(Last Updated on : 15/12/2010)
Yogah cittavrtti nirodhah is the second yoga sutra that is contained in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras. "Yoga is the termination of movements in the consciousness"- this deep philosophical concept gains a definite dimension in this particular sutra.
union or integration from the outermost layer to the
Innermost self, i.e., from the skin to the muscles, bones, nerves, mind, intellect, will, consciousness and self.
consciousness, which is made up of three factors - min
(manas), intellect buddhi) and ego (ahamkara). Cilta is the vehicle of observation, attention, aims and reason; it has three functions, cognition, conation or volition, and motion
state of mind, fluctuations in mind, course of conduct, behaviour, a state of being, mode of action, movement, function, operation
obstruction, stoppage, opposition, annihilation, restraint, control, cessation.
Yoga is the termination of movements in the consciousness.
Yoga is defined as controlling of fluctuations in the consciousness. It is the act of analysing the behaviour of consciousness, which has three functions - cognition, conation or volition, and motion. Yoga demonstrates the fashions of understanding the functioning of the mind, and helps tranquillise their movements, leading one towards the undisturbed state of silence, which inhabits in the very seat of consciousness. Yoga is thus the art and science of mental discipline through which the mind becomes refined and matured.
This fundamental sutra contains the definition of yoga - the control or restraint of the movement of consciousness, leading to their complete termination.
Citta is the vehicle, which takes the mind (manas) towards the soul (atma). Yoga is the termination of all vibration in the seat of consciousness. It is exceedingly complicated to express the meaning of the word citta, because it is the most elusive form of cosmic intelligence (mahat). Mahal is the great principle, the source of the material world of nature (prakrti), as contradicted to the soul, which is an outgrowth of nature. According to samkhya philosophy, creation is effected by the mingling of prakrti with Purusa, the cosmic Soul. This view of cosmology is also accepted by the yoga philosophy. The ideologies of Purusa and prakrti are the basis of all action, volition and silence.
Words such as citta, buddhi and mahat are so often used exchangeably that a student can successfully turn befuddled. One way of approach to arrange one's understanding is to remember that every phenomenon which has reached its full evolution or individuation has a subtle or cosmic counterpart. Thus, when translated, buddhi stands for the individual discriminating intelligence, and one can consider mahat to be its cosmic counterpart. Likewise, the individuated consciousness, citta, is matched by its subtle form cit. For the purpose of Self-Realisation, the highest awareness of consciousness and the most developed faculty of intelligence have to work so much in partnership that it is not always of use to split hairs by differentiating them.
The thinking principle, or conscience (antahkarana) connects the propelling principle of nature (mahat) to individual consciousness which can be thought of as a fluid enwrapping ego (ahamkara), intelligence (buddhi) and mind (manas). This 'fluid' inclines to become cloudy and opaque due to its contact with the external world via its three components. The sadhaka's objective is to bring the consciousness to a state of purity and translucence. It is vital to note that consciousness not only connects evolved or manifest nature to non-evolved or subtle nature; it is also closest to the soul itself, which does not belong to nature, being just immanent in it.
Buddhi possesses the decisive knowledge which is ascertained by perfect action and experience. Manas gathers and collects information through the five senses of perception, jnanendriyas, and the five organs of action, karmen-driyas. Cosmic intelligence, ego, individual intelligence, mind, the five senses of perception and the five organs of action are the products of the five elements of nature - earth, water, fire, air and ether (prthvi, ap, tejas, vayu and akasa) - with their infra-atomic qualities of smell, taste, form or sight, touch and sound (gandha, rasa, rupa, sparsa and sabda).
In order to help man to comprehend himself, the sages studied humans as being composed of five sheaths, or kosas -
The first three sheaths are amongst the field of the elements of nature. The intellectual sheath is believed to be the layer of the individual soul (fwatman), and the blissful sheath the layer of the universal Soul (paramatman). In operation, all five sheaths have to be penetrated to reach emancipation. The innermost content of the sheaths, beyond even the blissful body, is purusa, the indivisible, non-manifest One, the 'void which is full'. This is experienced in nirbija samadhi, whereas sabija samadhi is felt at the level of the blissful body.
If ahamkara (ego) is considered as one end of a thread, then antaratma (Universal Self) is the other end. Antahkarana (conscience) is the unifier of the two.
The practice of yoga integrates a person through the journey of intelligence and consciousness from the external to the internal. It unifies him from the intelligence of the skin to the intelligence of the self, so that his self unites with the cosmic Self. This is the unifying of one half of one's king (prakrti) with the other (purusa). Through yoga, the practicians learns to observe and to think, and to strengthen his effort until eternal joy is reached. This is possible only when all vibrations of the individual citta are arrested before they emerge.
Yoga, the self-control of fluctuating thought, leads to a sattvic state. But in order to control the fluctuations, will force is necessary; hence a degree of rajas is involved. Restraint of the movements of thought gives rise to stillness, which leads to deep silence, with awareness. This is the sattvic nature of the citta.
Stillness is concentration (dharana) and silence is meditation (dhyana). Concentration needs a focus or a form, and this focus is ahamkara, one's own, small, individual self. When concentration flows into meditation, that self loses its identity and becomes one with the great Self. Like two sides of a coin, ahamkara and atma are the two opposite poles in man.
The sadhaka is influenced by the self on the one hand and by objects comprehended on the other. When he is absorbed in the object, his mind vacillates. This is vrtti. His aim should be to differentiate the self from the objects seen, so that it does not become intermeshed by them. Through yoga, he should try to free his consciousness from the temptations of such objects, and bring it closer to the seer. Arresting the fluctuations of the mind is a process which leads to an end - samadhi. Initially, yoga functions as the means of control. When the sadhaka has achieved a total state of restraint, yogic discipline is fulfilled and the end is reached - the consciousness remains pure. Thus, yoga is both the means and the end.