Yoga Chitta Vrutti Nirodha

The verb chitta means to perceive, to know or understand. Chitta as noun means thought, vision etc. Chinta is thinking. Hence the word chitta is rendered with the meaning ‘mind’.

The all pervading chitta is also known as the Karana – Chitta (the cause – mind). The Karana Chitta in association with a body is called Karya – Chitta (the effect – mind).

Apprehension of objects occurs in the mind when the sense organs come into contact with them. This is perception. Objects perceived by the senses are thus brought to the manas (mind) which synthesizes them and sends them to another region termed ahamkara (ego). The Ego or the Self again takes them to the Buddhi or Mahat (intellect) which ascertain the nature of the objects perceived. Another term that may be ascribed to the mahat is the ‘spirit’ (the Purusha).

The process of modification which the objects undergo between the region of the mind and the Buddhi or Mahat (intellect) is called vrutti. The psychic medium termed vrutti always operates between the knower and the known. The Purusha (the spirit) is subjected to enjoyment and sufferings in the material world due to these chitta vruttis (functions of the mind). As a result the individual ego becomes restless and it is mainly due to five kinds of afflictions such as avidya (absence of true knowledge), asmita (wrong identification of the Self with mind and body), raga (attachment), dvesha (aversion) and abhinivesa (fear of death and instinctive affinity to life).

Yoga is defined as the chitta vrutti nirodha which means yoga is the cessation of all the fluctuations of the mind. This restraint over the mind is attained through various steps of the yoga discipline.