Q.395 – Person vs Consciousness

Just to keep alive the thoughts on eka Jiva vAda…

Q: If we are just a ‘Stream of Consciousness’, how is it possible to introspect and know Reality? It is akin to the dreamer knowing that he is dreaming while still being in the dream. Also, the SOC’s suffering is really Brahman’s sufferring as Brahman alone exists. So is the SOC doing Brahman a favour by realizing the “Reality”? That doesn’t sound right!

A (Dennis): What do you (think you) mean when you say ‘I am a Stream of Consciousness’? In reality, there is only brahman (or Consciousness if you prefer). So it is correct to say ‘who-I-really-am is Consciousness’. But, if you are saying such things as ‘I know’, ‘I introspect’, ‘I dream’ etc, then you are speaking of the person. This is the level of the seeming world – vyavahAra. In reality (paramArtha), there is no world, no persons. I, the person, may suffer but  brahman does not suffer.

Q: My terminology is wrong but I meant ‘the thread of consciousness within Brahman’ which seems to be creating this impression of a ‘Creation’. This thread is running within Brahman and there are feelings of suffering. Since nothing exists but Brahman, Brahman is the sufferer through this thread. Suffering need not be physical it could be just psychological or some other means of pain.

A: There is no separate thing inside or outside of brahman; there is only brahman. The concepts that you are using are only of value to the extent that they help you to realize that truth. If they are not helping, discard them!

5 thoughts on “Q.395 – Person vs Consciousness

  1. Dennis,

    It appears to me that there is a problem in the way the Questioner is using the words. I do not know whether he or she has made sure that what s/he wanted to ask is correctly reflected in the way the question # 395 is formulated.

    The phrase “Stream of consciousness” (SOC) a psychological term. It was introduced into Psychology by Willam James in 1890. It refers to successive instances of being “conscious of” something. ‘brahman’ as the Ultimate Reality is a Vedantic teaching. The word Consciousness (with capital C) in English is itself ‘brahman,’ not instances of being ‘conscious of.’ Who is it and where is it that said SOC and brahman are same, according to the questioner?

    As long back as 2002, Sue Blackmore suggested that there was no SOC. Instead of asking ‘what am I conscious of now?,’ she asked to question oneself “Am I conscious now?” That Consciousness which is not flowing like a stream and is always there is brahman. Suffering or happiness is an ‘instance’ of what one is ‘conscious of’ only after one first ignores that s/he is Consciousness. So also is creation.


  2. The expressions ‘stream of Consciousness’ and ‘thread of consciousness’ are not helpful at all, rather they are confusing. There are only thoughts (feelings, emotions, and sensations) appearing in consciousness and, as such, they are phenomena – pertaining to vyavahara ‘reality’. Consciousness is not responsible for them.

  3. “It is in the simplicity of your ordinary work, in the monotonous details of each day, that you have to find the secret, which is hidden from so many, of something great and new: Love.” (Saint Josemaría, Founder of Opus Dei).

    Anonymous, please hold your nose because you may find a stench inside the church, just as you find a stench every in the world, except near your buddy, you know who!

    Best regards,
    Shishya, trying to grow up.

  4. As long as you are looking for something, you will not grow up. Thinking you are different from me and that you ‘see’ something other than what is in front of your nose is a big mistake. Stop analyzing and judging what you think. It is a waste of time.

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