The mind according to Sri Shankaracharya.

Kiran B R kiranbr at ROCKETMAIL.COM
Tue Sep 10 04:32:45 CDT 2002

> > Conjuring up in your mind that you're the Prime
> > Minister of India does not make you that. There
> are
> > other things you need to do to become that.
> But first we need to conjure up the thing in the
> mind
> isn't it?

Very true. It first needs to come up in the mind.
Unquestionably true.

> Everything begins in and ends with the
> mind.

Agreed. But before it ends in the mind, will all those
things which begin in the mind come to be in the
material world? Or is "ending in the mind" a way of
saying "I wanted to eat grapes. I cannot reach them.
So I do not want to eat grapes now"?

> I have read in the Bhagavata (sorry can't remember
> the
> details, mere hand waiving I guess) that whatever
> that
> occurs to the mind can come to pass.

But then, that mind in which things are being
concocted should be allowed to concoct without any
restrictions. And those concoctions must also come to
pass. Of course, such powers should not be expected in

> Now what is this mind according to the
> advaita-vedanta
> of Adi Shankaracharya? I am eager to know.

According to Adi Shankaracharya, mind is the creator
of all perceived objects. All objects exist only
because of the mind. In the TaittirIya-bhAShya, he
explains how bhRugu finds out that the mind is the
creator, sustainer and destroyer of all the "beings".
In another work (vivEkachUdAmaNi?) he explicitly says
"manah prasUyatE viShayAn ashEShAn".

The problems I have with "manah prasUyatE viShayAn
ashEShAn" are -

1. If it is true, objects must be under the control of
the mind directly. That's why, water must freeze on
boiling. In the case of samADhi, all that a person in
samADhi accomplishes is removing one's mind completely
from material objects. That does not warrant
describing the entire world as a creation of the mind.
What *can* be concluded from the capability of the
mind to remove itself from sense-objects is a
statement to the effect of "manah yadi layakartum
ichChathi viShayAn ashEShan, thath sambhavah bhavathi"
(I'm terrible in Sanskrit, so do correct me if that
sentence makes no grammatical sense! But what I mean
is - "If the mind wants to become totally detached
from objects of sense, it is possible"). The
capability of the human mind to detach itself from
material objects does not prove the unreality of the
world. That is, it does not prove that the world is
"unreal". Doing so is like closing one's eyes and
exclaiming that there is no light.

2. If it is true that the mind is the reason for all
the objects of sense in a sense other than described
above, then there must be an explanation for the
unerring regularity in Nature. If I want to freeze
water by boiling and someone else wants to convert the
same into molten gold, both cannot be true at the same
time. As far as I know, there is no mention in any of
Sri Shankara's works as to why ALL the different minds
conjure up objects following the same laws of physics.


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