[INDOLOGY] Mind and moon

dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
Thu Jul 28 08:35:39 UTC 2016

Thanks, Valerie, for the Varahamihira quote. It shows an extension of the microcosm idea to 
the planets, keeping the mind-moon pair (but not the eye-sun one). The mind-moon pair is 
one of the most stable of these pairings, as well as the least explicable.

Verbal similarities can be very profound, especially in the Brahmanas. But in this case I'm not 
sure there is much verbal similarity: in RV 10.90.13 the words are manas and candramas (in 
Brhadaranyaka Up. 3.2.13 it's manas and candra, which is even less similar). It's not a 
similarity of the same order as indra-indha (Satapatha Br; Brh Up 4.2.2). That made 
me wonder whether Renou, in invoking word-play as an explanation, was misled by his 
knowledge of the Indo-European cognates of Skt mas and manas.

With best wishes,


On 28 Jul 2016 at 7:45, Valerie Roebuck wrote:

I think it's meant to be a bit more profound than a verbal similarity - though of course these 
were widely thought not to be merely coincidental. We find the same correspondence in 
astrological texts, too, e.g. in Varahamihira's Bhajjataka, Chapter 2 v. 1a, where the seven 
planets of the ancient world are placed on the macrocosmic man of Time.

kalatma dina-krn manas tuhinagu satva kujo jño vaco jivo jñana-sukhe sita´s ca madano  
dukha dine´satmaja  / 

The Sun ['Day-maker'] is the self (atman) of Time, the Moon ['Cool-rayed'] his mind (manas), 
Mars ['Earth-born'] his courage, Mercury ['Knower'] his speech, Jupiter ['Life'] his knowledge 
and happiness, Venus ['White One'] his desire, and Saturn ['Son of the Lord of Day'] his 

The Moon has a very important place in Indian astrology, but here perhaps it is regarded as 
representing a less profound (because more changeable?) level of being than the Sun.

Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester, UK

    On 28 Jul 2016, at 06:32, naresh keerthi <nakeerthi at gmail.com> wrote:

    Renou Etudes Vediques vol XVI p. 150 says it's a play on words.

    I don't have access to this source, but is it possible that this conjecture is based on the 
    similarity of mati = mind [Sanskrit, but also used in Tamil] and mati = moon in Tamil? 

    Naresh Keerthi
    National Institute of Advanced Studies,

    Message: 2
    Date: Wed, 27 Jul 2016 10:47:45 +0100
    From: dermot at grevatt.force9.co.uk
    To: indology at list.indology.info
    Subject: [INDOLOGY] Mind and moon
    Message-ID: <57988341.1727.8FD05B at dermot.grevatt.force9.co.uk>
    Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
    Can anyone explain why the mind is the microcosmic counterpart of the moon? 
    correspondence appears in Rgveda 10.90.13 and in countless passages of the 
    and Upanisads, but it's not obvious like breath and wind.
    Renou ?tudes V?diques vol XVI p. 150 says it's a play on words. I find that hard 
    to accept,
    because the words (candra-mas and manas) are not very similar (they are in 
    Latin, but the
    sages didn't have access to an Indo-European comparative dictionary).
    Could the connection be through soma (often linked or identified with the moon), 
    since the
    mind is called a pavitra through which poetic insight (dhI) flows and becomes 
    (Gonda Vision of the Vedic Poets pp. 278-9)?
    Or is it that the mind, like the moon, is constant though its content continually 
    Dermot Killingley
    9, Rectory Drive,
    Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
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Dermot Killingley
9, Rectory Drive,
Newcastle upon Tyne NE3 1XT
Phone (0191) 285 8053

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