Manas – The study of mind

Half a century ago the modern medicine people find out that the  mind has power over the function and disease of the body  which is considered as  dramatic and laughable. Today it is gradually being accepted through scientific study but clinically it is neglected by the modern practitioners. But Ayurveda told regarding this from its beginning itself that the physical symptoms can be directly or indirectly linked  with the alteration brought to the state of mind, and correcting the mind itself is sufficient to  relieve the symptoms. This age old science of Ayurveda is so true that the very much relation between the mind and body are so visible in our clinical practices.


WHO define health is a state of complete physical, mental, social well being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

Health  according to Ayurveda is defined as the maintenance and clarity  of mind,  the sense organs, the normal functioning of the body both physiologically and structurally.

Ayurveda consider life as a dimensional  structure consisting of a Sarira – physical body, Idnriya – the senses, Manas – the mind,  atma – the soul.  It emphasis that human beings are made of gross physical and structure and a subtle mind.

Here manas  means  the soul endowed  with the mind and senses.  It includes  the emotional part, the thinking part and the dynamic part.

Ayurvedic  approach  to health

Ayurveda treats  the body through  the mind.  This is the basic difference  between modern and Ayurvedic  approach.  Manas or mind actually acts a  bridge  between the materialistic  world  and the spiritual world.

Description of manas

Manas  or mind is considered as a dravya (substance according  to Ayurveda). It is defined as the faculty for the perception of feelings of sukha (happiness) and dukha (sorrow).

It is related with Sarira (body) and the atma (soul). It is connected  to both sensory activities (Jnanendriya) and motor activities (karmendriya). So called  Ubhayatmaka (combined reasons for  both)

Location of manas

Mind exists  where the soul exists.  Although  they exist  in each and every cell of an organism, we have to consider the location of a ‘collective mind’ and a ‘collective soul’ in an individual. The two chief organs where manas is located is Hridaya (chest) and Masthishka (brain).

Manoguna (Attributes of manas) 

  1. Anuthwa – Denotes the subtleness of mind
  2. Ekathwa – Denotes the ‘oneness’ as it is unique to each individual. It also has 3 more attributes.
  • Satwa manas – indicated by the goodness, patience self control, knowledge, discriminative ability
  • Rajo manas – indicated by anger, violence etc.
  • Tama – indicated by dullness, in activeness, sleepy etc.

These are the functional indicators of manas.  Here Satwa is the equilibrium between the two.

Functions of mind (Mano karma)

These are four  in number.

  1. Indriyabhigatha – Perception and motor control. Refer to the proper functioning of the sense organs and motor functions.
  2. Swanigraha or manonigraha (mental control)

It is the ability to concentrate  on something  and stick to the given task or chosen course of action without being interrupted  by distraction from the outside.

It also  indicate the  ability to control the temptations and going after things which are not good and unnecessary.

  1. Uha – guess

Refers the ability  of an individual  to guess when he comes across a familiar  situation.

  1. Vicara (thought)

Ability to  think  and discriminate between  right and wrong etc.

Mano vishaya (Object of mind)

These are 5 in number which are necessary for the higher mental functions.

  1. Chintya – Thinking power
  2. Vicharya – Reasoning, logic, discrimination
  3. Uhya – Guessing and judgment
  4. Dheya – thinking about sensitive issues, about desired things.
  5. Sankalpa – determination or selection according to good and bad qualities.

Mind fluctuations

Fluctuations or moods of mind may be due to more guessing.

  • Rajas – attraction (to possess a thing)
  • Tamas – Repulsion (to get rid of a thing or thought)

Both these included in one word as Trishna (desire). Mind is there for an active substance binding an individual to his desires.

Mental faculties

Comes under three headings.

  • Dhi – Intelligence
  • Dhriti – power of retention
  • Smriti – memory, power of recall

These are the 3 main faculties which are closely related to manas.


A physician can never be satisfied by mere examination of the physical body.  Mental power of human being also  has to be studied  in order to estimate the capacity of endurance and strength of the individual.  Study of the manas not only helps to cure  the mental diseases, but also  plays a crucial role  in curing almost all physical disease, which  is why Ayurveda consider a healthy  mind and a healthy body which ultimately  gives complete health.



MS(Psychotherapy and Counseling)

Grandson of ayurvedic legend Edayadi kunhikannan vaidyar (known as Edayadi Vaidyar) who held the lamp of great wisdom of Ayurvedic Ashtavaidya System.


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