Siddhantabindu of Madhusudana Sarasvati---14

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E text source- www.celextel,org 82. We have declared hundreds of times that what is opposed to the import of the sruti (which is Brahman) should be rejected. Therefore such differences in views are of little consequence. The jiva undergoes transmigration because he is under the control of his limiting adjunct. Since the supreme Isvara controls his limiting adjunct, he has qualities such as omniscience. Thus the distinction between them is logically explained.

83. Obj: Let it be that the distinction between jiva and Isvara is due to the effect of nescience. But how do you explain the distinctions such as means of valid knowledge, object of knowledge, etc, with regard to different persons and different objects?

Note: It is our experience that every one does not know everything all the time. What one person knows, another person does not. The question is, how can there be such differences if everything is only one Brahman? That is to say, if the consciousness is the same in all persons, all should see all things at the same time. But this is not the case. ‘Karma’ in the above sentence means ‘object’ (as in grammar). Pratikarma means ‘each object’.

84. Answer: Avidya, though limited, cannot stand scrutiny because it is indescribable, being an object of knowledge, inert, and perishable. Possessing the twin powers of concealment and projection, it covers the all-pervading self which is pure consciousness. It is like the finger placed in front of the eye concealing the orbit of the sun. If the eye itself were covered (by the finger), then the finger itself would not be seen. (So the finger does not cover the eye, but it covers only the sun which is much bigger). Projection (of an unreal object) cannot occur unless the substratum itself is covered. This avidya becomes modified as the entire universe as a result of the actions of the jivas prompted by the impressions of past actions. This avidya becomes identified with pure consciousness because of the reflection of the consciousness in itself. As a result, all the effects of avidya (the entire universe) become permeated by consciousness through its reflection.

85. Since consciousness is like a lamp which illumines everything within its range, the pure consciousness that is the cause of the universe illumines everything always without depending on any means of knowledge and it is therefore omniscient. Therefore there is no need of any distinction such as means of knowledge, object of knowledge, etc., with regard to it. But it is necessary in the case of the jiva, because he is limited by the intellect which is his limiting adjunct. Because of this, the jiva experiences only that object with which his mind, which has the capacity to take the reflection of consciousness, is associated (through the senses), and only at the particular time when it is so associated. Therefore there is no possibility of any mix-up.

Note: Isvara who is omniscient knows everything all the time. But a particular jiva experiences only that particular object with which his mind is in contact through the sense organs at a particular time. Therefore the objection that if there is only one consciousness then everybody must be able to see everything at the same time is refuted. The mind of each jiva is different and so the experience of each jiva is different from that of others.

86. Thus this is the method here. (This is how cognition of an object takes place). The internal organ (mind) which is inside the body, which pervades the whole body, which is created out of the subtle elements with a preponderance of sattvaguna, which is a modification of nescience, and which is extremely clear like a mirror, stretches out through the eyes and other sense organs, pervades objects such as a pot which are capable of being known, and takes the form of that object, just like molten copper (poured into a mould). Like the light of the sun, it (the mind) can suddenly contract or expand. (The light covers small as well as big objects). The mind, being a substance with parts, is capable of undergoing changes. It is inside the body, pervading it, and extends, without any break, up to the object such as pot, which it covers (by taking the form of the object), like the eye (just as the vision of the eye extends from the eye to the object without a break). The part of the mind which is within the body, which is called the ego, is known as the agent. The part that extends like a stick from the body to the object, which is called the cognition resulting from a mental modification (vritti-jnaana), is known as the action. The part of the mind that pervades the object is what makes the pot, etc., the object of knowledge. It is called the capacity to manifest.

87. Because of the capacity of the mind with these three parts to receive a reflection (like a mirror), consciousness becomes manifested (reflected) in it. Though the consciousness so manifested is only one, it is given three different names, based on the three-fold division of the mind in which it is reflected. The part that is limited by the portion called the agent is known as the knower. The part limited by the portion referred to above as the action is called the means of knowledge. The part covering the object, described above as the capacity to manifest, is called knowledge. The object to be known is the Brahman-consciousness which is the substratum of the object and which is unknown. The same, when known, is the phala or result.