[Advaita-l] Knowledge and the Means of Knowledge -6

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Fri Feb 22 05:56:57 CST 2008

(We are discussing perceptual knowledge as discussed in Vedanta ParibhASha by Dharmaraja
Adhvarindra, but in the way that I understand).

                     6. Internal perceptions

Internal perception:

Here we need to discuss how an internal perception occurs.  Under this topic, we are not
concerned here about the recollection from the memory as internal perception.  Internal
perception we mean is the knowledge of the mental moods – happy, unhappy, desire, anger,
fear etc that arise in the mind.  When I say I am happy – it is an experience and
knowledge that I am happy – When one is happy, the statement is immediate and direct –
one does not have to say – let me think whether I am happy or not, or let me meditate on
it to see if I am happy or look at some cause-effect relationship to deduce that I must
be happy for this reason. I am happy, I am unhappy, I feel bad, I am afraid, etc these
emotions are also mental moods which are immediately and directly illuminated by the
witnessing consciousness. Hence the mental mood – happy mood of the mind – is illumined
and the reflected limiting consciousness is cognized as I am conscious of the happy mood
of the mind.  ‘I am happy’ is not a recollection from memory although I can be happy by
recollecting some pleasurable experience happened in the past. However that recollection
of past experience can make me happy or even unhappy in the present. (Many people live in
the past, particularly if they are sorrowful experiences, by continuously recollecting
those experiences again and again like continuous re-runs on the TV – those we call as
attachments). The negative mental moods, anger, joulousy, sorrow, cause significant drain
of mental energies resulting in mental depressions and other neurotic problems. Some
times the root cause for these is desires or extreme dependency on something on things
and beings for their happiness or survival.  These, when they are unsatisfied, result in
frustrations and anger.  Mental depressions can occur when they have no control of their
minds or the control of the external situations.  Krishna gives how a mind can down the
drain starting from intense desire to anger to delusion causing loss of discriminative
power, etc.  

All vRittis that arise in the mind are immediately illuminated and the resulting
reflected consciousness from these is known.  That means we are conscious of them
immediately as they arise in the mind. It also follows that there cannot be a vRitti
without it being recognized immediately.  What that means is I cannot think or be happy,
unhappy or angry without my knowing it! Therefore all vRittis or mental moods are
illumined and reflected immediately by the ever present witnessing consciousness. 

A comment: Here we can raise the question whether ‘I am happy’, I am unhappy, I am angry,
etc are thoughts or mental moods separate from thoughts, although both are put under one
category as mental moods or vRittis.  From experience, we find that these vRittis are not
of ‘thought forms’, but just simple mental moods. 
Recently I had an extensive discussion with Swami Paramarthanadaji about three aspects
which are pertinent here. 1) Concerning vRitti – VRitti is a mental mood, and thought is
also a mental mood – hence translation of vRiiti as a thought is not inappropriate (note
the double negative). We have idam vRitti – thoughts about this and aham vRitti – ‘I am’
thought’.  vRitti is also a feeling which need not be expressed as thought, as
conceptualization of that feeling. Hence translation of vRitti as thought is difficult
here. – looks like it is as difficult as translating the feelings into thought forms!-
Hence sometimes it is better to stick to the words vRittis as mental moods or as
feelings, particularly when it comes to internal perceptions.  2) Second aspect I
discussed was about my statement – Existence of an object can be established only by the
knowledge of existence. Otherwise it is indeterminate.  Swamiji said that it is exactly
correct provided I clarify that it is the knowledge in the minds of some conscious
entity, which Shree Sastriji also endorsed. 3) Third about the biological time – From the
second item it follows that it has to be in the minds of some one that includes Iswara,
as well, as conscious entity. He agreed with my statement about vaiswaanara in the
operation of biological clocks.  Anyway these are clarifications from Shree Swamiji for
those who are interested.  In the present context, we are now dealing with feelings of
happiness, angry, etc. as mental moods. These need not be the same as thoughts involving
conceptualizations, but one can consider them as mental moods expressed as thoughts and
not after the fact thoughts. I would prefer to be called as just mental moods or
feelings, rather than thoughts of the feelings. 
 Hence, ‘I am happy’ as a thought is different from the mental mood of happiness. I
consider thought as a conceptualized entity while happy mood does not involve
conceptualization of that state. Similarly ‘I am angry’, ‘I am frustrated’ etc.  These
emotional moods are experienced directly and immediately.  Hence when I express my happy
state of my mind with a thought or vRitti as ‘I am happy’ thought, I am actually no more
happy, since I am now busy cognizing the thought than being happy.  VP says that mental
moods are known immediately as they rise in the mind – when we formulate those moods in
terms of thoughts, we are now describing the moods than cognizing the moods. Hence ‘I am
happy’ statement or thought is different from being in happy mood. Cognition of the mood
is different from the expression of the mood as thought and its cognition.  These
expressions are after the fact.  (This happens also when we cognize the object through
perception.  If there is jar in front and I see the jar, and cognize it as ‘Here is a
jar’.  That part is immediate.  This cognition can follow with, ‘I know here is a jar’,
which is an after the fact or cognition of the knowledge of cognition).  Hence when one
tries express the feelings in terms of thoughts, one fails. Words and thoughts cannot
express those feelings although words (some time facial or other bodily gestures) are
needed to express those feelings to others. In fact, in case of fear, etc., the body also
reacts to the feelings, in terms of adrenal reactions – high blood pressure, accelerated
heart beat, etc.  Thus, we can also state that mental moods of anger, jealousy,
frustration, etc., the negative moods cause perturbations in the mind as response to the
situations that are being faced. These mental perturbations will trickle down to
perturbations at the body level in terms of physical and/or chemical reactions.  On the
other hand, the positive emotions are mental moods that make the mind calm and quiet with
all mental perturbations become quiet, at least momentarily.  That results in apparent
perception of happiness that associated with my intrinsic nature, since I am ananda
swaruupa or of the nature of pure bliss, which is non-dual.  It appears from this that
the positive mental moods are actually more close to absence of normal mental moods since
under these conditions, the witnessing consciousness beams forth in its true glory –
which is felt as ‘I am happy’, etc. 

Expression of love is also similar wherein the duality ceases between lover and the
loved. The negative moods of hate, anger, etc take the mind away from myself, where
duality gets exemplified.  Fear arises from the second. Cognition of these mental moods
of happiness, unhappiness, anger, fear, etc., do not need to be expressed via thoughts. 
Hence internal cognition of the mental moods is direct and immediate cognition of the
mental states, when those states that arise in the mind. Similarly, the state of
realization, that is the realization of my original nature – I am – as sat-chit-ananda
swaruupa– is called akhanDa AkAra vRitti  - unbroken formless form of mental mood - here
again vRitti is not a thought form but similar to a mental mood involving unbroken
cognition of myself as the self that I am. It is not like other moods that come and go,
but this mood is a constant awareness of ever present self-illuminating consciousness
that I am– that intense feeling of self recognition is in the mind only. It is not
recognition of the reflected consciousness (as in reflected light) but cognition of the
original consciousness (as in original light in the room or sunlight) which is ever
present which is unrelated to any reflections that may or may not occur – that is stated
as akhanda AkAra vRitti in the mind, since that recognition is in the mind only like the
room light or sunlight falling in the room.  When that realization arises there is no
more feeling of understanding that I am the limiting reflected consciousness.  Here it is
not that there are no more vRittis that are getting reflected as limiting
consciousness(es). Those are cognized as such without the notion that ‘I am this’. That
is – the vRittis – this, this and this – are getting reflected as they rise in the mind,
but no more identification with those vRittis as I am this, since I have now realized
that I am the background ever present witnessing consciousness that I am, and not the
limiting reflecting consciousness ‘this’. Once I have known who I am and abide in that
knowledge of who I am, then, I can still take the role of ‘I am this’ for transactional
purposes, but with clear understanding of who I am.  That is, I am not the limiting
consciousness, as ‘I am this’ stands, but I am the limitless consciousness that I am,
which was referred to earlier as sAkshI chaitanyam or witnessing consciousness  in
relation to sAkshyam, witnessed limiting consciousness.  We can state that the difference
between state of realization and the state of ignorance is only this.  We have for all
our cognitions – the sAkshI, or the witnessing consciousness in whose light the mind and
its moods are being illumined and the reflected limiting consciousnesses from these
illuminations are cognized. When I am ignorant, that is, when I do not know my true
identity, I take myself as a constant reflecting limiting consciousness as ‘I am this’ –
where ‘this’ keeps changing as the reflecting limiting consciousness of the mental vRitti
changes with body, mind (including memory) and intellect thoughts. That identification of
I am with ‘this’, this being a reflected limiting consciousness is called EGO. With
changing ‘this’ my identification also shifts. In the state of realization, I recognize
that I am that akhanDa AkAra vRitti – a continuous original consciousness that I am and
not the reflecting consciousness that I used to think that I am. ‘I’ is still called
vRitti but unbroken vRitti since my attention is shifted from specific reflections to the
original general light of consciousness. The localized reflections and cognitions will
continue as part of the metal moods but my identification is now shifted from the
reflected limiting consciousness to that which is continuous ever present, the ever
shining original consciousness –which still illumines as before the moods that arise in
the mind.  Nothing has changed except for my shifting of my attention of who I am – I
used to think that I am reflected consciousness and now I realize that I am the original
consciousness.  Since the original consciousness is ever present, there is no confusion
in terms of understanding who that ‘I’ stands for.  It is like recognizing I am the
original light that is beaming all the time than the reflected light of the original
light from the vRittis or mental moods that still continue as before.  The contents of
the limiting vRittis may also change now since there is no more ego-centric desires and
their resulting thoughts.  All vRittis now will be centered towards the totality that I
am – that is that which benefits the totality that is vRittis are for loka kalyAnam. 

Actually the language fails to express properly the correct understanding, as the
scripture says the words return back.  From the point of ignorance, there is a knowledge
in the sense I now know who I am - therefore I do not take myself what I am not as I am.
The vRitti knowledge eleminates the ignorance of who I am - As Shankara say that is
during realization - kRitvaa jnaanam swayam nasyet - having eliminated the ignorace this
is also gets eliminated.  What it means it is no more like knowledge as a thought but
knowledge as a fact. Once I shift myself from what I think I am to what I am, the
knowledge or self knowledge is 'I am' period without any qualification of this. Bhagavan
Ramana says - aham aham taya - I am - I am- etc spontaneously rising in one's mind - 
that is pure knowledge that we discussed earlier - which is also expressed as akhanda
aakaara vRitti. Better to leave it with, than try to explain anymore with words.

Hari Om!

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