Srila Giri Maharaja “Everything Exists Within Consciousness”

SSM - BKG Sannyasa

From: B.K. Giri
Date: 11/2/2015

My dear spiritual daughter,

Please accept my blessings.

Yes, what I was trying to explain to you yesterday is not so easy to understand. I was with Srila Sridhara Maharaja one time when he was trying to convince Srila Bhakti Pramoda Puri Maharaja of the same idea I was tying to explain to you. Sripada Puri Maharaja did not accept the point, just as you are not accepting, or not understanding.

There must be some difference between spirit and matter. At their core, the difference between spirit and matter is the difference between consciousness and non-consciousness. Spirit is conscious and matter is not.

Bg 2.16

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ

Word for word:
na — never; asataḥ — of the nonexistent; vidyate — there is; bhāvaḥ — endurance; na — never; abhāvaḥ — changing quality; vidyate — there is; sataḥ — of the eternal; ubhayoḥ — of the two; api — verily; dṛṣṭaḥ — observed; antaḥ — conclusion; tu — indeed; anayoḥ — of them; tattva — of the truth; darśibhiḥ — by the seers.

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.

My statement: “You can have matter or maya, but not both.” means; if one of these two exists, the other cannot exist.

Illusion means the misperception or misidentification of something.

Consciousness cannot be separated from personality, and vice versa.

You asked about the Aryans seeing everything as person. First, this means aryan as I wrote in my post on the internet, a true Aryan:

I stand by my statement that a true Aryan is one who is advanced in spiritual knowledge, without any regard to his birth, which is entirely irrelevant. The best Aryan is the type we are trying to create, one that purely chants the Holy Names of Krishna; “he is actually an Āryan.”:

“It is therefore concluded that one who chants the holy name of the Lord should be understood to have performed all kinds of austerities and great sacrifices mentioned in the Vedas. He has already taken his bath in all the holy places of pilgrimage. He has studied all the Vedas, and he is actually an Āryan.”

Furthermore, “Unless one is spiritually advanced, he cannot be called an Āryan, and this is the difference between Āryan and non-Āryan.”

Aryan means one who knows that nothing exists outside of consciousness. Srila Sridhara Maharaja’s point, that you were referring to, was that the Aryans saw everything as conscious and, therefore, everything as personality, or with personality.

Lightning, for example, is not caused by the interaction of different types of matter. Lightning is caused by Indra. When we see lightning, we can understand there is consciousness behind it; Indra wanted lightning, and there was lightning. If you can convince Indra to stop the lightning, the lightning will stop, and vice versa.

To conceive of lightning as matter, you must eliminate its connection with consciousness.

Again, “Illusion means the misperception or misidentification of something.”

If matter (non-consciousness) exists, then there is no illusion when identifying something as matter. In that case, to identify lightning as matter would be a true statement. If lightning exists as matter, then calling it matter is not illusion, “the misperception or misidentification of something”, it is the proper perception and identification of the thing called lightning; lightning is matter.

On the other hand, if the perception of lightning as matter is due to illusion, “the misperception or misidentification of something”, that means the lightning we are calling matter is, in reality, something else, which is not matter. The only other thing it could be is consciousness.

Thus: “You can have matter or maya, but not both.” You can have lightning as matter, in which case it is not illusion (maya). Or, you can have lightning as illusion, in which case it is not matter (non-consciousness). Identifying lightning as illusion means lightning appears to be matter, but it is not matter, it is something else: consciousness. The lightning is consciousness but, due to illusion, we mistake it to be matter (non-consciousness).

Nothing can exist without consciousness. Matter, non-consciousness, cannot exist except as an idea within consciousness.

From a recent letter to Sripada Jayadvaita Maharaja:

Maharaja, I have a question about your editor’s remarks in the translation of this verse:

Bg 2.16

nāsato vidyate bhāvo
nābhāvo vidyate sataḥ
ubhayor api dṛṣṭo ’ntas
tv anayos tattva-darśibhiḥ

Word for word:
na — never; asataḥ — of the nonexistent; vidyate — there is; bhāvaḥ — endurance; na — never; abhāvaḥ — changing quality; vidyate — there is; sataḥ — of the eternal; ubhayoḥ — of the two; api — verily; dṛṣṭaḥ — observed; antaḥ — conclusion; tu — indeed; anayoḥ — of them; tattva — of the truth; darśibhiḥ — by the seers.

Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.

My reading and understanding of the verse is this: asatah (of the nonexistent) is more comprehensive than simply “[the material body].” The same is true for satah (of the eternal); it is more extensive than the jiva “[the soul].”

All prakrti (matter or maya-shakti) is asatah, nonexistent. All cetana (cit-shakti, or consciousness) is satah, eternal.

I do not understand why you have added the explanations within the brackets that restrict asatah and satah to such narrow and restrictive terms as “the material body” and “the soul”, respectively.

Will you kindly explain your reasoning?

He wrote back agreeing with my point about asatah and satah and said what was included within brackets was due to Srila Prabhupada’s original translation.

There are three principal categories of the Lord’s potencies; cit (internal), maya (external) and jiva (marginal).

Because they are the Lord’s shakti, all must exist with Him, He who is fully conscious. Therefore, all are existing within consciousness.

Srila Sridhara Maharaja told us one of his brothers once challenged him “If God exists, where is He?” Srila Sridhara Maharaja replied “Can you show me a place where He is not.”

That is our idea. We do not accept that there is any place where there is no Krishna. He is everywhere. Because He is everywhere, consciousness is everywhere. Where there is consciousness, there is no matter, only the illusion of matter. There is no “asatah”, non-eternal.

Even mahat-tattva, is said to exist eternally as something like a cloud within a small portion of the total creation.

SB 3.26.20

viśvam ātma-gataṁ vyañjan
kūṭa-stho jagad-aṅkuraḥ
sva-tejasāpibat tīvram
ātma-prasvāpanaṁ tamaḥ

Word for word:
viśvam — the universe; ātma-gatam — contained within itself; vyañjan — manifesting; kūṭa-sthaḥ — unchangeable; jagat-aṅkuraḥ — the root of all cosmic manifestations; sva-tejasā — by its own effulgence; apibat — swallowed; tīvram — dense; ātma-prasvāpanam — which had covered the mahat-tattva; tamaḥ — darkness.

Thus, after manifesting variegatedness, the effulgent mahat-tattva, which contains all the universes within itself, which is the root of all cosmic manifestations and which is not destroyed at the time of annihilation, swallows the darkness that covered the effulgence at the time of dissolution.

And, in Subjective Evolution of Consciousness chapter 2, we find this:


Sridhara Maharaja: The Manu Samhita (1.1.56) begins describing the creation from this point:

asid idam tamo bhutam
aprajnatam alaksanam
apratarkyam avijneyam
prasuptam iva sarvatah

tatah svayambhur bhagavan
avyaktavyam jayan idam
mahabhutadi vrtaujah
pradur asin tamonudah

Just before the creative movement began, the marginal potency of the Lord was in a state of equilibrium. Tatastha means equilibrium: asid idam tamo bhutam. Everything was in darkness, fully enveloped by ignorance. Alaksanam means there was no possibility of any estimation; no symptoms of reality existed by which any conjecture or inference about the nature of reality would have been possible. And it was aprajnatam: science has no capacity for investigating the nature of that stage of existence. We can only say from here that it was completely immersed in deep sleep. The analogy of deep sleep may give us some conception of that period: prasuptam iva sarvatra. Material existence was as if in a sound sleep.

At that time, movement began from within the spiritual plane, and light came. Light was seen by the seers. That light was preexistent, but at that time the seers received the vision to see light. They began to see. The first conception of this material world after light was water. The light revealed a substance like water.

That primal light is compared with personality. Light means consciousness and consciousness means personality. That light, or personality, first gave birth to the onlookers – to the feelers of material existence –  and then to an objective substance like water.

And, importantly: “As objective substance evolves by the influence of consciousness, it expresses itself in five main ingredients: that which can be seen, smelled, heard, tasted, and touched. These five elements are the primitive principles of material existence.”

The so-called “objective substance” means matter. But that could only evolve “by the influence of consciousness.”

Next, we must understand that only consciousness can influence consciousness. Without consciousness, nothing can be seen and nothing can be the cause of seeing. In other words, consciousness is the cause of both seeing and being seen. Neither can happen without consciousness.

But in the highest sense anything can be messenger, He willing, God willing, everything is animate. What I like to say that consciousness first and matter conception last. So, at the bottom of every material consciousness there is some spiritual consciousness. Consciousness can know consciousness, can contact consciousness direct. This…

(chayaya garba sambutam?)

…sun, all the planets. From consciousness, first hazy consciousness and then material consciousness. When consciousness coming into stage of matter; material conception, before that he’s to experience a sort of vague consciousness, and crossing that, coming down to material consciousness. So everything has got its spiritual side. And we are in direct connection with that aspect only. Especially, the earth is conceived as a woman, presiding deity of the earth is as woman. The Sun, so the devata, is there because the soul coming into material consciousness must come through Sun, from chidabhasa, then acit. Without crossing that plane, consciousness cannot come to material consciousness. When pure consciousness is coming to material consciousness, before that he will pass through chidabhasa. So, at the background of everything material thing, there is some spiritual conception and that cannot but be.

Devotee: What is the chidabhasa?

Srila Sridhara Maharaja: Something like mind. Suppose the consciousness comes to feel matter, consciousness is coming to material world, to know material world, he has to pass through the material consciousness and then to matter.

— SCSMNJ MP3 dated 82.03.02.A 82.03.02 A

And, further on, in the same talk, Srila Guru Maharaja directly speaks to the vision of the Aryans:

So, very recently, I always meditate on these things, I generally live alone, but I generally live with the scriptures, especially trying to understand the inner meaning of the slokas in a universal way. So, recently this suggestion came to me: the chaya, the shadow; that is also considered to be a stage of consciousness. And only through that stage we can come to the material conception, and not without. That recently came to mind a month ago, because I am internally discussing with me all these things, all the time, always.

Recently this came to me that, “Why they used to see, the Aryans used to see everything as conscious? This shadow, shadow is also conscious. Before we go to have conception of a shadow we must pass from soul through the mind to the material conception. So, the chaya, the shadow, before we reach the conception of shadow we must pass through some mental stage and that is chidabhasa, that is, personification may be attached there. Before we attach, soul approaching matter, material world, but before that we must have passed through some chidabhasa, into matter, what is non-matter, non-consciousness. Through such realm he must pass, must have to pass through. And that is to be reckoned first. That is chaya got his personality it is chetana, chaya. Everything, every material conception presupposes some spiritual conception of that particular thing. Necessarily the soul must pass through that stage to have a conception of material existence. So chaya has got personality. And Bhagavata and the rishis they’re addressing in that way. Everywhere they’re finding the personal, the personal type. What we think we see we conceive it to be the dead matter but they are always taking the personal representation. Why? The soul when going to the material conception will have to pass through some personal. That is his own real store and that is to be reckoned. And what is concrete matter that is unknown and mere effect, so personal conception there must be.

The full transcript is HERE. It contains some of my own edits and thus differs somewhat from that currently available on our website.

I pray this finds you well in all respects.

Swami B.K. Giri