[Advaita-l] Prapatti - Jiiva and Iswara

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Feb 20 07:07:26 CST 2012

On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 3:53 PM, Kalyan K <kalyankc.81 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Sri Subramanian writes: "The Self is the Knower as the sAkShi of the
> operations of the mind-sense
> organ combine.  Whether it is ignorance or knowledge that these operations
> generate, the sAkShI knows.  'Knowing' by the sAkShI is only a figurative
> expression; the sAkShI only illlumines the operations of the mind-sense
> organs.  The pramAtA, the knower, who is the one endowed with the mind and
> sense organs, operates the sense organs, the pramANas, to know an object,
> prameya, in order to gain a knowledge  called pramiti.  The sAkshi just
> illumines the entire process."
> Dear Sri Subramanian-ji, I am sorry I still did not understand this. Is it
> the mind that knows? Or is it the pramAtA, who is endowed with mind and
> sense organs that knows? If the latter, who is this pramAtA?

'pramAtA' is the one who is called the jIva.  It is this entity that has
identification with the mind and sense organs and considers himself to be
the knower/doer/enjoyer.  The first of these is called 'jnAtA'. In the
latter roles he is given the epithet 'kartA' and 'bhoktA'.  The mind,
technically, is not endowed with the power to know; it has the reflection
of consciousness in it which enables knowledge.

> I understand that the Self is the witness. But what does it mean to say
> that the Self illuminates the entire process? What does the word illuminate
> mean here?

'Witness'ing is what is meant by 'illumining'.  In the shAstra it is said
'akartRtve sati bodhRtvam', 'sAkShAt draShTari samjnAyAm' regarding the
sAkshi which only mean that It is the direct seer/knower/illuminer.  That
we 'know' the process taking place, even as it takes place, is what is
illumining. The logic in Vedanta for this is: when sukha or duHkha is
experienced, it is a vRtti in the mind, but since mind cannot be said to
know itself owing to the kartR-karma virodha (the subject and object,
knower and known cannot be the same entity), the knower/awarer of the vRtti
in the mind is said to be the Self/sAkShi.  This knowledge of the sAkshi is
not the result of any mental or sensory operation on the part of the sAkshi
but a direct awareness of the sensory/mental activity process that takes
place in the objective plane. Thus the sAkshI is ever the subject and never
the object. Even in common parlance when we say 'the debate generates more
heat than light' we have a figurative sense for the terms heat and light.
The same is the case with the term 'illumining/illumination' with regard to
the Self/sAkShi.



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