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

Venkatraghavan S agnimile at gmail.com
Mon Mar 1 11:03:57 EST 2021

"But what I am stressing and not understanding is what exactly is Nirguna
Brahman ? It can't be Consiouness because to be Consiouness it has to have
a form to experience."

nirguNa Brahman, by its very definition is not something that is
experienceable - अन्यदेव तद्विदितात् अथो अविदितादधि  - it is neither the
known, nor the unknown, because it can never be the object. Rather, it is
the subject of every cognition - the cognitions may vary, but the subject
does not - व्यावृत्तासु अनुवर्तमानम् अहमिति अन्त:स्फुरन्तं सदा - that
unvarying subject, which is never experienced, but without which no
experience is possible, is Brahman.

"If you define as existance,then all objects are temporary."
Objects can be temporary - the clay becomes the pot, which breaks into
pot-shards, then gets crushed as powder, then gets wet by rain etc.
However, in each of the varying names and forms clay, pot, pot-shards,
powder, wet mud etc, there is one unvarying thing that remains even when
the objects are being born, sustained and destroyed - existence, which
manifests itself as "existence of X". That existence is Brahman.

"How can everything rocks stones ornaments all be prevaded by impersonal
The last question has been addressed already in the previous email.


On Mon, Mar 1, 2021 at 10:37 AM Setu Srivatsa <sethusrivatsa at gmail.com>

> Namaste sir. Sorry for the late reply. Thanks a lot for the detailed
> reply. But what I am stressing and not understanding is what exactly is
> Nirguna Brahman ? It can't be Consiouness because to be Consiouness it has
> to have a form to experience. If you define as existance,then all objects
> are temporary. And how can Brahman pervade all objects when it can't be
> Consiouness or Bliss? And when Shankacharya says Chidananda Rupa Sivoham
> And Aham Nirvikalpo Nirakara Rupo, isn't it contradiction??? How can
> everything rocks stones ornaments all be prevaded by impersonal Brahman??
> On Saturday, February 27, 2021, Venkatraghavan S <agnimile at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Namaste,
>> 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 -
>> existence-awareness-bliss.
>> 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,
>> Venkatraghavan
>> 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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