Yogic philosophy describes the mind as four distinct functions that work together like four spokes of a wheel. Our life force (prana) acts as the hub and remains stationary as the spokes rotate around it, propelling us forward on the road of life. "Manas is the lower mind, through which the mind interacts with the external world and takes in sensory impressions and data. Manas questions and doubts, which can cause great difficulties if this tendency becomes excessive.
Chitta is the memory bank, which stores impressions and experiences, and while it can be very useful, Chittacan also cause difficulties if its functioning is not coordinated with the others.
Ahamkara is the sense of "I-am-ness," the individual Ego, which feels itself to be a distinct, separate entity. It provides identity to our functioning, but Ahamkara also creates our feelings of separation, pain, and alienation as well.
Buddhi is the higher aspect of mind, the door-way to inner wisdom. The word Buddhi itself comes from the root budh, which means one who has awakened. Buddhi has the capacity to decide, judge, and make cognitive discriminations and differentiations. It can determine the wiser of two courses of action, if it functions clearly and if Manas will accept guidance.
Buddhi should be the decision maker: In the factory of life, we want Buddhi to be making the choices for the factory. Otherwise, Manas gets its instructions from the habit patterns stored in Chitta, that are colored by Ahamkara, the Ego. Often, Buddhi is clouded over by all of the coloring and impressions in the Chitta. Thus, a major task of sadhana, spiritual practices, is to un-cloud the clouded Buddhi. Then, with clear choice one can ever improve the choices that lead to the fruits of spiritual practices." - Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati |
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