mana in heart or head?

Sven Sellmer sellmers at GMX.DE
Thu Apr 9 13:04:30 UTC 2009

A useful, but perhaps not so well known publication pertaining to this  
question is:

Ernst Windisch, "Über den Sitz der denkenden Seele, besonders bei den  
Indern und Griechen, und eine Etymologie von gr. πραπίδες  
[prapídes]", in: Berichte über die Verhandlungen der königlich- 
sächsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzip, Phil.-hist.  
Classe, 43 (1891) 157-203.

Of the places discussed by Windisch, two that might point to a certain  
association of head (though not brain) and mental functions may be of  
special interest here:

1. In RV II 16,2 it is said of Indra: háste vájraṃ bhárati  
śīrṣáṇi krátum, where most translators (but not Windisch  
himself) understand krátu as "wisdom" or the like.

2. Sometimes the five prāṇas (= indriyāṇi) are located in the  
head, and that includes also manas. One of the earliest instances  
seems to be ŚBr IX 2,2,5: pañcadhāvihito vā 'yaṃ śīrṣan  
prāṇo mano vāk prāṇaś cakṣuḥ śrotram (quoted after  
Windisch, without accents).

I have the impression that the reason for the location of kratu and  
manas in the head is their link to speech, which is necessarily  
located there, but this would have to be verified.

Best wishes,
Sven Sellmer

Dr. Sven Sellmer
Adam Mickiewicz University
Institute of Oriental Studies
South Asia Unit
ul. 28 czerwca 1956 nr 198
61-485 Poznań
sven at

Am 08.04.2009 um 09:57 schrieb Peter Friedlander:

> Dear Colleagues,
> I am looking at a, probably 16th century Nath Siddha work, the  
> Gorakh Machindra bodh, and note that in it the seat of the mana is  
> still located in the heart, not the head.
> Nowadays in Hindi mana means both the heart and the mind, but I am  
> not sure when it began its migration up into the head as it is now  
> imagined. In particular was it only under the influence of western  
> thought or are there pre-colonial period texts which speak of the  
> seat of thought as being in the head?
> regards
> ---------------------------
> Peter Friedlander
> 21 Hindhede Dr #04-04
> Singapore, 589318
> Handphone: (65) 90624357
>      Enjoy a safer web experience. Upgrade to the new Internet  
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