Notes on ahamkara

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.

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.

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.

Notes on consciousness

  1. If there are three observers at 0 c, 0.5 c and 0.9999 c, their observations of the universe would be different. This is relativity. If observers see the same universe differently, then how can the universe be said to have a single nature?
  2. If a universe cannot have a single nature that it can present consistently to all observers, then there can be no unified theory of everything. If there is nothing fixed to refer to, then there is no standing ground for a theory. To arrive at the theory of everything, experience of constant existence at all frame of reference would be necessary. Interpretation of an observer at 0 c of the experience at 0.5 c, may not necessarily be true for the observer at 0.5 c.
  3. Thought experiment: Can relativity be applied on to quantum fields? If the large hadron collider is moving is at 0.9999 c with respect to the observer, would the experimental results still be valid?
  4. There are two different states of unconsciousness:
    • Death state of unconsciousness: Atman/Soul has left the body and reengagement with mind/body is not expected. Person is truly dead and appears so.
    • Pre-death state of unconsciousness: Atma/Soul has not left the body and reengagement with mind/body is possible. Person appears dead or in a coma to the world but is not truly dead.
  5. In between the two states of unconsciousness, pre-death and death, exists the clue to understand the bare essential functioning of the soul/atman. In this free state, the soul remains closer to its pure form, without having the need to engage the constructs of mind or the sense organs or the world outside or the need to look for a different body to live-in next.
  6. Like a person is standing at the door step of the house from where he can go inwards or outwards, the soul is free to engage the mind in the subtle body and go inwards into a given body and its experience or abandon the current body and seek another body more suited to the current evolved needs of the subtle body. If the current needs are zero, there should be no need for another body.
  7. When the soul decides to “go inside the house” by engaging the mind and the current body, the rules for extent of such engagement must be set. The sages (gyani) who study the soul (not so much the world) say that this engagement must be limited for it doesn’t matter how big the house and how deep one goes into it, the exit must happen. The scientists (vigyani) who study the world (not so much the soul) say this engagement must be maximum, for this one freak opportunity to learn the world should not be wasted. The sage says do not engage, for engagement creates karma and births. The scientist says engage with all your might or else your only go at life would be wasted.
  8. The scientists says, the universe is eternal but consciousness comes and goes. The sage says, consciousness is eternal and the universe comes and goes.

So, what are you? Are you a blip of consciousness that will be forever extinguished at death? Or are you eternal consciousness that will repeatedly come and go into the playground of universe till you learn to destroy your ego and burn your karma?

What is your world view? A fixed universe with random meaningless blips of consciousness and life forms? Or an eternal consciousness soul that craves for varying experiences in a semi-real universe?

Notes on “I think, therefore I am”

Original statement: The phrase originally appeared in French as je pense, donc je suis in Discourse on the Method by René Descartes.

Latin translation: Cogito, ergo sum. It appeared in Latin in his later Principles of Philosophy

From Wikipedia: Later translated into English as “I think, therefore I am” , so as to reach a wider audience than Latin would have allowed.

As Descartes explained it, “we cannot doubt of our existence while we doubt.”

A fuller version, articulated by Antoine Léonard Thomas, aptly captures Descartes’s intent: dubito, ergo cogito, ergo sum (“I doubt, therefore I think, therefore I am”)

Descartes’s statement became a fundamental element of Western philosophy, as it purported to provide a certain foundation for knowledge in the face of radical doubt. While other knowledge could be a figment of imagination, deception, or mistake, Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one’s own existence served—at minimum—as proof of the reality of one’s own mind; there must be a thinking entity—in this case the self—for there to be a thought.

One common critique of the dictum is that it presupposes that there is an “I” which must be doing the thinking. According to this line of criticism, the most that Descartes was entitled to say was that “thinking is occurring”, not that “I am thinking”.

View 1:
Essentially, thought cannot end up being the sole provable thing in existence since it has requirements for its own existence.

View 2:
St. Augustine was one of the early proponents of similar thinking. Parmenides 5th Century BC also said something similar.

View 3:
Saiva Siddhantha identifies mind and thoughts as perishing with the body and hence these cannot be associated with the identity of I. The soul is believed to be more subtle than the mind. While energies associated with mental activity can be measured, the soul itself cannot be traced by outside methods.