VEDĀNTA the solution to our fundamental problem by D. Venugopal
Part 33 explains the nature of mAyA and its relation to brahman and avidyA.
There is a complete Contents List, to which links are added as each new part appears.
As noted in Part 2, we have three experiences in the deep-sleep state: 1. I exist, since I say I slept well; 2. I have the knowledge of homogeneous ignorance, since I say I did not know anything; 3. I was happy or I did not experience the pains of BMI, since I am not conscious of the BMI or any duality. The question remains: if the mind is not there, then who experiences these and who recollects these experiences on waking up, since the experiencer and the recollector have to be one and the same? These appear to be puzzling questions that need to be addressed. Who is going to provide the answer to this – a sleeper or a waker? For this, scripture alone becomes a pramAna, or means of knowledge, since the mind that uses logic cannot provide the answers. No objective tools can be used or would be valid to analyze the deep sleep state, since all objective entities (apart from ignorance) are absent in that state. Hence, objective scientists also have no tools available for investigation. These aspects have to be clear even when we are studying the opinions of other philosophers such as Shree Atmananda-ji , unless these opinions are shruti based. Continue reading
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
Q: What is the difference between the witness, witness consciousness and consciousness? I know myself as the witness or maybe as witness consciousness but I do not know myself as all there is which, I guess, would be knowing myself as consciousness. But how can I ever not see the world of objects? So do I not remain a witness choicelessly?
A (Sitara): Contained in your question are seven questions (which I have passed on to the other bloggers, so some may refer to them):
1. What is the difference between the witness, witness consciousness and consciousness?
This will be answered below along with the last question.
2. (implied question) Is there a difference between the witness and witness consciousness?
Answer: no, not in the way I use the terms. But there is the possibility of a flawed use of the term ‘witness’. Witness means the ultimate subject that cannot be objectified. If witnessing is attributed to the mind, the so-called witness is nothing but a thought, i.e. it is just another object. And the so-called witnessing is nothing but an experience.
If, however, witness is used in the sense of ‘ultimate subject’, you can use ‘witness’ and ‘witness consciousness’ interchangeably. I prefer the term ‘witness consciousness’ (or simply ‘witnessing’) because the term ‘witness’ suggest too much of a personality. Continue reading
Here is Part 3 of a new, short series (5 parts) on the Mandukya Upanishad, from James Swartz.
This part asks the question ‘Who am I?’, examines the nature of upAdhi-s and describes a practical technique for meditation.
(Sorry I have run out of frog photos…)
In the comments following the Question and Answer on the subject of mAyA and Ishvara – Q.325, Peter and I began the following exchange on the subject of ‘reflection of Consciousness’ (between the <<< >>> marks below). We continued this discussion off-line. Now that this has been concluded, we are posting the discussion so that others may, perhaps, benefit from the clarification that ensued.
PB: 2. The easiest misunderstanding to resolve is the distinction between ‘original consciousness’ and ‘reflected consciousness’: there is NO difference. To explain this we are given the analogy of light. Any opaque object is seen because it reflects light. One can say that the light reaching our eyes from the object is ‘reflected light’. But what is the difference between ‘reflected light’ and ‘original light’? There is no difference: light is light. ‘Reflected light’ is merely the name given to ‘original light’ seen together with a reflecting medium (the object). In the same way, ‘reflected consciousness’ is the name given to ‘original consciousness’ seen together with the reflecting medium of the perceptible gross and subtle universe. ‘Original consciousness’ is given the name Brahman. Continue reading