This paper was presented at
Psychology: The Indian Contribution
National Conference on
Indian Psychology, Yoga and Consciousness
organised by the Indian Council of Philosophical Research
at the Sri Aurobindo International Centre of Education
Pondicherry, India, 10-13 December 2004

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If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter: A Vedantic exploration of mind as the object of the self

Mrinalini Rao — Clinical Psychologist, Mumbai.

The world is increasingly being dominated by images created by the media that help to define the self. Self judgments based on the identification with body and mind (I am short, I am depressed) are all pervasive and result in maladaptive psychological patterns and behaviours. We attempt to resolve problems of the mind by taking the standpoint on the mind itself. In Sanskrit, we call the mind, antahkarana, karana being instrument. The mind is an instrument capable of giving knowledge, imagination, memories, emotions, as well as problems. Being an instrument, it must necessarily be in the hands of someone different from it, like any other instrument (e.g., the telescope) does not see through itself. The real nature of the object and the real nature of the subject may be baffling and mysteries to us, but these mysteries are no barrier whatsoever to knowing which is obviously which. This paradigm shift of the mind as the seen and the self as the seer has significant implications for mind management. Contributions of Vedanta and Yoga have been highlighted by which one stops being victimised or avoids labeling of the self by the events of the mind.

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