Are Knower and Witness same
Q: Another question. There is the person. There is the knower of the person. There is the witness. Are the knower and the witness the same, or are they separate states?
M: The knower and the witness are two or one? When the knower is seen as separate from the known, the witness stands alone. When the known and the knower are seen as one, the witness becomes one with them.
Q: Who is the jnani? The witness or the supreme?
M: The jnani is the supreme and also the witness. He is both being and awareness. In relation to consciousness he is awareness. In relation to the universe he is pure being.
Q: And what about the person? What comes first, the person or the knower.
M: The person is a very small thing. Actually it is a composite, it cannot be said to exist by itself. Unperceived, it is just not there. It is but the shadow of the mind, the sum total of memories. Pure being is reflected in the mirror of the mind, as knowing. What is known takes the shape of a person, based on memory and habit. It is but a shadow, or a projection of the knower onto the screen of the mind.
Q: The mirror is there, the reflection is there. But where is the sun?
M: The supreme is the sun.
Q: It must be conscious.
M: It is neither conscious nor unconscious. Don’t think of it in terms of consciousness or unconsciousness. It is the life, which contains both and is beyond both.
Q: Life is so intelligent. How can it be unconscious?
M: You talk of the unconscious when there is a lapse in memory. In reality there is only consciousness. All life is conscious, all consciousness — alive.
Q: Even stones?
M: Even stones are conscious and alive.
Q: The worry with me is that I am prone to denying existence to what I cannot imagine.
M: You would be wiser to deny the existence of what you imagine. It is the imagined that is unreal.
Q: Is all imaginable unreal?
M: Imagination based on memories is unreal. The future is not entirely unreal.
Q: Which part of the future is real and which is not?
M: The unexpected and unpredictable is real.
Nisargadatta Maharaj – I am That