[Advaita-l] A perspective - 17-1

Kuntimaddi Sadananda ksadananda108 at gmail.com
Sun Jan 31 00:41:44 CST 2010

tat tvam asi – VIII

We have addressed most of questions pertaining to the topic including what
exactly involved in self-realization and the relevance of Nidhidhyaasana.
Shravana involves listening to the scriptures under a competent teacher for
a prolong length of time until one is convinced of the advaitic nature of
the reality and significance of the tat tvam asi statement.  Reflecting on
the teaching or manana ensures clarity in understanding without any doubts.
Conviction arises only when it is understood as a fact and not just as
thought or good idea. Self-Knowledge with conviction removes only
self-ignorance. However, knowledge does not remove ignorance generated
vaasanaas. Thus knowledge removes both sanchita and aagaami karmas, since
notional kartRitva bhaava i.e. notion that I am a doer is sublimated with
the knowledge. However the praarabda karma that was the root cause for the
birth of that particular BMI of jiiva remains until that BMI drops out.
These vaasanaas propel at body, mind and intellect levels desires and
actions in the world. Hence jnaani who has understood that I am is the pure
existence-consciousness can remain as the witnessing consciousness,
witnessing the drama occurring at the BMI level. In order not to get carried
away by the habitual actions and involvements due to vaasanaas at the BMI
level, one has to constantly keep the knowledge in the mind until that
awareness of the knowledge itself become habitual for the mind.
Nidhidhyaasana is essentially developing that habitual understanding of my
true nature by abhyaasa and vairaagya or constant practice and detachment to
the worldly affairs.  This involves internalizing the knowledge that I am
sat-chit-ananda swaruupa, and everything that is occurring at transactional
level is only mityaa or superimposition on the reality that I am, and
therefore can never disturb me, the existent-conscious entity. That niShTa
or firm abidance in that knowledge is what is called jnana niShTa or brahma
NiShTa or aatma NishTa.  That everything that I perceive is mithyaa has to
get ingrained during all transactions that are propelled by vaasanaas that
were accumulated due to ego-centric actions performed when I was ignorant.
This is done until the praarabda gets neutralized. There are two factors
that keep the BMI of a jnaani. One is the praarabda of the BMI and the other
is the samashTi (combined) karma of all others who are in need of a realized
master for their evolution.

A typical question that is asked is – does jnaani posses praarabda?  This
can be answered at two levels.  The first answer is no, jnaani does not have
it – Nay, even ajnaani does not have it either. Praarabda and vaasanaas
belong to the lower prakRiti, that is, at the BMI level. Hence BMI has
praarabda. Jnaani witnesses the praarabda operating on the BMI level. BMI by
its very nature undergoes all the six modifications, and jnaani witnesses
that as a part of entertainment or liila or vibhuuti of the Lord. ajnaani
also, in reality, does not have praarabda either but by identification with
his BMI the praarabda of the lower prakRiti is taken to be his own – due to
ajnaana or ignorance. Hence from the point of a ajnaani, he has praarabda
since he superimposes the praarabda of his BMI on to himself and therefore
it belong to him, like the fellow who wants to carry the heavy box on his
head, while sitting in a train in order to relieve the train from carrying
that burden.

The second level of understanding is that when I understand that I am
Brahman, I –become- Brahman (brahavit brahma eva bhavati is the ShRiti).
Hence the BMI that is available with its praarabda is now utilized by
Brahman that I am. Since I am full and happy all by myself, whatever I do
now using the BMI is not motivated to gain happiness but only for the
benefit of the Brahman, that is, for the totality. Thus all actions will be
for loka kalyaanam only. Iswara is now pleased to use the BMI of a jnaani to
help those seekers who are ready and are in need of a teacher. Scripture
says any sincere student who approaches the teacher with humility has to be
taught. Hence it is said that only because of divine grace one is lead to a
proper teacher that helps him in his evolution. Thus the demands by the
samaShTi vaasanaas or desires of many mature saadhaks help in maintaining
the BMI of a realized master.  From the point of ajnaani, jnaani is
performing action including teaching, etc. However, jnaani knows as part of
his jnaana that prakRiti is acting under his blessing – prakRityaivaca
karmaani kriyamaanaani sarvasaH| yaH pasyati tadaatmaanam akartaarma sa
pasyati – says Krishna. All actions are done by prakRiti alone and whoever
sees this fact and recognizes that he is never a doer, he alone sees the

We have discussed exhaustively how the knowledge takes, including the
self-knowledge. Mind is required to know that I am not the mind. In fact
mind alone can say that I am not the mind, just as ring, while being a ring,
says that I am not the ring but I am the gold that supports the name and a
form of the ring.  The denial of false or superficial self is required to
establish oneself in the true self. neti, neti statement of the scriptures
emphasize this. The processes can be summarized follows. The
existence-consciousness that I am is all pervading. It-as though- enters
into the BMI as jiiva in order experience the world of objects to exhaust
the vaasanaas accumulated in the past lives. With reference to BMI, we can
call this as pure witnessing consciousness, saakshii and what is witnessed
is saakshyam. The ever self-effulgent witnessing consciousness enlivens the
mind by illuminating the mind. Thus mind reflects the light of consciousness
and in the process, 1. mind itself becomes known as an object and 2. by its
very subtlety it reflects the sentiency also. The mind being a subtle
matter, and is inert or jaDam; but it becomes dynamic and sentient in the
presence of consciousness. This reflecting consciousness in or by the mind
is called chidaabhaasa. It is essentially ego or ahankaara. In the process
of this reflection of the light of consciousness, neither saakshii nor the
mind is affected. The relation between the two is called
avabhaasya-avabhaasaka sambandha – illuminator-illuminated relationship.
Actually this is relations-less relationship because ontologically they
belong to two different degrees of order.  Saakshii has nothing to do with
illumination or sentiency of the mind. Hence mind and its modifications can
never affect the saakshii. Mind and the world are anaatma or not-self with
properties characteristics of: 1. inertness, (jaDatvam), 2. ability to be an
object for knowledge since it has properties (dRisyatvam or jneyatvam or
saguNatvam or one which has attributes) 3. changeability (savikaaratvam) and
4. limitedness (paricchinnatvam) also expressed as aagamaapaayitvam or that
which comes and goes as they are spatially, temporally and object-wise
limited. Most importantly, they have no independent existence. Not only for
their revelation, even for their existence, they are - as though- supported
by the absolute existence that I am. In fact, their existence is established
only by the knowledge of their existence directly or indirectly by saakshii.

The sequence of the process is summarized here for clarity.  From the point
of paaramaarthikam – there is nothing other than I am which is pure sat chit
ananda swaruupam – All the discussion should stop there.  From the point of
vyaavahaarika (essentially in the field of muula avidya), in the language of
Swami Paramarthanandaji, we have either a binary format i.e aatma and
anaatma or triangular format (jiiva-jagat-Iswara). When the light of
consciousness the self gets illumined by the mind, the self that I am take
the role of a saakshii and mind is object known. Saaskhii is now – as though
– a knower or pramaataa and mind is prameyam or object that is known. Mind,
now using the borrowed light and consciousness from the Saakshii, now
becomes a pramaataa or knower in knowing the world of objects. One can say
mind (ahankaara) is a knower or Saakshii indirectly via the mind and the
senses as knower. As we discussed, it is like objects are known in the full
moon light which is actually reflected light from the sun. Moon and the
world of objects are ontologically in par. Therefore in this process both
the mind and the world can get mutually affected by the process. Mental
moods can change based on what I see, and what I see can influence the world
of objects. This mutual vikaaratvam or modifications is part of the natural
process and influenced by the vaasanaas or acquired tendencies of the mind.
Sureswara says we have two types of relations between mind and the world –
one is reflecter-reflected or avabhaasya- avabhaasaka sambandha similar to
saakshii and the mind, and the other is depending on the purity of the mind
the objects of the world will be viewed with the attitude of likable or
unlikable or indifferent. Here the reflected consciousness by the mind
(chidaabhaasa or ahankaara) affects and affected by the world of objects by
the coat of likes and dislikes. It can become a cause of samsaara if I do
not shift my attention from chidaabhaasa or ego to chit or the illuminating
or witnessing consciousness or saakshii that I am. The interactions gets
neutralized only when I understand clearly that I am the basis or
substantive for mind and the world of objects, as every object is nothing
but specific attributes characteristic of the object superimposed on the
substantive the pure existence. As we discussed in the last post, the
perceptuality condition involves the existence of the object gets united
with the consciousness of the subject, for me to become conscious of the
existence of the object. The world of the objects has to join the subject
that I am to have subject-object relation, for knowledge of the objects to
take place. Self-knowledge on the other hand involves shifting my attention
from the attributive contents of the thought (or indirectly object) to the
reflected light of consciousness that I am as I become conscious of the
thought or the object. Hence in the understanding of tat tvam asi statement
of the scriptures, I understand I am the saakshii and also I understand I am
the basis for saakshyam or the world of objects. Thus I am the substantive
existence for both the subject and the object and I am conscious entity
enlivening or illumining the entire world of objects – tasya bhaasa sarvam
idam vibhaati – says the scripture.

Jiivan mukta:  There is lot of confusion in terms of jiiva mukta and even
classification in terms of the degrees in jiivan mukta status. If we
understand correctly what is involved in self-realization, all the
confusions get resolved. Let us understand the basic fact - The nature of
the reality does not depend on someone’s opinion or assertion, whoever that
someone may be. To point out the nature of reality, which is not accessible
to direct perception or logical deduction, scripture alone becomes a
pramaaNa. However once the knowledge takes place using the pramaaNa, the
knowledge itself is independent of pramaaNa – hence scriptures declare that
the truth is aprameyam. This knowledge is not an objective knowledge, since
for any objective knowledge no final word exists, as one investigates more,
lot more opens up for investigation.    For self-knowledge, the self is the
final; and that self is self-existing, self-conscious and therefore
self-revealing.  What is required is to train the mind to see the ever
present truth as truth. That training for the mind is acquired through –
shravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana.

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