4) Self Knowledge (Atmajnan) – Witness Consciousness (Sakshi)

Talk4 by Prabhuji

Let us contemplate today on ‘Witness Consciousness’.

What is a ‘Witness’? We have heard this word called ‘Witness’ in the court.   When some accident or crime happens, a witness is called to court to tell about the crime scenario.

So who is a Witness?

Witness is not a party to the crime or accident, somebody who is a non-judgmental observer, somebody who observes and is able to tell the facts as they are; such a person is called Witness. If he is a party or participant in the case, he cannot tell truthfully. The witness in the court is able to reproduce or tell what actually happened during the crime event as he saw. So that is witness, somebody who is just an observer, non-judgmental and non-participant.

Let us look at the Witness Consciousness or Sakshi in us. Look at your own life when you wake up in the morning, when you open your eyes, suddenly a feeling of ‘I am’, arises in you and then the feeling of ‘my family, my house’ everything related to you arises. The first feeling which arises in you is called ‘I am’; this is the ego, or Ahamkara in Sanskrit. This ‘I am’ feeling associates with everything. First it says, ‘I am the body’, then it says, ‘I am so and so, I am husband, I am wife, etc’. This ‘I am’, feeling is called Ahamkara, and this we believe is ‘ME’. Throughout our life we live with the understanding that this is ME the ‘I am’, feeling. But look at your life closely, every morning when you get up, you have a feeling of ‘I am’, because you have a body, some interactions, surroundings, around you. Now go to dream state again there is ‘I am’, but it is a weaker ‘I am’ feeling. Waking state it is a strong ‘I am’ feeling, in dream state weaker ‘I am’ feeling. In dream state you associate with different bodies. You may suddenly have a different body. A body of childhood, you may have body of old age or animal sometimes, you may feel like flying in the dream. So you have different bodies, so there are different ego that is there in a dream state.  And in deep sleep state, there is no ego, there is no ME. So in one day there are three “ME’s”.  Waking state one ‘ME’, dream states other ‘ME’ and deep sleep ‘no ME’.

Again when it comes up next day, is it the same ‘ME’ or a different ‘ME’?

We believe it is the same ‘ME’, but the body has undergone change. The ‘ME’ says ‘I am the body’, but the body when you were young was a different ‘ME’ and when you are old is a different ‘ME’.  If you are identifying yourself with the body, the body has undergone so many changes. The ‘ME’ has undergone major changes. Do you know that your body itself is undergoing changes every minute? Every minute a couple of million cells are dying and new cells are born. Are you aware of that? Do you know that the major organs are getting replaced periodically in your body because of these birth and death of millions of cells in the body? Within a couple of months you have new liver, a new heart. Within a couple of years you have a new brain because all old brain cells will be dead and replaced with new cells. Without your knowledge, lots of internal changes are happening inside you. That is why it is said that once in 12 years the person has a complete new body.

So, this ‘ME” which you are associating with the body is not recognizing these internal changes. Sometimes, that ‘ME’, that ‘I am’, becomes the mind, mind is upset, mind is sad, every minute mind is changing. In deep sleep it is not there, then which ‘ME’ are you referring to? But you feel ‘I am constant, I am not changing’,

So are you really referring to the ‘I am’ which is changing constantly, or something which is changeless within ‘I am’? There must be something which is not changing behind all these changing, body is changing, mind is changing, and intellect is changing and ‘I am’ is referring to body-mind-intellect’. But there is something which is not changing, something which is constant in this, and that is real ‘I’. That is why unconsciously you know you are that real ‘I’, and hence you keep saying “I….I….I” as if you are not changed.  Your body has changed, your mind has changed, your intellect has changed, but the ‘I’ has not changed. That unchanging ‘I’ is the witness in you.

Which is real you? Is the changing you is real you? Or the unchanging you is the real you?

Unconsciously you say unchanging ‘I’ is ‘me’, but consciously you associate with the body and mind. Deep inside you know ‘I am unchanging’, and that unchanging ‘I’ is real ‘I’. But when you are communicating or interacting you are confused. You associate with the change, with some body and mind. But deep inside there is some unchanging in you and that is real ‘I’.  That is you. That is the witness, Sakshi.  All Vedas and Upanishads remind you that ‘You are That’, ‘Tat Twam Asi’.

First you have to realize the real ‘you’, which is called Sakshi, Witness. That Sakshi is the witness of your body and also the witness of everything in the universe also and that is called Paramatma. Sakshi in you is called Atma or Jivatma, witness of the universe is called Paramatma. Everything in the world is changing. There is not a single day where there is no change in the world. Electrons are changing, molecules are changing, atoms are changing, plants are changing, trees are changing, sun is changing, and everything is changing. Everything is changing, but there is something unchanging that is holding that changing. That something unchanging is called Brahman, God. That Brahman when it witnesses the changing phenomena is called Paramatma. So is the Sakshi in you different from the Sakshi of the universe? They are one and the same. Deep inside you there is Sakshi, Atma, one with Paramatma. Actually nobody has to tell you this knowledge, you know unconsciously, that is why you always use the word ‘I’ as if it is unchanging but consciously you associate with the changing ‘I’.

So first you realize that you are Sakshi and then you realize that the Sakshi is Brahman. This is the path of Self-Realization.

Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi


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