kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 18 20:16:34 CDT 2006

Perception of the world:

For the objects to be cognized and hence for the world to be cognized,
there has to be a waker, a conscious entity, operating with his
equipments or upaadhiis, such as body and mind.  Without a conscious
entity establishing the existence of the world, there is no independent
establishment of the world.  Since the world is insentient, it cannot
establish its existence by itself.  While the existence of the world
depends on the conscious entity, the existence of the conscious entity
does not depend on the world.  Conscious entity is self-existent while
the existence of the insentient entity depends on the sentient entity. 
Conversely, insentient entity is that whose existence depends on
something other than itself (that something other has to be a conscious
entity) – anya adhIna prakAshatvam, tat jaDam.  Thus of the two things,
conscious entity and inert entity, the conscious entity is independent
of the existence of the inert entity. On the other hand, the inert
entity depends on the existence of the conscious entity.  We have also
defined that which has dependent existence is mithya.  

If we pose a question whether the world exists or not when there is no
conscious entity to observe, then the counter question is who is going
to prove or disprove its existence – since such a proof has to be
established by a conscious entity alone.  The problem becomes an
inderminate problem, since its existence can neither be proved nor
disproved.  We call this as anirvachaniiyam or question is unanswerable
or unexplainable, therefore as good as to be classified as invalid
question.  There are several such problems in nature that cannot be
explained.  One such example is whether seed is first or tree is first
or which is the cause and which is the effect, since seed comes from a
tree and tree comes from a seed.  This is true for all cyclic phenomena.
According to Vedanta, creation, sustenance and dissolution of the world
is also considered as cyclic phenomenon.  Science is also approaching to
the similar concept involving cyclic expansion and contraction of the
universe. Logically one cannot answer these questions and hence it is
called anirvachaniiyam since operation of logic presupposes the
existence of a conscious entity.  Hence, scripture or shAstra alone is
pramANam or means of knowledge for these and shAstra says Brahman, the
conscious entity alone is real, whose nature is sat chit ananda. Hence
any existence of the inert becomes mithya or apparent. However, until
one sees the substantive, rope, the knowledge of the snake is real, for
the perceiver of the snake.  Similarly until one sees (here seeing is
knowing) the substantive Brahman, the perception of the world is real. 
It is as real as the mind that perceives.  When one knows that there is
only Brahman (knower of Brahman become Brahman, brahma vit brahmaiva
bhavati says shruti), the false is recognized as false.  The world is
still perceived even after knowing that it is false, just as mirage is
perceived even after knowing that it is false.  Knowing very well that
the false is false, jnaani still operates with the knowledge, but does
not get deluded by taking false as real.  We can say that one (i.e.
Brahman) appears as many as illusion (mAya).  However, taking the
apparent plurality as reality is delusion or moha.  It is like a
scientist operating in the world knowing very well that all objects are
nothing but made up of the same fundamental particles, electrons,
protons and neutrons.  Still for transactional purposes, he
differentiates the food versus garbage, poison versus medicine even
though fundamentally their substantive is the same – electrons, protons
and neutrons.  A dvaitin asks advaitin to drink a cup of poison instead
of milk since everything is Brahman.  One does not need knowledge of
advaita for this.  A scientist also knows that both milk and poison are
nothing but an assemblage of electrons and protons and electrons.  That
does not mean he does not know how to differentiate the attributes of
the assemblages even when the substantives at the fundamental level are
the same.  Vyaavahaarika satyam should not be confused with pAramArthika
satyam.  Such questions arise because of lack of correct understanding
of advaita or even science.  The same problem arises if when one says
that objects have swaruupa laxaNa just because I add sugar for the
coffee and not salt.  Such questions show lack of understanding of what
swaruupa laxaNa means. Vedanta is very precise in the definition of
Brahman, providing both taTasta laxaNa and swarUpa laxaNa.  

Hence, from paaramaarthika satyam (absolute reality), there is only one,
that is Brahman, without a second; while from vyaavahaarika satyam
(transactional reality) the objects differ from other objects in the
waking state.  Similarly, from the prAtibhAsika satyam, we have internal
dream world with objects that differ from one another. 

In the advaitic understanding of the truth, there is no confusion at the
transactional level.  Fundamentally, one should understand that all
relative realities are real in their sphere of operation.  Snake is real
at one level (praatibhaasika satyam), rope is real at another level
(vyaavahaarika satyam), and Brahman is real at absolute level (satyasya
satyam).  With knowledge, one transcends from one understanding to the
other.  At absolute level, there are no relatives, since relation
requires presence of more than one.  Even the concepts of ignorance and
liberation, maya, etc exist only at vyAvahArika satyam, as Mandukya
emphasizes.  aMRitabindu Upanishad says:
 mana eva manuShAnaam kaaraNam bandha moxayOH| 
bhandAya viShayAsaktam muktai nirviShayam sRitam||

Mind is the cause for both bondage and liberation.  Longing for objects
outside with the assumption that happiness is outside is bondage; and
contentment in oneself by oneself (Atmanyeva AtmaNa tuShTaH) is
The dvaita or duality with subject-object distinction arises with the
mind.  Taking that duality as reality is due to moha or delusion.
Whenever there is dvaita or duality, there is always a problem, since
one limits the other.  SamsAra is inevitable with dvaita.  Moxa or
liberation has to be freedom from duality.  Advaita or Non-duality in
spite of duality has to be understood.  If moxa is freedom from
limitations then theories that based on duality  with hierarchy of souls
even in moxa is to transport the samsaara from this world to moxa too.
GoudapAda says moxa or freedom from limitations and dvaita where
limitations are inherent are contradictory.  In addition, moxa is not
something to gain since whatever is gained has a beginning and therefore
has to have an end – jAtasyahi dRivo mRituH|.  That is the law.  Hence,
moxa cannot have space-wise, time-wise or object-wise limitations.  Any
slavery, however glorified it looks or presented, cannot be freedom,
either.  Concepts that there are hierarchy in the jiivas even in moxa,
and some jiivas eternally distanced to hell, are mockery of the very
Vedic teaching.  That is more like Christian philosophy where on the day
of judgement the souls either sent to heaven or pushed to eternal hell. 
Statements that such concepts are Vedic and advaita is not Vedic are
silly prattling of a child who does not understand the Vedic teaching. 

Vedas declare that any spec of duality causes fear, since one is afraid
of the second – ‘udaramantaram kurute athatasya bhayam bhavati’ – says
Tai. Up.  There is no freedom in dvaita.  Advaita or non-duality alone
can be the absolute truth and freedom from samsAra.  Moxa is therefore
is not some thing to gain, since one cannot gain infiniteness; it is
something to understand.  Hence ManDukya establishes that you are that
Brahman, ayam Atma brahma, reinforcing the other Vedic statements,
prajnaanam brahma, consciousness is Brahman, tat tvam asi, you are that;
and with declaration in the seat of meditation as ‘aham brahmaasmi’ I am
Brahman.  Hence, brahma vit brahmaiva bhavati – the knower of Brahman
becomes brahma.  In gaining that knowledge one recognizes that there is
nothing other than Brahman, neha naanaasti kincana and sarvam khalvidam
brahman, everything is Brahman, since the substantive of everything is
nothing but Brahman and Brahman alone.  Krishan says: sarvabhUtastham
AtmAnam sarva bhUtAnica Atmani| eexate yOga yuktAtmA sarvatra sama
bhuddhayaH|| The one sees (understands) he is in all beings and all
beings in him, such a yogi alone has equanimity of mind where all
dualities or dvandvas have no effect.  

Cognition of space and time:

Senses cannot directly perceive space and time.  In the cognition of an
object, its spatial coordinates in relation to other objects in the
vicinity are grasped.  In addition, a three dimensional perspective of
objects are obtained through stereographic projection of the image in
the mind.  It is said that the stereographic projection arises due to
the presence of two eyes that are separated from each other by around
seven degrees.  This fact is utilized in the 3-D movies that are taken
with polarized light, which have to be viewed with polarized glasses. 
If the 3-D movie is watched with one eye closed, only a 2-D vision is
observed.  The space is recognized in the mind only in relation to
objects particularly in 3-D projection of the objects due to the
presence of two eyes that are separated.  AkASha, space, is defined as
that which provides avakASha or which accommodates the objects.  A blind
person will be able to infer the space by movement of his hands or the
objects in space. 

The cognition of time is also a trick of the mind. One can objectify it
by providing a mechanical clock.  However, its relativity is emphasized
by showing a cartoon of two twins - one who is looking like a old man
while remaining relatively stationary on earth for 40 years, while his
twin returning still as young person after traveling in space at the
speed of the light during that time.  Einsteinian definition of time is
the gap between two sequential events observed by observer, who does not
change with the events.  The time should be defined as gap between two
sequential experiences, where observation of each event in the sequence
is an experience.  The observation is done by a conscious entity.  There
is no objective definition of a time without the subject present, since
time is also inert.  The gap between two sequential thoughts is the
shortest time possible as per the mind.  If there is only one experience
then time is not measured.  This happens in the deep sleep state. 
Thanks to the theory of relativity, we can easily understand that space
and time are interrelated.  Time is movement in space.  There is no time
or space concept during deep sleep state.  Movement of an object not
only defines the space but time as well, since in position 1 and
position 2, both spatial gap and time gap arise.  How long we slept is
only recognized after we are awake and compare with the time we went to
sleep.  Both time and space are concepts in the mind and is recognized
by a conscious entity.  Thus, their existence depends on the conscious
entity, while existence of conscious entity is independent of time and
space, as the upaniShad will explain.  Similar to other dependent
existence, they are inert and hence also mithya.  BhagavatpAda Shankara
says, ‘mAyA kalpita desha kAla kalanA vaichitya chitrIkRitam’, both
space and time are wondrous projections of the total mind.  Eternity is
not a concept of time; it is beyond the time concept. 

Interestingly one can only experience the present tense, where one gets
tensed worrying about the past actions or anxieties about the future.
But the present tense is an imaginary line where past meets the future. 
One can divide the gap as small as possible – mille second, micro
second, nano second or pico second, etc. In the limit, the present tense
itself disappears.  What is there is only one’s presence (chaitanya
swarUpa)  which is trying to divide the time-gap. The concept of time
itself becomes imaginary and so is space.  That is the reason why one
can transcend both time and space, when one goes to deep sleep state,
where the mind is folded.  Hence, the whole world of plurality also gets
folded along with time and space.  It is said that ‘kalo jagat baxakaH’
– the time swallows the world.  But we swallow the time too in the deep
sleep state – we are beyond the time and space. 

Subject and object:

The whole world is nothing but an assemblage of objects.  Existence of
an object is established by a conscious entity who perceives the object
through the senses and the mind.  Thus, we get attributive knowledge of
the object.  When we say, “I see the object there’, or “I know that the
object is there”, that knowledge along with the name and image arises as
a thought in the mind.  It is called idam vRitti or ‘this’ thought where
‘this’ stands for an object.  If we further examine closely, along with
the ‘object’ thought, there is a ‘subject’ thought or aham vRitti, who
tries to own the object thought as my thought.  Thus when the knowledge
of the existence of the object takes place, there is subtler thought
that ‘I am the knower of that object’ also arise in the mind.  Thus, in
all knowledge of the objects or object thoughts that arise in the mind,
as one perceives various objects in front, there is constant ‘I am the
knower’ or ‘aham vRitti’ thought or subject thought also arises in the
mind.  Thus, ‘I am the knower’ and ‘this is known’ – both thoughts arise
as knowledge of the objects or concepts takes place either through
perception or through analytical thinking.  In gaining the knowledge of
objects, the objects thoughts keep changing with changing objects, while
the ‘I am the knower’ thought remains constant in the background in the
mind.  The subject and object thoughts are stored in the memory, one as
‘I am the knower’ thought and the other as ‘These are my thoughts’.  The
first is known as ahankaara and the second one known as mamakaara. Both
these are established in gaining the knowledge of the objects. Thus any
knowledge involves a  knower, pramAta and the other is ‘known’, prameya
and the knowing takes place by a ‘pramANa’ or means of knowledge.  Since
the knower thought and the known thought, both are in the mind, it
appears that one mind ‘as though’ splits into two – the subject “I am
the knower’ and the object ‘this is known’. The substratum for both
knower and known thoughts is only one mind, whose substantive is nothing
but consciousness, since both are known in the light of consciousness.
Thus, these thoughts arise in consciousness, sustained by consciousness
and disappear into the consciousness.  Consciousness that illumines both
subject and object thoughts is only one.  The subject-object distinction
arises only in the mind as two sets of thoughts arise; one is a knower
thought and the other is known thought.  When the mind is not thinking
as in deep sleep, both knower thought and known thought as though
disappear. They again arise in their original forms once the mind
becomes active, that is, when one is awake.  Thus, one can say they went
into subtle form or dormant form when one goes to sleep only to arise
again into grosser form when one is awake.  Thus, subject-object
distinctions arise only in the mind.  They both disappear into the mind
in subtler form, when the mind is folded in the deep sleep state.  Since
all the objective knowledge is only attributive, what exists only as
vRitti or thoughts, it is easier for the mind to fold all the knowledge
into a subtler form, when mind goes to deep sleep.  

All objects in the world are nothing but thoughts in the mind (since
without the mind supported by consciousness the objects and the world
cannot be established).  Along with those object thoughts there is
subject thought that arise with the knowledge of the objects.  Both
subject-object thoughts arise in the mind, sustained by the mind and go
back into the mind –One can apply the famous Vedic statement -  yatova
imaani bhuutani jaayante 
 ‘From which all beings arise, by which it is
sustained and into which is they go back’ is the definition of Brahman. 
The total world is reduced to object thoughts and object thought cannot
exist without the knower, a conscious entity and hence without a subject
thought.  Thus, ultimately the entire universe we reduced it to thoughts
supported by the mind, which is supported by the consciousness.  If we
ask now – is there a world out there?  Alternatively, is the world real?
Who is going to answer?  At an individual level, the world is nothing
but the thoughts and the knowledge of the world is nothing but
attributive knowledge.  These thoughts arise in the mind, exist in the
mind and disappear and therefore where is the world besides the mind and
its thoughts? Even the ‘out there’ is concept of space which, as
discussed above, arises in the mind. Without the mind present supported
by consciousness, there is no concept of space or time.  

Subject-object duality thus arises in the mind supported by
consciousness.  Since both arise and disappear in the mind, both are
only mithya.  Thus, when the mind is folded in deep sleep state, both
waking world and dream world also get folded into oneself.  One can say
that they exist in a subtle form or potential form to be projected
again, when the mind is awake.  Among the two, the subject ‘I’,
ahankaara, is more permanent guy compared to the objects thoughts, which
keep changing with the changing objects.  ‘I am a knower’ is the subject
thought, which is locussed on the subject ‘I am’.  An engineer is the
one stored lot of engineering ‘this’ or ‘idam’ thoughts, and who can
recall the information when they are needed.  If one says, “I am very
knowledgeable person”,  it only means that he owns lot of ‘this’
thoughts.  This notion of I am a knower is called ahankaara and is
considered as jiiva bhAvana or ego. It arises by taking that subject
thought or ‘I am thought’ is separate from the ‘idam’ objective
thoughts, without recognizing that even that ‘I am the subject’ thought
is also an object of knowledge, since it is a thought.  These notions,
which include notion of knowership, jnAtRitva bhAva, notion of doership,
kartRitva bhaava, notion of enjoyership, bhoktRitva bhAva,  are all
nothing but thoughts in the mind - “I am knower’, I am a doer, I am an
enjoyer’, etc. These thoughts are also objects of knowledge but somewhat
separate from the thought of other objects, since these subject thoughts
are centered on the subject ‘I am’. The object thoughts ‘idam vRitti’
keep changing with idams, since idams are changing while the ‘aham
vRitti’ remains constant since ‘aham’ is changeless. This aham vRitti or
I am the subject notion exists in both waking and dream state and exists
in a very subtle form in the deep sleep state as deep sleep experiencer,
I am.  It is what is considered as jiiva bhAvana or jiiva for short,
which survives even the death of the body or separation of the gross
body (that separation occurs temporarily even when one goes from waking
state to dream state).  In the dream state a subject I - ‘aham vRitti’ -
takes up a dream gross body, which is separate from the other gross
bodies in the dream world.  All this is possible since both ‘aham
vRitti’ ‘I am the subject’ thought and ‘idam vRitti’ ‘these are objects’
thoughts are all only thoughts in the mind, in both the waking state and
the dream state. 

Thus, in the waking state, as the waker I express myself as ‘the knower
I’ ( jAgrat pramAta, knower in the waking state) and ‘the known world of
objects’ ( jAgrat prameya, waker’s world of objects), using the mind and
sense organs as the instruments. Similarly in the dream state, as the
dreamer I express myself as ‘the knower I’ in the dream, or dreamer
pramAta and ‘the known world of objects’ ( dreamer prameya), using again
the dreamer’s mind and the sense organs. In the mAnDukya, the pramAta
and prameya are technically called in the waking state as viShva and
vaiShvAnara, and in the dream state as taijasa and hiranyagarbha.  In
the deep sleep states the pramAta and prameya, the knower and the known,
are in potential form, and are called prAjna and antaryamin.  These will
be explained when we come to the mantra portion.  Here we need to
recognize that both pramAta, the knower, and prameya, the known (the
world of objects) are essentially subject and object in each state, and
they represent the dual roles played in the mind or by the mind,
supported by consciousness that I am.  Thus ‘I am a waker’, ‘I am a
dreamer’ and ‘I am a deep sleeper’.  Or I play the role of a waker,
dreamer and deep sleeper.  I am in all of the three roles, and yet I am
different from all the three.  My true nature is described as turiiyam
or as though it is the fourth, to differentiate from the three roles,
waker, dreamer and deep-sleeper. I am there in all the three states but
I am different from all the three states.  How can this possible will be
explained by the Upanishad itself. 

In summary, substantive of all thoughts is only Brahman whether in the
waking state or dream state. While the thoughts are perceived, the
substantive Brahman cannot be an ‘object’ of perception in any state. 
We can conclude from the analysis that subject-object distinction arises
only in the mind.  This distinction is not real, but is only mithya,
since it arises and it is experienced.  The substantive for both is
indivisible existence-consciousness principle, Brahman that I am, that
never arises nor experienced. This aspect will be emphasized by the
ManDukya upanishad.    

Interestingly, although I am fully aware of the subject and object
distinctions, if some one asks me “who are you?”, I give a confusing
answer by mixing both subject thought and object thoughts.  The reason
for the confusion is both thoughts of aham, the subject and idam, the
object, are in the same mind.  The answer starts with, “I am”, meaning I
am the consciousness and existent entity.  However, without stopping
there, I will complete with, “I am ‘this’ or ‘that’, etc” where ‘this’
and ‘that’ relates to all the object thoughts that I own.  Thus, I am
6ft tall, brown skinned, son of so and so, engineer etc. are all ‘this’
thoughts.  Each of the qualification belongs to idam vRitti or ‘this’,
‘this’ object-thoughts, which are different from ‘I am’ the subject
thought.  Thus, confusion between subject-object arises in my mind for
not recognizing that I am just consciousness and existence that supports
all these notional thoughts, both subject and object thoughts.  All the
qualifications belong to finites – here it is reduced to thoughts.  The
unqualified ‘I’ is that ‘I am’ which is pure consciousness-existence,
that is Brahman, one without a second, and one without any
qualifications or attributes.  Any qualifications that I add to I am is
supper imposing something that does not belong to me – which is mithya. 
In truth I am, the very knowing principle, a conscious entity, one
without a second.  In Gita, Krishna says B.G 13:2-3,

idam shareeram kounteya xetramithyabhi deeyate
yatadyo vettitam prAhuH xetrajna iti tadvidaH|
xetrajnam cApimAm viddhi sarva xetreShu bhaarata|
xetraxetrajnayojnAnam yattajnaanam matam mama||

According to sages who know the truth, this body is called xetram or
field of experience; and one who knows the field is called xetrajna, or
knower of the field. Hay| Arjuna|
Know me as the xetrajna in all xetras, or I am the knowing principle in
all the fields of experiences.  Krishna says the true knowledge is
knowing the nature of xetra, the field of experience or prameya and the
experiencer or knower of the field, pramaata.  Everything else is like
analysis of the snake that is perceived without the analysis of the rope
that is substantive of the snake. Substantive of the whole world is
Brahman which is same as the oneself.  Hence the inquiry into Brahman or
the inquiry into oneself is what is emphasized in the Upanishad.    

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