Q: What is “chitta”? What is the meaning of “when the mind and Self are one”?
A Brief Sanskrit Glossary defines chitta in this way: “The subtle energy that is the substance of the mind, and therefore the mind itself; mind in all its aspects; the field of the mind; the field of consciousness; consciousness itself; the mind-stuff.” This covers a lot of territory, but that is because in Sanskrit all the aspects of a thing are considered and included.
The meaning of the mind and Self being or becoming one is impossible to determine unless we know the word used for “mind.” For example, it could be chitta, manas or buddhi. Certainly whatever word is used, it is based on the conviction that vibrating energy (shakti) is really one with consciousness (chaitanya), with spirit (atman), that it is an emanation from the atman even if only in the sense of a temporary illusion–not a reality but an idea or concept.
In that case, when the Self is revealed the sadhaka realizes that everything is the Self and in that sense everything, not just the mind, “becomes” the Self. Another view is that the mind is truly an emanation of the Self, and that the Self withdraws the mind-thought into itself.
There is certainly a difference in saying that the mind and the Self are one or that the mind becomes the Self. I have read both, but they were English translations of Indian languages. So we must be very careful before we attribute a particular meaning to a teacher, even if we are quoting a translation of his words. Naturally, translations are done according to the level of the translator’s understanding and experience (which is often nil).
So what is the solution? To find out for ourselves by practicing meditation and experiencing the results.
And even then, we may find that there are no words to accurately express our experience, and we will remain silent.
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