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: Saakshyam, the witnessed consciousness...by Acharya Sadanandaji  ( 2783 )
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« : December 21, 2009, 10:33:10 AM »

by Acharya Sadanandaji

saakshyam, the witnessed consciousness
tat tvam asi - V

We have so far established using scriptures, logic and experience, in that order, that 'I am', designating for the pure saakshii, is not different from saakshyam as emphasized by the statement 'tat tvam asi' or you are that. The scriptural statement starts with the declaration that "existence- alone was there before the creation, and it was one without a second". Scriptures continue to say that the existence continues to exist as such, since that which exists can never stop existing. If existence disappears, then in its place non-existence must come into existence, which is a contradiction in terms, since we cannot say non-existence exists. By the statement that it was one, alone, without a second, that existence was without any qualifications or without the three possible distinctions i.e. sajaati, vijaati and swagata bhedaas. Then what happened to that existence after creation? It continues to exist, now apparently in varieties of names and forms or with varieties of attributes. Being infinite, it does not or cannot undergo any mutation of any kind. How can it become many without any mutation? Scripture itself provides three examples - just as gold becoming varieties of ornaments while remaining as gold, as clay becoming pots while remaining as clay, as iron becoming iron tools while remaining as iron. In all these examples gold, clay and iron are material causes for their products, and the materials remain while varieties of products appear to form. It is called vivarta or transformation-less transformation. From gold point there are no bangles, bracelets and rings. What is there is only Gold, alone, without a second. Gold before it appeared as rings and bangles, gold while appearing as rings and bangles and gold even if they change into other forms. It remains as gold while names and forms keep changing. What is satyam or immutable is gold. What is mithyaa is that which is there temporarily as entity for transactions. Forms are not conserved; only material is conserved. By providing these examples, scriptures declare that existence remained as such, forming the material or substantive cause for the universe. Hence creation is nothing but existence itself in varieties of names and forms, starting from space. From existence point, there is no creation or the world. What we see is only the names and forms but not the substantive existence as it is imperceptible.

Thus scriptures declare that existence permeates the whole universe as the substantive while appearing as divergent plurality. Plurality distinguishes itself by the varieties of objects with divergent attributes, while the undifferentiable and imperceptible existence providing the substantives for the varieties. Every object is location-wise, time-wise, and attribute-wise (desha-kaala-vastu paricchinnam) distinctively different from the other. Without the existence principle pervading all these objects of plurality in the creation, they cannot exist independently. Hence any object exists implies that existence pervades as a substantive of the object, lending existence to the object so that one can perceive the object.

In deep sleep, no object is perceived. Hence scripture says "na kancana kaamam kaamayate", ManDukya.  There is expressed as no desire for any object, because no seer-seen distinction exists in deep sleep states. Yet the existence principle exists as we say there is a deep sleep state that is different from waking and dream state. In that state I exist as the very subject, who is awake in deep sleep state as saakshii, now witnessing the absence of all objects of knowledge including space and time.  Hence, the ego which exists with an identification 'I am this' is not there, since 'this', which is nothing but a thought of BMI, is not there.   'I am' exists without any 'this', this- qualifications, and that unqualified - I am - is, therefore, imperceptible. In fact, scriptures say I am that existence principle that exists, and lends existence to all the objects that I perceive that is distinct from me, based on their attributive content. Hence, in the identity equation 'I am that', the identity refers to I am, that existence principle that pervades all this universe of plurality 'idam sarvam' and that which is eternal and undifferentiable, and hence imperceptible, making scripture as the only pramANa for this realization or recognition. Whatever I perceive or known, is therefore an object with attributes, which is essentially existence itself with attributes of the object, just as gold itself appearing as attributive ring or bangle, etc. While other philosophers say that I see therefore the object is true, advaitin will say I see therefore it is not true since it gets negated, also not non-true since I am seeing, but mithyaa. Shankara says 'drisyatvaat', it is mithyaa.

Analysis of the deep sleep state is very subtle. It is a state of nirvikalpa, where mind exists in dormant state without any thoughts. However, I am there in the deep sleep state, I, the existence-consciousness existing without illumining anything. After getting up from sleep a waker says, I slept very well, and I was not aware of either myself or any other entity in deep sleep state. Just as in the pitch dark room, no object is perceived and we do not even know if any object exists or not, so is in the deep sleep, where there is a blanket of ignorance covering the mind. It is not ignorance of something (like chemistry, physics, etc) but ignorance of everything, called muula avidya.  Mind, as we discussed before, acts as intermediary between saakshii, i.e. myself, and the objects that become known. The mind first gets illumined by the light of consciousness of saakshii, and the reflected light from the mind further illumines the object-thoughts. In the waking state, not only I know what I know, I also know what I do not know. That is, even the ignorance of x, y, or z, I know. Mind, as though, illumines the absence of knowledge or ignorance too. Since mind is not there in the deep-sleep state, not only I do not have the knowledge of any object, unlike in the waking state, I am not conscious of my ignorance too.  After getting up from sleep, I say that I slept very well, and that I am not conscious of myself as well as not conscious of anything else. This declaration is by the mind or ahankaara, which was dormant at that time. Hence from the point of the mind, the statement, at a first glance, appears to be a statement of inference. However, once awake, mind can re-cognize its absence at that time in that state (like missing 18.5min gap in the Nixon tapes), and also re-cognize or recollect the absence of everything or absence of pramaataa-prameya duality since there is gap in the memory with no cognition of any kind. There is, however, an advaitic experience, where all problems appear to be resolved and therefore it was peaceful, confirming the scriptural declaration that duality is the cause of fear, dvitiiyadvai bhayam bhavati, Br. Up.  That means, I never have to work for an advaitic experience, since nature provides that abundantly everyday. However, I have no knowledge of myself at that time. Yet, I was there enjoying the absence of everything. That enjoyment due to advaita in deep-sleep state is not an inference but real experience that everyone longs for. Thus, in the deep-sleep state that I was there is not an inference but experience of happiness due to absence of duality. Since there is no jnaana prakriya or process of acquiring knowledge for which mind is required, I have no knowledge of myself, since I am also not conscious of myself. Hence scriptures say saakshii alone was there along with ignorance in the deep sleep state. Not only I do not know myself I also do not know that I have ignorance. Both are not revealed. Even though ignorance is there, it is not revealed during that state, since revealing instrument, the mind, is not there.

Now the question is, why is the self-effulgent saakshii that is present even in deep sleep state is not revealed?  Interesting thing is even to reveal the self-effulgent saakshii we need the mind. We discussed this before using the light analogy.  If there is light spread out all over in space, we can never know the existence of the light unless there is an object to reflect the light. By the reflection of the light by the object we can know two things: the existence of the object and the existence of the light that illumines the object. Object does not bring the light since it is, by itself, inert or jadam. The self-luminous saakshii is always there shining but it needs the BMI to reveal itself. We have a peculiar relation between saakshii or existence-consciousness and the BMI. Saakshii is needed to know the presence of the BMI. Only in the light of consciousness the BMI is revealed. On the other hand BMI is needed to recognize the presence of saakshii too. Shankara discusses this aspect elaborately in his bhaaShya on Prasnopanishad. Sureshwara discusses this in his Naishkarmasiddhi in II-106 and III-57.  Essentially the mind makes the all pervading consciousness to manifest in terms of names and forms. When the mind is not there as in deep-sleep state, neither I know myself nor I know the presence of any object including ignorance that I have. Then, how does a jnaani sleep? He sleeps as a jnaani, where, as saakshii swaruupa he is awake but there is no illumination of the objects nor the recognition of saakshii since his mind is not there. Essentially we can say that the mind of the jnaani sleeps, just as in ajnaani.  His jnaani status is not revealed since mind is absent, just as for ajnaani his ajnaani status is not revealed.  Both enjoy the advaitic experience. For jnaani he enjoys there also, while ajnaani enjoys there only.

Before we proceed further we need to ask another question: If I am pure existence principle and the substantive of the whole universe, which has no sajaati, vijaati and swagata bhedas, then where do these attributes of world of objects come from? Let us apply this question to our friend, gold.  When gold alone was there before creation of all the ornaments, where did these varieties of attributive names and forms such as ring, bangle and necklace, etc., come from? Goldsmith obviously is going to make them according to the desires of the people who want those specific attributive forms of gold. The same logic we can apply here. The pure existence principle decided to become many depending on the subtle desires of those that want to experience the world of objects. This is called karma, left in subtle form from the previous cycle of creation, says Krishna in Ch.8. The samaShTi or totality of all vaasanaas of all beings that are ready to express in terms of desires to experience the world of plurality formed the basis for the creation. Hence the scripture says "sa kaamayata - bahusyaam prajaayeya - sa tato2tapyata- sa tapastaptvaa" (Tai.Up.), etc indicating that before the creation is manifested into varieties of names and forms, the creator visualized or planned or contemplated taking into consideration all the blue-prints required for creation to meet all the specifications of all beings that are there now in subtle forms. Thus according to scriptures, creation is not a random phenomenon or accidental processes or at the whims and fancies of the creator, but well-thought out or contemplated or well designed following the well laid out rules and regulations. Hence it is a creation and not a chaotic random process. Thus the cycle of creation, sustenance and dissolution is a beginning-less cycle. The one who transforms the subtle forms into grosser forms is Iswara, the creator, similar to our goldsmith. He needs the subtle form of karma in the form of vaasanaas which are avyaktam or unmanifested forms to help in the creation. This is called maayaa. Iswara thus is equipped with maayaa shakti to create the world of plurality.  Where is that Iswara? Scriptures answers - He himself became many. prajaayeya, bahushyaam. Let Me become many and He became many. Implying that existence principle which was there before the creation, he himself became many.  That means it is not only the material cause but intelligent and instrumental cause too, since He is equipped with all the tools needed to become many. Hence VishNusahasranaamaavali says "he is karNam, kaaraNam, kartaa.." He is the instrumental, material and intelligent cause for the universe. Thus the existence that was there before creation is a conscious-existence, since creation can only be done by a conscious entity and not by inert entity. Existence and consciousness are not two but one and the same. Hence "I am" include both sat and chit that 'I am' and 'I am that', the whole world of plurality too, the saakshyam that I witness. Hence I am a saakshii that we understood from tvam padaartham and using the scriptural statement -tat tvam asi- the tat, that is saakshyam is also the existence-consciousness that I am. Thus both saakshii and saakshyam, the witnessing consciousness and the witnessed consciousness, both I am. Since there are only two, saakshii and saakshyam, I am the total "aham brahmaasmi " follows the teaching, when I realize that truth in the statement - tat tvam asi.

However, saakshyam is inert and how can the conscious-existence entity, Brahman, become inert? This aspect will be addressed next.

Hari Om!

« : April 06, 2015, 11:46:04 AM Dr. Sadananda »
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