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The Difference Between Mind and Intellect
Sarah: What is the difference between the mind and the intellect?
Sundari: The mind is a complex object. It is a function of the subtle body and cannot be separated from all the other functions, such as the intellect, or buddhi; memory, chitta; the I-sense, or ego, ahamkara (when the mind is identified with action or the enjoyer of pleasure and pain); the five gross organs of knowledge/perception: jnana indriyas (eyes, ears, mouth, nose, skin); the five subtle instruments of knowledge/perception (seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, touching); the five gross organs of action: karma indriyas (speech, hands, legs, anus, genitals); and the five physiological functions, or prana (respiration, circulation, evacuation, digestion/assimilation and ejecting the subtle body at death, udana).
Mind basically has four functions:
1. It receives stimuli from its environment, the Field of Existence of which it is a part, through the five gross sense organs and subtle sense instruments, jnana indriyas. It unifies and integrates the information into one experience. It decides which organ will function consciously or mechanically, which Swami Paramarthananda calls “the traffic cop function.” One sense organ cannot produce five independent experiences. For example, a blind person can still smell, taste, touch and hear. The world is known by the sense organs, but the sense organs are not known by the world. The sense organs are extroverted. They generally operate outside the body. But at certain times the sense instruments perceive within the body because the body is non-separate from the five elements, i.e. the material world. Although the gross organs of perception, the eyes ears, etc. are visible, the ability to hear, see, touch, etc. are not.
2. Doubting function: enquires into the merits and demerits of the objects perceived by the senses. A very important function, which over- or under-developed is a serious impediment to a happy life and to self-inquiry.
3. Emotes: it generates thoughts and feelings (feelings are always preceded by a thought) to activate the organs of action. When the mind is in a state of desire, indecision, dithering or doubt, it is called manas. When the mind is controlled by involuntary thoughts and emotions, the intellect cannot function and suffering ensues. Constant observation of the thoughts and feelings appearing in the mind is called mano nigrahah, an essential part of self-inquiry.
4. Modifies to or manages the gunas: it modifies to the gunas or manages them, depending on its level of Self-knowledge.
The intellect, or buddhi, is the cognitive part of the subtle body that discriminates, makes judgements, determines. It should be in charge of the mind, not the other way around.
~ Love, Sundari