[Advaita-l] The Jnani's feeling of physical pain

Vidyasankar Sundaresan svidyasankar at hotmail.com
Wed Sep 22 10:47:23 CDT 2010

> Hari Om Shri Vidyasankarji, Pranaams!
> The body breathes, sees, touches, etc., and the normal functions of the 
> prakrti are said to be superimposed on the Self the Atman which is not 
> acting.
> Why should one fix a nose to a jnAni just because the body is breathing, 
> cover it with a skin because the body react to touch etc., is the point in 
> question.

Again, to me, the answer is very simple. When the texts say, "jnAnI" or
"jIvanmukta" the reference is to a specific complex of the kArya-kAraNa-
saMghAta which form the body, mind, senses and breaths, which embody
the AtmA that has realized itself as brahman. We are not talking of the 
disembodied Atman alone, otherwise it is meaningless to even talk of
jIvanmukti and of jnAna arising in the mind of the jnAnI.
When people say that because brahmavid brahmaiva bhavati, the references
to body, mind and senses of the jnAnI in the advaita texts actually refer to
brahman, they are seriously mistaken. When people say that all these are
projected on to the jnAnI by surrounding ajnAnI-s, they are also seriously
mistaken. That is the core point that Sri Subrahmanian has been making,
if I understand him right. As he can respond on his own, I will withdraw at
this point after making just one more comment.
You will notice that all those who hold on to one of the two positions I've
listed above think that they are upholding the advaita-hood of brahman better
than others. However, note that they have to either invoke something else,
e.g. "Grace", thereby breaking the non-duality of brahman, or they have to
posit the presence of ajnAnI-s, again breaking non-duality. 
They talk of a dream tiger roaring rousing the dreamer from the dream and
correctly point out that the tiger does not have to be real in the waking state
too. However, they fail to realize that the tiger is real enough within the
dreaming state. Within the dreaming state, the dreamer sees the tiger as a
separate being and does not know that it is an imagination. Similarly, as far
as any ajnAnI is concerned, the body, mind and senses of the jnAnI should be
considered real enough and separate from the ajnAnI. Nobody who calls himself
an ajnAnI can legitimately say that the jnAnI and his body and his mind are all
projected through the imagination of the ajnAnI. It is the very height of ajnAna
to say so and it is even more folly to selectively quote Sruti and bhAshya in
the process.
The correct view is that the continued operation of the jnAnI in vyavahAra is due
to the of prArabdha karma-phala, which exhausts itself of its own course, and that
the jnAnI can thereby operate in vyavahAra as before while abiding in paramArtha.
If this has to bring in the dreaded notions of saMskAra-s and vAsanA-s and they 
therefore want to avoid it, they are clearly parting company from Sankara, no 
matter how much and how loudly they proclaim to be upholding his teaching.

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