The med­i­ta­tor gains the power to wit­ness the inter­ac­tion of the three func­tions of the mind; thus, self-knowledge awak­ens and one real­izes bliss­ful consciousness.

Yogini Kaliji (excerpt from Prana Vidya manual)

Ahan­kara is the sense of “I.” Aham means “I am.” Ahankara refers to ego, rang­ing from the less evolved I-ness to the higher lev­els of devel­op­ment that yogis attain in meditation.

Yogini Kaliji in MeditationManas is the men­tal screen where all infor­ma­tion is wit­nessed. Infor­ma­tion from the senses, the mem­ory bank, and inner guid­ance are all expe­ri­enced on this screen of per­cep­tion. Manas is also the record­ing instru­ment for the mind. Every­thing received is recorded as prints and stored in the mem­ory bank. These prints will con­tinue to appear based on the need and attach­ment to them. When the prints are no longer given atten­tion or allowed to man­i­fest, they will even­tu­ally dis­solve. This is called nirodha.

Citta serves in the mind as the mem­ory bank. In West­ern terms, beneath the con­scious mind or manas is the sub­con­scious or citta where all mem­o­ries reside. Citta is both pas­sive and active. As the pas­sive side, it receives and stores all impres­sions. The active aspect of citta offers infor­ma­tion to the men­tal screen of manas. When manas is not receiv­ing input or it is reduced, the screen is avail­able to receive addi­tional infor­ma­tion from citta, such as past expe­ri­ences, images, and imag­i­na­tion. The sub­con­scious projects these mem­o­ries onto the men­tal screen.

Bud­dhi is the dis­crim­i­nat­ing fac­ulty, the intel­lect, com­prised of three stages. The high­est stage is pure intu­itive dis­crim­i­na­tion. Right knowl­edge spon­ta­neously appears. It is the inner voice that cuts through all maya or ignorance.

The sec­ond stage of bud­dhi dis­cerns the course of action. Through rea­son­ing and review­ing the issues involved, an answer is presented.

The third and low­est level of bud­dhi sim­ply responds to the impres­sions on the screen of manas. It is a basic type of uncon­scious or instinc­tual action or reac­tion, such as when one touches a hot object and imme­di­ately retracts the hand.

The func­tions of the mind work together so quickly that they appear as one. Manas receives the infor­ma­tion, citta sup­plies mem­o­ries, and bud­dhi dis­crim­i­nates. For exam­ple, an object is per­ceived by the senses and pro­jected onto the screen of manas. Bud­dhi deter­mines the object. The ahankara iden­ti­fies with the object. Dif­fer­ent mem­o­ries or impres­sions from citta come to sur­face that relate to this present expe­ri­ence. The infor­ma­tion is looked upon by bud­dhi to deter­mine the best course of action.

If ahankara fol­lows through with the right action, will power becomes stronger and over time it will be eas­ier to fol­low the inner wis­dom. If the deci­sion is based on the lower mind, swayed by cir­cum­stances, impulse, emo­tion, or past habits, then the print made is a weak­ness that will repeat itself, weak­en­ing the power of discrimination.

In a sit­u­a­tion where the lesser deci­sion is made, it is said the light of buddhi’s dis­crim­i­na­tion was cov­ered by bind­ing sam­skaras, prints in the mind. There­fore, it appears less evolved. But in real­ity bud­dhi does not evolve. It is only uncov­ered when the inner voice, which is always present for those who lis­ten, is fol­lowed. To per­ceive the higher lev­els of bud­dhi, med­i­ta­tion is essential.

To begin med­i­ta­tion prac­tice, one becomes the wit­ness. The ahankara wit­nesses the three func­tions of the mind. Higher knowl­edge dawns dur­ing this wit­ness state. Through sus­tain­ing the wit­ness state, con­scious­ness expands and the I-AM con­tin­ues to the Causal Body, the sheath of bliss. One who resides in the bliss­ful con­scious­ness is the wit­ness of “I AM Bliss,” asmita samadhi. Ahankara dis­solves into the bliss, real­iz­ing its source, the soul, and its triple man­i­fes­ta­tion, Satcitananda.

The soul (Atma) is real­ized as the wit­ness. It wit­nesses the three bod­ies and the three men­tal func­tions. When the soul projects to the world, the indi­vid­ual “I” is called ahankara. When the “I” goes within, it is called the soul. Abid­ing as “I AM,” the soul reflects the non-dual wit­ness state as the moon reflects the sun.

Ah, to real­ize the real wit­ness is the goal of med­i­ta­tion.
Called by many names, Devi, Higher Self, God, or Brah­man,
It is the same wit­ness. It is the Supreme Soul (para­mat­man).
It is the Ulti­mate Wit­ness. “I-Am” is Eter­nal
All things in time and space must van­ish.
All things, all events, all man­i­fes­ta­tions,
are bound by time and space; they come and go.
But “I-AM” is eter­nal. “I-AM” is per­ma­nently avail­able.
Every man­i­fes­ta­tion orig­i­nates from “I-AM”,
depends on “I-AM”, and ulti­mately sub­merges into “I-AM”.

Sri Brah­mananda Sarasvati