[Advaita-l] Is empathy a function of ahamkara?

smallpress smallpress at ymail.com
Wed Aug 5 23:54:06 EDT 2020

 Mr.Venkatraghavan,Namaste.Thank for understanding my question and explaining completely and also filling my gap on the adavaitic term. Truly appreciate your effort.May i ask what you mean by “ 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 तावत् प्रथमोऽध्यासःlWhat i mean is what texts comprise advaita and what do not? Does Drk Drishya Viveka part of those texts or is it not? Because it defines ahamkara very clearly as a result of 2 kinds of errors of perception or understanding notion of “aham”What text would i find the chidachit granti explained?Namashivaya Soma
    On Wednesday, August 5, 2020, 03:54:54 PM EDT, Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com> wrote:  
 Namaste,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 तावत् प्रथमोऽध्यासः.
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 लोकव्यवहारः".
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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