Purusha – The Cosmic Witness

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Purusha is a Sanskrit word that is often translated as the Cosmic Witness (although it has other related meanings).

My comments on Nisargadatta’s statements below:

Basically when we can be aware of the fact that we are aware – then we are not just witnessing the content of consciousness, but we are That first principle quality which is untouched by all content. For me such contemplation is useful to “end” the involvement with or attachment to Consciousness even as the Witness. It is almost like all of Consciousness, starting with the sense “I am” entangles us within the web of manifestation of phenomena.

All of these words can serve to encourage us to go beyond all concepts, all thoughts whatsoever, even the thought of the Witness. Is it a state I ‘reside” in? No, it is more that I allow myself to get a sense that my deepest identity is to BE that which is prior to Consciousness and therefore I am “grounded” there even though Consciousness (felt as ‘me’ but it is not really ‘mine’) continues within the ‘play’ of phenomena. Then I get a sense of everything playing itself out just as it is. Do I stop feeling and acting like I am the doer? No, but some level is activated that realizes that all doing is embedded in a kind of total functioning – which may be what David Bohm calls the “implicate order” of all manifestation.

The simplest ‘in a nutshell’ is: just be, not being ‘this’ or ‘that’. Not being attached to any particular outcome or struggling with “what is” and not really wanting anything to be different than “it is”, including me with my likes and dislikes. Confusing enough? 

Nisargadatta speaks extensively about the Absolute, for example in the following statements:

Excerpts from Nisargadatta, “Prior to Consciousness”:

“All Consciousness is being watched from the Absolute platform only.

The Absolute is more subtle than consciousness. I didn’t know I was, presently I know I am, this is the same “I” with the knowingness mantle over it. This is the way the very Absolute transformed Itself into this grosser consciousness state, the state of appearance.

The five elements, three gunas, prakriti and purusha, together are the means of demonstrating the “I Amness.”

In the original state there is no sense of consciousness, no awareness of being, but as soon as the “I Amness” comes the entire manifestation is seen at once, this is the expression of the consciousness. In the Absolute the “I Amness” is whole but the expression is in many. I manifest Myself in many.

Human beings are one type of form and each type of form will act according to its nature, according to the combination of the three gunas.

How can an individual come in?

The only way to understand this mystery is to realize your identity with the universal consciousness, which is expressed in the total space. So long as you identify yourself with the human form it is impossible for the mystery to be solved.

Before the idea “I Am” sprouted, you are, but you don’t know you are. Subsequent to that there have been many happenings with which you have started decorating yourself. You try to derive the meaning of yourself out of subsequent words, happenings, and the meaning of words … that is not you … give it up. You are prior to the idea “I Am.”

Camp yourself there, prior to the words “I Am.”

In the manifest consciousness all the activities are happening, so-called good and bad. In the universal manifest consciousness is there anything good or bad? Nothing of the sort. The fragrance of flowers will be there, garbage will be there; it is all the play of this consciousness. The witness of the consciousness cannot come in the realm of the consciousness. In that beingness the otherliness is there and witnessing takes place. If consciousness is not there the Absolute cannot know Itself – there is nothing but the Absolute – therefore no witnessing.

The right meditation is when you meditate on your Self. You come to that state when you woke up in the morning and you watch the consciousness; that is the state when you meditate on your Self.

Presently you think that consciousness is watching consciousness, but consciousness is being watched from the Absolute platform only.

Excerpts from Nisargadatta, Prior to Consciousness, p. 48 – 55

All the ambitions, hopes and desires are connected with an identity, and so long as there is an identity, no truth can be apperceived.

The consciousness has to be understood during the waking state. People come and go, sights come and go, elements come and go, but I remain. I am conscious of my consciousness, and then alone the whole show is there.

The mental modifications take you away from the Self. Nobody wants to enquire about the Self deeply and thoroughly; everybody enquires on a superficial level.

Idem p. 86, 87

 

My comments:

Basically when we can be aware of the fact that we are aware – then we are not just witnessing the content of consciousness, but we are That which is untouched by all content. For me such contemplation is useful to “end” the involvement with Consciousness even as the Witness. It is almost like all of Consciousness, starting with the sense “I am” entangles us within the web of manifestation of phenomena.

All of these words can serve to encourage us to go beyond all concepts, all thoughts whatsoever, even the thought of the Witness. Is it a state I ‘reside” in? No, it is more that I allow myself to get a sense that my deepest identity is to BE that which is prior to Consciousness and therefore I am “grounded” there even though Consciousness (felt as ‘me’ but it is not really ‘mine’) continues within the ‘play’ of phenomena. Then I get a sense of everything playing itself out just as it is. Do I stop feeling and acting like I am the doer? No, but some level is activated that realizes that all doing is embedded in a kind of total functioning – which may be what David Bohm calls the “implicate order” of all manifestation.

The simplest ‘in a nutshell’ is: just be, not being ‘this’ or ‘that’. Not being attached to any particular outcome or struggling with “what is” and not really wanting anything to be different than “it is”, including me with my likes and dislikes. Confusing enough? 

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