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(Sanskrit मनस्) In general use, "mind." However, in Sanskrit the word manas can mean "imagination, intellect, inclination, will, excogitation, temper, understanding, intention, mind, spirit or spiritual principle, mood, perception, opinion, intelligence, breath or living soul which escapes from the body at death, desire, sense, reflection, thought, affection, conscience, invention, spirit."

Manas is derived from the root मन् man, "to think." Manas is the root of the English term "man."

In Hinduism, the word manas is used with great flexibility and range, and thus can be applied in a variety of ways in the understanding of our psyche. In most cases it refers to the undisciplined mind of the common person, that is ruled by desires and ignorant of the true nature of the self (Atman). Manas is understood as the capacity for thought, which is one aspect of the antahkarana, the "inner organ." 

The Vedas posit two forms of manas:

  • buddhi manas 
  • kama manas 

The Upanishads also present two forms of manas:

“Manas (mind) is said to be of two kinds, the pure and the impure. That which is associated with the thought of desire is the impure, while that which is without desire is the pure. To men, their mind alone is the cause of bondage or emancipation. That mind which is attracted by objects of sense tends to bondage, while that which is not so attracted tends to emancipation.” —Amritabindu Upanishad

"Suddha Manas or Sattvic mind (pure mind) and Asuddha (impure) Manas or the instinctive mind or desire-mind as it is called are the two kinds of mind according to Upanishadic teaching. There is the lower mind filled with passion. There is the higher mind filled with Sattva (purity). There are two minds. You will have to make it into one - Sattvic mind only - if you want to meditate. It is through the higher or Sattvic mind that you will have to control the lower or instinctive mind of passions and emotions." —Swami Sivananda

In Buddhism, manas is used to refer to "mind" or "intelligence," in terms of mental function and activity.

Samael Aun Weor uses the term manas primarily in two ways:

  • Superior Manas: the Human Soul, the causal body, the sephirah Tiphereth
  • Inferior Manas: the intellect, the mental body (whether solar or lunar), the sephirah Netzach