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Hari Om!


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: Saakshii or witnessing consciousness ...by Acharya Sadanandaji  ( 3043 )
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« : December 15, 2009, 10:31:06 AM »

by Acharya Sadanandaji

tat tvam asi - IV...Saakshii or witnessing consciousness

In the last post we have applied bhaaga tyaaga lakshaNa to ahankaara that involves I am = this, where 'this' is predominately identified with the Mind. Mind by itself is inert. Being subtle and, as though, in close proximity with consciousness, it reflects the light of consciousness and becomes sentient. This reflected consciousness is called chidaabhaasa. This reflected light from the mind, as though, illumines the thoughts that arise in the mind, when the mind comes in contact with objects of knowledge via pramANa or means of knowledge. Thus, inert mind takes the role of a pramaataa or knower of the thoughts. Actually, it is I that enlivens the mind, and this enlivened mind takes the role of pramaataa. This is the same as saying the little 'i' - the ego or ahankaara, which is same as chidaabhaasa taking the role of pramaataa. Since mind keeps changing its attributes, we can say the attributive ahankaara also changes.  This is reflected in the changes in our Bio-data, which is based on the changes of ahankaara or changes in - who am I. The present cognized ahankaara is the pramaataa or knower of subsequent cognitions in the mind, and what is being known by the process of jnaana prakriya or knowing process is subsequently stored in the memory. It is true that when I recollect or remember the past knowledge, I am identifying, as though, with the past ahankaara. Thus, we have past ahankaara or remembered ahankaara and the present ahankaara or cognized ahankaara. Now when I say, I am the same 'I' with the remembered ahankaara which has different attributes and the same 'I' with the present cognized ahankaara with new attributes, I am essentially discarding the attributive contents of the two pramaatas but only identifying or equating the one pervasive consciousness that I am. 'I am' is the enlivening factor and is present continuously in the past and in the present, but without any attributes of its own. The re-cognition of the ever existent and attributeless consciousness is the recognition of myself as I am. This is technically called pratyabhijna or saakshii or witnessing consciousness.

The tricky part here is even the re-cognition of the saakshii is done not by saakshii, but by ahankaara only. The saakshii witnesses even this recognition process. We still call this as jnaanam, and one who has this understanding as jnaani, because this knowledge destroys the previous notions in the ahankaara that I am only a limited ahankaara with identifications with the changing BMIs. It is like looking at different images of mine is in different mirrors and re-cognizing in spite of differences in the apparent images I am the original I, realizing that images only look different due to differences in mirrors. Thus, clear understanding by the ahankaara in jnaani is that I am the unchanging ever illuming or ever present consciousness that I am, beyond this changing BMIs. Ahankaara is nothing but chidaabhaasa or reflected consciousness.  Reflecting medium is required for reflection. Saakshii or witnessing consciousness cannot re-cognize itself, or put it correctly, need not have to re-cognize itself or realize itself. It is the all pervading consciousness ever present, one without a second; and therefore re-cognition has no meaning from the saakshii's point. In fact, the saakshii role was, as though, assigned to 'I' only to explain the duality of perceiver and perceived or pramaataa and prameya. Thus with reference to saakshyam, I become a saakshii; otherwise I am pure all pervading consciousness that I am, one without a second. We will note later that when I recognize that I am saakshyam too in the understanding of the true meaning of 'tat tvam asi' statement, then the relative roles of sakhii-sakshayam (binary format) or triangular format or triad or tripuTi involving pramaataa-prameya-pramANa will remain only as relative, as long as the formatting upaadhis remain. However, in spite of these relative roles, understanding will be -I am pure sat-chit-ananda swaruupam and all are in Me, but I am not in them.

To be clear, this understanding takes place in the reflected consciousness or chidaabhaasa only or ahankaara only since saakshii by itself is even beyond any reflections too. Without the reflecting medium the re-cognition of myself or realization of myself or self-realization does not takes place. To put it succinctively, ahankaara has to recognize that I am the all pervading consciousness and not the limited ahankaara that I used to think that I am, while still enclosed within the upaadhis of BMI. This is what is referred to as upahita chaitanya. The pot-space analogy is used to explain this, as discussed before, where the pot-space, while remaining within the walls of the pot, recognizes that I am indeed the all pervading space, in spite of the apparent limitations, and even the pot-walls are in me, but I am not in the pot. Even the apparent pot walls also will be recognized as Me only, without breaking the pot-walls, when I understand the full implication of the tat tvam asi statement. Thus to say that jnaani does not have ahankaara is true only from the point of what we ajnaaniis understand what ahankaara means; but he -does utilize- the BMI equipments that involve chidaabhaasa or ahankaara to transact with the world, with clear understanding he is not limited by the limitations of the BMI as he is indeed all pervading consciousness that is one without a second. (Note: I am enclosing dash marks for those which should be put in within quotes since some formats are incompatible with yahoo-mails). The BMI will continue to have their problems as destined even for a jnaani.

However, for jnaani there is no confusion in terms of the understanding level and the transactional level, just as a scientist understands that all materials are the same as they are made up of the same particles - electrons, protons and neutrons. Yet, he has no problem to transact differently with garbage vs. food or KCl (potassium chloride) vs. KCN (potassium cyanide). {There is a dvaitin who is teaching the scriptures including Brahmasuutras in Washington area, yet posts in the advaita discussion groups asking that if you believe in advaita, that says that everything is the same, why don't you drink poison rather than milk. He says, then, we will know dvaita is more correct than advaita. The amusing part is he has written six or seven articles on adhyaasa criticizing Shankara's adhyaasa bhaaShya and posted on the internet.} We found it is useless to make him understand that advaita includes dvaita as the very name implies, where dvaita is accepted at transactional level and is negated only from the absolute point since it is pure advaita, one without a second - advaitam, chaturtham manyante, sa aatma, sa vijneyaH - says Mandukya. The self that I am is advaitam, one without a second and that truth has to be realized by inquiry within. Thus using bhaaga tyaaga lakshaNa one understand that 'I am' in the 'I am that' statement stands for saakshii swaruupam. This makes us understand the subject in the mahaavaakya statement.

Up to this understanding we do not really need scriptures and one can enquire using bhaaga tyaaga lakshaNa or tarka or logic to recognize I am the knowing principle or conscious entity and not the known objects which are inert. Thus everyone can realize that they are the witnessing consciousness(es) that are different from witnessed objects. This is where 'who am I' enquiry can also lead to. This is direct and immediate and where all direct paths end up with. That leaves multiple consciousness(es), each is eternal, (some even say they are finite, yet all pervading, sarva gataH) different from prakRiti, the world of matter. Some subscribe to Iswara as creator and some are not.  The Nyaaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, puurva miimaamsa, dvaita, all come up to this point and claim that aatmaas are many and different from jagat and Iswara. VishiShTaadviata goes one step further and says that they are indeed many souls (each of atomic size, anupramaana), yet they are part of one all pervading paramaatma who is indweller (antaryaamin) of all. Souls and the inert universe are connected to him like organs of His body (organic relationship). They are dependent on Him while He is independent of them - sheSha-sheShii bhaava.  Many souls remain even moksha, although finite, but yet can enjoy infinite happiness that Iswara enjoys, while, of course, serving Him. Thus even in moksha for all of them, there are jiiva-jiiva, jiiva-jagat, jagat-Iswara and jiiva-Iswara bhinnatvam or differences exist, while the scriptures say any speck of difference of any kind causes fear and samsaara "udaramantaram kurute atha tasya bhayam bhavati" says Tai. Up. None is afraid in deep sleep state since none of above differences exists. Hence scripture says that advaita alone is the fundamental truth, as one can experience in deep sleep state where all the problems are resolved, as there is no duality whatsoever, Mandukya Up.  Therefore, only in advaita oneness of jiiva-jagat and Iswara is re-cognized through mahaavaakya statement of the scriptures. For this, Scripture alone becomes a soul source of pramANa - this cannot be established by logic "naiShaa tarkena matiraapaneya" says Katha. A teacher who has realized this truth can teach that but ultimately he has to rely for his reference only Sastra pramaaNa. Hence Shankara defines shraddhaa (loosely translated as faith) as shaastrasya guruvaakyasa satyabudhyaavadhaaraNaa,  scriptural statements as explained by the teacher are indeed true - that conviction is shraddhaa. That is needed for self-realization, since there is no other way of knowing this oneness that is substantive of the jiiva-jagat and Iswara.

Understanding the tat tvam asi statement:

We have extensively analyzed the tvam padaartha or an entity when we say 'I am' which is saakshii or witnessing consciousness in the proximity of which the mind gets enlivened and operate as an agent in all the transactions of the world, just the same way the Governments operate though their agents, starting from President, etc. Without the acting agents we can not identify what the government or where the government is. We have also discussed what the meaning of tat or that is. First it refers to the entire universe of objects, and second by means of scriptures it refers to Iswara, the creator, sustainer and destroyer of this universe.  We will now analyze how 'that' pronoun includes both the
existence and the consciousness aspects, which are the material and instrumental causes.

'That' refers to an object that we can point out, normally that which is outside the body. We say the object is, i.e. the object exists even without specifying any other attributes of the object that distinguishes that object from the rest of the objects in the universe. How can we say that the object is? For one thing, we are able to perceive it or know it by some means. Here is an important philosophical question: Is it that the object is, therefore we are able to perceive it, or we are able to perceive it, therefore the object is? Obviously it is the former, otherwise how can we perceive if it is not there. The later is said to be Vijnaana vaadin's position (it is one of four Buddhistic philosophies that is criticized in Brahmasuutras II-28-32). Since we do not create the object and then perceive it, the object must exist for us to perceive the objectit,  is part of Iswara sRiShTi. We will revise this statement little bit later, when we try to
understand who that Iswara is. For the time being, let us assume that the object exists before we see it.  We question now whether the existence of the object, specified by the words 'it is', is a part or a property of the object?  To put it differently, where exactly the existence of the object is located in the object? If we look at the object which is on the table, the existence is outside the object too, since we say table is, and the existence should be there in the space surrounding the object and the table, as we say - space is. Obviously existence is there everywhere, in the object, in the table, in the space surrounding the two. Since space is everywhere or infinite and that infinite space is if we say, then existence must also infinite. There is no boundary for space and also no boundary for existence. (Before I proceed further, I must acknowledge Swami Paramarthanandaji for providing in a capsule form the essence of existence which can also
 be applied to consciousness). He presents this capsule as:

1. Existence principle is not a part, a product or a property of any object..
2. Existence principle is an independent entity and lends existence to the object.
3. Existence principle is not limited by the boundaries of the object.
4. Existence principle survives ever after the end or demise of the object.
5. The surviving existence is imperceptible.

Thus without the principle of existence the experience of the existence of any object is not possible. Bhagavaan Ramana says this in the first line of invocation sloka in Sat DarShanam as 'sat pratyahaaH kinnu vihaaya santam'. Without the principle of existence permeating the objects, there cannot be experience of any object. Without the gold there cannot be any experience of gold products such as ring, bangle or necklace, without the clay there is no experience of clay products and similarly without the existence there is no experience of any existent world of objects. Hence scripture says existence is a fundamental material cause for the universe. Ch. Up. 6th Chapter sat vidya. How can one know the existence?  Pure existence is imperceptible just as empty space is imperceptible. Space itself exists because of existence. Nay, even I cannot exist without the principle of existence. In deep sleep state I alone am there, as existence without any perceptible objects including space and time etc. Thus even the infinite space comes and goes but the existence that I am there even in deep sleep state. If we are not going to exist in deep sleep state, then none of us would like to go to sleep. In fact every one of us looks forward for a good sleep where we can comfortably exist without any problems of the day. Some take sleeping pills and others drugs to get into this nirvikalpa state. Thus as the material cause of the universe, existence exists independent of any products but lends its existence to all objects in the universe. Thus the existence principle permeates both the subject I am as well as object that, where the pronoun 'that' representing the entire universe of objects which exists. That existence principle that lends existence to myself the subject and the entire world of objects is an independent entity that survives even if the subject and object are removed. Just as gold permeates all  its products and unaffected by the transformation of the products so is the existence that permeates both the subject and the object. Just as the ring, bangle, bracelet are just attributes superimposed on the gold as in ringly gold, bangly gold, etc, every object in the universe is nothing but attributes of the objects superimposed on the existence itself, which itself is division-less. Thus we can say ringly-golden existence, red-potty-clay existence, small-nailcuttery-irony existence, etc. It sounds horrible, since we are not able to perceive the existence other than existence that permeates in the form attributive products. We cannot transact with existence other than we should be existent to transact with the existent products. Krishna says this existence principle is eternal and it has no beginning or an end "naasato vidyate bhavo naabhaavo vidyate sataH" the which does not exist cannot come into existence and that which exists cannot cease to exist; thus law of conservation applied to the fundamental material cause of the universe - the principle of existence.

Now looking from the point of existence which permeates or forms the substantive for jiiva-jagat and Iswara - the teacher Uddalaka says to his student Swetaketu - aitadaatmya idam sarvam, tat satyam, sa aatma; tat tvam asi, Swetaketu. The entire universe is permeated by that existence principle and that you are. Thus the identity of I am with the existence principle that permeates the entire world of objects without any exception, idam sarvam. Hence I am is that existent conscious principle, that I am, and is in fact the substantive for all the universe of objects, says the scripture. In the 'I am', the 'I' stands for the conscious principle and the 'am' stands for the existence principle. In Sanskrit the aham includes both principles as one. Thus from the point of existence itself which forms substantive material cause for the subject and the object, is indivisible and hence scriptures in the form of mahaavaakya says you are that or I am that. This existence principle is nothing but Brahman defined as satyam, jnaanam, anantam where the satyam stands for the principle of existence which is substantive for both the subject and the object, for both saakshii and saakshyam. It is one without a second since if there is a second that should exist, and therefore the existence should permeate the so-called second; leaving the second no more the second from the point of existence.. Thus I am that establishes the oneness that permeates both the - I am and that, the substantive for both the subject and the predicate. That is essence of tat tvam asi, from the point of existence principle. We next address from the point of principle of consciousness.

Hari Om!

« : April 06, 2015, 11:40:19 AM Dr. Sadananda »
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