Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 (The Mother Insitute of Research - MIRA) - Session 6 (23 July 1997)

I think we are now prepared for a real session. Let me restate what we are trying to do. We are in search of the knowledge of existence and our first experience of existence is the motion or movement that is taking place around us, around our individuality or around our egoism. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says that if you want to experience movement then withdraw yourself from egoistic preoccupations. In fact, the very first sentence of the chapter states that when you withdraw yourself from egoistic preoccupation then we realize the huge movement of the vast universe, which cannot be described. So you might say we begin with one experience of our egoistic circle of movement, when you withdraw from it you get an antithesis, a vast movement in which everything that we experience is only a petty swarm, less than even particle of dust. Our entire insignificance would be experienced, when you enlarge yourself so fully.

Sri Aurobindo says that even when you go to that extreme of experiencing your utter insignificance, do not become overwhelmed by that either. There is a greater synthesis in which while experiencing the overwhelming presence of the universal, you also recognize the significance of whatever you are. You should not be overwhelmed by the illusion of the hugeness; you should be free from the illusions of quantity and quality and realize the samam Brahma in the bigness and in smallness, the same Brahman, the same Reality is spread out. Once you have this balanced view of things, you have a second step of the argument. The second step of the argument is that just as we are the subordinates to the huge universal movement, even so movement itself is subordinate to something that is stable. So, our first experience was our own existence, experience of existence of ourselves then the existence of the movement. In the third stage, we realize that there is an existence which is superior to the entire movement—both of yourself and of the whole universe and that which is superior to this movement, its basic character is of stability. So, you might say that real existence is the stable; in Sanskrit it is called sthanu, the stability. We are actually stuck at this point.

Sri Aurobindo says that both reason and higher experience show to us that there is a stability, which is superior to the movement and which is the source of the movement. Our question is how the reason perceives this stable and secondly how does our experience give us the witness of this stable; this is our basic question. As in geometry you have a process of proving in which you have first a statement of what is to be proved and then there is an argument to prove. Similarly, we must know what is it that we are trying to prove? We are trying to prove that the movement is subordinate to stability. We want to prove by two methods: by the method of reasoning and by the method of experience. When by both the methods, we can prove it then we shall have complete satisfaction. We shall have a complete assurance that there is an existence, which is stable and which is the cause of all that is there in the world and if you mean God, the stable, which is the cause of the movement. If this is our definition of God then we shall have said that we have now proved the existence of God.

All that you have been doing so far is only a preface or some kind of preliminary steps in the direction to prove this. I shall restate some of the things which I have said earlier and then moved forward so that the entire process becomes very clear. You remember that we have said that there is in the history of thought a long effort to prove the existence of God and I had given one formulation of the proof of the existence of God. I shall repeat it for the sake of reaffirmation. In all matters of reasoning we need to repeat the same arguments again and again because there are so many ….. in the rational arguments that even though they are grasped at one time, after some time what we have grasped gets lost. It’s a psychological difficulty of grasping any ….that is why you should pardon me, if there are repetitions of this kind because it is only a kind of a reaffirmation to our own process of reasoning, so that what is to be grasped is really grasped.

I told you the formulation of this argument which is called the ontological argument, which was formulated by Anselm. His argument was ‘God is that than whom nothing greater can be conceived’. Mind you, it doesn’t say that God exists, it simply says there is a conception of God. What is that conception? He is someone than whom nothing greater can be conceived. None is greater that is all, this is the definition of God. He said, ‘I want to prove God, who is conceived in this concept, if you have any arguments against this conception then you can say that well I don’t accept this definition of God. Then it matters. If you start by saying that God is one by definition than whom nothing greater can be conceived, if you start with this statement then either you first of all reject my definition and say, ‘no, this is not God’; then give another definition of God, if you can. Do you have any conception of God, which does not fit in with this description? Normally, the answer is this is quite all right; this is the definition because God is the greatest, the highest, the absolute. This is all that is said in this definition ‘God is that then whom nothing greater can be conceived’ he doesn’t say, ‘God exists’, this is only a definition, a conception.

If I said that unicorn exists, an animal of a kind, or that there is a flower which has been born from the sky exists. As a definition a flower is a flower, whether it grows in the sky or not. It may not really exist, but as definition you can’t reject it. A horse with wings exists. Supposing I say what is a concept that a horse is an animal like any other horse with this difference that it has wings, like the wings of a bird, in the concept there is no problem. Whether such a thing exists or not, is a different question.

Similarly, the first proposition of this argument is that it is only a definition of God. It does not say therefore God exists. It doesn’t start with the proposition God exists and God is than whom nobody is greater, that is not the point he simply says, God is by conception than whom nothing greater can be conceived that is all.

The second step of the argument which is very important—God who really exists is greater than God who only exists in conception; this is the master stroke of the argument. ‘God who really exists is greater than God who only exists in conception’ and your definition was that ‘God is that than whom nothing greater can be conceived’. Therefore, God who is only in conception is not the answer to the definition, what is conceived is ‘God who really exists’. So, the conclusion is ‘God Exists’. In other words to think of God and not to think of him as existing is impossible, that is the whole of the argument. Among the whole area of the world there is not a single thing about which you can give this argument. It is only about God that you can give this argument. A winged horse can be conceived but may not exist because in the definition of the horse, such a thing does not come into the picture at all, which comes in the definition of God. Truly speaking, this argument, although many people have criticized it in many ways, it is fundamentally a correct argument from a rational point of view. It is a very powerful argument and when you think deeply on this question you will find that this argument is really a convincing argument but the formulation of it can be of a different kind.

As I told you, one of the sharpest arguments against this proof was one which was formulated by Kant and I shall repeat the argument that he had advanced. He had said that this argument rests on the assumption that ‘existence’ is the predicate and then I will explain what is the meaning of predicate. He had explained that anything that may be considered to be quantity, quality, relation, modality can be a part of predicate, but in none of these, existence comes into the picture. Quantity, quality, relation, modality none of them can be described as existence, they are all predicates. The simple example that Kant has given was hundred dollars in existence are not more than hundred dollars in conception. Of course there is a difference between hundred dollars in imagination and the hundred dollars in actuality. You can go to the market and get things against hundred actual dollars, so there is a difference between hundred dollars in conception and hundred actual dollars, but that actuality does not add to the dollars, it does not become hundred and one dollars. If existence was a predicate then it would have added something to hundred-ness, predicate always adds something to the subject. If existence was a predicate, it would have made a difference to hundred-ness. According to Kant ‘existence’ is not a predicate and the whole argument assumes that existence is a predicate therefore, the argument is erroneous. That was his argument. As against this argument, suppose we agree and say that ‘yes, it is true, existence is not a predicate’. We may even agree that the formulation of Anselm, in his argument, seems to make a mistake in thinking that ‘existence’ is a predicate but then does it mean that ‘existence is nothing’. If it’s not a predicate, does it mean that existence is nothing? So our formulation will now be on a different plane, it’s the same argument but formulates in a different question. Existence is not a predicate but existence is the subject, this is the new formulation that ‘existence’ is really speaking the subject.

Quantity, quality, relation, modality these are all predicates, predicates can be conceived or may not be conceived, that is to say all predicates are optional as far as conception is concerned. But there is one thing which can be conceived and you cannot help conceiving and that is ‘existence’. You do any conception; the only thing that you can conceive is existence. You must have seen one sentence of Sri Aurobindo where he says ….also last time that sentence that existence without quantity, quality, relation, modality is not only something that can be conceived but is the only thing that can be conceived, other things this object may be one or multiple or total is optional, it may be, it may not be. It may be red or black or white, it may be white, it may not be white. We are not obliged to think that this object must be white necessarily, but whatever conception there may be of any kind, the first thing you have to conceive is that of ‘existence’ that is something which you cannot rub out from pure reason. To show this I had started right from the beginning a proposition and asked you nothing exists and asked you to conceive ‘nothing exists’ and you have seen that this statement is inconceivable.

‘Nothing exists’ if you really think about it, you find that you are actually saying nothing. If I say ‘nothing exists’ it means that you are conceiving nothing and conceiving nothing is impossible. All conception is conception about ‘existence’, therefore the one thing that you can conceive is existence. This is the new formulation of the ontological argument, only one sentence which may not even seem like an argument because in an argument there are steps—first step, second step, third step like in the case of Anselm’s argument. It was first a definition of God and then second was the argument and then the conclusion, but in this statement which I am proposing there is no step. It only says this thing—‘Existence without quantity, quality, relation, and modality is not only what can be conceived but is the only thing that can be conceived’ this is the only argument. If you feel that this argument does not click in your mind it means I would ask you to think again on this because there is the subtlety in the argument and it is only when you think again and again that you will see that this is the perception of the reason.

You remember once I started by saying what is reason and in that process of reasoning, of showing what is reason. I told you that reason is nothing but a capacity to conceptualize. This is the definition I have given you; reason is nothing but a capacity to conceptualize. Where there is no conceptualization there is no reasoning. It may be only sense experience or intuitive experience but no conceptualization. Reasoning is the middle point. Middle point between sense experience and intuitive experience, in between is the field of reason, which is the field of conception. If you can touch and see a thing, you don’t need to conceive.

Similarly when you become the object itself, so it is said that reason conceives existence, intuition experiences that existence. But that experience is not of the kind that we have in the sense-experience. It is an experience where the subject and the object become one. In that experience, you find that supreme existence beyond quantity, beyond quality, beyond relation, beyond modality. So these are the two steps of the argument. First of all the argument is only one line, you may not call it an argument, you can only say that this is the perception of the reason through conception which is indubitable, which you cannot doubt. Which only says that existence without quantity and quality is not only that we can conceive it but it is the only thing that you can conceive. This statement is the argument. Ontological argument is basically nothing but this. Now I am quite sure that when you think of this statement again and again, you will not have that much conviction because of the fact that you are not yet accustomed to think and conceive exactly what you need to conceive. Like if you have a binocular, and I ask you to look at a star and if you have a telescope and you to look at a star and you don’t know how to handle the telescope, you cannot see the star which is the target because you don’t know how to fix your telescope on the target. It is only when you are able to put your telescope exactly on the target that you will be able to see it. Similarly, reason is like a telescope and normally we don’t know how to adjust the telescope and therefore, when you are told this statement, you may not be able to perceive this because you do not know how to handle the telescope. That is why I gave you a negative way of putting this telescope and I said think of ‘nothing’. Think of ‘nothing’, that is to say that you have now taken out the telescope entirely off the target. Existence is the target; if you can fix on it you will see it directly. You are not able to see it now; therefore I am saying take off the telescope from the target completely. And I say now, think of ‘nothing’. Can you think of it? When you see that you cannot think of it, then you will come to the conclusion—the only thing that you can think of, or conceive of is ‘existence’. ‘Nothing’ can’t be conceived therefore the only thing you can conceive is existence. This is the way in which you can set your telescope exactly on the target. This is the first step of the argument that there is existence without quantity; quality is the one thing that you can conceive. Having established yourself on this statement, there are two more statements to be established. Basically, you have established everything, fundamentally. But when you still think about it there are two more statements which have to be proved. Which are corollaries of this, one is that the ‘Existence is infinite, Existence is one', there are two statements. In other words we have to prove that God is only one, not two gods, three gods or five gods. When you want to prove the existence of god you are proving also that God is one. In a sense it is proved already, but I want to explicate it. So that in our mind concepts are very clear. The first thing is to say that existence is infinite. Now let us make an effort to prove this statement. The starting point is that all our experience, all our imagination and all our conception; I am saying three things—experience, imagination, conception. So any one of these methods, whether you go by the methods of experience, imagination or conception, or by experience nothing shows you the absolute beginning and an absolute end you point out in your experience anywhere that you have arrived at the complete end. Whatever you say, the end is followed by something else. You may be seeing a film at the end of which you see the end but after that you come out of the cinema hall and something happens after that, that end was only you might say was a temporary interval; it is not the real end. Beginning is also preceded by something. Every beginning has an earlier beginning, it has an earlier beginning and it has a further beginning. It is true I have argued myself that there must be an absolute beginning. But today to start with I am arguing that in your conception, in your imagination, in your experience you never have an absolute beginning or an absolute end. The first step of the argument is that you see everywhere a beginning which has an anterior beginning and an end which has an ulterior end that means that nothing before you is really finite. A finite is by definition something which has a beginning and an end. This object is a finite object; it has a beginning and it has an end. But in the universal movement of which it is a part, which is the real reality there is no end. In other words there is no such thing as finite. Therefore, Sri Aurobindo says infinity imposes itself, whatever exists, whatever definition you give of existence, you must say there is infinity. Now having made this statement the second statement, if you read Sri Aurobindo’s ‘Life Divine’ this particular chapter he says: But this is infinity with regard to time and space. If you read this particular chapter having said infinity imposes itself. The next sentence is but this is infinity with regard to space and time. If you have got the text with you I would like you to see this particular statement: page no 74 you read first of all the last sentence “Infinity imposes itself on the appearances of the finite by its ineffugable self-existence.

Having said this in the next sentence Sri Aurobindo says:

But this is infinity with regard to Time and Space, an eternal duration, interminable extension.

Right—this is regarding the infinity of space and time. All that we are seeing in this world is nothing but space and time, in that space and time you do not see any beginning or any end. This is the meaning of infinity here but this is not the end of the matter as you really ask this question, if there is really no beginning then once I argued with you that whatever you see is existing before you and this cannot exist without the previous thing existing and that cannot exist without that previous thing existing and if it does not end at all then this cannot exist. Therefore, I have argued that there must be some end of it that end however, is not an end in space and time because in space and time there is nothing which ends and yet there must be an end, there must be an absolute beginning but that beginning cannot be caught in space and time, therefore the absolute beginning must be spaceless and timeless. That’s why Sri Aurobindo says, you read the second sentence “the pure reason goes further and looking in its own colourless and ….life at time and space… that these two are categories of our consciousness, conditions under which we arrange our perception or phenomena When you look at existence in itself time and space disappear, so the existence is infinite in two senses. Infinite in the sense of beginningless and endless and infinity in the sense that which is not finite and to which all conceptions of which are applicable to finite, don’t apply. All finite objects are in space and time therefore that which is not finite, which is really infinite, the concept of space and time don’t apply, therefore we have infinity of space and time and we are obliged to perceive. The pure reason goes further and when you look into existence-in-itself, which is the ground of this whole thing, the real beginning which must be (but real beginning) not in space and time. That which is a real beginning is sometimes called only the ground, there must be a ground for all this to spread before you. So now we have got two infinities—the infinity of space and time and the infinite, which is spaceless and timeless, therefore existence is basically timeless and spaceless which is the ground of the beginningless and endless space and time, this is the conclusion to which we arrive.

When we say that existence is a ground the best way of understanding that ground is to understand the concept of essence, the simplest way of conceiving essence is the following—supposing somebody tells you a long story and after hearing the whole story you say, tell me fundamentally what is the story, what is the crux of the story, just tell me briefly, just tell me essentially, what is the story. If you will conceive of this essence, you will find that by nature it is not an extension. The long story that you are told is an extension. It has a lot of movements; it extends from point to point, goes on and on. When you … briefly, essentially, fundamentally it has no extension. Sometimes it is even called an intention not an extension, but intention with TION, not SION, just an extension. Similarly, in intension it is an intension, so it does not extend, it is intensed, it is intensely present. When you briefly tell the story, the whole story is contained in it and you can extend it, you can tell the whole story because it is intensely present. If you dwell upon the idea of essence, you will really understand this timeless and spaceless existence, which is the ground of endless and beginningless time and space. That is why existence which is pure without quantity, quality, relation, minus out all nama rupa, what remains is essence. But when you say essence, it does not mean quantity, name, quality is therefore completely excised because when you want to tell the story again in great detail, it is out of that essence that you can tell out the whole story, it is not lost, it’s not excised, it is not destroyed. Such is the relation between extension and intension, such is the relationship between time and space on one hand and the timeless and spaceless. The ground which is the essence, the true existent is something in which time and space and all that we see is so much contained in it. It almost becomes other than what it is and yet when you expand it, it again expands as nama rupa.

Question: Is a timeless and spaceless within the purview of the reasoning, or it is only by experiencing.

Answer: Both, as I told you three things—imagination, reasoning and experience, all the three will give the idea of infinity of space and time. Similarly, timelessness, spacelessness is also reasoning, imagination and experience, all the three then only we can be certain that such a thing exists, otherwise pure Reason can give you conviction but only conceptual conviction. It is only …that you really get a complete satisfaction, ‘yes, I have seen God face to face’ then only you are really certain, totally, integrally and that is the specialty of Indian thought. The one distinction between the Western thought and Indian thought is that Indian thought had always maintained that what you can conceive by reason has also to be further proved in experience. Even though that experience is to be of another kind—aparokshanubhuti, you have complete certainty. So both by method of pure Reason and by method of pure experience you get confirmation of what you want to say.

Question: …………Kant has said about existence that it is not a predicate, so by the Indian thought if it’s not a predicate, is it the subject …..?

Answer: Yes it is, it is absolutely, you are quite right. Actually it's only one step instead of seeing of ….absolutely that means your telescope is exactly on the target now. When the telescope is exactly on the target, you are bound to say existence without quantity and quality is not only something that you can conceive but is the only thing that you can conceive.

Sri Aurobindo says that when pure Reason sees directly, time and space disappear. We have tried to see this proposition earlier but let me repeat today also, before we go forward “beginning-less and endless, infinity is something which you can’t deny.” Imagination, experience, conception, all the three tell you that you cannot conceive of absolute beginning, absolute end. In your experience you never see anywhere and yet if he had no ground this whole movement of beginning-less and endless movement could not have come into existence. There must be a ground if not anterior in space and time, there must be a ground then only all this can move.

As Sri Aurobindo says, if you don’t have that existence, it is like the staircase which stands suspended in the middle, neither end, nor beginning. Can there be a staircase, which has no end and no beginning? So if that spaceless-ness and timelessness does not exist then you can’t even explain this movement, therefore, there must be another kind of ground; this is the specialty of this argument. Although, it is true that they are in space and time there is nothing but continuous beginning and continuous end, endless end and endless beginning, still there must be a very big basis, a ground for it but that ground necessarily cannot be in space and time. If it is space and time, it is finite and it has a beginning and an end therefore that particular ground must be above space and time.

There is with me a picture, not a picture but a diagram, don’t read the whole diagram but I will only show you one particular thing. This was presented by Sri Aurobindo in a state of amusement. So this is what Mother said that Sri Aurobindo wrote this in the state of amusement. This is a diagram of the totality of Reality, the world and everything, if you want to see it in the form of a diagram. This is a long one but when you come to the third page and see the last diagram, you will see the ground above and the beginning-less and endless, temporal manifestation. It has no beginning and no end but it is rooted in that which is above. All the above exists but not in this form, so the relationship between ground and manifestation is exactly of this kind, this is in space and time and this is above space and time and that is the real ground. So, it is as it were, the ground is the vertical reality and the time and space is the horizontal reality. In the Bhagavad Gita there is a description of the ashwatha tree which has the roots above and the branches downwards, so this is that, the root is above and the branches are all that we are seeing as branches.

Now in that paragraph there are two three sentences, which are really very difficult and I shall like to concentrate on it. We have so far only two statements: there is a timeless and spaceless Reality of existence and we are seeing the reasons since it must be there. So, rationally we are sure it must be the timeless and the spaceless infinite as a ground of the beginning-less and endless infinite. There are two propositions we can see very clearly.

I want to state a third statement and if you go very slowly you will see it also very clearly without much difficulty but let us see how far we can succeed. Our normal experience of space and time is that of successive extension. Suppose you imagine for the sake of a very elementary understanding of this statement, which is not difficult to understand, there is a very small insect, which can only see one or two points ahead of it. We can of course see quite a lot at one stroke, the entire; whatever we see there is a kind of a scope. But if there is an insect, which is crawling upon a small branch of a tree, it moves little by little and it thinks that that which it has crossed is a past and that which now it is about to cross is a present and that which is coming forward is a future. To our perception the entire branch is in the present then you know, past or present or future the entire branch is in the present. Why, because your scope of perception is larger, if, therefore, your scope of perception becomes larger then what happens, all that we call past, present and future is only one moment in which all moments are contained. So what is the real nature of space and time? The successive movement, successive extension is only a result of our narrow consciousness. If you expand your consciousness then you will get not a successive duration but duration without succession, all containing one moment, all containing ever present moment. Even space, both time and space they are both relative, in the example that I gave you of the insect crawling upon the branch, space and time can be seen to be relative. The space that we cross is past, the space that is to be crossed is present and the space that is going to come is the future, so space and time are correlative. It is because of our normal notions that we make a lot of difference between space and time. We think that space is a box in which time is a running, is a running brook but basically both space and time are correlative. When you think of time as all containing ever present moment, similarly, you can think of space as all containing extension without magnitude. It is an extension but without magnitude which is a contradiction in terms because for us all extension is with … but if you have now seen all containing space. What kind of space, is it just like all containing moments in which there is no duration at all, or it’s a duration which is only one moment. If there is extension, if there is magnitude, it is magnitude in which all points are included.

There are three points—there is a timeless and spaceless infinite, which is the necessary ground for the beginning-less and endless time and space. The beginning-less and endless space and time is a second step, which is all containing duration, all containing extension and you will see that this is only dependent upon your consciousness. We had said that the successive moment of duration in the case of that insect is dependent upon its consciousness. The wideness of our consciousness in which we see the whole branch as one present is also dependent upon our consciousness. The Rishi who sees the whole space time in one regard is also a state of consciousness. Therefore Sri Aurobindo says that space and time whether a successive duration or all at one moment both are categories of consciousness. It is entirely up to us as to how we arrange things, what we call past it depends upon the state of consciousness in which you are. What is future depends upon the state of consciousness in which you are. There can be another state in which the future is past. There can be a consciousness where the future is past already. That is why it is said that to the rishi and … is smriti. He remembers the event. He remembers the event. The event was already there but he now remembers that event. There is only smriti. It’s a question of memory because you are situated differently. It is entirely a question of how you arrange your perception that makes a difference in between past, present and future.

So, in the state of consciousness depending upon the state of consciousness you have successive movement of duration and extension or you have all containing duration and extension and then there is a third which is timeless and spaceless. Now when you really have the full account of the universe you are bound to make these three propositions. Existence is timeless and spaceless from which beginningless and timeless, endless time and space are grounded which are fundamentally all containing moments or all containing points on which you can inscribe according to your stand point successive moment of duration and successive moment of space. This is the nature of existence, the totality of existence, if you really want the real existence. I shall invite you to read after having explained all this, these three paragraphs on page no. 74 all the three statements that I have made can be seen at once. Shall we start:

If this indefinable, infinite, timeless, spaceless Existence is, it is necessarily a pure absolute. It cannot be summed up in any quantity or quantities, it cannot be composed of any quality or combination of qualities. It is not an aggregate of forms or a formal substratum of forms. If all forms, quantities, qualities were to disappear, this would remain. Existence without quantity, without quality, without form is not only conceivable, but it is the one thing we can conceive behind these phenomena. Necessarily, when we say it is without them, we mean that it exceeds them, that it is something into which they pass in such a way as to cease to be what we call form, quality, quantity and out of which they emerge as form, quality and quantity in the movement. They do not pass away into one form, one quality, one quantity which is the basis of all the rest,—for there is none such,—but into something which cannot be defined by any of these terms. So all things that are conditions and appearances of the movement pass into That from which they have come and there, so far as they exist, become something that can no longer be described by the terms that are appropriate to them in the movement. Therefore we say that the pure existence is an Absolute and in itself unknowable by our thought although we can go back to it in a supreme identity that transcends the terms of knowledge. The movement, on the contrary, is the field of the relative and yet by the very definition of the relative all things in the movement contain, are contained in and are the Absolute. The relation of the phenomena of Nature to the fundamental ether which is contained in them, constitutes them, contains them and yet is so different from them that entering into it they cease to be what they now are, is the illustration given by the Vedanta as most nearly representing this identity in difference between the Absolute and the relative.

We see at once that if such an Existence is, it must be, like the Energy, infinite. Neither reason nor experience nor intuition nor imagination bears witness to us of the possibility of a final terminus. All end and beginning presuppose something beyond the end or beginning. An absolute end, an absolute beginning is not only a contradiction in terms, but a contradiction of the essence of things, a violence, a fiction. Infinity imposes itself upon the appearances of the finite by its ineffugable self-existence.

But this is infinity with regard to Time and Space, an eternal duration, interminable extension. The pure Reason goes farther and looking in its own colourless and austere light at Time and Space points out that these two are categories of our consciousness, conditions under which we arrange our perception of phenomenon. When we look at existence in itself, Time and Space disappear. If there is any extension, it is not a spatial but a psychological extension; if there is any duration, it is not a temporal but a psychological duration; and it is then easy to see that this extension and duration are only symbols which represent to the mind something not translatable into intellectual terms, an eternity which seems to us the same all-containing ever-new moment, an infinity which seems to us the same all-containing all-pervading point without magnitude. And this conflict of terms, so violent, yet accurately expressive of something we do perceive, shows that mind and speech have passed beyond their natural limits and are striving to express a Reality in which their own conventions and necessary oppositions disappear into an ineffable identity.

But is this a true record? May it not be that Time and Space so disappear merely because the existence we are regarding is a fiction of the intellect, a fantastic Nihil created by speech, which we strive to erect into a conceptual reality? We regard again that Existence-in-itself and we say, No. There is something behind the phenomenon not only infinite but indefinable. Of no phenomenon, of no totality of phenomena can we say that absolutely it is. Even if we reduce all phenomena to one fundamental, universal irreducible phenomenon of movement or energy, we get only an indefinable phenomenon. The very conception of movement carries with it the potentiality of repose and betrays itself as an activity of some existence; the very idea of energy in action carries with it the idea of energy abstaining from action; and an absolute energy not in action is simply and purely absolute existence.

I think we should stop here. These are the things that I so far told you. If you want to now describe existence we have three statements to know—the existence that we see is successive movement of duration and expansion that is our ordinary experience. We find that this is our view depending upon our psychological condition in which what is before and what is after depends entire upon the standpoint that we take with regard to where were we are the given is present, it may be large, it may be small depending upon our state of consciousness, so successive movement of duration and of extension is our ordinary experience of space and time that seems to existing before us because this is all that we know about. When we enquire further we find that there is beginningless movement of space and time and there is a method by which we can see in which all this is nothing but all containing moment, all containing point without magnitude and beyond that we perceive existent which is beyond space and time. These are three things we have to make a statement about when we speak of existence; this is all that we see. What do you mean by existence? Existence is all the three at once. The timeless and spaceless which manifest itself in beginningless and endless time and space which in our highest consciousness can be perceived as all containing ever new moment, all containing point without magnitude which again depending upon our state of consciousness can be seen as a successive movement of duration and successive movement of space. This is all that we see when we examine it properly.

The rest of the chapter is now much easier. This was the main difficulty and very complex statement, the rest would be now much easier and that we shall do next time.