Author Topic: Classification of the Mind Part 2  (Read 1175 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Classification of the Mind Part 2
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:30:53 PM »
Classification of the Mind Part 2

Death is defined as the separation of this subtle body from the gross body. The process of death involves mind collecting all its 19 physiological functions and exiting the body. In common parlance, we say 'He is dead and gone' - implying that someone who was residing in the body has now left it. Thus, the gross body, which is the product of food, is sustained by food and will eventually go back into food (for insects), is left behind when the subtle body leaves, stopping all associated physiological functions.

Doctors cannot define what life is, but can only know if a person is alive or dead as a result of expressions of life through the physiological functions. According to Vedanta, death occurs when this subtle body finds the gross body no more conducive for its residence. Hence, in simple terms, death is described as the subtle body changing its worn out clothes or shifting its residence. ‘Worn out’ does not necessarily mean that the body is dilapidated and hence not useful. It could be any body that is no more conducive for the subtle body to express itself for one reason or another. Extending this argument then, ‘birth’ is the subtle body entering with its package at conception. Parents give birth only to the physical body and not to the subtle body; the subtle body enters taking its new residence. As the new body matures, the faculties get expressed more and more vividly to yoke out experiences with the external world. Biologically, one can only account for the physical body in terms of chromosomes and genetic codes, but expression of life through the mind, physiological functions, and individuality come with their own inherent traits that differ from one child to another, even when born of the same parents. Even if one clones and creates an offspring duplicating the mother, the individuality of the child is different from that of the mother and they can even compete with each other for their survival. Hence genetically they may be the same, but their subtle bodies are different.

The subtle body is considered to be made up of subtle matter, which is not perceptible to the sense organs. Even the existence of mind cannot be established by direct perceptual or empirical means. It has to be inferred since it is subtle. But we all accept that we have a mind of our own and we can theorize about its nature based on its functions and working; but none of the theories can be validated by any objective scientific means. The tools of validation that we normally use in the field of objective sciences are inadequate to handle subtle matter. Validity or invalidity, therefore, cannot be established by objective means. Hence one can only infer based on individual behavior to the external stimulus, just as a physician uses external stimuli to infer the working of physiological functions. In fact, according to some idealists, existence of objects and the world 'out there' also cannot be established independent of the mind. 'Can the world be established independent of the mind?' and conversely 'Can the mind be established independent of the world?' are questions that concerned many philosophers. Here, we only recognize that there is interdependency of the world and the mind and it appears that one cannot be established independent of the other.

Of the four components that were defined - mind, intellect, ego and memory - each has its field of operation. The mind in the above is the locus of emotional thoughts, classified as nine moods or feelings of expression (nava rasa-s) consisting of love, passion, anger, jealousy, etc. In addition, the mind is also a clearing house for input from the senses and output through the organs of action; it can be thought of as a receiving and dispatching clerk. Furthermore, it is also a 'doubting Thomas', entertaining all the doubts and the associated worries and indecisions. Some people cannot make up their minds easily, because they are dominated by this part of the mind, which is indecisive. This emotional component of the mind is where intense attachments and emotions play a major role, often overpowering logic and reason. Some constantly doubt their capabilities, worrying at every step: whether something will materialize or not, whether the house is locked or not, whether the stove is on or off, whether he is going to be successful or not, etc. Constant worrying can even cause a nervous breakdown. At the same time it is also a center of beautiful expressions of love, admiration, compassion, etc. In general, nature appears to maximize this component more in women, perhaps for the protection of the offspring. I am reminded of the song by the professor in 'My Fair Lady' - 'Why can’t a woman be more like a man?'
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 08:58:33 PM by Sunil »