Monday, 3 December 2012

I am, therefore I think.

First I wish to clarify one or two points arising out of the earlier blog “I am Brahman”. When I equate “I am” with Brahman, what I am equating is the amness of “I am”, that stands for pure Existence, which is eternal, not limited by time or space. This is similar to equating “I” with Brahman, where I that is equated is not I with the upadhi of body-mind-complex but a upadhi-free I. Pure Existence is Sat, and Sat is only Chit and as the One only without a second, is infinite and having no second it is total fulfilment itself, for what can It need when there is nothing else?  So one can refer to Brahman by any one of these epithets, pure Existence, pure Consciousness or by any other epithet that stands for this, and not necessarily by all the three Sat, Chit, Aanand as in Taittriya Upanishad.  After all Brahman itself is not a name but only a pointer to understand the part-less, indescribable Infinite, the one absolute Truth without the second. It is the only thing that is no-thing as well.  In Chandogya Upanishad it is referred to as Bhuma as well.  Eckhart Stolle, a contemporary spiritual teacher, and Burt Harding, a hypno-therapist turned spiritual teacher and a fan of Ramana Maharishi refer to It as “Now”, Now as a container and not as the ordinarily encapsulated one in time frame, and also as Being, emphasising It is the Only Absolute Reality, without compromising It being “You” only.

Now let us consider the famous statement made by Rene Descartes, the French philosopher “I think, therefore I am. This reads as though our existence needs proof to ourselves and this proof is supplied to us through the fact we are thinking. The proof must be to ourselves only for we alone know our mind (or we assume we know our mind). Does our existence really need proof to ourselves? Do we doubt our existence any time, even if it is challenged by others? Certainly not. Even in a dark room where we need a light to know whether anything is there, we readily respond “yes, I am”, if anybody asks “Are you there”.  Even in deep sleep where all our senses along with the mind are dysfunctional are we not aware of our existence, that enables us to make the statement “’ I slept soundly; I did not know anything”?  “I am” is a statement of our existence, which is self-evident, while “I think” is a statement of the functionality of the mind, which is dependent on “I am” our Consciousness.  Mind by itself is insentient being the product of the total satvic content of the pancha bhuthas, the five primordial elements of space, air, fire, water and earth, which are by themselves inert.  “I am” as such represents Consciousness that is my real Self that lends sentiency to the mind by its very presence. So in this famous statement Descartes has put the cart before the horse, basing Consciousness on thinking.

Any cosmetic change in this statement replacing ‘think’ by ‘feel’ or ‘perceive’ will not improve matters.  For ‘feel’ and ‘perceive’ are also functions of the mind where sense-organs of perception are also involved. While mind is the product of total satvic content of the pancha buthas, the sense-organs of perception are formed of the satvic content of the individual bhuthas.  Individual bhuthas being inert, the sense-organs of perception are also insentient by themselves and they also derive their sentiency through mind made sentient through the presence of Consciousness. So the amendments will suffer from the same error of predicating the existence of the support on the supported.  So only if the statement is amended as “I am, therefore I think”, it will reflect the correct position, I think.

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