Prerequisite for chitta-shuddhi

Posted: February 26, 2016 in inspiring, philosophy, sanatana dharma, sanskrit
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Chitta-shuddhi can be loosely understood as preparing and purifying the mind to reside in the self.  An individual who has attained chitta-shuddhi finds it easy to comprehend God knowledge. The core here is mind itself, and the effort here is to calm the mind from disturbances (chitta-vritti).

Chandhogya upanishad ordains “annamayam hi saumya manah apomayah pranah tejomayi vag iti; bhuya eva ma bhagavan vijnapayatv iti; tatha saumya, iti hovaca” [1].  The nature of food that we eat manifests as nature of our mind. Food that we consume falls under three general categories: sattvic, rajasic and tamasic.

When we eat food belonging to sattvic category, our mind will be at peace and very much conducive towards spiritual learning. Food belonging to rajasic category keeps mind agitated and drags us through all sorts of materialistic disturbances. Tamasic food keeps mind very dull and make people behave stupidly.

For life to sustain, it is impossible to abstain from bringing harm to another life form one way or the other. In Srimad Bhagavatham [2], it is described as follows: ahastāni sahastānām apadāni catuṣ-padām phalgūni tatra mahatāṁ jīvo jīvasya jīvanam [1.13.47].  Here the fact  “jīvo jīvasya jīvanam” specifically points that stronger life forms will depend on weaker life forms. But, we as humans possessing the strongest intellect can make choices to minimize the harm to other life forms.

Chandhogya upanishad ordians further [3] as “ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, sattva-suddhau dhruva- smritih, smritilambhe sarvagranthinam vipramokshah” which means “By the purity of food, follows the purification of the inner nature; on the purity of the inner nature, the memory becomes firm; and on the strengthening of memory follows the loosening of all ties, and the wise get liberation thereby

Adi Shankaracharya emphasizes that food for us is not only the stuffs that we eat, but anything which reaches mind through sense organs are also our food. So, to attain chitta-shuddhi, it is not only essential to have control over the food that we eat is of sattvic nature, but also the stuffs we see, hear, perceive through touch and smell be also of sattvic and pure nature so that our mind will get enveloped with pure thoughts, and make it easier to realize God.


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