What is the difference between mind and `citta’ ?

Hare Krishna.

11th May, 2015, Gurgaon


Last week Shyamsundar Prabhuji asked me `Does mind means our desires?’ I replied in negative and as we started talking about `Cit’, mind and consciousness, I realised that I could not explain this topic to prabhuji properly. I looked at my notes and found an excellent explanation by HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhuji. As usual prabhuji clears the air with a laser sharp clarity. Because I had kept this knowledge to myself so I had forgotten it!

In summary we can understand at first the difference between mind and consciousness.

1. Consciousness being energy of the soul is spiritual, whereas mind is material, being one of the constituents of the subtle material body.
2. The mind is like the screen of the TV whereas the soul is the person watching the TV and consciousness is like the vision of the person that is focused on the TV.

What is the relationship between the `citta. and the mind?

Prabhuji explained that in the Bhagavad Gita Krishna sometimes uses these two words equivalently.

At one level Krishna says man-manā bhava mad-bhakto (BG 18.65) He says that think of Me, fix your mind on Me.

In BG 10.9 Krishna says mac-cittā mad-gata-prāṇā, He says, the consciousness of my devotees is fixed on me.

Prabhuji explained that in a functional sense we can say that mind and consciousness are similar but in a technical sense there is a difference.

The word citta is different from cit.

Prabhuji explained that the soul is sat-cit-ananda. As sat-cit-ananda, cit or consciousness is the original faculty of the soul. Soul’s consciousness is currently caught in the body and routed through the body to the outer world. So I am identifying with my body and from there I am thinking I am looking at you, you are looking at me. This identification is happening. In this identification the conditioned consciousness of the soul that is routed into the body is called as `citta’. Cit is the original unconditioned consciousness and citta is the consciousness that is routed through the body.

For example, suppose a person is watching a movie. When a  person goes into the theater to watch the movie, at that time the person can see everything. He may see the movie screen. He may see the neighbors sitting next to him. He may see the floor. He may see the fans, lights. Once the movie starts the movie screen is so captivating that the person consciousness gets locked on the screen. Then whatever is happening on the movie screen that’s where the consciousness goes and through that there all kinds of emotions, of excitement, horror, suspense, all the different emotions come.

Prabhuji explained that like that original soul is conscious and is capable of being conscious of spiritual reality also. Just like a person watching a movie can see the person sitting next to him, like that super-soul is right next to us and we have the capacity to perceive super-soul.

There is also the example of two birds. Two birds are close to each other but one bird is busy in eating the fruits. Like that the soul is currently next to the super-soul. Soul has the capacity to see the super-soul, but the soul is caught in material illusion. The capacity of the soul to see everything, including spiritual reality, that is cit and the consciousness that is routed on to the movie screen and after that whatever is perceived that is called as citta.

So conditioned consciousness is citta and the original consciousness is cit.


Now coming to the mind, the movie screen is like the mind. The movie screen is where whatever is depicted in the movie that is being displayed. So that is the mind. Krishna says man mana bhava..,  at one level He is saying on the screen of your mind you bring impressions about Me. That means you remember the Deity, you remember the holy name, you remember the verses. The screen of the mind bring the impressions about Me. Secondly what also it means is that your citta, your energy of consciousness, you focus on Me. So by this what will happen? Because Krishna is spiritual, by focusing on Him as spiritual reality, our spiritual awareness will awaken. Jiva jago, Jiva jago, we sing. What is that? The soul’s spiritual faculty awakens. And once that awakens it can see that the super- soul is right next to me. So Krishna is right next to me, I will be able to perceive.

Suppose there is a person who is watching a movie. But now assume that between the face of the person and the movie screen there is a sort of subtle covering or a pipe. So that vision goes straight to the screen and the vision cannot go anywhere else. That means the person has the capacity to see other things but because of that pipe line the person’s vision is fixed on the movie screen only. So that pipe line which fixes the vision on the movie screen that is the false ego. So because of our false ego we can’t perceive other things.

For example, somebody very passionately identifies with, say there is a war on Iran and Iraq. Somebody passionately identifies with Iran then person cannot think of Iraqi perspective. ‘No, we could not have done anything wrong, they are only wrong. Why? Because the vision is locked like that.’

In our case the screen on which we perceive the world that is mind and the conditioned vision or the conditioned consciousness with which we perceive that is citta.

For example, if I have to look out of a window, if the window is red color then there are two things involved in my perception.

One is my eyes looking at the window.

Secondly there is the screen of the window.

If screen is reddish then what will happen? Whatever I see is reddish. But if screen is transparent I will be able to see transparent.

Cheto darpan marjanam, so clean the citta.

So from functional point of view both the mind and the citta are basically the means by which we perceive in this material world.

We can Krishnaize it. When we Krishnaize it then our spiritual faculty will be awaken.

So citta is the conditioned consciousness and mind is the screen on which that conditioned consciousness perceives.

To hear the audio of the answer by HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhuji please click here

All glories to HG Chaitanya Charan Prabhuji.

All glories to Sri Guru and Gauranga.

All glories to Srila Prabhupada.

3 thoughts on “What is the difference between mind and `citta’ ?

  1. Hare Krishna

    He also declares “of the senses I am the mind” (BG 10.22).
    Neither is the mind material nor are the senses.
    Yes the brain and the sense objects into which our consciousness is integrated to are material.
    The mind to which we have been provided access to is the distorted part of the Mind Stratum (Please refer to “the Mind of the mind by Kena Upanishad) and the imposed senses upon the pure senses are blunt.
    Both the distorted mind and the blunt senses are very much spiritual.
    Atma Bhava (BG 10.11) is Chit.

    Radhe Radhe

  2. Hare Krishna Prabhuji…very nice…we have discussed this lecture of CCD before…However I am still not clear about Citta and mind….The line “So citta is the conditioned consciousness and mind is the screen on which that conditioned consciousness perceives.” Does this mean that Mind has Citta (for conditioned souls?) the word perceive seems misplaced here…but as you know I am brain-dead…pls advise…very fallen servant, Shyam Sunder Krishna Das

    • Dear Shyam Sunder Ji
      Hare Krishna

      As you will know, the “Spiritual Operating System” is “Sat Chit Ananda” – “Your Wish is my Command”. The application software (Pure Potencies of The Enjoyer of His Potencies) are Hladini, Samvit and Sandhini which are pure pleasure, cognitive and infrastructural potencies respectively.

      But the ever attentive Chit/Internal Potency in response to The Supreme Personality of God Head’s attempt to take His Spiritual pastimes to ever enhancing superlative levels, expands as Maha Lakshmi Mata, maha maya, Durga and Kali.

      Upon emanation, in the purposeful absence of the Internal Potency, our “pure” individual consciousness (Chit) of we Jivatmas manifested by agitating a plain sheet of uniform consciousness (a specific pocket of the Brahman at the Tatastha) by application of the powerful virus like properties (gunas – satva, rajas & tamas) of the deluding potency – maha maya “gets” distorted.

      Then the pure potencies Hladini, Samvit and Sandhini which are pure pleasure, cognitive and infrastructural potencies are also refracted through the gunas and deployed upon the Jivatmas experiencing distorted consciousness manifest as lust, mundane knowledge and mundane infrastructure respectively.

      The layers of the “Mind Cloud” which consists of the Causal primordial mind, the mind of the mind, the cosmic mind, the intellectual mind, the functional mind and the instinctive mind are overlapped by both pure and distorted consciousness.

      The distorted consciousness is originally provided “access” to only the the intellectual mind, the functional mind and the instinctive mind layers through the brain cum spinal cord wireless router and the seven pin connector (seven chakras) which are used to integrate our extracted consciousness and covered blunt senses into the sense organs of over populated skin (infinite material bodies).

      The distorted consciousness through the perverted reflection has the operating systems of satva, rajas & tamas through the application software of sense gratification and an underlying attitude that reeks of “I am the master of all that I survey”.

      As this technical understanding is firm on an attentive level recall by the Divine Grace of Senior & Senior most “hierarchy” of the transcendence, the distorted consciousness automatically tries dissolve itself and to migrate to the pure levels which is our normal state of existence. This seeking is a hand shake extension that is reciprocated by the supra conscious Mind through the cognitive network.

      After this though our extracted consciousness is still projected through virus is switched, transmitted and functionally active at “dasa mulatva”.

      Consciousness has been ported from the “metaphysical network” to the “Transcendental cognitive network”

      Now how the Jivas “”are made to fall”” (no Jiva falls on its own) for humoring the deluding potency who needs a constant supply of deludable potency (just as fire needs burnable material) is detailed in the Jaiva Dharma and Journey of the Soul which are basically addendum to the Scriptural clouds of the Gita, Bhagavat etc. I can explain if you kindly need.

      My Dear Lord Anantha / Bhagawan Sankarshana (Divine CTO – Transcendental Technocrat) assures that no more Jivas will be made to fall and all fallen will be reinstated.

      As Guru Ji Srila Prabhupada puts it – ” Re – Spiritualization of the materialized and Non – Materialization of the Spiritual both simultaneously.

      Warm regards
      Radhe Radhe

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