[Advaita-l] Locus of feeling in Advaita
Siva Senani Nori
sivasenani at yahoo.com
Wed Jul 19 02:47:50 CDT 2006
Interesting mind game! Let me think aloud. My body is a collection of the atoms of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, phosphorous, calcium, sodium, potassium and so on. In other words it is inanimate. Yet it moves, seemingly without an external force. Obviously it would not if 'I' were to 'die'. So 'my' Atman is pervading the body and animates the whole thing. But since Atman is one why does it not move 'somebody else's' body?
I recollect a similar discussion. Once I was driving my Guruji to a veda pAthaSAla where his son was the teacher. Early in the morning, on an empty road, we were travelling a bit on the faster side. He asked me how I was able to control the car at 100 kmph or thereabouts, which is maybe 10, 20 times the normal speed that the body is built for. I said, it is all reflex action and that I cannot explain it any further. He suggested that at that moment I am spread all over the car, my body were extended so to speak, and I control it in the same way that I control my body. That immediately appealed to me: we do refer to a nose of the car, and to the back of the car (in Telugu, the expression is rather more colourful) and do figuratively refer to the vehicle being an extension of the body. Even as I contemplated, he then said: "we should think of the human body as the car, and the driver as the Atman. The Atman pervades the body even as you extend to the whole of this car."
(This is in some aspects similar to the e famous analogy of the chariot, the charioteer etc. which occurs in both Upanishads and Gita.)
To come back to Ursekarji's question, whether the locus of feelings be Atman or manas, it cannot be argued that Atman should pervade all bodies since it is but one. This is an issue of definition, and so it must be understood that the influence of Atman in the vyAvahArika world is limited to one body, much like the influence of the 'strong force' is, by definition, limited to the atomic scale.
Mahesh Ursekar <mahesh.ursekar at gmail.com> wrote:
Can somebody let me know the Advaitic view on the locus of fleeling e.g. of
pleasure and pain?
Most authors assign it to the mind. But, I am facing the following problem
with this allocation:
The mind is constituted of the three elements of sattva, rajas and tamas and
hence is essentially inanimate. How can one subscribe feelings to it? For
feelings, conciousness is necessary and consciousness is the essence of
Atman. But if we set the locus of feelings as the Atman, then everyone
should be aware of everybody else's feelings since Atman is one!
Can someone help?
Thanks in advance, Mahesh
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