Logical Surrender In Sri Atmananda

Atma Darshan

In Atma Darshan, Sri Atmananda argues:

[1] Objects of Consciousness can never be separated from Consciousness itself. [2] They have no independent existence. [3] They are therefore nothing other than Consciousness.

Higher Reasoning

“Objects of Consciousness can never be separated from Consciousness itself.”

  1. The physical object–the seen, for instance–reveals itself to be reducible to forms (specifically to shape and color and, upon further reduction still, to color only.) (*)
  2. But forms cannot exist apart from, e.g., the act of seeing.
  3. But then seeing cannot operate without Consciousness. That is, Consciousness is what, as it were, “lights up” the act of seeing, i.e., every act of seeing just when there is seeing, here and now.

“They have no independent existence.”

Here, out of kindness Atmananda offers us this second pointer. I say “out of kindness” because the first pointer (“Objects of Consciousness can never be separated from Consciousness itself”) actually suffices.

Test this:

  • Can any arising–like hearing or thinking–be discovered as existing apart from Awareness or, what is the same thing here, Consciousness?
  • Suppose, as Goode suggests in Standing as Awareness, you “whittle” phenomena down to (i) “arisings” or “just arising” as well as to (ii) Awareness or Consciousness. Don’t you then have to ask whether arisings could appear separately from Consciousness? If arisings (like the believed-in physical objects that have since been found to be nonexistent) can have no independent existence, then mustn’t they too be folded into Consciousness?

“They are therefore nothing other than Consciousness.”

The screws have all been tightened! There is no place for an arising to go, nothing for it to be but Consciousness! Arisings must merge into Consciousness. (More strictly put, they mustn’t have ever have been anything but Consciousness).

Any attempt–in direct experience, that is–to posit an arising, any arising, as being other than Consciousness yields something impossible to find and therefore an unintelligibility in point of fact. Again, any attempt to “hive something off” from Consciousness is defeated. Ultimately, it must be understood that Reality is only–thoroughgoingly–Consciousness.

We might call this approach not just the Direct Path to Truth, as it is commonly called, but also “logical surrender.”

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(*) Greg Goode’s The Direct Path: A User’s Guide spells this out crisply, clearly, and elegantly. Also fine is his short and very accessible book Standing as Awareness. The latter, in fact, could be read before turning to the former book.