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Sri Aurobindo and The Veda - Track 706

I am only describing Sankhya theory. Out of this egoistic principle arise subtle vibrations, vibrations which is called sound. Vibration by means you are able to touch, vibrations by which you are able to see, vibrations by means of which we are able to taste and vibrations by means of which we are able to smell. These are five tanmatras which are at the root of panch gyanendriyas. These are themselves not gyanendriyas they are the tanmatras, they are the basic stuff you might say. What is it that makes our eye eye, what is it that makes our ear ear, what is hearing itself. It is these vibrations and these vibrations are actually describable in a kind of a hierarchy first the sound then the touch, then the sight, then the taste and then the smell. As the vibrations become more and more concrete these five ultimately give rise to a combination of five instruments of knowledge. The indriyas are subtle element in us which are located in our organs. The eye is only an organ. The real eye is that which perceives which sees and behind these five there is a real sense. These are five senses and behind these five senses there is the real sense which is called manah, manas, so manas is regarded as the sense, a real sense. Either it is called sixth sense or it is called the sense because all the senses are ultimately nothing but specializations of manas. I may have my eyes open but if my manas is not with the eye I will not see. Something happens before of your eyes but your mind is elsewhere so even if your eyes are reflecting the vibrations of visions from outside you don’t see because the mind is not…a mosquito may be biting me here but if I am talking to you I may not feel the sense of bite. Because the mind is not engaged in it and the moment my mind gets engaged to it I begin to sense it. So mind is called, manas is called in the Sankhyan psychology the real sense. So manas, then comes the five tanmatras which are the basis of Pancha gyaanendriyas and similarly there are grosser organs. These are panch gyaanendriyas, but there are five karmendriyas by which we are able to act − the hands, the feet, the tongue by which we can speak, the speech, regenerative organ and organ of evacuation these are the five karmendriyas.

Now according to the Sankhya all this is nothing but pure force or energy. It is purely material. Prakriti according to Sankhya is the principle of matter. They tried to explain everything in the world in terms of matter. You might say they were our great materialist, sankhyan thinkers. They tried their utmost to explain everything in terms of matter but they could not. After all the effort they could not explain the experience of consciousness. Consciousness is experience in three ways, stable state of awareness, pure, which is called witnessing consciousness, which has no movement in it. It is also experienced by us as the enjoyer. Enjoy pleasure, enjoy suffering, but all this is called enjoyer. It is also experienced as the karta but both enjoyer and bharta and karta, both these experiences are subordinate. The fundamental experience of consciousness is that of a stable witnessing. Its very nature is awareness. They found that whatever analysis you make of the world you cannot ultimately explain this experience of witnessing. There is this experience of witnessing this particular experience of witnessing cannot be explained by any movement of material organs or senses or whatever.

Question: What is intuition?

It is you may define it in whatever you like but the best thing is to keep to the Sankhyan terminology, namely sakshi bhava, the witnessing consciousness. This you cannot explain by whatever materialistic formula you have that is why they were led to conclude that there must be something other than matter. They tried their best to explain everything in terms of matter, but they could not explain this particular experience − witnessing consciousness. They affirmed that there is such an experience of witnessing, which knows that it is witnessing, a self–awareness. Awareness that is aware of itself. Now whatever manipulation you make of buddhi, ahankara, manas, gyanendriyas, karma indriyas. Nowhere can you explain this experience of witnessing, therefore they were obliged to say that apart from material force there is a consciousness. They were obliged to posit.

One of the methods of philosophical reasoning is that you should try to explain everything as far as possible by as few principles as possible. When you try to explain anything this is called the principle of parsimony − try to explain maximum with the minimum number of principles. If you are obliged to speak of many principles it means that your analysis is not as perfect as it ought to be, so applying this principle of parsimony, the Sankhyan thinkers explained almost everything in the world in terms of one material force of prakriti, but when they could not explain this experience of witnessing self, witnessing consciousness then they were obliged to posit a second principle − that apart from prakriti there is purusha. There is a conscious being and then they were obliged to say there is not one purusha, but there are many purushas. This is was the further demand of the situation. Why? Because when one purusha is in the state of witnessing consciousness, it does not mean that another one also arrives at the same state of consciousness. I may be in a witnessing state of consciousness. If there was only one purusha then the moment I becoming witness everyone should become witness because there is only one purusha, but such is not the case. I may be in the state of witnessing, you may be in the state of enjoying, another may be in state of doing, therefore there being different states. Therefore, there must be for each individual one special purusha. They would have tried their best to say that there is only one purusha that who is the principle of parsimony, but that one principle could not explain these differences of experiences therefore it was obliged to posit many purushas that there are many purushas. Now there was a third reason why there was a need to posit purusha. If you remember I said in the beginning that the prakriti is avyakta. It is unmanifest. It is in a state of equilibrium.