Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12

Track Running Track 701

Today I have returned with a more difficult session but I thought that it will be less difficult than the one which was expounded before. Now some people had told me that what I had said before was somewhat confusing and I don’t know how to clarify the confusions. One way would be to repeat what I have said; another way would be to give you something in a capsule form so that we study together that capsule. So thinking that perhaps a capsule might help, I have prepared a summary of the chapter. I will give you a copy and we shall read through the whole thing together. While reading you mark out where you feel a difficulty. So let me read to you this capsule.

 

“Ordinarily our ego is self–centered and regards the whole universe as a field meant to subserve its interests but when we withdraw ourselves from the egoistic preoccupation, we find ourselves in the presence of the vast movement in comparison with which the highest magnitudes that we can conceive of are only petty swarms. This vast movement seems to care nothing for our egoistic demands and desires and it seems to have only an ironic smile at them and yet in the true account of things we come to realize that nothing is unimportant in the design of the vast movement. In a certain sense we seem to be more important even though quantitatively we are petty than huge magnitudes of the world because qualitatively we possess consciousness, which huge material bodies do not possess an ant seems to be superior to the anthill. But this again is the illusion of the quality, – big or small, superior or inferior, strong or weak have all behind them the same force or energy. There is one vast movement which is equal samam brahma in respect of everything in which it is at work. Perception of this vast movement without the illusion of quality and quantity is a first necessity, if you are to enquire into what really exists and what is really real. It is here that we come to the farther complication just as we find that ego is subordinate to the vastness of the movement, even so the pure reason asserts that this vast movement is subordinate to the stable reality and this perception of the pure reason is further confirmed by the highest experience of the Vedanta, which declares the unmoving stable base of the whole universe, the pure stability (sthanu) the pure Existence. It has however been argued that there is no such thing as stability. There is only movement and what we call stability is a mere appearance like the earth which seems to be stable even though it is constantly rotating or when we find our train in which we are traveling to be stationary in a rushing landscape, but it can be argued that there can’t be stability but can it be argued that there can’t be stability behind the movement? This statement is an important step in the argument. If there is a stable existence behind the movement, it must be like the movement infinite. We need to be clear about the infinity of the movement. Infinity is imposed upon us because neither reason, nor intuition, nor imagination, nor experience bears witness to an absolute beginning or an absolute end. Every beginning presupposes anterior beginning; every end opens up to ulterior end. This infinity is what we call the infinity of space and time beginningless and endless extension and beginningless and endless duration. When we reflect on space and time, we are obliged to perceive successive extensions of space and successive movements of time but succession cannot be sustained without a basis, which is non–successive. For succession implies a division and yet a continuity and this strange combination can be supported only if succession is a psychological way of dividing an indivisible flow of extension and duration and all containing points without magnitude and all containing ever new moment but even this is not the end of the matter. Even the non–successive extension and non–successive duration imply a stable ground or cause and this cannot itself be of the nature of space and time. When you perceive existence in itself space and time disappear. Are we really sure? Could there not be a mere movement or a mere nihil without a supporting base.

The pure reason asserts that the pure movement without a stable ground or cause contradicts its perception and therefore cannot be. It is like a stair which is suspended in a void, which cannot be. If such a timeless and spaceless existence is it must be not only infinite but absolute. It is something in which all the characteristics of the movements, – quantity and quality, name and form enter and which is itself self–existent, independent of all that has entered into it and from which it can again manifest as quantity, quality, name and form. It may be argued that all this is true from the point of view of the pure reason, but we must judge existence not by what reason conceives but what can be obtained in experience and it can be again argued that what is experienced is only movement and nothing else. As against this argument it can be contended that apart from an ordinary experience there is a higher and highest experience in which reality is experienced to be pure existent, stable, one without the second, absolute and infinite in which the universe is contained, an experience affirmed in ancient Vedanta. But what is the relationship between the stable reality and this movement. If the stable one is the only reality, movement cannot be other than that reality. The Indian answers that Shiva and Kali are one, that this stable reality and dynamic movement are one is entirely rational because it will be contrary to reason that reality being one movement could have entered into it from somewhere else. We are thus seeing what pure reason and highest experience have declared about the pure existence. We have still to see what the pure reason and the highest experience have to say about the movement and ask whether it is only an inert force like Sankhyan Prakriti or whether it is a conscious force, chit all the rest will hinge on the answer that is obtained to this question.

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