What exactly is the heart?
In many literatures we see the word “heart” refering to something subtle. what is this “heart” ? is it mind , senses or the soul? where is this heart present?
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Transcription (edited) by- Keshavgopal Das
Question- In many literatures we see the word “heart” referring to something subtle. What is this “heart” ? Is it mind, senses, or the soul? Where is this heart present?
Answer- The word “heart” in general has two meanings. One, off course, is the biological heart that pumps blood into the body. This heart is certainly not referred to generally when we speak about the “heart” in devotional or emotional context. In that context, the word “heart” also refers to the “source and seat of emotion”. And in that sense “heart” refers to the soul itself. Our emotions are conveyed through the mind, but our source of emotion is our aatma (soul) itself. Most of the time when we say “heart”, it is not the literal usage meaning the “biological heart”, but it is more a poetic usage to indicate the “source and seat of emotion”, which is aatma.
Lord Narayana mentions in the ninth canto of Srimad Bhagavatam:
sādhavo hṛdayaṁ mahyaṁ
sādhūnāṁ hṛdayaṁ tv aham
mad-anyat te na jānanti
nāhaṁ tebhyo manāg api
The pure devotee is always within the core of My heart, and I am always in the heart of the pure devotee. My devotees do not know anything else but Me, and I do not know anyone else but them.
Now if you look at the biological heart, we will not find Krishna over there. Of course Krishna is situated in the region of the heart, as the aatma. But here when Krishna says, He is situated in the devotee’s heart, although He is situated in everyone’s heart (BG 18.61), but here He is referring that – devotees have enthroned Me as the Lord of their heart. In that sense they are offering all their emotions, all their love to Me.
This verse from Srimad Bhagvatam conveys that “heart” is the seat and source of emotion. And that refers to the soul proper. So aatma itself refers to “heart” in such usages.