[Advaita-l] Reconciling current research with Advaitic theory of mind

Mahesh Ursekar mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com
Fri Feb 23 04:44:37 CST 2007

Pranams Amuthan:

Thanks for your reply! It was very informative and did highlight points of
Advaita I was not familiar with viz. the subject of objectless cognition.

However, my point is slightly different. While the stage you refer to is to
be reached by a sadhaka on his or her way to realization, I was more
concerned with the way Advaita fundamentally defines the mind viz. as having
an 'independent' existence from the body.

On 2/23/07, Amuthan <aparyap at gmail.com> wrote:
> namo nArAyaNAya!
> dear shrI Mahesh Ursekar,
> the issue is not as complicated as it sounds. the mind cannot
> function efficently with a damaged brain. however, even in the case of
> split brain condition, the essential function of the mind which is to
> 'know' is not affected. but an aj~nAni with a brain disorder *cannot*
> attain Atmaj~nAna since a 'sane' mind is a necessary prerequisite for
> Atmaj~nAna.
> technically, manas is part of the sUkShma sharIra. the sUkShma
> sharIra cannot function without a sthUla sharIra as it's support. in
> particular, manas manifests itself through the activities of the
> brain, which is part of the sthUla sharIra.
> the ultimate essence of the mind, which is bare cognition, is not
> different from the Atman (refer to AchArya gauDapAda's remark
> 'ani~NganamanAbhAsaM niShpannaM brahma tattadA'). it is the
> 'object-ive' part of the mind which cognizes objects that needs to be
> freed from those very objects for mokSha. this process of cleaning the
> mind of objects requires a systematic enquiry into the nature of what
> is seen and what sees, which in turn presupposes the ability to think
> clearly, steadily and rationally. this inturn presupposes having a
> 'fit' sthUla sharIra which allows for the manas to function
> efficiently. in the case of a person with a brain disorder, there
> would be no way to rationally analyze the true nature of the seer and
> the seen. no wonder our shAstrAs repeatedly say that a human birth
> with the right preconditions for steady enquiry is rare. it would be
> especially useful to reconsider what AchArya says in vivekachUDAmaNi
> 'jantUnAM narajanma durlabham...'.
> in short, what neuroscientists try to study is the behaviour of
> various parts of the brain in relation to various actions of the body
> and find a mapping between them. however, it is impossible to device
> any form of scientific experiment that would differentiate between a
> human and a super-duper robot which functions about as efficiently as
> humans. in other words, it is impossible to study by any scientific
> method the act of cognition without explicit reference to objects of
> cognition. since vedAnta deals with objectless cognition (which is
> entirely subjective) and since science deals only with phenomena that
> can be objectively analyzed, the two subjects are in this sense
> uncoupled.
> vAsudevaH sarvaM,
> aparyAptAmRtaH.
> On 2/22/07, Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar_at_gmail.com> wrote:
> > Pranams to all:
> >
> > In a recent issue (Jan 19, 2007) of TIME magazine, the following article
> > appeared entitled 'The Mystery of Consciousness':
> > http://www.time.com/time/printout/0,8816,1580394,00.html
> [message truncated]
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