[Advaita-l] A unique 'attribute' of Sākṣī
v.subrahmanian at gmail.com
Tue Jun 27 05:08:28 EDT 2017
In Advaita the status and role of the 'sākṣī', (witness consciousness) is
of great importance. One dimension of sakshi is that it is the illuminer of
the mental transformations. Sukha, duḥkha, bhaya, etc. are all
sākṣi-bhāsya. So too jnana, ajnana, bhrama are all illumined by the sakshi.
Here, the unique attribute of sakshi is that it only illumines the
existence, sadbhāva, of that entity which is an object to it, as enumerated
above. However, the sakshi does not illumine the attributes, the causes,
the right or wrong, etc of what it illumines. For example, when I am happy,
the sakshi just illumines that I am happy but not why I am happy, what
caused my happiness, what efforts I spent to acquire that happiness, etc.
So with misery. When I have erroneously comprehended a rope as a snake, the
sakshi just illumines the bhrama, but it cannot, does not, illumine *that
it is* a bhrama. When the bhrma nivrtti takes place and right knowledge of
the form 'this is a rope and not a snake' arises, that knowledge as well is
illumined by the sakshi.
This point was highlighted in a discussion on an aspect in the Advaita
siddhi. The presence of ajnana is illumined by the sakshi but that the
ajnana is anadi, bhava rupa, jnana nivartya, etc. is not within the range
of the sakshi. That requires a separate anumāna to establish.
In the world of parlance the 'eye-witness' is also ideally akin to the
vedantic sakshi. The witness does not take sides; he/she just reports or
confirms the event as he had seen it happen. That is why he is called
'a-pakṣpātī', an epithet that applies to the Vedantic sakshi too.
The Bhagavadgita terms such a phenomenon 'udāsina':
साधुष्वपि च पापेषु समबुद्धिर्विशिष्यते ॥ ६.९ ॥
‘सुहृत्’ इत्यादिश्लोकार्धम् एकं पदम् । सुहृत् इति प्रत्युपकारमनपेक्ष्य
उपकर्ता, मित्रं स्नेहवान् , अरिः शत्रुः, *उदासीनः न कस्यचित् पक्षं भजते,*
मध्यस्थः यो विरुद्धयोः उभयोः हितैषी, द्वेष्यः आत्मनः अप्रियः, बन्धुः
सम्बन्धी इत्येतेषु साधुषु शास्त्रानुवर्तिषु अपि च पापेषु प्रतिषिद्धकारिषु
सर्वेषु एतेषु समबुद्धिः ‘कः किङ्कर्मा’ इत्यव्यापृतबुद्धिरित्यर्थः ।
विशिष्यते, ‘विमुच्यते’ इति वा पाठान्तरम् । योगारूढानां सर्वेषाम् अयम् उत्तम
इत्यर्थः ॥ ९ ॥
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