Colin Drake

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Colin Drake

Post by Sighclone » Fri Aug 30, 2013 2:55 am

Colin is a teacher and poet and generally nice guy. Here is his latest missive.


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The Seer, Knower and Enjoyer

One of the epithets for Brahman (the Absolute Reality, Pure Awareness) given in the Upanishads is ‘The Seer, Knower and Enjoyer’. This is because everything experienced by all beings (manifestations of cosmic energy – consciousness in motion) appears in this Awareness (consciousness at rest) exists in This, is seen by This and subsides back into This. For all motion arises from stillness, exists in (and is known relative to) stillness and finally subsides back into stillness. Thus everything seen, known and enjoyed (by all) is seen by Awareness, which is by definition aware of these, thus making this Pure Awareness the ultimate Seer, Knower and Enjoyer.

This is pointed to by Advaita Vedanta which regards man as a physical organism through which Brahman (awareness, consciousness) senses and experiences the world. The Kena Upanishad states that it is the Self (Brahman, awareness) which is the agent and witness, through which the mind thinks and the senses experience sensations. However this Self is undetectable by the mind and senses, being the substratum in which they appear, exist and disappear. (Kena Upanishad 1v.1-9) Moreover, due to its undetectable nature, it is very easy for man to overlook his true nature and identify with the mind and body. The Katha Upanishad likens man to a chariot, of which the atman (the Self, awareness, Brahman within each individual) is the master, the body is the chariot, the mind is the charioteer, the sense organs are the horses and the roads they travel on are the objects of sensation. The atman is the enjoyer and experiencer of the ride, which is made possible by the charioteer, chariot and horses. (Katha Upanishad 3v.3-4) So Brahman needs the mind and senses, to enjoy and experience the physical world. However when the mind is unaware of the master’s presence, through lack of discrimination, it is unable to control the senses which run amok like wild horses (Ibid 3v.5). Brahman, pure consciousness, is hidden in every heart, being the eternal witness watching everything one does. He is said to be ‘the operator’ whilst we are his ‘innumerable instruments’. (Svetasvetara Upanishad 6v.10-12) [1]

As Brahman is the ‘Seer, Knower and Enjoyer’ of which we are ephemeral manifestations it stands to reason that seeing, knowing and enjoying should represents ways in which we can realize our essential nature as Pure Awareness – Brahman.

Seeing (with the mind – ‘spiritual vision’) means realizing, or recognizing, and this is key to Raja Yoga known as ‘The Kingly Way’ which emphasises meditation to still the mind so that one may see one’s real nature (Ch1v3, Ch2v28 & v44). This leads to seeing the ‘Inner Light’ (Ch2v52) and ‘vision of Samadhi’ (Ch3v9) which leads to enlightenment - seeing the light – (Ch3v33-34). From this comes discrimination, seeing the difference between the real and the unreal, which leads directly to liberation (Ch4v25-34).[2]

Knowing is the way of Jana Yoga, the path of obtaining knowledge of The Absolute by self-inquiry and direct investigation of Reality. The easiest way to achieve this is by investigating one’s own moment-to-moment experience, see the appendix, which is all we have (to investigate) in the final analysis … as our whole life is just a series of experiences and everything we encounter is just an experience (to us). This lead to discovering that there is only Pure Awareness (consciousness at rest) in which all sensations, thoughts, mental images (our experience of ‘things’) arise, abide, are spied and subside. This ephemeral flow of objects are just expressions of cosmic energy (consciousness in motion) which eventually must return back to (consciousness at) rest – Pure Awareness. Thus there is only Brahman of which all is a fleeting manifestation.

Enjoying is what Tantra is all about, not rejecting anything in manifestation but using everything that is encountered as a potential vehicle to achieve liberation. For these are all forms of cosmic energy, Sakti (The Lila), consciousness in motion, the consort of Siva (Pure Awareness - The Nitya), consciousness at rest. As can be seen these are both aspects of the one Absolute Reality (Brahman) but whereas in the two previous paths the emphasis is on The Nitya, in Tantra it is on The Lila – the play of God. For the universe is regarded as the play of Sakti and Siva and these are Brahman thus knowledge of one’s absolute unity with This may be obtained from worshipping (or investigating) either of these aspects.

If viewed in a certain way, everything that we perceive, that is, every thought and sensation can directly reveal the nature of Reality. For there are two underlying principles that lie at the heart of each perception, without which it would be impossible for any perception to occur. These are awareness and nothingness, for we would not know that a perception has occurred without being aware of it, and perception of any ‘thing’ only occurs relative to the nothingness in which it occurs.

Now The Absolute Reality consists of consciousness in two modes – at rest as Pure Awareness and in motion as cosmic energy, the manifest universe. The first of these is unchanging and is the Aware Nothingness in which all things arise and subside. Thus the two Absolute properties of Reality are awareness and nothingness which can be revealed by considering the, aforementioned, two underlying principles that lie at the heart of each perception. So everything can directly reveal the Absolute Reality of which it is an ephemeral manifestation.


Advaita: non-dual.

Atman: Brahman within each individual, that portion of the Absolute in each person.

Brahman—The all pervading transcendental Absolute Reality.

Lila -- The divine play or manifestation.

Nitya -- the Ultimate Reality, the eternal Absolute.

Sakti: cosmic energy, consciousness in motion.

Siva,: universal consciousness when it is at rest, aware of every movement occurring in it, which is pure awareness.

Upanishads :the last works of the Vedas, in which ritual was supplanted by the personal and mystical experiencing of the Absolute (Brahman).

Vedanta: philosophy based on the books at ‘the end of the Vedas’ i.e. The Upanishads

If you are interested in more articles, poems, or my paperback books, including in the new books: Poetry From Awakening and Beyond and Awakening and Beyond, Outcomes of Self-Recognition, these may be found at . If you wish to purchase a book always check for discounts/sale prices which Lulu is constantly offering.
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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