[Advaita-l] Vichaara Saagara of Nischaladasa - II

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 3 22:48:14 CST 2013

Part II
Nischaladasa argues that saamaanya chaitanya is not opposite to ignorance – in fact, a) it lends support for it as existence, in addition, b) it illumines so that one is conscious of the presence of ignorance too.  When the knowledge that is opposite to the ignorance, takes place via analysis using Vedanta as the means of knowledge, the ignorance goes away. To remove Chemistry ignorance, I have to have Chemistry knowledge, using appropriate means of knowledge or pramANa – here the shaastra or Science of Chemistry. The strong desire to know Chemistry has to be supported by the required pre-requisites. For higher studies, all Universities insist that I should have a guide to steer me in the right direction. The same applies for the Self-ignorance too. To eliminate the self-ignorance, I need its opposite, the self-knowledge, with associated pre-requisites, and a teacher, who can guide me in the right direction, since the subject of inquiry is more
 subtle. However, in the case of self-knowledge, after destroying the ignorance, the knowledge which is in the form of vRitti or thoughts, also gets eliminated leaving with the realization that I am that all-pervading consciousness. kRitvaa jnAnam swayam nasyet jalam kaTaka renuvat – says Shankara in Atmabodha. Having destroyed the ignorance, it also gets eliminated, just as kaTaka nut powder placed in water to eliminate the dirt in the water. In the process of elimination, the kaTaka nut powder becomes heavy and sinks to the bottom leaving clean water free from both dirt and the nut powder. 
When consciousness is associated with aham brahmaasmi vRitti, which is generated in the mind of the student as a result of the inquiry of mahaavaakyaas, during shravana and manana on tat tvam asi statement, he recognizes that I am that all-pervading consciousness.  This recognition is via the thought process only (vRitti ruupena), involving discriminative thought process. Hence, viveka or discriminative intellect is emphasized as one of the essential requirement for self-knowledge. The knowledge is also called aparoksha jnaanam, that is direct and immediate knowledge, since object of the knowledge is very self that is doing the inquiry. Hence, it is also called saakshaatkaara buddhi, directly seeing oneself as I am, but not as I am this, but as I am the total, or aham brahmaasmi. Sometimes, it is referred to as aatmaanubhavam or experience of oneself.  It is not experience involving the triad of experiencer- experienced – experiencing, but it is
 direct and immediate knowledge that involves clear understanding the self that I am is Brahman, the all-pervading consciousness. In essence, I am that what I am looking for all the time, in all my pursuits in life, nay life after life. 
We need to recognize few facts here, since there is much misunderstanding in terms of self-knowledge. First, pure consciousness by itself cannot destroy ignorance since it is not opposite to ignorance. Second, pure thought alone cannot destroy the ignorance since it is inert by nature. Hence we need a combination that involves consciousness plus the thought; together they can destroy consciousness plus ignorance leaving Consciousness that I am. Hence self-realization is not a) a thoughtless process – hence the scriptures insist that one has to listen to the teaching from a teacher – that involves communication via thoughts only.  Any knowledge takes place via thought process that involves communication between the teacher and the taught. b) Self-realization does not involve going out of mind or destroying the mind as some people think. Mind is required as platform for thoughts to take place. In deep sleep state the mind is folded and no thinking
 talks place, and hence no knowledge also takes place.  Self-realization is not like going to deep sleep state where the mind is absent. Nirvikalpaka samAdhi is not absence of mind but presence of mind free from thoughts. Here the mind itself becomes an object of knowledge, provided one has learned by listening to the scriptures how to intellectually separate the consciousness from the mixture that involves consciousness plus the mind. It that sense one can recognize that I am the consciousness using just the mind without thoughts or the mind with the thoughts too. In either case, subject-object mixture is involved. Therefore any thinking that thoughts are the problem in self-realization and therefore should be eliminated is a wrong thinking, since in such thinking one is giving more reality to the thoughts than what they deserve. In essence, realization is recognition that I am that light of consciousness that enlivens the mind and also the thoughts
 that arise in the mind. Without the mind realization is not possible. Realization involves using the mind to recognize that I am not the mind, but I am that which is enlivening the mind and thus the thoughts too. 

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