Understanding Mind as the Eternal

Sri Aurobindo translates Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, Chapter 4:  “He knew mind for the Eternal.  For from mind alone, it appeareth, are these creatures born and being born they live by mind, and to mind they go hence and return.  And when he had known this, he came again to Varuna his father and said, ‘Lord, teach me the Eternal.’  But his father said unto him, ‘By askesis do thou seek to know the Eternal, for concentration in thought (Or, concentration of force) is the Eternal.’  He concentrated himself in thought and by the energy of his brooding”

Matter is needed, life-energy is essential.  Yet together they do not provide a complete answer to the questions of our existence.  What power provides us with intelligence, organisation, the power of purposive action?  What power directs the life energy and impacts the operation of matter?

Bhrigu realised through his continued focus and concentration, looking within, that mind is such an organising power and thus, is the cause and sustaining power of life and matter.  In the ancient texts, mind is called the “leader of the life and the body”.    The philosopher, Rene Descartes famously declared “I think, therefore I am.”  As human beings become self-aware, they recognise the power of the mind in shaping their lives and in impacting their environment.

But we also recognise that mind has its limitations, and from its own limited action within ourselves, we do not see how it can be the complete answer.  Mind is also not an original creative power, and thus, its source must be found elsewhere.

Bhrigu was not yet fully convinced that he had the actual complete picture, so he returned to his father and asked once again to be taught the Eternal.  And once again he was sent back to concentrate through tapasya.  Clearly he had not reached the ultimate understanding yet.  Something was still lacking, but he was making progress in the right direction.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads,  Taittiriya Upanishad, Bhriguvalli, pp.275-281, M. P. Pandit, Upanishads: Gateways of Knowledge, pp. 169-182