It is consciousness over mind and matter

Life is an experience is created by the interaction of the tangible energy and the intangible energy.

The tangible external world that provides the experience is different from the intangible internal consciousness within a life form that experiences.

Even the intangible, is differentiated into pure consciousness that is filled with sat-chit-ananda and other semi-tangible processes such as the mind, thoughts, memory and so on.

Every experience a life form has, rests on its own consciousness. Without one’s own consciousness, all the complexity of constructs of the universe and mind have no meaning. Thus, when examines one’s own life, consciousness is treated as real and the world outside as unreal.

The tangible world outside and the semi-tangible mind are constantly changing. But the consciousness inside is regarded as an unchanging observer. No matter what a human acquires or loses in the tangible world, the ability of the consciousness to experience is not altered. But when the conscious soul leaves the body, life is said to have ended and the body can be disposed of.

Because life experience is a two part process, which needs both consciousness and matter, the question of which is more important has had different answers.

People such as scientists and atheists, who take the side of tangible matter argue that the semi-tangibles and intangible somehow arises from the tangible. However, no such proofs exists of consciousness arising from matter. Stones, for example do not come alive.

People such as theists and spiritualists, take the side of intangible and argue that the changing nature of semi-tangibles and tangible universe makes them unsuited for building the foundation of life upon it. Therefore, the eternal unchanging consciousness is the only suitable foundation of life.

So the question “Mind over matter or Matter over mind?” has an unexpected answer because both the mind and matter are some what tangible and constantly changing. The answer really should be “It is consciousness over mind and matter”.

Notes on ahamkara

Sources:
1. Drig Drishya Viveka
2. Shaiva Siddhantha
3. Swami Sarvapriyananda
4. Samkhya

Alternate terms: Ahankara, ahankar
English translation: Ego, Identity, Awareness, I-ness,

Meaning: (Ahamkara= I am the cause, I am the doer)
Ahamkara is a Sanskrit word that describes the ego, the image a person has of him/herself or the conscious mind as he/she perceives it. The term comes from the root, aham, which translates as “I am”; and kara, which means “doing” or “making.”

Purpose: The purpose of ahamkara is to create self-awareness. It is only by this self-awareness, a life form develops the ability to differentiate itself from the world around it and take ownership of objects as mine and not mine.

Position: Ahamkara is one of the four aspects of antahkarana, or the “inner organ”. In addition to ahankara, antahkarana includes buddhi , chitta and manas. The anthakarana are a part of the subtle body and exist in impure maya.

Working: The atman/soul is a source of pure consciousness. Ahamkara reflects the consciousness of the soul in its most true form to create a true reflection of the soul and thus create an identity. This reflection is not like the moon reflecting the sunlight but more like a dewdrop reflecting the sun. Moon’s reflection of sunlight does not reflect the sun truly and creates the illusion as if moon is also a source of light. But the dewdrop’s reflection of the sun is a miniature version of the sun itself. Like a red hot iron ball has both the attributes of iron as well as heat, this image of the atman created on anthakarana has attributes of both consciousness of the atman and the inertness of impure maya.

Role: The pure consciousness of the soul, is reflected and transmitted to ahamkara, is further transmitted to the other anthakaranas, sense organs and body so that the whole body till the tip of fingernails is illumined with consciousness.

This process of consciousness transmitting from the soul to ahankara to anthakarana to body organs is similar to heat flowing from fire to vessel to water to vegetable.

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Inference only – not from text:
This consciousness that is imparted to anthakarana and the body is called “reflected consciousness” because:
1. It is an unclear indication of the source consciousness (like moon reflects the sun)
2. It is different from pure consciousness due to its association with impure maya of the anthakarana and the body.
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Connections:
1. Connection of ahankara with other anthakaranas is natural (sahaja) and cannot be broken
2. Connection of ahankara with the body has its roots in the karma (karmajam) carried by the subtle body and will be broken only by resolving the karma
3. Connection of ahankara with the atman is false (bhranthijam). By breaking this connection, the soul is liberated by staying rooted in pure consciousness.

Chit-Jada Granthi

In the Verse 24 of “Reality in Forty Verses”, Ramana Maharshi says that neither the insentient body says “I”, nor the sentient, self-effulgent, ever-present Consciousness says “I”. Between them, the Ahamkara (ego-self) rises as “I” and ties both of them together and it is known as Chit-Jada Granthi (Sentient-Insentient Knot). This knot needs to be cut using Viveka, the sword of reasoning and discrimination. The non-emergence of the egoistic “I” is the pure state of being. To destroy the ego, the source of its emergence has to be sought by digging deep and turning the mind inwards. Then the Ahamkara (ego-self) subsides and the experience of the Self emerges as the real “I” – “I” – “I”.

Arun Kumar, Author of “Pearls of Vedic Wisdom to Succeed” on Quora