The Knower IS the Atman (was Re: Intellect and Reality)

Sankaran Kartik Jayanarayanan kartik at ECE.UTEXAS.EDU
Sun Feb 17 15:13:05 CST 2002

On Mon, 11 Feb 2002, nanda chandran wrote:


> The knower is not the Atman but only the normal self which arises out of the
> coming together of the psycho/physical complex. It is this self which uses
> the intellect to discriminate.
> The knower cannot be the Atman because :

On planet earth, the AchAryas of advaita Vedanta teach that the Knower IS
the Atman.

Verse after verse of Shankara's upadeshasaahasrii affirms this:

viGYAturnaiva viGYAtA paro.anyaH saMbhavatyaH .
viGYAtAhaM paro muktaH sarvabhUteshhu sarvadA .. (2.12.12)

"I am always the free supreme Knower in all beings as there cannot be a
more comprehensive knower different from Me."

viGYAteryastu viGYAtA sa tvamityuchyate yataH .
sa syadanubhavastasya tato.anyo.anubhavo mR^ishhaa .. (2.12.8)

"It is the knower of knowledge that is referred to by the word "Thou" in
the shruti. The understanding of the term "Thou" in this sense is correct.
The other sense different from it is due to superimposition."

All the arguments given against the shruti must therefore be incorrect:

> 1. The Atman is already perfect and needs no new knowledge.

This statement is correct!

> 2. If the Atman were the knower then the Atman being eternal, all knowledge
> obtained would also be eternal and there thus cannot be cases like loss of
> knowledge which happens due to old age or loss of memory.

The True Knowledge of the Self is eternal and therefore no new knowledge
is obtained. GYAna is never gained or lost. The so-called "knowledge" that
is stored in the memory is not strictly "knowledge" at all. Being
transient, it has no existence independent of the Knower and hence is not
considered Real.

> 3. If the knower were the Atman then being the knower which can exist only
> in the duality of knower and known, the Atman too would exist only against
> the known - interdependent existence and not the thing-in-itself.

The knowledge of external objects "known" by the knower is not real. The
Atman shines as the Knower *independent* of the external objects that
constitute the "Known".

> 4. As it is established in itself in the state of deep sleep where there's
> neither knower nor known.

Correction: there is ONLY the Knower in deep sleep.


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