What is the difference between the mind and the citta?

by Chaitanya Charan dasApril 1, 2014

Answer Podcast

Transcription by– Keshav Gopal Das & Ambuj Gupta

Question: What is the relationship between the citta and the mind?

Answer: In the Bhagavad Gita Krishna sometimes uses these two words equivalently. At one level He says manmana bhava mad bhakto, He says that think of Me. Fix your mind on Me. mad chitta mad gatah prana, he says, the consciousness of my devotees is fixed on me. In a functional sense we can say that they are similar but in a technical sense there is a difference. The word citta is different from cit. So the soul is sat cit ananda. As sat cit ananda, cit or consciousness is the original faculty of the soul. Soul’s consciousness is currently caught in the body and routed through the body to the outer world. So I am indentifying with my body and from there I am thinking I am looking at you, you are looking at me. This identification is happening. In this identification the conditioned consciousness of the soul that is routed into the body is called as cit. Cit is the original unconditioned consciousness and citta is the consciousness that is routed through the body. For example, suppose a person is watching a movie. Now person goes into the theater to watch the movie. At that time the person can see everything. He may see the movie screen. He may see the neighbors sitting next to him. He may see the floor. He may see the fans, lights. Once the movie starts the movie screen is so captivating that the person consciousness gets locked on the screen. Then whatever is happening on the movie screen that’s where the consciousness goes and through that there all kinds of emotions, of excitement, horror, suspense, all the different emotions come. Like that original soul is conscious and is capable of being conscious of spiritual reality also. Just like a person watching a movie can see the person sitting next to him. Like that super soul is right next to us and we have the capacity to perceive super soul. There is the example of two birds. Two birds are close to each other but one bird is busy in eating the fruits. Like that the soul is currently next to the super soul. So has the capacity to see the super soul, but the soul is caught in material illusion. The capacity of the soul to see everything, including spiritual reality, that is cit and the consciousness that is routed on to the movie screen and after that whatever is perceived that is called as citta. So conditioned consciousness is citta and the original consciousness is cit.

Now coming to the mind the movie screen is like the mind. The movie screen is where whatever is depicted in the movie that is being displayed. So that is the mind. Krishna says man mana bhava at one level He is saying on the screen of your mind you bring impressions about Me. That means you remember the Deity, you remember the holy name, you remember the verses. The screen of the mind bring the impressions about Me. Secondly what also it means is that your citta, your energy of consciousness, you focus on Me. So by this what will happen? Because Krishna is spiritual, our spiritual awareness will awaken. We sing Jiva jago, but what is that? That is actually the soul’s spiritual faculty awakens and once that awakens it can see that the super soul is right next to me! Krishna is right next to me! I will be able to perceive. Suppose there is a person who is watching a movie. But now assume that between the face of the person and the movie screen there is a sort of subtle covering or a pipe. So that vision goes straight to the screen and the vision cannot go anywhere else. That means the person has the capacity to see other things but because of that pipe line the person’s vision is fixed on the movie screen only. So that pipe line which fixes the vision on the movie screen that is the false ego. So because of our false ego we can’t perceive other things. For example, somebody very passionately identifies with say there is a war on Iran and Iraq. Somebody passionately identifies with Iran then person cannot think of Iraqi perspective. No we could not have done anything wrong, they are only wrong. Why? Because the vision is locked like that. In our case the screen on which we perceive the world that is mind and the conditioned vision or the conditioned consciousness with which we perceive that is citta. For example, if I have to look out of a window, if the window is red color then there are two things involved in my perception. One is my eyes looking at the window. Secondly there is the screen of the window. If screen is reddish then what will happen? Whatever I see is reddish. But if screen is transparent I will be able to see transparent. Cheto darpan marjanam, so clean the citta. So from functional point of view both the mind and the citta are basically the means by which we perceive in this material world. We can Krishnaize it. When we Krishnaize it then our spiritual faculty will be awaken. Now in a conversational sense when we say, वो मेरे चित्त से चला गया है, basically what it means is that, that person no longer comes in the screen of the mind because we have forgotten that. So something which is a bad experience, which was big scar on the past, with the passage of time we forget. So citta is the conditioned consciousness and mind is the screen on which that conditioned consciousness perceives. Thank you.

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Chaitanya Charan das

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