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!

The Chiff-Chaff of Mano-BuddiH

Hari OM

'Text-days' are for delving into the words and theory of Advaita Vedanta.

[You are reminded that reviewing the previous week's posts will become essential as the meanings of the Sanskrit terms may not be repeated. There may come additional or alternative meanings, but all should be noted. As study progresses, the technical terms must necessarily become 'second nature' to the student. When the Sanskrit is used, the translation will fall easily into place - or likewise, if the English is used, the Sanskrit term must easily come forwards.]

Please revisit THIS post and chant the mangala-charana. Please use the TattvabodaH label to access all posts relevant to this text.

(The vid-clip begins with the praanamaya chant from last week.)

पञ्च-कोशाः /pancha-koshaaH - the five sheaths, cont'd.
The following two are so closely related that they are being given together.

मनोमयः कोशः /manomayaH koshaH - the mental sheath.

मनोमयः कोशः कः
मनश्च ज्ञनेन्द्रियपञ्चकं मिलित्वा
यो भवति सः मनोमयः कोशः।

manomayaH koshaH kaH
manashcha GYanendriyapa~nchakaM militvaa
yo bhavati saH manomayaH koshaH.

"What is manomaya  ?"
"The mind and the five organs of perception together form the mental sheath."

विज्ञानमय कोशः /vijnaanamaya koshaH - the intellectual sheath.

विज्ञानमयः कः
बुद्धिर्ज्ञानेन्द्रियपञ्चकं मिलित्वा
यो भ्वति सः विज्ञानमयः कोशः।

viGYaanamayaH kaH
buddhirGYaanendriyapa~nchakaM militvaa
yo bhvati saH viGYaanamayaH koshaH.

"What is vijnaanamaya   ?"
"The intellect and the five organs of perception together is the intellectual sheath."

At first glance it may be thought exactly the same answer is given for both - and in the English translation it could said to be so. However, it must be remembered that Sanskrit is multidimensional in a way that many languages, and English in particular, are not. If you glance again at the Sanskrit (transliteration) you will note that for vijnaana, there is a single prefix to the 'organs' reference, that being 'buddiH'.

In reference to 'mind' then, it is a simple functioning of the organs which is being referenced, but in the case of the intellect, by adding this prefix, the inference is that from the function of those same organs, there is a higher function; that of assessment and anlaysis.

The mind is the seat of emotions like anger, jealousy, love, compassion; it is constituted of thoughts in a state of volition, for example "Shall I read or not?.. Is it fun or not?..." It is the mind which perceives the objective world through the senses (indriyas). If the mind does not back the indriyas, they cannot receive the stimuli. "My eyes may be open, but I have not seen what has happened"… how often have we realised that we haven't heard or seen something due to the mind being 'absent' rather than present in the moment?!

Identified with the mental sheath, the sakshi "I" will say "I am happy/unhappy/growing old/getting deaf…" The True Self is neither happy nor unhappy. It is of the nature of pure bliss.

Meanwhile, the vijnaana (intellectual) part of us is subtler and pervades the preceding koshas. It is firmly associated with mind, but is able to take the stimuli presented via the manomaya and apply decision making. Here at the intellectual level, the sakshi can begin to appreciate "I am infinite… "I" am pure happiness… "I" am not the physical…" et cetera. The intellect is the seat of the values of life which inform our daily lives. What we value we try to emulate. If money is valued most, all efforts will be made to obtain and satisfy what measures up to the ideal which we have. If we value family above all else, we will sacrifice for that family. The intellect discriminates between right and wrong, real and unreal and so forth. To innovate, create, discover, visualise, and to imagine, are all faculties of the vijnaanamaya kosha. The mind carries the sense perceptions to the intellect. Based on previous experience, it recognises, understands and decides on the course of action. It conveys the same back via manomaya to the karmendriyani (organs of action) and the body is operated. Hence the intellect is called the driver of this 'vehicle'.

The vital air, mental and intellectual sheaths together form the subtle body. The key difference between mind and intellect, then, whilst they are essentially the same, is that 'mind feels' whilst 'intellect thinks'. Mind orders the body's reactions, which is why, when there is strong emotion of grief or joy, it activates the heart to pump harder and we are inclined to refer to things 'clutching our heart', or if it is fear or anxiety, we 'feel' it in our abdomen and say that 'my tummy's full of butterflies' - but clear analysis shows that the physical organ of the heart, or the guts, can only function according to what the mind is ordering and therefore, in Vedanta, whenever 'heart' or 'emotion' are discussed, it is in reference to manomaya kosha. Corrective actions to overcome the emotions is the function of the intellect.

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