Evolution and Functions of the Mind

The Mahabharata is full of short stories, anecdotes, and examples that hold and reveal the deepest secrets of life. It also speaks about the number of lineages which reveal the deeper mysteries of the creation and evolution of the universe, mind, spirit, body and matter. Today, we will look at one such lineage which reveals the evolution of the mind and the lower psychic nature.

There was a great rishi called DakshaMuni, also known as Prachetas. He had a wife called Virini. Through her he first had a thousand sons. Narada, a divine rishi taught the thousand sons how to find salvation through the knowledge of ‘Sankhya’. So they achieved immediate Moksha or freedom. DakshaMuni means to grow with expertise. His other name, Prachetas, is a combination of the words ‘pra’ meaning to go forward, and ‘chetas’ meaning consciousness. Chetas comes from the root ‘cit’ meaning to see, perceive, and know. So the supreme consciousness wanted to know, see, and experience. To do so, it created the mind which became the instrument for it to experience and whose expertise it used to go forward.

The name ‘Virini’ comes from the root ‘eer’ depicting that the supreme consciousness goes into the world of experiences through marriage. She is instrumental for DakshaMuni to be able to express his desire of continuity (by having his children); or we can say converting static energy to kinetic energy. Virini first gives birth to a thousand sons, but they were of such high quality of vibrations that they could not remain in the three worlds. Rishi Narada, who teaches the sons to find salvation, comes from the word ‘Naar’ meaning water or emotions. The meaning being conveyed is that emotions are very powerful and if channelized on the right path can lead to salvation.

DakshaMuni then has 50 daughters; out of these he weds 10 to Dharma, 13 to Rishi Kashyap, and the other 27, who were the keepers of time, wed ‘Chandra’ or the Moon.

Out of the 13 daughters given in marriage to Rishi Kashyap, Aditi was the eldest. She gave birth to the great Indra, Vivasvaan, and all of the Adityas. From Vivasvaan was born Yama, the God of death and also the very intelligent and powerful Vivasvaatmanu.

From the lineage of this Manu, was born all mankind as ‘Brahmins’ and ‘Kshatriyas’. Vivasvaatmanu had nine sons and one daughter; their names were Vena, Dhrushnu, Narishyata, Nabhaaga, Ishkavaku, Kaarush, Sharyati, Prushadhra, Nabhagarishta and Ila respectively.

Manu comes from the root ‘mann’ or mind. So through Vivasvaatmanu, the mind was born. The mind had 10 functions in the form of nine sons and ten daughters. They were:

The tendency to go out, long for, or care for, suggesting that the supreme consciousness uses the mind to break outwards and long for objects and desire people and things.

Meaning strength, eagerness and obstinacy; once the mind desires something, it becomes obstinate about that desire.

Meaning unbreakable or that which is not an enemy. Certain thoughts and desires, they make their home in the mind and keep on seducing our attention and hence, are unbreakable.

Comes from the word ‘Nabh’, meaning to connect higher with lower. So the mind forms a sub-conscious mind, and from the sub-conscious mind (which holds memory), different desires keep coming into the conscious mind, thus getting connected.

Comes from the root ‘Ish’ and ‘Iksh’, meaning to endeavour and a stem of sugarcane respectively, combined with the root ‘Kru’, meaning to do that which brings sweetness in return; this can be both positive and negative.

Again coming from the root ‘Kru’, here meaning to do something with interest.

Comes from the root ‘Shree’, meaning to rend or destroy or hurt. Also, the root ‘Sharya’ means arrow or missile. The mind can throw words at a person which can really hurt a person like an arrow piercing through.

Comes from ‘Prushad’, meaning to hold or to bond; the mind can hold an idea or bring together many ideas and solve a problem.

It has two opposite meanings – to bring good and bad luck at the same time. This depicts the art of compatibility; something can be good and bad.

Means The Earth, to keep still, to keep quiet, to bring happiness and prosperity; if the mind becomes still and quiet, we can bring happiness and prosperity to every situation.

Manu’s daughter, Ila, gave birth to a famous and powerful son called Pururva by marrying Budha. ‘Pururva’ conquered the 13 continents and even though he was a man, he surrounded himself with animals in human form. He fought and enslaved the Brahimanas, doing many atrocities on them. He even went into the Gandharva lok where he fell in love with the Urvashi, a fairy, and brought her back from there, together with 3 kinds of fire.

Out of the functions of the mind is born the lower psychic nature which is represented by ‘Pururva’, which means to cry a lot and loudly. Man is bound by his lower physic nature and he spends his entire life crying out loudly. Pururva represents ambition, to fulfil which man will become an animal too. This shows that the mind becomes a victim to lower passions and desires, which is shown by Pururva’s attraction to Urvashi. ‘Uru’ means wide, and ‘us’ meaning to pervade. So, in passion the mind is pervaded with all kinds of carnal desires.