Vritti: what is it

20:51, 3 October 2020
Yoga 'Vritti: what is it
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Everything that happens around a person has an entirely neutral nature, and only a restless mind begins to impose projections on objective reality, giving it any assessment. Most often, the mind is either in the state of past experience or in the state of future planning. This forces a person to re-experience the suffering already experienced in the past many times or worry about their future. Its hesitation causes all these actions of the mind. Yoga Sutras Patanjali” deals with such a concept as “Vritti”.

What is Vritti?

In Sanskrit, “Vritti” means ‘excitement’, ‘hesitation’. A comparison can be made with a pond whose water is completely at rest. And in this case, it reflects the Moon. The Moon can be understood as an objective reality reflected in it without distortion, provided that the mind is calm. When the wind starts to affect the water, it begins to oscillate, and the Moon’s reflection becomes distorted.

Water in a pond is the mind of a living being, and by the wind, you can mean just Vritti – its fluctuations. And under the influence of Vritti, the mind begins to distort the objective reality. This is the danger of such a phenomenon as Vritti. In his treatise, Patanjali described getting rid of it as a yoga goal. It is mentioned in sutra 2 of chapter 1. In Svensson’s translation, this sutra sounds as follows: “Yoga is the curb of unrest inherent in the mind.

What is the reason for Vritti?

The variety of Vritti is immeasurable because a particular person’s karma causes it, so everyone has his own set of Vritti. The origin of these fluctuations is due to Samskara – karma “prints” created by past actions, and Vasan – habits, propensities to certain patterns of behavior.

Samskara and Vasans are stored in the mind of a living being and when one or another karma matures, they begin to affect the mind, and thus there is a Vritti – the fluctuations of mind.

How to eliminate Vriti?

  1. About how to eliminate Vritti, Patanjali writes in the sutra 12 of the same chapter. In A. Bailey’s translation, the sutra reads as follows: “The management of these modifications of the internal organ, the mind, must be achieved through tireless efforts and untiring. In addition to Samskar and Vasan’s influence, Vritti also arises due to the reaction to some external objects. Perception, distorted by Vasan and Samskars, forces the mind to perceive external objects as annoying in a pleasant or unpleasant way. And unboundness allows you to achieve detachment from external objects, which already softens the intensity of Vritti.
  2. The second aspect, according to Patanjali (tireless efforts), implies the Dhyana practice, which eliminates the very root cause of Vritti – Samskaras (karmic “prints” created by past actions). Details of the relentless effort are described in the next sutra of this chapter. The sutra translates as: “Practice is a steady concentration on this detachment. Thus, both tools for eliminating Vritti – practice and detachment – are inextricably linked. In the 21st sutra of the same chapter, Patanjali gives an instruction: “With rigorous practice, success comes quickly.

In the sutra of 6 Chapter, 1 Patanjali divides all of Vritti into five species.

  • right ideas;
  • false ideas;
  • fantasies;
  • dreams;
  • perception.

In sutras 7-11 of this chapter, a fuller explanation of what is meant by these five kinds of Vritti is given. In A. Bailey’s translation, sutras 7-11 look like this: “The basis of correct knowledge is correct perception, correct reflection, and correct observation. Wrong knowledge is based on a perception of form, not on the state of being. Fantasy is based on images that do not have a real existence. Passivity is based on the state of the inactivity of Vritti. Memory is the retention of knowledge.

Thus, all five Vritti have real objects in their base, but the degree of distortion of their perception is different. If the first type of Vritti, the basis is the objective perception of reality, the second type and subsequent basis is the distorted perception. The mind’s ability at a deep intuitive level to instantly distinguish these five types of Vritti is a sign of mental health. When a person can not distinguish objective reality, for example, from fantasies and dreams, there comes a mental illness that prevents a person from understanding objective reality.

So, Vritty is the wavering of the mind, or Chitta, which gives rise to his anxiety. The perception of objective reality through the prism of Samscar (accumulated karmic “prints, which are the consequences of past actions or experiences) generates Vritty, a wobbly mind. The oscillation of the mind is eliminated through unboundness and enhanced Dhyana practice.

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