[Advaita-l] Analysis of The Mind-1

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 19 20:00:07 CST 2007

             Analysis of The Mind-1

Introduction: Mind has been the subject of analysis
both by psychologists as well as philosophers.  There
are books and books dealing with the mind, trying to
unravel the mysteries of the mind.  Here I present my
understanding, examining the mind from various angels
along with how Vedanta looks at the mind. Those who
are exposed to J. Krishnamurthy’s lectures are
familiar with his statement that one’s ‘mind is
conditioned’ by one’s culture, tradition, religion,
up-bringing or, so to say parental or society’s
‘brain-washing’. One is a believer or non-believer,
Hindu, Muslim, Christian or any other denomination,
one is a dvaitin, advaitin, or vishiShTaadvaitin,
either by default or by choice,  all is due to one’s
mental conditionings brought out by where, when or to
whom he is born, and the environment or surroundings
he grow up. There is no truth in any of these
conditionings, since they are conditionings that take
one away from the truth. The mind gets cocooned in a
shell or move from one shell to the other. Even if one
makes a choice of selecting a path or system to
follow, say, advaita philosophy, even that choice is
influenced by the value system that is grown out of
some conditioning. Subjectivity gets involved in and
through conditioning. My beliefs or my conditionings
become integral part of ‘i’, the individual. All
systems of philosophies that essentially relay on
‘belief’ systems will eventually lead to
reconditioning of the mind. The biggest problem that
arises as a result of conditioning is that pure
knowledge cannot takes place in a conditioned state of
mind – mind is not free to learn. Mind can learn only
when it surrenders all its beliefs. 
The essence of this teaching is ‘any process used to
uncondition the mind, itself conditions the mind’,
since there cannot be any ‘process’ that is free from
conditioning. Hence Krishnamurthy declares ‘truth is a
path-less land’. Truth is not a belief; it is a fact.
– Hence his famous statement – ‘truth is not an
understanding as an understanding as thought, but an
understanding as an understanding as a fact’. In other
words, ‘truth’ is not conceptualization as a thought,
but need to be assimilated as a fact.  Let me
illustrate this by a simple example. If I say ‘I am
man and not a dog or horse or a floor mat to step on’
– is this a thought or a concept or an ‘idea’ that I
have to repeat many times until it sinks into my
belief system? – It is the truth, whether I belief it
or not- is it not? That is the understanding as a fact
and not a thought.  Once understood, there will never
be a confusion regarding my identity as a man.  

Science deals with facts or truths and therefore do
not relay on ‘beliefs’; even it questions the basis
for beliefs. It is purely objective and therefore
independent of whether one believes it or not. No
physics teacher need to come or will come to my house
on Sunday mornings, like some of religious fanatics
do, to say that I should belief in Newton’s laws of
motion, otherwise I will go to eternal hell.
Scientific facts are revealed though deductive or
inductive reasoning based on observed experimental
data.  Here we are dealing with objectifiable facts
that are distinct from the subject, who is
investigating. Scientific truths are verifiable by
controlled experimentation.  

However, philosophies as well as religions are
concerned with the ultimate truth that cannot be
objectively verifiable. For example, the existence of
heaven or hell or is there life after death or life
before the birth, is there a God who is the ruler of
this world, etc, can not be established by objective
experimentation. Objective scientific investigation
that relays on perception and inference as the basis
for establishing scientific truths, cannot be relayed
upon to establish the ultimate truth.  Hence ‘truth is
a pathless land’ sounds good to be true. In addition,
that ‘any truth that is established based on
conditioned mind cannot necessarily be true’ is also
understandable. How to discover this ultimate truth,
using the mind that is free from any conditioning? 
That ‘how’ question itself becomes invalid, if one is
seeking a methodology to discover that truth that is

‘That the truth is pathless land’ can be true only if
that truth is absolute and infinite and not relative.
There cannot be any path for the infinite. Infinite
includes all paths and cannot be reached by any path. 
Hence Vedanta calls the truth as
‘agraahyam(incomprehensible), adRiShTam(impercetable),
avyapadesyam (indescribable),
avyavahaaryam(non-transactable), achintyam
(unthinkable), aparameyam (unknowable), etc’.
Examples, such as removing a thorn by a thorn or
removing the poison in the body by controlled
medicine, which by itself is harmful for the body,
etc., are provided to show how unconditioning of the
mind can occur with proper saadhana or process, which
is nothing but a judicious controlled conditioning.  
If the truth cannot be known by any means, since all
means are finite, then it must be self-revealing and
self-existing entity.  However, from Vedanta
perspective, even though the truth is self-evident,
and self-revealing, conditioned mind cannot recognize
the truth due to its conditioning.  Therefore the mind
should be processed or prepared to ‘absorb’ that
revelation.  A ‘Hare-Krishna’ devotee remarked,
‘brains need to be brain-washed, since it is muddled
with wrong concepts, which obstructs the freedom of
the mind’.  However that processes that cleanses and
purifies the mind should be such that it should free
the mind rather than recondition it.  It should not
take the mind from ‘iron shackles to gold shackles’. 
In essence, the process that unconditions the mind
should be self-destructive without conditioning the
mind again by that very process. In addition, if the
truth is infinite and absolute, the mind that
discovers the truth cannot itself be away from the
truth, since nothing can be away from the
absolute-infinite. That is, mind itself should be part
of the truth, since truth being infinite cannot
exclude anything. Finally, infinite cannot be made of
parts (infinite plus, minus infinite is infinite
only).  Therefore, mind cannot be part of the infinite
either.  Thus we have a peculiar situation, where mind
need to discover the truth, and that truth cannot be
discovered by any means since it is not an ‘object’,
for discovery, conceptually or other wise, and
therefore cannot become a subject of discovery.  In
addition, since the mind being part of the truth which
has no parts, the very realization of the truth should
dissolve the notion of separateness of the mind from
the truth. Hence the truth is sometime called ‘of
transcendental nature’ implying that it is not of the
kind that objective scientists are familiar. 

Hence, the realization of the truth involves a
delicate process of unconditioning the mind which is
called ‘yoga’, requiring a guide or a teacher or guru
(gu stands of ignorance and ru stands for the one who
removes), as emphasized by Vedanta. It is well
accepted that a guide is required to do advanced
research in any field of science. It is therefore
understandable why Vedanta insists a guidance by a
teacher who is well qualified.  Qualifications
obviously require a teacher to be well established in
the truth (brahma niShTa), and also gone through the
mental discipline needed to guide the others to
proceed in the pathless path.  For insurance, Vedanta
insists on a particular time-tested methodology
(called sampradaayam, a system of teaching) so that
process of unconditioning the mind occurs slowly in
steps without getting locked up in the process itself.
 This is technically called as adhyaaropa apavaada,
adhyaaropa is the conditionings of the mind and
apavaada involves deconditioning the mind in stages.
Conditions or adhyaaropa are superimposions that
distract the mind from seeing the truth as the truth. 
Since a student comes with pre-conceived notions (or
conditioned mind), the teaching involves removal of
those notions (deconditioning) in steps. When the mind
is pure, the self-evident and self-existing truth gets
self-revealed.  Not only the truth is the pathless
land, as Krishnamurthy declared, Vedanta goes even one
step further to indicate that the self-existent
self-conscious and infinite entity is nothing but your
own self, where the seeker and the sought or the
subject and the object merge into one infinite
existent-conscious entity. That is nirvana, that is
liberation, that is moksha, this is the Kingdom of
Heaven in ones own heart, and that is what all the
religions sing and glorify in various ways and is the
absolute freedom from all limitations and therefore
infinite eternal happiness that one is longing for,
consciously or unconsciously, through various pursuits
in life, whether religious or irreligious, whether
holy or unholy.  In essence, human mind is always
seeking freedom from limitations, always wanting and
desiring to reach that infinite absolute happiness,
without knowing that it cannot be gained by any path
or pursuit. If one examines one’s mind carefully we
find that our wanting mind is not happy in having what
it wanted, since ‘the want to have more’ always
remains, however much one has. Thus it always wants to
want than wants to have.  That is the reflection of
the conditioned state of mind. 

The mind wants to be free from wanting and that desire
for eternal freedom is intrinsic or in born with the
mind. It cannot but seek that unlimited happiness and
it cannot find that by any seeking. Longing for
limitless freedom is inherent in all beings, but
expressed more vividly in the human form, where
‘conceptual thought’ has reached its pinnacle by
evolutionary process.  Thus three is a fundamental
human problem or dichotomy– he cannot but pursue a
path to gain absolute inexhaustible happiness or
freedom from all limitations, and he can never gain
that happiness through any pursuit, since it is a path
less land. This is where understanding the mind, its
conditioning and how to transcend that conditionings
so that the mind is ever free from all conditionings
become important and this forms the fundamental or
essential pursuits of human life. 

 It is interesting to note that any process of
unconditioning the mind, itself involves the mind or
mental activity. That is, mind itself conditions the
mind, and it is also capable of unconditioning itself.
 Hence, Vedanta says ‘mind is the problem and mind is
the solution’  (mana eva manushyaanaam kaaraNam bandha
mokshayOH – amRitabindu Up).  ‘How a mind be both the
problem as well as solution to the problem’ requires
both analysis of the problem and along with the
analysis of the mind that creates the problem. We
shall examine first the mind from various angles and
addresses the problem of its conditioning and solution
to uncondition itself to be free from its problems. 

Hari Om!

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