Monday, March 21, 2011






The Inner world of the Individual is an amazing world. It is difficult to understand and difficult to keep under control.

Why do people get addicted to self-destroying habits and persist in them?  Why do even Governments encourage them to continue in their self destructive habits, in one way or the other?

Smoking is injurious to health. We know. But, many people persist in the habit. Governments will not abolish smoking but will just make it costlier for you and take more money from you.

Drinking destroys you and your family. We all know. But, many people can’t come out of this compulsive habit. Some Governments will sell liquor from Government owned and controlled shops. Some will put up ads that it is injurious to health.

Sathyameva Jayathe. It is said so, on India’s Asoka’s emblem of the 3 Lions (visible 3). But, truth is not winning now most of the time. Is it time to change the emblem….

Or, is it time we reform ourselves?

We may not easily understand all these. They stem from a complex web of Chittha Vritthis (mind functions) at the individual level and at the organizational level. Our ancient sages had conducted deep research into all these aspects and came up with the right answers for all these and other questions.

We need a certain amount of DISCIPLINE. If all of us must enjoy reasonable FREEDOM, all of us must also abide by reasonable DISCIPLINE.

That is why, “now, the discipline of Yoga”.

Yes. Yoga is a discipline. And, Yoga is a science.

As earlier said - Yoga is a practical science from beginning to end. Yoga is an existential, experiential and experimental science.

We must experiment with Yoga, preferably under a competent Guru and experience the benefits of it, from day one. Samadhi, the highest Bliss we can experience – may be the ultimate goal, but there are huge benefits all along the way – as we practice Yoga.

In aphorism.1, we saw that “now, the discipline of Yoga” begins. For being in a discipline, one necessarily has to be a devoted disciple of that discipline. One must have respect for the Guru and the Science.

In aphorism.2 we saw that “yogah chittha vritthi nirodhah”. Yoga is the mastering / controlling /restraining of the oscillations of (in fact, all types of work done in) chittha.
In aphorism.3 we saw that “thadhaa drashtuh svaroopevasthaanam. When the Chittha vritthis are restrained (kept outside the chittha itself!) - the watcher / witness (the real self) now returns and abides in his real form , unobstructed by the veil of Chittha. Who this watcher is – is not explicitly stated by Patanjali – but Sadhaka is to experience the watcher himself. 

This Blog suggested to readers, two processes of watching, one as silent, action-less watching, another as “watching by denial of the non-self”. The process of watching by either route – requires practice for quite some time, before the watcher achieves some perfection in it. Do not bother about what you experience in the initial trials of watching. You may experience any thing. Ignore it. Continue your watching. Rest of the world may say – think! But, yogi says –Watch all thinking. Still all thinking. Be your self.

In  aphorism.4, we saw that “Vritthi saaroopyam itharathra”.

Now, we are looking at a state in which the Sadhaka is not being a “watcher / witness of the Chittha Vritthis” and therefore the Chittha Vritthis are not restrained, controlled or mastered. When we are not watching the Chittha Vritthis, they are in a FREE-FOR-ALL mood. They go berserk.

Even Buddhi (or Intellect) is dominated by the Manas part of the Chittha, which has strong force of habit backing it and the inevitable temptations. Chittha, Buddhi and even the gross body are bound by the likes, dislikes and habits of the Chittha.

We also saw that - You are not one unified, single Individual really. Though physical body is just one, there are several unique, distinct, overlapping, confusing, mutually opposing, mutually suspicious, mutually loving and hating (all adjectives possible) Chittha Vritthis in us.  Each Chittha Vritthi acts like a different Individual and carries for that time, the physical body also with it. You may love an individual today – but kill him tomorrow in utter hatred. Both are YOU only. All chittha Vritthis are present in you and come to the fore at different times.

When the Chittha Vritthi is acting like this, in different forms, shapes, characteristics, labels, likes and dislikes – the Buddhi is passive and is acting as the slave of the Chittha – and the “non-watcher” self, looking through the Buddhi and the chittha, also identifies himself with the chittha Vritthis. Chittha becomes the veil of Maya acting in us. The non-watcher self is the slave of Chittha and identifies totally with Chittha Vritthis. We therefore need to examine the varieties of Chittha Vritthis in us.


vritthayah panchathayyah klishta aklishtah


pramaana viparyaya vikalpa nidraa smritayah

Aphorism.5 contains 4 words – and is a simple introduction to the several succeeding aphorisms on Chittha Vritthis.

*      Vritthayah = the Chittha Vritthis are
*      Panchathayyah =  of five types
*      klishta =  painful, difficult, trouble-causing
*      aklishtah = not painful, not difficult; not trouble-causing

The Chittha Vritthis are of five (5) types.

They can be painful and difficult and cause lot of trouble and suffering many times.

But, they can also be painless and easy at other times.  The extent of pain or misery is directly proportional to the extent of control on the chittha Vritthis that each individual possesses.

The one with least control on Chittha Vritthis suffers the maximum misery and pain from them. As we exercise greater control on Chittha Vritthis, they give lesser and lesser misery and pain – and become totally painless and without misery when the self is in total control.

Think of two contrasting characters, a drunkard and a meditator. The drunkard has no control over his chittha vritthi of drinking. He, and all his family members, dependents and friends suffer a lot on account of his habit. His health, wealth, reputation, profession will all suffer adversely due to his chittha vritthi. But, if he somehow struggles against this habit and comes out of it – his life improves in all spheres. The more he gains control on his chittha Vritthi, the more his Chittha vritthi becomes painless for him.

On the other hand, a meditator automatically starts gaining control over his Chittha Vritthis as he progresses in his meditation. Meditation too is a Chittha Vritthi at this point. But, because of the control that the self is gaining on the Chittha Vritthi, the Self itself starts shining and the self is pure joy in itself. This reflection of this joy is felt by the Buddhi and the Chittha too.

We will move to the meaning of the next aphorism.6 now.

§  pramana = right Knowledge; knowledge having valid proof
§  viparyayah = wrong knowledge; misconception, incorrect knowing
§  vikalpah = imagination, verbal misconception or delusion, fantasy, hallucination
§  nidra = deep sleep
§  smritayah = memory, remembering

The five varieties of Chittha Vritthis are:

1.   Pramaana or knowing correctly with proof;
2.   Viparayaya – or wrong knowledge or misconception
3.   Vikapla – or mere imagination, delusion or fantasy
4.   Nidra – deep sleep or knowledge occurring in deep sleep
5.   Smrithi – memory or recall of past learning

All these are explained in detail in the subsequent aphorisms.

For the present, let us understand the basics.

Knowledge receivers in us are the five sense organs (Jnanendriyaas) of sound (Hearing), touch, form (seeing), taste and smell.

All knowledge inputs pass into the Chittha through these five sense media.

All knowledge passes into us in our 3 states of living : (1) Jaagrad  or waking state (2) Swapna or Dreaming state and (3) Sushupthi or deep sleep state.

In all these states, different types of Chittha Vritthis occur.

In the Jaagrad or waking state – you get either (i) right Knowledge, or (ii) wrong knowledge, or (iii) fantasy or imagination or delusions.

All these are further explained in detail by Patanjali  in coming aphorisms.

In dreaming state also, a certain unfinished business of the waking state occurs. In the deep sleep state, the chittha Vritthis come to the minimum. Only the Anandamaya kosa , which is one of the five sheaths comprising an Individual is awake. When we wake up, we feel a certain sense of relief and a certain happiness because the other four sheaths, including the Chittha, in the manomayakosa, are asleep and the aanandamaya kosa is awake.

Most of our knowledge is therefore receive in the Jaagrad or waking state. This can be (a) right knowledge, or factual knowledge – which has been properly received, properly synthesized and assimilated by us , or (b) wrong knowledge or false knowledge – either wrongly received, or wrongly synthesized or incorrectly assimilated; Or (c) Fantasy or imaginations or delusions, which we make up in our chittha – without any basis.

Nidra (sleep)also is a chittha vritthi – where the Chittha takes rest from its normal, other Vritthis functioning.

After receipt and assimilation of the knowledge – we frequently recall or remember this knowledge – which is called Smriti or memory. In the next aphorism no.7, we will see what is pramaana or right knowledge.

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