Updated: Feb 22, 2021
In part 1 and part 2 of the 5 chitta bhumis articles we reviewed kshipta, mudha and vikshipta states of mind in yoga aspirants. Now, it's time to go through the most evolved states- ekagra and nirodha.
4. Ekagra – One-pointed mind
All inner noise has calmed down and the mind is now peaceful, aware and ready for focus. In Ekagra state of mind, one can bring their complete attention at one point, without affecting by any external agencies as long as a person wants to hold. It results, dies down of all confusion and anxiety of the person. The gunas pattern of ekagra chitta bhumi is Sattva/Rajas/Tamas (S/R/T).
In yogic sense, what you perceive of an object is the state of Samadhi is the only “direct perception” .What is perceived through five senses is impaired and incomplete perception, because of the imperfections of senses, mind, and buddhi which are under the influence of the negative ego.
Vyasa in his commentary on yoga sutra said:
"Ekagra or one-pointed mind erase all the afflictions which cause suffering and pull out a person from the bondage of karma."
Characteristics of Ekagra Mind
Strong, steady, calm and clear
Not interested in materialistic things
More awareness and clarity, discriminative
Awakening of intuition
Mind In Ekagra State
Mind in this state is said to be in the yoga or one can say, it’s the point where one’s yogic journey has started in real sense.
Through this state of mind, you found a single-pointed focus in life which will help you to filter through your experiences, dissolve your ego, awaken your intuitiveness and sense things beyond the five senses. You will feel absolutely in control of your thoughts and actions.
You need to remain consistent in your Yoga practice in order to maintain this state. The yogic path that needs to be taken is including abhyasa and vairagya in all aspects of life. When some level of understanding has occurred to choose to go towards discriminative knowledge instead of working towards bondage. Abhyasa and Vairagya are the two measures through which fluctuation of mind or vrittis are stopped and salvation can be achieved. All other methods are included in them.
5. Nirodha – Arrested/ Fully-focused mind
After passing through the state of Ekgra (one-pointedness), one is able to hold on to a single point of focus. Here, the attention is fully arrested and concentrated on one point.
At this stage, no old or new impressions can distract the mind from point of focus and complete stillness is reached. One is able to glide through life with utmost grace. There is no reaction to life’s ever-changing situations. The gunas pattern of Nirodha chitta bhumi is Sattva/Tamas/Rajas (S/T/R).
In the state of Nirodha, the mind is now fully under the control of the yogi and all the fluctuations come under the direct control of intellect (sattvic buddhi) as opposed to being controlled by ego. When the Yogi sustains in the state of Nirodha for long periods, the mind reaches a state of equilibrium of the trigunas which leads to liberation (Kaivalya).
Yogis of the highest order
Characteristics of Nirodha State
Controlled and sattvik mind
Grace in the overall aura
The complete stillness of thoughts
Mind in Nirodha State
Though Nirodha state of mind is the ultimate goal of yoga ("Yoga Chitta Vritti Nirodha"), you need to continue your yoga practice and constantly analyze your mental state. Also, find new ways to maintain and grow in your consciousness. The biggest struggle in this mental state is to constantly maintain the achieved results and not fall back into older habits. For that the yogic path they need to follow is abhyasa and vairagya.
In our modern life, most of us can be seen in the first three states of mind. These 3 states of mind are responsible for abiding us with the external world.
The Kishipta mind is too restless to maintain concentration and balance.
The Mudha mind lacks the energy to make an effort to focus.
The Vikshipta mind lacks consistency and is unable to maintain focus.
There will be moments of concentration and balance and at other times, the Yogi gets distracted and trapped into old habits. However, Vikshipta mind can maintain focus through determination, discipline and consistent practice.
Last 2 states of mind (Ekagra and Nirodha) help a yogi to internalize his awareness for achieving higher states of concentration.
The above classification of mind states helps us to understand our own mental state so that we can grow in our levels of consciousness in our spiritual or material pursuits.