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  1. #1
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    Question Exploring "I"

    A few questions :

    1. Where does this "I" lie ?

    2. What are the natures of "I" ?

    3. There is a firewall between your "I" and my "I". This is true for all levels. Mine with my brain, my liver, my heart, etc and also at the next levels of the cells. All of them have "I" but I do not know or connect with that "I".

    How are these "I"s interlinked ?

    Love and best wishes

  2. #2
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    A very noble question indeed.

    aham is 'I' ... then it condences and we can call it ahaṃkaraṇa - the idea of being individual.
    The 162nd śloka of Vivekacūḍāmaṇi, offers the following:
    The fool (mūḍha) thinks I am the body (deho'ham). An intelligent one knows of the 'I' in the body;

    I will wait for others views then respond with some ideas doe one's consideration.



    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 13 June 2011 at 01:58 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  3. #3
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    Namaste Kallol,

    Quote Originally Posted by kallol View Post
    A few questions :

    1. Where does this "I" lie ?

    2. What are the natures of "I" ?

    3. There is a firewall between your "I" and my "I". This is true for all levels. Mine with my brain, my liver, my heart, etc and also at the next levels of the cells. All of them have "I" but I do not know or connect with that "I".

    How are these "I"s interlinked ?

    Love and best wishes
    Answers :

    1. This "I" arises in mind. The Mind is the Self looking outward from Itself.

    2. This "I" is Ahamkaar. This separates itself from the "Universal I". Actually, there is only One "I" in reality emanating from Self.

    3. The arising of "I" is the nature of the Self within first two states of waking and dreaming. This "I" vanishes in the third and fourth states of Self. You should read http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=4824 thread in Advaita forum to understand how one consciousness of a dreamer gives rise to many "I"s which are unreal as the real "I" is not in the dream ... It actually is the dreamer.

    4. Ramana Maharishi taught a technique of Self-enquiry ... "Who Am I" ? Read about it in details on the internet or from books on Ramana's teachings. This enquiry leads us to stage where there is no doubt that this "I" has no real existence. The point where this is realised is the point of Self-realisation.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Exploring "I"

    Thanks for the responses till now. However I am looking for more intense discussion. I will slightly elaborate on the questions.

    1. "I" does not belong to Mind (it is prakriti); "I" does not belong to consciosness (without prakriti, consciousness cannot manifest). "I" feeling arises due to mind's presence in the ocean of consciousness.

    However we find that "I" in all layers of thoughts, action, etc (which again are prakriti only). How does it percolate ?

    2. The nature of "I" can extend from nirguna consciousness to the saguna ahamkara. Between the boundary of mind and consciousness, and the saguna ahamkara there are many filters and layers. These brings in apparent distortion in the "I" How this can be defined and logically explained ?

    3. All layers of the system (Cosmos) right from the absolute paraprakriti + aparaprakriti (God) to the manifested smallest particles have mind and thereby that sense of "I". I do not know your "I" or anyone else's "I". But each layer does for the next layer - unknowingly. The atoms does for molecules, the molecules for cells, the cells for organs, the organs for human, the human for God. How are these "I"s interlinked ? Do the above 2 questions have some clues in this question ?

    Love and best wishes

  5. #5
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    If you refuse to shake yourself from current state of your own created perceptions, the confusion will never go. You must be ready to listen to ideas offered otherwise there is no point in having a discussion.

    You try to answer these questions :

    a) What is Prakriti ? Where does it arise and why ? Does it have an independent existence ?

    b) What is Mind ? How are you sure that mind is Prakriti ? If you have got the answer to the first question, does it fit into that definition of prakriti ?

    c) If "I" doesn't belong to Mind & it also doesn't belong to Consciousness what does it belong to ? What did Ramana Maharishi say about Mind ?

    d) "mind's presence in Ocean of Consciousness" --- what does it mean ? Is there anything which is not consciousness ? Do you know what Upanishads say about it ? What gives birth to mind ? In direct perception mind dissolves ... where does it go ? Any scriptural support for your proposition ?

    e) What do you mean by Nirguna Consciousness ? Can "I" exist in Nirguna state of existence which is devoid of all attributes ?

    f) What is Saguna Ahamkaar ? Are there two types of Ahamkars i.e Saguna and Nirguna ? Which Scriptures say this ?

    g) "Between the boundary of mind and consciousness, and the saguna ahamkara there are many filters and layers. These brings in apparent distortion in the "I" " ---- Which boundary and what filters and layers you are talking about ? What is the scriptural or great saints' support for this understanding ? Or is this purely your own making ?


    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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    Re: Exploring "I"

    I am hardly literate in terms of scriptures. I listen to discourses Gita and little bit of Kaibalya Upanishad and Introduction to Vedanta. These are my only knowledge. I am here to learn but being a scientist I will probe hard. I do not believe something without rediscovering the same. New discovery is always a pleasure for me.

    a) What is Prakriti ? Where does it arise and why ? Does it have an independent existence ?

    Prakriti is the matter principal. Without Purusha / Brahman / paraprakriti this part does not have existence.

    b) What is Mind ? How are you sure that mind is Prakriti ? If you have got the answer to the first question, does it fit into that definition of prakriti ?

    Mind is also known as sukhsma sarira - subtle body. This is also a matter principal. That is why medicine we take can alter state of mind.

    c) If "I" doesn't belong to Mind & it also doesn't belong to Consciousness what does it belong to ? What did Ramana Maharishi say about Mind ?

    I have mentioned that "I" is the feeling which come in conjuction of Mind and Consciousness. Needs both this entity. However I would be glad to know what Ramana Maharshi has said about Mind. Please direct me to the link.

    d) "mind's presence in Ocean of Consciousness" --- what does it mean ? Is there anything which is not consciousness ? Do you know what Upanishads say about it ? What gives birth to mind ? In direct perception mind dissolves ... where does it go ? Any scriptural support for your proposition ?

    The consciousness is all pervading, unchanging, timeless, attributeless entity, which is the source of existence. Matter by itself is not consciousness but is unknown without consciousness.

    Upanishads - I do not know much. Please guide me to the right link. As far as I know mind is permanent through life and death, through creation and destruction. It moves from susupti stage to manifestation stage and back during destruction and creation. Mind is the entity which brings life in a body and its departure makes the body lifeless.
    Because mind is a part of the ahamkara, it will ever move through births and deaths of bodies. There is no perfect mind (even Brahma has to take birth).

    e) What do you mean by Nirguna Consciousness ? Can "I" exist in Nirguna state of existence which is devoid of all attributes ?


    Consciousness is Nirguna. Whether or not "I" is attributeful or attributeless is the topic - what is the nature of "I". As I mentioned earlier by itself "I" cannot reside in Consciousness. But the feeling of "I" in the mind is the proof of Consciousness.

    f) What is Saguna Ahamkaar ? Are there two types of Ahamkars i.e Saguna and Nirguna ? Which Scriptures say this ?

    Ahamkara is always saguna and it was put in conjunction with nirguna consciousness to distinguish the natures. Sorry for the confusion created.

    g) "Between the boundary of mind and consciousness, and the saguna ahamkara there are many filters and layers. These brings in apparent distortion in the "I" " ---- Which boundary and what filters and layers you are talking about ? What is the scriptural or great saints' support for this understanding ? Or is this purely your own making ?

    The boundary here is the point of self realisation or enlightenment. The filters are the gunas like ego, desire, envy, (which are part of ahamkara) etc.

    Scriptures are knowledge out of the minds of spiritual scientists. All knowledge is within us. The fact that all spiritual scientists have said the same thing is a proof that TRUTH is one. The path defined based on the time, society, space and experience. In Hinduism, we are lucky that we had a galaxy of these spiritual scientists who could come out with a comprehensive (non personal) path to attain mokhsa.

    I will go through the link provided by you in the 3rd post. Sorry for not exploring fully.

    My intention is to discuss and know more as deeper implications of the knowledge might be discovered through our present scientific knowledge.

    Love and best wishes

  7. #7
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    hari o
    ~~~~~~

    namasté

    First note that my POV is from kaśmir śaivism . Many of the points above albiet valid, are from the śāṁkhya school of thinking...
    fine indeed, but for me to explain 'I' ( as I understand it) limits me in the offering, hence the kaśmir śaivism approach assists me in the explanation.


    Let me , if I may offer the first brick of the foundation
    We know ahaṃ is defined as 'I'. This aham is known as sṛṣṭi-bīja. This sṛṣṭi means letting go , letting loose i.e. creation. We know bīja is seed, any germ , element , primary cause or principle . Hence sṛṣṭi-bīja means the primary cause of all of creation. Within this word it gives us the direction our ~audit trail~ on this 'letting go'.

    Aham can be viewed as a + ha + ṃ. We start with a as the fundamental letter of all creation, and denotes śiva - pure consciousness, even subtler then pure consciousness is Being itself, Brahman. This a has spanda or vibration, yet is called Self-referral - it is aware of Itself.
    This in turn yeilds ha and denotes śakti. The energetic principle of śiva. This in turn brings all creation into existence
    and brings about ṃ. This is called nara we can define as all objective creation , this must then include all man-kind.

    So in this 'I', ahaṃ , we have a +ha + ṃ and this indicates what resides in 'I'.

    ...a bit deeper
    This pure I, this ahaṃ that is rooted in Being, in śiva, is considered anuttaraअनुत्तर्ं. Lets look at it this way: an+uttara. Uttara उत्तर means superior , chief , excellent , dominant; it also means more, additional, better, more excellent. When the prefix of 'an' is added ( or 'a' , 'an' is used before the vowel 'u') it is considered 'not'. Hence an+uttara means not additional. That is, there is no addition one can make, hence anuttaraṃ cannot be surpassed, no additions to it is possible, therefore it is Supreme.
    Now the muni Abhinavagupta-ji informs us that this anuttara is Supreme Divine Consciousness and therefore the experient of all that there is. That is, there is none other who can have this Supreme as the object of his/her experience - hence it is the Self-Luminous Universal Consciousness that cannot be surpassed.

    ... now bring in 'i'
    In our experience we are within the realm of 'i'. Note I use the lower case 'i' here to help us understand the distinction of the two. We can call this lower case 'i' ahaṃkaraṇa. What does this mean ? ahaṃkaraṇa = ahaṃ + karaṇa
    • ahaṃ = all we discussed above, yet for this lets just call it Self-Luminous Universal Consciousness
    • karaṇa = doing; making , effecting , causing ; instrument , means of action

      Hence this 'i' = ahaṃkaraṇa = an instrument , means of action = the individual being and = ṃ (nara) from the paragraph aforementioned.
    Our experience as a doer, as this being on this earth as an instrument; On how the Supreme throttles down from infinite to finite within the realm of creation is done through individual beings. We are one of these beings.

    More to follow.

    praṇām
    Last edited by yajvan; 15 June 2011 at 09:13 PM.
    यतस्त्वं शिवसमोऽसि
    yatastvaṁ śivasamo'si
    because you are identical with śiva

    _

  8. #8
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    Namaste Kallol,

    Quote Originally Posted by kallol View Post
    I am hardly literate in terms of scriptures. I listen to discourses Gita and little bit of Kaibalya Upanishad and Introduction to Vedanta. These are my only knowledge. I am here to learn but being a scientist I will probe hard. I do not believe something without rediscovering the same. New discovery is always a pleasure for me.

    a) What is Prakriti ? Where does it arise and why ? Does it have an independent existence ?

    Prakriti is the matter principal. Without Purusha / Brahman / paraprakriti this part does not have existence.

    b) What is Mind ? How are you sure that mind is Prakriti ? If you have got the answer to the first question, does it fit into that definition of prakriti ?

    Mind is also known as sukhsma sarira - subtle body. This is also a matter principal. That is why medicine we take can alter state of mind.

    c) If "I" doesn't belong to Mind & it also doesn't belong to Consciousness what does it belong to ? What did Ramana Maharishi say about Mind ?

    I have mentioned that "I" is the feeling which come in conjuction of Mind and Consciousness. Needs both this entity. However I would be glad to know what Ramana Maharshi has said about Mind. Please direct me to the link.

    d) "mind's presence in Ocean of Consciousness" --- what does it mean ? Is there anything which is not consciousness ? Do you know what Upanishads say about it ? What gives birth to mind ? In direct perception mind dissolves ... where does it go ? Any scriptural support for your proposition ?

    The consciousness is all pervading, unchanging, timeless, attributeless entity, which is the source of existence. Matter by itself is not consciousness but is unknown without consciousness.

    Upanishads - I do not know much. Please guide me to the right link. As far as I know mind is permanent through life and death, through creation and destruction. It moves from susupti stage to manifestation stage and back during destruction and creation. Mind is the entity which brings life in a body and its departure makes the body lifeless.
    Because mind is a part of the ahamkara, it will ever move through births and deaths of bodies. There is no perfect mind (even Brahma has to take birth).

    e) What do you mean by Nirguna Consciousness ? Can "I" exist in Nirguna state of existence which is devoid of all attributes ?


    Consciousness is Nirguna. Whether or not "I" is attributeful or attributeless is the topic - what is the nature of "I". As I mentioned earlier by itself "I" cannot reside in Consciousness. But the feeling of "I" in the mind is the proof of Consciousness.

    f) What is Saguna Ahamkaar ? Are there two types of Ahamkars i.e Saguna and Nirguna ? Which Scriptures say this ?

    Ahamkara is always saguna and it was put in conjunction with nirguna consciousness to distinguish the natures. Sorry for the confusion created.

    g) "Between the boundary of mind and consciousness, and the saguna ahamkara there are many filters and layers. These brings in apparent distortion in the "I" " ---- Which boundary and what filters and layers you are talking about ? What is the scriptural or great saints' support for this understanding ? Or is this purely your own making ?

    The boundary here is the point of self realisation or enlightenment. The filters are the gunas like ego, desire, envy, (which are part of ahamkara) etc.

    Scriptures are knowledge out of the minds of spiritual scientists. All knowledge is within us. The fact that all spiritual scientists have said the same thing is a proof that TRUTH is one. The path defined based on the time, society, space and experience. In Hinduism, we are lucky that we had a galaxy of these spiritual scientists who could come out with a comprehensive (non personal) path to attain mokhsa.

    I will go through the link provided by you in the 3rd post. Sorry for not exploring fully.

    My intention is to discuss and know more as deeper implications of the knowledge might be discovered through our present scientific knowledge.

    Love and best wishes
    You are already having some fixed ideas of the Reality which is faulty as it is a mix-up of philosophies from various schools of Vedanta. The answer you are seeking can be explained by any one school in its own way. However, I find the Advaita Vedanta the most scientific in explaining the Reality as It is.

    So, my advice to you is to drop all your concepts first & then start afresh with what is being offered. The substratum of everything ... all the three states of Self is the Fourth which is neither Being nor Non-being. This state cannot be described in words except with "Not this", "Not this". We must be ready to accept the Reality which cannot be grasped by our mind and sense organs. This state is the material and efficient cause of the three states i.e. the waking state (this world with gross body, sense organs etc.), the dreaming state (the world in dream and after death .... the subtle world having subtle bodies and enjoyment is only through mind) & the Prajna or the God state which is the origin and end of the first two states and is its controller and lord of both these worlds.

    To make our understanding easy, let's see everything that Is as Infinite Ocean of Consciousness. This Ocean of Consciousness is both manifest and unmanifest in various forms and formlessness ... with attributes and also without attributes depending upon its vibratory modes. The vibration in this Ocean of Consciousness gives rise to this world that we see. The mind arises in it with ahamkar i.e. "i". "You" and "Me" actually don't exist .... they exist only as long as there is vibration in the Ocean of consciousness. These modes of vibration are equated with sounds "A" and "U" (of AUM ) in Mandukya Upanishad. The Reality without any conditioning is the silence coming after "A", "U" and "M".

    IMO, you are mixing up brain with mind. Brain is an instrument through which the mind works. Mind is not within "you" ... "you" are within mind. The mind is this world ... there is no world in absence of mind. And what is mind ? Mind is nothing but the Self looking outward (away from Itself). There is Self alone that exists ... there is Only one and not-two.

    I wish I had time to engage you in a detail discussion on this subject but it would take many days. You can easily get your answers if you read the thread I asked you to go through thoroughly and ponder over it. Another thread I can recommend on this issue is this :

    http://www.hindudharmaforums.com/showthread.php?t=5123

    However, you must go through the entire thread with patience. I also recommend you to go through Mandukya Upanishad read with Gaudapad Karika.

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

  9. #9
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    Re: Exploring "I"

    Dear Yajvanji,
    Thanks for your beautiful analysis of the Aham and Ahamkara. It gives a new perspective to look at the words.

    Thanks again.

    Dear Devotiji,

    Thanks for your patience and guidance. I will definitely look into the Mandukya upanisha (the spider example is from there).

    I have heard discourses only from Paramarthanandaji of Chinmaya Mission. He follows mostly Shankarachaya line of interpretation. Though he also brings in analogies from other interprepations (a few) and the present day science and society. You can google and find out.

    As mentioned in the scriptures, I would like to go through Sravanam, Mananam and Nividhhasanam. Until and unless I experience myself (through my analysis and rediscovery), I will anyway remain static in terms of spiritual growth. Belief is the begining of any subject. Realisation is the begining of the end.

    For the nature of God, we had an elaborate discussion earlier - "Is God = brahman + maya ? "

    There would be many falacies which would come out if we fail to understand the higher and lower natures of God. This ofcourse is another topic.

    The fourth Self as I understand from your explaination is the Brahman "which is neither Being nor Non-being. This state cannot be described in words except with "Not this", "Not this". We must be ready to accept the Reality which cannot be grasped by our mind and sense organs." This part is very true.

    "This state is the material and efficient cause of the three states". I would put it as "This state is the cause of the other three states". This is also True.

    "let's see everything that Is as Infinite Ocean of Consciousness. This Ocean of Consciousness is both manifest and unmanifest in various forms and formlessness ... with attributes and also without attributes depending upon its vibratory modes. The vibration in this Ocean of Consciousness gives rise to this world that we see."

    Here is where the difference lies. Consciousness is by itself unmanifest. Neither it is subject to time, nor change, nor attribute. These are the basic natures of consciousness which is the Higher nature of God and all manifested bodies.

    Vibration cannot happen in consciousness as it will involve time, change, attribute.

    These all happen in the Lower nature of God which is both manifest and unmanifest. Though it is True that the Lower nature is known only through the Higher nature, otherwise its existence is not known.

    Krishna body is the lower nature where as "I" the Krishna is the Higher nature. But together is what we know as Krishna.

    Now as Yajvanji mentioned the "i" identifies with the ahamkara - how does the "I" percolate down to "i" ? Where does "i" reside and is there any connections with the "i"s of the organs, cells of my body ?

    Love and best wishes

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    Re: Exploring "I"

    Namaste Kallol,

    Quote Originally Posted by kallol View Post
    "let's see everything that Is as Infinite Ocean of Consciousness. This Ocean of Consciousness is both manifest and unmanifest in various forms and formlessness ... with attributes and also without attributes depending upon its vibratory modes. The vibration in this Ocean of Consciousness gives rise to this world that we see."

    Here is where the difference lies. Consciousness is by itself unmanifest. Neither it is subject to time, nor change, nor attribute. These are the basic natures of consciousness which is the Higher nature of God and all manifested bodies.

    Vibration cannot happen in consciousness as it will involve time, change, attribute.

    These all happen in the Lower nature of God which is both manifest and unmanifest. Though it is True that the Lower nature is known only through the Higher nature, otherwise its existence is not known.
    That shows that you have not read Gaudapad (Guru of Adi Shankaracharya) Karika (Alatashanti PrakaraNa) which talks of vibration of Consciousness.

    You have some very strong views & I think I can't help you at this stage. I, therefore, quit this thread here.

    With best wishes ...

    OM
    "Om Namo Bhagvate Vaasudevaye"

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