Tat tvam asi?

S. V. Subrahmanian svsubrahmanian at YAHOO.COM
Mon Feb 11 10:55:53 CST 2002

--- "Jaldhar H. Vyas" <jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM> wrote:
> >  1. The classical Advaita path of self-introspection, the neti, neti or
> >     the subject versus the object approach, where we discriminate and
> >     reject all that is not us also implies the ?I?ness of the Atman. If
> >     such a path is to be true then the path to liberation is very clear
> >     and self-effort by itself should fetch liberation ie after rejecting
> >     everything that?s not ourselves we should remain in the end as the
> >     pure Atman. If that?s so then why does Shankara still assert that in
> >     the ultimate moment liberation is only possible due to divine grace?
> So to get to back to your original question, negation is a path it is not
> the goal and at the end of the path there is not void but the supreme
> divine Self.  The nature of that self is known from other shastras.
> Negation does not alter that.

I read the explanation above you gave for neti, neti.  Thank you very much.
You say that the "there is no void, but the supreme self" - how do you say
that?  Instead I will pose a set of questions that amplify my doubt in your

1.  At the end of 'neti, neti' what is one left with?

2.  If you say I am left with the Self, who remains to cognize the Self?

3.  If it is the buddhi, then we have to negate even that for the Self cannot
be an object of thought for the buddhi.

4.  If you say, it is known through the shastras, then who is the one who knows
it?  Atman is swayamprakAsha, it does not need shastras.  And anything other
than Atman is already negated by 'neti, neti'.

My argument is the idea "what is left after neti, neti" is a contradiction.
"Whatever is left" cannot be cognized by the buddhi and if it is then it is not
Atman.  So 'neti, neti' has to destroy even the buddhi and "I am"-ness.

Even then we cannot say "what is left is Atman" - for even to say that is an
object of our thought.  That is why probably it is indirectly refered to as
"Grace" to which we have to "Surrender" ie., destroy our own limited identity
with buddhi as the cognizing ability.

> >  5. Man is a psycho/physical/spiritual being - he?s made up of the body,
> >     mind, senses and consciousness or spirit. While he is a compound of
> >     all these in the waking state, in the dream state the body and the
> >     senses are absent. In the deep sleep state he is said to be one with
> >     the spirit ie consciousness is said to abide in itself. But again
> >     when there?s no I-consciousness in deep sleep ie we do not directly
> >     experience the state of deep sleep as we do in the waking and dream
> >     states and only know the ?peace of deep sleep? when we come awake,
> >     how can we say that we are the consciousness that experienced peace
> >     in deep sleep?
> We know only through indirect means.  But when it known that there was
> consciousness before the deep sleep and the same consciousness is there
> afterwards, what is the justification for _not_ accepting there was the
> same consciousness in between?

Because I existed before sleep and after sleep is not enough justification for
me to say that "the same I" existed during sleep.  What really proves that I
existed during sleep is the ability to say statments like "I had a good sleep"
or "I slept well" or "MY sleep was disturbed" etc.  That gives the proof that I
existed during sleep.  That I was an enjoyer of the sleep state is the proof.

if lim x->0+ f(x) = lim x->0- f(x) then lim x->0 f(x) exists ie., limit exists,
but does not prove continuity.  For continuity you have to prove lim x->0 f(x)
= f(0) also. ie., not just "something" existed during sleep, but the "same I"
as during waking needs to be directly known.

All the above is my understanding.  Corrections are most welcome.  I would like
to learn.


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