[Advaita-l] Is empathy a function of ahamkara?
agnimile at gmail.com
Wed Aug 5 15:54:42 EDT 2020
I think what was meant in the original answer was that ahamkAra in advaita
is defined as chidachit granthi:, or the intimate admixture of
consciousness with the inert mind, which leads to the notion "I" - अहमिति
The question is interesting and deserves enquiry - is the emphasis of the
query - is "suffering" a function of ahamkAra? Or that suffering is
considered to be "one's own"*,* a function of ahamkAra?
Given the rest of the email, where one's own suffering is contrasted with
others', it appears the intent of the questioner is the latter.
Also, what is meant by the term "function of"?
It cannot mean a "result of", in the sense that the notion that something
is "one's own" is not a result of the ego. The notion of "मम" is not a
product of "अहं". As AchArya says in the adhyAsa bhAShya, both are a result
of the anyonya adhyAsa of Atma and anAtma "अहमिदं ममेदमिति नैसर्गिकोऽयं
Thus, from that perspective, ahamkAra is not a cause of mamakAra.
However, we can accept that ahamkAra presupposes mamakAra. As said in the
panchapAdika by padmapAdAchArya - अहमिति तावत् प्रथमोऽध्यासः.
The notion that "something belongs to me" is presupposed by an entity
called "I", with which the thing in question is assumed to have a
connection, leading to the notion - "This is mine".
The second part of the email, then extended the original question to say,
and I am paraphrasing as I understood it, if that was not the intent,
please correct - "one's own suffering is a function of ahamkAra, what about
the sadness on seeing others suffer? If one dismisses them as products of
maya, does that leave no room in advaita for karuna? Can one act to help
others knowing that all suffering is unreal"?
Advaita is not saying that one should not feel karuNa towards others - All
that it is saying is that suffering - whether one's own or others' - is
mithyA. If you can do something to assuage it, do so. If you cannot, rest
in the knowledge that it is ephemeral and it will end.
Both actions to address the issue and forebearance are mithyA.
Thus, advaita does not advocate the cessation of action - rather, it asks
one to see the truth - that one is not an actor. Actions may continue for
the mind and the body - or not, as the case may be - but in reality, the
self is not acting - even when the mind feels the greatest compassion and
the body acts in accordance to assuage others' suffering.
On Tue, 4 Aug 2020, 18:40 smallpress via Advaita-l, <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:
> One’s own suffering can be seen as a function of ahamkara, caused by
> errors of avarna and vikshepa. What about the sadness on seeing others
> suffer, such as the recent killings of Black Americans, even children,
> innocent victims.I suppose you can call it karuna. How do we accomodate
> this feeling of empathy, sadness, karuna for the sufferings of others? And
> how do we act in providing comfort if we see their suffering also as maya.
> Thank you.Soma
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