Chittha Shuddhi – Purification of Mind
Sridhar, a good friend of mine asked me a thought provoking question after reading my second article – Sir, Your article on Prerequisites was interesting. But how do I know that I meet those requirements? Is there anything I should do to prepare myself to meet those prerequisites.
Me – I appreciate your question. You want to know “How to get started with Sri Vidya”? A mere curiosity to know about Sri Vidya is not enough. You must have a compelling inner urge to get into Sri Vidya, which I find in you. So, Let’s get started. Tell me, if you have to attend a wedding reception after coming back from office, tired & exhausted, how would you prepare yourself.
Sridar – I will take a refreshing bath with a deodorant soap, dress up neatly and go by taxi or car so that my attire does not get crumpled by the crowd in train.
Me – Good. In the same way, we prepare our self for getting into Sri Vidya. We have an inner body- that is very subtle (“Antha:karaNam”) and made of four organs / modifications to perform four different interconnected functions.
The impulses from five sense organs are received by the organ called – Manas. The impulses are transferred to Buddhi, which with its discriminating faculty interprets and analyses the input. The mind only does the function of receiving the impulses from sense organs, transferring the impulses to brain and receiving back the responses as thoughts for sankalpam & vikalpam. The buddhi also recalls past memory and analyzes in terms of papa & punya, dharma or adharma and induces the thought to act or not.
Ahamkaram – The ”I” – Self Consciousness reinforces / motivates both the mind and buddhi to function and provides ownership to actions in terms of Ego. Being conscious of self consciousness both inwards as well as outward in relation to circumstances is Awareness. Consciousness is Siva – Existent principle and Awareness is Shakti- Action principle. Human beings exist in four states. When we are mindfully aware it is called “Jagrat Avastha”. In deep sleep mind is dormant with no self awareness. In the dream state, while we are not aware that we are dreaming, our mind is active recollecting randomly some thoughts. In the fourth state of Meditation, the mind gets identified with self and universal self.
The mind is made of extremely subtle and transparent substance. By virtue of the fact that it is an organ of the subtle body it is inert. However it appears to be sentient because of its interconnectedness and the reflection of consciousness of the self. During Meditation on self, the mind gets identified with Universal Self – The Brahman. Thus although we can not merge with God with our physical body, we can unite with Brahman with our subtle body. That brings us back to our earlier discussion on the need to purify our Mind, to proceed with Sri Vidya.
Sridar – What about Chittham and its purification? How it is different from Mind ?
Me – In case of physical body, the body organs are distinct. However in case of Antha:karanam, the four organs are considered more as modifications of Mind itself that maintains the continuity of functions. Chittham is the continuation of mind – The subconscious mind that stores all the information and its emotional impacts. The energy for functioning of brain comes from “Prana Shakthi”, the purified blood flow from heart. Thus when the brain starts analyzing the impulses from mind and prana Shakti, emotional feelings are generated. These feelings affect the heart and lungs. The subtle impact of these feelings are also stored in subconscious mind as afflictions. The root word of Chittham is “ Chit ”- meaning consciousness. Thus chittham is inter connected with mind, brain and consciousness.
Sridar, now let me tell you some more distinctions of mind, chittham & the need for purification at root level. Mind has a temporary storage and as can dwell only on one thought at a time. Chittham stores for a longer duration thoughts and its emotional impacts together. Similar subsequent thoughts gets added up and also get reinforced to form habits and character. In view of its close connection with Chit – I-consciousness, the deeper impacts stored in chittham even get passed on to next birth. Since chittham is subconscious in nature, it silently affects and influences future behavior based on past impacts. The impurities of chittha are stubborn stains and not easy to cleanse. But the need to cleanse is high priority.
The very first yoga sutra describes the need for controlling further chittha vrutthi to proceed in Yogic path. The same is the need for Sri Vidya path also. When a thought emerges in mind, it leads into desired action. But if many other thoughts from subconscious mind cloud the mind, the intended action may get diverted or become ineffective. Thus the first step is to prevent flow of unrelated / negative thoughts of Chittha. If the chittham is pure with only positive impacts or free from all impacts, then the question of “Chittha Vrutthi” affecting our progress does not arise. Next let me discuss the need for “Sathvic” food and food habits.
The food that we eat becomes three parts. The grossest is excreta, the medium part nourishes the physical body and becomes flesh, while the subtlest part nourishes the subtle body and becomes the mind.
Sridar – Is it? Essence of food nourishing mind?. Unimaginable!!
Me – It is not my opinion. Chandogya Upanishad 6.5.1 declares that. Sri Adi Shankara in his commentary on Chandogya Upanishad declares that –“ Food ” means all forms of enjoyment by the five senses. Hence ALL enjoyments should be free of defects such as attachment, repulsion and delusion (Raga, dwesha and mAya). When enjoyments are pure, and partaken in the company of good people, the mind gets nourished by the subtlest part of such pure food. Such a pure mind only will be able to comprehend the “ infinite self ”.
The question that still remains is how to clear off the accumulated stains of Chittham and ensure that in future also negative impressions do not gather.
First – make a promise to yourself that you shall behave genuinely with a friendly gesture showing loving kindness towards all. Let not other’s misbehavior spoil your promise and disturb your mental peace.
Seek the company of good persons. (Stsang).
Engage in some form of Seva. Physically serving the needy cleanses the chittha.
Set yourself a discipline to perform some japa / prayer etc. regularly.
Maintain self discipline in partaking pure food by all five senses. As explained do not crave, indulge or get attached. Be tactful, do not get entangled.
Meditation with regularity, will be of great help.
Finally, — Make all possible efforts enthusiastically but Surrender completely to Devi for results.
– B. Jayaraman (Mumbai)