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Thread: Are there more than one description of Antahkarana?

  1. #1

    Are there more than one description of Antahkarana?

    After browsing several websites , it seemed to me that there are two or more explanations of the aspects of Antahkarana. As we all know Antahkarana (the totality of mind) has 4 aspects-
    manas, chitta, buddhi, ahamkara.

    Now i'm going to talk mostly about manas and chitta here, since i can't seem to get a clear picture of these two, due to different interpretations by different groups.

    From the yoga point of view (yoga sutras probably) , Manas doesn't create or generate new thoughts. Manas is only the receptor or warehouse , where our thoughts are stored. Whereas Chitta is like an energy feild, a whole mind/body awareness that pervades the mind, intellect, ego, the senses of perception and action, the nervous system, various types of breath etc. Not only does it pervades all these , it also percieves (records or gather information from outside world with the help of senses) and create new thoughts, emotions, feelings, beliefs. Due to all these things (thought waves or vrittis) generating in the lake of Chitta, it is in constant turmoil and through yoga one can calm thwir chitta. This is as per the yoga philosophy, as mentioned in this website- But as per vedanta (upanishads) , it's the opposite, where chitta is the warehouse or reservoir of memories (past thoughts, actions) and manas being the perceiver or info gatherer from the outside world via the indriyas.

    Then there are the personal opinions of swamis and gurus... Swami Vivekananda while explaining the yoga sutras of patanjali, said the following -
    The organs (Indriyas), together with the mind (Manas), the determinative faculty (Buddhi), and egoism (Ahamkara), form the group called the Antahkarana (the internal instrument). They are but various processes in the mind-stuff, called Chitta.

    The waves of thought in the Chitta are called Vrittis. What is thought? Thought is a force, as is gravitation or repulsion. From the infinite storehouse of force in nature, the instrument called Chitta takes hold of some, absorbs it and sends it out as thought (to the manas portion).

    So many explanations that differ from each other. A man is bound to get confused. How to know which is the truth/fact. I simply wish to know the functions of manas and chitta. Thanks

  2. #2

    Re: Are there more than one description of Antahkarana?


    In such situation, it is best to use the intuitive understanding backed by native language speakers -- Indian languages derived from Sanskrit. Rather than splitting hairs.
    Yes, chitta = awareness, memory, alertness, focus , attention --- splitting hairs on literary topics or

    antahkaraNa = inner instrument.
    antah = inner
    karaN = instrument (kArya, karaN , kriyA - Bhagvad Gita)

    So antahkaraN in my understanding is the inner instrument or faculty of the individual -- that is capable of applying discriminatory intellect (vivek buddhi) to understand, comprehend, perceive knowledge.
    It is the very same faculty that causes emotions in the form of thoughts and vice versa.

    This is because emotion, mind, intellect, ego-identity are all used together as a unit to think, analyze, focus, perceive, make decisions, decide right from wrong, etc.

    Therefore, antahkaraN is the composite unit of mana - buddhi - ahaMkAr - chitta.

    When I learned about chitta being translated as memory, I was surprised as well, but that is indeed the Vedanta definition.
    In my language, chitta would mean point of attention or focus. "Where is your chitta? " => " Where is your mind wandering? It is certainly not here since you are not listening to what I am saying, you are in your own world" => the person's chitta is "elsewhere"

    I hope this will help.
    || Shri KRshNArpaNamastu ||

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