THE EYE OF SELF-EXISTENCE
In the magical phrase of the Book of Dzyan, the oldest book of revelation kept in the secret sanctuaries of the sacred Mystery Temples, the Rootless Root symbolizes the First Fundamental of the Sacred Science of Gupta Vidya, the Wisdom Religion or Theosophia. It is the unknowable but for humankind; it is also the unthinkable and unspeakable, especially in the Mysteries, for those who have apprehended the unknowable, those who have gone beyond all scattered thoughts to the supernal realm of Divine Thought, transcended even that, and become one with TAT. It is THAT, beyond all names and forms, which includes all, cancelling and superceding all beginnings and endings. It is that which is beginningless, ever existing and never dying. It is the fountainhead and origin of all Life, and of all life in the seven kingdoms of Nature in all worlds and systems, in all stars, planets and galaxies.
It is the origin of all life during manvantara, the "Day" of the great universe, which is the period of activity for every single being throughout the cosmos. It is also equally and exactly the same during the "Night" of non-manifestation in which every being is reabsorbed, without knowing it, into the great bosom of the Divine Ground, that which includes all and yet itself is No-thing, which is everything and nothing. Unthinkable, unspeakable, it is the Soundless Sound in the eternal Silence that transcends all sounds and silences in the manifested worlds of Nature, both visible and invisible. It encompasses the entire human kingdom and all the lives of all gods, monads and atoms, beings of every kind at whatever degree of awareness, knowledge, self-knowledge, universal knowledge, universal self-knowledge or universal self-consciousness.
Beyond and behind all of these is TAT, which is ever full, and which, though boundless, is capable of emanating countless universes, and yet remains totally undepleted. One of the most magnificent stanzas in Sanskrit declares: That which is ever full has taken away from it that which is ever full, and yet, it remains ever full. It transcends all infinities and all sum totals, and therefore it is known to the man of meditation, and sometimes in speech, as that which is No-thing or No-being. It is No-thing in space and time, nothing that is ever manifested, because it is eternally beyond manifest and non-manifest, being and non-being, day and night. It is beyond all contrast, beyond all divisions and dichotomies, beyond Spirit-Matter and the very division and contrast between concretized spirit and sublimated matter on all planes of existence. It has also been sometimes referred to as the One Universal Existence, as in the eighth shloka of the Stanzas of Dzyan:
It is the attributeless Absolute, whose only predication is attribute - lessness. This, though a paradox of thought and of language, is a poetical and metaphorical way of conveying what the Mandukya Upanishad calls "unthinkable and unspeakable".
And yet, as the thirteenth chapter of the Bhagavad Gita declares, "That which is remoter than the remotest is closer than the closest." Few fitter poetical depictions of it were offered than these lines of William Blake:
Here is a way of recognizing, revering, honouring and saluting, but also conceiving, the Absolute without attempting to "nail it down" by leaden attributes. That which is attributeless has as many attributes as there are dainty flowers and diverse trees. It has, in fact, itself been sometimes shown in relation to the Tree of Life, which includes all possible trees and all actual trees, in all possible worlds. This mighty metaphor is older than that of Blake. It is as old as thinking man. Everything represented by the hidden roots, the shoots, the trunk, the myriad branches, the myriads upon myriads of leaves, the flowers and fruits of the tree – deeply rooted in the earth and extending upward to the heavens – is significant in this sacred metaphor. It signifies the sacred function of the entire manifested cosmos. It is like a suspended bridge between the Divine Ground and all beings, and is itself expressed throughout the gamut of all existence.
The term "Be-ness", though better than the term "Being", is still only a poor English equivalent to the rich Sanskrit term SAT, which embraces the concepts of Being, Be-ness and Absolute Truth. SAT also encompasses the concept of Universal Absolute Consciousness, because the Absolute, though it has neither consciousness nor desire, neither wish nor thought, is absolute thought, absolute desire, absolute consciousness, absolutely all. It is each of these, and yet it is beyond them all, which is why it cannot be limited by any single being or thing in relation to its vast, immemorial, variegated perception or perspective, vital experience or vocal description. It is beyond all of these, inexplicable, inexhaustible and impossible of definition.
This is implicit in the etymology of the English term "absolute", which is derived from the Latin absolutus, "that which is completed", "that which is complete in itself". Therefore it excludes nothing, it wants nothing, it lacks nothing, it needs nothing. It is all-complete and it is unfettered. Neither earthquakes nor wars, nor the ever-present cycle of destruction can have any mark or trace on it, or in any way fetter the Absolute. It is unconditional and beyond all conditions, and yet it is in all conditions intact, complete, self-sufficient, and utterly incapable of being touched or tainted, circumscribed or narrowed. It surpasses the vastest, infinite sum totals of objects and subjects in all possible worlds. The Latin absolutus is itself derived from the past participle of the verb absolvere, "to free from", "to complete", an etymology which shows that it is not a static concept, nor indeed is it dynamic, for it is that which is endlessly at work, behind anything and everything, and therefore to be identified with the ultimate, unknowable mystery of the one Law ceaselessly operating throughout the cosmos.
It is ever behind every single change, every single movement, all the rhythms and patterns of all of Nature in its intricate, inexhaustible vastness on the invisible causal as well as the visible plane. Therefore, it is ever capable of liberating anything and everything from conditionality. That liberation is known – if indeed we can talk of such knowledge – as the ending of embodied life, as a kind of death, yet in the Absolute there is neither birth nor death. Nothing is ever lost, nothing is ever saved, nothing is ever begun, and nothing is ever ended, because everything that comes to be already exists in the Absolute. Everything that ceases to be continues to remain in the Absolute, otherwise there would be no continuity between manvantaras, immense, immeasurable periods of time, epochs in galactic space. That which is unconditional, inexhaustible, all-complete and omnipresent is also by its inherent nature that which both seemingly binds and effectually liberates.
To the highest minds of meditation, the greatest lovers of true wisdom, who have reached the pinnacle and summit of the loftiest conceivable altitude of philosophic thought, it is impossible to think about it except with reverence. It is unapproachable except by cancelling all divisions between thought, will and feeling, between head and heart, and every category of every school. All of them are dim, feeble, and at best logically limitedrepresentations of existence and reality, which is itself only an irrelevant aspect of that which Ever Is and, therefore, by definition can never emerge into existence and never cease to be. Hence the term "Be-ness". The Latin term solvere, implying an alchemical sense of negation, comes from the Indo-European root leu, which means "to loosen", "to divide", "to cut apart", as with a pair of scissors. In conversation, human beings cut apart themselves, other human beings and the world, dividing endlessly but feebly, compared with the way Nature divides all things with a daily magnificence. All our efforts to cut up, to divide and analyze the Absolute will fail because it is that which can never be divided, can never be cut up. It cannot be extended, contracted, shrunk or swallowed. No spatial metaphor can begin to characterize its essential indestructible property rooted in ever-existing self-existence. It is not only the sole Self-Existent, but it is also inclusive of all that is existent at all levels. If that is so, all words are merely invocations or petitions to burst the barriers and boundaries of finitude, fragmentation and limitation. To move towards the Absolute is continually to cancel and transcend every possible limit or characterization .
That is why the Self-Existent is apprehended by human beings more readily in silence than in speech, in states of non-being rather than in what seem to be modes of being in a body. Spatial terms obviously can have no possible reference to the Absolute. And yet, on the visible plane, both in the sky and in the sea, we have two conspicuous, all-powerful representations of that which is incapable of limitation, that which is so deep and homogeneous that it is incapable of being understood in terms of visible motion, movements and waves. No human being who has ever reflected upon the sky or sea can fail to have some sense of what the Absolute is like. No one who has ever reflected upon all the trees, all the birds upon this earth, all the animals, plants and minerals of every kind, all the millions upon millions of elementals that ceaselessly dance in the three kingdoms below the four visible kingdoms, can fail to recognize the immensity and richness of the Absolute even in the realm of the manifest.
Few human beings make the effort of thought and imagination which is the privilege and prerogative of being human and think of the births of all babies on earth, not in numbers, but in terms of mona-souls taking bodies as part of one great pilgrimage. The ceaseless, eternal, endless pilgrimage of all humanity is older than universes and will go on long after this universe has been destroyed. This cannot, after a point, be understood numerically in a linear way. Some other dialectical mode must be used. Minimally, one could think in a Shakespearean way about all tongues, all breaths, all eyes, all hands, all fingers as intimated in many magnificent statues of the Hindu gods. One would have to think in terms of myriads of humanities, and all of them gathering meaning and dignity through the experience of finitude, pain, conditionality and ignorance. At the same time, their sheer persistence through all of these limitations represents the indestructible core of divine discontent in the human soul, seeing beyond all possible experiences, ceaselessly continuing a pilgrimage through innumerable worlds. And yet, these pilgrimages themselves are like the winking of an eye in the ceaseless Life of the Eye of Self-Existence of the Absolute.
Clearly, there is no insuperable difficulty in thinking seriously about the First Fundamental of Gupta Vidya. But in thinking of boundless vastitude, if one tries to do so in terms of numbers or in terms of spatial concepts of largeness, one encounters a problem. For example, if one thought of all the grains of sand upon this earth, one might as well call them infinite. And yet, one has common sense and intelligence enough to know that actually there is a finite limit to the number of all the grains of sand upon all the beaches upon this globe. And indeed, one does not have to know very much astronomy to know that there must be a finite limit to everything that is manifested, whether they be planets, stars, galaxies, galactic systems or even grains of sand. No wonder the latter is a favourite metaphor of enlightened beings like Gautama Buddha. There is no human being who cannot understand the notion of the immensity involved in what is so infinitesimally small to the naked eye, a grain of sand. The infinite in the infinitesimal can be experienced by a thinking being not just with reference to the sky and sea, but also with reference to trillions upon trillions of grains of sand. And yet, however unutterable these are in magnitude, they must ultimately be finite. They exist, then, in every noble yet imperfect attempt of any soul to characterize the Absolute, the God beyond all gods.
From this it is also clear that any attempt to begin to understand the Absolute in terms of an image or icon, let alone in terms of something which is outside the cosmos and which is crudely anthropomorphic, would be absurd. It would be the surest way of caricaturing the notion of Deity since, if there is any deity less than the Absolute, that would not be the highest conceivable source worthy of human adoration. Can there be a deity which is equivalent to the Absolute? "Deity" itself is an abstract notion, and the word "Absolute" is an imperfect term which has relativity built into it. This can be seen clearly from the use of "absolute" in ordinary speech: any references to something that we call "absolutely true" or "absolutely correct", like any measure of "absolute heat" or "absolute cold", are relative to a particular scale of measurements or a particular system of concepts. One does not have to be highly trained in informal logic or formal mathematics to realize that these are necessary notions, but still notions that are man-made, notions that have limitation built into them.
If this is so, we can appreciate the assistance given by enlightened beings to limited and imperfect minds in helping them to get beyond mere spatial or numerical magnitudesand metaphors by invoking poetical speech. Poetical speech is truer, less faulty, more evocative, even though it may involve the imagery of the visible, tangible and spatial. But man is capable of coining and formulating imagery, in art as in science, in poetry as in mathematics, which points beyond itself. And that is why many of the greatest Rishis and Sages have come as Kavis, Divine Poets. They have chosen, instead of characterizing or conceptualizing the Absolute, to celebrate it, to adore it. Therefore, all the great hymns are magnificent acts of celebration – celebrations of life, celebrations of the dignity of death, celebrations of the integrity as well as the compassion of all the laws that work throughout manifestation. The Absolute extends our view of what is known and unknown, pointing beyond all possible pathways, to what is essentially unknowable, transcending all knowledge and cognition.
If there is an Eternal Wisdom in this universe, hidden in the very depths of manifestation, that Eternal Wisdom can only be one aspect of the Absolute. If there is universal ideation, ceaseless ideation by the very greatest beings in all evolution, that universal ideation would be seen because of their greatness merely as a mode of participation in only a tiny portion of the Absolute. And yet, any notion of the Absolute, with all its vastness, its transcendence and its grandeur, would be meaningless if it denied significance to the very least being, to the shortest-lived insect. If the Absolute could not itself be invoked for the sake of giving meaning and beauty, dignity and truth, to the least particle, to whatever existed for the most fleeting second, it would not really afford a proper understanding either of life or the cosmos. It would not be a proper function of the exercise of the human capacity for comprehension through knowledge of life, and therefore it would fail. All human efforts to include, as to exclude, will necessarily fall far short of any attempt to characterize the Absolute. The Absolute summons that in us which does not merely want to characterize or describe, but to understand ceaselessly, to make understanding an eternal process of ceaseless learning, coeval with ceaseless living in a world of ceaseless change, under which remains an indestructible core of changelessness. That core is in every atom, in every being, in every second, in every moment, everywhere and always.
Given this, we can see why the great metaphors of the ancient scriptures are really invitations to deep, calm and continuous reflection upon everything that is. The "Boundless All", "that which is and yet is not", "Eternal Non-being", "the One Form of Existence", "the Eternal Parent" and "the All-Presence" are all expressions that help us because of the beauty of language, and because of the beauty of the concepts they evoke. The ubiquitous presence of Deity can no more be denied than we can deny the existence of the sun and its omnipresent light. Even if there were myriad suns and myriad worlds, the process of the diffusion of light must be analogous to what makes our living possible on this earth and our experience of the visible sun at dawn, midday and dusk. The wise celebrate the ever-present Invisible Sun even in the light of the physical world that surrounds us in our physical bodies. They thereby recognize the ever-existing, invisible Spiritual Sun that gives spiritual and mental illumination ceaselessly. The notion of life is inseparable from the notion of light, but also inseparable from divine cosmic electricity. There is a pulsation thrilling and throbbing even in the darkest period of non-manifestation, and that has sometimes been saluted as the Eternal Great Breath. The breathing in and breathing out of worlds and universes would itself have no meaning if there were not a ceaseless breathing at the very core of all life and light, and of all cosmic electricity.
Yet every one of these poetic notions gets tainted and tortured by the intrinsic limitations of human beings who must start with the limits of the known and extend them. To do this, they must emulate the greatest human beings who always, the more they know, become even more aware of what they do not know. The more gnostic they are, the more agnostic they become and the more they rejoice in the fact that the mathematics of the cosmos transcends the greatest possible representations in laws and equations, in theorems and theories. The authentic beginning of advanced thinking in philosophy of science is the recognition, through the study of mathematical logic, set theory and mathematics, that this is intrinsically so. This is especially true today because of the impressive work in the nineteenth century of outstanding minds who demonstrated conclusively how many infinities one could find in mathematics. One can even construct modes of non-Euclidean geometry in which an infinitude of points can still be related to what is capable of being mapped.
Impressive though this may be, it is but a small part of human knowledge, only a small representation in recent history within a limited field of a knowledge that is as old as thinking man. Many human beings have experienced this in the realm of feeling even more grandly than they have experienced it in the realm of thought. Consider the ecstasy of a child. Consider the sadness of a human being who is ready to finish a single day in the endless series of days that makes up the wheel of existence. Consider the poignancy felt when nearing the moment of death, which is really no more than a trivial hour in a ceaseless journey. All of these are universal experiences of the transcendence of feeling. In all cultures, civilizations and societies, among human beings who are highly sensitive to the deeper levels and subtler vibrations of feeling, there is a firm recognition that more is said through intimation than through explicit representation in external speech or form. This is part of the poetry of human life, part of the poetry of cosmic existence.
What is unsaid is more significant and more real than what is said, because it brings us closer to the Absolute. What is thought by human beings, but thought in a way that they are not even aware of, is often closer and truer to the intrinsic nature of life itself, of consciousness and of the Absolute, than all the thoughts that they bring to the forefront of their attention, let alone the thoughts they articulate and share. There is, therefore, no sense in which a human being can expect to begin to understand the Absolute except by accepting the fact that one is born alone, dies alone and lives alone. So does everything in Nature. And yet, there is nothing in Nature that is not bound up with everything else that exists. This is true in the realm of atoms, true in the realm of plants, true in the realm of human beings. Still, there is a secret solitude to the life journey of every ant, of every fly, of every flower and also of every human being.
The Absolute, then, is the very ground of all reality. All denials of it are meaningless, because they simply trap one in the unreal, which itself is only like a minor shadow of what is an ever-present veil upon the Absolute. To have a sense of the meaning of sacred metaphors such as the "All-Presence" or the "Boundless All" is to make come alive infinitude within finitude, transcendence within immanence, boundless space within visible space, eternal duration within limited time. The Absolute is the only conceivable ground of all experience, and it must lie continuously before our physical eyes, as well as our mind's eye and our soul's eye. To make the Absolute the ground of our being, our thinking, our living and our feeling is to recognize that everything which is by its very nature limited because of language, because of gesture, because of definition, because of its captivity within space-time, is merely a kind of apologetic, imperfect representation of that which is beyond representation in the realm of thought and the realm of feeling.
This is not difficult to understand. We are only speaking of what we already know, and what we know that we know. But we cannot bring what we know that we know in the depth of our being – which has sometimes been called the "I am I" consciousness – into the realm of that which is limited. Therefore, the Absolute is that from which we are self-alienated, owing to our needlessly self-devised limitations. Ultimately, in a Platonic sense or as Shankaracharya pointed out, there is only one error, and that is the root of all errors. It is the treating of that which is ever changing as enduring, that which is unreal as real, or that which is finite as if it had a kind of indefinite extension in the realm of time. This applies to all worlds, all lives, all acts and all relationships. It applies to all religions, all philosophies, all sciences and all systems of thought. That is why it applies to the entire gamut of what we call civilization, which is only at best like a mask upon the great secret, unspeakable, unthinkable pilgrimage of the immortal soul of all Humanity. In other words, in consciousness we can dare further and go beyond what we can construct through thoughts, words, formulations and expressions. We all know this, and that is because most of our life is spent either in sleep or in states of consciousness where we are in no position to articulate our thoughts to anyone, or even to ourselves. Thus philosophers in the East have said that you cannot even begin to pronounce upon human nature until you can first address yourself to Being in all states of non-manifestation, which actually far exceed, in their impact upon our being, what we regard as visible and temporal states.
The central truth in relation to consciousness has already been sensed in relation to matter itself in contemporary science and it was always known to the greatest philosophers. When you think of Absolute Abstract Space, Eternal Duration and Perpetual Motion, there is no manifest motion, no measurable time, no extended space which is not trivial in relation to Duration which is eternal, Motion which is ceaseless, Space which is boundless. We all have a sense of Abstract Space, Eternal Duration and Perpetual Motion; otherwise, we would not be able to live. There would be no light in our eyes, no power to give life. There would be no will, no capability of what Spinoza called conatus – self-sustenance of living on and surviving, from day through night into the next day, from one life into the next life through the intermediate states between lives, let alone being able to cross the bridge between our boundaries of existence and those of all other beings now alive in worlds of embodied existence. There would be no way to cross those barriers if we absolutized our finite concepts, making them the sole basis of all knowing. The concepts to which we are ordinarily attached are trivial reflections only of the elementary needs and evanescent wants of what is shadowy in comparison with the immortal, indestructible story of human consciousness. That is why, even though the notion of consciousness would be misleading in relation to the Absolute (which is better seen as a state of unconsciousness or dreamless sleep), yet consciousness itself, like space, duration and motion, is a useful working symbol for the Absolute. But by its nature it is a conditioned symbol, because to the entire gamut of consciousness of all the greatest beings in all the worlds there is still a boundary in matter, in embodiment, and the Absolute must surely far transcend all boundaries.
Thus, when certain ideas are pushed far enough, we get a sense which helps to correct the finitizing tendency of the human mind, its self-imprisonment, its conditioned, habitual bondage to limiting and deceptive notions. Such notions cannot have any basis in reality or in thought when thought is sustained and truly rigorous, thorough and logical, and when philosophy is fearless and daring, questioning and searching in every possible direction. But if all our concepts are conditional, how then can the Absolute be conceived? The simple answer is that it cannot be conceived. The Mandukya Upanishad declares it to be inconceivable, unthinkable and unspeakable. Yet what is so daunting in this? There are many things in ordinary life that we find unspeakable because of their ineffable grandeur, but we often attach a much deeper and stronger sense of reality to what is unspeakable than what is spoken. This is a very common experience. Certainly we did this almost constantly until we learnt to lisp and speak in the first two or three years of life. Surely, then, to make this a peculiar problem in relation to the Absolute is itself artificial. It is, in philosophy, a pseudo-problem. Because something is infinite, it does not mean that the human mind cannot set up series, find out ratios and factors, rates of change, and try to understand what is meant by the notion of the infinite.
In relation to the Absolute, we have the greatest scriptures, the most beautiful poetry which elevates our sights, our senses, our sensitivity and feelings. Though inconceivable, there is nothing that is worth conceiving other than the Absolute. And we are conceiving it all the time, because it is the root of the very process of conceiving. If it is the root of the process of conceiving, then we can see how we may get artificially caught in mental cobwebs, which is the ancient description of most human thought and language.
To deny or attempt to ignore the ubiquitous importance of the Absolute is to contradict what we know when we are asleep. Cognition of the Absolute must, by its inherent nature, only be possible to that core in us which itself is unconditional and capable of conceiving to the point where we transcend the limits of conceiving. We are capable of using words like music, which reminds us of the ever-present ground of speech, the interstices, the spaces, the silences between and within words. It is only by developing a taste for silence in sound, for the unmanifest within the manifest, for the unspoken within the spoken, the unrecorded within a world of frail and fugitive and often false recordings – that we come closer to the heartbeat that makes us human. The Absolute is characterized as the Supreme Eternal Heart of all existence because, although it is ever present, it is at the same time never fathomable by thought or word. It is closer to us than anything we can ever say or think, just as there is nothing more fundamental than the beating of the heart, and there is nothing around us that is more palpable, if only we would listen, than the beating of the cosmic heart. Great beings have always shown us how to tune ourselves to the great heart of the cosmos. That is called meditation. They are in ceaseless meditation at all times, in a state of supreme total spiritual wakefulness known as turiya. Even if most human beings, by comparison, are like lisping, faltering adolescents because of their inability to contain and continue thought and consciousness to a point where the boundaries are burst, this state of turiya is accessible to each and every person.
Just as we took a lot of trouble to learn how to walk and talk, we cannot expect, without a lot of effort, to reverse all the habits of the imprisoning sensorium and the imprisoning finitude of embodiment. We cannot develop a taste for the sheer joy of the exhilarating experience of the Absolute without earnestly availing ourselves in meditation of the finest philosophical and poetical characterizations of the Absolute. These are always found in abundance in Sanskrit literature, wherein the Absolute is seen as not only Sat and Chit, all consciousness and all reality, but Ananda, all joy – but at a level where you cannot separate any one from the others. The joy is in the Sat, the Sat is in the Ananda, the Sat and the Ananda are in the Chit. It is a ceaseless, joyous reality affirming ideation, which is only a kind of sharing of those who are the Builders, making manifestation possible and maintaining it, and Those who within that world of manifestation have transcended all barriers and become totally enlightened, more powerful than all the gods, than the Demiurge, than even the highest beings who maintain manifestation.
It is certainly possible for us, if only we would have the necessary courage, tremendous whole-heartedness and single-mindedness, to break through the fundamental illusion of form, and awaken the subtler senses. It is possible to open the doors and the avenues of true cognition by the immortal monad, which is dateless and deathless and which has little to do with any particular embodiment or any particular set of acts. At this point, we come to see that to revere the Absolute is to revere life itself. It is to revere all humanity and all that exists. It is to revere Nature itself, which through change, death and destruction ceaselessly regenerates itself. Thus, it is to revere the quintessential principle of continuity, the vital principle of self-regeneration which is as potent in every atom as in the Absolute itself.
The Absolute, to those who see it as Satchitananda, is most perceptible in the Anu, the Atom, but the atom spoken of is more fundamental than those atoms which are purely conceptual devices of modern thought. The Atman is the atom. Brahman is in the infinitesimal point of timeless, spaceless Duration-Existence, but which itself is at the heart of that which makes space and time not multi-dimensional, but actually without any dimension. This we can understand by considering the mathematics of a point, which has no extension, no length, no breadth or thickness. And this idea itself only reflects the activity of the Absolute, which ceaselessly mirrors itself in billions upon billions upon billions of points, in a transcendental manner applicable to mind or matter, to space or time, to all possible cycles and patterns of causation and to all possible worlds.
Thus it is that the greatest and the wisest beings have always known that the way to recognize and revere the Absolute is by revering the Absolute in the here and now – in every hair on every head, in every blade of grass and everything that breathes. The God beyond all gods is in every pair of eyes. Reverence for the Absolute is a whole way of life in which we totally cooperate with the eternal heartbeat of the universe, cooperate with it through spiritual breathing, mental breathing, through a certain conscious, constant, ceaseless, boundless pulsation of eternal prostration and eternal reverence. To live in this way is to dare to challenge the unknowable and to give dignity to the process of eternal knowing and learning – which is the dialogue of the soul with itself. This is true philosophy, true speech, the true dialogue of the Self with itself. We can only talk about the Absolute when we talk to the God in ourselves, and we cannot do it suddenly if we do not do it daily. Actually, we do it all the time, but we are not aware of this. But when we do it consciously, and not just with a limited notion of ourselves but with a notion of divine Selfhood that has a place for everything that exists, the whole of life becomes a dialogue with the Absolute. That dialogue becomes the life of Soul itself. The richer it is, the more rooted in the non-manifest. And when words are spoken or acts are performed, it makes them sacred and meaningful, giving them the beauty and dignity of the Divine Dance. If this, then, is our understanding of it, there is nothing which could be solely relevant to the Absolute, and at the same time there is nothing which is not so relevant.
This brings us closer, then, to the Eye of the Dangma, the Eye of the Sage, who breathes the Absolute, fully and self-consciously – who is name and form and without name and form, who is each and every other being and yet beyond all, and who sees worlds by analogy with the day and night of every being on the physical plane. In it he sees the Day and Night of worlds and universes. To him there is no difference. It is the same process. Every time the Sage sees a human being asleep, whether a baby or an old person, it is all the same. He sees all beings asleep, all worlds asleep – because the Sage is incapable of limitation through the perceptual realm. Long ago he went far beyond the unfolding of all the subtler senses, where there is simultaneous, instantaneous transmission of thought. Nothing can happen on a star which does not affect us, say the poets, and nothing could happen to a star which the Sage does not instantly feel.
We have, then, in the Sage a concept of living and breathing which so far transcends all possible human conceptions of perfection and enlightenment that no Sage could ever convey it fully by words or acts, gestures or postures. When Sages have spoken, whether it be Adi Shankara speaking of the Tattvamasi mantram, or Gautama Buddha speaking of experiencing nirvana in samsara, or K"ung Fu Tzu speaking of the Great Extreme, all they have done is essentially what we would do to children: provide pregnant analogies to make souls question and think. Above all, individuals must be encouraged to turn within themselves, wherein there is a richer experience, a greater realm of living, loving and knowing than they could ever find in the external realm. To begin to become sagely is to awaken the memory of the immortal soul, which has had myriads of parents, myriads of friends, myriads of co-workers, and to make all of that deeply, powerfully relevant to each and every moment, in each and every context.
Thus, Dakshinamurti, the Initiator of Initiates, the paradigm of all Sages, the supreme incarnation of Maheshvara, is himself unthinkable and unspeakable like the Absolute. To speak of the one is to speak of the other, which is why wise human beings use meditation upon the Guruparampara, the sacred lineage of true Sages, as a way of coming closer to the Absolute. Every child uses the help of its mother or father or an adult to learn how to walk. That is Nature's way. That is what comes naturally to the human being, and it is that which is ultimately the Only Way, the only door to greater knowledge, greater experience, profounder apprehension, deeper comprehension and, even more, to a taste or a foretaste of Satchitananda. If a person understood all of this, he or she would quickly see that to limit the unmanifest by the manifested, or the inexhaustible Absolute by any possible notion of a first cause or any particular limited God, would indeed be to limit Man. To limit Humanity, whether in terms of two thousand years or eighteen million years, would be equally irrelevant. It would truly be to deny the very visible facts of the cosmos and human life, thereby cutting oneself off from one's truest life, which is no other than the Divine Ground of the attributeless Absolute, the blissful state of silent, ceaseless contemplation (SAT-CHIT-ANANDA).
Hermes, July 1989