Vedanta points out that there has been a major error in the understanding of ‘I”. Let us understand the error.
We find that our understanding of ‘I’ is dependent on a number of conclusions, which are based on observed experiences.
This is beginning of the cascading errors which constitute our understanding of ‘I’.
Vedanta points out that I is the changeless sakshi, of the nature of self-evident consciousness in whose ever-presence all experiences are illumined, observed to take place. The changing world is an observed experience, the changing body is an observed experience and the changing mind is an observed experience.
Vedanta points out that it is our common conclusion that being the subject, I am not the observed experienced world. How then can I conclude that I am the observed, experienced body or mind?
This opens up the enquiry.
Let us look at facts which are pointed out by Vedanta.
1. There must be a changeless observer otherwise called the sakshi or the true ‘I’ in whose presence change is observed – otherwise it is not possible know that there has been change.
2. So everything observed/experienced becomes an object of knowledge for the sakshi. Indeed all conclusions regarding the self are all objects only for the sakshi.
3. Whatever is observed/experienced is in state of flux always – so its presence as a constant entity cannot be established. The body is in a state of flux, so is the mind, and of course so is the world.
4. Again the object experienced/observed be it thought or any physical object can never be independent of the observer – nor is it independent of n numbers of local factors.
Vedanta asks this question, how can any conclusion which is based on the changing, dependent, observed objects, regarding the self-evident conscious being, the ‘I’, the changeless sakshi, be true? Any conclusion regarding the sakshi, the true ‘I’ based on anything observed can only be FALSE.
The self is not a conclusion based on any experience, or series of experiences, or memory of experiences. The self is self-evident consciousness, who is independent of every experience and yet the essence or content of every experience.
What is the sense of ‘I’? Really if we analyse it, it is a set of conclusions which poses as an independent entity – and all actions are rooted in this entity interacting with the environment.
We already saw that all conclusions based on the body-mind and attributed to ‘I’, the self-evident basic conscious being, are false.
When we examine the conclusion ‘I am a doer’, we find that the ‘doer’ conclusion is based on observed fleeting experiences of actions – for example folding clothes, cooking food, eating the food, walking, talking etc. All these actions were observed in the presence of the changeless conscious being – the sakshi.
The changeless sakshi does no action – in its presence, the action is revealed to be taking place at the level of body-mind. We cannot call the changeless sakshi as doer.
Then who is the ‘doer’. This ‘doer’ is not a permanent entity. The action takes place thru the agency of the mind-body and the action is over even as it takes place. Is there a real entity here, an independent entity here to own up the action?
If the doer-entity is real, it must always be present. But it is not always there – in waking itself sometimes a doer, sometimes an experience ... again absent in deep-sleep. Is there any permanent entity here to whom we call the ‘doer’?
There is only a sort of constructed pseudo-entity, who is the result of endless conclusions based on observed experiences superimposed on the changeless, ever-present conscious being. This constructed pseudo-entity poses as an independent, permanent entity and concludes it is a doer and experience as well.
For the one who has recognized the truth of the changeless self, there is no more concluding anything based on any observed experience – and the person is free of the conclusion that ‘I am a doer/experiencer’. The sort of constructed pseudo-entity dissolves in the wake of recognition of truth. So the empirical doer is not taken to be real anymore.
Om Tat Sat