Chapter 2: The Structure of the Universe
Yesterday we were trying to distinguish between the formal relationships among things in terms of social ethics and personal etiquette on a utilitarian basis on one side and, on the other side, a scientific relationship that seems to be there among things. This analysis carries us to the larger question of the structure of the universe – how the world is functioning at all.
What is the constitution of the universe? We have constitutions of our government – there is a president, a prime minister, a cabinet, and there is a system of state government under which we have various officials representing the Centre, functioning in a harmonious manner in consonance with the system established in the form of the central constitution. Likewise, we have a constitution of the universe, a law laid down by the Centre, in accordance with which the whole of creation is to function – not chaotically or discordant with the central mode, but in concordance and in harmony with the central system originally laid down by an enactment of cosmical principles.
On one side of the picture, we see a vast world before us. We have a universe of physical matter which is supposed to be constituted of the mahabhutas, or the five elements – the earth principle, water principle, fire principle, air principle and ether principle. These five elements are before us as large objects of perception, called mahabhutas, vast objects. They are spread out everywhere. Wherever we look, we have before us earth, water, fire, air and ether. Most of the objects of the world are also constituted of the earth principle. Anything that is hard to the touch may be said to have the earth principle preponderating in it. According to a principle of permutation and combination of the elements, each element is supposed to have a certain fraction of other elements also within it, so that we do not have a pure earth principle, a pure water principle, a pure fire principle, and so on. Every element has other elements mixed with it in some proportion. Nevertheless, with all these permutations and combinations, the essential elements are only five.
But, the question is not answered merely by an enunciation of these five elements because all these elements stand in the position of objects of perception, and objects naturally have to hang on a subject of perception. There should be a sort of intimate connection between what is seen and the principle of seeing. It is impossible to posit the existence of even objects such as the five elements unless there is a proof for it. The proof for the existence of an object cannot be the object itself because the object does not prove its own existence. Something is brought in as a proof for the existence of objects. How do we know that the world exists? The world itself is not the proof. The proof is always a logical deduction consciously arrived at by processes other than what can be called the objective. A stone is not a proof of its own existence. The proof of the stone's existence is its being perceived.
Generally, we do not believe in the existence of God because God is not perceived. As something is not seen, we conclude it is not there. If something cannot be seen, cannot be heard, cannot be smelt, cannot be tasted, cannot be touched, what conclusion can we arrive at in regard to it? Perhaps it does not exist. The element of God does not exist, so we can deny His existence very easily inasmuch as there is no sensory proof for the existence of any such principle. If the world is to exist, it has to be sensorily proved. The world exists because it can be seen with the eyes, its sound can be heard by the ears, it can be tasted, it can be smelt, and it can be touched by the tactile sense. So the proof of the existence of the world is not the world itself because if we can conclude that the world exists from its own point of view taken independently, then we can say anything exists from its own point of view, whether it is seen or not.
What is the outcome of this analysis? We know that the five elements – or the world, for the matter of that – exists, not because of the status that the world itself occupies but because its status is recognised by some other principle which cannot be included within the category of objects. If no one is to know the world, there is no saying whether the world exists or does not exist. The existence of an object – let it be a large object like the world – is dependent on a consciousness of the object. When we are not aware of anything, we can say that such a thing does not exist. We have no proof for the existence of super-elemental principles, and therefore we go scot-free from laws that seem to be operating beyond the objects of sense.
Thus, when we have the world of objects on one side, we seem to have another series of facts on the other side which cannot be gainsaid and whose presence has to be accepted automatically together with the acceptance of the existence of the world of objects. If the world exists, a seer of the world also exists. If a seer of the world were not to exist, the world also need not exist. As they say, the proof of the pudding is the eating thereof.
The existence of the object seems to be in some respect identical with its capacity to be perceived. There was at least one great thinker who boldly proclaimed that to exist is to be perceived. In the West a representative of this school is Bishop Berkeley; and in the East the representatives are known as the Vijnanavadin Buddhists. To exist is to be perceived. If something is not perceived, it does not exist.
Now, perception does not mean merely coming before the organ of sight. Perception means the capacity to come within the cognition of any of the five senses, whether it is sight, hearing, taste, tangibility, or coming within the purview of the olfactory sense. Wonderful is this conclusion that to exist is to be perceived! So if I do not perceive you, you do not exist. This was a very startling and shocking conclusion to the world of philosophers. How can you say that I do not exist merely because you do not see me?
This was a deathblow given to the traditional schools of thought that were parading their knowledge before the birth of Berkeley in the West and before the birth of the Vijnanavadin Buddhists in the East. I can exist even if you do not see me. Then why should not anything exist even if we do not see it? This was another conclusion that could be drawn from this reaction to the school of thought which concluded that the essence of existence is perception. If I can exist even if nobody sees me, why should not anything else exist if nobody sees it? And if your conclusion is that something cannot be accepted as existent unless it is seen, well, I can say that you also do not exist if I close my eyes.
Here is the beginning of what is known as the Copernican Revolution in philosophy. It is called the Copernican Revolution because it was a kind of change brought about which was equally as shocking as the revelation brought to the world by the scientist Copernicus. He proclaimed to the world that the Earth revolves round the Sun rather than the Sun revolves around the Earth. We thought that the Earth is the centre of creation and that the planets, including the Sun, are only satellites. Not so was the conclusion of Copernicus. We are not the centre of creation. The Earth is a satellite of the Sun and, therefore, the Sun is the centre rather than the Earth. Such a revolution is called the Copernican Revolution in science.
In philosophy also, a revolution was brought about by this tremendous, heartbreaking conclusion to the world of philosophy that if to exist is to be perceived, then it is difficult to live in this world. But we cannot refute this theory. If we cannot accept, or do not want to accept, that to exist is to be perceived, then we have to accede or concede many other facts which we are not prepared to accept ordinarily. If something can exist even if it is not perceived, then anything can exist even if it is not perceived. How can we say that anything can exist even if it is not perceived? But that is the logical conclusion. We cannot refute our own logic. The very same logic that proves our existence even if we are not seen by anybody in the world can also prove the existence of anything else even if it is not seen by anybody.
Well, can we imagine a condition of creation when the Earth was alone without any human being on it? How do we know that the Earth existed when nobody saw it? Somebody should see an object in order that it may be proved to exist. But according to our astronomy, geology, and so on, perhaps the Earth did exist as a boiling mass descended from the orb of the Sun aeons before anything could have lived on it. How can we know that the Earth existed? By inference. We cannot perceive it. By inference from perceived facts we conclude that the Earth ought to have existed even if no living being was crawling on its surface.
So now we come to another proof, called inference. Even if a thing is not perceived, it can exist by the conclusion of inference. Therefore, to exist is not necessarily to be perceived; otherwise, the Earth could not exist when nobody was there to see it. If we were not there, the Earth was also not there. That will be the conclusion. But we are not prepared to accept this funny conclusion. Even if men were not on the surface of the Earth, the Earth did exist many millions of years ago. How do we know this? By inference. Therefore, the proof of the existence of a thing is not necessarily perception; it could also be inference. We can draw the conclusion inferentially that something ought to exist.
Let us not go beyond these two proofs for the time being. There are two proofs at least – perception and inference. Perception tells us that earth exists, water exists, fire exists, air exists and ether exists. But we cannot wash off our hands merely with the theory of perception. We have already accepted that there is something called inference or logical deduction. If the five elements are to be accepted as existent because they are perceived, can we also draw some other conclusion from inference? What could be prior to the manifestation of the five elements? Just as we concluded that prior to the revelation of life on Earth, Earth could have existed, what could have existed prior to the manifestation of the five elements? We have to conclude this fact by inference alone because this fact is prior to the manifestation of the five elements and, therefore, it lies outside the ken of perceptional logic.
Now, what is the process of inferring the existence of something prior to the manifestation of the five elements? It is the same principle of logic – philologistic deduction. We have philologistic logic: All men are mortal, Socrates was a man, and therefore Socrates was mortal. There are two kinds of philologistic deduction. One is proper and the other is improper. The proper philologistic deduction is that all men are mortal, Socrates is a man, and therefore Socrates is mortal. Quite agreeable. But an improper deduction is something like this: Queen Victoria is a woman, my mother is a woman, and therefore my mother is Queen Victoria. This is an improper deduction; it is not correct. Just because both are women, it does not mean both are Queen Victoria. So there can be wrong logic and wrong inference that apparently looks all right. Due to such deductions as these, we have many philosophies in the world. They look all right, but they are not really all right.
You have to listen to me carefully. The world of perception is in the position of objects. And we have concluded that objects are known to exist either due to perception or due to an inferential deduction. If an object is to exist, it must be proved by certain methods of logical deduction. These proofs cannot emanate from the objects themselves. The Earth does not prove its existence either by perception or through inference, and so on. Some other element, some other principle is necessary to bring forth this proof of the existence of something. Whether it is perception or inference, it is an operation of consciousness. It is somebody who is conscious, somebody who is intelligent – someone who is aware, so to say – who concludes perceptionally or inferentially that an object exists. Here we are not concerned with the simple object of normal perception; we are thinking of larger objects, like the five elements – or we may say that there is only one object, the whole world of five elements. This large object in the form of the five elements is known to exist by a consciousness. Whether this consciousness knows it perceptionally or inferentially is a different matter. It goes without saying that a consciousness seems to be the principle behind the conclusion that the world as a huge object does exist. So we have on the one side the world of objects, and on the other side consciousness. We have a twofold procedure of deduction. One is a deduction of the principle of consciousness, and the other is a deduction of the principle of objects. We cannot escape this twofold principle.
This is why, in India at least, there is a school of thought called the Samkhya, which concluded that there are two realities, the object and the subject. The Samkhya calls it prakriti on one side and purusha on the other side. Purusha is the principle of consciousness, and prakriti is the principle of objectivity. The world of objects is prakriti, and the principle of consciousness is purusha. The whole universe is nothing but prakriti and purusha. There are only two things everywhere – something that is known and something that knows, something that is seen, perceived or inferred and another thing that sees, perceives or infers. This is the Samkhya philosophy, the Samkhya doctrine of the duality of the object and the subject. We cannot conceive of anything else anywhere. Whatever is there is something that is seen. But something that is seen is, after all, seen by something else. That something else is the element of consciousness. So we come to a dual experience of the large world of objects, the universe before us, and we ourselves as observers thereof of consciousness and matter, purusha and prakriti, the seer and the seen. This is the universe of experience.
But the problem does not end here. We are carried forward by an inferential demand of a necessity to bring about a coordination between purusha and prakriti. We cannot have a large gulf between purusha and prakriti and be happy. The gulf has to be bridged. A yawning gulf without a bridge between the two terms of relation is indefensible, logically. A gulf cannot be there unless we know that there are two shores containing the gulf. The very fact of the consciousness of difference is proof enough of there being a concordance or a harmony between the two terms of the relation apparently differentiated or separated by the so-called gulf. If the prakriti or the world of objects is to be there, and a purusha as a centre of consciousness also is to be there, we have to know what the relation between the two is. The whole of life is nothing but this supreme relation between purusha and prakriti. Yesterday we were trying to discuss the nature of life and the purpose of life, the spirit of life and the nature of spirituality. This question has brought us now to the other question, the relation between consciousness and matter, this relationship being nothing but life, or the spirit of life.
The relation between purusha and prakriti is a subject that is discussed in all the scriptures, especially the Bhagavadgita, the Upanishads and the Vedanta Shastras. Prakṛitiṁ puruṣam caiva viddhyanādī ubhāv api (13.19), says the Bhagavadgita. These two principles seem to be eternal. We cannot know when prakriti came into existence, and also we cannot know when consciousness came to exist. However much we may go behind and beyond the causal series of the evolution of prakriti, we seem to be there as an observer thereof, which is why we cannot say when prakriti came into existence; and we also cannot know when consciousness came into existence because however much we may go behind and behind and behind the principle of consciousness, there is a consciousness behind that principle of consciousness. Behind consciousness there is a consciousness of that consciousness, so we are caught up in a logical seesaw. The origin of creation cannot be proved logically because however far behind we go in the causal series, we seem to be there as an observer thereof.
The Samkhya doctrine gives us a clue to this relation between the two terms of relation, consciousness and matter. The evolutionary scheme of the Samkhya is very helpful to us in understanding this mystery. On one side there is a world, and on the other side there is the perceiver of the world. Both these seem to be running parallelly along two altogether different lines of approach; but these parallel lines seem to meet at a point. How can parallel lines meet? Geometry tells us that parallels never meet, but today science tells us that parallels can meet in infinity. This is something super-geometrical. Infinity is the meeting point of parallel lines. Purusha and prakriti meet at one point, which is the point of infinity. We have been told that light travels in straight lines, that it never bends; but today scientists tell us that light can bend under certain given conditions, and it does not always travel in straight lines. Therefore, parallel lines do meet, though at a point of infinity.
Now, infinity is a term that we give to incomprehensible positions of things beyond the spatial and temporal limitations of objects. Such a point of infinity is posited by the Sankhya. Prakriti and purusha meet at a point which is called the bindu in tantric terminology. The bindu, or the universal point, is a centre wherein the element of consciousness and the element of objects converge into a single subjectivity which is neither material nor conscious in the ordinary sense of the term. The Samkhya tells us this is the principle of mahat-tattva commingled with pure Self-consciousness called the supreme ahamkara. The ahamkara tattva mentioned here by the Samkhya as inseparable from the mahat is not the egoism that we are familiar with, but pure indeterminate Self-consciousness.
This is the beginning of creation. This is the bindu, this is the nada, and this is the kala from where the universal reverberation of omkara commences. There we have neither prakriti nor purusha, neither the object nor the subject, neither matter nor consciousness. What is there, no one knows. That indeterminate something is nasadasi'nnosadasit, says the Rig Veda. We do not know whether existence was or non-existence was, whether we were or something was, whether matter was or consciousness was. “Something existed,” says the Samkhya, says the Rig Veda, say the scriptures, and this is what has been proclaimed by the masters in Yoga. This is the supreme silence of Truth or Reality.
Here we shut our mouths forever. We speak not, because there is no object to be spoken about and there is no speaker thereof. This silence is the real mauna of creation. In the very beginning of the great Smriti of Manu we are told, “Asid asitidam tamobhutam aprajnatam alakshanam, apratargyam avijneyam prasuptamiva sarvatah.” Manu commences his Smriti in this manner. Asid asitidam tamobhutam aprajnatam alakshanam: unknown and indefinable darkness prevailed, as it were, in the beginning of things – darkness due to the excess of light. It was not the absence of light that was the cause of darkness; the darkness was due to the excess of light. When light is too much, it looks like darkness. Suppose ten million Suns descend into this hall; it would be like darkness for us. We would simply close our eyes and be dazzled to such an extent that we would see pitch darkness. It is said that when Bhagavan Sri Krishna showed his Visvarupa in the court of the Kauravas, all people closed their eyes and saw nothing, as if it was midnight, but it was the blazing light of tens of millions of Suns which looked like darkness to the eyes of the mortals. So, the tamas which Manu describes, and the non-existence which the Rig Veda speaks of in its Nasadiya Sukta, is not the non-existence of things and not the darkness of the absence of light, but the darkness which is the effect of a transcendent luminosity beyond the capacity of sensory perception, and a non-existence of everything sensorily observed. It is non-existence, yes. But it is non-existence of everything that is objective, external, temporal, spatial, and even what can be called subjective.
Such a mighty mystery is regarded as the beginning of creation. And from that bindu, nada, kala, from that supreme non-existence of all temporal existence, from that supreme light which is the darkness of mortal perception, two lines of evolution began to emanate – on one side the line of objects, and on the other side the line of subjects. The scheme of creation as the object world is known as the five elements of perception; and the scheme of evolution on the other side – as the line of observation or perceptibility, consciousness – is known as the jiva. So we have the jiva-srishti on one side, and the jagat-srishti on the other side. Samsara is nothing but the belief in the separability of the object from the subject of perception, and moksha or liberation is nothing but rising to the point of that unity of prakriti and purusha where one does not see, and there is nothing to be seen.
This is to know something from the point of view of the Samkhya, the Vedanta, and scriptural testimony. But we can also know inferentially that the world of perception is not all, and there seems to be an underlying current of union between the perceiving consciousness and the object of perception. The world is contained within consciousness, and that is why it is capable of being known. Knowing is nothing but the entry of the object into the knowing principle. The object enters into knowledge, or consciousness, and then it becomes known. When there is a union of the object with the subject, the object is known to exist. The world enters our consciousness, and then we say that the world exists.
But the world cannot enter our consciousness, because the world is so large and we seem to be so small. We are Mr. so and so, Mrs. so and so, individuals here, samsarins, little percipients, not in a position to contain the large universal scheme of creation; and yet inferentially it appears that our consciousness is capable of containing the large object, if logically we are driven to the acceptance of the fact that the large universe as an object is contained in our consciousness because it is known by us as an object. Though our eyes are so small, they can contain the perception of a large mountain or a huge world in front of us.
This is proof enough of a super-sensible truth that behind the eyes that perceive the large world, there is a principle which peeps through the eyes, but is not contained by the eyes. The vast space can be reflected in a glass of water. The glass is so small, and yet we see a vast panorama of the stellar system in the sky reflected there because of the convergence of light rays in the water contained in a small glass. Because of a peculiar phenomena of perception due to which rays of consciousness converge, as it were, in the retina of the eyes and get focussed on the object outside, we seem to be able to look at a large object though our eyes are so small in their constitution. There is a principle of perception behind the eyes that gives life and vitality to them, and also gives the confidence in ourselves that we do exist in spite of our not being seen physically. We can close our eyes, and yet know that we are. We can plug our ears and shut all the senses, and yet we can know that we are. So we do not know that we are merely because of the organs of perception. Such a principle behind the sensory activity operates even in the perception of an object outside us. Just as we know that we exist even without the senses operating, we know that the objects exist even without the senses operating.
To give an instance, we have dream perception. The senses do not operate in the dream world, and yet we create objects of sense. We create a temporary dream sense to know the existence of dream objects. The mind is the real perceiver, and not the sense organs. The sense organs are only instruments for the operation of the mind. Even the mind is not the real perceiver, because the mind acts merely as a lens to reflect a light within that is precedent to the mind itself. In deep sleep, for example, the mind does not function, and yet we know that we existed. That was our real nature. That was what we can now conclude as a principle of awareness which focuses itself through the different layers of our personality, through the mind and the senses, and even through the body. The consciousness charges itself like electric force through the mind, through the senses, through the nervous system, through the muscles and even the bones; and then we begin to feel that we are a physical body, we have a nervous system, we have a muscular system, we have a mind, and so on. It withdraws itself in sleep, manifests itself in waking, and partially manifests itself in dream.
Not only that, the consciousness projects itself even beyond our physical body in loves and hatreds. In loves and hatreds, in likes and dislikes, the consciousness projects itself beyond the body and catches objects outside. Then it is that we are affected by the world outside. When a loved object is taken away by bereavement, we get a shock because the consciousness gets a shock. It was temporarily tethered on the object due to affection and the object has been severed by an act of Providence, and then there is a temporary death of the self of consciousness itself, as it were. So we get a shock due to the death of relatives, and so on. When relatives die, why do we get a shock? Somebody is dying; why do we get pained? Why do we feel affected when somebody else dies? It is because that person is connected in our consciousness, and so it is like a tree feeling it has lost part of itself when a branch is cut off. Just as the vitality or the sap of the trunk of a tree manifests itself and flows through every branch and every tendril, every flower, fruit and leaf of the tree, in the tree of samsara the principle of consciousness seems to manifest itself through the trunk of the percipient and then project itself forward through the branches of objects which are liked and not liked. Raga-dvesha is a ramification of consciousness through the object world.
All this is an inferential proof of the fact that the purusha element, or the principle of consciousness, is not limited to the body. It is capable of containing the whole world within itself; and by a peculiar contact that it has established between itself and the world of objects outside, it has got involved in samsara. The samkhya gives us an analogy. Just as a crystal which has no colour can appear to have a colour of redness, etc., when a red flower is brought near it, the consciousness appears to have form when form is brought near it. A crystal has no colour. We cannot even see it if it is simply hung in space. But it assumes a colour when a coloured object is brought near it. The whole of the crystal has assumed a redness as if it is charged with redness, as if redness has entered it to its very central substance when the red object is brought close to it, though the colour has not really entered it, and cannot enter it. It always remains outside. It belongs to another object altogether, such as a red flower. So also the character of objects – lovability, beauty, desirability, etc. – cannot belong to consciousness. The consciousness cannot be limited, and yet it appears to be limited on account of its assumption of the character of objects outside due to proximity. As the colour of a flower can be reflected in a crystal, the character of objects can be reflected in our consciousness.
So instead of being merely witnesses of a world of objects, we have become part of the world, just as the crystal can be said to have become part of the colour of the flower. Then we regard ourselves as samsarins, caught in samsara and misery. “I am nobody. I am a poor person. I am grieved to the core of life.” Just as the crystal can assume the character of the object brought near it, we have assumed the character of the world of samsara. Diversity and objectivity are the characteristics of prakriti, or the object; and consciousness, which is like a crystal assuming the character and the colour of the object, regards itself as diversified. So we have many people and many objects in the world, each apparently unconnected with the other, each suffering due to limitation and change due to the process of evolution. Birth and death are the immediate outcome of this apparent separation of consciousness. It is apparent, not real – just as the colour of the crystal is apparent and does not really change the crystal. When the object is taken away from the crystal, the crystal stands pure as it was.
So also the principle objectivity has to be isolated from consciousness. This is called kaivalya or moksha. Kaivalya means kevalata. Kevala means oneness, alone, aloneness. When we stand alone as purusha, as consciousness, independent of association with objects or prakriti, we are said to have attained kaivalya. This is also called moksha. It is called moksha because it is freedom. Moksha means liberation, mukti, complete dissociation from all factors causing bondage. When the purusha isolates itself, separates itself from contact with prakriti, it is supposed to attain kaivalya moksha. We stand in our independent status. We are no more a slave to the enchantment of prakriti.
To attain this kaivalya, or moksha, we have to separate the principle of externality from us. The object is nothing but the element of externality; it is not something substantial. This we will know by a further analysis that we have to carry on in coming days. The principle of externality is what we called the object. It is not substantiality. It is merely externality, something introduced into the true substance of things due to a false association of consciousness with what is not itself. So again we have the difference between the Self and the not-Self. The Self is the principle of consciousness, and the not-Self is the principle of objectivity or externality. These two principles have been erroneously brought into a juxtaposition, and the world of samsara has been created.
Samsara, or the world of tension, has been created on account of the coming together of the two principles of consciousness and externality, purusha and prakriti. This tension of samsara cannot be remedied until we reach the point wherein they converge from where they emanated from the mahat-tattva as two parallel lines of evolution. In the Kathonanishad there is a description of these two lines of evolution meeting at one point. Indriyebhyaḥ parā hy arthā, arthebhyaś ca param manaḥ, manasaś ca parā buddhir buddher ātmā mahān paraḥ (1.3.10). Mahataḥ param avyaktam, avyaktāt puruṣaḥ paraḥ, puruṣān na paraṁ kiñcit: sā kāṣṭhā, sā parā gatiḥ (1.3.11). Beyond the objects of perception there are the subtle essences called the tanmatras, the principles of objectivity, which are the causative factors of the five elements perceived by the organs of sense. Beyond the organs of sense are the objects, beyond the objects are their subtle essences, and beyond these essences is the mental principle which cognises these essences of objects. Beyond the principle of the mind there is the principle of understanding, or buddhi. The intellect is superior to the mind, the mind is superior to the senses, and the senses are superior to the objects.
Now, with the intellect we have exhausted all our faculties. Beyond the intellect we have nothing with us. We cannot know or see anything transcendent to the power of logical understanding, or buddhi. "But," says the Kathopanishad, "there is something beyond the buddhi – buddher ātmā mahān paraḥ. Mahan-atma is the mahat-tattva of the Samkhya, what is called Hiranyagarhha in the Vedanta, or Brahman in the Epics and the Puranas. It is also called the Creative Energy. That is the point where the subject on one side and the object on the other side meet or converge.
Mahataḥ param avyaktam. Beyond the mahat tattva is that peculiar Will to create, or the decision to manifest, emanating from an indeterminate principle to which I made reference as mentioned in the Nasadiya Sukta of the Rig Veda. Avyakta, unmanifest, is the principle of Ishvara or the Ishvaratattva, the principle of God, the Will to create, wherein is the explanation for all things. When we reach the seed of the tree, we have an explanation for all that we see as a manifested tree. When we reach this Supreme mahat-tattva and avyakta, which are the seed of this vast creation, we have a final answer to all our questions and a solution to all our problems.
But beyond still, beyond this causative principle of avyakta, is the Absolute. This is called the ultimate purusha or the Purushottama. It is called Purushottama because it is transcendent purusha and not merely the consciousness involved in creation. Dvād imau puruṣau loke kṣaraś cakṣara eva ca, kṣaraḥ sarvāṇi bhūtāni kūṭhastho'kṣara ucyate (Gita 15.16). Uttamaḥ puruṣas tva anyaḥ paramātmety udāhṛatḥ (Gita 15.17). This Paramatman, or the Purushottama, is beyond both prakriti and purusha. It is not the purusha involved in samsara, and it is also not the prakriti, the objective principle. It is the supreme regulative order of the universe wherein the constitution of all creation is laid down once and for all. It is difficult to name it, designate it; and until we reach that state, we are samsarins.
There is no use asking questions until we reach that state. No question can be answered until the original, fundamental law is studied – just as in law or legal practice we have one law regulating another law, one thing determining another principle. If a Patwari comes and asks for revenue, we can ask him, “Why do you ask revenue from me?” “It is the Sub-collector's order.” “But why did the Sub-collector order this?” “It is the District Collector's order.” “Why did he order this?” “It is the order of the Chief Secretary of the State Government.” “But why did he order this?” “It is according to the constitution of the State Government.” “But who made the State Government's constitution?” “It is in accordance with the constitution of the Central Government.” “Who made it, and why should it have been made in that way?” Then we go to the very principle of the enactment of law itself. Why should the law be enacted in that manner, or at all? This is the theory of law and the principle of law in jurisprudence. Likewise, in spiritual jurisprudence we have a tracing of the principle of law from the lower law to the higher law, and we cannot understand the action of a particular representative of the law or the constitution unless we study the whole constitution. The fundamental laws have to be studied first.
And so, before the fundamental laws are studied, there is no use asking any question. “Why does God create the world?” “Why do I suffer?” “Why did my mother die?” These questions cannot be answered until the original constitution is studied. According to that, everything is perfectly all right. And, when that Supreme Centre, or the basis of the manifestation of things, is studied and reached by the consciousness within us, we are said to be liberated. Liberation is nothing but the recession of the effect into its cause, the returning of the object to the subject – or to put it more precisely, the returning of both the object and the subject to that point from where they emanated. God is the explanation for all things. In one word – the word ‘God', ‘Ishvara' or ‘the Absolute' – we have answered everything and said everything. God is. That is the final answer to all things. That is the liberation of the soul; that is the freedom from samsara. That is kaivalya moksha, for the attainment of which we have to practice the spiritual discipline called sadhana.
Sadhana, or spiritual training, is nothing but the attempt of the soul to gradually free itself from all the principles of objectivity, so that it may enter into that original principle of Universality – mahat-tattva, Ishvara-tattva, God-consciousness, or the Absolute. When that state is reached, we will see the world with one glance. With one glance, we can see everything within and without. That is the state of God, mahat-tattva, the Creative Principle. Now we have to see things by succession, one after another. If we cast a glance over things here, we see one thing after another thing. But there we have a simultaneous knowledge of all things. A mere glance is an instantaneous knowledge of everything that can be anywhere at any time. Past, present and future are all laid before us. The entire Mahabharata and Ramayana, which took place long ago, and the beginning of the Solar System and the stars – everything can be seen as if it is taking place just now. Not only the past, but also the infinite future which is going to be, is also seen as an eternal present, as Arjuna was supposed to have seen the whole panorama of creation – past, present and future – in the Visvarupa. Puruṣa evedaṁ sarvam yadbhūtaṁ yacca bhavyam (Purusha Sukta 2): Whatever was past and whatever is going to be, all that is purusha only. In that supreme purusha, or Purushottama, all that is commingled. So when we reach that ocean of Purushottama, we know everything that was, right from the beginning of creation until pralaya, the end of creation – whatever is going to be, and whatever is at present. All this is given to us as an amalaka on the palm – hastamalakavat. As we can see something kept on our palm so clearly, we can see the whole of creation – past, present and future – as an eternal present, and not as something that took place or something that is yet to take place. We see it as it is just now. To Ishvara's eyes, the Mahabharata is a present. It is not a past event. And all those who are going to be born in the future are also a present to him. He sees them as if they are just now. There is no evolution, no involution there. There is no object, no prakriti, and no involved purusha to see them. Eternity and infinity get fused into a single focus of Universal Presence, kevala astittva, That Which Is.
The moment this is brought into our consciousness, we get liberated even here itself. This is what we call jivanmukti. Being here in this very world, we can live a life of freedom. There is no such thing as this world and the other world for a state of liberation because this and that are spatial distinctions, just as past and future are temporal distinctions. The spatial difference of this and that or here and there gets negatived, even as the temporal distinction of past and future gets negatived in an eternal presence and an infinite here.
It is very difficult to conceive this in our little brain, but this is the object of our supreme meditation. We will be simply thrilled even to think of this Reality. Our hair will stand on end. Hunger and thirst get quenched; it will appear as if nectar is flowing through our throat, and we will be in ecstasy of joy beyond comprehension. Here we will stop speaking altogether, and we will be an eternal mauni, forever. When God enters the jiva, nothing remains to be said or done. We will become kritakritya, praptaprapya and jnatajneya. Everything that is to be known is known, everything that is to be done is done, and everything that is to be obtained is obtained. This is perfection.
Wonderful is this goal which is ahead of us still. Though it is eternal and infinite, it looks as if it is in the future to us, just as the waking state looks like the future to the dreamer, though it is enveloping the dream condition from all sides, within and without. So to our mortal individual consciousness, God-consciousness, moksha or kaivalya appears to be a future event to take place, though it is already enveloping us within and without, from all sides, like the ocean.
Therefore, we have to be awake to this birthright of ours, to this original, primeval status which is our own, and not somebody else's. This awareness which is instilled into our hearts can make us healthy, wealthy, prosperous, powerful, and most blessed in this world. I am giving you the description of a condition which is not merely to take place in a far-off future, but is a condition which can come to you even today itself, if only you want to have it.