Chitta & Chittashuddhi

Author: Shivashankar Rao
Date: July 7th, 2019
Bangalore, India

Chitta and Chittashuddhi

We urge readers to browse through the topic of Antakarana which constitutes Chitta as one among four other aspect (Manaha, Ahamkara, Chitta and Buddhi).

Patanjali considers chitta as a physical material made up of sattva, rajas and tamas which is capable of reflecting the power of pure consciousness of PURUSHA and is capable of modifications. This modified chitta is responsible for cognition, thinking and drawing conclusions. It is also called antahkaraNa, manas and buddhi. The modifications are called chittavrittis. The levels at which chitta works is called chitta bhumis. These are five in number. To get chittaprasAdhana or peace of mind, several steps like cultivating an attitude of friendship towards happy people and compassion towards those in difficulties. Karma is essential, for without it one cannot attempt purification of the mind –Chitta Shuddhi– cleansing it of mental impurities such as Kama, Krodha etc. While it is evident that Karma cannot directly result in Moksha, its role in Chitta Shuddhi is as important for without Chitta Shuddhi, one does not become qualified for Vedantic studies – Shankara said, “चित्तस्य शुद्धये कर्म न तु वस्तूपलब्धये” . Sri Krishna Bhagavan proclaims in the Gita that अनाश्रितः कर्मफलं कार्यं कर्म करोति यः । स संन्यासी च योगी च –He who performs Karma without desiring the results is indeed a Sannyasi. However, it has become a practice of many to ensure that whatever Karma they perform, the list of desired objectives is quite long when they take the Sankalpa – क्षेम-स्थैर्य-धैर्य-वीर्य-विजय-अभय-आयुरोग्य-ऐश्वर्य – praying thus for protection, steadfastness, courage, strength, triumph in endeavours, freedom from fear, good health, wealth and so on. Sri Bhagavan Himself says यज्ञार्थात्कर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः। When actions are offered to Ishwara, it frees one from bondage. Hence our Sankalpa must be to perform the Karma as an offering to Ishwara – ईश्वरार्थं करिष्ये. Otherwise it results in bandham or bondage. As a result of Sankalpa done with the results in mind, punya or papa ensues, and these result in further births. And as long as there are births, there is no happiness. Much is the suffering from the time of being in the mother’s womb to the time one leaves the body. Hence it is usual for everyone who has realized this, to desire freedom from bondage. Hence Nishkama Karma is absolutely essential for a seeker.