The problem with the human mind

Harry Fleenor hfleenor at BEACHNET.GEN.CA.US
Tue Aug 6 22:56:35 CDT 1996

Hello Gummuluru Murthy,

You wrote,
>          Subject: The problem with the human mind
>          The worldly I is used here, this being the Parabrahman that resides
>          in  me + all the upadhis that were added on to become the worldly
>          I.
>          Human mind is an amazing thing and has been recognized as such.
>          People marvel at its complex structure, its capacity to retain
>          information, the logical way in which it works and its amazing
>          power of recall.  While agreeing with this assessment, I submit that
>          the sense in which the mind is directed is a direct cause for our
>          ajnana (avidya, nescience) and for our not recognizing that the
>          Atman and Nirguna Brahman are one and the same.
>          I feel that the sense of direction of the mind is the biggest
> hindrance
>          in our not recognizing the Self. As Sadananda pointed out in his
>          posting two weeks ago [Re: Desire for salvation (Re: who am I ?)],
>          even when one sits at the meditation seat for contemplation on the
>          Self, the mind sometimes wanders. I assume this is partly because
>          our sense-organs are directed outward rather than inward, and the
>          perceptions of the outside world picked up by the sense-organs are
>          collected by the mind. While the sense-organs and the mind explore
>          the outside world, the I, the Paramatma, the Nirguna Brahman is
>          inside us, willing and ready to be known. That is not to say, that
>          Nirguna Brahman is not all-pervading, but the tendency of the mind
>          (which is a product of mAya) is to see the world which is also a
>          product of mAya. Thus the mind and the sense-organs, with their
>          outward direction, inhibit the Self-enquiry, except only in a
>          few who have the control of the mind.  If only the mind is directed
>          inward ! Sri Sankara in Sivanandalaharii [verse 20] implores Lord
>          Siva to accept Sankara's mind [hR^dayakapimatyantachapalam] as a
>          gift and tie it down tightly under Lord Siva's control. Unless the
>          mind and the sense-organs  are inward-directed, there can be no
>          knowing of the Self. Is this one of the reasons why Self-enquiry and
>          the recognition of the sameness of Atman and Nirguna Brahman is
>          so difficult ?

Self enquiry is not the only way to realize the Self it is one way for
some who are addicted to intellectualizing and even this has to be given
up before the jewel is won.
When you are doing your self enquiry meditation each day , don't be upset
if thoughts intrude just keep going back to the question "who am I".
eventually you will feel a joy inside along with the feeling "I am!"
when you get this feeling even faintly, hold on to it. When the thoughts
come try to feel that joyous "I am!" in the background then gently
bring yourself back to this feeling only. Even the question "Who am I" will
then dissolve.

>          I have another related question to the learned members of the
>          Group.  What about mentally-challenged humans (for e.g. people
>          with Down's syndrome or other what we call "mental disorders") ?
>          Are they also under the influence of mAya? How difficult is it for
>          them for Self-realization? We do not know about their
>          Self-Realization, but they might not have been  deluded or
>          mesmerized by mAya. In that, they may have an advantage. Am I
>          correct in this thinking? Is their mind at peace or is there a
> conflict
>          going in their minds also?
>          The people who believe in karma-siddhAnta lament about such
>          persons  "The person  (with "mental disorder" is "born" that way as
>          a result of his/her previous karma". I question that concept,
>          particularly lamenting about them. The person whom we label
>           as with "mental disorder" does not feel anything. If  at all, he/she
>          will not feel the worldly what we call "pleasures" and so much good
>          for that person.
>          These questions arise only in a world created by mAya
>          [mAya-kalpita desa kAla kalanAvychitra citrIkR^tam as Sri
>          Sankara put it so well in DakshiNamurthy stOtra]. In the
>          framework of ultimate Reality of the Nirguna Brahman,
>          these questions are mute. The worldly I likes to put these sentences
>          to keep reminding myself that we are indeed in a world created by
>          mAya. I would like to see any thought in two frameworks, one
>          attached to the illusory world, and the other attached to
>          ParamAtma. I do hope that learned members of the Group do not
>          get annoyed by seeing these two sentences at the end of each of the
>          postings.

It seems that you are answering your own questions and since none of
the "learned members of the Group" have answered - - ;( There are really
no Advaitins or Advaitists, as by definition these are they who "believe"
in nonduality. Being an Advaitin or a member of a group cancels their

As for people with "mental disorders",
We need not worry about these people because we know *all are one*.
There are not two.
The best thing you can do for them right now is to realize your
own true nature then the light will spread even to them.

hfleenor at (Harry Fleenor)

We are all *knowing, being and joyously reveling* in our own true nature!
>From ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU Wed Aug  7 00:21:18 1996
Message-Id: <WED.7.AUG.1996.002118.0500.ADVAITAL at TAMU.EDU>
Date: Wed, 7 Aug 1996 00:21:18 -0500
Reply-To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
To: "Advaita (non-duality) with reverence" <ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU>
From: Sankar Jayanarayanan <kartik at ENG.AUBURN.EDU>
Subject: Re: Questions on History of Advaita
Comments: To: ADVAITA-L at TAMU.EDU

Vidya wrote:

> On Tue, 6 Aug 1996, Sankar Jayanarayanan wrote:
> > 1) Were Shankara's original compositions "written" ? If so, are the original
> >    books preserved now? Or were his Bhashyas transmitted by word of mouth
>  only?
> The main method of learning the bhAshyas must have been through word of
> mouth, but they were definitely written down. If we take into
> consideration that they seem to have been available to people like
> bhAskara, rAmAnuja etc., without their having studied at the premier
> advaita monasteries, we have to assume that Sankara's bhAshyas became
> widespread as written manuscripts.

Actually, I wanted to know about the "original books", i.e, written by
Shankara himself, in his own handwriting. Are these preserved somewhere?
For that matter, is any material object at all concerning Shankara's life

How were his biographies written? Vidyaranya located Shankara's birth place as
Kaladi. Did he locate it by his yogic powers? Is this accepted by modern

Moreover, Shankara's mother tongue must have been Tamil, since Malayalam
evolved as a distinct language sometime later. Why did he not compose any poems
or write any books in Tamil? Did he acknowledge the authority of Tamil
scriptures like ThirukkuraL or was he at least aware of their existence?

About scriptures like the Mahabharata: were the shlokas written on palm
leaves? It must have been quite a difficult task for someone to copy it down
- without mistakes - from another existing manuscript!

> > 3) Were there different branches of Vedanta like "advaita",
>  "vishishhTaadvaita"
> >    etc. before or during Buddha's time? If so what were they?
> >
> That is a slightly problematic question. There are pre-Sankaran schools
> of vedAnta, most of which are some form or the other of bhedAbheda. It is
> difficult to say whether there were different vedAnta schools before the
> time of the Buddha. To my knowledge, there are no historically verifiable
> references to vedAnta prior to the Buddha's own time. A lot of the

In one biography of Buddha that I read, Buddha is said to have listened to
discourses on Atman and Brahman by a reputed scholar and then disagreed with
that philosophical view.

Speaking of abhedabheda, does Shankara clearly distinguish between Vyavaharika
and Paramarthika Satya or is that a later development in advaita? I read an
article on Bhaskara and found that his philosophy was close to the "advaita"
that I know, which deals with "two realities". In fact, introducing two truths
as Vyavahara and Paramartha seems closer to abhedabheda, which emphasizes both
difference and non-difference, while advaita places emphasis only on

> S. Vidyasankar


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