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Sunya - Choiceless Awareness

Sunyata or sunya has no equivalent terms in Western vocabulary, perhaps the closest is emptiness or no-thingness, yet even these terms are inadequate with sunyata or sunya when considered within their cultural context.

Words are a reflection of the experience, since there are is no historic knowledge of consciousness, non-duality and Oneness within Western historic context; it is not surprising there are no words to describe such states of awareness or consciousness. The Indic traditions like Gurmat, the existence of pure consciousness state is asserted as a fact based on experience brought about by practices which give rise to this state.

The experience of pure consciousness is not mean that it’s an empty or devoid of meaning but rather profoundly transformational experience producing significant personal changes, a process of moving from a manmukh (content or mind fused identity) to a Gurmukh, (awareness or contentless identity).

Through Symran, cultivation of present moment awareness without choosing to be for or against what is present gives rise ego-lessness, or Gurmukh as awareness of undivided Presence in moment to moment experience. Unlike the ego-complex mind, haumai, which makes constant choices as aversion or attraction to its encounter with existence, continues to divide and separate itself from the source of Oneness.

Sunya on the other hand an open, accepting and non-judgmental choiceless witnessing revealed in choiceless awareness towards authentic naked self devoid of the ego-complex Haumai.

Gurmat echoes both Buddhist and Siddha-Nath-Yogi tradition, yet, also presents a further interpretation of Sunya. Sunya is used in a number of contexts in Gurmat, Sunn Samadh (absorption in Samadhi), Sunn Shabd (emptiness of sound vibration), Sunn Mandal (realm of sunyata) and Sunn Sahej which is the fourth state.

Bhagat Kabir echoes the non-existence of the subject-object duality, a state of choiceless awareness, unpolluted:

jeevan mirath n dhukh sukh biaapai sunn samaadhh dhooo theh naahee ||1||
No life or death, no pain or pleasure is felt there. There is only the preconditioned state of samaadhi (Oneness), and no duality. ||1||
…sunyata is a provisional heuristic term for the nature of the universe seen without such absolutistic mental constructions. It is a reality without an "illusionary veil" of conceptual formations that impose a conventional view of reality.
(Watson, p78) Andrew Tuck on the Western interpretation of Sunyata.
dhaehee mehi eis kaa bisraam || sunn samaadhh anehath theh naadh ||
Within the human body is its place of rest. In choiceless awareness the unstruck sound current of the Naad are there.

Sunya is the One indescribable formless (nirgun) Absolute ground of being, Consciousness in its full effulgence. (Kohli 1992). Creation appears when willed by this formless, Akal Purakh (Timeless Consciousness) through the Sunya phase.