[Advaita-l] A perspective 6

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Thu Nov 19 22:51:18 CST 2009

Jnaana yoga and Self Realization IV

We have discussed that the karma yoga prepares the mind for jnaana yoga. Hence Karma Yoga is not a means for moksha, since moksha is not something to gain or somewhere to go, etc., for which action is required. In short, it is not apraaptasya praaptam, gaining something that one does not have. Moksha means freedom from all limitations. Any limitation leads to inadequacy, and therefore leaves behind a longing or a wanting mind that wants to become adequate i.e. wanting to have everything in the universe. Wanting to become limitless can never be fulfilled, since limitless is infiniteness. One cannot become infinite, reach infinite, gain infinite, nor can it be given. Thus, one is caught up in the dichotomy. One cannot become limitless and one cannot stop wanting to become limitless. Hence all pursuits for infinite absolute happiness will fail miserably, since no pursuit, pravRitti or nivRitti, i.e., gaining something or getting rid of something, cannot
 make one infinite, since plus or minus finite is finite. Hence Vedanta says moksha or freedom from limitations is not apraaptasya praaptam but praaptasya praaptam, that is, it is not gaining something that one does not have, but it is gaining something that one already has.  There is no need to gain that what one already has, unless one does not know that he already has. Therefore moksha is recognition of the fact that I am what I am searching for. I am puurNaH or full, therefore no inadequacy whatsoever. Hence ignorance of one’s own nature is the root cause for a wanting mind or mind that feels inadequate. I take myself what I am not, try to solve the problem of presumed inadequacy and suffer due to the consequence of that misapprehension. Vedanta says you are trying to solve a problem where there is no problem; and that itself has become an eternal problem.  Only solution to the problem is to recognize that there is no problem to solve. That
 requires a firm understanding of the fact that I am already that infiniteness that I am longing for; and that is the essence of the teaching of Vedanta, in the form of mahavakyopadesha – tat tvam asi, you are that. 

How do I see myself as real ‘I am’, and not what I think I am? Let us look at a simple case. I have a pair of eyes that I use to see everything in the world. Suppose I want to see my eyes. How do I see my eyes, using my eyes? Only way is, I have to stand in front of a mirror and look at my eyes, using the same eyes. That is, I need a mirror and I have to keep my eyes open to see. Of course, other factors such as enough light falling on my face, etc., will help.  Am I really seeing my eyes as I stand in front of the mirror? Not really, I am seeing the image of my eyes in the mirror using the same eyes, and assume that the image is a true reflection of my own eyes. Is there any other way to see my eyes using my eyes? Without the mirror and the image that formed, I can never see my eyes. Seer eyes cannot be seen – or to put in general form, seer cannot be seen, or even more generally, subject cannot become an object.   I see the image in the mirror,
 and deduce the state of my eyes based on the image, assuming that the image is a true reflection of my eyes. If some one asks, ‘Sir, I am only seeing the reflected image of my eyes, how does that prove that I have eyes to see and I am seeing those eyes in the reflection?’ All we can say is, he needs more gray matter than eyes, to see his eyes. 

Of course, if the mirror is dirty or if the light in the room is not adequate, then I cannot see my eyes clearly. I get fuzzy image of my face. To see my self clearly, I need to clean the mirror so that it can reflect my face as it is. If the mirror is concave or convex or crooked, the face that I see also looks crooked or distorted. It is only the image that gets distorted not the original face. Can I see my face without a mirror? That is impossible. Mirror is a darshaNa needed to see myself. Vedanta acts like a darshaNa or mirror reflecting my true nature. The light also should be proper enough for me to see clearly. Vedanta for a well prepared mind shows the reflection of myself, from which I know myself. That is what the teaching of mahavaakhya upadesha is. Without that I can never know my true nature. 

Looking at the process of perception, eyes can see everything through pratyaksha pramaaNa. Behind the eyes there is mind and behind the mind is the true seer, which Kena Up. calls it as the eye of the eye, cakshuShaschakshuH or ear of the ear, etc.; and that seer or knower cannot be seen or known by any instrument of knowledge, aprameyam. Vedanta too does not show me who I am. It only facilitates for me to see myself by myself, just like a mirror. What I see is only reflection of myself and never the original; original can never be seen or can never be known. However, from the reflected image, I recognize myself in all my glory.  For any knowledge to take place mind is required. Behind the mind is the self that I am, that is always present. Seeing myself by myself therefore involves myself using the mind as instrument and Vedanta as a means. Without the mind present, no knowledge can takes place. Just as to see my face, I have to use my eyes standing in
 front of the mirror. What I see is only image. Similarly, I use the mind to see myself, and what I see is only reflected image of myself not the original. Hence, the amRitabindu Up. statement – mana eva manushyaanaam kaaraNam bandha mokshayoH –mind is responsible for both bondage and liberation.  It is not the mind that sees but I behind the mind recognize myself by looking at the reflection of myself in the mirror of the mind. I am not the mind, but I need the mind to see that I am not the mind, since, as in the mirror case, I cannot see myself without the mind. We will discuss this process more since there is lot of confusion in terms of what exactly involved in self-realization; some quoting segments of scriptures or bhaashyaas to support some views. The truth is beyond anybody’s views. Once we understand the process correctly, we can unravel the truth ourselves; irrespective of who says what, since the truth is not out there – it is myself.
 This is what clear-understanding means, what Shankara calls repeatedly as samyak jnaanam or Ramana calls as dRiDaiva niShTaa or firm abidance in the knowledge. Examples of pot-space or reflected consciousness, etc., are given with specific connotations. These examples are provided as analogies and the extent of their application have to be understood.  We need the shruti, yukti and anubhava, the scripture, logic and personal experience for self-realization. 

We discussed briefly in the last post the mahaavakya statement – tat tvam asi, you are that. Mahaavaakya is the statement of identity relation relating the self that I am with the universal self. Krishna says – sarva bhuutastam aatmaanam sarva bhuutanica aatmani – one who sees himself as the self in all and sees all in himself, he really sees the truth. Mayahvaakya is defined as akhanadartha bodhaka vaakyam or statement of revelation that provides the non-differentiable oneness of seer and the seen or the knower and the known. 

Any sentence communicates an idea or thought relating a subject to its predicate. The predicate qualifies the subject. For example, as we discussed before, in a statement – maanasa sarovar is ten miles long - maanasa sarovar is the subject of the sentence and the rest is predicate that qualifies the subject. In tat tvam asi, we have a subject, tvam, and a predicate, tat asi, which qualifies the subject, tvam. ( I am skipping here the bhagatyaga lakshaNa or jahaajahalakshaNa involved in the statement of this identity relation, which we will address later). For communication to be clear, the subject of the sentence should be known and the predicate is unknown and is to be known via the sentence.  If we do not know both the subject and the predicate, the sentence will not make any sense. In the sentence – maanasa sarovar is ten miles long – it will makes sense only if we know what maanasa sarovar is but do not know that it is ten miles long.  If we
 know both the subject and predicate, then the information does not give any new knowledge. Hence it is redundant. If we vaguely know what the subject is, then we are left with vague knowledge, which is of no lasting value.  Knowing the subject is called samaanya jnaanam. Both the speaker and the listener should have that saamanya jnaanam for communication to be complete, that is, both should have clear understanding of the subject that is being discussed.  What the listener does not know is the vishesha jnaanam, the particular qualifying knowledge, which the scripture is communicating through mahaavakyam. Hence in the statement - tat tvam asi or You are That – I should know the subject – tvam, you - that is being addressed. Major hurdle in the communication arises due to the gulf between what scriptures is referring to the word- tvam –in relation to what the listener assumes as its meaning. First, we need to know what is the subject, tvam, is
 before we can understand the rest of the qualifying predicate – tat asi. 

What is the meaning of word, tvam, and how to know it? 

tat tvam asi is instruction by the Vedas via a teacher to the student who wants to know the truth. You are that –is the truth.  Here ‘you’ is referring to the student and from the student’s reference the instruction is ‘I am that’, where I, the subject, is presumed to be known before the rest of the statement can be understood. ‘I am’ is the subject and is different from any object that can be designated by the word ‘this’. The subject I am – involves conscious entity, the knower, I, who wants to know who that ‘I am’ is.  The object ‘this’ is always an inert entity. In order to know the subject itself, scripture provides several methods. This ‘I am’ can be known via study of the scriptures using any or all of the following three methods of analysis: 1. anvya vyatireka, 2. dRik-drisya viveka and 3) avasthaatraya vilaksaNa.

anvaya vyatireka method is extensively analyzed by taarkika-s or Nyaaya Vaiseshika-s.  The method is anumaana pramaaNa involving inferential knowledge based on perceptual data.  This has been extensively analyzed in Vedanta ParibhaaSha and presented in the Knowledge series.  Anvaya means a co-presence establishing a positive relation, while vyatireka means co-absence establishing the negative relation concerning two entities. In the context of Vedanta, these relations can be used to establish cause-effect relationships, particularly for upaadaana kaaraNa or material cause. The basis for this is that cause pervades the effect and not the other way around. Applying to clay and pot, clay pervades the pot – that is clay is, pot is – this is the co-presence or anvaya. Applying the vyatireka, we start with the effect – pot is not, clay is; that is, clay can exist without being pot, while pot cannot exist independent of clay. Navya Nyaaya calls this as
 viShama vyaapti – similar to fire and smoke – smoke is, fire is, as in the kitchen; and smoke is not, fire is, as in red-hot iron ball. There is also a third situation; we start from the fire, and say when fire is not, then smoke also is not, as on a lake. These are pictorially represented by two circles one inside the other, the inner circle is effect like pot or smoke while the outer circle is the material cause, clay or fire (In terms of set-theory, one set is enclosed in other.) In the inner circle, both smoke and fire coexist – anvaya. Outside the inner circle but inside the outer circle, there is fire but no smoke, or there is clay but no pot – here the vyatireka fails, that is, there is no co-absence. Now if we go beyond the outer circle, we have a region where there is no fire and no smoke or no clay and no pot – co-absence, vyatireka applies, as on the lake where there is no fire and no smoke. We have dRishTaanta, example, for each,
 as part of Nyaaya requirement. Examples help to develop the relation or vyaapti, and therefore example should be different from the situation where this relation has to be applied. The example and the application cannot be the same as it results in circular argument.  

How do we apply this knowledge for knowing tvam or the subject, you? 

Everybody understands who they are. It is taken for granted and everybody has a bio-data describing who they are – as I am born on this and this date, and I have accomplished this, this and this, etc., Now applying anvyaya, we have a case where this - is, and I am- is; that is, the co-presence of I am and this is - as in pot is, clay is. Now applying vyatireka, this is not, but I am still is, similar to pot is not, but clay is.  We can say that clay pervades the pot and not the other way. Pot is inner circle and clay is outer circle.  Similarly – ‘this is’ – is inner circle while ‘I am’ is the outer circle. This is also a viShama vyaapti – I pervade all this, but I am beyond all this, like fire pervades all smoke, but there is a region where fire is but smoke is not. In addition, we have a region beyond the fire circle, where there is no fire, and no smoke, as on lake.  In the case of ‘I am’ and ‘this is’, we cannot have region
 which is beyond ‘I am’ circle. The reason is the ‘I am’ circle is infinite and therefore all inclusive; of course, the knowledge of the infiniteness nature of I am will come later through the application of mahaavaakya. 

Now Vedanta applies this anvya vyatiraka logic step by step starting from each of the koshas that every one of us identifies himself as I am this body, I am this mind, and I am this intellect. Everybody assumes I am the body, which is annamaya kosha– body is there, I am there, anvyaya. One needs viveka to understand that I am not the body since body is an object of my knowledge. I am different from what I know since I am the subject knower and this is object of my knowledge that is different from I. Here anubhava or experience of deep sleep comes to our help in understanding I am there even when I am not conscious of the body. Thus using anubhava, that is the experience of the three states of consciousness, waking, dream and deep sleep states, and applying anvyaya vyatireka logic, I can understand that I am not this, this and this but I am pure consciousness that pervades (vyaapaka) all this, this and this; yet I am beyond all this. That is the meaning
 of tvam – you – the subject of the sentence, tat tvam asi or you are that. Hence mahaavaakya would make sense only if one has clear understanding of what I am that is being referred in the sentence. I should know without doubt that I am is the pure saakshii chaitanya or witnessing consciousness, which is different from saakshyam the witnessed objects, yet pervades the witnessed objects. To appreciate the last statement, we can go back to perceptuality condition discussed in the Knowledge series. The knowledge of perception of any of ‘this’ occurs only when the existence of this in the form of vRitti unites with the consciousness of the subject, I am, for me to be conscious of the existence of ‘this’, that is the saakshyam. I am not this, yet I pervade this. 

With this knowledge of I am, I look at the Vedic statement, tat tvam asi – you are that -  and recognize ‘that’ that is being referenced is the Brahman, which is limitless.  That includes both saakshii and saakshyam; then the knowledge becomes crystal clear, as though seeing and recognizing the fruit that is right in my hand.  Aham brahmaasmi – becomes immediate knowledge since both the subject and the predicate in the sentence – you are that – is now known. Since the subject – I am – is immediate and direct, that knowledge is immediate and direct, aparoksham.
Now what else I need to do after knowing – I am that.  The clear understanding of I am that implies that I need not do anything else; nay, I cannot do anything. I cannot but (as though) scream out, akartaaham abhoktaaham, aham evaaham avyayaH’. That understanding implies that there is nothing more to understand, nothing more to do or not to do, to go or not to go, to renounce or not to renounce, to leave the body or not to leave the body, to meditate or not to meditate. The very knowledge that I am that or aham brahmaasmi, I realize that there is nothing more to know; eka vijnaanena sarva vijnaanam bhavati – knowing this, everything is as well known; just as knowing gold, all golden ornaments are as well known. We have the essential knowledge of the jiiva, jagat and Iswara. Then, what about the body, mind and intellect (BMI) that was there and is still there functioning, and that requires constant maintenance? That question itself is invalid, since
 the BMI itself is given only to realize this truth, and therefore their main function in life is over. The life itself is fulfilled. Knowledge of aham brahmaasmi does not destroy anything; it destroys only the ignorance.  Everything remains as they are. BMI will remain the same with all their limitations.  Knowledge that all ornaments are gold does not destroy the ornaments. Ring will still be ring and bangle will still be bangle. The naama and ruupa will remain as they were before the dawn of knowledge. Only now, I recognize that I am the ring, but yet I am not the ring; I am bangle, but yet I am not the bangle; in truth I am pure gold that pervades both ring and the bangle, yet different from the ring and the bangle. Gold can say, look at my glory, I can exist in varieties of names and forms. They are all in me, but I am not in them; that is, their individual sufferings do not affect me as I am pure gold, without any modifications in spite of all
 these apparent modifications. Since, the equipments are still in tact, Brahman that I am, can ‘as though’ utilize them for my sake, since for my sake is the same as for the sake of Brahman only – that is for the benefit of the totality. That is what loka kalyaaNam means. Does jnaani do any action? Jnaani, by definition, understood that he is akarthaa and bhoktaa, yet we can say Brahman (which is now called Iswara when he takes the ROLE of a kartaa or bhoktaa) himself ‘acts’ as though he is a doer, just like an actor knowing I am an actor playing a different role in a drama. He sees, but he does not see, he acts but he does not act; everything becomes His glory – pasyam me yogam aiswaram – Look at my glory Arjuna. Brahman acting as though as Iswara as the creator, sustainer and destroyer at the samaShTi level is the same as Brahman acting as though as jiiva as local karthaa and bhoktaa at vyaShTi level. I am neither Iswara, nor jiiva nor
 the world, yet I am Iswara, I am jiiva and I am jagat too. Aham brahmaasmi – that pervade the jiiva, jagat and Iswara.  

The doos and don’t of worldly drama do not affect the actor, either at samaShTi Iswara level or vyaShTi jiiva level -  he is not really doing any action other than acting. Actually this is true whether one is jnaani or ajnaani, but jnaani understands he is akarthaa and abhoktaa, in spite of any action or enjoyment (or suffering), while ajnaani thinks he is the kartaa and bhokta and hence suffers as a consequence of that misunderstanding. Hence Krishna says – prakRityaiva ca karmaaNi kriyamaanaani sarvaShaH, yaH pasyati tat aatmaanam akartaaham sa pasyati.  All actions (without any exceptions) are done by prakRiti only. One who sees this clearly that I am neither doer nor enjoyer, he alone see the truth.  mayaadhyaksheNa prakRitiH suuyate sa charaacharam – Under my presidency the prakRiti puts forth all these varieties of movable and immovable entities. I am not really a kartaa or doer. In my very presence, the prakRiti manifests into the multitudes
 of kaleodographic projections.  It is similar to the self-shining Sun in the sky, but in its very presence the life becomes dynamic on the earth. What is that prakRiti?  That prakRiti is nothing but maayaa – maayantu prakRitim vidyaat –says Swe. Up. maayaa is that which is not there but appears to be there. For those who see the truth, the maayaa becomes apparent, and the whole creation becomes mithyaa. In pure Brahman there is no creation; in infiniteness there are no parts. It is homogenous mass of pure consciousness. I do not become Brahman, I understood as I am Brahman. Once understood, the whole creation then is seen as either Iswara vibhuuti or my own vibhuuti. aham vRiskhasya rerivaa, kiierthiH puShTam gireriva -declares sage Trishanku’s , a realized master (Tai. Up. I-X). I am the very source of all this ever expanding tree of samsaara with branches spread all over the world-the very support for whole drama of life. I am the pinnacle of
 whole creation.  There is nothing wrong with drama as long as it is understood as drama. That is what jnaanam involves. I do not get burned by making contact with the world with knowledge that -all is play. On the other hand, I will get burned if I make a contact with the hot world without the insulating gloves of jnaanam; says sadvidya of Ch. Up.

For those who understood the meaning of the words, tvam and tat, the equation tat tvam asi becomes immediate knowledge. Once knowledge arises, the ignorance of ‘I am this’ is gone. He is jiivanmukta.  People after studying and discussing Vedanta for years, and even teaching others feel that they have not yet realized. A puurvapakshi says, that means a) either knowledge did not remove the ignorance, or b) it removed the ignorance temporarily during the class, but once back into the world, the knowledge has evaporated, meaning ignorance has comeback. Therefore, some say that one has to renounce the world for knowledge to take place. Others say jnaani is different from jiivanmukta. To become jiivan mukta one has to renounce the world. Some say enough of Vedanta discussions what we need to do now is to sit in solitary place and meditate, or move around the world without staying at one place (since you cannot get out of the world) as parivraajaka in order
 to become jiivanmukta – that is what scriptures says, nidhidhyaasitavyaH, etc. Look at all the great mahaatmaas of the recent past, Bhagavaan Ramana or Kanchi kaamakoti or Chandrashekara Bharati, etc. Their lives clearly show that renunciation is the only way for jiivanmukta. gruhasthaa jnaani, it is an oxymoron; argue some.  

Well, we will address some of these issues form the point of truth, particularly the role of nidhidhyaasana, in the next post.  

Hari Om!

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