The Four Parts of the Mind
Sadhguru looks at how in the yogic system, the mind is seen as having 16 parts. He looks at four fundamental parts - the buddhi or intellect, the ahankara or identity, the manas or memory and chitta, which is pure intelligence. He explains how modern societies have given too much significance to the intellect, which has led to a skewed way of approaching life. He also explains that if we can touch chitta, we have access to the source of creation.
Vinita Bali: So, Sadhguru, what is a creative mind?
Sadhguru: Oh! How big an answer do you want?
Vinita Bali: As big as you want it.
Sadhguru: See, the English word mind doesn’t say anything because it’s just one generic word, which does not describe different dimensions of what the mind is. Mind is not just one something sitting here (Gestures) and doing something, okay? There is really no such thing as mind. In the yogic culture, there is no mind. There is a physical body, there is a mental body because what you are calling as mind right now is a certain combination of memory and intelligence. There is memory in your body, more memory in your body than you can imagine. If I have to get at you again, it’s okay, I’m picking on you. You definitely don’t remember how your great-great-great-great-great-grandmother looked like but her nose is sitting on your face right now. Yes?
Vinita Bali: Yes.
Sadhguru: You don’t remember a thing consciously but your body remembers one hundred percent. How ten generations ago, your grandmother was, your body still remembers. A million years ago, how your forefathers were, your… still your body remembers, isn’t it? It’s not forgotten and it’s not going to forget. Your mind is not capable of this kind of memory. Your body has a trillion times more memory than your so-called brain. This whole shift towards the brain and intellectual process is an Eu… is a European malaise - they gave too much significance to thought. This has happened because they lived under a subjugated society, religiously subjugated society where you are not supposed to think anything except what’s written in some book, otherwise you are dead. They lived like this for a longtime. Because of this, when they got little freedom to think and managed to live, they started celebrating their thought too much.
Let’s understand the c… context of thought. You can only think from the data that you already have gathered. That means you can never think anything new. You can recycle it, you can rehash it, you can produce permutations and combinations of it but you cannot think something absolutely new. It is not in the nature of the thought to come up with something new. It can only recycle the past. That means if you dedicate yourself to your thought process, if you enshrine your thought process, you are ensuring nothing new ever happens in your life.
So thought need not be celebrated like this. That’s why in this culture, thought is never been given so much significance. What you think is your psychological drama. We don’t think much about that (Laughs) because it’s your drama. Your drama is important for you, somebody else’s drama, it’s important for them, everybody thinks their drama is the most important drama in the universe. This is everybody’s experience because they are so identified with their own psychological drama. This psycholoco… psychological drama should not determine the nature of your life because this is just a small happening compared to the life process. Life is a much deeper intelligence than intellect. If we… I don’t know if everybody is cut out for such a (an?) elaborate, very, what to say, academic kind of examination of the mind. Are you?
Sadhguru: Oh (Gestures) (Laughter)!
Vinita Bali: You got your answer.
Sadhguru: Lot of them said, “No” (Laughter). Anyway, I’ll try… I’ll make it very brief. We can look at… The yogic system looks at the mind as sixteen parts. Those sixteen parts are further broken and they’re taken up to 84,000 parts. But now, if I talk about 84,000, already there’s a segment which says no, so I will make it four. I am taking away eighty, okay? I’m being fair to you - only four! Four fundamental parts. One is the intellect, which we have… In modern world, in today’s world, we are unnecessarily giving too much significance to intellect and we will pay an enormous price for this. You will come to a place where you’ll know everything but you’ll know nothing of life significance, really. Today, you will see this happening to children. For the first time, this generation you see ten, eleven-year-old or twelve-year-old children, they look bored. When you were ten-eleven, you did not what is boredom, it was not possible. It was too exciting to be alive and looking around. You will see ten, twelve-year-old children, all looking bored because they’ve seen the cosmos through their phone screen.
They know it all and especially in the western countries, you will see this happening at eight-ten, they are really bored. You will see in the school buses, they are all sitting like this (Gestures) (Laughter), bored, because by the time you are twelve, you already had one love affair, you know what is a break, you know how to… all this recover from that, you tasted alcohol, you’ve seen this, probably you’ve gone into all kinds of physical things and you know the cosmos. What more? By the time you’re fifteen, there’s really no purpose for you to exist, for many of them. You should not be surprised, if this culture continues - I’m not saying this as a prediction, it is simp… something that I see beginning to happen - in another fifty or hundred years’ time, if twenty-five to fifty percent of the people commit suicide, you should not be surprised because e… life needs some exuberance. If too much information happens to you without experience, that exuberance will be gone and a sense of… false sense of knowing becomes so strong in you. This is the danger of intellect because intellects wants to… intellect wants to dissect everything.
Intellect is like a scalpel - the sharper it is, the better it is. It wants to dissect and know. Dissection works with some things, not with all aspects of life. If you want to know… The poor frog, you know, you remember, tch, the poor frog that you crucified and cut and great knowledge you ac… acquired from all that torture is unbelievable (Laughter). How much knowledge you know… For the torture that that frog went through, how much knowledge you have acquired is quite unbelievable. All that you got to know. Now you’ve got interest… suddenly you got interested, the mother that you had ignored, you want to know your mother today. Please get yourself a sharp knife, start the dissection. You may know everything about her liver, kidney, heart but you won’t have a mother left, that’s all.
So, life cannot be known by breaking it up. You can know physical things by breaking it up. You cannot know life by breaking it into pieces but this is the nature of the intellect. The whole modern science has evolved from human intellect. Because it’s produced technological benefits, you can’t argue against it because people, you know (Laughs), they… they think they are scientists, they know nothing about science. They’re just enjoying their iPhone. They think they are scientists because they can do this (Gestures). No, technology is fine, it’s brought much comfort and convenience but it’ll not bring life to us. So, intellect is like this. Intellect will be useful only depending upon what it is identified with and what is held, what holds this, how steadily.
So, the next dimension of the mind… The first one is called as buddhi, which is the intellect. The second one is called as ahankara. Ahankara does not mean ego, this, that, it means the identity. Whatever you’re identified with, your intellect functions only around that. Simple, if you just identify with a nation, if you say, “I’m an Indian,” everything Indian looks beautiful. If you cross the border and you say you are something else, all that looks beautiful. So, whatever you’re identified with, it’s only with that the intellect functions. So ahankara is the identity. How consciously and how steadily your ahankara has been created will determine the effectiveness of your intellect. Just because it’s sharp, it does not mean it’ll be effective because sharp intellect or a sharp knife can cause any amount of damage to you. If you have a sharp knife and you don’t have a steady hand, you will cut yourself all over the place. That’s all that’s happening.
Human suffering is just this – you don’t know how to hold this intellect in your hand properly. Every day, you’re cutting yourself. Self… All suffering is on self-help because your own mind causing this to you all the time. No matter what happens, people suffer, whichever way, they suffer, because they don’t know how to hold this intellect. If you had the mind of an earthworm, you would be quite peaceful. Yes (Laughs)? You’re trying to do it in so many ways to reduce the sharpness of the intellect by drink, by drug, by overeating, by doing all kinds of things, somehow to take away the sharpness because the damn thing hurts. It hurts not because that’s its nature, it hurts because you do not know how to hold it.
The next dimension of the mind is called as manas, which is a huge volume of memory. It is not here or there, entire body carries memory. So manomayakosha, this is called, a huge sack of memory. This memory is in various stacks, we’ll not go into all these details considering some people have clesd… said a clear no. They don’t want to have a mind, I’m sorry, they don’t want to know anything about the mind (Laughter). So, the fourth dimension of the mind is called as chitta. Chitta means it’s pure intelligence. It is unsullied by memory, it has no trace of any kind of memory, it’s just pure intelligence. If you touch this, then you have access to what you are referring as the source of creation because all kinds of things might have been fed to you - god is this, god is love, god is compassion, god is kind, what… whatever (Laughs). Somebody come, stand on the edge of this stage, say all the prayer you want to say and fall. Let me see whether compassion happens to you or a cracked bone happens to you, I would like to check, all right? All these things have been made up because whatever somebody is deprived of, they will attribute that quality to their idea of god.
Your ideas of god have come only because you do not know what… how this whole creation happened. Because you don’t have an answer, you made it up. Because you are human being, you said, “A big human being is sitting up there. Oh, how can he do all this?” if somebody asked, he has ten hands, so he does lot of things not like you, whatever. It’s all right for children but essentially, because you do not how creation happened, you are coming up with explanations. So, that which is the source of creation - don’t believe what I say, what anybody says - pay attention to one piece of creation. Just take a flower, pay attention to this, pay an attention to a leaf or an atom or an ant – all you will see is phenomenal intelligence beyond anything you can imagine. Yes? But nobody told you, “God is intelligence.” But this culture has said this to you in many ways - they told you chidhakasha, chidambara and so many things to tell you, if you touch your chit, the whole existence becomes yours. Everything that’s worth knowing is right here (Gestures) because you have access to the source of creation.
So, these are the four types of your… four dimensions of your mind. Unfortunately, the modern education thinks by just feel… feeding information and keeping the intellect reasonably sharp, everything is going to happen – no! You will rip this planet apart looking for well-being, you may lose the planet or you may manage to go to another planet and start your work again there (Laughter) but well-being will not happen. If well-being has to happen, you have to dig a little deeper into this one (Referring to oneself), otherwise no.