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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 9  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 8-15

Understanding the concept of mind and mindful awareness according to Indian scriptures

Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA University), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Manasa R Rao
Division of Yoga and Physical Sciences, Swami Vivekananda Yoga Anusandhana Samsthana (S-VYASA University), #19, ‘Eknath Bhavan’, Gavipuram Circle, Kempegowda Nagar, Bengaluru - 560 019, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijny.ijoyppp_6_20

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A human being is like a miniature world. By tuning inward, one can unravel the nature of the universe. The goal of human existence has been to harness and train the citta (mind) from time immemorial. Tracing back, Indian scriptures have references that guide us toward creating a mindful awareness. It elucidates mindful awareness as a practicable mode of being. Practice of pratyāhāra, accentuates mastery over sensory perceptions and citta's reaction to them. This is precisely why pratyāhāra can be a potent tool in comprehending citta that is caught in a web of thoughts. Citta is constantly grappling the deeply ingrained fear of – defeat, doubt, and uncertainty. By incorporating the practice of pratyāhāra, one can put to rest the elements of disturbance, distraction, and distortion of the perception of reality. In contrary to the concept of mindfulness that is prevalent in the clinical interventions, this study expounds the concept of mindful awareness as a means to transcend citta embarking on the practice of pratyāhāra. Here, the concept of pratyāhāra is explored with excerpts from the Bhagavadgītā, Yogasūtra, and Yoga Vāsiṣṭha, that lucidly show that mindful awareness can be embedded into everyday living with the practice of: stabilizing the citta, samatvam (reaching a state of equanimity), ātmavicāra (self-inquiry), vairāgya (renouncing of mental impressions), karma yoga (renouncing the fruits of the one's own action), control of prāṇa (restraint of the life-force) all of which fundamentally lead to the most dynamic technique of pratyāhāra (tuning inward), thereby bringing about mindful awareness.

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