As the witnessing presence of Awareness, we stand in the background of experience; as the light of pure Knowing, we stand at its heart. 

The words 'Consciousness' and 'Awareness'

I have a problem in the understanding and the difference between Nisargadattas' and Rupert's explanation of consciousness.

I have a problem in the understanding and the difference between Nisargadattas’ and Rupert’s explanation of consciousness, I.a. the maharaj says this consciousness is not there when we are not there [bodily death] whereas Rupert seems to say that once we realize this awareness and live in it as such [standing as awareness] we realize our eternal existence.

Also the maharaj say we are actually something prior to this consciousness which he calls the absolute. He says that this consciousness or the [I amness] and again he calls it “beingness” is itself the problem and in order to realize our true nature we have to transcend this, and become the absolute.

thank you Rupert for any clarification regarding this.

I have truly enjoyed both the book and the DVDs’ written and performed by Rupert., but they are not helping to get over this hump, it might just be semantics but I would deeply appreciate some insight to this.


Dear Kirk,

The problem is one of semantics. You are confusing Consciousness with mind (at least in the way I use the terms).

In short, in order to legitimately claim that Consciousness disappears with the body at death, something must be present there as the witness of its disappearance. Whatever it is that witnesses the disappearance of the body, the apparent disappearance of Consciousness or indeed the disappearance of anything else, must itself be Conscious. In other words it is impossible to be conscious of the disappearance of Consciousness.

Likewise, if Consciousness disappears, it must have first appeared. In order to appear and disappear Consciousness would have to be an object, because only an object can  appear or disappear. Whatever it is that is seeing these words is both conscious and present (and hence it is called Conscious-ness) but it cannot be found as an object nor can any objective qualities be attributed to it. The same is true of that which is aware of these words, ie. Awareness. Check that out in your own experience.

Both Consciousness and Awareness (the word Nisargadatta uses for that which is prior to Consciousness)  are present now. But as neither have objective qualities they must be identical because there cannot be two distinct, non-objective realities present at the same time. If they were not present at the same time, both would be temporal. To be distinct or different, each would have to have at least one defining and therefore objective quality, and therefore neither would be what we know to be unlimited Consciousness or Awareness.

We cannot go further back in our experience than Consciousness or Awareness (in the ways the terms are used here) and therefore they are Absolute.

With kind regards,