The Ten Senses

posted on 18 April 2014 | posted in Information

We see and understand the world by the mind through our ten senses. The process of perception and knowledge is a quick, complex and marvellous one. Light plays the greatest role in exposing the world to our mind. Images of the world travel as waves through the eyes, where the retina plays an important role of sending the images to the brain. The mind interprets these images when received. However, we do not only see but also feel, hear, smell and taste and all these are done through the sense organs. Among all these, the mind plays the primordial role by interpreting, discriminating, memorising and doing so many other functions. Those who study biology, chemistry, physics, psychology and even mathematics cannot hold their awe when faced with the superstructure of the body and the work of the senses and the mind. The motor senses, namely the hands, feet, mouth, sexual and excretion organs, are not excluded from the machinery which contributes a lot to bring the world of sense, taste, touch and so on to the mind.


Nature has provided for a perfect instrument through which the mind evolves, for its role is not only to take cognisance and be conscious of the world around, but also to grow in the process of learning about it. To be able to work properly and for a sound progress, the mind needs food like thinking, memorising and so on, otherwise it becomes dull. Its evolution and functioning may be hampered if the senses through which it operates do not work correctly. The mind is the central motor, the senses and the body are its instruments. Viewed in a different way, the mind is the essence while the brain is the engine which moves the whole metabolism. The way we live may shape our senses including the brain and may even cause great damage to them. When the mind, brain and senses are cared for properly and in a very scientific way, we enjoy good health and can face life easily. Otherwise, we may feel that life is nothing but hell.

Too much noise or sound of a high frequency may cause irreparable damage to the ear-drum, thus affecting the sense of hearing. Too much alcohol or tobacco will destroy the taste buds of our tongue. Similarly, other external stimuli can affect the delicate nerves of our body and senses in such a way that our outlook of life can change drastically. Since the intake of food and liquid influences the whole metabolism and thus life, religion strongly forbids certain types of food like non-vegetarian ones. Religion has always prescribed a righteous way of living, which is scientific, but its imposition without clear explanation has made it become an obstacle and taboo. Too much of anything will more than often cause harm rather than good. Too much play makes Jack a dull boy, too much learning equally makes Jack a dull boy. Buddha emphasised on the golden rule of the middle path. But people are so much drowned by the sense of taste that they forget the simple logic of this golden rule which is scientific and has nothing to do with orthodox religious belief.

Just as the way we live has a direct influence on our vision of reality, similarly our mental structure, too, can greatly blur our vision of the world where we live. In fact, the mind is at the base of our whole life. Without it, the senses are of no use. We may possess the best of sense organs, but if we have an undeveloped or confused mind, we would be like an inorganic substance or a plant. For this reason, mystics and those who have experienced God lay much emphasis on mind transformation. However, both the body with its senses and the mind should be given great care since they are both of paramount importance and affect each other.

Swami Paramananda