sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue Aug 7 09:38:42 CDT 2001
I am presenting the discussion with Nanda to highlight the issues
involved as a part of our discussions -If in the process if the
concepts get cleared, the purpose of the discussions is achieved. .
Nanda:What we mean by truth of a thing is its essential nature. The truth of
the object is beyond our perceptual powers for the simple reason that
the mind and the object are two distinct entities. Knowing is only what
we *know of* something - it is only a mental representation of the object
and not the thing in itself. The truth of the object is what it is in
respect to itself and not what we make of it. In itself it is being.
Even as we ourselves are.
Sada: you are zeroing on the problem - What we 'know of'- is the
only means of knowledge available to us for the objects. Is there
any other way of knowing the object - or knowing the existence of the
object other than through the mind?
you mentioned- the truth of the object - what it is in respect to
itself? -it can never be known since its existence cannot be
independently established without the I, the knower along with the
instrument of my knowledge, my mind, present to establish the
existence of the object. That is exactly what I am emphasizing.
There is no way one can establish the independent existence of the
object without I and my mind preset to establish it. That seems to
be the truth of the object! That is why 'shR^ishhTi-dR^ishhTi and
dR^ishhTi-sR^ishhTi theories came up in advaita along with ajata
vaada. 'I see it therefore it is' and 'It is therefore I see it' -
both essentially rests in the final analysis my seeing or perception
to establish the existence of the object.
You posed the question - can the computer exist if I am not aware of
it. I call this an indeterminate problem. (in advaita - it resorts
to anirvachaniiya or inexpressible) There was some discussion in
advaitin list that was raised by Shree Gummuluru Murthy - Can the
objects exists when there is no mind such as in deep Sleep State. I
call this as indeterminate problem. . There is no way to establish
the truth of the object that includes its existence independent of
the observer. What or who remains as the final truth - the observer
(he becomes an observer when there is a thing to be observed -
otherwise just awareness or consciousness) is only fact that need not
have an independent means to know - which is my own existence and my
own consciousness. Praj~naanam Brahma, tat tvam asi or aham brahma
asmi or sarvam khali idam brahma all zero in to the fact that
consciousness has to be essence and unlimited. Hence my statement
the existence of the objects are through the mind as thoughts in the
mind which is in my consciousness since I am conscious of these.
Thus consciousness has to pervade it for me to be conscious of the
thought and objects which are locus for the these object-thoughts -
what Ramana calls it as 'idam vR^itti'. -' this' thought.
Sada: > From my understanding, we never perceive an object! - Mind has to
>come in to integrate all the perceptions into locus and infer -
>underline infer- that there is an object with those attributes.
Nanda : when you see a cow, do you infer its existence based on your
perception of its horns or hoofs? It is immediate spontaneous
knowledge of the cow as an external object.
Sada: The key word in your statement is 'infer its existence' - that
is precisely the point. There is an inference of the existence of
the object by the mind when perception - volition and cognition of
object takes place in the mind along with recognition using the past
knowledge to identify the cognized object. - If there is no past
memory to recognize, we only cognize and ask -what is that we are
seeing? - The knowledge involves mind's cognition and subsequently
mind's recognition. These cognition-recognition based on the
observed data of attributes of the objects can be subsequently
negated if additional information or data (attributes) become
available. If the previous knowledge is negated by subsequent
information or data we call this illusory knowledge or bhrama, and if
the previous knowledge based on limited information is further
confirmed we call that as valid knowledge, prama. Even this
confirmed knowledge can get negated as we get more and more data of
the objects - thus classical mechanics valid up to a point that leads
to quantum mechanics etc. Ultimately all are relative when we gain
the absolute knowledge which never be negated - yat j~naatvaa na
param j~neyam - There is no more to know. That knowledge involves -
sarva bhuutatstam aatmaanam sarva bhuutaani cha aatmani - all being
are in me and I am in all beings - I being the conscious entity, the
subject and not an object.
Nanda: Of course that perception
includes the perception of horns and hoofs as well as the association
of the perceived object with past experience/knowledge as a cow. "Cow"
is a word you have given to the object and that concept necessarily
includes the attributes - horns, hoofs etc. Without the attributes
there's no "cow" either. Each only exists in relation to the other.
But the truth of that thing which you call a "cow" is what it is in
itself and not what we make of it.
Sada: The point is there is no 'cow' either without the attributes
and there is a cow with those attributes is an inference in the mind
which is in my consciousness - The existence of the cow and its
cow-ness are ultimately supported by my inference which in turn is
supported by consciousness-existence that I am.
>inference is based on fundamental inference made by the mind that
>there cannot be attributes without a locus and hence there is an
>object with those attributes.
Nanda:The locus that you mention is a physical thing - it is being - something
apart from your conceptions of it. The problem in ignorance lies in
people mistaking their conception of the locus as the thing itself.
The thing in itself is being and your thought as a separate entity
can neither affect it nor know it absolutely.
Sada: I think we seem to differ as you outlined in the first line of
your statement. The mind gathers sense input which can only give
attributes of the objects - integrating all the input - volition -
the mind provides a locus - since there is an inherent inference
involved that there cannot be attributes without a locus - cognition
of the locus with those attributes that gathered up to that point is
The point is this - there is no way one can independently establish
the existence of the object without mental processes involved which
include inferences by the mind. Without the mind as in deep sleep
existence of the objects cannot be established.
Whether the objects exists or not when the mind is not functioning or
cognizing - is a invalid problem or more correctly an indeterminate
problem - grouped under the same anirvachaniiya aspect of advaita
When I discussed this with Shreeman Chari, he mentioned to be me that
my arguments are parallel to Vij~naana vaada rather than advaita. I
have to differ from him. From my understanding this is what I call
anirvachaniiya aspect of Advaita only - although original definition
of anirvachaniiya may be more restricted.
ShR^ishhTi-dR^ishhTi and the converse of it and ajaata vaada of
GauDapaada are looking at this indeterminate problem from different
angles. They all converge to the same fact, which I know that you
concur is I alone am - I being consciousness- am being the
Nanda: Anyway let's not break our minds trying to work this out - we're not
trying to know the mind, are we? We want to know our self, which is
not the mind.
Sada: What you say Nanda is not true - In the final analysis -
knowing the mind is knowing the truth too - When we say we are not
the mind - neti - it does not mean I am one and the mind is another -
then it is dvaita. I am not 'the mind' alone - I include the mind
and everything else -They are in me and I am not in them is the true
knowledge - Hence Ramana says: manasantu kim maargane kR^ite naiva
maanasam maarga aarjavaat - inquire into the nature of the mind and
when one inquires the mind (notional mind) drops out and that is the
direct path. J. Krishnamuurthy says - observer the mind with all its
conditioning - in the very observation the conditional mind get
unconditioned and not by any other process since any 'other process'
is only another reconditioning. Everyone is zeroing in the mind -
mana eva manushhyaanaam kaaranam bhandha mokshayoH|
bandhaaya vishhaayaasaktam moktyai nir vishayam srutam||
Mind is the cause for bondage as well as for liberation.
Entanglements with the objects are the bondage and Freedom is
freedom from this attachments from the objects.
If we understand the objects that they do not have independent
existence other than what we lend it to them, we understand the truth
of the objects and it cannot have any hold on us - that is what an
inquiry of the mind - mind with the notions- should lead to.
Nanda: We should be wary of such misdirected effort for as the
Isha says : those who seek knowledge for the sake of knowledge itself
(i.e, knowledge which is not aimed towards knowing oneself) will go
to worlds of blinding darkness.
Sada: True knowledge of the objects - that is knowledge about the
objects - that constitute the learning of the nature of the snakes to
find out what kind of snake that we are seeing.
But understanding the true nature of the objects is in turn
understanding the reality of the objects which is I am or Brahman is
- either way - yo mam pasyati sarvatra sarvatra mayi pasyati - who
sees me everywhere and everything in me - says Krishna - EVeryting in
consciousness -existence and consciousness-existence everywhere. The
objects are thoughts in my mind and thoughts are in my consciousness
- There is no separate reality out there - That is true knowledge.
Sada: >Form, color, smell, touch, taste sound
>are not the object. The existence of the object is inference based
>on the above fundamental inferential conclusion. Ultimately my own
>existence is lended to the object's 'isness' - hence puurnaat purnam
>udachyate makes sense.
>I wrote this just get you to argue since you love arguments!
Nanda: The distinction between an argument, a debate and a discussion blurs,
doesn't it? If you get a bit intense in a discussion, it becomes a
debate and if it loses focus/gets lost in ego struggles, it becomes
Sada: Yes. But we both know what we are trying to do - not interested
in just arguing for argument sake but only to focus on our
understanding of the nature of the reality of ourselves and the world
Nanda: Of late I don't want to think anymore - just relax and be myself -
which ironically is the hardest thing to do! Because for the normal
man to live is to live by the senses - all activity of the senses
necessarily trigger the brain - to think. So literally to live is
to live with the mind. Consciousness is always at work in its modes
of duality. It has to abide in itself for it to not be bothered by
thoughts. Then there's self-existence.
You've to experience what it is to exist without the mind, to know what
bliss is. Sat-chit-ananda is not anything to be acquired. It is your
true nature which always is. If you delink yourself from the mind, it
is sat-chit-ananda. On its own consciousness is asparsha.
Sada: Good Nanda - all the best in your attempts.
Nanda: But who're you? Apart from what you know *of* yourself - as it is
with objects - what do you know of the true you? Without relating
yourself to something else, what do you know of yourself?
Sada: If you, Nanda, can inquire about yourself without the
relating yourself - all the best. My way of looking inquiry involves
mind and mind involves thoughts and thoughts involves two types - 'I
am thought' and "this is' thought - what Ramana calls it as ' aham
vR^itti' and 'idam vR^itti' - inquiry idam and aham cannot be avoided
since at present I take myself as aham idam - I am this - neti neti
involves negating this identification - this can be achieved by
understanding either aham or idam or both in their true sense - since
only I am is lending support to idam too - and that is my point.
Sada: >>Maaya is a concept brought in to account for one appearing as many.
>Again I will say this. Almost without exception every school of Indian
>philosophy points to chitta vritti nirodah as the way to liberation. The
>mind/thought has to cease for one to be liberated.
>I am not sure your are right here either. From the Adviata point, as
>I understand, it is not chitta vritti nirodha - That can never happen
>as along as one is embodied! or can happen if one becomes a stone
>without a mind! - or stoned!
Nanda: If that's so why do they say that the Self abides in itself in deep
sleep? As per you view since the mind is inactive in sushupti, the
self must be jada. If so then how do you wake up as the same person
who went to sleep?
Sada: You have misinterpreted my statement - I am the one who is
really active all along - In my presence the mind becomes active -
since mind is in me and not separate from me since mind is thoughts
and thoughts are in my consciousness since I am the consciousness.
In deep sleep I alone am without the mind to cognize the attributes
of the objects and thus inferring the existence of the objects. In
waking up the mind becomes active or I lend support to the mind - the
mind with the same memory that was stored in its memory. It is the
same memory with which I identify, makes me feel I am the same
person. I never implied that self is jadam anytime - it is the other
way around. The existence-consciousness - self lends its existence
to the mind and objects - otherwise they do not have independent
existence - Whether they exist or in turn the world exists when I am
asleep is again indeterminate problem since it can never be
established without my presence!
Sada: >What is liberation in advaita is to
>drop the notions in the mind or misunderstanding that 'I am this or
>that' - identification with the upaadhi-s - that is identification of
>subject with the object- that is not the same of annihilation of
>upaadhi-s. - sarva bhuutastam aatmaanam, sarva bhuutanicha aatmani
>- all beings are in me and I am in all beings - The subject pervades
>the object as consciousness. Subject includes the object since
>objects have no independent existence as discussed above.
>Subject-object distinction is only play of the mind or should I say
>- play in the mind or on the mind! or one can say the play is my
>vibhuuti since mind being inert cannot itself play without me
>lending my support.
Nanda: This is fine. But the problem lies in defining how such knowledge
will arise? Keep in mind the shruti dictum that the Self is not to
be known as an object. So all conventional knowing/understanding which
necessarily involves duality is ruled out. Even your logical reasoning
that nothing exists apart from your consciousness, since it is only
because of consciousness that you perceive things, cannot be the way.
(actually you're a prachanna bauddha as it is a semi-Vijnaanavaada
stance and not the Advaitic metaphysical position :-).
Sada: How such knowledge arises - it is not a process to answer how -
With the mind you go beyond the mind - it is like pole Walt. - It is
actually swataH sidhham - it is dropping the misunderstanding - by
recognizing as a fact that there is no object out there that is real
other than the play of the mind - The world is the projection of the
mind and the mind is in me - or in my consciousness - Since I don't
know Vij~naana vaada - I cannot be branded as a semi-vij~naana
vaadin. At least you have now another person who agrees with you -
that is Shreeman Chari). But if you really examine correctly what I
am saying is absolute Adviata vaada - May be I have used different
jargon to establish the same fact.
If you can establish the existence of the world independent of my
mind and consciousness lending its support - I will buy your argument
- I maintain without these the problem becomes indeterminate.
Everything is nothing but Brahman becomes absolute fact from my
analysis that it is pervaded by consciousness that I am. Besides
the problem of creation - inert objects arising from consciousness is
difficult to answer from what was there before the creation - Sadeva
soumya idam agra asiiit etc. Hence what I am arguing is absolute
Advaita Vedanta only.
What is Advaitic metaphysical position? Is it different from what I
have presented - let me know.
As I understand what it says- the attributes are illusory and
existence alone is real
But that existence cannot be established by the mind - mind can see
the attributes only - I am the existent-conscious entity lending my
existence to the objects since there is no other consciousness
separate from I. Hence aham brahma asmi follow along with sarvam kali
idam brahma - everything is Brahman and everything is I - How can
everything be I - I have given an explanation since everything
includes all things and each thing is an object is a thought in my
mind and that is in my consciousness - The apparent duality -
subject-object distinction is play of the mind - - you can say that
is my liila since it is a play - one appearing as many. How is this
not Advaita? - I like to know - educate me Nanda.
Nanda: So how can one after
>liberation *think* that he's the only one? Then even reality will be within
>the grasp of thought - which the shruti denies. Brahman is being. It is
>beyond thought. It is existence without thought. The moment you try to
>think/express it, you make the infinite, finite and the absolute, relative.
Sada: >Sorry Nanda - It is not existence without thoughts - it is existence
>in spite of the thoughts. Thoughts raise in me, subsist by me and go
>back into me -I pervade every thought but every thought is different
Nanda: What's the "me" here Sada? Are you thought? If you're not thought and
apart from it, how can thought "arise in you" or "go back" into you"?
Thought is one thing and you are another thing. You've to let go of all
this commonsense thinking. As GauDapaada says all objective play of
consciousness is only imagination.
Sada: Yes - I am not saying anything different from what GauDapaada
says - is it? I don't see the difference in its essence. I am not a
thought - but I am not different from thought either - See Krishna
statement which superficially looks this apparent contradiction -
'They are in me but I am not in them -but again they are not all in
me - see my glory in all these." Ch.9. - Now look back what I wrote
in terms of thoughts, objects and how I as consciousness to pervade
the thoughts and thus the objects - They are in me yet I am not them
- I am not the cow - horse or book that I perceive - yet there are
thoughts and they exist in my consciousness and I lend my existence
only for to them as their substratum - Is it not Advaita? On what
basis it is not Nanda?
Sada:> It is like the waves, waves are the ocean
>yet waves are not the ocean, and one need eliminate the waves to have
>darshan of the ocean. Seeing the waves is seeing the ocean as they
>are its glory - pasyam me yogom aiswaram - Look at my glory - All
>being are in me but yet I am not in them - and they are not me. They
>are my glory. Yet I pervade everything in unmanifested form - maya
>tatam idam sarvam jagat avyakti muurthinaa. - since manifestation is
>objectification and thoughts come into picture since they are locus
>for objects presumably out there.
Nada: Sada let go of all these grand concepts. They might sound grand, but have
little utility. The waves that you mention are the thoughts - but the
self is apart from the thoughts. You should be careful to distinguish
between psychology and metaphysics. If your spiritual effort is based on
metaphysics - like waves and ocean etc - you're not going to know the self.
You'll just have grand conceptions of it. Concentrate on psychology - know
yourself as the stillness apart from the thoughts. Metaphysics is by its
nature itself beyond thought. When you know yourself you'll know metaphysics
automatically - or rather you'll be it.
Sada: Nanda I am not entangled in psychology-metaphysics - I am
only going after the truth in these. Please know that plurality is
not the problem nor the thoughts - the notion that plurality is
reality is the problem - taking the objects real is the problem -
considering them I am Brahman that includes the objects too is the
true knowledge. Beyond thought - neti neti have to be correctly
understood - it is not dismissing the thoughts but understanding that
they are not different from me.
As I see it -it could be that we may be saying the same thing in
Sada: >True - the question is only 'does shruti provide direct reference to
>maaya?' - to the same degree as it points to Brahman. No one gets
>liberated by just verbally knowing that 'this is maya' or 'I am
>Brahman'. It is not understanding as understanding as a thought but
>understanding as understanding as a fact - as JK puts it.
Nanda: Sada doesn't the shruti say that reality is beyond the intellect? Does
it not say that the Self is not to be known as an object? So why are
you breaking your head trying to "know" yourself? Let go of all this
useless addiction to logic - it will not lead to calm/peace/nirvaana.
The self is to be known as the subject and this necessarily means not
using the brain. You are it. Keep quiet and abide in yourself. When the
agitation of the mind and body has died down, your true nature will
shine by itself.
Sada: Going beyond intellect Nanda is not shutting of the intellect -
you will never be able to do that - what it means only see the truth
behind the intellect through the intellect. That is what effectively
means using the intellect to go beyond the intellect.
May be we have different understanding of what inquiry of the nature
of reality means. Asking the mind to shut up becomes a problem since
mind by nature cannot shut up - mind is nothing but thoughts and
asking thoughts to be quiet is like asking the ocean to be free from
Anyway good luck in your efforts and keep me posted how are
progressing in shutting out the thoughts. Brahman is inquiry -
inquiry involves understanding the true nature of things and beings
in their absolute sense by not dismissing them as irrelevant.
Understanding involves use of intellect. It is essentially turning
inwards to understand the very essence of the intellect. - Observing
the mind means the same or analyze the analyst also means the same.
Who am I inquiry is also means the same. Inquiry involves the
application of the intellect and not shutting of the intellect. That
is what meditaion is or dhyaana involves. For a bhatka the object of
inquiry is the Lord for a advaitin the ultimate object of inquiry is
one own self which is consciousness-existence-bliss - the swaruupa of
ones self which is not different from the swaruupa of the Lord -
since everything ultimately exists in consciousness that includes the
body, mind and intellects with all its thoughts of objects!
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
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