Our Mysterious Mind. ~ Jagdish Kohli, Ph.D.

Via elephant journal
on Sep 25, 2012
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The human mind is a wave of subtle energy with layers of intelligence to perform a multitude of functions.

Its sole (soul) purpose is to transform and manifest divine energy into the material domain. It is the link between our eternal spirit and the physical body. It is the driver of our daily life.

In order to fulfill its purpose, the human mind has been endowed with a number of features including: will power, free will, intellect as a confidant, five cognitive senses to import knowledge from the physical world and five active expressions to share its state of being with the external world. In order to achieve its role the mind has to witness itself, maintain a state of neutrality and not become attached, i.e., remain a detached observer amidst its changing roles.

Now, let us dissect the mind (also called manomaya kosha) to study its many functions, its building blocks, how it works, reasons for its desperate state of existence and ways to improve the quality of its daily living experience in the world.

Our Multifunctional Mind

The human mind is a bio-magnetic wave of energy that assumes many roles as we go about our daily lives. At any given moment, only one of its many roles is performed out of the multitude of roles shown in Figure 1.

1. Mind as a Thinking Machine: The range of daily thoughts created by the human mind varies from 12,000 to 50,000. Most of these thoughts are random, illogical and disconnected.

2. Mind’s Feeling Capability: Thoughts create emotions, i.e., energy in motion, and sensations which are felt by the mind. These are further transmitted to the body’s cells and acknowledged by the brain.

3. Mind Creates Desires: Many thoughts are directly related to I want this, I want that. This further leads to attachment to  some thoughts.

4. Mind’s Perceptive Capability: Every mind has a perceptive capability to perceive the world in its own way. Perception is created by environments, nurture and connection with nature.

5. Mind’s Discriminative Capability: Mind has a powerful feature of discriminating between acts of goodness and acts of evil. It draws this capability from the intellect which is its close confidant.

6. Mind’s Relationship: Mind has a relationship with the inner world and outer world. The depth of our inner relationship depends on the level of awareness of the creation around us and the creator of this universe.

7. Mind’s Memory: Mind keeps a record of all past events by storing information as visual images, data, instructions, smells, tastes, etc.

8. Mind’s Imagination Capability: Imagination is a wonderful attribute of the mind. When the available knowledge in the world fails to solve a new problem the power of imagination comes into play.

Dynamic interplay of Key Functions of the Mind

Many functions of the mind are categorized into thinking, feeling and wanting states. There is a constant interplay and exchange of energy among these states of the mind. These phenomena along with the sub states of the three main categories are shown in Figure 2.

Conscious, Subconscious and Super-conscious Mind

Our conscious mind is only two to twelve percent of our total living mind, often referred to as the tip of the iceberg.

It’s the mind of our five senses and five active expressions. It receives information from the outer world and responds/reacts to life’s daily situations. Its experiences are recorded and stored in the subconscious mind as memory. Whenever needed, the conscious mind retrieves past records from the subconscious mind. The interplay of the conscious and subconscious mind is displayed in Figure 3.

While the conscious mind has a daily sleeping schedule, the unconscious mind stays awake all the time.

The unconscious mind is our inner mind and it does many functions autonomously and involuntarily. It has its own rhythm and schedule to maintain the physical being. Negative thoughts arise in the conscious mind, travel to the subconscious and end up in the cells of the body. These thoughts are responsible for most of our psychosomatic diseases.

Our conscious mind ignores the inner consciousness of the subconscious mind at its own peril. Our sleeping consciousness is the main reason for most of the societal problem around the world. Awakening this inner consciousness is an urgent need of our time.

Our subconscious mind is busy all the time and does a multitude of tasks.

It is always in touch with the conscious mind and the physical body. It responds to the requests made by the conscious mind and updates the state of our bodies’ cells based on the types of thoughts flowing into it. Many negative beliefs stored in the inner house of our mind need to be examined and cleansed to awaken the sleeping consciousness.  Major functions performed by the subconscious mind are summarized in Table 1.

Our super conscious mind holds the blueprint, or script, for all that we have set out to achieve in our current lifetime. This mind existed before we were born and will continue to exist after our physical body dies.

The Mind’s Interaction with the External World

Nature has bestowed us with smelling, tasting, seeing, touching and hearing senses to understand the world in which we live.

These five senses are inward bound and bring information from outside to keep the conscious mind informed. We also have five active expressions of eliminating, reproducing, moving, grasping and speaking. Through these outward bound abilities we respond, or react, to the challenges of daily living. Calm or turbulent states of our inner being are expressed to the outer world through these active expressions. Figure 4 captures this interaction of the mind.

State of Our Living

The average human mind creates 12,000 to 50,000 daily thoughts. Every thought is a packet of energy. Negative, positive and neutral thought vibrations created in the “lake of mind” are captured in Figure 5. A number of daily negative and waste thoughts consume energy and deplete us of our precious life energy.

Buddhist teachings tell us that a human mind, living in unawareness, cultivates greed, hatred and delusion as “roots of evil.” From these three root vices emerge numerous offshoots and variants: anger and cruelty, conceit and arrogance, hypocrisy and vanity and a multitude of erroneous views. One can observe the creation of negative thoughts in one’s own life and test the truth of Buddhist teachings.

Because of our erroneous views and attachment to unimportant aspects of life, our minds become egocentric. The “I want, I do, I am” syndrome creates patterns which form a vicious cycle of jealousy, anger and darkness moving us away from our true self which is connected to peace, love, purity and light. It is time to break this poisonous cycle and make progress towards a better quality of living experience.

Purifying the Mind

Our life is a play of the mind.

The human mind is very powerful and with awareness can reverse its course towards blissful living.  The Buddha’s three simple guidelines to enhance awareness are: to abstain from all evil, to cultivate good and to purify one’s mind. Pure thoughts have a therapeutic quality to activate sleeping DNA and cure most body diseases at the cellular level.

The ultimate purification of the mind can be accomplished through the practice of mindfulness.  This creates a resolute intellect, provides knowledge of the creative process of nature and vision of things as they really are.

With a purified mind all its mysteries get unfolded.


 Jagdish holds a Ph.D. Degree in EE from IIT Roorkee, India. He worked as a Communications Research Scientist at Bell Labs., Bell Communication Research other Bell companies for over 21 years. His research contributions have been published in a number of technical journals and magazines. He also presented his findings at a number of national and international conferences. He was invited to contribute a comprehensive chapter on “Medical Communications” for the Encyclopedia of Telecommunications. He has been an invited speaker at Stanford University.

For the past eight years Jagdish has investigated issues related to the quality of our daily living experience. He has published and presented insights on “Wealth & Quality of Life”, “The Journey of Human Thought & Happiness”, “Many Facets of Human Mind”, “Our Dynamic Cellular Body”, “Growing Old Gracefully” and “Nurturing the Self”. In 2011 he was invited to give a talk on NON-DUALITY OF LIFE at the “Ancient Science of Non-Duality Conference” sponsored by NJIT, NJ, USA. In 2012 he gave a talk on “Healing the Holistic Human-Being” at the “Society of Scientific Explorations” Conference held in Boulder CO, USA.

Jagdish and his wife Shashi live in San Ramon, CA. Their two daughters Aarti & Gauri live in the Bay
Area. Sunaina and Nikhil are their two grandchildren from Aarti and son-in-law Mano.

Following are links to Jagdish’s elephant publications:





Editor: Thaddeus Haas

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25 Responses to “Our Mysterious Mind. ~ Jagdish Kohli, Ph.D.”

  1. Kamlesh Kamdar says:

    Thank You JagdishJi for detailed and informative article on “Mind”. It is important to understand the details given in the article, however, what should be our ultimate goal?
    I consider mind is a virtual entity and consist of bunch of thoughts.
    Also, I believe mind and ego are synonymous. Ultimate goal on spiritual journey is to kill our ego as well as mind to achieve awakening.

  2. Ashok Yog says:

    Excellent and lucid information on the most complicated subject of human mind (and also of other life forms) and its functioning. Dr. Kohli keep it up for the benefit of many.
    At physical levels of actions and also at conscious levels of thinking, positive and pure thoughts are comprehensible.But neutral fthoughts and what goes on beyond our perception ( in the depths of so called sub-conscious and I would like to call it superconscious) and control seems to be difficult (or impossible) to manage.
    As pointed out it is the pure mind which would percieve the very mystery of life and thus of death also.
    Thanks and congratulations once again for the pains taking efforts for bringing forth the useful gist from the vast literature and information available on the subject.
    It would require repeated readings for the full ingestion of the material contained in the article.

  3. jagdish says:

    Dear Kamlesh,

    Let us look at “What is Mind.” Yes, it is a river of thoughts flowing non-stop. It appears to be virtual but it is real and very subtle. When we slow the rate of breathing the rate of flow of thoughts also slows down. In slow motion we can feel and experience the real energy of the thoughts.

    Yes, Mind and Ego are synonymous. The highest goal a human-being can have is to achieve a state of “NO MIND.” To understand the depth of this goal we have to peel many inner layers of the MIND from which NO MIND will emerge.

    Thank you for your opening comment.

  4. jagdish says:

    Thank you for your sharp observation “It would require repeated readings for the full ingestion of the material contained in the article.” This should encourage many interested seeker of truth of the MIND to read until they grasp the insight of the functioning of human MIND.

    WE can very easily identify the NEUTRAL thoughts by our conscious mind. A neutral thought does not get recorded on the slate of the mind. For example; the need to fill up gas in the car at the right time is a neutral thought. Not to do so and worry about getting stuck in traffic becomes a waste/negative thought. This will leave a negative impression in the memory of the mind.

    Our subconscious mind is designed by nature to work by itself without any interference from the conscious mind. For example our breathing is controlled by the subconscious mind. The problem starts when our conscious mind sends negative messages to the subconscious.

  5. Ashok Yog says:

    I am grateful to you for the calrifications.. Avoiding and controlling origination of negative thoughts is a process of continued practice. Am I right in understanding this or something else can also be done? Further expansion of this would further facilitate the understanding.
    Thanks for explaining the neutral thoughts.

  6. jagdish says:

    Yes, the practice of observing and transforming one’s thoughts leads to slowly dissolving the energy layers of negative impressions cultivated in unawareness. There are some rules to follow before embarking on the path to bring change in the inner house of the mind. It works like this:

    1.Invoke the “POWER OF INTENTION”
    2.Acquire the KNOWLEDGE about WHAT TO CHANGE
    3.Then the sustained PRACTICE

    Thank you for asking a very practical question! Good Luck!

  7. […] Our Mysterious Mind. ~ Jagdish Kohli, Ph.D. (elephantjournal.com) […]

  8. Kapal D. Madra says:

    Dr. Jagdish Kohli explained beautifully explained in figures etc that how the MIND functions. A few months ago in India Post E-Paper some swami ji published an article indicating," the mind is an energy and it does not reside in our body".Grankly, I have no idea whether this true or not.
    Secondly, Jagdish ji used the word Mysterious Mind where as the fact is that the Mind is restless and lord Krishna explained in detail in the Bhagwat Geeta and I am not sure whether it will be appropriate to call it Mysterious.
    Lately, one researcher claimed that any kind action performed will create change in the brain.

  9. jagdish says:

    Dear Mr. Madra,

    I agree with only a part of the statement made by some swami ji. Yes, Mind is energy as everything else in the universe is only energy. Regarding where does the Mind reside:- It is connected with every cell of our physical body. It is a field of energy which is inside and outside our body. Actions arise from the thoughts and repetitive actions create habits and believe. This in turn brings changes in the brain and body cells.

    Regarding your other question about MONKEY MIND, it is only the disturbed state of the Mind discussed in Bhagwat Gita. We can never discover the TRUTH of life and all its mysteries with that state of Mind. Every disturbed Mind creates a different RELITY.

    According to Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, “Yoga Chit Vritti Nirodham” -"Yoga is the calming/control of the disturbances of the mind/Chit”. Stopping the chatter of the Mind is the first step to know about LIFE.

  10. Kirit Kamdar says:

    A beautiful explanation by Dr. Jagdish Kohli of functioning of mind in its multiple, powerful roles. I would love to see more discussion on how best to harness its power; and to what specific end-results. I think a key sentence in the last paragraph points the way – "The ultimate purification of the mind can be accomplished through the practice of mindfulness." Perhaps that purification process is the path to empowerment and worthwhile goal seeking.

  11. Hans Chaudhry says:

    This is very thought provoking. I need to read it again and again and practice it to make further progress. It appears that Dr. Kohli already has experienced these states of mind. It will awaken the medical community if these thoughts are demonstrated in a practical sense to cure a disease.

  12. jagdish says:

    Dear Kirit,

    Regarding HARNESSING POWER OF THE MIND, first we have to develop a deep understanding of “WHAT IS MIND”. Mind is an attribute of our SOUL. It’s a product of infinite energy and so it has infinite potential. Living in the world Mind can accomplish whatever it decides as a goal when it puts in the right effort. It takes a lot of hard work and involvement in accomplishing a particular goal.

    Our worldly living is one side of the coin whereas spiritually living is another side of the same coin. Our Mind has the capability to define any level of HIGHER GOAL OF LIFE. To accomplish goals of PERMANENT HAPPINESS & PEACE the rules are different. Here we need SILENCE OF THE MIND and create a state of doing NOTHING and just BE. That is where MINDFULNESS helps. It’s a process of pealing the layers of deposited impressions on the screen of the Mind and discarding them one by one. We need to acquire the right KNOWLEDGE of where to start and how to purify the Mind. Experimentation is the way to go.

    Thank you for your thought provoking question.

  13. jagdish says:

    Dear Dr. Chaudhry,

    I fully endorse your proposition to awaken the Medical Community about the power of human thought. There is an urgent need to bring together Science & Spirituality of the Mind. In the eastern system of medicine the therapeutic qualities of thought energy are well established. Our super Nano-technology has to catch up in the measurement of subtle thought energies.

    Our dominant system of healthcare delivery is just a part of much bigger problem the humanity is facing currently. Our Education System, Economic System, Healthcare System and other major societal systems are on the verge of collapse. These are all interconnected systems. This is discussed in more details in a recent article:

    Thank you for raising a very compassionate concern.

  14. Kirit Kamdar says:

    Dear Jagdish,

    Thanks for a detailed reply. So, silencing of mind – doing nothing and just BE – is a key prerequisite for happiness. Would you call it a necessary but not sufficient condition or necessary AND sufficient condition?

    Thanks and best regards. / Kirit

  15. jagdish says:

    Dear Kirit,
    Let us look at it in a little more detail.
    A human-being is a composite of three distinct energies- these are BODY, MIND and the SPIRIT. Mind is the link between Spirit & Body. It has the central role of keeping a balance between our Spiritual Energy & Physical Energy. In order to experience the TOTALITY of CREATION we have to keep the AWARENESS of building blocks of our total-being. Mind has been designed to keep a STATE OF NEUTRALITY and enjoy beauties of creation and material manifestation.

    This is Part 1 of the reply; Part 2 continues next

  16. jagdish says:

    Part 2 Reply to Kirit's Question

    Let us do a reality check of the state of human existence in modern times. Our Mind has totally gravitated towards the material world. Our sense organs have hijacked the Mind towards worldly some pleasures and lot of suffering. Our life has become unidirectional with almost no touch with the forces of creation.

    It seems to me that there is a need for the Mind to make a UTURN and start getting connected with the source of creation (SPIRIT). Along the way Mind will learn to create a NEW BALANCE.

    Now coming back to your question the only prerequisite to ELTERNAL HAPPINESS is to have a DEEP LONGING to live and experience the TOTALITY OF CREATION. The first step is to make UTURN and nature will pave rest of the WAY.

    WE can continue our dialog with soul searching questions for benefits of many.

  17. sue says:

    Here is some profound poetry about the state of a PURE MIND: Enjoy

    "Profound and tranquil, free from complexity,
    Uncompounded luminous clarity,
    Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas;
    This is the depth of the mind of the Victorious Ones.
    In this there is not a thing to be removed,
    Nor anything that needs to be added.
    It is merely the immaculate
    Looking naturally at itself."

    ~ Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche

  18. Jasu Patel says:

    The origin of matter – life and Mind – Consciousness has been from the same Source. Both of these have evolved – grown to gather from the amoeba form of life to its highest evolution – Human-Being with the higher form of consciousness at each stage. Thus matter and mind are integrated and interdependent each requires the other.

    At its highest evolution consciousness- SAT-CHITTA-ANAND, TRUTH-BEAUTY-BLISS resides in all forms of matter- life, in all physical creation, -man- animals-trees-flowers and all creation. That has been the study of J. Krishnamurti and Shri Aurobindo.
    This is Part 1
    Part 2 continues next

  19. Jasu Patel says:

    This is part 2

    It has been beautifully described by German philosopher Herman Hess in his book “SIDDHARTH” which in Buddha’s demeanor, gait, eyes, face, hands, his whole being exudes TRUTH-BEAUTY-BLISS and CONSCIOUSNESS.

    There is no separation between Mind & Matter. The spiritual manifests itself through physical, and physical has to evolve into spiritual. Divinity pervades in everything. Mind is a tool to fathom it.

  20. jagdish says:

    Poetry is the language of the heart.

    Thank you sharing. This isBLISSFUL state we are working to experience.

  21. jagdish says:

    Dear Sir,

    Thank you for sharing the evolutionary nature of MIND & MATTER. Human mind reached the highest state of consciousness in the GOLDEN AGE of life. Most people in that era lived a BLISSFUL life. Going through cycles of birth and death human mind has acquired TAMSIC QUALITIES of greed, hatred and delusion. The overall quality of human mind has been degrading moving from GOLDEN-SILVER-BRONZE ages and now living in the IRON age. Currently we witness a total crisis in human consciousness. The cycle of time has to restart transitioning to a NEW ERA of GOLDEN AGE.

    A MEDITATIVE MIND can clean its inner house of cultivated negative impressions from many past lives and restore again its HIGHEST STATE of BEING.

  22. […] employ us to observe our minds. The more we practice, the easier it gets. Let’s watch when we trail off with some story […]

  23. […] every single thought, of which I had hundreds or perhaps thousands each minute, became a question exploring why exactly […]

  24. […] operates at a significantly slower pace than the subconscious mind. Scientific research shows that the subconscious mind is not only way faster, it is over a million times more powerful than the cons…. Neuroscientists have shown that the conscious mind, as Einstein suggested, operates at only about […]

  25. purti says:

    hello badepapa….i read ur earlier article and have developed keen interest in these…i think if anyone understand these articles and what exactly u wanna convey ,,that much is enough for his/her lifetime…i really loved it….only calm and peaceful mind like yours can only do this…others have to read it twice or thrice to understand only….like me….as far as i think..the more disturbed ur mind is ,,,the more time u will take to understand these facts….i m tooo young for giving my views…but still i think if u understand this theory of human mind…there is no problem left atall.which is not that easy…and requires ur 100% concentration..and not even 99%…but most of the people in this world are so much busy in their jobs that they r not even willing to understand it…anywaz one question is that if we have no feeling of getting ahead from our competitors or u can say competition makes our work more interesting and more fruitful..which is also a part of negative thought…if we become so calm and composed…shall we b able to enjoy all phases of life??????