‘Consciousness-without-an-object Is’: An Aphorism By Franklin Merrell-Woolf

“Consciousness-without-an-object is.”

This is the first of 56 aphorisms by Franklin Merrell-Woolf. In it is contained much of the teaching of Advaita Vedanta.

A brief commentary:

1. Consciousness is the ontological primitive: there is nothing more basic than Consciousness. And “everything else”–though there is nothing else–can be reduced to Consciousness-without-an-object.

2. Consciousness is also the ontological whole: there is nothing–or no-thing–other than Consciousness. (cf. Aphorism 5: “Outside of Consciousness-without-an-object, nothing is.”) That is, no-thing that can come into Consciousness or depart from Consciousness. (Here cf. the Sufi Balyani, Know Thyself.) Moreover, assuming for the moment that there were some thing, there would be nothing that that thing could be except for Consciousness. (Cf. Atmananda.) This is all to say that Consciousness is ontologically total or complete.

3. Pure Consciousness cannot be objectified: as the Upanishads have painstakingly shown, Consciousness cannot be turned into that which can be seen or cognized. Hence, the Self, i.e., Consciousness, is called the “unseen Seer.” By whom or what, in any case, could Consciousness be turned into an object?

4. Pure Consciousness, because it is, can never become. Such is impossible. Only Isness or Amness.

5. The corollary of 1-4 is that there is, nor can there be, any ego-self in Existence for in Existence there is only Consciousness-without-an-object.

It must be directly intuited, recognized, or apperceived: I am Consciousness-without-an-object.

A direct path approach: Meditate–not on–just meditate: “I AM.”

Om Tat Sat