Difference Between Mind and Consciousness

Universal Consciousness and Mind

Is Mind superior to Consciousness?

Man is trapped by the mind. The mind is the aggregate of opinions, thoughts, feelings, emotions, convolutions of various kinds and what not. This trapping of the mind is what we called the world. When man is trapped by the forces of the mind, one experiences the world. He experiences the world at various levels. We experience our own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Additionally we experience our body, other people, things, time, place and circumstances.

One should know that the duality in all this, the expression of the many arises from the mind. However, mind is inert. It is as dead as a fan or light bulb. Just like a bulb requires electricity to trigger effulgence, the mind requires as external support to function. By itself, it has no potency. It is like an appliance which requires the power of consciousness to express itself. When consciousness touches the mind, the world comes alive.

But, then there are two distinct physical entities which come alive. One is my body and whatever I imagine as “Me” and then there is the rest of the world “Out there”.

Mind, World and Consciousness

Man tends to define life as an endless interaction of his physical “being” with the rest of the world. This is his limited understanding. It becomes vital for man to understand his position in the world of objects and people. This can help him regain some sanity and sanctity in his dealings with the world. The world is a simple projection of the mind, which is in itself a movement in consciousness. We shall try to explain the concept through an indicative diagram as shown below.

Universal consciousness and mind diagram

The Blue Circle in the diagram, is the source of creation. On the other hand, the Green Circle is the container all entities. It has living entities who may or may not know each other. In other words, it is creation, distinct from universal consciousness. As you see the green circle suspended in the Blue one, the creation is just a part of the universal consciousness. Creation is subservient to Universal Consciousness.

Nature of Purified Consciousness

Consciousness is everything. It itself is the subject, the Knower, the eternal witness of all happenings and everything we see around. It is the eternal subject, unaffected by time, life or its processes. Consciousness is the source of life. Consciousness can never be known because it is the one that knows. However, one can experience consciousness when its pure reflection falls on a clean mind.

The goal of a living entity is to get established in that consciousness which is pure and undiluted by variety. When the variety of people, place, thoughts, etc unite, it becomes Pure consciousness. Knowing this truth is the essence of Vedanta.

Consciousness is beyond space and time. It is the source of all intelligence. It is consciousness alone that defines the eternal law. Sanatana Dharma is all about getting established in that “One” consciousness, beyond which there is no more search to undertake. The purpose of all Yoga is to go beyond the concepts and veils of the mind.

When these veils of illusion are completely annihilated, what remains is verily consciousness, the eternal witness. The consciousness is One, its expressions can be many.

Consciousness gets revealed when the mind is completely purified and purged of all its worldly scum which consists of incorrect understanding, distorted view, insensitivity, morbidity, lack of morality, selfishness and a host of other frailties. When purification has been attained, it reflects as immaculate intelligence. This purified intelligence is sprouts from Dharma. It reflects as commitment unmotivated by selfishness and symbolizes Equanimity. This is the reflection of Consciousness as Jnana or Pure unsullied knowledge.

Love and Consciousness

There is another manifestation of unsullied consciousness. Unsullied consciousness manifests in terms of qualities. Feeling of all-acceptance, as universal, unhindered, unbiased and extreme compassion are some signs of Unsullied, pure consciousness. Also, it reflects as universal love, unmotivated in all respects. This is the reflection of Consciousness as Prema or Pure unsullied love.

One should not make any distinction between these two possible reflections of Consciousness: Jnana and Prema. In fact, they are two sides of the same coin. If so, how can they be different? One who is exhibiting “Prema” is knowledgeable and extremely intelligent. but that intelligence remains apparently unmanifest; but if situation demands it can get manifested, One who is exhibiting “Jnana” is full of love and extremely compassionate. But, most of the time it remains hidden; if situation demands it may spill over and can become evident.

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Consciousness manifests everything

The Graded Blue Circle in the diagram, represents the sum total of all minds, the universal mind. The gradation indicates that there is immeasurable variety in the minds of people. Consciousness is ungraded and pure. But, when pure consciousness undergoes transformation on its own accord, variety of an infinite kind emerges. The one component of consciousness gets divided into graded minds of infinite shades. Then, the original pure consciousness too remains keeping itself intact.

The Vedas say “If Infinite gets divided, the Infinite still remains intact”.

The limitless variety of the mind represents the coloration of consciousness. It represents duality and the movement of consciousness. It is the Universal mind or the aggregated mind-variety that gives rise to nature.

The Images of the people and the triangles represents the objectification of the Universal mind or the conglomeration of the mind variety. It is to be understood that the living entities as well as non-living entities are the byproducts of the mind alone. The experiences of the world including experience of space and time is an expression of the Universal mind. Thus, the one Unity of Consciousness becomes many in the form of people, objects, time, space and events.

Spirituality: Pathway to the Source

It is important to note that spiritual realization is the reverse journey from objects and people back to the source of pure consciousness. This is obvious because all secondary entities are contained within the field of Pure Consciousness alone. When one commits oneself to spiritual practice, the first thing that is to be realized is that, the world of thoughts, emotions, time, space and events is a representation of the varied mind-field. Hence, they do not represent the original reality.

As one progresses through spirituality, layers of duality get cleansed. One can witness pure consciousness reflected on the clarified subtle layer of the mind. One, thus gets the glimpse of one’s own Reality.

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