Manas (मनः) Manas also called as Sattvam is widely known as Mind. However, Manas in Vedas is something distinct from the physical body on one hand and consciousness or spiritual self on the other hand. Manas in vedas is the object of knowledge while Atman is believed to be the knower. Mind is not the faculty of consciousness but it is the tool for obtaining the knowledge of the external world in union with the Indriyas (Senses). Introduction According to Ayurveda, Manas along with Sharira and Atman form the 3 pillars of individual’s life. Thus, Manas is neither a part of physical body nor a part of consciousness but equally important as the other 2 components. Also, it is distinct from Buddhi (intellect) and Ahankara (Ego). A great emphasis has been given on understanding the nature, function, properties and development of Manas in Ayurveda because, along with the Sharira (Physical body) it is considered to be the site of diseases. Diseases affecting Manas are known as Manas rogas. Manas as in Vaisheshika Darshana Ayurveda accepts philosophical foundations from Darshana Shastras to large extent but within its scope and area of application. Vaisheshika darshana has described Manas as one of the 9 dravyas. Darvyas are the iternal substances and seat for the gunas (qualities), the presence of which can be appraised by various means of knowledge. Thus Manas is considered as Dravya by Darshanas. Further Vaisheshikas describe Manas as Nityam (eternal), Anu (atomic) and partless i.e. unlike other substances it does not give rise to more complex substances. Manas as in Ayurveda अतीन्द्रियं पुनर्मनः सत्त्वसञ्ज्ञकं, ‘चेतः’ इत्याहुरेके, तदर्थात्मसम्पदायत्तचेष्टं चेष्टाप्रत्ययभूतमिन्द्रियाणाम्|| (Char Samh Sutr 8. 4 Atīndriyaṁ punarmanaḥ sattvasañjñakaṁ, ‘cētaḥ’ ityāhurēkē, tadarthātmasampadāyattacēṣṭaṁcēṣṭāpratyayabhūtamindriyāṇām|| (TBE)Meaning : Mind transcends the sense organs. It is termed as sattva, while some others call it as chetas. Its action is dependent on its objects and accomplishments of the Self i.e. atman or atma. It is responsible for the actions of the sense organs. (TBE)According to Acharya Charaka, Manas is known as “Sattva” or “Cetah” (bearer of capability of thinking). Its action is determined by its contact with its objects (like happiness, miseries) and the soul; this acts as a driving force for all the sense faculties. Adhidaivatam of Manas Chandrama is regarded as Adhidaivatam (Controlling diety) of the Manas. (Sush. Samh Shar 1.7) Manas laxan Characteristic of Manas (TBE)Manas cannot be perceived by direct methods. As it is directing and mediating for inference of the objects. Gati (speed) of Manas is derived from Atma. A state of special relation between Atma and Manas aids to understand Atma, which is dependent on Manas. Main function of Manas is to act as a mediator in attaining knowledge Object of Mind The object of the mind is to think.
Causes of abnormalities of mind Manas can function independently and generate give rise to Buddhi (intellect) or together with Senses it can engage in the perception of objects of 5 sensory perception viz touch, taste, smell, sound and vision. Skewed association of mind and senses by their deficient, excess or inappropriate engagement in perceiving their respective objects leads to development of abnormalities in mind, sensory organs and the intellect developed due to their union. This results in various abnormalities of Manas and Indriyas. Measures to prevent abnormalities of Manas and Indriyas Ayurveda is unique in its nature of providing curative as well as preventive measures to alleviate suffering from diseases affecting body, mind and senses. We are well aware of the preventive measures to stay physically fit and methods to achieve this can be found in multiple medical systems. But in its unique and extraordinary thinking, Ayurveda acharyas were also able to enumerate the methods to promote the health and prevent the diseases of mind and senses. For this reason, Ayurveda stresses on the practice of Sadvrtta on daily basis, which when observed religiously possess the capability to balance the mind and senses along with the physical body. तत्रेन्द्रियाणां समनस्कानामनुपतप्तानामनुपतापाय प्रकृतिभावे प्रयतितव्यमेभिर्हेतुभिः; तद्यथा सात्म्येन्द्रियार्थसंयोगेनबुद्ध्या सम्यगवेक्ष्यावेक्ष्य कर्मणां सम्यक् प्रतिपादनेन, देशकालात्मगुणविपरीतोपासनेन चेति| तस्मादात्महितं चिकीर्षता सर्वेण सर्वं सर्वदा स्मृतिमास्थाय सद्वृत्तमनुष्ठेयम्|| (Char Samh Sutra 8.17) Tatrēndriyāṇāṁ samanaskānāmanupataptānāmanupatāpāya prakr̥tibhāvē prayatitavyamēbhirhētubhiḥ;tadyathā- sātmyēndriyārthasaṁyōgēna buddhyā samyagavēkṣyāvēkṣya karmaṇāṁ samyakpratipādanēna, dēśakālātmaguṇaviparītōpāsanēna cēti| tasmādātmahitaṁ cikīrṣatā sarvēṇa sarvaṁ sarvadā smr̥timāsthāya sadvr̥ttamanuṣṭhēyam|| Meaning: One should always make efforts to maintain normalcy of sense organs with mind and protect them from any kind of trauma. This can be achieved by proper association of sense organs and their objects, performance of duties after duly considering their pros and cons with the help of the intellect together with the sense faculties and by following (preventive) measures opposite to the qualities of place, season and one’s own constitution. So all, who are desirous of their own well-being, should always remember and abide by all the codes of conduct.
Manas and Atman (TBE)Contact of Manas with Atma is essential for all the above types of knowledge. One may say that contact of Manas with Atma is the common cause for acquiring knowledge. In the cause of perception, Sattva should have contact with both the soul and the concerned sense faculty. Mana is known as Cetah because though Manas is very active, but it is Achetana, and Atma is Chetana, but it is action less. Manas get Chetana from Atma and in turn provide Chetana to the whole body. Manas and Indriyas The sense organs are capable of perceiving objects only when they are associated with the mind. (TBE)Manas is grouped under Indriya due to its super natural properties than other Indriyas, further qualifications and designation are attributed to Manas as Athindriya. According to Acharya Chakrapani mind is also to be regarded as a sense faculty as much as it is responsible for experiencing happiness etc. Mind is still above the other sense faculties, and controller of all the other sense faculties. Acharya Chakrapani stated that mind is much more subtle than the other sense faculties Mahagunas and Manas (TBE)Manas as a Dravya is under influence of three Mahaguna, out of which generally all three are necessary for normal physiology being responsible for knowledge, action and control or rest respectively. But specially Rajas and Tamas are considered as cause of morbidity, hence called as Manas Dosha, remaining Sattva Guna becomes synonyms for Manas being cause of benefit i.e. wellbeing which means knowledge applying normality of intellectual faculty.
The important qualities of Manas are the ability to perceive, think, remember, imagine. In western philosophy mind is considered immaterial substance, it is conscious and is characterized by thinking. Since it is substance it cannot be destroyed.