A treatise on mind
- Part 1 -

Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma *

Elders always advise the youngsters to control the mind. Scriptures are giving stress to the control of mind. We simply say mind control is the only way to get success in life, and so on. But, what this mind is. What are the matters constituting the mind. It gives an idea that the mind would be wild or wile like the will-o-the wisp (ignis fatus).

But, where the mind resides in the body, what are the characteristics of this mysterious mind, how it functions, etc. are not yet clearly known by the owner of the mind. However, it is a must for us to know the mind. Without knowing the mind, it would not be possible to control.

Mind is differently described. Materialists define it as a brain-function. They assume the mind as an excretion of the brain, like the saliva from the mouth. Spiritualists define it as the power of the living being Ė the Atma, as Atma Shakti.

If the mind is interpreted in terms of matters, as if an organ of the body, it can be easily controlled or even be transplanted from one to another. If the mind is related to the living thing (Atma), it cannot be controlled or would have enormous power. Let us probe into the matter to our ability.

The Gita defines the mind as one of the eight prakritis belonging to the Almighty (VII/4). [Earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, reason and egoism Ė these constitute the eightfold division of My Nature.] The Chhandogya Upanishad describes it as the receptacle of all our knowledge (V/i/5). [He who knows the receptacle (Ayatana) verily becomes the receptacle of his people. Mind is verily the receptacle of all our knowledge.]

On the other hand, modern science describes it as the regulator or activator of afferent nerves which bring the sensations from the periphery of the spinal cord, the sensations which pass to the medulla oblongata at the back of the head, where the fibres decussate, then the sensations pass on to the superior frontal gyrus of the brain in the forehead where the mind is supposed to reside.

Thus, the concepts on mind are not the same. But, the functions of mind outside the body of an individual would deny the concept on it which is regarded residing in a small body. In fact, mind does works beyond the body, even beyond the unknown realm. They are to be considered later.

The faculty of mind is great. It cannot be measured in terms of known units like any other things which are interpreted in terms of units by natural Sciences, such as energy in terms of horse power, light in terms of candle power, weight in terms of grammes etc. etc.

Mind is indeed very powerful, any functions of the other organs of the body are but the actions of the mind. Without mind, the ears canít hear, eyes canít see. If the mind is let loose, no organ cannot work properly.

The mind has three basic powers of potencies. They are, Will Power, Action Power and Knowledge Power. They are said in Sanskrit language as Ichha Shakti, Kriya Shakti and Jnana Shakti respectively.

Will power is manifested as desire; power as functions of the parts of the body and finding out the methods properly for the achievement of the desired object is the manifestation of Jnana Shakti or Knowledge Power more and above, the mind has other enumerable powers, such as the power of perception (Vedana Shakti) power of memory (Smriti Shakti), power of judgement (manisha Shakti), power of volition (Sankalpa Shakti), power of holding (dharana Shakti), power of imagination (thavana Shakti), and others.

Man works on the direction of the mind. The direction is in accordance with the perception of a new episode which involves many ideas. The particular idea that the mind absorbs from the episode facing by an individual is the perception on the mind. It may also be known as cognition or sensation. Such a perception stimulates the mind and to the whole body. The most important faculty of the mind may be said, is perception.

The next one in the series of power of the mind enumerated by experts in this field, is the power of memory. This power is associated with the power of retention or impression or recording. The powers of memory, recording an comparison of the mind give rise to know or even to understand things or ideas.

It can be easily demonstrated that, if a man stands before me, facing and smiling, I may know him or not, whereas, I may know another person moving quickly in a crowded city, even when I see the dress he had.

Whatever is known to me is the action of the mind and the mind records exactly a thing or an idea which is new, and when the thing or the idea is repeated before the mind, connected through any of the five senses of the body, the mind compares the thing or the idea with the one already recorded, searching out among the many in the mental plane, and if the comparison is found same, the individual understands or knows the thing or idea.

This is the function of the mind within a very short time, that need not be counted. But, when the comparison is not found the same, the individual does not know or understand what is before him. Thus, the functions and powers of the mind cannot be listed in full. Only a little of it is tried to study. We know a thing or an idea only when the thing or the idea is already recorded in the mind repository.

Actually, the five senses of the body, viz. the ear, eye, nose, tongue and skin collect respectively sounds forms, smells, tastes and feelings which are instantly conducted in the mind the act of comparison with those recorded earlier and the body act accordingly on the result of the conducted comparison.

Thus, to know, has a process inside the mind. We can have a clear understanding when the collected information is clear and also the process of comparison is rightly conducted when the body and mind are disturbed by any reason, the collection of information and act of comparison cannot be conducted in the right manner. It may be the reason for the inclusion of mental power in defining a good health.

The impression in the mind of an idea or a thing is retained for a long time, even lifelong, on the intensity of the occurrence is high enough. Some records, however, faded away in no time.

A story teller may not forget the names involving in a long story, whereas may forget the name of his friend. It is said that on famous Scientist forgot his name. It shows that the mind records carefully things which are agreeable to the person and neglects those which are not considered valuable.

The power of imagination (Bhavana Shakti) of the mind is very strong indeed. It created both possible or impossible things. It develops desire for new things. The power of volition (Sankalpa Shakti) is the outcome for the power of imagination.

This power has given men to undergo search for newer things, to discover unknown lands and to invent ideas or appliances that can be supposed to help human beings live happily. Wishes, good or bad for others or the self are also done by man and this is also in the list of the power of imagination.

Besides the powers as enumerated above, the mind has various phenomena, mental states, such as moods, impulses, emotions, sentiments, whims, fancies and others.

to be continued .....

* Kakchingtabam Brajamani Sharma wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on December 28, 2019.

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