[Advaita-l] HH Sri SSS on adhyAsa - natural vs. natural to the mind
Siva Senani Nori
sivasenani at yahoo.com
Fri May 25 08:32:57 CDT 2007
In the two quotes below we see that first the Swamiji (HH SSS) says that mind is an unreal appearance, and then that it mixes up the Real and Unreal, and finally that such a mix-up is natural to the mind.
My difficulty in following this was that if mind itself is a result of adhyAsa, it cannot be said that adhyAsa operates at the level of the mind, or that it is incorrect to say that it is natural to the mind. This difficulty arose because of my unstated assumption that "natural to the mind" is equivalent to "natural ONLY to the mind". The phrase "whenever it operates" alerted me to this assmption. Of course, avidyA is not natural only to the mind, it is also natural to devas, other sense-organs of human beings, animals, indeed all the prANakoTi, or to the world in general; or in other words, it is merely natural, as the Bhagavatpada said.
Now, since the Swamiji is not teaching to devas, or animals etc. and is teaching only to human beings, I think it is perfectly justified to say that adhyAsa is natural to the human mind, always remembering that it is natural not merely to the human intellect but to divine intellect, to other sense-organs (human or divine) etc. If such is the correct understanding of Swamiji's teachings, I think I am fine.
It is interesting to note that in such a case, that "adhyAsa is natural to the mind" does not preclude a mUla-avidyA, or tula-avidyAs; it is more like we are operating at the level of the mano-maya-koSa (assuming that the Atman is the manas) and then positing that avidyA is natural to the manas.
I wonder if such an understanding is also correct.
// quote //
The sum and substance of these two extracts, from the famous introduction
to Sankara's sUtra bhAshya is this : Atman the real 'I' of each one of us,
is the Witnessing consciousness. That alone is really real according to
vEdAnta, since it is absolutely undeniable as we have seen (p.4). THE
NON-SELF WHICH IS MADE UP OF THE BODY, THE SENSES AND THE MIND IS AN UNREAL
APPEARANCE, SET UP BY IGNORANCE OR PRIVATION OF KNOWLEDGE. Now the human
intellect has an innate tendency to project the non-real Not-self
(un-Atman) and confound the identity of the real and the unreal WHENEVER IT
FUNCTIONS. This mixing up of the real and the unreal and the delusion
WHICH PROMPTS THE MIND TO SUBMIT ITSELF TO A MISTAKEN TRANSFERENCE OF THE
MUTUAL PROPERTIES OF THE SELF AND THE NON-SELF, IS WHAT IS CALLED AVIDYA.
This tendency is so natural to all mankind that no one suspects that he is
under the influence of this primary ignorance due to want of discrimination
when he talks of 'me and mine'. It follows that this avidyA or ignorance
is finally wiped off as soon as one discriminates the real and the unreal
and determines their true nature. This discrimination and determination of
the true nature of these, is what is termed as vidyA, knowledge.
9. How and when was this mutual super-imposition of identity and mistaken
transference of properties caused?? THIS QUESTION IS OBVIOUSLY
ILLEGITIMATE, FOR WE HAVE LEARNT THAT IT IS AN INNATE TENDENCY OF THE HUMAN
MIND TO CONFOUND THE REAL AND THE UNREAL. ALL HUMAN ACTION AND EXPERIENCE
OF THE FRUITS OF ACTION PRESUPPOSE INTELLECTION AND INTELLECTION ITSELF IS
BASED ON THIS NATAL ERROR. HUMAN BEHAVIOUR IS ON A PAR WITH ANIMAL
BEHAVIOUR IN THIS RESPECT FOR BOTH ARE THE RESULT OF THIS NATURAL WANT OF
DISCRIMINATION. Sankara's dicta on this point are incontrovertible for
THEY ARE ALL BASED UPON UNIVERSAL INTUITION.
// unquote //
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