Jnana and Karma Indriyas ~ question!?

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    Baba Asahd

    Salutations sir.

    I have read you article: Why Sāńkhya Doesn’t Have Objects of Action and other related post.

    I understand what you mean by going up and down the tree and the levels of nodes. I understand the difference between Sāńkhya and the scientific approach. I also understand that meaning is converted into words and vice versa by the Jnana and Karma Indriyas.

    But I still cannot for the life of me understand, at a simple level, the correlation between:

    • Ether – Sound – Ears – Speech
    • Air – Touch – Skin – Hands
    • Fire – Sight – Eyes – Feet
    • Water – Taste – Mouth – Urethra
    • Earth – Smell – Nose – Anus

    There is a missing link I cannot see that ties them together harmoniously.  The process by which meaning is converted into meaning and vice versa by these organs.

    If you could help me with this, at a very basic level, I would greatly appreciate it.

    Thank you.

    Ashish Dalela

    There is a general principle of mental perception involved here. The mind is also a sense. Kṛṣṇa describes the mind as a “sixth sense” in Bhagavad-Gita 15.7. So, you may ask: What is that? The answer is that there are three qualities of Prakṛti called sattva, rajas, and tamas. Everything is a combination of three qualities, but they are different combinations, in which different qualities are dominant. For example, in colors, yellow is dominant in sattva, red is dominant in rajas, and blue is dominant in tamas. Through your eyes, you can see red, yellow, and blue. But by the mind, you can see the qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas. This is the difference between sense perception and mental perception: Sense perception is phenomena and mental perception is reality.

    There are many deeper levels of perception apart from sense perception. For example, if you hear someone speaking, and you try to understand what they are saying based on grammar and dictionaries, then it is mental speculation rather than mental perception. In the West, people call this interpretation of a sound or text. That is because mental perception is not yet developed, and so, one has to speculate. The true meaning of a sound or text is not uncovered by speculation because there are many possible ways to interpret a text or sound, but only one of those ways is true in a given context, based on the mood, intentions, and personality of the person speaking it.

    When mental perception is developed, then we can see one of the many possible interpretations as the correct meaning. Those who are speculating, and don’t have a mental perception, cannot see why a specific interpretation is the correct meaning. Similarly, once the correct meaning is understood, there are many further levels of reality such as (a) the belief system, ideology, or philosophy behind expressing some meaning, (b) the long-term vision or goal of a person saying it, (c) the self-identity of the person who is saying it, (d) the feeling that the person is feeling while saying it, (e) the system of values that a person upholds or prefers, and so on. This requires progressive perception.

    As perception progresses, we come to the perception by consciousness, which is capable of deconstructing every sensation, activity, thought, judgment, emotion, and context into three qualities of sattva, rajas, and tamas. Hence, hearing the speech is a perception by the ears, then there is a mental perception of the idea, the intellectual perception of the beliefs, ideology, or philosophy behind that idea, the identity perception of how a person views himself behind that ideology, the values behind that self-identity based on which he sees himself in that way, and this process goes on until we come to the deepest level reality of perceiving some combination of three qualities.

    Therefore, sensation, thought, judgment, goal, value, feeling, and so on are all phenomena. They are different kinds of phenomena, and they seem very different to us. But underlying these phenomena is a reality that is just different combinations of three qualities. To develop our perception, we have to first see the deeper phenomena, and as we make further progress, we can see the deepest reality.

    Almost everyone can see yellow, red, and blue. But everyone cannot see that yellow is very similar in qualities to knowledge, that red is very similar in qualities to passion, and that blue is very similar in quality to sadness. And yet, people say that “I’m feeling blue” when they are sad; people give red roses to express their love; and knowledgeable people like pastel colors due to their warm, subdued, and bright nature. This is because there are many levels of perception and everything is produced by a combination of three qualities. But some people can see deeply into qualities and find similarities between two things that are seemingly unconnected to each other, while other people cannot see the similarity. Prima facie, sadness is an emotion and blue is a color. They should have no connection. But there is a connection if one is able to perceive the qualities by progressive perceptual ability.

    One of the measures of spiritual advancement is that we can perceive deeper and deeper realities progressively. Yoga is not about faith. It is about perceptual development. And if someone is making spiritual progress, then they can talk about everything in terms of three qualities. For example, those who don’t have any spiritual development say that all religions are more or less the same. They cannot see what is behind the rituals, dresses, customs, and rules. They can just see superficial things. But one who has spiritual vision can see which religion is transcendent, which religion is in sattva, rajas, or tamas. They don’t go by the superficial vision of rituals, dresses, customs, and rules. They dive deep into the quality combination. Similarly, those who don’t have spiritual vision, look at a person’s dress and social titles to estimate their stature. But one who has spiritual vision can clearly see which person is in tamas, rajas, sattva, or transcendence. It is not faith. It is perception. But one has to follow the process to develop the ability to see what one cannot see right now.

    So, when you ask why one sense of action is similar to a sense of knowledge, I cannot tell you the precise combination of three qualities involved in each case, but I can say that two things are similar to each other based on their qualities. This is just like you can liken yellow to knowledge, red to passion, and blue to sadness. Superficially there is no similarity. But there is a deep underlying similarity. But this similarity will be understood only when we develop our perception.

    The general recommendation for everyone is to understand everything in terms of sattva, rajas, tamas, and transcendence. Whether it is food, clothing, work, lifestyle, religion, society, or philosophy. It doesn’t matter how it seems different to us superficially. That difference is just a phenomenon. Underlying that phenomenon is a reality of sattva, rajas, tamas, and transcendence. One should try to understand in terms of these qualities. Every question and answer must be analyzed in terms of their qualities. Every person can be seen in terms of their qualities. Those who can talk in this way are talking usefully. Others are talking uselessly. The useful speech talks about reality and the useless speech only talks about phenomena and speculates on reality, but because this speculation is always false, therefore, it is forced to change its speculations. The truthful reality needs no change.

    Baba Asahd


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