Still Confusion regarding Shankaras co
egodust at DIGITAL.NET
Sat Jan 25 15:59:44 CST 1997
Dennis Waite wrote:
> Thanks to Anand and Frank for their responses to my query but I still do not
> understand. Perhaps I didn't make my problem sufficiently clear. Sankara
> seems to be saying that, when one sees a pot and says that it exists, there
> are two sorts of consciousness acting, one which is conscious of the pot and
> one which is conscious of existence. Now whilst I am perfectly happy with
> the idea of an eternal existence and a transitory object (which is just name
> and form imposed upon that eternal existence), I do not understand why the
> consciousness of those two things should be different. Indeed I would have
> said it is the same consciousness (there *is* only one).
> Furthermore, the example itself does not seem to make sense. Anand's
> rephrasing brings this out more strongly. When I say 'this is a pot' I do
> not believe I am referring to two things at all. The phrase 'this is a' is
> not a thing at all; it is merely a verbal construction to replace the act of
> pointing. If we were all present at this observation, I could simply point
> at the object, uttering the word 'pot' and this would convey all of my
> meaning. I think Sankara's wording of 'a pot existant' just confuses the
> issue. The word existant does not really convey any meaning at all. After
> all, the so-called pot could actually be a hologram and, if we were to
> approach it and try to pick it up, we would find nothing 'existing' at all.
> (I realise the last sentence is a red herring but couldn't resist it!)
If we make an inquiry into the nature of the pot, we'd realize that it
is the entire universe. Buddha illustrated this by holding up a clay cup
of water and then emptying it. He then asked if there was water in the
cup. The disciples said it was empty of water. He advised them to look
further into its nature. He said not only was it full of water, but also
contained the earth, sun, the tools to make it, the stone that went into
the factory that made the tools, the ancestors of the quarrymen, etc.
Then, as we inquire further into its nature, we'd come to realize it is
simultaneously transcendent. Your "red herring" allusion to it being a
holograph devoid of anything "objective" in existence is exactly what the
inquiry reveals. This is what's meant by the sages proclaiming that the
world "disappears" in jnanadrishti (wisdom's "transcendental" perception):
our ordinarily specialized focus on Particulars metamorphs into the
*whiteout* of the all-engulfing Brahman.
So that, in jnana, there is simply one consciousness; here the aspect of
the name/form becomes a non-consideration. The very question regarding
how or why it seems to exist is invariably dissolved by the inquiry. The
stubborn refusal of the logical Mind to accept this is due to its inability
to remain settled in its source of consciousness in the Heart (cidakasa).
The inquiry--especially the Self-inquiry--has to be continuously applied.
Why? Because the Mind's capacity to deceive is infinite. And our only
hope for an effective counterattack entails getting at its root thought
(breeder-reactor of *all* thoughts): the 'I'-thought; and, seeing that
such thought has no separative reality apart from its substratum Absolute
(Brahman), it retreats into its source like a drop resolving into ocean.
We're told there are two ways of accomplishing this: either by devotional
surrender of the 'I' (parabhakthi marga) or hunting down the truth of the
source of 'I' by asking "Who am I?" (jnana marga). The final result is
atmanishthanithyamounananda (the eternal silence of the true Self in bliss).
Thoughts are the very Self. Following their *isolated dictations* is the
chaotic journey of maya...this is the difference between dvaita and advaita.
"Who am I apart from Thee?"
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