Senses are like a beautiful organisation

The body we can see. The thoughts others cannot see, but we know we have a mind and we know the state of our mind.

Published: 04th November 2017 10:00 PM  |   Last Updated: 02nd November 2017 10:27 PM   |  A+A-

The body we can see. The thoughts others cannot see, but we know we have a mind and we know the state of our mind. Sri Adi Sankaracharya in the Tatwa Bodha outlines the different components of the mind and arranges them in front of us, as if someone would with aplomb remove the parts of a machine, polish them well and display it out for study by the student.

Having mentioned to the student that the mind is composed of the five organs of perception and action, five pranas, the mind that knows the world outside and the intellect that decides on the course of action to take, the teacher continues to explain in detail the organs of perception and their specific actions.
The five Jnana Indriyas or sense organs of perception are the ears, skin, eyes, tongue and smell. There is a presiding deity for each organ too.

The sense organ of the ears has the deity of directions presiding over it. The deity of air presides over the function of the skin. The sun is the deity for eyes. The water god, Varuna, is the deity of the sense of taste and the beautiful divine physicians, Ashwini twins, preside over the sense of smell.

The specific activities performed by the sense organs are also mentioned. We may think that it is so simple and it is already known to us, but a deeper study reveals how the specific functions are outlined. Knowing the subtle details helps us lead a healthy life sans confusion.

The object of the sense of hearing is to gather sounds. The object of the skin is to grasp the sense of touch. The function of the eyes is to grasp different forms. The tongue has the unique skill of identifying and understanding different tastes. The task of the sense of smell is to grasp different smells.
The beauty of the organisation of these five senses of perception is that they have their own managerial heads too.

Just imagine if there is a light in the room. That alone is not enough. There needs to be a person to switch it on and off. The presiding deities of the sense organs of perception are somewhat like departmental heads, doing a particular task. A devata is called so because he or she is a being of light. A devata is a power in consciousness. We give them a name and form to enable better understanding. They are in reality different powers guarding that particular sense organ. The analysis is scientifically true as these were not poetic lines composed by a dreaming author, but were revelations that came out of meditative reflection.

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