Ramakrishnan Balasubramanian rbalasub at ECN.PURDUE.EDU
Sun Aug 31 14:59:04 CDT 1997

Allan Curry wrote:

>concept? (ie. "tree" mistaken for the inconceivable, etc.)  Might Benjamin
>Radcliff be correct in asserting that the projective power of our own
>concepts *is* maya?

That would be putting the cart before the horse. mAyA is an empirical quantity
which is postulated to explain the day-to-day experiences. That is why it is
said mAyA is anirvachanIyam (indescribable) and neither real nor unreal.

The so called "concepts" are due to avidyA or mAyA and not the other way

The causal chain is this way:

|self (Atman)| -> (ego, viz the object portion in the consciousness I) ->
                  (intellect) -> (object of cognition, act of cognition)

The dotted lines around Atman illustrate the avidyA or mAyA which obscures the
true nature of the self. mAyA cannot obscure Atman completely and this is
apparent by the mANDUkya shruti's saying "ekAtmapratyaya sAram" or the valid
proof (of turIya) is that the single Atman exists in all three states. I have
tried to illustrate this fact by putting a dashed box around Atman! This causal
chain is given both in the gauDapAda kArikA and the upadeshasAhasrI.

shrI sha.nkara says in the upadeshasAhasrI that the object portion in the
consciousness "I" should be given up. Object portion means what is cognized, and
shrI gauDapAda has clearly shown that if anything is cognized it must be unreal
in the pAramArthika sense). shrI sha.nkara also adds that the leftover part in
the "I" after the object portion is rejected is what is meant in the statement
"aham brahmAsmi" or "I am brahman".


PS: I created this using the editor vi. Somehow the netscape mail screws things
up and puts dashes etc in different places, so the diagram might be a bit

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