There are only two things in the world. One
is Atma the real one and the other the anAtman
(whatever is not Atma), i.e. the false or mithyA.
Within vyavahAra, Atma is not perceived or should
I say cannot be
perceived and anAtma is perceived (or should I say only it
can be perceived).
The BMI and world therefore come under anAtma.
anAtma being jaDa or inert can be known but cannot be the subject
existing consciousness-existence – the only
reality – is
never perceived or can never be 'known'. Nor can it ever be a
'knower', since it does not have knower-known distinctions of
Then where does knowledge or j~nAnam take place?
First of all,
any knowledge can only takes place in the intellect - there
is no other instrument available in which knowledge
could take place. But intellect is jaDa - how
can an inert thing know anything? Nevertheless,
it seems to know somehow, since knowledge seems
to takes place in the intellect. All the knowledge of chemistry
seems to takes place only in the intellect.
The only explanation
is that I, the conscious entity, enliven the inert intellect
in order to make it dynamic in my presence and that activated
intellect is able to gain knowledge, providing that a pramANa
or proper means of knowledge is available. But I am the all-pervading,
existence-consciousness, which should be enlivening all of
the BMI simultaneously. That is exactly what
Krishna said: kShetraj~na, cha api mAm viddhi
sarva kShetreshu bhArata - know ME as the knower
of all fields (and that includes all BMI's).
A knower ( kShetraj~na) is there only with reference
to a known (kShetra). Otherwise, I am the pure,
immaculate, knowing principle, or conscious principle;
one without any knower-known duality.
But then if there is only one knower…?
Then if Tom realizes, Dick should also realize,
if there is only one knower in all fields. How
do we unravel that puzzle?
In a way that is true – though
of course only from Tom’s
point of view – since, when Tom realizes, there is no
Dick left to realize since He, Tom, has realized that there
is nothing other than him, brahman.
But, if we go by that argument,
there is no one left for any discussions to take place! Let
us assume that at least one must have realized since the
beginning of the universe. If so, then we should
not have the world of jaDa as well as the Dicks
and Harrys left in the world, even to have this
Since we are discussing j~nAnI-s and aj~nAnI-s,
there must have once been some j~nAnI who was realized, leaving
the world behind for others to realize, if they are interested
(or to simply 'enjoy' the world, forgetting any realization,
since who needs realization when there is nothing to enjoy)!
Unfortunately, it seems that j~nAnI-s have left behind the
world without destroying it by their realization!
Coming back to the concept of realization
then, what exactly happens or should happen, since Atma need
not realize and anAtma cannot realize?
I, the conscious entity, am reflected in the medium of
the Intellect and from intellect through the mind and body.
Thus, the BMI is enlivened as a dynamic jIva. The reflection
occurs as long as a BMI is there and the quality of the
reflection depends on the purity of the instrument of reflection.
Reflection of consciousness is knowledge, and thus reflection
of a vRRitti or a thought is the knowledge of that thought.
Here we have two reflections, as discussed in the knowledge
1. The general reflection of the Intellect, called chidAbhAsa,
happens in the waking and dream states.
2. Specific reflection of the vRRitti-s (thoughts) that is
taking place where the thought content consists of the attributive
content of the objects perceived through the senses. This
is how each thought rising in the intellect is known as idam, ‘that’.
these two reflections give rise to what Bhagavan Ramana calls
'aham vRRitti' and 'idam vRRitti' or 'I-thought' and 'this
thought', since in the knowledge of any object there are
two thoughts that arise: one is 'This is a pot'
and the other is 'I know this is a pot'. The
first reflection is by the vRRitti and the second
reflection is the background intellect itself
as the knowing locus. One could say that the second, the
aham vRRitti, is also some kind of objective
or 'knower' thought but it is not exactly like
the idam vRRitti, which comes and goes.
So, what happens when I reject 'idam' as neti
or not this? When the idam vRRitti arises, I do not pay attention
to the reflective thought of the idam but to the back ground
'aham vRitti' that also arises in the knowledge of that idam.
The idam vRRitti has form (AkAra) that depends upon the qualities
of the object to which idam refers. The aham vRRitti has
no form, since it is the general reflection of
the intellect in which 'I know' arises. Firstly
then, if the intellect is not there, there is
no reflection either. Secondly, the reflection
in each intellect is specific to that intellect and depends
on the purity of that intellect. Hence Shankara says in the
sadA sarvagataH Atma, na sarvatrAvabhAsate|
budhyevAvabhAseta svachcheshu pratibimbavat||
- although Atma is all pervading, it does not
shine everywhere; It shines only in the intellect
depending on its purity just like the light reflecting
on a mirror.
Now we have heard of akhaNDAkAra
vRRitti. AkAra means form, since we are taking
about 'I know' and not 'I know this'. akhaNDa
means unbroken and refers to the general reflection of the
consciousness in the intellect which reflection is there
as long as the intellect is awake. Thus, akhaNDAkAra
vRRitti is the unbroken, reflecting consciousness
in the pool of the intellect.
The facts to be known:
1. Without the intellect, there is no reflection
and hence no realization.
2. But it is not the reflection of idam, since idam keeps coming
and going; idam involves an object and the idam vRRitti involves
3. Knowledge can only take place in the locus of the intellect.
4. All pervading Atma does not have to realize since it is
pure existence-consciousness-limitless Brahman.
5. anAtma or intellect by itself cannot realize since it is
jaDam - it has no light of its own.
6. Hence, the all pervading consciousness gets reflected in
the intellect as general chidAbhAsa and also gets reflected
in the vRRitti of the object thoughts.
7. An aj~nAnI is one who focuses his attention on the idam
vRRitti and takes idam as aham.
8. A j~nAnI is one who shifts his attention from idam as ‘not
this’ to the general reflecting consciousness as ‘I
am’. When that shift occurs, he realizes that reflection
is only from the pure ‘I am’ that is the all-pervading
self. it is like pot-space realizing that its seeming limitation
is only because of the upAdhi of the pot but, as space, ‘I
am the pure infinite space’ - akhaNDa or unbroken space.
Or it is like the fact that pure light can be only be realized
by virtue of the reflections.
Hence, the akhaNDAkAra vRRitti
involves a general reflecting consciousness in the pool of
intellect due to the presence of the ever effulgent consciousness ‘I
the reflection is localized, and since an intellect is required
for both the reflection and for realization of that reflection,
Tom realizes only by using his intellect. That does not free
Dick – poor Dick has to realize on his own!
who realizes? Atma does not need to and anAtma cannot.
Realization is only the realizing of I the jIva,
who is the reflected consciousness in the pool
of the intellect recognizing that I am not idam
(i.e. dropping all the notions about myself as ‘I
am this’) but
I am the general unbroken, reflection in the pool of
the intellect. Hence, without an intellect, there can
be no realization, since we have only the Atma that does
not have to realize. Hence the shloka from the amRRitabindhu
Upanishad: mana evam manushyAnam – the
mind alone is responsible for both bondage as well as realization.
(Here, ‘mind’ implies the intellect.)
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