Tag Archives: soul

Philosophy Quiz

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Today we come to a closure of our philosophical journey together. I hope you enjoyed it.

“Noooooo”, came a chorus.

“Don’t say closure. It was so much fun, and we hope we continue with it”, echoed Ātmā.

“Yes sirrrrrrr”, again came a chorus.

I too hope, you continue with it in your life, as I guess it had opened a lot of doors of possibilities for you. So, to make it a memorable closure with me, I thought, we would run a quiz today, by asking each one of twenty five of you, some questions. You may add extra info in your answers, though.

“Wow! a quiz”, exclaimed Gati.

Ok. Let’s start with you. How many types of sense organs?

Gati: Five.

What are the further divisions of each of the sense organs? (pointing to Jāti)

Jāti: Dravyendriya (Observable Organ made of pudgal) and Bhāvendriya (Non-observable Organ made of soul)

What are the divisions of dravyendriya?

Kāy: Dravyendriya is divided into the matter and energy components. The materialistic form & structure (nirvritti), and the organ energy (upkaraṅ) needed to drive a sense organ. The form & structure could be further divided into internal & external sense organs.

How do we understand the bhāvendriya?

Indriya: Bhāvendriya is the aspect of a sense organ because of its being driven by life / soul. It also has two aspects: labdhi (organ’s soul power) and upyog (organ in live action).

As, even a sense organ is fundamentally driven by two types – observable dravyendriya and non-observable bhāvendriya, wouldn’t the whole of a living being be so driven?

Paryāpti: Yes. We living beings are also driven by the observable paryāpti, and the non-observable prāṅ.

What are the varieties of paryāpti (matter & energy) needed to live a life?

Paryāpti: There are six varieties. Food, body, sense organ(s), breath, speech, mind, and they are acquired in that order, for taking birth.

What are the corresponding prāṅ (life support due to soul)?

Prāṅ: They are actually ten. 5 indriya (prāṅ) for organs, manobal for mind, vachanbal for speech, kāybal for body, shwāsochchhwās for breath, āyuṡ for food, and they go away in that order, while dying.

Excellent. And if you know, as both dravyendriya and bhāvendriya are required for the proper functioning of any sense organ, similarly both paryāpti and prāṅ are required for the proper functioning of the corresponding aspect of any living being. Next, minimum how many bodies does a worldy being possess?

Sharīr: Two (tejas & kārmaṅ) during transition from one life form to another.

What are the different types of (soul initiated) activities aka yog?

Yog: They are three – activities of body (physical), speech (verbal), mind (mental).

What is the philosophy of multi-perspective called?

Upyog: Anekāntvād

What are the two types of karm particles at broad level?

Karm: Ghāti (Hindering) & Aghāti (Non-hindering).

In which all guṅasthān do you not die, or are you immortal?

Guṅasthān: Third, Twelfth, Thirteenth. Third because it is a doubtful state. Twelfth and Thirteenth as from these you are destined to go the the next state.

What are the subjects of the sense organs?

Viṡay: 3 (types of) sounds, 5 colours, 2 smells, 5 tastes, 8 touches.

Which karm particles get accumulated on using sense organs?

Mitthyātva: Good ones if used without any bias of anger, ego, deceit, greed. Otherwise, bad karm particles.

What are the ways of stopping the karm particles?

Tatva: 5 sanvar (opposite of āshrav), viz right faith, right conduct, alertness of right conduct, no-kaṡāy, non-activity.

What are the types of ātmā?

Ātmā: As such all are same – the substance ātmā. But based on its worldly state, it could be infinite, but could be broadly classified into 7 more apart from dravya (substance): kaṡāy (anger, ego, deceit, greed), yog (activity), upyog (business), knowledge, faith, conduct, power.

Our hormones trigger our thoughts. Our thoughts trigger our behaviour. But what trigger our hormones?

Danḋak: Leshyā, types of which are typically represented by six enhancing colours of black, blue, gray, red, yellow, white.

And what triggers the leshyā?

Leshyā: Vibrations of the karmic body or karm particles.

What are the types of faith?

Driṡṫi: Right, Wrong & Mixed.

What are the types of meditation?

Dhyān: Four: ārtt (continuous focus on unfavourables & desirables), roudra (concentration in ruthless thoughts), dharm (philosophical concentration), shukla (thought to thoughtlessness). Obviously the first two are not the good forms of meditation.

What is the relation between the three faiths with guṅasthān?

Dravya: First guṅasthān is the stage of wrong faith, third one of mixed, and the rest are of right faith.

Which all forms of living beings can go to mokṡ?

Rāsi: As such any. But directly only from human being form. So, others also will have to come into human form to go to mokṡ.

So, ultimately can all living beings attain mokṡ?

Vrat: No. There are two varieties of all living beings: bhavi and abhavi. Only bhavi are capable of going to mokṡ.

Would all bhavi go to mokṡ?

Mahāvrat: Not really. They are just capable – doesn’t mean they will go. And moreover they are infinite.

In what different ways can the activities (yog) be executed?

Bhāngā: Each of the three activities (body, speech, mind) can be executed in three ways: by oneself, or can be gotten executed by someone else, or can be executed by supporting someone else. (In terms of karm accumulation, all three of them are equivalent.) Hence in detail, there becomes 3 x 3 = 9 varieties of activity execution.

And finally, in how many ways can the level of an ascetic be classified?

Chāritra: Five, viz sāmāyik, chhedopsthāpya, parihār vishuddhi, sūkṡm sanprāy, yathākhyāt.

On a closing note:

As a scientist does lot of experiments trying to unravel the mysteries of observables. In the same way, a philosopher need to do a lot of experiments to unravel the mystery of everything.

In fact, philosophy had been studied, experimented with, and being explored since ages.

Moreover, in the past there have been humans, who have decoded the mysteries of everything. And based on their knowledge, they had conveyed the secrets as the various philosophies. Hence, we do not have to reinvent the wheel, from the scratch. Rather, study these philosophies, and get to know, where to start from. Though finally, everyone has to know on its own.

In fact, even students of science, should use these for inputs to their studies and experiments, providing them a deeper insight to discoveries.

However, as philosophy also deals with the unobservables, the experiments go beyond the usual physical types. To be specific, they need to start with diving into the closest non-observable – the self – the soul.

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Types of Knowledge

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“Today, we’ll talk about the types of knowledge. Before we start, you may ask any doubts from our last two sessions”, stated the professor.

“In the previous session, you mentioned that all souls already have the complete knowledge. Then, what do you really mean by types of knowledge? Is completeness also of different types?”, quizzed Sharīr.

Excellent. That’s correct that every soul’s complete knowledge is just one – there is no categorization of it.

Then, what do we mean by types of knowledge?

Hope you also remember the discussion, that just having knowledge doesn’t mean having the ability to use it.

Yes – the worldly bounds and limitations, restricts the ability of the soul to use its complete knowledge.

Exactly. So these types or rather levels of knowledge are classified based on the ability of the soul to use its knowledge. Accordingly, knowledge is broadly categorized into five types:

  1. Mati (मति)
  2. Shrut (श्रुत)
  3. Awadhi (अवधि)
  4. Manh Paryav (मन:पर्यव)
  5. Kewal (केवल)

Okay, so these are basically levels of exercisable / usable knowledge.

You may say so. Mati knowledge is the most basic form, we perceive through our sense organs and processed / analyzed by our mind. Mind (मन) is not just what one relates to brain, but it actually is spread throughout our sense organs and body.

Is Mati, the common sense, we talk about?

Let’s not get into that, as that’s a very loose term we use. Common for one may not be common for others. Basically, the knowledge of sound, colour & form / shape, smell, taste, touch could be assimilated as Mati knowledge.

“So, does it mean that, living beings only with all 5 working sense organs have Mati knowledge?”, asked Yog.

Not really. Every living being has it in some form or the other. Depending on its sense organs, or rather capability of sense organs, a particular one may be used / exhibited more profoundly than others. In that sense, you may have heard / read about blind people recognizing colours using touch, and similar other cases.

Wow! This foundation that knowledge is within, would possibly answer many such miracles around us.

Yes. In fact, as you dive deeper into the non-observables, the more you’d realize that there is nothing called a miracle, but just connection of some missing dots.

So can we conclude that, what all observable knowledge we currently know, can be called as Mati knowledge?

Don’t be so impatient. Let me first explain the next one – Shrut knowledge. Then, we shall draw some conclusions. Mati is just the basic form of recognition, but it lacks relation. Hence, we may be able to know using Mati, but may not be able to share / exchange / communicate the knowledge with others. The knowledge which enables us to do that is called Shrut knowledge.

“We communicate using languages. So, are they a form of Shrut knowledge?”, asked Upyog.

Yes, one of the forms, or at least a medium for it. And the language could be anything – written, spoken, pictures, or for that matter even sign. However, Shrut is more than just language – it knowledge about relations, e.g. between words and their meanings, which finally conveys the knowledge. For an example, one may know what an elephant is (Mati knowledge), but in absence of the word elephant, or other words describing it, or one’s inability to express it, one may not be able to convey it to others (absence of Shrut knowledge).

“In that case, all our current knowledge is Mati & Shrut knowledge”, said Yog, in a summarizing tone.

If you just consider the knowledge commonly observable through our sense organs & mind, in day to day life, then yes.

Why only day to day? Does knowledge of *all* observables, still not come under these two categories?

Before I answer that, I’d like to elaborate a bit on observables. By observables, we define anything having one or more of sound, colour / shape, smell, taste, touch. However, even within observables, there is a category, which literally cannot be observed using our sense organs, directly or even indirectly, which we would like to call the invisibles.

May not be observable today, but with evolution of science & technology, shouldn’t one day, we would be able to observe at least all the observables?

No. Even science has proved that there are limits of space & time, beyond which we may not be able to observe, even using any level of technology.

So, we cannot know about the so-called invisibles?

No. We just cannot observe using our sense organs and mind, but we can definitely know about them. And it is the knowledge of such observable invisibles, which doesn’t come under the purview of Mati & Shrut knowledge.

“Is that where the Awadhi knowledge comes into play?”, interrupted Upyog.

Exactly. Awadhi is the knowledge of observables, without using sense organs & mind, typically attained by deep meditation. However, it typically is bound by matter, space, time, properties.

“Any examples of invisibles?”, asked Sharīr.

Particles of speech, particles of thoughts, karm particles are all examples of invisibles.

What are these karm particles?

These are the particles restricting the complete knowledge of the soul.

“O! I see. So removing these we would get the complete knowledge and know everything”, spoke the still silent Jāti.

Yes.

Please tell us how to remove them.

Yes Jāti, we’ll talk about them, but in separate sessions. Let’s complete our discussion on types of knowledge, today.

“What are these particles of speech and thoughts?”, continued Sharīr.

Our speaking and thinking also emits invisible particles. In fact, specialized knowledge of particles of thoughts is called Manh Paryav knowledge. Having this would enable one to know the thoughts of others.

Wooh! Mind reading.

And finally, Kewal knowledge is the complete knowledge of everything – observable and non-observable, in all forms, in all spaces, in all times, of all properties.

“… which the soul already has. Just that these karm particles are the nuisances”, Jāti concluded as reminder.

Yes, let’s talk about them in our next session.

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Knowing the Knowledge

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“Today, we’ll talk about knowledge, the very differentiator of our existence”, continued the professor after his invocation.

Still not convinced about knowing the non-observables, Jāti was really keen to know more about knowing.

Before getting into the details of knowledge, let’s try to understand, as who is the one who knows the knowledge. “What do you think, who is the knower?”, asked the prof pointing to Indriya.

“Eyes, I think, as what I see is what I know”, replied Indriya.

If eyes, then why not your other sense organs – ear, nose, tongue, skin – even they acquire their corresponding subjects of sound, smell, taste, and touch.

Ya ya, I think, all the sense organs are the knowers.

Anything else other than the five sense organs?

Hmmm. May be the sixth sense.

Let’s not get into that right away. But we’ll come to it.

Then, may be nothing else.

Okay. Then, with that do you mean that: if you do not see, you do not know; if you do not hear, you do not know; …

“No no professor. I think our mind is the one which knows, sense organs are just the via media, helping it to know”, interrupted Paryāpti.

Quite right, about the sense organs – they are not the actual knowers, they are just the means to acquire knowledge – and that also only some of the means.

Why only some of the means? Are there other means, as well?

Yes. Otherwise, it would mean that one would not know anything without using his sense organs. And then, what about a child, who is blind, deaf and dumb by birth – it shouldn’t be knowing anything other than taste, smell, and touch. But Helen Keller is a famous example pointing against this.

“Possibly, she got to know other stuff using her three sense organs”, quipped Prāṅ.

Very unlikely. But then how does a new born know about crying, say when it is hungry? Or, how does it even know that it is hungry?

That’s basic instinct.

Exactly, that’s what my point is. Where does this basic instinct or basic knowledge come from?

“That’s what I was talking about the sixth sense”, reinforced Indriya.

Yes. But, where does it come from? Isn’t it via something other than the five sense organs?

Possibly yes. Or, may be the mind has it already coded into it, and that’s how it knows it.

Okay. But how did it get encoded into the mind? Or, let’s first understand, what do you mean by mind?

“Mind means our brain, where it is already encoded through genes inherited from parents”, answered Paryāpti.

If it was genes alone, then why didn’t all the knowledge from parents pass along. Why does a kid needs to be taught all over again?

May be only some selected knowledge gets transferred through genes, the one we call basic instincts.

Then, where does the knowledge for intuition, creativity, out of the box thinking, etc come from? Are they basic instincts or not?

Possibly they are also basic instincts.

If they are the basic instincts transferred through genes, then why do they differ drastically even between twins?

“I think they are not basic instincts and their knowledge is rather acquired through our sense organs over time”, interrupted Indriya.

If this knowledge would have been acquired through mere sense organs, it should have been comparable in kids growing in the same environment with similar functional sense organs. But, we have examples of exceptional scientists, grown up among all other ordinary crowd in similar environments, but showing their extra-ordinary knowledge.

“Bottom line is that there must be some means other than the sense organs and the hereditary traits, from which the mind acquires knowledge”, concluded Prāṅ.

And in the purview of science, it is impossible to explain those means. Say e.g. how did Einstein get the extra-ordinary insight into relativity? All kind of observational means would hit some or the other roadblock in answering this question. Then, there has to be something beyond science i.e. something non-observable to answer it. That’s where philosophy pitches in.

“This could be a strong reason to believe that non-observables do exist”, insisted Jāti.

Yes. In fact, the observable mind is just a front-end exhibitor of knowledge and not even the real knower. The real knower is the soul (आत्मा) – the back-end – deep within one self. And it has all the knowledge from time immemorial, so doesn’t need any means to acquire more.

If our soul knows it all, then why don’t we know all?

I just said, that the soul has the complete knowledge. That doesn’t mean that it knows it all, or in other words, it doesn’t mean that it is able to use it all, as well. Having something doesn’t mean that you’ll be able to use it.

So, is knowing, different from having knowledge?

Yes & No. Knowing is having, plus being able to use/apply that knowledge.

Ok, then I’ll rephrase my question. Even after the soul having the complete knowledge, why aren’t we able to know or use it all?

If we were just in our soul form, we would have known everything. But we (the souls) are bound and limited by all kind of worldly observable stuff, restricting our ability to exhibit, or even use our complete knowledge. And that’s why, unaware of that fact, we keep on trying to use various worldly means to keep on knowing more and more of just the observable stuff. Rather, if we are able to remove these worldly bounds and limitations, we’d attain the state of complete knowledge, where, we’d know about everything observable and non-observable.

“Wow! Then, please tell us how to remove these limitations?”, queried the impatient Jāti.

For that, we would first need to understand the various levels of knowledge and their limitations.

“Not now”, was the sigh from Jāti, as the bell rang again.

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