(Extract from the book)
What exactly happens when a person is enlightened or ‘gains mokSha’? A popular, although somewhat incomprehensible, belief is that the world somehow ‘disappears’; that, for the j~nAnI, there simply is no longer any duality. Quite how the j~nAnI (apparently) continues to eat, drink and converse is not adequately explained by those who hold such a view. But Gaudapada approaches it from a different and even more dramatic angle.
Prior to my enlightenment, I make the mistake of identifying myself with the body-mind, believing myself to be a separate entity. This is the result of my Self-ignorance – not realizing that I am the unlimited Atman. Gaudapada says that this ignorance is beginningless (anAdi) (K1.16). At the dawn of Self-knowledge, I recognize that I am not the waker, dreamer or deep-sleeper but the non-dual turIya.
As to whether or not the world then disappears, Gaudapada effectively asks: how can it disappear when it didn’t exist to begin with? “If the visible world actually existed, there is no doubt that it might stop (i.e. disappear) (as soon as j~nAna was gained). (But) this (apparent) duality is merely mAyA (and) the absolute truth is non-dual.” (K1.17)
The world does not disappear because it never existed in the first place! What actually goes away is the mistaken belief that there was a world. Shankara begins his commentary with a supposed objection. The previous verse states that the jIva realizes Advaita when he ‘wakes up’ from ‘sleep’, i.e. dispels self-ignorance. If one can only realize Advaita when duality has gone, then how can there be non-duality while the world still exists?
Shankara answers this by pointing out that this would only be a problem if the world actually exists to begin with. And he refers to the inevitable rope-snake metaphor: To speak of the snake disappearing when knowledge of the rope is gained is incorrect. Since the snake never existed in the first place, it cannot go away. Similarly, the world never existed, so to speak of it going away upon enlightenment is wrong. A non-existent thing neither comes nor goes away. (The world is, of course, mithyA, being neither real nor unreal but having brahman as its substratum.) So, what actually goes away upon obtaining j~nAna is not the perceived dualistic universe but the error (bhrama) that we made in thinking that there was a dualistic world.
And, of course, the j~nAnI’s supposed body-mind-intellect is equally a part of this supposed dualistic world. So the j~nAnI him- or herself does not go away either!
If it were the case that, upon gaining j~nAnam, the (now) j~nAnI no longer perceived a dualistic world, (and thus no longer used a mind and senses to communicate with it etc) then this would be a clear break with what had gone before. And so mokSha would become an event in time. But the fact of the matter is that all (apparent) jIva-s are already free and unlimited, being not other than brahman. The problem is that they do no know it and make the error of thinking themselves to be separate and limited. Upon realization, all that goes away is this mistake. The j~nAnI sees the world as brahman and never sees any appearance or disappearance. He continues to see this brahman-world and continues to interact with it whilst in the body but (and of course this but makes all the difference) he now knows that it is all an appearance only. He knows that the world is mithyA and nothing detracts from the turIya status.
Swami Chinmayananda points out (Ref. 3) that the first line of the mantra says, in effect: “The universe does not exist; if it existed it would disappear (on being enlightened). It does not disappear, therefore it does not exist”.
Paradoxically, the very same argument applies to the (apparent) duality of the knowledge that brings about enlightenment. After all, it is the result of being taught the wisdom of such scriptures as this that triggers the ‘enlightenment event’ (akhaNDAkAra vRRitti). But we cannot say that Self-knowledge eliminates the duality of guru and disciple for the same reason as above: there was no duality there before. Again, it is analogous to asking if the snake goes away once the rope is known. There is no knower-known duality to be eliminated; what goes away is the mistaken belief that there was a duality to begin with. (K1.18)
Richard King sums this up nicely (Ref. 14):
“K1.18 is an attempt to circumvent one of the greatest paradoxes of a non-dualistic soteriology` – if duality is an illusion how is it that the dream is not broken by the first enlightened being? This presents no real problem for the Gaudapada-kArikA for the following reasons:
- Duality as mAyA is not in conflict with non-duality as the ultimate reality (paramArtha) since the former is merely an appearance of the latter.
- The idea of a liberated individual is an erroneous one; no jIva is ever liberated, since no jIva has ever entered bondage.”
Outwardly, nothing changes – what was there before is still there. Both the j~nAnI and the aj~nAnI still see the world; the j~nAnI knows it to be non-dual. The sunrise metaphor applies again. Or, for a change, the earth is felt to be steady and unmoving despite the fact that we know it is rotating rather quickly, and travelling around the sun at a rate of knots. Combined with the fact that the entire galaxy is moving and the universe expanding, this means that the earth is anything but stationary!
Mmm, looks like duality, multiplicity is alive and well. This is the same article that Dennis posted on 27 September!
I guess if you repeat it often enough, it gains a degree of validity?
Oops! Not intentional. But perhaps it would do no harm if some people read it again…
Now that you shifted and pitched your tent at a new place (thread), all of us have to again move lock, stock and barrel! 🙂
If you may kindly recall my comments on Oct 22, 2020 @ 12:28 I wrote:
““the world does not ‘disappear’ on enlightenment.”
It doesn’t have to!
As Venkat rightly observed, there wasn’t any to begin with so that it has to disappear later.
What disappears on “Enlightenment” is the “imagined” world before enlightenment. This comes out very very clearly from Shankara’s commentary on the beginning parts of Ch 8, chAndogya.”
And @ 13:43:
“The sentence that says: “What disappears on “Enlightenment” is the “imagined” world before enlightenment”
may also be read as: “What disappears on “Enlightenment” is the “imagination.”
IOW, “Enlightenment” is NOT about adding another subtler layer of imagination by the same old ‘ahamkAra’ mind to say that “I now know it is all an imagination.”
All that is still a mind-game.
Ending “imagination” is Enlightenment and that’s all – Period.”
Your response was: “I give up, Ramesam! Clearly no-one has ever been enlightened or ever will be according to you.”
Please see what you yourself wrote in the 4th para in the post above.
“The world does not disappear because it never existed in the first place! What actually goes away is the mistaken belief that there was a world.”
How could you see a difference between what I said and what you write above?
2) Hope you will also read my comment today (Oct 24, 2020 @ 17:43) at the thread initiated by Venkat.
Even what you see and call as the world in the awake state is not truly present as so irrevocably and humorously established by Peter Dziuban – please see here for details: p: 7-9 at:
So, why does one think that a world continues to exist post-Realization unless one continues to be playing along with and succumbs to the machinations of the puny mind?
And pray, if one continues to succumb to the fantasies of the mind, can one call s/he is enlightened?
3) The entire problem and protracted discussion is happening here because of a single mistake that is hiding in the 6th para in your above post.
The two sentences in that short para contradict one another and sadly the contradiction is being ignored.
On one hand, you recognize that the body of the now liberated seeker is part of the (imagined) world. But in the second sentence, you continue to burden the now-liberated individual (jnAni) with that body.
brihadAraNyaka, chAndogya and Shankara at many places clearly tell us that the attainment of disembodiment is jnAna. (I hope to give those references in my articles). Just as we, as ajnAni-s, are unable to detach and dissociate with our bodies, you assert that a liberated man also thinks in the same way!
But s/he doesn’t. She has detached herself from the body.
Now it is a body living under its own autonomous ‘intelligence.’
(There is a statement about the body having its own autonomous intelligence made by Swami Sarvapriya recently — I have to search for that link).
4) I have been just reading the Ch 8, Section 8 where Prajapati instructing Indra and Virocana is narrated.
At one point, Prajapati asks both of them to look at their reflections before and after grooming themselves. He questions them, if they could see themselves. Shankara explains that the human body and appendages are also like the ornamentation and clothes and the images seen by Indra and Virocana are NOT their true Self. Prajapati knows it. But Virocana leaves whereas Indra still pursues his study because, jnAna cannot be when one is still burdened with the travails of a perishable body.
Shankara writes at 8.6.3, chAndogya: “It is only when the Self is circumscribed by the body and the sense-organs, that the said evil touches it by bringing to it pleasure and pain; but when it has reached its own state of pure Being, no evil dares touch it ; for the single reason that it is no longer an ‘objective’ ” (Translation: Dr. G N Jha).
Are you not doing the same mistake as Vrocana? Is it not a reflection of your (and of mine) inability to dissociate our bodies and really be as what we are?!
5) I remember to have pointed out the mistake in Richard King’s translation in an earlier post. I hope we don’t have to repeat all that here again!
I suspect our readers are getting bored with all of this. (I know I am!) It is unfortunate that, yet again, the topic has pre-empted my in-depth investigation. This happened with both jIvanmukti and saMnyAsa. ‘Creation’ is actually a topic for Vol. 2 of my ‘Confusions’ book. And all of this ongoing, repetitive ‘discussion’ (argument?) is taking me away from completing Vol. 1, even if some of it will prove useful in another 6 months’ time.
You begin: “Now that you shifted and pitched your tent at a new place (thread), all of us have to again move lock, stock and barrel!” As I pointed out, I was waiting for a response to my Chandogya bhAShya chapter 6 intro comment for several days, and then discovered that someone had started a new thread and moved the discussion to there!
All of your problems seem to revolve around the fact that the world never existed yet I am saying that one still sees it post-enlightenment. So let us get the facts straight here.
I have never denied that the world AS WORLD never existed. There is no creation. I quote Gaudapada on this frequently and never said otherwise. But the world was never ‘imaginary’ in the sense of the child of the barren woman. It was always Brahman and we superimposed form and gave separate names to those perceptions.
The simple fact is that, on gaining Self-knowledge, we realize that this is what was happening. We realize that ‘everything is Brahman’. But the mind carries on doing its superimposition just as before. We still see the mirage because this is how the laws of physics function, but we now know that it is all sand. We still see the world (because this is how the laws of Ishvara function if you like). What is removed by enlightenment is the bhrama (confusion, error) that we were previously making in thinking it was other than Brahman.
So this entire discussion boils down to the fact that you erroneously believe that the world APPEARANCE disappears, whereas I believe (and believe that Shankara and Gaudapada also shared that belief) that it is the CONFUSION that disappears.
I am not a rival for you in book-publishing nor do I have any axe to grind.
We wish you all success in your writing work.
Whether you notice it or not, the only ONE theme that motivates some of us here is that your books should faithfully echo with the highest fidelity the shruti vAkya and Shankara’s explication there on without compromise unlike some of the Swami-s who pander to the masses feeding them what they want to hear for the sake of their own popularity.
Somehow, in spite of my effort to present from several angles, I am unable to drive home the simple Truth that, according to Shankara, Self-knowledge Itself is “mokSha” which is brahman, the same as Atman and Atman is disembodiedness ( asharIratA hi AtmanaH swarUpam – Shankara at 8.3.4, chAndogya), disembodiedness is formlessness and formlessness is functionlessness. OTOH, you keep insisting, “But the mind carries on doing its superimposition just as before.”
Further, you have become a victim to your own misunderstanding to say “It [The world] was always Brahman and we superimposed form and gave separate names to those perceptions.” You overlook firstly the fact that “names and perceptions (forms)” are the world – there is no world without them. Secondly, what is always there is the sAmAnya – the ‘sat-cit’ – and not ‘names and forms’ and brahman is the name we give to the Universal ‘sat-cit’ — a point I brought to your notice earlier too. The superimposition happens only with and in ignorance.
You seem to feel that I have purposefully glossed over Shankara’s Intro to Ch 6 of chAndogya when you say “As I pointed out, I was waiting for a response to my Chandogya bhAShya chapter 6 intro comment for several days.”
Honestly, I am unable to see what is so earth-shaking in Shankara’s Intro to Ch 6.
In his brief opening remarks of 2-3 sentences, Shankara just makes 2 points in order to bring out the context of Svetaketu’s story in the Ch 6 and its relationship (sambandha) to the rest of the Upanishad. The 2 points made by him are that the Ch 6 explains:
1. “how this whole universe proceeds from, subsists in and becomes absorbed (or merged) into brahman because the seeker has been ASKED TO MEDITATE IN THAT MANNER at 3.14.1”; and
2. “how when the knower of the Truth has eaten, the whole universe becomes satisfied.”
I am unable to see any bearing of those 2 points on our present discussions.
I rest my case highlighting just one more issue. Shankara expresses at several places in his prasthAna trayI that “liberation is sought by him only who feels that he has ignorance” (e.g. 13.2, BGB; 4.1.3,BSB) and that ignorance is a pre-requisite for the split into a ‘me’ here and a world out there. When that ignorance is remedied, the split disappears.
“The nightmare can end, but only if we wake up”, taken from
We live on illusions built on illusions built on illusions.
Time and time again in your comments you make a statement to the effect that you keep repeating something and I do not listen. But what you then go on to say is itself merely repeating something I already said earlier. You say here that you are trying to ‘drive home the fact’ that mokSha equates to Self-knowledge when I have said precisely that on inumerable occasions!
What you then go on to say is just another variant on the theme I objected to regarding Venkat’s comment on the last post. There, I said: “Can you not see that all of the apparent problem in this ongoing ‘discussion’ revolves around the distinction between paramArtha and vyavahAra? You cannot avoid the issue by denying the latter. Of course it is appearance only and not reality but that is the point!!”
The world is Brahman before and after enlightenment. It appears as a separate entity before and after enlightenment. But, after Self-knowledge has been gained, we no longer make the mistake of believing it to be separate.
You also seem to have a habit of misunderstanding what I am saying so that you end up refuting something that I never said. You say: “Further, you have become a victim to your own misunderstanding to say “It [The world] was always Brahman and we superimposed form and gave separate names to those perceptions.” You overlook firstly the fact that “names and perceptions (forms)” are the world – there is no world without them.”
What I am saying here is that we superimpose name and form on BRAHMAN, not on the world (which APPEARANCE is obviously the result of those superimpositions). It would make no sense at all to say that we superimpose name and form on the names and forms, would it?
I asked many, many comments ago that you both cease resorting to scriptural quotations, thereby side-stepping the issue, and justify your stance with simple, logical statements. How can the entire Vedantic tradition and pArampara continue to appear if the world-appearance disappears on enlightenment?
“How can the entire Vedantic tradition and pArampara continue to appear if the world-appearance disappears on enlightenment?”
They cannot be said to appear.
As Ramana Maharshi says in Guru Vachaka Kovai:
“Self appearing as the world is just like a rope seeing itself as a snake; just as the snake is, on scrutiny, found to be ever non-existent, so is the world found to be ever non-existent, even as an appearance.”
Or as Ribhu Gita says at length
“There is … nothing of the nature of knowledge, nothing knowable, no teaching—all of which is a misapprehension—none to be troubled, none to trouble, no illusion, no definition of the triad of knowledge, no perceiver, no perception, no object of perception, no appearance of results.
There is nothing mysterious, nothing explicit, nothing great, nothing trivial of atomic proportions, no manifest world as at present, no manifest world, ever… no world of thought, no manifest world of intellect, no world of the nature of jivas, no remembrance of the nature of vasana-s (past impressions), no world of differentiation by characteristics, no remembrance of the nature of ignorance…no world of the nature of the Veda-s, no remembrance of the sastra-s and agama-s, no world to show that there is some thing apart, no differentiation of something apart…nothing of the notion that I am the body, nothing of the declaration that I am Brahman…no inquiry into all modes, no release from all modes, no culmination of the destruction of all modes, no voiding of all modes…no universe, no mind, no ultimate, no performance of action, ever…no thoughts of Brahman or of the Self, no indications of the dream of the Supreme, none deemed as the most desirable, none to be excluded, none the best or excellent, and no meaning of the words “that Supreme.”
Ribhu Gita thought fit to say these words to the seeker.
The sentence of mine that you quote is preceded by the sentence “I asked many, many comments ago that you both cease resorting to scriptural quotations, thereby side-stepping the issue, and justify your stance with simple, logical statements.”
You have not done this. You are not making any new observations here. As I have said in my answer to question 240, for example: “All of the teaching is mithyA. Everything in the apparent creation is mithyA. Ultimately, everything has to be dropped, including concepts such as Advaita and Brahman until there is only silence. Who-we-are is satyam but anything that we could say or think about it is mithyA.” But this makes no difference to what I have been saying above.
You are simply contradicting incontravertible, everyday experience and perception if you deny the appearance. You can dig out as many quotations as you like from as many sources as you like. It will make no difference. And, if you quote sources such as Shankara and Gaudapada, it will be ignoring context or going by misunderstood translations if they seem to be supporting you.
“You are simply contradicting incontravertible, everyday experience and perception if you deny the appearance.”
That’s because the denial is being misunderstood; it is being taken at the level of the appearance. What the denial actually does is point to something which is not being covered simply by saying that the world continues to appear but is now taken to be Brahman.
You think that there is something called a “world” that is “appearing” that people “think” is “real” and that jnana consists in this world continuing to “appear” but knowing it is not “real,” that you simply cease to overlay names and forms on this appearance.
That assumes that the categories of appearance and world are real. Appearance and world ARE names and forms.
If this is all obvious and nothing new, then why continue to deny it, over and over?
Since you are now objecting to scriptural quotations, perhaps you could answer I posed to you on the previous thread:
In that case Dennis, the ‘truth behind the appearance’ is a matter of belief in the scriptures; and no more than that. You as an individual are still there, with or without knowledge, and despite Gaudapada’s radical avowal of no jiva.
Your so-called reconciliation is simply based on the fact that you and I are debating, and we are pointing to an entity called Gaudapada. But that is in an illusory subject-object duality. What Ramesam is saying is that subject-object duality must dissolve on realisation.
If you look at it, your mental model is not different from one that science can give you – we are all made up of the same building blocks, and consequently we are not really different, although for the brief time that we appear we seem to be. What need is there of studying advaita if that is your position?
There are well-established metaphors that are irrefutable. Mirage water is one. Sunrise is another. If we continue to see these even after realizing the truth of the situation, why can it not be the same for the world appearance? Do you doubt that refraction of light explains the former and the earth’s rotation explains the latter? Why, once you gain the knowledge of these, do you then not see the reality?
It is not that we blindly accept the claims of science on these matters. We realize their truth – that so much is explained by them that otherwise would not be. Similarly, we accept the pramANa of shruti. Initially, yes, we put our faith in scriptures. But eventually, as our understanding grows, we realize that what they are saying is correct. That is enlightement.
Why SHOULD the APPEARANCE of duality disappear once you realize that it is actually non-dual?
Also, a consequence of your so-called logic is that no-one can ever have been enightened. How do you explain the existence of the teaching of Advaita? Do we schizophrenically produce it ourselves at the same time as the conscious part of our mind is trying to learn it? All sorts of ridiculous consequences ensue from your propositions.
Dennis says above:
“There are well-established metaphors that are irrefutable. Mirage water is one. Sunrise is another. If we continue to see these even after realizing the truth of the situation, why can it not be the same for the world appearance? Do you doubt that refraction of light explains the former and the earth’s rotation explains the latter? Why, once you gain the knowledge of these, do you then not see the reality?”
Because – “once you gain the knowledge of these” – is most assuredly not Aparokshanubhuti, a point which Martin/Ramesam have also made in the past, I don’t remember exactly where.
It seems to me that self realization CANNOT be “knowledge” of this sort, a catalogue of facts arrived at through the scientific method.
Because it is a state of experiencing, such “knowing” is in the active present, not ossified in memory; it is BEING, in short. Almost all mystics talk about the disappearance of the gap between the subject and the object both in space and time. Thus the references to eternity and infinity.
1) If you are using whatever Martin or Ramesam said to justify your assertions, you need to repeat what was said, not expect me to search for it.
2) Advaita is not ‘scientific method’; it relies upon shabda pramAna of the Vedas.
3) It is emphasised time and again in shruti and by Shankara bhAShya that enlightenment is NOT an experience; it is Self-knowledge – nothing more or less.
4) Mystics are quite unreliable as a source of the teaching of Advaita.
1) Sorry, you are quite right; will try to locate exact quotes.
2) But then you are offering a false metaphor when you invoke the refraction of light to gain “knowledge” about a mirage because the nature of the “truth” is
not the same in both cases.
3) Yes, it is not an experience, which is always in the past. Experiencing is in the active present, a moment to moment phenomenon.
4) Then you must rely on science or some variant because the intellect takes centre stage. Shabda pramana is the distillation of mystical insight, an attempt to “eff” the ineffable, IMHO
2) ? Don’t understand what point you are making and it doesn’t seem relevant to the answer I gave.
3) Yes? What point are you making? Every present experience becomes a past experience (rather quickly).
4) shabda pramAna is not the result of mystical experience according to Advaita!
Re: your points above.
3) follows from 2), because the nature of the “truth” is not the same in both cases. What could be plainer than that?
The experience dimension of knowledge-experience, a compound term used by Martin, anchors “self realization” in the active present.
4) While deferring to your familiarity with Advaita, I am surprised you claim – “…according to Advaita” we can tell exactly how the assertions (of shabda pramana) were arrived at!
Anyway, I don’t want to take time away from your book writing so if you don’t reply that is OK.
Sorry, Shishya. I still don’t know what point you are making. You will have to spell it out; I am obviously being dim.
But please don’t use academic, comparative philosophy sources to justify your observations – they are mostly of very little value unless they quote from scriptures/Shankara.
Let’s move this to the bottom of the comments before we blink out of existence!
Dennis, why do you need advaita? What does it provide that is incremental to science: that we are all made up of the same stuff. Whether you call that quantum particles or energy or consciousness it amounts to the same thing.
Pyschology tells us that the I concept arises (is super-imposed?) on our experience at a certain age and acts as a defensive shell. And hence the finite ‘I’ has to make its way in the world until it dies – though the fundamental building blocks can never die.
So in your view, what does advaita teach that is incremental to this?
It’s not the same thing, Venkat. Monism says that every objective THING is made of one stuff, be it water, earth or whatever. Advaita says that there are no objective things at all; there is only subjective Consciousness. And every such concept is dropped in the final (adhyAropa) analysis for Advaita.
Psychology is part of the subject-object world view of science, so falls into the same ‘stuff’ category as above. How does it say that “the fundamental building blocks can never die”, incidentally? Never heard this before. Or are you referring to the sub-atomic particles that make up the atoms? Even they eventually get reconfigured when suns go nova or disappear into black holes.
In any case, you seem (again) to be avoiding answering my questions by asking other, unrelated questions. This won’t do, Venkat! 😉
Yes, but the mind that ‘knows’ this knowledge is an object, not subjective consciousness.
So in your schema, this subjective consciousness is a concept in the mind. You cannot ‘know’ it directly. It is a matter of belief in scriptures that there is only subjective consciousness, and no objective things, though you continue to experience the world in a subject-object manner.
The mind that ‘knows’ this knowledge knows it by virtue of reflected Consciousness IN THE MIND. Brahman, ‘raw’ Consciousness, knows nothing.
chidAbhAsa is certainly a concept but the Consciousness that is being reflected is not a concept. (Whether ‘reflected’ is a ‘good’ metaphor or not is irrelevant.)
Also – perhaps the source of your confusion – the mind (or the reflected Consciousness in it) cannot know Brahman objectively. The only way that it can ‘know’ it is by realization, having received all of the preliminary Advaita teaching. When that realization occurs, that is mokSha – the final vRRitti that appreciates the reality. Regardless of the continuing appearance of duality.
It seems to me that the two apparently opposing positions – taken by Ramesam and Venkat on one side and the one by Dennis on the other- are both valid (true). R&V want/decide/prefer to give exclusive reality to Brahman/Atman, appearance being only by way of its presentation or showing in the empirical realm. Appearance (the world), then, is reducible to Brahman/Atman without residue. Dennis, while not disagreeing with the above (B/A being ultimately the ONLY reality), opts for granting due recognition/validity to the former, the empirical (appearance). Both views are supported by the shruti, and so it is all a question of emphasis (or context).
Thank you very much for that very mature and balanced view you have presented.
I have been constantly churning this issue in my mind for the last few days and researching various textual sources that are available to me within my limitations.
While I am inclined to agree with most of what you say, there still stand out a couple of problems like a sour thumb.
Though one may say that the “disappearance of the world” is more of a dramatic or eulogistic or even a poetic expression, the bare fact of the ‘disappearance of a separate me-ness as the observer’ cannot be said to be so. For, as you and all of us know well that the least that has to happen on the genuine and honest “Realization” of the Self, is the fact that the sense of a “separate me” has got to collapse, by definition. In the (assumed) continued presence of a separate ‘me,’ a claim of Self-realization is disingenuous and could even be dubious, IMHO.
So, if it is agreed that a finite observer (a ‘me’) does not exist after Self-realization (the minimum to be satisfied to meet the definition), whether the “observed” remains or not becomes a “moot” question. Therefore, as both Venkat and myself pressed for, it is more advisable to focus on the ‘subject-end’ of the problem than the ‘object-end.’
The second sore issue is once again doctrinal. And perhaps more serious.
Does “Self-realization” mean or imply that “it is enough to learn or know that the observed world is unreal”? Is it a mere ‘certificate of knowing’ that I now keep in my pocket as a graduate degree in Medicine or Physics or Chemistry or is there any additional criterion to be satisfied?
Whether taking the stand on the subjective or the objective pole – is the end result not the same? If your knowledge-experience is that any apparent object (external or internal) is only an expression of Atman/Brahman, your true Self, then there is nothing more to say: you are Self-realized – there is no longer an ego, a sense of being a separate person.
If, on the other hand, your experience-knowledge is that your real identity is A/B (the ego having collapsed), again, there is nothing more to say: you are Self-realized – the Self has taken over, the mind becoming no-mind.
The last clause here, Martin, is something I meant to bring out earlier. I think that R/V attitude is bound up with the equally misconceived idea of manonAsha. On enlightenment, the mind is NOT destroyed. We have argued this (also) ad nauseam in the past. The ‘person’ in the form of body-mind, including attenuated ego, continues unti death, despite the fact that the mind now knows ‘I am not the person; I am Brahman’. It continues until prArabdha karma is exhausted according to the teaching.
Of course (as I seemingly have to repeat after everything I say), all of this is in the realm of appearance and does not ‘really’ exist except as Brahman.
Specific question for Ramesam: You say “the sense of a “separate me” has got to collapse, by definition”. Where/how precisely does this ‘collapse’ take place?
I wonder if the rope-snake metaphor is influencing R/V unduly. We know that, once you realize that the snake in the poorly-lit surroundings is really a rope, the ‘snake’ disappears. And this metaphor is often used in the Brahman-world context. So there is a tendecy to think that, once you realize that the world is really Brahman, then the world disappears.
There will be a section on the misunderstanding of metaphors in Vol. 2 of ‘Confusions’ and this seems to be an excellent candidate for an example.
A much better metaphor would be that of the clay-pot. We initially tend to think that the pot and the plate are objects existing in their own right, and distinct from each other. Advaita teaches us that they are each just name and form of clay so that their existence is ‘borrowed’ from the clay. They are ‘really’ always and only clay. The pot and plate are mithyA.
But, when this is realized, the pot and plate do not disappear. Indeed, we carry on using them for ‘transactional’ purposes, even though we now know for certain that they are both one and the same clay.
Similarly with Brahman and the world.
Dear Martin and Dennis,
Many thanks for your (Martin’s) latest post.
I agree completely with what you (Martin) say.
Now that Dennis also concurs with your formulation, there is no bone of contention with Dennis.
Maybe I am dim-witted not to be able to see what you inferred from Dennis’s way of verbalization. In order to save time and space, I will not get into a critique of his posts; but Dennis appeared to argue for the continued existence of a separate me-ness after Self-realization. As you put it, “you are Self-realized – there is no longer an ego, a sense of being a separate person.” That was all what I have been insisting about.
Dennis is quite right in saying that the Self is not something newly obtained and or achieved. “I have been always that and no new things happen post-Realization.”
In this context, I can’t help quoting a Question Shankara dramatically poses and he himself provides a befitting answer at 4.4.6, brihat.
Question: “If liberation makes no difference from the present state, it is unreasonable to make a particular effort for it, and the scriptures too become useless.”
Shankara: “No. Both are necessary to remove the delusion created by ignorance. Really there is no such distinction as liberation and bondage in the Self, for It is eternally the same. But the ignorance regarding It is removed by the knowledge arising from the teachings of the scriptures, and prior to the receiving of these teachings, the effort to attain liberation is perfectly reasonable.”
And finally, Dennis, I am not mistaken about what “manonAsha” implies. I shall respond about this and your specific question to me in a separate post.
I don’t know if you can recall; but I distinctly remember that I posted a clarification on “manonAsha” several years ago. I even gave an analogy that Sage Vasishta provided in Yogavasishta. Sitara used to be active in those days and she like that analogy very much. That is the reason I remember that incident.
The Sanskrit word “nAsha” here does NOT mean total destruction or annihilation. The analogy given by Sage Vasishta was the mind being like the state of a forest just after a hoard of disorderly and obstreperous monkeys left the forest after ravaging and roughing it up.
Question: “Where/how precisely does this ‘collapse’ [of the separate me’] take place?”
In Consciousness only.
Q: How precisely?
It will help to understand the process precisely, if we introduce the concept of “vRitti.”
In fact, one of the definitions of the mind is that Consciousness in movement is mind and a mind that is stable is Consciousness.
Therefore, a finite vRiiti (modulation/thought-wave) in the “form” of an “object” occurring within Consciousness may be imagined to be the mind.
It is then described as xxxx AkAra vRitti, xxxx standing for whatever the object is.
When the ‘xxxx’ happens to be the thought-wave in the ‘form’ of “I am separate,” it can be called as the ahamkAra vRiiti.
When the mind attains the akhaNDAkAra (of the nature of Infinity) or AtmAkAra VRitti (of the nature of Atman), it is said to be the collapse of the ‘sense of separate me’ as the mind then becomes identical to brahman. The word “AkAra” does not then mean anymore as “form” but akAra means “of the nature of.”
Scriptures sometimes describe this process of collapse as “merger.”
For example, we have Shankara saying: ” ‘He is merged in Brahman ‘ (in brihadAraNyaka), is but a figurative one, meaning the cessation, as a result of knowledge, of the continuous chain of bodies for one who has held an opposite view.”
I am aware you know all this stuff, but thought of posting because it may be useful for some reader.
You speculate that “I wonder if the rope-snake metaphor is influencing R/V unduly. ”
I can assure you it is not the case.
Further, as a caution, please permit me to add that Shankara himself goes to all pains to impress the reader that a metaphor should be used in a very narrow purpose for which it is used – eka deshIya – and should not be stretched beyond that specific and narrow point that it is supposed to illustrate. Often times the metaphor fractures and breaks on extending it to mean something or derive a conclusion using the metaphor as if it is a predictive ‘model.’
So, I very humbly submit that the proposed illustration of using the pots and pans in the house, though they are understood to be clay can possibly be an unintended extension of this metaphor which is used ONLY for indicating the intrinsic substance or swarUpa in Vedanta.
Perhaps we should make a list of all the topics on which we disagree and agree not to argue about them. We do seem (both of us) somewhat repetitive at times.
I didn’t actually say that I concurred with Martin so your implication that we now agree is unsupported.
I have argued at considerable length that a ‘sense of me-ness’ continues to exist after enlightenment. The relevant topics are prArabdha and pratibandha-s.
The ‘collapse of the sense of the separate me’ has to take place in the mind, NOT in Consciousness. (Consciousness has no problem to begin with.)
Regarding the clay pots and plates metaphor, I don’t actually see that this is substantially different from the mirage metaphor. It is just a bit more graphic – ‘doing’ rather than ‘perceiving’. Shankara also use the sea and wave metaphor which amounts to the same thing. At the conclusion of BSB 2.1.13, he says: “Thus it is said that though all things are non-different from the supreme cause, Brahman, still there can be such a distinction as the experiencer and the things experienced on the analogy of the sea and its waves etc.” (Gambhirananda translation)
HA HA HA!
We have to buzz the Third Umpire and all his teams of Linesmen or Lineswomen and ask for the Vote of even the spectators in the Gallery!
I was relishing the calmness and cherishing the resolution that Martin brought out. Alas, that is not to be.
Let me bring to the table some of the questions I have:
Who or What actually gets affected by “prArabdha” ?
“pratibandha-s” are blocks / impediments. Whom do they block and from what do they block?
What does a mind constitute of?
Good example of topics to go onto the list!
I wrote an 11-part series on pratibandha-s, which also covered prArabdha. I really am not going there again! Part 1 began at https://www.advaita-vision.org/pratibandha-s-part-1-of-6/ and prArabdha was covered in part 2 – https://www.advaita-vision.org/pratibandha-s-part-2-of-6/.
You know as well as I do what ‘organs’ constitute the mind in Advaita. What point are you making?
At the conclusion of BSB 2.1.13, he says: “Thus it is said that though all things are non-different from the supreme cause, Brahman, still there can be such a distinction as the experiencer and the things experienced on the analogy of the sea and its waves etc.” (Gambhirananda translation)
This is taken out of context, since it is explaining how non-dual Brahman can be the cause of distinction, and making the point that it is so when it is associated with limiting adjuncts.
If there is total misidentification with those limiting adjuncts – the collapse of the ego – then all bets are off.
Don’t you mean to say “Non-identification” and not ‘misidentification’ in the last sentence of your comment above?
Yes – sorry. Thanks for the correction Ramesam.
There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind. How would the body continue to eat if the mind did not perceive food and instruct the hand to put it into the mouth?
Why would physical death alter anything? If the world can “continue to appear” because it never existed to begin with, then it would certainly be absurd to believe that death would destroy prarabdha karma, since it too never existed to begin with.
That would be a silly, arbitrary point for anything to end. If birth “appears” at all then it goes on endlessly, “enlightenment” or not.
We are talking about the teaching of Advaita on this site, Aikilesh. Unfortunately, Shankara is not around for you to argue with.
I’m not arguing with Shankara, Dennis. I’m arguing with your interpretation of him.
As Ramana says in Guru Vachaka Kovai,
“For those who uninterruptedly concentrate upon the unlimited and all-pervading space of consciousness, there is not even an iota of fate [prarabdha]. This alone is what is meant by the scriptural saying, “Fate does not exist for those who seek heaven”.
And also, of the idea that prarabdha remains even though sanchita and agami karma are burned, he says in GVK:
“Tell me, when their husband, who is the doer, dies – the sense of doership [kartritva] having been destroyed – instead of the wives, who are his three karmas, becoming widows altogether, can two of them become widows and one of them remain unwidowed?”
“There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind. How would the body continue to eat if the mind did not perceive food and instruct the hand to put it into the mouth?”
You appear to give some reality to that which Gaudapada categorically says does not exist.
(1) You accept that all there is, is the non-dual Brahman, which equals consciousness
(2) You accept that the world is a false appearance on this non-dual Brahman
(3) You accept that we, as the false appearance, cannot perceive Brahman
(4) You accept that ajata vada says that we, as jiva, do not actually exist
(5) You posit that liberation involves a knowledge-thought in a non-existent mind that you are not the body-mind, but the non-dual Brahman
So worth reflecting on the following:
(a) As Krishna Menon pointed out the mind can only have one thought after another; it cannot have 2 simultaneous thoughts. From your logic, if a jnani then has a thought of food, he can no longer have the thought of understanding the non-dual reality; so for that period of time he can no longer be a jnani
(b) If all we are is a false appearance, then why shouldn’t the false appearance end when we gain realisation? The false appearance need not be subject to the logic of the false appearance’s experience. As Gaudapada would have pointed out, in the dream state, you may appear to be eating; but when some dreamed experience (like say a fright) awakens you from that dream, then the dream no longer exists.
(d) Your counter-argument to this, is simply that those who are not liberated can still perceive Jnanis in the world talking and eating – so our experience suggests that they haven’t disappeared. But this could be countered in so many possible ways inter alia:
– if the world is a projection of the jiva – subject and object arising simultaneously from ignorant superimposition (as per SSSS’ discussion of MK2.16) – then indeed it could all collapse again on realisation
– there are multiple worlds projected by multiple jivas – just as one strand of quantum philosophy posits multiple universes
– logic does not pertain at the quantum level – so why should it pertain in attempting to understanding the ultimate?
(c) Alternatively, taking the dream analogy in a different direction, some people argue that one can be aware that one is dreaming. So one is aware that one is dreaming that one is eating food; so the one that is eating food is indeed mindless, because he is a dream character. Likewise, why not the waking state, as Gaudapada always says?
Ultimately it comes down to this. If we are a non-existent false appearance on a real substratum, then it is wholly illogical to try to pretend that the false appearance can wield logic in this court. Is that not why the upanishads say that ’those who think they know, do not know’.
Why should I even contemplate responding to a non-existent false appearance?
Who is wielding this logic? It clearly cannot be a false appearance and, as I think we both agree, Brahman does nothing.
Of course it is the false appearance. We are interacting at a dream level, because “we” are still here.
You seem to be unable to respond to any argument without falling back on the same tired riposte. You fail to understand that we are arguing because we are seemingly here. That my dear does not invalidate Gaudapada’s ultimate truth that there is no Jiva, no jnani. There never was and never will be.
The challenge is for the apparent l to reflect back on this, and thereby awake from the dream. That is the promise of the Upanishads, not simply for the mind to accumulate ‘knowledge’ in but another direction.
Instead you hold the rather illogical position of ascribing to Ajata vada, and yet wholeheartedly believing in this reality, the inherent contradiction of which you try to circumvent by adding the word ‘relative’ to it.
If I could be bothered, I am certain that I could find far more places in which Shankara talks about the existence of prArabdha for the j~nAnI than ones in which he says that it does not exist. See the discussion in the pratibandha posts for example.
Also, as I have said before, I do not accept Ramana as a reliable source for traditional Advaita.
Except your Swami Paramarthananda does.
I think I need to set up a key on the keyboard to automatically preface all my comments with ‘As I have said before’!
A very large part of what Ramana is reported to have said is excellent. Easy to understand and clearly gauged at the questioner’s level of understanding.
But then he (is reported to have spoken of) manonAsha and samAdhi (for example) as sine qua nons of enlightenment.
(As I said): not a reliable source of traditional Advaita.
And I could find quotes from ‘my’ Swami Paramarthanda where he clearly explains the ACTUAL meaning of manonAsha and samAdhi.
His interpretation. Everything Dennis is an interpretation.
Actually ramanamaharishi never said nirvikalpa samadhi was necessary.
And he distinguished between manolaya and manonasha
“When queried about the relevance of samAdhi in sAdhana, Bhagavan said, ‘Samadhi alone can reveal the Truth. Thoughts cast a veil over Reality, and so It is not realized as such in states other than samAdhi.’” (The Mountain Path April 2008 Vol. 2)
I wonder what our distinguished panel makes of these observations of Sri Ramana Maharshi.
Jan 23rd to 28th January, 1939
When I was staying in the Skandasramam I sometimes used to go out and sit on a rock. On one such occasion there were two or three others with me including Rangaswami Iyengar. Suddenly we noticed some small moth-like insect shooting up like a rocket into the air from a crevice in the rock. Within the twinkling of an eye it had multiplied itself into millions of moths which formed a cloud and hid the sky from view. We wondered at it and examined the place from which it shot up. We found that it was only a pinhole and knew that so many insects could not have issued from it in such a short time.
That is how ahankara (ego) shoots up like a rocket and
instantaneously spreads out as the Universe.
Let me add that as far I am concerned Maharshi Ramana’s insight into cause and effect supersedes everything he said before or after enlightenment, self-realization, etc, etc. and I must confess that I do not give his other teachings the same weight.
In my eyes his most important teaching is contained in his admonition to his mother in Dec 1898: (trans. Arthur Osborne)
“The Ordainer controls the fate of souls in accordance with their prarabdhakarma (destiny to be worked out in this life, resulting from the balance sheet of actions in past lives). Whatever is destined not to happen will not happen, try as you may. Whatever is destined to happen will happen, do what you may to prevent it. This is certain. The best course, therefore, is to remain silent.”
It will do a lot of Good for many of us if the Code for “‘As I have said before’!” Key is made Public! 🙂 🙂
But before that:
I have so far ignored to respond to the question posed by Dennis under the assumption that Dennis could not be serious and it must be some trick question or there must be some “ironical Irony” in it that was beyond my “dim-wit.”
Alas, it doesn’t look to be so.
If this concept that “There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind,” was taught to him by “his” gurus, those gurus would immediately deserve to be “decommissioned, defunded” and possibly decapitated too!
I would answer with all my love and affection, if the above naïve question “How would the body continue to eat if the mind did not perceive food and instruct the hand to put it into the mouth?” were to be asked by a novice to Advaita with a nascent exposure to its teachings.
But such a question coming from one who knows Advaita is unimaginable for me.
In fact, there are multiple layers of “Confusion” in it!
Let us consider to begin with the first part of the Question: When it is said, “There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind,” what are the two “entities” between which the “non-identification” is being talked about?
The second part of the question is: “How would the body continue to eat if the mind did not perceive food and instruct the hand to put it into the mouth?”
Here the New Dennis Button (NDB) will come handy.
As I said on Oct 24 2020 @ 9:43 pm, “There is a statement about the body having its own autonomous intelligence made by Swami Sarvapriya recently — I have to search for that link.”
Before amplifying on it, I wonder if the questioner is even aware of the fact that such a question betrays his utter “attachment to the body.” If one were to be unable to abandon the attachment to his body-mind, can he be said to have understood Advaita?
I strongly recommend to such a questioner reciting Shankara’s nirvANaShaTkam several times a day and meditate on its meaning for the rest of the time.
It may also do good for anyone getting such a doubt to listen to Swami Sarvapriyananda from about 25 or 26 min into this Video for at least 6-7 minutes or more preferably till the end:
[Unfortunately, I still could not locate the Video I made a reference to on Oct 24, but this is the second best, perhaps.]
All the best,
Wonderful video talk, one of the best.
For a student who considers himself/herself to be an advanced student of Advaita, it will be useful if s/he can read and understand with a calm mind the following references:
1. 4.4.6, brihat: “Therefore, as we have also said, the cessation of ignorance alone is commonly called liberation, like the disappearance of the snake, for instance, from the rope when the erroneous notion about its existence has been dispelled.”
2. 4.4.7, brihat: “But how is it that when the organs have been merged, and the body also has dissolved in its cause, the liberated sage lives in the body identified with all, hut does not revert to his former embodied existence, which is subject to transmigration?
The answer is being given: Here is an illustration in point. Just as in the world the lifeless slough of a snake is cast off by it as no more being a part of itself, and lies in the anthill, or any other nest of a snake, so does this body, discarded as non-self by the liberated man, who corresponds to the snake, lie like dead.
Then the other, the ‘liberated man identified with all-who corresponds to the snake – although he resides just there like the snake, becomes disembodied, and is no more connected with the body.
Because formerly he was embodied and mortal on account of his identification with the body under the influence of his desires and past work; since that has gone, he is now disembodied, and therefore immortal. ”
3. 3.5.1, brihat: Self is free from hunger. “That which transcends hunger and thirst, grief, delusion, decay and death.”
4. 8.1.5, chAn: “This is the Self free from sin, old age, death, sorrow, hunger, and thirst, and possessed of true desire and true resolve.”
5. Shankara at 3.3.34, BSB: “In the mantra “two birds” etc., the supreme Self that transcends (all feelings of) hunger etc. is shown in the portion “the other looks on without eating.”
6. And as already said, nirvANAShTakam and Dakshinamurti stotra of Shankara.
And hopefully, Dennis will have no objection for my citations from shruti and Shankara using his NDB saying that I should desist from quoting the shruti because he himself rescinded from that advice when he took Shishya to task advising him on Oct 26 2020 that “Advaita is not ‘scientific method’; it relies upon shabda pramAna of the Vedas.”
So we need “shabda prmANa” for authenticity.
What I really do not understand is why you think that only the ‘final’ teaching of Advaita is relevant, which we construe as the ajAti vAda of Gaudapada and the commentary thereon (which may or not be by Shankara). What about the other 99%, that fills the Upanishads, Gita and BS? OK, this all has to be dropped in the final analysis but most of the visitors to the site are almost certainly not in the final 1%.
One last time: I DO NOT DISPUTE THAT (in the final analysis) THERE IS NO SEPARATE WORLD.
But the purpose of traditional Advaita is to take the mithyA person from their intially confused/ignorant state to that final realization.
And 99% of the teaching is concerned with this notional path.
And a significant aspect of that teaching, from Shankara’s standpoint, is the distinction between vyavahAra and paramArtha. 99% of that teaching relates to vyavahAra. And 100% of it is IN vyavahAra!
I am attempting with this site to cover ALL of Advaita teaching. You both seem only to be concerned with the final step.
I really, really do not think there is anything further (of any value) to be said on this subject!
As for Ramesan’s sarcastic musings on my comments regarding continued existence of the body post-enlightenment, I refer him (again) to the series of posts on pratibandha-s. I understand that he does not accept this concept but more than adequate arguments and references were presented there to show their existence.
I guess it’s time that I too should have to recapitulate the position I have been taking.
There has been absolutely no problem with what “model” one adopts to teach Advaita – the superimposition-sublation or any other method. Upanishads themselves refer to different methods. As they themselves say, the superimposition-sublation is for slow learners.
Problems do come up only when one says that the final Non-dual message has been understood and one has “realized” the teaching (that means, implicitly the sublation phase is also completed) and then begin to represent the teaching as if one is in the superimposition phase.
As long as one is still within the superimposition phase, I suppose one cannot claim to have understood Advaita and say s/he is “realized” and a jnAni now. (Without going into too much of polemics, one may adopt the meaning of jnAni as used in the popular Advaitic text, Bhagavad-Gita).
We may have to call for NDB.
There were long discussions at that time too when those posts appeared.
It does seem that even the meaning of “pratibandhaka-s” is misconstrued.
Grimes simply says that they are “counter agents.” He does not go into details. Swami Krishnananda explains better. He defines them to be: “That which obstructs Self-realisation or acts as an obstacle to the dawn of Self-knowledge; generally any obstacle on the path of Sadhana.”
[See: https://www.swami-krishnananda.org/glossary/glossary_opr.html ]
Obviously, the pratibandhaka-s are blocks that act PRIOR TO REALIZATION – in imbibing the message of Oneness and not AFTER realization.
Swami Hariharananda Saraswati in his work, “advaitabodhadipika” explains as follows: “From a study of the shAstra-s let the seeker of Liberation gather an indirect knowledge of the Self and, put it into practice by reflecting on It until by experiencing It, a direct knowledge is gained; later like a gatherer of grains who takes the grain and rejects the chaff, let him leave the shAstra-s aside.”
The Swami-Ji recommends a series of steps, as summarized in the Table – 1 below, to progressively peel away the various layers of latent tendencies which act as impediments in the attainment of an unbroken realization of brahman. ”
[The Table and the recommendations are available here:
Once again, it clearly shows that these are steps to be followed for a really real immediated understanding of the Non-dual teaching.
Shankara explicates very unambiguously that true understanding takes place only after “those well-known desires concerning this and the next life, viz. the desire for children, wealth and worlds, that abide in the intellect (mind) of the ordinary man” have been dropped. He further adds “Then he, having been mortal, becomes immortal, being divested of desires together with their root. It is virtually implied that desires concerning things other than the Self fall
under the category of ignorance, and are but forms of death.”
So, if one feels attached to the body-mind, it cannot be said that s/he “got” the Non-dual message. Clearly, she has still to work on her “sublation” of the assumed superimposition. There are no shortcuts here and one cannot jump the phases.
All our objections pertain to the short-circuiting and misconstruing the teaching and have nothing to do with the methodology of the teaching per se.
In fact if one truly adopts the traditional superimposition-sublation model, they have a very large initial component of prayer, worship, ritual, rites, upAsana-s etc. etc. which I have not seen being mentioned at this Web site.
I find your comment obfuscatory. We are responding to your assertion that
“There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind. How would the body continue to eat if the mind did not perceive food and instruct the hand to put it into the mouth?”
And other derisory comments about if / how a jnani may perceive the world.
So let’s keep focused on that. I would re-direct you to Ramesam’s quotes from Brhad Up that clearly talk about total dis-identification with the body-mind.
Do you concur with that: yes or no?
Another reference for you to chew on. I believe you both accept that Shankara was the author:
“Even after the Self is known, there remain strong, beginningless, obstinate, residual impressions such as doership and enjoyment, which are the cause of one’s worldly existence. They have to be carefully removed with effort living in a state of constant inward-viewing of the Self. Sages call this slaying of the residual impressions ‘liberation’.
Dennis, vivekachUDAmaNi (455) says later on:
“For the sage who is ever absorbed in his own Self as Brahman, Non-dual and free from limitations—the question of existence of prarabdha is meaningless, just as the question of a man having anything to do with dream-objects is meaningless when he has awakened.”
And also 457:
He does not wish to prove the unreal objects to be real, nor is he seen to maintain the dream-world…
The Self is ―birthless, eternal and undecaying‖—such is the infallible declaration of the Sruti. How can prarabdha be attributed to one abiding in the Self?
Only as long as one lives identified with one‘s body, can one accept that prarabdha exists. But no one accepts that a man of Realisation ever identifies with the body. Hence, in this case, prarabdha should be abandoned.
To attribute prarabdha even to the body is decidedly an illusion. How can a superimposition have any existence? How can the unreal have a birth? And how can that which is never born, die? So how can prarabdha function for something unreal?
If the effects of ignorance are completely destroyed by Knowledge, how can the body continue to exist? Sruti, from a relative standpoint, postulates the concept of prarabdha for the ignorant people who entertain such doubts. The idea of prarabdha has been expounded by the Upanishads not for proving the reality of the body etc., for the wise—-because the Upanishads are without exception striving to point out the one Supreme Reality.
You should have started a bit earlier, Aikilesh.
The karma incurred before the attainment of knowledge is not destroyed by knowledge without producing its effect, like a well-aimed arrow discharged at a target.
As Shankara says in Brihadaranyaka Up. Bh. 1.4.7:
“…nevertheless, since the resultant of past actions that led to the formation of the present body must produce definite results, speech, mind and the body are bound to work even after the highest realization, for actions that have begun to bear fruit are stronger than knowledge…”
(1) You have yet again dodged a simple direct question at 15:33 above. Do you concur with Brhad Up talking about complete dis-identification with the body-mind. Yes or no?
(2) Ramanamaharishi, differentiated between the samadhi of raja yoga (kevala nirvikalpa samadhi) and that of jnana yoga, Sahaja samadhi. In your quote he is referring to the latter. In GVK 894:
“Samadhi is only remaining established as the natural awareness ‘I am’. Forsake the awareness associated with the body limitation that unites with you through delusion, and rest in that limitation free state”
[Hmm, seems pretty identical to Ramesam’s quote from Brhad]
(3) This Vivekachudamani verse 268 is commented on by Sri Chandrasekhara Bharati of Sringeri as
“Even after the atman is known from scripture and by reasoning as distinct from the 5 sheaths, and as non-different from Brahman, the residual impressions of I am the doer, etc are strong and not easily breakable. This has to be removed by effort by living in a state of turning the eyes inward. The sages call this attenuation of impressions mukti.”
This of course, is in line with Brhad Up 3.5.1:
“Even after acquiring Paanditya (scholarly erudition), which is of the form or nature of cognizing the essence of the Self (Aatma Jnaana Roopa), without anything left out of reckoning (Nissesha), the seeker should pursue spiritual practices like ‘Baalya’ and ‘Mouna’”
As I’ve said before, there is a difference between intellectual knowledge of the scriptures (which is not jnana in the sense we speak of it), and the application of it to turn inwards, rejecting all that is non-atman. As Gangoli writes, in his translation of SSSS:
In truth, the purport of the Shruti statement is – “Only if the seeker attains this Mouna, he can be said to have become a Brahma Nishtha (the one established or rooted in Intuitive experience of the Self, a GENUINE, consummate Jnaani par excellence)”
Advaita is all very consistent if you look at it carefully. 😉
“You should have started a bit earlier, Aikilesh.”
Yes, the point is that there IS no such karma. The earlier passages are provisional. The later passages are closer to jnana.
It’s dead clear that when it says “FOR THE SAGE who is ever absorbed in his own Self as Brahman, Non-dual and free from limitations—THE QUESTION OF EXISTENCE OF PRARABDHA IS MEANINGLESS, just as the question of a man having anything to do with dream-objects is meaningless when he has awakened.”
Prarabdha is a provisional concept given to seekers at an earlier stage. It is not the final state of the doctrine. And that final stage is important, or it would not even be mentioned. But is mentioned and is in fact given many verses.
Venkat and Ramesam,
I have no problem with any of the Brihad. Up./ Chand. Up. references given by Ramesam. Indeed, I have quoted from several of these in my book. The danger is that one may take things too literally and suspend the operation of reason while reading. The fact that many translators do exactly this is one of the reasons why there is so much confusion amongst seekers!
The quotation which might appear to be supporting your arguments is Br. Up. 4.4.7 where the metaphor of the snake sloughing off its skin is given. The extract you quote ends: “Because formerly he was embodied and mortal on account of his identification with the body under the influence of his desires and past work; since that has gone, he is now disembodied, and therefore immortal. ”
If you think about it, one cannot ‘become’ immortal. One either is or is not immortal. The truth of the matter is that ‘who-I-really-am’ IS immortal. I am Brahman. But the seeker initially believes he/she is the body-mind, which is obviously mortal. What happens when Self-knowledge is gained is that I realize that I am NOT the body-mind but have been the limitless Self all along. I.e. immortality is ‘as if’ gained. What actually happens is that the Self-ignorance is destroyed.
But nothing actually changes. It does not need to. And it cannot – Brahman is nirvikAra. The world-appearance, which is really none other than Brahman, with superimposed name and form, continues as before. The difference is that the enlightened one no longer believes that the perceived separation is real. It is only mithyA.
So what the verse is effectively saying is that, when all the desires have gone (i.e. pratibandha-s have been eliminated), the j~nAnI becomes a jIvanmukta. The snake sloughing the skin is a metaphor for getting rid of the desires and habits etc. that are preventing us from enjoying the j~nAna phalam. It is extending the metaphor (as you, Ramesam, warned us against) to speak of the jIvanmukta no longer HAVING a body, having left the skin behind. (In fact, if you hold strictly to the metaphor, the snake has ANOTHER skin underneath the one that has been shed. Just one that is pristine and no longer affected by the abrasions and contusions of the desires that have now been dropped.)
In what you say above, there is absolutely nothing new, unknown or not repeatedly mentioned in the shruti-s, bhAShya-s and already quoted in these columns several times over.
It is like beating a dead horse even to talk about the words like “becoming / merger” etc. as Shankara himself explained the use of such words in his commentaries as indicative of a transformation from being an ignorant seeker to a Knower.
None here, no one literally, disputes your commitment to Shankara and your care not to deviate by even a hair’s width from shruti vAkya pramANa. We all toast you for that.
All these discussions come to a closure forthwith if you please prove your Commitment to Shankara’s teaching by citing exact references from Shankara or Upanishads to the following statements you adhere to.
Let me reiterate, what we are looking for is, borrowing your own words, “Shankara quote that EXPLICITLY says” supporting each of your statement below:
1. Ignorance is not the cause of the world;
2. How can the entire Vedantic tradition and pArampara continue to appear if the world-appearance disappears on enlightenment?
[implication being that the world has to continue to appear even after realization for the sake of the perpetuation of “parampara”!]
3. Why SHOULD the APPEARANCE of duality disappear once you realize that it is actually non-dual?
[implication being that the objective world continues to appear even after realizing that ‘all is brahman alone and there is no second!]
4. A ‘sense of me-ness’ continues to exist after enlightenment.
5. There can only be TOTAL non-identification on death of the body-mind.
[implication being that none can attain liberation as long as the body that previously housed the now liberated seeker is alive]
6. Brahman is nirvikAra. The world-appearance, which is really none other than Brahman, with superimposed name and form, continues as before.
[implication being that the nirvikAra brahman changed to be the world]
7. The enlightened one no longer believes that the perceived separation is real. It is only mithyA.
8. If it were the case that the j~nAnI no longer sees a world, how would we ignorant seekers find someone to teach us the truth?
[implication being that a world continues so that a realized individual can teach Non-duality]
9. When all the desires have gone (i.e. pratibandha-s have been eliminated), the j~nAnI becomes a jIvanmukta.
[implication being that a Self-realized one is still saddled with pratibandha-s and prArabdha which keep his/her body alive and s/he attains liberation only after the death of the body — effectively eliminating the scope for jIvanmukti and stating that only videhamukti exists]
These are all your quotes, Dennis.
You have been avoiding direct questions by me so far in all the discussions.
I hope and trust that you will cite “Shankara quote that EXPLICITLY says” the statements 1 – 9 made by you to start with.
Otherwise, sadly, your quotes will remain Odd-Waiteic Dennisisms and not Shankara’s Advaitic words! LOL 🙂
Could you first clarify one aspect that I raised very early on in these discussions as I recall. Do you agree that the stance that you are taking implicitly assumes eka jIva vAda? (Plus a brief clarifiaction of your answer.)
Isn’t it time you answered the question. You ask for quotes. We provide quotes in plenitude. And you them dismiss them as not to be taken literally.
Perhaps it is time you provided some quotes to support for your statements per Ramesam?
Let’s not get deflected at this stage, Dennis.
What is the point when you already admit that “In what you say above, there is absolutely nothing new, unknown or not repeatedly mentioned in the shruti-s, bhAShya-s and already quoted in these columns several times over.”?
AISE (as I said earlier), you seem only to be interested in a few statements in the vein of Gaudapada kArikA-s, and ignore the other 99% of scriptures and commentaries as only for the ignorant. What purpose would it serve to expend effort searching for these ‘repeatedly mentioned’ but apparently meaningless supporting references if you simply dismiss them with ajAtivAda? AISE, someone on the Advaitin List many years ago used to do exactly this with everything. Needless to say, it did not make for a particularly fruitful discussion!
I will actually do what you ask because I will eventually have to do this for Volume 2 of ‘Confusions’ (assuming that I get the chance to complete Volume 1). (This will obviously take me some time – at least a week I should think, but probably longer.) But it would seem that the bottom line is going to be that your arguments collapse into eka jIva vAda and thereby fall out of the realm of traditional Advaita. AISE, do you refute this? It is NOT a deflection but quite probably key to the entire discussion.
The point is this.
Sankara and Gaudapada have clearly taught that the sense of a separate self has arisen from the ignorant superimposition of atman and non-atman. Agree?
(They have also said that the world is projected as a result of this ignorant superimposition, but for the purpose of this, lets leave that argument aside).
Realisation is the total destruction of ignorance. Therefore the separate self (which is a result of ignorance) can no longer exist. Hence Sankara repeatedly asks in BSB and Brhad, how can particular consciousness (ie of an individual) continue to exist?
You posit however that the separate self continues, with the knowledge that it is non-separate from the world.
However this cannot be reconciled with the original adyhasa formulation and of ajata vada – that there is no jiva, no jnani, no particular consciousness. Simply saying “you are mixing levels” – relative and absolute – does not actually answer anything. It is simply ducking the philosophical problem of your position.
You whole-heartedly believe in the continued existence of an embodied person, who has ‘knowledge’. How do you reconcile this with Ajata vada?
Against my will, I am forced to say that you are being as slippery as an eel, as the saying goes. Please don’t take me to task if that is a wrong proverb. You can appreciate the sense.
Why should we complicate and confuse the issues (of course, one can write one more book!) when the matter is very simple and clear? Why bring in extraneous factors like AISE or AYSE (Y = you), ajAtivAda or eka jIva vAda, or Gaudapada etc. etc.?
I admit I am not as smart as you are. I see things in simplicity.
I see two clear issues.
i) There is an irrefutable Advaitic Truth which is the Absolute and the Ultimate; and,
ii) There are various models and pathways by which the Knowers would like to lead the ignorant like me to that Truth.
The present discussion is on the way Revered Shankara teaches and guides us to that Ultimate Reality. You say that Shankara based his teaching model on some fundamental premises as you hold on to in your statements as alluded by me above — No: 1 – 9 in my comment of Oct 31, 2020, @ 13:35.
Some of us beg to differ.
We contend that that was not Shankara’s teaching.
So why not close the dispute by quoting Shankara where he is presumed to have said what you claim to be his teaching?
Please take your time, if you need it; but let us not digress.
OK, Ramesam. We will end this thread with your – may I say – supercilious remarks and I will reopen with a new post when I have summarized, consolidated and pinpointed the key quotations. But I do foresee that it will end with recognition of you attempts to sneek eka-jIva-vAda in by the back door as it were, thereby invalidating all your claims to be representing the view of traditional Advaita.