Mind and Its nature !

The Mind occupies a major important role in Health. Man’s health goes up and down based on his mind alone. That is why it is important to know the nature of one’s mind. In English, the word “manas” is translated as mind. Many people think that mind and brain are one and the same. Brain is determined by its location, size, shape and weight. Mind, however is not defined by its shape, or size. Why? Because it takes the form and result of whatever we think. For example, if one observes a microorganism in a microscope, mind obtains the shape and characteristics of the micro-organism. When one is in front of the Himalaya mountain ranges, mind takes the gigantic form of the mountains. So far, no sage or scientist has defined mind in terms of a particular location it resides in. However, through ages, traditionally the seat of the mind is the heart.

Mind and its nature story

Let us try to examine the characteristics of Mind

1. Mind always recognizes the flaws in the other person and only likes them. Even faults (bad) that are the size of a mustard seed in others will be magnified like a mountain. Even the mountain size good in others, the Mind does not like to recognize as a mustard seed.
2. Mind does not work without a basis. But whatever the Mind thinks it can create as a basis. The basis of what is given is the shape it takes. For
example, if one takes a very weak creeper and places a doll in the shape of an elephant next it, the creeper takes the form of an elephant and looks beautiful. But if no basis is given, it takes the helter-skelter form of the ground if left alone. It looks ugly and not as beautiful as the elephant doll we gave as basis. So if the mind is not told to do this or that, it does whatever it feels and makes one a laughing stock. If the same Mind is given discipline and told what to do, it can make its way and latch on to the Divine Feet. This is called Dhyana or meditation. Let us learn a bit more about the same.

3. The Mind not only has a habit to dwell on the faults of others, it also has a tendency to stay there and envelops it. For example, in Elementary School, Ramesh is in 2nd Grade, and he stole a new pen from Suresh. Ramesh complained to the teacher, and the teacher in front of the whole class, interrogated and made Ramesh admit the truth and give back the pen he stole from Suresh.
25 years passed. Ramesh was successful in school and became an I.A.S. Officer. Ramesh came to the village he studied in and wanted to meet his
teacher at the Elementary school. The old teacher could not recognize him rightaway and it took him a while and he finally said “O, are you not the Ramesh who stole the pen from Suresh”?. No matter how tall a stature Ramesh had as an IAS Officer, the teacher, could only remember him as his fault. This is the nature of the Mind.
4.The Mind always likes to jump to the future. It is always fixated on the next thing and the next thing to do, but not the task at hand. It never likes to stay in the present. It always likes to worry about the future. As a result, it cannot focus on the present task thereby reducing the
quality of the same, which will stall the progress. “A person who cannot utilize his time properly cannot achieve success in anything”.
5. Mind likes to postpone things. If today, one thinks of doing a good thing, it gives the advice, ‘you can do it tomorrow’ and postpones it. When
tomorrow comes as today, it will find another good reason to postpone it to the next day. In this manner,all good things that are thought of, never get done, and Time passes on.

6.Mind always craves for recognition. All little things that one does, it is anxious (madhana?) that many will recognize. If it is not recognized, it advises to not to do it or stop doing it.

7.Mind always expects gratitude. This is the source of all suffering. Helping others, and expecting immediate result, and expecting from someone who we helped to help us is a quality of the Mind. In reality, the person who gets help from one does not help the same person rightaway. It does not work this way in society. However, the good help or service that the first person has done never goes to waste. But the Mind regrets over and over how his help was wasted.

8. Mind always dictates what to do. It craves independence. “Why should I listen to someone else?” it deplores subjecting it to imperfection and deficiency. At the same time, it is proud of itself. It feels itself as its Owner. Like stated before, it gives strength to the recognition of faults in others. In truth, the owner of the Mind is buddhi or intellect. One calls someone wise when he listens and acts on his intellect. One calls someone a lunatic when he listens to his Mind alone. So, what is better? The tail wagging the dog, or the dog wagging its tail. It is better that the Mind listen to the intellect.

Mind cannot function without problems. If there is no problem, it creates one instantly. The following Panchatantra tale illustrates. In a forest, there were two persons, cutting down trees. They took a huge wooden log, split into two and put another wooden log in between these two split logs so they don’t come together. It was lunch time and they were resting under a tree nearby. 2 monkeys were roaming and one
monkey told the other, “Want to see my strength?” It tried to remove the wooden piece between the 2 piles with its mouth and swiftly threw it out. The logs came together rolling and the monkey’s leg was stuck and was crushed to death. This is the moral of the story of how one can create a problem that can be deadly. OK, so the mind that has so many imperfections is following us since our innumerable births. The food we consume gets digested in the digestive fire “jattara:gni” and the subtle portion rises to the top to instigate or motivate the Mind. For example, when one makes buttermilk, the lighter butter comes to the top when churning. Similary the food we take, after digested becomes the driving force of the Mind.
This is one of the many great insights mentioned in Cha:ndogya Upanishad.

The above are the characteristic qualities of the Mind. We stated at the outset that if the mind goes bad it causes ill health. We will later talk about how to know ahead when the mind is going bad? Stay tuned…!!!

In a Nutshell What is Mind?

– By Lakshmi Samudrala, translated from Telugu BN article of Nov 2019.