[Advaita-l] Cotard Syndrome and Brahman Realisation

rajaramvenk at gmail.com rajaramvenk at gmail.com
Mon Jun 11 09:04:49 CDT 2012

When I say the sukshuma sarira survives death and functions "normally", I obviously don't say it continues to control sthula sarira. By normal functioning I mean the sense if self (ahankara), taking decisions (buddhi), feeling (manas) and seeing etc. (indriyas). According to mainstream modern science, there is no sukshuma sarira. The sense of the self etc. are products of the brain function. Roger Penrose accepts this position but argues that brain function has to be understood using new higher order mathematics because it is complex. Ian Stevenson and his successor challenge this position by documenting cases of reincarnation. They are also offering theories physical mechanisms by which the personality (read sthula sarira) can survive death. I am all for a healthy dose of scientific scepticism but if living beings have two parts (gross and subtle) to it, I would like scientific research to focus on both. 

The question is not about the attitude of the jnani. We are talking about a situation where he has become insane after attaining jnanam. His manas and buddhi have lost their concentration and discrimination. With what does the jnani see in a detached manner? 
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-----Original Message-----
From: Vidyasankar Sundaresan <svidyasankar at hotmail.com>
Sender: advaita-l-bounces at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Date: Mon, 11 Jun 2012 05:49:45 
To: <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Reply-To: A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta
	<advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Cotard Syndrome and Brahman Realisation

> > Sukshma sarira does not function normally in absence of sthula sarira
> > because the instruments of bhoga are not present. You may equate it with a
> > state of something like dream where organs of action are not available.
> RV: The entire set of karmas done after a person dies are on the belief or
> knowledge that sukshuma sarira functions normally including distinguishing
> between salted and unwanted food. It just loses its control to act on the
> sthula sarira any more.

Funeral karma-s are predicated on the belief that sUkshma SarIra continues
to function after death. The normality of such functioning is not a given. By
definition, "normal functioning" of sUkshma SarIra pertains to its control over
the sthUla SarIra. Having lost that control with death, the functioning of the
sUkshma SarIra can by no means be said to be quite normal. 
> > > It even carries memories from one life to another.
> > Memories are not carried from one life to another normally.We start with a
> > clean slate. It is a rare/ abnormal phenomena of memories of past lives
> > being remembered.
> RV: Yes. It is the ability to carry memories which shows that memory is not
> an outcome of brain function. It is an essential attribute of the mind.
> The ability carry memory in out of body experiences is also an argument in
> favour of sthula sarira being fully functional.

I think you mean "sUkshma SarIra being fully functional."
As far as science is concerned, I would advise a healthy dose of skepticism 
about the accounts of memories from past lives and out of body experiences
that are in vogue today.
Speaking as an advaitin, I would advise paying attention to the fact that a 
number of terms are used in Sanskrit, all of which get lumped into the
word "mind" when using English. manas is only one of these words. Other
important terms are antaHkaraNa, citta and buddhi, the last of which is
traditionally associated with brain activity (when people say buddhi, they
typically point to the head, not the heart).
> >
> > Sakshi sees even better because it sees a bigger picture. I repeat
> > indriyas are not required for sakshi to see because it sees by its own
> > light.
> RV: We both agree that sakshi knows though we differ on whether he sees,
> hears etc. What is important is how does a Jnani see his (mal)functioning
> mind?

By saying the above, you are coming back to a live sthUla SarIra, not a loose
sUkshma SarIra that is independent of the gross physical body. Whether a
mind is functioning or malfunctioning as per conventional norms, if it is
housed in the body of a jnAnI, then the jnAnI sees it like everything else,
as a disinterested witness. Otherwise, the said person is not a jnAnI.
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