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<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
 
<small>By Swami Harshananda</small>
  
mind
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==Introduction==
 +
Religious views of life accord great importance to the mind since it is supported by both the following:
 +
# Abhyudaya - worldly prosperity
 +
# Niśśreyasa - spiritual progress
  
Introduction
+
An impure mind binds the soul to trans-migratory existence whereas a pure mind leads to mokṣa or liberation.<ref>Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2</ref> While recognizing the importance of the mind as a distinguishing unique feature of human beings, the scriptures and the various systems of the philosophy have given different views about it's:
 +
* Content
 +
* Nature
 +
* Function
  
Hindu view of life accords great importance to the mind since both abhyu-daya (worldly prosperity) and niśśreyasa (spiritual progress) depend upon its condition. An impure mind binds the soul to transmigratory existence whereas a pure mind leads to mokṣa or liberation (Amrta-bindu Upanisad 2).
+
Therefore, a study of the mind will not only be interesting but also useful in one’s personal life of spiritual evolution.
  
While recognising the importance of the mind as a distinguishing unique feature of human beings, the Hindu scriptures and the various systems of Hindu philosophy have given different views about its content, nature and function. A study of the mind, therefore, will not only be interesting but also useful in one’s personal life of spiritual evolution.
+
==What the Mind is==
 +
* The Chāndogya Upaniṣad<ref>Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.6.5</ref> declares that the mind is ‘annamaya,’ made up of the subtle essence of food. It also asserts that purity of food conduces to purity of mind.<ref>Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.26.2</ref>
 +
* The Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad<ref>Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 1.2.1</ref> describes the mind being produced from īśvara or Hiraṇyagarbha.<ref>He is the Creator.</ref> It also indirectly declares that the soul or the Self<ref>Self means ātman here.</ref> knows the external world through the mind.<ref>Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 1.5.3</ref>
 +
* Sāñkhya and the Yoga systems consider the mind as a product evolved from the insentient prakṛti, a direct product from ahaṅkāra<ref>It means the ego-principle.</ref> and hence made up of the three guṇas; sattva, rajas and tamas. Therefore it is also jaḍa or insentient but can reflect the consciousness of the puruṣa or the ātman.<ref>Here it means the soul.</ref>
 +
* Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika schools consider the manas or the mind as one of the dravyas<ref>They are the fundamental or basic realities.</ref> out of which the world is eventually created. It acts as a link between the soul and the sense-organs by which the external objects are known.
 +
* Certain sects of Śaivism and Śāktāism<ref>It denotes the tantras here.</ref> advocate the theory that mind is a limitation or a modification of pure consciousness.
  
What the Mind is
+
With reference to the size of the mind, some systems like Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika hold it as aṇu<ref>It means atomic.</ref> while others especially Advaita Vedānta consider it as vibhu.<ref>Vibhu means all-pervading.</ref>
  
The Chāndogya Upanisad (6.6.5) declares that the mind is ‘annamaya,’ made up of the subtle essence of food. It also asserts that purity of food conduces to purity of mind (ibid 7.26.2).
+
==Importance of the Mind==
 +
The ultimate purpose of human life is to attain mokṣa or liberation from trans-migratory existence. This is possible only when sādhanā or spiritual practice is undertaken as per the dictates of the scriptures. Sādhanā consists mainly of purifying the mind through proper personal morality, social ethics and religions observances. When the mind becomes completely pure, the ātman inside is automatically revealed.
  
The Brhadāranyaka Upanisad (1.2.1) describes the mind as having been produced from īśvara or Hiraṇyagarbha (Creator). It also declares, though indirectly, that the soul or the Self (ātman)
+
Impurities of the mind are of three types:
 +
# Basic impurity due to its being a product of the three guṇas.<ref>They are sattva, rajas and tamas.</ref>
 +
# Impurities carried over from the previous lives, technically called ‘sanskāras’.
 +
# Impurities due to the sins and evils committed in this life.
  
knows the external world through the mind (vide 1.5.3).
+
The third one can be offset by the performance of prāyaścittas or expiatory rites prescribed in the holy books and by experiencing the suffering brought about by them. The second has to be counteracted by trying hard to cultivate the good  tendencies. When these are carried out, along with nididhyāsana or meditation on oneself as the pure ātman<ref>Ātman is the ultimate one with Brahman.</ref> or any aspect of God, the rājāsik and the tāmasik contents of the mind gradually get attenuated and the sāttvik part gets predominance. When this process is completed, realization is highlighted.
  
The Sāñkhya and the Yoga systems consider the mind as a product evolved from the insentient prakṛti, a direct product from ahaṅkāra (the ego-principle) and hence made up of the three guṇas— sattva, rajas and tamas. It is also, therefore, jaḍa or insentient but can reflect the consciousness of the puruṣa or the ātman (the soul).
+
==Mind and the Ātman==
 +
Most of the philosophical systems consider the mind either as an upādhi<ref>Upādhi means limiting adjunct.</ref> or as a quality of the jīvātman.<ref>Jīvātman means the individual soul.</ref> It is through the mind that the jīvātman knows the external world or gets internal experiences.
  
The Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika schools consider the manas or the mind as one of the dravyas (fundamental or basic realities) out of which the world is eventually created. It acts as a link between the soul and the sense-organs by which the external objects are known.
+
==Functions of the Mind==
 
+
There are several ways of looking at the functions of the mind. Works on Vedānta generally define the mind as ‘antahkaraṇa’ which means the inner organ. It also state that it has four aspects:
Certain cults of Saivism and Sāktāism (tantras) advocate the theory that mind is a limitation or a modification of pure consciousness.
+
# Manas - general thinking and cognition
 
+
# Buddhi - discriminative faculty
As regards the size of the mind, some systems like Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika hold it as aṇu (atomic) while others (Advaita Vedānta) consider it as vibhu (all-pervading).
+
# Ahankāra - ego-sense
 
+
# Citta - mind-stuff, responsible for memory
Importance of the Mind
+
 
+
The ultimate purpose of human life is to attain mokṣa or liberation from transmigratory existence. This is possible only when sādhanā or spiritual practice is undertaken as per the dictates of the scriptures. Sādhanā consists mainly in purifying the mind through proper personal morality, social ethics and religions observances. When the mind becomes completely pure, the ātman inside is automatically revealed.
+
 
+
Impurities of the mind are of three
+
 
+
types: basic impurity due to its being a product of the three guṇas (sattva, rajas
+
 
+
and tamas); impurities carried over from the previous lives, technically called ‘samskāras’; impurities due to the sins and evils committed in this life.
+
 
+
The third one can be offset by the performance of prāyaścittas or expiatory rites prescribed in the holy books as also by experiencing the suffering brought about by them. The second has to be counteracted by trying hard to cultivate the opposite, good, tendencies. When these are carried out, along with nididhyāsana or meditation on oneself as the pure ātman (ultimately one with Brahman) or any aspect of God, the rājāsik and the tāmasik contents of the mind gradually get attenuated and the sāttvik part gets predominance. When this process is completed, realisation can come in a flash.
+
 
+
Mind and the Ātman
+
 
+
Most of the Hindu philosophical systems consider the mind either as an upādhi (limiting adjunct) or as a quality of the jīvātman (the individual soul). It is through the mind that the jīvātman knows the external world or gets internal experiences.
+
 
+
Functions of the Mind
+
 
+
There are several ways of looking at the functions of the mind. Works on Vedānta generally define the mind as ‘antahkaraṇa’ (the inner organ) and state that it has four aspects: manas (general thinking and cognition); buddhi (discriminative faculty); ahankāra (ego-sense); citta (mind-stuff, responsible for memory).
+
  
 
According to another view it has three qualities or functions or modifications:
 
According to another view it has three qualities or functions or modifications:
 +
# Jñānātmaka - cognitive
 +
# Āvegātmaka - emotional
 +
# Prayatnātmaka - volitional
  
jñānātmaka (cognitive); āvegātmaka (emotional); prayatnātmaka (volitional).
+
Cognition can produce either pramā<ref>Pramā means true knowledge.</ref> or bhrama.<ref>Bhrama means false knowledge.</ref> The latter includes saṅśaya or doubt also. Pramā or true knowledge can be produced by six ways out of which pratyakṣa,<ref>Pratyakṣa means direct perception.</ref> anumāna<ref>Anumāna means inference.</ref> and āptavākya<ref>Āptavākya means verbal testimony of reliable persons.</ref> are universally accepted. Śabda or Śruti or Āgama is an extension of the last as applied to things beyond the ken of the senses. The emotional functions of the mind can be listed as follows:
 +
# Sukha - pleasure or happiness
 +
# Duhkha - pain or unhappiness
 +
# Icchā - desire
 +
# Dveṣa - hatred
  
Cognition, again, can produce either pramā (true knowledge) or bhrama (false knowledge). The latter includes samśaya or doubt also.
+
Many other kinds of emotions are also recognized, such as:
 +
# Bhaya - fear
 +
# Hāsya - laughter
 +
# Vismaya - wonder
 +
# Etc.  
  
Pramā or true knowledge can be produced by six ways out of which pratyakṣa (direct perception), anumāna (inference) and āptavākya (verbal testimony of reliable persons) are universally accepted. Sabda or Sruti or Āgama is an extension of the last, as applied to things beyond the ken of the senses.
+
Vedāntic works often mention three states of consciousness with a view to proving that the ātman<ref>Ātman means the soul.</ref> which is the pure spirit beyond them. These three states of the mind are:
 +
# Jāgrat - waking state
 +
# Svapna - dream state
 +
# Suṣupti - deep-sleep state
  
The emotional functions of the mind can be listed as follows: sukha (pleasure or happiness), duhkha (pain or unhappiness), icchā (desire) and dveṣa (hatred).
+
==Extra-sensory Perceptions==
 +
Besides the different states of mind normally experienced by all, there is an another extra-ordinary or the extrasensory perception. Highly evolved spiritual legends have attained these states like clairvoyance, clairaudience and so on which have been described in the standard treatises of yoga like the Yogasutras of Patañjali.<ref>He lived in 200 B. C.</ref><ref>Yogasutras 3.16-55</ref>  However these have been considered as obstacles to the final emancipation since they tempt the sādhaka to misuse them.
  
Many other kinds of emotions are also recognised, such as bhaya (fear), hāsya (laughter), vismaya (wonder) and so on.
+
==Conclusion==
 
+
The main purpose behind the study of the mind is to facilitate its ultimate purification leading to the realization of the ātman or the Self. Though there are differences of opinion regarding its nature, the process of purification is almost universally accepted.
Vedāntic works often mention three states of consciousness with a view to proving that the ātman (the soul) is the pure spirit beyond them. These three states—all of the mind—are jāgrat (waking state), svapna (dream state) and suṣupti (deep-sleep state).
+
 
+
Extra-sensory Perceptions
+
 
+
Besides these states of the mind normally experienced by all, there is another, the extra-ordinary or the extrasensory perception. Highly evolved spiritual persons have attained these states like clairvoyance, clairaudience and so on, which have been described in the standard treatises of yoga like the Yogasutras
+
 
+
of Patañjali (200 B. C.) (vide 3.16-55). However these have been considered as
+
 
+
obstacles to the final emancipation since they tempt the sādhaka to misuse them.
+
 
+
Conclusion
+
 
+
The main purpose behind the study of the mind is to facilitate its ultimate purification leading to the realisation of the ātman or the Self. Though there are differences of opinion regarding its nature, the processes of purification are almost universally accepted.
+
  
 
==References==
 
==References==
 
{{reflist}}
 
{{reflist}}
 
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
 
* The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore
== OLD CONTENT ==
+
 
Hindu view of life accords great importance to the mind since both abhyu- daya (worldly prosperity) and niśśreyasa (spiritual progress) depend upon its con¬dition. An impure mind binds the soul to transmigratory existence whereas a pure mind leads to mokṣa or liberation (Amrta- bindu Upanisad 2).
+
[[Category:Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism]]
While recognising the importance of the mind as a distinguishing unique feature of human beings, the Hindu scriptures and the various systems of Hindu philosophy have given different views about its content, nature and func¬tion. A study of the mind, therefore, will not only be interesting but also useful in one’s personal life of spiritual evolution.
+
What the Mind is
+
The Chāndogya Upanisad (6.6.5) declares that the mind is ‘annamaya,’ made up of the subtle essence of food. It also asserts that purity of food conduces to purity of mind (ibid 7.26.2).
+
The Brhadāranyaka Upanisad (1.2.1) describes the mind as having been produced from īśvara or Hiraṇyagarbha (Creator). It also declares, though indi¬rectly, that the soul or the Self (ātman)
+
B23
+
knows the external world through the mind (vide 1.5.3).
+
The Sāñkhya and the Yoga systems consider the mind as a product evolved from the insentient prakṛti, a direct product from ahaṅkāra (the ego-principle) and hence made up of the three guṇas— sattva, rajas and tamas. It is also, therefore, jaḍa or insentient but can reflect the consciousness of the puruṣa or the ātman (the soul).
+
The Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika schools consider the manas or the mind as one of the dravyas (fundamental or basic realities) out of which the world is eventually created. It acts as a link between the soul and the sense-organs by which the external objects are known.
+
Certain cults of Saivism and Śāktāism (tantras) advocate the theory that mind is a limitation or a modification of pure consciousness.
+
As regards the size of the mind, some systems like Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika hold it as aṇu (atomic) while others (Advaita Vedānta) consider it as vibhu (all- pervading).
+
Importance of the Mind
+
The ultimate purpose of human life is to attain mokṣa or liberation from transmigratory existence. This is possible only when sādhanā or spiritual practice is undertaken as per the dictates of the scriptures. Sādhanā consists mainly in purifying the mind through proper per-sonal morality, social ethics and religions observances. When the mind becomes completely pure, the ātman inside is automatically revealed.
+
Impurities of the mind are of three
+
types: basic impurity due to its being a product of the three guṇas (sattva, rajas
+
and tamas); impurities carried over from the previous lives, technically called ‘saiṅskāras’; impurities due to the sins and evils committed in this life.
+
The third one can be offset by the performance of prāyaścittas or expiatory rites prescribed in the holy books as also by experiencing the suffering brought about by them. The second has to be counteracted by trying hard to cultivate the opposite, good, tendencies. When these are carried out, along with nididhyāsana or meditation on oneself as the pure ātman (ultimately one with Brahman) or any aspect of God, the rājāsik and the tāmasik contents of the mind gradually get attenu¬ated and the sāttvik part gets predomi¬nance. When this process is completed, realisation can come in a flash
+

Latest revision as of 05:05, 12 July 2017

By Swami Harshananda

Introduction

Religious views of life accord great importance to the mind since it is supported by both the following:

  1. Abhyudaya - worldly prosperity
  2. Niśśreyasa - spiritual progress

An impure mind binds the soul to trans-migratory existence whereas a pure mind leads to mokṣa or liberation.[1] While recognizing the importance of the mind as a distinguishing unique feature of human beings, the scriptures and the various systems of the philosophy have given different views about it's:

  • Content
  • Nature
  • Function

Therefore, a study of the mind will not only be interesting but also useful in one’s personal life of spiritual evolution.

What the Mind is

  • The Chāndogya Upaniṣad[2] declares that the mind is ‘annamaya,’ made up of the subtle essence of food. It also asserts that purity of food conduces to purity of mind.[3]
  • The Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad[4] describes the mind being produced from īśvara or Hiraṇyagarbha.[5] It also indirectly declares that the soul or the Self[6] knows the external world through the mind.[7]
  • Sāñkhya and the Yoga systems consider the mind as a product evolved from the insentient prakṛti, a direct product from ahaṅkāra[8] and hence made up of the three guṇas; sattva, rajas and tamas. Therefore it is also jaḍa or insentient but can reflect the consciousness of the puruṣa or the ātman.[9]
  • Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika schools consider the manas or the mind as one of the dravyas[10] out of which the world is eventually created. It acts as a link between the soul and the sense-organs by which the external objects are known.
  • Certain sects of Śaivism and Śāktāism[11] advocate the theory that mind is a limitation or a modification of pure consciousness.

With reference to the size of the mind, some systems like Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika hold it as aṇu[12] while others especially Advaita Vedānta consider it as vibhu.[13]

Importance of the Mind

The ultimate purpose of human life is to attain mokṣa or liberation from trans-migratory existence. This is possible only when sādhanā or spiritual practice is undertaken as per the dictates of the scriptures. Sādhanā consists mainly of purifying the mind through proper personal morality, social ethics and religions observances. When the mind becomes completely pure, the ātman inside is automatically revealed.

Impurities of the mind are of three types:

  1. Basic impurity due to its being a product of the three guṇas.[14]
  2. Impurities carried over from the previous lives, technically called ‘sanskāras’.
  3. Impurities due to the sins and evils committed in this life.

The third one can be offset by the performance of prāyaścittas or expiatory rites prescribed in the holy books and by experiencing the suffering brought about by them. The second has to be counteracted by trying hard to cultivate the good tendencies. When these are carried out, along with nididhyāsana or meditation on oneself as the pure ātman[15] or any aspect of God, the rājāsik and the tāmasik contents of the mind gradually get attenuated and the sāttvik part gets predominance. When this process is completed, realization is highlighted.

Mind and the Ātman

Most of the philosophical systems consider the mind either as an upādhi[16] or as a quality of the jīvātman.[17] It is through the mind that the jīvātman knows the external world or gets internal experiences.

Functions of the Mind

There are several ways of looking at the functions of the mind. Works on Vedānta generally define the mind as ‘antahkaraṇa’ which means the inner organ. It also state that it has four aspects:

  1. Manas - general thinking and cognition
  2. Buddhi - discriminative faculty
  3. Ahankāra - ego-sense
  4. Citta - mind-stuff, responsible for memory

According to another view it has three qualities or functions or modifications:

  1. Jñānātmaka - cognitive
  2. Āvegātmaka - emotional
  3. Prayatnātmaka - volitional

Cognition can produce either pramā[18] or bhrama.[19] The latter includes saṅśaya or doubt also. Pramā or true knowledge can be produced by six ways out of which pratyakṣa,[20] anumāna[21] and āptavākya[22] are universally accepted. Śabda or Śruti or Āgama is an extension of the last as applied to things beyond the ken of the senses. The emotional functions of the mind can be listed as follows:

  1. Sukha - pleasure or happiness
  2. Duhkha - pain or unhappiness
  3. Icchā - desire
  4. Dveṣa - hatred

Many other kinds of emotions are also recognized, such as:

  1. Bhaya - fear
  2. Hāsya - laughter
  3. Vismaya - wonder
  4. Etc.

Vedāntic works often mention three states of consciousness with a view to proving that the ātman[23] which is the pure spirit beyond them. These three states of the mind are:

  1. Jāgrat - waking state
  2. Svapna - dream state
  3. Suṣupti - deep-sleep state

Extra-sensory Perceptions

Besides the different states of mind normally experienced by all, there is an another extra-ordinary or the extrasensory perception. Highly evolved spiritual legends have attained these states like clairvoyance, clairaudience and so on which have been described in the standard treatises of yoga like the Yogasutras of Patañjali.[24][25] However these have been considered as obstacles to the final emancipation since they tempt the sādhaka to misuse them.

Conclusion

The main purpose behind the study of the mind is to facilitate its ultimate purification leading to the realization of the ātman or the Self. Though there are differences of opinion regarding its nature, the process of purification is almost universally accepted.

References

  1. Amṛta-bindu Upaniṣad 2
  2. Chāndogya Upaniṣad 6.6.5
  3. Chāndogya Upaniṣad 7.26.2
  4. Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 1.2.1
  5. He is the Creator.
  6. Self means ātman here.
  7. Brhadāranyaka Upaniṣad 1.5.3
  8. It means the ego-principle.
  9. Here it means the soul.
  10. They are the fundamental or basic realities.
  11. It denotes the tantras here.
  12. It means atomic.
  13. Vibhu means all-pervading.
  14. They are sattva, rajas and tamas.
  15. Ātman is the ultimate one with Brahman.
  16. Upādhi means limiting adjunct.
  17. Jīvātman means the individual soul.
  18. Pramā means true knowledge.
  19. Bhrama means false knowledge.
  20. Pratyakṣa means direct perception.
  21. Anumāna means inference.
  22. Āptavākya means verbal testimony of reliable persons.
  23. Ātman means the soul.
  24. He lived in 200 B. C.
  25. Yogasutras 3.16-55
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore