The answer is: that among these three elements manas, buddhi, and ahaṁkāra, the one element, which can help you most, is buddhi, because buddhi is the power of discrimination. It discriminates one from the other; it will discriminate between Apara and Para. So, you cultivate the buddhi. That is why the 2nd chapter of the Bhagavad–Gita deals with Buddhi yoga; you reverse the Buddhi, first of all take hold of the Buddhi; make Buddhi clear that there is a distinction between Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti, and that this Buddhi, which was concentrated upon Apara Prakriti, lift it, and make it concentrate upon the Para Prakriti. In deeper terms you may had say, that usually Buddhi gets concentrated upon Apara Prakriti because of the Tamas and Rajas, because of the power of inertia, the power of vehement pressure of action, the discriminating power of the intellect is hampered.
This can be cured if you can make it Sattwic; it is not very difficult to make Rajas into Sattwa, although it is difficult for Tamas, Rajas and Sattwa to be transformed into Para Prakriti, but to transform Rajas into Sattwa is much more easy. Therefore, the first prescription of the Bhagavad–Gita is…and on this, we shall see latter on in the last 6 chapters, where the whole teaching is given as to what is Tamas, what is Rajas and what is Sattwa. You lift the Buddhi from its Tamasic and Rajasic activities, and make it accustom to the activities of Sattwa. And what is the nature of the activity of Sattwa? Sattwa is an activity of equilibrium; Sattwa is the activity of luminosity; Sattwa is the activity of happiness that does not depend upon any external object: these are the three elements of Sattwa. Increase these three elements in your life, and then the Buddhi will begin to dwell upon higher objects, instead of lower objects. It will discriminate much more easily the lower and the higher.
In the lower, there are two great difficulties, where Sattwa is less dominant, and Rajas and Tamas are more predominant: this is ahaṁbhāva, and manas; manas and ahaṁbhāva are much more entangled into Tamas and Rajas; ahaṁbhāva is either Tamasic, lethargic, or highly Rajasic in which self–will is predominant; manas is cañcalam, it is extremely vivacious, extremely unstable.
Now, if you read the whole of the Bhagavad Gita, you will see these elements constantly emphasised: first we are told, “it is by attachment that we get hooked”, and by attachment we mean: ‘exclusive concentration of consciousness’. Secondly we are told that, you should get over the Tamas and Rajas and enter into Sattwa, and that you should use intellect (or Buddhi), as your instrument for doing it; and you are told that there are two elements, which are very powerfully attached to Rajas and Tamas, and that is cañcalam manaḥ, the vivacious restless mind, and ahaṁbhāva, which either Tamasic, or Rajasic predominantly. Free the ahaṁbhāva from the Tamas and Rajas; make the mind as stable as possible.
And in order to make the mind stable, a very special procedure has been prescribed in the 6th chapter of the Bhagavad Gita: Dhyana Yoga. That if you find that the mind is very difficult to control, then the special method of Dhyana yoga is given. Apply that method, if you find it very difficult; it is not absolutely necessary for everybody; it is not that everybody’s mind is as vivacious as it could be. There are certain minds, which are inborn more stable, more capable of equilibrium, more capable of luminosity, they do not require this special kind of treatment, which is prescribe in the 6th chapter. But if you still find that the mind is very, very restless, then you apply the procedure given in the 6th chapter.
As far as ahaṁbhāva is concerned, the entire 3rd chapter, where Sri Krishna says that it is in the field of action, either Tamas or Rajas, become very powerful, and it is there, the sense “I am the doer, I am the doer, I am the doer”, becomes very predominant. Therefore, Sri Krishna says that in order to cure this, realise that you are not the doer; realise that all action proceeds from the supreme Lord, and offer your action as ‘not yours’, but as offering to the supreme Lord. It is by this means that the ahaṁbhāva will be greatly weakened. Now, these are the special methods, which are remedies, which are given, by which the Jiva, the Purusha’s status of which has become hooked to these three elements; gradually, it will be lifted out.