The 5 Chitta Bhumis- 5 States of Mind (Part 1)

Updated: Feb 22, 2021

In the Upanishads are described four parts of the antahkarana (internal organ)- chitta (storehouse of samskara), buddhi (decision-making faculty), ahankar (the ego), and manas (the synthesizing faculty). The chitta in Patanjali Yoga Sutra is used as "mind" of Western psychology.

Chitta in humans is constantly fluctuating. The fluctuations of the mind are a reflection of the disequilibrium of the three Gunas –Sattva (purity), rajas (activity) and tamas (dullness), which manifest in the form of Vrittis. The mind takes the qualities of the dominating guna, i.e. becomes- Satvic, Rajasik or Tamasic. Depending upon the domination by these three gunas, we can say that there are five states of the chitta:

Kshipta (restless, disturbed), Mudha (dull), Vikshipta (distracted), Ekagra (one-pointed), Nirodhah (mastered).

Yoga is the cessation of the movements of the mind.योग: चित्त-वृत्ति निरोध: (In Sanskrit ) ~ Patanjali Yoga Sutra 1.2

Thus the purpose of yoga is, the cessation (Nirodha) of the fluctuations (Vrittis) of the mind (Chitta). It gives rise to the state of Samadhi where the mind is calm and undisturbed even in the most difficult circumstances.

Let's first develop an understanding of the different states in which a human mind lies.

1. Kshipta – The Monkey Mind

Kshipta or restless is the lowest and most common state of the mind which manifests during waking hours. This state is dominated by the “rajas” guna, followed by tamas and lastly sattva (R/T/S pattern).

In this mental state, a person alternates between extreme states –love and hate, like and dislike, pleasure and pain, enthusiasm and boredom. The mind is totally restless as it is always jumping from one thought to another. There is a lack of clarity in vision and you might feel anxious, confused, unable to understand and relate peacefully with others in your relationships. Here, the mind lacks necessary cognitive abilities which reflect in the form of poor decision-making skills in the day to day situations of life.

Here in this state, managing even the mundane day to day responsibilities becomes a challenge for the wandering mind. This has become a common state in today’s stressful times. The mind is extremely restless as is always jumping from one thought to another, like a monkey. In monkey mind state, you are not able to conduct your daily life with peace and calm.

Found In

-Materialistic people

Yoga Path to Take

-Ashtanga Yoga

Characteristics of Kshipta State of Mind

1. Lack of decision-making ability 2. Restlessness 3. Confusion and absolute lack of clarity 4. Anxiety

5. Aggressive, impulsive, obsessive, unstable, distracted, selfish, worried, argumentative, arrogant, greedy for wealth and power, not interested in self development.

How To Handle Monkey Mind

The key here is to engage the restless mind with higher practices, changing the negative patterns with healthy habits. This mind have to be totally changed, that is why ashtanga yoga is recommended. The steps approach of Ashtanga yoga, working on all body-mind levels, will gradually shift the restless mind into better mind states. Yoga helps you to understand that you (the knower) are not your thoughts and hence, you are able to observe your thoughts and still not get identified with them. By being a witness, you can manage and prioritize your attention only towards healthy, important and constructive thoughts patterns while letting go of the undesired ones.

For example, you can identify and drop unhealthy patterns like waking up late, wrong food habits, negative self-talk, complaining. Similarly, you can consciously inculcate desired life patterns into your life. By doing this, you are giving clear directions to your mind so that it stops wandering and focuses only on what is required at the moment. In this way, Yoga can help you to be present at the moment with greater attention and ease.

Stay with us in Part 2 of this series, where the Mudha and Vikshipta chitta bhumis will be discussed.

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