YAQ (Yet Another Question) About Brahman and Experience

Greetings fellow seekers! 🙂

1. The argument goes: Brahman cannot be experienced because it is not an object. But is there perhaps another form of experience that needs no object? In Buddhism, for example, you can be aware of something (object), and you can also simply be aware (open awareness, no object).

2. Is the statement “You cannot experience Brahman, but everything you experience is Brahman” valid?

Thank you for your help. 🙂


6 thoughts on “YAQ (Yet Another Question) About Brahman and Experience

  1. Hi Rick,

    Maybe you already know it; but the best analogy to understand that brahman (aka Consciousness/Awareness) cannot be “experienced” as It always is the “Experiencer” is as follows:

    The tip of your finger can touch anything, but it can never do so itself! OR The eye can see everything, but it cannot see itself (even if you bring a mirror, it sees only a reflected virtual image and not its original self)! OR A flashlight can focus illumination on anything , but not on itself.

    1 (b): The statement “you can also simply be aware” is NOT acceptable in Advaita.
    Because, it smells still like two things being present — a ‘you’ and a separate awareness. What Advaita (no two-ness) says is “You are Awareness” (open objectless Awareness).

    2. What we “experience” in our day-to-day dualistic world is always mediated through our 5 senses backed by the mind. But ‘brahman’ is NOT available for perceptual experience nor can It be even ‘thought over’ ot conceptualized (what It is like). In view of the above fact, I suggest a little tweak to the sentence formulated by you. I will emend it as follows, if you do not mind, to make valid:

    “You cannot experience Brahman, but “what IS really present behind” everything you experience, is Brahman”

  2. The word ‘experience’ – from the verb ‘to experience’, is not univocal: it has different connotations or applications. So, the answer to 2 has to be in the negative.

    A different thing is saying that you or I, or the world, is Brahman – since Brahman is the only reality (there is no other).

    Thus, it cannot be said that I, or anyone, experiences (can experience), or knows (can know), Brahman.

  3. Ramesam and Martin,

    Thanks for the replies. About 2, if it is not Brahman we experience (in every experience), what is it? Alternately: If there is only Brahman, how can we ever NOT experience Brahman? The experiencer-experiencing-experienced may be mithya, but the true ‘identity’ of mithya is Brahman, right? What am I missing?

  4. Thanks Rick.
    What you raise are very reasonable and logical questions.

    The answers, however, depend on what sort of “Teaching Model” one adopts in imparting the Advaita message.

    I recently posted an article which deals precisely with this topic.
    Please take a look here:


    The take home message is summed up in the sentence (pl see the article): “The appearance of the world is a distortion and aberration due to the inadequate and limited perceptual apparatus we are endowed with as a ‘finite’ cognizer! It is not that “a world,” filled with multiple objects is sitting out there for us to see; nor is there a defect in the cognizer per se.”

    [“for us to see” in the sentence above may be read as “for us to experience” to match with your question.]

    The same and related issues are discussed in greater detail in the current ongoing Series, “adhyAropa to adhiSThAna.” Please take a peek, if you have the patience and time.


    • Ramesam, thank you for the response. 🙂

      Donald Hoffman would agree with “The appearance of the world is a distortion and aberration due to the inadequate and limited perceptual apparatus we are endowed with as a ‘finite’ cognizer!“ (I realize the contexts are very different.)

      I read the Maya text and will now start on the “adhyAropa to adhiSThAna” series.


  5. Aside:

    The more you say or think about Brahman, the higher your potential for confusion. It’s ultimately unfathomable, an Advaitin koan. And yet to not say/think anything about paramartha satyam limits the exploration of reality to vyavahara satyam. What’s a poor Advaita teacher or student to do?

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