Cognitive Scientific Concept of Guna

Cognitive scientific meaning of guna and Cognition insight:

The word Guna extensively used in Indian spiritual texts, means mental tie-up. The vaiseshika, samkhya, yoga and Vedanta extensively discuss the concept of guna.
If the mental tie-up is with object-energy form through the means of manas, it is tamo guna; bahirmukha dristi; antarmukha dristi too.

If the mental tie-up is with inner mental world – with stored collection of information about outer physical and/ or impressions created by such information it is rajo guna. Antarmukha dristi

If the mental tie-up is with experience, mood, meaning, sense, insight, understanding, intuition, urge, volition, through inner mental tool chittam, it is sattva guna. Antarmukha dristi

If no mental tie-up is there with objective-energy forms or objected-energy created experiences / insight / ideas / sense / meaning it is called nirguna state of mind.
It is not the question of whether an object is there or not in physical world around. It is whether the object is cognized or not. When chit energy lights the object, the object is cognized. If the light is off object is not cognized.

When not cognized for the lack or absence of chit energy it is as good as the object is not present for the cognizing agent. Lighting of object world (outside the body or perceived within the body from earlier already created mental impressions) is cognition by chit energy. The object is present as stimuli-causing in the outside physical world and as potential energy form inside the body as perceived world or between chit energy or object-energy form (live, dynamic, current). Lighting by chit energy means presence of mind to be able to do all forms mental functions. Absence of mind is deep sleep or wakeful sleep conscious state.

Process of Cognition and Communication - Axioms:

Cognition is a series of cognition and re-cognition and communication.

Cognition and communication – Listener and Expresser:

Cognition consists of cognizing elements, cognizing tools, cognizing agent, cognizing process, cognized elements: Knowing – perceiving – experiencing / Understanding/ Becoming the Sense and being the essence / fruit / purport / import / rasa / culminating as peace / bliss / silence (No – cognition state but is the result of experience of the essence of the cognition) – in the listener and just the reverse process in the expresser forming and resulting in the communication.


Human beings know by the following means (pramanas):
The means of cognition are: (Software):
Through sense organs: Pratyaksa pramana
Sense organs: receiving information
Knowing takes place through the medium of inner mental tool – manas

Through inference: Anumana pramana

Through the inner mental tools – manas, buddhi (discrimination and intellectual operations, ahamkaaram (formation and collection of thoughts / feelings about the individual in attention to body gender, mental traits, social status, and the like) and chittam ( collects, receives, creates, stores, retrieves, recollects object-energy created experiences simultaneous to and in tune with knowing and perceiving – which includes the meanings, senses, understanding, insight, mood, intuition, urge, physical and psychological cravings etc.) Inner mental tools: registering and reproduction of information by authenticity, authority or through faith, allegiance and obedience to earlier expressions of eminent intellectuals: sabda pramana

Completely based on faith the individual has for experts in the field, instinct, earlier knowledge brought down through generations through books etc.,

Thus cognition has three stages of knowing, perceiving and experiencing and all these three under the observation of the Consciousness as acts as Seer / Witness untouched by these mental happenings during the whole process of cognition, re-cognition and communication.

There is also a state or stage of no-cognition taking place, then the consciousness is pure known as pure consciousness, signifying content-free contented state, cognition and related experiences-free unoccupied awareness – experienced as bliss, peace silence, mental quietude, anxiety-, fear-, worry-, doubt-free mental state.
Action organs communicate and express the already mentally stored, recollected, re-cognized experience, perception.

The Formation and Structure of cognition and communication:

Concept and idea of Triad (Triputi):

The Triad:

The cognition- knowing, perception, storing, re-cognition, retrieval and communication are facilitated by the psychic energy released by breathing process and its transformation and transductions in forward and reverse directions.

The transformation in forward and reverse direction of reflected psychic or mental energy gives rise to dvaita state of mind when consciousness becomes seer + awareness and splits into triad as knower – knowing – known; subject – verb – object; cognizer – cognizing – cognized; communicator – communicating – communicated during cognition and communication of humans.

When this transformation and reverse transformation cease to take place then the state of mind is known as advaita state, when knower and known merges into knowing; subject and object merges into verb, cognizer and cognized into cognizing, communicator and communicated starts as communication. Thus the cognition consists of:

Structure of Cognition:

Cognizing element/agent/subject Instruments of cognition object of cognition (impersonal)

Dvaita phase of mind:

Conscious states of phases of mind when mind alternates between dvaita and advaita states during wakeful and dream conscious state of mind

Mental states of cognition: Advaita, Dvaita and their simultaneous existence and working

Types of cognition: Knowing, perception, experience / mood/sense/ meaning/ understanding/ insight/intuition/ urge, craving:

Stages and States of cognition:

Functional – form – construction – structure – plane – level of cognition

Elements of cognition: Object energy forms (sense organs / knowing), electro-chemical (inner mental tools / perception / logic / intellectual operations /) and biochemical [experience / sense / mood etc., (inner mental tool chittam)] under the observation of infrasonic oscillator – the consciousness.

Forms of energies being sensed during knowing: light (eye); sound (ear); chemical (tongue - taste / nose – smell) mechanical (skin – touch) heat (skin - cold, cool, warm, hot).

Form of energy facilitating perception and other intellectual operations, sentence formations: electro-chemical.

Form of energy facilitating experience etc.: biochemical

The perception (electro-chemical) and experience (biochemical) are carried by and as the frequency modulations/demodulations of the infrasonic pulse series – the reflected mental energy pulses – the brain waves – generated by and are the result of rhythmic breathing process. (Ramabrahmam, 2009-a, -b,- c)

Prapancham is created as potential energy in the respect cortices and when this is retrieved, it is called jagat, the dynamical form of information as thought, feeling, perception preceded by experience, mood, sense etc., differentiated and split as knower-knowing-known or subject-verb-object, the triad, in the dvaita phase of mind i.e, the jagrat (wakeful) and swapna (dream) conscious states of mind.

Instruments of Communication:

Inner mental tools: retrieval and reproduction of information through action organs

Action organs: reaction and responding to information.


Human Mind: Its phases, cognitive states, functional states and functioning as gunas:

Human mind has four modes or gunas - mental ties-up - of functioning.

Three modes of awareness in continuous consciousness: tamo-, rajo-, and sattva gunas.

Mode of knowing/expression – in this mode objective-energy form is received through sense organs and communicated through action organs. This is tamo guna state of mind.

Mode of perception, communication, sentence, logic, reasoning etc., This is rajo guna state of mind.

Mode of insight, understanding, experience, mood, meaning, sense, intuition, instinct, urge, common sense etc., This is sattva guna state of mind.

All these states of mind constitutes of dvaita phase.

Mode of consciousness sets in when awareness has become one with consciousness: This nirguna state of mind. This state of mind is actually the consciousness and no awareness of cognition or communication happens.

This is advaita phase of mind or the state of the Self / Atman / Brahman / Para.

Fullness, bliss, peace, silence, meaningful experience or experienced meaning etc.

In the mode of consciousness all the remaining modes take place sequentially and reversibly to make one knowledgeable and communicate the acquired or inherent knowledge.

Mode of insight is the result of perception or intuition or instinct. State of insight is permanent once understanding sets in or experience takes place compared to state of perception.

Knowing is the result of direct sensing by sense organs. Perception is correlation of sensed information with already known and preserved information stored in inner mental world. So is understanding or experience. Insight is the fruit of understanding. Intuition is a flash arising from insight or experience. The intuition flashes as an action to be performed in the form of verb (sense). Understanding is also thus a correlation of perception with already available senses or experiences or insight within created by earlier perceptions or sense or instinct naturally possessed by the organism through genes inherited. This analysis and correlation of this knowledge with modern scientific attempts [9, 10] helps to model human mental functions which have implications to artificial intelligence, mind-machine modelling, physiological psychology and neurology.


  1. Radhakrishnan, S., Indian Philosophy Vol.One and Vol. Two, Centenary Edition, Oxford University Press, Bombay, Calcutta, Madras, 1993.
  2. Radhakrishnan. S. The Principal Upanishads, Indus, An imprint of Harper Collins Publishers India, 1994.
  3. Ramabrahmam, V. Being and Becoming: A Physics and Upanishadic Awareness of Time and Thought Process, LudusVitalis, XIII Num. 24, 2005, 139-154.
  4. Ramabrahmam.V. , The Science of Human Consciousness. LudusVitalis, XV. No. 27, 2007, pp. 127-142.
  5.  Ramabrahmam, V., A cognitive science correlation of the meaning of padaartha in relation to human consciousness, mind and their functions, Paper presentation at International Conference on Indic Studies – 2013 on “Ancient Indian Wisdom and Modern World” on the theme “Ancient Indian Vision and Cognitive Science” between March 29-31, 2013 at Delhi, India, 2013.
  6.  Ramabrahmam, V., Indian spiritual awareness of body, mind and consciousness: A cognitive science insight, Paper presentation at 2nd International Conference on "Is Science able to explain the Scientist? (Science and Scientist-2014)" being held at Aachaarya Naagaarjuna University, Guntur, Andhrapradesh, India on November 28, 2014 – November 29, 2014 in collaboration with Chaitanya Saraswat Institute, Siliguri, West Bengal, India, 2014.
  7. Ramabrahmam, V, The hardware and software of human cognition and communication: A cognitive science perspective of orthodox Indian philosophical systems. paper presentation at Fourth International Conference: Science and Scientist-2016: August 26, 2016_August 27, 2016, Prof. K. V. Gowda Memorial Auditorium, Bangalore University, 2016.
  8. RamanujaTatacharya, N.S. Sabdabodhameemamsa-An Inquiry into Indian Theories of Verbal Cognition Part I - The Sentences and its Significance, Institute Francais De Pondichery, Pondicherry - Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi. 2005.
  9. Perlovsky, Leonid. I. Neural Networks and Intellect, Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford, 2001.
  10. Penrose, R. Emperor’s New Mind, Vintage, New York, 1990.


More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam

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