Q: Can you explain how it is possible that anything lifeless, for example a stone, a corpse or space, does not have consciousness. Yet all of this is consciousness.
A (Shuka): The svarūpa (intrinsic nature) of fire is both heat and light. However, when it expresses through water (when water is heated), only the heat principle is expressed (water does not glow, but becomes hot); however when it expresses through an iron ball (when an iron ball is heated), both heat and light principles are expressed (the iron ball both glows and is hot). This is the limitation of the upādhī (medium) through which fire expresses, and is not reflective of the true nature of fire. So also, Brahman whose svarūpa is existence, consciousness and limitlessness, expresses only its existential principle when reflected through the upādhi-s such as stone, whereas it expresses both existential and conscious principles when expressed through a living being, and as īśvara (God), it expresses in all dimensions of its svarūpa. Continue reading