According to Advaita Vedanta if I am always the witness consciousness, Brahman, then who 'controls' the mind? Mind control is an important part of most Sadhana, and if I am the watcher of my thoughts, how do 'I' control the mind? Just by shining the light of consciousness on the mind? For all of us, there is the choice to think both nice and nasty thoughts, there is the choice to engage in both right and wrong actions. Who is it that then controls the mind to think and engage only in certain thoughts and actions?

Thanks for your answers.

  • I'm still a student of Advaita. I'll try to answer from what i've known and learned so far. Your true nature is infinite, boundless, universal spirit (Brahman/Paramatma). This Brahman (which is actually You) from his original unmanifested state, manifested as the physical universe and jivas. It is this Brahman (which is You) with the help of its maya shakti is powering the whole universe and animated all the jivas. The jivas are nothing but a bundle of 5 sheaths. And who is powering/animating all the sheaths? It is none other than you, the Brahman. Dec 7, 2021 at 15:12
  • Just like electricity powers up non-living objects like vaccum cleaner, washing machine etc. and yet this energy called electricity itself performs no action but is the cause behind the functioning of other electrical devices. Same way, You, the Brahman is powering all the bodies or sheaths including the mind. But you simply turned the mind and body ON with your all-pervading presence. You the Brahman, is not the doer of deeds. The Brahman simply witnesses. Once you've turned the mind and body on, they function on their own under the effects of your maya shakti and its 3 gunas. Dec 7, 2021 at 15:20
  • In short, the mind and body are controlled by our vasanas (desires) and samskaras (previous conditionings). These vasanas and samskaras comes into the picture when Brahman puts Itself under ignorance with its maya shakti. Once you attain knowledge of your True Self by attaining moksha, your mind won't be controlled by your baser passions and desires. Dec 7, 2021 at 15:27

1 Answer 1


As Ramana Maharishi said, the one question to ask is - Who am I? In English it might be better said -Who am 'I'? Until Brahman is attained, realized, the one who controls your mind is you - your individual ego. Once Brahman is attained, there is the realization that it was Brahman all along that controlled it. While you are aware of the world (dualism), your ego controls the mind. When you have realized Brahman, there is no duality. Until Brahman is realized, however, it is a delusion of your ego to try and foster the control on Brahman. Better to say I, my own self, am the one responsible for my evil deeds; my good deeds are from Brahman. Too many people, misled by their egos, try to foster their evil deeds on Brahman and have their egos take credit for their good deeds.

  • From dualistic perspective. The mind can be controlled by ego. But ego itself drives mind activity wild. It is possible to shut ego and mind both. Who is controlling in this case ? Probably there are different levels of ego, apart from normal "human" ego?
    – noname7619
    Aug 18, 2022 at 20:01

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