F.: “Today, we're deviating again from our regular format in order to allow our site’s Featured Columnist Dennis Waite to address a question submitted by a site visitor. The reply comes from an advaitin who lives in England and hosts one of the major Advaita Vedanta internet sources on the web at http://www.advaita.org.uk/. Please see yesterday’s post for information on his book entitled THE BOOK OF ONE (The Spiritual Path of Advaita). We’re heard from both Andrea and Dennis previously and welcome both back to the site. Thanks, Andrea and Dennis.”
Andrea: Question...i understand that everything is a concept, that all that is really here is consciousness, god, brahman, whatever the label. And yet, isn't the mind also consciousness? Isn't the whole idea to witness the concepts, know that if they are coming from consciousness that there is some truth to them as well, and yet it is not the whole truth, therefore having the non-attachment to the concepts? For example i play a lot with vedic astrology and have yagyas (large pujas) performed for me and i know that i am just playing, having fun, opening more to the awakening and these practices are not the "whole truth." Does this make sense? Perhaps you have more to add to this. Thanks. Andrea
Dennis Waite: Hi Andrea again,
The only sensible purpose for the presumed person must be to discover who they are, to realise the truth, to understand the nature of reality.
Practically all of the words in the above sentence should really be put into quotation marks, in recognition of the fact that they are concepts and, as such, do not correspond with the way things actually are. The fact of the matter is that we cannot 'under'-stand reality, we can only stand 'as' reality. It is only the mind or ego that seeks, that wants to reach somewhere and get something. And the mind and ego are nothing more than concepts themselves so the whole idea is a non-starter.
Yes, the fact of the matter is that all 'things', including concepts, are nothing but Consciousness but until this is directly realised, we are in the position of the man seeing the rope but thinking it is a snake.
The Sanskrit word for 'truth' is satyam and this is also the word for reality. The only reality is brahman. Everything else in the world, including concepts, is mithyA. There is no English equivalent for this word. The metaphor that is often used to explain it is that of clay and pot. The clay exists before the pot is made. Whilst the pot is in use to hold something, it is still clay. And after the pot has been broken, the clay is still there. Advaita defines ‘real’ as being that which exists in all three periods of time (past, present and future), so that it is only actually the clay that is real by this definition. Yet whilst the clay is in the form of the pot, it would not be true to say that the pot does not exist. Clearly it has some reality but it cannot be described as real according to the definition. But neither is it false, since we can use it to carry water about, while the clay can almost certainly not. Its reality is entirely dependent upon the clay and, moreover, it is always clay and nothing but clay whether it is in the form of the pot or not. The pot has a 'dependent reality' and is said to be mithyA.
Similarly, the world did not exist a few billion years ago and will be swallowed up by the sun in few more. The reality upon which it depends is brahman. Brahman exists before during and after the world. The world, whilst it exists is nothing but brahman. Brahman is the only reality; the world is mithyA. And the same with concepts, emotions etc.
So, change the small 'i's in your question to big ones and say 'I am just playing... having fun', meaning I brahman, and you will be right!