[Advaita-l] Fwd: A Perspective -16 -part1

Kuntimaddi Sadananda ksadananda108 at gmail.com
Mon Jan 25 19:19:43 CST 2010

 *PraNAms to all*
*Since my posts made through my original email address is not appearing
across, I changed my emial address. I posted the article  with this new
email address- since it is bigger than the set limit, it went, I suppose, to
the moderatators'-subject-to -approval dust bin. After waiting for a week, I
decided to post in two ports to see if this works. If two copies get posted,
please remember that inspiet of apparent dvaita the contents are the same-
tat tvam asi talks about advaita not dvaita.*
*Hari Om!*
*tat tvam asi – VII*

*Role of the mind*: The role of the mind in self-realization has to be
clear. There is always a question that rises in the minds of the seekers,
even after many years of Vedantic study. aham bhrahmaasmi – who realizes
that or says that? Essentially, who is that aham that says I am Brahman.
Brahman does not have to realize that I am Brahman. If atma or self is also
sat chit ananda Brahman – it cannot become Brahman – it is Brahman all the
time and therefore no need for it to realize any thing. Mind of a jiiva is
limited inert entity – it cannot become Brahman or realize that I am
Brahman. Then who realizes that I am Brahman? A simple answer is – the one
who is asking the question is the one who realizes that I am Brahman. Who is
asking the question? A conscious entity that I am, identifying with BMI,
which is essentially the ahankaara or ego, is asking the question.  Then
that limited ego entity realizes. That realization involves an understanding
that I am not the limited BMI that I am currently identifying as myself and
asking the question of who that aham is, but I am the infinite eternal
sat-chit-ananda swaruupam. The answer is still vague since that - I am - is
still not aatma, since aatma need not have to realize neither it is really
ego, since ego cannot be infinite aatma. There is some apparent
contradiction here, which is inevitable. It is like ring saying I am not
really a ring that I thought that I am with limited name and form, but my
true nature is I am the brilliant glistering gold, the substantive for all
gold ornaments in the universe. Who says that?  It is ring only that says I
am not the ring but gold. How can ring say that I am not the ring while
being a ring? Ring realizes that the ring is only a name and form for
transactional purposes but in truth, I am only gold and not a ring. Gold
does not have to discover that I am gold since it is all the time gold only.
However, ring has to drop the notions that I am limited by the name and
form, as they are just superimpositions or adhyaasa on the substantive gold
that I am. Actually, there is no ring at all and what is there is only gold
but in varieties of names and forms- That one who thought I am a ring has to
realize dropping all the wrong notions about itself. If one asks - Is there
really no ring at all? Well there is a ring different from bangle and
bracelet, and utility of each is different– but those differences in names,
forms and utilities are only superficial for the purpose of transaction only
or vyaavahaarika satyam - relatively real at transactional level. However,
from the point of gold, there are no rings and bangles. Well – there are
rings and bangles; but gold says that is only my expression or vibhuuti or
glory to be able to express myself in varieties of names and forms.  Gaudapaada
call this as swaabhaavikam or natural for me to exist in varieties of names
and forms. Hence the contradiction is only apparent since all the
distinctions exist only at transactional level, but from the point of
absolute truth there are no distinctions of any kind. Krishna makes a
similar, apparently contradictory, statement that ‘all beings are in Me, nay
none of them are in Me– look at my glory Arjuna’. There is a plurality from
the point of vyavahaara while there is no plurality from the point of
paaramaarthika. Thus all contradictions are resolved once one understands
the reference state from which the statements are made. The confusion arises
only if one mixes the references state. That in fact is the definition of
adhyaasa or superimposed error as Shankara defines adhyaasa as satyaanRita
mithuniikaraNam that mixing of absolute truth and untruth, where truth is
that which is not negated at any time.

Hence from the point of self-realization, the conscious entity that
identifies itself with the limited BMI and takes the role of an ego or
ahankaara has to recognize that I am the pure all pervading consciousness
without any distinctions of any kind. The difficulty arises only because
this recognition occurs in the mind only. Hence it is also called
akhanDaakaara vRitti – an unbroken form of thought of oneself as I am, I am,
I am…aham aham tayaa spurati hRit swayam – I am, I am, I am, … raises
spontaneously in the core of the individual, says Bhagavan Ramana.

amRitabindu Upanishad says – manayeva manushyaanaam kaaraNam bandha
mokshayoH| bandhaaya vishayaasaktam muktair nirvishayam sRitam| For all
human beings, mind alone is responsible for both bondage and liberation. The
bondage arises with attachments to the sense objects and liberation is
freedom from dependence on sense objects for happiness. prajahaati yadaa
kaamaan sarvaan partha manogataan| aatmanyeva aatmanaa tuShTaH .. the one
who is free from all desires for sense objects and one who revels in himself
by himself is a jnaani – says Krishna. Sarvam paravaSham duHkham sarvam
aatmavaSham sukham – dependence on any thing else for happiness is sorrow
and dependence on one’s own self is happiness – says Manu. Most of this was
discussed in the previous posts but we emphasize here since this confusion
is deep rooted for many seekers. In terms of summarizing comments we state
the following:

1. Brahman is infinite. Therefore, by definition, there cannot be anything
other than Brahman. Hence the scripture say it is one without a second,
advitiiyam.  It is expressed as homogeneous eternal conscious-existence
without any parts or properties; and therefore imperceptible. Hence it is
beyond any concept including space and time, objectifications or

2. Self or aatma is also existent consciousness, therefore infinite, and all
pervading entity. Hence it cannot be different from Brahman.
Existence-consciousness is indivisible.

3. If I do not know myself that means if I have ignorance of my true nature,
then I take myself to be something other than myself and suffer the
consequence of that misunderstanding. The self-ignorance caused suffering is
called samsaara. The superimposed limitations on myself due to
identification of myself with the limited body, mind and intellect, BMI, is

4. Liberation, moksha or freedom from samsaara, or nirvana, is then knowing
myself as myself as infinite existence-consciousness which is nothing but
Brahman. I do not become Brahman- I realize that I am Brahman. One cannot
become infinite; one has to recognize one is already infinite- that
recognition is required since one has a notion that one is finite.

5. I know that I exist and I also know that I am a conscious entity, but I
do not know that I am limitless too. I take myself as existent BMI or
conscious BMI or qualified existence-consciousness (aham jiivaasmi –I am an
individual) than pure unqualified limitless existence-consciousness (aham
brahmaasmi). Limitlessness is a state of happiness, since any limitation
causes inadequacy and unhappiness. Not knowing that I am pure
existence-consciousness which is limitless, I mistake myself to be the
existent-limited BMI. All my pursuits in life are to gain that limitless
state of my true nature, or put it in mundane terms to gain absolute
inexhaustible happiness. All pursuits to gain the limitless state or pure
happiness miserably fail, since I am trying to solve a problem where there
is no problem to solve. Hence Vedanta says you are not what you think you
are, but you are indeed the limitless existence-consciousness which is of
the nature of pure happiness. Hence the solution to the problem is to
recognize my true nature or my swaruupam by getting rid of the wrong notions
about myself or misunderstandings of who I think I am. Hence the tat tvam
asi statement, the teacher indicating you are already that what you are
longing for.

The question that is posed is who is that I that has this misunderstanding
or ignorance of myself and who is the one that is going to get rid of this
misunderstanding and realize I am Brahman. I cannot say Brahman has
ignorance since Brahman is pure unadulterated existence-consciousness. I
cannot really say jiiva has ignorance since jiiva is a notion arising due to
ignorance. There is an inherently an interdependence (anyonya aashraya) like
seed and tree situation in terms of which is a cause and which is an effect.
Inherent problem arises because ignorance cannot have a beginning and
therefore jiiva notion is also beginning-less.

At this stage, it is important to recognize that mind includes all the four
components – 1. the emotional faculty, manas, 2. the intellectual faculty or
buddhi, 3. the memory, chitta and 4. ego or ahankaara. We use the generic
word mind to indicate any or all of the four. Mind is the instrument for
knowledge. Hence, I need the mind to gain knowledge. Without the mind as in
deep sleep state, no knowledge can take place. Without the mind, I cannot
even know my ignorance, as in deep-sleep state.  However mind itself is
inert. Inert things cannot know anything. Then how does the knowledge take
place? This is the greatest miracle of all miracles. It is wonder of all
wonders to the degree that everyone takes it for granted without questioning
how that happens.  By the very presence of the consciousness, the inert
subtle body becomes sentient and dynamic. The consciousness illumines in the
buddhi which is the subtlest and from buddhi, the mind and from the mind the
sense organs and the rest of the gross body. Shankara says in Atma bodha –

sadaa sarvagatopyaatmaa na sarvataavabhaasate|

bhudhyaaveva bhaaseta swaccheShu pratibimbavat||

Although the self is all pervading, it does not illumine everywhere, it
illumines in the intellect like the light getting reflected by the mirror.
Purity of the mirror determines the quality of the reflection. The
reflectability depends not on the consciousness but on the suitability of
the object that is getting illumined.   Hence, consciousness has nothing to
do with illumination yet in its very presence the matter becomes dynamic and
becomes enlivening. It is like the sun shining all by himself, yet in its
very presence life pulsates on earth, but not in other planets.

Scripture says that after gross and subtle bodies are created, He - as
though - entered into it; this statement is called anupravesha statement;
occurs in both Ch. Up and Tai. Up. He being a conscious entity as though
entered into the BMI to enliven the equipments and make them dynamic. We
deliberately used the word – as though- since He being infinite cannot
really enter into anything, since He is all-pervading.  It is similar to I
creating the whole dream world and then I myself -as though- enter into it
as a part of jiiva with a limited dream BMI that is different from the rest
of things and beings in the dream. Similarly, He being one – as though –
enters into every conceivable jiiva that has appropriate BMI conducive for
His entrance. Hence Krishna declares – kshetrajnam ca api maam viddhi sarva
kshetreShu bhaarata. Know Me as the knower of the fields in all fields.
Minds with the reflected consciousness now become local knower or
pramaataas. The reflected consciousness because now a source of illumination
for other inert entities. It is like moon because of the reflected light
from the sun becoming a source of illumination for objects in the night,
although moon does not have illumination of its own.

I, the conscious entity, who has no knowledge of my true nature, identify
with the mind and through the mind gain the knowledge (pramaa) of the
unknown (prameya) using a well-defined means of knowledge, pramaaNa. In
addition, I, the conscious entity indentify with the mind as ego or
ahankaara, owns up the knowledge as an agent as I am the knower, pramaataa.
That I am the knower is also a thought in the mind. Hence when the mind is
awake, the jnaana prakriya or process of knowledge takes place. According
advaita, knowledge is said to occur when the light of consciousness
illumines the object of knowledge – just as I perceive the objects in a
pitch dark room as I focus flash light on them. Flash light only reveals the
objects that are there. It does not create the objects for me to see.
Without the flash light no knowledge of the objects can occur, since objects
being inert and are not self-shining to reveal themselves. In the same way,
for knowledge to occur, advaita says, the light of consciousness must
illumine the object of knowledge. Now we will discuss how this process
occurs during perception. More details are discussed in the knowledge

Perception is the direct means of knowledge (or PramaaNa) – as soon as I
open my eyes and if all other secondary causes are conducive (my sense
organs functioning and there is enough light for me to see) I cannot but
perceive the objects.  Senses perceive the attributes only not the
substantive, since according to Vedanta substantive for all the objects in
the universe is Brahman which is imperceptible. Thus eyes can see colors and
forms, ears the sounds etc. To see the forms, the external reflected light
from the object in front enters through eyes and forms an image on the
retina. This image is transmitted to the brain via optical nerve system as
an electrical signal which is now translated into an image of the object in
the mind in the form of a vRitti or a thought. The last step is like a
programming language translating the electrical inputs into machine language
software. Thus brain acts like hardware while mind acts like software
memory. The stereographic image is formed due to presence of two eyes
displaced by about 7 degrees. The current scientific knowledge is limited to
un-code this process language. Traditionally, this mechanics is explained in
advaita (Vedanta Paribhasha) as mind going out with sense organs and
engulfing the object sensing the attributes of the object thus forming the
vRitti in the mind. This is also does not explain how attributive knowledge
is translated into vRitti. For the sense of smell, we know that the fragrant
molecules have to reach the nose and for the sense of touch, the object has
to come into contact with the skin. The sound waves have to reach the ears
for cognition. In essence the processes are similar to image formation in a
mirror where the attributive qualities of color and form are imaged by the
mirror. In the image formation the attributes of the object (the original)
are inseparable from their locus yet an image is formed reflecting the
qualities of the object. The substantive of the object remains with the
original. Hence we can define the vRitti as the image transformation of
perceptual attributive content of the object on to the mind via sense
organs. Quality of the image depends on both the mind and the senses
transmitting the image.  As the vRitti rises in the mind the reflected light
of consciousness from the mind illumines the vRitti as it forms and by the
illumination the knowledge of the vRitti takes place. The contents of the
vRitti are the attributes of the object that the senses have gathered
starting from form and colors. From the attributes, the mind infers that
there is an object out there with the attributes as imaged in the mind. A
person who is color blind will only see what he has imaged based on his
sense input. Up to this is mechanics. Vedanta paribhaasha discusses the
perceptuality condition, the contribution from advaita.

Rest  in part 2

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