What is meant by pure consciousness?
Miguel Angel Carrasco
nisargadata at MX3.REDESTB.ES
Sun Nov 16 11:51:06 CST 1997
In the current topic about What is meant by pure consciousness?,
I must say that I quite agree with Greg Goode and Allan Curry.
I think Jonathan Bricklin is asking two things:
a) if the Absolute (as I, following Nisargadatta, prefer to call Brahman)
is Nirguna, without qualities; and
b) if unlocalized consciousness (which I prefer to call Pure Awareness )
is contentless, pure silence.
In fact, I think both questions are two aspects of the same thing:
is the Ultimate Reality one of pure sat-chit-ananda, without objects;
or is it rather one of self-less omniscience?
Jonathan also asks for quotes about this.
I am inserting a selection of quotes by Nisargadatta Maharaj
supporting the interpretation given by Greg Goode and Allan Curry .
I have divided them into three groups. Numbers after quotations refer to
pages of the edition of I AM THAT by Chetana (P) Ltd, Bombay, 1992.
Finally, a fourth group contains a few quotes from :
AT = Atmabodha, edited by Sri Ramakrishna Math,Madras; and
AP = Aparokshanubhuti, edited by Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta.
1) REALITY (THE ABSOLUTE) IS CONTENTLESS. PURE BEING IS SILENCE
No particular thought can be mind's natural state, only silence.
Not the idea of silence, but silence itself. When the mind is in its
natural state, it reverts to silence spontaneously after every experience,
every experience happens against the background of silence. (242)
In the the darkness and the silence reality is found. (305)
Beyond the witness there is the infinite intensity of emptiness and
Your true home is in nothingness, in emptiness of all content. (487)
Of the unknowable only silence talks. The mind can talk only of what it
knows. If you diligently investigate the knowable, it dissolves and only
the unknowable remains. But with the first flicker of imagination and
interest the unknowable is obscured and the known comes to the fore-front.
The known, the changing, is what you live with; the unchangeable is of no
use to you. It is only when you are satiated with the changeable and long
for the unchangeable that you are ready for the turning round and stepping
into what can be described, when seen from the level of the mind, as
emptiness and darkness. For the mind craves for content and variety, while
reality is, to the mind, contentless and invariable. (436)
To go beyond the mind, you must be silent and quiet. Peace and silence,
silence and peace - this is the way beyond. Stop asking questions. (450)
We love variety, the play of pain and pleasure, we are fascinated by
contrasts. For this we need the opposites and their apparent separation.
We enjoy them for a time and then get tired and crave for the peace and
silence of pure being. (416)
All you have to do is to abandon all memories and expectations.
Just keep yourself ready in utter nakedness and nothingness. (498-9)
[On realization] That which cannot change, remains. The great peace, the
deep silence, the hidden beauty of reality remain. While it cannot be
conveyed through words, it is waiting for you to experience for yourself.
Outside the Self there is nothing. All is one and all is contained in
"I am". In the waking and dream states it is the person. In deep sleep and
turiya [samadhi] it is the Self. Beyond the alert intentness of turiya lies
the great, silent peace of the Supreme. But in fact all is one in essence
and related in appearance. In ignorance the seer becomes the seen, and in
wisdom he is the seeing. (68)
Your true home is in nothingness, in emptiness of all content.
You face it most cheerfully when you go to sleep!
Find out for yourself the state of wakeful sleep and you will find it quite
in harmony with your real nature. Words can only give you the
idea, and the idea is not the experience. (487-8)
To me nothing ever happens. There is something changeless, motionless,
immovable, rock-like, unassailable; a solid mass of pure
being-consciousness-bliss. I am never our of it.
Nothing can take me out of it, no torture, no calamity. (191)
My world is free from opposites, of mutually destructive discrepancies;
harmony pervades; its peace is rocklike; this peace and silence are my
Your world is transient, changeful. My world is perfect, changeless.
You can tell me what you like about your world - I shall listen carefully,
even with interest, yet not for a moment shall I forget that your world is
not, that you are dreaming. In mine, the words and their contents have no
being. In your world nothing stays, in mine nothing changes.
My world is real, while yours is made of dreams.
My world has no characteristics by which it can be identified.
You can say nothing about it. My silence sings, my emptiness is full,
I lack nothing. In your world I appear so
[with a name and shape, displaying consciousness and activity].
In mine I have being only. Nothing else. I am my world.
My world is myself. It is complete and perfect.
I need nothing, not even myself, for myself I cannot lose.
In your world I would be most miserable.
To wake up, to eat, to talk, to sleep again - what a bother! (79-81)
2) PURE AWARENESS IS BEYOND CONSCIOUSNESS
There can be no experience beyond consciousness. Yet there is the
experience of just being. There is a state beyond consciousness, which is
not unsconscious. Some call it super-consciousness, or pure consciousness,
or supreme consciousness. It is pure awareness free from the subject-object
nexus. Consciousness is intermitent, full of gaps. Yet there is the
continuity of identity. What is this sense of identity due to, if not to
something beyond consciousness? (310)
3) THE REAL IS WITHOUT ATTRIBUTES, SHAPELESS.
All attributes are personal. The real is beyond all attributes. (528)
I am beyond all attributes. They appear and disappear in my light, but
cannot describe me. The universe is all names and forms, based on qualities
and their differences, while I am beyond. (35)
In reality only the Ultimate is. The rest is a matter of name and form. And
as long as you cling to the idea that only what has a name and shape
exists, the Supreme will appear to you non-existing. When you understand
that names and shapes are hollow shells without any content whatsoever, and
what is real is nameless and shapeless, pure energy of life and light of
consciousness, you will be at peace -immersed in the deep silence of
4) SANKARA.S QUOTES
The supreme self, on account of its being of the nature of exceeding bliss,
does not admit of the distinction of the knower, knowledge and the object
of knowledge. It alone shines. (AT 41)
He who has attained the supreme goal discards all such objects as name and
form, and dwells as the embodiment of infinite consciousness and bliss.
The wise should always be one with that silence wherefrom words together
with the mind turn back without reaching it, but which is attainable by the
yogis. (AP 107)
I am without any change, without any form, free from all blemish and decay.
I am not subject to any disease, I am beyond all comprehension, free from
all alternatives and all-pervading. I am without any attribute or activity.
I am eternal, ever free and imperishable. I am free from all impurity, I am
immovable, unlimited, holy, undecaying and immortal. (AP 24-28)
I am without attributes and action, eternal and pure, free from stain and
desire, changeless and formless, and always free. (AT 34)
Realize that to be Brahman, which is neither subtle nor gross, neither
short nor long, without birth and change, without form, qualities or
colour. (AT 60)
Thank you for your attention.
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