6 – Drg Drsya Viveka (7-12): What is Reflected Consciousness (Chidabhasa or Pratibimba Caitanya)?


Lecture 6 shows that time/space is also mithya, depending on Consciousness. Ego associates itself to 3 things. What is reflected consciousness? I-sense (ego) is transient. Waking, Dream, Deep sleep. Since moksha is “attained” in one of the 3 states (waking), then moksha isn't for the drk (the seer of all 3 states).

Source: Drg Drsya Viveka


  • Purpose of ball-fire was to show, there are 2 things, while it appears to be one. Attributes are superimposed on each other. IE: “I AM good”. “I AM” is Awareness (fire) and “good” is the thought (ball). So Awareness becomes “good”.  So thought is imputed on Awareness, and Awareness is imputed on thought. 
  • Proper understanding: Thought isn’t separate from Awareness, and Awareness remains free of thought. Thought is variable. Content (of thought) is invariable; free from thought-attributes.
  • Time/space also has dependent reality on Awareness. How to show?…
    1. Time and Awareness Relationship:
      • For long time science believed time-space is absolute. Einstein showed time-space is relative to the observer.
        • EG:
          • If go to outer space, time would feel very different to earth, because earth objects change how you experience time.
          • Two twins are born same time on earth. One stays on earth. Another goes space travel at light speed. 50 years later, comes back to earth. Both twins have aged differently.
          • Pitṛ pakṣa: Annual event when, they offer ancestors food to show gratitude for passing on values to us. We do it once a year, but for them it’s once a day in pitṛ loka as time is different. Rishies understood relativity of time.
      • What is relationship between Time & Awareness? 1 hour is a name for 60 minutes. So 1 hour we agree upon, consists of 60 parts. 1 minute > 1 sec. Just as object collapses into parts, so does time. What remains finally is concept of time, which necessitates Awareness. So time is also mithya (dependent).
    2. Space and Awareness Relationship:
      • In science, time and space can’t be separated as work together.
      • Suppose we ask, “What is distance between my body and your body?”. 1 meter, but 1 meter consists of infinite smaller units. Each point is further divided. Infinite points make up one 1 meter.
    • Awareness is the only thing that’s the content of time/space and not dependent on time/space.
    • All things depend on Awareness. Where is this Awareness? In your buddhi as self-evident I. Then using the Pramana, you help “I” (where ignorance is centered on) see it has no actual limitation, even though it seems confined to buddhi.
    • Not only do you understand Awareness is free from I-sense, but also Awareness is truth of time-space and all sentient/insentient objects.
  • You only need 2 proofs to show the satya-mithya relationship between thought and Awareness:
    • AWARENESS SURIVES THOUGHT: Before thought comes, I am. While thought is, I am. After thought goes, I am. So if “I am” survives one thought, then it applies to all thoughts.
    • AWARENESS DOESN’T TAKE ATTRIBUTES OF THOUGHT: Attribute of one thought is not carried forward to another thought. EG: Rose is not carried onto the chair. Meaning, if rose-thought was stuck to Awareness, then when I’m Aware of the chair, it would have a rose over it.

VERSE 8: Three Kinds of Ego Identifications  (Covers V9 also)

अहङ्कारस्य तादात्म्यं चित्-छाया-देह-साक्षिभिः | सहजं कर्म-जम् भ्रान्ति-जन्यं च त्रिविधं क्रमात् ||
ahaṅkārasya tādātmyaṁ cit-chāyā-deha-sākṣibhiḥ | sahajaṁ karma-jam bhrānti-janyaṁ ca trividhaṁ kramāt ||
The identification of the ego with (reflection of) Consciousness, the body and the witness is of three kinds:  natural, born of past actions and born of ignorance.

[COMMENARY: False identification is in reference to I-sense (ahaṅkāra), the body and the witness (sākṣī; refers to limitless consciousness).  NATURAL: Identification with I-sense (ahaṅkāra) and consciousness is natural and permanent. When I-sense manifests in consciousness, from standpoint of that particular I-sense, it produces the notion “I know”. KARMA: Identification with the body is caused by past karma. This leads to notions like “I am a human being”. IGNORANCE: One erroneously assumes the nature of self (sākṣī) is the changing I-sense, thereby identifies with the changing conditions. This delusion-born identification with the I-sense causes bondage and suffering. A jñāni sees the I-sense objectively, knowing there is no real connection with the ever-free sākṣī.]

VERSE 9: How to Deal With These Identifications

सम्बन्धिनोः असतोः नास्ति निवृत्तिः-सहजस्य तु | कर्म-क्षयात् प्रबोधात् च निवर्तेते क्रमाद् उभे ||
sambandhinoḥ asatoḥ nāsti nivṛttiḥ-sahajasya tu | karma-kṣayāt prabodhāt ca nivartete kramād ubhe ||
The natural (identification) between the mutually related (ego and Consciousness) cannot be annihilated. But the other two (due to Karmas and due to delusion) are eliminated with the exhaustion of Karma and with direct Knowledge respectively.

[COMMENARY: Understanding the three types of relationships gives an appropriate attitude to handle them without getting affected. I-SENSE: The identification between I-sense and  consciousness is natural and remains long as I-sense is taken as sākṣī (eternal I). A proper relationship is one discerns that sākṣī is untouched like light, while I-sense undergoes changes. This ongoing discernment removes the erroneous connection between sākṣī and I-sense. This way, I-sense need not be annihilated, only seen as a useful mechanism. BODY: The identification of I-sense with body lasts until the exhaustion of karmic results. It ceases when the body dies, or in dream/deep sleep.  IGNORANCE: The identification of sākṣī with I-sense is due to ignorance. It is removed by attainment of Self-knowledge. Enlightenment is to permanently objectify the I-sense. While in ignorance, this objectification is in reference to everything else (including consciousness); except itself.]

  • Ahankara is connected to 3 things…
  • Cit chāyā (or cidābhāsa): Some translate as “Reflected Consciousness”, but Swami Dayananda didn’t agree as there’s no such thing as Reflected Consciousness. All that is here is one undivided Consciousness.
    • They use analogy: One sun, and it’s reflection on bucket’s water. The reflection is “Reflected Sun”. When try to use for Awareness, forces mind to imagine two Awarenesses. That’s why Swami Dayananda was wary of “reflected awareness” terminology.
    • To rephrase “Reflected Consciousness”: There is one all pervading Consciousness, and the moment body is born, Consciousness seems to be confined to that body. Just like when pot is born, the pot-space, as though, comes into existence and seems to be, as though, confined. The “as-though” confinement is what we call “cidabhasa”.
    • And this cidabhasa/cit-chāyā is sajaham (natural); everyone is born with notion Awareness is confined to body. Because it’s natural, everyone makes a mistake. Why is it like this? Because that’s how it is.
  • Deha (body): The I-sense is connected to your unique body because of karmajam (past causes).
    • Why is one Awareness confined by one body, and one same Awareness is confined to a different-bigger-body? Past actions of jiva. My body is born not because of your karma, but my karma.
      • All have karma account of punya/papa (unseen result of appropriate/inappropriate actions). Out of total account (sanchita karma), a given set is assigned (prarabdha) and fashions your body.
      • Therefore the I-sense finds itself in this particular body, with particular skills because of karma-phala. By using free will, can change your interpretations of karma-phala.
    • NOT UNDERSTANDING LAW OF KARMA: Some privileged folks complain (entitlements), rather then contributing. Therefore first need to handle smaller ignorance’s ([a] world ignorance: impulsive judgements, [b] spiritual ignorance: this is coming from God, I deserve it, I’m being punished — before can remove the BIG ignorance.
    • TO REMOVE IGNORANCE, WE’RE GIVEN FREE WILL: It's part of grand design. It's not entirely free, but confined. EG: “I want to move hand” VS. “I want to fly”.
      • Free will is further pulled down by amygdala (basic instincts) and samskaras (previous emotional and habitual makeup), constrained by culture, environment, salary, etc.
      • Moment you learn about world and start to think, you're operating from prefrontal cortex (empowering yourself), and stepping outside amygdala and samskaras. That's why people invest in education, to expand capacity of freewill.
      • Why do some not exercise free will? Because they keep repeating old stories. Finally when crises comes, they stop theorizing about “whether we have free will”, and start acting.
      • When hear first time that your body is product of “karma”, it invokes lot of emotion, resistance and doubt (such as this is fatalistic, we are doomed, etc) — compared to “body is from your genetics”; in which case there’s little resistance.
        • Meaning we accept our genes are product of many generations of people we never met, yet unable to do same in reference to personality being product of many prior experiences.
        • Karma” means cause-effect. What happened today, has past causes. That’s something no one resists. It’s common sense. EG: Where did seed come from? Tree. Where tree from? Seed.
        • Show me one existence that isn’t connected to past causes. Can’t find it! Then it’s strange people struggle with same logic applied to their own body.
        • Cause-effect relationship doesn’t work within period that YOU feel comfortable with (such as one life); they are always operating. And if you think the causes of this life will only last 80 years, then show me anywhere else where cause stops producing effects in 80 years and goes out of existence.
        • CONCLUSION:
          • Therefore karma is NOT a belief, just showing cause-effect relationship which you can’t put beginning to, and is being contributed to even now. Thus it’s not fatalistic, as you’re given free will to collapse different possibilities.
          • In fact, if you don’t believe in karma, then you have to PROVE to me why it doesn’t exist. Because karma is conforming to what is observed anywhere in universe, in form of [a] If I want X, I should do Y, and [b] If something happened, what caused it?
          • Imagine living in a world where you’re dropped here randomly, and done nothing to deserve it?
  • Sākṣī: How is ahamkara connected to sākṣī (limitless awareness)? By Bhrānti, Ignorance (mistaken notion I am an individual doer in this universe, who exists for sake of reaping results. Thus 3 bodies are sustained).
    • So why did you get a body in first place? Because of ignorance.
      • Moksha is when, through the I-sense & buddhi, it’s understood that both are mithyā, depending on Awareness.  This understanding allows you to see that “I [Awareness] never performed Karma, but body-mind did”.
      • Instantly 3 bodies are disowned, including any karma For ignorant person, changing I-sense is understood to be the real-I.
      • “I am full, with a special connection to one body-mind, to contribute/enjoy rest of the days. It’s done out of fullness, not lack”. The teacher becomes important link to help others seeking freedom. You too pass it on.
    • Cit chāyā/cidābhāsa: Moment form comes, Consciousness seems to be confined by it. Confinement is sahajam (natural). Within the confinement is your I-sense.
    • What accounts for differences in forms? Karma. Because of past-causes.
    • Why does the body come in the first place, which then gives appearance of Awareness being confined? Because of ignorance (bhrānti-janyam). Limitless Awareness comes with, as-though confinement, because of ignorance belonging to Awareness in association with ignorant buddhi.
  • NEXT VERSE: Have to show relativity of I-sense also…


3 STATES: V10-12

VERSE 10:  The I-sense in the Three States  (Covers V11-12 also)

अहङ्कार-लये सुप्तौ भवेत् देहः-अपि-अचेतनः | अहङ्कार-विकासार्धः स्वप्नः-सर्वः तु जागरः ||
ahaṅkāra-laye suptau bhavet dehaḥ-api-acetanaḥ | ahaṅkāra-vikāsārdhaḥ svapnaḥ-sarvaḥ tu jāgaraḥ ||
In the state of deep sleep, when (the thought of) ego disappears, the body also becomes unconscious. The state in which there is a half manifestation of the ego is called the dream state, and the state in which there is a full manifestation of the ego is the state of waking.

[COMMENTARY: The mind goes through three states – waking, dream and deep sleep (jāgrat, svapna, suṣupti).  In deep sleep, the mind is fully passive and resolved. In dreams, the mind is partially active, projecting an inner world using latent impressions (vāsanās). Sense organs are not active. In waking, the mind is fully active and experiences the external world through the sense organs. These three states continue cyclically. Death is a longer sleep state where the mind is passive. During cosmic dissolution, the mind remains in a causal state and is reborn in the next creation. When the mind sleeps, the body cannot borrow consciousness from the mind, thus it’s pain, though still there – isn’t owned by anyone.]

VERSE 11: Functioning of Dream and Waking States

अन्तःकरण-वृत्तिः च चितिः-छाय-एक्यम्-आगता | वासनाः कल्पयेत् स्वप्ने बोधे अक्षैः-विषयान् बहिः  ||
antaḥkaraṇa-vṛttiḥ ca citiḥ-chāya-ekyam-āgatā | vāsanāḥ kalpayet svapne bodhe akṣaiḥ-viṣayān bahiḥ ||
The thought modification of the inner equipment having attained an identity with Consciousness in the dream state, project impressions, and in the waking state imagine objects outside with the eyes (sense organs).

[COMMENARY: In dreams, thoughts project an inner world using latent impressions (vāsanās). In waking, thoughts go through sense organs and reveal the external world is already created by Isvara (Īśvara-sṛṣṭi). Mistake is to consider them “mine”. Even objects in the dream are picked up from the empirical world. And since dream is nothing but empirical objects, the dream isn't yours. And empirical world, such as your I-sense, your intellect, your physical heart, limbs, the sun, elephant, etc, certainly isn't your creation either. Knowing this, how can you claim anything “mine”. One effect of mokṣa is cessation of ahamkara-mamakara, recognizing everything belonging to Īśvara. Nothing belongs to me, not even this thinker who is saying “Nothing belongs to me”.]

VERSE 12: Insentiency of Subtle Body

मनः-अहङ्कृति-उपादानम् लिङ्गम् एकम् जडात्मकम् | अवस्था-त्रयम् अन्वेति जायते म्रियते तथा |
manaḥ-ahaṅkṛti-upādānam liṅgam ekam jaḍātmakam | avasthā-trayam anveti jāyate mriyate tathā ||
The one insentient subtle (body) which is constituted of mind and I-sense, goes through the three states, and it is born and it dies.

[COMMENARY: Subtle-Body is conscious due to identification with consciousness. It undergoes the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep.  At death, the physical body alone is destroyed. The subtle body survives death. Atman (drk), the Self, is unassociated with these changing conditions that belong to the subtle body alone. The changing conditions are superimposed on the Atman due to identification with the subtle-body.]

  • Verse wants to show that despite I-sense seeming solid, it’s not so solid…
  • 3 STATES:
    • WAKING: In waking state, your I-sense has connection to 3 bodies (called viśva: one whose connected to all 3 bodies). Including Causal Body; it’s not elsewhere, but with you now.
    • DEEP SLEEP: In deep sleep, I-sense is inactive because it has no connection to gross/subtle body. But causes (Causal Body) are still there; that’s why I-sense gets a subtle/gross body in morning, to experience prarabdha of the day.
    • DREAM: In dream, the whole I-sense changes. EG: In waking, “I am respectable person”. In dream “I am beggar”.
  • Verse wants to show our biggest identity is with I-sense in Waking state. Fact that I-sense comes and goes, shows it’s mithya, and not your intrinsic nature.
    • Not your intrinsic nature means: I-sense is not like Sugar & Sweetness, which are inseparable. If I-sense was your intrinsic nature, you’d be stuck with it all the time. It can be given up.
    • All you need to do about I-sense is understand it’s mithya; a function of mind.
      • Before that, need to nourish I-sense with right attitudes, composure, equilibrium with which you live life and respond to situations. Otherwise, one part of brain understands “I am free”, yet feels as insecure as before, complaining and concerned of death.
    • NEXT SECTION: I understand I am Awareness and world has dependent reality. But how did this world come about? How does mithya world come into being?


    • World is mithya (dependent on something else). Matter of knowing, not experiencing. EG: Do you need to experience the table to know it’s mithya? No. Your feelings don’t establish reality. Same with I-sense.
    • Mind along with I-sense is changing. If you are good as the changing mind, then there's no way you can report the coming and going of completely different thoughts. Else if thought comes, you'd come, and when thought goes, you'd go.
    • Gain is of two types:
      • Apraptasya Prapti: Something that’s not yet there, you have to get it by action.
        • EG:
          • Wish get more energy, exercise.
          • Mind purification.
        • SUMMARY: Needs action.
      • Praptasya Prapti: Something that’s already there, and what keeps you from owning up to it is your not knowing it. In which case, need to understand that it’s there by knowledge. In this case, the more I go looking for it elsewhere (other then on/in me), the further I am from it.
        • EG:
          • Glasses are on head, but looking for them. While searching for glasses, you already had it. The knowledge reveals the glasses. Glasses are not produced.
          • I, which is already everywhere, any action will be fruitless, because I is already here and now. No action will summon it here, because it’s already here, no action can make it limitless, because it’s already limitless, and any limited action cannot produce a limitless result.
        • SUMMARY: Needs knowledge.
    • So only way to get rid of, as-though confinement, is to know Self is free, then one is free to do anything, and it’s done with sense of fullness, rather then “If I do X, then I’ll be full”.


Course was based on [1] Drig Drishya Viveka book by Swami Tejomayananda [2] Book by Swami Nikhilananda [3] Neema Majmudar.

Recorded 17 Jan, 2024

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