Definition - What does Chanchala mean?

Chanchala is a Sanskrit word that means “shaking,” “unsteady,” “quivering,” “inconstant” and “moving.” In yoga and Indian philosophy, chanchala refers to the nature of the mind and its consequential actions that the yogi must still in order to grow spiritually.

In Hindu mythology, Chanchala is one of the names or incarnations of Lakshmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity. As Chanchala, she is called the "restless one" or "fickle one."

Yogapedia explains Chanchala

The vritti, or swirling thoughts that surface in the mind, correspond to the three gunas, which are the attributes of nature. It is believed that the chanchala activity of these thoughts can be controlled through three practices:

  • Abhyasa (habit or repeated exercise)
  • Vairagya (freedom from worldly desires)
  • Ishvara pranidhana (devotion to God)

Abhyasa and vairagya are considered pillars of yoga. In the Yoga Sutras, Patanjali refers to them as methods of achieving chitta-vritti-nirodha, or a state in which the fluctuations of the mind have been removed.

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