Faith

Light of consciousness

Vedanta texts explain that the self in each jiva is pure consciousness and always exists as a witness. It has the power to reveal and illumine whatever is manifest as the entire universe, said Swami Anubhavananda in a discourse.

Consciousness as the witness in each jiva integrates all the experiences both within and outside. But it remains distant from all these while revealing simultaneously the agent, the action and the external objects. This truth is illustrated with the analogy of the light in the theatre hall during a stage performance, say a dance or a stage play. The light illumines all the various objects, persons, etc, on stage and outside it as well. The light itself is not affected by all the things that happen during the performance. So too consciousness manifests all things, the ego, the intellect, the objects, etc, and continues to shine even when none of these are present. The mind is the instrument of action and is known as the antakarana. The actions of the mind have two types of modifications, internal and external.

The internal modification makes one the agent as for instance, when a jiva thinks “I am,” he becomes the agent. Likewise the external modifications are owing to the mind’s interactions with the world through the senses. The ‘I sense’ is present in the antakarana or mind. When the mind interacts with the world, it tends to believe in the experiences thus derived as real. But it is the same antakarana that can reject these if it understands that the self is blissful in nature but owing to bondage to samsara is not able to realise this truth. If and when the self is able to abide in its true nature, it is said to be liberated. This process involves long and arduous practice of devotion and repeated reflection and enquiry when the powerful Maya and its effects are overcome.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 8:27:50 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/faith/light-of-consciousness/article31334527.ece

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