Mind – The First AI (Artificial Intelligence) Device

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a topic in the news everywhere. ChatGPT, Microsoft Bing AI, and Google Bard are some of the AI tools which are being debated in the media. Artificial intelligence is also used in robots for a wide variety of skills and applications. Robots as medical assistants, robots as office assistants, robots working in restaurants. The list can go on.

So, what is artificial intelligence? Wikipedia defines and describes artificial intelligence as follows:

Artificial intelligence (AI) is intelligence—perceiving, synthesizing, and inferring information—demonstrated by machines, as opposed to intelligence displayed by humans or by other animals. “Intelligence” encompasses the ability to learn and to reason, to generalize, and to infer meaning. Example tasks in which this is done include speech recognition, computer vision, translation between (natural) languages, as well as other mappings of inputs. 

AI applications include advanced web search engines (e.g., Google Search), recommendation systems (used by YouTube, Amazon, and Netflix), understanding human speech (such as Siri and Alexa), self-driving cars (e.g., Waymo), generative or creative tools (ChatGPT), and competing at the highest level in strategic game systems (such as chess and Go).

From this description as given by Wikipedia, it seems that the original intelligence (OI) belongs to living beings (human + animals + plants), and anything external which tries to mimic this intelligence is called an artificial intelligence device. AI is trying to copy this intelligence which is freely available within living beings.

This difference between OI and AI seems logical. Original intelligence belongs to living beings and artificial intelligence to external objects, systems, or machines. If you are a student of Vedanta, you may find a fallacy in this logic and reasoning. Vedanta teaches us that the human body and animal body are insentient; they are inanimate. They are as insentient as all the external objects in the universe. The word used in Sanskrit is jada—which means insentient or non-intelligent. Not only the body, but also the mind is jada. This may be difficult to accept, but it is a fact. Vedanta teaches us that the body and mind do not have their own intelligence; they borrow or acquire intelligence from an external source. They themselves do not have intelligence; they acquire intelligence. Just like robots acquire artificial intelligence, in the same way all living beings acquire intelligence from an external source. What is this external source? Vedanta teaches us that SatChitAnanda, your innermost core, is the source of unlimited intelligence. This inner core is within each living being. Each living being acquires intelligence from this source.

So, both living beings and external objects (like robots) are made up of artificial intelligence. Having said this, there are major differences between living beings and robots or other AI applications.

1. Living beings get their intelligence directly from the original source; they get their intelligence directly from SatChitAnanda. Robots and other AI applications do not have any direct connections with the original intelligence source. They are dependent upon the intelligence of the human mind. The human minds program them, write algorithms, and create self-learning software tools for these applications and machines.

2. Living beings have a feeling of “I am.” They have emotions, they have feelings, they know who and what they are. They are conscious. AI machines and applications lack this feeling of “I-ness” or emotions and feelings. They are not a conscious entity.    

So, the Mind is inert; it is jada. SatChitAnanda—the source of unlimited intelligence—is present within our inner core. So why is the Mind still inert? Why is this unlimited knowledge not available to the Mind? How does the Mind become intelligent?

We have raised some interesting questions here. We will now focus on answering them by understanding the following points:

  1. Understanding SatChitAnanda (Self-Awareness)—the source of unlimited intelligence.
  2. Understanding Ignorance—the powers of Ignorance.
  3. Understanding Mind—creation of Mind.
  4. Mind and Artificial Intelligence.

1. Understanding SatChitAnanda (Self-Awareness)

Vedanta teaches us that our inner core is SatChitAnanda or Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is like a bulb within us, shining Awareness. It does nothing except radiate Awareness. For a detailed analysis of Awareness, please read the essay “Power of Awareness.” Here we will give a quick overview.

As we have discussed in the essay mentioned above, Awareness is the most powerful force in the universe, and it is the underlying reality of the universe. It has the power to connect with a form present in the mind and create an experience of which we are aware. Awareness is made of three things: Subject, Object, and Intelligence. If any one of them is missing, there will be no Awareness.

  • There must be a subject, who is aware of the experience. The subject is the knower part of Awareness.
  • There must be an object, which must be experienced. This object is the known part of Awareness.
  • There must be intelligence, by which the subject gets to know the object. This is the knowing part of Awareness.

Awareness = Subject + Object + Intelligence

Power of Awareness = Power of Knower + Power of Known + Power of Knowing

Awareness is made of Subject, Object, and Intelligence, and it has three different powers—Knower, Known, and Knowing. Subject has the Power of the Knower, Object has the Power of the Known, and Intelligence has the Power of Knowing.

It must be understood that Subject, Object, Intelligence, and the three powers are not something outside in the world—they are within Awareness and make up Awareness. Wherever there is Awareness, there are present Subject, Object, and Intelligence with all the three powers. Right now, you are aware of reading this essay, therefore Subject, Object, and Intelligence are present within your awareness of this essay.

  • Power of the Knower manipulates Awareness to become a Subject—a Subject is a reader, listener, seer, talker, eater, etc.
  • Power of the Known manipulates Awareness so that Awareness takes the shape of the object coming from the five senses—just like Play-Doh can be manipulated to become an object. 
  • Power of Knowing is the Intelligence part of Awareness. All possible knowledge and intelligence is available within Awareness. Power of Knowing extracts this knowledge from Awareness. To give some examples—how does one see a tree? The power of seeing (a power within Power of Knowing) decodes the incoming signal of the tree and adds intelligence so that one can see the tree. How does one listen to music? It is because of the power of listening, which is part of Power of Knowing. This listening power decodes the incoming music signal and adds intelligence to the input signal. In this way, you become aware of the music.

2. Understanding Ignorance

Isn’t it amazing that all this Intelligence is available within our inner core, yet we do not know this fact? This unlimited Power of Knowing is present within each living being, and we do not know this fact. What is the reason? The simple answer is that our Ignorance is covering this fact. Ignorance gives an impression of being a word in the English language, but it is a very powerful force. It covers all possible knowledge and intelligence.  

Ignorance is extremely powerful, and it comes with three shaktis or powers:

  • A “Veiling” Power
  • A “Projecting” Power
  • A Power of “Mutual Superimposition”

To explain these powers, the classic example given in Vedanta is the rope/snake example. On a dark night with limited visibility, there is a rope in our path. However, instead of seeing the rope, we see a snake. We have all experienced this at one time or another. If there was no ignorance, we would never see the snake; we would know straightaway that there is a rope “out there.” So, the snake was created out of our ignorance. How does ignorance create the snake?

First, the “veiling power” of Ignorance covers up the rope completely so that the rope is not visible. As a second step, the “projection power” of Ignorance projects the snake onto the rope. Finally, the “power of mutual superimposition,” which superimposes the rope’s qualities on the snake and the snake’s qualities on the rope. They are mutually superimposed on each other. The shape and size of the rope are transferred to the “snake,” and the awesome and fearful qualities of the “snake” are superimposed on the rope. So, by looking at this superimposed snake in the shape of the rope, you get frightened.

The same veiling power of Ignorance covers up Self-Awareness, your essential nature; you don’t know you are Self-Aware. You don’t know you are SatChitAnanda; you don’t know you are Uncreated, Unchanging, Limitless, Blissful, and Self-Aware. With the mutual superimposition power, the qualities of the Self and Ignorance are mutually interchanged. The Awareness part of the Self is superimposed on Ignorance to make Ignorance conscious and sentient. The nature of Ignorance, which is always limited and incomplete, is superimposed on the Self. Then the “projection power” creates a new entity—the mind with the ego (small self).

3. Understanding Mind – Creation with Ignorance

We have just seen that the Mind is created by the mutual superimposition of Awareness and Ignorance. If there was no Ignorance of the Self, there would be no Mind—there would be only Awareness, your inner core. With the superimposition of Awareness, even the three Powers of Awareness are added and are available within the Mind. The three Powers of Awareness are present in the mind as follows:

  1. Sakshi—the home of the Subject with Power of the Knower
  2. Manas—the home of the Object with Power of the Known
  3. Buddhi—the home of the Intelligence with Power of Knowing
  4. Ahamkara—the home of the Ego (self)

The four parts of the mind are in different “departments.” Intelligence is sitting in Buddhi, the Object part is sitting in Manas, the Subject part is sitting in Sakshi, and the self or “I-ness” is sitting in Ahamkara. These four parts are separated, but there is a natural tendency for them to combine to create Self-Awareness. There is a mutual attraction to come together so that they can collectively achieve their original status of being Self-Aware and therefore feel complete. When the Subject, Object and Intelligence are separated, the self (ego) feels incomplete; it feels inadequate, and it wants to feel full and complete. The only way the self can feel complete is when the Subject, Object, and Intelligence combine into one entity. This happens every time we experience something; for example, when we look at a tree all the components combine to create an experience of “completeness” and we are Aware of the tree.

  • Mind = Awareness + Ignorance
  • Mind = three Powers of Awareness + Ignorance

4. Buddhi and Artificial Intelligence

Buddhi is the home of Intelligence with Ignorance. It has Power of Knowing. Power of Knowing has unlimited intelligence and is the storage of all possible knowledge. There is no knowledge which is not present in this Power of Knowing. Some of the powers which are available in Buddhi are as follows:

Power of Cognition or Sensation: This is Power of Knowing that is available in the sense organs. This power decodes the incoming signal from the five senses and adds the required knowledge about the input signal. It is like adding the source code to the input signal.

Power of Imagination: Daydreaming or creative/positive thinking are good examples. We are involved in this on a regular basis, where we can construct an imaginary vision for ourselves. This power is present in Buddhi.

Power of Logic: The power of comparing, drawing inferences, discussion, etc. So, we can say that the power of logic is within Buddhi. If you see smoke on the hill, you conclude there is fire. A wide range of logic “circuitry” is available in Buddhi, which we use on a regular basis. However, many of these powers remain unused.

Power of Will: This is the power to execute desires, wishes, and ideals, and is available within Buddhi and within Ahamkara (ego). It is originally within Ahamkara, but Buddhi also learns this skill over time.

Power of Memory: This is where all the things learned and experienced are stored. This storage is Chitta. The next time a similar input signal is presented, Memory knows what the waveform represents. When you see an orange for the first time, the knowledge of the orange is stored in the memory. When you see an orange the next time, the knowledge of the orange is retrieved from the memory.

In Buddhi, Power of Knowing (Intelligence) and Ignorance are mutually superimposed on each other. Intelligence imposes itself on Ignorance, and Ignorance imposes itself on Intelligence. The new entity, Buddhi, has Power of Knowing but is restricted or covered by Ignorance. The goal is then to remove this Ignorance so that Power of Knowing reveals itself. How to remove Ignorance? It is a fact that Knowledge is the only antidote to Ignorance. Only Knowledge can remove Ignorance. Nothing else. Knowledge of Chinese can remove the ignorance of Chinese. Knowledge of gravity can remove the ignorance of gravity. Nothing else.

When a baby is born it has no knowledge, it is only covered with ignorance. Knowledge-wise it is a blank slate. So how does one gain knowledge? We have all been through this process. With repeated instructions and practice, the baby recognizes simple objects and words and gains knowledge. This new knowledge sticks and removes ignorance, and Power of Knowing on these topics is exposed and is available in Buddhi. This power allows Buddhi to pick up this knowledge. Buddhi therefore gains intelligence. As children grow up and go to school, with repeated learning and practice, more ignorance is removed, and more knowledge is gained. It is surprising how rapidly this knowledge grows. It is almost exponential in the early stages. This is because more and more aspects of the Power of Knowing are exposed within Buddhi. For example, suppose you start to learn English. Then the Buddhi self-learns many words and sentences just by picking up from the English spoken around you. Very little effort is made to get the additional knowledge. It comes almost automatically. This applies to all aspects of our learning. A well-tuned learning Buddhi makes full use of the connections with the revealed Power of Knowing. Buddhi is a powerful self-learning tool; it is constantly learning and picking up intelligence in the presence of Power of Knowing. That is the strength and beauty of Buddhi—it is self-learning. The more knowledge you gain, the stronger Buddhi will become. It is not wrong to say that Buddhi is the ultimate artificial intelligence device, continuously learning and upgrading itself in the presence of Power of Knowing. In spite of this, a great deal of Power of Knowing remains covered by Ignorance. Only that knowledge which has been revealed is available to Buddhi. The knowledge of calculus will not reveal itself automatically. It must be learned first; only then will the knowledge of calculus be available.

The Power of Knowledge is a repository of all knowledge – good, positive, and constructive and even bad, negative, and destructive knowledge. The Buddhi is exposed to all sorts of knowledge. The Buddhi can easily go in the wrong direction and could become “evil” or a “rouge” Buddhi. It is just like robots we read in sci-fi stories where robots can become rouge and do destructive work. The robots can be controlled by proper programming of the software included. The only way the Buddhi can be controlled is by the willpower of the ego. If the ego is weak, then there is a possibility of the Buddhi to take over the mind and move it in a negative direction. A strong moral fiber of the ego is the only way to control the Buddhi going haywire.  

Individual Buddhi Profile: It is a known fact that each person has a different knowledge–ignorance profile. Some people are more intelligent than others. Some people are intelligent in a certain skill set, while others are more skillful in other skills. According to Vedanta, the soul is the keeper of this knowledge–ignorance profile—keeping a profile of our intelligence. Every bit of knowledge you gain makes a dent in the soul. If the same experience is repeated often, the dent is deeper; it will make a deeper groove in the soul. For example, if you spend lots of time practicing music, the groove for music will be deep and strong. This groove for music in the soul will continue to your future life. In the next life, when you learn music, the job will be much easier, and you will pick up music much faster and quicker. That is why we see people who are naturally better at music, or more scientifically minded, or better at sports. All this happens because the knowledge/intelligence of these skills is available in the soul. It must be noted that all the knowledge you gain in this life does not go to waste. You will carry those skills or knowledge to your future life as well. Your soul is like a passport, carrying your knowledge and skills with you.

Unlimited Knowledge: We have discussed that Self-Awareness has unlimited knowledge. All the possible knowledge is available in Self-Awareness. There is nothing missing. In comparison to this, we are exposed to only a limited amount of knowledge. We are aware only of a miniscule amount of knowledge. It is impossible to gain all the possible knowledge within Power of Knowing. It does seem that all the possible knowledge is so close, but still very far and remote to us. So much knowledge is still unknown to us.

Is there a solution to gain all possible knowledge? The only way out is merging the limited ego into the ocean of unlimited Self-Awareness. This is moksha or self-realization. Once that goal is achieved you will become the Power of Knowing. All possible knowledge and intelligence will be part of you.


The Mind is inert; it is jada. It gains intelligence only from the unlimited intelligence available with Self-Awareness. Power of Knowing—the source of intelligence—is part of Awareness. Buddhi, a part of the Mind, becomes intelligent only because of Power of Knowing. It must be remembered that all the intelligence we have gained is only because of the knowledge present within Power of Knowing. Our Buddhi is the ultimate artificial intelligence device.

7 thoughts on “Mind – The First AI (Artificial Intelligence) Device”

  1. Excellent article. If awreness/universal consciousness is reponsible to convert jada to sentinent, the day is not far off our future AI machines one day which is also jada can become sentinent with zero ego ( as they will not have any emotions)and hence may take over human beings who have full egos ( hence filled with ignorance).

    1. Thank you. AI machines are dependent upon the human mind for their programming. They do not have access to the original intelligence which is our inner most core – SatChitAananda. Only living being have such access. Machines may become more smarter than humans in the skills sets for which they are programmed for. They will not have access to the feeling of “I” or other emotions.

  2. Hi

    One question the mind in most Vedantic literature is made up of the following:-

    Manas—the home of the Object with Power of the Known
    Buddhi—the home of the Intelligence with Power of Knowing
    Ahamkara—the home of the Ego (self)
    Citta – the memory

    Why have you treated citta separately and not as the main component of the mind. Sakshi is always there as a witness.
    Can you please elaborate.
    Best Rgds

    1. Thank you very for email.

      1. Some text do give Citta a separate mention, while others make it a part of Buddhi. Irrespective, citta is like the hard drive of the mind.

      2. Sakshi (witness) is just one component of Awareness. Objects and Intelligence are the other two major components of Awareness. When you read some texts you do get the impression that sakshi or Observer is the only component of the inner most core. It may be an easy way to understand our inner most core. In reality our inner most core is Awareness and it has the three powers. Sakshi with the power of known is one of them. There is a sakshi within each mind. Then the power of knower has the ability to become any object. This power is also part of Awareness and is usually ignored in the discussion. We need to understand all the 3 powers of Awareness.

      I hope I have answered your question.

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