The Mandaic word mana (ࡌࡀࡍࡀ) is a term that is roughly equivalent to the philosophical concept of nous. It has been variously translated as "mind", "soul", "treasure",[1] "Garment", "Intelligence", "Heart", "Spirit", "Being"; or alternatively as "nous",[2] "consciousness", or "vessel".[3]

Theodor Nöldeke argued that the word is of Iranian origin.[4]


E. S. Drower (1960) translates the literal Aramaic meaning of mana as 'a garment, robe, vehicle, vessel, instrument'. Symbolically, it refers to the 'soul' or 'mind'.[5]: 2  Drower compares mana to the Valentinian concept of Sophia (Wisdom) and the Marcosian concept of Ennoia (Idea, Thought).[5]: 81 

In Mandaean scriptures

All of the hymns in Book 2 of the Left Ginza, in which the mana laments that it has been cast into the physical world, begin with the following refrain:[3][6]

I am a mana of the Great Life (mana ana ḏ-hiia rbia)
I am a mana of the Mighty Life (mana ana ḏ-hiia rurbia)
I am a mana of the Great Life (mana ana ḏ-hiia rbia)

"I am a mana of the Great Life" (mana ana ḏ-hiia rbia) is also frequently used in the Mandaean Book of John.[7] In Psalm 5 of the Manichaean Psalms of Thomas, the phrase "treasure of life" is derived from the aforementioned Mandaean formula according to Torgny Säve-Söderbergh.[8] This phrase has also been borrowed by the Valentinian Gnostics from Mandaeism.[9]: 28 

The Book 3 of the Right Ginza, the "mana within the mana" and the "fruit (pira) within the fruit" existed before even the spiritual universe (the World of Light) with its uthras and emanations came into being.[3]

In Book 5, Chapter 1 of the Right Ginza (also known as the "Book of the Underworld"), Hag and Mag, two inhabitants of the World of Darkness, are described as the two manas of darkness.[3]

On the origin of mana (reason or mind) in mankind, Book 10 of the Right Ginza states:[3]: 272 

Thus when Ptahil went to his father Abatur, he took (away) a hidden Mana (mana kasia), which had been given to them from the house of the Life. And he brought it (back) and cast it into Adam and his wife Hawa.

As names of Hayyi Rabbi

Further information: Hayyi Rabbi

According to E. S. Drower, the name Great Mind or Great Mana refers to the "over-soul" or "over-mind", the earliest manifestation of Hayyi ("Life"), from which the soul of a human might be seen as a spark or temporarily detached part.[10] In book three of the Right Ginza, Hayyi is said to have "formed Himself in the likeness of the Great Mana, from which He emerged".[11]

See also


  1. ^ Buckley, Jorunn Jacobsen (2002). The Mandaeans: ancient texts and modern people. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-515385-5. OCLC 65198443.
  2. ^ Drower, E. S. (1960). The Secret Adam: The Study of Nasoraean Gnosis (PDF). London: Oxford University Press. p. 46.
  3. ^ a b c d e Gelbert, Carlos (2011). Ginza Rba. Sydney: Living Water Books. ISBN 9780958034630.
  4. ^ Häberl, Charles G. (2007). Introduction to the New Edition, in The Great Treasure of the Mandaeans, a new edition of J. Heinrich Petermann's Thesaurus s. Liber Magni, with a new introduction and a translation of the original preface by Charles G. Häberl. Gorgias Press, LLC. doi:10.7282/T3C53J6P
  5. ^ a b Drower, E. S. (1960). The secret Adam: a study of Nasoraean gnosis. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  6. ^ Gelbert, Carlos (2021). گینزا ربَّا = Ginza Rba (in Arabic). Edensor Park, NSW, Australia: Living Water Books. ISBN 9780648795407.
  7. ^ Haberl, Charles and McGrath, James (2020). The Mandaean Book of John: critical edition, translation, and commentary. Berlin: De Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-048651-3. OCLC 1129155601.((cite book)): CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Säve-Söderbergh, Torgny (1949). Studies in the Coptic Manichaean Psalm-book. Uppsala: Almqvist & Wiksells Boktryckeri AB. OCLC 5687415.
  9. ^ Buckley, Jorunn J. (2010). "New Perspectives on the Sage Dinanukt in Right Ginza 6". ARAM Periodical. 22: 15–29. doi:10.2143/ARAM.22.0.2131030.
  10. ^ Drower, Ethel S. (1953). The Haran Gawaita and The Baptism of Hibil-Ziwa: The Mandaic text reproduced together with translation, notes and commentary. Vatican City: Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana. p. 35, translator's footnote #1.
  11. ^ "Book Three, 1st Glorification: The Creation". Ginza Rabba. Vol. Right Volume. Translated by Al-Saadi, Qais; Al-Saadi, Hamed (2nd ed.). Germany: Drabsha. 2019. pp. 27–57.