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The seen is within the 'seer'
Who is the seer?
The title itself is intriguing to many. Neither I am quite comfortable with the subject chosen but I have come across this statement in certain texts of philosophy. Let us delve on this subject since I am also new to this philosophy.
First, let us try to define the terms, 'seer and seen'. The 'seen' is all that we see in the external world including our own body. Then what constitute the seer? Are we not the 'seer'? Let us first understand the process of seeing itself. How everything is seen? I have read in some books which poses a question. Are the scenes fall on our eyes or the eye seek the scenes? Even while we examine this aspect, let us assume that the rays fall on our eyes, caught in the retina in upside down fashion. The optical nerves convey the scene to the brain which perceives the scene in straight way. Now 'light' is the medium through which our eyes captures the scenes which falls in the eye screen through the lens. Now, we understand that the eye is only an organ which do not perceive the scene but the brain reconstruct the image. But, the scriptures say, it is not the brain but there is a seer behind who perceives the pictures. Then, the real question arises. Are we not the seers? The scriptures assert that the physical entity called human beings are also included in the scene category but there is an 'invisible seer' who utilize the body, mind and senses to see the world!
Again, the scriptures assert that the 'seer' is none other than the "SELF" of every individual. The bodies of each individual may differ but the 'seer' in each and every body is one and the same.There are no two 'seers' since the self is one only as per the non dual philosophy advocated by Adhi Sankara and many other saints in India. In fact, Vivekananda too subscribed to this view. During his historic lecture in Chicago, he said, "The centers are everywhere but the circumference is nowhere. Each individual self and the cosmic Self are one and the same. The individual 'i'(ego self) falsely identifies itself with the body and feels that he is the enjoyer or sufferer. It is the 'myness', the feeling of identity with the body makes him to think in this fashion. But the real 'seer' is behind all this illusions created by the mind! Here, I remember an episode in the life of great saint Ramana Maharishi of Thiruvannamalai, in South India. When he was seriously ill with carcinoma, and he was about to pass away, the devotees pleaded with him, "not to leave them'. To this Sri Ramana Maharishi replied, "Where I can go, I am always here". It is a very profound statement. He is not referring to the dying body. He is referring the 'immortal self' which neither comes nor goes. It was there before, It is now here, It is going to be here forever. It is not born nor it suffers death. Only the bodies takes birth and perish since they came in between and hence they will perish. Which comes in the middle goes away too. But the Self or the SEER is ever present everywhere.
The conclusion is 'neither the eye, nor the brain nor the individual is the seer. All these are 'seen'. The seer is the SELF alone!