Vasana Kshayam and Chittha Suddhi
Sridar and some upasakas who read the article on “Chittha Suddhi” informed me that it was not clear and requires further clarification. Prompted by the feedback, I have done some more reading and contemplation. This 4th Article is in continuation of 3rd article and titled accordingly. With prayers to Sri Guru and Sri Lalitha, let me explain in totality even at the cost of repetition of some concepts from earlier article.
Deho DevAlaya: –Sastras declare that our body is the residence for God. Where does God reside within our body? God, being subtle in nature must be residing logically within the subtle elements of our physical body. Our body has subtle elements –the mind and its modifications namely Intellect, Chittam and I-Consciousness which together form our subtle body within our physical body. God resides in our subtle body. Hence, there is a necessity to keep our subtle body clean & pure continuously to be worthy for permanent residence of God and thus be recipients of unbounded, incessant flow of Grace.
As per Upanishad, our body is composed of five sheaths or layers of bodies super imposed one over the other. Our physical body, the outer most, is “Annamaya Kosa ” –nourished by food. Yogis have identified a number of energy points- Chakras- throughout physical body and have given various names. The sum total of all these chakras form an energy body called “Prana-maya Kosa”. The next inner subtle body is mental body-“Manomaya Kosa”. The next inner subtle body is the body of intellect called “Vignyana maya Kosa”. The inner most subtlest body is the body of pure Bliss – “Ananda maya Kosa”. It is possible to set apart only physical objects and not subtle elements like manomaya/ vignyana / Ananda maya Kosas, though superimposed.
The faculty of mind cannot be located within the body. Mind is everywhere in the body. In fact some philosophers believe that when you look at an object, the mind travels from you to the object thereby establishing a connection with your consciousness. Mind performs four functions and depending upon the function it is called by a specific name.
- The perceiving Mind — MANAS
- The feeling Mind / The Thinking / Reasoning Mind – BUDDHI.
- The Remembering Mind (Memory) — CHITTA (Sub-Conscious Mind)
- The I-Conscious Mind — AHAMKARA
- HOW THOUGHTS & CONSEQUENT ACTIONS ORIGINATE
When we see an object, our mind connects our consciousness to that object and through our Ahamkara – we realize that WE are seeing that object. By reaction an impulse is received and the same is passed on to our intellect (Buddhi Thathva/ Brain). The brain recalls from memory similar impulses received in past. Sometimes seeks more input through sense organs , analyzes the data with its organizing and discriminating powers and finally sends back a response to the mind. The movement of response in mind is Thought –a desire for action(Ichha). This thought, received from Reasoning mind, stimulates action(Kriya).
Sometimes, before the brain analyzes the pros and consequences fully, an intermediary part of brain called “Amygdala” which stores recent memories with emotional impacts, sends quick and instant responses to emotional mind, for action. This is Reaction. Since reactionary responses are more emotional and not based on total facts and analysis, we often regret our reaction.
Recent advances in Neurology and intricate study of brains and its functions have revealed that every cell of our physical body exhibits intelligence and Brain is the controller of all intelligent activities in our body. Our ancients were aware of this and called the inner sheath to mental body as “Body of intellect” — “Vignyana-maya Sareera”. Chittham being subtler sub-conscious mind, is a part of both Manomaya and Vignyana-maya sareera.
The inner most sheath is the “ i-Consciousness” Again Ahamkaram can not be located to any specific area within the body. We feel this ahamkaram in every part of our body as “My / Mine”. As long as this i-consciousness identifies itself with undisciplined mind-body complex, it remains entangled in worldly events. As soon as “Chittha Suddhi” is achieved and mind gets disciplined with Chittha nirodanam, Yoga of self with Universal Self consciousness happens resulting in Blissful Realization.
It is very important to understand how pApa & puNya from previous births affect our current behavior and hence how to get rid of the influence of past karmas and progress spiritually with pure thoughts, action and behavior. With this knowledge “Thathva Sodanam” becomes very meaningful. Sri Vidya Sastras therefore assure that in spite of pApa & puNya of the past births, regular practitioner of Sri Vidya gets Moksha in this birth itself after becoming contented with bhoga.
Let us recapitulate our discussion on mind & Chittha. Also recall the earlier article on “Chittha Suddhi”. The perceiving mind connects consciousness to object, receives an impulse and transfers to Brain. The faculty of intellect , recalls from memory, similar impulses, analyzes, discriminates, presents options and logically concludes a decision which is sent as an impulse back to mind to create desire and initiate action. (Sometimes reactionary impulses come from Amygdala.) Actually analyzing options take place in the field of perceiving mind. The Feeling mind gets affected by some of the impulses associated with emotions. Since it is not possible to demark between super imposed subtle elements like mental & intellectual bodies, Chittham, Buddhi and Ahamkaram are considered as modifications of mind only although their functions are distinct.
Chittham is sub-Conscious mind which not only stores memory but also embeds the emotional impacts of our deeds as VASANA. Chittha derived from root word “Chit” meaning Consciousness as well as Intelligence of existence. Thus Chitta is the memory faculty of both mind and Buddhi. Impact of Samskaras, inflictions of actions, witnessing of cruel actions and subsequent emotional expressions of the same are embedded in Chittha as “VASANA”. It is important to recognize the difference between Memory and Vasana. Memory is data / information stored which is recalled in Jagrat Avastha (Wakeful State). Vasana is the emotional impacts that are embedded which without even our awareness, influences our behavior. Vasana is deeply embedded inflictions similar to a stain (difficult to remove or wash out). Sometimes the inflicted stains of unspent Papa & PuNya as Vasana in Chittha are so stubborn that they are carried to next birth. Let us Analyze Chittha in details.
JAGRAT CHITTHA – Memory recalled in wakeful state with awareness.
SAMSKARA CHITTHA – Impressions of powerful ceremonies like Upanayanam/ Marriage / Deeksha etc deeply impacted in Sub-conscious. Mind that influence our current behavior.
VASANA CHITTHA – Deep Emotional impacts / Afflictions of pApa and Punya embedded in sub-conscious mind that gets transformed as Subliminal traits and sometimes carried over to next birth.
From the above, it is clear that Chittha Suddhi will be achieved by emptying the mind, getting rid of Vasana bit by bit which is known as Vasana Kshayam.
The states of Siddha Yogis and Enlightened / Self Realized persons are described as –
KARANA CHITTHA – Super conscious, All-knowing transcendental, Spiritual.
ANU KARANA CHITTHA – Super sub-conscious, Realized, Blissful, Intuitive, Clarity And insight, Jeevan Mukhta.
From the above it is clear that Vasana Kshayam should be followed with Thathva Vicharam and filling up mind with spiritual thoughts and noble activities.
The “Chittha Suddhi Kriya” – the cleansing activity with dvaitha bhava covers the Four sheaths- Body & Mind in totality and leads to Adwaitha bhava Self realization.
- Annamaya Body – Physical – Bath / Bath with sanctified water/ Holy River bath. Subtle -Nyasa (Shadanga / Mathruka etc) Divinizing the body.
- PrANamaya Body – Subtle – Kundalini yoga experts do the kriya of Chakra cleaning.
- Manomaya Body – Subtle– Mindful Practices/ Concentrate / Get rid off all other thoughts –whether relevant or not .
- Subtler– Mantra Japam with Bhava Poorna Dhyanam of deity. ( In yogic parlance it is called – NidhidhyAsan).
- Manomaya(Chittha)- Subtlest –Mano Nigraham – Mind merges with Self ( Atma)
- Chittha Vrutthi Nirodan / Deep Meditative state / No thoughts arise/ Merged in Self awareness.
- Vignyanamaya Body – Subtler-Effortlessly Gets in and out of Meditation. Sahaja Sthithi.
- Full of Positive outlook /Spiritual thoughts/Thathva Vicharam. VASANA KSHAYAM bit by bit through 3-S namely Seva , Satsang & Sacrifice.
- Ananda maya Body – Subtlest – Being in the Joy of stillness of Silence and Peace
Blissful merger of Self with Para Brahman
Dear Atma Bandhus,
Sri Gurubhyo Namaha: Sri Mathre Namaha:
I started genuinely with an intention to write an easy to understand and short article. As I conclude I feel that although the article has stretched over to four pages, I have covered many useful details for serious contemplation. I leave it to the readers to decide on the worthiness of this article for progress in Sri Vidya Path.
Our Physical body has inseparable subtle sheaths as inner bodies. All the subtle elements are considered as modifications of one and the same element. In our discussion we have taken all the subtle elements as modification of Mind. ( In certain other philosophical discussions all subtle elements are considered as evolutionary elements of Consciousness.)
What we generally refer to mind is object Perceiving
Feeling, Thinking, Reasoning, Analyzing & Concluding Mind is Buddhi
Remembering, Storing of emotional impacts is Subconscious Mind-
Within Chittha, the store house of memory, the deeply embedded impacts as a stain is called VASANA
During rebirth, the i-Consciousness enters the new body along with the unspent pApa & puNya of the previous birth in the form of its impact Vasana.
Hence for freedom from rebirth, getting rid of Vasana is essential as a first step. Next we should fill up with noble spiritual thoughts (Thathva Vicharam)
Vasana is very difficult to get rid off. One has to work out his Karma through Satsang, Selfless Service and Personal Sacrifices and erase Vasana bit by bit.
With Vasana Kshayam & Chittha Suddhi, the mind gets disciplined and with Chittha Nirodanam Blissful realization of Self results.
– ITHI SIVAM
With Viswa Prem,
B.Jayaraman & Vijaya.