Mar 20, 2012

The difference between our Mind and Brain

The mind is a subtle machine provided along with the body to the soul. It is such a machine that continuously generates thou
ghts, feelings, ideas, perceptions, and stores knowledge and memories.

The brain is not the mind. The brain is the hardware that the mind uses for its functioning. Someone's brain may get damaged, but the mind may still continue functioning normally. This shows that the mind is distinct from the brain. Again, in the case of plants, they have no brain, and yet they have a mind. Experiments have shown how they respond to the moods of the gardener and speed up or slow down their growth in response. This illustrates that even plants possess a mind.

The brain is made from the gross elements earth, water, fire, air, space. On the other hand, the mind is subtler than these gross elements. The Bhagavad Geeta states:

bhumirāpo nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhireva cha
ahaṅkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛitiraṣhṭadhā
(Bhagavad Gītā 7.4)

"Earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, intellect and ego, are various constituents of My material energy, Maya." Here, Shree Krishna has enumerated the mind as separate from the five gross elements. Modern science has some idea of the nature of the gross brain, but is yet to comprehend the functioning of the subtle mind.

The mind is thus distinct from the brain. Nevertheless, in figure of speech, often when we say "the mind," it refers together to the mind and the brain.