Who is the seer? And who is the seen?

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Question:

“From the darkness of false ego, the first of the five elements, namely the sky, is generated. Its subtle form is the quality of sound, exactly as the seer is in relationship with the seen.”

I don’t understand this analogy of the seer and the seen.

Here is an excerpt from the purport to this verse: 

“It is said that first the tan-matra sound is created and then the sky, and in this verse, it is confirmed that actually it is so, but sound is the subtle form of the sky, and the distinction is like that between the seer and the seen. The sound is the representation of the actual object, as the sound produced speaking of the object gives an idea of the description of the object. Therefore sound is the subtle characteristic of the object.”

Who is the seer? And who is the seen? Is this about sound and sky?  Or is this about the soul and supersoul?  

I am very confused about the meaning of the seer and the seen.  

Can you please clear it up for me?  Thank you.

 

Answer:

You are quoting the Srimad-Bhagavatam verse 2.5.25.

tamasad api bhutader

vikurvanad abhun nabhah

tasya matra gunah sabdo

lingam yad drastr-drsyayoh

“From the darkness of false ego, the first of the five elements, namely the sky, is generated. Its subtle form is the quality of sound, exactly as the seer is in relationship with the seen.”

The two words “seer” and “seen” are used as an analogy which has the purpose of making easier the understanding of the concept.

One of the intrinsic qualities of a seer (drastri) is that he is seeing (drisyaya) something or someone. If he wasn’t seeing anything he wouldn’t have been called a seer. Similarly one of the intrinsic qualities of nabha (the sky) is sound, which is its matra (the subtle form of an object), which is its subtle form. Therefore the two have a direct relationship and they actually can’t be separated.

 

 

Other analogies:

We can’t separate water from liquidity, or fire from heat. Water that is not liquid is not water but something else. To get wet you need to be in the water. Fire that is not hot is not fire but something else. To get heat, you need to be close to fire.

In order to vibrate or hear sound, we need to be in a part of space called nabha. Above this plane sound can’t be heard. Like if you go to outer space, you can’t hear sounds because you are above the sky.

 

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