29 Apr Difference between Brain and Mind

There is a difference between brain and mind. The mind is a subtle machine provided along with the body to the soul.  It is such a machine that continuously generates thoughts, feelings, ideas, perceptions, and stores knowledge and memories.

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:

भूमुरापोनलो वायुः खं मनो बुद्धिरेव च ।

अहंकार इतीयं मे भिन्नाः प्रकृतिरष्टधाः ।।

“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.


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  • Sarada
    Posted at 17:43h, 29 April Reply

    Very nicely mentioned the distinction between brain and the Mind…Brain is the Hardware which is used by Mind. Mind continuously works irrespective of Brain. Good to know plants doesn’t possesses brain the Hardware, but they still have the Mind. Even plants will respond to the moods of the Gardener.

    However Mind is Part of God’s material energy Maya and it is subtle element which cannot be seen.

  • Levan
    Posted at 23:09h, 08 August Reply

    Very important note to remember Swami ji. Thank you

  • Harsh Singhal
    Posted at 08:32h, 30 August Reply

    Thanks for transforming the world.

    Posted at 19:57h, 11 September Reply

    This blog provides a very nice distinction between the brain (hardware) and the mind (software). This is why Swamiji tells us to befriend the mind to uplift ourselves. In one of His lectures, Swamiji that the mind-body connection can be controlled by one’s own thoughts; negative thoughts disrupt our “manmayakosh” which in turn disrupts the “pranmayakosh” resulting in disease. However, positive and noble thoughts elevate our thinking and behavior.

  • Saurabh
    Posted at 21:35h, 16 February Reply

    Very nice swami ji

  • Da
    Posted at 16:43h, 20 March Reply

    Nice explanation. Thank you Swamiji. Hare Krishna

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