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Pure Existent


Normally our existence is a preoccupation - an egoistic preoccupation. Such interests are limited and fleeting. Having withdrawn from such a preoccupation, we become curious to know. Now that we are dispassionate, our search is only for the Truth. First, we perceive a boundless energy. We see that energy pouring itself out in limitless Space and in eternal Time. It is an existence that infinitely surpasses our ego or any ego. We find that first result as an infinite existence, infinite movement and infinite activity. That existence surpasses even the collective ego. The great creations of long centuries are, to that existence, but the dust of the moment. The numberless myriads of earths are only a petty swarm in its incalculable sum. Man's actions and feelings are instinctive. He becomes aware of this stupendous world movement. He fashions his life thoughts with respect to it. He presumes it is there for his benefit to help or harm. He places himself instinctively at its centre. He conducts himself as if his own egoistic cravings, emotions, and ideas are to be fulfilled by this movement. He takes it for granted and even considers his needs its chief concern. On closer scrutiny, we discover it exists for itself, not for us. Its aims are gigantic, its ideas are complex and boundless. The desire or delight it seeks to fulfill is vast. It looks down on our pettiness with an ironic smile, as its own standards are immense and formidable. It is likely to send us to the other extreme to consider ourselves as insignificant. It can emerge in us as a too positive idea, which is again not true. That too would be an act of ignorance. That would shut our eyes to the great facts of the universe.

We are face to face with a boundless movement, hrdaya samudra. Naturally, we think we are insignificant. The truth is, this movement does not consider us unimportant. From Science we learn how important we are to the whole, how important the infinitesimal is to the infinite. The care of the whole for the minute detail is great. Its devices are very cunning so as to meet the needs of each detail. On the smallest of its works the Whole pours an intense absorption, even as on the largest. The mighty energy is an equal and impartial mother, samam brahma. So speaks the Gita. It remains infinite because the great energy gives the same intensity and force of movement to the fashioning of the solar system and the organisation of the anthill. The Infinite is infinite only when it is equal in the finite as well as in the infinite. Should its treatment vary, it becomes the finite. The difference in the size creates the idea that one is great and the other is small. We know it is the illusion of size. This is an illusion of quantity. Instead, let us look at the force of quality. Then,  certainly the animate ant is superior to the inanimate solar system. Then man, by the same argument, is superior to all Nature put together. As before, this is a superiority of quality.

If the difference in sizes does not make one more important than another, how can the difference in quality do so? It is an illusion of quality here. Let us go behind the quantity and quality. We find the same Brahman dwelling in both. That Brahman dwells in both equally. Here we consider the intensity of the movement of which quantity and quality are only expressions. This gives us an insight. We find Brahman is equally partaken by all in its being. Brahman is equally distributed to all in its energy. Again, this too is an illusion of quantity. Brahman dwells in all. It is indivisible. Yet, it appears as if it is divided and distributed. Let us change our perception. As we have a consciousness, this infinite energy has a consciousness of its own. That is not our human consciousness. It is different. That consciousness is indivisible. It gives equally to all. It does not give an equal part of itself to all. It gives its whole self at one and the same time. It does so to the solar system as well as the anthill. To the Brahman there is no whole and its parts. Each thing is all in itself. Each thing benefits by the whole of the Brahman. Quantity and quality differ, but self is equal. The form varies, the manner varies, the result of the force of action too varies. But the energy in all is eternal, primal, infinite. To make a strong man, a force of strength is needed. Here the strong man emerges as the force is expressed. A force of strength is needed to make a weak man. Here the strength is suppressed to make the weak man. But the original force in both is equal. This is true of affirmation and negation; silence and sound.

We have a first reckoning to mend. We know of this infinite Movement. We see this energy of existence. This is the world, ourselves. Our present account is false. We are infinitely important to the All. But to us the All is negligible. We alone are important to ourselves. This is the sign of original ignorance. This is also the root of the ego. Ego thinks as if it were the All. It thinks with itself as the centre. The ego does not recognize the rest. It accepts from them what it is mentally disposed to accept. Or, it accepts some, compelled by the circumstances. The shocks of the environment force the ego to accept the rest. Sometimes the ego begins to philosophize. There it asserts that the world exists only in it and by its consciousness. It knows its own states of consciousness. It has several mental standards. For the ego these are its tests of reality. It considers false whatever is outside of its view. To the ego, the outside world is non-existent. This is a mental self-sufficiency. This creates the false accounting. Life has a fuller value than we know. We do not know all the right values of life. Our false account prevents us from enjoying life fully as it is. There is a truth on which the ego rests. The ego is a pretension of the human mind. Presently that truth does not emerge. When the mind knows its ignorance, it can emerge. Then the ego must submit to the All. That way, the ego would lose its separate existence. We call the results and appearances ourselves. It is not really we, but a partial movement of this infinite Movement. We must recognize the Infinite. We must recognize it consciously and fulfill it faithfully. That is the beginning of a true living. Having recognized our true selves, we must see that we are one with the total movement. We are not the minor or subordinate movement. This is the other side of the account. Further, this realization must be expressed in the manner of our being. Our thoughts, emotions and actions also must express this new experience. Thus, the true living we commenced will be culminated now.

This will not settle the account. For that, we have to know what this All is, this infinite and omnipotent energy. Here we come to a fresh complication. The Movement does not seem all. Perhaps there is more. Pure Reason as well as Vedanta think so. They feel that this Movement itself is subordinated to a stable something. They call it Sthanu. It is a spaceless, timeless Stability, they say. Also it is, they say, immutable, inexhaustible, unexpended. It contains all action, but does not itself act. It is not energy, but pure existence. There are those who see only this world energy. To them there is no stability. They would readily say that there is no such thing as stability. To them, stability is a fiction. People have a false idea of the stable and build an intellectual conception on it. Therefore, the conception too is false. They say it is man's device to act successfully. All is a movement, stability is an artifice of the mind. So they dismiss the idea of stability. It is not difficult to prove this. One can show that there is nothing stable. Something may appear stationary; but on examination we find it is not stationary, but only a certain movement which is blocked. Its appearance is still, while it itself is moving. The analogy of a moving train will do. The train runs. The landscape around is still. But we feel the train is still and the landscape is running. What then is the truth? What about the underlying movement? Is it immutable? Does it move? Is it moveless? Is existence only energy? Or, does energy issue out of Existence?

There is an Existence. If there is one, it is like the energy. As the energy is infinite, so this Existence is infinite. The finite must have an end and a beginning. Reason says there is no terminus. Beyond the terminus, there is something. There is no beginning. Before the beginning, something is there. If there is no beginning and no end, it is not finite but an infinite. Experience and intuition confirm this view of pure Reason. There is no absolute end or absolute beginning. It is a contradiction, a violence, a fiction. Infinity has a self-existence. Finite is the appearance. Infinity imposes itself on the appearance of the finite. So what appears to be finite, is really infinite.

What we considered here is infinity in Time and Space. Time and Space too can disappear revealing the Reality. We explain by mind and use speech as an instrument. Reality lies beyond mind and speech. The opposition and contradiction we see are from the mind. Beyond the mind there is no contradiction. There is only identity. Pure Reason goes further than Time and Space. Its own light is colourless and austere. There we see Time and Space are two categories in which we arrange our perceptions of phenomena. Let us look at existence itself. Time and Space disappear. The extension is not spatial, but psychological, that is, our mind imagines space. There is no duration; it is only an extension of our mind. Now we see those extensions are not real. They are only symbols. These symbols represent something that cannot be described. It is an eternity. It cannot be translated into words. No intellectual term can lay hold on it. This eternity is all-containing. It is an ever-new movement. It is an infinity. It is all-containing, all-pervading. It is a point, but a point without magnitude. This is a conflict of terms. It is a violent conflict. Yet it accurately expresses what we perceive. From this we understand speech is out of bounds here. We see mind has crossed its own domain. Mind is trying to explain a Reality beyond its scope. Mental conventions disappear here. Mind works through oppositions. It is necessary for the mind. Here that necessity is no longer there. All that we have is an ineffable identity.

Is this true? Maybe something else is true? We said mind and speech are not real. Maybe the existence is not real. It may be a fiction of the mind. It may be a Nihil. Maybe it is created by speech. Or, are we trying to create a concept? Could this be a reality of that concept? Therefore, it may disappear. So, we go to the bottom. We think of Existence in itself. We do find something behind. It is real. It is infinite and indefinable. No phenomenon is absolutely real. Not even the totality of phenomena is real. Phenomenon is only phenomenon. We can reduce all phenomena into one. It can be universal or fundamental. After all, it is all phenomenon of energy, its movement. They cannot be so reduced. When reduced, we will get another phenomenon. Again it will be indefinable. Let us examine it further. We speak of movement. Logic requires its opposite of repose. We can speak of light. Immediately darkness arises. So, when we speak of movement, its opposite repose arises. Earlier we said this was absolute energy. Now we say it is in repose, in inaction. What, then, is it? It is absolute existence. Before us we have two alternatives. One is indefinable pure existence or indefinable energy in action. Can we say the latter alone is true? If so, does it mean energy is the result of action. In that case, energy is a phenomenon and a result. Then movement alone exists. Existence will not be there. We land in the Nihil of the Buddhists. Existence becomes an attribute. It is the attribute of Movement, Karma, Action.  They are all eternal phenomena. Now pure reason wakes up. It finds this conclusion unreal, unacceptable, contradictory to its fundamental seeing. Therefore, reason says it cannot be. Thus we arrive at an impossible position. The stair of ascent ceases. It leaves the whole stair suspended.

We see this Existence. We find it indefinable, infinite, timeless, spaceless. If it is so, what is it? It is pure absolute. It cannot be summed up in any quantity or quality. It does not contain any quality. No form can express this absolute. No form can be its foundation. Suppose forms, qualities and quantities disappear from this world, this Existence will remain, because it is an absolute. Existence without quality, quantity, or form is conceivable. Not only that; it is the only thing we can conceive of behind the phenomena. When we say Existence is without form and quality, and so on, we mean Existence exceeds them. It means Form, Quality and Quantity pass into Existence and then disappear. If they choose, they can again emerge out of it. We must take care to note while disappearing they do not go into One form, One quality or One Quantity. There is no such thing. They all pass into something which cannot be described by form, quantity, etc. We think of conditions and appearances of the movement. They have emerged out of That. Now they pass back into it. While in movement they are called Form, Quality, and Quantity. These are names appropriate to them while in the movement. Once they pass back into That, they can no longer be called again Form, Quality or Quantity. Therefore, we call pure existence as an Absolute. It is unknowable by thought. However, we can go back into it by identification. That is a supreme identity. It transcends the various types of knowledge we know of. Movement is opposed to the Absolute. It is in the field of the relative. We define relative as contained in the Absolute. All things in the movement are relative. All of them are contained in the Absolute. All of them are the Absolute. Vedanta illustrates the relation of the Absolute to the relative by ether. There are phenomena of Nature. There is the fundamental ether. Ether is contained in the phenomena. Ether constitutes them. Ether contains them. When the phenomena enter the ether, they disappear. They are no longer what they were. This is identity in difference between the Absolute and the relative.

Forms disappearing into That is a language of human consciousness. It is called temporal consciousness. Human language used to describe non-human states will land us in illusions. We must guard against those illusions. Movement emerging from stability is an eternal phenomenon. We cannot conceive of it.  It is a beginningless, endless, ever-new movement. It is the eternity of the Timeless. Our notions and perceptions cannot conceive of them. They can conceive of a Time-eternity. Time-eternity is of successive movements. It is of successive durations. Our ideas of beginning, middle and end are attached to Time-eternity. Therefore, man speaks of Timeless-eternity in terms of Time-eternity. Time-eternity is recurring.

We may say this is the character of pure reason. Only when we accept reason, we enter into these confusions. But we are not obliged to accept reason. We can conceive of existence by mental conception through reason. But, that is not the only way. We can see the existence not using the mind or reason.  We can use the purest and freest form of insight. It shows us that existence is only movement, and nothing but movement. Two things alone exist. One is movement in Time and another is movement in Space. One is subjective and the other is objective. Extension is real, duration is real. Space and Time are real. Between Time and Space, we can manage Space somewhat but not Time. This is so because Space is objective and outside us. Time is subjective and inside us. The mind can attempt to make existence manageable by going behind Space. Behind, we see that the indivisible whole is distributed by the divisible Space. Space divides because it is conceptual. Time is the very stuff of our consciousness as it is inside and subjective. We cannot go behind Time. We are a movement. It is continual and progressive. The world too is a similar movement. These movements increase by the inclusion of the past. The past represents itself to us as the beginning. We mistake it as the beginning of all future. It is a beginning, a present which always eludes us. It eludes us because it is not a beginning. It perishes before it is born. What is, is eternal. This is indivisible succession of Time carrying on its stream an indivisible movement of consciousness. It is a progressive movement too. The eternally successive movement is change in Time. It is Duration. It is the sole absolute. Becoming is the only being.

We have this actual insight into being. We have conceptual fictions of pure Reason. We see an opposition between them. The opposition is not real. We confidently support conceptual reasoning against fundamental insight. We cannot afford to do it, if intuition and reason are opposed. Our resort to intuitive experience is incomplete. Intuitive experience is right only in the beginning. It must be completed by the integral experience. When we stop in the middle, it goes wrong. Intuition now fixes itself on the Becoming, the movement. So we see ourselves as a movement. We see our consciousness changes in succession of Time. We are the river, the flame of the Buddhist. The supreme experience is yet further. It is a supreme intuition. By that we can go behind the surface self. From there we change our perceptions. There we see this change is not just a change. Here we see that this change is a mode of our being. That Being is not involved in our becoming. That is stable and eternal. We can have the intuition of That. We can have a glimpse of it in experience behind the veil of things. We can also draw back from the fleeting becomings and live in it eternally. It can also effect a change in our external life. It can change our attitude. Our own actions upon the movement of the world can be changed by our living behind the veil in that stability. Pure Reason has already given us this stability. We can also arrive at that stability without the help of that Reason. We can reach that stability with no previous knowledge. It is pure existence, eternal, infinite, indefinable. It is not affected by the succession of Time. It is not involved in extensions of Space. It is beyond form, quantity and quality. It is Self, and only Self. It is absolute. 

The pure existent is then a fact and no mere concept. It is the fundamental reality. But let us hasten to add that becoming is also a reality. Energy and movement are, of course, realities. The supreme intuition may go beyond the Movement. Its experience may correct the other experience. It may go beyond, may even suspend it. But the experience of movement is not thus abolished. So, we have two fundamental facts. Pure Existence and world-existence are the two. They are the Being and Becoming. To deny the one or the other is easy. But we should recognize the facts of consciousness - of Being and Becoming - and find out their true relation. This is the true and fruitful wisdom.

We cannot, at least our minds cannot have a direct experience of the Absolute. At best we can have only mental representations of the Absolute. Mental representations are psychological representations. Stability and movement; Oneness and multitude are such mental representations. The Absolute does not bind itself by any of them. None of these states can describe the Absolute in their terms. It is Absolute because it is beyond stability, oneness etc. But, the Absolute takes its eternal poise in the one and the stable. Also the Absolute whirls around itself. It does so infinitely, inconceivably, securely. It does so moving in the multitudinous. World existence is the existence in movement. It is the ecstatic dance of Shiva. The dance multiplies the body of the God. Those bodies are numberless to our view. The one and stable moveless existence is a white existence. The dance leaves it where it was, as what it was. It ever is and ever will be. Its sole object in dancing is the joy of dancing

We cannot think out the Absolute in itself. It is beyond stability and movement. It is beyond unity and multitude. It is not our business, either. We must accept the double fact of Shiva and Kali. We must seek to know the relation between them. There does exist a relation between Shiva and Kali. It is the relation between the movements in Time and Timelessness. Of course, it is a measureless Movement. We must understand them in regard to the timeless, spaceless, pure Existence. That Existence is one and stable. We cannot apply our measures to this Existence. Nor can we apply the measurelessness to it. We have seen what pure Reason, intuition and experience have to say about pure Existence, the Sat. Next we must inquire into what they all have to say about Force, Movement and Shakti.

We have a first question to ask. Whether Force is simply force, is that question. Is Force an unintelligent energy of movement? Or, is the Force a power of the consciousness? Because consciousness seems to emerge out of the Force. That is our experience in this material world of ours. To put it otherwise, is Force a phenomenal result of consciousness or the secret nature of consciousness? Vedanta says Prakriti is simply Force or Force is simply Prakriti. It is only a movement of action. It is a process. Our question is whether Prakriti is really a power of Chit or whether Prakriti is in its nature a force of creative Self-conscience. On this essential problem all the rest hinges.

story | by Dr. Radut