You are here: Sri Vaishnava Home Page : Bhakti List : Archives : June 2001

Re: aatma saakshaatkaaram

From: K. Sadananda (
Date: Thu Jun 07 2001 - 05:25:27 PDT

Shree Rajagopalan

Thanks for your kind mail. The question was actually posed not by me 
but by Shree Krishana kalale who is himself a scholar.  What I wrote 
was only from my understanding.  Here are my thoughts regarding the 
issues you have addressed.

>. Eventhough, I am ignorant of
>many things, what I hear from learned people like you is that
>paramporul that has been described by vedas cannot be perceived
>by us. I also have heard that whatever the concept of vedas
>that is applicable to us is also applicable to all other things
>(including living and non-living).

Yes, indeed.  Most of the achaarya-s agree on three fundamental 
pramaaNa-s,  pratyaksha, anumaana and shabda.   Nayyyayika-s and 
Advaitins consider three more, upamaana, arthaapatti and anupalabdi 
while Bhagavaan Ramanuja and Madhva consider the later three as part 
of anumaana pramaaNa only. Any knowledge generally involves karaNam 
or instruments and these are also referred to as pramaaNa in the 
general sense of the word.

  Pratyaksha  is perceptual knowledge and involves the five senses and 
some classify manas or mind is also an instrument of pratyaksha since 
one can recollect from memory or have a mental vision of the object. 
Hence direct perception is what you see right now and memory is 
recollection of what one  saw earlier by direct perception.  The 
implication in the question of Shree Krishna Kalale 'aatmasaaskhaat 
karaNam' - involves sa akshaat - directly seeing through the eye.   I 
have assumed that he is referring to only paramaatma saakatkaaram and 
not  sakshatkaaram  of ones own aatma since in Adviata one equates 
atma and paramaatma.  Since this forum is not meant for discussion of 
Adviatic philosophy I will refrain from the discussion of the 
validity of that equation. In the pratyaksya pramaaNa normally 
implies the objective vision through the instruments, senses and the 
mind behind the senses.  As Bhagavaan Ramanuja rightly points out 
without the attributes one cannot perceive the object and therefore 
every object existing (or perceived) must have attributes.  If I want 
to 'see' the Lord, the Lord should have attributes hence the 
conclusion that Lord is ananta kalyaaNa guNa ashraya or locus of 
infinite auspicious qualities.  But in Vedanta 'seeing' is used in a 
generic sense - When one understands a subject we say ' Yes I see 
what you mean' -   Here seeing is not by senses but understanding by 
the mind.  - that also involves ' a thought' in the mind and I am 
aware of the 'thought' too or I see the thought.  Hence even the 
philosophies are referred to as 'darshhana-s' - vision of the truth - 
that which is seen by the seers.  Hence saakshaat kaaram is not 
necessarily a vision in the objective sense but seeing through the 
mind the vision of the reality as enumerated by Shabda pramaaNa.  One 
cannot see through the eyes and say here is the Lord then it becomes 
part of pratyaksha pramaaNa.  His existence cannot not argued 
logically either that is by anumaana pramaana since anumaana pramaana 
requires validation by pratyaksha only -  what is known in tarka 
shaastra as vyaapti j~naanam.  Hence scriptures or here Vedas become 
only means of knowledge or valid pramaaNa.  Hence I quoted the 
MunDaka sloka in terms of the nature of the reality that it is not 

But for dhyaanam or meditation one needs an object or locus for 
meditation - one cannot meditate on some bhaabaabuubu - Hence Lord is 
described in a form that is conducive for mental vision and can form 
a locus for dhyaanam.  Bhagavaan Ramanuja justifies the form of the 
Lord using scriptures as a basis, yet the vision of or saakshaat 
kaaram of the Lord is not like  seeing an object out there through 
the mind, either through the senses or through the memory but using 
what is termed as j~naaa kshakshu or wisdom eye - one should have 
that wisdom in order to see that Lord - or for saakshaat kaaram -

For bhakti one needs a locus - since the nature of the reality is 
such that locus is not directly perceptible by the senses and mind 
but it requires an understanding - j~naana kshakshu or wisdom eye. 
In my understanding, this is nothing but 'intuition' which comes into 
play when the mind is in contemplation (I did not intentionally use 
the term meditation here - since meditation is not a verb involving 
action or karma).  This j~naana kshakshu develops when one 
contemplates on the study of the scriptures through aachaarya or 
teacher who can interpret the scriptures properly.  j~naanam that 
Advaitins talk about is different from this.  Hence Bhagavaan 
Ramanuja emphasizes  that j~naanam leads to Bhakti or sharaNaagati. 
SharaNaagati involves complete surrenderence - manasaa vaacha 
karamaNa and one can surrender only  at the altar of Love or Bhakti. 

Hence in my understanding saakshaatkaaram is the clear vision of the 
Lord through j~naana kshakshu which is required for pure Bhakti that 
involves ananyachinta.

>Eventhough, I cannot quote the verse, I remember the meaning of
>one IshaVasyaupanishad, saying your path is enlightened if you
>proceed in line with your enquiries, and your previous knowledge
>by continuing to study the scriptures rather than get struck in
>the conclusion(which may lead to darkness).

Absolutely.  A mind in conclusion is the mind that is closed for 
knowledge.  At the same time one has to be careful.  One should not 
blindly accept what is said but  take the help of scriptures and 
aachaarya and use the mind to go beyond the mind - like pole vault- 
use the pole to go beyond the pole - since that is all we have.
>Best Regards,
>Ramanan Rajagopalan

I wrote whatever came to mind and may not all be relevant to the 
topic of discussion and also may not all be agreeable to many - Hence 
place take it as only my current understanding of the problem.

Hari Om!

K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
To Post a message, send it to:

Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to