Understanding human mind through yoga & psychology
    Date :15-Oct-2023

Understanding human mind 
Human mind has been a hot topic of discussion since time immemorial. Philosophy, literature, Yoga, mythology, Psychology etc, all have focussed on the human mind and described it in various ways. We find sufficient discussion on the human mind in the Vedic literature specially Upanishads. The Kathopanishad gives the allegory of a chariot. The human body is the chariot, sense organs are horses, the mind is the rein, intellect is the charioteer and the soul is the rider. In the Bhagavad Gita Lord Krishna has delved very deep into the subject of the mind and its related aspects. The entire philosophy and mind control techniques have been beautifully recapitulated by the sage Patanjali in his celebrated treatise PatanjalYoga Sutras. According to theYogic tradition the mind is the part of the cosmic consciousness which gets expressed through our brain and works through sense organs. It has been given various technical names , Mana, Chitta, Ahankara, Buddhi. When thoughts arise in consciousness, but are still dormant, this is Mana. When Mana gets activated, it turns into Chitta.
The intellectual and discriminative faculty of the mind is Buddhi. Ahankara is that potential of the mind which distinguishes and differentiates one object from another. Mana, Buddhi, Ahankara and Chitta are collectively called Antahkarana or the inner instruments of cognition. In English language we don't find the substitutes of these Sanskrit words. So English word mind is generally used to denote all these different dimensions of cognitive functions. The mind is called the cause of the bondage as well as liberation of human beings. Hence the Indian tradition prescribes numerous methods first to purify the mind and later on to transcend it. Transcendence of the mind is a mystic concept where all thoughts are eliminated and pure consciousness shines forth. This is the Chit, pure consciousness. Different devotional, intellectual, Yogic and Tantric techniques are described in the Indian tradition to calm and quieten the mind. In devotional tradition Nama Japa or chanting the name of the Divine is believed to purify the mind. This method we find in all the religions of the world.
The second devotional technique is the surrender to the Divine, which dissolves all ego and mental entanglement. In the intellectual path the enlightenment comes when the things are seen as they are. There are no judgemental concepts. By seeing the things as they are, one comes face to face to the ultimate reality. Yoga elevates human consciousness through Pranayama, breathing techniques and Dhyana, meditation. Tantric tradition is based upon the arousal of the dormant energy which is stuck in the lower part of the body and makes it move upwards to unite with the Supreme Consciousness in the brain. This is KundaliniYoga. In Psychology, Freud was the first person to study the human mind in a scientific way. According to Freud, the human mind has three layers, conscious, subconscious and unconscious. According to him,the unconscious layer plays the most important role. It is the root which controls and affects the superficial level of consciousness. All beliefs, phobias, complexes, etc are stored in it. It is beyond our control and reach. Again he talked of Id - our instincts, Ego-intellect and Superego- parental teaching and cultural training. There is alwaysaconflict between these three aspects of the mind. Instinct wants to do something, but the intellect and learning negate it. Similarly, the intellect desires to do something, but the culture stops it . According to Freud, these conflicts lead to mental disorder, neurosis and psychosis.
As a remedy to correct these mental problems, Freud propounded the theory of Psychoanalysis. Before doing psychoanalysis, one has to first do self analysis. Through the process of self analysis one can understand the mind of others. In this context Freud has emphasised the importance of religion and culture also which go a long way in cultivating the human unconscious. Dream theory of Freud is also very important to understand the unconscious. Carl Jung is another master of the study of the mind. His most important theory is the Collective Unconscious which is genetically derived through generations. The earlier psychological theories are mostly pathological, but with the emergence of Positive Psychology and the elasticity theory of the brain, it is proved that the human brain can be improved through different techniques and methods. In the Indian tradition such techniques have already been prescribed thousands of years ago.

bhushan kumar upadhyaya
(The writer is DG Police & CG, Homeguards, Maharashtra)