The Heart is incredible
We don’t really understand things with our mind. We can know reasons for them but understanding comes from the heart. Usha has written a beautiful book in which she points out the importance of the heart. A woman had a heart transplant. No one was supposed to know whose heart it was. She found certain things happening to her that she’d never had before. She suddenly felt a desire for chickens. That was totally different from anything she’d ever imagined. She did check out and found out at last who this person was. It was an 18 year old man who had been very restless, loved chicken and many things that she had taken on because she had his heart.
The heart seems like an almost incredible thing because it seems that the heart is only an organ that pumps blood but it’s much more than that. Everybody in the world knows that it’s here (in the heart) we suffer. I’ve never known a lonely, heartbroken swain to say my knee feels broken but many say that they feel it in their heart because this is where you feel love.
Yogas Chitti Vritti Nirodh
It is said in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras that the definition of yoga is ‘yogas chitta vritti nirodh.’ The chitta is the feeling in the heart and when you can calm those feelings – those whirlpools of feeling in the heart, there you have calmness; you have yoga; the calmness of the heart much more than of the mind. There are four aspects of mind – mon (mind), buddhi (intellect), ahankar (ego) and chitta (feeling).
Shri Yukteshwar explained it this way – it’s like having a mirror and you see a horse in that mirror and you say, “Oh! That’s a horse.” First of all you see it but you don’t know what it is. You see the image – that’s the mind (mon). Then the intellect (buddhi) comes in and says, “Oh! That’s a horse.” You can have that much understanding and not be at all caught in delusion. Then comes the further thought, “Oh! That’s my horse.” (Ahankara) Even that needn’t be delusion. Then the heart (chitta) comes in and says “How happy I am to see my horse.” That’s where delusion begins with a feeling ‘mine’ and ‘not mine.’
Master, one time when he wanted to start Ranchi school, he went to the Maharaja of Kasimbazaar. He was a young man and the Maharaja decided he would test his scriptural knowledge before he sponsors a spiritual school. So he asked the group of pundits to come in and test his scriptural knowledge. Master said they were all assembled there as if for a spiritual bullfight. He said, “Let’s not work on quotes from scriptures. That doesn’t indicate knowledge or wisdom. Let’s take something that I know is not in any Scripture.” He added, “The scriptures tell us that the four aspects of mind have their physical counterpart – Mon, buddhi, ahankar, chitta. Can you tell me where in the body those qualities of mind aspects of mind are centered?”
They didn’t know because it wasn’t anything they could quote. So Master said Mon is centered here (at the top of the head.) Buddhi is centered at the point between the eyebrows. When you think deeply, you knit your eyebrows. Ahankar is centered in the medulla oblongata and that is where the ego is centered. Whenever somebody’s pleased with something you’ve said, that flatters you, here you move (your head) little back from the center. When somebody is arrogant you notice the tension back (at medulla oblongata) you pull your head back.
It’s a universal thing.
You don’t have to say, “Well, I’m a Buddhist and I don’t believe these things.” if you’re a human being, this will happen. In fact, if you’re not a human being; Yogananda talked about one time there was a dog that was owned by a neighbor of his retreat in twenty-nine palms and this dog Bo Joe, would come over when we were having lunch outside. Master said, “Look at him! He’s so concentrated on the food we’re eating that his brow is furrowed.
Chitta is centered in the heart. You can calm the waves of chitta by accepting whatever comes with goodwill; without getting excited; without saying I want this or I want that. Vivekananda described them as waves. Chitta is not mind stuff. It’s this aspect of mind; the heart’s feelings; the vrittis. Vritti really means whirlpools or eddies. Eddies draws everything to a center. So every time you have a desire; or like; or dislike, it creates a whirlpool around your ego and it is one more cause for being trapped.
The way to Freedom
The way to get out of that ego out of those eddies of delusion; and of attachment and likes and dislikes is to watch a river. If the flow is weak your fine little eddies go along the edges but once the flow becomes strong it dissolves all those eddies. The way to really find your freedom is to have such a flow of divine love that nothing will be able to draw energy to itself. It carries everything along with it.
This is an excerpt of a talk by Swami Kriyananda – from A New Dawn video series – Swami Kriyananda – July 5, 2009
You can watch the video here https://youtu.be/3YBFikiCWDA