Post-Enlightenment Perception

Swami Krishnananda Saraswati of The Divine Life left his mortal coil on this day in 2001. He tells us in his explication of the chAndogya Upanishad that “With the present state of (our) mind it is not possible to understand what the perception of a Jivanmukta could be. We can only have comparisons, illustrations and analogies. But what actually it is, it is not possible for us to understand.”

Nevertheless, for a seeker on the Knowledge path, the topic whether the visible world (which does not exist in reality even now) will continue to appear after Self-realization or not, whether it would disappear like the proverbial snake on the rope or will continue to show up like the ghostly water in a mirage is ever evocative. That is, at least, until the final tipping point happens. The interest in this topic  cannot be said to be driven by mere idle academic curiosity. There is a genuine internal “urge” in every seeker to measure up oneself in assessing whether one’s own understanding of the Advaitic doctrine has remained at an intellectual level or has percolated down viscerally. Perception of a world can be a very easily testable “Marker” toward such an end.

As I was reading recently the Chapter 4: Phala adhyAya of the brahma sUtra bhAShya, I found very clear and categorical statements made by Shankara with regard to the perception of a Self-realized individual. What he writes there can serve undoubtedly as a “yardstick” for all those who opine that they have “realized” the Self.

A reference to sensory perception of a world comes up prominently at three places in the Chapter 4 and I am presenting below those three instances (A, B, & C).

Keyword:  Perception (of an external world by the senses).

A.  Shankara writes at 4.1.3, BSB:

न विरुद्धगुणयोरन्योन्यात्मत्वसम्भव इति, नायं दोषः, विरुद्धगुणताया मिथ्यात्वोपपत्तेः । … … संसारिणः संसारित्वापोहेन ईश्वरात्मत्वं प्रतिपिपादयिषितमिति । एवं च सति अद्वैतेश्वरस्य अपहतपाप्मत्वादिगुणता विपरीतगुणता तु इतरस्य मिथ्येति व्यवतिष्ठते । यदप्युक्तम् — अधिकार्यभावः प्रत्यक्षादिविरोधश्चेति, तदप्यसत् , प्राक्प्रबोधात् संसारित्वाभ्युपगमात् , तद्विषयत्वाच्च प्रत्यक्षादिव्यवहारस्य ; ‘यत्र त्वस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्तत्केन कं पश्येत्’ (बृ. उ. २ । ४ । १४) इत्यादिना हि प्रबोधे प्रत्यक्षाद्यभावं दर्शयति । प्रत्यक्षाद्यभावे श्रुतेरप्यभावप्रसङ्ग इति चेत् , न, इष्टत्वात् ; ‘अत्र पिताऽपिता भवति’ (बृ. उ. ४ । ३ । २२) इत्युपक्रम्य, ‘वेदा अवेदाः’ (बृ. उ. ४ । ३ । २२) इति वचनात् इष्यत एव अस्माभिः श्रुतेरप्यभावः प्रबोधे । कस्य पुनरयम् अप्रबोध इति चेत् , यस्त्वं पृच्छसि तस्य ते — इति वदामः । ननु अहमीश्वर एवोक्तः श्रुत्या — यद्येवं प्रतिबुद्धोऽसि, नास्ति कस्यचिदप्रबोधः । योऽपि दोषश्चोद्यते कैश्चित् — अविद्यया किल आत्मनः सद्वितीयत्वात् अद्वैतानुपपत्तिरिति, सोऽपि एतेन प्रत्युक्तः ।

Meaning:

It was argued that the two things of opposite characteristics cannot be identical with each other. That is nothing damaging as the reasonable position is that the opposition in characteristics is unreal. … …  We hold that the scriptures aim at establishing the identity of the transmigrating soul with God Himself by removing from the soul all vestiges of transmigration. From this point of view it becomes affirmed that God is possessed of the characteristics of being untouched by sins etc., and that the opposite characteristics of the soul are unreal.

The criticism is also unfounded that no one will be left over to practise the Vedantic path and that direct perception etc. will be outraged. For the transmigratory state is conceded before enlightenment, and the activities like perception are confined within that state only, because texts as this, “But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should one see and through what?” (Br. 2.4.14), point out the absence of perception etc. in the state of enlightenment.

Opponent: In the absence of perception etc. the Vedas also will cease to exist.

Vedantin: That is no defect, since that position is admitted by us. For according to the texts starting with, “In this state the father is no father” and ending with “The Vedas are no Vedas” (Br. 4.3.22), we do admit the absence of the Vedas themselves in the state of enlightenment.

Opponent: Who is it then that has this unenlightenment?

Vedantin : We say that it is you yourself who ask thus.

Opponent: Is it not stated by the Upanishads that I am God?

Vedantin: If that is so, you are already an enlightened man, and so nobody has unenlightenment. Hereby is also refuted the criticism of some people who say that the Self becomes associated with a second entity owing to the very presence of nescience, so that non-dualism becomes untenable. [Swami Gambhirananda adds a note here: Nescience is indeterminate and hence ceases to exist on the rise of enlightenment.]

In simple words:

  1.  [There is an] absence of perception etc. in the state of   enlightenment.
  2.  Activities like perception are possible only as long as the seeker is still in ignorance of the Truth.
  3.  It is legit to say that the two entities jIva and brahman, though having opposite characteristics, are identical only because the individual is unreal.
  4.  The individual will be identical to the Self only after the            individuating qualities [of the ‘self’] are removed.
  5.  None need to apprehend that Vedas (and teachers) will disappear and hence the Self-knowledge would not anymore be available because, as Shankara assures, the Knowledgebase will continue to exist as long as there is ignorance.
  6.  Ignorance exists only for one who thinks that he is ignorant (i.e. ‘I am a separate and a limited self’).

The Points # 3 and 4 above particularly invalidate any reason on the part of a seeker to presume, IMHO, that s/he is, already brahman, so long as she continues to be a separate self. IOW, one cannot be both a separate ‘self’ and brahman simultaneously.

B.  Shankara writers at 4.2.14, BSB:

न हि अशरीरं गच्छन्तं सर्वभूतानि द्रष्टुं शक्नुयुः

Meaning:

[While discussing Suka’s movement] Nobody can have any visual perception when a disembodied soul moves on.

In simple words:

  1.  Attainment of Self-realization is disembodiment. While discussing a real life example of Maharshi Vyasa’s son, Suka, the observation is  made that as a Self-realized man, one cannot have any visual perception in that state. Once again this establishes that sensory perception of a visible world does not exist for a Self-realized individual.

C.  Shankara writers at 4.3.14, BSB:

परस्मादनन्यत्वेऽपि जीवस्य सर्वव्यवहारलोपप्रसङ्गः, प्रत्यक्षादिप्रमाणाप्रवृत्तेरिति चेत् — न, प्राक्प्रबोधात् स्वप्नव्यवहारवत् तदुपपत्तेः ; शास्त्रं च ‘यत्र हि द्वैतमिव भवति तदितर इतरं पश्यति’ (बृ. उ. २ । ४ । १४) इत्यादिना अप्रबुद्धविषये प्रत्यक्षादिव्यवहारमुक्त्वा, पुनः प्रबुद्धविषये — ‘यत्र त्वस्य सर्वमात्मैवाभूत्तत्केन कं पश्येत्’ (बृ. उ. २ । ४ । १४) इत्यादिना तदभावं दर्शयति । तदेवं परब्रह्मविदो गन्तव्यादिविज्ञानस्य वाधितत्वात् न कथञ्चन गतिरुपपादयितुं शक्या ।

Meaning:

Opponent: Even if the soul be non-different from the supreme Brahman, this will only result in the annulment of all human dealings (including the scriptural instruction), for then there can be no application of the means of knowledge like perception etc.

Vedantin: Not so, for that is possible before enlightenment like the behaviour in a dream before awakening. The scripture also speaks of the use of perception etc. in the case of the unenlightened man in the text, “Because when there is duality, as it were, then one sees something” (Br. 2.4.14, 4.5.15); and then it shows the absence of this in the case of an enlightened man, “But when to the knower of Brahman everything has become the Self, then what should one see and through what?” (ibid) etc. Thus since the notion of Brahman as a goal to be reached and such other ideas are eliminated for one who has realized the supreme Brahman, any movement cannot be asserted in his case in any way.

In simple words:

  1.  After an elaborate discussion on the teaching and approaches towards a qualified brahman (saguNa) and attributeless brahman (nirguNa), and the stress by Shankara that the nirguNa brahman cannot be a “goal” to be reached, the opponent raises a question on the usefulness of actions, learning, scripture etc. in case no difference is stated to be present between an individual and the Supreme Self. The opponent also contends that such a stance would “result in the annulment of all human dealings (including the scriptural instruction), for then there can be no application of the means of knowledge like perception etc.”

Shankara makes it abundantly clear that all actions, perception etc. are valid and work only prior to awakening. He asserts that “The scripture also speaks of the use of perception etc. in the case of the unenlightened man.” He explains that all such actions that happen before Enlightenment are like actions taking place in a dream – i.e. unreal. Therefore, for a third time Shankara denies the possibility of perceiving a world in a post-Enlightenment situation.

[All translations given above are adopted from “BSB of Shri ShankarAcArya” by Swami Gambhirananda, 1965.]

42 thoughts on “Post-Enlightenment Perception

  1. Ramesam – Thanks for presenting very convincing arguments by Shankara!
    Very nicely stated “The interest in this topic cannot be said to be driven by mere idle academic curiosity. There is a genuine internal “urge” in every seeker to measure up oneself in assessing whether one’s own understanding of the Advaitic doctrine has remained at an intellectual level or has percolated down viscerally” Count me in this group!.

    Shankara seems to have broken all the bridges to “I can see the world but I know it is not real” type believers who think that are enlightened – by pointing out “there is no perception after enlightenment”. For the Self Realized “what should one see and through what?” – there is no perception and it is not possible for an ignorant one to imagine what it is like without perception!
    One question always lingers around for me: Say, I am enlightened and there is no world for me, there never was and there never will be. To me the question “what about the other ignorant ones?” Does not arise anymore since there is no one other than Me. If I started with Ek Jiva Vada prakriya then this is easier to get my arms around this. But those who are not comfortable with Ekajiva vada how do they handle “One getting enlightened amongst millions of ignorant ones” Do these two planes – empirical and parmarthic – co exist?
    Vijay

  2. Dear Ramesam,

    You don’t give up, do you?

    I haven’t forgotten my commitment to respond to your questions of 31st Oct. I have been summarising, consolidating, categorising the various arguments for the past 3 weeks and continue in that endeavor. By the time I finish (hopefully before Christmas!), I will have written a significant portion of Volume 2 of my ‘Confusions’ book, so thank you for that!

    I will not be posting all of this material for that reason but I intend to summarize the key points and quote relevant supporting references from prasthAna traya and Shankara.

    Meanwhile, I wonder if you could explain why your attitude is not the most egotistical one conceivable. What you are effectively saying is: “I am the only person in existence, Everyone else is a figment of my imagination and, as soon as I am enlightened, they will all disappear, along with everything else.”

    Best wishes,
    (imaginary) Dennis

  3. Dear Vijay,

    Thanks for your observations and the thought-provoking question at the end of your comment.

    Let me try to respond to your question to the best of my understanding.

    As you are aware, the senses (+ mind) are must for perception to take place. Unfortunately, it looks as though the unenlightened lot (avipascitaH) are doomed, as the 2.4.1, kaTha says (पराञ्चि खानि व्यतृणत्स्वयम्भूस्तस्मात्पराङ् पश्यति नान्तरात्मन् ।), to have an objected oriented outward perception only. Consequently, we see a world out there.

    But Advaita Vedanta tells jus that a seeker of the Truth has to have his vision, figuratively speaking, turned 180 deg, i.e. inwards. Therefore, no wonder that from the moment one rings the bell at the door of Advaita, one is instructed about controlling the outward-going tendency of the senses. In fact, as you know, 2.58, BG tells us:

    “[A sthitaprajna = one who abides as the Self] completely withdraws the senses from sense-objects, as the tortoise withdraws its limbs from all sides.” When all the senses are shut down, what world can appear to anyone?
    Krishna warns an earnest seeker to be very vigilant about the senses at 2.60 and 2.61, BG. He says:

    “The dangerous senses forcibly carry away the mind of [even] a wise man who is striving [to control them.] Restraining them all, a man should remain steadfast.”

    Krishna adds that the Knowledge of only that seeker is steady whose senses are under control.” As a matter of fact, Shankara writes, in his opening remarks to 2.60, BG: “He who would acquire steadiness of right Knowledge should first bring the senses under control.”

    Further, BG underlines the importance of the control of the senses at many places. For example:

    At 4.39: “He obtains wisdom who is full of faith, who is devoted to it, and who has subdued the senses.”
    At 5.7: “Whose senses have been subdued, whose Self has become the Self of all beings, though taking action, he is not tainted.”
    At 6.8: “Who has conquered the senses, he is said to be a saint.”
    Shankara’s words at all the above shlokas are worth their value in gold.

    In summary, recalling the analogy of the tortoise who has withdrawn all its limbs in, for a seeker who has all his senses + mind turned inward, what world can appear external to him?

    As you rightly described, ‘eka jIva vAda’ is a “prakriyA” (exercise practice) for a seeker who is not there yet. He is still training his senses + mind to turn 180 deg. So, s/he may see a world outside when the senses go outward and notice a deep-sleep-like situation when they are turned inward. It DOES NOT mean there are two worlds – an empirical one and an Absolute. He may see only one at any given moment. As you can very well appreciate, my post above is not about a practitioner of ‘eka jIva vAda’ or any method of nididhyAsana but who has realized the Self.

    If two worlds were to be really there, it would NOT be Advaita. It is out and out dvaita. We have to understand that the postulation of the empirical and Absolute worlds is only an “unreal” device (upAya) to communicate the counterintuitive Advaitic doctrine. The two worlds cannot be present co-existing. Shankara has already clarified the position with respect to such statements in the opening part of his comment at A in my post.

    If a seeker is uncomfortable with eka jIva vAda, there is no problem. There are literally thousands of other “prakriyA-s” to choose within the repertoire of Advaita.

    regards,

  4. Dear Dennis,

    Ha Ha Ha!
    Thanks for your comments and observations.

    How can you ask me to give up?
    Don’t you teach us, Dennis, that only the untruth has to be given up or gets dropped?

    Now that you got all the ammunition charged, it should not take you more than a couple of minutes to give the 9 references from Shankara for the nine quotes in my comment/question of Oct 31, 2020!

    Coming to your query whether my “attitude is not the most egotistical one conceivable,” permit me to answer from an Advaita viewpoint. Sage Vasishta explains in the Ch 4: Sustenance, Canto 33, Yogavasishta about egoism as follows:

    श्रीवसिष्ठ उवाच ।

    त्रिविधो राघवास्तीह त्वहंकारो जगत्त्रये ।
    द्वौ श्रेष्ठावितरस्त्याज्यः श्रृणु त्वं कथयामि ते ।। — verse 49

    अहं सर्वमिदं विश्वं परमात्माहमच्युतः ।
    नान्यदस्तीति परमा विज्ञेया सा ह्यहंकृतिः ।। — verse 50

    मोक्षायैषा न बन्धाय जीवन्मुक्तस्य विद्यते ।
    सर्वस्माद्व्यतिरिक्तोऽहं बालाग्रशतकल्पितः ।। — verse 51

    इति या संविदेषासौ द्वितीयाहंकृतिः शुभा ।
    मोक्षायैषा न बन्धाय जीवन्मुक्तस्य विद्यते ।। — verse 52

    अहंकाराभिधा या सा कल्प्यते नतु वास्तवी ।
    पाणिपादादिमात्रोऽयमहमित्येष निश्चयः ।। — verse 53

    अहंकारस्तृतीयोऽसौ लौकिकस्तुच्छ एव सः ।
    वर्ज्य एव दुरात्मासौ शत्रुरेव परः स्मृतः ।। — verse 54.

    Meaning (in brief):

    Thus spoke Sage Vasishta:

    “For our purpose, there are three types of egoisms. We shall take up in descending order. The first two are good. The third is the undesirable one and should be gotten rid off.

    “This entire Univese is Me, the endless Supreme Consciousness is Me, there is nothing different from Me.” Such thoughts are also a type of ahamkara, egoism. But this is a superior type. It is there in liberated persons. If this feeling is present, one has achieved salvation. None advises to get rid of this type of egoism.

    There is another egoism, contrary to this.

    To think that “I am not any of this. Nothing touches Me. I am subtler than the subtlest. More minute than minutiae” is the second type of egoism. This is also a good one. This will also lead to liberation. Some Jivanmuktas (persons liberated in this very life) think on these lines. It is not necessary to rid oneself of this egoism.

    “The third is the worldly egoism. It teaches, “The body is me.” You may call it ‘sasarira ahamkara’ or ‘asarira ahamkara’. Irrespective of the name, the egoism that causes a feeling of identity of the body and ‘me’ is the worst enemy of mankind. This should be gotten rid of.”

    Helpfully, the Sage also adds: “For the jIvanmukta-s for whom a body is still there alive, they have to have some type of ego bonding. Otherwise, it is not possible to have life-principle in them. Hence their experience is referred to as egoism. This is just for name’s sake. Please notice that there is no difference in the paths of the one who says that ‘everything is Me’ and the
    one who says that ‘nothing is Me.’ They are expressing the same experience in different words. That’s all.”

    I guess the above should keep all further doubts at rest.

    regards,

  5. Dear Ramesam,

    Your quotations do not seem to support your contentions. If the ‘liberated one’ says “The entire visible world is me”, how can this be reconciled with the world having disappeared?

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  6. Sorry. That was the sloppy me! 🙂

    The verse # 50 just says “sarvam idam vishwam.” (i.e. All this Universe).

    The word ‘visible’ is not there.

    Thanks Dennis for pointing it out.
    I corrected the sentence.

    regards,

  7. This doesn’t really change anything does it? In order to say ‘this universe is me’, doesn’t there have to be the appearance of a universe? Otherwise, what could it possibly be referring to?

    Surely, all that it is saying is ‘All this is Brahman’, as has already been discussed elsewhere?

    Best wishes,
    Dennis (still imaginary)

  8. Ramesam,

    You claim that: “As you rightly described, ‘eka jIva vAda’ is a “prakriyA” (exercise practice) for a seeker who is not there yet.”

    I do not accept this. A ‘prakriyA’ as I understand it, is a method of explanation to take a seeker from current understanding to a more subtle ‘Advaitic’ understanding. E.g. avastha traya and pa~ncha koSha are prakriya-s. eka jIva vAda rather aims to be an ontological statement. And it is very much post-Shankara, by which time the traditional understanding of the Upanishads and Shankara was being distorted into something that was never intended.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  9. Dear Dennis,

    [Trust you had also seen my response to Vijay.]

    You ask: “In order to say ‘this universe is me’, doesn’t there have to be the appearance of a universe? Otherwise, what could it possibly be referring to?”

    I knew there was a potential for such a question to be raised by any one, but certainly not from you, an adept at this game of teaching/communicating!

    As you well know, communication can happen between two individuals or entities and necessarily we have to live with the shortcomings and defects of the medium through which the communication takes place (i.e. the language in our context).

    Very often a teacher would, out of benevolent compassion towards the receiver of the message, uses words that are meaningful to the student, even though the s/he knows that those words are approximations and concessionary.

    For example, a teacher in a lower middle school may say that “the earth is a globe.” The young child in the class will then appreciate that the earth is not flat but it is like a 3-D object, say, a ball. The word “globe” is used from the perspective of the little boy/girl, though the teacher from his own perspective “knows” very well that the earth is not a globe but has a huge equatorial bulge and a polar compression.

    Likewise, here the communicator is using the word “Universe” (or as I did before I corrected the sentence, ‘the visible world’) from the POV of the student, though s/he knows that there is no Universe that is perceived from his/her own perspective.

    Is it necessary that we have to debate on this point too?

    regards,

  10. Dear Dennis,

    To my understanding, an ontological statement in Advaita is a “mahA vAkya.” I do not know if anyone has called “eka jIva vAda” to be a mahA vAkya to be qualified to be considered as “an ontological statement.”

    As the name itself indicates, it is a vAda – a theory, a view. The word ‘vAda’ here has the same significance as used in, say, bimba-pratibimba vAda, khyAti vAda, samuccaya vAda etc. Do you consider any of them as ontological statements?

    The word ‘prakriyA’ refers to a “way, a process, a procedure, a prescription etc.” Therefore, an advanced student (as recommended by the 35th Pontiff of Sringeri) may use ‘eka jIva vAda,’ as an Alambana ( a prop, support, mental exercise etc.) in his/her nididhyAsana. It is a prakriyA not at the level of studying and understanding the Advaita doctrine (shravaNa, manana phases like the examples you have given – the avastha traya etc.).

    As you said, yes, the word eka jIva vAda is a post-Shankara coinage like many other words (e.g. akhaNDAkAra vRitti, sRiShTi-dRiShTi vAda).
    However, the concept of eka jIva vAda already exists in Shankara’s bhAShya-s. Knowledgeable Swamis (e.g. ShrimAn lalitAlAlitah) tell us that “those shruti-s where bahuvachana is used and follow the bhAShyam maybe taken as indicative of nAnAjIvavAda and those shruti-s which use ekavachana for jIva/brahma stand for ekajIvavAda.”

    Obviously, we cannot consider our own concepts and beliefs as the Hallmark for these intricate shAstraic teachings and we do have to go by the word of knowledgeable Swami-s, IMHO.

    regards,

  11. Dea Ramesam,

    Apologies for side-tracking the debate. I will not pursue the eka-jIva-vAda topic (as I had indicated in at least two much earlier posts) – my fault entirely for giving in to the goad!

    To return to your ‘3 types of egoism’, in your third you say : “For the jIvanmukta-s for whom a body is still there alive, they have to have some type of ego bonding. Otherwise, it is not possible to have life-principle in them.”

    This also contradicts your stance. You have said in previous posts that the world disappears for the j~nAnI and there is subsequent ‘disembodiment’. How, therefore, can the jIvanmukta still have a body ‘there alive’?

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Dear Dennis,

      I don’t suppose that there is any need to apologize.
      It is quite natural that a thought-wave of a doubt may arise on a related issue while we are in a serious discussion with respect to a different (but not disconnected) topic. Satiating that doubt does contribute to taking an overall healthy view of all things, as you know. Hope the information in my response has been useful at least to some extent towards that end.

      Thanks and regards,

  12. Ramesam,

    Just to expand on that, on 30th May 2014, you commented:

    “The way I learnt Advaita is:

    jIvanmukti is the complete emancipation of a separate sense of self i.e. the dissolution of the ‘ego.’ ”

    So does a jIvanmukta have an ego or not?

  13. Dear Ramesam and Dennis

    Interesting discussion. Below is an excerpt from a book by Shri YS Rao, that Ramesam kindly shared with me. It is a very logical build-up of advaitic propositions that culminate in an inevitable conclusion.

    “When the knowledge of the Self arises, all notions of a separate jIva, jagat, Ishwara disappear, and Consciousness alone remains. Therefore, it is due to the ignorance of our true nature that we imagine ourselves as individuals who suffer the pains and pleasures of the world created by Ishwara. Since the individual, world, and Ishwara are only notional, they have no separate existence of their own. Hence, according to Advaita, the world was never created. This point of view is known in Advaita as ajAta vAda – non-origination of the universe. If something appears even though it does not really exist, it is only an illusion. Appearances come into existence only when we perceive them. This point of view is known in Advaita as the dRiShTi sRiShTi vAda – universe exists because it is perceived.”

  14. At the risk of upsetting Dennis, here is a very interesting conversation, Tagore standing up for Advaita, it seemed to me….please delete if necessary.
    —————-
    EINSTEIN: Do you believe in the Divine as isolated from the world?

    TAGORE: Not isolated. The infinite personality of Man comprehends the Universe. There cannot be anything that cannot be subsumed by the human personality, and this proves that the Truth of the Universe is human Truth.

    I have taken a scientific fact to explain this — Matter is composed of protons and electrons, with gaps between them; but matter may seem to be solid. Similarly humanity is composed of individuals, yet they have their interconnection of human relationship, which gives living unity to man’s world. The entire universe is linked up with us in a similar manner, it is a human universe. I have pursued this thought through art, literature and the religious consciousness of man.

    EINSTEIN: There are two different conceptions about the nature of the universe: (1) The world as a unity dependent on humanity. (2) The world as a reality independent of the human factor.

    TAGORE: When our universe is in harmony with Man, the eternal, we know it as Truth, we feel it as beauty.

    EINSTEIN: This is the purely human conception of the universe.

    TAGORE: There can be no other conception. This world is a human world — the scientific view of it is also that of the scientific man. There is some standard of reason and enjoyment which gives it Truth, the standard of the Eternal Man whose experiences are through our experiences.

    EINSTEIN: This is a realization of the human entity.

    TAGORE: Yes, one eternal entity. We have to realize it through our emotions and activities. We realized the Supreme Man who has no individual limitations through our limitations. Science is concerned with that which is not confined to individuals; it is the impersonal human world of Truths. Religion realizes these Truths and links them up with our deeper needs; our individual consciousness of Truth gains universal significance. Religion applies values to Truth, and we know this Truth as good through our own harmony with it.

    EINSTEIN: Truth, then, or Beauty is not independent of Man?

    TAGORE: No.

    EINSTEIN: If there would be no human beings any more, the Apollo of Belvedere would no longer be beautiful.

    TAGORE: No.

    EINSTEIN: I agree with regard to this conception of Beauty, but not with regard to Truth.

    TAGORE: Why not? Truth is realized through man.

    EINSTEIN: I cannot prove that my conception is right, but that is my religion.

    TAGORE: Beauty is in the ideal of perfect harmony which is in the Universal Being; Truth the perfect comprehension of the Universal Mind. We individuals approach it through our own mistakes and blunders, through our accumulated experiences, through our illumined consciousness — how, otherwise, can we know Truth?

    EINSTEIN: I cannot prove scientifically that Truth must be conceived as a Truth that is valid independent of humanity; but I believe it firmly. I believe, for instance, that the Pythagorean theorem in geometry states something that is approximately true, independent of the existence of man. Anyway, if there is a reality independent of man, there is also a Truth relative to this reality; and in the same way the negation of the first engenders a negation of the existence of the latter.

    TAGORE: Truth, which is one with the Universal Being, must essentially be human, otherwise whatever we individuals realize as true can never be called truth – at least the Truth which is described as scientific and which only can be reached through the process of logic, in other words, by an organ of thoughts which is human. According to Indian Philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute Truth, which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a Truth cannot belong to Science. The nature of Truth which we are discussing is an appearance – that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called maya or illusion.

    EINSTEIN: So according to your conception, which may be the Indian conception, it is not the illusion of the individual, but of humanity as a whole.

    TAGORE: The species also belongs to a unity, to humanity. Therefore the entire human mind realizes Truth; the Indian or the European mind meet in a common realization.

    EINSTEIN: The word species is used in German for all human beings, as a matter of fact, even the apes and the frogs would belong to it.

    TAGORE: In science we go through the discipline of eliminating the personal limitations of our individual minds and thus reach that comprehension of Truth which is in the mind of the Universal Man.

    EINSTEIN: The problem begins whether Truth is independent of our consciousness.

    TAGORE: What we call truth lies in the rational harmony between the subjective and objective aspects of reality, both of which belong to the super-personal man.

    EINSTEIN: Even in our everyday life we feel compelled to ascribe a reality independent of man to the objects we use. We do this to connect the experiences of our senses in a reasonable way. For instance, if nobody is in this house, yet that table remains where it is.

    TAGORE: Yes, it remains outside the individual mind, but not the universal mind. The table which I perceive is perceptible by the same kind of consciousness which I possess.

    EINSTEIN: If nobody would be in the house the table would exist all the same — but this is already illegitimate from your point of view — because we cannot explain what it means that the table is there, independently of us.

    Our natural point of view in regard to the existence of truth apart from humanity cannot be explained or proved, but it is a belief which nobody can lack — no primitive beings even. We attribute to Truth a super-human objectivity; it is indispensable for us, this reality which is independent of our existence and our experience and our mind — though we cannot say what it means.

    TAGORE: Science has proved that the table as a solid object is an appearance and therefore that which the human mind perceives as a table would not exist if that mind were naught. At the same time it must be admitted that the fact, that the ultimate physical reality is nothing but a multitude of separate revolving centres of electric force, also belongs to the human mind.

    In the apprehension of Truth there is an eternal conflict between the universal human mind and the same mind confined in the individual. The perpetual process of reconciliation is being carried on in our science, philosophy, in our ethics. In any case, if there be any Truth absolutely unrelated to humanity then for us it is absolutely non-existing.

    It is not difficult to imagine a mind to which the sequence of things happens not in space but only in time like the sequence of notes in music. For such a mind such conception of reality is akin to the musical reality in which Pythagorean geometry can have no meaning. There is the reality of paper, infinitely different from the reality of literature. For the kind of mind possessed by the moth which eats that paper literature is absolutely non-existent, yet for Man’s mind literature has a greater value of Truth than the paper itself. In a similar manner if there be some Truth which has no sensuous or rational relation to the human mind, it will ever remain as nothing so long as we remain human beings.

    EINSTEIN: Then I am more religious than you are!

    TAGORE: My religion is in the reconciliation of the Super-personal Man, the universal human spirit, in my own individual being.

    • “According to Indian Philosophy there is Brahman, the absolute Truth, which cannot be conceived by the isolation of the individual mind or described by words but can only be realized by completely merging the individual in its infinity. But such a Truth cannot belong to Science. The nature of Truth which we are discussing is an appearance – that is to say, what appears to be true to the human mind and therefore is human, and may be called maya or illusion.”

      Perfect. Thanks for posting Shishya.

  15. Dear Dennis, Venkat and Shishya,

    Thank you all for sparing your valuable time for actively participating in these discussions. The well-informed comments from all do show how interesting this topic is. Your observations also go to help us in a deeper and broader appreciation of all the concerned issues. I trust Dennis keeps this thread open for continued discussion till we are able to reach a reasonable consensus.

    I can’t help at this juncture wondering where is Rick Riekert who usually through a gap in the discussions shouts a bhAShya sentence, like the voice of AkAsha vANi, and as suddenly becomes incognito! 🙂

    regards,

  16. Dear Dennis,

    You posed two Questions.

    1. “This also contradicts your stance. You have said in previous posts that the world disappears for the j~nAnI and there is subsequent ‘disembodiment’. How, therefore, can the jIvanmukta still have a body ‘there alive’?”

    2. “[D]oes a jIvanmukta have an ego or not?”

    Re: Q1:

    I would first hasten to say that what I wrote are not “my” personal views regarding disembodiment or the disappearance of the world. With all humility, I beg to submit that they are the views of Revered Sage Vasishta and venerated Shankara.

    We all know in what a great predicament an Advaita teacher is when he is trying to communicate the Non-dual message to us. The message is basically incommunicable (अव्यपदेश्यं – avyapadeshyam) as mANDUkya mantra 7 says and the Sage himself laments at 1.3, kena, saying “We know it not; nor do we see how to teach one about It, (न विद्मो न विजानीमो यथैतदनुशिष्यात् ॥ – na vidmo na vijAnImo yathaidanushiShyAt).

    So any utterance mouthed by a teacher is not a rigid mathematical formulation but a concession to eff what is ineffable.

    Keeping in mind the above limitation which is a FACT that cannot be wished away, let us examine the statement of Sage Vasishta quoted by you. He was pointing to the body that is still alive – a body that thus-far hosted the seeker who claimed it as “mine” but left it now, post-Enlightenment.

    Definitely we can say that the Sage is not so ignorant that he would call “the inert body” as a jIvanmukta. [I trust you agree even the life-force, i.e., prANa is considered inert as per Advaita. So, the body being alive does not mean it is not inert.]

    As the famous expression of Shankara, viz., “gangAyAm ghoShaH,” goes, “the defect of meaning is corrected by treating it as a metonymy with an inner logical relation.” Applying this grammatical formula called jahat, we have to arrive at the correct meaning to understand the statement of Sage Vasishta.
    I hope this clarifies the position to you and shows that there is no contradiction in Sage Vasishta’s words.

    Re: Q2:

    It took me quite some time to locate the old 2014 comment of mine referred to by you. Wish you had given the link. I was not quoting any authoritative words of any Sage and it was a part of my formulation in exposing the (mis)interpretation of our friend Sw-P. Let it be.

    Coming to your present question, “[D]oes a jIvanmukta have an ego or not?,” I have to say that it is a Million Dollar Question.

    Rama, who is supposed to be an Avatar of Narayana, the Adi Guru of Advaita, (remember the Guru parampara prayer verse – Om Narayanam padmabhavam Vasishtam …. etc.), raised the same question 4-5 times as the tutoring by the Sage Vasishta continues in Yogavasishta. The Sage responded to Rama in different ways as per the progress he made in his understanding the intricacies of Advaita. At one point the Sage even chides Rama for repeating the same question!

    In short, one can get a clear answer to the question and a true understanding of Advaita, if one were to diligently study the 32,000 verses of Yogavasishta.

    regards,

  17. Dennis: “Does a jivanmukta have an ego or not?”

    Sankara responds in Upadesha Sahashri:

    18.225 . . . After comprehension of the meaning of the sentence (‘that thou art’) . . . there cannot be the two contradictory ideas ‘I am the Absolute’ and ‘I am an agent’.

    19.25 Therefore the enlightened one resorts to he Upanishads and reason, and beholds that homogeneous eternally luminous principle, free from any imaginary second thing, whether conceived as real or unreal, and goes into extinction (as an individual) like an (extinguished) lamp.

    Case closed?

  18. Apologies again, Ramesam. I have read what you have written above but am none the wiser regarding your answers.

    Your conclusion to the first part:- “As the famous expression of Shankara, viz., “gangAyAm ghoShaH,” goes, “the defect of meaning is corrected by treating it as a metonymy with an inner logical relation.” Applying this grammatical formula called jahat, we have to arrive at the correct meaning to understand the statement of Sage Vasishta.
    I hope this clarifies the position to you and shows that there is no contradiction in Sage Vasishta’s words.”
    – did not clarify anything as I did not understand what you were saying.

    As regards the second question, it did seem that you were prevaricating or simply avoiding the question. I was merely pointing out that you have made two contradictory statements and I was trying to establish which one you believed. Sorry I did not give a link. I would have done had I had one – the date was the only reference I had.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  19. Dennis

    Not sure where the contradiction is?

    Ramesam’s Vashishta reference to a jivanmukta having ego bonding is earlier defined as being ‘I am everything’ or ‘I am nothing’; either way it is abundantly clear that it is not an ego that is identified with a body and as an agent.

    So really the question is – do you believe a jivanmukta has an ego? 🙂

  20. Venkat,

    Those quotations do not prove anything, I’m afraid.

    18.225 simply says that one realizes that ‘I do not act’ on gaining enlightenment. c.f. Bhagavad Gita 5.8-9.

    19.25 says that one’s bondage is extinguished (not one’s ego).

    A much better one on the face of it is 18.25:

    “Everything such as agency etc. superimposed by the ego on the Self which is Pure Consciousness is negated together with the ego on the evidence of the shruti ‘not this, not this’.”

    But here also, all that is happening is that the NOTION that ‘I am the ego’ or ‘I am the intellect’ is being negated by ‘not this’. I now know that I am not the ego, even though the body-mind (controlled by an ego) continues to function in the world until expiry of the prArabdha karma.

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  21. Swami Krishnananda tells us that with the present state of (our) mind it is not possible to understand what the perception of Jivanmukta could be. Assuming and insofar as he knows the state of ‘our’ mind (whatever that means), and presumably the Jivanmukta’s as well, I’m prepared take his word for it. But if the Jivanmukta or liberated sage exists, he or she is still a human being like the rest of us, and if inclined to wear them, would likely put his or her trousers on one leg at a time; and unless physically impaired in a way that prevents, distorts, or limits perception, doubtless perceives the world in much the same way as the rest of us, however differently they may appear to interpret and/or assign a meaning to what they perceive.

  22. Thanks Rick Riekert for the intervention.

    But you deviated from your usual adherence to bhAShya-s this time ! 🙂 🙂
    Are you swayed by Dennis or what? Ha Ha Ha!

    Here is what Shankara writes about the action of a Self-realized Sage at 4.22, BG:

    [R]ealizing the nonagency of the Self, he really does not act at all, not even the act of begging.

    But as he appears to act like the generality of mankind, agency is imputed to him by people, and so far he is the agent in the act of begging and the like. From his own point of view, however, as based on the teaching of the scriptures which are the source of right Knowledge, he is no agent at all.

    Thus, though he performs the act of begging and the like required for the bare existence of the body, and though with reference to these acts, agency is imputed to him by others, he is not bound, since action and its cause which are the source of bondage, have been burnt in the fire of wisdom·”

    Clearly then, it is the “others” like us (i.e. the unenlightened lot) who impute wearing the trousers etc. and “think” that the enlightened one also acts like us. From his own viewpoint, if it can be said to be present, he is not doing anything at all!

    In fact, Shankara, while commenting on an earlier verse says that the ignorant people see action even when there is no action!

    regards,

  23. I still cannot figure out what exactly the contradiction is since i missed some of the dialog between Dennis and Ramesam in the past few years.
    Here is the BR4.4.7 SB (Madhavananda) on the question of liberated sage living in his body.
    I will appreciate if Ramesam, Dennis and others could interpret this per their understanding and enlighten me.

    “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 antkill,
    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.”

  24. Thanks Venkat for the quotes from “upadesha sAhasrI” of Shankara.

    The verse at 18.225 particularly is in direct support of what I mentioned in the OP, viz., “one cannot be both a separate ‘self’ and brahman simultaneously,” summarizing Shankara’s views at 4.1.3, BSB.

    Will you also please post the translations of 18.226 and 227 also?

    regards,

  25. Dear Dennis,

    You write that you “did not understand what you were (I was) saying.”
    Well, dropping all the long explanation, if you will accept my word, there is “no contradiction.”

    I think you seem to have missed Sage Vasishta’s own statement regarding the egoism he was referring to. He said “Hence, their experience is referred to as egoism. This is just for name’s sake.” IOW, it is said as egoism so that the student can understand – very much like vAcArambhaNa sUtra which also talks about being just “name’s sake.”

    While responding to Venkat, you wrote: “But here also, all that is happening is that the NOTION that ‘I am the ego’ or ‘I am the intellect’ is being negated by ‘not this’. I now know that I am not the ego, even though the body-mind (controlled by an ego) continues to function in the world until expiry of the prArabdha karma.”

    Don’t you see how the “ego” is deceiving here!
    The one that says “I now know that I am not the ego, …” is precisely the ego itself! Venkat calls it with a more charitable phrase – the mediate knowledge and not clear “understanding” that can be said to be immediate.

    regards,

  26. Hi Dennis

    “I now know that I am not the ego, even though the body-mind (controlled by an ego) continues to function in the world”

    This is essentially as daft as neo-advaita. The I that knows that ‘I am not the ego’ is still the ego!!!

    When Sankara says in 18.225 that one cannot have the notions of both being Brahman and an agent – he is pointing out that the agent (=ego) idea can no longer be there. What is an agent apart from an ego?? And only the ego can think ‘I am not acting’. There is no other thinker apart from the ego!!!

  27. Hi Venkat,

    Yes, of course it is!! Brahman does not and cannot know anything – there is nothing else! Only the intellect/mind ‘knows’ by virtue of Consciousness reflected in it (or whichever metaphor you prefer). And where there is a mind-intellect, there must also be an ego, even if ‘attenuated’.

    This is why the way that you and Ramesam are interpreting the situation does not make any sense.

  28. Dear Ramesam,

    You are still trying (unsuccessfully) to wriggle out of the contradiction. You said above:

    <<< Thus spoke Sage Vasishta: “For our purpose, there are three types of egoisms. We shall take up in descending order. The first two are good. The third is the undesirable one and should be gotten rid off. “This entire Univese is Me, the endless Supreme Consciousness is Me, there is nothing different from Me.” Such thoughts are also a type of ahamkara, egoism. But this is a superior type. It is there in liberated persons. If this feeling is present, one has achieved salvation. None advises to get rid of this type of egoism. >>>

    I.e. you clearly say that the liberated person has egoism, even if it is ‘a superior type’.

    You also said in the post from a few years ago:

    <<< jIvanmukti is the complete emancipation of a separate sense of self i.e. the dissolution of the ‘ego.’ >>>

    I am not actually sure that you agree that a jIvanmukta is a ‘liberated person’ (since I seem to recall that you have said that there is no longer a person once Self-knowledge arises) – so this is another incongruity in what you are now saying. But, if you do, can you clarify whether a jIvanmukta has an ego or not (according to you)?

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  29. Dennis, you may have missed what I wrote before about your so-called contradiction:

    Dennis

    Not sure where the contradiction is?

    Ramesam’s Vashishta reference to a jivanmukta having ego bonding is earlier defined as being ‘I am everything’ or ‘I am nothing’; either way it is abundantly clear that it is not an ego that is identified with a body and as an agent.

  30. Also Dennis, your position is essentially the following.

    The ego has the thought to act . . . it then acts . . . and also has the thought that it is not actually the actor.

    In that case who is it that is the actor?

    If your point is that he knows that in reality, he is not real . . . that is a contradiction in terms . . . the son of a barren woman has the thought-knowledge that he is the son of a barren woman, and continues acting in the world.

    Your theory is full of holes, and the only way to keep it afloat is to wave your hands and talk about relative vs absolute reality.

  31. Dear Dennis,

    Please correct me if I am wrong.

    The problem, as it appears to me, is that you are stuck with the English meaning of the word “egoism.” You are refusing to drop those colored glasses and look beyond. It is rather unfortunate that the Sanskrit word “ahamkAra” has only one narrow meaning in English.

    Like aham = “I” may mean the Infinite Real “I” (i.e. brahman) or the finite individual little self, “ahamkAra” has three meanings in Vedanta.

    Sometimes people use qualifiers like sattvic etc. to make that difference in English.

    What is referred to here as superior type ahamkAra (egoism) means “the supreme and undivided “I” which is eternal and which pervades through the world. It is the supreme soul (Paramatman), besides which there is nothing in nature” as defined by Swami Sivananda. It does NOT mean “concern for one’s own interests and welfare” or self-conceit etc.

    Swami Sivananda says: “The knowledge which makes us perceive our own self to be more subtle than the tail-end of paddy or to be as minute as the hundredth part of a hair and to be ever existent is the second kind of Ahamkara.” This type of ahamkAra is also not the “concern for one’s own interests and welfare” or self-conceit etc.”

    The third is the usual ahamkAra of the type the English dictionaries provide the meaning. This is the ‘I’ of the unenlightened man, also called the “person.” The word person is derived from Latin ‘persona’ meaning a mask.
    Our ‘personality’ (i.e. the individuated personal characteristics) mask or cover up the true “I” which is brahman.

    Hope at least now things could be clear that the word Superior egoism is equivalent to brahman or the Real “I” and that was what was being referred to by Sage Vasishta.

    regards,

    Incidentally, and importantly, Yes, the ‘mask’ (individuated person) cannot attain Self-realization. The ‘person’ is the false ‘I’ which is nothing more than a bunch of thoughts gathered together.

  32. You are both inventing new definitions and excuses to try to wriggle out of a basically indefensible situation.

    ahaMkAra is a function or element of the mind. If you have a mind, you have an ahaMkAra, which may be very pronounced in most but is clearly very refined in a j~nAnI. Please Ramesam, if you have shruti or Shankara references which interpret ahaMkAra in the manner that you understand is meant by Yoga Vasishtha, quote them. I am not prepared to accept post-Sureshvara reintepretations of fundamental concepts in Advaita.

    The belief or knowledge that ‘I am Brahman’ is still a thought in a mind. What else could it be? Brahman does not say or think ‘I am Brahman’! So, even Shankara, saying this with certainty, is doing so via the usual mechanisms of a body-mind. Even though, in reality, it is only an appearance in a mithyA world, this is how it is.

    And of course it is the person who attains Self-realization. Who else could it be? Brahman does not need to be liberated! It is the mind of the person now knowing that who-I-really-am is not this mind, despite the fact that the real-I will continue to animate this body-mind until it drops.

    Venkat – you are confusing mithyA and asat. It is unfortunatley true that asat is occasionally used when mithyA is meant but pedantically the two are quite different. The son of a barren woman is asat because it is an impossibility and no one could ever think otherwise. The person on the other hand is a self-evident fact in everyday life for those who are only aware of empirical existence. So please do not conflate the two.

    As for the (non-)actor, I suggest you study Bhagavad Gita 5.8-9 etc, on this. It is basic teaching in Advaita that ‘I’ the ’embodied Self’ do not act, whether you say that it is prakRRiti or the guNa-s that act, or provide some other (less Sankyhya-influenced) explanation.

  33. Dear Dennis,

    Thanks for that clarification of your position.
    In order to be able to respond intelligently and intelligibly, let me make sure that I understand correctly what you say.

    1. Your Stance: “I am not prepared to accept post-Sureshvara reinterpretations of fundamental concepts in Advaita.”

    That is exactly and precisely the stand Shri Swami Sacchidanandendra Saraswati (SSSS) takes. Therefore, what SSSS teaches should be acceptable to you. Our own in-house Expert on SSSS is Martin. I request Martin, if he has time and is reading this thread, to kindly let us know what SSSS says on the subject matter of this thread in general and on the specific point raised here.

    2. Your hypothesis: “And of course it is the person who attains Self-realization.”

    In other words, you say that there is a real entity called a “person” in the apparent world and he moves from being ‘not-brahman’ to being a person-brahman.

    You avow to strictly adhere to bhAShyakAra and vRittikakAra. Will you please cite the exact reference from prasthAna trayI where Shankara says so (i.e. in support of your hypothesis quoted above)?

    You may add it to the nine pending citations from you (vide the Comment of Oct 31, 2020).

    No explanations are needed and just the citations are enough for us so that we can study and educate and enlighten ourselves.

    With this you score the perfect 10 for the still pending citations from you.

    regards,

  34. Dennis I partially agree with you! Brahman does not need liberation. But then mind also is not the answer since it is inert.
    But then who is liberated?
    I am quoting from BS Bhashya by Gambhiranand.
    “It is the soul that that is the subject of transmigration, the agent of action, the being that strives for release and eventually gains it (T M Mahavevan Intro for BS Bhasya by Gambhirananda). And BS 2.3.50 says “It is understood that individual soul is a reflection of the supreme self like the semblance of sun in water. Not that the soul id self nor is it something else………. And since a false appearance is creation of ignorance, it is logical that the transmigratory state centering around that appearance must also be creation of ignorance, and hence the instruction is logically proper that the identity of the soul with Brahman is attained by eradicating that appearance”.
    So how does one say who got liberated? Not Brahman, not mind then what ? The false appearance got eradicated is the only answer. But then Ramesam and Gaudapada both will say that it is only a figure of speech – there was never any bondage and there is no liberation!
    Vijay

  35. Thank you, Vijay! I will investigate that reference tomorrow. But it does seem as though you are answering Venkat and Ramesam for me.

    Of course there is no person in reality – there is only Brahman. (How many times do I have to repeat this – there is no disagreement!) And of course I agree with Gaudapada (and even Ramesam if he says so!) that there was never any bondage and no liberation IN REALITY.

    But all of this discussion as far as I have been concerned is about how it appears to be for the jIva seeking liberation. Hence it is about the status of this jIva and the world from an empirical perspective. How it is prior to enlightenment and how it is after. This is what the arguing has been about (and continues to be)!

    Ramesam as usual is trying to interpret what I am saying in the most crass way possible. I have never said that “there is a real entity called a ‘person’ in the apparent world and he moves from being ‘not-brahman’ to being a person-brahman.” The person is just as much mithyA as the world, both before and after realization. And he/she is ALWAYS Brahman, before, during and after realization. The difference after is that it is known in the mind that ‘I am Brahman’. (And of course Ramesam knows that this is what I understand, since I have repeated it often enough!)

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

    • Dear Dennis:
      You say:
      —————–
      “But all of this discussion as far as I have been concerned is about how it appears to be for the jIva seeking liberation. Hence it is about the status of this jIva and the world from an empirical perspective. How it is prior to enlightenment and how it is after. This is what the arguing has been about (and continues to be)!…
      ( then towards the end of the next para, you say)…The difference after is that it is known in the mind that ‘I am Brahman’.”
      ——————-
      I am in full agreement with the beginning of your quote above, but the last sentence with that seemingly facile phrase – “known in the mind that ‘I am Brahman’ ” – encroaches into the paramartha level and professes to “know” the Nirguna Brahman, which is a BIG BLANK…oops?!!
      ———————–
      PrArabdhA reigns supreme, though I think of it as the chain of causation reaching backwards (!) to God knows where, either the Big Bang or an eternal cycle. That is the empirical level the jIva knows, and cause-effect reigns supreme, is my firm opinion.

  36. Dear Vijay,

    Thank your for your observation.
    As far as I see, we all know that Dennis is highly knowledgeable and a committed Advaitin. We all love and respect him for that. He is also very large hearted to fund and maintain this site providing an opportunity for all of us to meet here. We always remember and thank him for that. Our dispute, however, is about his upholding and trying to defend a basically indefensible model of liberation, perhaps acquired by him from some Swamis.

    regards,

  37. Ramesam. Thanks for the clarification. I (and many of us) have a lot of respect for both of you. A lot comes out of this churning for sadhakas like me. Sometimes, I have hard time understanding the precise differences and stating your positions clearly will help students like us even though you two know where each one is coming from. A little patience from us also is required like in case of this posting. This is a very valuable site for many i know and they do follow though they may not contribute. With this pandemic locking us, many like me may come back I hope

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