Verse 24: What arises from Discerning Intelligence?

abhimānaḥ ahaṃkāraḥ tasmād dvidhaḥ pravartate sargaḥ |
ekādaśakaḥ ca gaṇaḥ tanmātraḥ pañcakaḥ ca-eva ||

abhimāna – self-conceit
ahaṃkāra – individuation
dvidha – divided in two
ekādaśaka – consisting of eleven
tanmātra – subtle element
pañcaka – consisting of five

Ahamkara – a center from which a notion of self arises.

  1. From discernment arises a question: what discerns?
  2. If the questioning persists and the question “what discerns?” is itself questioned, it transforms into: who is asking?
  3. This reveals a notion of “I am”.
  4. This is Ahamkara – a dominating self orientation: I am, I do, I need, I ask, etc.
  5. Ahamkara is therefore also a source of a sense of separateness: that stone, that tree, me, you …
  6. Under certain conditions Ahamkara can evoke a sense of “self consciousness” but this is an illusion:
    1. Consciousness is a quality of Spirit (Purusa – see verse 19).
    2. From the conjunction of Spirit & Nature (Purusa & Prakrti – see verse 20) arises Discerning Intelligence (Mahat – which can also be confused with and assumed to be a source of consciousness – see verse 22).
    3. From Discerning Intelligence arises Ahamkara – a notion of “I am”.
    4. However, a Discerning Intelligence (Mahat) dominated by Tamas (see verse 23) generates ignorance and attachment.
    5. Ignorance of the discernment between Purusa and Prakrti (see verse 17) leads to an attachment of identity with Ahamkara – to the sense of self.
    6. This mis-identification with “self” incorrectly attributes consciousness to … itself!
    7. This is the source of the illusion of “self consciousness.”
    8. There can however be consciousness of the self.
  7. From this notion of “I am” two categories of special objects arise.
    1. One is a set of 11 (objects-of-sense).
    2. The other is a set of 5 primary elements.

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