[Advaita-l] Three Questions on Jiva, Atman & Brahma-jnAna

Amuthan Arunkumar R aparyap at yahoo.co.in
Fri Oct 7 21:15:53 CDT 2005

namo nArAyNAya!

dear shrI ShyAm ve~NkaTarAman, 

--- shrI Shyam Venkataraman wrote:
>   The fact that atma is my real self has to be
> understood only through the
> mind. Sravanam and mananam ( listening to the words
> of the shruti and
> getting convinced that atma is my real self is
> purely an intellectual
> process). So how can you say brahma jnanam is not a
> mental phenomenon?

before the destruction of avidyA, the terms AtmA,
brahman etc. are just thoughts in our mind - they are
just two undefined terms in our head. when we say both
are identical, we are just forming a mental link
between the two - thereby adhering to a belief system.
to put it in other words, two thoughts have been
combined with a third thought. does this help? what is
the point in merely knowing (with the brain) that the
AtmA and brahmam are identical when both of these
cannot be known through the brain? the purpose of
vedAnta shravaNam and mananam is to turn the mind
inward - rejecting all that is nAma rUpa parichchinnam
- and look for the ever present Atma svarUpam with
keen awareness and necessary control of mind. using
the mind alone, the Atma svarUpam cannot be known. it
can be known only by knowing it. the knowledge we have
in the mind is anityam. it perishes upon the
destruction of the body or due to some mental disease,
whereas brahma j~nAnam is our svarUpa lakshaNam which
is neither eternal nor non eternal and just is.

actually, the Atmabrahmaikya j~nAnam given in the
shruti-s is needed only at a very advanced stage. when
one has reached a stage in his sAdhanA where he knows
the existence of Atma svarUpam for sure (by direct
experience), then, he uses this Atmabrahmaikya j~nAnam
to conclude that all that is, is brahmam. thus,
Atmabrahmaikya j~nAnam is used to make a transition
from nirvikalpa samAdhi to sahaja samAdhi, i.e. for
achieving vAsanA kshayam and mano nAsham. but that's
at the very end of one's sAdhanA and again, there the
primary tool is not the mind.

btw, by a purely intellectual analysis, it is not
possible to conclude that an AtmA or a brahmam exists.
it is not even possible to assert our own existence,
though that is the only thing we can do with maximum
(though not full) certainty. that can be known only
from shrUti or by direct experience. 

let us not confuse a mere play of thoughts in our mind
with knowledge of the truth. intellectual analysis is
a great help to those fond of intellectual thinking.
but that too, has to be discarded and by proper
nidhidhyAsanam, the truth has to be found out by
direct experience, which, as per our shAstra-s,
transcends the mind. 

vAsudevaH sarvaM,

Amuthan Arunkumar R,
Final year, B.Tech/M.Tech Dual Degree,
Dept. of Aerospace Engg., IIT Madras.

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