Pot and Clay

Pratyush Kumar Panda
3 min readSep 13, 2019


The traditional Vendantic discussion on pots.

The default view we have is that the following is a pot.

If pushed a bit hard, we may say that there is clay in the pot.

But let’s think of this: There was clay before the pot was created. And if the pot were to break sometime, the clay would continue. So, the pot arises and dies out, while the clay exists.

Similarly, is the following a wave?

Yes, we would say so.

But in reality, there was water which formed the wave and after the wave crashes there is again water. So, there seems to be wave in the water, and not water in the wave.

Or similarly, the pot is in the clay, and not the other way around.

This is already astonishing, we have situated our dominant ideas of pot and wave within the subtler ideas of clay and water.

Let’s go further. Is there really a pot within the clay? As in are they different? If the pot were really different from the clay, it should exist separate from the clay.

Can we separate the clay from the pot, and still retain it as a pot? No. The pot is actually non-existent. What we call as pot is just clay through and through. Similarly, the wave doesn’t exist, it’s just water.

Pots and waves are imagined realities, which dissolve into the underlying true-r reality which is either the clay or the water.

This unbecoming of the pot happened in one go. It is not that at some point, we imagined one side as clay and the other side as pot. Similarly, the wave dissolved into water in one sweep.

Astonishing. What dominated our thought process at the start — the pot — has now been eliminated and instead we have just the clay, alone.

During this exposition internally, did the following change at all?

No, it is still what it was. We only see it as what it is.

Similarly, the world of names and forms is an imagined reality. The underlying cause of it all is pure existence.

This pure existence is nothing abstract, just as the clay is nothing abstract.

This pure existence is always there, just as the clay was always there for us to see.

And upon seeing the world as the pure existence, nothing changes externally. We only internally see things as they are.