Budha (Mercury) & the Tattvas of Mental Operation
Prakrti (manifested matter/objective energy) differentiates into antahkarana (the psychic apparatus), indriyas (the senses), and bhutas (matter). Antahkarana as the “psychic,” or information processing mechanism of an individual, consists of three sattvas: the buddhi, ahamkara, and manas.1
Buddhi is what we most commonly associate with Budha (Mercury). It is our ascertaining intellect (vyavasayatmika), our rational mind. Our rational mind processes two types of input: external (physically manifested matter or events) and internal (residual, echo-like impressions and memories which result from external input or the self-centered constructs).
Just as the Sun brings a subject into manifested, objective being simply by its recognition of it, the buddhi’s creative power is the product of its own workings. Ahamkara is what makes us aware of our own existence. We think, therefore we are. It’s the “I-making” principle and the power of self-appropriation.
And, as a further result of self-realization, comes Manas, which works hand-in-hand with the senses (Śūkra) to form our perceptions. It transforms the input coming through the senses into images and concepts. This appears to be the more irrational aspect of the rational mind in that it is not easily controlled consciously. It’s the manas which takes unfiltered sensory input and prepares it for processing. If you’re extra sensitive to prakrti (that is, any signals from manifested objects), it’s the manas that’s responsible for your sensory overload. It’s the responsibility of the manas to filter all input and prepare it for processing. As mantra is, literally, a tool of manas, it can be extremely powerful in controlling both our perceptions and our endlessly compounding thoughts.
Jaideva Singh. Śiva Sutras. pp. xxvii-xxviii. ↩