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Article CV: Aspects of the Mind

"To destroy the mind in its form-aspect functioning as the limiting adjunct to the individual, to recover the pure mind in its formless aspect whose nature is only Being-Knowledge- Bliss and to experience 'I am Brahman' is Realisation." Advaita Bodha Deepika (VII:26-27) -- An English translation by Swami Ramananda Saraswati (Sri Munagala S. Venkataramaiah), the recorder of Talks with Sri Ramana Maharshi, of this Sanskrit composition originally written by Sri Karapatra Swami.

Vedanta philosophy describes four major aspects of the mind (antahkarana), including manas, buddhi, citta, and ahamkara. Manas sometimes refers to the entire mind as does antahkarana, but manas specifically refers to the center of emotion and the receiver of sensory information. Buddhi refers to the intellect, the discriminatory faculty, which allows for rational thought. Citta refers to the mindstuff, or the collection of memories, knowledge, and experiences. Citta is also associated with the subconscious. Ahamkara refers to the ego, which gives the sense of I-ness.

One must transcend the mind in order to attain enlightenment, but until enlightenment, one can utilize the mind as a tool to better approach enlightenment. Buddhi allows one to discriminate between the mundane (finite, transient) and the Divine (infinite, eternal). Buddhi guides one's actions to orient them with the Divine and the path to enlightenment. Buddhi allows one to realize the temporary nature of happiness that is dependent on objects and situations. Buddhi can be related to the Divine compass within, or even the conscience.

Buddhi can be used as a tool to diminish ahamkara. Buddhi allows for discrimination such that one may perform selfless action instead of selfish action. Ahamkara dissolves as one performs actions to approach enlightenment, and ultimately one transcends ahamkara to realize the Divine-within as infinite and eternal. Buddhi can be used as a tool to approach enlightenment, but ultimately even buddhi must be transcended. Enlightenment is transcending the entire mind to experience ultimate peace and bliss.

East-West Counseling & Meditation -- Modern Psychiatry Integration -- Himalayan Philosophy -- Penn & Stanford Medicine
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