My Dear Maharaja!
Hare Krishna! Pranams! Namaste! This is Gaurav Mittal. I hope you remember me. It has been almost 9 years since I had last conversation with you. I read your blog quite regularly.
HpS - Honestly I think about you pretty often!! How's the wife and family? How is your self relization.
Suppose we see object like table outside. Is there really table outside as we see it? When light hits the retina, special cells called photoreceptors turn the light into electrical signals.
ASA - Rods and cones. We studied psychology, perception in the university. We think that we have a smart ass!
These electrical signals travel from the retina through the optic nerve to the brain. Then the brain turns the signals into the images we see.
HpS - Oooop! WIthout the Paramatma, Atma, and Mind (Which uses the brain, no?) they would not be 'turned', no?
Object outside is interpretation of those electrical signals in one specific way. Can there be another way to interpret those electrical signals?
ASA - Sure!!! Look up optical illusions on the internet and you'll see how we see things differently again and again based upon the senses, the mind, the intelligence, the soul....
Can those electrical signal convey true reality? Where does object truly exist? It only exists inside in mind in form of image, perceptions and sensations projected onto mind. If we look deeply, we will find that independent existence of object outside is just a belief. Object independently existing outside is convenient, consistent and practical belief.
ASA - Social convention, toys maintained by the SUpersould for the noisy children.
In terms of reality, we can be sure of only one thing. That awareness or consciousness in which object appears exists.
ASA - Rene Descartes: Cogito ergo sum, no?
That awareness / consciousness is our real unchanging Self. Unfortunately, we identify unchanging self with objects due to illusion of maya. True Self (ATMA) is eternal, seer, witness, without any change, beyond time and space. Time and space are mental constructs and ATMA is beyond these mental constructs.
ASA - This is Brahman realization, no? Then Paramatma, I can realize that I have relation with a Super-self, Paramatma, Collective sub-conscious.... intuition, insight.
Bhagavatam describes this mental filtering of true reality as illusion. Few verses which describe it:
SB 11/7/7: My dear Uddhava, the material universe that you perceive through your mind, speech, eyes, ears and other senses is an illusory creation that one imagines to be real due to the influence of māyā. In fact, you should know that all of the objects of the material senses are temporary.
SB 11/23/49: Persons who identify with this body, which is simply the product of the material mind, are blinded in their intelligence, thinking in terms of “I” and “mine.” Because of their illusion of “this is I, but that is someone else,” they wander in endless darkness.
Different experiences like pain, pleasures etc are in the mind and I am totally distinct from mind. They don't even touch me. This is beautifully described in Bhagavatam.
SB 11/23/56: The false ego gives shape to illusory material existence and thus experiences material happiness and distress. The spirit soul, however, is transcendental to material nature; he can never actually be affected by material happiness and distress in any place, under any circumstance or by the agency of any person. A person who understands this has nothing whatsoever to fear from the material creation.
Upadhi means to appropriate some other quality as oneself. There is awareness and there are objects which awareness (atma) is aware of. There is seer (Atma) and seen (objects). I (the seer) has appropriated objects (not self) as self. Rupa Gosvami says - sarvo upadhi vinirmukta - devotional service starts by not appropriating these upadhi - which means to rest in ATMA and not accept body and mind as belonging to self (mine) or as self (me).
The chapter SB 12/5 is final instruction of Sukadeva Gosvami and chapter is also titled - "Śukadeva Gosvāmī’s Final Instructions to Mahārāja Parīkṣit".
I wanted to find out your understanding on Bhagavatam 12/5 and Uddhava Gita especially chapter Bhagavatam 11/23. I hope you can share your understanding.
Thank you very much.
HpS - Thank you!!! We kind of gave our idea above and discussing a whole chapter, SB 12.5, here would be hard, but after considering our comments, maybe there is some subsequent ideas, verse, from the Uddhava Gita!!!