[Advaita-l] Prapatti - Jiiva and Iswara

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Feb 21 00:07:47 CST 2012

On Mon, Feb 20, 2012 at 9:22 PM, Kalyan K <kalyankc.81 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Dear Sri Subramanian,
> If jIva is the knower there must be many knowers, since the jIvas are many.
> But why does the upanishad say that there is no other knower but the Self?
> (bRhadAraNyaka 3.7.23).

Actually that mantra says: Other than the antaryAmi, the innermost Self,
there is no other who is a seer, hearer, thinker, knower.  So, the
Upanishad brings all activity, of the sense organs and the motor organs by
extension, and the mind/ intellect apparatus under the Self.  In the world
we see many jiva-s doing all this hearing, seeing, thinking, knowing, etc.
but the One Chaitanya that is behind all these activities of all the jivas
is the Atman/Brahman.  It is like one electric power that is behind the
operation of several gadgets.

The mantra comes to clarify a doubt:  we think we are seeing, hearing,
knowing, etc. and there is an antaryAmi who is behind this activity.  Then,
are there two sentient entities in every jiva - one who does the hearing,
etc. and the one who controls / illumines / supports all this activity?  In
the negative the Shruti replies: There is no other knower (hearer, etc.)
other than/ apart from / as distinct from/ the Self, the antaryAmin.  This
discussion is found in the Brahmasutra bhashya too.

> As far as being kartA and bhoktA are concerned, the
> scriptures never attribute these to the Self, but why do the upanishads say
> that there is no other knower but the Self?

We can see from the above explanation that even the kartA/bhoktA is in
truth the Self alone, appearing to be kartA, etc. in the realm of
ignorance/bondage.  In the above quoted mantra the words draShTA, shrotA,
denote the activity of the sense and motor organs, by extension and through
every sensory act the jiva indeed experiences, bhoga, something.   One
seminal Advaitic/Vedantic statement is:

ब्रह्मैव स्वाविद्यया संसरति इव, स्वविद्यया मुच्यत इव [Brahman alone, owing
to ignorance of Its true nature appears to be in samsara and upon acquiring
knowledge of Its true nature appears to have attained liberation.  This is
the crux of the Br.Up.1.4.10 and the Bhashya.

> >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.
> Can I summarize the above as - "The Self knows the vRtti in the mind and
> the mind knows the objects"? If yes, then there are multiple minds and
> there should be multiple knowers.

That is a correct way of putting it.  But again, the multiple knowers are
really One Self acting/knowing/seeing/hearing/experiencing/doing through
the multiple minds (upAdhis).  The so many sense organs and minds are like
the so many counters in a Bank's business Hall.  It is the One Bank that is
actually transacting business through so many counters which have labels
like: Foreign Exchange, Loans, Deposits, Savings, Current Account, etc.
These are the various upAdhis of the One Bank.  We cannot count the number
of counters and say there are so many Banks.

As Sada ji suggested in another thread, if someone hears the exposition of
Swami Paramarthananda ji in English of the Mandukya Upanishad spread over
80 hours one would gain a very clear understanding of the Advaita Vedanta.
I have known several people, even westerners, having testified to this.



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