Pure consciousness is not content-less – it is contamination-less
Pure consciousness is an oft-used term in spiritual circles, but impersonalists interpret it as content-less consciousness.
To understand the problem with such an interpretation, consider the three components of any conscious perception: the subject, the object and the stream of consciousness that links the two. For example, when you read this article, you are the subject, the article is the object and your stream of consciousness links you with the article. Content-less consciousness means that there exists only the stream of consciousness that has no content. There is nothing to perceive and no one to perceive because, according to impersonalists, the notions of subject and object are both illusions.
Such content-less consciousness is, however, consciousness-less, for without a perceiver and experiencer of consciousness, consciousness itself has no meaning or even existence.
Scripture helps us understand the true import of pure-consciousness – it is not content-less, but contamination-less. It is free from any contamination that sullies its nature to perceive and relish pure spiritual reality, reality that manifests at its zenith as Krishna.
In the Bhagavad-gita Krishna (02.11) begins instructing Arjuna by reproaching him for behaving like one in illusion. Then (02.12) he asserts that all living beings – he himself, Arjuna and all the assembled kings – are eternal and eternally individual. Krishna being eternally, supremely enlightened is in pure consciousness, yet he perceives others as distinct individuals, who will stay that way eternally. Thus, his consciousness is not and will not become content-less.
And towards the end of the Gita (18.73), when Arjuna’s illusion is dissipated, he resolves to do Krishna’s will. He, the subject, becomes one with Krishna, the object, not in being, but in will. And that oneness is the essence of pure consciousness, which is not content-less, but contamination-less – it is purged of all desires other than the desire to serve Krishna.
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