The Contribution of the Ancients to Theories of the Mind.

~ by Ken Knapman

On considering the most recent BBC discussions concerning Buddha, Socrates and Confucius. I have picked, what I consider to be relevant in relation to the historical development of theories of the mind.


There is a history of philosophy, schools of thought and philosophers who have influenced the course the history of consciousness. These vary between the ancient and the contemporary. Such names, and there are others, are Heraclitus, Parmenides, Aristotle, Plato and Socrates up to Descartes, the Cartesians, Spinoza, Locke, Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Feuerbach, Marx, Engels, Lenin and today Hardial Bains.

Thought is a product of the human brain and depends upon the structural integrity of the brain to reflect upon the material world in order to function, to think. Evolution in humans has evolved the brain and differing from animals, has developed reason and refined memory in order for it to become capable of consciousness about itself and its existence and become sentient.

“Thinking and being go side by side. They both are objective things…Being, nonetheless, can only be human if it is social. Thinking and the social being produce human consciousness. The form of consciousness depends on the social being and not on the thinking. The brain can sit idly by without making the slightest effort while social being imparts the person, the brain, with a particular kind of social consciousness.” [Hardial Bains, If you love your class, A question of love, 5th, November, 1995, p.23]

In one sense you might say that Heraclitus was more materialist than Hegel;

“They are not themselves process, but fire is process; and thus he maintains fire to be the elementary principle, and this is the real form of the Heraclitean principle, the soul and substance of the nature-process.
Fire is physical time, absolute unrest, absolute disintegration of existence, the passing away of the “other,” but also of itself; and hence we can understand how Heraclitus, proceeding from his fundamental determination, could quite logically call fire the Notion of the process”.

(Note: Air, Fire and water were the original elements according to the ancient Greeks).

[Hegel:Logic: Doctrine of being]

The contribution of the ancients to theories of the mind.

Ancient philosophers of the Far East in particular have contributed to how the ego operates and also flux in time and space.

Many philosophies of the ancient world concerned themselves with human consciousness and the ego. Brahmanism and Buddhism have developed early thinking and basis for examination of knowledge and enlightenment.

The Vedas (véda, “knowledge”) are a large body of texts originating in ancient India are considered revelations, some way or other the work of God. The Upanishads are considered by Hindus to contain revealed truths.

The concepts of Brahman (Ultimate Reality) and Ātman (Soul, Self) are central ideas in all the Upanishads. Referring to the student sitting down near the teacher while receiving esoteric (understood by a selected or privileged few) knowledge. Atman is the spiritual essence in all creatures, their real innermost essential being. The Upanishads describe the universe, and the human experience, as an interplay of Purusha (the eternal, unchanging principles, consciousness) and Prakṛti (the temporary, changing material world, nature). The former manifests itself as Ātman (Soul, Self), and the latter as Māyā. The Upanishads refer to the knowledge of Atman as “true knowledge” (Vidya), and the knowledge of Maya as “not true knowledge” (Avidya, Nescience, lack of awareness, lack of true knowledge).

There are recognised parallels between the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato and that of the Upanishads, including their ideas on sources of knowledge, concept of justice and path to salvation, and Plato’s allegory of the cave. * Platonic psychology with its divisions of reason, spirit and appetite, also bears resemblance to the three gunas in the Indian philosophy of Samkhya.

Some argue that the Ancient Greek philosophy was influenced by, and borrowed some core concepts from, the Upanishads. Various mechanisms for such a transmission of knowledge have been conjectured including Indian philosophers visiting Athens and meeting Socrates; Plato encountering the ideas when in exile in Syracuse; or, intermediated through Persia. However some say the two systems developed independently.

The teachings of, Gautama Buddha, also known as, Siddhartha Gautama, Shakyamuni,or simply the Buddha. He was a sage. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in eastern India sometime between the sixth and fourth centuries before the Christian Era.

Using the practise of yogic meditation the Buddha is said to have been unsatisfied with meditative consciousness to gain enlightenment.

The problem with transcendence of consciousness or immanence is that it is often associated with the spiritual rather than the material world. It is possible to reduce the activity of the brain but to achieve emptiness or void, to obtain knowledge, is to abstain from the material world or limit consciousness to mere thought, the essence of the idea separate from practice in the real world. Even so it may be possible to deactivate logic or memory temporarily. But the brain is a space full of matter and the material brain thinks and it is nigh impossible to prevent it except through death.

What the meditators achieved, though, was significant through their focus on intellectual thought. Isolating the functions of the brain, slowing them down in time and space enabled thinkers to separate and examine cognitive behaviour even before psychoanalysis of the modern era came into being.

A Buddha refers to one who has become awakened through their own efforts and insight. After austerities and attempting to find enlightenment through deprivation of worldly goods, including food up to the point of practising self-mortification, Gautama Buddha almost killed himself. The Buddha returned to a form of meditation that included Middle Way – a path of moderation away from the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification.

Gautama was famously seated under a Pipal tree—now known as the Bodhi tree—in Bodh Gaya, India, when he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. After 49 days of meditation, he is said to have attained “Enlightenment”. At the time of his awakening he supposedly realised, “complete insight into the cause of suffering”, and the steps necessary to eliminate it.

The four jhanas (a series of cultivated states of mind) seem to be a Buddhist innovation but some say there are borrowings from the Moksadharma, a part of the Mahabharata.* What existing knowledge was contemplated by Gautama is not known but it is obvious categorising and formulating aspects of the mind was the intention.

The ancients studied existence and Buddhism is no exception.

Buddhism sought to explain existence in, “The Three Marks of Existence”, which are impermanence, suffering, and not-self. * Observing the functions of the mind might not necessarily be an ancient form of idealism.

Impermanence expresses the Buddhist notion that all compounded or conditioned phenomena (all things and experiences) are inconstant, unsteady, and impermanent. Everything we can experience through our senses is made up of parts, and its existence is dependent on external conditions. Everything is in constant flux, and so conditions and the thing itself are constantly changing. Things are constantly coming into being, and ceasing to be. Since nothing lasts, there is no inherent or fixed nature to any object or experience. According to the doctrine of impermanence, life embodies this flux in the ageing process, the cycle of rebirth (Saṃsāra), and in any experience of loss. The doctrine asserts that because things are impermanent, attachment to them is futile and leads to suffering (dukkha).

Suffering is also a central concept in Buddhism, pain, unsatisfactoriness, sorrow, affliction, anxiety, dissatisfaction, discomfort, anguish, stress, misery, and frustration.

Not-self is the third mark of existence. No phenomenon is really “I” or “mine”; these concepts are in fact constructed by the mind. For Buddha, neither the respective parts nor the person as a whole comprise a self.

To be a fully awakened being the mind is purified of the three poisons of desire, aversion and ignorance. Nirvana means “cessation”, “extinction” (of craving and ignorance and therefore suffering and the cycle of involuntary rebirths.


A common experience and thread of ancient philosophy and its reflection in religion is a grasp of altruism.

Altruism or selflessness is the principle or practice of concern for the welfare of others.

It is a core aspect of various religious traditions and secular worldviews.

Altruism or selflessness is the opposite of selfishness. The word was coined by the French philosopher Auguste Comte in French, as altruisme, for an antonym of egoism.

Evolution of morality and ethics

The argument that morality is the job of religion or dispersed is an anti-humanist approach. It discredits the reality of morality in philosophy and Communism. It is the difference between Catholic confession of sin as only a spiritual accomplishment and the action of innate altruism and the influence on the ego. Also conditioning of the mind through what happens in the brain because of its interactions in the universe in time and space.

Altruism in nature, biological organisms can be defined as an individual performing an action, which is at a cost to the self (e.g., pleasure and quality of life, time, probability of survival or reproduction), but benefits, either directly or indirectly, another third-party individual, without the expectation of reciprocity or compensation for that action.

Alms are the fruits of a moral notion of the gift and of fortune, human behaviours such as charity, giving alms to beggars, emergency aid, tipping low paid waiters, courtship gifts, production of public goods, and environmentalism.

One consequence is that people are more cooperative if it is more likely that individuals will interact again in the future. People tend to be less cooperative if they perceive that the frequency of helpers in the population is lower. They tend to help less if they see non-cooperativeness by others and this effect tends to be stronger than the opposite effect of seeing cooperative behaviours.

An interesting example of altruism in nature is found in the cellular slime moulds, such as Dictyostelium mucoroides. These protists live as individual amoebae until starved, at which point they aggregate and form a multicellular fruiting body in which some cells sacrifice themselves to promote the survival of other cells in the fruiting body.

Evidence for the neural bases of altruistic giving in normal healthy volunteers, using functional magnetic resonance imaging. In their research, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA in October 2006, they showed that both pure monetary rewards and charitable donations activate the mesolimbic reward pathway. However, when volunteers generously placed the interests of others before their own by making charitable donations, another brain circuit was selectively activated: the subgenual cortex/septal region. These structures are intimately related to social attachment and bonding in other species. Altruism, the experiment suggested, was not a superior moral faculty that suppresses basic selfish urges but rather was basic to the brain, hard-wired and pleasurable.

Helping behaviour is seen in humans at about two years old, when a toddler is capable of understanding subtle emotional cues.

The effects of volunteerism (as a form of altruism) on happiness and health and have consistently found a strong connection between volunteerism and current and future health and well-being.

In a study of older adults, those who volunteered were significantly higher on life satisfaction and will to live, and significantly lower in depression and anxiety.

Volunteerism and helping behaviour have not only been shown to improve mental health, but physical health and longevity as well.

Gratitude goes hand-in-hand with kindness and is also very important for our well-being. A study on the relationship happiness to various character strengths showed that “a conscious focus on gratitude led to reductions in negative affect and increases in optimistic appraisals, positive affect, offering emotional support, sleep quality and well-being.

Confucius (551 BC) in the Analects indicated human beings should base their values and social ideals on moral philosophy, tradition, and a natural love for others. Confucius’s social philosophy largely depended on the cultivation of Ren by every individual in a community

Ren is the Confucian virtue denoting the good feeling when being altruistic. Ren is exemplified by a normal adult’s protective feelings for children. It is considered the outward expression of Confucian ideals.

According to Confucius, a person with a well-cultivated sense of Ren be resolute and firm (Analects 12.20); be courageous (Analects 14.4); be free from worry, unhappiness, and insecurity (Analects 9.28; 6.21); moderate their desires and return to propriety (Analects 12.1); be respectful, tolerant, diligent, trustworthy, and kind (Analects 17.6); and, would love others (Analects 12.22).

Confucius said that one’s understanding of “li” should inform everything that one says and does (Analects 12.1). He believed that subjecting oneself to li did not mean suppressing one’s desires, but learning to reconcile them with the needs of one’s family and broader community. By leading individuals to express their desires within the context of social responsibility, Confucius and his followers taught that the public cultivation of li was the basis of a well-ordered society (Analects 2.3).

Ren and li have a special relationship in the Analects: li manages one’s relationship with one’s family and close community, while Ren is practiced broadly and informs one’s interactions with all people.

The importance of education and study is a fundamental theme of the Analects emphasising the need to find balance between formal study and intuitive self-reflection (Analects 2.15). When teaching he is never cited in the Analects as lecturing at length about any subject, but instead challenges his students to discover the truth through asking direct questions,(Analects 7.8) He sometimes required his students to demonstrate their understanding of subjects by making intuitive conceptual leaps before accepting their understanding.

Aristotle, in his Magna Moralia, refers to Socrates in words, which make it patent; Socrates held that the doctrine virtue is knowledge. Within the Metaphysics, he states Socrates was occupied with the search for moral virtues, being the ‘ first to search for universal definitions for them ‘.

Socrates’s dialectic method of inquiry, known as the Socratic method or method of “elenchus”, which he largely applied to the examination of key moral concepts such as the Good and Justice.

To solve a problem, it would be broken down into a series of questions, the answers to which gradually distil the answer a person would seek.

The influence of this approach is most strongly felt today in the use of the scientific method.

To illustrate the use of the Socratic method; a series of questions are posed to help a person or group to determine their underlying beliefs and the extent of their knowledge. The Socratic method is a negative method of hypothesis elimination, in that steadily identifying and eliminating those that lead to contradictions find better hypotheses. It was designed to force one to examine one’s own beliefs and the validity of such beliefs.

Socrates also questioned the Sophistic doctrine that virtue can be taught.

Religions incorporating philosophy; Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Jainism, Judaism and Sikhism, etc., all place particular emphasis on altruistic morality.


Altruism figures prominently in Buddhism. Love and compassion are components of all forms of Buddhism, and are focused on all beings equally: love is the wish that all beings are happy, and compassion is the wish that all beings be free from suffering.

Since “all beings” includes the individual, love and compassion in Buddhism are outside the opposition between self and other. It is even said that the distinction between self and other is part of the root cause of our suffering. In practical terms, however, since most of us are ‘supposedly’ spontaneously self-centred, Buddhism encourages us to focus love and compassion on others, and thus can be characterized as “altruistic.”

In the context of larger ethical discussions on moral action and judgment, Buddhism is characterized by the belief that negative (unhappy) consequences of our actions derive not from punishment or correction based on moral judgment, but from the law of karma, which functions like a natural law of cause and effect. A simple illustration of such cause and effect is the case of experiencing the effects of what I cause: if I cause suffering, then as a natural consequence I will experience suffering; if I cause happiness, then as a natural consequence I will experience happiness.

Most types of karmas, with good or bad results, will keep one in the wheel of samsāra; others will liberate one to nirvāna. In Buddhism, karma is not the only cause of all that happens there are other causal mechanisms such as Citta Niyama — Will of mind and Dhamma Niyama — Nature’s tendency to produce a perfect type.

Motivation includes knowledge versus ignorance; so a well-intended action from an ignorant mind can easily be “bad” in that it creates unpleasant results for the “actor.”


The fundamental principles of Jainism revolve around the concept of altruism, not only for humans but also for all sentient beings. Jainism preaches the view of Ahimsa – to live and let live, thereby not harming sentient beings, i.e. uncompromising reverence for all life. It also considers all living things to be equal. The first Thirthankar, Rishabh introduced the concept of altruism for all living beings, from extending knowledge and experience to others to donation, giving oneself up for others, non-violence and compassion for all living things.

A major characteristic of Jainism is the emphasis on the consequences of not only physical but also mental behaviours. One’s unconquered mind with anger, pride (ego), deceit, greed and uncontrolled sense organs are the powerful enemies of humans. Anger spoils good relations, pride destroys humility, deceit destroys peace and greed destroys everything. Jainism recommends conquering anger by forgiveness and pride (ego) by humility, deceit by straight-forwardness and greed by contentment.


Altruism is central to the teachings of Jesus found in the Gospel, especially in the Sermon on the Mount and the Sermon on the Plain.

St Thomas Aquinas interprets ‘You should love your neighbour as yourself’ as meaning that love for our self is the exemplar of love for others.


In Islam, the concept ‘īthār’ is the notion of ‘preferring others to oneself’. For Sufis, this means devotion to others through complete forgetfulness of one’s own concerns.

Judaism defines altruism as the desired goal of creation.

The central faith in Sikhism is that the greatest deed anyone can do is to imbibe like love, affection, sacrifice, patience, harmony and truthfulness. The fifth Nanak, Guru Arjun Dev sacrificed his life to uphold 22 carats of pure truth, seen as the greatest gift to humanity.

It was under the tutelage of the Guru that Bhai Kanhaiya (1648–1718) subsequently founded a volunteer corps for altruism. This volunteer corps still to date is engaged in doing good to others and trains new volunteering recruits for doing the same.

Swami Sivananda, an Advaita scholar, reiterates the same views in his commentary synthesising Vedanta views on the Brahma Sutras, a Vedantic text. In his commentary on Chapter 3 of the Brahma Sutras, Sivananda notes that karma is insentient and short-lived, and ceases to exist as soon as a deed is executed. Hence, karma cannot bestow the fruits of actions at a future date according to one’s merit. Furthermore, one cannot argue that karma generates apurva or punya, which gives fruit. Since apurva is non-sentient, it cannot act unless moved by an intelligent being such as a god. It cannot independently bestow reward or punishment.


Tao literally means “way”, but can also be interpreted as road, channel, path, doctrine, or line. The Tao also is supposedly something that individuals can find immanent in them.Taoist propriety in general has within it, “naturalness”, simplicity, spontaneity, and the Three Treasures: compassion, moderation, and humility.

Laozi, philosopher and poet of ancient China is known as the reputed founder of philosophical Taoism. He is usually dated to around the 6th century BCE and reckoned a contemporary of Confucius.

Laozi is traditionally regarded as the author of the Daodejing (Tao Te Ching). As with most other ancient Chinese philosophers, Laozi often explains his ideas by way of paradox, analogy and appropriation of ancient sayings, repetition, symmetry, rhyme, and rhythm. In fact, the whole book can be read as an analogy – the ruler is the awareness, or self, in meditation and the myriad creatures or empire is the experience of the body, senses and desires.

The Tao Te Ching, describes the Dao (or Tao) as the source and ideal of all existence: it is unseen, but not transcendent, immensely powerful yet supremely humble, being the root of all things. People have desires and free will (and thus are able to alter their own nature). Many act “unnaturally”, upsetting the natural balance of the Dao. The Daodejing intends to lead students to a “return” to their natural state, in harmony with Dao.

Seeking the calm state of wu wei is a concept used to explain ziran or harmony with the Dao. It includes the concepts that value distinctions are ideological and seeing ambition of all sorts as originating from the same source. Laozi used the term broadly with simplicity and humility as key virtues, often in contrast to selfish action. On a political level, it means avoiding such circumstances as war, harsh laws and heavy taxes. Some Taoists see a connection between wu wei and esoteric practices, such as zuowang “sitting in oblivion” (emptying the mind of bodily awareness and thought) found in the Zhuangzi.

Some of Laozi’s famous sayings include:

“When goodness is lost, it is replaced by morality.”

“The usefulness of a pot comes from its emptiness.”

“The best people are like water, which benefits all things and does not compete with them. It stays in lowly places that others reject. This is why it is so similar to the Way.”

“When people see some things as beautiful, other things become ugly. When people see some things as good, other things become bad.”
“Those who know do not say. Those who say do not know.”

“A journey of a thousand miles starts under one’s feet.”
“The more that laws and regulations are given prominence, the more thieves and robbers there will be.”

—Laozi, Tao Te Ching
Yin and yang can be thought of as complementary (rather than opposing) forces that interact to form a dynamic system in which the whole is greater than the assembled parts. Everything has both yin and yang aspects, (for instance shadow cannot exist without light). Either of the two major aspects may manifest more strongly in a particular object, depending on the criterion of the observation. The yin yang (i.e. taijitu symbol) shows a balance between two opposites with a portion of the opposite element in each section. Apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. Many tangible dualities (such as light and dark, expanding and contracting are thought of as physical manifestations of the duality symbolised by yin and yang. This duality lies at the origins of many branches of classical Chinese science and philosophy,

Certain catchphrases have been used to express yin and yang complementarily:

The bigger the front, the bigger the back.
Illness is the doorway to health.
Tragedy turns to comedy.
Disasters turn out to be blessings.

In Daoist metaphysics, distinctions between good and bad, along with other dichotomous moral judgments, are perceptual, not real; so, the duality of yin and yang is an indivisible whole. In the ethics of Confucianism on the other hand, most notably in the philosophy of Dong Zhongshu (c. 2nd century BC), a moral dimension is attached to the idea of yin and yang.


* The Allegory of the Cave (also titled Plato’s Cave or Parable of the Cave) in Plato’s, Republic is said to compare the effect of education and the lack of it on our nature.

Plato has Socrates describe a gathering of people who have lived chained to the wall of a cave all of their lives, facing a blank wall. The people watch shadows projected on the wall from things passing in front of a fire behind them, and they begin to give names to these shadows. The shadows are as close as the prisoners get to viewing reality. He then explains how the philosopher is like a prisoner who is freed from the cave and comes to understand that the shadows on the wall do not make up reality at all, for he can perceive the true form of reality rather than the mere shadows seen by the prisoners.

Socrates reveals this “child of goodness” to be the sun, proposing that just as the sun illumines, bestowing the ability to see and be seen by the eye, with its light so the idea of goodness illumines the intelligible with truth.It is proposed that God’s light is too brilliant for man and the light is knowledge. Man is given only part of the light, which is reason and faith.

Socrates likens our perception of the world around us “to the habitation in prison, the firelight there to the sunlight here, the ascent and the view of the upper world [to] the rising of the soul into the world of the mind”

Socrates has presented his thesis of the bisected line further bisecting each of the two segments. The four resulting segments represent four separate ‘affections’ of the psyche. The lower two sections are said to represent the visible while the higher two are said to represent the intelligible. These affections are described in succession as corresponding to increasing levels of reality and truth from conjecture – to belief – to thought and finally to understanding.It elaborates a theory of the psyche.

* In Buddhism, the three marks of existence are three characteristics (Pali: tilakkhaṇa; Sanskrit: trilakṣaṇa) shared by all sentient beings, namely impermanence (anicca), dissatisfaction or suffering (dukkha), and non-self (anattā).

Anicca (Sanskrit anitya) means “inconstancy” or “impermanence”. All conditioned things (saṅkhāra) are in a constant state of flux. The appearance of a thing ceases as it changes from one form to another. When a leaf falls to the ground and decomposes its relative existence and appearance transform, and its components go into a different form.
Saṃsāra (Sanskrit), is the repeating cycle of birth, life and death (reincarnation) as well as one’s actions and consequences in the past, present, and future in Hinduism, Buddhism, Bon, Jainism, Taoism, and Sikhism.

Mahabharata *.

The oldest preserved parts of the text are thought to be not much older than around 400 BCE, though the origins of the epic probably fall between the 8th and 9th centuries BCE.

From the Mahabarata.

28 Kuvera * offended

During the last few weeks before Arjuna’s * return, the Pandavas spent their time in the company of the rishis, but Bhima often roved about the mountain with Ghatotkacha. One day, while the two heroes were absent, a powerful Rakshasa * appeared at Badarika Ashram… He wanted to steal Draupadi *…

Yudhisthira * reprimanded the Rakshasa. “ O fool, virtue decreases in you and yet you care for nothing. What good result do you hope to attain by your vile behaviour? In this material world the celestials. Pitris, Siddhas, * animals, and even worms depend upon men for life. Even your race depends upon men.” …

…Today you have touched the sinless Draupadi and thus destroyed your life duration…The demon met him like the Asura Vritra met Indra. .. Finally Bhima * raised his fist, which resembled a dive-hooded serpent, and dealt the Rakshasa a terrible blow on the neck. He fainted and Bhima caught hold of him as he fell. He raised the Rakshasa up with his two mighty arms and dashed him to the ground.
* Kubera (Sanskrit) sometimes spelt Kuber, Lord of wealth, God King, semi-divine in Hindu. Owner of treasures of the world. Originally described as the chief of evil sprits in Veic-era texts. Assimilated into Buddhist and Jain Pantheons.

* A Rakshasa, is a demonic being.
* Arjuna, heroic Prince 3rd of the Pandava brothers.
* Draupadi, fire born daughter of Drupada, King of Panchala and common wife of the five Pandavas. The most beautiful woman.
* Yudhisthira eldest son of King Pandu.
* A siddha is one who has achieved spritual realisation, spiritual perfection or enlightenment. In Janism a soul in its purest form who have destroyed all karmas. Siddhas are yogis that practice sadhana (an ego-transcending spiritual practice).
· Bhima second of the Pandavas.

Nahusha was cursed by Agastya Rishi and fell to earth as a snake where she encoiled Bhima. This discussion to free Nahusha would have to answer the question between the soul and the Supreme Being. The point is made concerning endeavours for happiness.

Yudhistra was said to be sinless, had a grasp of spiritual matters and was almost unrivalled in knowledge od the Vedas.

Nahusha questioned Yudhistra, “How can we recognise a true Brahmin, and what is the highest object of knowledge?”

Yudhistra answered, “A Brahmin is characterised by the qualities of honesty, purity, forgiveness, self-control, asceticism, knowledge, and religiosity. The highest object of knowledge is the Supreme Brahaman, which can be known when one has transcended all duality.”

In reply was doubtful, “And how can anyone exist without experiencing happiness and distress, the basis of all duality?”

Within his counter, Yudhistra said,”…Happiness and distress in relationship to material objects can be transcended while still being experienced in relation to the Supreme. Material emotions are perverted reflections of original spiritual feelings.”

“Non-envy means always desiring the welfare and advancement of all living beings rather than to exploit them for one’s own pleasure. In particular one should desire the spiritual progress of others and act to assist them in that progress.”

“The soul, or atman, receives bodies according to his own behaviour. Thus he transmigrates life after life, impelled by his sinful and pious acts, sometimes going to heaven and sometimes moving about in the body of an animal. Final liberation comes to know Brahman, the Supreme Absolute.”

Nahusha realised that his interests lay in spiritual knowledge rather than material status or opulence.

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