

Realizing the experience of such states, the yogi can move further in practice, using manas, buddhi and ahaṃkāra for the benefit of his spiritual realization.


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