The current scientific consensus equates the mind with the brain and sees consciousness as the outcome of brain activity. In contrast, various Yogis have asserted based on their experience of self-realization that there is a greater consciousness that inhabits the body, and that the mind is distinct from and greater than the brain. When the thoughts which keep rattling in the brain have ceased, one begins to catch a glimpse into the truth behind yogic assertions that the brain is not the whole mind. In the state of self-realization, one no longer sees the brain as the seat of thought. The idea that “I am the body” (referred to in Sanskrit as “Dehatma-Buddhi“) becomes severely diminished. The consciousness is felt to be greater than the body, and one begins to ideate from Sahasradala Chakra above the head, turning the brain into a channel for communication between the greater mind and the rest of the body. This post collects some observations on the brain-mind contrast from a few seers of the modern age.
The sultry weather, the pungent aromas, the pensive faces, the distant inaudible music — we may not remember everything we experience during the day, but unknown to us, these things are accurately recorded in our consciousness. Writing in the early twentieth century, Sri Aurobindo said that “there is a subliminal memory which can hold all things, even those which the mind cannot understand, e.g. if you hear somebody talking Hebrew, the subliminal memory can hold that and bring it up accurately in some abnormal state, e.g. the hypnotic. Exact images are retained by the subliminal memory. All that is subliminal is conventionally assumed by mainstream psychology to be the subconscious, which is not possible because the consciousness that holds exact memories is far wider and fuller than our waking or surface consciousness, and so cannot be called subconscient.”. Modern psychology uses the term eidetic memory or photographic memory to refer to such precision memory recall skills. This article covers a few examples of this action of the subliminal memory.
As anyone who practises meditation will attest, it is not easy to suspend the thought process. Even if thoughts regarding the external objects are switched off, our internal memory (Chitta) keeps feeding past events to our mind and this cycle does not die down easily. Any attempt to control or force the mind to stop always ends in failure. What is required are some supports on which the mind can rest before it glides off into effortless flight. These are observations on a few aids which might help in quieting the thought process.
Neuroscientists have identified various types of human memory based on differences in cortical processing. Sri Aurobindo classified human memory into three types. Ancient Indian Yoga psychology works have made a distinction between various parts of memory(i.e. Chitta). We will explore to determine if there is any correspondence between all these various classifications of human memory.