The Concept of Manas in Ayurveda
Prof. Murlidhar Paliwal
M.D.Ay. (Samhita), Ph.D. in Samhita
Department of Samhita and Sanskrit
Faculty of Ayurveda, BHU, Varanasi
Ayurveda is the science of life in general and a system of medicine flourishing day by day. It is becoming popular in the country and abroad due to its valid fundamental doctrine and holistic approach. Ayurveda believes in complete health which covers all the aspects of health like physical, mental, spiritual, and social. Mental health is based upon the concept of ‘Manas’ (mind/psyche). Therefore a thorough understanding related to the concept of Manas is needed. These understandings can be utilized in the promotion of health and cure of disease.
Manas word is derived from “मन्यते ज्ञायते अनेन इति मन”
Manas is the entity that causes the thought process. Any kind of thinking takes place because of the presence of manas. In a wide sense, it reflects intellect, perception, sense, and will.
Synonyms of Manas
- Atindriya (Beyond sensory perception or other than indriya)
Attributes of Manas
Ektvam (oneness), Anutvam (atomicity) are the attributes of Manas. As quoted by Acharya Charak–
अणुत्वमथचैकत्वं द्वौ गुणौ मनसः स्मृतौ || -Ch.sha.- 1/19
According to Acharya Sushruta, Manas possess the quality of both the sensory as well as motor organs. As quoted-
उभयात्मकं मनः| -Su. Sha.-1/4
Location or abode of Manas
It is located in Hridaya (heart) as per Acharya Charak While according to Acharya Bhela, it is situated between shir and talu (between skull and palate). The entire sentient body serves as a passage as well as the location for Manas. As quoted by Acharya Charak–
तद्वदतीन्द्रियाणां पुनःसत्त्वादीनां केवलं चेतनावच्छरीरमयनभूतमधिष्ठानभूतं च| -Ch. Viman.-5/7
Characteristics of Manas
The sense faculties are capable of perceiving the object when they are motivated by Manas. For instance, sometimes a person understands something and sometimes understanding does not take place. It suggests that perception of knowledge is facilitated by the presence of Manas while the absence of knowledge reflects a lack of association between Manas and sensory organs. Therefore, Manas is the entity that is solely responsible for the perception and absence of knowledge. As quoted-
मनःपुरःसराणीन्द्रियाण्यर्थग्रहणसमर्थानि भवन्ति| -Ch. Su.- 8/7
लक्षणं मनसो ज्ञानस्याभावोभाव एव च| -Ch. Sha.- 1/18
The sattva or manas is ‘Aupapaduk’ (intermediary agent) that joins the ‘Jiva’ (soul) with the gross body. As quoted-
अस्ति खलु सत्त्वमौपपादुकं; यज्जीवं स्पृक्शरीरेणाभिसम्बध्नाति -Ch. Sha.- 3/13
Functions of Manas
Control of sense organs, self-restraint, hypothesis, and consideration represents the action of the mind. As quoted-
इन्द्रियाभिग्रहः कर्म मनसः स्वस्यनिग्रहः| ऊहोविचारश्च, ततःपरंबुद्धिःप्रवर्तते|| -Ch. Sha.- 1/20
Manas as Karan Dravya
Manas is considered one among nine Karan Dravya. As quoted-
खादीन्यात्मामनःकालो दिशश्च द्रव्यसङ्ग्रहः|-Ch. Su.-1/48
It is also considered as one of the Adhyatma–Dravya causing indulgence or non-indulgence in virtuous or sinful acts as per Acharya Charak.
Association of Manas with Rajas and Tamas
Mind is always associated with Rajas and Tamas, but all defects are caused by ignorance (tamas) or lack of knowledge. The association of impure Manas (i.e sadosha-manas) makes the soul enter into worldly bondage. The cause of movement and inclination of the soul from one body to another is defective mind and potent past deeds. As quoted
रजस्तमोभ्यां हि मनोऽनुबद्धं ज्ञानं विना तत्र हि सर्वदोषाः|
गतिप्रवृत्त्योस्तु निमित्तमुक्तं मनःसदोषं बलवच्च कर्म||-Ch. Sha.- 2/38
The other texts also suggest that “मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयो” means Manas is responsible for bondage or salvation.
Sattva or Manas is one of the four components of Ayu. According to Ayurveda life is the combination of four factors namely Sharir (body), Indriya (sensory organs), Manas( psyche), and Atma(soul). As quoted-
Acharya Charak says that being associated with past actions, the soul along with four subtle bhutas transmigrate from one body to another with the help of Manas. As quoted-
भूतैश्चतुर्भिः सहितः सुसूक्ष्मैर्मनोजवोदेहमुपैति देहात्|
कर्मात्मकत्वान्न तु तस्य दृश्यं दिव्यं विना दर्शनमस्ति रूपम्||-Ch. Sha.- 2/31
Sattva, Atma, and Sharir are considered as Tridanda (tripod) of life. As quoted-
सत्त्वमात्मा शरीरं च त्रयमेतत्त्रिदण्डवत्|-Ch.Su.- 1/46
Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are considered as Mahaguna attributed to Manas. As quoted by Vriddha Vagbhata-
सत्त्वं रजस्तमश्चेति त्रयः प्रोक्ता महागुणाः ||– A.S. Su-1/29
Bhakti (devotion), sheela (character), shaucha (purity), dvesha (hatred), smriti (memory), moha (attachment), tyaga (sacrifice), matsarya (jealousy), shaurya (valor), bhaya (fear), krodha (anger), tandra (drowsiness), utsaha (enthusiasm), taikshnya (sharpness), mardava (softness), gambhirya (seriousness), anavasthitatva (unsteadiness) are mano-bhava.
तद्यथा- भक्तिःशीलं शौचं द्वेषः स्मृतिर्मोहस्त्यागोमात्सर्यं शौर्यं भयं क्रोधस्तन्द्रोत्साहस्तैक्ष्ण्यं मार्दवं गाम्भीर्यमनवस्थितत्वमित्येवमादयश्चान्ये, ते सत्त्वविकारानुत्तरकालं सत्त्वभेदमधिकृत्योपदेक्ष्यामः | नानाविधानि खलुसत्त्वानि, तानिसर्वाण्येकपुरुषे भवन्ति, न च भवन्त्येककालम्, एकं तु प्रायोवृत्त्याऽऽह ||-Ch. Sha.- 3/13
All the Ayurveda scholars discussed the Manas-prakriti (mental constitution) i.e ‘Sattvik’, ‘Rajasik’ and ‘Tamasik’ which are very much important in clinical practice. Sattva-pariksha (examination of psyche or mind) is performed on the basis of Manas-prakriti and power of tolerance. As quoted-
सत्त्ववान्सहते सर्वं संस्तभ्यात्मानमात्मना |
राजसःस्तभ्यमानोऽन्यैःसहते नैव तामसः ||-Su. Su.- 35/38
Prasanna manah (happy mind) is one of the characteristic features of a healthy person. As quoted-
समदोषः समाग्निश्च समधातुमलक्रियः |
प्रसन्नात्मेन्द्रियमनाःस्वस्थ इत्यभिधीयते ||-Su. Su.-15/41
Manas and disease
Manas is considered as one of the Vyadhi-Ashraya(substrata of disease).As quoted by Acharya Charak–
शरीरं सत्त्वसञ्ज्ञं च व्याधीनामाश्रयो मतः|-Ch. Su.- 1/55
Two types of mano-dosha namely rajas and tamas are mentioned in Ayurveda classics. As quoted-
मानसःपुनरुद्दिष्टो रजश्चतम एव च|-Ch. Su.- 1/57
Manas-roga (psychological diseases) occur due to association with agreeable as well as disagreeable things. As Acharya Charak Says-
मानसः पुनरिष्टस्य लाभाल्लाभाच्चानिष्टस्योपजायते||-Ch. Su.-11/45
Manas-roga includes passion, anger, greed, attachment, envy, ego, pride, grief, worry, anxiety, fear, excitement, etc.
There is a very close relationship between the Manas and body and it is justified by Acharya Charka’s quote “sometimes even the body follows the mind and vice versa”.
शरीरं ह्यपि सत्त्वमनुविधीयते, सत्त्वं च शरीरम्|-Ch. Sha.- 4/6
Vishad (sadness/ grief) is considered as the foremost factor for aggravation of the diseases. As quoted-
विषादो रोगवर्धनानाम्। -Ch. Su.- 25/40
It is observed that involvement of the body, as well as mind, can be seen in many diseases such as Unmad, Apasmar, Klaibya,Atisar, Chardi, Arochak and many others.
In the Psychosomatic disorder like unmad (insanity), different types of perversions observed, are illustrated below.
Mano-vibhram: Disturbance in the normal function of Manas.
Buddhi -Vibhram: Disturbance in the normal function of intellect/wisdom
Gyan-Vibhram: Proper thinking or senses of a particular individual get perverted.
Smriti -Vibhram: Distortion of memory
Bhakti -Vibhram: Sudden changes in liking
Sheel -Vibhram: Changes in habit or nature of a person in an undesired way.
Cheshta -Vibhram: Changes in the activity all of a sudden which is not normal.
Achar -Vibhram: Behavior against established rules of conduct that are described in various Ayurveda Samhitas.
Example representing psychopathology in Unmad rog:
Examination of Manas-Roga
Certain points are to be considered while examining psychosomatic diseases. These are as follows-
- An environment of the patient :
Lifestyle, relationship with family members, relationship with neighbour, daily routine, etc. should be considered.
History of the genetic predisposition of diseases should be enquired.
- Personality makeup in terms of Deha-prakriti as well as Manas-prakriti:
Sharir-dosha and Manas-dosha influence each other. Therefore, both types of Prakriti should be examined. Examination of mental stamina in terms of superior, medium, and inferior stamina. The person having inferior mental stamina are more prone to psychosomatic disorders. Persons having good mental stamina (Pravara-Sattva) are comparatively easy to cure.
- Examination of underlying pathology:
In somatic disorders, the chronicity of the disease may lead to the development of psychological disturbance. Therefore underlying pathology should be examined very sincerely.
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