[Advaita-l] Who Slept Very Well- Part III

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Tue Feb 4 22:11:23 CST 2014

 continuation as part III
Experiencer of the Deep-Sleep-State 

The question remains - If the mind is not there, then who experiences these above three in the deep-sleep state and who recollects these experiences when one is awake, since the experiencer and the recollector have to be one and the same? These appear to be puzzling questions that need to be addressed. Who is going to provide the answer to this – a sleeper or a waker? For this, scripture alone becomes a pramaana, or means of knowledge, since mind that uses logic cannot provide the answers, and whatever answers it provides can only be speculation at best. No objective tools can be used or valid to analyze the deep sleep state since all objective entities are absent in that state, other than ignorance. Hence objective scientists also have no tools available for investigation. These aspects have to be clear even when we are studying opinions of other philosophers such as Shree Atamandaji , unless these opinions are shRiti based.

Who experiences the waking and dream states? 

Before we address the question of the deep sleeper, it is important to question first who is the experiencer in the waking and dream states. Pure sat chit ananda is all pervading and being infinite cannot experience anything. Satyam jnaanam and anantam are its swaruupa lakshaNas of Brahman. Shankara says in Tai. Up. bashya that they are swaruupa lakshaNas because  - as he puts it – anantatvaat, because Brahman is infinite. Existence is infinite as Ch. Up sadvidya echos, and consciousness is infinite as the mahavAkya prajnaanam brahma indicates, and limit less alone is happiness as any limitation causes suffering. There cannot be many infinities, as Bhagavan Ramana puts it, sat eva chit and chit eva aham, that I am. Hence pure Self or Brahman cannot be an experiencer. Witnessing consciousness also cannot be experiencer by definition, since it is a witness of the experiences.  Actually, witnessing consciousness is Brahman only. The mind or BMI or any
 aspects that involves subtle or gross matter cannot be an experiencer either because they are inert – jaDatvAt and only a conscious entity alone can experience.  Then, who is the experiencer during the waking and dream states? A short answer is -  I, the Brahman, identifying myself with the local upAdhi or the mind, say I am the knower and this is known, using the mind as instrument for knowledge. Brahman being infinite cannot really identify with anything, since there is nothing other than Brahman to experience. Hence the following explanation is given for an intellect who is seeking an answer for the question -who is the experiencer in the waking or dream states. 

The all-pervading consciousness gets reflected wherever there is a subtle body, since the subtle body is capable of reflecting, just as a mirror is capable of reflecting the light, or moon is capable of reflecting the sunlight. The degree or quality of the reflection depends on the purity of the mind. The all-pervading consciousness that I am reflected by a mind is called chidAbhAsa, in contrast to the original consciousness.  It is like moon-light is nothing but reflected sunlight. In reflecting the all-pervading consciousness, the mind acts as though it is a conscious entity.  It is similar to the moon acting as though it is a luminous entity in the sky by reflecting the sunlight, even though moon by itself is non-luminous entity.  Thus reflection involves two aspects; the all-pervading eternally present consciousness that I am and the reflecting media, the subtle bodies that are there in the universe in various lokas. Naturally, the quality of the
 reflection depends on the quality of the reflecting medium considering the original consciousness is pure, ever present, and eternal sat chit ananda swaruupam, without a second.

The next aspect involves the mind with the reflecting consciousness. It acts as though it is the independent conscious entity.  It is like moon while reflecting the sunlight thinking that I am a luminous entity, not knowing or forgetting that the luminosity that it has in principle nothing but sunlight only.  When we look at the moon, what we are really seeing is not the moon but the sunlight reflected by the moon. The same situation occurs with the mind. I am conscious of my mind and also conscious of the thoughts in the mind. When I say I know my mind or I am observing my mind, it implies that I am conscious of my mind. Thus mind is the object of my consciousness, we say. Similarly when I say I know my thoughts or I know my body, etc., I am the knower and these are objects in my consciousness. Statement - my consciousness- is a wrong way to express, since it indicate that I am possessor of consciousness and thus different from consciousness.  In
 fact Bhagavan Ramanuja interprets this way that jiiva has two fold knowledge or awareness a) self-knowledge or reflective knowledge where I am the subject knower and I am the object known or dharmi-jnanaam and b) knowledge or awareness of objects or objective knowledge that arises only when objects arise or exists. He calls this as dharma-bhUta jnaanam.  From the advaita point, I am pure sat chit ananda only being expressed as reflections first by the mind as chidaabhaasa and next by the objects when they form thoughts  or vRittis in the mind. Hence, the consciousness that I am is not due to mind but due to the original all-pervading consciousness. Similarly, being conscious of any object is same as having knowledge of that object. It is similar to my seeing the moon and also seeing objects on the earth due to moon-light falling on the objects and getting reflected by the objects. Thus, mind is known because of chiddabhaasa or consciousness reflected
 by the mind. Similarly I know the thoughts that arise in the mind when this reflected light from the mind falls on the thoughts and get reflected back to the mind. Identifying with the mind, I, the conscious entity say I am the knower and knowing the objective thoughts that arise in the mind. Now to answer the question of who is the knower in the waking state,  we can say, I, the reflected consciousness, the chidaabhaasa identifying with the mind as I am the mind, and further claim that I am the knower and the vRitties or thoughts that arise in the mind are objects that are known via perceptual processes.  Thus knower and known duality arise in the mind both as subject and object because of reflection of consciousness first by the mind as chidaabhaasa and next as object as vRittis form. Hence the knower is neither the pure sat chit ananda, nor the mind per sec but a fictitious entity that arise due to the combination (which Swami Chinmayanandaji calls
 unholy marriage of the two) of the two due to reflective processes. 

In short jiiva-hood arises when the reflected conscious, chidAbhAsa, identifying with the limited mind develops notions that I am this mind and via the mind identify other koshas and develop notions that I am this body and I am the perceiver, feeler, thinker and thus knower, etc. Hence I am this and this is mine – the ahankaara and mamakaara notions arise in the apparently conscious mind. This is called upahita chaitanya or consciousness as though enclosed in upAdhi. When the mind perceives the objects via senses or perceives internal objects via memory, the subject-object duality arises in the mind only. The mind due to chidaabhaasa becomes a knower and the thoughts or vRitties that arise in the mind when objectification occurs becomes known. The processes that bring these two, the knower and the known, are the pramANas or means of knowledge. In essence, we have the mind or more precisely the vijnana maya kosha with chidaabhaasa to start with. The
 monomaya, the prANamaya and annamaya koshas arise in turn as I identify myself with each one of the upAdhis. Janaani and ajnaani differ only in the sense that jnaani knows that I am the all -pervading consciousness enlivening this upAdhis as upahita chaitanya starting from vijnaana maya kosha or intellectual sheath, where both knower-known duality that arises when perceptual knowledge takes place. For ajnaani, his mind, not knowing the above facts, thinks that I am an independent conscious entity with limited BMI. 

In summary, the following aspects need to be understood. a) There is the all-pervading consciousness that I am, which is self-shining and ever present, which has nothing to do with any of the above process. However in its mere presence all these processes are as though activated because of prakRiti.  Using Swami Paramanandaji terminology we can call the OC or original consciousness. b) Wherever there is a subtle body that involves vijnana maya kosha or intellectual sheath, there is  chidaabhaasa or reflected consciousness or RC. By the reflection of the OC the kosha gets enlivened.  c) Degneration of this koshas further leads to other koshaa, manomaya, prANamaya and annamaya koshas which in turn get enlivened. That life pulsates starting from vijnanamaya koshas all the way to the annamaya kosha. These happens as long the first two items listed above are there. Thus consciousness enlivened in the upAdhis is called upahita chaitanya. Up to this is
 common whether a person is jnaani or ajnaani. d) Because of primordial ignorance, jiiva-hood arises when chidaabhaasa or reflected consciousness identifies with the koshas as I am this. Hence Jiiva-hood is a fictitious entity that arise with the identification of I am = this where this starts with vijnanamaya kosha and dripples down to annamaya kosha. This is essentially ahankaara as per Vedanta. (The normal ahankaara translated as arrogance is different from the Vedantic ahankaara. This arrogance – what Krishna sites as amaanitvam adambhitvam etc should be curtailed for knowledge). The Vedantic ahankaara will remain even for a jnaani but it becomes only an instrument needed for transactions in the world since it is understood as as mithyaa. It plays the role of I am a knower and this is known. For ajnaani the RC is taken as the original and he operates identifying the koshas as I am this, I am a knower, I am doer or karthaa, I am an enjoyer or
 bhokta, etc., and therefore suffer the consequence of that identification.  There is a jiiva-hood also in the dream state with the same components more or less operating. Hence, Mandukya Up. defines the dream subject similar to the subject in the waking state, both possessing nineteen gate-ways for operating in their respective worlds. With this background we can examine the deep-sleep state. 

To be continued as Part IV 

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