Chitta Vritti Nirodha Is The Definition Of Yoga

Chitta Vritti Nirodha Is The Definition Of Yoga

Chitta Vritti Nirodha

The concept of “Chitta Vritti Nirodha” stems from the ancient Indian wisdom contained within the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, one of the most foundational texts of classical yoga. The term can be broken down into three components: ‘Chitta’ translates to ‘mind-stuff’ or consciousness, ‘Vritti’ means ‘fluctuations’ or ‘modifications,’ and ‘Nirodha’ translates to ‘cessation’ or ‘control .”Chitta Vritti Nirodha’ refers to the quieting or stilling of the mind’s modifications.

Understanding the Mind

To comprehend the depth of Chitta Vritti Nirodha, one must first understand the concept of the mind as elucidated in yogic philosophy. The ‘Chitta,’ or consciousness, comprises thoughts, memories, desires, and subconscious impressions. This aspect of our being is continually modifying, changing, and reacting to the stimuli we encounter.

According to Sadhguru, the mind is not a single entity but consists of multiple layers. He describes it as being composed of four fundamental aspects, which are referred to in yogic culture as Manas (the mind), Buddhi (the intellect), Ahamkara (the ego), and Chitta (the cosmic intelligence).

Manas: This is the outermost layer that interacts with the world. It’s a terrain of thought, emotion, and sensory processing. Manas is essentially a memory bank where every sensory experience you’ve ever had is stored.

Buddhi: The next layer is the intellect or Buddhi. The intellect is the part of the mind that makes decisions, drawing upon the data stored in Manas to make judgments and conclusions.

Ahamkara: Further in is the ego, Ahamkara, the identity-forming part of the mind. It’s the part of you that identifies with certain experiences, thoughts, and emotions and creates the sense of “me” and “mine.”

Chitta: At the deepest level is the Chitta, the universal layer of the mind, which is pure intelligence. Chitta is untouched by memory and is always in contact with reality as it is. It’s a dimension of perception where you experience life beyond the physical boundaries.

Sadhguru describes the mind as an instrument that can either be a source of bondage or a means of liberation. The goal of yoga, in his perspective, is to gain mastery over these aspects of the mind so it functions the way you want it to rather than compulsively. This mastery leads to freedom from suffering and an experience of life in its fullest depth and dimension.

Vritti: The Fluctuations of the Mind

Vritti, in the yogic philosophy, is often translated as “fluctuations” or “modifications” of the mind. They arise in response to the external world and our internal desires. According to Sadhguru, these mental modifications are thoughts, emotions, ideas, and impressions continuously arising and subsiding in our minds.

Sadhguru explains that vrittis are like the waves on the surface of a lake. The lake’s true nature becomes hard to see when there are too many waves. Similarly, our mind’s true nature, which is pure consciousness or chitta, is obscured by the continuous fluctuations of the vrittis. As we continue to identify with these vrittis, we create patterns of behavior, often referred to as samskaras or karma. These patterns keep us bound to the past and make us live in a repetitive cycle.

Nirodha: Mastery over the Mind

In the yogic tradition, ‘Nirodha’ refers to the cessation or control of the mind’s modifications (vrittis). According to Sadhguru, attaining a state of Nirodha isn’t about suppressing or controlling the mind; rather, it’s about creating a certain distance from it.

Sadhguru often uses the analogy of a movie to explain this concept. When you’re engrossed in a film, you’re unaware of your surroundings or the passage of time. In a sense, you’re identified with the film. But the moment you become conscious that you’re in a theatre, watching a projection on a screen, you’ve created a distance from it. The film continues to play, but you’re no longer identified with it. Similarly, Nirodha creates this distance from the mind and its vrittis.

Chitta Vritti Nirodha

According to Sadhguru, meditation, yoga, and conscious living help create this distance. Meditation, particularly, can help one be in a state of relaxed alertness where the mind is quiet yet fully aware. It helps one become an observer, rather than a participant, of the mental processes, thereby bringing about a state of Nirodha.

He emphasizes that it’s not a state to be attained but a dimension to be realized. It’s not about getting somewhere or achieving something but about realizing that this dimension of Nirodha is always present within us, obscured by the incessant activity of the mind.

Chitta Vritti Nirodha: The Journey In Yoga

Achieving the state of Chitta Vritti Nirodha is considered the ultimate goal in yoga. This state is often equated with inner peace and self-realization. When the mental chatter ceases, the practitioner can experience the true nature of reality and gain insight into the true self, free from the distortions of the mind.

However, reaching this state takes work. It requires consistent practice and discipline. Various yogic practices, such as asana (physical postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), and dhyana (meditation), have been prescribed by Patanjali to help in this journey towards Chitta Vritti Nirodha.

In today’s fast-paced, digitally-driven world, the mind is perpetually bombarded by stimuli, leading to a constant state of ‘vritti’ or fluctuation. As such, the practice of Chitta Vritti Nirodha holds immense relevance. Mastering the mind and achieving a state of stillness can help combat stress, improve focus, and enhance overall well-being.

Chitta Vritti Nirodha represents the journey towards stilling the mind, transcending the noise of everyday life, and experiencing a state of profound peace and self-realization. Despite being an ancient concept, its potential benefits render it timeless, providing a pathway toward serenity in our contemporary world.