Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.academy-advaita.com
4th June 2014
What is the mind?
Mind is an all important tool to man. The mind is more evolved in man than in an animal. The presence of language and other functions of the mind are proof that it is more evolved. The presence of mind in the vegetable kingdom is dormant, and the more so in matter.
In man the mind has evolved to unimaginable proportions, as seen from a primitive man’s perspective. It will continue to evolve in times to come. To what proportions it will, present-day man cannot definitively state; he can however imagine.
The mind informs man about the world he lives in. The experiences from the five senses by the mind have been finite from primitive times to the present times, and will continue to be finite as long as man exists on earth.
Man relies on the mind to guide him through life for, without it, he could not know the world he is in. The mind is similar to the satellite navigation system in a car because, without his mind, man is lost in life. Man is, therefore, advised to know more and sharpen his mind to survive and to succeed in life.
Man has not seen his mind, yet it is universally accepted to exist. Whatever man sees, it exists for him, but what does man see? Man believes he sees the world and whatever is in it. This too is universally accepted. This, however, requires an honest enquiry.
Everything that is in the world, including the world, is made visible by sunlight. Sunlight reaches the skin and enters the eye as well. It is now well known that everything in the world, including the world, is energy, which in simple words is light, and this includes the brain too. In life, the mind thinks light and does not actually see light, nor can the brain see light as it is light itself. Therefore, sight is an inherent quality of life as well as a belief in the mind.
The entire spectrum of sunlight has a range of different wave-lengths, from small to big. They are labelled from small to big as gamma rays, x-rays, ultraviolet rays, visible light, infrared rays, microwaves, and radio waves. Though the entire spectrum of sunlight is described by different words, the entire spectrum is nevertheless energy or, in simple words, light. The mind thinks the world and life are limited within the visible light range. Hence, the mind’s functions are finite as well. Light moves in waves and, as the waves move, sound is produced. For example, as lightning flashes in the sky, it is later followed by thunder, which is sound.
So what is the mind? The mind is a mystery that imagines a world and life only in the light that is visible to it, and imagines sound that is produced only within the light that is visible to it as words with meanings. This means the world, man and mind, is an optical and auditory illusion of light and sound.
Author: Dr. Vijai S. Shankar
© Copyright V. S. Shankar 2014
The inquiry into Mind requires mind to guide the inquiry. Is it not remarkable that the inquirer is mind, the inquired is mind and that the inquiry itself is within the scope of mind? Mind is indeed an important tool for man. Every step in this process of bringing these thoughts onto this page in black and white script, in a manner that can be appreciated by the reader, and expressing an opinion that will give rise to further opinions is by courtesy of mind. No wonder, therefore, that mind stands supreme in man's world, for it has imagined this world in which it is king.
German Translator’s Note
The article "What is the mind?" is so deep that it probably will not be understood after one reading. And it is of such a density that the entire works of Dr. Shankar function as a footnote to the various questions that may arise to the reader. So the article opens the door to detailed explanations previously given on www.academy-advaita.com. The reader may come to understand that what the mind reports is not life although it may appear as such.
Marcus Stegmaier, Germany
Dutch translator’s note:
The mind is perhaps the most ingenious illusion of life. We believe what the mind, literally, thinks it sees. Apparently our vision is finite and in some way an image appears in the mind because of the light which comes in through our eyes. Then what is seeing, what is it that sees and how does the mind work in my daily life? This article encourages us to investigate these questions.
Paula Smit, Netherlands