Friday, February 19, 2016

Actor Is Action

Actor Is Action 

In our day to day world the "Doer" of any deed is the subject. She/he is the 'agent' of the action taken.  In other words, no action can happen without the actor.

The Advaita holds that the Actor is non-different from the Action. The Actor and Action are not two.

Here is a short excerpt on the above matter taken from Chapter 3: Origination (utpatti prakaraNa) of Yogavasishta (being serialized at Advaita Vision).


(From sarga 95, utpatti prakaraNayogavAsiShTha):

Sage Vasishta: A flower bloomed. Fragrance spread. Which is born first? It is not possible to say which originated first. Both are born simultaneously. Similarly the doer and the action are not born separately. They are born at the same time. Both have their roots in ignorance. Individual beings also have their origin in ignorance.


Mind is the result of ignorance. The action is the effect of mind. Ignorance is like the branch (of a tree).  Mind is a flower. Action is the fragrance. People normally say that the flower has come out of the branch and the fragrance has come out of the flower. This formulation is true in some sense, but it is not the whole truth. Both the flower and the fragrance have come out of the branch and they have come at the same time. This is the actual truth.

Similarly, mind has come out of ignorance. Mind is the doer. The actions have sprung out of the mind. So the sequence ‘ignorance -- mind -- action’ is the understanding in common parlance. It is like the sequence ‘clay powder -- lump of clay --  pot.’  

In a sense the pot is clay and the clay is pot. Likewise, mind is action and action is mind. Or actor is action and action is the actor. But what I proposed is still subtler than that.

There is a time lag between the lump of clay and its appearance as a pot. But there is no such time gap between the flower and its fragrance. Fragrance does not have a distinct form of its own different from the flower. Hence we are bound to accept that flower and fragrance are born out of the branch simultaneously and that the flower and fragrance are not two entities.

The position with respect to the mind and action is also exactly the same. Both manifest simultaneously from ignorance and are identical.  The real cause for the emergence of a sense of separate self is ignorance. 


Peter Francis Dziuban said...

Thank you ramesam!

Marianne Sciberras said...

The branch comes from the tree, and the tree comes from.. itself?

Ramesam Vemuri said...

Maybe you have to re-frame the Question.
Ask, instead: Is the branch different from the tree?

The branch does not have a 'Beingness' of its own separate from that of the tree.