Theory of knowledge

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Wed Sep 9 17:14:26 CDT 1998

On Mon, 7 Sep 1998, nanda chandran wrote:


> Let's try analyzing the process of cognition.
> The eye sees a tree. It's generally said that this information is passed
> to the mind, which with memory associates the object perceived as a
> tree. But then we know that mind is just a bundle of thoughts. So there
> has to be something else which facilitates the whole process. Is it that
> when the eye sees a tree the information is then sent to something which
> with accumulated data from the past identifies the object and then
> generates the thought that the perceived object is a tree? Then could
> this something, which facilitates the reference with past knowledge and
> generates the thought, be the Soul?
No this is just memory.  And memeory can sometimes play tricks on the way
things are perceived.  It is the organ (for want of a better word)  that
is responsible for the fact that anything is perceived at all which is the

> But then the Soul is declared to be the Changeless Absolute. Being
> Changeless it's not capable of any activity and hence can neither do the
> process of reference with the memory nor generate any thought. This
> would also question Yagnavalkya's characterization of the Soul as the
> knower.

Thoughts are "generated" in the way waves in the ocean are.  A wave is just
a peturbation in the water which distorts it in a particular way.  it
arises, persists for a while and then disappears.  But in all that time it
was never really different from the rest of the water.

> Another question is : If the thoughts come out of nowhere, how are we
> able to control them? So what's this will which helps us control the
> thoughts? And who exercises this will?

It's not so much that you control them but by understanding their true
nature you can ignore them.

> And regarding Jaladhar's question about the consciousness during deep
> sleep - I disagree. There cannot be any consciousness, as we know it in
> our day to day experience, during the state of sushupti.

If you add that proviso you may be right but who said the pure
consciousness is the same as every day consciousness?  Consciousness is
felt and the feeling persists between periods of wakefulness.  therfore
there must have been consciousness in between.  And there must be an
entity to be conscious.

>  That is the
> reason that most people have a difficulty of staying awake while
> meditating and that the state of meditation is equated with deep sleep.

If people are falling asleep while meditating then dare I suggest they're
doing it wrong?  I don't do any meditation myself (neither do I think it
is a vital part of sadhana.  The benefits toted for it could also be
achieved through drugs.)  but there are times like during an intense bout
of programming when I've felt a sort of hyper-awareness.  It's hard to
describe it.  That I suppose is what the results of meditating should be.

> And to be conscious in deep sleep just means that you're awake :-)

But to not be conscious during deep sleep means you're dead :-)

>  At
> this point in time, I can't agree with the usage of the word
> "consciousness" to describe the state of existence.

I can't see how existence can be described as a state of unconsciouness

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at>

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