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: Role of mind in self-realization ..by Acharya Sadanandaji  ( 2894 )
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« : January 12, 2010, 11:01:08 PM »

by Acharya Sadanandaji

Role of the mind

tat tvam asi - VII (Part 1/2)


Role of the mind: The role of the mind in self-realization has to be clear. There is always a question that rises in the minds of the seekers, even after many years of Vedantic study. aham bhrahmaasmi - who realizes that or says that? Essentially, who is that aham that says I am Brahman. Brahman does not have to realize that I am Brahman. If atma or self is also sat chit ananda Brahman, it cannot become Brahman, it is Brahman all the time and therefore no need for it to realize any thing. Mind of a jiiva is limited inert entity - it cannot become Brahman or realize that I am Brahman. Then who realizes that I am Brahman? A simple answer is - the one who is asking the question is the one who realizes that I am Brahman. Who is asking the question? A conscious entity that I am, identifying with BMI, which is essentially the ahankaara or ego, is asking the question.  Then that limited ego entity realizes. That realization involves an understanding that I am not the limited BMI that I am currently identifying as myself and asking the question of who that aham is, but I am the infinite eternal sat-chit-ananda swaruupam. The answer is still vague since that - I am - is still not aatma, since aatma need not have to realize neither it is really ego, since ego cannot be infinite aatma. There is some apparent contradiction here, which is inevitable. It is like ring saying I am not really a ring that I thought that I am with limited name and form, but my true nature is I am the brilliant glistering gold, the substantive for all gold ornaments in the universe. Who says that?  It is ring only that says I am not the ring but gold. How can ring say that I am not the ring while being a ring? Ring realizes that the ring is only a name and form for transactional purposes but in truth, I am only gold and not a ring. Gold does not have to discover that I am gold since it is all the time gold only. However, ring has to drop the notions that I am limited by the name and form, as they are just superimpositions or adhyaasa on the substantive gold that I am. Actually, there is no ring at all and what is there is only gold but in varieties of names and forms- That one who thought I am a ring has to realize dropping all the wrong notions about itself. If one asks - Is there really no ring at all? Well there is a ring different from bangle and bracelet, and utility of each is different, but those differences in names, forms and utilities are only superficial for the purpose of transaction only or vyaavahaarika satyam - relatively real at transactional level. However, from the point of gold, there are no rings and bangles. Well, there are rings and bangles; but gold says that is only my expression or vibhuuti or glory to be able to express myself in varieties of names and forms.  Gaudapaada calls this as swaabhaavikam or natural for me to exist in varieties of names and forms. Hence the contradiction is only apparent since all the distinctions exist only at transactional level, but from the point of absolute truth there are no distinctions of any kind. Krishna makes a similar, apparently contradictory, statement that "all beings are in Me, nay none of them are in Me, look at my glory Arjuna". There is a plurality from the point of vyavahaara while there is no plurality from the point of paaramaarthika. Thus all contradictions are resolved once one understands the reference state from which the statements are made. The confusion arises only if one mixes the references state. That in fact is the definition of adhyaasa or superimposed error as Shankara defines adhyaasa as satyaanRita mithuniikaraNam that mixing of absolute truth and untruth, where truth is that which is not negated at any time.

Hence from the point of self-realization, the conscious entity that identifies itself with the limited BMI and takes the role of an ego or ahankaara has to recognize that I am the pure all pervading consciousness without any distinctions of any kind. The difficulty arises only because this recognition occurs in the mind only. Hence it is also called akhanDaakaara vRitti - an unbroken form of thought of oneself as I am, I am, I am, aham aham tayaa spurati hRit swayam "I am, I am, I am" rises spontaneously in the core of the individual, says Bhagavan Ramana.

amRitabindu Upanishad says "manayeva manushyaanaam kaaraNam bandha mokshayoH| bandhaaya vishayaasaktam muktair nirvishayam sRitam| For all human beings, mind alone is responsible for both bondage and liberation. The bondage arises with attachments to the sense objects and liberation is freedom from dependence on sense objects for happiness. prajahaati yadaa kaamaan sarvaan partha manogataan| aatmanyeva aatmanaa tuShTaH .. the one who is free from all desires for sense objects and one who revels in himself by himself is a jnaani - says Krishna. Sarvam paravaSham duHkham sarvam aatmavaSham sukham -dependence on any thing else for happiness is sorrow and dependence on one's own self is happiness - says Manu. Most of this was discussed in the previous posts but we emphasize here since this confusion is deep rooted for many seekers. In terms of summarizing comments we state the following:

1. Brahman is infinite. Therefore, by definition, there cannot be anything other than Brahman. Hence the scripture say it is one without a second, advitiiyam.  It is expressed as homogeneous eternal conscious-existence without any parts or properties; and therefore imperceptible. Hence it is beyond any concept including space and time, objectifications or conceptualizations.

2. Self or aatma is also existent consciousness, therefore infinite, and all pervading entity. Hence it cannot be different from Brahman. Existence-consciousness is indivisible.

3. If I do not know myself that means if I have ignorance of my true nature, then I take myself to be something other than myself and suffer the consequence of that misunderstanding. The self-ignorance caused suffering is called samsaara. The superimposed limitations on myself due to identification of myself with the limited body, mind and intellect, BMI, is bondage.

4. Liberation, moksha or freedom from samsaara, or nirvana, is then knowing myself as myself as infinite existence-consciousness which is nothing but Brahman. I do not become Brahman- I realize that I am Brahman. One cannot become infinite; one has to recognize one is already infinite- that recognition is required since one has a notion that one is finite.

5. I know that I exist and I also know that I am a conscious entity, but I do not know that I am limitless too. I take myself as existent BMI or conscious BMI or qualified existence-consciousness (aham jiivaasmi - I am an individual) than pure unqualified limitless existence-consciousness (aham brahmaasmi). Limitlessness is a state of happiness, since any limitation causes inadequacy and unhappiness. Not knowing that I am pure existence-consciousness which is limitless, I mistake myself to be the existent-limited BMI. All my pursuits in life are to gain that limitless state of my true nature, or put it in mundane terms to gain absolute inexhaustible happiness. All pursuits to gain the limitless state or pure happiness miserably fail, since I am trying to solve a problem where there is no problem to solve. Hence Vedanta says you are not what you think you are, but you are indeed the limitless existence-consciousness which is of the nature of pure happiness. Hence the solution to the problem is to recognize my true nature or my swaruupam by getting rid of the wrong notions about myself or misunderstandings of who I think I am. Hence the tat tvam asi statement, the teacher indicating you are already that what you are longing for.

The question that is posed is who is that I that has this misunderstanding or ignorance of myself and who is the one that is going to get rid of this misunderstanding and realize I am Brahman. I cannot say Brahman has ignorance since Brahman is pure unadulterated existence-consciousness. I cannot really say jiiva has ignorance since jiiva is a notion arising due to ignorance. There is an inherently an interdependence (anyonya aashraya) like seed and tree situation in terms of which is a cause and which is an effect. Inherent problem arises because ignorance cannot have a beginning and therefore jiiva notion is also beginning-less.

At this stage, it is important to recognize that mind includes all the four components: 1. the emotional faculty, manas, 2. the intellectual faculty or buddhi, 3. the memory, chitta and 4. ego or ahankaara. We use the generic word mind to indicate any or all of the four. Mind is the instrument for knowledge. Hence, I need the mind to gain knowledge. Without the mind as in deep sleep state, no knowledge can take place. Without the mind, I cannot even know my ignorance, as in deep-sleep state.  However mind itself is inert. Inert things cannot know anything. Then how does the knowledge take place? This is the greatest miracle of all miracles. It is wonder of all wonders to the degree that everyone takes it for granted without questioning how that happens.  By the very presence of the consciousness, the inert subtle body becomes sentient and dynamic. The consciousness illumines in the buddhi which is the subtlest and from buddhi, the mind and from the mind the sense organs and the rest of the gross body. Shankara says in Atma bodha:

sadaa sarvagatopyaatmaa na sarvataavabhaasate|
bhudhyaaveva bhaaseta swaccheShu pratibimbavat||

Although the self is all pervading, it does not illumine everywhere, it illumines in the intellect like the light getting reflected by the mirror. Purity of the mirror determines the quality of the reflection. The reflectability depends not on the consciousness but on the suitability of the object that is getting illumined.   Hence, consciousness has nothing to do with illumination yet in its very presence the matter becomes dynamic and becomes enlivening. It is like the sun shining all by himself, yet in its very presence life pulsates on earth, but not in other planets.

Scripture says that after gross and subtle bodies are created, He - as though - entered into it; this statement is called anupravesha statement; occurs in both Ch. Up and Tai. Up. He being a conscious entity as though entered into the BMI to enliven the equipments and make them dynamic. We deliberately used the word - as though - since He being infinite cannot really enter into anything, since He is all-pervading.  It is similar to I creating the whole dream world and then I myself -as though- enter into it as a part of jiiva with a limited dream BMI that is different from the rest of things and beings in the dream. Similarly, He being one - as though - enters into every conceivable jiiva that has appropriate BMI conducive for His entrance. Hence Krishna declares: kshetrajnam ca api maam viddhi sarva kshetreShu bhaarata. Know Me as the knower of the fields in all fields. Minds with the reflected consciousness now become local knower or pramaataas. The reflected consciousness because now a source of illumination for other inert entities. It is like moon because of the reflected light from the sun becoming a source of illumination for objects in the night, although moon does not have illumination of its own.

« : April 06, 2015, 12:08:22 PM Dr. Sadananda »
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