Me, “The Seer” and World, “The Seen”

Dhruva was an adorable little boy. He saw his half-brother, Uttama, sitting and playing on the lap of their father, King Uttanapada. He too desired to climb on to the lap of Uttanapada. But his step-mother could hardly tolerate that. She gave a tight slap to him declaring that he was unfit to sit on the lap of the King as he was not born to her but to another queen. Crest-fallen and deeply hurt, the little kid, with his eyes full of tears, ran to his mother. His mother, a highly noble lady, consoled him and advised that he should achieve something so that people look at him with awe. The little Dhruva left the royal palace and went away to a distant forest. He met with a group of Sages in the forest and narrated to them his soulful story. They advised him to meditate on Vishnu. So, he embarked on a very austere and rigorous course of meditation. Regretting heavily the developments, the King and all his retinue, his mother, the queen and all his family implored that he should give up his askesis and return home. The King was even ready to abdicate the throne and promised to coronate him. But Dhruva was unrelenting. He did not succumb to the temptations and was uncompromising in his resolve. He pursued his meditation with greater vigor. He meditated on Vishnu, the Ultimate.

In course of time, pleased with Dhruva’s devotion and determination, Vishnu manifested in front of him and promised to grant him a boon. Dhruva requested for himself and his parents, “a lofty and eternal place which would be unsurpassable in the world.” Vishnu granted him his wish.

At this point, a very enlightening and deeply philosophical conversation takes place between Dhruv and Vishnu. It is highly instructive to all Advaitins and clarifies many intricate and subtly complex issues of the Non-dual doctrine. The dialog opens with a salvo of searching questions fired by Dhruva.

Dhruva:  My Lord! Who am I that is bestowed with the unsurpassable position in the world? Who are you that could grant such a position? What is the nature of that position? What is the nature of the world?

Lord! Only you can expound the Truth. Please do relieve my doubts and tell me who I am.

Vishnu:  Why do you want to ask these questions? Of what use are they for you, Dhruv? If I were to answer, neither you will be there, nor will I be, nor this world, nor even the ‘unsurpassable’ position that you sought. Better don’t get involved with these issues. Therefore, ask about something else and let this go.

Dhruva: Whatever it may be, so be it. But I do seek honest answers to my questions. Please don’t brush them aside. Let me know the Truth.

Vishnu: Dhruva, to speak the Truth, you do not exist, nor do I! Nor is there any world. It is all a fancy imagination. Nothing is real.

What truly exists is merely the Witness which is inaccessible to the mind and speech. It is the One that notices you, me and the world. Anything other than That Witness is just a name, an idea. An idea like the illusory snake which is apparently different from the rope. That is the reason why I am Non-dual.

Dhruva:  Oh, Me! That being so, my desire is not fulfilled. It is all just a worthless imagination to say that Lord Vishnu granted me an ‘unsurpassable’ position. It is like in a dream – the dreamer asking for an unsurpassable position and the dream-god granting it within the dream. It’s all a mere imagination, including you and your granting of a boon.

Vishnu:  But, Dhruva, don’t forsake this unsurpassable position granted by me. Just think of it as the ‘prArabdha’ of a jnAni (liberated man). The liberated man lives happily with whatever comes accepting it as his prArabdha. There is nothing wrong in that.

Dhruva:  When everything that exists is you yourself, the Non-dual one only, where from do these differences of a jnAni (Knower of the Self) and ajnAni (ignorant of the Self) pop up? Let it be; but please tell me who I am.

Vishnu:  A very surprising question, indeed! Is it not like a dream character in the dream asking the dreamer, ‘who am I?’ It is like the snake asking the rope, ‘Hey Rope, what is my nature?’ Or it is like the ornaments asking the gold, ‘what is our nature?’ After all, the dream character, the snake, the ornaments being insentient, can’t speak. Those as well as us are all of the same nature as that of the dreamer.

[The implied meaning is that all the entities that are “the seen” can never say anything about “the seer.” There is also no sense in the seer asking anyone else about himself. Therefore, each individual has to strive to know himself.]

Hey Dhruva! Suppose the characters in a dream raise up their hands and declare that “we are different from the dreamer and our own reality is independent of the dreamer,” all the sensible and learned people will laugh at it. They will say that it is a meaningless talk. It will be like the imaginary ideas and objects (nAma-rUpa) denying their very substratum which is the Beingness-Knowingness-Infinity. That is a funny position to take. Your asking me about yourself is no different from that.

Please remember that there is no scope within me to speak about me-ness (ahambhAva) and not-me-ness (tvambhAva). I am the Self-effulgent Oneness.

Dhruva:  In that case I have unnecessarily tortured my body. When there is nothing other than you, it would mean that I do not exist. When I am not there, there cannot be an unsurpassable position for me. Then what is the meaning in adoring you or talking about this and the higher worlds?

Vishnu:  Come on, Dhruv. Don’t speak immaturely like a child.

Whatever has happened (including your desire and what you talked about), has happened because of ignorance. Why to repent for it now? Why to cry over spilt milk? You are impelled in your actions by the impressions (vAsanA-s) stored in you (the genetic and memetic influences). I have not actually given anything to you!

Dhruva: Yea, but the regret is that I am already a fool unable to understand the various things and you have thrown me into deeper depths of inanity. Because, the unsurpassable position, the world and all the visible things are illusory, as they are apart from you, the only Sentience. Now please tell me a way to get out of this deep well of dark ignorance.

Vishnu:  The only way to be out of it is to consider yourself as well as the unsurpassable position and the entire world as none other than Vasudeva and give up your regret.

Dear Dhruv, as long as you do not wake up from sleep, you will have to keep moving somewhere or other within your dream world. And wise people do not rank the dream positions from a relative sense – some to be higher and some others to be inferior. To be out of the dark well-like samsAra is to know that all characters in the dream are an illusion and that the one who witnesses the dream is real. The seen (dRishya) is always finite and has a form. As long as one identifies with the seen, he will be incomplete; and he suffers the travails of the seen. When he knows to be the Seer and dissolves all the seen within oneself, he will be perfect and complete.

Dhruva:  No worry there. After all, when everything is Vishnu, repentance and regret too are Vishnu and so also non-repentance and non-regret.

Vishnu:  Now I shall take leave. May you be blessed and may you attain the Truth.


[The significance of the discourse will be evident once we apply the teaching to ourselves.

Let’s say “I am.” The “I AM” here does not refer to the gross body or the sensory organs or the mind or prAna (life-force). The “I AM” is the bare ‘throb’ of knowing one’s  own Presence. It is the pure Knowingness. It is Is-ness. It is the Seer, the one that notices everything. Therefore, all that appears to It is the “seen” including all objects and all the readers and the other so-called sentient beings. Both the movable and the immovable worldly forms constitute the sphere of the “seen” (dRishya) for the Me, the Seer.

Suppose all of the sentient creatures (including you, the readers) claim that they exist independent of Me, the Seer. If that were to be the case, the creatures and you cannot be seen by Me simply because, you are not any more a part of the “seen” (dRishya) for Me.

Remember that it is not only the creatures that appear to me are part of the sphere of the “seen” for Me, but also the seen (dRishya) includes my body, my mind, my life-force etc. along with the body, mind, life-force of the creatures and you, the readers.

[A Hint:  It will be easy to follow the argument if you think yourself as the only Sentient Seer and all that appears before you is the sphere of the seen (dRishya) for you.]

The sentient Knowing (jnAna) which is the Seer is formless (nirguNa) and featureless (nirAkara). Therefore, it has to be all-pervasive and One only (because there cannot be multiple all-pervading Infinities). Now think of the dRishya as the dream of that One Seer.

Because of the nature of Its all-pervasion, It subsumes within Itself all ideas and objects (nAma-rUpa), like flood waters submerge everything. The objects lose their separation and dissolve into this Oneness “Vision” of Me, the Seer. They will not anymore be able to retain their distinct IDs. They cannot have independent “Beingness” of their own, having merged in the Seer. The Seer alone exists then. Existence has to be One only. There cannot be multiple existences! (of the separate objects and Me, the Seer.

In other words, the entire seen (dRishya) is filled with the Seer (draShTa). That being so, the seen cannot make claims of existing by itself. It is like saying that the dream characters cannot claim independent existence apart from the dreamer. In the day-to-day awake world, we think ‘I am and others also are.’ We think in that manner because we have not woken up yet from the awake world we live in. Actually our awake world is no different from a dream.

The moral of the story is that we should consider our awake state world as a dream. But one may raise a question. “We witness dreams every night. In what way does the “noticing” of the dreams would differ from the new way we are now told to notice the awake world, if we have to see it to be dream-like?” The crucial difference is that we never “realize and recognize” in our daily nocturnal dreams that the seen (dRishya) is non-different from the Seer. We experience our dreams as though there is an external dream world with its dream objects and I am distinct from that which I see.

The nightly dreams we get do not happen because we intentionally, by our own volition, decide to get them. Some authors ignorantly and WRONGLY describe the dreams as jIva sRiShTi, a concept and term never used by Shankara. The daily dreams are anything but our volition! We, as jIva-s cannot plan or design or even script their story. If they are under our control, we could terminate them anytime or mold them in any way we would like to. They would have happened purely at our pleasure, for our pleasure, and as we decide. But the nightly dreams of ours are natural happenings beyond our control. We are helpless watchers.

What is being advised here is a sAdhana (praxis). We have to practice noticing the world as though it is a dream “intentionally” created by us. Like in day-dreaming. We can then clearly understand that the appearance of the world is no more than Me, the Seer. Our intellect keeps working in the intentional dreams unlike in the nightly dreams when the intellect becomes non-functional.]

Acknowledgements: The write up is adapted from Chapter 2 of the book, “Pakshapata rahita anubhava prakasha” by Swami Visuhddhananda, aka, Kali Kamli Baba. The book is available online here.

22 thoughts on “Me, “The Seer” and World, “The Seen”

    • Thanks, Vijay.
      Swami Visuddhananda’s book seems to be a veritable gold mine of great ideas and explications of the Advaita doctrine in the simplest terms. I look forward to more posts based on this book from you.


  1. I agree. Very nice post, Ramesam; well constructed and explained!

    Pity it is so misleading… 😉 It is precsiely this sort of explanation that is responsible for the confusion in this topic.

    Incidentally, as I think I pointed out once before, you are clearly unaware of lucid dreaming. Admittedly it is not very common (a bit like enlightenment?) but it is certainly an acknowledged experience, to which I can personally attest having experienced it a couple of times. One can certainly train the mind to do it if so inclined. I couldn’t be bothered making the effort as it is clearly a somewhat empty pursuit ultimately.

    Best wishes,

  2. Dear Dennis,

    Thank you for the kind words and the incisive observations.
    Your comment seems to belong to the genre of “The surgery was successful, but the patient died” because you say that the it’s a good Post but was misleading! 🙁

    Don’t you think that the entire thrust of the post appears to have been missed by you?

    Yes, I could recall your reference to Lucid Dreaming (about which I have nothing much to say). The reference to “Day dreaming” (perhaps comparable to lucid dreaming in some way) is made in the article only to bring out the distinction between the natural nightly dreams and “intentional dreaming” when our intellect (not mind) is active and is in control of things.

    Are you, by any chance, misreading the article to be suggesting to make that itself as the goal? Far from it!

    Whereas a novice practitioner may start at that level, what the teacher in the article is advising is vastly different. The seeker has to go much further – not merely intellectually but im-mediatedly (aparokSha). S/he has to become Space-like witness (unlimited, uninvolved, unattached, beyond likes-dislikes) absorbing and accepting all that happens, as though the Space is imbued with Consciousness. IOW, he will be like Consciousness-space.

    By that process (sAdhana), the finite vRitti-dependent mind becomes expansive breaking its own shackles and finally attains its True form of being as the Infinity. Some people, as you are aware, call it as AtmAkAra vRitti or akhaNDAkAra vRitti etc. All of this detail is encapsulated in the cryptic words of the teacher when he says, “The objects lose their separation and dissolve into this Oneness “Vision” of Me, the Seer. They will not anymore be able to retain their distinct IDs. They cannot have independent “Beingness” of their own, having merged in the Seer. The Seer alone exists then. Existence has to be One only.”

    That being the case, I am unable to comprehend how you could say that the essay is misleading, unless you insist that every expression has to conform to your way of saying it?!


  3. Dear Ramesam,

    My observation about lucid dreaming was only in passing. The judgement that the post is misleading is a propos your usual insistence about literal disappearance of the world etc. which I have no intention of re-discussing at present. My write-up of the topic is still progressing (and will constitute probably 1/2 of Volume 2 of ‘Confusions’). Apologies that it is taking so long. I do concede that it is a difficult topic and that it is all to easy to reach the mistaken conclusions that you have made. But the weight of evidence is slowly overcoming all of your ‘obstacles’! I hope to respond to your 10 points within the month. (I know that I have said this before but my enthusiasm comes and goes! I suppose that I average about 3 hours per day on it.).

    Best wishes,

  4. Dear Dennis,

    Thank you for that clarification.

    You are well aware that your word is taken as an “authority” and once you “brand” a Post to be ‘misleading,’ the general reader will avoid reading that Post.

    I am afraid that the reader could possibly miss a useful sAdhana prakriyA, which, in my humble assessment, is a good one, if s/he were to ignore this post based on your comment.

    The post itself does not mention anything about the “presumed” disappearance of the world on the attainment of Self-realization. I will also restrain myself from making any observations on this issue except to repeat that I am also very eager to learn from your research report and exercise my brain over it.

    Recently, I have also heard the following terminology:
    For the ignorant, the world appears real;
    for the advanced seeker, the world appears as AbhAsa; and,
    for the Self-realized, the world will be his vibhUti.
    (Homogeneous (sajAti) with his swarUpa).


  5. Dear Ramesam,

    I take your point. I don’t think my comment would cause anyone not to read your post, since they would not normally come across any comments until after reading. But also, since I do have overall responsibility for content, it would be remiss of me not to indicate disagreement. Not to do so would imply agreement.

    The post clearly implies that the world disappears since you compare it directly to a dream, which explicitly disappears when we awake. I also do not like the term ‘witness’ since it is the source of much confusion. The ‘witness’ cannot report anything and Brahman has no subject-object relationships.

    Obviously what the seeker should do ideally is read widely and (potentially) ‘intelligently’ derive benefit from everything. Unfortunately, what many seekers derive is confusion, because what they read conflicts with something else that they have read. What I am trying to do is ‘normalize’ in accordance with Shankara.

    Does your last comment imply that you are changing your views and that you now concede that the world is Brahman and does NOT disappear on enlightenment?

    Best wishes,

  6. Dear Dennis,

    Thank you for the response.
    Undoubtedly, you have certain vicarious responsibilities for the site. However, as responsible netizens, we will be failing in our duty if we do not point out the “pitfalls” within the value judgments made.

    For example, the apparently high aim “to do [is] ‘normalize’ in accordance with Shankara” could be a slippery slope. After all, as you are aware, under the guise of that very aim, the followers of Shankara had fought intellectual wars splitting themselves into Bhamati and Vivarana groups!

    Moreover, by the adaptation of a criterion like, “The post clearly implies that the world disappears since you compare it directly to a dream, which explicitly disappears when we awake,” you have at once condemned the stand of the very first human teacher of Advaita, the highly revered Parama Guru of Shankara, namely Gaudapada and his teaching.

    Further, using one’s own preferences (colored glasses) as criteria to pass a judgment is beset with a danger. For example, by your dislike of the word, “witness” (sAkShi), for whatever reason, you are denying an important teaching concept in Advaita. Shankara himself quotes the Shwetaswatara mantra at 6.11 which says, साक्षी चेता केवलो निर्गुणश्च ॥ (sAkShI cetA kevalo nirguNashca). He also uses the concept of ‘witness’ in his commentary at many places, e.g. 1.1.4, BSB.

    Coming to the question you posed at the end, let me for now say, without entering into elaborate debate, that both myself and Venkat pointed out several times that we should focus on the “subject-end” rather than the “object-end” and, therefore, we should ask whether the me (pramAta) disappears or not on Self-realization.


  7. All good points, Ramesam. Unfortunately I can only do my best to present what I consider to be the optimal, traditional viewpoint. Whilst openly inviting other positions, so that visitors may be aware of them, I would like them always to leave with that ‘optimal’ explanation in mind.

    In the process of writing the ‘Confusion’ books, I have repeatedly been surprised at how even the most respected sources may give misleading views, presumably because of their prior, entrenched understanding. I am trying very hard to avoid the same pitfalls but may indeed sometimes fail, for which I can only offer my apologies.

    Also, I try to quote Shankara’s original statements. Although committed to the vivaraNa position myself, I try to avoid getting involved in the arguments of Shankara’s followers. Indeed, I am trying in the book specifically to point out ways in which post-Shankara teachers have diverged from the original material.

    You (or Venkat) have earlier raised the point about Gaudapada’s position regarding the similarity of waking and dreams and I reminded you that I discussed all of this in my book ‘A-U-M’. I thought I had actually posted Appendix 6 which reconciles Shankara’s apparently contradictory stance on this. And, regarding Gaudapada’s own view, I pointed out that:

    “But even Gaudapada acknowledges that there is a difference between waking and dream. Whereas a dream is only valid for one person for the duration of the dream, the waking state is a shared experience which seems to retain its validity from day to day. He called waking experiences dvaya kAla (‘two times’) and dream experiences chitta kAla (‘mind time’, i.e. lasting only so long as the mind of the dreamer imagines them).”

    Finally, although I said that ‘do not like’ the concept of witness, I certainly did not say that I don’t acknowledge or respect it. I don’t like the teaching of karma and reincarnation, or free-will, either but I still write about them and ‘teach’ them, if you like.

    Best wishes,

  8. Dear Dennis,

    Many thanks for the above amplifications by you.
    There is little to disagree with, but — a big BUT.

    The “but” is about the point you made wrt Gaudapada.
    Even a child knows the difference between the awake world and the dream world. One does not need a Gaudapada to tell us about that.

    The real Genius and Greatness of Gaudapada lies in telling us that there is NO DIFFERENCE between the two, in spite of the apparent difference. The verse 2.14, GK, from which you quoted the dvayakAla and cittakAla ends emphasizing the non-difference. The last sentence in that verse says:

    “There is no other ground for differentiating the one from the other.” — [Translation: Swami Nikhilananda.]

    And Shankara himself ends his comment on that verse with the following words:

    “Therefore, the illustration of dream well applies here.” — [Translation: Swami Nikhilananda.]

    As such your belief that Gaudapada’s analogy pointing to the similitude in the awake and dream worlds is infirm or shaky does not seem to be supported.

    You made a very significant and profound observation in your previous comment when you said that “Brahman has no subject-object relationships.”

    That’s what I suppose my position is. It absolutely stays the same on realizing, “I am brahman” – the brahman that you agree, “has no subject-object relationships.”

    I was almost tempted to post the pramata-prameya relationships as I understood from the shAstra (and my mentors), but held myself back with great effort, eagerly awaiting to get at least a little glimpse of your elaborate research on the issue.


  9. Ramesam,

    There are many pages explaining all about this topic in ‘A-U-M’. The verse in question occurs in a series which contradict the pUrvapakShin who attempts to argue that the world is not mithyA and gives various reasons, which Gaudapada successively knocks down. Gaudapada’s stance throughout the kArikA-s is a pAramArthika one and Shankara (if it is he) supports him. (It is elsewhere where Shankara (definitely him) differentiates.) Throughout these discussions, we have been arguing a vyAvahArika situation.

    You said: “That’s what I suppose my position is. It absolutely stays the same on realizing, ‘I am brahman’ – the brahman that you agree, ‘has no subject-object relationships.'”

    Does this mean that you have changed your position?! You realize Brahman whilst in the world (that is a manifestation of Brahman) and it ‘stays the same’, i.e. you still see the world that is a manifestation of Brahman (now realized to be your own Self)? If so, we DO agree and this discussion (altercation?) can come to an end!

    Best wishes,

  10. Dennis

    I’d say you are confused by Gaudapada, despite having written your books – perhaps because you are trying to fit his unequivocal teaching into other tenets that you have acquired.

    Very simply you have previously agreed that the world and the jiva is an appearance on consciousness, and that it is not real. A dream is also an appearance on consciousness – if you wish to make a distinction: an appearance on the reflected consciousness of a ‘more substantial’ appearance of a jiva. But as soon as your position is set out in such a systematic way, the absurdity of trying to distinguish between dream and waking becomes rather apparent.

    Gaudapada and Sankara understood this. I’m afraid you have got confused . . . partly I suspect due to your self-imposed fall back distinction of vyavahrika and paramarthika, which has served as a mental barrier to investigating through to the end the various – sometimes apparently conflicting – statements of vedanta.

    Best wishes

  11. I think your problem, Venkat, lies in confusions caused by particular words, such as ‘appearance’. Gaudapada and Shankara are both explicit in stating that the world and jIva are Brahman. Brahman is changeless, so appearing and disappearing are not viable concepts. I also gave you a specific reference where Shankara DOES differentiate between dream and waking. I can also give scriptural and Shankara references to substantiate the paramArtha-vyavahAra distinction (even if the words themselves are not used). It is through NOT having such a distinction that all of the sorts of problems that you are experiencing arise!

    But I am not getting drawn into further discussion on this. I am continuing with my write up of the entire topic, with all of its side issues and this will be published in due course (although not at the site I’m afraid as it is much too long and will form the majority of Vol. 2 of my ‘Confusions’ book.

    Best wishes,

  12. Dennis

    “Brahman is changeless, so appearing and disappearing are not viable concepts.”

    But the jiva is born and then dies. So appearing and disappearing is evident in our experience. As you always note, where experience contradicts teaching then reason dictates . . .

    Gaudapada and Sankara explain this by noting that all this is an illusory appearance, equivalent to dream – and hence no creation, no destruction.

    Suresvara, Naiskarmya Siddhi, 2.95:
    “Since this whole universe including the ego-notion appears and subsequently disappears in consciousness, and is thus as transitory as a pot, it follows that it is as unreal as the lights that appear when the eyes are closed and the eyeballs are pressed with the fingers”

    Best wishes,

  13. Venkat,

    I don’t think I have ever said that. What I have said is that if teaching contradicts reason then reject it, or do more manana with a qualified source to resolve doubts.

    Could you please provide transliterated Sanskrit for the Naishkarmya Siddhi verse. I do not believe that the word ‘unreal’ (asat) was used. If so, it would be wrong.

    Best wishes,

  14. True – everything I know about Advaita has come from everything I have heard and read, including from shruti, smRRiti, Brhamasutra and Shankara. It is my reasoning, based upon understanding of all these that stands against any new idea I may encounter. This I call ‘reason’ – using the intellect which has learned from experience. It enables me to know, for example, that although I still see water in the desert, there is not really any water; although I still see the sun rise and set each day, I know this is not really happening. Experience, if you like, leads to knowledge, which may then fuel reason.

    The relevant word in the NS quote you gave is mithyAsvAbhAvAt – because of the mithyA nature. ‘mithyA’, not ‘asat’ – a world of difference (pun intended!).

  15. [Venkat] Suresvara, Naiskarmya Siddhi, 2.95:
    “Since this whole universe including the ego-notion appears and subsequently disappears in consciousness, and is thus as transitory as a pot, it follows that it is as unreal as the lights that appear when the eyes are closed and the eyeballs are pressed with the fingers”

    [Dennis] Could you please provide transliterated Sanskrit for the Naishkarmya Siddhi verse. I do not believe that the word ‘unreal’ (asat) was used. If so, it would be wrong.

    Although I don’t have the transliterated Sanskrit at hand, I do have two other English renderings of this verse which may be helpful (or not). The first is by S.S. Raghavachar, which is used by Swami Paramarthananda in his lectures. The second is by the eminent scholar of Vedanta, the late Prof. R. Balasubramanian.

    यर्गत्र्ात्मिो र्स्मादागमापाचर् कु म्िर्त् ।
    साहंकारचमदं पर्श्वं तस्मात्तत्स्र्ात्कचाददर्त् ॥ ९५ ॥

    “This world along with the ego, arises and passes away, like a pot in space, within the Self of the nature of awareness. Hence it is not constitutive of the Self and is subject to negation being a false presentation.”

    “Since this universe along with the ego, [which is different] from the Self which is consciousness, appears and disappears like a pot, it is, therefore, [false] like the hair-like object, etc. [seen due to eye disease].”

  16. Rick,

    The word mithyA occurs in the sambandha gadya (which I believe means something like the prose bit that goes along with the verse) to 2.95:

    atash chAtmano bhedAsaMsparsho bhedasya mithyA-svAbhAvyAd ata Aha
    Therefore the Self is not touched by distinction, for distinction is mithyA by nature. Hence we proceed:

    There is NO word meaning false (or mithyA) in the main verse because mithyA is ‘carried forward’ from the sambandha.

  17. So Dennis

    1) Appearing and disappearing is not a viable concept. Suresvara very much talks about the world appearing and disappearing.

    2) reiterating my original point:

    A dream is also an appearance on consciousness – if you wish to make a distinction: an appearance on the reflected consciousness of a ‘more substantial’ appearance of a jiva. But as soon as your position is set out in such a systematic way, the absurdity of trying to distinguish between dream and waking becomes rather apparent.

  18. Dear Dennis,

    You say: “This I call ‘reason’ – using the intellect which has learned from experience.”

    Don’t you see the possibility that the word “reason” above could easily also mean “prejudice” ? That is why the traditional system insists on “citta suddhi.” There has got to be total “unlearning,” an innocence and openness. We cannot grok Self-knowledge loaded with certain pre-conceived ideas, fixated concepts, however noble or vastly informed they may be.

    Moreover, has not Shankara said that if a world were to be real and expected to continue to exist permanently (which seems to be your point), then there will be no possibility of being freed from the world, leading to the impossibility of liberation, mokSha?

    my 2C


  19. I have repeated the points below numerous times yet the same arguments keep coming up.

    What disappears on enlightenment is the belief that the world appearance is something other than Brahman. No real thing is ever created or destroyed. What is here is always only Brahman and that never appears or disappears.

    The difference between dream and waking in the teaching of Advaita (before one reaches the ‘pAramArthika teaching’) is that the dream is created by the mind of the jIva whereas the world is created by the ‘cosmic mind’ of Ishvara/hiraNyagarbha.

    Yes, Ramesam, reason may certainly be prejudice. That is why I write about even respected teachers translating Shankara according to their pre-existing beliefs. And of course I do not claim to be immune to this. Do you?

    We are ‘freed from the world’ when we realize that it is mithyA; that it and we are really Brahman. The fact that the world appearance continues is quite irrelevant as far as that is concerned.

    And yes, Venkat, the teaching of Advaita does appear absurd to someone who does not understand it.

    Best wishes,

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