[Advaita-l] Cotard Syndrome and Brahman Realisation

Ramesh Krishnamurthy rkmurthy at gmail.com
Wed Jun 6 04:29:20 CDT 2012

On 5 June 2012 22:20, Rajaram Venkataramani <rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:
> main difference will be that these changes will be accompanied not by
> sorrow as in the case of these syndromes but an experience of bliss because
> of the repeated tuning of the mind to experience bliss from inside rather
> than outside.

This is a total misunderstanding of Atmaj~nAna. Atmaj~nAna is not
about "experiencing bliss from inside" or anything to that effect. It
is about giving up all notions of "I am such and such" while at the
same time understanding that "I am the invariable in all experiences
whether blissful or sorrowful". sarvAtmabhAva has to be understood
properly. The Ananda that the vedAntin talks about is not experiential
or objectifiable Ananda. In empirical terms, the Atmaj~nAnI may
experience both sorrow and bliss but he identifies with neither, as
the AtmA's "experiencer" status is itself dismissed as mithyA.

I read about Cotard's syndrome on the Web. It is not even remotely
similar to Atmaj~nAna. A victim of Cotard's syndrome may consider
himself "dead" but that itself shows an identification with the body.
Saying "I am not the body/mind" or "I am not limited by the body/mind"
is vastly different from saying "I am dead". adhyAsa is inoperative in
the former but operative in the latter.

I have read some of VS Ramachandran's works and generally appreciate
his research. Please note that his usage of the term "self" is
different from the sense in which the term "AtmA" (usually translated
as "self") is used in advaita-vedAnta. Ramachandran's 'self' is
essentially about individuality and is better described as ahaMkAra or
pramAtA in the vedAntic context.

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