[Advaita-l] Vichaara Saagara of Nishchaladasa - Part III

kuntimaddi sadananda kuntimaddisada at yahoo.com
Sun Nov 3 22:49:57 CST 2013

Part III
We need to understand that epistemologically every thought involves the knowledge of the thought. In essence, I cannot have a thought and not knowing it. Hence I am aware of, or conscious of, every thought that rises in the mind. Thus consciousness plus the thought is there in the knowledge of every thought. The contents of the thought can differ. Hence when I look around the world, I see the varieties of the objects. Perception of every object involves attributes of the object as collected by the senses which form the corresponding thought in the mind. Hence every thought is associated with an attributive object perceived via sense input. There are also thoughts that arise from memory, which are stored information from sense-input in the past. There are also thoughts that are logically deduced based on the axiomatic rules established for a given system of knowledge. Hence every thought involves consciousness, the subject, and the thought, an object. We
 use the discriminative intellect to intellectually separate the consciousness from the though which is acting as reflecting medium. It is like recognizing the presence of sunlight when the moon is shining on a full-moon night. Moon is required to recognize the presence of sunlight where the moon is. Yet the luminosity of the moon is not its intrinsic nature but it is the reflected luminosity of the sun. Similarly the mind or the subtle body acts as though a conscious entity, not because consciousness is its intrinsic nature, but arising from the reflection of the all- pervading consciousness or saamaanya chaitanya. The reflection also depends on the reflecting medium, just as clean mirror reflects better than the dirty mirror. This borrowed consciousness depends on the quality of object reflecting the original consciousness and not on the original all-pervading consciousness or saamaanya chaitanyam. Thus if the mind is pure or unperturbed, the
 reflection occurs in all its glory. 
We arrive at some important conclusions. Ignorance rests with the vishiShTa Chaitanya only and not with saamaanya chaitanya, although the saamaanya chaitanya which is of the nature of sat-chit-ananda lends support for the ignorance, and also reveals it. If we ask, as Bhagavan Ramanaju did in his Shree BaaShya of Brahmasutras, what is the locus of avidya? We first say that it is Brahman, since existence of anything in the universe has to be supported by Brahman which is of the nature of pure existence. At the same time we also say that Brahman cannot be locus of anything since there are no divisions in Brahman. There is no contradiction here, since ontologically Brahman and the world are of different degrees of reality just as gold and ornaments. It is similar to Shree Krishna’s statements; he first says, ‘all beings are in Me’ and then immediately makes apparently contradictory statement and says, ‘No beings are in Me, look at my glory Arjuna’.
  Hence advaita rightly differentiates the absolute truth, paaramaarthika satyam vs relative truth, vyaavahaarika satyam, based on the scriptural statements only. 
In essence, the realization involves consciousness plus appropriate vRitti. Now Nischaladasa raises a question himself and then answers; of the two, consciousness and thought required for eliminating ignorance, which is more important. The question can be formally posed as, is it vRitti sahita chaitanyam or chaitanya sahita vRitti, which is important in eradicating the ignorance? In the first case, the chaitanyam or consciousness is given important and vRitti or thought is sahakaari or helper, while in the latter case thought is given importance than the consciousness. He notes in response that vRitti should be given the importance. Consciousness is evident in every vRitti or thought, but for the elimination of primordial ignorance or muula avidya, we need, not any thought, but those thoughts based on Vedanta vichaara, that is, thoughts of inquiry using the Vedanta as pramANa.  This is what is involved in nidhidhyaasana, after the shravana and manana,
 for abiding in the knowledge gained. Swami Paramarthanandaji gives a simple example to illustrate this combined consciousness plus vRitti to remove the ignorance. Suppose, someone asks, what is the time now? My first answer is – I do not know? – At this stage I am conscious of the ignorance of the time. Consciousness that I am is not opposite to the ignorance. For me to know the time, I need a valid pramANa. I can of course speculate what time it is, but speculation is not necessarily a fact. When I looked at the watch, it provided a direct and immediate pramANa (pratyaksha pramANa) for me to know the exact time. Now I am conscious of the time. I am conscious of the vRitti jnaanam which eliminates the ignorance of the time. It is the vRitti or thought supported by the consciousness that eliminated the ignorance of the time. This discussion resolves pure consciousness or sAmAnya chaitanya is not opposite to ignorance but only the vishiShTa chaitanya
 that involves Vedanta vichaara eliminates the muula avidya or primordial ignorance. VishiShTa chaitanya has to be specific that can eliminate the muula avidya or primordial ignorance. That specific vRittis are related to the analysis of mahaavaakyaas of the Upanishads. 

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