Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Mon Sep 1 12:54:39 CDT 1997

Allan Curry wrote:

>This sounds pretty good and tight except for one silly little quibble.
>Aren't "Atman", "maya", "ego", "intellect", "object of cognition", "act of

Atman - _not_ a concept. What you state is the viGYAnavAdi position,
which says that the cognizer, cognized and cognition are all
modifications of the intellect, which is momentary and unreal. However,
shrI sha.nkara shows clearly in the upadeshasAhasrI that this leads to
regressus ad infinitum, which is solved only if a real cognizer is
allowed. He points out the fact that the intellect is unreal must be
known by someone and cannot be the intellect itself. A lamp does not
illuminate itself, he says. Other pUrvapaxa views are also stated and
refuted. However, the cognized and cognition are indeed the
modifications of the intellect and appear to be sentient (though not so)
since they are pervaded by Atman (by means of reflection only). This has
also been clearly shown by shrI sha.nkara in his chapter on dream and
memory, svapnasmR^itiprakaraNam (can't recall the chapter number now).

ekAtmapratyayasAram says the mANDUkya. shrI sha.nkara in his terse
commentary gives two interpretations, one being that the valid proof of
the existence of the Atman is the fact that it persists in all three

shrI sureshvara also points out in his naishhkarmya siddhi that Atman
alone requires no proof or pramANa.

The rest are indeed concepts, but serve as an explanation for those who
believe in causality.

>cognition", etc. *all* concepts?  Can we (or anyone) conceive of what is
>ontologically prior to the arising of concepts? In the abscence of >conceptual
>distinctions, is there any "Atman" as opposed to "maya"?  I say no. There
>is certainly not nothing but that non-nothing is hardly conceivable either.
>If anyone takes up the position prior to the arising of conceptual thought,

Taking up a position implies conceptual thought.

>they will also find themselves prior to language and might therefore have a
>difficult time arguing this point. (perhaps *impassioned* arm waving might
>be attempted however  :-)


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