Part XXI – Perception of the World
As we discussed before, when I say there is an object ‘out there’ that ‘out there’ is only in the mind as a thought of the object. Mind is nothing but a flow of thoughts. Every thought is essentially centered on an object, which may be ‘out there’ or projected in the mind based on memory. In addition, for me to be conscious of the object ‘out there’, I have to be conscious of the thought of the object in my mind. Therefore the world out there is reduced to the thoughts in my mind. Hence, when I say I am aware of the world out there, it actually implies that I am aware of the thoughts in my mind. If I am not conscious of the associated thought in my mind, I cannot be conscious of the object out there either.
Thought is like a wave in my consciousness – a name for a form. However, the contents of every thought wave are nothing but consciousness itself. When I say a table is there, I have a table thought and when I look around and see a chair out there, instantaneously there is a chair thought in my mind. It is not that a chair thought is superimposed on a table thought. Thoughts arise in my consciousness, are sustained by my consciousness and go back into my consciousness. But consciousness is unaffected by the observed thought. I fact, I am the consciousness in which all the thoughts rise, are sustained and go back.
Now, let us ask the question again:
‘where is the inert world?’ Oh! It is out there.
‘How do you know it is out there?’ – Oh! I can see and I can experience it’.
What you can experience or see is only your thoughts in the mind. Therefore, ‘out there’ is in your mind which is nothing but thoughts and the thoughts are in your consciousness. Consciousness has to pervade every thought for me to be aware of the thoughts. Hence from my point, the world is perceived though the mind as thoughts rise in my mind, are sustained by my mind and go back into my mind. My mind is illumined by my consciousness. Then only I can say I am conscious of the world. If there is no thought and thus if there is no mind active, it appears that the whole world has no existence.
We can say it is absorbed in my mind which itself is absorbed into me, the consciousness that I am. This, in fact, is our daily experience. When we go into the deep sleep state, there are no thoughts and therefore no objects and no world either. This illustrates that there cannot be any world that can be separate from my mind. I enliven the mind, or I can say I am the mind of the mind. I am that, because of which the mind itself is minding. This is not intended for conceptualization of who I am, but to negate any wrong notions that I have about myself. I am not the mind but I am the mind too in the sense that I am conscious of the mind or the thought flow. ‘I am this body’ is only a notional thought in my mind. ‘I am not this’ therefore implies that I am not the name and form that is associated with the notional object ‘this’ but I am the very consciousness that supports even that notional thought in my mind.
We mentioned that existence of the object involves knowledge of its existence. That is the primary requirement – in fact as we shall see later, that is the very fundamental basis for the object and that existence can never cease to exist as Krishna says in Gita (nAbhAvo vidyate sataH), and that existence itself is of the nature of Brahman as declared in the Ch. Up (6.2.1) as ‘Existence alone was there before any creation’ (sat eva saumye idamagra AsIt). The existence is common for all the objects. What differs for each object are of course details – the other attributes which differentiate one object from the other. ‘I want to know the mind of God and the rest are all details’ said Einstein – obviously he is inquiring into the truth of the world itself.
Proceed to the next essay.