Relationship between self and the mind in Vedanta

Discussion in 'Spiritual Forum' started by garry420, Mar 14, 2015.

  1. garry420

    garry420 Well-Known Member

    Excerpt from a Satsanga by Swami Dayananda Saraswati

    In Vedanta, we have words like indriyani / इन्द्रियाणि, manah / मनः, buddhi /बुद्धि, cittam / चित्तं, and ahankarah / अहंकारः । The five senses of perception (इन्द्रियाणि) are hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, and the sense of touch all over the body. Then, we have the faculty of thinking behind these five senses. This faculty is in the form of thought modifications. It is what we call vrtti / वृत्ति. It means a thought, thoughts or thought-forms. We further define vrtti by three main types, although there are so many of them. One type is mana, another is buddhi, and the third type is citta. Thus, we are defining the vrtti’s as a three-fold manifestation. Mana is generally referred to as the mind. Emotions, desires, doubt, and vacillations are all mana. Then we have another type of thinking where there is deliberate enquiry. When
    there is resolution, decision and will, we call it buddhi. The process of
    reasoning and inference, etc. all comes under that. Then recollection and
    memory, we call citta. So these three – mana, buddhi, and citta we call antahkarana / अन्तःकरण or, in general, mind. The one who owns the mind is the ego (aham/अहं). This is the individual—the ‘I’ thought or the one who employs the mind. Therefore, the ego (ahankara / अहंकार) is the sense of “I-ness”. Any ownership, knowership, enjoyership,doership—all “ships” belong to (aham /अहं).

    We always look at the ego through the mind, the buddhi, the citta and the body, or the senses. Even with reference to the external world, you look at yourself as “I am a son; I am a daughter; I am a husband or I am a wife”. When you look at yourself from an external standpoint, it is the ego. We are just giving a definition of this ego from different standpoints. The ego (ahankara / अहंकार) is the self for the time being. Vedanta questions whether this ego can really be the self, since in deep sleep you do not have the ego. But then, you find that you are there. It means you are able to relate to that sleep as ‘my sleep’ when you say, “I slept like a log”, etc. You were there in sleep, correct? So, I was there before sleep, I am here after sleep and in sleep, also, I was there. This is one way of saying it. In a certain way, you can also say, “I was aware of my sleep.” “I slept” is an experience. “I slept well” is an experience. That “I didn’t see anything in particular” is also an
    experience. So, in deep sleep, I was there. In a moment of joy, I am there. The ego that I know—the individual ‘I’, the self that I am familiar with—is not there. Therefore, from various standpoints, when you look at what the self is, Vedanta says, “The ego is the self: the self is not the ego”. The self is the invariable in all situations. Whether you have doubt or emotion, whether you are exploring or have deliberate thinking or decision making, whether you recollect or remember, it is the self that is invariable in all your experiences. In all situations, one thing is present, and that one thing is what you want to be present. “I am” is present because all these are experiences are strung in the self. The self that is present in all these experiences is the eternal, timeless self.

    Vedanta says that the self is simple consciousness as such. While the ego is consciousness, consciousness appears as though variable in the ego. What the ego is, and what the ego is aware of are both the same self. So the mind is the self. The mind is consciousness. Every thought is consciousness. The “I”-thought or ego-thought also is consciousness. The thought of any object is consciousness; when the mind thinks of a tree, the tree thought is consciousness. So consciousness is invariable and it is the self. Is that consciousness which is the very self alone, related to the mind? In what way is it related to the mind? Really speaking, it is not related to the mind. The mind is related to the self in the sense that the mind is the self, having no independent existence separate from the self. But the self is not the mind. Just like this table is purely wood and never apart from wood, while the wood itself is not merely the table. The wood will continue to be even when the table ceases to be. This is the relationship, the relationship between what is and what appears to be.

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