[Advaita-l] akhaNDAkAra vritti

vinayaka ns brahmavadin at gmail.com
Mon Jan 14 22:39:42 CST 2013

On Mon, Jan 14, 2013 at 6:58 PM, kuntimaddi sadananda <
kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com> wrote:

Vedanta says -as a pramANa - you are that light of consciousness
that is first reflected by the mind as chidaabhaasa and then by the vRitti.
This constant awareness of this fact - as I am that - in every objective
knowledge - is akhandaakaara vRitti- even though the vRittis of the objects
khandam or broken there is continuous flow of thoughts and there continuous
reflection of the light of consciousness.


When it comes to akhaNDAkAra vritti, I have the following scheme in mind
which is mentioned in the vEdAnta texts:

(Vedanta Sara) 170. Now is being described the meaning of the sentence, “I
am Brahman”, expressive of intuitive experience.

171. When the teacher in this way clears(by application of
bhAgatyAgalakshaNA) the meaning of the words ‘That’ and ‘Thou’ by the
removal of superimpositions and makes the qualified student grasp the
import of the sentence, ‘ That Thou Art’, which is absolute unity, there
arises in his mind a state of Absolute oneness in which he feels that he is
Brahman, by nature eternal, pure, self-illumined, free, real, supremely
blissful, infinite, and one without a second.

172. .That mental state, illumined by the reflection of Pure Consciousness,
objectifies the Supreme Brahman, unknown but identical with the individual
self and destroys the ignorance pertaining to Brahman. Then, just as a
cloth is burnt the threads composing it are burnt, so all the effects of
ignorance are destroyed when their cause, viz, ignorance is destroyed.
Hence the mental state of Absolute Oneness, which forms part of those
effects, is also destroyed.

173. As the light of a lamp cannot illumine the lusture of the sun but is
overpowered by it, so Consciousness reflected in that state of mind is
unable to illumine the Supreme Brahman, self-effulgent and identical with
the individual self, and is overpowered by it. And on the destruction of
this state of Absolute Oneness with which that Consciousness is associated
there remains only the Supreme Brahman, identical with the individual self,
just as the image of a face in a looking-glass is resolved into the face
itself when the looking-glass is removed.

important point to note is without object reflecting; the presence of light
cannot be RECOGNIZED. Yet understanding is required to give the object
that is reflecting and pay attention to the light of consciousness that is
getting reflected constantly. Hence it is not chitta vRitti nirodha or
controlling or eliminating the thoughts in the mind but eliminating our
attention to the forms and thus to the names or contents of the thoughts and
concentrate on the light of consciousness that is getting reflected.

Reply: Yes, the eyes cannot see the inert light without reflection, but the
mind can intuit the self-luminous Atman without mediation of any object.
The following verse of panchadashi makes it clear:

VII.90. The inner consciousness, though self-luminous, can be covered by the

modifications of the intellect just as other objects of knowledge are. The
teachers of scriptures have denied the perception of Kutastha by
Chidabhasa, or consciousness reflected on the intellects.

Here is a highly pertinent note by the translator Swami Swahananda:

Now another formidable difficulty arises. When the antahkaraNa by the
process of bhAgatyAgalakshaNA, is negated, how can the direct knowledge of
‘I am Brahman’ dawn? For direct perception is a joint undertaking of
antaHkaraNa and chidAbhAsa or the consciousness reflected on it, the jIva,
the ego. When this antaHkaraNa goes, goes with it the other, the jIva, the
ego; and whith that all perception. In perception, according to a vEdAntin,
two process, though they appear to be identical are involved, one following
the other - 1. The removal of ignorance about the object, which is affected
by the vrutti or modification of the antaHkaraNa, 2. The formation of the
notion about the object, that it is an object of my perception or knowledge
that I know it as an object of my knowledge, that it is part of my world of
objects – which is reflected by the chidAbhAsa or the jIva the ego. In the
case of our perception of a pot, ‘It is a pot’, the vrutti of the
antaHkaraNa plays its part in removing the ignorance about the pot; and the
chidAbhAsa forms the notion of the pot and pigeon-holes it- it forms my
integral subject-object personality.

In the case of ‘I am Brahman’ the antaHkaraNa vrutti removes the ignorance
about ‘Brahman’ all right; but as it is a case not of ‘It is Brahman’ but,
‘I am Brahman’, the chidAbhAsa’s part becomes redundant. With the removal
of the ignorance about Brahman the entire objective world including the
antaHkaraNa, the reflected consciousness and the akhaNDAkAra vrutti all
vanish and the sAkshin or the pratyak-chaitanya cries out in an uncontained
bliss, ‘I am Brahman’. This is technically said to be “vrutti vyApya, but
not phala(chidAbhAsa) vyApya”. Brahman is not a notion possessed by ‘I’,
the chidAbhAsa; no pigeon-holing is necessary or possible, the container
itself vanishing. What remains is the transfigured pratyak-chaitanya as
Brahman; and Brahman ‘adaH’, out there as Brahman ‘idam’, in here as
pratyak-chaitanya – not as two but one homogenous experience, if experience
it can be termed!

91. In the perception of a jar the intellect and Chidabhasa are both
concerned. There the nescience is negated by the intellect and the pot is
revealed by Chidabhasa.

92. In the cognition of Brahman the modification of the intellect is
necessary to remove ignorance; but, as Brahman is self-revealing the help
of Chidabhasa is not needed to reveal It.

93. To perceive a pot two factors are necessary, the eye and the light of
the lamp; but to perceive the light of the lamp only the eye is necessary.

94. When the intellect functions, it does so only in the presence of
Chidabhasa, but in the cognition of Brahman Chidabhasa is merged inBrahman.
In external perception of a pot, Chidabhasa reveals the pot by its light
and yet remains distinct

from it.

95. That Brahman cannot be cognised by Chidabhasa is corroborated by the
Shruti: ‘Brahman is beginningless and beyond cognition’. But Its cognition
by the intellects (in the sense of removing ignorance about It), is
admitted by the Shruti ‘Brahman can be cognised by the intellect’.

>>> This
giving up our attention to the thought content is vairaagya. Any other
vairaagya is only for preparation for this. 'tyaagenaike
amRitatvamaanasuH'. yat
chashuShaa napasyati - however - yena chakshuumsi pasyati -tat eva brahma
viddhi. That which eyes cannot see but because of which eyes can see.- that
which mind cannot think - but because of which the mind can think - That you

Reply: Shruti also says, “manasaivAnudrashtavyam”. But then, there is no
contradion which is resolved as under:

VS174. There is no contradiction between the following shruti passages: “By
the mind alone it is to be perceived” Br.Up, and “That which cannot be
thought of by the mind”, Kena Up. We are to suppose that the unknown
Brahman is brought into contact with only the mental state, but not with
underlying Consciousness.

Best Wishes,


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