|Vedanta Spiritual Library|
Module - A
Unit - A02
Lesson - A0204: YOU are the KNOWER
By Raja Subramaniyan
Statement 4: You are the Knower/Observer/Awareness/Consciousness/Witness
Since we are aware of objects, we are aware that a knower exists. That knower is our real self, which powers the mind and lends sentiency to the body-mind complex.
For example if someone asks, 'Do you know German language' the knower looks at the mind and checks if there is knowledge of German Language. If it is there the answer is 'I know' else the answer is 'I do not know'.
This 'I', who knows whether the knowledge is there or not there, is the knower.
Example: The driver of a car is independent of the car. Similarly the body/mind complex is a vehicle driven by the knower.
This knower is not a part, product or property of the body-mind complex.
Knower is an independent, immortal and invisible entity.
Knower enlivens the body-mind complex.
Knower is not limited by the boundaries of the body-mind complex.
Since YOU are aware of YOUR body-mind complex, YOU are the KNOWER.
Statement 5: The knower is one but the objects known are many.
The assumption that there is one knower within each human being is not tenable because knower is not different. Knower does not have any form, smell and such properties, which can be perceived by our senses. Knower is the subject and all the perceived properties belong to the objects. Therefore, there is no difference in knower.
In order to be different, it is already shown (Ref Statement 1) that the objects should have separate and specific properties. There are differences in the bodies, minds and such objects perceived in the world. The perceiving knower does not vary person to person in any way.
Electricity is only one. The electricity that powers a television and the electricity that illumines the bulb are the same. Similarly, objects known are different but the knower of the objects is only one. The fact knower is only one is not obvious because we are under the impression that the body/mind complex is the knower. In Statement 4, it is already shown that the knower is different from the mind/body complex.
Statement 6: The knower is known indirectly.
There are many minds in the creation. All these minds are illumined by one knower. The illumining knower can be known only indirectly based on the objects illumined.
Example: When we see an object, we see two things. First is the object and the second is the light. If there is just the object and no light, we do not see anything. If there is just the light and no object, we still do not see anything. In order to perceive that there is light we need objects because we cannot see/perceive pure light directly.
In outer space, if an astronaut looks away from sun, he will see total darkness (except stars - source of lights) although the sun might be just behind him. The bright light from sun is not visible to the astronomer at all. An object that is illuminated by the sunlight is required to be present in front of the perceiver to perceive the existence of the sunlight.
Similarly, the knower illumines the mind and therefore we see the knower indirectly.
Statement 7: The knower appears to be different but in reality, it is one.
The knower is the experiencer with reference to a specific experience. The same knower assumes the role of experiencer experiencing varied experiences. If there are no experiences, as in the deep sleep state, the knower is present as one.
Example: A swami (sanyasi) has no relations. Nevertheless, when a group of disciples assembles in front of him, he is called Guru. The attributes of the swami (like height/ weight etc) do not change just because the swami is functioning as a guru now. The status is relational and keeps changing.
With reference to a specific relative, the same person is called by different titles like Uncle / Brother/ Father/ Son etc. If there are no relatives, none of these title hold good.
Similarly, there is only one knower but many objects (Objects include living beings). In relation to each living being, the knower has a specific experience.
Experience is the result of the knower encountering objects through the body/mind complex. The difference is only in the objects and not in the knower.
The knower illumines the mind that then perceives many objects. When an object is seen, a thought is created. Then the knower experiences the object.
Knower + Mind (with a thought) = Experiencer (In the waking stage)
Knower + Mind (With dream thoughts) = Experiencer (In the dream stage)
Knower + Mind (No thoughts) = Experiencer of the deep sleep.
When one person sees the pot, he gets pot experience. When another person sees the cot, he gets cot experience. It appears that there are two experiencers. Nevertheless, in truth there is only one knower that appears to be different experiencers since two different body/mind complexes are involved.
Example: If sun is reflected in multiple mirrors, it appears to be multiple suns.
Similarly, the same knower illumines different body/mind complexes and appears to be more than one knower.
Each mirror appears to be the source of light since it reflects the light from sun. Similarly, each human being assuming the role of knower perceives others as independent entities.
A man could be a good father and a bad son. The 'good' and 'bad' are the attributes with respect to the role played by him and do not belong to the absolute person.
Similarly, male, female, animal etc are the attributes that belong to the object (body/ mind complex) and the experiencer (Knower) is one and is not changed/ affected by the objects.