Fruit from the Garden of Wisdom
by Swami Krishnananda

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Chapter 14: The Ontological Existence

The value of a thing cannot be appreciated unless the mind is on a level equal to the value of the object which is to be evaluated. I told you the example of a gold necklace put on a cow's neck. It does not mean that the gold necklace has no value, but the cow cannot appreciate it. You cannot want a thing unless you are needing it. If your needs are already attended to by other means, you will not ask for something irrelevant.

The mind which is involved in the physical body and social relations requires a diet which is physical and social. Unfortunately for us, God is neither physical nor social. Our needs are physical and social at present – to some extent, psychological. God is none of these. How can God attract us? If you are not merely a physical entity, not a social unit, or merely a mind that thinks, but an ontological existence, then you will not have such a problem, doubt or fear.

"Ontological" means concerning "pure being". One cannot be satisfied by anything but ontological existence. Only then love for God and need for God is felt. Your ontological existence is buried deep under the debris of physicality and sociality and psychological and political associations and that which is buried cannot act. So we do not feel the need for that which can be felt only by that which is deep within. All present we are not wholly ourselves; we are only partially ourselves. We are on the tip of the iceberg of our personality, and we are thinking through that tip on the top; and the larger base, which is heavy, is beneath the conscious level.

Our real personality is deeper than the conscious level, but we live only in the conscious level, and therefore, we are really not living in ourselves. Hence, we do not want God at present. This is the problem. But when you go deep beneath your conscious level, beneath your subconscious and unconscious also, further down, deeper than the unconscious even, you enter the metaphysical level, the ontological being.

Go deep, deeper than what you seem to be. What is inside the body? You will find the mind. What is inside the mind? Intellect. What is inside the intellect? In deep sleep, the body is not there, the mind is not there, the intellect is not there. But are you there? In deep sleep; are you there, or are you not there? You are there. Have you a doubt? Are you existing in the state of deep sleep, or are you not existing? Are you alive or dead in deep sleep? Very alive.

How do you know that you are alive? Who told you? When you had no consciousness of your existence in sleep, how do you make a statement that you are alive there? It is a hearsay, or real fact? Now you are stumbling on something which is the mystery of your being. That which you were in the state of deep sleep is your real personality - not intellect, not mind, not the senses, not the body, not relations, not friends, not enemies, not gold, not silver. Without anything you existed, and let us know what it was that existed at that time. That is your ontological status.