Human Spiritual Structure: The Tripartate Yogic Mind
Notes in progress © 1998-2002 Alan McAllister  

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The mind is described as being composed of three parts, Maha, Aham, and Citta, in descending order of subtle to crude. These are produced by the action of Prakrti (the gunas) on the unit atman.

Undeveloped organisms and plants may have only citta, or citta and mahat. Developed organisms and plants, including humans have all three.

Ahamtattva and Mahattattva collectively form the supra-causal body, which lies between hiranmaya kosa and merger into the atman [AS 3-1].

Evolution of Mind

In the process of pratisaincara the gradual lessening of the bond of the gunas reverses the order of generation, with the `done I', the `doer I', and then the `pure I' evolving (or being recovered) in turn.

When the extent of the unit ahamtattva is larger than its citta, then the remainder is called bhudhi, or intellect. When gunas are loosened further and mahat becomes larger than aham, bodhi or the intuition evolves. Didi AM says not all the citta is converted etc. so all levels must continue to operate, however the balance will change.

Physical clash generates the citta and carries one towards aham. Psychic clash evolves the aham and generates the mahat. Spiritual clash comes from the longing for Parama Purusa, and the desire to return to the source. It develops with the mahat. These are not mutually exclusive, or a sequential series, though the proportions change with the evolution of the being. As the mind evolves in this way it expands, and the physical body also changes. (See also the discussion of pratisaincara).

Operation of Mind

In Ananda Sutram 1-1, it is said of perception that the physical world is perceived by waves that reflect on the mental plate, while mental events and objects create waves that reflect on the soul (atman).

Pranah and mind each operate on their own wavelength. When these are in parallel the organism can evolve. Initially due to an undeveloped ego (aham) organisms cannot operate independently, and they according to the will of the Cosmic mind. In this case the Cosmic mind generates a momentum in the unit mind that moves it along the path of pratisaincara.

In Ananda Sutram 2-9, it is said that the witnesship of the atman, the `I known that I am', which witnesses the mahat (`I am..'), which witnesses the aham (`I do..', `I have..'), which acts and perceives through the citta (the done `I'), is the root of all the rest.

Unlike the Cosmic Mind, which creates the whole universe within itself, the unit mind can only work with the physical world of the five factors, transforming these in one way or another.

Yoga and Psychotherapy gives a slightly different take on the description of mind in terms of Manas (including Citta), Aham, and Buddhi.

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Created February, 1998.
Last updated March 18, 1998.
© Alan McAllister

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