You Are The Unaffected Witness of the Phenomenal World

When King Janaka asked Sage Ashtavakra what is the ultimate truth, the Sage replied, “Know yourself as the unaffected witness of the phenomenal world. That is the truth.”

Is witness a thought? No, because a thought is known. It is seen as an arising. You may ask who sees the arising. The answer is “no one.” What arises is made up of awareness through which it is made known. That impersonal awareness is the witness. That is what you truly are.

The intensity of the emotions creates the notion of a separate observer, but this pseudo-observer (me) is also a thought. While the pseudo-observer seems separate from what is being observed, there is no separation between the observer and the observed.

The knowing that the observer and the observed are made up of is the witness consciousness that remains detached and impartial to what arises. It does not judge or label anything in phenomenality. Witnessing is the recognition of What-Is – things the way they are.

When the pain (psychological or physical) arises it is witnessed by the awareness. The pain itself is made up of awareness through which it is known. The intensity of pain creates the notion of a separate observer which propagates horizontally as thinking, “Why me?” “What have I done to deserve this?” “I’m suffering because of my evil deeds.” And so on.

Is there any reality to this “me?” Find out. Investigate before you jump to conclusions. When you were a newborn was there a sense of “I” or “me?” It came about as a result of conditioning.

What arose cannot be the Truth. Every arising is impermanent. The factor that makes the arising “known” is the Truth. That factor or “being” alone stands as the primordial awareness that remains unaffected by what’s happening. Its nature is witnessing.

True happiness cannot be found in things that change and pass away. Pleasure and pain alternate inexorably. Happiness comes from the Self and can be found in the Self only. Find your real Self and all else will come with it.

Nisargadatta Maharaj

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Jagjot Singh
Jagjot Singh

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