The link between Vyavaharika and Paramartika

Prashant Sharma psharma at BUPHY.BU.EDU
Mon May 4 12:27:42 CDT 1998

On Mon, 4 May 1998, Chandran, Nanda (NBC) wrote:

> >mAyA is not all encompassing
> I don't understand what you're saying Prashant. As you yourself say, one
> cannot understand the Atman the way one understands normal things in
> this world. So in this world, in our current state - Vyavaharika, Atman
> is beyond us - so mAyA in our current state and world is indeed all
> encompassing.

        No! mAyA is the world as we know it, but it is not all there is.
Take, for example, the state of deep sleep.  Clearly we do not know that
we have slept well (in the sense that there is no memory of deep sleep).
And yet one can infer whether he had or didn't have deep sleep. But
during that state there was no world, and hence there was no mAyA.

> >You think that you are something more than what you currently are.  And
> >you have to achieve that.  But you don't even know that you are
> currently
> >something, so how can you be something else?
> Prashant, let me first make it clear that I'm not trying be one with God
> or Brahman etc For me this quest is just to try to find a meaning to my
> existence and I'm not the least interested in trying be something
> superior to what I currently am.
        I see that you misunderstand me. I am not talking about superior
or inferior concepts. I am just stating the way we function. Even the
attempt to know the meaning of one's existence is an attempt to know more
than what you already know, and therefore is a means of becoming
"something more than what you currently are".

And it would be a mistake to say I
> currently don't know what I'm. In my relative existence, I'm quite aware
> of what I'm and my doubts and questions are only directed towards those
> concepts which deny the relative reality of my existence and postulate a
> higher ideal.
How about: we currently don't know completely what we are?
Suppose you say that you know what you are. Then it follows that you are
what you know.  But clearly your knowledge always increases and so it
follows that you are not  what you already know, but what you will know.
Thus currently you do not know yourself :-)


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