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Article XIV: Structure of the Mind

Vedanta describes the structure of the mind in great detail. The simplest definition of the mind is a collection of thoughts, but the mind has several aspects. The entire mind is referred to as antahkarana or manas, but can be further subdivided into five components. Although antahkarana or manas can be used to describe the entire mind, they also refer to specific elements of the mind. The fivefold structure of the mind is as follows: antahkarana - inner faculty of understanding, manas - seat of emotion, buddhi - intellect, ahamkara - ego, and citta - mindstuff. Manas and buddhi are often considered most important with the aspects of ahamkara and citta sometimes included in them.

Manas is the receiver of sensations from objects, and it is the seat of emotion. Buddhi, or the intellect, is the discriminatory faculty, which determines the interpretation of the sensations and emotions from manas. Ahamkara is the ego, which represents an individual's concept of I-ness, and citta is the mindstuff, which represents memories and recollection. These aspects of the mind are also related to the layers in the fivefold sheath of maya as described by Shankaracharya in Vivekachudamani (See Article X: The Nature of Maya). Manas, buddhi, and ahamkara are included in manomaya kosha, vijnanamaya kosha, and anandamaya kosha, though the correspondence is overlapping.

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