Do we have a Past Life?

Knowledge of Impressions

All the Impressions are stored in the Subconscious mind. Impression is known as “residual potency” also. When all thoughts die away, the frame of the mind remains with the Impressions. This is termed the Potential Mind. A Yogi brings into direct consciousness (conscious mind) the previous life-states by getting direct knowledge of their Impressions.

Like forces, Impressions aid or inhibit one another. When you see a man in serious sickness and when the feeling of mercy arises in your heart, all the Impressions of your previous merciful actions coalesce together and force you to serve and help that sick man. Similarly, all the Impressions of charitable actions come forth to the surface of the conscious mind when you see a man in a serious distress and in straitened circumstances and they force you to help this man. You begin to share with him your physical possessions.

When one Impression or virtuous action comes into play, another Impression of dissimilar nature may emerge out and come in the way of its fulfillment. This is fight between a virtuous and a vicious Impression.

Past Impressions in Subconscious Mind

When you are born, the mind is not a smooth or blank tablet or a blank sheet of white paper. It is a storehouse of Impressions, predispositions, predilections, etc. A child is born with his Impressions. A child is born with his past experiences transmuted into mental and moral tendencies and powers. By experiences, pleasant and painful, man gathers materials and builds them into mental and moral faculties. The earthly experiences are worked up into intellectual faculty. The mind evolves through the impressions received from the universe through the senses. It will take many bodies till it gathers the complete experience of the world. Every man is born with his inborn or inherent Impressions and these are embedded, lodged or imprinted in the Subconscious mind. In earthly life, he gains many more Impressions or experiences through actions and these are added to the original store and become the future accumulated actions (Karma).

All Impressions lie dormant in the subconscious mind as latent activities, not only of this life but of all previous innumerable lives from beginning-less time. The Impressions of animal life, the pleasureful life, the kingly life, the life of a peasant, are all hidden there in the Subconscious mind. In human life, only those Impressions which are appropriate to that particular type of birth will operate and come to play. The other kinds of Impressions will remain concealed and dormant.

As a merchant closing the years ledger and opening a new one, does not enter in the new all the items of the old but only its balances, so does the soul hand over to the new brain his judgments on the experiences of a life that is closed, the conclusions to which he has come, the decisions to which he has arrived. This is the stock handed on to the new life, the mental furniture for the new dwelling real memory.


Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

Memory and Impression


A whirlpool or thought-wave arises in the mind-ocean. It operates for sometime. Then it sinks below the threshold of normal consciousness. From the surface of the conscious mind wherein it was uppermost for some time, it sinks down deep into the region of the subconscious mind. There, it continues to be a subliminal action and becomes an impression.

A conscious action-whether cognitive, affective or conative assumes a potential and hidden form just below the threshold of consciousness. This is termed an Impression.


The impressions are embedded in the subconscious mind or Chitta. The subconscious mind is otherwise known as the unconscious mind. Subjective mind, subconscious mind, unconscious mind and Chitta are synonymous terms. The seat of this subconscious mind is the cerebellum or hindbrain. You can recall the past experiences from the storehouse of Impressions in the subconscious mind. The past is preserved even to the minutest detail. Even a bit is never lost.

When the fine Impressions come up to the surface of the conscious mind back again as a big wave, when the past comes back to the surface of the conscious mind again by recollection, it is called memory. No memory is possible without the help of Impression.


An experience in the sense-plane sinks down into the depths of the subconscious mind and becomes there an Impression. An Impression of an experience is formed or developed in the subconscious mind at the very moment that the mind is experiencing something. There is no gap between the present experience and the formation of an impression in the subconscious mind. A specific experience leaves a specific Impression. The memory of this specific experience springs from that particular Impression only, which was formed out of that particular experience.

When you perceive an orange and taste for the first time, you get knowledge of an orange. You know its taste. You know the object, orange. An Impression is formed in the subconscious mind at once. At any time, this Impression can generate a memory of the object, orange and knowledge of an orange. Though the object and the act of knowledge are distinguishable, yet they are inseparable.


An object awakens or revives Impressions in the mind through external stimuli. Hence, a thought arises subjectively from within, without a stimulus from outside. When you think of a cow which you have seen before, you repeat the word cow mentally. Then only, the mental image comes. Then, a thought is formed. Impression causes thought, and thought causes Impression, just as seed is the cause of the tree, and tree is the cause of the seed, in turn. There is cyclic causation on the analogy of seed and tree.

This cycle of thought-wave and impression is beginningless, but has an end when one attains Divine Knowledge and liberation. They get dissolved into Nature. They cease to produce any effect on the Soul. Impression should be fried up by continuous Samadhi. Then only you will be free from births and deaths.



Mind – Its Mysteries and Control by Sri Swami Sivananda

Subconscious Mind – Our Inner Guide

Last week we saw about Conscious, Subconscious and Super-conscious mind. This week we will continue to explore our mind further.

The mind is not conscious of the greater portion of its own activities. As man can hold in consciousness but one fact at a time, only a fraction of our knowledge can be in the field of consciousness at any one moment. Only ten per cent of mental activities come into the field of consciousness. Ninety per cent of the mental activities takes place in the subconscious mind. Messages, when ready, come out like a flash from the subconscious mind to the surface of the conscious mind through the trapdoor in the subconscious mind.

We sit and try to solve a problem and fail. We walk around, try again and again fail. Suddenly an idea dawns on us that leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at work.

You repeatedly fail at night to get the solution for a problem in arithmetic or geometry. In the morning, when you wake up, you get a clear answer. This answer comes like a flash from the subconscious mind. Even in sleep, it works incessantly without any rest. It arranges, classifies, compares, sorts all facts and works out a proper, satisfactory solution.

Sometimes, you go to sleep at 10 pm with the thought, I must get up at 2 am in the morning to catch a train. This message is taken up by the subconscious mind and it is this subconscious mind that wakes you up unfailingly at the exact hour. Subconscious mind is your constant, trustworthy companion and sincere friend.

With the help of the subconscious mind, you can change your vicious nature by cultivating healthy, virtuous qualities that remain dormant in every human heart. If you want to overcome fear, mentally deny that you have fear and concentrate your attention upon the opposite quality, the ideal of courage. When courage is developed, fear vanishes by itself. The positive always overpowers the negative. This is an infallible law of nature. You can acquire a liking for distasteful tasks and duties by cultivating a desire and taste for them. You can establish new habits, new ideals, new ideas and new tastes and new character in the subconscious mind by changing the old ones.



MIND – How it Works?

“I am not in the world; the world is in me” This daring declaration of ancient yogis gave expression to the perennial truth that the material universe, our physical bodies, and the thoughts that occupy our minds are expressions of an underlying unbounded field of consciousness. The “I” in the bold statement reflects a transformation in the internal reference of the seeker from skin-encapsulated ego to expanded Soul.

Most people identify themselves with their mind, intellect, and ego, which are the components of the subtle body. The seventeenth-century French philosopher René Descartes is famous for his statement, “Cogito, ergo sum,” meaning “I think, therefore I am.” People continue to believe that they are their minds, but we need to recognize that the components of our mind are simply coverings of the Soul.

Conscious mind or objective mind, Subconscious mind or subjective mind (Chitta) and Super-conscious mind are three aspects of the mind. You see, hear and read with the objective mind.

Conscious Mind

Conscious mind has three layers. The first layer is called Mind, known as Manas. The mind is the repository of sensory impressions. When you hear a sound, feel a sensation, see a sight, taste a flavor, or smell a fragrance, the sensory experience registers in your consciousness at this layer. The mind cycles through different states of consciousness, and your sensory experiences change with these changing states. A person’s mind is composed of two functions, technically termed sankalpa and vikalpa. Sankalpa means the mind’s desire to join thought into concepts, theories, and tableau’s of theories. Vikalpa is the mind’s function of rejecting thoughts, simplifying and limiting experiences which are gathered through the senses of sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch.

The second layer is the Intellect, known as Buddhi. This is the aspect of mind that discriminates. Whether you are trying to decide what kind of toothpaste to purchase, which partner to choose, or what house to buy, your intellect is at work, attempting to calculate the advantages and disadvantages of every choice you make. This layer integrates information based upon your beliefs and feelings to come to a decision.

The third layer is the Ego, known as Ahankara, which means the “I-former.” The ego is that aspect of your being that identifies with the positions and possessions of your life. It is ultimately your self-image—the way you want to project who you are to yourself and to the world. The ego is the boundary maker that attempts to assert ownership through the concepts of “I,” “me,” “my,” and “mine.” The ego seeks security through control and often has a deep-seated need for approval. Most emotional pain is the result of your ego being offended because something that it believed it had control over was actually outside your jurisdiction.

Subconscious Mind

Chitta is termed as the mind-stuff or mental substance. It is the ground floor, as it were. From it proceed the three mental activities viz., Manas, Buddhi and Ahankara. Subconscious mind is termed “Chitta” in Vedanta. Much of your subconsciousness consists of submerged experiences, memories thrown into the background but recoverable. The Chitta is like a calm lake and thoughts are like waves upon the surface of this lake and name and form are the normal ways in which these waves rise. No wave can rise without name and form.

The functions of the Chitta are Smriti or Smarana (Remembrance), Dharana (Attention) and Anusandhana (Inquiry or Investigation). When you repeat the Japa of a Mantra, it is the Chitta that does the Smarana. It does a lot of work. It turns out better work than the mind or Buddhi.

In the whole Manas (Mind), Buddhi (Intellect), Chitta (Subconscious mind) and Ahankara (Ego) are only functional aspects of the mind. The Manas has all things for its objects and extends through the past, present and future; it is one only, but has various functions. You are a Judge when you exercise your judicial powers in the court. You are a cook when you work in the kitchen. You are a president of an association when you sit in the chair in that capacity. You are the same man, but you function differently and you are called by different names according to those different functions. Similarly, when the mind does Sankalpa-Vikalpa (will-thought and doubt), it is called Mind; when it discriminates and decides, it is Buddhi (Intellect); when it self-arrogates, it is Ahankara (Ego); when it is the storehouse of Samskaras and seat of memory, it is Chitta (Subconscious mind).

Who gave coolness to water, warmth to fire, motion to air? These qualities are their very nature. Even so, mind has got its very nature of running towards objects, Buddhi of determining, Ahankara of self-assertion and self-identification, Chitta of thinking of those objects which are identified by Ahankara.

When the mind is at work, Buddhi and Ahankara work simultaneously along with the mind. Mind, Buddhi and Ahankara work in healthy co-operation. Mind makes Sankalpa-Vikalpa. It thinks whether a certain thing is good or bad. Buddhi comes for determination. It is Buddhi which discriminates them.

Super-conscious Mind

The Super-Conscious Mind (Universal Consciousness) is the aspect of consciousness which is limitless or “Infinite” in nature. When a human mind reaches this super-conscious state, it is known as Samadhi. The super-conscious mind is like a mega computer that orchestrates the activities in every little computer connected to it. It is the true source of all the inventions in the Universe.

All creation is the result of consciousness. The Super Conscious Mind contains within itself the possibility as well as the probability of creating anything and everything that can be conceived with mind…The possibilities are “Infinite.”

Mind Functions Within the Three Categories

Mind always functions within the categories of time, space and causation. These three categories are mental creations only. A coconut tree is not really twenty feet high. The height is only a mental interpretation. There are vibrations only outside. It is the mind that creates length, breadth, height, thickness, dimensions, void, square, etc. A distance of two miles comes out of feeling only. You actually feel that you have walked so much distance. When you transcend the mind, all these categories vanish entirely. Annihilate the mind to enter a realm of Peace and Bliss which is eternal, infinite and causeless.


1. Mind – Its Mysteries and  Control By Sri Swami Sivananda
2. The Seven Spiritual Laws of Yoga By Deepak Chopra and David Simon