The ayurvedic concept of mind is both broad and illuminating. Not only does it include mental activity but also a consciousness that is housed in the heart, ‘the heart is indispensable for normal mental and physical activities as the entire waking consciousness rests there’ (Caraka Samhita Sutrasthana 30.6). Mind is built from different aspects. Buddhi is intellect and is really like a mirror reflecting universal consciousness as it cognises and clarifies. It is the digestive system of the mind as it discriminates between different aspects of mental ‘nutrition’. Sadhaka pitta corresponds to buddhi. Manas is that which conceptualises, analyses and interacts between our inner subconsciousness and our experience of the outer world. It includes memory and the ability to recall (smrti) events. Tarpaka kapha relates to memory. Ahamkara is our ‘I’ maker and identity former that personalises every experience. It makes us identify with every experience so that we say ‘I am reading a book about ayurvedic herbs’. There is also citta that is considered to be consciousness and awareness. Prana connects these different aspects into something that is known as antahkarana, the inner active.
A peculiarity is that is in contrast to the nature of the physical constitution (deha prakrti) the mental nature (manas prakrti) can be altered through action. The qualities of sattva, rajas and tamas are predominant in the mind and can be altered according to lifestyle, diet and mental attitudes. Rajas and tamas, passion and lethargy, are considered to be the causes of mental disease (Caraka Samhita 1.57).
Each dosa has certain tendencies:
Vata: Full of creative ideas, good at linking concepts and communicating inspiration. They are easily anxious, scatty, the classic ‘space cadet’ is a vata. They are quick to learn and easily forget. Vata cannot hold onto anything. They are predisposed towards fear and often expect the worst. The pessimist tends to be vata. Their irregular nature means that they often start new projects but become easily distracted. They oscillate between expending enormous amounts of energy into their social life and craving total solitude in order to recharge. They are sound- and word-orientated. Their emotional background is one of fear and vata people often have to face issues regarding security.
Pitta: Very intelligent and quick thinking, the pitta mind is the collator of information. They are excellent at organising and bringing information together. They will be judge mental and critical in their outlook. They are driven by ambition and determined to succeed. They are effective managers of anything; people, time, money, information. Their inherent heat can over bubble into irritability and anger that will be soon forgotten (but not by the vata or kapha!). They are focused on their own development, which can make them intolerant of change and impatient with others. They are primarily visual in their thought processes. When imbalanced pitta can manifest as anger and they are often confronted with the challenge of patience.
Kapha: They have steady minds that can concentrate on a wide number of issues at a time. The kapha has an excellent memory once the facts have been assimilated. They remember feelings, smells and tastes. Their love of stability makes them ignore signals for change. They are loyal and affectionate friends. They tend to avoid challenging situations in order to maintain status quo and protect their conservative nature. They like a stable and regular environment. Their thought process is emotive and related to feeling. Kapha types have a tendency to greed and are often coping with issues of attachment. The mind is integrally connected with the cause of disease as psychological experiences are somatic. As you will read below, the main causes of disease have a mental seed.