[Advaita-l] FW: atman and saakshin

Michael Shepherd michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk
Sun Dec 20 05:17:03 CST 2009

Forwarded for the benefit of readers :

> Sada -- Pranams
> Thank you for answering so fully. I hope that the 'silent
> others' on this
> website are as appreciative as I for having it all spelt
> out so clearly. I
> shall study this further.
> Best regards,
> Michael
> -----Original Message-----
> From: kuntimaddi sadananda [mailto:kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com]
> Sent: 19 December 2009 16:08
> To: Michael Shepherd
> Subject: RE: [Advaita-l] atman and saakshin
> Michael - PraNAms
> I will try to provide the answers to the best of my
> knowledge. It is my
> obligation to my teacher.
> --- On Sat, 12/19/09, Michael Shepherd <michael at shepherd87.fsnet.co.uk>
> wrote:
> > Thank you for being patient with me.. there is
> inevitably
> > confusion with
> > terms, simply because they are terms.. I wanted to be
> clear
> > about the
> > relationship of saakshi to atman and aham and
> > ayamatmaBrahma.
> Saakshii - atman - aham are all same but depending on the
> context they are
> used.
> Saakshii in advaita is pure witnessing consciousness. Atman
> is all pervading
> sat chit ananda swaruupa and translated as self - the self
> that I am - when
> I refer to myself the core of my personality - I say I am -
> and in Sanskrit
> aham. This aham or the self that I am - is existent and
> conscious entity,
> the subject in my transactions. We have some feeling who
> that I am is. But
> what I think I am, scriptures says is not true. I take
> myself, aham as
> something other than myself as myself - as this Body as
> aham or this mind as
> aham and this intellect as aham - thus aham or I am keep
> shifting depending
> on the context. But none of them really are aham since I am
> conscious entity
> conscious of body, mind and intellect. Then who am I, the
> aham - that is the
> inquiry Ramana emphasizes. I am not this - since this is an
> object and I am
> a subject and I am conscious of any this. Thus I negate
> what I am not to
> arrive at what I am. Mandukya says I am waker, dreamer and
> deep
>  sleeper when I am in that state or avastha - but my true
> nature is none of
> them I am different from all of them yet permeates all of
> them. This is
> scripture says people call as fourth but it is not fourth
> but that permeates
> all the three but different from all the three. In that
> process by process
> of negation I can arrive at I am pure Saakshii - a
> witnessing consciousness
> which can witness the waking state, dream state and deep
> sleeps state. Hence
> with reference to the witnessed I am given a designation as
> witnessing
> consciousness who is conscious of the waking state, dream
> state and deep
> sleep state, but I am none of them - just witness but in my
> presence only
> the matter seems to become very dynamic - likeĀ  in the
> presence of sun life
> on earth becomes dynamic but sun has nothing to do the
> activities on earth.
> That is Saakshii - the self shining eternal
> existent-consciousness - aham -
> aatma. This is the meaning of tvam padartham in the tat
> tvam asi.
> I am analyzing the tat padartham in the series- for that we
> need to go
> scriptures that says Brahman himself became many - hence
> that which is so
> called object or witnessed entity is now being analyzed and
> scriptures says
> that is nothing but existence-consciousness alone. I am
> the
> existence-consciousness and scriptures says even the
> witnessed entities are
> also fundamentally existence-consciousness since Brahman is
> both material
> and instrumental cause for the universe. He himself became
> many - says the
> scriptures.
> Hence I need to understand how the so called inert that I
> call as THAT can
> be existent-consciousness. When I understand that then -I
> am that- or tat
> tvam asi - statement comes to life since we are now
> equating Saakshii that I
> am and saakshyam - that is to see oneness as the
> substantive of both. In
> that understanding Saakshii role drops out since saakshyam
> is also I am and
> I understand that I am both the subject and the object.
> Hence there is
> nothing separate from I am. That is the understanding of
> aham brahmaasmi.
> That understanding comes in spite of any apparent duality
> or plurality - In
> that understanding jiiva that I am - the jagat that is and
> Iswara the
> creator of the jagat - all realized as one substantive
> Brahman but playing
> the role of three.
> This is what I am analyzing in the tat tvam asi series.
> With this understanding you can look at your questions.
> -----------
> > As you will have realised, my approach to Advaita
> Vedanta
> > has been through
> > practical experience rather than the shastra -- though
> I
> > have been well
> > guided in experience. So while the mahavakya remain
> 'to be
> > further
> > experienced' ,
> Just for clarification. We experience all the time advaita
> and any
> experience is time-bound. Hence it is not the experience we
> are looking for
> but understanding who am I, what is the world and why am I
> here. Those are
> fundamental practical problems. Hence Spirituality is down
> to earth
> fundamental. Any other knowledge is only for purpose of
> transactions but the
> knowledge that counts and that solves fundamental human
> suffering is this.
> --------------
> the practical question arose : when actions
> > are carried out
> > with full attention, nishkarma (?), consciousness
> feels to
> > be fully
> > available within individual limits; when that
> detached
> > observation goes,
> > there is a loss, or rather dispersal, of energy.
> Michael - I can act with full attention with kaama too.
> Nishkaama is actions
> that are purely obligatory actions - like taking bath. I
> have to take bath
> daily to keep myself clean. It is obligation to this body
> and of course to
> the other around too. Kaama is like I want to eat pizza in
> stead of some
> thing else. That is not obligatory action that body needs
> pizza. what it
> needs some USDA requirements to keep it healthy. Hence
> desire prompted that
> I want this or that - like rat race is kaama prompted for
> thinking that
> those will bring me security, happiness etc.
> Consciousness is fully available when I perform my actions
> in the present
> without BMI dissipating into regrets of the past,
> excitement in the present
> or anxiety about the future. The energy dissipation occurs
> only when the BMI
> is not available in the filed of action - hence Krishna
> statement - karmani
> eva adhikaaraste. I have written a series on karma - if you
> are interested I
> can send them to you- Dennis has incorporated them as part
> of Introduction
> to Vedanta series. A man of successful does act very
> efficiently and even
> the pickpocket does the action very efficiently with full
> attention in the
> present. When I am worried about my past performance and
> not confident
> enough, I am bringing past into the present. In the
> excitement of the
> present I do not pay attention to the details and my energy
> gets unnecessary
> dissipated due to skipping the appropriate steps that I
> need to take to
> succeed. If my mind is worried about what is going to
> happen if I do not
>  do a good job, it is not available in the present while
> one is doing a job.
> These are the three avenues of dissipation of energies.
> When you are deeply
> involved in the action you will forget the rest of the
> world. You are one
> with the action. Then there is no dissipation of energy. I
> can do maximum
> that my BMI is capable of. In all these process I am
> identifying myself that
> I am is this BMI and there is ego involved as kartaa.
> -----------
> Advaita
> > Vedanta tends to
> > talk of the lawful ideal rather than the occasional
> failure
> > !
> Michael - not true. I am scientist too and to the core
> advaitin. Please read
> Swami Chinmayananda's book - The manual of self-unfoldment
> - very practical
> application. Failures are only means of gaining the
> knowledge of how to
> perform better. Advaita teaches how to live in the present.
> That is where
> the action is and that is where the life is. Past has gone
> and future never
> comes. One can act only in the present. and one can enjoy
> in the present and
> one can only live in the present.
> Please study the introduction to Vedanta series in Dennis
> Waite website.
> Most of these are answered.
> ----------
> So you've
> > answered the question, in that saakshi is infinite.
> And
> > thus to be taken as
> > synonymous with atman ? And aham ? Just another aspect
> of
> > the same infinite
> > ? But to be perceived by the jiva ?
> Michale - Jiiva is a notion. I am is a conscious entity and
> when I take
> myself I am this - the notion of jiiva starts. First do not
> worry about the
> infinite nature of atma or Saakshii etc. In meditation keep
> shifting your
> self to the consciousness that you are who is conscious of
> everything - all
> objects - Reject all objectification to arrive at who you
> are that is
> Saakshii. You are not the matter and yet in your presence
> the matter is
> becoming so dynamic. just stand apart and admire as
> Saakshii - witness the
> functioning of the body, and if you can slowly the mind and
> intellect -
> standing apart and see. Seen in others - they are just
> body, mind and
> intellect but they think they are separate human beings.
> Feel that presence
> of consciousness in them different from their BMI and you
> will find you are
> Saakshii of both you BMI and the other persons BMI.
> Physically they are also
> nothing but just matter but enlivened by the mere presence
> of consciousness.
> As
>  you look around feel that life in every one including
> human beings, animals
> and plants - you see they are Bodies and minds but they are
> conscious too -
> be conscious of the presence of that consciousness which is
> not doing any
> things as in you but by that mere presence the matter is
> becoming so
> dynamic.
> By shifting your attention whenever you can and more and
> more you become
> very conscious of yourself but that self is also conscious
> of the other BMI
> and the presence of that enlivening factor. Michael that is
> the meditation.
> Then you need to have some understanding the nature of the
> world too - for
> that only the study of scripture becomes important. Do not
> worry about your
> background. You are exposed to more Vedanta than many of
> Indians who are
> born here and do not have any knowledge. Take the help of
> whatever you can
> and study. There are many CDs available - of say
> Paramarthananda. He is very
> methodical - some teacher who is very methodical helps.
> -----------
> The mind -- ever up to
> > its tricks of
> > ahamkara -- had made a distinction between atman as
> > 'theoretical' and
> > saakshi as 'practical'.
> Michael - there is nothing theoretical here. You are a
> conscious being -
> that is not theory. You are not matter BMI - that is not a
> theory - you are
> a subject and not an object - that is not a theory.
>  But what is impractical is taking the object as subject
> and live in that
> confused state - unfortunately that is being considered as
> practical.
> Saakshii is consciousness pure and divine but one I know
> and I can still
> play the game of life but more efficiently than before
> since it is JUST A
> GAME - and win or loose it is fun since I am a Saakshii
> that never gets
> affected by the play. That is true practical. See great
> mahatmas - they did
> not sit around but with knowledge they shook the world and
> generations to
> come are getting benefit out of their compassion. Michael
> that is practical.
> I strongly advise you to read the book - the manual of
> self- unfoldment of
> swami chinmyanandaji.
> I hope that makes sense.
> > I suppose behind that is the question -- where does
> > consciousness 'go' when
> > it's dispersed ?! To feed the untruth, I guess !
> Michael - you can see the question itself is invalid since
> consciousness and
> existence are infinite - where can they go! They can go
> where they are not?
> Untruth is only misunderstanding. For correct understanding
> only we need to
> study or listen to those who know. That is how any
> knowledge takes place.
> Feel free to ask - If I know I will answer. I wrote but my
> fingers have the
> mind of their own - their spelling is could be different.
> Hari Om!
> Sadananda

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