Mind is like a jungle. You are standing in the middle of the jungle completely lost in the forest of your thoughts. But how to find the way out? Our sages showed the way. This is the path of dhyana. But this involves preparatory stages like pranayama, etc. Pranayama will prepare your body, breath, mind and energy, so that you can experience dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and finally the samadhi. There is a complete procedure to it. You cannot take frog jumps, there has to be a stipulated path to move forward step by step. Humanity is bound to feel indebted to sages like Patanjali and various other masters who have given this doctrine to us, which is like an open exercise book where you can mark your progress as you do your practice. Nothing is left unclear or vague.
The practices have to be done by understanding the deeper meaning. For example, ‘Om namah Shivaya’ is a very popular mantra these days. In many countries, people who follow yoga practice, will chant this mantra. However, many are not familiar with the fact that one of the main qualities of Lord Shiva is anushasanam (inner discipline). You become a disciple of yoga only when you follow the inner discipline. And discipline when followed meticulously gives clear results.
Before we start the inner discipline, we must first understand our own faculties, which is our mind, prana, intellect, and most importantly our subconscious. We need to understand our avidya, which can be vaguely translated from Sanskrit as dark ignorance of not knowing. Our main faculty is antahkaran, antah means eternal and karana means a device. Antahkaran is composed of four different components. First is mann (mind), buddhi (intellect), chitta (subconscious) and ahamkara (ego). If we can dive into these faculties and understand them, we can start our journey to enlightenment. Without proper understanding, we will be eternally caught in the whirlpool of thoughts, emotions and our karma. Your hands and feet will be tied and you will wonder why you are unable to move forward.
What is mind? Mind comes to the world with viparya which means wrong knowledge. Mind is filled with darkness and agitation. That is why our Upanishads say: “Lead me from Untruth to Truth. Lead me from Darkness to Light. Lead me from Ignorance to Enlightenment. Lead me from Death to Immortality”. Unless we understand the workings of our mind, we will not be able to free ourselves.
Chitta is usually termed as a memory bank, but in fact, it is much vaster than that. Chitta refers to unconscious and subconscious mind, as well as collective unconscious mind. We are all united at our unconscious mind level. Everything you see, hear or touch, gets planted in your subconscious mind as a seed. Once it is planted, you forget but when the right time comes the seed will sprout and come out of your subconscious mind. Then you will say, ‘I know this’
Intellect is called buddhi in Sanskrit and it is the faculty of decision making. Mind is filled with thoughts and anti-thoughts. If you watch your mind just for a day, you will find that the mind is constantly flickering between two options: Should I do this or should I do that? When the mind comes to the point of decision, intellect comes on the scene. Unfortunately, at this moment we can say that the intellect is functioning at 0.1 percent. 99.9 percent is just the mind. And erroneously you take your mind thought as the decision made by your intellect. To use the intellect properly means that you have analyzed and with a very cool head made the right decision.
Humanity is living out of mind and not out of intellect. It is because the intellect has not been developed. The scriptures say that the intellect gets developed only when you create the right environment in your body, in your breathing and in your understanding. You need to tame and understand the mind, you have to remove wrong knowledge, and as you keep on removing the wrong knowledge, removing the anti-thought, slowly the intellect will begin to grow. And the one whose intellect has fully bloomed, is called an enlightened person. Now what you have is a seed of buddhi (intellect), the day this seed grows and blooms, you will become a Buddha. We all have the seed of Buddhahood in us, we all have the opportunity to become a seer, a sage or a mahatma ourselves, only we need to gain a proper understanding of our own mind and intellect.