Ravisankar S. Mayavaram
msr at ISC.TAMU.EDU
Sat Jul 25 11:36:33 CDT 1998
SHE who is served by hayarUDhA
hayarUDhA is the commanding power of an army of horses. She makes
others subservient to her. Even hayarUdhA serves shrImAtA.
AUM hayarUDhAsevitA.nghryai namaH
>From Sat Jul 25 21:08:57 1998
Date: Sat, 25 Jul 1998 21:08:57 -0400
Reply-To: ramakris at erols.com
To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
<ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian <ramakris at EROLS.COM>
Subject: Re: chitta shuddhi
Comments: To: List for advaita vedanta as taught by Shri Shankara
<ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
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Ravisankar S. Mayavaram wrote:
> After reading Rama's post I thought about it for a while. This is my
> understanding. Please correct me.
> There are totally four components, related to what we call Mind in
> manas Perceiving faculty
> buddhi Intellect or discriminating faculty
> chitta where the impressions are formed (like sa.nskAras , vAsanas)
> aha.nkAram That which created the I feeling or ego.
The English word mind does not convey the full sense. We can say the
antaHkaraNa (inner organ) is comprised of the four things you mention
above. However, it should be noted that it does not mean there are four
different "parts" to the antaHkaraNa. We merely call it different names,
based on the particular function ascribed to it. But it is VERY
IMPORTANT to note that this aha.nkAra or ego or the "I" is the root
cause of misery.
It is useful to examine carefully the writings of our AchArya-s on the
subject of ego. It is useful to understand these writings because it is
clear from the shruti and our AchArya-s that the destruction of this
idea of "I" is what is termed as moxa.
I'll quote mainly sureshvarAchArya's naishhkarmya siddhi. As Alladi
Mahadeva Sastri says, "Sureshvaracharya's exposition of the vedanta
doctrine is often very original and is throughout marked with such
thoroughness, precision and clearness that it forms a valuable
to the teachings of the Upanishads; and it's authority on all knotty
is acknowledged with due reverence and submission by all the Advaitic
writers of later days" (page vii, Dakshinamurti Stotra of Sri
Sankaracarya). I am repeating this here only to emphasize the importance
SureshvarAchArya (from now abbreviated to Su). We cannot neglect his
statements and claim to be new interpreters of Sha.nkarAchArya. I have
split sandhi in the following verses to make it more readable.
na pR^ithak na-AtmanA siddhiH AtmanaH anyasya vastunaH |
Atmavat kalpitaH tasmAt.h aha.nkAradiH Atmani || (2.45)
Different, [or] obtained by Atman, [there are] no real objects apart
Therefore "AtmA-ness" is imagined in the ego (aha.nkAraH) and others, in
tasmAt.h aGYAnavijR^imbitaM etat.h
Therefore, that (the ego, etc) [is a] manifestation [arising] caused by
dR^ishyAH shabdAdayaH kL^iptAH drasTR^i cha brahmanirguNam.h |
ahaM tat.h ubhayaM bibhrat.h bhrAntiM Atmani yachchhati || (2.46)
The objects perceived, [starting with] sound, etc are [imaginary]
and the seer is the brahman devoid of any qualification,
The "I" bearing [characeristics of] both [seer and seen] produces an
illusion in the Atman.
tataH eva ayam abhinnasayAtmanaH bhedabuddhiH
Thus, indeed, from the partless-self [arises] this idea of distinction
1. Note that in 2.45 Su. mentions aha.nkArAdiH, meaning aha.nkAra and
others. Thus the aha.nkAra is given the prominent place.
2. In 2.46 he says that the "I" bears the characteristics of both the
and the unreal objects and is the cause of the illusion. He identifies
ego as the "I" here.
Bearing these two comments in mind, the following is the exposition of
in those verses:
In the previous verses he shows by the method of agreement and
that there can be no objects apart from the self. This method is very
similar to the methodlogy used in chapter 2 of the gauDapAda kArikA-s,
vaitathya prakaraNa. After that he points out the source for the
If the objects are unreal and the seer is Atman, how does the idea of
distinction come about? The answer: ego or aha.nkAra arises due to
ignorance and creates the illusion of distinctions. This is because it
embraces, so to speak, the characteristics of both. It embraces the
characteristic of Atman, by virtue of Atman's _reflection_ _only_. It
should also not be thought that the there are real external objects
the ego embraces. They are unreal and modifications of the intellect
to upadeshasAhasrI 14.5-14.8) which is a "by-product" of the "arising"
the ego. However Su. makes it _clear_ that the ego or "I" feeling is the
The theory is succintly explained by GauDapAdAchArya in his kArikA-s
2.17. He says first the idea of individual soul (the "I") is imagined,
jIvam kalpayate pUrvaM, in 2.17. In explaining it bhagavatpAda says:
tatra jIva kalpanA sarvakalpAnAmUlam,
i.e., the imagination of the idea of jIva (or in otherwords the "I"), is
the basis of all imaginations (mind, intellect, external objects, etc).
I don't want to repeat gauDapAdAchArya's teachings, but please look up
the relevant verses and also bhagavatpAda's bhAshhya on it.
It may be useful to to read what Sri Ramana Maharshi has to say:
"If the giving nature is developed it becomes tyAga. If anything is
willingly given away it is a delight to the giver and to the receiver.
`mine' is given up it is chitta shuddhi (purified mind). When the `I' is
given up it is jnana. " (page 537, Talks with Sri RM)
Note that even if the feeling of `mine' is given up it need not be due
destruction of the ego ("I"). This is because the very feeling that
is `mine' presupposes the existence of the "I" or ego. So chitta shuddhi
a preleminary qualification for the destruction of the ego. The
of ego or "I" = GYAna.
So we may look at it this way: The aha.nkAra is like the root of a tree
(the antaHkaraNa!). If that is destroyed the rest, trunk, branches etc
cannot exist anymore!
It is this "I" which is said to vibrate (spandate) in the gauDapAda
kArika-s (vibrate is a poor substitute). He uses the word manas, but
the "I" is what is meant. This is also what is called sphuraNam in the
daxiNAmUrti hymn. The Atman is beyond this spanda and sphuraNa also. The
word spandate clearly expresses the nature of the "I". The spanda can be
seen clearly during the interval between sleep and waking up. It
requires some practice, but it can be done.
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