I have been pondering the nature of vritti and it seems that self awareness is a natural condition pervasive throughout the universe. A matter particle is aware of gravitational field. We know this is true because it "responds" to that. A proton is aware of EM fields, it responds to EM fields. Similarly, the vrittis that we experience, qualia is the closest thing I can refer to as the western analogue of, predicates the existence of an experiencer. Sadness doesn't exist independently, neither does sight. Now you might argue what about infrared light? It exists but has close to no place in our awareness; First I'd say that is not true. IR does have an effect and can be felt on your skin as heat in a congested room. Similarly UV rays damage your DNA and even though you aren't immediately aware of it, you do become aware of it once disease strikes. We are mostly aware of that which has been selected by natural selection for the maximum number of times. So it's not surprising that with time, the awareness of elusive phenomenon will seep deeper in the general public awareness. This is how civilization evolved to the point of being able to identify microbes as the cause of microbial disease. Dark matter is another phenomenon which don't even have measurable effects on our telescopes, yet it is responsible for shaping galaxies, which in turn led to formation of stars, which made elements necessary for life available on rocky planets, necessitating our physical existence.

Sorry for that detour, but I'm trying to show that everything that can be known is known by a knower, even though he is ignorant of it. Similarly, our identities are tied down to the biological processes we identify with. In essence, consciousness is the same shared condition of reality, expressed in various beings, but being the same phenomenon. How can there be a vritti without a knower? Well, why not make the vritti the knower itself! We use occam's razor and apply an attribute of self-awareness to some vrittis and now we have reduced the ontology of separate qualia plus awareness -> self referential qualia.

  • The content of your question is more of answer in nature. It may be closed, as there is no question involved Feb 19, 2020 at 7:13
  • @srimannarayanakv I understand that. The purpose was to spark analysis of terms and refine them and I hope I've successfully done that. I have no issues with this question being closed as technically it's more of a discussion.
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 7:18
  • Yes I can understand that. However, this site has some rules, which everyone has to follow Feb 19, 2020 at 7:37

1 Answer 1


Yes. Consciousness can be Vrittis themselves. However, some clarifications is in order. Alright. From your statements below,

"A matter particle is aware of gravitational field. We know this is true because it "responds" to that. A proton is aware of EM fields, it responds to EM fields."

Is the proton Aware of the Matter particle at a higher conglomeration? Does a proton "know" about the "higher" level object called Matter that contains the Proton? It can only guess as to its container and other container to container interactions. Similarly, the awareness is also "compartmentalized" the lower level entities( call it proton, quark, etc...) are not aware of their Higher level groupings. Similarly the Higher level Aware entities cannot know about low level entities without breaking apart matter etc. So, it is not possible for all Vrittis to be known across levels. Now, Can One Knower know all Vrittis? Let's analyze. Are you Aware of what's going on inside your body in the third "bulb" of the intestine right now? You cannot possibly know without looking at yourself or through some external help. If you want to keep the physical, structural integrity of your body AND know what's going on everywhere in your body, then something's gotta give. Remember, you are the only One Sentient being. Either you rearrange yourself/your body in such a way that the knowledge you seek to gain is available for you to observe and become aware of OR you can create another "aware' entity that is created Out of your own Sentience by you to observe the desired phenomenon - which can be a Vritti. You could sort of imagine such a Sentience hierarchy as a Tree structure( relate to Binary trees CS etc.) with individual Sentient entities( Particles, ?) are aware of Lower level Vrittis. Upanishads are not Far off...

"This eternal aśvattha tree has its root above and branches below; That verily (is the) pure; That is Brahman; That alone is called the immortal. In That rest all the worlds; and none, verily, ever transcends That. This is verily That." (Katha Upanishad, 1st Mantra, Canto 6)

Replace the idea of One Knower with Multiple Knowers. This was the idea of the Sadhya Devas ( Refer to Purusha Sukta.), The first Achievers. When such "awareness" of individual nodes of the Sentient tree needs to be assembled to Divine the Truth of Vrittis at multiple levels, then appropriate higher level entities descend - the Avatars to say the least. Now, Why do you need such compartmentalization of Awareness? This is some thing to ponder. You don't obviously say/explain/share everything about you to others. There are some Privacy things which you do silently, For e.g, what you think. It might have unknown consequences if you share. What happens if Multiple Vrittis combine what is the side effect? Particularly, if you are The Root Knower and want to retain your current Structural integrity of the Consciousness blob perturbations? You would want to analyze the end effect of such sharing of Vrittis at least to the point to determine if that detrimentally affects anything that would like retained. If not, such sharing of Awareness of Vrittis is OK. Otherwise, Not. So in essence there are two "kinds" of Vrittis. The private ones and the public ones. The Consciousness blobs Above your Vritti level knows both your Private and Public Vrittis. And the rule applies all the way to the top. So in Perfect Yogic state, you are still and merge with the Root entity without any Vrittis. Until, then you need to worry about Vrittis affecting your ascent. Next, what if the Root desired a change. The Wish of the Root becomes a Vritti at that level and the resulting cumulative changes propagates down the tree resulting in over all change of the Structure...That's all I wanted to say about that....

  • A couple of points to note: What you call the sentience hierarchy is already I believe known as emergence. It is a well found school of philosophy which seeks to explain complex phenomenon, waves, tornadoes, consciousness, a lion roaming the jungle, as an emergent phenomenon of the sum of it's moving parts. Clearly no lion can do an activity that would let any constituent particle violate the mechanistic laws of physics, but the mechanistic laws of physics place no apparent constrain over the behavior over the lion/tornado either.
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 6:10
  • For example weather is unpredictable not because we don't know how air molecules act, but we don't know what a large sum of air molecules does; this is a blind spot in the philosophy of reductionism. Science doesn't analyze too much on the level of complex phenonmenon, so it invents new terms to talk about it which are behaviors of averages. Entropy for example.
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 6:18
  • What you are saying in essence, is equivalent to my proposal, that there are multiple hierarchies of vritties themselves, experiencable at their specific level, with only some of them having self-reference. A cell may have a vritti that resembles nothing like the self-awareness we experience, but there is some kind of awareness that makes it known about where its membrane is and where environment begins. A quark may have a similary vritti but it may not know that there is something like being a quark, it merely carries out the vritti that a quark should entail in those that physical state.
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 6:23
  • The selfness of particular vrittis become significant because we have states like death and dreamless sleep, where consciousness simply vanishes. No thing to reflect from remains. Then we become biological vrittis that are also capable of self-reflection. All the yogi does is to realize his nature as being matter which is unorganized -> organized -> back to unorganized. Most of the time, there is no self. Isn't that the utmost revelation of yogis, there is really no self. Emotions entail the self. The self has no privileged ontological status as we'd like to believe.
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 6:26
  • Where I do have trouble understanding your point is, how is Brahman then defined? As the single knower, all the all pervasive superset of vrittis that are unmanifest that becocme manifest given time and the right conditions?
    – Weezy
    Feb 19, 2020 at 6:28

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