The Bhagavad Gita appears in the story of the Mahabharata. It is a conversation between Lord Krishna and his devotee and childhood friend, Arjuna. Listening in, we receive the teachings of Lord Krishna as he relates them to Arjuna.
The subject of this chapter is Devotion.
This post addresses mind, thought, buddhi, consciousness and ego, and how to remain in God.
With your mind fixed solely on Me, your power of discernment will follow and cause you to stay with Me henceforth. Of this there is no doubt.
When your Attention is fixed on only one thing, your power of discernment (buddhi) will become fixed there, too. With this power anchored in God, your consciousness (citta) is anchored in God.
“Your power of discernment”
Your power of discernment is the part of the mind called buddhi. When you put your Attention on God, this power goes with it. Buddhi knows a good thing when it sees it. In this case, this is God/Truth, Lord Krishna. Once situated in God, buddhi has served its divine purpose.
- Buddhi – Intelligence, reason, discernment, judgement, differentiation; the ability to comprehend and understand.
- Attention – The fluid substance of consciousness that flows from you to things that you can be conscious of.
The mind collects and stores things that you have become conscious of. We call the feature of the mind that does the collecting, Attention. This function usually involves the senses, but here, Lord Krishna is telling Arjuna that it is the Attention itself that is the key. It is by this power that you can know God.
The Four Parts of the Mind
These four parts of the “mind” are not separated by walls. They are forms of consciousness that make up the mind, beginning with the subtlest form of energy, chitta.
- Chitta – Consciousness, the stuff of which the mind is made
- Buddhi – Intelligence, reason and discrimination
- Manas – Mind, storage and thinking
- Ahamkara – Ego, the self taking the role of the doer of action
Consciousness is the subtlest of energies. It is everywhere in everything. Consciousness itself does nothing, but ‘moves’ by means of Attention
Attention is the fluid substance of consciousness (chitta). Where the Attention goes, this energy goes with it.
Buddhi (intelligence) is connected with consciousness (chitta) and therefore, with Attention. It is a manifestation of your power as a Divine Individual to perceive what the Attention delivers, and to know God/Truth.
Manas is the part of the mind that stores this information and uses it for thinking. Lord Krishna is urging us not to rely on the mind (manas), but to use the Attention for the purpose of bringing the power of consciousness and buddhi, and consequently you, to Him. It’s a free ride.
Anything can get into the mind via Attention, but it is buddhi that judges its worth.
When your Attention is drawn into God, you are also drawn into God. Jesus said, “I and my Father are One.” Now we understand how ‘oneness’ with God takes place. This is what the Buddha achieved by this very means, and why he is called Buddha.
Buddha means Awake. A buddha is one who is enlightened, has achieved knowledge of Truth, is liberated, and knows and can reveal the means of attaining this state.
We have come across the word ‘mind’ before, once as buddhi (intelligence) and once as chitta (consciousness), and now we have this new word for mind: manas. Manas is the thinking mind, that part of the mind where all the contents brought in by the senses are stored, and where you go to think about them. Manas is the most superficial part of the mind, the easiest to access.
Buddhi, the function of the mind that is discriminating and makes judgements, can use these ‘memories’ for its own purposes. Buddhi knows what’s what. Buddhi knows the differences among all things.
By now, you have been meditating for a while, and you may have had perceptions and experiences that were direct. ‘Direct’ means that the senses were not involved because they weren’t needed (you will recall our earlier conversation about pratyahara). Now these experiences are stored in your mind, and buddhi knows the difference between these experiences and the other things in the mind’s memory bank that were not gained directly, but via the senses. In this way, buddhi helps us to move forward and evolve spiritually, even though we may be unaware of it.
Spiritual advancement is conducted by buddhi. If buddhi enters into God, you enter into God. Buddhi knows the difference between mental content and Truth, and now, so do you. You will no longer be interested in all that mental content when you have God/Truth. You will choose God every time. If you want “feel-good” experiences, this is for you.
The world can be very demanding and will constantly disrupt this state. This is why yogis (Buddha was a yogi) head for hermitages and caves. The mind becomes a nuisance. You lose your peace again and again. So what will you do? You will either give in to the world and all that clatter, or you will find a way to live that will protect you from losing this state. (Buddha gave a speech under a tree and took off up the mountain.)
The thinking mind (manas) is like a little child constantly tugging at its mother and never settling down or becoming quiet. Using the mind (manas) to reach God has to be the most difficult path imaginable. It is almost impossible to quiet the mind. It is a part of nature, so it is always moving. Only the predominance of sattvas (smoothly flowingness) will bring any peace. So we must rely on something more powerful than the mind to reach God. And herein lies a dilemma:
Westerners seem to worship the mind, rely on the mind, believe in the mind, and some even consider it to be God, Spirit, the Divine. (In a way, this is true, but it is non-specific and non-Absolute.) Even in Yoga, the mind is excessively adulated. This is a mistake. Not because the mind is bad, but because it is its nature to be active.
Any technique you use to try to tame the mind, uses the mind, which makes it even busier. However much a person doing this believes that he has succeeded in quieting the mind, the most that can be achieved this way, is to bring the mind into a sattvic state. In this Bhagavad Gita, “intelligent mind” (Drona) is a main character fighting on the side of the enemy, and he was killed. Worshipping the mind will always end in disaster, for it can only lead to more mind!
You get what you worship.
At the core of the mind is the ego, that unenlightened sense of oneself as the doer of action. This core is called, ahamkara, meaning “I do.” This state of “I do” constitutes the will, for ‘doing’ is always motivated by desire. The entire mind, and all its parts, is built around this core.
Krishna has said over and over again to rely on, resort to, surrender to, only Him: Absolute God. Yet people continue to try to meditate using techniques. Techniques require the use of the mind and the will. Some try surrender sadhana for a while and, more often than not, they either combine it with some willful practice, or abandon it altogether. Their need to feel in control must be overwhelming. The solution is to give it up. Give it to Absolute God in meditation by surrendering only to That.
You get what you surrender to.
“With your mind fixed on Me only, your buddhi will follow and cause you to stay with Me henceforth. Of this there is no doubt.”
Namaste (I bow to the divine one you really are),
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