MIND MOVEMENT CHANNELS (Manowaha Srotas) The manowaha srotas system is a controversial theory currently receiving attention from Ayurvedic scholars. Translated as “mind movement channels” (Garg, 1996), this theoretical system claims that consciousness pervades every cell of the body through the medium of a subtle channel system, governed by the mind. These channels carry prana and form a network affecting all aspects of emotional and physical health. “Prana is the active principle within marman, with the potential to influence emotional and physical health” (Thatte, interview, 5/10/98). The relationship between the mind, body and soul are referred to as “the tripod of life” in the text Charaka Samhita (trans Trikamji, 1981) and the “mind movement channels” (manowaha srotas) are believed to be the key to the communication of all channel systems (srotas) within the human body. This Ayurvedic model of the subtle movements of prana, which originate from mental and emotional states, resembles the Chinese idea of a qi network of energy channels and the traditional Chinese idea that the mind and emotions play a major role in the physical health of the individual (Neijing Su Wen, Ch 39, trans Lu, 1978). The classical texts concerning the “mind movement channels” become highly technical within the paradigm of Ayurvedic theory. However, several points were found to be within the parameters of this research: All channels (srotas) in the human body are divided into two types, visible and invisible.
- The visible srotas include arteries, veins and any structure which carries substances.
- The “mind movement channels” (manowaha srotas) are invisible. According to contemporary Ayurvedic sources, they include the impulses that are conducted along afferent and efferent nerve fibres and are believed to support consciousness (Garg, interview, 6/10/98).
- The invisible manowaha srotas can utilise the visible srotas, such as the intestinal tract, as the need may be, according to time of day and season (Manickavasagam, 1993).
- Arterial blood in the human body constitutes one extra marman (dhamani marman) because of its association with the heart and its potential vitiation by the doshas. Therefore the total Ayurvedic marman count can be estimated at 108 (trans Thatte, 1994).
- The heart is the “seat” of consciousness because it forms the centre of the manowaha srotas (Bhela Sharira 7.3 and Charaka Nidana 7:4, trans Manohara, personal communication, 10/3/00).
- The heart is affected by pathogenesis when the “mind channels” are disturbed, and the power of thinking becomes deranged as blood (dhamani marman) is vitiated by the doshas (Bhela Chikitsa 8.10)
- The mind (manas) and the intellect (chitta) are associated with consciousness and are energetically placed in the heart region (Charaka Sharira 7.8; Susruta Sharira 4.34). The heart is therefore believed to be the “seat of consciousness”.
- The cognitive mind is associated with sense organs in the head region and is located between the head and the palate (Bhela Samhita Chikitsa 8.2)
- The mind is connected with the movement of all body parts and the bodily manifestation of consciousness: “The mind has channels to move to the seat of the senses” (Charaka Vimana 5.7)