Sachchidananda 'The Life Divine' Book I,Ch.9, 10, 11, 12 (The Mother Insitute of Research - MIRA) - Session 7 (1 August 1997

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

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

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

I don’t know whether this capsule makes it more confusing but I have tried to bring out only the steps of the argument but if you have still any question please tell me so that I can expound it further. You will see that there are mainly three steps in the argument—one is the perception of the movement. The whole first page is nothing but perception of the movement. In our perception of movement we have three steps, first the perception of our egoistic consciousness which regards itself to be the center of the whole movement. Second is the withdrawal from egoistic perception in which we see the whole movement in which even the highest magnitudes look like a petty swarm, such a huge perception we are confronted with. Third step is to see that this vast movement is equal in everything, both quantitatively and qualitatively. Whatever differences there may be in the world, the energy which is at work is equal in everything. The energy that is needed in producing the weakness is the same energy that is needed for creating strength in the strong. This is the first argument, the nature of the vast movement which is equal in everything in the whole world.

The second step of the argument is that pure reason asserts that this movement is subordinate to sthanu, to stability, something that is stable. And the third step of the argument is what the pure Reason perceives is confirmed by the Vedantic experience where we are told ‘Ekam eva adhvitiyam’. There is one reality without the second and it is entirely silent, quiet, without scar of division, pure, absolute. These are the three steps of the argument. First the perception of movement that the pure Reason saying that behind this movement there is a stable Reality and third argument is that this is also confirmed by the Vedantic experience. So that this stable is not is not merely a figment of your reason, it is also confirmed by experience. With regard to the second step there is a complication and it is that which is the most difficult part of this chapter really. How does pure reason perceive that behind the movement there is a stable?

In order to perceive this stable there are three steps in the argument, the first step is to realize that this movement is of the nature of space and time, that’s the first statement. This whole movement can be regarded as a vast movement of time and a vast extension of space. In these two words the entire movement can be summarized. The second step of the argument is to say that the space and time are infinite, there is something like beginningless-ness and endlessness and this should not be difficult to perceive because wherever you look, even physically you find that beyond what you think is the horizon there is still a further horizon that is in space and you have no experience of any time, when there was no time. It is, whatever is the time before that there was something and after what you are experiencing there is something else. This is what is normally called the infinity of space and time. There can be many definitions of infinity but one definition of infinity is that which is beginningless and endless. The third step of the argument is that this beginningless and endless space and time are normally experienced by us to be successive in character. We had given the example of the worm crawling on the branch of a tree and we had said that for the worm it moves from point to point and what it crosses, is past, what it is crossing is the present and what it is going to cross is the future and this is a successive movement both of space and time. Now there you will see that what is past is determined by the standpoint that you take. What is past to the worm is not past to us, when you look at the whole branch all at once, at one glance. There is not that past and that future which the worm has got, so it’s a psychological way of placing yourself at a particular point and look this way and say that is past and look that way and you say that is future. The present is the movement, which you call the dividing point. Where you stand is the dividing point, but actually it does not divide, it’s only a psychological way of dividing you stand there and you say this is past and that is future. To us who are outside this worm’s consciousness the entire branch is one present because you are putting your present somewhere else not on that particular point where the worm is placed, so it is your psychological point of view, wherever you put yourself and stand yourself is your present moment then look this way is past and that way is future, but actually speaking this successive movement implies a non-successive background otherwise you can’t stand at a point. To be able to stand at a particular point the branch itself should be a straight branch, not divided itself so that you can say that one point and say this is past and this is future. If the branch itself was divided you could not stood at the point of division at all because there will nothing there to stand on, therefore, every successive movement implies a non-successive background on which you can according to your needs, you can make that past and that future that is why it is said that what we call successive time and space is a psychological way of dealing with a non-successive extension and non-successive duration. So, successive time and successive space implies behind it a non-successive space, a non-successive time. Now if you want to describe that non-successive time and space the only way in which you can describe is to say that space is all containing point without magnitude and all-containing ever new moment. There can’t be two moments because it is non-successive, so there can’t be moment after moment. Its only one moment, but a moment which contains all so called moments, therefore behind successive movement of space and time we have a non-successive space and time which can be described respectively as all-containing point without magnitude and all-containing ever new moment, but both of them are extensions although not successive, although they are non successive but both are extensions.

Now extension means an act of energy wherever there is extension you cannot extend anything without an act of energy. If there is a rubber band and if you want to pull it and extend it you have to apply force of energy and when you apply force of energy there will be a point from where it will extend further. There must be a base on which you can stretch, therefore now the third point is that the pure reason sees that for extension there is an act of stretching and no stretching is possible without a stable ground and this is the important perception. If there is no ground you can’t stretch anything. Every act of stretching implies a ground or a base. Now that ground or base itself cannot be a stretching itself because if we did the stretching again it would require another ground or base until you come to the point which is not itself a stretching which is not itself extension, therefore it must be non- extended. Now that which is non-extended is what you call the pure Existence, is a stable one. So you have now three steps in the perception of the pure reason—first you perceive the successive movement of space and time and you perceive that it is a psychological way of dealing with extension. Second, you perceive that behind the successive movement of time and space there must be a non-successive time and space. That non-successive time and space can be described as an all-containing point without magnitude and an all-containing ever new moment. The third step is to see that even this non-successive space and time are however extensions, but all extensions presupposes a ground or base, therefore there must be a ground or base which is itself not extension, that which is not extension and yet which is the ground is what is called the pure Existence and such a thing must be, it must be because without that all that we are seeing would not be possible that we are seeing is a fact and what we are seeing implies the existence of a non-successive movement and behind that we perceive that there must be even non-extension, non-extensive reality, so successive movement of time and space supported by non-successive time and space which is further supported by something that is not extension itself. Sometimes it is said it is what may be called intense reality, not extensive reality but intense reality is called intension that which is intense, it is no extension, it doesn’t move forward. It is intense. So, this is the perception of the pure reason. Having perceived this and having made our reason convinced about it we can still allow a question. We say that one can grant that pure reason certainly affirms this but pure reason has to be supported again by experience. This is the only a conceptual reality, its conceptual conception or perception or conviction but it has to be further supported by experience, so here again the argument could be that in experience we don’t find anywhere the stable reality and it is true that in our ordinary experience we do not come across anything that is stable. But it is not true of a higher and the highest experience that is why Vedanta says that there is a mode of experience into which you can enter and when you enter into it there is a complete experience of silence, a complete immobility, such is the affirmation of the Vedanta. So, on that basis therefore we conclude that there is a pure existent which is stable, which is non-extensive and yet which is the cause of extension, cause of the non-successive space and time which again is tha cause of the successive time and space. This is the conclusion to which we arrive. Now the question that remains to be answered is and that is the substance of the next chapter. What is the relationship between that immobility and this mobility? Both have been affirmed as facts, although we have said that successive time and space and non-successive space and time are rooted in non-extensive reality or intensive reality. Just as the different forms of clay—various kinds of toys, you can make small toys; you can make big toys according to your psychological needs. A small child may need a small toy and a bigger one may need a bigger toy and as a maker of toys it is up to you. The clay is such an extension that you can make any kind of pieces that you like. The clay by itself may be compared to something like non- successive space. It is one block of space as it were which you can then divide according to your need, then you have a larger canvas of the clay and again you can make that canvas

You can conceive of this larger canvas which is non-successive as originating from what we call clay-ness. There is something like essence of clay of which this larger canvas of clay is the manifestation. The clay-ness is the intensive reality. It is that which makes all the pieces of clay whether it is here or in America whatever is clay, it is like the same cattiness which is responsible for or which explains to us numerous cats in the world this is then the perception of the pure reason and the only question is about experience. Do we really experience this immobility and we have said that Vedanta confirms that there is such an experience of immobility, but this an experience which can be repeated by anybody. In fact this is the claim of the Vedanta. It is not simply written in the scripture once and for all and therefore somebody has to except because it is in the Vedanta. The entire process of yoga is a process by which what is stated in the Vedanta can be experienced by anybody for anyone of us who wants to experience that immobility can be experienced. And this experience in its completeness is not only of pure immobility, but immobility in which the mobility also is contained. So that mobility is not something different from the immobility, it’s not as if a juxtaposition—mobility here immobility there such is the relationship between immobility and mobility. Mobility is rooted in the immobility and it can be rooted only if there is some kind of an identity between the two that is why Shiva and Kali as conceived in India they are two which are one such is the concept because if the immobility is one and that is the real reality of everything then movement could not have been emerging from somewhere else.

If there is only one reality then whatever there is in that reality you might say the first statement of what is called ‘argument for the existence of God’. Does God exist? This is the question which is asked very often and with which we started in fact several weeks ago and the ultimate statement that we have now put forward may be regarded as the first aspect, the basic aspect namely that there is a stable non-successive, non-extensive being or reality or existence which is both by pure reason so that rationally you cannot reject it and which is also affirmed by experience so both ways we have confirmed that such a reality exist, but this is only the first step because God is not only that which exists. God is not merely that which is the container of the movement so far we only stated that God exists or that which is existent is what we can call God. We are not making a mistake which Enselm had made God exists. We say that existence which is stable which contains the movement is what you call God and such a God is not only conceivable but the only thing that can be conceived. This is the utmost that the reason can affirm. At the highest level of the reason it must affirm an existence which is stable, which is non extensive and which is the base of all extensive movements whether non- successive or successive this is the definite conclusion to which we arrive. But this is not the full description of God, something more needs to be said and can be said and this is what is done in chapter no: ten, eleven and twelve. There are three chapters in which further elucidation will come out with regard to the nature of God. God is not merely existent, God is also a conscious being and God is also a being of delight—this is the definition of God. God is self-existent, conscious and delightful being. In the Vedanta we have a formula: the reality or God is Sat Chit Ananda, that which exists, which is conscious and which is delight. Now so far we have only proved that God exists or the other way round existence which is stable which contains movement—is God and which cannot but be conceived by reason. This is all that we have so far established. Now let us see whether and in what way we can establish that God is also a conscious being. Now here you have a few steps, first of rational argument then we shall come to experience. The rational argument is to state that all the movement of the world, this is the first step of the argument, all the movement of the world can be reduced to one original force and the nature of the force is that it is capable of putting itself forth or withdrawing what is put forth. This is the nature of the force. Now let us substantiate these statements—all that is in the movement can be reduced to force. Now what you normally see is the physical reality with our physical eyes we see all that is spread out before us. So, let us for the moment concentrate upon what we see physically. What we see physically, very concretely is what is called prithvi, the element of earth. Now earth can be reduced to liquidity which is our common experience as solid can be turned into liquid. An ice cube can be turned into water. It is the same ice but which can be turned into water. Water can be reduced further by the power of the heat (Agni) into vapour which becomes vayu and vayu can be further reduced to pure space (Akasha). It is said that panchamahabhutas, the five big principles of physicality can all ultimately be reduced to akasha and akasha is nothing but extension of force. The force in its original condition when it is extended is akasha. This is the starting point of one of the very important schools of Indian philosophy called Sankhya. If you read the Indian philosophical systems among them this philosophy which is called Sankhya begins with this statement that there is this principle of earth which can be reduced to the principle of water or liquidity, which can be further reduced to heat, which can be further reduced to air and which can be further reduced to akasha is fundamentally one original force. According to Sankhya there are not many forces; everything that is multiple in this world can ultimately be reduced to one basic force, so force is only one but which can take multiple forms and multiple states of itself. Now I don’t know if you have got the text of ‘The Life Divine’ but if you have I would like you to read with me one paragraph—page no. 80

The very first paragraph of this chapter no. 10—:

All phenomenal existence resolves itself into Force, into a movement of energy that assumes more or less material, more or less gross or subtle forms for self-presentation to its own experience. In the ancient images by which human thought attempted to make this origin and law of being intelligible and real to itself, this infinite existence of Force was figured as a sea, initially at rest and therefore free from forms, but the first disturbance, the first initiation of movement necessitates the creation of forms and is the seed of a universe.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: Conscious Force

Now how this becomes a universe is expounded in the next paragraph.

Matter is the presentation of force which is most easily intelligible to our intelligence, moulded as it is by contacts in Matter to which a mind involved in material brain gives the response. The elementary state of material Force is, in the view of the old Indian physicists, a condition of pure material extension in Space of which the peculiar property is vibration typified to us by the phenomenon of sound. But vibration in this state of ether is not sufficient to create forms. There must first be some obstruction in the flow of the Force ocean, some contraction and expansion, some interplay of vibrations, some impinging of force upon force so as to create a beginning of fixed relations and mutual effects. Material Force modifying its first ethereal status assumes a second, called in the old language the aerial, of which the special property is contact between force and force, contact that is the basis of all material relations. Still we have not as yet real forms but only varying forces. A sustaining principle is needed. This is provided by a third self-modification of the primitive Force of which the principle of light, electricity, fire and heat is for us the characteristic manifestation. Even then, we can have forms of force preserving their own character and peculiar action, but not stable forms of Matter. A fourth state characterised by diffusion and a first medium of permanent attractions and repulsions, termed picturesquely water or the liquid state, and a fifth of cohesion, termed earth or the solid state, complete the necessary elements.

Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine - I: Conscious Force

So, these are the five elements which are explained to be the result of the original force. First there is force which vibrates, the very first vibration is akasha and then this vibration meets another vibration coming out of the same force. Meeting of vibration with a vibration is what we call air. If there is only one vibration there wouldn’t be air. Air is the result of vibration meeting vibration, but in vibration meeting vibration we cannot arrive at any kind of stability, not the real stability but the apparent stability. There is a need of a welder and the welder is Agni. Even now when you want to weld two elements you use the fire, so the welder is needed, so this is the third element by which the form which is every form is nothing but meeting of vibration with vibration. So, the first forms, in air there are no visible forms. Air is only vibration meeting vibration. There are no forms created. It is only when agni comes into the picture that the first forms take place, but these take a more concrete form in the principle of the liquid. It’s not a very concrete form but still although it slips away through our fingers but there is something like a form which when further condensed is the pure physical the real earth where the physicality, the concreteness, the stability of forms are achieved. According to materialism the whole world is nothing but this matter in these five conditions and modern physics actually even minuses out akasha, ether. There are only four, but if akasha is equal to space then that is not eliminated. All this is space. Space is not denied by modern physics.

Now according to them the whole world is nothing but a vast movement of energy or force. At one time even force was not recognized by modern physics, by physics. What was recognized was only pure matter. It was felt that matter that we see can be broken up ultimately into atoms, indivisible atoms go on reducing any piece of rock or any pebble or any kind of sand, particle of sand. Make it as minute as possible. Ultimately according to this theory you could arrive at the subtlest kind of indivisible atoms which cannot be further divided, which is indivisible. This was an idea at one time, but as physics developed they found that even behind atoms there are subatomic particles and at one time it was felt that there are only a few subatomic particles. Now as they are moving forward they find that there are hundreds of subatomic particles. How in such a small atom, how such hundreds of subatomic elements or whatever you might call, is a miracle. I mean modern physicists really admit that as we go deeper and deeper into quantum physics. You go to the minutest quantum; minutest atom or intra-atom there is so much wealth in it. It’s amazing and not only that but you find a system in it. It is not something that is arbitrary but that is a system. Just as we have a solar system and in which the sun is the center and planets are moving around. Similarly there is a nucleus round which electrons are moving about speedily and the nature of this solar system, the microcosmic solar system is still under investigation and great mysteries are still being revealed more and more, but one thing has become clear that even if at the depth of it there is a nucleus which you can call mass. What we call matter, even it may be tiniest, that mass is capable of being converted into energy and one of the important contributions that Einstein made in modern physics is that there is a mathematical equation of that mass and energy. It’s not arbitrary as it were that mass of any kind can produce any kind of energy and he gave his famous equation called E = MC2, E stands for energy, M stands for mass and C stands for the speed of light, square of it. Square of the speed of the light multiplied by the speed of mass can be equal to the energy that it can emit out. If a given mass is transformed into an energy that energy will be equal to that mass multiplied by square of the speed of light. So although it is still not yet reached the point where it can be said that matter is energy or energy is matter at least it is very clear that matter can be converted into energy and the latest theory is that you cannot even say that matter is really matter. From one point of view it is really matter or what is called a particle. From another point of view the same thing can be seen as a wave which is a movement of energy. The same thing which you can call matter from one point of view you can call it something that is a particle from another point of view the same thing is a wave. So, modern physics has become very near to what was seen in Sankhya philosophy that ultimately all of it can be reduced to force or energy which was called prakriti in the terms of Sankhya. Force which can either manifest itself vyakta or which remains un-manifest which is called avyakta. According to sankhya the original position of Prakriti is avyakta then there is a disturbance in it, first disturbance takes place and how that disturbance takes place is a very important question and which Sankhyan students do not very clearly understand or underline but we shall come to that in due course. The avyakta prakriti is a force but in a state of equilibrium so that there is no movement. Then there comes about a disturbance in that equilibrium as a result of which it starts its movement and that movement is first very subtle even subtler than akasha which we spoke it is called mahat in Sankhya, the first manifestation that takes place is mahat—the vast, that mahat is also called buddhi, the power of discrimination. A force which can play with force therefore discrimination. Out of that Buddhi a further principle is derived of ahankara, of egoism.

I am only describing Sankhya theory. Out of this egoistic principle arise subtle vibrations, vibrations which is called sound. Vibration by means you are able to touch, vibrations by which you are able to see, vibrations by means of which we are able to taste and vibrations by means of which we are able to smell. These are five tanmatras which are at the root of pancha jnanendriyas. These are themselves not jnanendriyas they are the tanmatras, they are the basic stuff you might say. What is it that makes our eye eye, what is it that makes our ear ear, what is hearing itself. It is these vibrations and these vibrations are actually describable in a kind of a hierarchy first the sound then the touch, then the sight, then the taste and then the smell. As the vibrations become more and more concrete these five ultimately give rise to a combination of five instruments of knowledge. The indriyas are subtle elements in us which are located in our organs. The eye is only an organ. The real eye is that which perceives which sees and behind these five there is a real sense. These are five senses and behind these five senses there is the real sense which is called manah, manas, so manas is regarded as the sense, a real sense. Either it is called sixth sense or it is called the sense because all the senses are ultimately nothing but specializations of manas. I may have my eyes open but if my manas is not with the eye I will not see. Something happens before your eyes but your mind is elsewhere so even if your eyes are reflecting the vibrations of visions from outside you don’t see because the mind is not…a mosquito may be biting me here but if I am talking to you I may not feel the sense of bite. Because the mind is not engaged in it and the moment my mind gets engaged to it I begin to sense it. So mind is called, manas is called in the Sankhyan psychology the real sense. So manas, then comes the five tanmatras which are the basis of pancha jnanendriyas and similarly there are grosser organs. These are pancha jnanendriyas, but there are five karmendriyas by which we are able to act—the hands, the feet, the tongue by which we can speak, the speech, regenerative organ and organ of evacuation these are the five karmendriyas.

Now according to the Sankhya all this is nothing but pure force or energy. It is purely material. Prakriti according to Sankhya is the principle of matter. They tried to explain everything in the world in terms of matter. You might say they were our great materialist, sankhyan thinkers. They tried their utmost to explain everything in terms of matter but they could not. After all the effort they could not explain the experience of consciousness. Consciousness is experienced in three ways—a stable state of awareness, pure, which is called witnessing consciousness, which has no movement in it. It is also experienced by us as the enjoyer. Enjoy pleasure, enjoy suffering, but all this is called enjoyer. It is also experienced as the karta but both enjoyer and bharta and karta, both these experiences are subordinate. The fundamental experience of consciousness is that of a stable witnessing. Its very nature is awareness. They found that whatever analysis you make of the world you cannot ultimately explain this experience of witnessing. There is this experience of witnessing this particular experience of witnessing cannot be explained by any movement of material organs or senses or whatever.

Question: What is intuition?

You may define it in whatever you like but the best thing is to keep to the Sankhyan terminology, namely sakshi bhava, the witnessing consciousness. This you cannot explain by whatever materialistic formula you have that is why they were led to conclude that there must be something other than matter. They tried their best to explain everything in terms of matter, but they could not explain this particular experience—witnessing consciousness. They affirmed that there is such an experience of witnessing, which knows that it is witnessing, a self-awareness. Awareness that is aware of itself. Now whatever manipulation you make of buddhi, ahankara, manas, jnanendriyas, karma indriyas. Nowhere can you explain this experience of witnessing, therefore they were obliged to say that apart from material force there is a consciousness. They were obliged to posit.

One of the methods of philosophical reasoning is that you should try to explain everything as far as possible by as few principles as possible. When you try to explain anything this is called the principle of parsimony—try to explain maximum with the minimum number of principles. If you are obliged to speak of many principles it means that your analysis is not as perfect as it ought to be, so applying this principle of parsimony, the Sankhyan thinkers explained almost everything in the world in terms of one material force of prakriti, but when they could not explain this experience of witnessing self, witnessing consciousness then they were obliged to posit a second principle—that apart from prakriti there is purusha. There is a conscious being and then they were obliged to say there is not one purusha, but there are many purushas. This was the further demand of the situation. Why? Because when one purusha is in the state of witnessing consciousness, it does not mean that another one also arrives at the same state of consciousness. I may be in a witnessing state of consciousness. If there was only one purusha then the moment I became a witness everyone should become witness because there is only one purusha, but such is not the case. I may be in the state of witnessing, you may be in the state of enjoying, another may be in the state of doing, therefore there are different states. Therefore, there must be for each individual one special purusha. They would have tried their best to say that there is only one purusha that is the principle of parsimony, but that one principle could not explain these differences of experiences therefore it was obliged to posit many purushas that there are many purushas. Now there was a third reason why there was a need to posit purusha. If you remember I said in the beginning that the prakriti is avyakta. It is unmanifest. It is in a state of equilibrium.

Now what is it that puts prakriti in a state of manifestation, the answer it gives is that prakriti becomes disturbed. Now why does it become disturbed? How does it become disturbed? One answer could have been it is the nature of it. Sometimes it remains unmanifest, suddenly it begins to manifest that is the nature of it that could have been one answer, but then it found that this answer is not applicable because it could at any moment become unmanifest. At any moment it could become manifest, if that was the nature of prakriti to become manifest or unmanifest, but this is not happening. Once it begins to be disturbed and once it is disturbed it goes on and on and on and once it is in the state of equilibrium it could have gone on and on and on. Therefore there must be something exterior to prakriti which is causing this disturbance, so they were obliged to go beyond prakriti and the answer was that when the purusha looks at prakriti the disequilibrium is created. Prakriti by itself would remain unmanifest, but the glance of purusha at prakriti causes the disturbance.

Question: What is this glance?

The witnessing state, the purusha takes notice of prakriti. Purusha is not prakriti itself, it is outside itself. When it takes notice of it, that is a glancing. I am only expounding, I am not yet defending or criticizing Sankhya. We shall come to it a little later. I am only expounding the exact process by which the whole world is explained by Sankhya. So purusha when it glances at prakriti, prakriti begins to manifest.

Now this glancing is a kind of action. Although purusha by itself is inactive and yet Sankhya is obliged to say it glances at prakriti and as you rightly say what is this glance and I said it is a witnessing. Even that is not sufficient to explain therefore I said it takes notice of prakriti. This is one of the difficulties in Sankhya. If Purusha is absolutely a pure witness consciousness, purely inactive, how does it glance? Glance is an activity, but it happens. Let us say this is one of the difficulties in Sankhya, but for the sake of exposition we go ahead and say that it glances at prakriti so we might say that although its nature is inactive, its nature of karta is subordinate. It’s not the real nature of purusha, but somehow it partakes into the nature of prakriti, which is active and prakriti begins to manifest and it is said therefore that prakriti’s manifestation although it is mechanical, purely material, yet it is subordinate to the glancing of purusha. If purusha does not glance then prakriti would become once again in the state of equilibrium, therefore it is said that prakriti gives the experience to purusha of enjoyment (bharta) by moving out all prakriti’s movement are subordinate to purusha and subordinate in such a way that prakriti’s movements are always to give enjoyment to purusha. All this world is nothing but for enjoyment of purushas, not one but many purushas. There is one prakriti, many purushas and the entire prakriti is nothing but a field of enjoyment of purushas, therefore any individual in any given situation (situation is a movement of prakriti). The temperament which you have is a part of prakriti. The activities of your sense organs is a part of prakriti. The activities of karma indriyas are part of prakriti. The movement of manas is prakriti. The movement of buddhi is prakriti. All the activities which are happening around us are all prakriti, all action is prakriti, but essentially all this is for the enjoyment of purusha, so actually there is no ground for complaint according to Sankhya. Whatever you are experiencing is because the purusha has glanced at prakriti and prakriti in order to satisfy the purusha has begun to open herself out and manifest. In one of the statements of Sankhya, there are many expositions of Sankhya. It is said Prakriti is like a dancer and she dances for the enjoyment of purusha and dances in a way in which purusha wants her to dance, therefore the conditions in which you are put are entirely because you want them to be what they are. The moment you decide you don’t want these conditions, prakriti will so manage everything that that will disappear. The moment you say I don’t want this enjoyment, I don’t want this complication, I want to be free from all this, just will it firmly and you will back to a state of witnessing consciousness and prakriti will be covered or folded up for you it may still continue for others because other purusha have not demanded it. For you the prakriti becomes folded up; that is called the state of liberation. Now this is the account given by Sankhya which tries to explain what is force and how from one force the multiplicity of the world can be explained and after trying to explain everything in terms of only one force it fails to account for consciousness. Therefore it was obliged to posit purusha and because of the fact that different individuals are in different states of consciousness it was obliged to conclude that there is not one purusha but many purushas and it also was able to explain by positing purusha that prakriti which remains in a state of equilibrium at rest begins to manifest when purusha glances at it and the whole world is nothing but a kind of enjoyment made for purusha and when the purusha determines that this enjoyment is not acceptable then by withdrawal from it, one become librated and prakriti for him, for that purusha becomes folded up.

Question: In this individual purusha is the Jivatman?

They don’t use the word Jivatman, they simply say purusha. In Sankhya terminology the word is only purusha. Whether it means or not it’s a different question which I will come to later on because it will make a very complicated exposition but for Sankhya individual is nothing but purusha. There are many other meanings of Jivatman but according to Sankhya what we call Jivatman is purusha for Sankhya , but if you ask the question is Jivatman purusha? I would say in terminology of Sankhya — yes, but in Jivatman it is a very larger complex notion which we will come to later on. We shall continue the whole question of consciousness and matter—materialism vs. idealism. Idealism is the theory of consciousness.