Organs of perception, action and antaḥkaraṇa perform their respective work with guidance from Consciousness, which is inherent of Brahman. It is like beings perform their work with the help of light, which is inherent in the sun. All our actions are guided by Consciousness, which is also known as Cit or Brahman. Though Brahman does not cause an action directly, our actions are controlled by Citta, the individual consciousness. If Brahman is sun, the light of sun is Citta or individual consciousness. Without Cit, there is no Citta; without Brahman, there is no individual soul. Both these statements are one and the same. Citta or individual consciousness is influenced by our karmic imprints. It is important to understand that without Cit, Citta cannot exist and Citta is influenced by our karmic imprints. (19).
Spiritually ignorant people think that all actions are done by the Self, within, which remains only as a witness. It is like people think that the sky is blue in colour and concave in nature. Sky appearing blue is only an illusion (NASA explains this). Similarly, Brahman, which is just the cause of our existence is wrongly understood as the cause of our actions. Brahman always remains only as a witness. Neither the individual soul is the cause of our actions, nor is the individual soul affected by our actions. Individual Soul is different from Brahman. (20)
Though Brahman is called Consciousness, it is devoid of I consciousness or ego. For example, I am the doer, I am the enjoyer, etc. Consciousness of Brahman always remains the same, whereas, the consciousness of individual souls are different according to their karmic imprints. Therefore, individual consciousness differs from person to person. But, those spiritually ignorant think that Brahman is the cause of all these differences. In reality Brahman is always the same and devoid of any modifications, attributes or mala-s (impurities). Brahman is eternally pure. Let us take moon as Brahman. Reflection of moon in clear water is the individual soul. Now what is the difference between the moon and its reflection in the water? There is only one difference. Moon is real and the reflection of moon in the water is an illusion. If the water recedes in the river, reflection of moon vanishes, but moon always remains there. When there are waves in the water, the moon will appear and disappear. What is the cause for this vision? It is the mind that observes the reflected moon according to the movement of water. Thus, mind out of ignorance and illusion is deceived to think that the reflected moon is the real moon. Similarly, mind perceives the individual soul as the Supreme Soul (Brahman) (21).
How can we say that mind alone is responsible for this illusion and deception? During our deep sleep, mind is totally rested. But in active and dream states, we associate ourselves with the mind and think that we are the doer. Suppose, someone dreams that an elephant chases him, he will be scared even in his dream. Therefore, mind is active in dream state also. The only time when the mind is at rest is during deep sleep state. Results of dreams are felt by the mind and when the mind is active, ego is also active. Mind and ego always go together, causing duality such as happiness and sadness or pleasure and pain. Brahman is like our mind in deep sleep state, devoid of any attributes. Therefore, it is only the mind and its associate ego, the reason for all dualities and spiritual ignorance. Brahman perpetually remains pure without any action not causing any action. It is the karmic imprints in association with individual consciousness which causes all the actions and such actions are not caused by Brahman. (22)
Each element has their own nature. Fire is hot, water is cold, sky is vast, etc. Sun has its own light, without which, light is not possible in the world. But Brahman is devoid of any qualities such as heat, etc. It is Saccidānanda – Existence (perpetual), Consciousness and Bliss. Taittirīya Upaniṣad says, “sattyaṁ jñānaṁ anantaṁ brahma”, which means that Brahman is “truth, knowledge and infinity is Brahman; the most important thing is that Brahman exists this way all the time and simultaneously. Thus, Brahman at the most can be explained as “sat, cit, ānanda, sattyaṁ, jñānaṁ and anantaṁ”. Except Brahman none can exist in this state simultaneously. These are the qualities of Brahman that are to be experienced. But it is the māyā, which shields this Brahman. We have already seen that māyā is like clouds obscuring the sun. Individual soul also is obscured by māyā. If we need to realize the Soul within, we have to first understand what māyā is and then practice to shed the effects of māyā. (23)
Due to innate ignorance, one says I am the doer, where ‘I am’ refers to ego. Ego and mind are part of antaḥkaraṇa (the internal organ, the seat of thought and feeling, the mind, the thinking faculty, the heart, the conscience.) Due to innate ignorance, we think that “I” refers to Brahman. In other words, this “I” represents only ego and not the real Brahman. For example, let us say that someone says, “I did this job”. He thinks that Brahman did this job. We know that Brahman is always a witness and It is inert too. Then what this “I” means? This “I” arises out of māyā, where we falsely (false because it is associated with māyā) link Brahman and our mind. How is this possible? Only water can mix with water and fire can mix with fire. Water and fire cannot mix, as the fire will be extinguished. Brahman is so Pure and mind is always afflicted. How can Brahman and mind unite? Brahman is sat, cit, ānanda. In the present case, mind is associated with sat and cit only and not with ānanda. Again the mind has three types of guṇa-s – sattva, rajas and tamas. Material world causes an impact in the mind, making any of the three guṇa-s more active, which is known as vṛtti (mode of life or conduct, course of action, behaviour). We also know that Brahman within is just a reflection of Supreme Brahman (this difference is explained as the self and the Self; self is reflection of the sun in a water pot and the Self is the sun, for the purpose of an example). The self (reflection) in association with the mind is the cause for saying “I”, which is known as ego. This is the influence of māyā. The Self is always sat, cit, ānanda and hence the Self can never be associated with afflicted mind. Nature of Brahman or the Self always remains the same - sat, cit, ānanda, sattyaṁ, jñānaṁ and anantaṁ. It is only the afflicted mind that thinks, that the soul, encased by māyā is the doer. In reality, soul neither thinks nor acts. It is always a witness. Ego arises out of māyā and hence we say “I did that”, “I did this”. (24)