[Advaita-l] How can Brahman/consciousness be all pervading including living and non living things?

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Sat Feb 27 04:10:37 EST 2021

In reply
1) As you said, the Upanishads speak of the self as existence,
consciousness, bliss. The self as existence is manifest wherever anything
appears to exist - whether an inert object, plant, insects, animals, humans
etc - whenever we say anything it exists, the existence that appears in
anything is really Brahman. In terms of the consciousness aspect, it is
manifest wherever there is a medium capable of reflecting it - ie
possessing a subtle mind (mind, sense organs and prANa). Just like sunlight
is reflected in a polished surface and not otherwise, consciousness is only
capable of reflection in a mind. In terms of the bliss aspect of the self,
it is manifest wherever there is a mind capable of reflecting it AND such a
mind is relaxed and free, however momentarily, from agitation. Thus, even
though consciousness is all pervading, to be aware of it requires a certain
type of medium and certain conditions. Just because Its manifestation
occurs only in certain places and at certain times, that does not limit the
spatial, temporal, objectwise limitlessness of Brahamn.

2) Consciousness is awareness devoid of the mind - one is aware within the
contours of the mind, because the mind is restricted spatially, ie only
within the body. We have to understand what is meant by all pervading - the
word pervading indicates that there are two entities - that which pervades
and that which is pervaded. That is not the intention of advaita. What is
meant is that Brahman IS all.  As said above, existence appears in every
object, leading one to conclude "the object exists", however really
speaking there are two aspects to that cognition - the existence aspect and
the appearance of the object. The existence aspect is the self, which is
real, the appearance aspect is unreal. A false mixing up of the real with
the unreal leads us to the erroneous notion that it is the object that
exists, when it is really consciousness that existence, and the object is
an unreal projection on consciousness. When this is understood it is easy
to see how Brahman is all - because it is the existence that is manifest in
every object.

3) See above.

4) One can see the self in all non-living beings as existence. When we try
to understand what existence really means, the only reference point that we
have to the existence of anything is our own existence - the certainty that
we have in our existence we really cannot have in the existence of anything
else. That certainty of our own existence is nothing but the awareness of
our existence. Therefore, existence boils down to awareness.

Similarly, when we start off with awareness and try to understand what it
means, it boils down to existence.

Further, when we try to understand the nature of bliss, we start off with
love. Bliss manifests as a result of love that we feel for anything - when
the object of our love is attained by us, we are happy. When we lose it, we
are sad. When we fail in our attempt to attain it, we are angry.

However, upon analysis, we realise that the love that we feel for anything
only exists so long as it brings happiness to us, when that thing stops
bringing us happiness - even when we possess it, it stops being dear to us.
The love for any object is therefore conditional. The only unconditional
love that is felt is for our self - in every experience of bliss, it is
because "I" have attained that object that gives me happiness. Thus, the
true source of bliss is love, and the true source of love is our self. That
self, as seen above is nothing but awareness-existence, hence -

As seen above, when we try to seek to understand what each aspect means, we
realise it ends in a one, undifferentiated entity.

The entire universe is a body for that entity as the manifestation of that
entity requires the body, just like the manifestation of the mind requires
a physical body.

Kind regards,

On Fri, 26 Feb 2021, 14:10 Setu Srivatsa via Advaita-l, <
advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org> wrote:

> Hello everyone. Please accept my humble Pranams. I dont know how to ask
> doubts on this platform. But I have few doubts on Advaitha. Can you please
> help me.
> Brahman is defined as Existence,Consciousness and Bliss(Satchitananda).
> Aitareya Upanishad 3.1.3 says Brahman is consciousness and pure awareness.
> Isa Upanishad 1 says it's all pervading.
> 1)But how can Brahman or Awareness or Consciousness be there and be all
> pervading in Non Living things like Pots,Ornaments etc which have no sense
> of awareness or Atman?
> 2)How can Brahman be all pervading as Isa Upanishad says when it's just
> pure awareness ? It only exists individually as Awareness or life force or
> Atman in all beings. Atman is just awareness. I am not the
> body,mind,intellect. This same I is in all. How does that mean this
> awareness is all pervading???
> 3)What is the Sat feature of Brahman?? What exactly is that existence that
> is conscious of all things including non living things??
> 4)How to see one's self alone in all non living things which don't have
> Atman and in what sense the whole Universe is our body as per Brahma Vidya
> Meditations??
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