Sunday, April 17, 2016

The Special Created Entity Known as the Mind

Suka said, “Please listen, O king, to this nomenclature of the mind.
Whatever is the name, at what time, of the mind-organ—I now tell you that.
When the embodied spiritual personality desires to do various works,
but is unable to decide on any of them, at that time, the mind-organ is known as ‘the mind’ (manas). 63
When the spiritual personality carefully considers the various alternatives and options and does resolution (niscaya) on one of them,
at that time, know, you call the mind-organ as the ‘intellect’ (buddhi).
When he regards all the works that he does with the feeling of ‘I,’ then, at that moment in time, know for sure, the mind-organ is referred to as ‘ego’ (ahankara). 64
When the spiritual personality—welded to the mind-organ—does several good works and acts regularly in a conscientious manner,
at those times, know certainly, O king, the name of the mind-organ is ‘conscience’ (citta).

Manas, translated as the ‘mind-organ’ (or, in keeping with its device-like functions, the ‘mind-device’), is the organ of the transcendental mind of the spiritual pure personality (purusa). It is connected directly to his faculty of consciousness (cit). It is through this organ that the purusa interfaces with the component-units of the psycho-physical frame such as the different organs of locomotion, grasping, etc.; and also gathers sense-data from the external material creation as well as from within the body. This mind-organ, therefore, is the organ that lies closest to the spiritual personality. It enables him to ‘intelligize,’ or to acquire knowledge from his environment and apply it in ways beneficial to him. The different manifestations of the mind-organ—‘mind,’ ‘intellect,’ ‘ego,’ and ‘conscience’—refer to the one mind-organ only. Sankaradeva has compared these different forms of the one and the same mind-organ with an actor who appears in different roles in different guises. These manifestations of the mind-organ may be seen as reflecting or representing the different manifestations of the consciousness of the spiritual personality immanent, as it were, within this organic-unit. It is the mental activity of the purusa only that is indicated by the different activities of the mind-organ.


  1. This process of 'intelligizing' or the acquiring of knowledge by the organism (jiva) and its application by him in ways that are beneficial to him, perhaps reaches its zenith or the apex of its evolution, when the jiva hears the counsel (upadesa) of bhakti from the Guru and then follows his instructions on how to do this bhakti. He acquires the highest knowledge and applies this knowledge in order to secure his highest benefit or maximum welfare.

    1. The process of 'intelligizing,' seen in this light, plays ultimately the role of transforming the life of the embodied personality from a material one to a life of pure devotion to the Lord--a purely spiritual one. The mind-organ is thus a means (sadhana) of spiritual transformation. When the jiva takes eka sarana and does pure bhakti to the Lord, successful is his mind-organ; it has achieved its evolutionary objective.


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