Drig Drishya Viveka says I am aware of the contents in my mind and hence I should be different from my mind. But that awareness of being different from the mind or watching the mind only comes when I think, which means its mind thinking about mind. This awareness ceases to exist when I do a act in busy way or in deep sleep. What is the proof that there is something separate from my mind watching the mind and illuminating it?

Drig Drishya Viveka also says Sakshi or witness cannot be known as its not an object. Its subject. So what does it watch? Isnt watching done by mind itself?

  • If you are looking to resolve at the word level all these metaphysical statements, it is futile. You have to commit to it and practice some kind of Sadhana to get anywhere. @SethuSrivatsaKoduru
    – S K
    Aug 14, 2023 at 16:27
  • you answered it yourself - the fact that you are in deep sleep, without using the mind to think, and later when you wake up, you use the mind to think - means that YOU and MIND are different. mind is just an instrument through which you watch. it's like a telescope. you can use the telescope or set it aside.
    – ram
    Aug 16, 2023 at 0:30

2 Answers 2


It is not possible to defend the concept of the Atman or the Self or prove it purely intellectually.

Let me post Sri Sankaracharya's defense of the Self in Brahma Sutra.

And (the ego-consciousness cannot be the abode), for it is momentary.

Brahma Sutra II.ii.31

As for the ego-consciousness that is assumed to be the abode of disposition (or tendency), that too has no stable form, since you postulate its momentariness like sense-perception. Hence it cannot be the abode of tendencies. For unless there be some principle running through everything and abiding through all the three periods of time or some unchanging witness of all, there can be no human dealing involving remembrance, recognition, etc, which are contingent on past impressions that are stored up in conformity with environment, time and causation. If the ego-consciousness be (assumed to be) unchanging by nature, your doctrine (of momentariness) will be set at naught. Moreover since the theory of momentariness is upheld equally in Vijnanavada, all the defects arising from momentariness that were levelled (by us) against the theory of these (Buddhists) who believe in the existence of (momentary) external things, viz those shown under the aphorisms starting from, "And because the earlier is negated when the later emerges" (II.ii.20) are to be remembered in this context as well. Thus are refuted both these Buddhist points of view - of both those who believe in external things and those who believe in (subjective) consciousness). As for the view of the absolute nihilist, no attempt is made for its refutation since it is opposed to all means of valid knowledge. For human behaviour, conforming as it does to all right means of valid knowledge, cannot be denied so long as a different order of reality is not realized; for unless there be an exception, the general rule prevails.

Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sri Sankaracharya II.ii.31

Sri Sankaracharya is defending the concept of the Self by saying that there is a need for some principle to explain the stability of identity and remembrance. Will modern neurologists accept this argument?

Doubt will remain even if the existence of Atman is vouchsafed by scripture or argument given above. Remember that Buddhists knew about the Atman or the Self written in scripture and yet rejected the concept.

Even Gita acknowledges that simply reading scripture or reading arguments defending it will not dispel doubt.

An ignorant man without any positive faith (sraddha), who knows only to doubt, goes to ruin. To such a doubting soul there is neither this world nor the world beyond. There is no happiness for him.

Gita 4.40

O Arjuna! Works do not bind one who has abandoned them through Yoga consisting in dedication and detachment, whose doubts have been dispelled by divine knowledge, and who is poised in the Self.

Gita 4.41

Therefore cutting asunder the skeptical tendency of the heart by the sword of divine knowledge, betake yourself to Yoga and arise, O scion of the Bharata race!

Gita 4.42

One can be certain only if one has direct anubhuti (experience) of the Self.


But that awareness of being different from the mind or watching the mind only comes when I think, which means its mind thinking about mind. Nevertheless, the awareness/existence does not lose its continuity whatsoever happens.This is known by common experience..(ie. even in the cases of dementia,coma,deep sleep ,etc continuity is not lost forever).Even after dementia, some may get back to normalcy etc , where mind has failed.. The reason for this continuity is attributed to awareness , but it cannot be an entity or a concept (If so , it becomes the object as hinted in Q itself) also bcos Kenopanishad says ( Na Vidmo Na Vijanimo ) that which cannot be known ,being the subject. But the mind and intellect is experienced/known so it becomes, yet another instrument as in kena up. ( srotrasya srotam manaso mano) the changeless witness principle,which is the observer of ever-changing continuity, contributes to the relativity of change /acting as frame of reference, which is neither non existent( as existence cannot come out of non existence as per vivekachudamani), nor is an entity or concept.. So the conclusion is .. it is the subject that completes the dichotomy (dvandva) of change-changeless..

Yet what ever is to be known can be known through mind only ,

So says amritabindu. Upanishad

mana eva manushyanam karanam bandha-mokshayoh

SVSSS (Sri Shankara Bhagavadpada - Translation Swami Tattvananda)

But the mind (manas) is always conscious, and it understands everything. At the same time it is also capable of comprehending external objects. Would it not follow that it is not prāṇa, but the mind that is the Ātman?(svsss 550)

The doctrine that the intellect is the Self Such persons might say, “The mind also is but a tool of the Ātman. In this respect it is no better than the eye, and the other sense organs. As a rule, all things that have an instrumental value are for the sake of something else, other than their own sake. Consequently they have no independent existence.”(svsss 553)

Therefore only the wielder of the tool may be said to be a doer; in that sense, the Ātman alone is the doer, for the Ātman alone is independent. If it were otherwise, the Puruṣa woud become a mere agent.(svsss 554)

Infancy and childhood, youth and old age come and go. Waking gives place to dreaming, and dreaming gives place to deep sleep. Good and evil rise and fade away like ripples on the Ganges; but the stream of consciousness goes on for ever. It is in this sense that the Ātman is the witnessing consciousness. It is the eternal ‘I am’.(svsss 614)

The existence of the Ātman is thus woven inextricably with the idea, ‘I exist’; and this concept persists at all the levels of consciousness. That is why it is said that the Ātman knows no change and is eternal.(svsss 612)

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