When the world is joining hands to nourish Artificial Intelligence, yogic scriptures have provided an insightful perspective of Human Mind.

Human mind comprises 16 dimensions that fall into 4 broad categories : Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas and Chitta

English language is a very poor tool to explain the concepts behind these words.

It is like using just 0 and 1 and trying to construct a Machine Learning Algorithm. You might end up constructing it, but use up a hell lot of 0s and 1s.

Partly because of our lack of lucid understanding and partly because of limited repertoire of English language.

Buddhi: It is our ability to understand using Logic. Applying Common Sense. A poor translation in one word, intellect. It is like a sharp instrument ( we do not want our intellect to be blunt, don’t we?). This is a human survival instinct. We use intellect as a sharp object to poke and dissect complex objects. Our current scientific education is entirely based on this attribute.

Disadvantage of buddhi: We can cut using it but if we try to sew different aspect of life using just intellect, we end up cutting ourselves.

So comes Ahankara to rescue, some call it ego, but a poor one-word english translation would be “identity”. I am girl, I am a boy, I am an Indian, I am a capitalist, I am a hindu, I am a humanitarian…this is the urge to grab an Identity. Identity helps us to relate other with similar identity…so helps us to sews…but the lacuna is, unknowingly our buddhi revolves around our Identity and it tries to defend it.

Violence and peace are both caused by buddhi when revolving around identity.

Then there is Manas, some call it the mind, but it is understood as the accumulated memory (another poor english translation). Not only my present memory, but also my evolutionary memory that is carried by each one of my cell. My nose has the memory of my forefather stored in the DNA of each cell and it is different from your memory.

Disadvantage is this accumulated Memory and the above said Identity severely cripples our buddhi (intellect). We are not just big as our dream, we are much more than that, yet constrained by our Manas(accumulated) and Ahamkara(identity).

This is where the concept of chitta i.e. subconscious (totally different from consciousness that is mostly recognized as wakefulness in most of the scientific literature, ideally we do not have a specific term for chitta in English yet) comes in.

If somehow we can break free our buddhi (intellect) from the constraints of ahamkara(identity) and manas(accumulated memory) it becomes undistinguished from subconsciousness.

It is like blowing a balloon, and calling the air inside balloon as my air. Prick it, then there is no ‘my air’ from outside atmosphere.

Everyone of us capture this subconsciousness using our buddi, identity and memory and call it “my subconscious mind”

Author Paulo Coelho in his book the Alchemist try to explain ( Shah Rukh Khan then copied it for Om shanti om), said “ the universe conspires to grant our inner wish ”…this “universe” can be poorly related to the subconscious.Literature of Dr Murphy also tells to harness the power of subconscious mind.

The process of converging buddhi with chitta by breaking the shackles of manas and ahankara is yogic practice of “enlightenment”.


a. Inner Engineering, A yogic guide to joy.

b. Quantum Interpretation of Vedic theory of Mind: an Epistemological Path and Objective Reduction of Thoughts,Michele Caponigro et al.

Article originally published at VGSoM IITKGP Executive MBA Digital Interaction Platform