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Why Meditate?: [03.01] Mental Health & Preksha Meditation (1)

Published: 16.02.2008
Updated: 13.08.2008

The objects that are visual and tangible are evident to us and the objects, which are imperceptible, are not apparent. Emotions and psyche (Chitta) are both imperceptible to us. The mind is obvious and hence it is given a great deal of attention. Most people know about the mind. Even in the field of meditation, less work is done on emotions and the psyche (Chitta). Maharshi Patanjali did not attach too much importance to the mind. His 'Yoga-Sutra' starts with the control of the activation of the psyche. Psyche is our inner consciousness. This regulates the intellectual aspect of the mind.

The two dimensions of mind are: Intellectual and Emotional. The intellectual dimension of the mind is controlled by the psyche. The active dimension is controlled by emotions. The mind represents both the psyche as well as the emotions. Mind lacks consciousness while the psyche is conscious. Even our body is not conscious but because it is linked with consciousness, it performs conscious acts. In the same way, the mind, too, is unconscious. All the three: mind, speech and body are themselves devoid of consciousness but because they are linked to consciousness, they perform conscious acts. Our mind takes in material particles called pudgal. One of our potential properties is Manparyapti through which the absorption of particles is possible. Then the mind takes on a form and becomes active. The function of the mind extends from arguing to inferring.

The senses take in their subjects but do not have the capacity to discriminate good or bad, useful-useless, worthy-unworthy. The eyes see something and there is an awareness of that object. But whether or not that thing is useful is not something metered by the eyes. This job is to be performed by the mind only.

In Jain Philosophy, knowledge acquisition has a definite technique. They have talked about a certain process of acquiring knowledge, whose first limb is Avagraha i.e. to absorb. To absorb is the job of the senses. Each of the five senses absorbs its specific subject. Their job is accomplished here: they have nothing further to do. The senses hand over the next job to the mind. The following are the functions of mind:

  1. Eha - Arguing
  2. Avay - Deciding
  3. Dharna - formation of images & imprints
  4. Smriti - Memory
  5. Pratyabhigya - Recognition
  6. Tark - Logical arguments
  7. To find out the relation between cause and effect
  8. Anuman - Anticipation & inference to know the unknown world

Now we can understand that the working field of mind is very vast. It regulates the complete behavioural pattern of our lives; this is the knowledgeable dimension of the mind. The complete process from Eha to Anuman is conducted by the mind.

There are two types of creatures in the world: those with mind and those without mind. Those creatures who do not possess the power of mind are Amanask and those who possess it are Samanask. The system of our development is that those creatures having only senses cannot progress. They remain as they are. The creatures possessing the power of mind can progress a great deal. 'Mind' is an inevitable medium for our progress through which we can perform a great deal of work.

The three functions of the mind Smriti (memory), Kalpana (imagination), Chintan (thinking) are very useful in our lives. One of the functions of the mind is Smriti: to memorize. Without this power, one cannot progress at all. Smriti is the greatest practice of development. It is because of Smriti that we can maintain our contact with the past. In the absence of Smriti the past would have lost its existence for us. A man walks out from his house and reaches here. If he doesn't remember where he has to go, where his house is, he cannot reach home. Smriti is thus very essential.

The story goes that Einstein was once traveling in a train. The ticket checker came to him and asked for the ticket. Einstein searched all over for his ticket but couldn't find it. The ticket checker said: "I know you wouldn't travel without ticket. I trust you. Don't worry if you cannot find the ticket."
Einstein said: "You may trust me but I don't trust myself!" The surprised ticket checker asked, "Why?"
Einstein replied, "I have forgotten where I have to get off!"

We can see that in the absence of memory, all order gets completely disturbed. Smriti is thus an immense power of ours.

The second function of mind is imagination. Whatever progress has occurred has happened through the medium of imagination. We wish to build a house. We first imagined it and then the house would be ready accordingly. But even after collecting the complete material, if we have not imagined the design of house, then what is the point? We always imagine before commencing any work. Imagination is another very important medium of human progress. Imagination leads to creation. This has been stated very beautifully in the Upanishads: The creation of the world was done by a resolve. Initially it was imagined and the world was created! Thus, imagination is a very powerful function of mind.

The third function of our mind is thinking and reasoning. This is the most powerful function of our mind. Thinking plays a very important role in whatever progress we make.

The above three are the vital functions of mind.

Copyright by Acharya Mahaprajna ©2005
Compiled by Muni Dhananjay Kumar
Published by Jain Vishva Barati Institute, Ladnun, India
Translated by Samani Charitra Pragya, Neeraja Raghavan & Sudhamahi Regunathan

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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Avagraha
  2. Body
  3. Chitta
  4. Consciousness
  5. Einstein
  6. Jain Philosophy
  7. Meditation
  8. Patanjali
  9. Pudgal
  10. Smriti
  11. Upanishads
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