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Harish Johari
Wil Geraets
Aum Gang Ganapataye Namah Aum
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Ego, Mind & Intellect


In vedic times yogis investigated the deepest nature of human being. They developed a coherent filosophy on human extistence on the material, psychological and spiritual levels. The vedic model of human psychology consists of five concentric circles or koshas representing body, mind, ego, intellect, and self. The model introduces basic concepts for the understanding of human consciousness and various branches of yoga.


The cerebrospinal system is the first part of the organism to be developed after conception. From it the entire bodily form comes out. This system is a great generator of electrical energy that is constantly supplied to the internal organs by a network of nerves that serve as connectors. All the cells in the body are kept alive by a flow of energy (prana). Nerves connect the brain and spine with the five sense organs (eyes, ears, nose, tongue, skin), and the five work organs (anus, genitals, legs, hands, vocal chords). The functiong of the entire human body is controlled by the cerebrospinal system, and the psychic centers are located in it.


The combination of brain, breath, nerves, sense organs, and work organs functions as a unit inside the body which is working with the mind. Mind is the tool of consciousness that enables perception through the senses. Mind uses brain to process the signals that are coming in through the senses, but mind is not a product from the brain. This is illustrated by organisms that have no real brain but still they have a mind that enables them to sense changes in the environment.

Mind is very active and associative, it can jump from present to past and from one situation to another. If you have tried to sit and remain silent inside you have experienced that many thoughts arose no matter how much you tried to be without them. These thoughts sprout from the activity of the mind. The activity of the mind is closely related with the pattern of breathing. The science of controlling breath is known as pranayama, a branch of Hatha Yoga. By practicing pranayama, the breath becomes calm, images do not disturb the mind, and the internal dialogue stops


Ego is the illusion that I exist as a separate individual being. Ego is the one which assumes the responsibility for the body and identifies with the body. When the body breathes, he says, "I am breathing". Ego takes a name, and becomes Mr. such and such and all social relations are acted out by ego. Whereas mind is very daring, ego is very much afraid for death. Whenever any problem comes to the body, ego becomes very alert and remains in the body. And the more there is danger of existence, the more strong the ego becomes. There are stories of children who were completely neglected and left behind. They developed into some kind of chivalrous fighting heroes, and they also became masters in certain subjects and people of great intelligence. Most of the time, only for survival of their ego, they had to struggle, and they learned from their struggle how to be strong. This way, ego is the one that creates strength. All strength that I have comes from my ego. This part of the ego which gives this strength is called will.

Modern school has become a training place for creating more and more ego, because there is competition all the time. Who does it first? Who is the best? Ego always tries to say, "I am better than you", "I am holier than you". In ancient days they had an education system that did not let the ego grow beyond a particular limit. The child had to go and live with the family of a teacher as a member of the family (gurukul). The wife of the teacher was responsible for providing all food, and nobody was allowed to bring other food. And parents were not allowed to bring gifts in order to treat all pupils equal, and make them feel that everyone is equal.


Intellect is the tool of consciousness that contains knowledge that is accumulated in this live and in past life, and by seven previous generations as well. Intellect carries with it the past and the present, and also speculates about the future. Intellect helps ego with advice and information but the final decision comes from ego. Ego can say, "I like it" and although intellect may disapprove ego may decide "O.k., I don't believe that this is right, but I don´t want to follow all these rules and regulations, I'll break the law". If intellect is too much dominating then information in books is considered more important than own experience.

Mind and Intellect serve Ego

When ego is the king in the body, intellect is the prime-minister, and mind is the public relation officer, roaming here and there, making contacts, gathering information. Most of the time only mind is dominant. But sometimes ego is also very dominant. And intellect is only in the beginning, when you start, at that time it comes and tries to show you how you go. But after that, mostly it is the mind which takes the lead.


There is a divine spark of consciousness in each of us, the innermost center of the 5 koshas. This divine spark or self is in bliss, untouched by any of the events that happening around. Animals, plants, and even objects, have such a spark in them. In deep sleep and in samadhi, mind, ego and intellect are inactive. Therefore, deep sleep and samadhi are very similar, however, in deep sleep we are not conscious of anything whereas in samadhi consciousness remains during the absence of mind, intellect and ego. The self likes to enjoy the drama of life. It is because of unfulfilled desires of ego that the combination of self, intellect, ego and mind incarnate over and over again, until the ultimate desire to merge with god is fulfilled. Then all individuality, including the individual self, is dissolved into the cosmic consciousness.

See also the playlist for all videoclips on the Koshas (90 mins class)

Harish Johari
Wil Geraets
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Aum Gang Ganapataye Namah Aum