Q.462 Consciousness and rocks

Q: Let us suppose there are two people, one is Conscious and sleeping and the other has been knocked out UnConscious. Since everything is Consciousness both people (though Mithya), are Consciousness.

The Conscious one wakes up (let us hypothetically say we have placed an alarm and he was in deep sleep) by the underlying Turiya, as it is the substrate of all the three states i.e waking/dreaming and deep sleep. The UnConscious one does not wake up even if there is an alarm. He is not dead, like a Table or a log because he probably is still breathing and his body functions are probably going on as usual even though his mind is dormant.

I know Conscious has nothing to do with Awareness/Consciousness I am aware that at the level of Paramarthika Satyam I am the Awareness/Consciousness essence in everything including myself, the rock, the table and those two people. The UnConscious person is still breathing and is not dead like a Rock, so obviously Turiya is substrate for the breathing too. Turiya must then be the essence of a Dead body,a Rock, and the Space between everything too, even though they are not breathing. Where is the Reflected Consciousness and the locus of Turiya and the role of Prana in all this, because Turiya is equated to Atman in many circles.

A: I’m not really clear what your question is here.

turIya is satyam; the states of Consciousness are mithyA. chidAbhAsa is Consciousness reflected in the mind. prANa is a way of explaining aspects of the mithyA jIva. Your question does seem to indicate a confusion of paramArtha and vyavahAra (as are most questions!).

Can I suggest you read the following articles and see if they answer your question? (Do come back if they don’t.)

Q: Thanks for responding. I know it is simpler to keep things to Paramarthika and Vyavahara. However, knowing that everything perceptible is Mithya, I know the Existence essence concept of a Jada vastu (like a dead body/rock). However, I wanted to know how Consciousness is explained in Unconscious things…and the Ananda aspect. The Chit and Ananda aspects seem to be reflected only in Jivas.

So Sat-Chit-Ananda can reflect each aspect separately or in a combination depending upon the Objects (Mithya) capacity to reflect it ?

So the Rock may have a Body, but no Mind and Intellect, so there is no reflection or Chidabhasa for it (as Chidabhasa occurs in the AntaHkarana)

Coming to PrANA, I wanted to see if that is a clearer way of distinguishing between Jiva and Jada. Not sure…

Q: Yes, you are essentially correct. But you don’t want to over-intellectualize these ideas because all explanations have to be dropped in the end (adhyAropa – apavAda). Any explanation is only valid to the extent that it ‘moves you forward’ towards a realization of the fundamental truth.

In effect, all mithyA entities are jaDa or achetana – without Consciousness. This includes the mind. The crucial difference is the mind’s ability to reflect Consciousness. The mind is ‘subtle’ and has chidAbhAsa. It is the fact that Consciousness pervades the body through the chidAbhAsa that gives the body life. You can choose to call this prANa if you like but I don’t personally find it necessary or useful to introduce further complexity!

Inert things like rocks do not reflect Consciousness. They ‘exist’, but they are mithyA, like everything else – their existence derives from brahman, which they are in reality.

sat, chit and Ananda do not reflect anything. It is the chidAbhAsa of the mind that is reflecting them. (And ‘they’ are not plural. They are not separate entities, only ‘pointers’ or ‘attributes’ attempting to ‘define’ brahman, which of course is beyond definition.)

Q: Thanks Dennis, I do tend to over-intellectualize :). Thanks for the clarification. However isn’t chidAbhAsa the same as jivAtman (jiva in short) ? Jiva without mind (available instrument) = JaDa ?

jivAtman without the Jiva bhava ( jivaAtman – avidya ) = ParamAtman/Brahman?

A: I haven’t come across any explanation in that manner. Mind also is jaDa – it is only when it reflects Consciousness that the being is ‘animated’. The jIva is the ‘embodied Self’. The ‘Self’ or Atman is what is always there and is satyam; the body-mind-intellect is jaDa and mithyA. chidAbhAsa is an ‘aspect’ of mind as it were. But you should not regard this as some distinct subtle matter. It is rather a ‘theory’ to explain how the inert jIva happens to be conscious. The ‘process’ is also called pratibimba vAda – the ‘reflection theory’. jIvAtman and paramAtman are not actually different – there is only Atman/brahman so how could they be?

Q: Thank you Dennis. You explain it so well. I have always been against “embodied” as it meant a division of the indivisible Self. I would rather consider it as “pervasive” Does the usual pot example really fit? Isn’t the material of the pot not Consciousness? I guess mithyA comes to our rescue here. However, If Ekam Eva Advitiyam Brahma, then jaDA/ Matter must be a form of Consciousness to( without a reflective buddhi). I guess we have graded reality to explain  Jagat. However, what is perceptible to the ignorant jiva are just the many appearances of the aprameya One, Self.

Your answers help me in unbelievable ways. Thank you.

A: All metaphors have their limitations because reality is ineffable. Like the pole vault metaphor (!), you have to discard the pole before you go over the bar. The world is just name and form of brahman.