[Advaita-l] chid-aabhaasa

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Mon Mar 2 00:29:46 CST 2009

On Thu, 26 Feb 2009, Pranipata wrote:

> Hence citAbhAsa is different both from antaHkarana assemblage(mind, 
> intellect, memory, ego) and Atman(cit)/caitanya.

This puzzled me at first but now upon reading the panchadashi more 
closely, I see why you put it this way.

8:34-36 refutes several arguments that chidAbhAsa is the same as the 
intellect (dhI or buddhI).  (Translation is from Swami Swahananda with 
some minor changes by myself)

nahi dhIbhAvabhAvitvAdAbhAso'sti dhiyaH pR^ithak |
iti chedalpamevoktaM dhIrapyevaM svadehataH || 34 ||

Objection: chidAbhAsa is not different from the intellect because its 
existence depends on the existence of the intellect.

Reply: You say little, for the intellect itself might also be similiarly 
regarded as not different from the body.[1]

[1] The intellect depends for its functioning on the body and functions 
only in certain specific states of the body.

dehe mR^ite'pi buddhishchechchhAstrAdasti tathAsati |
buddheranyashchidAbhAsaH praveshashrutiShu shrutaH || 35 ||

Objection: The shastras declare the survival of the intellect after the
body falls (and therefore the intellect is the same as chidAbhAsa.)

Reply: According to the Shruti passages which declare the entry of the 
Atman into the body, chidAbhAsa is distinct from the intellect.[1]

[1] See Brhadaranyaka 4.4.2, Aitereya 1.3.12, and Taittiriya 2.6

dhIyuktasya praveshashchaennaitareye dhiyaH pR^ithak |
AtmA praveshaM sa~Nkalpya praviShTa iti gIyate || 36 ||

Objection ChidAbhAsa and the intellect enter the body together.

Reply: This is not so. For in the Aitereya Upanishad it is said that the 
Self enters the body by its own will apart from the intellect.[1]

[1] see the reference to Aitereya Upanishad in the previous shloka.

The other interesting thing about the pa~nchadashis exposition is that 
chidAbhAsa is compared to kuTastha.  This term refers to the Atma as 
silent witness (sAkShi). Literally it means "standing on a mountain" 
Perhaps the image to be conveyed is of an eagle or other bird of prey that 
watches motionless on a mountain peak before swooping down to catch its 
victim.  AFAIK, this word is used in the Gita but not in the upanishads. 
chidAbhAsa is the reflection of kuTastha.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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