Exercise in psychology

Charles Wikner WIKNER at NACDH4.NAC.AC.ZA
Tue Aug 18 04:08:45 CDT 1998

On Thu, 13 Aug 1998, NANDA Chandran wrote:

> So the natural question would be where's the objectless self (if it can
> be called the self) during the activities of the mind. It's there all
> the time, in the background, probably observing, all the antics of the mind.

It is the light that manifests (i.e. illuminates) the activity (rajas,
vikshepa) in the mind.  The light is normally obscured or covered
(tamas, AvaraNa) so that we become engrossed in the activity: when
the activity subsides, the common experience is the black-out of deep
sleep (tamas dominant); what you are describing is the white-out of
simple awareness, simple knowledge, (sattva dominant) without activity
(rajas) or objects (tamas).  Discriminating between these two is viveka.

      kene.sita.m patati pre.sita.m mana.h
            kena praa.na.h prathama.h praiti yukta.h |
      kene.sitaa.m vaacamimaa.m vadanti
            cak.su.h "srotra.m ka u devo yunakti || [Kena Up. 1.1]

      Who impels the mind to alight on its object?  Enjoined by whom
      does the vital force proceed to function?  At whose behest do
      men utter speech?  What Intelligence, indeed, directs the eyes
      and the ears?  [tr. svAmI SharvAnanda]

That is the very question that you are asking.

      "srotrasya "srotra.m manaso mano yad
            vaaco ha vaaca.m sa u praa.nasya praa.na.h |
      cak.su.sa"scak.suratimucya dhiiraa.h
            pretyaasmaallokaadam.rtaa bhavanti || 2 ||

      It is the Atma, the Spirit, by whose power the ear hears,
      the  eye sees, the tongue speaks, the mind understands and
      life functions.  The wise man separates the Atman from these
      faculties, rises out of sense-life and attains immortality.

There's your answer!

This upanishad is especially for you!  The information about the
Known, the Not-Unknown, the unknown, and the known, will prove
useful at this point.

> This state of existence can be reached by anybody, by just withholding
> the mind and being still.

Yes, provided that the covering of tamas has been removed, or at least
greatly attenuated.  This arises from prANAyAma, pratyAhara, dhAraNa:
see YS 2.52-55 and bhAshya, or better still, compare answers 27 and 34
of Ramana's _Self Enquiry_  -- the latter is on-line at


Regards, Charles

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