Understanding Sada's position- PartI

K. Sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Mon Aug 13 08:22:11 CDT 2001

This is part of discussion between Shree Nanda Chandran and myself.
He responded to my post in three parts, asking me to respond to each
part separately addressing items individually.  I have done that to
the best of my knowledge.  There is a lot of overlapping in the
responses since the comments and the responses are interrelated.  One
can see that our ignorance is at least self-consistent.   I have
absolutely no doubt in my mind that what Shree Nanda calls as Sada's
position is the essence of Advaita Vedanta.  I have responded in
detail only to make sure that the concepts are clear.

Sada: Nanda - As I study your responses, it became obvious to me that
I have to make my statements in the previous post more clear.  It
looks like I gave you the impression that by Brahman inquiry,
involves just an objective analysis.  This is  not what I had implied
in the Brahman inquiry.  It is an inquiry all right but not objective
intellectual inquiry.

  According to scriptures, Brahman is that which is the substratum for
everything and is not different from 'I', the subject'.  Otherwise
there is a duality.   It is not an objective analysis but analysis of
the objective-and subjective worlds in total.  Please rest assured
that I am not deviating from scriptures anywhere.  Please point out
to me if I do.  I may be presenting slightly a different way based on
my understanding of the operation of senses and mind.  Or as I said
before, I may be using a different jargon, but fundamental tenets of
the scriptural statements are not violated.  Scriptural pramaaNa is
needed and relayed upon in this understanding. It is shaastriiya
anumaana and not laukika anumaana.  It involves understanding not as
understanding as a thought but understanding as a fact - It is the
means and the goal too, as Advaita has to be.  It is no more
intellectual understanding, but understanding becomes 'being' - since
it is an understanding that involves realization that there is
nothing other than 'I am'. Brahma vit brahma eva bhavati, the
scriptural statement becomes a factual understanding.  If this is
understood clear, I am sure most all your objections in the three
posts will get resolved.

Let me explain this step by step, for the benefit of everyone.
Viveka as Shankara defines is nitya anitya vastu viveka -
discrimination of what is real and what is ephemeral - Now I suggest
that we should go back and read my notes with correct implication of
what this viveka involves.  Thought consists of naama and ruupa, name
and form that, as I stated, is the locus for an object.  Senses can
only feed to the mind data consisting of attributes of the object in
front.  Mind integrates all the sense input data into a locus, since
there is an inherent assumption that there cannot be attributes
without a locus for it.  From childhood on, the mind is fed with
information relating the forms, colors and other sense input data to
a locus by naming the forms to the thoughts that are crystallized in
the mind as this is a cow, this is horse etc.  Thus each thought is
associated with an object either out-side or from the memory.  What I
presented also is that since I am aware of the 'object thought',  the
thought is in awareness, for me to be aware of.  Awareness is the
very substratum of the thoughts, otherwise I cannot be aware of the
thoughts.  Awareness is Brahman, as I used the example, like the
waves in the ocean - praj~naanam brahma says scriptures - awareness
or consciousness is brahman.

Up to this is epistemological issue.  Now let us look at the
ontological aspects by applying Vedanta to this understanding of how
'knowledge' of objects takes place.   Nitya anitya vastu viveka
involves discarding neti - na iti -  not this - 'this' being the
object and it involves naama and ruupa or the name and form of the
object - I have explained that correct understanding of 'neti' is not
rejection of the thought in total nor indirectly rejection of an
object that is connected to the thought.  It is only rejection of the
superficial or superimposed naama and ruupa of the thought.
Otherwise it is not advaita any more since we end up in duality
-'this' idam vastu and 'I' who is rejecting 'this'. This aspect has
to be understood correctly.

We are able to reject the naama and ruupa which are just attributes
and the locus of the attributes that is inferred by the mind only
because it is anitya or not real according the Advaitic doctrine
which defines nitya as tri kaala abhaadhitam - that which remains the
same in all periods of time.  Because it is only an adhyaasa or error
of superimposition happened for the purpose of vyavahaara, I am able
to reject it also, provided I have that viveka, the discriminative
knowledge of what is nitya and anitya.  I have explained the process.

I want to emphasize the fact that it is not a rejection of the
thought in total but seeing the essence of the thought while
rejecting only the superficial aspects of the thought or the object
in turn. It is not rejecting the wave but looking at the very essence
of the wave.  In fact this involves very deep meditation involving
very alert and vigilant mind- so that it does not get carried away
with the superficial names and forms but diving deeply into the very
core of the thought wave.  In order to do that, one requires complete
detachment from the thought so that one can look at it 'objectively'.
The more one is detached the more one can dive easily into the very
core of the thoughts.  If you examine correctly, meditation or
nidhidhyaasana is an inquiry of the mind by the mind- here I am using
the mind in a general sense that includes both samshayaatmika manas
and nischayaatmika budhhi, or mind and intellect as one.  This
process is the same as dhyaanam or should I say involves dhyaanam-
dyanena aatmani pasyanti kechit aatmaanam aatmanaa  - one meditates
on oneself in oneself by oneself - says Giita.  By intense dhyaanam
one develops intuition or j~naana kshakshu or 'wisdom-eye' - what
Ramanuja calls as 'bhakti-ruupa j~naanam'.

If you really follow my statements, you can see the logic of japa
yoga too.  If I sit down for meditation to do exactly what I
suggested, the knowledge that arises is precisely this.  Normally
when an unprepared mind tries to meditate, before he is aware, he
gets lost and easily gets carried away with the thoughts - what you
called objective thoughts -  essentially riding along the waves
without diving deep into the waves.  Since thoughts are many, and
rapid, it is very difficult to get detached from the flood of the
thoughts to do the inquiry of the nature of the thoughts.  Hence in
japa yoga, mind is given the same thought - a repeated thought with
silence in between the two thoughts.  There is no more 'wool
gathering' thoughts, since the field is limited as each thought is
being identical to one another.  Since the thought is centered on the
Lord and not on the world outside, one is less likely to drift along
with the thought waves.  Japa is not mechanical repetition of the
thought.  Intensely observing the very nature of the thoughts by the
mind, while a part of the mind repeats the thought.  This is possible
if I have devotion where the emotional aspects and the intellectual
aspects get intensified on the object of inquiry - here the very
source of the thoughts. Here the observer is the mind and observed is
also the mind (self being the substratum for both aspects of the
mind). - Here I am giving you an example of how one mind can split
into two - subject and an object - This distinction as I said before
is play of the mind.  To give you another example when someone says I
am very much disturbed or agitated - agitated mind and the mind which
can see this disturbed state of the mind - both seer and seen are the
dualistic play of the mind - both are supported by the awareness, the
self - since I am aware that 'my mind is disturbed'  and also aware
of the knowledge of the disturbed mind.  We will address this
subject-object split later, but we know that it happens.

Coming back to the main topic, it is not an objective analysis but
very subtle analysis without  rejecting or suppressing the thoughts
at the same time without getting carried away with the thoughts
either.  Neti neti - process is not rejection of the thoughts - it
involves nitya anitya vastu viveka  (understanding of eternal and
ephemeral aspect of the thought) using the subtle intellect - called
in Vedanta as suukshama bhuddhi (subtle intellect) in contrast to
thiikshNa buddhi (sharp intellect) that we are familiar in the
laukika anumaana or scientific logical analysis what is normally
understood as ' intellectual analysis'.  Intellectual understanding
is only objective analysis -word analysis -  that is required before
one sits down for nidhidhyaasana - to do what I am suggesting here as
an inquiry.  Understanding of the scriptures is required  before my
mind is convinced that it has to dive deep within.  Vairagya, shhat
sampatti and mumukshutvam (the four-fold qualifications) are all
necessary for my mind to able to stand apart from the names and forms
of the thoughts which are superficial or anitya and examine it
objectively to see their essence- I am using this word 'objectively'
specifically - it does not mean looking at the objects and getting
carried away.  It involves out right detachment from the superficial
'object-oriented' nature of the thoughts, but inquiring the thoughts
very objectively without any attachment - since attachment is
attachment to the superficial names and forms which are not
real(attachment is for vishaya or objects which are names and forms
and is called vishaya aasakta).  Obviously karma, bhakti and j~naana
yoga prepares the mind just for this diving in.

If objects are really out there, you will be deceiving yourself to
claim that they are not real and all is illusion.  Because they are
not really out there, mind can dismiss them since if you follow my
analysis, they are nothing but thoughts in the mind and thoughts are
nothing but consciousness which is all pervading - since there cannot
be anything other than consciousness - one without a second - and
scriptural pramaaNa forms a basis for factual knowledge.  This is
precisely what is involved as saadhana in advaita.

In contrast, eliminating the thoughts involves an effort, a struggle
or internal conflict in the mind.  One gets tired and one can easily
fall asleep in the process since that is exactly what happens when
the thoughts get eliminated.  It is a struggle because you are
dealing intuitively with dvaita while the truth is advaita- the
thoughts that locused on objects as I am not this body, not this
mind, etc.' that are to be rejected and I the conscious entity
different from inert objects that are being rejected. There is an
intrinsic dvaita involved in the very rejection process.  The
struggle becomes inherent in the very process as in any struggle that
deviates from the truth, and soon enough the mind gets tired and goes
to sleep, since one is suppressing the mind which is not natural.  It
is better in that case to think of the Lord and which involves no
rejection but acceptance of the duality and surrender the meditator,
where 'i' is dissolved at the alter of the Lord, leading to advaita
only where Lord alone is. Hence the statement of Lord from that
perspective as well - yo mam pasyati sarvatra sarvancha mayi pasyati
- who sees Me everywhere and everthing in Me - says giita.

That is why I said it is not discarding the thoughts but looking at
the essence of the truth or reality of the thoughts.  It is like
standing apart and taking a salute from the thoughts that are
parading.  To your surprise, the thoughts slow down and naturally get
eliminated since you are not paying attention to the superficial
names and forms.  It is at that time when thinking and non-thinking
makes no difference for the mind and for you in the background - the
mind makes no more effort to think unless it has to -nor there is any
effort not to think either.  Mind then thinks only in response to the
nature not out of habit as we do now where it cannot keep quiet-  At
that time you are naturally with your self.  This is called
sublimation of the thoughts rather than suppression of the thoughts.
You are in your natural state.  With thoughts you are with yourself,
without thoughts you are with yourself - This exactly what sahaja
samaadhi means. That  is why I said thoughts are not the problem - in
fact thinking that thoughts are the problem is itself a problem.
This puts a strain on the mind in trying to eliminate the thoughts by
effort and it can not do it since mind is but thoughts.

With this understanding if you study my previous posts - it becomes
obvious.  There is no real object out there - it is only thought in
the mind  - the reality of the object is superficially imposed by the
mind - But as I have showed that thought again is ones own
consciousness itself - nitya and anitya vastu viveka involves
essentially discarding the superimposed reality (adhyaasa) to the
objects out there - since object out there is nothing but subject I
am - since there is no 'out there' to start with, since even 'out
there' is only a thought in my mind!  How can you call this as
objective analysis or just intellectual analysis - it is that
analysis of the very content of the intellect by the intellect.  If
you can meticulously do this, and to the extent you do this to that
extent the intellect goes blank leaving you to yourself - or
realizing that everything including the thoughts and the associated
intellect or should  I say the whole world itself is nothing but you.
aham brhama asmi becomes natural and factual. Scripture stands as
pramaaNa for this understanding.

Nanda, please examine this so-called- process of 'self-realization'
carefully.  Atma, the self, does not need any self-realization.  The
mind and intellect are jaDam or inert - Then who needs self
realization?  It is only a mistaken notions in the mind with which
self identifies itself - as I am 'this' - This is what I have
discussed in my notes in shankara's adhyaasa bhaashyam.  'This' or
'idam' is an object and from my above analysis it is just a name and
form that has only a superimposed  existence - or adhyaasa.  Nitya
anitya vastu viveka involves automatically discarding what is not
real since 'this' object notion is not real and rejecting it as na
iti and understanding what is real by diving deep into the very
nature of  'this' thought- that involves viveka or understanding.  By
diving down deep into the so-called 'this' - sublimates 'this' -
leaving only 'I am' - 'I am' - 'I am-   since 'I am 'this' ' is gone.
In all - there is only 'I am' -since all is nothing but objects
thoughts and essence of all those thoughts is nothing but "I am' the
existent-consciousness - as I have outlined in my posts.  Hence true
understanding that ' aham brahma asmi'  - instead of the current
understanding that 'aham jiiva asmi' follows.  That 'I am' is all
pervading existent consciousness that I am, and that I was, and that
I will be.  I am satyam and nityam - the eternal truth.

You wanted me to respond item by item and post by post.  The above
analysis responds to most of your objections which are based on
incorrect interpretation of my analysis as involving just superficial
intellectual understanding -  if that is the case you are right -
that involves again thoughts and one is again riding superficially on
the waves without diving deep within to understand the very core of
the thoughts waves that one is resolved to analyze.
First let's try to reconcile your understanding of Advaita with what we know
of Vedanta.

>From what I can make of your arguments - it seems purely intellectual. With
the metaphysical conception of Brahman as taught by Advaita - one without
another; all in itself - itself in all - you have intellectually reconciled
it with your own self/world as you understands them. And the
knowledge that has arisen out of this reconciliation, you say is the
truth of Advaita.
Since Advaita is a path to liberation and it teaches jnaana/knowledge as not
only the path but also the end, we have to take it that understanding the
truth of Advaita is nothing but liberation itself - so in other words if we
understand what you say is the truth of Advaita then
we should be liberated.
Sada: True.  I have explained about why Brahman inquiry involves
intellect but as you see now it is not just intellectual analysis.
Shankara says in Atma bodha -
        sada sarvagataH api aatma
        na sarvatraava bhaasate|
        budhyaaveva bhaaseta
        swachcheshu pratibinbavat||
Although consciousness is all pervading, it does get illumined
everywhere.  It shines forth in the pure intellect, just as light
gets fully  illumined in a clean mirror.
Nanda: I want to you consider the following : 1. All thinking is
fundamentally objective in character. Intellectual thinking too is
necessarily so. The subject thinks of an object. Even with thoughts
about our own self the subject thinks of itself/its attributes as an
object. But the shruti clearly says that the Self is not to be known
an object i.e it is beyond the intellect - that's also the reason there's
the teaching of silence, simply because brahman cannot be intellectually
apprehended or expressed. But you've comfortably reconciled the
metaphysical Brahman with the world and your own self and have no
problem about expressing it. So is intellectual understanding the
same as atma jnaanam?
Sada: I have given account of what is actually involved - No.  Self
is not considered as the object - 'this thought' and 'I thought' both
are thoughts - one is centered on the object as locus and the other
is centered on the subject I - Superficially both are thoughts which
are nothing but the mind that I am aware of.  The subject-object is
play of the mind.  Examination of this interplay is what is involved
without getting entangled in the superficial names and forms involved
in the loci.  How it is done is explained above. It involves
intensive meditation of the mind with the mind since that is all the
tools we have!  When the scripture says - naishaa tarkena matiraapa
neyaa - one cannot  gain self by logical analysis- it implies one can
not comprehend by the intellect as the object of comprehension -
since it is the very subject or the very substratum that is behind
the comprehension.  Logical analysis involves thoughts - and one gets
carried away riding superficially on the thought waves.  Viveka or
analysis that calls for is diving deep into the very content of the
thoughts, rejecting the superficial unreal name and form and
understanding the reality or the essence of the very thoughts
involved.  For that, one needs to get detached from the thoughts and
examine it "very objectively''- what is the very essence of the
thoughts.  In the process the subject-object distinctions gets
sublimated.  That is what is implied in the statement 'use the very
intellect to go beyond the intellect' - Examine now the Kena
statement below in the light of my discussion above and you will see
clearly what exactly the implication is :
   yasyaa matam tasya matam matam yasya na veda saH|
  He understands IT who comprehends it not, and he understands it not
who feels he has comprehended it.   Hence comprehension is the
intellectual comprehension as a thought - where as understanding is
the understanding in its essence as a fact and not as a thought,
since superficially thoughts have no reality while as a conscious I,
the thoughts are nothing but consciousness or awareness which is real
and is their essence.
Nanda: Also if Brahman was to be known by the intellect then what's
the role of the shruti - according to traditional opinion the shruti
teaches two things which are considered beyond human understanding
and for which the shruti is the only pramaaNa to establish their
existence - dharma and brahman. Wouldn't your intellectual
reconciliation contradict this traditional stand? And why is
Badarayana rebuking the Saankhya for trying to reconcile reality with
Sada: Nanda, only to establish what I am saying is factual based on
Shruti pramaaNa, I have brought in shruti's statements.  I have
discussed extensively in Ch. II of my notes on Brahmasuutra bhaashya,
BSB, the difference between loukika anumaana and shruti based
anumaana.  I strongly recommend every one to study 2nd and 3rd
chapters -of my notes on BSB where shruti and anumaana pramaaNa
(Ch.2) and adhyaasaa (Ch. 3) are discussed exhaustively.  If you
study my previous posts again, I have deduced that world is nothing
but thoughts and thoughts on the superficial count are not real.
What is real is the very substratum behind the thoughts. Upto this is
an intellectual analysis.

  Now having understood all the theory, that is enough reason to dive
into the thoughts to see what is intellectually understood is
factually true. This is what nidhidhyaasana is all about.  In spite
of the intellectual understanding, habitually one gets carried away
with the superficiality of the thoughts like riding on the thought
waves. It is like a chain smoker who intellectually knows smoking is
bad for his health but cannot get out because of mental habit.
Sadhana is required to constantly shifts ones attention from
superficial naama and ruupa, name and form to the very contents of
the thoughts.  Hence Krishna statement:
        yato yato nishcharati manas chanchalam asthiram|
        tatastato niyamyaitat aatmanyva vasham nayet|| 6-26
This can be rightly interpreted as : Whenever and whenever the mind
wanders away by getting carried away on the 'objects' thoughts -
superficially riding away on the names and forms - when one becomes
conscious of this - right there and there one should bring it back to
see the self which is the very substratum of both subject and object
thoughts.  This is what is implied in nidhidhyaasana.  Here Shruti
comes as pramaaNa the very substratum of all this, this, and this, is
nothing but existence-consciousness - sadeva smoumya idam agra aseet
- ekam eva advitiiyam - tad aikshata - vaachaarambhanam vikaaro naama
dheyam - tat tvam asi swetaketo- etc. Existence-consciousness is
alone there before creation and it is the support for all creation
and creation is nothing but names and forms. and you are that sat and
chit swaruupa.  In the discussion of my notes on  BSB, I have
explained why shruti is required as pramaaNa.

Your objection, Nanda,  is therefore not valid, although you may have
valid objection that I might not have made myself clear in my posts.
Nanda: 2. Shankara himself says Advaita theory is in the realm of
ignorance as theory being in the realm of pramaaNa-s and since the
pramaaNa-s do not have ultimate validity, Advaita theory is of a
lower level of reality than Brahman. By theory it is meant
intellectual understanding. So is it right to say that your
intellectual reconciliation is the same as atma jnaanam?
Sada: I think I have explained above what is involved.  Analysis I
have provided in my post is intellectual analysis that involves both
shruti pramaaNa and anumaana pramaaNa.  That world is nothing but
thoughts and thoughts are  nothing but the consciousness that is the
very substratum.  From intellectual understanding one has to gain
factual understanding by contemplation on this intellectual
understanding. This is what is known as nidhidhyaasana - and in my
last post related to suutra 4- tat tu samanvyayaat -  I have
explained or I should say Shankara explained the role of
nidhidhyasana. It was posted three weeks ago.
Nanda: 3. If liberation is only the intellectual
understanding/reconciliation of Advaita theory with phenomenal life,
then anybody who understood your post(and there've been many in the
Advaitin list who said what you said is the true reading of Advaita)
and understood it, would have been liberated? So do they consider
themselves liberated now?
Sada: I think I have explained this taking Kena statement above. I
hope I am clear now.
Nanda: One of the qualities of jeevanmuktas is that they're supposed
to have lost all fear - since fear is a product of the mind over what
it imagines can happen to itself or the body. Ramana used to refer to
his body as "this" and even when some thugs attacked him is said to
have borne the blows without any sign of such action affecting him.
Simply because the body wasn't him.  So has your intellectual
reconciliation given you this fearlessness? Can you go and stand in a
cage with a lion (only in the hypothetical sense) or in any dangerous
situation, without any fear, because any harm caused is only to the
body and it is not you?
Sada:  Nanda, please think it over clearly since the answer lies in
the question itself.  In YogavaashishhTa, Rama asks vashishhTa - why
did you run away from the chasing elephant when you mentioned that
the whole world is unreal including the chasing elephant.  VashishhTa
smilingly answered -Hai! Rama! - why do you think my running away is
any different from the chasing elephant.  Both are equally unreal.
They all have  only relative reality- one wave is different from the
other wave.  One thought is different from another thoughts - but
essence or substratum of all the thoughts is the same.  Ramana
answers your question in a way-
        iisha jiivayoH vishhadhii bidaa|
        satva bhaavato vastu kevalam||
The iiswara and jiiva are different in terms of the costumes they are
wearing.  But from the point of their essence, which is existence,
they are the same.
Look at this way - as a scientist I know in essence the food and
garbage are one and the same  - both are assemblage of electrons,
protons and neutrons.  But that understanding does not deprive me in
my enjoying the food and throwing away the garbage - is it not?  If
it so true even at this empirical level, why  should there be a
confusion in mixing up the vyavahaara and paaramaarthika levels.  The
point I am making by understanding the essence of vyavahaara is
indeed paramaarthika only, one does not ignore vyavahaara but one
understands its relative role and also understands it has no role at
absolute level.  At the fundamental particle level there is no
difference in the apparently different materials - but at the utility
level or vyavahaara level the difference exists at that level only.
Nanda: 4. If by atma jnaanam is meant only intellectual understanding
then what's
the relevance of ethics, austerity, meditation etc which have been
practiced/preached by all the Advaitic saints? And why should anybody
take sanyaasam/renunciation?
Sada: Since now I have clearly discussed what is involved, the
question has no more validity, I suppose.

May not be relevant here, but let me state my opinion here, which I
have stated many times in the past before.  What is needed in
understanding the essence of the thoughts and thus the subject-object
world is ones complete detachment from the thoughts - vairaagya - if
one is not detached  one will get carried away with the superficial
naama and ruupa.  Hence vairaagya at the mental level is needed for
the analysis - there is no question about it.

This does not necessarily translates to as 'external renunciation is
essential' - I would only say it may be very much helpful to develop
the maanasika sanyaasa which is essential but there is no guarantee
and therefore not essential. One can get attached to ones koupiinam,
the piece of the cloth or stone one  is resting for meditation.
Others may differ on this topic. so be it.
Nanda: 5. If by atma jnaanam is meant only intellectual
understanding, then what's the meaning of all the expositions of atma
vichaaram using the pancha kosha doctrine etc that we see in the
praakarna grantha texts? The teachings in those texts don't seem to
be mere intellectual understanding - but a physical seeing/feeling of
the body/mind etc as something physically apart from us. Did
Yaganavalkya mean by "neti, neti" only an intellectual
understanding of ourselves as different from the body/mind etc or a
physical knowledge of differentiation - which should be similar to
the view we view objects external to us - that we're not the body and

Sada:  I think I have answered this in a way.  "I am the body", I am
the mind" are also thoughts when I am conscious of the body and mind
as objects.  Now go back to the analysis of the thoughts - in terms
of superficial aspect involving name and form and the very essence of
the thoughts as consciousness.  Everything should fit in. Ocean can
say, I am not the wave. but yet the waves are in me and I am in the
wave as well as outside the wave. I pervade not only this body but
all bodies and minds too - if one understand clearly since 'there is
body out there' is also a thought in my mind!
Nanda: Sure according to Advaita metaphysics everything is ultimately
brahman - even the senses, the mind and body. But again why do the
Advaitic teachers also keep insisting that you're not the body and
mind? The whole of Dashashloki of Shankaraachaarya is in this vein -
where he distinguishes between himself and all that is known. Why
does Shankara call his body a disgusting bag of bones, flesh, urine,
etc and asks you to reject it as not your true self? Isn't this what
neti, neti is about? But how would you reconcile this with your
Sada: As usual there is mixing up of vyavahaara and paramaathika
levels here.  First the scriptural statement that everything is
nothing but Brahman violates your separating 'I am not the body since
it is disgusting' and 'I am pure self'.  Neti neti has to be
correctly understood - It is not emphasizing duality that iti or idam
is different from me.   It is only emphasizing the mental detachment
for a sadhak who is getting entangled in the superficial aspects -
name and forms that the thoughts stand for.  It is the rejection of
these unreal names and forms - but accepting in their essence they
are not different from me, the self which is consciousness. na iha
naanaa asti kinchana - there is absolutely no plurality here - con be
absolutely true if one  follows the analysis of the objects and
thoughts that I have presented.  That is what advaita Vedanta is all
about - otherwise 'not this' will leave you with dvaita and this is
different from me who is chaitanya vastu or conscious entity and this
is jaDa vastu or inert entity.  neti neti has to be understood
correctly and not to be misinterpreted.  Hence a proper teacher is
essential for aadhyaatma vidya.  Nanda please read my previous posts
again how everything is integrated as one and not as two as this and
Nanda: Observe the kind of knowledge/certainty you have when you say
"I" in reference to your psycho/physical being. Is this the same kind
of knowledge that you have when you look at an object and think that
"it is in me and I am in it"?
Sada: That is what a jiivanmukta is all about - is it not?
Nanda: 6. According to the shruti/Advaita liberation would mean the end of all
desire - as dear GMurthy used to post often the quote from Katha
Upanishad : "When all the desires that dwell in the heart fall away, the
mortal becomes immortal and attains brahman even here" - after this
intellectual understanding are you really free from all desire? Even as you
read this post does your mind thirst to clear up any misunderstanding that I
might have regarding your views? I think you are particularly fond of
writing/talking about Vedanta. Can you totally give it up for say, a month
and be unaffected by it? Can you sit in a place for a couple of hours
without your body/mind thirsting to perform their functions - all of which
imply underlying desire. Sada, please do not think of it as a challenge from
me - just reflect on this and test the validity of your jnaana.
Sada: Nanda, indirectly you are asking me how far I have realized the
truths that I am implying in my analysis.  It is a good question for
me to pose to myself but an invalid question for me to answer to you.
The reason is very simple.  And it also has relevance to a recent
post by a gentleman who posted that he has realized in 1993, and
there were lot of responses some mocking at his post.  The question
is improper to answer only because any answer - yes or no- cannot be
validated or invalidated by any others.  It is just one word against
the other. Normally no teacher of aadhyaatma vidya in the past has
announced publicly he has realized since there is no way to prove or
disprove that fact- it is an understanding of ones own true state.
Only a disciple will have to feel in his own mind that my teacher has
realized since it is that faith that will help him to proceed further
in his sadhana.

Next the criteria you mentioned as mark or realization also cannot be
established objectively.  Hence they by themselves are not marks of
realization.  One should not have self-centered desires or selfish
desires - since having selfish or ego-centric desires indirectly
points the misunderstanding that by the fulfillment of them only, one
will be happy other wise one will be  miserable.  That automatically
implies that one  is not understood what one is.  But even this,
others cannot judge the motivation behind ones actions.  Hence it is
better not to judge others, whether others are realized or not.  One
can play in the world without getting affected by it. The play and
involvement or samsaara - there is very thin line between the two and
one who is playing only knows the difference.  Look at how Shree Rama
played in every incidence particularly when he learned that Sita was
abducted, yet he is considered as j~naani, jiivanmukta - was he
playing or was he suffering like other samsaarii-s.  He only knows -
is it not.  So who is the judge?  Hence Krishna says one knows
oneself in oneself by oneself.

Let me ask you a counter question - not that I want you to answer
that.  Are you able to suppress all your thoughts and realize the
truth.  Only time I can suppress my thoughts is when I go to deep
sleep.  But there is no knowledge in that since viveka is required
for sadhana and intellect is not available for knowledge to take
place or for wrong notions in the mind to drop completely.  The
singularity that pervades the apparent duality has to be understood
and that is exactly what I am emphasizing.

Hence duality is not the problem, thoughts are not the problem,
raising desires in the mind are not the problem, writing on Vedanta
is not the problem, teaching Vedanta is not the problem - They are
valid within vyavahaara. One has to understand clearly the shruti's
declarations.  Taking the vyavahaara satya as the satyasya satya or
absolute reality is the problem - understanding clearly the true
import of the shaastra is important  and that is where the true
knowledge lies.  Considering all the list you gave above as problem
lends a sense of reality to the apparent things  - That is the
central problem resulting in samsaara.  Shruti declarations of neti
and sadhana is intended to develop vairagya needed to stand apart so
that one can apply viveka to understand the apparent as apparent and
recognize the reality underlying the apparent. That is the essence of
my analysis that says  the world is only naama and ruupa and
subject-object distinctions are play in the mind. Mind cannot but
play since that  is the nature of the mind.  There is no problem in
playing as long as it is taken as a play - There is no problem in
acting the roles as long as one is acting recognizing that one is
actor who is the substratum or adhaara for the roles that one is
playing.  If one does not play there is no problems, if one plays
there is no problem that becomes a liila.  Roles in the drama have
problems in their roles and they beautify the drama; otherwise it
will be boring to watch.  But taking the problems of the roles as one
own problem is then becomes a real problem.  Now go back to my post -
thoughts are not the problem - mind cannot but think -but considering
that thoughts are problem and one should avoid them becomes a problem
since in the process one is giving a reality to the problem that is
not really there - Then the apparent problem becomes a real problem -
and there my friend lies the essence of samsaara.

I have answered your question impersonally since that is the only way
it can be answered correctly.  The rest is a faith which has no
relevance here for the public.  A disciple should have a faith in his
teacher other wise he will not gain that knowledge.  He has to
establish that faith in his own mind - that faith cannot be imparted
by anyone other than by himself.  Not even the teacher can install
that faith in him. It develops as he recognizes that he is getting
immense help from the teacher for his evolution.
Nanda: In another sense jnaana/reality is equal to self existence i.e, for the
normal human apart from the things that (s)he experiences/finds pleasure in
the world he has no existence/identity. (People who doubt this, all you have
to do is test this out - give up the top 5 things which give you the most
satisfaction/pleasure for just 1 week and see how you feel - without all
that external to give you pleasure/satisfaction/happiness and thus sustain
your identity, you'll feel like your whole life has been overturned and lost
purpose). Do you think your intellectual understanding has given you the
capability to reject the pleasures of the world and abide in yourself? Test
it out.
Sada:  Nanda, your above points from what I discussed are irrelevant
to the topic.  By the criteria you have stated one can neither
validate nor invalidate ones status of realization.  What Krishna
stated in the IInd chapter as sthita praj~na lakshaNa, are meant for
subjective evaluation not to prove to others that one has realized
nor intended for one to evaluate the others. They are milestones
provided for ones own growth.
7. According to Advaita the Atman always is. But doesn't intellectual
understanding necessarily imply that which you are ignorant of that
understanding first and then knowledge arises?
Sada:  No.  Apparent is always apparent whether one knows that it is
apparent or not.  Knowledge involves realizing apparent as apparent
and real as real and that is the viveka. - 'ignorance' is brought in
to explain why apparent appears to be real and real does not seem to
appear.  Even this ignorance becomes apparent when the apparent is
seen as apparent and real as real.  The analysis I have presented
points to how what appears to be real is only apparent or name and
form and what is real lies behind the apparent as it very substratum.
One needs to realize the truth indicated by the analysis.
Nanda: Yes, there's some similarity between the "knowledge and
ignorance" here and the tenets of Advaita - but are these the
knowledge and ignorance that Advaita is talking about?
Sada: Nanda, I am not going to convince you, yes or no.   I have
provided both analysis and the scriptural support.   It is up to you
to take it or discard it.  If you find fault in my logic and that my
statements are contradictory to scriptural declaration (not some
X,Y,Z interpretations of the scriptures) please point out those to
me.  I am maintaining that what I am presenting is Advaita and not
contradictory to Advaita.  That 'this is semi-vij~naana vada etc' in
the final analysis is irrelevant to me. If that is so, let that be
so.  If you can prove that what I am preaching is not the true import
of advaita then please let me know what and where I am deviating.
Nanda: 8. Also according to Advaita it is "brahma vid brahmaiva
bhavati" - that is on liberation you'll become reality -
consciousness. So the knowledge that you're not only yourself but you
are everything should always be present. One of the reasons the
phenomenal self is the false self is that it is not always present -
for when your mind is lost in the object like say when you're
watching a movie etc or in deep sleep the phenomenal self - the "I"
feeling that you have when you are conscious of yourself, is not
present. Please differentiate between this "I" sense as the self
awareness of the person who's experiencing the state and the
inferential reasoning like :
you're present in deep sleep since you wake up as the same person etc.
Sada: The so-called phenomenal self is the self that identifies with
'I thought" as I am itself.  Hence as long as mind is operating, the
I-thought is crystallized - this is the same as ego or ahankaara.
When there is no mind as in deep sleep there is no identification
with any thought.  Vedanta says there is only an identification with
kaaraNa shariira - which  is pure ignorance.  In understanding my
true nature as the very essence of all, I am the totality that
pervades all the states.  There is no more misunderstanding as I am
this any more.  So I don't see any problem.  Whatever Advaitic
explanation of the three states and turia all are valid - because I
am not saying anything different from the tenets of advaita.  The
basis of all your questioning is your understanding that I am talking
about intellectual understanding.  I think I have made myself clear
now. It is understanding of the very intellect itself not
intellectual understanding.
Nanda: Is your intellectual understanding of the Advaitic
metaphysical self always present? Even when your mind is lost when
answering this post or watching a movie or in deep sleep?
Sada:  The question is again based on the incorrect understanding.
Please read my notes - I said I am that substratum from which
thoughts raise, sustain and go back like waves in the ocean.  If I am
there to watch the  movie, obviously I am present to watch the movie.
I am there to sleep, then I have to be there sleeping.   Waking,
dreaming, sleeping states that occur in my presence but they are not
me.  Whole of Mandukya Up. follows.  I don't see any problem.
Nanda: Also intellectual understanding is what is retained by the
mind. Many things that we intellectually understood during
school/college, we've already forgotten. So will your understanding
stand the test of time? When you grow old and your mind becomes weak
and forgetful, will it still be retained?
Sada: It is obvious that I have not made myself clear in my previous
posts.  I hope it is clear now.  Nanda, you wanted me to answer item
by item.  But actually all are answered in  my introductory statement
itself above.

I hope I have made myself clear now.
Hari OM!
K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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