Components of a living entity
What is Consciousness?
Life has two major components which is consciousness and the mind. When consciousness takes a grosser, tangible form, it is called the mind. Consciousness and mind work in tandem to give us an experience of the world. Consciousness itself is non-matter, divine which cannot be controlled or known by material laws. It is beyond the scope of all that we experience. It is the experiencer and the very subject that experiences.
Mind drives the world.
Mind is the aspect that is enlivened by the flow of consciousness. This can be compared to the flow of current into a gadget. Unless current flows, the gadget is non-functional. Similarly unless consciousness enlivens the mind, mind can be considered to be inanimate and lifeless. As soon as consciousness triggers the mind, the various finer aspects of the mind shall come into action. It also becomes important to understand the broad components of the mind, so that this understanding can help us go deeper into the mechanics of the mind. Understanding the mechanics of the mind shall, for certain, give us direction towards better mind control. Just as a scientist understands the constituents and the effect of chemicals and thereby puts it to use for widespread consumption, similarly our understanding of the various segments of the mind shall give us an insight as to how the mind can be put to better use. The following are the segments of Mind.
A great portion of mind is memory. Memory does not only exist in the physical brain. The physical brain can only be considered as an instrument where memory can be said to be detected. It can however not be proved that memory is “in” the brain. All our body cells have cell memory. Cells have memories of billions of lifetimes that the living entity has passed through. Cells are produced by the subtler aspects of consciousness and becomes a store-house of memory. It is cells that determine our taste habits, our likes, dislikes, preferences and a million other things that determine our lifestyle and our inclinations. They say that there are approximately 15 trillion cells in the body, but there is no science to prove it for certain. It is like trying to count the number of atoms in a drop of water. If there are so many atoms in water, can someone determine the atoms in the ocean? The same logic applies to cells. Cells have impressions and impressions can be effected in millions of ways. Hence our body memory is infinite and it has its effect on our very core. This memory is considered to be the storage aspect of the mind, just as RAM and ROM are considered to be the short-term and permanent memory of a computer system. In Sanskrit this memory is also referred as Chitta or the store house of impressions and influences.
This is the processing aspect of the mind. This is the aspect of mind which inspires, engages, influences, and concentrates the senses prior to the activity, before volition actually takes place. This is like the Central processing unit of the computer. Depending on what our memory and past experiences have accumulated, the mind manipulates and uses that information for delivering a certain task. If our past memories are harsh, disturbing and gruesome, the mind shall be influenced in that manner and shall color the world and view the world in that perspective alone. If memories are pleasant, then mind shall take up pleasant engagements. If hurt has been hurled into memory, the mind shall be distracted and virulent in the way it approaches the activities of the world. A man whose father has been a thief and has trained him in robbing, cannot engage in anything else other than robbing. Unless there is a strong influence of another powerful being who is benign and unselfish, a robber shall remain a robber. This is how the mind functions and acts. Manas also is composed of thoughts and emotions. However the Manas is more reactive in its nature and if it is not directed by intelligence which is discussed below, it can mislead a person by triggering unnecessary thoughts and emotions. Manas has a great component of matter and reflects the lower functioning of the living entity. Its functioning is extremely situational by nature.
This is the higher faculty of the mind. The first two aspects of the mind namely Chitta and Manas are more or less passive and they do what they are told to do. Chitta holds information and Manas behaves in accordance with the type of information that Chitta has within itself. Buddhi is where change can be influenced. The ability to decide and choose comes with the involvement of Buddhi. Buddhi has too aspects namely intellect and intelligence.
Intellect is the ability to view the same information by slicing and dicing it. For example if there is a big act to be performed, it is important to approach the process in the right manner so that the nuts and bolts of the process can be understood and delivered. For example, if we are required to influence a crowd by our public talking, we need to consider the building blocks to be able to get prepared for the talk. This can be the work of the intellect. From the final goal of an effective talk, there is a reverse engineering of the steps to deliver a great talk. For example, we need to know who is the audience, what could be their background, what can sell or strike a chord with them and so on. This is the intellect aspect of the mind.
Intelligence is a highly refined aspect of the mind that is capable of taking decisions. This aspect is subtle and evolves, towards developing wisdom. The act of decision making, depends on finer aspects of one’s character, one’s welfare. Intelligence reflects the decision-making capabilities of the mind related to life as a process, about the things that are meant for the long-term benefits of the living entity. When the intelligence is refined, the aspect of consciousness or purity is reflected in intelligence, which when employed, pushes to the living entity towards its ultimate welfare. Insight, Wisdom, Faith and other non-tangible aspects of life relate to the level of development of Intelligence alone.
This is at the core which is nearest to consciousness. Ego, however has nothing to do with intelligence. “I am the body-mind”, this feeling or push towards life is initiated by Ego alone. Our whole genetic core rests in our ego. It is ego alone which gives the feeling of “I, Me and Mine.” The goal of spirituality is to end the influence of Ego on our lives. The harder the ego, lesser shall intelligence work and vice versa. Ego can be said to represent the blinkers of the soul or consciousness. Consciousness is light while Ego is an aspect of darkness that limits the light of the soul and binds the soul to matter and materialistic emotions. A man who is loaded less by the ego, has a free-mind. He shall not be dogmatic in approach and will be blessed with high-intelligence. Sometimes when Ego is very high, it reflects as self-pride, arrogance, envy, jealousy and a whole lot of negative characteristics that limits the experience of the living entity.
Purifying the Mind
When mind is purified at all the levels mentioned above, it shall have a releasing effect on consciousness. Consciousness blooms and the living entity is elevated. Spiritual practice, mantra chanting, meditation, following the path of enlightened masters, Listening and implementing the principles of Sanatana Dharma are the methodologies to reform and refine the mind. When mind is heavy and dirty, we experience bondage. This bondage is of our compulsive habits imposed on us by memory and Manas. However when spiritual discipline is undertaken, memory is released of its load. Thoughts and emotions shall undergo purification just as a dirty sullied cloth is cleansed by dipping it in detergent water for some time. Spiritual discipline impinges into the various impure layers of the mind and purges it. Distortions are removed when one engages in Satsanga and gets the proper, higher perspective of life. One gets encouraged to reorient one’s goals and ambitions. Such a reorientation shall release the mind from the very bondage of materialistic living that has been taking its toll.