Consciousness and Awareness

1.What is Consciousness ?

       If  I ask the question, are you conscious, what will be your answer ? “Yes I am conscious”. How do you know you are conscious ? I simply know intuitively I am  conscious.  Hence consciousness is your innate nature – Swarupa.

     If the question is do you exist ? What is your answer. – “Yes. I exist”. Again this is intuitive experience and knowledge.  Existence is your nature – Swarupa.

     Can you separate existence and consciousness ? Existence-Consciousness is my nature.  This is called Sat-Chit.

     All that is there is consciousness only. There is nothing other than existence-consciousness. Which means existence consciousness is non dual and hence is of the nature of  bliss (Ananda).

    Sat-Chit-Ananda is my essential nature.  I am conscious, I am existence all these point to  “I” principle which is my SELF.  SELF is consciousness, existence and Bliss. Consciousness is the “knowing” principle. Consciousness is called “Chaitanyam”. All that is there consciousness only.

2. What is awareness ? 

    Again asking the question  do you  exist ?  Are you aware. You will say “yes”.  In other words, awareness is consciousness. I am aware of a tree and I am conscious of the tree mean same thing. Hence awareness and consciousness are synonyms or interchangeably used. Awareness is the knowing principle same as consciousness.

3. What is pure consciousness /Non conceptual Awareness ?

     Consciousness without content is called pure consciousness. It is also called awareness or non conceptual awareness.  In deep sleep we experience pure consciousness as Bliss. Pure consciousness/Awareness mean same thing. Pure consciousness, awareness  is called Prajnanam to indicate it is beyond knowledge (jnana). Knowledge always refers to objects which is content of consciousness. Prajnanam refers to content-less consciousness/Awareness. Pure consciousness/Content less consciousness/Awareness or prajnanam all mean same thing.

    While any knowledge (jnanam) has counterpart called ignorance (ajnanam) resulting in duality,  prajnanam is non dual. “I exist – I am conscious  is sole reality.  I do not exist/ I am not conscious”  is impossible.

4. Who is Pure Being  – Absolute Reality ?  

Pure consciousness/non conceptual awareness  refer to “I” principle which is SELF. Since content less consciousness is not personal in nature (personality comes into picture when there is content in the form of subject-object), “I” principle is impersonal SELF and hence universal. This Universal SELF is called Brahman – Universal SELF. Pure Being, SELF/ATMA/BRAHMAN/UNIVERSAL SELF/Absolute Reality all mean same thing – impersonal “I”.

5. What is Presence ? 

What is your answer if I ask you a question are you present ? The answer will be obviously  – ” I am present” .  The “I AM” refers to presence or pure Being. 

6. What is witness ? Is it same as awareness ? 

The SELF (Pure Consciousness/non conceptual awareness) is called Witness (sakshi). It witnesses contents of consciousness appearing and disappearing without itself undergoing any change. Witnesses the contents of consciousness when they appear, remains without any change as Itself as Pure Being or ATMA when there is no change.

7. What is the relationship  of consciousness  with the mind and the world ? 

     Concepts appear and disappear in pure consciousness/Awareness  like waves appear and disappear in ocean. These concepts form the content of consciousness.  These concepts are called thoughts (vrittis). Mind is nothing but thoughts. Hence contents of consciousness is mind.   Ocean is nothing but water. Rise and fall of wave does not make any difference to water. Similar to this,  consciousness as such  does not under go any changes with rise and fall of contents ( mind or thoughts).

    Pure consciousness or non conceptual awareness is called mind when it takes the form of imagination (kalpana) or thinking (vritti). When it takes the form of sensing it is called body. When it takes the form of perceiving it takes the form of object and is called world.  Thus consciousness alone is the sole reality appearing as mind and the world.  Mind and body take the form of subject and world becomes the object.

    All  ornaments like necklace, chain, ear ring etc are gold only. However, gold is not any ornament. Similarly thought, mind, feelings, emotions and world are consciousness only. These are concepts appearing and disappearing in consciousness like waves appearing in ocean.  However  like the example given in gold ornament, consciousness is not thought, mind, feeling or the world.  This should be carefully noted to avoid confusion. Many times spiritual teachings say ” I am not the body, mind, intellect, I am pure consciousness.  This is literally true. While consciousness is not body, mind or intellect, body, mind, intellect are consciousness only called by different names based on form and function. !” 

8. What is ego ?  

The “I am” thought identifies wrongly with the body instead of identifying with SELF. Such a thought is called ego. Sometimes I thought identifies with body, some other times with the mind.  Such a thought is called ego. Ego is in reality an appearance in consciousness only and nothing but consciousness.

– Prabhuji 27th August 2018



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