Tat tvam asi?

hbdave hbd at DDIT.ERNET.IN
Tue Jan 29 00:03:26 CST 2002

nanda chandran wrote:

> The fundamental doctrine of Advaita is ?tat tvam asi? in its most
> personal sense. You are the Atman and it is because of ignorance that
> you are not aware of it. Though there?s the distinction between the
> phenomenal self (jiva) and the real self (atman), still Advaita
> advocates that even the atman is nothing but you in the deepest sense.
> You are pure consciousness and due to ignorance (avidya) you
> superimpose qualities of all the objects you experience (including the
> mind and body) on yourself and hence the case of mistaken identity
> where you who are the pure and free mistake yourself for the impure
> and bound. So Advaita without doubt teaches ?aham brahmaasmi? or ?I?m
> Brahman? in a personal sense and clearly advocates the link between
> the ?I? and the Atman.
> By all these questions I?m not in anyway questioning the existence of
> the Atman as pure consciousness. I?m only questioning whether the
> ?I?ness can be attributed to the Atman. The above questions are
> inspired by the adorable Gaudapaada?s assertion that : ?He who sees
> the Lord as untouched by conceptions of self, not-self, both or
> neither (the classic Maadhyamika Chatushkoti), is omniscient?.
The last paragraph attracted me to write this response.

The answer is NO, "I" sense can not be attributed to Atman, in the way
that we normally
understand "I".

In all humility I would ask Nanda if he has experience of meditation.
Then it may be easier to talk about the very interesting questions he
has raised.

Alternatively, see  if the following diagram makes any sense  to you :


Atman does not "know" anything, taking the ordinary sense of the word
As soon as you say "I", you are also talking about  "non-I" ! So Atman
cannot say
The trouble is we are talking and discussing something which is
"achintya" can not be
even thought about (by our limited mind ).

{I am breaking my self-imposed silence, but Nanda's questions were too

-- Himanshu

.o bhadram no apivaataya mana.h

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