Vedānta Series 23

Tattvabodha asks next, cit kim? - What is consciousness? It answers jñāna svarūpaḥ - it is knowledge. Consciousness needs further study as the purest form of consciousness is the Brahman. Consciousness is one of the four inner psychic organs or antaḥkaraṇa, the other three being – mind, intellect and ego. Cit is a direct reference to the state of one’s mental awareness. When one’s consciousness is becoming purer by day, it means that he is closer to realising the Brahman within. As long as the mind is occupied with desires and attachments, consciousness cannot be purified. If too many thoughts prevail in the mind, they leave lasting impressions in the mind and such impressions are known as vāsanā-s.

Often consciousness is treated on par with the mind, which is not fully factual. When consciousness and mind are the same, then there is no necessity to include both of them as different entities of antaḥkaraṇa. Though they are not the same, yet consciousness is related to the mind. Consciousness is the foundational aspect of the physical body as the physical body is merely a superimposition on consciousness. Therefore, at the end of one’s spiritual journey, one will say that he is not the body, but pure consciousness. As the mind controls other aspects human system, it also prevails over consciousness. If a mind is afflicted with multiple thoughts, one’s level of consciousness becomes weak and depleted.

The consciousness of an ordinary person and a yogi differs. A yogi has developed the ability to look within, penetrating all the bodies and stay united with the Self. A mundane person, on the other hand, tends to look outwardly using his sense organs and in the process forming impressions in the mind. These impressions are capable of sneaking into the subconscious mind, causing serious damages not necessarily in this birth but also in future births. Subconscious mind and karma always travel together with the Self and therefore, impressions of the subconscious mind are capable of manifesting at any of the future births. Any unwanted thoughts in the mind should never be allowed to stay put in the mind for long. This seriously affects the stability of the mind.

Consciousness cannot be in different pieces. Fragmentation happens because of separate individuality, which in turn gives rise to independent status of the mind. To realise the Self, one has to bring his awareness to the point where duality begins. This is the stage, where consciousness is in its purest form and it is easier to pull back an afflicted mind from this stage. Generally, purification of consciousness happens only in those who have higher level of spiritual intellect and higher standards of moral living. It is also imperative that the seed for spiritual life should be sown at thirty years of age, which will blossoms forth at the age of forty five.

Further Readings:

Vedanta - Ego

Vedanta - Existence

Vedanta - Bliss