The Sanskrit word Chit means consciousness. When we perform any act with our complete chit, we move to success. It is like the soldier on target practice – firm hold on the rifle, breath held steady, and full focus on the bulls eye. Success is assured, but if the chit wavers towards anything else, the bullet will miss the target.
The word chitra means an image, and is related to chit. The ripples of our thoughts will create images on our consciousness. A well-guided chit is a friend that can lead us to greater understanding. But if the consciousness is focused on the virtual imagery of a mortal existence, it can make us waste our precious life. Saint Kabeer expresses it like this:
Do not allow the chitra (picture) to fool you:
Forget this picture, and focus your consciousness on the Painter.
Guru Nanak Dev warns us against letting ourselves get attached to this mortal existence, and the analogy given is indeed remarkable:
The mind is absorbed in this virtual world – it cannot escape it, my friend. Nanak, it is like a picture painted on the wall – it cannot leave it.
His apostles have talked of the maintenance of a record of our life. The Vedas mention Chitragupt, a joining of the words chitra (picture) and gupt (secret). Thus, Chitragupt is alluded to as the secret photographer, storing the images we create in our consciousness. My teacher would say this to me – the painted picture cannot leave the wall, and becomes a permanent captive; therefore do not allow your chit, your consciousness, to be attached to power and pelf, all of which are ultimately perishable. Focus instead on an existence born out of compassion and humanity, and discover the principles of truth and eternal life.
When our own Chitragupt will project the story of our life, it will then be a wondrous collage of pleasing images.