Manovaha Srotas and the Manasa in Ayurveda

By Tara Levelle
Ayurveda Health Educator Intern
San Diego College of Ayurveda

Here in the West, we consider the mind to reside in the brain, in the head. We also consider the brain’s functions to control the mind and the intellect. All seems to be one. However, this is not so in Ayurveda. The mind is said to reside in the heart, which makes sense. The heart is the center of feelings, emotions, love, and intellect.

Mind and emotions are connected, as is the intellect, but all are separate. The mind has functions of thinking, willing, and feeling. It is the intellect, the buddhi, which discerns, ascertains, and creates memory. And ‘the glue’ that holds them together is the ever-present ego.

The ego also connects the vibhu, the universal mind with the anu, the individual mind. In addition, the mind has three qualities, or gunas, that are present in a multitude of combinations. Sattva is clear, calm, and harmonious. Rajas deal with activity and movement.

Tamas creates dullness, inertia, and lethargy. All are beneficial to the mind when in a balanced state.

Manovaha srotas are the channels of consciousness that flow through the mind. Srotas are important in Ayurveda because they make up a system of channels that allow for the body to function optimally.

Mantras bring a change in perception. A nice, brisk walk in the evening with her baby in the stroller gets both Noel and child into fresh air, getting Noel up and moving. A diet of warm, grounding foods such as carrots, sweet potatoes cooked with ghee, and warm soups might help bring her vata back into balance and clear out her tamasika mind-state.

Ayurveda says that our mind stores the impressions we experience. By experiencing love, compassion, calmness, and security Noel’s baby will grow up knowing she is safe and protected. Letting go of her fears, Noel can shift her mind-state into becoming more satttvic. A healthy mental state for Noel means more focused attention on her child. Clearing manovaha srotas and bringing vata back into balance will ensure a harmonious relationship between mother and child.