Author Topic: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.  (Read 2848 times)


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Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« on: January 01, 2013, 04:26:49 PM »
By John Grimes:

(from Mountain Path, Jan-Mar. 2009)

Liberation (moksha) according to Adi Sankara, has been defined in a number of ways. "Liberation is the attainment of the Absolute
(brahma-prapti); liberation is the attainment of the already attained (praptasya praptih); liberation is remaining as the Absolute
(brahma sthiti);  liberation is remaining as one's own Self (svarupa sthiti); and liberation is the destruction of the ignorance / the
mind (avidya nasa/ mano nasa); (see Brahmasutra Bhashya, 1.1.4; 3.4.52). The object of this article concerns the last definition,
namely, 'why is the destruction of the mind equated with liberation, why is the destruction of the mind necessary, and, if it is, then
how does the Sage perceive the myriad objects of the world?

There is a saying, 'Never mind, no matter, No mind, never matter.' Or as Sri Ramana Maharshi put it, 'Nothing exists except the
one Reality. There is no birth or death, no projection or drawing in, no seeker, no bondage, no liberation. The one unity alone
exists.' (Day by Day, 15.3.1946).

According to Sri Ramana, the highest and supreme truth that words words can convey is the theory of non-origination.' (ajata vada).
as originally expounded by Gaudapada. (Madukya Karika. Bhagavan implies that words cannot go beyond the theory of non-
origination, which Gaudapada had earlier affirmed it. It is not as though Sri Bhagavan meant ajata-vada to be the ultimate. Ed.)

However, acknowledging that even this perspective is but an approximation to the Truth, a concession to words and concepts,
Gaudapada said, 'Ajata is meaningful only so long as jati (birth) carries meaning. The absolute truth is that no world can designate
or describe the Self. (ibid. iv.74).

It is a sage's experience that nothing has ever happened because the Self alone exists as the sole unchanging Reality. However,
from the absolute perspective, the relative reality of the world is not denied. A Sage perceives appearances like any one else.
However, the Sager does not perceive the appearances of the world of multiplicity as comprised of separate objects viewed by a
separate subject. An appearance is not necessarily unreal merely because it is an appearance. The real nature of an appearance,
according to the vision of a Sage, is inseparable from the Self and partakes of its Reality. What is 'not real' is to mentally construct
a illusory world of separate, interacting objects. Sri Bhagavan remarked, 'The world is unreal if it is perceived by the mind as a collection
of discrete objects, and real when it is directly experienced as an appearance of Brahman.'


Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2013, 07:44:22 PM »
Dear Sri Subramanian sir, Nice post. Yes,when the world is persived through the ego mind,through thoughts,making distiction betwean me and that,making division,then it is unreality. But,when just persived,without subject-object relation,without thought interferance,just persiving,then it is a manifestation of the Brahman. When only seer is left.. I think thats why they say that no word can describe it,and be used anyway,coz word belongs to thoughts. The moment we give a name,the word,we step up in concept world,thought world,and Reality is Silence.


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2013, 09:35:39 AM »

If 'nothing has ever happened,' if there is no birth or death, then obviously the mind is not real either, and yet, there is more
to the story. Sri Ramana said, "The mind is nothing other than the 'I-thought'. The mind and the ego (ahamkara) are one and
the same." (Sri Bhagavan's Letter to Ganapati Muni, The Mountain Path, 1982.) Sri Ramana maintained that the 'I'-thought arises
from the Self and will sink back into the Self when its tendency to identify itself with the thought-objects ceases. If one arranges
thoughts in their order of value, the 'I-thought is of the first-order, the root or basis of all other thoughts. Every thought, arises
only as someone's thought and does not exist independently of the ego. All second and third person thoughts (he, she, you,
they, it, etc.,) do not appear except to the first person 'I'-thought. Therefore, the entire world of multiplicity, of subjects and objects,
arises only after the first person thought arises.

Sri Ramana maintained that the individual self is nothing than an ever-changing thought or idea. This thought, He called the
'I'- thought. The mind, which is but a bundle of thoughts, is an illusion that is generated when the rising 'I'-thought identifies
itself with the body and imagines that he or she is an individual person. This illusion, the 'I' is the mind-body complex, is then
sustained by the perpetual stream of thoughts that the mind generates. The 'I'-thought identifies with all of these thoughts and
thus is sustained and maintained by the illusion that the individual self or the mind is a continuous and real entity. The mind
lives by dividing, distinguishing and discriminating. It creates knowing subjects distinct from the known subjects and yet, all it
creates are nothing  but illusions.

In the waking state, the mind functions due to the reflection of Consciousness in it. The same holds true with regard to the
dream state. In the deep sleep state, there is no definite knowledge of objects because the mind is not functioning. Only
Consciousness is present in the deep sleep state and this is demonstrated by an individual's exclamation upon waking,
'I slept well that I do not remember anything last night.'


Arunachala Siva.                         


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2013, 09:26:07 AM »

Sri Ramana declared that a person can reverse this process by depriving the 'I' thought of all thoughts and perception that
it normally identifies with. If one can break this false connection between the 'I'-thought and all the thoughts that it identifies
with, then the 'I'-thought itself will subside and eventually disappear. Sri Ramana said that the 'I'-thought originates from what
He called the Heart. He said, 'That from which all thoughts of embodied beings issue forth is called the Heart. All descriptions of
it are only mental concepts. (Sri Ramana Gita, Ch. 5, Verse 2.).

'Search for the source of 'I'-thought. That is all that one has to do. The universe exists on account of the 'I'-thought. If that
ends there is an end to misery also. The false 'I' will end only when its source is sought. (Talks # 222 and # 347).  The fact
is that the mind is only a bundle of thoughts. How can you extinguish it by the thought of doing so or a by a desire? Your
thoughts and desires are part and parcel of the mind. The mind is simply fattened by new thoughts rising up. Therefore it is
foolish to attempt to kill the mind by means of the mind. The only way of doing it is to find its source and hold on to it. The
mind will then fade away of its own accord.   

If the mind becomes introverted through enquiry into its source, its mental habits or tendencies (vasanas) become extinct.
The light of the Self, Consciousness, falls on these mental habits and produces the phenomenon of reflection that individuals
interpret as thoughts, as the mind. Thus, when mental habits become extinct, the mind also becomes extinct as it is absorbed
into the light of the Self. The mind is like a river that ceaselessly flows in the bed of the body. How can ever-fluctuating mind
make itself steady? It cannot. It is the very nature of thoughts to roam. Thus, one must go beyond the mind. One should not
think of changing the mind - it already is changing all the time. The mind covers the Self like clouds that obscures the sun.
The mind with its thoughts, is like a thief. One must constantly watch it, not because you want anything from it, but because
you don't want it to steal the attention away from what is real, Consciousness.


Arunachala Siva.       


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2013, 12:53:15 PM »

It is not enough to declare that one is not one's body or one's mind. That is still a thought within the mind. Deciding that one is
not the mind, is an activity of the mind. One must pursue the Quest to its logical conclusion. Seek the source of all thoughts. Eventually,
the 'I-thought' will go back to its source and become extinct. Thus, the Upanishadic saying, 'Whence words return along with the mind,
not attaining it.' (Taittiriya Up. 2.4.1).

Sri Ramana said that an enquiry into the source of I-thought will render all one's habitual tendencies (vasanas) extinct. Thus arises
a question, if one's all vasanas are destroyed, why is the mind's dissolution then necessary? In other words, isn't the mind nothing
other than the entire collection of its vasanas? The response is that the life of the lower self forms one type of bondage, i.e.vasanas
cause misery directly, but another type of bondage,  i.e. the mere sense of duality, remains in the mind. Thus, not only vasanas,
but also the mind must be dissolved. Secondly, when the mind is dissolved, the effects of all accumulated past actions (prarabdha
karmas) are also dissolved. When the mind is dissolved, the recurrence of any vasanas whatsoever is also stopped for ever.


Arunachala Siva.   


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2013, 01:44:25 PM »


Sri Ramana said: 'The ordinary individual lives in the brain unaware of himself in the Heart. The Sage lives in the Heart.
When a Sage moves about the details with men and things, he knows that what he sees is not separate from one Supreme
Reality, which he has realized in the Heart, as his own Self, the Real.' (Kapali Sastri, Sad Darsana Bhashya).  Thus, Sri Ramana, on
numerous occasions says that He 'perceives the appearances', he sees monkeys and people, chairs, and doorways, food and
squirrels, all that ordinary people see, but He does not see them as separate, independent objects, that is the difference. On
other occasions, to individuals, Sri Ramana would say, replying the Sage's perspective: 'You say that the Jnani sees the path, avoids
them, etc., In whose eyesight is all this, in the Sage's or ours? He sees only the Self, and all in the Self. (Devaraja Mudaliar, 6..3.1946).

The Upanishad gives an analogy as to how this might be possible. 'The arrow head of an arrow implanted deeply in the target
will not  come out even when pulled. The arrow shaft may come out, but not the tip. The shaft then is useless. When the mind
is fixed upon Brahman, it will never come out. The sense of sight, etc., may function towards external objects but they will serve
no purpose whatsoever. (Mundaka Upanishad, 2.2.4.)

Thus, a sage may have his or her sense organs functioning, but he is not overwhelmed by them. The Sage's 
mind is always centered on the Self. 

Another way to explain how the Sage perceives the world is to invoke the example of the self luminous sun. When a room is
dark, a lamp is necessary to provide light enabling the eyes, to perceive objects in it. But when the sun has risen, there is no
need of a lamp is necessary to provide the light enabling the eyes to perceive objects in it. But when the sun has risen, there is
no need of a lamp to see the objects. To see the Sun no lamp is necessary. It is enough that one turns one's eyes towards the self
luminous sun.


Arunachala Siva.             


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #6 on: January 06, 2013, 12:21:16 PM »

In a similar way, to see objects, the reflected light of the mind is necessary. But to a Jnani, it is not the reflected light of the mind
dominated by the ego that illumines objects. The essence of the mind is Consciousness. When the mind is not dominated by the
ego or I-thought, then the pure self awareness shines through the mind illuminating whatever is presented to it.

Sri Bhagavan explained: The Self is the Heart. The Heart is self luminous. Light arises from the Heart and reaches the brain, which
is the seat of the mind. The world is seen with the mind, that is, by the reflected light of the Self. It is perceived with the aid of the
mind. When the mind is illumined it is aware of the world. When it is not itself so illumined, it is not aware of the world. If the mind
is turned in towards the source of the light, objective knowledge ceases and Self alone shines forth as the Heart. The moon shines
by the reflected light of the sun. When the sun has set, the moon is useful for revealing objects. When the sun has arisen, no one
needs the moon, although the pale disc of the moon is visible in the sky.  (Talks 98).

What is important to note is that the Sage's mind is like the visibility of the moon due to sunlight. In the sky one can see the moon
and clouds. There is no difference in their brilliance and both shine only by the reflected light of the sun. Like the moon or clouds,
the Jnani's mind is there, but not shining itself. This the Jnani  is aware of and so, even of 'objects' are perceived by the Jnani, they
are no identified as separate, individual objects, but as shining appearances of the one indivisible Self. The Jnani's mind is not
beclouded by the I-thought, the ego, and thus what obscures the Self in others, just as clouds obscure the ever present, ever-
luminous sun, does not obscure a Jnani's perceptions.

The mind is inert and only appears to work because the current of the Self animates it. The Sage lives in reality while what the
world the mind perceives is a world of imaginings. A familiar analogy is that the Sage is awake while most individuals are dreaming.


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Re: Liberation is the Destruction of the Mind.
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2013, 02:39:56 PM »

The Uddhava Gita, the quintessence of the Bhagavatam records the lives and behavior of several sages and describes the jivanmukta:
'The wise one, even though in the body, is not of it, like a person awakened from a dream.' (XI.ix.8.)

Some people believe that a sage must live in two states of existence at the same time: the empirical plane
and the trans-empirical plane. People observe that a sage moves about in the world and observe that the sage sees the same objects
others see, i.e other individuals, tables, chairs, monkeys etc., It is not as if the sage does not see them. Thus, they conclude, since he
or she sees both the world and objects therein, as well as the Self, must not he or she dwell in two planes at once? Sri Ramana replied:
'You say that the Jnani sees the path, treads it, comes across obstacles, avoids them etc., In whose eye sight is all this, in the Jnani's or
yours? He sees only the Self and ALL IN THE SELF. For instance, you see a reflection in the mirror and the mirror. You know the mirror
to be the reality and the picture in it a mere reflection. Is it necessary, that in order to see the mirror,  we should cease to see   
the reflection in it? (Day by Day, 06.03.1946.). What a wonderful analogy and yet numerous are the individuals who asked such questions. Intellectual curiosity is a hard habit to break and instead of asking what is really important, one's own
Self, people ask about others.

Bhagavad Gita gives a description of a Jivanmukta --- the person who is liberated while in the physical body.
Such person is one who has gained  steady wisdom and who has transcended the three qualities and who is free from desires.
Who has no sense of agency or enjoyership --- for he or she has ceased to identify with the mind/body organism. Who is beyond
the dual extremes of pleasure and pain, heat and cold.

Such individuals are spontaneous expressions of innate goodness and their very presence is a blessing to the world. (5.25). Merely
because the mind has been destroyed it does not imply that the sage is stupid or inert. Quite the reverse. The
Sage is intelligent, aware and sees clearly what is true and what is false.

Sri Ramana said:

Coming here, some people do not ask about themselves. They ask, 'Does the Jivanmukta see the world? Is he affected by
karma? What is liberation after being disembodied? Is one liberated only after being disembodied or even while alive in the body?
Should the body of the sage resolve itself in light or disappear from view in any other manner? Can he be liberated though the body
is left behind as a corpse? Their questions are endless. Why worry oneself in so many ways? Does liberation consist  in
knowing these things? Therefore, I say to them: 'Leave liberation alone. Is there bondage? Know this. See yourself first and foremost.'
(Talks 578).


Arunachala Siva.