Philosophers have recognized the significance of the mind in controlling human affairs for centuries. They understood that a person’s internal ideas ultimately determined their situation on the outside. They understood that success and failure would have corresponding repercussions on a person’s situation if they had ideas of poverty rather than wealth. Modern science today accepts the integrity of these discoveries. So it becomes essential for someone to have mental control.
Yoga uses specific techniques that are related to the science of mind control. Shankaracharya separates the mind into four different parts based on its functions. These parts are:
- Manas for deciding and doubting;
- Buddhi for the judgment and decision;
- Asmita for the consciousness of its existence;
- Chita for remembering previous experiences.
The mind is a massive repository of ideas and memories from the past. The Samskaras you have accumulated throughout your previous lives comprise your mind at birth. These samskaras are erased at birth, giving each person a clean slate. But as a person matures, new samskaras are regularly accumulated due to different deeds committed from birth until death. This translates into the law of karma. It asserts that the experiences a person has in life are a direct result of the things they did in the past. The samskaras from their previous lives are already there in their mind at birth.
Yoga acknowledges five elements that are fundamental to every person’s psyche. These elements are the originators of all human suffering. They are referred to as kleshas. The five kleshas are:
- Avidya is the false knowledge or ignorance of one’s true self in relation to objects;
- Asmita or ego feeling because, in yoga, soul and body are different aspects;
- Raga is the enjoyment of a pleasurable experience;
- Dvesha or avoidance of pain;
- Abhinivesha or fear of death.
These five characteristics, believed to have existed in a person since birth and seen as the impurities of the mind, are how yoga views human behavior. They cause someone to become unsteady and agitated. Yoga has therefore made room for dhyana and pranayam to purify your mind.