Advaita Vision

Advaita for the 21st Century

Vanquishing the Mind for Self-Realization
Dr. Kuntimaddi Sadananda

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Dr. Kuntimaddi Sadananda


Read Dr. Sadananda's other discourses.


(From a post to the Advaitin Egroup, June 2010)

Let us pose the question: what is that mind which gets vanquished in Self-realization?

For that we need to ask what kind of minds are there?

I am going to classify the mind into four kinds, depending on the texture of the thoughts:

  1. Objective mind: involving perception of Ishwara sRRiShTi;

  2. Notional mind or subjective mind: perception of jIva sRRiShTi;

  3. Stray mind: wool-gathering mind;

  4. Raging mind or nerve-wracking mind: depressing mind.

This classification is based on experiences and observations. Scriptural support may be by arthApatti.

1. Objective mind, as implied, is the mind that perceives external objects and, depending on individual likes and dislikes, interprets observations in terms of likes and dislikes. Vidyaranya says in dRikdRisya viveka:

asti bhaati priyam ruupam naamam chaityanca pancakam|
adhyatrayam brahma ruupam jagat ruupam tathaa dvayam||

Existence, illumination, likeability, name and form are five aspects of the objects in the world. The first come from brahman and the last two - name and form - come from the world. This is also called vyAvahArika mind.

2. Subjective mind is the mind that creates objects, based on the memory of Ishwara sRRiShTi and by assembling other bits and pieces. It is this mind that projects the snake where the rope is, provides the dream world, produces intense rAga dveSha-s, likes and dislikes, and emotional attachments. It is the cause of Arjuna's problem as well as our own, causing saMsAra. This is also called prAtibhAsika mind.

3. Stray mind is the extension of (1) and (2), where the mind cannot keep quiet and is continuously jumping from one thought to the other without rhyme or reason, without any deliberate knowledge. One thought leads to another or one jumps from one thought to the other without any self-direction, and then, for example, half an hour of meditation is over! This is the experience of many. Nothing is accomplished other than a waste of time. This can happen when one is not watching or isn't vigilant or when one is doing mechanical things like taking a walk or meditating or the mind is functioning mechanically.

4. Raging mind or mind with Avesha; this is a more dangerous mind and sometimes requires medical attention. It is the mind that is filled with intense rAga and dveSha-s or likes and dislikes, and keeps indulging in thoughts even after an incident. It is the mind that causes nervous breakdowns; it is a continuous re-run of incidents getting 'hiked-up' and causing damage to oneself and to others as well. It is this to which Krishna refers in the two shloka-s, 'dhyaayato vishayaan pumsaH... praNasyati.' This mind arises owing to intense desires or self-centered desires.

So what does Self-realization do? What does the knowledge of the rope do to the snake that is subjective creation? The snake is jIva sRRiShTi or subjective creation, while the rope is Ishwara sRRiShTi or objective creation. What does the knowledge of the absence of real water in the mirage water do to the appearance of the mirage? It does not vanquish the mirage but it is understood that it is just Ishwara sRRiShTi, and what is there is only dry sand with reflecting light. Water, which is a notion, is gone while the appearance of water is still there, owing to the reflection.

The most important factor of Self-realization is at the level of individual mind, and not at the collective mind. Collective mind remains as collective total mind or the mind of Ishwara.

Hence, when it is said the mind is vanquished, the Self-realization vanquishes the entire subjective or notional or misunderstanding mind. That is the second mind that is referred to above, which comes from jIva sRRiShTi. It also eliminates the fourth mind where the Avesha, owing to wrong attachments or desires, causes the problem - 'prajahaati yadaa kaamaan sarvaan paartha manogataan.'

However, it does not eliminate the objective mind, the mind that perceives objects as they are. It only removes the personal value system superimposed, owing to minds (2), (3) and (4).

Hence, when the sages say the mind is vanquished, it is this notional mind, not the objective mind. The sage who wrote about the vanquishing mind has the mind to write it for others to read. Without that mind or the subtle body, there is no life in that body to write - it will drop dead!

The notional mind that has the notions that 'I am a doer' or 'I am an enjoyer', which is also the subjective mind, drops out in Self-realization. It recognizes that everything is either Ishwara sRRiShTi or Atma sRRiShTi and is all mithyA � that is, neither real or unreal. mithyA mind is no mind at all, hence one can say all the four parts of the mind are vanquished.

Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi says, 'maanasantu kim maargane kRite, naivamaanasam' - if one inquires into what is the mind, there is no mind at all. The false mind falls away- 'aipatatyamham nija vichaaraNam'. That is the inquiry, says Bhagavan, and the inquiry has to be done by whom? By the objective mind � the objective mind has to say, 'I am not the mind.'

Everything is self-consistent. But, ultimately, the proof of the pudding is discovering the truth by oneself.

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