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Yoga and Memory

What are the facets of Mind

From yoga and upanisadic lore, the mind has four facets - Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahankara. Manas is often called mind. Sankalapa vikalpatmakah manah, a changing mind oscillation from one state to another. This is the most gross state of mind when this randomness gets canalized the energies start getting useful. Buddhi, the intellect sorts out the information in the form of thoughts, analyses them and puts them into different bins. Judy as a postman sorts out letters and sends them to their destinations, the intellect with its power of discrimination sorts out the thoughts , and connects all thoughts which are related to a subject. All thoughts which are unconnected are weeded out. Only those which are connected with the subject are chosen to explain the subject. This is often called concentration. We all know the importance and usefulness of concentration for success in all our endeavors. This power of Buddhi - the intellect called discrimination is the one that is special abut all human beings.

While the need for food, sleep, and procreation and fear are common to both animal and human beings, the specially of human beings is the Buddhi. Without that Buddhi, or power of discrimination, we are equivalent to animals, say one of the slokas.

The third facet of mind is Smriti or memory. The storehouse of information is sorted but by the intellect - the Buddhi - and whatever is decided to be stored is passed on to memory. Not all information needs to be stored - only those important thoughts which the Buddhi decides will find entry into memory they will be ready to be unearthed anytime we need. Retrieval of information is part of memory. The memory is defines as Anubhuta visaya asampramosahsmritih.

The process by which thoughts which have been experienced are retrieved is called memory.

At the background of all these states of mind is the Aham the "I, often called Ego. What ever activities we do there is the "I thought " - I am seeing, I am doing, I am eating , and so on. This is the subtlest aspect of mind. All these (four) facets of mind come under the broad heading - Antahkarana.

This article has been written by Dr. R. Nagarathna, Dean, Division of Yoga & Life-sciences, SVYASA
This article is published online courtesy
and Arogyadhama

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