Author Topic: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.  (Read 1362 times)

Subramanian.R

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Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« on: March 13, 2016, 11:38:24 AM »
(This is from Mountain Path, Jan. Mar.2008 issue)

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This is only an extract from the book of the same name.  The book is available in Asramam book shop and is
priced at Rs. 100.00.)

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Self Luminosity of Consciousness:

We shall approach this final topic in our chapter on the transcendental Self and human experience by
first identifying all the plausible means of knowing the Self.  Thereafter, each of the possibilities will be
critically examined with a view to arrive at the correct answer to the question of how the Self can be known.
The following are the three possibilities that one can think of: 

1. Self is known by an external object;

2. the Self  is known by another Self.  and

3. the Self knows itself.

The first possibility is in admissible.  To say that the Self can be known by an external object is to say that
it can be known by not-Self, for whatever is external to the Self is other than he Self.  i.e.the non Self.
The non Self, as we have shown, refers to all the objects of the world including the mind, the senses and the
body , which are material and insentient.  An object, which is material (jada vastu), is not capable of knowing '
anything.  Therefore, the answer that the Self can be known by an external object is untenable.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.           

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #1 on: March 14, 2016, 10:24:29 AM »
The second, that the Self is known by another Self, is equally unacceptable for two main reasons.
Firstly, this explanation is based on the untenable assumption that there is more than one Self.  Such
an assumption is contrary to the central doctrine of Advaita, which holds the view that there is only one
Self.  Secondly, the objection is on the ground of logic.  Let us, for the sake of argument, accept the claim
that the Self is known by another Self.  The immediate question which follows would be, 'How is the second
Self is known?'  If the answer is, 'by the third Self', then this again invites the question of how the third Self'
is known. Such a position invariably lands us in the logical difficulty of infinite regress (anavastha dosha).
Thus on both counts, the answer that the Self is known by another Self has to be rejected.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                     

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2016, 12:05:14 PM »
This leaves us with the third and final possible answer to the question, viz.,  the Self knows itself.
This answer is based on the assumption that the Self is both the knower and the known, or the cognizer
and the cognised, at the same time.  This assumption is again untenable. Unlike the Self, a material object
is made up of parts. And any object that is made up of parts is divisible.  Therefore, it is at least conceivable
for an object, which is material, that one part may be cogniser and the another part, the cognised.  However,
according to Advaita, the Self or Pure consciousness is non dual, homogeneous and indivisible.  Scriptural
justification  aside, it is common logic that one and the same entity cannot be both the subject and the object.
To use an earlier example, the finger can touch something else but not itself.

It is therefore clear from the above discussion that all the three alternatives are untenable. The question,
however, remains as to how is the Self known.  In the light of Advaita, such a question is really a contradiction
in terms because one only speaks of knowing something when that thing is unknown.  The Self, unlike any
object, is never completely unknown.  Indeed, to everyone the Self is known. The real issue at hand is to what
degree is the Self known.  Everyone knows that there is a spiritual principle in him, which is different from the
body, the senses and the mind.  In his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita,  Sankara points out that the Self
is not something unknown to everybody.  It is only not fully known.  For most of us, only the general aspect
(samanya-amsa) of the Self is known.  We know that the Self exists.  And we make this claim on the ground
that in the absence of the Self, the mind, the senses and the body will not function.

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             




       
« Last Edit: March 16, 2016, 10:19:04 AM by Subramanian.R »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2016, 10:37:20 AM »
However, the special aspect (Vishesha Amsa) of the Self is unknown to us. That is to say, we are ignorant
of the Self's real nature. Therefore, the Self is known in a general way. This is evident from statements,
such as, 'I know myself', 'I exist', etc., which we all make at one time or another.  Beyond that, the real
nature of the Self as truth, consciousness and bliss remains unknown.  At most, some of us may have the
intellectual knowledge of the Self from studying the scriptures or listening to spiritual discourses.

The knowledge of the Self, even at the general level, is unlike the knowledge of an object, for example,
a stone or a chair.  A stone, for instance, is always an  object because it has to be known.  Being a material
entity, it can never be the knowing object.  As an object, the stone requires a subject to know it.  The Self,
however, is not in such a logical predicament. The Self is not an object of knowledge in the sense, in  which
a stone or a table is an object of knowledge. These objects are known  through pramanas, such as
perception. It is however, impossible to prove the existence of the Self by any pramana.       

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.
       

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 10:44:38 AM »
Every pramana functions with the help of,  and presupposes, the existence of the Self. What is presupposed   
by a pramana can never be proved by it.  In the case of the Self, there is no need for any proof by any
pramana. As in the case of building, the existence of the superstructure is sufficient proof for the existence
of the foundation.   The question of proof does not arise at all because the building cannot exist without
the foundation.  The latter is presupposed by the former.  The same explanation holds good in the case of the
Self. Every case of knowing is made possible by the Self, and every time we make any knowledge claim,
we presuppose the existence of the Self.  So, the Self does not remain unknown.  An object requires something
else to know it.  However, being the ground of all experiences, there is really nothing apart from the Self to
know it.  'Where there is duality, there one perceives another, one smells another, one tastes another, one
contacts another, knows another, but where all this is Atman, who is there to think, touch and know whom?
Who can know him by all this is known?....Who can know the knower', declares a text from the
Brhadaranyaka Upanishad.  (B.U. 4.5.15).  Indeed, the normal mind is an instrument of knowledge for ordinary objects. Being a finite entity, it can never know the infinite, as the pen will never know or understand
the writer who is using it. More specifically, the Self being Self-luminous (Svaprakasa) is shining all the time,
revealing its presence.  The term 'Svaprakasa'  conveys the idea that while the Self reveals everything else,
it itself is not revealed by anything.  (Katha Upanishad 2.2.15;  Brhadaranyaka Upanishad 4.3.9.).  We
have seen in the earlier sections of chapter that the Self is revealing all the time; at the waking level,
at the dream level and at the deep sleep level.  The Self reveals because that it is its nature.  The Self is
eternal light.  It reveals the world, the body, the senses, and the mind.   Even in deep sleep, when the mind,
senses and body are absent, the Self is still revealing.  It is like fire, where the burning capacity manifests
when something flammable, like a piece of wood, is brought near it.  But unlike fire, the revelation of the Self
is always manifest because it reveals not only the presence of objects, as in the case of waking and dream states, but also he absence of objects, as in the case of deep sleep. The power of revelation of the Self is manifest in the presence as well as the absence of objects.
   

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.             
« Last Edit: March 17, 2016, 02:52:48 PM by Subramanian.R »

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2016, 10:55:53 AM »
It is the non relational Self that becomes the Jiva due to avidya.  The mind-sense-body complex is a product of
Avidya. What is called the Jiva in association with, or conditioned by, the mind-body complex. The Jiva is the
Self in the body.  Though the Self is by its very nature is non relational,  it becomes relational, as it were,
with the mind-sense-body complex and gets involved in empirical existence, as the knower, agent and enjoyer.
The Self in itself, which is not involved in any empirical experience, is called Turiya, or simply  the Fourth.  This
is the Self, which is called Visva at the waking level, Taijasa at the dream level, and Prajna at the deep sleep
level.  When all the three levels are transcended, when the Vyavarika is left behind, 'That Beyond' where only
the Self remains is called the Fourth.  The Fourth is beyond the three states of experience.  There is no
cognition, be it external or internal and all distinctions of knower, known, and the knowledge have faded
into oblivion.  It is beyond Avidya .  It is, therefore, said to be trans empirical and trans relational.



Arunachala Siva.         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 11:58:36 AM »
It is Ludwig Wittgenstein who taught us that at the highest level of mystical experience, what cannot be
spoken off can only be shown.  Wittgenstein made the distinction between the language of  saying and the
language of showing.  The language of saying is effective up to certain point.  Beyond which language is
ineffective in describing that experience.  Here too, the term 'Fourth' is an admission of the limitations of
the language.  What can we call  the Self per se, which is beyond all experiences and therefore, all concepts?
Since Visva is designated as one, Taijasa as two, and prajna as three, the term 'the Fourth' is chosen in keeping with the same parlance to show that the Self is by itself and not involved in any kind of experience.  It is important to underscore that this term does not imply the existence of four Selves.  Also, one should guard
against the mistaken notion that the Fourth is referring to a state beyond the deep sleep level.  As we have
discussed, the experience is one.  The three states are mere super-impositions.  When the Self becomes conditioned by the limiting adjuncts, it is given different names.  The truth is that there is only one Self.
The Self,  which is beyond all distinctions and experiences, is called the Forth. In the Mandukya Upanishad,
the Fourth is described as, 'That which is not conscious of the internal world, nor conscious of the external world, nor conscious of both the worlds, nor a mass of consciousness, nor conscious, nor unconscious;
which is unseen, beyond empirical dealings,  beyond the grasp of the organs of action, uninferable, unthinkable, indescribable; whose valid proof consists in the single belief in the Self; in which all phenomena cease; and which is unchanging, auspicious and non dual.  That is the Self and That is to be intuited.
(Mandukya Upanishad, 7.)

contd.,

Arunachala Siva.                         

Subramanian.R

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Re: Tat Tvam Asi - Paui Loke.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2016, 11:14:11 AM »
According to Sankara, in his commentary on the above text, 'not conscious of the internal world' means
the elimination of dream state.  This is followed by the elimination of the waking state ('nor conscious of the
external world') and the state between dream and waking ('nor conscious of both worlds'). The state of
deep sleep is also denied in the expression 'nor a mass of consciousness'.  Awareness of all objects simultaneously (nor conscious) and ignorance (nor unconscious) are ruled out in the Fourth too.

In this chapter, we have seen how the transcendental Self, is segmented into the three states of waking,
dream and deep sleep.  Although the Self remains unchanging and undivided and uninvolved, it is called
Visva, taijasa and prajna at each of the three levels of experience.  We have also seen how the nameless Self at the waking, dream levels become involved and intentional thus giving rise to the knowledge situation.  An
essential feature in both these states is the antahkarana vritti, which makes cognition and experience possible.
In the ultimate analysis, the Self or Brahman from the acosmic standpoint is the only reality. As the ever
luminous revealing effulgence, the Self is always known.  Every act of cognition and every claim made by the
Jiva presupposes the Self. Perhaps no where else has this been summed up more cogently than the point
made by Yajnavalkya in the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad, when he says,  'When the sun and the moon have both
set, the fire has gone out, and the speech has stopped.... the Self serves as his (the Jiva) light.  It is through
the light of the Self that he sits, goes out works and returns'. (B.U.4.3.6). Being the very basis of experience,
the Self can never be known.

concluded.

Arunachala Siva.