[Advaita-l] Perception in lightning

Raghav Kumar Dwivedula raghavkumar00 at gmail.com
Tue May 11 03:53:37 EDT 2021

Harih Om Sudhanshu ji

We could just consider one case viz., that of light. There itself, there is
a serious need to reconcile VP model and empirical observations.

If we respect the empirical evidence that when we look up at the sky we are
seeing a star or galaxy as it had existed several thousand years ago, then
we need to.ask the question -

*At that moment* when I choose to look up, we need to look at two

1. the mind starts to travel and extends towards the distant object.
2. the mind does not travel to the location of the distant object.

If 1. is true then we have two sub-options,
the mind travels/extends instantaneously (infinite velocity) to the distant
 the mind travels/extends with a certain finite velocity to the distant

But in both these cases, there is a problem - we will only get the
knowledge of the object as it exists at the present moment or as it will
exist after some time delay due to adding the time taken by the mind to
reach the space occupied by the distant object. Both these options involve
the mind *starting to* travel/extend only immediately after I choose to
turn my gaze upwards.

But both these options are contradicted by empirical observation of distant
objects which is that, we only get knowledge of the object as it had
existed at some point in the past. We never get visual knowledge of the
distant object as it exists at this present instant.

This implies that the idea of the mind extending to say the Andromeda
galaxy and giving us knowledge of how it had existed 2.2 million years back
in the past, has to be reconciled with VP in a different way.

My understanding is that there is no problem for advaita in assuming the
veechi-taranga model and accept that the mind receives the sthUla tarangaa
of light and sound and then projects/extends a 3D world experience for us
of sUxma indriya amubhavas of seeing, hearing etc by facilitating the
arising of a suitable manovRtti.. Without advaita-hAni, we can accept the
mediacy of the sthUla organs like the retina and ear drum, in mediating the
arising of the pratyaxa pramA manovRtti

Each object is nothing but viShAyavacchina chaitanyam. After some delay
which differs for ears and eyes, due to veechi-taranga dharma, it coincides
with the vRttyavacchinna chaitanyam and prama vRtti arises.

When VP talks of mind extending to the object etc., it has to be taken to
refer to the *instantaneous projection process* that occurs immediately
*after* the sthUla tarangas of light or even sound reach the location of
the physical sense organs and are thus received by the mind. Then, an
instantaneous projection involves the mind taking those gross sensory
inputs received and then like a VR or holographic display, *extends* to
project the depth of a 3D world of sound and light, I.e., pratyaxa
manovRtti arises. (If this idea of mind's extension is not brought in, we
would experience the distant sounds as if they were inside our physical ear
- like incessant tinnitis. But such tinnitis is not observed. Thus,
Projection/extension by the mind ensures we experience a 3D world.)

  This kind of somewhat (vyavaharically) realistic (realism-based model)
was argued to be compatible with advaita. There are ways to show that such
a model is not the "representational model" of modern science.

 There is a PhD thesis of one Stephen Kaplan along these lines which seeks
to address such questions.

(Stephen Kaplan, Hermeneutics, Holography and Indian Idealism. A Study of
Projection and Gauḍapāda's Māṇḍūkya Kārikā. Delhi 1987.)

(I would like to mention that In contrast to what I have written above, Sri
Chittaranjan Naik ji has suggested another entirely different way of
understanding VP in which the gross physical organs are not involved in the
perceptual process. Instead the indriyas which are sUxma directly create
the manovRttis without the mediacy of the physical eyes etc. )


More information about the Advaita-l mailing list