The human brain, for all of its complexity, is not itself conscious. Most of its functions are unconscious or subconscious. The brain is but a physical instrument of a deeper consciousness that transcends the material world, the Atman or higher Self of Yoga and Vedanta.

Scientific research into the human brain has revealed the extraordinary workings of the brain, how it regulates our mental expression and bodily functions throughout our lives. The brain is like a world of its own filled with intricate circuits, currents and interchanges. Yet the brain is not the light of consciousness but only a means of its physical manifestation. It works at largely an autonomic or subliminal level, governing organic processes within the body and nervous system, with our self consciousness only a surface action.

The light of the higher Self is first reflected through the mind, which is a subtler level of reality than the brain. The light of the mind is then reflected through the subtle body and its chakras to the brain and then outwardly through the senses to help us perceive the external world. This means that the brain only holds a secondary reflection of consciousness, which serves to energize its functions like an electrical force. While the brain dies at death, our inner Self (Jivatman) does not die and moves on to a new incarnation, carrying the core karmic patterns of the mind and our core prana.

 


Brain as an Instrument of Consciousness

 

We can compare the brain to a computer, which also functions as an instrument to extend our awareness, but is not itself aware. Computers have many functions like the brain, including memory, mathematics, word processing, audio and visual expression and transference. The brain’s responses are largely conditioned and autonomic, connected to memory, with our human ego only capable of governing some brain responses, with others ruled by hidden forces it does not control or sometimes does not even understand. The ego as identified with the body is largely a function of the brain.

 

Our bodily functions, sense and motor organs, outer mind and emotions are regulated by the brain. We can alter these by changing our brain chemistry, whether through food, beverages, behavior or pharmaceutical drugs. Damage to the brain impairs these functions  in a fundamental manner. The brain as a physical instrument has its physical structure and chemistry. Its actions are rooted in protecting the body and also our place in society which is necessary for self-protection. The brain has no inherent awareness beyond our bodily reality, as it is itself a material construct, though we can program it with higher energies through Yoga and meditation.

 


Ayurveda and the Brain

 

Ayurveda views the brain as an instrument for mind and Atman, which transcend physical reality. It recognizes a power of discernment working through the brain, Sadhaka Pitta, which is a reflection of Buddhi or the discriminating faculty in the mind that helps us determine what is real or relevant in our lives. Ayurveda also places a governing Prana Vayu or life energy in the brain, reflecting that of the Atman, giving energy to the brain and sustaining its vitality. It highlights Tarpak Kapha a special secretion of Kapha Dosha in the brain that sustains harmony, contentment and happiness in the bodily organism overall. Ayurveda highlights the Soma or subtle essence of the brain that is connected to the thousand petal lotus of the head, the highest chakra of the subtle body, and ultimately to the Soma or power of bliss behind the universe, which also aids in rejuvenation of the mind and brain.

 

Yet only in our inner Self abides the natural awareness of the eternal, infinite, and immortal that we all aspire to. The brain is our outer computer, not our inner being or intelligence. We must certainly respect how the brain works and carefully protect its health and wellbeing through right living on all levels. Research into the brain should remain a key part of all medical advancement and will likely reveal many more of the brain’s wonders.


Beyond the Brain to Immortal Awareness

 

Meditation that connects us to our inner Self and deeper Consciousness is fundamental to the wellbeing of the brain. When brain and mind are silent as in deep sleep and deep meditation, they naturally heal themselves. For this we must practice Self-inquiry or going to the roots of our Self-awareness in the spiritual heart.

 

The practice of mantra also balances and deepens brain function and improves related verbal and thought abilities, particularly seed mantras like OM, AIM and HREEM. While we can scientifically measure the effects of mantra and meditation on the body, we must remember that they also have deeper effects on mind and consciousness that are more a matter of inner experience than outer measurement.

 

Our true Consciousness abides beyond body and mind,  not requiring any form of instrumentality, including brain or mind. It is the Self of all and pervades all bodies and minds. Yoga and Vedanta teach us how to realize this supreme Light, which requires calming and concentrating the mind and brain, no longer regarding them as our real identity.

 

So let us explore the brain for the wonder that it is but not be limited to it. Let us learn to bring a deep meditative peace to the brain, and look within to our true nature as unitary Consciousness behind all beings and all worlds! The wonder that is the brain is but an expression of the greater wonder that is the living universe itself that we are connected to on all levels!

 

David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

Latest Articles
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Beyond Mind, Memory and Karma

Memory is the dominant function of the mind and forms the basis of our identity in life. Yet if we can detach from the mind and let go of the memory based ego we can remember our immortal consciousness, our true Self that is not bound by time or space,

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Ojas: The Power of Immunity in Yoga and Ayurveda

Ojas is the ultimate resort of strength, patience and endurance for body and mind. Ojas is cultivated in Ayurveda for disease prevention, deep healing, rejuvenation and longevity. Ojas is cultivated in Yoga for inner strength, determination and vitality, steadiness and focus of mind and a more powerful prana for higher

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Exploring the Inner Cosmology of Consciousness

  The inner cosmos has its own structure as does the outer cosmos. Each reflects the other. In fact, one could say that the inner cosmos creates the outer cosmos.   The cosmos is not something that exists outside of us extending into vast regions of space beyond our comprehension.

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Technology and Consciousness: The Need to Awaken our Inner Being

Can we develop the inner Consciousness to master our powerful new information technology? Or will it come to rule over us through its artificial intelligence?   Humanity has undergone a series of continual, relentless, and powerful technological developments over the last two centuries. Each generation has had to live in

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Management

Economics & Emotions: Artha and Swartha

It easy to say that decisions are best made when we are not acting out of our emotions. Yet emotions play a crucial decision-making role by influencing our minds, however objective we may try to be. At a collective level, emotions play an important role in shaping the destinies of

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Yogic Pratyahara and Psychological Immunity

Pratyahara Yoga   What is the main Yoga practice we can do for developing our psychological immunity, emotional calm, and inner equipoise in these difficult times? First, we must note that the principles and practices of Yoga overall are about mastery over the mind, so they all aid in psychological

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Svastha: Wellbeing in Ayurveda

Ayurveda, the Vedic science of life for all living beings, defines health and wellbeing in terms of Svastha. Svastha means abiding (stha) in one’s own Self (Sva). Yet to understand it, we must recognize that this Vedic abiding in our own nature reflects the Vedic view of the universe, which

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Management

Wealth, Money, and Vedic Knowledge

One of the common myths about Vedic knowledge is that it requires an austere lifestyle, where people divest themselves of all pleasures and embrace the life of a hermit. Some believe it regards wealth as evil and shuns it with all its might. While Vedic knowledge recommends the right usage

Read More »
Hindu Deities

The Goddess Kali and the Spiritual Heart

Ma Kali and the Yoga of Knowledge Ma Kali is the primary Goddess of Yoga, the background Yoga Shakti, the power of Yoga or Kriya Shakti. Hers is the force that takes our energy within, which causes us to seek the eternal and lose interest in the outer affairs of

Read More »
Articles on Vedic Counseling

Shravana: The Vedic Yoga of Listening

There is an inner state of listening, called Shravana in Vedanta, where the mind is silent, receptive and non-reactive, allowing it to access a higher level of communication and learning. This meditative of listening called Shravana holds an inner space in which the real meaning of anything said can be

Read More »
Articles on Tantra

Shiva and Shakti Yogas

Yoga means unification, which is first the unity of all the dualities and contraries that constitute the energies of life. Yoga philosophy teaches us to understand and transcend duality, but this rests upon harmonizing the dualities within us in a transformative state of balance. Shiva and Shakti as the dual

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Yoga & Ayurveda in an Age of Social and Economic Uncertainty

In these times of economic and social uncertainty, Yoga and Ayurveda practitioners and schools have faced numerous unpredictable challenges, and often a significant decline in their revenues. After the global shutdown following the initial Covid outbreak, many Yoga Studios had to close, and many were not able to reopen again

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Ayurveda and the Mind: Keys to Yoga and Ayurveda Psychology

Ayurveda is inherently a psychological as much as a physical system of medicine. Its scope of practice includes both physical (sharirika) and mental (manasika) diseases. Therefore, we cannot really understand Ayurveda without looking at its view of the mind and consciousness. As Ayurveda holds that diseases arise more from our

Read More »
Articles on Ayurveda

Why the practice of Yoga should begin with Ayurveda

Following Ayurveda along with Yoga  helps us gain complete harmony and balance in body and mind so that we can discover our true Self that is one with all. Most people today practice Yoga, particularly asana and pranayama, for health benefits as the primary factor, extending at times to mantra,

Read More »

Dr Frawley's Latest Course>>

The Vedic Secrets of the Nakshatras

In this special four-hour video course, Dr David Frawley examine the Nakshatras starting from their ancient Vedic roots, exploring their qualities, energies, spiritual powers and deities, including much material not available in existing texts. It will also correlate the meanings of the Nakshatras with the constellations and fixed stars.