The Seen is in the seer

Miguel Angel Carrasco nisargadata at MX3.REDESTB.ES
Wed Mar 11 13:14:14 CST 1998

Chandran, Nanda on Mon, 9 Mar 1998 wrote :

^Óthe seen is in the seer - In what way? Is it that what I see is the
product of my own imagination or something like that? But does that in
anyway discount the reality of what I see? Can you elaborate on this?^Ô

I will try. And sorry for the delay.

First of all, let^Òs agree to take ^Óto see^Ô in a general sense, as to
perceive in any way, including hearing, feeling, knowing, etc.

What is to see? To have a mental image, to conceive an object in your
consciousness. Thus blinds also ^Ósee^Ô, as long as they have minds.

When you say ^ÓI see the moon^Ô, what do you mean? That in your mind you have
an image that you call moon. There may or may not be an entity outside your
mind that corresponds to your image of it - that^Òs absolutely secondary and
unessential at this point. In order to see something, you do not need an
outside independent referent (you also see things in dreams). In order
words, you cannot see but what is in your consciousness. That is
self-evident. If something is not in your mind, you don^Òt see it. You only
see the objects of your mind. Seeing is not even the reaction of your
senses, nor the associations in your neurons - those are automatic
processes you don^Òt see. What you see is only what arrives in your mind,
nothing else. So you never see anything that is not in your Consciousness.
You never see a ^Óreal moon^Ô (it there is such a thing), what you see is the
mental image you have of it.

Another quite different question is: Is there ever an outside entity of
which my mental image is a copy? That is - is there a real moon from which
I form my image of ^Ómoon^Ô. Or more generally - is consciousness only of its
own (mental) objects or also of (non-mental) objects outside it? Are there
non-mental objects at all, things that exist outside consciousness? There
can^Òt be a proof of that. Consciousness can^Òt ever reach outside itself.
What is outside it, is by definition unknown. So why postulate it?

But even if there were such independent objects, they would always remain
an unknown factor for consciousness.  Consider:  at best, our
representative mental images (that is, our mental objects excluding our
emotions) would be approximate copies of ^Óoutside objects^Ô. Scientists say
that insects, for example, have a very different image of the world. So all
images would be at best approximate copies, like bad photos. But how good?
90% accurate?  30%?  0,1%?  We would never have a way of knowing, because
we can^Òt compare our images with the ^Óoutside objects^Ô, as we only know one
element of the equation, A (our images), and never the other, B (the
outside world). So we can never say A=B. That is something acknowledged by
scientists too. Even the best imaginable scientific instruments can^Òt at
the same time state the place and the speed of a particle. Because in
trying to observe ^Óreality^Ô we change it (Heisenberg). So we are in the
blind about what an outside reality would really be like, if one existed.

Summing up, you have no proof of an outside world, and, if you still insist
in believing in such a thing, then you must reckon that you can have no
idea what it might be like. Then why bother about it at all?

Nisargadatta Maharaj:

You know only what is in your consciousness. What you claim exists outside
conscious experience is inferred.  (449)

Is there a world outside your knowledge? Can you go beyond what you know?
You may postulate a world beyond the mind, but it will remain a concept,
unproved and unprovable. Your experience is your proof, and it is valid for
you only. Who else can have your experience, when the other person is only
as real as he appears in your experience?  (533)

That you hear is a fact. What you hear is not. The fact can be experienced,
and in that sense the sound of the word and the mental ripples it causes
are experienced. There is no other reality behind it.  (450)

All happens in consciousness. The world is but a succession of experiences.

Your conviction that you are conscious of a world is the world. The world
you perceive is made of consciousness; what you call matter is
consciousness itself.  (286)

As all waves are in the ocean, so are all things physical and mental in
awareness. Hence awareness itself is all-important, not the content of it.

There is only one mistake you are making: you take the inner for the outer,
and the outer for the inner. What is in you, you take to be outside you,
and what is outside you take to be in you. The mind and feelings are
external, but you take them to be intimate. You believe the world to be
objective, while it is entirely a projection of your psyche. That is the
basic confusion.  (240)

The pure mind sees things as they are - bubbles in consciousness. These
bubbles are appearing, disappearing and reappearing - without having real
being. Each bubble is a body and all these bodies are mine.  (138)

This must be well grasped: the world hangs on the thread of consciousness.
No consciousness, no world.  (92)

You are the infinite potentiality, the inexhaustible possibility. Because
you are, all can be. The universe is but a partial manifestation of your
limitless capacity to become.  (121)

Once you realize that the world is your own projection, you are free of it.
You need not free yourself of a world that does not exist, except in your
own imagination! However is the picture, beautiful or ugly, you are
painting it and you are not bound by it. Realize that there is nobody to
force it on you, that it is due to the habit of taking the imaginary to be
real. See the imaginary as imaginary and be free of fear.  (200)

The final answer is this: nothing is. All is a momentary appearance in the
field of the universal consciousness. Continuity as name and form is a
mental formation only, easy to dispel.  (415)

Trace the world to its source and you will find that before the world was,
you were, and when the world is no longer, you remain.  (493)

In reality time and space exist in you; you do not exist in them. They are
modes of perception, but they are not the only ones. Time and space are
like words written on paper; the paper is real, the words merely a
convention.  (205)

In reality nothing happens, there is no past nor future; all appears and
nothing is.  (406)

In reality all is here and now and all is one. Multiplicity and diversity
are in the mind only.  (115)

Truly, all is in me and by me. There is nothing else. The very idea of
"else" is a disaster and a calamity.  (205)


Sorry for the many quotes, but I feel they are so clarifying!

More information about the Advaita-l mailing list