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What Is Pure Consciousness In Hinduism? - Chaitanya

Chaitanya is pure consciousness in Hinduism. It is the essence of Brahman. It is pure intelligence. It is pure spirituality. It is the potency which lies at the root of all motion and change in nature. It is the capacity of reaction to outer influences, a potency which in its highest development reveals itself as human intellect, as spirit.

Chaitanya is the real self or ‘I,’ which is present as Sakshin (witness) to all individual actions but is itself only apparently individualized by the body, the indris (sense organs), the objects of the outer world, and the mind or manasa (internal organ). Hence it is Brahman.

Sculpture At Chennakeshava Temple Belur

Chaitanya is the power that, without losing its identity and unity, embraces the manifold in the world of human experience.

Being pure consciousness, it is not reflective consciousness, and thus it is not self-conscious. It has nothing for its support, nor does it require any support. It is self-illuminating as well as self0llumined. Nothing can be its object.

Pure consciousness cannot be dualistic. It is not vak (the word); rather it is that which enables the word to be. It does not depend upon man’s state of consciousness. It is ever present in him, in whatever state he may be.

Only from consciousness arise the vital breaths and with them the worlds, the gods, and consciousness that is Brahman.

All beings are nothing but the reflections, shadows, thoughts, objects, and creatures of that pure consciousness, the Brahman, which is the subtle center of consciousness (chit) and also the ultimate joy, ananda (bliss).

Source -
  • Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume III - page 3 published by IHRF.
  • The System of Vedanta by P Deussen (1983) published by Puja Publications, New Delhi.
  • Aitareya Upanishad and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad by Swami Harshananda (1998) published by Ramakrishna Math, Bangalore