Author Topic: Classification of the Mind Part 4  (Read 1271 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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Classification of the Mind Part 4
« on: February 17, 2010, 11:29:39 PM »
Classification of the Mind Part 4

In Descartes’ statement 'I think, therefore I am', 'I' is there before the action verb 'think'. Hence by implication the subject 'I' should be there independent of what 'I think'. What I think keeps changing (i.e. is a dependent variable) while the thinker I appears to be constant (and is thus independent). An additional implication of Descartes’ statement is the requirement that I need to keep thinking in order constantly to reassure myself that 'I am'.

Thus there are two aspects involved with regard to the above discussion: 'I am this' and 'I think, therefore I am'. Vedanta rejects both these assertions on the basis that 'I am' is independent of 'this' and 'I am' is present before I can think (i.e. thinking is dependent on 'I', rather than 'I am' being dependent on thinking). Vedanta arrives at 'who I am' is by rejecting all assertions with 'I am not this' 'neti, neti, not this, not this'. Thus, according to Vedanta, the ego is a false 'I' in which the subject is confused with an object 'this', in the 'I am this' identification. Vedanta does not say that you are 'some thing' other than 'this', since any 'something' is simply another object 'this'. The only way to arrive at the real nature of 'I' is by intuition, through rejecting any thing that can be objectified as ‘not I am’; as 'I am not this'. I can reject anything and everything as not 'I' but I cannot reject 'I’- itself, since I have to be there in order to reject anything. This process of sublation or negation is called meditation, where I drop the false I in order to ascertain my real nature. That is the true conscious entity 'I am'- without any ‘this’ or ‘that’ attached to it. This is the meaning of the biblical statement 'I am that I am'. This is concerning the first statement ('I am this').

Relating to the second statement ('I think, therefore I am'), Vedanta ascertains that 'I' exist in deep sleep state without any thinking, since I am there in the deep sleep enjoying the sleep, where there is absence of any 'this' or 'that' with which I can identify. I get up from sleep, saying that 'I slept very well', implying that I was there in deep sleep, sleeping very well. Vedanta points out that if 'I' really ceases to exist in deep-sleep, then nobody would want to go to sleep. However, everybody longs for a good night’s sleep, after tiring oneself like a rat, racing for 'this' and 'that'. People are prepared to take pills in order to get to sleep. Hence, the deep sleep experience points out, according to Vedanta, that one can exist as pure 'I' without any identification with an object. The only problem in deep sleep is that I am not conscious of myself in that state.

All problems cease in the deep sleep state; everybody is happy and nobody complains (they only complain if they do not get sleep), whether a king or a pauper on the street. All subject-object (I and this) duality ceases in the deep sleep state, with ‘I’ alone remaining without any inclusions or exclusions, since there is no 'this' and 'that' that I can perceive. Vedanta says that cessation of identification of 'I' with any 'this' is the key to happiness. This can be done by removing all 'this' as in the deep sleep state. However that is only temporary, since once I am awake, all the 'this' and 'that' will also arise and I am back to the miserable state of false identification as 'I am this' or 'I am that', suffering the limitations of 'this' and 'that'. Therefore, the deep sleep experience points out that there is a possibility of existing as pure ‘I’, as consciousness and existence, without any identification with this or that.

Vedanta says that this cessation of identification with this and that can be accomplished in the waking state too, in spite of the existence of 'this' and 'that'. 'I am' is a self-conscious and self-existent entity, independent of any 'this' and 'that'; independent of the external world. Hence, the Kantian statement that self-consciousness depends on object consciousness is to ascribe reality to the false I, the ego. Vedanta says that this is the other way round: the object consciousness depends on 'I am'. Thus, the 'ego' or ahaMkAra is a component of the mind with a false notion that 'I am this'. This 'ego' component, ahaMkAra, is called the notional mind, since the identification 'I am this' is only a notion in the mind. When I realize my true nature, these false identifications or notions drop or, more correctly, the reality that I assign to the notions is withdrawn. Then, I will be 'as though' operating as pure self, without any false identification, treating the mind as just a subtle body that I can use to transact with the world, through the 19 gates discussed earlier. We will address this aspect again when we discuss our true nature and the nature of the world with which we transact.

Going back to our classification, the last component of the mind to be discussed is memory, chitta. All objective knowledge that is gained is stored in the memory, which forms the basis for all recognitions. We can build up our memory bank by gaining knowledge, storing the information and retrieving it whenever it is needed for communication and transactions. New knowledge is built based on the past knowledge stored in the memory. There are two aspects involved: the capacity to store and the capacity to retrieve that knowledge. Retrieval and re-storage keep the knowledge fresh in the memory and those that are retrieved less and less will get buried in the memory and retrieval will also become increasingly difficult. With age, the capacity of the hardware degrades and therefore memory fails, retaining mostly the long time memory, while losing the short time. As we get old, we remember all our childhood experiences and declare to every listener how things were great in those days, while forgetting where we put our keys or check-book an hour ago. Thus we have four components of the mind that are involved whenever we transact with the world, 'out there' - mind, intellect, ego and memory.

The working of the mind can be classified in various other ways, and these will be discussed next.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2014, 08:59:54 PM by Sunil »