Chitta Nadi, the Mind or Consciousness Channel
The mind has its own single nadi or channel called chitta nadi or the channel of consciousness. Ayurveda refers to its physical counterpart as manovaha strotas, the channel that carries thought. All of us have experienced the flow of the mind, the flow of thought or the stream of consciousness. This is the flow through the chitta nadi.
Chitta nadi originates in the spiritual heart, the site of the reincarnating soul or individual Self, Jivatman. In the heart resides our connection with the Creator from which the chitta nadi gains energy The core impulses arising from our deeper mind or heart, our samskaras, propel the movement through this nadi.
Chitta nadi is the flow of our samskaras from the heart to the outer world. It moves upward first to the throat, from which our expression comes out, and then to the head where it gets connected with the senses and external objects. Then it flows back down from the head to the throat and back to the heart. This is the twofold flow of the chitta nadi. First it has a move¬ment out toward the external world, which is from the heart up to the head and out through the senses. Then it has a contrary movement from the outer world of the senses to the inner world of the psyche, which is down from the head into the heart.
The outward flow of the chitta nadi gives rise to the outer mind, emotions, and life urges, what Samkhya calls the field of rnanas and the subtle body he inner flow of the chitta nadi gives rise to the inner min~and intuition, what Samkhya calls buddhi or inner intelligence. The outward flow follows the movement of the cosmic repulsive force or ignorance. The inward flow reflects the movement of divine attraction. The outward flow of chitta nadi brings us into the body and creates the waking state, which is dominated by sensory activity in the head. The inner flow of the chitta nadi takes us into our own consciousness and creates the states of dream and deep sleep. Dream occurs in the throat region. Deep sleep occurs at the origin of the heart.
THE TWOFOLD FLOW OF THE MIND CHANNEL
At death, the chitta nadi flows inward, as in sleep, taking us into the astral plane and its dream-like experience of heaven and hell worlds. The tunnel experiences that people commonly have in near-death experience show the functioning of this nadi.
In the ordinary human mind, the flow through the chitta nadi is restricted and broken up. Our minds are distracted and fragmented and move in various directions. Nevertheless there remains some consistency to the flow through the mind chan¬nel, which we experience as our self-identity The dominant thought flowing through chitta nadi is the I-thought. The identification of the self with the body generates thee external flow of chitta nadi. The recognition of the Self as pure consciousness generates the internal flow.
I am the body idea
Inward Flow Buddhi,
Self or Soul (Jivatman)
Core Mind, Samskaric Field
Ego (ahamkara) is the factor that brings about the restriction of flow through the chitta nadi. It is the negative movement of prana in the mind, while the soul or sense of divine Self is the positive movement of prana in the mind.
Ego is a manifestation of deranged or desire- based prana (apana in the mind), while the soul reflects balanced or love-based prana. When the chitta nadi is blocked by the thought of the separate self, we get trapped in the outer mind, emotions and senses. As we expand our sense of self from the personal to the universal, the flow in chitta nadi increases. When the chitta nadi flows freely it completes its circuit and returns to the heart. In the practice of meditation one can experience this quicker, freer and more consistent flow through chitta nadi. Once the flow becomes completely liberated, it merges us back into the ocean of consciousness that dwells within the heart; the free flow becomes one with silence and stillness.
Ego causes various toxins, impurities or heavy matters (malas) to accumulate in the chitta nadi and inhibit its flow These toxins derive from wrongly digested food, impressions and associations, from wrong diet, wrong use of the senses, and wrong relationships. Hence the flow through the chitta nadi is affected by the condition of the body, prana and mind. Chitta nadi is connected to all the channel systems of the physical and subtle bodies.
In this regard, yoga speaks of the knots in the heart (hridaya grant hi ) that must be untied for liberation or enlightenment to occur. These knots are the constrictions in the flow of the chitta, blockages in the flow of vayu or prana in the mind space. Our samskaras, deep desires or impulses inhibit the flow of energy from the Self through the chitta nadi and get projected into the external world as various limited ego identities. Opening the spiritual heart and opening the chitta nadi are thus the same. Along with the chitta nadi, related peripheral subtle nadis open, bringing an experience of bliss into the physical body itself.
In fact the mind is not different from its flow. The vibration of the mind (chitta-s panda) is the flow of the mind (chitta nadi). When the mind comes to a state of calm and silence, theh the flow of the mind channel also becomes calm, merging into peace, expanding into space.
Chitta Nadi and the Other Channels
Chitta nadi is the channel of the causal body, the field of the deeper mind and heart from it arises the original prana of the soul that is the basis of all life. Chitta nadi, therefore, is the original pranic flow as well as that of the mind. The movement of the mind (chitta-spanda) is always reflected in the movement of prana (prana-spanda). As such, chitta nadi governs over all channel functioning. It is most intimately related to the sushumna, the governing channel of the subtle body, and to the kundalini, the serpent power which is the awakened flow of energy through the sushumna. The free flow through the chitta nadi causes the kundalini to flow through the sushumna as well. Chitta nadi relates to the upper regions of the sushumna from the heart to the head. Chitta nadi governs not only the flow of thought but also the flow of prana that derives from it. The sushumna as the higher pranic nadi is closely connected with the chitta nadi or channel of the mind in its awakened flow. When the chitta nadi flows outward, the kundalini remains asleep or dormant. When chitta nadi flows within, then kundalini awakens and begins to move.
The inward flow of the chitta nadi leads to the purification and energization of all the other nadis, leading to the opening of the chakras and their potentials. However, not all yogis will experience all the chakras and their energies. Some may go directly to the heart and not concern themselves with the other possibilities of experience.
The flow of chitta nadi is desire based. Desire causes the chitta nadi to flow outward. Detachment allows it to flow within. As sexual desire is the strongest desire, it has the greatest outward pull on this channel. As the chitta nadi flows outward, our energy gets directed to the external world, where it is eventually lost. As it flows within, our energy gets directed within for internal transformation.
In terms of yogic practices, pratyahara (control of the senses) works to inhibit the outward flow through chitta nadi so that the inward flow can be developed. Dharana is the concentration of energy in the chitta nadi through directed attention.
Meditation occurs when the energy flows continuously through chitta nadi. Samadhi occurs when the chitta nadi flows without obstruction. Perhaps the best method is to follow the current of thought back to its origin in the I-thought in the heart, the divine “I-am-that-I-am” which is the essence of the yoga of knowledge. Another way is to worship God in the heart in whatever form appeals to us. Mantra or anything else that creates a constant stream of higher thoughts helps open chitta nadi to anything that expands our consciousness will similarly cause its energy to flow more freely In other words, all of yoga, particularly its higher practices, aims at developing the chitta nadi.
Among the doshas, the chitta nadi is most closely related to vata, owing to vata’s connection with prana and with the mind. Mind, prana and vata move together. Vata aggravation brings about abnormal or disturbed flow through the chitta nadi. However, kapha as attachment can block its flow Pitta as anger similarly can agitate its flow Relative to the three vital essences, prana arises through the free flow of chitta nadi. Tejas is its light power. Ojas is the stability of its flow.