Sakshi Bhav : Being a witness to what happens.

A state of mind that just witnesses what happens in it. I be a witness to what happens in me.

The moment I say, being a witness, one tends to assume that I will be a witness to what happens around me. Which means, I am sitting here and watching the people walk, chat and laugh and doing it without any judgement. But this is not Sakshi Bhav, as watching people around creates an unconscious mental modification which builds up slowly to reach a point where I influenced by it. I cannot continue to be a witness for a long time.

I think I am just witnessing an argument between two close members of my family but soon I find myself taking sides or trying to help them out and, in the end, feel frustrated myself. This is an example of how I get identified with the fluctuations of the mind.

“egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrumental power of seeing’ – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,( B.K.S Iyengar)

Sakshi Bhav is witnessing what happens in one’s mind, like what one does in a dream.

I sleep. Dreams come up when I am asleep. How do I know that I dream? How do I know the dream? I can remember the dream, as there is a part of me that is awake and watching the dream. Dream is a projection of the contents of the mind. Can I watch the movement of the mind during wakeful hours as mind keeps projecting even during the so-called wakeful hours of the day?

For example, a child sits to study. Focus is to complete a chapter in science. He gets a call from his friend asking him to join an online game. He says no thinking I should study. Unaware of the emotions that get generated in his body and mind. But soon he finds himself playing the game and not studying. The ultimate goal, of studying is forgotten. He may play joyfully but end up wondering why he played in the first place as the thrill of the game and the win is also lost as he ends up with a feeling of emptiness and guilt of not having studied.

Sakshi Bhav – is being the observing self – observing the mental and physical self.

First step is being aware of the emotions and thoughts generated within me.



How can I be the observing self continuously?

Being there as the observing self continuously is difficult because I am used to being identified with physical self and mental self; being the observing self needs ‘energy to be’ without any cause and need.

“egoism is the identification of the seer with the instrumental power of seeing’ – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali,( B.K.S Iyengar)

Sakshi Bhav, is not witnessing the situation were friends call to play an online game. But witnessing the series of emotions thoughts that arise in the mind and also related thoughts of the mobile, computer or laptop in which he would play, the memories of the past that arise and the winning and losing moments, the thrill that get generated in the body.

By witnessing the events that happen in the mind one does not get entangled with emotions. One treats the events that happen in mind as inputs from senses.

If not unconscious entanglement happens; and one starts witnessing the events that happen around as though one is the mind.

Witnessing my mind is thus witnessing the thoughts, emotions and conclusions and not acting on it. The act of just seeing them separates one from the thought and emotions.

When one continuously practices it, the Vrittis in the mind settles as the effects are absorbed in to the cause, which means the cause becomes the effect of a preceding cause, which slowly leads to the core emotions – a series of dissolutions leading to transcending the emotions.

Laya  Chintana Practice -which is called absorption is a practice which helps to dissolve such emotional waves.

Laya Chintana – Effect is absorbed into the cause.

In the above example

Cause : friends contacting to play an online game

Effect : Suppression of the ripple the mind by not being aware of it and the past memory of thrilling moments when playing the game

The above effect become the cause of agitation in me

Cause: Suppression of the emotions leads to energy build up as memories throw out past experiences

Effect : agitation in my  mind.

This effect triggers the agitation in my mind caused by the feeling of losing an opportunity to play and experience thrill in the here and now.

Effect over laps : builds up in the body

This build up becomes the cause of the next effect

Effect: Forget studying and playing the game.

When the seer observes the fluctuations in the consciousness,  – “then the seer dwells in his own true splendour” – Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, BKS Iyengar.

“At all other times, the seer identifies with the fluctuating consciousness(also termed Vrittis)”

Can’t self-study by done by myself?


The answer could be yes and no.

Gautama Buddha, states that ‘The beginning, the process and the end’ should be happy, steady and pleasant.

Which means that there are three basic steps in getting what I want:

I want something. I strive for it. I get it.

These three stages should be pleasant.

On the other hand,

If I experience unpleasantness (stress, disturbance, agitation etc) in the beginning due to the absence of the object or state I aspire for,

If I experience stress, disturbance, agitation etc during the process of achieving what I want

If I am not happy after getting or not getting what I want, which makes me aspire for something more,

then it means I am caught in cycles of pleasure and pain; then self- study or Swadyaya by oneself will take lots of time; may be many life times.

Yoga Sutra states that, ‘at other times, the seer identifies with fluctuating consciousness’

‘Fluctuations of consciousness are five-fold; they could be cognizable or non-cognizable, painful or unpainful’

Pain is mostly seen as emotional outbursts especially in close relationships.

In the above example the student if left with a feeling of guilt and remorse. Repeated events like this will instil in him a pattern of not sticking to his own plan impacting self-confidence. He may not like to play yet he plays and avoids studying as he gets conditioned to getting instant gratification for a short period of time.

When actions are propelled by desire for pleasure of body and mind or by the fear of avoiding anything that would cause pain to body and mind- it intensifies the karmic baggage and entanglement. It may feel safe but entanglement is akin to or more painful that imprisonment.

Each one of us have had moments of experiences where one has felt totally one with oneself, moments of bliss, completely absorbed; in fact its that experience that makes us want more of it.

The aspiration is can I make it a natural part of my life. Can I be in the that state continuously?

As Sri Aurobindo states in Life Divine, ‘Aspiration of every human to reach that state of unconditional permanent state of happiness, joy and bliss’

A guided process based on the principles of Yoga and Vedanta; learning to apply frameworks in daily life will help one progress quicker.

Hence learning and applying frameworks outlined by Vedanta Psychology would help us understand, apply, heal and empower ourselves.

The framework of transpersonal learning follows the steps outlined in Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.

  1. Guidance to still the fluctuations in one’s mind, grounding oneself in the space created by the group, energy of the room and the facilitator
  2. Allowing the samskaras to surface
  3. Being aware of the Gunas that predominate, related emotions – resolving the emotional blocks
  4. Practice of detachment from the above to get a fuller wider picture, which creates more stillness
  5. Surfacing of hidden impressions that had been dormant, creating more fluctuations and disturbances in purity of consciousness
  6. Applying the framework of resolution daily.

‘ just as one peel of the onion holds another peel and is also held by another peel, the cause and effect relationship leads release of emotions at various layers’

“ultimate renunciation happens when one perceives the qualities of nature as in the Gunas – ‘Sattva – Tamas – Rajas’ – repeated practice and detachment of which leads to four types of Samadhi – Self analysis, synthesis, bliss and experience of true being’

This release gives more space for the real self in you to just be and when this is built up by regular practice, something new dawns – which one calls a transformation.


We would use a combination of mind – body – energy work to set the ground and pace for regular practice.

You will also learn to apply the tools in real life situations for self – study.

Thank you.





Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *