Yoga Mimamsa

: 2014  |  Volume : 46  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 71--75

Concept of Manas: Insights from Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Hetal Amin1, Rohit Sharma2, Hitesh A Vyas1, Mahesh K Vyas1,  
1 Department of Basic Principles, I.P.G.T. & R.A., G.A.U., Jamnagar, Gujarat, India
2 Department of Rasashastra & Bhaishajya Kalpana Including Drug Research, I.P.G.T. & R.A., G.A.U., Jamnagar, Gujarat, India

Correspondence Address:
Hetal Amin
PhD Scholar, Department of Basic Principles, Institute for Post Graduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda (IPGTRA, GAU), Jamnagar - 361 008, Gujarat


Studying a single Shāstra (treatise) is not enough to grab the true import of any concept. For a truly inter-disciplinary approach, knowledge of as many allied branches, be it from science or philosophy, is desirable. Nyāya philosophy is a system of logic or rules, whereas Āyurveda is the science of life. The relationship of Manas (~mind) to the body is accepted by both Āyurveda and Nyāya philosophy. In order to gain a better understanding of the concept of Manas, it is necessary to screen the philosophical views, which are present in ancient Āyurvedic as well as Nyāya texts. Therefore, in the current article, an attempt has been made to derive the concept of Manas from Nyāya philosophy as well as Āyurvedic science .

How to cite this article:
Amin H, Sharma R, Vyas HA, Vyas MK. Concept of Manas: Insights from Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda.Yoga Mimamsa 2014;46:71-75

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Amin H, Sharma R, Vyas HA, Vyas MK. Concept of Manas: Insights from Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda. Yoga Mimamsa [serial online] 2014 [cited 2023 Jun 5 ];46:71-75
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Nyāya Darśana is the school of philosophy founded by Maharshi Gautama that studies logic or rules. Nyāya is the only Indian philosophical system which attaches utmost importance to methods and builds up from there with a well-developed theory of logic. Nyāya refers to the study of one or more of the following: Pramāṇa Shāstra (epistemology), Tarka Shāstra (science of reasoning), or Anvikṣhi (the science of critical inquiry). In this system, the concepts of existence of Manas (~mind) are aptly highlighted. Manas is one of the nine Kāraṇa Dravyas (causative substances of the universe). Thus, it is considered as an eternal substance which does not have an origin. The soul is the substrata of knowledge. For the Kartā (the one who acts), Kāraṇa (instrument) is essential for acquiring knowledge, e.g. a viewer sees with his eyes and a listener hears with his ears. Hence, in case of perception of feelings like pleasure and pain, there must be an instrument apart from the sense faculties. This instrument is considered as Manas. The existence and nonexistence of knowledge of any object, is the mark of existence of Manas (Ācārya, 1986, p. 9). For generation of knowledge in soul, Manas is the intermediary as it connects the soul with the sense faculties.

According to Nyāya philosophy, man gets all knowledge through Manas, Buddhi (intellect), and Indriya (senses). When any one of these three gets affected, the knowledge perceived is also altered. It signifies that if a person wants to lead a healthy and happy life without any miseries, then he should get the valid knowledge of Tatva (principles) from which this material world has originated, and among these Tatva, Manas holds supremacy. Thus, obtaining valid knowledge of the external world and its relationship with the mind and self is the only way to attain liberation (Tripathi, 1994, p. 32). Manas is the internal sense which is concerned with the perception of Raga, Dwesha, etc. It helps in attaining Buddhi (knowledge).

From Atma (soul) till Manas, there is the explanation of those components of human beings in which there are actions and determination of the results of those actions. In the remaining six Padārtha (substances), viz., earth, water, fire, air, space and time, there is a description of those actions through which man does Shubha (good) or Ashubha (bad) Karma (deeds) and leads toward either Nishreyas (salvation) or Punarjanma (rebirth).

According to Cakrapāni, one of the commentators of Caraka Saṃhitā, the word Abhidhïyate itself indicates the entity which exists (Ācārya, 2002, p. 516). This contains two parts: (a) The entity that establishes a contact of Ātmā with the body, i.e. Sprkśarïra, and (b) the entity that carries out control and co-ordination of Indriya, i.e. Manas. Manas acts as the bridge or the connecting entity between soul and body (Ācārya, 2002, p. 312).

Characteristics and quality of Manas according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

According to Nyāya, Manas cannot carry out multiple functions or perceptions at a time (Tripathi, 1994, p. 32). All perceptions occur one by one which is the characteristic of Manas. There are eight qualities of Manas, viz. Paratva (superior entity), Aparatva (non-superior entity), Saṃkhyā (numerical), Par0ïmïti (limitation), Pṛthakatva (distinction), Saṃyoga (union), Vibhāga (separation), and Vega (velocity) (Nyāya Darśana, 1996, p. 17). Nyāya believes that Manas is a single and subtle entity (Tripathi, 1994, p. 41). It is also of the view that Manas can perceive only one sensation at a time and cannot undertake multi-factorial functions at a time. Nyāya states that the functions and activity of Manas are very fast and takes only a fraction of a second. It appears as if multiple functions of Manas are occurring at the same time as the differentiation in the time taken by Manas while doing two functions is very difficult to make. Therefore, Manas acts as if it is multiple, but when analyzed it is singular. Thus, Nyāya states the Ekatva (singularity) of Manas (Nyāya Darśana, 1996, p. 40).

Ācārya Caraka, the author of the Āyurvedic text Caraka Saṃhitā, opines that when Manas combines with any of the substances, only then proper knowledge about that substance can be perceived (Ācārya, 1986, p. 14). Āyurveda does not accept eight Guṇa (features) of Manas directly, but only two Guṇa, i.e. Aṇutva and Ekatva, have been mentioned (Acharya, 2002, p. 288). Aṇutva (atomic) is one among the four Parïmāna (quantification) and Ekatva (single) denotes Saṃkhyā (numbers). If Aṇutva and Ekatva qualities of Manas are not accepted, all kinds of perceptions would occur at the same time. The sense faculties are capable of perceiving their respective objects only when they are motivated by Manas. All the five Indriya (sense organs) can unite with their Artha (sense objects) at the same time, but Manas cannot due to the above-mentioned Guṇa. But due to its quality of pervasiveness, it is always in contact with all the sense organs and receives information one at a time.

Jñānotpatti Prakriyā (development of knowledge) according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

According to Nyāya Darśana, an object can be perceived and realized by the Sannikarṣa (joining) of soul, mind, senses, and sense objects (Ācārya, 1986, p. 16). Among 16 Padārtha (objects) of Nyāya Darśana, the first nine, viz., Pramāna (means of valid knowledge), Prameya (objects of right knowledge), Saṃśaya (doubt), Prayojana (purpose), Dṛṣtānta (example), Siddhānta (conclusive assertion), Avayava (member or part of Nyāya syllogism), Tarka (argument or judgment), and Nirṇaya (decision), are used for attaining the true knowledge or to understand the objects as they are. The last seven Padārtha, i.e. Vāda (discussion or debate), Jalpa (controversy), Vitañda (cavil), Hetvābhāsa (fallacy), Chhala (stratagem), Jāti (analogue), and Nigrahasthāna (point of defeat), are used to prove one's own views. These seven are only used to understand the Shāstra and its meaning. On cognition of Padārtha, complete eradication of Mithyā Jñāna (false knowledge) takes place. Once true or valid knowledge is attained, all other factors such as Rāga (compassion), Dweṣa (hatred), etc. get subsided. By this, there is no Pravṛtti (activity) toward the Viṣaya (objects of senses). Once there is no Pravṛtti, it automatically leads to stoppage of all Karma (action). When Karma is not there, the Prārabdha (fruit of action) is also not present. Thus, man gets free from the bondage of Janma (birth) and Mṛtyu (death), which are the forms of Sukha (happiness) and Dukha (pain). Once there is no feeling of Sukha and Dukha, Mokṣa (salvation) can be attained. In this regard, Atyaňta Abhāva (extreme non-existence) of Sukha and Dukha is considered as Mokṣa, which is attained by valid knowledge of these Padārtha (Tripathi, 1994, p. 6). Nyāya philosophy states that the knowledge produced by the contact of Indriya (senses) with its Viṣaya (objects) is Pratyakṣa. This knowledge obtained is not told before, and is without any fault and without any doubt. Thus, it is the definite/right knowledge generated by the contact of senses with their objects.

Considering all these points and definitions explained in Nyāya and other related philosophies, Āyurveda describes the application of Pratyakṣa for practical purposes in a clear-cut manner. Knowledge obtained when there is contact between Ātmā, Mana, Indriya, and the Indriyarthā (objects of senses) is called as Pratyakṣa. Furthermore, in the 8 th chapter of Vimānasthāna from the Āyurvedic text Caraka Saṃhitā, Carakācārya describes that all those factors which are known by Indriya and Manas are considered as Pratyakṣa. Things perceived by the soul (one self) or with the help of sense organs come under the category of Pratyakṣa. Happiness, misery, desire, hatred, etc. are perceived by the self, whereas sound, color, smell, etc. are perceived by the sense organs.

While discussing Manovijñāna (psychology/science of mind), Caraka has mentioned that Buddhi Pravṛtti (the production of knowledge) does not take place directly or instantly; it is an outcome of a phased phenomenon or a series of various intermediary functions. In this context, Caraka has described that Indriyābhigraha (control of sense organs), Svanigraha (self-restraint), Uhya (hypothesis), Vicāra (consideration), and the production of Buddhi are the functions of Manas. Although these seem to be independent functions, when the process of knowledge production is analyzed, they turn out to be the stages of knowledge production (Ācārya, 2002, p. 288).

Ātmā and Manas according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Nyāya Darśana mentions subsistence of Ātmā by giving various Pramāṇa (ways of knowing). Icchā (desire), Dweṣa (hatred), Sukha, Dukha, Prayatna (attempt), and Jñāna (knowledge) are considered as the characteristic features of Ātmā, whereas some other philosophical thoughts oppose the existence of Ātmā (Tripathi, 1994, p. 5). It is also explained tha Manas is the internal sense which is concerned with the perception of Raga, Dwesha etc. It helps in attaining the Buddhi (knowledge) through Ātmā.

According to Āyurveda, Ātmā resides in the body in a Samavāya Saṃbañdha (inseparable bond). Although the person is said to be dead when the Ātmā leaves the body, the series of birth and death is said to be continuous till the absolute end of Puruṣa. Even Janma and Mṛtyu are having Samavāya Saṃbañdha (Ācārya, 2002, p. 288). The pragmatic soul is an abode of all knowledge. It can perceive the things only when it is associated with mind, intellect, and sensory faculties. If the Kāraṇa (instruments) of perception are either absent or not apparent, there will be no perception or wrong perception. It is just like one cannot get the clear-cut image of a picture from a mirror which is dirty or from water which is muddy. Thus, the combination of all factors, i.e. Ātmā, Manas, Indriya, and Indriyārtha, is very essential to perceive perfect knowledge (Ācārya, 2002, p. 292).

Smṛti (memory) and Manas according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

According to Nyāya Darśana, Smṛti is the result of the trade-offs on internal impressions produced by the union of experiences of soul and mind. Smṛti is a special function when it comes in contact with Ātmā attached with Manas, having Saṃskāra (some impression) of previous knowledge (Ācārya, 1986, p. 32). In Āyurveda, Cakrapāni has commented on Smṛti at various places. The ability to recognize the basic nature of all matters is Smṛti. The meaning of the term Smṛti has been elaborated by Cakrapāni in this context. In Āyurveda Smṛti is enumerated as one of the Lakṣaṇa of Ātmā. Smṛti here does not stand for mere recollection, but for the whole process involved in the formation of the faculty of memory. Smṛti is based on what is seen, heard, or otherwise experienced. There are eight factors for Smriti, i.e. Nimittagrahaṇa (knowledge of cause), Rupagrahaṇa (knowledge of form), Sādṛshya (knowledge of similarity), Saviparyaya (knowledge of dissimilarity), Satvānubañdha (concentration of mind), Abhyāsa (practice), Jñānayoga (attainment of metaphysical knowledge), and Punasṛta . (subsequent partial communication of an event) (Ācārya, 2002, p. 300). In the chapter of Vimānasthāna in Caraka Saṃhitā, it is described that memory is examined by remembering, i.e. Smṛti Smaraṇena (Ācārya, 2002, p. 248).

Indriya and Manas according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Nyāya Darśana opines that the five sense organs, viz. nose, tongue, eyes, skin, and ears, are made up of five elements (Pṛthvi, Ap, Teja, Vāyu, and Ākāśa). These senses contact the external objects and convey the experience to the mind (Tripathi, 1994, p. 4). It is considered that these sense organs are actually not a part of body, but are a power which helps in attaining the knowledge of Padārtha (Tripathi, 1994, p. 5). The qualities of five elements are smell, taste, vision, touch, and hearing. These five Guṇa are the Viśaya (objects) of five sense organs, i.e. nose: Smell; tongue: Taste; eye: Vision; skin: Touch; and ear: Hearing (Tripathi, 1994, p. 5). The contact of these senses with their objects must be clear and doubtless, and for any kind of perception to take place, Manas plays a key role.

Āyurveda also opines the same. Besides, it considers skin as the seat of Manas (Ācārya, 2002, p. 75). It also considers that Manas has Samavāyi Saṃbañdha with Sparśanendriya (skin), and as skin is spread all over the body, Manas keeps contact with the external environment through it (Ācārya, 2002, p. 299).

Śarïra (body) and Manas according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Śarïra is the seat of action, sense organs, and objects of senses. Nyāya agrees on the role of Pañcamahābhūta in the formation of Śarïra, but mainly emphasizes the role of Pṛthvi (earth) in the body (Ācārya, 1986, p. 23; Tripathi, 1994, p. 4). To prove the prominence of Pṛthvi in the body, Nyāya gives the Pramaṇa of Shṛsti (universe) (Ācārya, 1986, p. 25).

Āyurveda opines that Manas is seated in Pañcabhautika (of the five elements) body. Even though it is Bhūtāshṛta (situated in the five elements), it has got its own speciality and identity. Manas seated in the body works according to the situation (Ācārya, 2002, p. 262). The action of Manas in gross body occurs through the body's functional faculty of Tridośa (three humours i.e. Vāta, Pitta and Kapha). Manas activates bodily functions through Cala Guṇa (mobile feature) of Vāta. Artha Grahaṇa (knowledge of object), Medhā (~intellect), Buddhi - all these activities of Manas influence the stability of bodily functions through Sthira Guṇa (stable feature) of Kapha. In this way, it influences each and every cell of the body (Ācārya, 2002, p. 247).

The mind and body together with the sense organs are the sites of manifestation of all miseries and happiness. Body perceives miseries and happiness through Indriya by getting stimulus from Manas. All the different sciences have given the definition of health. Manas is also taken into consideration almost by all the sciences. In this context, the Āyurvedic definition of health also accepts the importance of Manas in maintaining health. It has been claimed that a healthy, strong, and properly controlled Manas is able to cure several physical diseases. On the other hand, psychic factors can also give rise to physical diseases (Ācārya, 2002, p. 299) as the permutations and combinations of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas affects physical body too. Sometimes even the Śarïra follows the Manas and vice versa (Ācārya, 2002, p. 323).

Pratyakṣa (direct perception) according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Nyāya Darśana describes that concentration is achieved by the contact between Ātmā and Manas in a special mode and time (Ācārya, 1986, p. 32). While discussing about the types of Pratyakṣa (direct perception), it has been stated that Pratyakṣa is of two types, i.e. Nirvikalpa (indeterminate) and Savikalpa (determinate) (Ācārya, 1986, p. 5). Nirvikalpa perception brings out the "this" aspect of an object. In the later Savikalpa stage, a concept is applied to the earlier perception and a detailed knowledge of the "object as having a form, a name, and as belonging to a class" is attained. Nirvikalpa Pratyakṣa is that type of perception in which it is only known that there is some object. It will not be possible to name it or describe its characteristic. Nirvikalpa Jñāna is first-hand knowledge; it can be attributed to Manas, but not to Indriya. Moreover, perception is either Laukika (ordinary) or Alaukika (extraordinary). Ordinary perception can be Bāhya (external) or Antar (internal, and therefore, of the mind). External perception involves the senses, and one has external perceptual knowledge regarding physical objects. In internal perception, the senses are not employed; rather, the mind directly perceives the internal feeling of pleasure, pain, jealousy, or anger.

According to Āyurveda, the characteristic feature of Pratyakṣa is Niścayātmika Jñāna (determinant knowledge), which is definite or determinate knowledge, thus considered as Pramāṇa. It is explained that Cintya (things requiring thoughts), Vicārya (consideration), Uhya (hypothesis), Dhyeya (attention), and Saṇkalpya (determination) are the Viṣaya of mind. After this level, there is the initiation of Buddhi or Jñāna in a series of steps. (Ācārya, 2002, p. 288).

Manas in Pramāṇa according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Nyāya system is considered as Pramāṇa Shāstra because it emphasizes mainly on understanding things after proper examination and analysis. Pramāṇa refers to those through which the Pramā (valid knowledge) is received, and Manas is the internal sense by which knowledge of any object is achieved. Nyāya recognizes four sources of valid knowledge: Pratyakṣa (perception), Anumāna (inference), Upamāna (comparison), and Shabda (verbal testimony) (Nyāya Darśana, 1996, p. 12). Pratyakṣa is direct and immediate cognition having a wider connotation and includes ordinary and extraordinary perception. It does not merely involve contact with sense objects, but also with Ātmā (soul), Śarïra (body), Indriya (sense faculties), and Artha (objects), in a certain progressive order. Anumāna is mediatory knowledge arising after some cognition has already taken place. Upamāna involves the knowledge of a thing through its resemblance with an already known thing. Shabda refers to the teachings or sayings of a person known as Siddhapuruṣa (a person who is perfect and trustworthy).

Āyurveda, being an applied science, has made some specific modifications in the fundamental concepts of philosophies according to its applicability. To assess everything practically, it should also have some means of knowledge through which the physician attains the cognition of various aspects of diseases and their treatment. Suṣṛta, the author of the Āyurvedic text Suṣṛta Saṃhitā, has accepted four tools of knowledge, viz. Pratyakṣa, Anumāna, Shabda, and Upamāna (Ācārya, 2002, p. 4), whereas Caraka describes only three of these sources as he considers Upamāna under either Anumāna or Shabda Pramāṇa (Ācārya, 2002, p. 247). One more Pramāṇa, namely Yukti (logical thinking), is also described by Caraka, which has been given prime importance as its applicability is wide in understanding the diseases and treatment principles (Ācārya, 2002, p. 247). In this regard, if we analyze the number of Pramāṇa, three major types of Pramāṇa, viz. Pratyakṣa, Anumāna, and Shabda, are very much useful in the Cikitsā Shāstra (treatment-based treatise) because all Pramāṇa are included in the above-mentioned three.

Manas as one among Prameya (objects of right knowledge) according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

Nyāya Darśana mentioned that Prameya is considered as "the one which is knowable" or "the object of true knowledge." Prameya is that object or material which is known by the Pramāṇa. In this regard, all the objects in this world shall be included under Prameya. In Nyāya philosophy, Manas is included under the object of valid Prameya (knowledge) along with Ātmā (soul), Śarïra (body), Indriya (sense faculties), Artha (objects), Buddhi (intellect), Pravṛtti (activity), Dweśa (jealousy), Pretyabhāva (rebirth), Phala (fruit), Dukha (pain), and Apvarga (release). Here, Prameya means the subject of knowledge and leads to Baňdhana (binding) if not followed properly (Ācārya, 1986, p. 7).

Āyurveda has narrated in detail about all factors included by Nyāya under the heading of Prameya. Prameya is considered as "the one which is knowable" or "the object of true knowledge". However Nyāya categorizes Prameya into twelve types in which entire matter (all that are to be known) of the universe are included and Manas is one of them. When Ātmā is present inside the Śarïra, it is the subject for treatment. Clinical importance of Indriya, Artha, Śarïra, Manas, and Buddhi is explained in detail, as they may be involved in causation of disease or maintenance of health. Āyurveda considers Pravṛtti in the sense of initiation of treatment. In Āyurveda also, either an increase or decrease of Dośa (bodily humors) is the cause for Pravṛtti, i.e. disease production. The concepts in Nyāya philosophy of Pretyabhāva, Dukha, Phala, and Apavarga, are also mentioned in Āyurveda (Ācārya, 2002, p. 294). Thus, physical, psychological, and spiritual aspects of Nyāya are also highlighted in Āyurveda.

Manas as Aňtahakarana (internal sense) according to Nyāya Darśana and Āyurveda

According to Nyāya Darśana, Manas is Aňtarindriya (internal sense) which perceives Sukha, Dukha, etc. of the body, and Saṇkalpa (determination), Vikalpa (option), Ciňtana (thinking), Vicāra (consideration), Tarka (hypothesis), etc. of the mind. In Pratyakṣa, this kind of knowledge has been classified under the heading Abhyāňtara Pratyakṣa. In the process of this kind of Pratyakṣa, Manas and Ātmā are the only participants (Ācārya, 1986, p. 8).

Caraka considered Manas as Adhyātma Dravya (spiritual substance) (Ācārya, 2002, p. 57). The mind is called "Atiňdriya" (transcending the senses) because it is responsible for internal perception such as happiness, grief, anger etc. that are felt only by the mind (Ācārya, 2002, p. 55). It is directly responsible for pleasure and pain. Caraka has regarded the mind as Atiňdriya because it is not only the cause of knowledge of the external world, like other senses, but also responsible for internal perception. All the sense objects are grasped by the mind, but mind cannot be grasped by the senses and it is the superintendent of all the senses.


The current paper highlights the important philosophical contribution of Nyāya Darśana to the concept of Manas. Āyurveda's scientific concept of Manas is also explained along with it. Thus a comparison of some sort is offered in the current paper. Going forward, there is a greater need for critical analysis and documentation of Manas through an inter-disciplinary approach. The authors hope that the current study will stimulate an interest in reviewing the concept of Manas through such type of inter-disciplinary studies from scholars well-versed in two or more fields of philosophy and science.[4]


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