[Advaita-l] Cotard Syndrome and Brahman Realisation

V Subrahmanian v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Mon Jun 11 20:39:39 CDT 2012

There may be several levels, intensities, of mental / brain dysfunction.
Even, for instance, when a person is said to be in a state of coma,
clinically, the inviolable rule of the process of a jiva shedding one body
and going to take on another one, described in the Br.Up. can be an
indicator to answer this question you have raised.  There, the Upanishad
says, to that jiva, at that moment of actual leaving, there is a flash of
buddhi, where he is 'made known' about the nature of his next bodily life.
The example given is that of a leach while leaving one leaf and going to
the next, first puts a part of its body on the next leaf and then only
leaves the other one.  This is not the analogy for how he comes to be
'aware' of the next body, but only for the transition/transmigration.  So,
while the person may be clinically in coma, the rule of this flash of
buddhi and the person becoming aware of it is unquestionable.  Those near
him during that moment might never know what has transpired inside him but
the fact, according to the Upanishad, is that he becomes aware of that next
life, even as a matter of indication, and then only leaves this body.

One can say that even when according to the outside world of science while
he is incapable of mental functions, such a mental function does and can
take place.  As I had said earlier, the Jnani of an extremely high order,
can become aware of the so called aberrations of the mind and its
expression through his bodily behaviour.  To the question, 'why then does
he  not take remedial action'? we cannot answer.  He may choose to leave it
like that or he might be aware, again, that it is impossible to remedy the
situation.  Again the play of prarabdha is also an important element in
this.  I can relate one incident, that can be a guiding one, for the above

'The Crest Jewel of Yogis' authored by a Jnani-Yogi Sri R.M.Umesh on the
Life and teachings of the jivanmukta-Yogi Acharya HH Jagadguru Sri Abhinava
Vidyateertha SwaminaH of Sringeri, reports:

//When a morphine injection was administered to Acharyal for an anginal
problem, even as He was going into the state of unconsciousness, in extreme
pain, in a state of delirium, He lisped a verse of Shankaracharya:  Let my
mind be roaming in the Woods of Atman Realization or in the area of the
breasts of a damsel, I the Pure Consciousness Brahman, am least affected by
the acts of the mind.//

The author, Himself a modern scientist, with knowledge of latest
advancements in Medicine and Engineering, in its myriad fields, with
extreme amazement,  who witnessed the above incident, reports this saying
'such was the depth of establishment of Acharyal in the Realization of the

To the question  'what instrument does he use to see'? it is to be
clarified that according to Vedanta the Atman is not an instrument of
knowledge.  It is neither the jnAtA nor a jnAna karaNam (not kAraNam).
Whenever we say 'the Atman knows or is aware' we mean the sAkshi which is
said to be 'sAkShAt draShTari samjnAyAm,', admitting that 'it sees
directly' without the need for an instrument. The deep sleep experience,
that we recount upon waking, is admitted to be the experience of the
sAkshi, only to be recounted by the jiva upon waking.  Even here, Swami
Vidyaranya in the Panchadashi has presented a mechanism: He says: in deep
sleep it is not that the mind in  its entirely is dysfunctional/ layam
gatam.  Only the manomaya/vijnAnamaya aspects of the mind are admitted to
be resolved.  The Anandamaya aspect is the one that is 'awake' then.  So,
in deep sleep, with the help of a special avidyA vRtti, this anandamaya
aspect of the mind, experiences the bliss/ignorance of deep sleep and when
the waking occurs, the vijnanamaya aspect is also awake, and through this
vijnanamaya the mind/anandamaya, expresses the experience of deep sleep in
the form: 'I slept happily, I did not know anything then.'  Thus the
inevitable presence of the instrument for knowledge generation is admitted
even in Vedanta.

These points could be leads in understanding the phenomenon of a Jnani, in
extreme cases, said to be able to be aware of his own mind's


On Tue, Jun 12, 2012 at 2:36 AM, Rajaram Venkataramani <
rajaramvenk at gmail.com> wrote:

> On Monday, June 11, 2012, Venkata sriram P wrote:
> >
> >
> > That is what is all the vedanta about :))  He sees everything and yet
> sees
> > nothing
> >
> > BTW, there is no yardstick to measure jivanmuktAs and we can't judge
> their
> > lifestyle with our own limited intelligence.
>  I don't think low of insanity, which is just another disease. And
> definitely not judgemental. I am just asking with what does a jnani see?
> When his mind and senses are (dys)functional, what instrument does he use
> to see?

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