Identity between awareness and existence

K. Sadananda sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Mon Aug 6 05:32:28 CDT 2001

Sanjay Srivastava <sksrivastava68 at HOTMAIL.COM> wrote:

>Could anyone elaborate the logic behind the declaration that existence and
>awareness are one and the same thing? Supposing they are not the same, what
>will be the logical conclusions?
>When we say that Brahman is existence-awareness does it not mean that we
>are giving attributes to the attributeless?

Here is my understanding.

Existence is fundamental for anything that exists.  If Brahman is,
then Brahman exists and the very essence of that 'is-ness' is the
existence itself. If Brahman does not exist then no further
discussion is needed on Brahman.

In Ch. Up. in discussing creation - Uddalaka starts with 'existence
alone was there before creation and it is one without a second' -
Since other than existence is only non-existence and one cannot say
non-existence existed - a contradiction in terms.  Hence existence
alone was there in the beginning and it is one without a second.

Question is what is the nature of that existence that is one without
a second. Uddalaka himself answers - it is not of the nature of jadam
or inert like - premordial cause for a big bang in science.  It is of
the nature of conscience,  or a chaitanya vastu.  'It is conscious of
what?'- one may question.  Since there is nothing other than that one
existence which is consciousness, it is thae same conscious-existence
- as its swaruupa lakshaNa - or intrinsic nature of that existence is
consciousness. To say this differently, since there is nothing else
there for it to be conscious of, it is self-consciousness itself. Let
us analyze this further.

Since we cannot talk of non-existent consciousness, which makes no
sense, that consciousness is an existent consciousness - This again
makes it existent consciousness or existence -consciousness is the
very nature of that what existed before the creation.  Since that is
one without a second, there it unlimited or limitless- if there is a
limit for existence, we run into another problem - what is there
beyond the limits.  If some thing is there then that some thing must
be existent since it is there.  If it exists then it is part of
existence only and not other than existence.  One can also look  at
from consciousness point - if there is something other than
consciousness then how does one know? If one knows that something
exists then it must be within that consciousness itself to be aware
that there is something out-there.   Hence consciousness is also
boundless - Hence 'ikam eva advitiiyam' - one without a second
applies to both aspects of consciousness-existence.  That which is
limitless is ananda or happiness since any limitation causes
samsaara.  Hence what was there before is sat-chit and ananda - and
these are called swaruupa lakshaNa - its intrinsic nature.

Now what is an intrinsic nature - that because of which the thing is
defined and without which the thing is not defined - In mathematics
we call this necessary and sufficient condition - Like H2O is water
and water is H2O - Is H2O an attribute of water? - No - it is its
swaruupa lakshaNa or intrinsic nature.  Similarly whatever that was
existent before creation is sat-chit-and ananda.

Next, KrishNa says that which exists can never cease to exist and
that which is non-existent will never come into existence.  - nasato
vidyate bhaavo naabhaavo vidyate sataH|.  Hence creation is not some
thing new or something out of nothing but just a modification of
whatever that exists into a different form. This is an absolute
statement of 'law of conservation' that we are all familiar.  Hence
Advaita Vedanta subscribes to the understanding that creation is only
an apparent modification of that which exists - just as gold
transforming into different ornaments - the nature of god is not lost
in this transformation.  The creation is just naama and ruupa - name
and form - bangle, ring, etc yet remaining as gold.  - Uddalaka gives
there examples to illustrate this and says - vaachaarambhanam vikaaro
naamadheyam - to indicate that it is only an apparent transformation
involving names and forms - just as mud into mud pots, gold into
ornaments or iron into iron-based objects - these examples are from
Ch. Upanishad itself.

Hence Brahman as sat-chit-ananda stating same thing in terms of
intrinsic nature or swaruupa lakshaNa-s.

Hope this is clear.

Hari Om!
K. Sadananda
Code 6323
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
Voice (202)767-2117

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