Rajas

Ayurveda and the Mind

A Definition of the Mind or Manas according to Ayurveda-

By Liberty Elliot (Ayurveda Counselor Student)

According to Ayurveda, Humans are beings who are layered and multidimensional, comprised of a Triad of Existence which consists of the Body, Mind, and Soul. These parts are inseparable and coexist together in order to maintain our life and consciousness.

Beginning with the Soul, or Atma, there is a spark of Divine Consciousness. The Atma is like the God particle, an inseparable part of us that resides in and is the Universe. This indestructible energy animates our body with Prana (subtle and vital life-force energy) and it also interacts with the external world via our mind and senses. Soul resides in the Heart. This essence can transmigrate from one physical being, carried with the subtle mind and ego, to the next in a progression of reincarnated existence. Bliss is the natural state of the Atma.

Mind is an integral part of humans that interacts with both the soul and physical body and could be likened to the Conductor in a Symphony of Life. Mind, or Manas as it is known in Ayurvedic terms, is our consciousness and becomes both Ego (Ahamkara) and Intellect (Bhuddi) as it evolves. Our Ego is the first layer after the Atma, providing our sense of identity and purpose, it is the doer. Buddhi or Intellect is responsible for our powers of logic, reasoning, and memory, it resides mostly in the head.

The mind is very powerful and permeates both subtle and physical bodies via the circulation of Prana, our vital life force. Residing in the heart and brain, it circulates throughout the body in the Pranavaha and Manovaha Srotas. The mind creates consciousness in connection with the body and senses. It is the command center of the Sensory and Motor Functions, sometimes referred to as our 6th Sense. It also is responsible for thinking, feeling, and being willing. The mind is an organ of both perception and action and it greatly determines our perception of reality. Mind is comprised of the three energies (Gunas) of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas.

Rajas-a mode of passion or desire, characterized by activity and turbulence, it can relate to ambitious and dynamic action, but if imbalanced also greed and heated temper

Tamas-a mode of darkness, ignorance, and inertia, characterized by inactivity and a depressed state, is responsible for important functions, like sleep, but it can also relate to laziness and indulgence.

Sattva-a state of peace, intelligence, and enlightenment, characterized by traits of compassion, courage, and good intellect. Sattva is a state of pure existence, a balanced and peaceful state of mind where the Gunas are all in a state of balance and harmony.

Mind oversees how we think, feel, and our actions and decisions. It is said that the mind is a powerful servant but a dangerous master.

In Ayurveda, most imbalances arise first in the mind due to its most powerful effect on our behaviors. Suffering and diseases may be caused by Rogas or improper behaviors which arise from our egotistical desires. They are likened to the seven cardinal sins. Actions like lust, gluttony, greed, violence, and anger will lead to inevitable suffering and heavier karmic debt. This is why it is important to make an effort to practice restraints and willpower in such cases to overcome our most basic desires and evolve in a more spiritual way. Practices like Meditation, Mantra Yoga, and Chanting can strengthen our minds. Charitable actions too are very helpful in raising our awareness and can help to achieve great peace and balance in our mind which can flow from consciousness into our life for the benefit of all existence.

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