The Self is only a witness

The Self, which is the essence of infinite consciousness and

bliss, is the most remarkable aspect of the entire creation. All beings are part of the infinite consciousness. Krishna draws a parallel between the role of the infinite consciousness that is operative in all created beings in the entire universe and that of the individual consciousness in every jivatma that is responsible for the functioning of the body-mind complex. ‘Understanding this subtle truth is the key to realisation’ is the basic teaching of the Gita, said Swami Gautamananda in a discourse.

Like the flywheel in the factory that is activated by

electrical power and whose working is essential to empower

all the other machines for various purposes, the very

presence of the self is the cause of the working of the bodymind complex in individuals. All activities in the factory such as crushing sugar cane, extracting and purifying the juice, etc, are possible because the flywheel keeps running, though it does not by itself crush the sugar cane or extract the juice. Likewise, the very presence of the self is the cause of the workings of the body-mind complex.

The mind, buddhi, ahamkara, chitta, and all the sense

organs are able to function because of the self. A realised

soul understands the supreme state of the individual self and learns to remain distant from the body. He is able to view the subtle self as diferent from the body though both seem to be inseparable in an individual. The referee’s presence is indispensible in any game, though he does not participate in it. He permits the acts and gives consent. The self is the cause for the individual’s life and acts but is untouched by the joys and sorrows experienced. Krishna terms the self a witness or an ‘upadhrishta.’