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Thread: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

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    Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Within the context of the Bhagavad Gita, who or what controls the intellect/mind/senses?

    E.g.
    yas tv indriyani manasa
    niyamyarabhate ’rjuna
    karmendriyaih karma-yogam
    asaktah sa visisyate

    One who controls the senses by a trained and purified mind
    and intellect and engages the organs of action to selfless
    service, is superior, O Arjuna. (3.07)

  2. #2

    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Namaste Snip,
    the answer to your question is given by Sri Krishna in the same chapter (sloka 42) where He clearly describes the hierarchy when Arjuna asks Him as to why people commit sin(Paapa).
    chapter 3 sloka 42
    indriyani parany ahur
    indriyebhyah param manah
    manasas tu para buddhir
    yo buddheh paratas tu sah


    (rough translation) It is declared the senses are superior (to the body), but more than the senses, the mind is superior. but more than the mind, the intellect is superior, but more than the intellect that which is superior is the Atma.
    So the hierarchy in descending order is as follows.
    Atma
    |
    Buddhi (Intellect)
    |
    Manas(Mind)
    |
    Indriya(Senses)
    |
    Deha(Body)

    one can clearly see that the physical body(Stula sharira) consists of the last layer(Deha) and the subtle body(sookshma sharira) consists of the upper layers stated in the above hierarchy.

    indeed the following information is not pertaining to the question asked, but is related to the hierarchy.Sri Krishna explains in the 15th chapter as to what happens when prana leaves a body(when a living being dies).
    if we see the chapter 15 sloka 7,8 and 9.
    sloka 7
    mamaivamso jiva-loke
    jiva-bhutah sanatanah
    manah-sasthanindriyani
    prakriti-sthani karshati
    verily the embodied living entity(Atma) is My infinitesimal potency(Amsha) and eternal; in the world of embodied living entities, the influence of the material energy is carried by the mind and the six perceptual senses.

    sloka 8
    sariram yad avapnoti
    yac capy utkramatishvarah
    grhitvaitani samyati
    vayur gandhan ivasayat
    whatever body the Atma enters and from whatever body it departs,it carries the subtle body from the old body and transfers it to a new body just like the air carries away the fragnance from its point of origin
    sloka 9
    srotram caksuh sparshanam ca
    rasanam ghranam eva ca
    adhisthaya manas cayam
    visayan upasevate

    The living entity, thus taking another gross body, obtains a certain type of ear, eye, tongue, nose and sense of touch, which are grouped about the mind. He thus enjoys a particular set of sense objects.

    roughly put, Sri Krishna explains beautifully as to what happens when a living being dies and what body(stoola sharira) it takes and how the Atma puts the subtle body(sookshma sharira consisting of the buddhi, manas and indriyas) from one body to another.
    hope this helps,
    regards,
    mukunda

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Analogy :

    A robot :

    The heirarchy :

    1. Body for action - organ of actions

    2. Sensors for inputs - organ of senses

    3. I/O port with right filters (for input and output) - Mind

    4. Intelligence & processor - Intellect

    5. Power - Consciousness

    In all there are actions but power does not. It is only an enabler.

    Body and sensors are dumb inert entities - these are used by superior mind and intellect to interact with outside.

    Mind is an entity which controls inward and outward flow of information depending on the filters (gunas) it has.

    The intellect processes the incoming information with memory or analysis and sends back for action again through the mind.

    Mind filters the information and directs the action organ accordingly.

    Sometimes the mind is highly clogged in some aspects that the information almost does not reach intellect and the action information is based on the input to the mind only.

    In all these the power or Consciousness is an enabler and does not take part in the karma cycle.

    Love and best wishes.

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Namasté mukunda20
    Thank you for your detailed reply, it is useful. Later the Lord tells us that all actions in all instances are done by the gunas. If this is so then is the action of controlling the intellect and mind different from actions done by gunas:

    All actions, in all instances,
    Are done by Prakriti’s gunas;
    Those with ego-deluded mind
    Imagine: “I am the doer.” (2. 27)

    Also the Atman is considered to not be the doer of actions:
    And yet these acts do not bind Me,
    Sitting as one indifferent
    And fully unattached to them:
    This is the truth, Dhananjaya. (9.9)

    And in 13:
    The Supreme Purusha is called
    The Looker-on in this body:
    The Permitter, the Supporter,
    Experiencer, Lord, and Self. (13.22)
    The one who truly sees is he
    Who sees that all actions are done
    Solely by Prakriti alone,
    And that the Self is actionless. (13.29)

    Being without beginning and
    Devoid of gunas, unchanging,
    This Supreme Self, though embodied,
    Does not act, and is not tainted. (13.31)

    So the question seems to hinge on the word “act” as the Atman is not acting yet someone or something is “controlling”. If the Atman does not act but controls, is then the “control of the mind” not an act?

    Namasté Kallol
    Great illustration and one I can relate to in modern ideas! I think you hit the nail on the head to the problem I post above also (addressing mukunda20 initially but open to all ideas) So if we refer to Atman as consciousness we can then say it is consciousness which appears to be controlling the intellect and mind but really just enables it by its presence alone? It seems so from your description.

    All that then remains is for one to know that consciousness which enables and controls the mind?

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Dear Snip,

    It is always a pleasure discussing these topics with you.

    Just like power, consciousness does not control anything. Otherwise it will become karta or the owner of the karma. Then it will also have the karmaphals. And being the topmost in the heirarchy, it will be the biggest sansari and we will become dummy and akarta.

    So it remains as enabler, as the playground, as the light. It is the gadget, or the players or the object which performs in the presence of the above.

    So is the prakriti - whose presence is known, which performs, which changes, in the presence of consciousness or purusha.

    Detach the mind from the body and you will see the body objectively which goes through the pains, pleasure, actions, etc. And I smile looking at those. Beyond that, see the mind from the intellect POV, the constant shiva dance will be seen - going on in the mind. Mind being connected with the cosmic, is a vibration point and it is a contributor to the shiva dance of the cosmic.

    Beyond that it is the mind again, which is the only vehicle (when rightly tempered by intellect) to take us to the near the door steps of the consciousness. Beyond the door there is no mind and it is all blank to be felt, understood, defined, etc.

    The knower cannot be known, the source cannot be illuminated - it is the purusha or the consciousness.

    Love and best wishes

  6. #6

    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Namaste Snip and Kallol,
    firstly Kallol has already answered your questions and i cant put it in any other better way than give reference in the Gita as to what Kallol has stated.
    Snip said
    "All that then remains is for one to know that consciousness which enables and controls the mind?"
    Kallol said
    "The knower cannot be known, the source cannot be illuminated - it is the purusha or the consciousness. "

    for both the above statements,
    Sri Krishna said in chapter 15 sloka 6
    na tad bhasayate suryo
    na sasanko na pavakah
    yad gatva na nivartante
    tad dhama paramam mama
    rough translation
    The Sun does not illumine that place, nor the moon, nor fire.
    that is my All- illuminating transcendental abode;having reached from which, there is no return.
    so the answer to Snip
    "All that then remains is for one to know that consciousness which enables and controls the mind?" is YES(conclusion from the above sloka).
    in essence, you have asked the question as to what is the final goal of every entity.
    best regards,
    mukunda

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Namaste Snip and friends

    I think till the doership is compleyely renounced there is indeed a karta - a doer.

    Chapter 18

    13. Learn from Me, O mighty-armed Arjuna, these five causes, as declared in the Sankhya system for the accomplishment of all actions!

    14. The body, the doer (karta), the various senses, the different functions of various sorts, and the presiding Deity, also, the fifth,

    15. Whatever action a man performs by his body, speech and mind, whether right or the reverse, these five are its causes

    And this karta is entirely isolated from the Self, as below:

    16. Now, such being the case, he who, owing to untrained understanding, looks upon his Self, which is isolated, as the agent, he of perverted intelligence, sees not.


    Om Namah Shivaya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Namasté Kallol and Mukunda20
    Wonderful perspectives... I feel that the start of my week has been graced with a satsang

    Permit me to build on these posts, as unless I have missed the answer in the subtle depth of Krishna's teaching, I have not seen a verse in the Bhagavad Gita which confirms the answer to the question "who is it that controls the intellect/mind"?

    I am satisfied from your posts above that the movement of mind is witnessed by consciousness, from which "there is no return". But Krishna told Arjuna that the Atman (consciousness) does not act. If consciousness is not acting but at the same time we witness the action of the mind, then to whom does Krishna address the instructions to "control the senses and mind"? Surely there has to be a recipient of those instructions?

    Perhaps based on the words of Krishna quote below, the control of the mind is also an illusion or a figment of maya that is only overcome through complete devotion?

    This divine illusion of Mine
    Is difficult to go beyond.
    Only those devoted to Me
    Shall pass beyond this illusion. (7.14)

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Quote Originally Posted by atanu View Post
    Namaste Snip and friends

    I think till the doership is compleyely renounced there is indeed a karta - a doer.
    Namasté Atanu and friends
    Thanks for your input.

    From the above it seems kartA is something to be considered in it's own right. Can the kartA (or the actor, performer, doer) be considered to be a conglomeration of intellect-mind-memory-ego working together in an independent sense as the thinker/doer which is witnessed?

    If this is so then can we say that the controller of the mind is the kartA? And it is the (Arjuna's) KartA who Krishna addresses in the first verse I quoted above?

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    Re: Who or what controls the mind and intellect, according to the Bhagavad Gita?

    Quote Originally Posted by Snip View Post
    Namasté Kallol and Mukunda20
    Wonderful perspectives... I feel that the start of my week has been graced with a satsang

    Permit me to build on these posts, as unless I have missed the answer in the subtle depth of Krishna's teaching, I have not seen a verse in the Bhagavad Gita which confirms the answer to the question "who is it that controls the intellect/mind"?

    I am satisfied from your posts above that the movement of mind is witnessed by consciousness, from which "there is no return". But Krishna told Arjuna that the Atman (consciousness) does not act. If consciousness is not acting but at the same time we witness the action of the mind, then to whom does Krishna address the instructions to "control the senses and mind"? Surely there has to be a recipient of those instructions?

    Perhaps based on the words of Krishna quote below, the control of the mind is also an illusion or a figment of maya that is only overcome through complete devotion?

    This divine illusion of Mine
    Is difficult to go beyond.
    Only those devoted to Me
    Shall pass beyond this illusion. (7.14)
    Thought of proceeding on the interesting discussion yesterday but Durga puja related activities and office related tour took the priority. Anyway these discussions are best done with satvik mind and not rajasik !!

    I have mentioned in other threads that the whole of this system (purusha and prakriti) is self intelligent, based on certain rules. Thus the system is totally automated to function. Some discussions happened on yajvanji's thread of Hawking's view and some I have put in my thread Why and How avatar.

    To give an analogy I will take an example of a semihard balls rolling down the mountain which like the normal ones is not uniform. Even if they started from the same point, they will choose different paths and end in different places and in the process they will acquire different shapes and sizes. Use them again from the top and they will now traverse the paths according to their shape and size. It goes on.

    The rule here is the gravity. Under that rule the balls took different decisions to traverse different paths and acquire different gunas. With those gunas they are born and they again traverse different paths according their state of mind and how they can use the body (the intellect and the action organs). The montain enables them or is the playground. The balls use that playground and act as per rules. But they act differently according to their size and shape (gunas).

    So it is the body-mind complex, which takes the decision and depending on it the life moves on.

    Now there are several ways to move on.

    1. The normal people move like - one blind moving in a darkest night in a desert without any light or guiding stuff towards nothing.

    2. The people in initial part of devotion move like - one moving in a darkest night in a desert with an initial direction setting towards imagined goal. He will surely deviate again and again.

    3. The people in spiritual path and well read - one moving in a darkest night in a desert with an initial direction setting and also a lamp towards a described goal. He will succeed but there may be some corrections required in between.

    4. Self realised or enlightend ones - one moving in a darkest night in a desert with a lamp at the goal. He will succeed surely and even if there is deviation he will correct himself.

    That the TRUTH is all within us, that we are all connected, that the source is a SINGLE one is proven by the ones in #4. That is why we see that the TRUTH is all same whether it is Geeta, Shankaracharya, Ramakrishna, Ramana, Vivekananda, Buddha, Aorobindo, Chaitanya, etc.

    Love and best wishes

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