Awareness is the most powerful force in the universe. Awareness is the substratum of anything and everything. All objects in the universe depend upon the powers of Awareness. A simple question: are you aware of your surroundings? The answer must be Yes! You must be aware of your surroundings and experiences. The answer cannot be a No! We are talking about that Awareness. It is unfortunate that very little attention is focused on understanding this Awareness and its powers. Vedanta does teach us that our underlying reality is Awareness, but there is no direct focus on explaining the powers it contains. There is no concentrated effort to bring forward all the amazing powers of Awareness. It is a pity.
The focus of this essay is to bring all the powers of Awareness in one place. We will try to explain Awareness and the inbuilt powers of Awareness. A proper understanding of Awareness is critical; if you properly understand Awareness and its powers, you will understand your inner core and you will understand the universe.
If you properly analyze Awareness, you will realize that Awareness has the following powers:
- Power of the Knower: this power allows the subject to perceive the object.
- Power of the Known: this power manipulates Awareness to become any object.
- Power of Knowing: this intelligence or power decodes what each object is.
All these are powers of Awareness. They directly make up Awareness. The following two powers reside within Self-Awareness—your inner core:
- Power of Infinite Energy: Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy.
- Power to Create Time: Self-Awareness is the source of Time.
To start the discussion, we need first to understand and analyze the experiences we have. All our perceptions, feelings, thoughts, and current thinking are nothing but the experiences we have. When we are awake, there is hardly any moment when we do not have some sort of experience. We have experiences on a continuous basis. Experiences can happen only in the mind and nowhere else.
Experience Decoded: If you think carefully, you will realize that an experience is made up of the following two components:
Experience = Awareness + Form
1. Awareness: We are always aware of our experience. We can never say we had an experience but we are not aware of it. This is simply not possible because awareness is a critical prerequisite and ingredient of an experience. You are having an experience because you are aware of it. If there is no Awareness, there can be no Experience.
2. Form: The form is superimposed on Awareness to complete the experience. The form part of the experience is always different and keeps changing. It comes from the five senses: eyes, nose, ears, tongue, and skin. Sometimes it is visual, sometimes it is auditory, and sometimes it is based on memories. The forms keep changing; the experience keeps changing.
Did you notice that the forms come from external sources through the five senses, but the Awareness is already present within the mind? Your mind has Awareness; my mind has Awareness; in fact, every living being has Awareness present in the Mind. An interesting question—is the same Awareness present in everyone’s mind? Is your Awareness different from mine and everyone else’s? Interestingly, Awareness has a common source. Our innermost core radiates Awareness and this light fills up all the minds with Awareness. This inner core is common for all living beings. The same light of Awareness is filling up all the minds in the universe with Awareness.
As mentioned earlier, Awareness is the most powerful force in the universe, and it is the underlying reality of this universe. It has the power to connect with a form present in the mind and create an experience of which you are aware. For an analogy, think of the sun. When there is no light from the sun, you cannot see anything, but in the presence of light everything becomes visible. In the same way, when any form enters the presence of the light of Awareness, the experience bulb lights up in your mind and you are aware of the form. If you think about it, even the light of the sun is a form in the presence of the light of Awareness.
If you carefully study Awareness, you will conclude that it is made up of a subject, object, and intelligence. Just like water is made of two molecules of hydrogen and one molecule of oxygen to give you H2O, in the same way Awareness is made up of Subject + Object + Intelligence. Therefore, Awareness must have the following components:
1. There must be a subject, who is aware of the experience. This subject is the knower part of Awareness.
2. There must be an object, which must be experienced. This object is the known part of Awareness.
3. There must be intelligence by which the subject gets to know the object. This is the knowing part of Awareness.
Knower, Known, and Knowing are the three powers of Awareness. It must be clear that:
- Awareness = Subject + Object + Intelligence
- Power of Awareness = Power of Knower + Power of Known + Power of Knowing
Awareness is made of Subject, Object, and Intelligence, and it has three different powers—Knower, Known, and Knowing. It must be understood that Subject, Object, Intelligence, and the three powers are not something outside in the world—they are within Awareness and make up Awareness. If any one of them is missing, Awareness will not work and will be incomplete.
- If there is an object to be observed, but there is no subject, there will be no Awareness, as there is no one to see the object.
- If there is a subject, but no object to see, there will be no Awareness as the subject has no object to observe.
- If there is an object, but the subject has no way of knowing what this object is, no Awareness will take place. This knowing must have intelligence.
Wherever there is Awareness, the Subject, Object, and Intelligence must be present with all the three powers. Now that we understand the makeup of Awareness, let us discuss the three powers of Awareness.
Power of Knower
To understand this, let us ask ourselves some questions.
- When we see a tree, who is seeing the tree?
- When we listen to music, who is listening to the music?
- When we taste the sweetness of chocolate, who is tasting this chocolate?
There must be a witness within us that witnesses these things. Vedanta uses the term Sakshi or witness. This witness is the Subject. This Subject is part of Awareness. This Subject has the Power of the Knower. This power is built-in within the Subject. This power gives the Subject the ability to see, listen, and taste different objects. In fact, it is the knower of everything that is possible.
So, Power of the Knower enables the subject to witness the objects. Here are some examples of how the Subject undertakes this task:
- When it is the knower of seeing, the Subject is a Seer.
- When it is the knower of hearing, the Subject is a Hearer.
- When it is the knower of reading, the Subject is a Reader.
- When it is the knower of running, the Subject is a Runner.
There is only one Subject, and it plays many different roles. These roles allow the Subject to be the Knower of so many things. In fact, it is the Knower of everything. This Subject is part of Awareness. The Subject with Power of Knowing is available within the mind of each one of us. It is the only way we can know what our experiences are. Our minds are limited to the five senses, therefore the power and range of the Knower is limited. Awareness is beyond the mind and this Subject within Awareness is the Knower of everything that is possible. There is nothing that Awareness cannot witness.
Power of Known
Power of the Known is another power within Awareness. It has the power to become any object. It can take any form that we experience in the mind. A good metaphor to understand this is that it is like a lump of Play-Doh. You can manipulate the Play-Doh to any shape. You can make a car, a tree, a house. The Play-Doh can become any shape. It is important to understand that whatever shape is given, the content is always Play-Doh. Make a car, the content is Play-Doh. Make a tree, the content is still Play-Doh.
In the same way, the content of all the objects in the universe is Awareness. How does one understand this? If you see a circle, then Awareness cannot take the shape of a square. If it does, you will never experience the (round) circle. Awareness must also be a circle with exactly the same dimensions. If you see a tree, then Awareness must also take the shape of the tree. This tree must be filled up with Awareness. If the tree is half-filled with Awareness, you will experience only a half-tree.
It is, therefore, correct to conclude that the content of the object must be Awareness. Awareness by itself is formless, but it has the potential to become any object. The power which manipulates Awareness to become any object is Power of the Known. If the incoming input from the senses is that of a car, Power of the Known will modify Awareness to take the shape of a car. The input signal from the senses is like a wire diagram of the object. Power of the Known modifies Awareness to fill up the wire diagram with Awareness to complete the object. In a way, it adds the software code to the object so that it does become that object. In this way, the Subject will know that this is a car.
If the input is that of the lyrics of any song. Power of the Known will manipulate Awareness to add the required sound to the lyrics of that song. Since Awareness is present, the Subject will be able to listen to the song. This type of logic is applied to the input signal from the five senses which makes its appearance in the mind.
Power of Knowing
Power of Knowing adds Intelligence to Awareness. Let us start our discussion with the following statements we make every day:
- I am listening to music.
- I am reading this book.
- I am thinking of traveling.
- I am talking over the phone.
- I am seeing a tree.
If you analyze these statements, you will notice that each statement has the subject “I am.” Each statement has a different object—music, book, travel, phone, and tree, respectively. There is a verb which connects the subject to the object. More than a verb, there is an inherent power of Knowing which is connecting the subject to the object. This power reveals the object to the subject. How do we understand this power of Knowing?
Let us take the example of the power of listening, which is connecting “I am” to the music. If you follow science, it will tell us that the music waveform from the source will hit our eardrums. The job of the eardrum is to convert this into some form of acoustic signal. This acoustic signal is then transmitted to the brain. What happens in the brain/mind is not known, but we do listen to music. How should we understand this? There is an existent power in our mind which decodes and understands the incoming acoustic signal so that the subject “I am” can listen to the music. This decoding power and understanding within the mind are nothing but the power of listening, which makes the actual “act” of listening possible. This power of listening is made of intelligence with the sole role of making listening possible. This power of listening is part of Power of Knowing.
Let us take another example, of seeing. The power of seeing has intelligence, which makes it possible for “I am” to know and see a tree. Without the power of seeing, none of us will see any object. Someone may argue that the eye provides this power. The eye does nothing other than convert the image into an optical signal and bring the signal to the mind. What is the ability that decodes this optical signal into the understanding that this object is a tree? It is the power of seeing, which is within Power of Knowing, and which allows us to know that there is a tree. This power of seeing knows that the optical signal is a tree.
The same applies likewise to reading, thinking, or talking. There is a power of reading, a power of thinking, and a power of talking. All these powers encapsulate the crux of intelligence and are part of Power of Knowing. In fact, you can apply this logic to a much wider range of statements. Any statement which connects the subject to the object is connected by Power of Knowing.
With these three powers (Knower, Known, and Knowing), the power of Awareness is complete. Right now, if you are reading this essay, all three powers are present. There is a reader who is the subject. The object is the essay in front of you. The power of reading is the intelligence which allows you to read. Any experience you have is because of the power of Awareness. What is amazing is that this awesome power of Awareness is right within us. It is present within each one of us. The only problem is that we do not know this fact. We are ignorant of this fact. This ignorance is covering up this light of Awareness and the powers of Awareness.
The three powers discussed are the intrinsic nature of the power of Awareness. We mentioned earlier that Self-Awareness is our inner core. SatChitAnanda is another name for Self-Awareness. They are synonyms and used interchangeably. We will now discuss some of the powers which reside within Self-Awareness.
Power of Infinite Energy
Yes, infinite energy is present within our inner Self-Awareness. All the energy you see in the universe comes from this source. Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy. It does sound amazing that infinite energy is present within our inner core. How should we understand this, and how do we show that this is indeed a fact? On my website, I have an essay, “Awareness—The Infinite Energy Source,” which gives a detailed explanation. When you have time, please read this essay. Over here we will give a quick overview.
To understand the source of the infinite energy, you need to interpret Einstein’s Theory of Relativity correctly. Some of the main conclusions of this theory are as follows:
1. Motion and time are interconnected. Wherever there is motion, time does slow down. This is a proven fact. The faster the motion, the slower time will tick. For example, suppose someone travels in a rocket at 80% of the speed of light and returns to Earth. If the clock on Earth shows that the person traveled for 10 years, the clock in the rocket will indicate that the person traveled for only six years. This may not be easy to grasp, but this will really happen. Motion and time have this connection. If the rocket does achieve the speed of light, time slows down completely and comes to a standstill for the person in the rocket. Time will not move. Since there is no time, this person will feel that he has not traveled at all, that he has remained in just one place. In other words, time and space are absent if you achieve the speed of light.
2. If anything does achieve the speed of light, it will have infinite energy. Yes, infinite energy. This is because infinite energy is required to achieve the speed of light. infinite energy is available for anything traveling at the speed of light.
So, what does travel at the speed of light? If you look around, you will realize that only photons (light particles) travel at the speed of light. There is nothing else in the universe which can achieve this speed. Light is everywhere and therefore we see these photons everywhere, zipping around at the speed of light. As an observer, we see the photons traveling at the speed of light. There is no denying this fact. We need to understand what is happening from the point of view of the photon. This is critical. As a thought experiment, let us put a camera on a photon. What will the photon see? Since the photon is traveling at the speed of light, it will see no time, no space, and it will see that it has infinite energy. This is a fact because we just indicated that anything traveling at the speed of light will have these properties: no time, no space, and has infinite energy.
How do we interpret no time and no space? This really means that the photon remains stationary—it does not move since there is no space or time. You think the photons move around at the speed of light, but “according” to the photons, they do not move; they are stationary. According to the photon, it has an infinite amount of energy.
If time does not exist for the photon, it must be outside time and it must be beyond the spacetime framework. If it is within the spacetime framework, time for the photon must change. Time changes for everything in space. Where is beyond spacetime? According to Vedanta, Self-Awareness is beyond time and the spacetime framework. This means that the infinite energy of the photon is present only in Self-Awareness. Therefore, our inner core is the source of infinite energy. See the illusion taking place—we see the photons traveling at the speed of light, but the photon really does not move; it is always present in Self-Awareness.
Without going into too many details, we can say that this energy is transferred to the cosmic mind because of our ignorance. This energy source is then used for everything in the universe, including the following:
- Creation of space
- Creation of all the objects in the universe
Self-Awareness is a powerhouse, and it has the capacity to handle and manage that infinite amount of energy. Looking at the sun, we see the awesome energy it has, the power of destruction it has. The sun’s energy is just a tiny, tiny, minuscule part of the total energy of the universe. How can this infinite energy be stored in Self-Awareness? It must be understood that the energy in Self-Awareness is in the subtle form and not in the gross or physical form. Whatever the format of the energy, it is a fact that the source of the infinite energy is Self-Awareness. Self-Awareness is the source of infinite energy.
Power to Create Time
Yes, time does come from Self-Awareness or SatChitAnanda. The origin of time is Self-Awareness. Let us try and understand this. As we have discussed, our inner core is Self-Awareness or SatChitAnanda. It is our inner bulb of Awareness. It is self-shining, full, and complete. This Self-Awareness is unborn, it is formless, and it is unchanging. Let us focus on the unchanging nature of Self-Awareness.
What is Unchanging? Self-Awareness is unchanging. It always remains the same and it will never change. It is the same now, it was the same in the past, and it will remain the same in the future. Nothing in the physical universe fits this bill. Everything in the universe keeps changing. If you dig deeper into “unchanging,” you can conclude that time is present in an unchanging environment, but it is static and unmoving. Time is an inherent quality within something which is not changing, but this time factor remains dormant; it remains still. The entity is unchanging due to the sole reason that the time factor is not active. Time is in some ways hiding within “unchanging.” If, for whatever reason, this “unchanging” starts “changing,” time will and must pop out from this unchanging entity. If something is changing, it means that what is now is no longer the same. Since the two events are not the same, the time factor comes into play to connect them. It is not incorrect to say that time drives the change between two events. Self-Awareness is unchanging, and the only reason it does not change is that the time factor is static or remains dormant.
How does unchanging Self-Awareness become the changing mind? The simple answer is: ignorance. We have seen in other essays that ignorance has the power to break up the non-dual Self-Awareness into duality with the object “out there” and the subject “in here.” This ignorance also breaks up the “unchanging” Self-Awareness into a “changing” mind. When this unchanging Self-Awareness becomes the changing mind, the dormant time in the unchanging environment pops out and becomes available, and it is active in the mind. This time then becomes operational in the mind. This changing part of the time waveform is the driving force of the time we know and see. The origin of time is Self-Awareness. This time is indeed very powerful, and it controls almost everything in this universe, including the following:
- Time drives the Objects to play out their blueprint
- Time creates Space
- Time causes Motion
- Time and Energy
Read the essay “Understanding Time” on my website to study the different powers within Time. If you wish, you can watch a recording on this topic on YouTube. This recording is based on a webinar I conducted on this subject—understanding time.
Everything in the universe depends upon the powers of Awareness. If you need to understand this universe, the first step must be to understand Awareness. Understand the powers of Awareness. This is critical. This essay did show all the essential powers of Awareness. All the knowledge, intelligence, ability to become any object, energy, time is part of our inner core—Self Awareness. It is an amazing feeling to know that all this is present with us. It is so close to us, but we feel it so remote and far away.