Lesson 5: The Nature of the Mind

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Insights about the Nature of the Mind:

Yoga philosophy views both the body and the mind as part of nature. Both are composed of gross and subtle matter, and both are subject to change.

Supreme Consciousness is unchanging, pure existence being. It is the constant witness to changes in the body and mind.

The mind itself is not sentient / not conscious. It is the light of Supreme Consciousness, our essential Self, that illumines the mind and makes all perception possible.

All of yoga practice is to purify the body and mind to allow the inner light of Supreme Consciousness, our essential Self, to shine through.


Four Components of the Mind:

  • Citta: the mental filed, field of awareness
  • Manas: the sense mind, or thinking mind
  • Buddhi: faculty of discernment
  • Ahamkara: ego, or “I-maker”

Eight Steps for Superconscious Meditation:

  1. Yama (Restraints)
  2. Niyama (Observances)
  3. Asana (Posture)
  4. Pranayama (Breath regulation)
  5. Pratyahara (Sense control)
  6. Dharana (Concentration)
  7. Dhyana (Meditation)
  8. Samadhi (Oneness realization)


 By concentrating within, you can directly feel the divine bliss of your soul within and also without. If you can stabilize yourself in that consciousness, your outer personality will develop and become attractive to all beings.

 The soul is made in God’s image, and when we become established in soul awareness, our personality begins to reflect divine goodness and beauty. That is your real personality.

—Paramahansa Yogananda


For additional information, refer to:
Living the Eternal Way, p 59-67



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  1. Dear Yogacharya,

    If the mind itself is not sentient / not conscious, where do thoughts come from? The Supreme Consciousness?
    Do untrue thoughts (such as ‘I am separate from Self’) come from the ego/ahamkara?
    How does the opening of the ‘third eye’ affect the four components of the mind?

    Much love and many blessings,

  2. Hello dear Nina,
    The insight that the mind itself is not sentient does not mean that it cannot function as conscious. It is a distinction made to point out that it is the Self alone that is the source of consciousness, not any of it’s instruments such as the mind or the brain.

    Thoughts come from many directions! They can come from sensory perception which is cognized by sense mind or ordinary thinking mind. They can arise from memory–imprints that are stored in the citta or mental field. They can also come from intellect, or ego function. And even from the soul level of our being–through intuition or purified discernment.

    “Opening of third eye” would indicate spiritual awakening, or clear seeing ability. It would naturally have a purifying influence on the mind.
    with love,

  3. Dear Umaji,
    This lesson is so full and encompassing for me right now as it was a year ago when I first heard it. It helps me to approach understanding the mind in a such a way that even my mind is soothed! To understand the components and contemplate the highest way of utilizing or experiencing the mind allows for the transendence of it and to move into deeper meditation. Thank you for this gift!

  4. Dear Yogacharya Umaji,

    Thank you for the beautiful teachings. I have heard these teachings many times over the years, and taken this course multiple times. However, as I experience a challenging time in my life, I am grateful for the teachings, to be reminded of the true essence of my Being, and deepen my meditation practice.
    I am also thrilled to be part of a “digital sangha” that shares common beliefs, and supports each other in our journey. Just what is needed for our times!

    With gratitude
    Meena Corbin

  5. Greetings, Peggy. Those who lead morning meditation online for the Center are likely mentioning meditation practices for “kriya yoga initiates”– those who have been initiated into specific meditation practices. As someone not yet introduced to practices given at the time of initiation, you can use any of the techniques offered so far that you find useful.

  6. Hi Yogacharya,

    Could you please throw some more light on Citta (field of awareness). Some teachings say awareness is beyond mind ie we can be aware of our thoughts/mind so they both are sepearte. So is Citta same as awareness, if so how can it be part of the mind?

  7. Hi Praveen,
    Citta is defined differently in various philosophical systems. In the Yoga System, it refers to the combined functioning of the individual aspects of mind–manas, buddhi, and ahamkara. Citta is the field, or “container” for those functions–thus a field of awareness rather than purely awareness itself. In the Yoga system, citta is the individual mind with its components. It is pervaded by the gunas or qualities of nature.

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