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Consciousness Is Not an Object of Knowledge
Steven: Greetings. I’m completing a graduate program at JFK University in Consciousness and Transformative Studies in Pleasant Hill, California. I am currently in the process of initiating my master’s degree project, which is on the subject of unitive consciousness. Given the contemplative nature of this spiritual group, I was wondering if there are any individuals who have experienced unitive consciousness. I define unitive consciousness as “the non-dual oneness of self and the Divine, or natural, egoless consciousness.”
I am looking to hold a group of four persons who have had this unitive experience, for a brief sharing of the experience and how it changes over time. Feel free to contact me if anyone is interested in participating. Thank you!
~ Sincerely, Steven
Sundari: Hello, Steven
Your email and request is interesting. Vedanta is the science of consciousness, as it relates to the logic of existence and the unexamined logic of your own experience. It is a valid and independent means of knowledge not bound by or subject to opinion, belief or scientific exploration. The basic teaching of Vedanta boils down to the fact that there is only one principle in reality and that is consciousness. Reality is a non-duality with the superimposition on duality onto it owing to the deluding power of maya. Maya is the power in awareness to make the changeless appear to be changing. “Unitive” consciousness does not apply, because the word implies that there are two or more things to unite. This is a left-over confusion from the teachings by Vivekananda, who taught that there are different paths to enlightenment, causing the “multi-path confusion.”
It is also a common misconception in that most people believe that enlightenment is experiential, that it is something to gain and they can “do” something to attain it. Vedanta teaches that there is nothing you can do to uncover your true nature as awareness other than subject the mind to self-inquiry with a valid means of knowledge capable of removing ignorance of your true nature from the mind.
The epistemology for knowing anything is the senses and the intellect. The only means of knowledge available to our senses and intellect is perception and inference. These means do not work to study consciousness; they only work to gain knowledge of objects. But because consciousness is the subject and not an object of knowledge, it cannot be known by objects.
We define an object as anything other than you – consciousness. Anything known to you cannot be you. Consciousness is subtler than the objects, it is that which knows the objects and without which nothing can be known. Ever ask yourself how you know what you know?
Therefore consciousness is the true nature of the mind and known to be you when not obscured by ignorance of this fact. It cannot be studied, it can only be revealed to be you when self-knowledge obtains in the mind.
Nor is consciousness only experienced by “the few,” because it is all everyone is ever experiencing. But because it is taken to be an object of knowledge and not the subject – one’s intrinsic “unitive” nature, it is not known by most.
Consciousness is taken as to be something to be gained because it is seen as something you don’t have, such as your study suggests can be done. But it cannot be done, because you cannot gain something you already have. You can only lose ignorance of this fact by understanding what consciousness really is – and what this means to you as the person.
We some very good friends living in the Bay area, all self-realised and very articulate, who I am sure would be happy to meet with you and discuss your interest in the light of self-knowledge, which is what Vedanta is. I will forward your email to them.