Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 - Track 304

There is fourth category or fourth characterization of all that we see, is what is called modality, the mode of existence, the mode of whatever is present before us, its mode. The rain, which has not yet come but which is likely to come, what is the value of that rain? It is called possibility or potentiality, when it falls it is called occurrence. All occurrences are because they are possible, nothing that is not possible can ever occur. There are some occurrences, which are necessary occurrences, not only possible but which are necessary occurrences. If you make a triangle, it is necessary that the sum of its angles should be equal to two right angles, you can’t escape it, it is necessary. There are certain things in the world which are necessary. Certain things which are only possible and certain things which when possible they occur sometimes, not necessarily they may occur they may not occur. So, occurrences which are possible may occur, or may not occur, or may occur necessarily. These are the three qualities, or three conditions, or modes they are called modalities, modes of existence. Anything that you see in the world is either a possibility, or simple occurrence, or it is something which had to happen and must happen. All events in the world can be divided into three parts, events which are possible, events which are just happening because they are only possible, or events which must occur.

All these descriptions that we have given of the world is a description that we can make because of the reasoning that we have applied. The whole world can be described under these twelve headings; four main categories, each one has got three (triplet), so under this twelve categories the whole movement can be described. There is nothing now which has escaped excepting two things – space and time. All that is happening is happening in space and in time. If you now put space and time that makes fourteen, the whole movement can be now described. You can be sure that now nothing has escaped from this description. The entire universe has been explained or has been stated, described, under these fourteen headings. There is nothing in the world which cannot be described under one of this fourteen. So you have now the total view of universe, whether you go around anywhere in the universe, you cannot escape. Even while sitting here you can see the whole world and this is the capacity of the reason. The reason can sit here in the armchair and can tell you that wherever you go, whatever you do at any time, whatever happens, whatever exists is nothing but which can be described under one of these fourteen elements. This is certain you have no doubt at all about it now.

Nothing in the world exists which cannot be described in this form. But in this whole thing there is one thing which has not come into the picture – stability. All that I have described is the description of movement. In Indian philosophy all these fourteen elements put together are simply, very simply told it is nothing but naama rupa – Name and Form. The whole world is nothing but name and form.

These fourteen things that I described to you are a special contribution of a philosopher called Kant to whom I have referred earlier, while speaking of the proof of existence of God. It is he who described the whole world in these fourteen terms. But as I told you these fourteen terms do not include the word stability because in this movement there is nothing stable. Even what is stable or what is seen to be stable is actually not stable. Reason goes beyond all these descriptions and says that this movement has behind it, has above it − stability.

How does it come to this conclusion? It’s a real discovery made by reason that which is not before our eyes, these fourteen things, somehow these are things which are described by our senses in some way. And then we have gone by analogy or something of that kind. But this stability, which is not seen, or even if it is seen, which ultimately will turn out to be a really spinning. How does the reason arrive at a conclusion that behind all this is stability? Even then the reason says there is behind it, above it, beyond it, Stability. This is conclusion that reason arrives at, not only that but it says that it is that Stable which is really existing. All that you see is existence by courtesy. We were in search of the idea as to what is existence. Now the conclusion of reason is that behind all this is really − a stability, and it is that stability, which you can really describe as Existence. Because all that is moving is constantly spinning and even before you say it exists, it is gone. Is it existing, is it existence? Unless there is a stability, which is not moving, you cannot call it existing. To exist is to be stable, to exist, is to be and to be is to be permanently. It may be argued that this is simply quibbling on words, actually there is nothing but there is whole world before us. Even if it is not existing this is all that is there, then saying there is no such thing existence at all, why do you want existence at all? There is no such thing as existence − no stability. We don’t see stability anywhere at all. Let us say simply that the world is a constant mobile and that is all that is there in the world.  

Let us see how reason answers this question. Let us start by saying that all movement implies a process of change. This is the first step of the argument; all that is moving is the process of change. Can there be something that is changing? If there is change there must be something that is changing, otherwise you have to say that there was one thing that doesn’t change, it disappears, another thing has come and that’s all; the idea of change doesn’t arise at all. If there is change, if the idea of change has any validity at all then there must be something that is changing. There must be a stable which is changing. It may be a contradiction, something that is stable that is changing. So, either of the two alternatives, either say there is no change at all in which case each thing happens, another thing happens or you say that there is something that changes and it remains what it is, otherwise there is no idea of change.