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The Meaning of Consciousness: A Deeper Understanding

Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya!

The word ‘Consciousness,’ was not more than a spiritual term, until I came across a book that introduced me to its deeper meaning.
In one of my visits to Sri Ramakrishna Ashram, in the book store, I happened to pick up a book by Swami Ashokananda, “When the many become one.”  The title was nevertheless catchy and promised a detailed expression of the truth. It is a book very potent in knowledge and to be read slowly in order to grasp and digest the lofty truth that the words tried to portray.
The word ‘Consciousness,’ as the book revealed, is the simple fact that all objects existed in our own consciousness (i.e.), any object that we perceive is in our own consciousness.  They will have to remain in the field of our consciousness in order to exist.  In other words we will have to be conscious of objects, only then can they be perceived.
For example we perceive a glass only because we are conscious of it. We perceive an ant only because we are conscious of it. We perceive a man only because we are conscious of his presence. An ant can be crawling, but if we do not pay attention to it, it does not exist to us. Somebody may see it and tell us. It would then only be a reporting of someone and not our direct experience!
May be that’s why the Seers say that the whole Cosmos lies within us. We have to be even conscious of the sun, moon and the stars in order to perceive them.
Similarly our own body and mind lie within our consciousness.  We are conscious of our own body.  It hence struck to me we are not our body that we identify ourselves with, simply because there is a knower of this body!
The teachings of Ramana Maharshi, further threw light on the mind.
The Sage says that in deep sleep the mind is totally absent, as not in the case of when one is awake and when one is dreaming. (Our dreams present themselves in thought forms and hence that constitute the subtle working of the mind).  However when one wakes up after deep sleep, (where the mind is absent), one is aware that he had had a sound sleep. Hence there was essentially something alive and vibrant. Aconsciousness that revealed the experience of a deep sound sleep the following day.
Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya!







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Similarly goes the saying in Tamil, "சிவனேனு இருக்கிறேன்...", which closely may be translated as "I am being engrossed with Siva," or may be "I am inhering in Siva." (Also a very common utterance)

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Om Namo Bhagavate Shri Ramanaya
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Attachment binds,
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