Reply To: Shrila Madhvacharya's concept of the sakshi

Forums Forums Vedic Philosophy Shrila Madhvacharya's concept of the sakshi Reply To: Shrila Madhvacharya's concept of the sakshi

Ashish Dalela

All truths are persons. These persons have three aspects. First, there is a universal set of assumptions or axioms which are called chitta, that are used to “measure” the world, and this measurement is called perception. If you acquire the idea of a computer, then you can see computers, otherwise, you cannot perceive computers. Like that, we have all these ideas about color, taste, smell, form, etc., and using these ideas we are able to see. These ideas are like the measuring instruments in relation to which we measure everything. If someone acquires an idea that nobody else has, then he or she can also create those things and help others see.

Second, there is an individual, which combines with the universals, and this universal has the capacity to choose. The choices are made based upon what we can perceive, and the choices are made only when we think we are going to create pleasure (or avoid pain). So, pleasure is the innate logic of choosing, and all choosing is for pleasure, and all pleasure leads to choosing. The capacity to perceive conditions our choices, but that capacity to choose is the individual.

Third, to enjoy with this world, the individual chooser must connect to other things which it considers different from itself (enjoyment with oneself is less enjoyable than with others). By connecting to others, the enjoyer becomes a master or servant, lover and loved, etc.

Thus, the cognitive capacity is universal and is called chit, the individuality is unique to each instance of the universal and is called ananda, and the relation to the perceived is called sat. Everything in this world is a combination of these three things, ideas, or principles.

Wherever there is an individual atom of taste, smell, touch, sound, sight, or a thought, a judgment, an intention, or a moral value, there are two things — a universal idea, and an individual instance. The universal is the “truth” but what about individuality? That individual is the Paramatma in each atom of perception, conception, judgment, intention, and valuation.

Due to the presence of Paramatma in each atom, each atom is a person. So, even if you study the atoms, you are only studying persons, and if we understand persons, then we can understand atoms. For example, an atom doesn’t interact with every other atom in the universe all the time. That’s just like persons; we are “friends” with some people. Then some atom is “defined” or “entangled” with other atoms; that is also like persons: our identities are defined by other persons. The only difference is that ordinary persons can only desire one thing at one time, but the Paramatma can desire infinitely, and each separate desire is reflected in one atom. Hence, we can say that there is only one Paramatma or person, but according to our measurement, He is many — as many instances of Paramatma as there are atoms in the universe.

So, all truth is a person. There are some properties in everything, which we call their “body” or “matter”. There is some relationship between these bodies, which we call “force”. And there are many individual copies of these bodies and forces which behave as unique individuals.

Quite simply, real science is studying the world as persons. And false science is depersonalizing this personal world. Real religion is if matter is also treated as a person — a Mother who is trying to make us serve a Father. And false religion is if matter is treated as “inert” or “inactive”.

So, what we have today is a false religion and false science. Both claim that matter is devoid of purpose, cognition, and whatever is happening is not due to choice in matter. And after saying that matter is working without will or choice — i.e. matter is not a person — then they argue about how soul and God are eternal persons. Thus, we see how some false religion is fighting against some false science. Even if some unity between them is imagined, it is unity between false religion and false science. We should steer clear of false fights and false unities. And that is possible if we can understand what real science and religion are.