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Introduction to Brahma Sutras

It being an established fact that the object (body-mind-intellect) and the subject (Consciousness) , that are fit to be the contents of the concepts “you” and “we” (respectively), and are by nature as contradictory as light and darkness, cannot logically have any identity, it follows that their Attributes can have it still less. Accordingly, the Superimposition of the object, referable through the concept “you”, and its attributes on the subject that is conscious by nature and is referable through the concept “we” (should be impossible), and contrariwise. However, owing to an absence of discrimination between these attributes, as also between substance, which is absolutely disparate, there continues a natural human behavior based on self-identification in the form of “I am this” or “This is mine”. This behavior has for its material cause an unreal nescience and man resorts to it by mixing up reality with unreality as a result of superimposing the things themselves or their attributes on each other.
This superimposition is like memory, an awareness that arises on a different (foreign) basis as a result of some past experience. Some say that it consist in the superimposition of one thing on another. But others assert that wherever a superimposition occurs, there is in evidence only a confusion arising from the absence of discrimination between them. From every point of view, however, there is no difference as regards the appearance of one thing as something else. And in accordance with this, we find in common experience that the nacre appears as silver etc.
This superimposition that is of this nature is considered to be nescience (avidya) and the ascertainment of the real entity by separating the superimposed thing from it is called illumination (vidya). This being so, whenever there is a superimposition of one thing on another, the locus is not affected in any way either by the merits or demerits of the thing superimposed. One first superimposes the internal organs, possessed of the idea of ego, on the Self, the witness of all the manifestations of that organ; then by an opposite process, one superimposes on the internal organ etc, that self which is opposed to the non-self and which is the witness of everything. Thus occurs this process that has neither beginning nor end but flows on eternally that appears as the manifested universe and its apprehension, that conjures up agentship and enjoyership that is perceived by all persons. To eradicate this source of duality which is the principal cause of misery, and in order to acquire the knowledge of the unity of the self, is begun a discussion.
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Introduction to Brahma Sutras

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