[Advaita-l] The essence of vedanta

S.N. Sastri sn.sastri at gmail.com
Mon Sep 24 00:15:37 CDT 2007

Dear Maheshji,
Brahman is pure Consciousness. It has no action at all even in the
vyAvahArika state. You have to distinguish between the very nature of an
entity and an action by that entity.

Light is the very nature of the sun. So the nature of the sun is to shine.
It cannot but shine. It shines whether there is any object to be illumined
or not. Though we say, "The sun shines", "The sun illumines", that is only
because that is the only way we can express it. It does not mean any action.
The sun is just there in its own nature.

The nature of fire is to burn and so burning is not an action by fire. Pure
consciousness is the very nature of Brahman . When this consciousness is
reflected on the mind, the mind appears to have sentiency of its own. The
mind, with the reflection of consciousness in it functions through the
sense-organs. The Self does not perform any action. Sri Sankara has brought
this out in Vivekachudamani, Sloka 131:--

"In whose mere presence the body, senses, mind and intellect engage
themselves with their respective objects, as if prompted—that is the Self or
Brahman. So though it may look as if the Self is prompting the body, etc.,
to action actually it does not do anything and its mere presence is enough
to make them function".


In order for the mind to "catch the reflection (of Brahman)", don't we have
to posit a Brahman (sun) that "illumimes it"? Or in other words, aren't the
mind catching the relection and Brahman illumining the mind different ways
of saying the same thing? If that is so, then my original question still
stands viz. how can we attribute an action to Brahman in the vyaharika

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