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A new Advaita forum has been opened exclusively to discuss Advaita Vedanta in terms of questions and answers. The purpose of the discussion is to arrive at clear understanding of Advaita using scriptures as pramaaNa or means of knowledge.  From time to time questions will be raised and answered to stimulate the discussion. In addition, some on going talks will be posted for listening and for contemplation.

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Hari Om!


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| | |-+  Does jnaani posses praarabda?...by Acharya Sadanandaji
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: Does jnaani posses praarabda?...by Acharya Sadanandaji  ( 2889 )
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« : January 17, 2010, 10:37:40 AM »

tat tvam asi - VIII...by Acharya Sadanandaji (Part 1/2)

We have addressed most of questions pertaining to the topic including what exactly involved in self-realization and the relevance of Nidhidhyaasana. Shravana involves listening to the scriptures under a competent teacher for a prolong length of time until one is convinced of the advaitic nature of the reality and significance of the tat tvam asi statement.  Reflecting on the teaching or manana ensures clarity in understanding without any doubts. Conviction arises only when it is understood as a fact and not just as thought or good idea. Self-Knowledge with conviction removes only self-ignorance. However, knowledge does not remove ignorance generated vaasanaas. Thus knowledge removes both sanchita and aagaami karmas, since notional kartRitva bhaava i.e. notion that I am a doer is sublimated with the knowledge. However the praarabda karma that was the root cause for the birth of that particular BMI of jiiva remains until that BMI drops out. These vaasanaas propel at body, mind and intellect levels desires and actions in the world. Hence jnaani who has understood that I am the pure existence-consciousness can remain as the witnessing consciousness, witnessing the drama occurring at the BMI level. In order not to get carried away by the habitual actions and involvements due to vaasanaas at the BMI level, one has to constantly keep the knowledge in the mind until that awareness of the knowledge itself become habitual for the mind. Nidhidhyaasana is essentially developing that habitual understanding of my true nature by abhyaasa and vairaagya or constant practice and detachment to the worldly affairs.  This involves internalizing the knowledge that I am sat-chit-ananda swaruupa, and everything that is occurring at transactional level is only mityaa or superimposition on the reality that I am, and therefore can never disturb me, the existent-conscious entity. That niShTa or firm abidance in that knowledge is what is called jnana niShTa or brahma NiShTa or aatma NishTa. That everything that I perceive is mithyaa has to get ingrained during all transactions that are propelled by vaasanaas that were accumulated due to ego-centric actions performed when I was ignorant. This is done until the praarabda gets neutralized. There are two factors that keep the BMI of a jnaani. One is the praarabda of the BMI and the other is the samashTi (combined) karma of all others who are in need of a realized master for their evolution.

A typical question that is asked is: does jnaani possess praarabda? This can be answered at two levels.  The first answer is no, jnaani does not have it - Nay, even ajnaani does not have it either. Praarabda and vaasanaas belong to the lower prakRiti, that is, at the BMI level. Hence BMI has praarabda. Jnaani witnesses the praarabda operating on the BMI level. BMI by its very nature undergoes all the six modifications, and jnaani witnesses that as a part of entertainment or liila or vibhuuti of the Lord. ajnaani also, in reality, does not have praarabda either but by identification with his BMI the praarabda of the lower prakRiti is taken to be his own, due to ajnaana or ignorance. Hence from the point of an ajnaani, he has praarabda since he superimposes the praarabda of his BMI on to himself and therefore it belongs to him, like the fellow who wants to carry the heavy box on his head, while sitting in a train in order to relieve the train from carrying that burden.

The second level of understanding is that when I understand that I am Brahman, I "become" Brahman (brahavit brahma eva bhavati is the ShRiti). Hence the BMI that is available with its praarabda is now utilized by Brahman that I am. Since I am full and happy all by myself, whatever I do now using the BMI is not motivated to gain happiness but only for the benefit of the Brahman, that is, for the totality. Thus all actions will be for loka kalyaanam only. Iswara is now pleased to use the BMI of a jnaani to help those seekers who are ready and are in need of a teacher. Scripture says any sincere student who approaches the teacher with humility has to be taught. Hence it is said that only because of divine grace one is lead to a proper teacher that helps him in his evolution. Thus the demands by the samaShTi vaasanaas or desires of many mature saadhaks help in maintaining the BMI of a realized master.  From the point of ajnaani, jnaani is performing action including teaching, etc. However, jnaani knows as part of his jnaana that prakRiti is acting under his blessing "prakRityaivaca karmaani kriyamaanaani sarvasaH| yaH pasyati tadaatmaanam akartaarma sa pasyati" says Krishna. All actions are done by prakRiti alone and whoever sees this fact and recognizes that he is never a doer, he alone sees the truth.

We have discussed exhaustively how the knowledge takes place, including the self-knowledge. Mind is required to know that I am not the mind. In fact mind alone can say that I am not the mind, just as ring, while being a ring, says that I am not the ring but I am the gold that supports the name and a form of the ring.  The denial of false or superficial self is required to establish oneself in the true self. The "neti, neti" statement of the scriptures emphasizes this. The processes can be summarized follows. The existence-consciousness that I am is all pervading. It -as though- enters into the BMI as jiiva in order experience the world of objects to exhaust the vaasanaas accumulated in the past lives. With reference to BMI, we can call this as pure witnessing consciousness, saakshii and what is witnessed is saakshyam. The ever self-effulgent witnessing consciousness enlivens the mind by illuminating the mind. Thus mind reflects the light of consciousness and in the process, 1. mind itself becomes known as an object and 2. by its very subtlety it reflects the sentiency also. The mind being a subtle matter, and is inert or jaDam; but it becomes dynamic and sentient in the presence of consciousness. This reflecting consciousness in or by the mind is called chidaabhaasa. It is essentially ego or ahankaara. In the process of this reflection of the light of consciousness, neither saakshii nor the mind is affected. The relation between the two is called avabhaasya-avabhaasaka sambandha - illuminator-illuminated relationship. Actually this is relations-less relationship because ontologically they belong to two different degrees of order. Saakshii has nothing to do with illumination or sentiency of the mind. Hence mind and its modifications can never affect the saakshii. Mind and the world are anaatma or not-self with properties characteristics of: 1. inertness, (jaDatvam), 2. ability to be an object for knowledge since it has properties (dRisyatvam or jneyatvam or saguNatvam or one which has attributes) 3. changeability (savikaaratvam) and 4. limitedness (paricchinnatvam) also expressed as aagamaapaayitvam or that which comes and goes as they are spatially, temporally and object-wise limited. Most importantly, they have no independent existence. Not only for their revelation, even for their existence, they are - as though- supported by the absolute existence that I am. In fact, their existence is established only by the knowledge of their existence directly or indirectly by saakshii.

The sequence of the process is summarized here for clarity.  From the point of paaramaarthikam, there is nothing other than I am which is pure sat chit ananda swaruupam. All discussion should stop there.  From the point of vyaavahaarika (essentially in the field of muula avidya), in the language of Swami Paramarthanandaji, we have either a binary format i.e aatma and anaatma or triangular format (jiiva-jagat-Iswara). When the light of consciousness, the self, illumines the mind, the self that I am takes the role of a saakshii and the mind becomes an object that is known. Saaskhii is now - as though - a knower or pramaataa and mind is prameyam or object that is known. Mind, now using the borrowed light and consciousness from the Saakshii, now becomes a pramaataa or knower in knowing the world of objects. One can say mind (ahankaara) is a knower or Saakshii indirectly via the mind and the senses as knower. As we discussed, it is like objects are known in the full moon light which is actually reflected light from the sun. Moon and the world of objects are ontologically in par. Therefore in this process both the mind and the world can get mutually affected by the process. Mental moods can change based on what I see, and what I see can influence the world of objects. This mutual vikaaratvam or modifications is part of the natural process and influenced by the vaasanaas or acquired tendencies of the mind. Sureswara says we have two types of relations between mind and the world: one is reflecter-reflected or avabhaasya- avabhaasaka sambandha similar to saakshii and the mind, and the other is depending on the purity of the mind the objects of the world will be viewed with the attitude of likable or unlikable or indifferent. Here the reflected consciousness by the mind (chidaabhaasa or ahankaara) affects and affected by the world of objects by the coat of likes and dislikes. It can become a cause of samsaara if I do not shift my attention from chidaabhaasa or ego to chit or the illuminating or witnessing consciousness or saakshii that I am. The interactions gets neutralized only when I understand clearly that I am the basis or substantive for mind and the world of objects, as every object is nothing but specific attributes characteristic of the object superimposed on the substantive the pure existence. As we discussed in the last post, the perceptuality condition involves the existence of the object gets united with the consciousness of the subject, for me to become conscious of the existence of the object. The world of the objects has to join the subject that I am to have subject-object relation, for knowledge of the objects to take place. Self-knowledge on the other hand involves shifting my attention from the attributive contents of the thought (or indirectly object) to the reflected light of consciousness that I am as I become conscious of the thought or the object. Hence in the understanding of tat tvam asi statement of the scriptures, I understand I am the saakshii and also I understand I am the basis for saakshyam or the world of objects. Thus I am the substantive existence for both the subject and the object and I am conscious entity enlivening or illumining the entire world of objects "tasya bhaasa sarvam idam vibhaati" says the scripture.

Jiivan mukta:  There is lot of confusion in terms of jiiva mukta and even classification in terms of the degrees in jiivan mukta status. If we understand correctly what is involved in self-realization, all the confusions get resolved. Let us understand the basic fact - The nature of the reality does not depend on someone's opinion or assertion, whoever that someone may be. To point out the nature of reality, which is not accessible to direct perception or logical deduction, scripture alone becomes a pramaaNa. However once the knowledge takes place using the pramaaNa, the knowledge itself is independent of pramaaNa, hence scriptures declare that the truth is aprameyam. This knowledge is not an objective knowledge, since for any objective knowledge no final word exists, as one investigates more, lot more opens up for investigation.    For self-knowledge, the self is the final; and that self is self-existing, self-conscious and therefore self-revealing.  What is required is to train the mind to see the ever present truth as truth. That training for the mind is acquired through shravana, manana and nidhidhyaasana.

« : April 06, 2015, 12:55:41 PM Dr. Sadananda »
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« #1 : May 06, 2014, 10:57:03 PM »

Sadaji, praNAms.

> This reflecting consciousness in or by the mind is called chidaabhaasa. It is essentially ego or ahankaara

The two, ego and chidaabhaasa, are essentially the same, as stated in the above sentence.

In my understanding, the ego is essentially a vRittii, or modification of the mind.  Whereas chidaabhaasa is the consciousness reflected in the mind. So the two are separate?

We have three possibilities:

a) the ego is a vRittii of the mind.

b) the ego is the chidaabhaasa.

c) the ego is the interconnection between the inert mind and the sentient consciousness reflected in the mind.

The third alternative appears to be the meaning of the statement "It is essentially ego or ahankaara". 

Is this a correct understanding of the term ego?
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