Friday, 2 June 2023

What its like to be a sage

 What its like to be a sage is a riff on what its like to be a bat.  It controverts it with irony because the bat is not an idealist.  The bat if anything is a non-dualist.  If the bat had it’s own very own special bat feelings, inscrutable and mysterious to the non-bat world then the existence of an external world that was congruent with those feeling would arise.  Of course the bat is a non theoretic creature; the problem of an external world does not arise, there is simply a consciousness and action without a second thought.  Humans do take thought when not immediately pressed by the exigencies of survival and navigation around the furniture of this world.  The human being is a theoretic creature who examines his own reactions and places them within the boundary of an entity called the person.  In essence that is a naturally occurring theory which may be useful for navigational purposes, indeed essential yet as Bergson and the Advaitins hold the forked consciousness is parasitic on a non-dual plenum.  Bergson calls it ‘pure perception’  and allies it to Memory the significant element of Consciousness.  Getting to that state is for the Eastern sage a letting go and letting be, expressed by Ramana Maharshi as ‘effortless effort’.  The Master enjoins ‘Show me the face you had before you were born’ or ‘the sound of one hand clapping’.  There is consciousness in that state but it has not yet migrated per ur-theory to a person.  It is the natural state.  

Janaka in the Ashtavakra Gita explains it thus:

"Janaka said:

I became intolerant first of physical action, then of extensive speech, and then of thought. Thus therefore do I firmly abide.

Having no attachment for sound and other sense objects, and the Self not being an object of perception, my mind is freed from distraction and is one-pointed. Thus therefore do I firmly abide.

An effort has to be made for concentration when there is distraction of mind owing to superimposition etc. Seeing this to be the rule, thus do I firmly abide.

Having nothing to accept and nothing to reject, and having neither joy nor sorrow, thus, sir, do I now firmly abide.

A stage of life or no stage of life, meditation, control of mental functions - finding that these cause distraction to me, thus verily do I firmly abide.

Abstention from action is as much the outcome of ignorance as the performance of action. Knowing this truth fully well, thus do I firmly abide.

Thinking on the Unthinkable One, one only has recourse to a form of thought. Therefore giving up that thought, thus do I firmly abide.

Blessed is the man who has accomplished this. Blessed is he who is such by nature."

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