You know I was hesitant to start with this particular cycle of our study. One cycle we have finished, the second cycle we have just started. But I have still a great hesitation in starting this cycle because this cycle of our study is to some extent intellectual. The intellectuality that is involved in these four chapters—nine, ten, eleven, twelve is of the highest order and therefore we have to make a very special effort. And in that effort sometimes, the greenery of spiritual pursuit may seem to be missing because to some extent you might say that the world of intellectual thought is dry, it is colorless, it is abstract. You shift yourself from concreteness to abstraction. So first of all, I take your consent to enter into this field and if you feel dryness or abstraction, you feel that it is a part of the process through which we have to cross in order that in due course we again regain the greenness and concreteness and the joy of the spiritual experience.
So, let me start with a few intellectual exercises, which will be helpful to us to understand some of the difficult portions of these chapters, nine, ten, eleven and twelve. The first intellectual exercise starts by contemplation on a statement which I will start,—‘Nothing exists’; this is the first statement that I am making. Nothing exists, and then you contemplate on this statement and you will find that you understand nothing. I will not take you through the understanding of it because it is not understandable. The statement ‘Nothing exists’ cannot be understood. When you find time later on, you again contemplate on this statement ‘Nothing exists’ and you may find some kind of paradox in the statement. The Words “Nothing’ and ‘Existence’ are the two words and the two words seem to be opposite to each other. The last word ‘exists’ makes a statement which is affirmative the first part of the statement is negative. The last statement is, exists, so if somebody asks the question, what is it that exists? The answer is—nothing. What does it mean, what is it that exists? Your answer is—nothing. We should actually expect an answer that something exists. The word existence implies a positive presence of something. But when you are told nothing exists, you really cannot really understand this statement. If somebody has to say,—this exists, you can understand it but if you say nothing exists, the two words are sounding near each other but actually you do not make out what is said exactly.
There is a very beautiful sentence in Bhagavad Gita:
नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥ 2.16
That which really is, cannot go out of existence, just as that which is non-existent cannot come into being. The end of this opposition of ‘is’ and ‘is not’ has been perceived by the seers of essential truths.
This is one of the most important statements in the Bhagavad Gita. There are many important ones but this is one of the most important. That which does not exist, can never exist, that which exists, can never become non-existence that is the meaning of this statement. ‘nasato vidhyate bhavo na bhavo vidhyate satah’, satah means of the existent,abhava is never possible that which exists, can never cease to be. If it really exists, it exists. The abhava of sat is not possible. Asata abhava, the existence of asat can never be. nasato vidyate bhavo—vidyate, means exist; bhava means being. The non-being can have no being and that which has being of that there can be no non-being. This is a very simple statement. Therefore, when you say nothing exists, it is to be studied in the light of this great statement of the Bhagavad Gita. It is one of the most metaphysically important propositions.
Now from this we can derive very important consequences. This statement is an intellectual statement in which intellect tries to understand because the function of intellect is to attempt to understand. And when it tries to understand, it has only one method of understanding, namely, the method of conception. In spirituality the method of understanding is experience. The method of senses is to have sense touch with something. The method of vital being is that of expansion, interaction, pulsation, growth and development. But the mental being whenever it exercises itself, its method is of conception; it's only tool that intellect has is that of conception. The intellect itself consists of conceptions. If you ask the question: what is intellect? Normally we do not see intellect, we can see the body, we can feel the vital emotions but as far as the intellect is concerned, it is so subtle that if you try to see, where it is, what it is. It is nothing but a conglomeration of certain ideas. There are certain ideas which are collected together; you might say that is intellect. An image of this is for example, if there is a honeycomb—so many bees are all clustered on the honeycomb, but even that the honeycomb itself has some structure on which all the bees are hanging, but in this case you imagine only the bees put together. Similarly, there are certain ideas which are all clinging to each other. There are inter-relationships among those ideas and by those inter-relationships they are all hung together. So intellect is nothing but a few ideas which are hanging together but all these ideas have one thing in common, namely, that these ideas are never empty. Therefore, if you put no content, nothing in the concept, it’s not a concept. Every concept has a content and that content has one basic element in it by means of which it exists, is the concept of the being. The word ‘existence’ is the very important word. The only thing that concept can conceive is existence. ‘Nothing exists’ cannot be conceived. Just now we have seen that exercise. What can be conceived is existence, so you might say that existence is the very breath of a concept. All concepts refer to existence; you take any ideas they always refer to existence.
Of course, you can say that Sarita is not in this room but if at all you have the concept of Sarita, it could not arise unless Sarita exists somewhere. The concept of Sarita refers to the existence of Sarita, somewhere. The concept of something that does not exist anywhere at all, for the sake of fun you can use the word but really speaking when you ask the question what does it mean, it does not mean anything at all. All meaning is a meaning pertaining to existence and concept is nothing but a content of meaning. A concept is an abstraction; concept is an idea which refers to existence. It could be anything, any kind of existence, but there must be a reference to existence.
All concepts, you take any concept you will find Sri Aurobindo writing one line,—that existence is not only one of the things that can be conceived, but existence is the only thing that can be conceived. There is a distinction between the two statements ‘existence is not one of the several things that can be conceived but existence is the only thing that can be conceived’. In other words the content of all the concepts, you take any concept one fundamental thing that must be in the concept is the existence. It may have something else but this element is a one common element in all the concepts.
This is the statement, which I am making which will require rethinking and rethinking. It’s an argument, which very often gives you a sense of surprise, particularly when you will think again about, nothing exists, and that existence is the only thing that can be conceived. These two statements you keep in your consciousness and by repeated reflection on this, you can arrive at a true understanding. So you reflect on these two statements ‘Nothing exists’ and ‘Existence is not only one of the things that can be conceived but is the only thing that can be conceived’ You might say that this statement is the heart and soul of this chapter number 9.
If you ask a question rationally, as I told you, we are at present in the field of intellectual rational thinking. In the field of rationality the one thing that reason, as soon as it tries to conceive, it does only one thing—the conception of existence. There is a concept of existence. Let us consider, what is existence? The first statement we made was that the only thing that can be conceived is existence. We analyze further and ask ourselves, what is existence?
To understand this concept of existence, I will give you a story of a debate, which has been going on in the history of thought regarding the proof of the existence of God. The debate is about the existence of God, therefore there is naturally the debate on the question of existence, so this is one of the best ways of understanding the content of the idea of existence. This question was very important both in the west and in the east. All people who have been concerned about intellectual development have raised this question—can you intellectually prove the existence of God? It is true that many people have claimed that you can experience God, you can see God face to face, you can talk to him, you can come into contact with him, you can feel him but many people say—well that may be possible for some mystics and some very advanced spiritual people but when we are not in that stage, is it still possible for us to be sure that God exists. When you have experience of God of course you will never doubt it. There is no question about it but we who do not have that experience, can we have at all this experience at least at the intellectual level so that we can be sure that God exists.
This question is very important because in India at least there was a very strong view that even those people who are at the lower level of consciousness and for whom the travel to spiritual experience is a very long work of travel, it is very useful, if they simply hear the sentence ‘God exists’. Mere hearing, once you hear that ‘God exists’, you can no more be what you were before hearing this sentence because once you hear the statement, you have to react to it. This is what always happens, when you hear something, you react to it, when you react you have to ask whether what you heard is right or wrong. To prove that it is wrong is very difficult; to prove that it is right is also very difficult because God who is mentioned in that statement is supposed to be invisible. If God was something which can be seen, the question can be settled very soon after hearing it, you take something there and you show here it is and the matter is over but God being invisible how do you deal with this statement, God exists, you just hear it simply, you know no other exercise of spiritual development, intellectual development, nothing. You just hear the words, God exists, and the moment you hear these words immediately there has to be a reaction and the reaction is to show whether it is true, or it is not true and since God is invisible it is very difficult either to show that it is true, or to show that it is not true. The moment this question arises in your mind even if you do not like, you are tied up with God because you have got to deal with this statement. All the time the consciousness will go on asking is it true or is it not true, how to know whether it is true or not. In other words your consciousness gets oriented towards God.
Those who have experience of God feel that one of the ways of helping people, who are at the lower level of consciousness is to orient them towards God in some way or the other because once you have oriented means you have a direction. Normally all human beings are moving without direction, helter-skelter, they do not know where to move. In that condition at least one thing by which human beings can be oriented towards God, about who are sure, God exists, for them there is no problem but for those who are moving helter-skelter in this world, if they are to be oriented then they found out that this is the best ways of orienting them towards God, just simply say ‘God exists’. This is what is called shruti.
In Indian philosophy we gave a great importance to shruti. You merely say that God exists and the moment you hear it, it is such a statement that you cannot help asking, whether this statement is true or not and you are oriented. As soon as you ask this question and you cannot ask immediately, you become oriented towards it and until you resolve it you cannot rest peacefully. It will go on even if you set aside for some time, at a certain moment of life again the question will come. Again you will be grinding your mind on that question and you will try to find out means by which you can settle that question. That will uplift you. You will try to find out how to resolve this problem.
Many ways have been found by people as to how to answer this question. Of course, the best answer is when you raise yourself to such a level that you experience God then there is no question, the question is answered. But till that time there is a mill, which has been started by mere shruti, ‘God exists’. Many people are there, who will simply say, ‘I believe in it whether it is proved, not proved, I believe in it’. Some people can work throughout their life in an orientation on the assumption that God exists—this is called belief.
A belief is that for which you do not have complete proof but yet you somehow feel comfortable with holding that idea and you say to yourself I will continue on the assumption that God exists, which is also helpful. This is from where the whole idea of faith arises. When you hear the word that God exists you may either put a question, is it true? is it false? or you may say, well since the word has been heard and it has come from some very great person who has spoken it, therefore I believe in it. This belief may be only intellectual but also it may be much deeper without your knowing, there is something in you which feels happy—there is shraddha in you.
There is an element called shraddha in our consciousness. Many people believe that there is no such thing like shraddha at all anywhere in our human consciousness and they are welcome to that view but there are some people who experience shraddha in them. The very fact that this word has been spoken to me by somebody, who is worthy of great reverence and he says that God exists, your heart immediately responds to it. People might say that you are gullible, that you simply have a blind faith, blind belief, but many people will say it doesn’t matter. After all, I don’t know everything in the world. Somebody who has seen God, tells me that God exists, so what is wrong in saying that alright I accept it. I may not have gone to America at all and never seen New York but somebody who says that I have gone to New York and describes to me and the person who tells me is quite trustworthy so why should I disbelieve it.
Not only that but this orientation towards God is so important that as far as your life movement is concerned, it makes a difference between life and death. If you don’t believe in God then you have one type of life. If you believe in God, you cannot but have a different kind of life. So this word, ‘God exists’ is a very peculiar word, it is not like saying New York exists or Madras exists, it is not a statement like that. The moment you hear the word God exists, it makes a revolution in your life. Either you don’t believe in him or you believe in Him, you question, either you go on a long search of debate in your mind, which may take 20 or 25 years. Or even if you want to demolish it, it takes a long time to demolish it; it may take 20-30 years to demolish this statement. So that also makes a lot of difference to your life. If you believe with faith that yes, somebody has talked to me about it, who is trustworthy then to believe that God exists, it’s a tremendous revolution in your life. If I know or even if I believe that even though I am not experiencing God, God is present here.
If I believe that God exists even though I don’t see God, I have to act as if God exists as if God is watching me; I am not alone in this world and this experience of being alone is a tremendous experience and terrible experience. How many people in the world experience loneliness they are absolutely alone and they feel as if in this vast universe, which is unimaginably huge and an individual struggling and crawling on this earth feels that he is absolutely alone in which everybody, everything, in the world as it were attacking him from every side there is nothing but attack and in this field of attack he is constantly striving to move forward and most of this world is dark. In fact we do not know that most of the world is dark because of the fact that the sun and earth have a very good distance so that at least twelve hours of the day you have the light. But if you go into the vast space, where the distances in between suns and stars are so great that you can live eternally in darkness because even the light’s movement from one to the other takes what is called light years. Actually speaking when you look at the whole world basically you feel you are in darkness, crawling about in the world, not finding anywhere, lonely and you don’t know where the enemy lies and when the attack will come. A terrible experience is experienced by many people in life at one stage or the other, when they feel completely alone. At that time, if you know God exists, you have just heard shruti, God exists, what a tremendous difference it makes to you. Even if you have not seen God there is an orientation and you know that God is there and according to whatever is said about God—he is all loving, he is so compassionate, he is so friendly, he really wants to lift you up, he wants to help you and his help is unfailing. It can never fail, as Christ said: ‘you just knock and the door will be opened; ask and you will be given’, it is as easy as that. On this basis in fact there is a great philosophy of faith which has been developed that even if you do not have the experience of God and even if you can never have an experience of God, if you just start with the faith that God exists and since God really exists, your life will be always under the protection of God and you will always have the help, whenever you need it and you will always be uplifted.
If I enter into a dark room and before I enter, if I am told to look into this room if you turn to the left there is one square table and then I enter into the room, when I know that on the left hand side there is a square table. Even though I have not seen it before, the very fact that I entered into it with this idea, I have already an orientation and I will move in a particular way. When I come to the left, I will not move very fast, rapidly, I will move in such a way that I would expect that I will bump into the table and then gradually I may bump or I may not bump, it’s another matter. I may not reach that point, but if I bump into it, I know that now I have bumped into it and it is verification of what I was told. This kind of help that you get is tremendous, therefore it is said that faith is a very important thing in human life. Human life requires without even intellectual proof, which may take several years or disprove it may again take several years. If you know that God exists, you are greatly helped and why should you not help people, therefore in the Indian thought it has been mentioned that shruti is extremely important and shruti is also supposed to be one of the means of knowledge.
There is a theory in India, the theory of Nyaya. Nyaya philosophy which says that there are three means of knowledge, sense perception, inference, pratyaksha and anumana. Pratyaksha is a sense experience, I see with my eyes pratyaksha that which is before my eyes is pratyaksha. Then anumana is the inference based upon sense perception, you can infer that which is not before your eyes. So by inference also you can know wherever there's smoke there is fire. You may not see the fire on the hill, you are only seeing the smoke, you can imagine, you can infer that there must be fire therefore, the smoke exists. You are only seeing the smoke but you can infer the existence of fire. ‘yatra yatra dhooma tatra tatra vehni’, wherever there's smoke there is fire. You see only the smoke therefore, you conclude by inference that there is fire. This is the way of anumana but there is a third method that is shruti.
The third method of knowledge is shruti, you hear from a trustworthy person is called aptavakya. aptavakya means the vakya of apta that which is trustworthy and the greatest aptavakya is shruti. Veda is supposed to be aptavakya, therefore the importance of Veda in the Indian thought. It is believed that Veda consists of such a true knowledge that even though you cannot know that knowledge by pratyaksha or by anumana, merely by aptavakya since it is there, you can be sure it is true and if you believe in it your life will be made. Therefore it is said that you just accept what is said in the Veda and it will give you the orientation to life. That is the third way in Indian philosophy pratyaksha, anumana and aptavakya.
In the west also this same kind of process is to be found, there also it is said that you can have an experience by senses to know something or to say it exists or does not exist. You can decide by seeing, by pratyaksha experience, by direct experience of senses or you can do by inference. That is how you find in the west a great development of two aspects of logic—deductive logic and inductive logic; both are the sciences of inference. You can either infer by deduction or by induction, you can infer by these two processes. You can infer and you come to the conclusion but there is also the third way and that is simply by belief. They speak of revelation, what is called in India shruti is called in Europe—revelation. A revelation has been made there are words of a prophet or of Christ. These words are revelations and people have been asked that these revelations are matters in which you believe and if you believe in them your life is safe-guarded and you will move in the right direction.
But there was one difference between the attitude that arose in regard to these three modes of knowledge in India and the West. In India there developed a philosophy or an idea that what is in shruti can also be intellectually proved and can also be verified in further spiritual experience. There are two ways of finding out whether shruti is right or not. Even if you start with belief in it, a time may come when you try to verify whether what is said in shruti is right or wrong. And you can do two things. You can intellectually raise a question about its truth, its veracity and it has been argued in India that even intellectually you can prove what is given in shruti to be true or false and ultimately you find that it is true. Then you can also experience your real state of realization and therefore you can verify that what is said in shruti is right. These are the two important developments in Indian thought.
In the West a stage came when it was found that what is to be held in belief can never be intellectually proved, this is one different line. In India there was a line of thinking, which says shruti can also be intellectually proved and can also be verified in spiritual experience. In the west it was argued after a lot of experiments that what is known in shruti or known in revelation can never be intellectually proved. There arose also a theory that reason and revelation are in constant conflict that rationally you should not even try to prove or disprove what is in revelation. You just believe in revelation. Just belief in revelation gave rise to the idea of a dogma. Dogma is the statement of revelation which can never be proved intellectually and which cannot even be questioned. Therefore, there arose a development that revelation is something which is simply to be believed in. You just believe in it, have faith in it that’s why religions in the West came even to be called faith. What is religion, it is simply faith. A statement, a revelation which is made and you simply have to believe in it and reason can never prove it. It’s impossible to prove it. Also if you ask a question, can you therefore verify in spiritual experience and the answer that you get very largely, not absolutely but very largely that these revelations were the result of experiences only of the son of God and you cannot have the experiences. You can approach these revelations in the spirit of faith, in the spirit of piety, in the spirit of sacredness, spirit of holiness, but experiencing that is impossible, so verification in spiritual experience of the contents of revelation was denied.
As a result those who maintain that all knowledge must be proved intellectually they came to discard all revelations. There was a sharp quarrel between the intellectuals and the religionists. Those who believe that religion is a mere matter of faith, it has just to be taken for granted and you have to believe in it and belief itself is a pathway to salvation, you don’t need to do much more than this. What is demanded of the individuals is simply to believe and belief itself is a road to salvation. You are merely saved by God if you just say, I believe. And the rationalists discarded this theory and completely rejected it, saying we don’t accept it. What is not intellectually proved we cannot accept and this conflict between intellect and dogma, conflict between revelation and reason is a very important chapter in the history of Western thought, which continues until today.
Even today in the West there are two groups, those who believe that religion is a mere matter of faith and that you should never even try to prove, either by experience or by thinking and the other group that says that we do not accept anything to be true unless intellectually it is proved to be true and this number of rationalists is increasing.
In Indian thought this quarrel never arose because of those two statements, which were made that the contents of shruti can be both intellectually proved and can also be verified in spiritual experience. If you read the Bhagavad Gita from this point of view, you will find that Bhagavad Gita itself is a book of great intellectual argument. It is also a statement of great spiritual experience. In fact both the trends are present that is why the importance of the Gita is so great because of this reason. In the Upanishads it is purely spiritual experience, in the Veda, purely spiritual experience there is no intellectual argument. In the Gita both these strands are put together.
The statements which are made are derived from spiritual experience but also intellectually incorrigible, like the statement which I have made in the beginning:
नासतो विद्यते भावो नाभावो विद्यते सतः ।
उभयोरपि दृष्टोऽन्तस्त्वनयोस्तत्त्वदर्शिभिः ॥ 2.16
That which really is, cannot go out of existence, just as that which is non-existent cannot come into being. The end of this opposition of ‘is’ and ‘is not’ has been perceived by the seers of essential truths.
—that which does not exist cannot exist, that which exists can never be not existent.
Statements of this kind are intellectually incorrigible; also they are the result of a great spiritual experience that they have seen those spiritual, realized souls have experienced the spirit. They have found the experience of the spirit of imperishable nature, existence which cannot perish. Therefore of sat there can be no abhava. Sat of which abhava is impossible, it is imperishable. Nonetheless I have only given you this background to appreciate what I am now going to say about the debate with which I started that in the history of thought there is been a long debate, whether we can intellectually prove the existence of God, although I told you that in the West the conclusion was that the idea of God which is revealed cannot be intellectually proved. Yet there was a long development in the history of the Western thought, when many religious leaders tried to prove the existence of God by intellectual means.
In India also we have many methods of proving the existence of God. In fact each system of Indian philosophy is in a sense an attempt to prove the existence of God intellectually. Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Poorva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa. These are the six systems of Indian philosophy which are based upon Vedic system of philosophy—shruti. Buddhism and Jainism are not based upon shruti they have a different approach. They are also highly intellectual and there also whatever the spiritual experience is also to be intellectually tested. In fact Buddha declared, this is one of his famous declarations ‘Do not believe anything because I have said it, or because anybody has said it, believe only if in your intellectual speculation, in your impartial search by your intellectual thought you really come to the conclusion that it is true’. In Jainism also there is a tremendous intellectuality by which the propositions of Jainism which are based on spiritual experience ultimately are sought to be proved intellectually.
There is in India a long process by which intellectually the propositions of revelations have been attempted to be proved. Let us see at least one example and I shall take the example of an argument put forward by one of the leaders of religion in the West called Anselm. He was one of the great religious leaders and he argued that the existence of God can be proved intellectually. I shall now state to you his argument in a very brief manner, in a very simple manner even you can say in a very childish manner, so that it can be understood much more easily.
First statement is in this proof: ‘God is a being than whom greater cannot be conceived’. The second statement: ‘God who is only in conception, is lesser than God who is in existence also’, therefore God who is one, who is a being than whom greater cannot be conceived must not only be in a thought, he must also be in existence. I shall repeat: ‘God is a being than whom greater cannot be conceived.’ ‘God who is in existence is greater than God who is only in conception’ therefore,—God exists. This argument which Anselm put forward for a long time in the West, almost every philosopher after Anselm has tried to grapple with this argument. In a certain sense it seems to be so easy, so clinching as if God’s existence has been proved. No question about it and yet there is a feeling there is some catch in the argument. It doesn’t really satisfy. Is it really satisfactory proof? Does it really prove the existence of God? For example, Descartes who came after Anselm, he forwarded this very argument in different words.
He said every human being has a concept of perfection. That concept may be adequate, inadequate, whatever, but there is a concept of perfection. Perfection at least means one thing which includes everything. Perfection is that which includes everything, existence is something, therefore perfection must be existing and perfection means God, therefore God exists. This was his proof of the existence of God—God exists. Merely by the concept of perfection, which is in your mind, anybody’s mind, everybody’s mind, from the concept of perfection he proves the existence of perfection and by perfection is meant God. In fact many people are quite satisfied with this argument and they feel that God’s existence is proved.
This kind of argument in one form or the other was formulated by many philosophers like Spinoza, Leibniz, until there came a philosopher called Immanuel Kant. This argument is by the way called the Ontological argument of God. It’s called ontological because ontology is a study of being. At one time I had explained to you the word philosophy and I said philosophy is the search of the ultimate, ultimate of all things put together.
The question is to what is ultimate of society is called social philosophy. The study of what is society, what is the ultimate truth of society, is a question which is discussed by social philosophers. What is the ultimate nature of the state is political philosophy, what is the ultimate nature of good and bad, right or wrong is moral philosophy, what is the ultimate truth of the cosmos and behind the cosmos is called metaphysics, but if you concentrate only on what is truth of the ultimate, of cosmos, or what is beyond the cosmos that narrow field of study, study of the Being which is at the root of the cosmos or which is even existent indifferent of the cosmos,—The real ultimate, ultimate of ultimate that is called ontology. The study of the ultimate being is called ontology. Since this argument tries to prove the ultimate existence of the ultimate purely by the idea of God, you must have seen that the very first sentence is only the idea of God. It is a definition of God. It doesn’t say that God exists, it simply defines God. Merely from the idea of God, you derive the existence of God. The being of God therefore is called ontological argument.
Apart from the ontological argument, two other arguments also were developed in due course. In the effort to prove the existence of God there was another argument, which is called cosmological proof of God. There is a third argument which is called teleological proof of God. Three arguments—ontological, cosmological and teleological, three arguments of God have been developed in the West.
In India also we have similar kinds of arguments. The cosmological argument is much simpler. We are sure that the whole cosmos is there before us. You start by your experience of the cosmos and if you examine the cosmos, you will find that it cannot but have a cause. Nothing can exist without a cause. The whole cosmos is a fact, it must have a cause. Cosmos exists since the world is existing and since a fact cannot exist without the existence of cause the cause must exist. The very fact that the cosmos exists shows that cause must exist. Therefore God exists, this is the cosmological argument. Effect exists, effect cannot be without the existence of the cause, therefore the cause namely God, must exist,—God exists. This is the cosmological argument.
The third is the teleological argument; it argues that there is in this world a design. All design is nothing but synchronization of means to ends. A certain end is to be achieved and you put certain means in such a manner that the end is realized. It starts by the fact that there is a design in the world. Design means that there is an end and there are means and there is synchronization of the two. Since the word end in Greek means teleos therefore this whole argument is based upon teleology, which is based upon the idea of the end and means, the synchronization of end and the means because there is a design in the world, there must be a designer. A watch is a design, the watch is so constructed with a certain end in view and the watchmaker makes the watch in such a way that serves a certain purpose. You cannot have a watch without a watchmaker and this is an important argument. If the world were only chaos, things are happening all pell-mell then it may just exist like that by itself but if you find design in it, it cannot happen just like that. A design necessarily implies intelligence, consciousness, a designer. Since the world is a design there must be a designer. That designer is called God—God exists. This is the third argument—the Teleological argument.
There has been a lot of debate in the West in regard to all the three arguments. If you really examine them very seriously, you will find that there may be some defects here and there, they can all be repaired. The arguments are all of such a nature that they all can be repaired, maybe some formulation is defective in one way, another is defective in another way but if you can refine the whole thing in a beautiful manner then you can say that all the three arguments with whatever repairs, which are necessary when they are effected, all the three arguments are sustainable. But there is one defect to which I would like to draw the attention of everybody.
This is the one defect which was brought out by Immanuel Kant. He pointed out that the great flaw in the ontological argument is that it regards existence as a predicate. It’s a technical statement; I will explain what it means. The defect of ontological argument is that it regards existence as a predicate and he argued that existence is not a predicate, therefore the whole argument falls. Mind you, Kant believed in God himself but he said that God can be proved by the moral argument not by ontological argument. He had another argument, which I have not yet expounded but his argument was the moral argument to prove the existence of God. He said you cannot prove the existence of God by means of ontological argument or cosmological argument or by the teleological argument. You can prove the existence of God only by moral argument, which I will later on expound to you.
The reason why he said, I don’t accept ontological argument is that ontological argument treats existence as a predicate. Existence is not a predicate therefore the whole argument falls. Now, the word predicate is very important in logic. I shall just take a few minutes to explain to you the word ‘predicate’. In the time of Kant the logic formulated by Aristotle was very prominent. As you know Aristotle was the first man to write a book on logic. Not that he invented logic, but wrote the first book on logic and he expounded logic. In his exposition of logic he says that before you start asking questions, is it right, is it wrong which is the normal question of mind, of intellect, the greatest business of intellect is only this—is it right, is it wrong. After all the questions which are raised by the intellect are these two, is it right, is it wrong? Determination of right and wrong, the truth or falsehood is a fundamental business of intellect. So he said when intellect starts asking these questions you must proceed with the question in a logical manner. That is to say step by step, so that at no time you are trapped in confusion because one of the enemies of intellectual thinking is confusion. Intellect whenever it begins to think at a certain stage it happens to get confused; this is the difficulty of intellectual process. If you want to get rid of confusions, your first starting point was that whatever is to be proved or disproved, you first make a statement of it very clearly because very often people fight truth, falsehood and they are themselves not sure what is to be established, what is not to be established. On the very basic questions there are difficulties and they go on quarreling. So he said that before you start any quarrel, let all the parties to debate, state down very clearly what is to be proved and what is not to be proved. That statement he said must be stated in a logical form. In order to be very sure that your statement has no confusion in it, he himself gave a real form and he said that if you state any proposition, any statement in that form you can be sure that at least as a statement, it’s logically clear. In a very simple way he said that in order that a statement is said to be logically correct, not true or false but logically at least the clarity of the statement is to be judged, if it conforms to the following form; that the statement should have three parts. If it has two parts, it is not a logical statement, if it has only one part it is not a logical statement. If I say, ‘this’, it’s not a logical statement.
If I say ‘this’ it is only one part, therefore it’s not a logical statement. If I say ‘run’ it’s not a logical statement, it’s only one part, I am in the process; it’s not a complete statement. It has only two parts. Process of what? I am in the process of running; I am in the process of talking. Unless there are three parts, a statement is not a statement. It is not what is called a logical proposition. The first part is what is called subject, the last part is called predicate and the middle part is called copula. Copula is that which joins the subject and the predicate. The famous example is ‘all men are mortal’. In this statement ‘all men’ is the subject, ‘mortal’ is the predicate and ‘are’ is the copula. ‘All men are mortal’, the three points are connected together. This is a logical proposition. This you can debate whether it’s right or wrong. If you simply say ‘all men are’ it’s not a complete statement, ‘are mortal’ is not a complete statement, merely ‘are’ is not a complete statement, mere ‘mortal’ is not a statement, mere ‘men’ is not a statement. When you put all the three things together that is the logical statement which you can debate, true or not. Subject is that about which predicate is predicated. It’s a definition of a subject. All cats are black, which is not true but supposing I make a statement ‘all cats are black’, you can debate it, it’s a statement. Logically it’s a clear statement; you can debate whether it’s true or false. This statement is not true because you can verify that some cats are not black, so you can come to the conclusion and therefore, you can reject this statement saying, ‘all cats are black’ is not a correct statement. You do find some cats which are not black or all black cats are black. This statement is true. This is called tautology.
Tautology is a statement in which the predicate repeats what is in the subject. All men are men, is a tautology. And Aristotle said when you can prove that predicate is a part of the subject, it is almost like a tautology and that all tautologies are true. You can be sure all tautologies are true, therefore there is no question about debating and when tautologies are not put forward very easily, very clearly if you can show that they are tautologies then you have proved your case that it was a simple method of proving whether a statement is right or wrong. If you can show that ‘all men are mortal’, if you can show that mortality is a part of humanity then this statement is true, it means that all mortal men are mortal. ‘All mortal men are mortal’ this statement is true because you have shown that the predicate is a part of the subject.
All arguments according to Aristotle, which are true, are nothing but statements in which predicates are shown to be part of the subject and therefore in a certain sense all of them are tautologies or identities, therefore they are true. This is one of the best ways of finding out whether an argument is valid or not. In any case, there are certain predicates, which are absolutely identical with the subject in which I say all men are men, the predicate is exactly identical with the subject, but there are certain predicates which are not completely identical with the subject, but which are part of the subject. If I say that all crows are black. It is not that black is equal to all crows that is not true, but blackness is a part of all the crows. In other words a predicate should be either identical with the subject or it should be a part of the subject, but even if you show it is identical, it does not necessarily prove.
If I simply say ‘God is God’ does it amount to the proof of existence of God, proposition is true, God is God. The predicate is God, subject is God, does it prove the existence of God? So mere tautology is not a proof, it may be true. It only means that the word God is a word God that is all, it proves; it does not prove that God exists. Therefore all those who believe in ontological argument, they say that ‘existence’ is a part of God. You will see all the arguments, I gave you the example of Anselm and Descartes, perfection is that which includes everything, existence is something, therefore existence must be part of God, therefore God exists. Anselm’s argument also examines the same thing in which the existence is shown to be a predicate, is a part of God.
God is then whom greater cannot be conceived. God, who is only an idea, is lesser than the God who is also an existence that means ‘existence’ is a part of God, therefore God exists. In both the arguments, you will find that existence has been treated as a predicate. Predicate in a sense, it is a part of the subject. Kant pointed out that the very nature of existence is such that existence can never be a predicate. If he can prove this statement then the whole argument falls, if existence can never be a part, cannot be a predicate. You remember, I started this whole discussion of this argument in the second part of my exposition. My first part of the exposition was ‘nothing exists’. Second statement was ‘existence is not only what can be conceived but is the only thing that can be conceived’, and then asked the question let us examine the nature of existence and then I came to these arguments. My purpose was to examine the nature of existence and this is the crucial point, which we have now come to, when Kant says ‘existence’ is not a predicate. His famous example was $100 in imagination are not less than $100 in existence. When $100 come into existence do they become 101. If existence was a predicate it would have added something. Predicate is something which adds to the subject. So, he says $100 in imagination are also 100, $100 in existence are also 100, this shows existence is not a predicate. Existence is something quite different, so if existence is not a predicate the whole argument is demolished.
Unfortunately Kant did not tell us what is existence? If it is not a predicate, he should have told us what it is then. And that was our question with which we started: what is existence? Therefore, the history of argument regarding God has remained incomplete in the Western thought.
After Kant there has been some criticism of the ontological argument, Bertrand Russell for example—he has taken up this very question and follows basically Kant in showing that existence is not a predicate, but what is existence itself? What is the nature of existence that has not been discussed further and that is where the Western thought is still resting over there, you might say in an inconclusive state. Many philosophers of the West may not think that it is a resting point at an inconclusive stage; they may think that they have debunked the philosophy of God and that is the end of the matter.
The argument which was placed before mankind to prove the existence of God has been proved to be wrong and that ends the matter therefore, don’t discuss about God because this is not proved. But the examination of the nature of existence—what is existence? There have been many new theories which have come up into which I will not take you because it is a very complicated matter and not very necessary for our purpose. The only answer is, existence is that which alone can be conceived.
Existence is such a thing, existence is that which alone can be conceived, the rest cannot be conceived at all. The statement with which I started ‘Nothing exists’ existence is not only that that can be conceived but is the only thing that can be conceived is now being reiterated. In other words my statement is ‘existence is not a predicate’, it is true. Existence is the only subject, not only subject but the only subject. The idea of proving God by regarding existence as a predicate of God is not on the right lines, you should say existence is God, not God exists. Existence is God, what is God? God is not something which is apart from existence. That whole idea that God may be apart from existence and therefore existence can be proved of God is itself a wrong process. Existence itself is God, and existence is that which alone can be conceived therefore rationally proved that God is the only thing that can be conceived, therefore rationally proved. This is, you might say, one of the basic elements in chapter number nine. It was only to clarify that I took you to this abstract and difficult terrain.