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

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Sat Aug 8 03:08:26 EDT 2020

On Sat, Aug 8, 2020 at 2:27 AM Venkatraghavan S via Advaita-l <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> The relationship between ahamkAra and mamakAra is not one of cause and
> effect.
> However, ahamkAra necessarily precedes mamakAra.

This is logical too in the sense that ahamkara is with respect to the
pancha koshas, where one has the 'I' idea.  This is called 'mithyAtmA'.
The 'mukhyAtmA' is the Pure Self beyond the pancha koshas. The mithyAtmA is
the body-mind-instruments apparatus.  This translates to pramAtA, the jiva,
who has a set of pramANa-s.  The mamakAra is with respect to those
individuals and objects outside the pancha koshas.  This mamakAra is termed
'gauNAtmA'. The example given is 'mama AtmA Bhadrasenah'. A King has a very
dutiful, reliable minister by the name Bhadrasena. The King is so
appreciative of him that he says/feels 'he is my self.'  In such cases as
these, 'agniH mANavakah' (the student is blazing like a fire), the
difference between the agni and the student is quite known to the person
who utters that remark. The king knows the minister is distinct from him.
Yet certain qualities/attributes make him say what he says.  Hence, this is
not mukhyAtmA or mithyAtmA but gauNAtmaa, (gauNa means not mukhya,

And the object of mamakAra, the near and dear persons, objects, are the
bhogya for the bhoktA the jiva, pramAta.  The jiva, pramAta, ahankAra, is
the kartA/bhoktA.  We now engage in cooking food since we want to be the
bhokta of the food later. So, the kartrutva is preceded by bhoktrutva. The
objects of mamakAra are the ones that make the jiva with ahankara, a
bhokta. This way the relationship, sambandha, between the ahankara and
mamakara is bhoktru-bhogya.

One might find it rather inappropriate to call the object of mamakara as
bhogya. But the scripture, kAvya texts, etc. accept this idea. It is the
physical/mental attributes in a person, pets. and features of inert
objects  like car, estate, that make a person like, seek and possess and
maintain them. it is for their sake the ahankara is carefully maintained.
The object of the Shruti is to turn the ahankAra inwards, to appreciate the
Atman, the mukhyAtmA, from the gauNAtma.  In the process, the mithyAtmA
gets transcended.

The last three shlokas cited at the end of the BSB 4, samanvayasutra

अपि चाहुः — ‘गौणमिथ्यात्मनोऽसत्त्वे पुत्रदेहादिबाधनात् ।
सद्ब्रह्मात्माहमित्येवं बोधे कार्यं कथं भवेत् ॥
अन्वेष्टव्यात्मविज्ञानात्प्राक्प्रमातृत्वमात्मनः । अन्विष्टः स्यात्प्रमातैव
पाप्मदोषादिवर्जितः ॥ देहात्मप्रत्ययो यद्वत्प्रमाणत्वेन कल्पितः । लौकिकं
तद्वदेवेदं प्रमाणं त्वाऽऽत्मनिश्चयात्’ इति ॥ ४ ॥

are significant, summarizing what is stated in the foregoing.



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