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Dear devotees, Hare Krishna,

This is an answer of my Spiritual Master H.H. Ramakrishnananda Swami




Uddhared atmanatmanam

Natmanam avasadayet

Atmaiva hy atmano bandhur

Atmaiva ripur atmanaha



“One must free himself with the help of the mind, and not degrade oneself. The mind is the friend of the conditioned soul, as it is also its enemy.”… Bhagavad Gita chapter 6, text 5…

In order to speak about the mind it is necessary to understand, first of all, that the mind is not the brain… the brain is found in the physical body, while the mind is in the Astral body that converts it to, as Srila Prabhupada said on repeated occasions in various conversations… "A vapor that comes from the soul"… the Astral Body, being so subtle and made of Prana, can be compared as a body of vapor…

Remember that we have three bodies:

The physical body consists of only one vehicle, the material or Annamaya Kosha. The astral body consists of three, the vital or Pranamaya Kosha, the mental or Manomaya Kosha, and the intellectual or Vijnanamaya Kosha. And last is the causal body that has the body of bliss or Ananda Maya Kosha.

The mind is located between the Manomaya Kosha and the Vijnanamaya Kosha. I say this so you will not be confused and think that the mind is in some way the Jiva, the Jiva and the mind are completely different, the mind can be “a friend” or “enemy” of the soul, but always different from it, this is confirmed in the Bhagavad Gita, chapter 3 text 42…


indriyani parany ahur

indriyebhyah param manah

manasas tu para buddhir

yo buddheh paratas tu sah


“The senses of work are superior to dull matter, the mind is more elevated than the senses; intelligence is higher than the mind; and it (the soul) is even more elevated than intelligence.”


The mind as a whole is called in Sanskrit, and according to the classic and authoritative Raja Yoga of Patanjali Maharishi and generally in the Vedic knowledge, the “Anthakarana” or internal organ, it consist of 4 functions, Manas or conscious mind, Chitta or subconscious, Buddhi or intellect, and Ahankara or false ego.

Manas, Chitta and Buddhi are located in the Manomaya Kosha and the Buddhi and Ahankara are in the Vijnanamaya Kosha.

Srila Prabhupada said in his purport to text 40, chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita that… “The mind is the center of all the senses activity…” and that is exact, for when we study the theme profoundly we see that in reality the senses are, in a certain way, an extension of the mind.


Manas is the first function of the mind, “Nischayatmaka Anthakarana Veedhi Manas”… it is an oscillation or digression of the mind from one object to another in search for pleasure, it belongs to the instinctive or animal state of the human being, his function is like a radar that searches, perceives and observe the phenomenon world that surrounds it. Buddhi is the intellectual aspect or function of the mind, “Vimarsantmaka Veedhi Buddhi”… it is this that evaluates and rationalizes the perception that Manas gets through the senses, this function of the mind evaluates, accepts and rejects the different impressions that reach through the Manas. The development of the intellect will be what elevates the perceptions of the Manas to a higher and more elevated level. Buddhi can be more or less contaminated according to the level of impurity of the false ego.

Chitta is the subconscious aspect of the mind, “Thiraskaranatmaka Anthakarana Veedhi Chittham”… this consists in a huge wherehouse of experiences, from previous lives and from the present one, in other words it is our memory.

Ahankara is the false ego; it is a false identification that awards itself, completely disconnected from Krishna, the Supreme Personality of God. Everything it experience, it sees itself as the enjoyer or the master of everything it experiences.

The Katha Upanishad explains a great deal about the functioning of the mind by a beautiful allegory in which the human personality is compared to a chariot, the senses are compared to horses; Buddhi is compared allegorically to the chariot-driver and etcetera…

It's important to understand the relation of these functions as a harmonic whole. For example Manas, through the senses a bundle of bills or golden coins, immediately when the Chitta receives the information, it realizes the value of these papers called bills or those coins with their brilliance, in other words Chitta sends the sufficient information as to know what it is all about. The Ahankara or the false ego is the one who realize that this objects can satisfy "my desires", and then sends the order to "obtain it at any cost" to the Buddhi. The Buddhi or intellect will devise the way to develop tactics and strategies in order to get it. Obviously this is a very brief description of what we call mind and how it function. Because there is a lot more to be studied, for example the Vrittis, the Vasansas and the Samskaras. Raja Yoga is extremely broad and profound…


The mind is manifested according to Yoga in five different states:

1. Kshipa … the instable mental state, in which the mental rays are dispersed and scattered.

2. Mudha… a state of dimness and forgetfulness.

3. Vikshipta… in this state the mind varies from instable state and dispersed to distracted states; it is a state of constant fight of the mind.

4. Ekagrata… a mental state where the mind is in one single point.

5. Nirodha… is the desired state for the devotee, of complete control.


In the subconscious of the mind there are five kinds of sufferings or Kleshas of the mind, which exist as subtle impression of the subconscious mind or Chitta, these are:

1. Avidya or ignorance

2. Asmita or egoism

3. Raga or attachment

4. Dwesha or aversion

5. Abhinivesha or attachment to the body

The thoughts or mental waves are called technically Vrittis, these are in reality Prana, or vital force and they are born in and from the mental substance, their birth is compared to the birth of waves in the ocean. The Vrittis are innumerable; nonetheless they can be basically divided to:

1. Pramana or right knowledge

2. Viparyaya or wrong knowledge

3. Vikalpa or imagination

4. Nidra or sleep

5. Smriti or memory

The Vasanas are the subtle and subconscious desires which manifest in the form of inclinations, it is these Vasanas that manifest as Vrittis, in other words they are expressed as mental waves.

Then we have what is called Samskaras, what is a Samskara?... when a Vritti is born, it is born over the face of the minds normal conscious, the Samskara is produced when this Vritti is inside the most profound regions of the subconscious mind. In this moment it is transformed in a Samskara. The Samskaras can become to be very powerful powers that direct our attitudes and personalities. Here lies the importance of the carefulness a devotee should have regarding everything that comes in contact with the senses. Through the contact with everything related to Krishna we create spiritual Samskaras, and if we come in contact with the impure we can create negative Samskaras. Here lies also one of the factors of the importance of association with devotees. In our subconscious mind there are Samskrars of even previous lives.


What is the mind?... no long ago one of my disciples told me something very interesting in this matter… he said:

- I don’t know what is the mind… but it drives me crazy –


To end this I send you a beautiful Vaisnava song written by the famous Govinda Das Kaviraja, I think that these verses beautifully explain what the mind is, and… how should it function:


Bhajahu Re Mana



"bhajahu re mana sri-nanda-nandana-abhaya-caranaravinda re

durlabha manava-janama sat-sange taroho e bhava-sindhu re"


O mind, just worship the lotus feet of the son of Nanda, which make one fearless. Having obtained this rare human birth, cross over this ocean of wordly existence through the association of saintly persons.


"sita atapa bata barisana e dina jamini jagi re

biphale sevinu krpana durajana capala sukha-laba lagi' re"


My dear brother, I request that you just worship Lord Caitanya and Nityananda with firm conviction and faith. If one wants to be Krishna-conscious by this process, one has to give up his engagement in sense gratification. One simply has to chant, "Hare Krishna! Hari Hari!" without any motive.


"e dhana, yaubana, putra, parijana ithe ki ache paratiti re

kamala-dala-jala, jivana talamala bhajahu hari . niti re "


What assurance of real happiness is there in all of one’s wealth, youthfulness, sons, and family members? This life is tottering like a drop of water on a lotus petal; therefore you should always serve and worship the divine feet of Lord Hari.


"sravana, kirtana,smarana, vandana, . sevana, dasya re

pujana, sakhi-jana, atma-nivedana govinda-dasa-abhilasa re"


It is the desire and great longing of Govinda Dasa to engage himself in the nine processes of bhakti, namely hearing the glories of Lord Hari and chanting those glories, constantly remembering Him and offering prayers to Him, serving the Lord’s lotus feet, serving the Supreme Lord as a servant, worshiping Him with flowers and incense and so forth, serving Him as a friend, and completely offering the Lord one’s very self.



More than knowing about the mind and how it functions, the important this is to understand that the only way to really control it, is the process of Krishna Conciousness and Bhakti, to sing the Holy names of the Lord… there is no other way, no other way… do you know what this means?... simply, that there is no other way…


I hope I was of some help… with love… Hari Bol!

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Guest, you say it is a 'simple' question. I am not sure of that. You say it is a humble request. I am not sure of that.


Clearly our rationality is not based solely on the brain because that would preclude free will, since we cannot affect the physical laws that control the electro-chemical activity therein.


It is difficult to even visualize concepts like the ether and the subtle body. We are conditioned to and perhaps only capable of conceiving systems that function in physical space and time.


When we see that from the viewpoint of the eternal blissful soul, the mind, intelligence and false ego are indeed like viruses or more the effects of a disease, a malfunction, then we can see that this symptom of delusion is actually the (mind) window for viewing the maya illusion, (intelligence) for effecting our desires to be controller and enjoyer living separately from the will of God to satisfy our 'own' (false ego) will. We see the symptoms of the disease through the mind. Spiritual practice is the cure of the disease; directly treating these symptoms of mind and false ego to send them into remission, and by Krsna's mercy, hopefully completely eradicating the cause of the disease in the soul.


One might think that the mind, consciousness or even the soul are simple to understand, but I fear that may be just not feasible for our silly little minds, just as Sri Krsna is Himself far beyond the domain of syllogisms, concepts and idioms.


Perhaps if you reveal your reasons for wanting to know the basis of mind, then someone could address those needs better. Part of spiritual growth is getting beyond the restrictions of mind and intelligence. After all, they are only present when we're screwed up. Don't put great faith in them. It is the heart that lives forever. It is the heart that life is about. Being clever or even knowledgeable really has no lasting effect; it is the heart, its love of God that is the goal and path to perfection. Hoarding knowledge in our minds seems only to have the effect of giving us a big head; the heart never becomes fully engaged.



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I just visited the har-tzion forum and the person posted his "what is the mind?" question there on 9/9/03 and recieved his answer (which he cut and pasted here today) on 9/10/03. He posted the question here on 9/15/03 which was five days later. So it appears that this was a game afterall. /images/graemlins/mad.gif



Sherlock Entity

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Wazup wit dat, Homes?


Trying to post there, I have discovered that that forum is more an ask-the-master affair, much like Swami Tripurari Maharaja's SANGA. I am not sure that his vehicle of calling people "My dear" is going to be effective. My brother's Sufi guru used to call everybody "My children" but then he was allegedly 600 years old [No comment - since he left his body a few years back]. Hopefully it is only a time and circumstance thing or a Spanish translation thing, my dear, cherie.


The har-tzion site used to be pictures of the bearded fellow hanging with the stars, but now it is linked to http://www.ramakrishnananda.com . Maybe he is the master now?




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When every one knows that he is a fraud guru. Then, why doesn't any one do anything? Our job as the devotees of krishna is to help people from getting into various traps set by false gurus, then isn't it our duty and dharma to do something about this?


BTW, the best part of that website is the art gallery when you click on it and highlight the "paintings" repeatedly then you can see how many costumes he uses to pose himself as 'Guru' and 'Devotee', but for an unintelligent seeker it is a perfect trap.


Only one of those people is a real painter... he worked on the Golden temple. He was on the Golden temple catalog /images/graemlins/smile.gif


I guess he scanned it and placed it in his website.




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"When every one knows that he is a fraud guru. Then, why doesn't any one do anything?"


Try saying that to Sai baba devotees..

see how far you get.


"Our job as the devotees of krishna is to help people from getting into various traps set by false gurus, then isn't it our duty and dharma to do something about this?"


Just get on with chanting Hare-Krishna and pray

for these people, don't get into the trap of...




<font color="red"> Sri Radha-Krishna harinama is the cure </font color> (anti-virus)

<font color="red"> criticizing is the disease </font color> (virus)


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My question is since every cell of the body changes every what is it 7 years? biologically how do scientists explain how memory continues within the brain. I have a brain. Each part of the brain will die off at different points. If my memory is within the cells, shouldn't my memory die off as well? Or is memory the pattern these cells take, and so long as one cell replaces in the exact spot another cell, the memory remains?






The answer to your question is that brain cells do not change every 7 years. In fact, they have very limited ability to replicate - so once you lose brain cells, they're gone. Generally, brain cells and brain tissue lasts for the length of one's material life span.


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Maybe I'm going of on one but..


Its same with Ritviks, out of ALL THE BOOKS of

Srila Prabhupada they found quotes about

this god brother SP said this and that..

but they ignore all the rest of

his teachings (or so it seems)

why don't these/everyone aspire

with determination to become KC????


The goal of life is KC..

His Divine Grace not sit around

critisizing, he preaches his guru message

Krishna Krishna Krishna that all he knows


It all come down to being humble in the

end as Lord Caitanya said..


Sorry if I have offended anyone..Haribol!


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representing himself as an ISKCON guru so why would ISKCON need to do anything? No, it is not a matter for ISKCON.


I do not say he is a fraud. That is not for me to say. Maybe he is - maybe he isn't. I am staying out of that.


I am saying the guest who came in with his mind question only came to play games just like last time. I do not like those kind of games at all and find them to be a waster of time. It makes all questions suspect which is a shame as some of the posters are serious.


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