Even as rock remains rock, carved or uncarved, consciousness remains consciousness whether the world appears or not. The world-appearance is but an empty expression; its substance is nothing but consciousness.
In fact, even these manifestations and modifications are but Brahman, the cosmic consciousness—though not in the sense of manifestation or modification. Even this distinction—modification in the sense of modification, or any other sense—is meaningless in Brahman. When such expressions are used in relation to Brahman, the meaning is quite different, like water in the mirage.