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Consciousness Is Not the Basis of Anything
Rupert: I came across a statement by someone in the yoga world (forgive me in advance for potentially being deluded by random teachings) that sat was, in their words, the basis for the material Creation. Being that the self has properties, it must in fact be a “thing” and that all Creation owed its material existence to the aspect of self referred to as sat.
Ramji: Well, I forgive you just this time for consorting with the yogis, but see that it doesn’t happen again. ☺
How can sat be the basis of the material Creation if it is non-dual consciousness? The material Creation is not material. It is a projection caused by Maya, which is not the same or not different from sat, existence/awareness. You can’t get something out of something that is incapable of modification. Sat is not the cause of anything.
The second big bit of ignorance is that the self has properties. The self is nirguna, nivikara, etc., meaning it has no properties or qualities.
Rupert: This statement, if somehow true or partially true, revealed a potential misunderstanding within my own conception of self. You see, I have always taken the aspect of self referred to as bliss to be a more accurate designation for the basis of material Creation.
Ramji: It is seemingly true. It’s an honest mistake. The self has no aspects, because it is a partless whole. Bliss is the nature of sat/chit, existence/awareness. If you need to connect the self to this world and you want to think of bliss as an “aspect,” then bliss explains the motivation of jivas. Everything jivas do is for bliss/freedom. But bliss doesn’t explain the existence of the material world, since it has no instrument for enjoying bliss. So this is a flaw in the cause-and-effect Creation theory.
Rupert: Let me say that I do realize there are two Creation teachings and that I am referring to the one that teaches self as a cause of Creation.
Ramji: I’m glad you mentioned this. I will take this into account henceforth.
Rupert: The reason I thought of bliss, or limitlessness, being the basis of matter is because of the idea that within this limitlessness was the factor called ignorance. I must have assumed that ignorance was the basis for inertness, or what would eventually grossify into inertness and eventually physical matter.
Ramji: As long as you think matter is real and you need a cause for it, then the sat “aspect” of the self is responsible for the material Creation. But matter is purely a projection. When you dig into it, it resolves into existence/awareness. “Sentient” and “inert” are just teaching tools; they don’t refer to real objects in the Creation. We need them because we are teaching people who think they are sentient beings caught in a material world. They aren’t. The are only the sat-chit-ananda atma.
Rupert: So… my question is this: Is sat (existence) the basis for what eventually manifests as physical matter or does matter find its source in bliss?
Ramji: I explained this above. The problem with the question is that it presupposes that bliss and existence are different. Existence is bliss and bliss is existence. Both words indicate the self, which cannot be captured by words, except by implication. Vedanta teaches the self by implication.
Rupert: My conceptual understanding is that there is some kind of mirror or reflective primal material for consciousness to be conscious of, resulting in the perception of the world and the jiva.
Ramji: Yes, assuming there is a Creation. Obviously there is because we can’t experience something that doesn’t exist. But the Creation is as good as non-existent, because it has no impact on the self nor does the self impact on it.