Question 114: Is the Mind Sentient or Insentient?

Eye of God constellationEach day we pass through all four states: the waking state, the dream state, the deep sleep state, and the turiya, when the Atma is itself and no object nor ideation. Young Rama asks if this mind – a bundle of thoughts brought across to the new body with the Atman, the Soul – young Rama asks if the mind is sentient or insentient. Is this a question about self awareness? Consider Vasishtha’s response.


chitta: individual consciousness

prakriti: primordial nature, disposition; root-matter, the original or natural form or condition of anything, matter, form.

roop, rupa, rūpa: San. n. the subtle element of form; shape, outward appearance; figure; likeness, reflection; manner; beauty; character; colour. The formless God assumes a form, for no divine leela can be performed without a body.

vikalpa mental agitations; errors;


Question 114: Sir, is the mind sentient or insentient?

Answer: Ramji, the mind is neither sentient nor insentient. It is the state in-between the two, and ideations-errors (sankalpa-vikalpa) are its form. It operates in both the states; at times it may become either inert or sentient. The entire universe is a creation of the ideation or modification in the chitta and is experienced on that account. When a man is free from ideation, he experiences nothing even while he is perceiving everything. Heat and cold, pain and pleasure, honour and dishonour, all are experienced by a jiva through his mind by way of the senses. If the ideational mind were not associated with a jiva, he would experience nothing. Therefore, the mind is the cause of all ideas. This ideative or sankalpa~roop mind assumes names and forms and is experienced as the manifest objects. In reality, nothing has been created. He who is free from the ideation of the world, is liberated. The mind is one of the potencies of the omnipotent Paramatma; it arises in it and merges into it. When Brahman – the Pure Consciousness – assumes the prakriti state, then with the power of ignorance it manifests itself as the variegated universe. Whatever you are perceiving is That. Jiva, mind, intelligence and ego are the names for the potency of Brahman.


Eye of God constellation
It is the Saguna Brahman, the Brahman cognizable through the qualities which It has imposed on Itself.
Brahman is the Prime Cause. Of course, the highest accessible Truth is not the attributeless, qualityless, intangible, inexplicable Brahman. It is the Saguna Brahman, the Brahman cognizable through the qualities which It has imposed on Itself. This cosmos, which is composed of consciousness and non-consciousness, is the body It has assumed.

The individual has to be endowed with consciousness (chaithanya) so that he can either commit or omit, do or desist from, actions which he feels he should carry out. What has to be done today or put off till tomorrow, which crops have to be grown in the coming year – such thoughts, plans and projects arise only in the field of consciousness and not in non-conscious stone and wood, hill and dale. Willing is the sign of consciousness; that which has it not, cannot will at all.

When the will emerged, Brahman became Easwara, God. And by that will alone, God created the Cosmos or Jagath. From the superficial view (sthoola drishti), God and Jagath strike one as distinct. But when examined with subtle insight (sookshma drishti), one finds that there is not any fundamental distinction between the material (padaarth) and the Maker (Param-aartha), the Living unit (Praani) and the Life Principle (Praana). The Life principle imposes a body on Itself and appears as Praani; and then from Praani, Praana emerges.

The Vedic scriptures deal with the Brahman Principle and Its manifestations. They give man the treasure of wisdom and intuitive experience of that wealth (Jnana and Vijnana). But with the passage of time, the hymns, verses and sacred formulae (mantras) were interpreted ritualistically. They were extolled and expounded as useful for attaining worldly and other-worldly objectives. Rites performed with the recital of these were considered as beneficial Karmas. In fact, there is nothing in Cosmos apart from or distinct from Brahman. All of it emanated from Brahman, all of it is absorbed (laya) in Brahman, and all of it moves and has its being in Brahman only.

This truth is made clear by the Sutra, Thajjallaath: Thath (from That) .. Ja (born) .. La (absorbed) .. Aath (grows). These are the four feet on which the proposition stands and is established. Birth, growth and death form a yajna or sacrifice of the Purusha, the Supreme Person.


Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”