The mind has been the subject of scientific research, discussions and philosophers’ debates for centuries. Yet, it is still difficult to understand. That’s because the mind is so vast and its attributes so diverse that you can study it for millions of years, and still discover new aspects to it.
The mind is responsible for the most ingenious scientific discoveries; it creates amazing music and art, beautiful buildings and mathematical models. It is also the biggest destroyer in the world – war strategies, armaments and bombs are the creation of the mind.Again, it is the mind that gives rise to stress and anxiety. We can worry till we’re sick, and we can succour ourselves back to health. The mind can create heroes and also demons. The temples of learning are the mind’s creation, and so are the torture chambers of the world.
What is this mind? Saint or devil? Tyrant or benign? There are various models that aim to understand the mind. One model is psychology, which has identified the conscious mind and the unconscious mind. The conscious mind is the mind that we’re aware of. The unconscious mind is hidden from our conscious selves and is the repository of hidden feelings, emotions and beliefs that, without our realising it, colours our thoughts and creates the filters through which we see and judge the world.
Ayurveda also has two understandings of the mind. The first is that the mind has certain qualities and the person this mind belongs to is the sum total of these qualities of the mind.
The second is that the mind is not located in the area of the brain, but the whole body is the mind. And the mind has layers. In this column, I shall talk about the qualities of the mind. These are the basic qualities that constitute a person. The kind of behaviour you indulge in, the way you think and perceive things are all manifestations of the quality of your mind, and they are basically of three kinds.
Sattva: The quality of being truthful, being a seeker of knowledge and wanting to help others, because that feels comfortable, right and is the natural urge of the mind.
Rajas: A mind that is passionate, goal-driven, finds great pleasure in achievement, and wants fame, wealth, glamour, power and success.
Tamas: Tamasic attributes are dullness, attraction to darkness and bad deeds, obsession with alcohol, drugs and physical lust, inability to appreciate truth, lethargy of mind and lack of
Sattva people are health-conscious by nature, Rajas people have to be convinced about the power of good health, and Tamas people are ignorant about health.
- From HT Brunch, May 15
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