Adventures in Advaita Vedanta, the philosophy and science of spirit. We are one you and I; are you curious why?..


Here is a place to linger, to let your intellect roam. Aatmaavrajanam is being written as a progressive study and, as such, can be read like a book. Anyone arriving at any time can simply start at the very first post and work their way through at their own pace. Please take time to read the info tabs and ensure you don't miss a post, by subscribing to the blog. Interaction is welcomed. Don't be a spectator - be a participator!


Hari OM

Application - that is what 'Workings-days' are about!

We are now undertaking basic technical discourse on Vedanta. The text forming the basis of these posts is 'Kindle Life'.

Last week we took an overview of the most subtle part of our self-identity, the aatman; that part of the Universal Self which identifies with matter forms. In a sense this was 'jumping the gun', but it was important to be reminded that at all times there is a Witness Self and that bringing ourselves ever more into that saakshi mode is what gives us true objectivity and the ability to rise above our materially-bonded condition.

In terms of our pyramid, though, we must now look at the suukshma shariira proper, which is made up of manomaya kosha and vijnaanamaya kosha.

Majority of us think only in terms of our 'mind' and rarely consider how said 'mind' is working. the Rsis, of course, delved deeply into the study and divided the mental part of us into these two koshas. Manomaya deals with the feelings  and emotions and Vijanaanamaya deals with concept and rational response.

Both, however, consist merely of 'thought'.

Needless to say, there is further breakdown of the thought context by those great masters of the process and we shall take an introductory look at this today.

Some new technical terms on their way, so get out those workbooks!

अन्तःकरण/antaHkarana; the 'inner cause', that which works within. This is the umbrella term for the four 'compartments' of thinking (or mind);

  • मनः / manas
  • बुद्धि  / buddhi
  • अहंकारः  / ahanmkaaraH
  • चित्त  / chitta
All are thought, only, but help to explain process; the action of thinking is of course at such pace, we would rarely recognise the component parts. However, as we progress in our knowledge and saadhana, it is important to begin to separate the parts within ourselves.  Now for some expansion.

Manas; this is the receptive thought. An event takes place. It is received by one or other of our external organs and delivered to 'mind' - first point of contact is manas. Here, a stimulus occurs and a disturbance signal is set up, be it indecision, restlessness  and so on. The terminology used to describe this part of the thought process within the function of manas is संकल्प-विकल्पात्मकं मनः/sankalpa-vikalpaamakaM manaH. 

Buddhi; after the initial 'yes/no?!' aspect of manas, buddhi takes over.  Here things are quieter and more controlled. This is the place of assessment and decision making ('if this then that' process) - called in Sanskrit as निश्चयात्मिका बुद्धिः/nischayaatmikaa buddiH.

AhanmkaaraH; this relates to that part of thinking which has a sense of ownership. This is the ego-self, which understands that conditions have been set up for response, and that the response (or lack thereof) is the individual's to make. The 'I-ness and my-ness' of any decisions and responses is a key aspect of ego and is referred to in Sanskrit as अहंकर्ताहंकारः/ahamkarta-ahanmkaaraH... the 'I am the doer-ego self'.

Citta; this 'compartment' of the thinking process is based in memory. It is the component which grasps and applies experience and also takes up the lesson of the current process and adds to the memory banks.

So our thoughts are actually a churning of logical processes and depending on which part we permit most power, we can remain in control of things - or not. A bit like the mandala below this post.  You have perhaps found a sense of shifting in it, like a mind which does not know how to stop.  The saakshi, addressing the ahanmkaaraH, can take hold of the drift and slow it - even make it stop... same can be done with this image. See if you can do it and let everyone know how in the comments box!  (The 'answer' will be provided next week &*>)

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Hari OM
If what you have read has made you think, tell me why. If you are wondering, others are too, so ask that question. If you have a doubt, let it out.

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