Does the mind determine the consciousness of a person?
by Laxmimoni dasi
No. The mind is one of the senses...it is the chief of the senses. Generally it's always scheming, "the senses want this thing so how can I get it?" It's the job of the intelligence to become strong to control the mind and in turn control the senses. That's what yoga is for - to develop sense control by controlling the mind with the spiritual intelligence so when the senses are asking for something the intelligence will say to the mind, "don't chase after that thing, it's bad for us, better to chant Hare Krishna!" and then the mind will be controlled and focus on chanting.
The consciousness of a person is to some extent determined by past karma, in the sense that you get a body with certain inclinations and desires due to previous karma, and also the consciousness is determined by the association one keeps. As you associate with people, you will take on their inclinations...also what you eat greatly affects your consciousness; if you eat sinful food, non-offered food, or food in the passionate and ignorant modes, then that will lead your consciousness in that direction. If you associate with saintly persons your consciousness will become saintly; you'll act in a saintly manner and develop saintly habits.
One thing you should know about karma...both good and bad karma are bad! Both good and bad karma make you take birth in this material world! Good karma may get you a better situation, with a better body, etc. and bad karma may make your life miserable, but ultimately any material body is miserable; it's temporary and dies, it gets old and diseased...so best to act for Krishna, free of personal desire, and thus avoid all karma whatsoever.