Six Points Concerning Existence and Objects

Hi, Ted.
Really enjoy the Never not present site.

 

Going over the video with James teaching “Panchadasi” in Tiru 2015. In part 24 of the video, he starts to say we should learn the six points about existence. He gives the question, “Is existence a substance that stands alone or is it a property of a substance, is it an action?”  He never continues with the six statements he wants us to learn in part 25. Could you tell me what the statements are and a bit about them?

 

I guess by asking the question it made my mind start to work. After listening to the next part on James’ video, I realized he does talk about the points he’s trying to make concerning existence and objects. But if you can narrow these points down for me it should help.

Thank you so much.
DERMOT

 

 

Hi, DERMOT.

The self not being a part, product, or property of; limited to; dependent on; affected by; knowable in the absence of a manifesting medium. In his commentary on the text of Panchadasi, James indicates the independent nature of the self by means of the following six statements, in each of which I’ve replaced the word “existence” with the more comprehensive compound “limitless conscious existence” (i.e., sat-chit-ananda):

 

  1. Limitless conscious existence (i.e., awareness) is not a part, product or property of the body or any object.
  2. Limitless conscious existence is not limited by the boundaries of objects. It is positive, intangible, all-pervasive and invisible like space.
  3. Limitless conscious existence survives when all existent objects disappear. When the pot is destroyed, the clay (is-ness) from which it is shaped is not destroyed.
  4. Unless limitless conscious existence is associated with an object, a name and form, it cannot be experienced.
  5. Limitless conscious existence does not have differences; there are no divisions in it. It has no parts or properties.
  6. Limitless conscious existence alone is pure consciousness.

 

The basic idea is that no object can exist outside awareness, for the existence of any object depends upon its being known. This doesn’t mean that objects are only projections of the mind and that each apparent individual—which, mind you, is an object in itself—creates his own reality in the sense of the surrounding world. While it is true that the apparent individual layers his own subjective vasana-based interpretations and evaluations upon the world of objects, there is a transactional reality that all apparent individuals are a part of and have access to.

Though we refer to awareness as the Knower, it is perhaps better thought of as the limitless illumining factor by means of which the mind is able to know the objective phenomena arising “within” and “around” it.

 

Bearing this in mind, no object can be the source of the light that illumines it (i.e., the object can never be the subject). Thus, awareness is not a product of any object. Neither can the “field” of illumination in which the object exists be a part or property (i.e., quality, attribute, characteristic) of the object. The “field” or “illumination” itself must be limitless, for it contains all that is, and by extension it must be attributeless because it is that within or upon which all attributes are projected as well as the “substanceless substance” out of which they are formed, for there can be no second limitless conscious existence from which to draw any material. Thus, just as water conforms to the shaped of any vessel in which it is held, so awareness seemingly assumes the form of any upadhi, limiting-adjunct or objective form, projected upon/within it. Therefore, limitless conscious existence must itself must be formless

Along these lines, we can also liken awareness to space. Space is not limited to an object. For instance, say we have a pot. Though it may appear as though there is pot-space (i.e., the space inside the pot) as opposed to the surrounding space. But space is space. Space exists inside the pot, in the space that the pot itself occupies, and around the pot. Simply put, there is no place where space is not. With regard to awareness, both space and time are objects within awareness, and therefore awareness remains ever “beyond” their limiting parameters. Hence, awareness is limitless.
Returning to our initial metaphor, just as “light” is not dependent on the object it illuminates, neither is awareness dependent on an object—or, for that matter, even the collective whole of objective phenomena that constitute the manifest universe. If an object is removed from the scope of light illuminating it, the light remains. Just so, as the fundamental substrate of being, limitless conscious existence remains even if the body-mind-sense complex is resolved—or, for that matter, even if the entire manifest universe were to resolve into a state of dormancy, which is what scripture tells us happens during the cosmic dissolution, where it abides for a time in a state of pure potentiality before being projected again. If it did not, then when one person died, the whole creation would dissolve. And if the whole creation could resolve into non-existence, then non-existence would be the fundamental reality, in which case nothing could have ever come into being in the first place, for something cannot come out of nothing. So by virtue of the fact that we exist and know we exist, it is established that limitless conscious existence must be the irreducible fundamental non-dual reality.
Neither light nor space is affected by the objects that obtain or the events that transpire within its purview. Just so, the body—the physical form of any object, in fact—emotions, and thoughts change continuously, but awareness (i.e., limitless conscious existence) remains every constant and totally unaffected. The same awareness looks out through your eyes—or, to state it more accurately, illumines the mind and enables the eyes to see—now as did when you were a child. And, in fact, given the analysis provided in the previous paragraphs we can see that the same awareness is now and has always been and will always be looking through everyone’s eyes as long as the manifest universe obtains. And that singular, limitless conscious existence will obtain even if the entire universe resolves into a state of dormancy, for even the state of dormancy is an object whose existence depends on awareness.

 

Though limitless conscious existence is not dependent on objects, it cannot be experienced unless it is associated with an object and due to the conditioning influence of maya has seemingly assumed the form of the object. By form, we do not necessarily mean a tangible form. By form we mean anything with distinguishable characteristics. Thus, sound has various forms, emotion has various forms, and even abstract ideas take various forms. Since awareness is limitless, however, it has no form that can be named and have a function, no distinguishing characteristics, no delineable edges or parameters—subtle or gross—that define it or make it identifiable as an object and set it apart from other objects. Therefore, only when awareness is conditioned by maya does it seemingly assume different forms that can be experienced. In the absence of forms, limitless awareness exists, but is not recognizable by the intellect, which is itself an apparent form appearing within the scope of awareness.

 

Though myriad apparent objects—both subtle and gross—appear within the scope of awareness due to the projecting power of maya, awareness itself is a seamless, partless, attributeless whole. Because awareness is limitless, there can be no second awareness or separate parts of awareness. While there obtains a vast array of apparent parts, each with various properties, the essential nature of all apparent objects is awareness.

 

The bottom line is that awareness always is and is the both the “substanceless substance” of which everything is made as well as the “light” in which all objects are known. Moreover, while all objects depend on awareness for their existence, awareness itself is independently existent. Awareness is the fundamental reality that is the substrate of even time and space, the two subtlest objects. Hence, awareness exists outside of any limiting parameter, and therefore is limitless, which by extension means its can be neither enhanced nor diminished—or affected/changed—in any way. Just as the essential nature of gold is not affected by the ornaments fashioned out of it or the essential nature of the water of the oceans remains unaffected by the waves arising and crashing within it, so awareness remains the same limitless conscious existence despite all the apparent changes that take place within it. Hence, limitless conscious existence alone is pure consciousness.

 

All the best,

Ted