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Simultaneous duality and nonduality

Posted Sept. 28, 2010 by Fallensoul in Open

commented on April 14, 2013
by Fallensoul

Quote

69


The basic principle of Advaita philosophy is that the we are one with the Divine -- nondifferent from the Divine or God. For example, president Barack Obama is an American, and his citizens are also American. So there is no difference between the citizens and the president as far as being American is concerned. In that sense they are one. But at the same time, a citizen is not the president. That they are American does not mean a citizen is on an equal level with the president. Similarly, we are all qualitatively one with the Divine. The word qualitatively means that whatever we have as spirit souls, the Divine also has. There is no difference in quality. For example, suppose we take a drop of water from the vast Atlantic Ocean and you chemically analyze the ingredients. The composition of the drop of water is the same as the composition of the vast Atlantic Ocean. So qualitatively the drop of water is equal to the vast mass of water in the Atlantic Ocean.



Similarly, we are a spirit soul, a spark of the supreme spirit soul, God. You have all the spiritual qualities that God has. But God is great, you are minute. He is infinite, you are infinitesimal. So you and God are qualitatively one but quantitatively different. Those who are simply accepting the feature of being qualitatively one with God—they are called advaita-vadis. They forget that quantitatively they cannot be equal to the Divine. If the living entity is quantitatively equal to God, then why is he conditioned by this world? Because the living entity's constitutional position is infinitesimal, he is prone to be caught up by the influence of illusion. How could he be caught by illusion if he is also the Supreme Divine Being? Then illusion would be greater than the Divine. These things are to be considered. So it is inconceivable the simultaneous oneness and difference between the Divine and the living entity. We are qualitatively one with God, but quantitatively we are different. Avaita-vada (oneness) and dvaita-vada (difference) are both true. We are nondifferent from the Divine in quality, but different in quantity.


  • 69 Comments  
  • Fallensoul Apr 14, 2013

    Mathew: You can't even save the death of your own material body, and yet you're claiming to be divine.

    "We have our five senses to experience life in a dual format ..."
    Who gave you the five senses? Did you give it to yourself? But now you're in illusion and can't remember doing that.

    Such a ridiculous idea.

  • mrmathew1963 Jan 10, 2013

    G'day Dustproduction

    I agree.....I've been on a few spiritual forums & most of the people on these forums think they can go into a conscious state of thoughtlessness which is fine but once one thinks of this thoughtless state it is no longer thoughtless.

    We do have a problem with the five senses presuming too much or too little at times which leads us into a state of ignorance. It doesn’t matter what state of consciousness we are at if we recall such experiences it is no longer a thoughtless state. I believe a true thoughtless state is something we can’t experience not in our present consciousness without one of our five senses presuming one thing or another of such experiences.

    Love
    Mathew

  • mrmathew1963 Jan 10, 2013

    G'day Fallensoul

    To me there is no difference between duality & non-duality because they are one of the same consciousness, going by our five senses there seems to be a difference but there isn't. We have our five senses to experience life in a dual format to everything else which gives us this playground we have all devised but when one become devoid of these five senses you then realise it's always been non-duality (oneness).

    This non-duality (oneness) is a really strange thing to experience I have to admit, one feels divine because one has comparisons but when there are no comparisons one isn't divine after all because there is nothing to compare one’s own conscious state to therefore divinity doesn't exist either.

    Love
    Mathew

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jan 07, 2013

    Allow me to add, (although permission is shouldn't be necessary) that the Dalia Lama invites science to examine Buddhism with the hpethatthey can learn from each other.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Jan 07, 2013

    I wrote:
    "When is the notion of a self and an other formed in the mind?
    The theory of mind is that others have a mind and that we can understand it."

    With regards to duality this is a very relevant question. It is the mind that perceives the division under discussion. How do we divorce the scientific understanding of the problem? By submitting to a thousand year old belief system as it is understood by a single person?

    The responses here introduce "mind" which has a material basis: "The person looking into mirror and being tricked by the mind thinking I am the mirror cannot be the Supreme being, because the Supreme Being is not subject to such mental illusions. "
    So the material aspects of "mind" are relevant in this manner since they were introduced without exception.

    The topic includes a reference to "chemical analyze" a scientific measure.
    (For example, suppose we take a drop of water from the vast Atlantic Ocean and you chemically analyze the ingredients. The composition of the drop of water is the same as the composition of the vast Atlantic Ocean. So qualitatively the drop of water is equal to the vast mass of water in the Atlantic Ocean.")

    These objections to the inclusion of science into the discussion are similar to a comment of another thread that stated, "The main thing is for science not to interfere with the common knowledge of people...."

    We might ask, "What causes belief in religions? (The mind perhaps?)
    http://www.closertotruth.com/video-profile/What-Causes-Religious-Belief-Thalia-Wheatley-/1842





  • Fallensoul Jan 07, 2013

    saurabhtambe: Thank you for sharing that. I'm glad you have your devotion well placed. Even though we say they are our own experiences, they are in one sense shaped by our consciousness which is influenced by the our association of so many teachers.

    If you read the topic carefully. I am challenging the one statement you disagree with, because I also disagree with it. You mentioned that " Illusion or Maya is not greater than divine or soul. We are caught into Maya because we forget our source and we are responsible for it." Yes, Srila Vyasadev, the author of the Vedanta Sutras also agrees with us.

    dustproduction: Kindly stay on topic or open a new thread. This one is primarily for someone who understands and has practised a little Vedanta.

  • Anonymous Icon

    dustproduction Nov 22, 2012

    When is the notion of a self and an other formed in the mind?
    The theory of mind is that others have a mind and that we can understand it.

  • saurabhtambe Nov 18, 2012

    Namaste,
    i have visited your profile and noticed that you belong to bhakti yog. I have a great respect for bhaktas. In fact I love lord Krushna and i belive that whatever i have been able to learn in spirituality it is just because His grace. I belong to Nath sect in Maharashtra and we worship lord Vitthal who is Krishna himself.

  • saurabhtambe Nov 18, 2012

    thanks for inviting me. in thread "Does oneness actually exist?" you asked me what is the source of my information. well there is no other source but I am the source itself. my words are only my own experience and nothing else. it is true that my master has taught me so many things from vedanta and spirituality but i only speak after i have the experience. I have read your thread but not all comments. i agree with your statements but your one statement is "How could he be caught by illusion if he is also the Supreme Divine Being? Then illusion would be greater than the Divine". It is not true. Illusion or Maya is not greater than divine or soul. We are caught into Maya because we forget our source and we are responsible for it. I will like to talk with you more and be in touch with you. So i give you my email saurabhtambe65@gmail.com. If you are also interested in friendship then give me your email. It is not possible to be in contact all the time through this platform. .... :-)

  • Fallensoul Aug 24, 2012

    @Kyrani: Your views are basically from the Sankara school of thought. Moksha is defined as being union with the Divine in Oneness. The Absolute Truth or Supreme Being is realised in different aspects. Its the same Truth but from different angles of vision. For example, say we're trying to realise the truth of the sun. One could observe and realise the sunshine and claim that the realisation of the sun is light and only light. This realisation is true of the sun, but it partial. The sunshine has a source, the sun globe. So one may have realisation of both the sun and the sun globe and claim that the sun globe is the source of the sunlight. Again one could argue this is a partial realisation of the sun because the sun is created by some superior consciousness and operating according to strict laws of that lawmaker. So then a full realisation of the sun is that behind its awesome power is a conscious controller. One could claim this to be the full realisation of the sun. Its important to note partial realisations of the sun are not false, but they are not perfect either.

    In a similar way the Supreme Absolute Truth or Supreme Conscious Being is realised in different aspects. Some claim that God is light or God is love, information. A unity of all consciousness. A supreme impersonal force. While it is true that God has an impersonal feature, just as the sun does through the light of the sunshine, it is not a full realisation of the Supreme. An aspiring transcendentalist may wish to merge with that oneness and become a particle of sunshine, but someone with a higher realisation wouldn't desire that goal, nor define it as a suitable type of enlightenment. In fact someone with a higher realisation of the sun, is not so enamoured by the sunshine and the happiness that is derived from there, because they have realisation and experience of a higher taste. Therefore while what you say is not incorrect, it is only part of the Supreme Being. Another example is the government. The government as a whole can be viewed impersonally, but a higher realisation of the government one can understand, it is run by conscious beings who do possess personality.

    Now we are personal consciousness beings, if personality exists in us and we are sparks a Supreme Being, why wouldnt personality exist in Him? If our highest conception of happiness is to love in relationships, doesn't that imply that we have the strongest relationship of love with that Supreme Being in a personal relationship. According to the Vedas, the highest realisation of God is not the impersona Brahman, nor the Paramatma feature that God is everywhere or localised within us, but the God is a Supreme Person, which supremely divine and attractive qualities. In fact Krishna, means all attractive. This is pleasing to the heart, A God who dances, and the process of obtaining this Bhagavan realisation is bhakti-yoga.

  • KYRANI Apr 27, 2012

    @Fallensoul cont.,

    What personal form of God you ask. God is not a person but a form of god/ personal god is considered only from the point of view of worship.. to develop the intensity of love for God. The path of love is a direct path but it is essentially not different from the path of knowledge. From the Gita: To love is to know Me, My inner most nature, the truth that I AM!

    But consider also this verse, out of the prophetic tradition of the Hadith, where God said to Mohammed:
    Whoever seeks Me, will find Me.
    Whoever finds Me, will know Me.
    Whoever knows Me, will have love for Me.
    Whoever has love for Me, will have ‘Eshq for Me. (Eshq is an intensity of love)
    Whoever has ‘Eshq for Me, I will love.
    Whomever I love, I will kill, and
    Whomever I kill, his/her blood money will I pay:
    I Myself am his/her blood money.

    As the lovers unite and become one, so the individual spark of Divinity becomes one with the Divine. That is the destiny of the soul. So the processes begins with the removal of “that which is other” to make clear the road to complete mergence. In the end there is only “Thy Love” emanating from the heart. It is as a moth that is drawn to the flame and is drawn into the fire and is completely consumed forever more.

    Love is a fire and bliss is the wine. With total abandon become engulfed in the blazing fire. Then enter the temple of ruin and drink of the wine till you become so completely inebriated, you won’t wake on the Day of Resurrection!

    I will post some more as I have also some answers to you other question that you raised with moretocom’s posts.

  • KYRANI Apr 27, 2012

    @Fallensoul,
    Oneness I do not mean that all things as one. This is a view that many physicists are advocating; hence such ideas as the holographic reality as advocated by Thomas Campbell on YouTube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW6Mq352f0E

    Nor am I saying that all souls are one. This is not the case, to the degree of my understanding. Both of the above views are what some so-called “luminaries” such as Eckhart Tolle, Tony Parkinson and others are saying, which is really only saying what the physicists are saying but with a “spiritual spin”. They claim that we are just consciousness.

    If you look closely at what they are saying, you find that they do not really deviate from the current scientific paradigm. They imply personal / individual minds. Thus the claim that ideas and thoughts are just what is. And that the person randomly generates or has long term “programming” or scripts in their subconscious that run endlessly and they believe in all this stuff that is running in their minds. That they torture themselves. Thus they talk about disconnected individuals. In the very next breath they claim “we are all one” and cite an energetic connection, which is again an extrapolation from current theories of physics.

    We are all made of the One Mind’s illusory power. You can say the imaginative powers of the Mind of God, same thing but we are not all one. Just as every person in the world, every animal and plant and all inanimate objects is made of atoms but that does not make us one. And that is true even though the mind-stuff is indivisible!

    The Bhagavad-Gita is a pointer to absolute knowledge. However absolute knowledge is only obtain in enlightenment. No matter how well the spiritual is described and depicted, especially through parables and myths, it is still concepts. When you read it you gain some pointers. But when you realize the truth, you then, as if for the first time, as fresh as a dew drop understand it in truth. Holy texts are valuable as you say and religion is also valuable, even with all the corruption because it is through the institutions of religion that such holy texts are handed down through the generations.

    We are spiritual, we are sparks of divinity but our fate is not as you describe. Either that spark is taken back (applies only to evil people and not simply fallen people, which I understand to mean having sinned) or the spark merges with the Divine, the One.

    The idea that one can simply believe in Jesus, a personal God, and be saved by “Grace” is nice and simple but it’s a lie! This was proclaimed by Paul and never by Jesus. In fact it goes against the teaching of Jesus because it says faith alone and you can forget about the law and Jesus did not say that at all. So you are right that it is not without the law.

  • Fallensoul Apr 25, 2012

    parker: "This also, is not difficult to understand."

    Well could say what you wish to say in very plain english and logic. I get a bit lost in trying to figure out what you're actually saying.

  • parker Mar 29, 2012

    To know the one, we must first accept we possess the ability to know anything. We know we are aware of the one, therefore we know our awareness is contingent upon us being concurrent with the one, even though we are of that one, and we know we are not that one, because we also know we are lesser than it.

    All awareness and all knowing are of the one, and are contingent upon our being of the one. Thus there exists a manner of expression within the one, that according to its will, is utilized by it to express a thing, so that we may perceive that thing as the one intends us to.

    Therefore all is indeed of the one, yet the one that is all, is contingent upon it being more than that. The one is not merely a duality, it is omn-divisional, because we, being many, are also of that one. We are an expression of the one, and each of us is a duality, yet we would not know ourselves unless the one was able to express each of us individually.

    As the one is omni-divisional, each of us is only a single duality. The one can express its thoughts omni-directionally, we can perceive them individually. We can express our thoughts individually, and the one can perceive them collectively.

    Our individuality is contingent upon the simple duality of our ability to express - either to offer expression, or to perceive expression that has been offered. We are of the one, and our duality is of us, thus our duality is of the one also. If our duality was not, then neither would we be the individuals we perceive ourselves to be.

    The one that it the singular is the one that expresses itself as us. The one's individuality is contingent upon the plurality of it's expression of itself as us. If the one's plurality were not, then neither would it be the individual one we perceive it to be.

    Our "individual duality" and the" individual plurality" of the one, are the simultaneous duality of the one. We and the one, are the duality of the one. Therefore, all there is, is one. This also, is not difficult to understand.

  • frequencytuner Mar 28, 2012

    "All the world's a stage,
    And all the men and women merely players:
    They have their exits and their entrances;
    And one man in his time plays many parts,"
    - Shakespeare

    Beneath the mask of identity, appearance, flesh and bone there is one being.

  • parker Mar 28, 2012

    We do not need to guess or speculate about our duality. Simply ask of the intelligence within us. We are material human beings imparted with temporal life, having been animated so to speak, by that Spirit of intelligence that dwells within us. It, is life, and we have been endowed by It, with a unique proportionate aspect of It, for a time.

    The physical things of the temporal man are known by that man, scientists never cease in proclaiming this. The Spiritual things of the Spirit within us, are known by that Spirit, and that Spirit within us, continually yearns to proclaim these things to us. It sounds nicer to many to speak of Spirit, as if it were merely intelligence, yet if you are willing to ask, it will reveal being so much more than just that.

    Scientists have yet to seriously stretch themselves beyond investigating the material, or otherwise quantitative reality. The Spirit within us, is beyond such primitive physical analysis. We know Life exists, this is not difficult to accept, because we experience It. And scientists have themselves proven It exists, by virtue of their inability to explain it and by not being able to re-create it from the confines of their limited material reality.

    Life is in us, this we also know. We are not Life, because Life can be taken away from our temporal physical entity. Therefore when Life is in us, It remains Life that is distinct from us, because it may leave us at any time. Therefore we do not need to seek It, simply learn to listen to It. It, being this Life within us, holds all of what we consider to be "mind", and "intelligence", and "conscience", and "emotion", therefore this Life within us, is where we find all of our answers.

    Have you heard; "seek and you shall find", or "ask and you shall receive". In truth, the mystery lies in why it seems so difficult for so many to realize where these answers reside, and to simply ask. You need only be willing to do this thing. Ask, of your Spiritual nature, and it will answer always, because you also have heard, that "nothing is hidden that will not be revealed" - so ask.

    Briefly back to your duality. You are your duality. You cannot be Life without that Life dwelling within you, but while it indeed dwells within you, It also remains separate and separable from you. This we know, because when that Life leaves you, what remains is not living. If you wish to know "why" this Life resides within you, and why it can remove itself from you, again just ask. It, has a plan for you, and It desires you to know these things. And happy you will be, if you do them.

  • Fallensoul Mar 28, 2012

    Scott (moretocome):
    You say "no-self experience" but then in order to experience something, don't you have to be a conscious self. How does someone experience that "you" don't exist? I think the word no-self is very misleading and confusing.

    "One is the experience of the complete absence of 'self'"
    Who is experiencing the no-self?

    I'm trying to understand from whom you are gaining this knowledge.

    >"95% of the information comes from ‘within’"
    What does that mean?

    >I had a large ‘download’ of information
    From whom?

    >I also gain understanding through meditation (I meditate 3-4+ hours per day – not to just gain info, but because I love it)
    Whom are you meditating on and what exactly is that meditation process?

    >The remaining 5% comes from sometimes being led to information (i.e. books, online, etc.)
    Being led by whom?

    >after I’ve asked for knowledge on a particular area
    Whom have you asked?

    It seems to me like you're taking the help of some higher authority

    What about this question: Is it possible that theres something beyond that no-self/all is one stage that you havent yet experienced or received information about?"

  • Fallensoul Mar 28, 2012

    >However, to BE pure, abstract, INFINITE POTENTIALITY while in the ‘realm’ of the UNMANIFEST in which there is NO FORM of any kind >WHATSOEVER (i.e. no body, no thought forms, etc.), that is another matter. For me (at least at this point), it is unfathomable and >unknowable.
    So you're saying you have no experience of this, but then you're presenting this as your truth. So where did you get this information from and could it be that the source of your information is not giving you the full picture? or even the wrong or limited picture?

    The other thing that is concerning is that if this is the picture of ultimate reality, why would anyone choose that over enjoying a life with one's family, friends and spouse etc with a body, thoughts, consciousness, relationships etc. How is the unmanifest better than the manifest? Seems to me its far better to remain manifest, rather than to have no body or thoughts. It's almost like an atheists idea of the ultimate reality. You die and that's it. What does one do in this unmanifest state? What is the activity and interaction? How does one enjoy?

    >Why do you use the name ‘Fallensoul’?
    because I am a very fallen soul.

    >In addition to the NO-THINGNESS of the ONE, there exists the ALLNESS of the ONE.
    >With the ONE-Self experience, there is a state of ONE that provides a different perspective to the 'no-thingness' of the Void. It is a state of >ONE that encompasses 'All That Is'. It is glorious. The inherent CONNECTION and FULLNESS of this realm is indescribable. It is the >ALLNESS of the ONE. It is a profound Oneness with EVERYTHING. It is a state of immersion in the warmth of Love, Light, and Joy of being >ONE.

    But then what happens once one gets into this stage?

    You're describing so many things warmth, love, joy, all of this is within the oneness or perspectives of the oneness. Surely this means there is variety within the oneness or difference within the oneness, even though it is the same energy, there seems to be varieties of energy.


    >There is only ONE of IT. For example, the ONE (i.e. The Unmanifest, Void, original Source, etc.) did not 'create' you.
    >The ONE formed ITSELF into you. The ONE did not 'create' the Universe. IT formed ITSELF into the Universe.
    >Both form and emptiness comprise the same ENERGY. Although they may appear to be different, they are ONE and the same ENERGY.
    >The only difference is that of perspective.
    Okay, there still must be this varieties of energy, love, light, joy etc and a ONE source of these energies, the energetic. The Being in control of these energies.

    Just like you have a fire that gives off two energies, heat and light. The heat and light are the same as the fire, but the fire is the source of the heat and light. There is difference within the oneness.

  • moretocome Mar 28, 2012

    [CONTINUATION OF PRIOR POST]

    2. "all this information you're providing -- is it gained from your personal experiences that you have or are you using any other source of knowledge like the Vedic literature to substantiate your claims. In other words are you claiming that the Bhagavad Gita supports your idea of oneness and void or is it just that you've had this experience and you've concluded this is the ultimate reality."

    I’m not familiar with the Bhagavad Gita. 95% of the information comes from ‘within’ (in addition to the few experiences that I’ve had). After the experience of no-self, I had a large ‘download’ of information (That’s the best way I can describe it). I also gain understanding through meditation (I meditate 3-4+ hours per day – not to just gain info, but because I love it). The remaining 5% comes from sometimes being led to information (i.e. books, online, etc.) after I’ve asked for knowledge on a particular area.

    3. "what happens when you reach the eternal stage of realizing theres no self? Does consciousness still exist at that stage? Is it possible that theres something beyond that no-self stage that you havent yet experienced?"

    No-self is the identifiable / knowable aspect of the Unmanifest. The Unmanifest is pure, abstract, INFINITE POTENTIALITY. All Manifested form arose from out of the Unmanifested state. Consciousness clearly exists while one has the experience / realization of no-self because an ‘experiencer’ is necessary in order to have (and then describe) the experience.

    However, to BE pure, abstract, INFINITE POTENTIALITY while in the ‘realm’ of the UNMANIFEST in which there is NO FORM of any kind WHATSOEVER (i.e. no body, no thought forms, etc.), that is another matter. For me (at least at this point), it is unfathomable and unknowable.

    Clarifying Note: The foregoing is based on my “Truth”. Thus, it’s only the “Truth” from ‘my’ inner perspective. It doesn’t necessarily mean it’s your “Truth” (or anyone else’s for that matter). :-) My original intention was to let you know that there are resources out there that facilitate ‘triggering’ the no-self experience (in case you weren’t aware of them). However, I’ve enjoyed the questions. You have posed some really excellent questions. Thank you.

    Quick question for you: Why do you use the name ‘Fallensoul’?

    Love to you.

    Scott
    (No-Self.com)

  • moretocome Mar 28, 2012

    Hi ‘Fallensoul’, [FIRST POST]

    Per your suggestion, I have posted the 3 questions below that you posed from the thread, “What was the word at the beginning of the universe?” Outstanding questions!

    1. "you speak about oneness and then about voidness nothingness. Can you clarify what is the ultimate picture of reality. Is there nothing or just one thing?”

    From my perspective, both are ONE.

    No-self & ONE-Self:

    With the no-self experience, a person realizes the Truth regarding the illusion of a separate ‘self’. In addition, many people experience ‘no-thingness’ or ‘emptiness’. This is a state of ONE that is experienced as the 'no-thingness' of the Void (i.e. the Unmanifest). For me, there was also the feeling of 'aloneness' (not to be confused with 'loneliness'). It is a state of profound Stillness, Silence, and Peace.

    In addition to the NO-THINGNESS of the ONE, there exists the ALLNESS of the ONE.

    With the ONE-Self experience, there is a state of ONE that provides a different perspective to the 'no-thingness' of the Void. It is a state of ONE that encompasses 'All That Is'. It is glorious. The inherent CONNECTION and FULLNESS of this realm is indescribable. It is the ALLNESS of the ONE. It is a profound Oneness with EVERYTHING. It is a state of immersion in the warmth of Love, Light, and Joy of being ONE.

    Both of these experiences are analogous to two sides of a single coin. One is the experience of the complete absence of 'self' (i.e. the no-self experience). The other experience is the complete totality of the ONE ‘Self’ (i.e. the ONE-Self experience). One state of being is NO-THINGNESS (i.e. the Void) and the other is ALLNESS (i.e. Manifested Form). In essence, the two seemingly different perspectives encompass the same Oneness.

    There is only ONE of IT. For example, the ONE (i.e. The Unmanifest, Void, original Source, etc.) did not 'create' you. The ONE formed ITSELF into you. The ONE did not 'create' the Universe. IT formed ITSELF into the Universe. Both form and emptiness comprise the same ENERGY. Although they may appear to be different, they are ONE and the same ENERGY. The only difference is that of perspective.

    [The remainder is continued in a new post]

  • Fallensoul Mar 15, 2012

    Kyrani: I agree with you on this point.

    "Form/the material being and emptiness/void are the two aspects. The void does not here mean invalid but void as in completely empty of anything and everything material and that really includes energy because this is still part of the material existence, the form. The void is a singularity, Oneness."

    Now EthanT's (ET) doesn't think that people are only accepting oneness. So do you also recognize difference?

    ET: Phone home!!

    "Well, I don’t think anybody is accepting ONLY oneness."
    You'll be surprised!

    "Anyhow, every view needs transformation over time. In fact, knowledge is not static."
    Relative knowledge is not static, but Absolute Knowledge is static. The Bhagavad Gita provides fundamental principles of life and knowledge of these principles constitute absolute knowledge. Now the application of this knowledge may vary according to time, place, circumstance etc. But the principles remain the same. e.g We are different from the material body. Our nature is spiritual, We are eternal, individual. God is the Supreme eternal individual. To obtain love for God one has to perform bhakti or service in love for God. etc. etc. These fundamental truths stay static. Its part of the permanent reality. But the practical application may vary. How to fix the mind in meditation may differ. In previous ages, people who just meditate as in astanga yoga. Sit in a particular secluded place and focus inward -- meditation on the Supreme. Or in another age, sacrifices through worship of a deity. Large elaborate worship. But in this age, we are so fallen and lazy, the recommendation is simply to chant the name of God. This anyone can do without having to give up his life and go to the mountains.

    "Over here, we can simply believe in Jesus, a personal God, and we are saved by “Grace”. Nice and simple ;-)"
    The vedas have the same teachings, but I think more than just simply believe, is to live and apply the teachings of Jesus, otherwise one cannot really say he is a true follower of Jesus or expect his mercy.

    >exactly which personal form of God are we to worship?
    God is ultimately one and the same person. It doesnt matter too much which form, the main thing is the form you're worshiping is actually God.

    "They know that the soul of all religions is the same and so they have no quarrel with anybody just because he or she does not speak in the same tongue."

    Yes the goal of religion is to come to the scientific truth of reality which means coming to understand who we are, who God is and what our relationship is. So it may be phrased in various ways, but the aim is one. Still one has to judge to see if one is actually obtaining that goal.

  • KYRANI Mar 08, 2012

    Form/the material being and emptiness/void are the two aspects. The void does not here mean invalid but void as in completely empty of anything and everything material and that really includes energy because this is still part of the material existence, the form. The void is a singularity, Oneness.

    Form and emptiness are considered to be the duality by some philosophical schools and non-duality by others because they are not really separate. Form is emptiness, emptiness is form. They are not even like the two sides of one coin as I have heard some Buddhist teachers proclaim. They are one and the same! This duality/non-duality is the illusion of “is and is not”, existence and non-existence. This is being observed in quantum physics. The closer we look at particles the more they look like nothing real. And indeed it is now accepted by many physicists that we may not ever find a fundamental particle because reality cannot be truly cut.

    It appears that every aspect of what we observe as reality, our bodies and everything around us contains within it the information of the whole. For this reason physicists have described reality like a hologram. One property of a hologram is that if you break it into pieces and you pick up the fragments you will see in each fragment the whole picture. I don’t think the hologram is a good analogy because we don’t contain all of the information within our bodies or even within atomic/subatomic particles but that everything is contained within the singularity, the void. Also unlike the hologram, we are inseparable from the whole. Reality cannot be broken up into smaller and smaller pieces until we reach a fundamental particle, as Aristotle thought. There is no fundamental particle because there is in truth no fracture that can be made and nowhere where a fracture can be made!

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    EthanT Nov 04, 2011

    Well, I don’t think anybody is accepting ONLY oneness.

    The West is definitely not stuck on an impersonal form of God. The West has never been nearly adept at understanding abstract spiritual ideas, as the East always has been. Of course, I am speaking in general terms. Impersonal Gods are not understood as well over here. Over here, we can simply believe in Jesus, a personal God, and we are saved by “Grace”. Nice and simple ;-)

    Anyhow, every view needs transformation over time. In fact, knowledge is not static. Views will transform, whether we want them to, or not, because WE are constantly transforming and evolving. What worked well for us 5000 years ago, may not work as well today.

    So, what we need to realize is that the Bhagavad Gita is up to 5000 years old. What was valid for folks back then, may not be as valid for folks today. It’s NOT to take ANY Truth out of that text, in the slightest. It contains the deepest Wisdom. It’s just that humans, in general, are “closer to God” now than they were back then, and trying to grapple with an impersonal God is easier now. Most importantly, let’s not forget Impersonal vs. Personal are another pair of opposites, which God is not constrained too!! So, solely focusing on one or the other, is to fall short of His true nature, anyhow.

    Besides, with a “smaller” world and more communication and awareness of all the various religions of the world (something we didn’t have 5000 years ago like we do today), exactly which personal form of God are we to worship? Brahma, Jesus, Allah, Ahura Mazda, Buddha, Yahweh/Jehovah, Quetzalcoatl, Osiris, Zeus, etc!? Or, are we to claim one is superior to all the others? Hold that thought ….

    Are you familiar with Sri Aurobindo? He is a somewhat prominent figure in recent history in India. He wrote a great book on Integral Yoga, or the synthesis of Yoga. One point of that book was to take all the various and sometimes “ancient” forms of Yoga, and synthesize them to make them valid and more useful for man today. It’s a recognition that some practices are more, or less, valuable today, than they were 5000 years ago.

    But, lastly, it’s a recognition, that no form of religion is superior to another. One religion is superior to another, ONLY in that it is the one that works for YOU. But, it may not work for somebody else. And, all this is considered at a give point in time too. As Vivekananda said:

    "All who have actually attained any real religious experience never wrangle over the form in which the different religions are expressed. They know that the soul of all religions is the same and so they have no quarrel with anybody just because he or she does not speak in the same tongue."

    It’s a little harsh the way he phrased that first part, in my opinion. But, the latter part of the quote contains a great truth and a deep recognition.

  • Fallensoul Nov 04, 2011

    The problem is in accepting only ONENESS. There are verses in the Vedic literatures that describe oneness -- that we are all interconnected and that at the fundamental level consciousness exists and pervades everything, but there are actually more verses in the scriptures describing difference and actually the picture is theres this material world of differences, then higher than that is the oneness of Brahman and higher than this is the spiritual difference of the Supreme Personality of Godhead and the infinite minute jivas or individual souls exchanging in relationship with that Supreme. This is the highest reality of the Vedas and so much information is given about this picture, its so hard to misinterpret. The Bhagavad Gita directly responds to this in 12.1-2:

    "Which are considered to be more perfect, those who are always properly engaged in Your devotional service or those who worship the impersonal Brahman, the unmanifested?"

    "Those who fix their minds on My personal form and are always engaged in worshiping Me with great and transcendental faith are considered by Me to be most perfect."

    Even a warning is given in 12.5

    "For those whose minds are attached to the unmanifested, impersonal feature of the Supreme, advancement is very troublesome. To make progress in that discipline is always difficult for those who are embodied."

    Unfortunately this picture is missing from the current presentations of Hindu philosophy dominant in the west and so just as the modern scientific picture needs some worldview transformation so do does the modern Hindu philosophy need worldview transformation.

    But the basic point is that philosophies that emphasize ONLY oneness are actually not presenting the full Vedic picture, with all due respect -- difference certainly exists in the spiritual reality. Variety is the mother of enjoyment. -- Everything is there in the spiritual reality in perfection, why only bliss or one thing? If thats the case better to stay here and enjoy the difference than want to go and merge into the "infinite bliss" and not enjoy the real bliss of a being able to love someone.

    Its a very common sense thing really and it is so natural. We want to enjoy, we desire, we love, we value our individuality. The vedas don't reject the fact that we are meant to enjoy life, but its saying its not possible here, in this world of matter.

  • Fallensoul Nov 03, 2011

    ET: See previous post.

  • Fallensoul Jul 28, 2011

    Hi EthanT

    Really sorry for the delay in responding, was out of town for a while.

    To clarify yet again the idea we're putting forward here in the hope that the difference becomes obvious. Throughout the vedic scriptures, in particular the essential texts: Bhagavad-gita, Vedanta Sutra and Srimad Bhagavatam there is a clear differentiation between the individual conscious self and the Supreme conscious Self. In fact its so clear and fundamental that to confuse them as one thing is practically impossible. They are not the same person nor do they ever merge to become one. This idea is not at all supported in any of the vedic scriptures and for various reasons seems to be a large misconception. We have discussed this a bit and I have provided some challenges to it. Here are further challenges: http:///www.understandreality.com/consciousness/jiva.txt

    Each of us is a real individual conscious being with personality, feelings, will etc and each of remain eternally remain individual. "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you...or in the future shall any of us cease to be" The Supreme consciousness is also an individual but with Supreme qualities. Whereas we are minute in size, like sparks of consciousness, the Supreme consciousness is the fire. Two different entities, but because the spark of the fire is part and parcel of the fire, they are in one sense one with the fire. This is the actual teachings of the Vedas and I hope that this picture is clear.

    Now from the sources you quote and from the way in which comparative religions tries to understand reality -- it somewhat superficial making these connections between the various religions without actually appreciating the essence in a deep way. Its almost blasphemous to say to portray God as someone who has to evolve over time or have bad qualities or have to realise He is God at some point. God is always God and He is all good.

    So I want to raise this point because its an awfully important one. There is alot of disinformation out there. The mainstream indian philosophers that are being presented in the west, the teachers of the west taking shelter of these teachers are presenting things that appear to be logical but actually their translations are misrepresenting the actual teachings. I would therefore recommend you read this book cover to cover: Bhagavad Gita As It Is.

    Regarding the Yoga Sutras. Again the translators are putting in their own false interpretations. I put some lectures up on the Understanding Reality Through Yoga. Listen to class 3 which explains the verses you quote as evidence for things becoming one. It's not really mentioned in the Sanskrit like that. More importantly how do you explain Patanjali saying "The perfection of samadhi is devotion to the Supreme". samadhi-siddhih-ishvarapranidhanat. Perfection of samadhi means the highest type of samadhi is Devotion to the Supreme--- certainly not Devotion to yourself!

  • Fallensoul Jul 28, 2011

    Why be a drop of water, when you can be a fish within the water.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Shankar Narayan Jul 26, 2011

    How does one find a drop of water from the ocean when it has merged back into the ocean?

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    Shankar Narayan Jul 25, 2011

    Excellent post Ethan T!
    @frequencytuner and fallensoul : good analogy and discussion!
    "I cannot tell the difference anymore between the reflected and the reflector, the subject and object have become one. What difference in mind I see in you, you also see in me, we reflect each other."

    That is almost the same thing that came up in a discussion with a friend!

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Jun 28, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul , sorry for the slow response .. been very busy lately!

    Fallensoul said: "Perhaps you can very briefly give us some essential idea just on this point of say the buddist non-self/consciousness vs vedic individual self/consciousness -- based on your knowledge from the sources you quote. How are these completely opposite ideas meant to be equal fundamentally?"

    I don't think they are complete opposite, but more on that in a sec

    There are two things to be aware of in comparitive mythology, or two things to take into consideration.

    (1) Myths/Religion transform through time as consciousness evolves
    (2) Where the comparisons lie is in the connotative meaning, and not always the denotative meaning.

    A stark illustration of #1 is the Old Testament VS. The New Testament. Yahweh of the OT is a whimsical, jealous and sometimes violent God. Jesus (and the Father, which is manigest through Him) is compassionate, forgiving. How can these be the same God? Yet, the Bible itself indicates they are one and the same God:

    1 Corinthians 10:4
    "And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ." [the NT referring to the OT story of Moses]

    There is another passage somewhere that says Christ was the pillar of fire that followed them.

    So, the God of the OT IS the God of the NT, but the IMAGE of God has evolved as man evolved.

    As far as your question above, I think Heinrich Zimmer sums it up well here:

    " .... the figure is expressed according to the nondual formula of Vedanta: Thou art That (tat tvam asi). 'Thou are the universal, only Self, though unaware of it'. This is the Buddhist message too: 'All things are Buddha things'"

    The no-self of Buddishm is misunderstood, and is not to be taken quite that literally. The no-self in Buddha is the Self no longer focused on the ego. If there was literally NO-self, than who exactly is the Boddhisatva, as he walks the Earth? It is essentially the Atman, from the Vedas. When a inidividual realizes the "suchness" (tathata) of reality, or that "all things are Buddha things", the ego dissolves, and he identifies himself basically with what in Veda is called Atman, the "Universal self".

    The connotative meanings, of these seemingly different denotative messages, are the same. They reference the same thing, while talking about in slightly different language and coming at it from a slightly different perspective. Also, don't forget consideration #2 - Buddhism basically evolved out of vedic thought.

    I just don't see drastically different thinking here.

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    EthanT Jun 28, 2011

    FallenSoul said "The Yoga sutras are theistic and fully accept individual and supreme consciousness so not sure which verses being referred to?"

    It's Book 1 ( Samadhi Pada) Sutra 41.

    Depending on the translation it will either say subject/object are one, or the knower and known are indistinguishable, etc. Sutras 42-51 go on similar lines.

    Once again, Heinrich Zimmer offers a nice explanation:

    "Samadhi, absorptionl which is of two kinds: (a) savikalpa, which is absorption with a full consciousness of the duality of the perceiver and thing perceived, the subject and object, the beholding inner sense and the beheld Self; and (b) nirvikalpa, which is nondual absorption, absolutely devoid of any consciousness of a distinction between teh perceiver and the thing perceived"

    part (b) is considered the "higher" samadhi, which comes later, as it is more difficult to achieve. It is also similar to the "seedless" Samadhi from Book One Sutra 51 in the Yoga Sutras.

  • Fallensoul Jun 14, 2011

    Hi EthanT

    Perhaps you can very briefly give us some essential idea just on this point of say the buddist non-self/consciousness vs vedic individual self/consciousness -- based on your knowledge from the sources you quote. How are these completely opposite ideas meant to be equal fundamentally?

    Regarding the problem of evil. Its a large subject matter. Briefly we discussed that the Vedic conception accepts that the Supreme Source/Energetic/Consciousness is infallible, fully independent, all-benevolent, all-powerful, all-good etc and therefore cannot fall under the control of His own material energy -- rather He is the source the material energy (illusionary energy) as well as the the source of spiritual energy and the innumerable individual conscious living entities (sometimes classified as marginal energy).

    >Well, one could just as easily ask (and many do) why would an infinitely compassionate being, such as God , "condemn" any being to such a >fate?

    I've always liked the "barbers dont exist" anaolgy. But basically one could pose the question: Why would a compassionate president/government condemn their citizens to a prison house? Why would a all compassionate father allow his son to run away from the comfort of his home? It is due to the minute free will and independence of the individual. The minute living entity is endowed with a minute amount of free will and this means he can use or misuse that independence as he likes. The Supreme consciousness chooses not to interfere with the free will of the living entity, so if the living entity so desires to try to enjoy/exploit the material energy, he is given a material body to do so.

    Just like a thief may understand that If i get caught I will be punished, but still by his free will he chooses to steal and faces the consequences. The prisonhouse is actually good for the thief because it is designed to reform him, so that he reforms his character. Even though the father may be fully able to bring the son back home, he may choose not to interfere with the sons free will and rather try to inspire the son through various means to return home, understanding that once the son gains experience of reality on the streets, he would prefer to return home for good understanding the sufferings outside, rather than forcefully bring him house and the son remains unhappy. A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.

    There are other considerations to note. Even though there is suffering here it is temporary, the soul does not die, nor is the soul eternally damned to hell as some schools may claim. It is temporary, based on the desires of the individual entity. So it one's own choice that we come under the illusion and entangles ourselves but weare given several methods of regaining our lost condition if we so choose to. This is the basic idea.

    The Yoga sutras are theistic and fully accept individual and supreme consciousness so not sure which verses being referred to?

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Jun 10, 2011

    FallenSoul said: "I'm not sure I can agree with you when you say that all religious schools are the same at the fundamental level. Could you expand on that going through each school and showing how this is so."

    Well, that would definitely break the IONs record for the world's longest post. ;-)

    The best thing I could say is to read one of the top authors in the field of comparative mythology.

    Joseph Campbell would be a good bet.

    From the psychology perspective, Carl Jung would be another good bet. Although, unlike Campbell, Jung isn't exactly the easiest reading.

    They would be a good start to discovering the fundamental truths behind all religions.

    FallenSoul said: "Yet we see that we are not independent, rather we are heavily under the control of this temporary reality. Now one has to seriously question if "we ARE the ultimately ground of reality" or if "we are god" then why would god succumb himself to this place of suffering? How did an omnipotent God fall into illusion? This challenge remains."

    Well, one could just as easily ask (and many do) why would an infinitely compassionate being, such as God , "condemn" any being to such a fate?

    Fallensoul said: "And so all that you have said about every religion trying to linking back to God is true -- I agree, but it is to regain one's RELATIONSHIP with God, not that we regain our position AS God. Its a huge difference!! We're a particle of God, but we're not as powerful as God.

    Somehow this point is getting blurred: Consciousness remains individual. The minute individual consciousness doesn’t merge to become one with the Supreme consciousness. The minute consciousness realigns his own individual consciousness with the will of the Supreme consciousness and acts accordingly in harmony with the Supreme individual consciousness. That is the vedic idea."

    Well, Yoga isn't too far off from the Vedic idea at all. If you look at how Yoga describes the highest state of Samadhi, in the Yoya Sutras, you'll see that subject and object disappear. Or, perhaps put better, subject and object are no longer valid concepts. To claim one thing is superior to another, requires, at the very least one subject, and one object, and possibly one subject and two objects, if a direct comparison back to the subject was not being made. Well, if the Yoga Sutras are correct, and subject and object have coalesced into one, what reference exactly is being used to determine superiority? What references are left at all?

  • Fallensoul Jun 06, 2011

    Hi Ethan T.

    I'm not sure I can agree with you when you say that all religious schools are the same at the fundamental level. Could you expand on that going through each school and showing how this is so. It seems to me that one school says consciousness is an illusion and another school says there is a real eternal individual conscious self. One school says God and the living entity are ultimately one thing and another school says God is individual and different from the individual living entity. So how exactly are they the same?

    What I meant by us willing to get out of duality is that we are not omnipotent. We can't at the click of our fingers get out of duality, simply by thinking it immediately it happens. But we would expect that the ultimate ground of reality to have such unlimited power. If he is supremely independent then God can do anything. Yet we see that we are not independent, rather we are heavily under the control of this temporary reality. Now one has to seriously question if "we ARE the ultimately ground of reality" or if "we are god" then why would god succumb himself to this place of suffering? How did an omnipotent God fall into illusion? This challenge remains. WHy does God have to suffer from a toothache? Why would god be such under the strong laws of rebirth, death, disease and old-age. Or closer to home... hunger and thirst. If the enlightened one is forced to eat and sleep then that means he is still operating in the world of duality. One cannot show that he is beyond eating and sleeping. So then one questions if the enlightened one is God why is he under such control?

    So the Vedic idea is a spirit soul either in the enlightened stage or the conditioned stage, can never be equal to God.

    And so all that you have said about every religion trying to linking back to God is true -- I agree, but it is to regain one's RELATIONSHIP with God, not that we regain our position AS God. Its a huge difference!! We're a particle of God, but we're not as powerful as God.

    Somehow this point is getting blurred: Consciousness remains individual. The minute individual consciousness doesnt merge to become one with the Supreme consciousness. The minute consciousness realigns his own individual consciousness with the will of the Supreme consciousness and acts accordingly in harmony with the Supreme individual consciousness. That is the vedic idea.

  • Fallensoul Jun 06, 2011

    Regarding loving your family, particularly one's wife. You said "you KNOW you love them, without question. Nobody has to prove that to you." That may be true, but sometimes -- well rather often, you do have to prove it to them, otherwise one quickly experiences the ultimate ground of being knocking you into samadi and oneness with the floor!

    p.s Sorry Ethan, its a bit late here and thats all I have energy for. Perhaps we can take this on a skype chat and save me the char counting.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Jun 05, 2011

    Fallensoul said: "This is the challenge. If what you're saying that we are "God under illusion" then we should have the control to get out of this duality simply by our will. But we can't do that"

    But, we CAN. That is the whole point of Buddhism, and even ultimately Christianity, and every other religion. Tracing back to the Latin, religion means "to link back". In other words, to link back to the source, or God. That IS the Bodhisattva - one who has recognized the oneness of everything and is in touch with that: he/she is "linked" back. When we do that, we don't need religion anymore, because we will have achieved the ultimate goal of all religions. So, as I'll mention below too, we can directly experience "God". The Yoga Sutras are practically in the form of "an instruction manual" on how to do just that.

    Fallensoul said: "So when we speak of transcending dualities, we mean dualities of this material world. Not that the spiritual world is void or without variety. This is the biggest misconception "

    I didn't mean to imply that and you're right - it is a common misconception about Buddhism, and other Indian philosophies. What is that makes us all different? What causes all the variety in human behavior? One big player is our egos. We identify ourselves with the roles we temporarily are playing and with our likes and dislikes. Utilizing our will, we act out these roles. I like how the Swiss Philosopher Amiel said it: "“Nothing is more hidden from us than the illusion which lives with us day by day, and our greatest illusion is to believe that we are what we think ourselves to be.” Anyhow, the goal is "not my will, but thy will Lord" The goal is to align our will with God's will (as Christianity also speaks so much about). When this is achieved, the ego diminishes, along with all the "illusions" it creates, and the "barriers" between people start to breakdown. The ego and disparate tensions it can create dissolve, but individualism can still remain. Of course, this is speaking rather loosely.

    Fallensoul said: "Well, I wasn't sure if you're from the zen "school of nothingness" or from the Brahman "school of oneness".Seems almost mixed up from your various postings"

    It don't think it would really matter since, as comparative mythology has shown, all religions are saying the same thing on a fundamental level. They just come at it from different directions, depending on the needs of the culture. Joseph Campbell summed this up well with his analogy of the Masks of God. Each religion represents a Mask on the face of God, and over time as consciousness evolves and religions evolve, the masks get thinner and thinner, revealing more of the face of God. Each mask looks different because of cultural influences, etc, but everybody is referencing the same ultimate ground of being, the same God. When we realize that, we break down barriers between religions too and can see the same objective truth in all of them.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Jun 05, 2011

    Fallensoul said: "Regarding other things you've said. If a Bodhisattva is beyond the pairs of opposites but operating in this world then how does he deal with the duality of eating or starving?"

    As one of the fundamental sayings in Zen Buddhism says, "When you are hungry, eat. When you are tired, sleep", or something along those lines. Or, as the Zen Monk Mu-Chou was asked, "We dress and we eat every day. So, how do we escape from having to put on clothes and eat food?" Mu-Chou replied, "We dress; we eat". There is a difference between doing things with attachment and doing things without attachment. It's about where we are mentally, not what we're doing physically. The idea is to realize that we ARE that ultimate ground of being. At that point, who is it exactly that we are putting clothes on?


    Fallensoul said: "One has to be careful where these ideas are originating from? If they're coming from your mind, then isn't that itself a man-made concept? which we've established as being in illusion, then how can it possible try to gain truth in matters that are beyond illusion? "

    Through actual experience. This is why Buddhism is called a dialogue. As one story goes, when Buddha achieved "Nirvana" the first thing he decided to do was not tell anybody, because the experience was beyond mere words and concepts. But, eventually even the Gods deplored him to tell of what he discovered. This is the "The Way". It's a practice and dialogue to get our mind pointed in the right direction, so we can directly experience the ultimate ground of being too. And, when we do, we'll realize it cannot be communicated either, but we can at least reference it via language to help get others started in the right direction.

    So, it's not simply that concepts and language are illusion, as in being complete fantasy. They are rather a limited viewpoint. The illusion is believing that the limited viewpoints we hold, represent all of reality. Even though concepts and language cannot touch all of reality, our "minds" ultimately can, through direct experience.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Jun 05, 2011

    I had a discussion on this the other day, but along the lines of science and proof. Somebody claimed they only believe things they have scientific evidence for, so

    I said: "We all believe in (or know?) lots of stuff without "evidence". Prove you love your family. There's no way you can, definitively and scientifically. Yet, you yourself don't believe - you KNOW you love them, without question. Nobody has to prove that to you. I can observe you and realize you do, because I share a similar set of experiences, (Yet, I can't prove you do, and I can't make any claim along those lines without referencing my own beliefs and experiences on love, which I also can't prove) Likewise, if you practiced Yoga for the next 10 years, maybe you would have an experience the Yoga Sutras talk about. At that point, you could "relate" to others who had that experience. But, neither of you will be able to "prove" that you had it. All you can do is experience it for yourself (which is, of course, part of the essence of Yoga and Buddhism and ...)"

    Also, a neat ( but maybe almost silly ) example of how the ultimate ground of being is beyond our usual concepts is to think about time. Well, time creates some pairs of opposites too: before and after, earlier and later, birth and death, creation and destruction, cause and effect. In other words, we are thinking LINEAR in time. First creation, followed by destruction. First, the cause, and then the effect. Well, God exists outside time. Even modern physics admits time might not have existed "before" the Big Bnag. Of course, you can't say "before" at that point, as it no longer applies. So, that's eternity - not never ending time, but rather the complete absence of time. This is why the question, "How was God created, or where did God come from?" wouldn't make sense. If God exists outside time, the pairs of opposites mentioned above would not apply to Him - He was never created, didn't come from anything, and is beyond all cause and effect - He just IS. If we our ultimately a part of the ground of being, part of us is beyond time too. What will existence outside time be like? Pretty hard to wrap the mind around that one.

    Anyhow, thanks again for the discussion Fallensoul. It's been interesting so far :)

  • Fallensoul Jun 05, 2011

    Well I wasn't sure if you're from the zen "school of nothingness" or from the Brahman "school of oneness". Seems almost mixed up from your various postings. Anyway the challenges remain the same in for both schools. I'll focus again on the most essential one. We agree that we live in a relative world of dualities and that our consciousness is under the control of this "illusion of opposites". And that there exists an Absolute platform that is free from the dualities of this world which by a process of self-realization we can attain / regain.

    Okay, but then if you say "So, differentiation is perhaps a byproduct of the “ego”, an illusion created by the mind. It's Maya." that our minds are under this illusion (that the undifferentiated thinks its differentiated), that means that the power of illusion is greater than our minds (for the time being) -- because we somehow we got bewildered into duality. Now if we consider that theres an absolute controller or ultimate ground of being, then by definition that being has to be above all dualities, as you say "God is beyond all pairs of opposites". So then how is it possible for that ultimate ground of being to come under the control of something its controlling? This is the challenge. If what you're saying that we are "God under illusion" then we should have the control to get out of this duality simply by our will. But we can't do that, therefore the conclusion is that we are not God. And that God being the ultimate controller controls illusion and is not subject to it, as we are.

    In this way by careful introspecution one can discern these things. The energetic or God who is above and beyond everything and His seperated energies e.g. Maya or the Illusary energy and the Jiva or the minute individual souls who may come under the control of Maya due to their minute nature. Both the energetic and the energy is one substance, absolute spirit. But the energies have different functions and operate differently with different potency bringing about differentiation. So when we speak of transcending dualities, we mean dualities of this material world. Not that the spiritual world is void or without variety. This is the biggest misconception -- because there is no real information given from these schools offering a description of the spiritual dimension a follower of these schools may come to the conclusion that there is nothing beyond or that there is no variety beyond. But according to the Vedic viewpoint, there is a complete beautiful spiritual reality that is Absolute, beyond all MATERIAL dualities! When we say God is beyond all opposites, it means beyond all material opposites. We only have experience of this material reality, there is also a spiritual reality which we have to gain knowledge from authorized wisdom. This is missing thing.....to appreciate that there is differentiation even in spirit, even though that spirit is one substance.

  • Fallensoul Jun 05, 2011

    Just like the government who has various departments: Say, the justice department and the finance department. From the point of view a criminal who is under the laws of the government -- the justice department may be bad -- but from the point of view of the government, it is just another department. Both are good with different functions. There is variety in the government that is beyond the dualities experienced by those under the laws of the government. So one could say the government is one and different at the same time. Similarly its described in the Vedic knowledge that the Ultimate Ground of being has various energies or departments and from His point of view they are all the same -- His energies, but from the point of view of the energies, they have different functions and in our case the Maya energy can overcome the Jiva energy. We are the Jiva or minute individual soul, not the God because we can come under the Maya or illusionary energy of the Supreme, but He cannot.

    Regarding other things you've said. If a Bodhisattva is beyond the pairs of opposites but operating in this world then how does he deal with the duality of eating or starving?

    "I prefer to call God transpersonal, or put loosely, God can be whatever God wants to be ;-)" and " It’s just that I think labels and concepts cannot be applied to the ultimate ground of being. When we try to do so, there might be some truth to them, but it ultimately has to represent a “limited” viewpoint."

    One has to be careful where these ideas are originating from? If they're coming from your mind, then isnt that itself a man-made concept? which we've established as being in illusion, then how can it possible try to gain truth in matters that are beyond illusion? Ironcially what you say about no labels and concepts, is itself a limited concept. All we could say is that, God is above material labels and concepts, but that doesnt mean there isnt a spiritual conception.

    "if God can be whatever God wants to be" then He can perfer His personal form over His impersonal form, and moreso its better to follow what God says He is, rather than use our limited minds to speculate about what God is and not is, which may lead us ultimately to atheism -- even though under a so-called spiritual school.

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    EthanT May 25, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul,

    Thanks, interesting stuff. I'll try and express some of my views, hopefully answering some of the questions you posed (once again, probably in a long winded sort of way!)

    I think a good place to start is on the idea of opposites. As human beings, We are temporarily inhabiting spacetime, or what is often called in comparative mythology, "the field of action". It is the field of action partly because of the tension of opposites: good and evil, dark and light, male and female, up and down, before and after, creation and destruction, left and right, dark and light. (This is why it’s almost silly when people ask “why is there evil in the world”. We might as well ask, why is there “up” in the world. Pairs of opposites ARE characteristic of “life”)

    The Bodhisattva, or a person who has achieved Enlightenment, or Nirvana, operates in the world, but beyond the pairs of opposites. He is completely free from attachment to the world, as a result. The idea being that the ultimate ground of being is beyond all pairs of opposites, which is represented in Indian art wonderfully. My favorite is of a three-headed sculpture. Two of the heads, which are on the sides, are facing left and right, and are male and female, representing the pairs of opposites and the field of spacetime. But, the head in the center cannot be easily identified as male or female. It's more a face of a "god", with an expression of complete serenity, being beyond the tension of the pairs of opposites. That's where the Bodhisattva lies - right down the center, "in between", or beyond, the pairs of opposites.

    So, another pair of opposites is personal and impersonal. God is beyond all pairs of opposites, including this one. "He/She" ( another pair ) is neither personal nor impersonal. I prefer to call God transpersonal, or put loosely, God can be whatever God wants to be ;-)

    How has it all become differentiated? In light of Zen Buddhism, you might say it hasn't. It's only our mind that makes it appear to be differentiated. A “regular” person walks around and sees differentiation and all the pairs of opposites. An awakened person sees past that, and can see the ultimate ground of being, right here and now, in everything, including each and every one of us.

    (continued …..)

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT May 25, 2011

    There is an interesting story by Heinrich Zimmer on the specific pair of opposites called Samsara and Nirvana, that illustrates this. Samsara is karma and the resulting round of rebirths. Nirvana is enlightenment, or liberation from Samsara. They are represented by opposite shores of a river in this parable. Anyhow, a young ambitious monk, tired of the world, sets off from the shore of Samsara in his little ferry across a river - the river representing the spiritual journey. Halfway across the river, the monk can't quite make out either shore very well, both being too far away. This represents the state of limbo - not completely attached to the world anymore, but not quite liberated yet either. But, finally, in great jubilation he begins to see rather clearly the far shore, Nirvana, and he eventually lands his little ferry on the shore, and decides to look back and see what the shore of Samsara looks like from this exalted viewpoint. But, when he looks back, the far shore is gone(!), the river is gone, the ferry is gone, and he's no longer even standing on a shore. He then realizes, there never was any river, there never was any Samsara, or Nirvana, there never was an "ego", and lastly there never was even a Buddha! He is beyond all pairs of opposites, and all forms of differentiation. He has realized, as they say in Buddhism, that "ALL things are Buddha things." This is partly why the Buddha is not present in much of the art in certain stages of Buddhism. Samsara and Nirvana are pairs of opposites too. If you're still grasping for Nirvana trying to escape Samsara, you're in tension between a pair of opposites, while the true ground of “Nirvana” is beyond all that.

    So, differentiation is perhaps a byproduct of the “ego”, an illusion created by the mind. It's Maya. All we have to do is "see" past that. Or, as the Gospel of St Thomas says, "The Kingdom of Heaven is spread out upon the Earth but men do not see it" (i.e. we’re not conscious of it)

    Also, hierarchical like structures that claim one branch superior to another is another way of differentiating. If the ultimate ground of being (i.e. God) is undifferentiated and beyond all man-made concepts, and we are ultimately a part of that ground of being, it seems labeling one part as superior to another would ultimately be self-limiting.

    So, I’m not really disagreeing with anything you say. In fact, I do agree to an extent. It’s just that I think labels and concepts cannot be applied to the ultimate ground of being. When we try to do so, there might be some truth to them, but it ultimately has to represent a “limited” viewpoint. But, being human and stuck with speech and language to communicate, it’s really all we have right now.

  • Fallensoul May 22, 2011

    Ethan T: Quoting your earlier post: "Or out another way, it is undifferentiated consciousness that has become differentiated. And, we are a little differentiated piece, of that ultimate and transcendent undifferentiated source. So, is one part of Brahman any less important than another part of Brahman? Is a part of Brahman any less important than the whole of Brahman? Is a part of Brahman any less Brahman than Brahman? What?"

    Since there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, there is the sense of oneness. Although from the analytical point of view heat and light are different from fire, there is no meaning to the word "fire" without heat and light. In synthesis, therefore, heat, light and fire are the same. One cannot separate the energy from the energetic, but the energy is dependent on the source and therefore subordinate. We are considered the energy of the Absolute, we are not the Absolute energetic source.

    Another challenge. If everything is ultimately one, everything is Brahman and undifferentiated, then how did it become differentiated in the first place? That means there must have been difference in order to differentiate either illusory or real. Also one must consider the fact mentioned before, that if we're one with the universe, that means we must be the creator of the universe also, but are so limited and controlled by the laws of the universe, so how did we fall under the control of the laws that we created?

    Another yet point is that if we consider the Absolute Truth to be impersonal, then we limit his absoluteness. Personality must also exist. We are persons with personality, why should the Source be impersonal? Rather when we speak of impersonal, there must exist personality. For example when we speak of the government acting, it is understood that behind the impersonal government, there are personalities managing the affairs of the government. When we speak of IONS as the leaders in consciousness studies, we understand there it is not IONS per se, but the personalities behind the impersonal body that have are making waves in the field of consciousness studies.

  • Fallensoul May 22, 2011

    Recently I saw a you tube clip that presented the idea of the Eastern sciences conclude that the entire universe is within the mind. I'd like to know where is it mentioned that there the individual soul IS the universe? Seems to me to be a partial truth. It is true that we are one with the Supreme, in quality, but there is difference in quantity -- we certainly arent God or as powerful as the universe -- even in "union".

    According to the Vedic picture based on the Bhagavad Gita, the source and energy behind of the universe and everything (Supersoul) is a supremely perfect individual conscious entity, both separate from the individual entity (soul), and yet connected in the sense of being spiritual in nature. They maintain their individuality, as we have been discussing on this thread. So the idea that the mind is the universe is more like the Supersoul resides with the soul in the material body -- like two birds in the same tree -- and witnesses the activities of the soul, offers guidance and helps fulfill the desires of the soul.

  • Fallensoul Apr 15, 2011

    frequencytuner: Nice to hear from you again. Regarding your latest post, please come to the practical point. What is the nature of bliss and activity on the higher levels you are speaking about and how is it any better than the pleasure and satisfaction that we daily seek here in this world, through our loving relationships? What is the practical means of obtaining this higher levels?

  • Fallensoul Apr 15, 2011

    Hi eagleseye.

    I have discussed this below, but what you say is partly true. Each one of us is a conscious spiritual entity and we are never separated from the Source of all conscious entities. We are one in spirit, quality. But the thing is that each one of us, being a fragmentary part of that spirit is also a unique individual (a person) and that individuality is never lost -- even in union with the supreme individual, the Source of all individuals (Supreme Person). Both the Source and each one of us always maintain our individuality and the difference between the Source and us is that we are completely dependent on the Source. So one could say that we are the separated energy of the Supreme Source.

    Even if we assume the idea that everything was collectively one with the Source in quantity, then the challenge is why is it that we are currently dependent on the natural material laws that are meant to be a creation of that collective Source. If we are the Source then we should not be under the control of our own laws. We should be controlling it. Yet we observe that we are helplessly under it. This means that there is a difference between the Source and us. Even if one argues that perhaps we have forgotten or fallen from our pure position, that tendency to fall or forget is not subject to the perfect Source. The Source is always fully independent (above the control of these laws), and we are always dependent (either under the material laws or spiritual laws). No-one can claim full independence, except the Source who is never affected by these natural laws. So in essence we are extensions of a personal supreme Source.

    The superior guidance that is given to us, is emanating from our relationship with the Source, but we, being dependent on that guidance is not the source of it. Based on our limited free will, desires, emotions and connection with the Source -- He sanctions and provides the necessary guidance for us to fulfill our desires, just as a father provides for his son.

    And yet the Father has His own desire for all His parts -- to revive their forgotten relationship with Him. I mean just look at the various ideas we have of God. Hardly anyone here has a fully clear conception, its always so vague. And based on the vagueness we conjecture! Yet there is a standard way of knowing things. The empiricist even though limited in knowledge, follow a methodology to obtain facts on which they can build upon. This is better than just coming up with our own ideas of things. There are so many ideas and equal ways to contradict it. If we wish to systematically understand reality we need a methodology that provides accurate information outside our senses on facts that we can build upon. Vedic knowledge its not just mental speculation by someone, its a complete package of perfect knowledge. One simply has to use one's intelligence to apply it and obtain realization. It a map vs our own way out the maze, and our human lifespan is soo limited!

  • frequencytuner Apr 13, 2011

    There is within each a male and female principle and also a third principle and this third principle is the unifying force we are referring to here that allows a perspective of separation in order to see contrast, to experience. Without this contrast there would be no world or existence to speak of at all. The duality is this male/female, androgynous existence that IS each of us that we are unaware of at a low conscious level. At higher levels, where things are not clouded or veiled there is no separation of duality because the androgynous being is one that appears as many.

  • Anonymous Icon

    eagleseye Apr 12, 2011

    We tend to think of God as some sort of seperate Entity from that which we are. This sort of thinking is incorrect in my humble opinion as I have come to think of myself/everyone as an extension of that which we call God. We are not seperate from Source ever because our emotions are our guidance system telling us whether or not we are on the page as Source by the way we feel.

  • Fallensoul Apr 07, 2011

    Kerian,

    The analogy seems to be assuming that the computer game is just an unconscious piece of data. That we're just a pack of neutrons. If thats the case then one could say, well its hopeless in trying to know anything, what to speak of God. If God is too far for our reach therefore we cannot know -- thats just one step away from saying there is no God. Somewhat of an atheistic idea.

    But if we're assuming we are conscious beings, then one could say that the inventor and the programmer are also conscious beings, Superior conscious beings. Thus consciousness opens up the doorway to perception, logic and interaction between the Supreme consciousness and our consciousness.

    It's a bit presumptuous to comment on the Vedic ideas if you are not very familiar or practiced with it. If God is all-powerful and all-knowing and all-loving, its quite possible for Him to willingly provide perfect knowledge to us. Just like if we have run away from home by our own free will and wander here and there in a lost state accepting a suffering condition (the sim world) as reality; our father, understanding the situation, may not force us to come back home, but he will naturally make efforts to try to provide the directions back home and to re-establish the broken relationship. It's up to us to take advantage of that and my point in sharing on IONS is that there are some people open to these ideas because it is presenting information in line with what IONS is discovering and in this way may be beneficial to others. I'm certainly open to rationally discuss it.

    If the divine beauty of God and His creation is too mysterious to know for you, perhaps its more honest to say "I don't know" rather than assert this as true for all of us.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Kerian Apr 01, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul,
    Picture a computer game like The Sims. Can The Sims know anything about the programmer of the game? And if they could, could they know anything about the inventor of the computer? This does away with perception, logic and with communication from a perfect source. A source of knowledge like the Veda's is merely a guide for critical thinking. Dogmas cannot come from God for the divine beauty of the creation is too mysterious to be put in words.

  • Fallensoul Apr 01, 2011

    Hi Kerian. Thanks for that!

    If God is all-powerful why assume only He can know if the creation is part of Him or not? One could argue, an all-powerful God should be able to communicate the truth about Himself and His works in various ways, for those of us who wish to grasp it. Much like a teacher disseminates knowledge to one's students or a student reads an authoritative textbook. Ironically, the knowledge originating from God is not subject to mere trivial guesswork as one could argue about the statement you have made, which seem to be originating from the dogma of the limited mind.

    Vedic epistemology appreciates that knowledge can be acquired primarily in 3 ways i.e Direct sense perception (Seeing is believing), inference/logic (Mental speculation) and hearing from a perfect source (Knowledge from Authority). However, it emphasizes hearing from a perfect source as self-evident. It may well be verified by the other 2 methods but the fact is that sense perception and logic are subject to limited conclusions since our senses and mind are imperfect. We are also prone to commit mistakes, we have the tendency to cheat and are subject to illusion. Therefore for the limited to grasp the unlimited we need help by "hearing from outside the box" as opposed to "thinking outside the box".

    The idea presented in this thread is that an all-powerful God can create something outside Himself and at the same time everything is also within Him i.e nothing is out of His control. It may be inconceivable for our limited minds but the idea here is that there is simultaneous oneness and difference in the divine.

    Ethan T: Perhaps we could discuss via skype or email adhamere@gmail.com and then summarize the conclusions here?

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 30, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul

    Once again, I think I agree with much of what you're saying, but perhaps we just define things a bit differently. For example, take what you said here:

    "The sun is the source of the sunshine. The sunshine cannot exist independently from the sun and when we speak of the sun we cannot exclude the sunshine (its energies of heat and light). They are one object and subject – the sun -- yet at the same time the sunshine (energy) is not the physical sun planet (source of the energy) which is far away from earth and is millions of times more potent than the particles of sunshine which enter into our room. So they are all simultaneously one and yet different."

    Alan Watts actually talks about this in the lectures I posted in the other thread. But, he argued, that perhaps the above is only one way to define the Sun. Could we not also define the sunshine as the Sun? If we take the Sun, as we normally picture it, it is composed to a large extent of photons (sunlight) that were created in its core, and have yet to escape the photosphere, and outer layers of the Sun. Why not define the photons, as the Sun, even AFTER they leave the Sun, since nothing has changed about them since doing so.

    He used this as an example of how we like to view everything as separate. But, is the sunshine any different when it hits the Earth, than when it was in the center of the Sun. Could the sunshine exist without the Sun? Even more interesting with the analogy between God and humanity, could the Sun exist without the sunshine. Perhaps, we are stretching the analogy too far at this point? Or, are we?

    It's like a dinner table - what is it? Well, really, it's dead wood. What is dead wood? Part of a dead tree. A tree that once lived only because of sunshine. Sunshine, which comes from the Sun. And, the Sun was born in a hydrogen cloud. And, the hydrogen cloud was born in the Big Bang. Therefore, your dinner table is the Big Bang. And, so is everything else.

    Ultimately, everything material is just simple patterns of vibrating energy, all in interplay, and consisting of mostly empty space. At a fundamental (material) level, it’s real hard to make any distinguishing remarks, as you go from one thing to another.

    Anyhow, Alan eventually brings this all back to the Buddhist idea of Interdependence (and Indra's diamond-jeweled net), that nothing in the Universe could exist without everything else, and even the Universe could not exist without everything else, including us. The ultimate idea being that the whole Universe is Brahman at play. Or out another way, it is undifferentiated consciousness that has become differentiated. And, we are a little differentiated piece, of that ultimate and transcendent undifferentiated source.

    So, is one part of Brahman any less important than another part of Brahman? Is a part of Brahman any less important than the whole of Brahman? Is a part of Brahman any less Brahman than Brahman? What?

  • Anonymous Icon

    Kerian Mar 30, 2011

    Mere trivial guess-work. Only God can now if the creation is part of God or not. We cannot grasp God, so how could we grasp the works of the divine. If we agree that God is all-powerful, how could we assume that he cannot create something outside of God. We need to think outside of the box when discussing the divine. There are so many religious dogmas that limit our imagination.

  • Fallensoul Mar 29, 2011

    Hi all. For clarity, I shall briefly try to expand on this vedic idea of duality/non-duality and then consolidate/comment on what's been said.

    The vedic wisdom explains that the Absolute Truth has three features of realization. The primary stage is that God is impersonal --"Everything is one” or “All is light". This is the effulgence (Brahman) feature of God. In the second higher stage of realization of God, one can realize the localized aspect of God within and without of everything and everyone (Paramatma). This is a partial representation of God. But the final most complete realization of God is as the Supreme Personality of Godhead (Bhagavan). This ultimate realization of the Absolute Truth is knowing and seeing God face to face i.e having a natural loving relationship with God in a personal way. One who sees or understand God as the Supreme Person can automatically realize the other features, namely the Paramatma and Brahman features of the Lord.

    Absolute Truth is also the source and controller of various energies of which there are 3 major categories: The superior spiritual nature, the individual conscious living entities and the inferior material nature. The spiritual energy is eternal and transcendental to the temporary interferer material nature. The living entities (minute spirit souls) are either under the control of the spiritual or material energies. The living entities are therefore of two types. One under the spiritual energy (liberated/connected) and one under the material energy (conditioned/disconnected). Although the living entities are spiritual in nature i.e under the spiritual energy, they may come under the control of the material energy. When this happens the living entity falsely indentifies himself as a product of the material nature.

    When we speak of God (the source/energetic) and His energies they are in a sense just one Absolute Truth and yet at the same time different. The example is the sun and sunshine. The sun is the source of the sunshine. The sunshine cannot exist independently from the sun and when we speak of the sun we cannot exclude the sunshine (its energies of heat and light). They are one object and subject – the sun -- yet at the same time the sunshine (energy) is not the physical sun planet (source of the energy) which is far away from earth and is millions of times more potent than the particles of sunshine which enter into our room. So they are all simultaneously one and yet different.

  • Fallensoul Mar 29, 2011

    To respond to the comments.

    Ethan T: Does the self /living entity have any importance? The vedic view says, yes the living entity being a small part of God is real, eternal, individually conscious and therefore important. But not as important as the Supreme. In the disconnected or conditioned state the living entity takes on a false sense of importance thinking it is a product of the material universe and forgets that he has a relationship with God in the eternal spiritual universe.

    RedDog: Is God inside or outside of the material world (TSC)? Ethan T's response is in line with the vedic idea that God is both inside and outside of the TSC. You are equally correct in saying that the Supreme Person is not directly in touch with this TSC, it is only indirect through His Paramatma feature of being within every living being and atom. Even if God comes here to this world, He is never subject to the conditions of this world. Just like a king may visit the prisonhouse but he is not subject to the conditions of the prison as the prisoners are.

    Is here more blissful knowing our connection? I agree. If a prisoner realises that there is a life outside of the prision and chooses to become a citizen again, then he steps back from the happiness and distress experienced in the prisonhouse. He is more blissful than those prisoners affected by the dualities of the prison. At the same time, his goal is to get out, because ultimately he is still subject to the miseries of the prison and that means he is not free. Unless we get out, we are forced to die, get old, get diseased and take rebirth – conditions which are not enforced in the spiritual world and therefore these conditions impede our bliss. One naturally wishes to avoid that. Ofcourse the material world is designed to impart suffering so that one can realise this isn’t home, just as suffering in prison helps one decide that life is better outside. That choice is dependent on our realization.

    Dyck Dyck: I’m really not sure where you read that. Your story accepts that the Master, the wayward soul and God are individual entities. But this is in contradiction to what you said about you being the planet. If that were true then the soul screaming air and the soul screaming God would be the same, because the air and god are one and the same thing.

    Nonlocalmuster: Yet one cannot deny the actor as a conscious, real, individual identity. His roles may be false, but he is not false. He is real. And the stage he is playing on is also real, although it may be temporary. The very fact that he is not free from the laws of this world, indicate that he is not perfect. If one can appreciate this then one can never be equal to God who is never subject to these laws and who is always fully perfect. Therefore full oneness / non-duality is the sense of becoming one with God is not possible. There is difference even in the perfected stage of the living entity.

  • Anonymous Icon

    Jim Centi Mar 28, 2011

    Here is another take on the subject.

    The door to non-duality can be partially opened when we refuse to accept certain conceptual constructs into our belief system.

    Conceptual constructs are mental fabrications that do not exist in reality; examples of simple conceptual constructs would be Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.

    More complex conceptual constructs can support a belief system or worldview. For example, consider the worldview that holds reality within the context of an observer that exists separate from or independent of that which is observed.

    The observer and the observed, along with the world view that supports that context, are fabricated conceptual constructs. When we accept such a worldview, it becomes our experience.

    To the degree we reject the observer/observed worldview, other fabricated conceptual constructs begin to fall away. An example would be the conceptual construct of a separate self existing independent of the universe.

    An opportunity to peek inside the door to non-locality is available if, when communicating with others, we assume the role of an actor. The role calls for us pretending to be a separate self. It is important to avoid getting lost in the role.

  • DyckDyck Mar 27, 2011

    Fallen Soul, I read that you are seeking answers... but I sense that you are seeking the connection. What I don't know is if this is an intellectual pursuit or a serious question from a longing spirit.

    A story comes to mind. A wayward soul comes after many years of searching to a Perfect Master, asking how he may find God. The Master leads the stinking man to the river and together they walk into the water. The Master suddenly takes hold of the man and slings him under the water, holding tight that the man cannot surface for a very long time. Then, being suddenly released the desperate, red faced man shoots into the air with force. And the Master shouts to the man, "What is the first thing you think of?" ... "Air!" gasps the man.

    The Master answers: And when the answer to that question is God, you will find Him.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 27, 2011

    Do you view God as seperate from the Universe, or the TSC?

    I only ask because, if God is the energy behind everything, the source from which all has come, that means he is the energy behind the TSC. How can you He be seperate, if he is the source? So, God is both inside the TSC and outside of the TSC - since all is manifested out of God.

    I believe that is what is meant in the Gospel of St Thomas, in this passage:

    77) Jesus said, "I am the light that is over all things. I am all: From me all has come forth, and to me all has reached. Split a peice of wood; I am there. Lift up the stone, and you will find me there"

    Very zen! In fact the idea that God IS the Universe is pretty much explicitly stated in the Eastern religions. In the West we like to view God, the creator, as seperate from his creation (TSC, man), but in the East this is not how they view things. In the East, God is both transcendent AND immanent.

    I even think that is what Einsten meant, when he said, "There are two ways to live your life, one is as though nothing is a miracle, and the other is though everything is a miracle."

    Once you recognize that the Divine is in everything (i.e. God is in everything) you realize all of life is a miracle, including each and everyone of us. But, if we seperate God from ourselves and from the world, we seperate the miraculous out of ourselves.

    I think the is the meaning here behind the passage in John 10.

    30 I and my Father are one.
    31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.
    32 Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me?
    33 The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.
    34 Jesus answered them, Is it not written in your law, I said, Ye are gods?
    35 If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;
    36 Say ye of him, whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest; because I said, I am the Son of God?

    He is of course referencing Psalms 82:6 "I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High"

    Where He says "I am [the] Son of God" here, the "[the]" in there is actually an "a" in the original Greek. In other words "a Son of God". That's the more mystical or esoteric meaning behind the Gospels - Gospel, which means "good news". That we are all sons of God, and Jesus has shown us the Way to realizing that.

    The East takes that a bit further, where once we are one with the Father, or as they might call Him Brahman, subject and object disappear.

    Anyhow, I don't really think there is one right way to viewing all this. It just that when I try to reconcile Christianity with Eastern religions, and then read gnostic Christianity, it sort of suggests all the above, which all religions seem to be saying on a fundamental level, at the very least.

  • RedDog Mar 26, 2011

    I'd agree with the poster about both being true. We are one, yet different.
    The main difference I see is this Time Space Continium. We are here in IT.
    God is not.
    Yet we maintain a connection outside this TSC to the greater reality beyond.
    Often it is called a soul, but is known by many names.
    Those that remember their soul connection, find more bliss while HERE, as those hidden
    things become revealed to him.

    This TSC is a choice we made, a running program with momentum, mass and lineal direction.
    Our choices impact the mass, momentum and lineal direction.
    While we are here, we should be mindful of our choices.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 24, 2011

    Hi Fallensoul,

    I see where you're coming from and I always tended to view things along the same lines. Lately though, I am starting to view things differenty ... maybe. ;-)

    I mean, it's not really how the Eastern world views things. They feel more as I explained in the earlier post. Check out the Alan watts videos I posted in another thread, which also goes over this.

    Even gnostic Christianity is a bit like the eastern world, as summed up in passages like the following from the Gospel of St Thomas:

    In Thomas saying 108, Jesus says, "Whoever drinks from my mouth will become as I am; I myself shall become that person, and the hidden things will be revealed to him."

    There is a definite merging of "identities" there.

    It's hard for the Western mind to let go of the importance of the "self". But, they don't seem to have a lot of problems doing this in the East.

    Personally, I still struggle with it these concepts ...

  • Fallensoul Mar 24, 2011

    >How can you truly be One with something (even God) if you cannot identify yourself with that something?
    You cannot truly become one with anything, the living entity always remains a individual (fragmented part) of the Supreme.

  • Fallensoul Mar 24, 2011

    It may appear to be indistinguishable, but actually the individual atoms are not homogeneous, the droplet's atoms remain individual even though it appears to become one, it still maintain's its individuality as atoms. Just like a green bird may fly into a green tree may appear to become one with each other, but they are two separate individual entities. Similarly, one may desire to become one with God and achieve a blissful state of consciousness, but he never loses his individuality as an atomic part of the Supreme. "Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, ...nor in the future shall any of us cease to be."

    Even if we hypothetically say you mix up with the water, and merge into the ocean. There is a good chance of becoming evaporated, because the water is evaporated from the ocean and it becomes a cloud and again falls down on the ground i.e there is a risk of again returning to this world. This is called agamana-gamana, coming and again mixing. So it is not that safe.

    The fundamental problem with merging is that there is no relationship and exchange with the Supreme and His parts. Its just a state of bliss. One ultimately gets lonely because there's no variety, theres no reciprocation. Variety is the mother of enjoyment.

    If you ask the common person reading this, who may not be familiar with all these concepts -- if you ask them, "Would you choose to be in a state of pure bliss with no activity or would you prefer to stay here in this world considering all its evils." Many people would prefer to stay here, because despite the known evils of this world: tsnaumi's, earthquakes, birth and death etc etc, because here there is activity. One can express love. The pleasure we obtain from this world through our loving relationships like family, friends, society etc is more satisfying than the idea of being placed in pure unending bliss. Even though everyone is after pleasure, this sort of pleasure of pure bliss without relationship is less attractive than even this prision-world. Therefore one who achieves that state of "merging", ultimately comes back down here to enjoy relationships in this world.

    Yet what's actually desired is not to mix up with the water; but to become a resident within the ocean. To enjoy transcendental relationships in the spiritual world with the Supreme and other spiritual entities. This is what everyone is hankering for. The reality of this material world, is a perverted reflection of the spirtual world. There is always individuality and variety. So if one becomes a fish, a big fish, or small fish... It doesn't matter. If you go deep into the water, then there is no more evaporation. You're safe. That is something more attractive. It is a higher taste. That can be achieved through bhakti-yoga or the yoga (connection) through devotion.

  • Anonymous Icon

    EthanT Mar 23, 2011

    I was going to say something similar to what's been said already:

    Fallensoul said:
    "The composition of the drop of water is the same as the composition of the vast Atlantic Ocean. So qualitatively the drop of water is equal to the vast mass of water in the Atlantic Ocean. Similarly, we are a spirit soul, a spark of the supreme spirit soul, God. You have all the spiritual qualities that God has. But God is great, you are minute. He is infinite, you are infinitesimal"

    But, if you put that drop of water back into the Ocean, it will defuse and become indistinguishable from the Ocean. It will be identified with the Ocean at that point.

    Similarly, if we raise our consciousness and become one with God, so we will also "defuse" into God as the water droplet "defuses" into the Ocean. Subject and Object will disappear and all will be One.

    How can you truly be One with something (even God) if you cannot identify yourself with that something?

  • Fallensoul Mar 23, 2011

    In response to DyckDyck: "I am this planet. If otherwise, how can we conceive of connection (syn: oneness)?" - please read this thread.

    It's a common misconception to think that we are God. We are part and parcel of God i.e as original spirit beings we do possess the same qualities as God being spirtual in nature, but we are nowhere near being God in quantity, just as a spark has little effect compared to a big fire.

    If you are this planet, why not take care of yourself!

    "Don't try to be God, try to be godly"

  • frequencytuner Oct 12, 2010

    Indeed. I cannot tell the difference anymore between the reflected and the reflector, the subject and object have become one. What difference in mind I see in you, you also see in me, we reflect each other. How else is on able to see without contrast? "Perspective" - as I intend to be understood - implies that one sees either the reflection OR the reflector. The 'trick' is simple to understand, all you have to do is unfocus your eyes. Do you see 2 images? Which one is real? Which one is an illusion? That is perspective - as I intend to be understood.

    Quantity and quality as you explain seem to be like a basket of apples. The quality of each apple is equal because the quantity is the basket of apples. Each individual apple is like a 'perspective'. Yet the basket of apples is one. The duality within the oneness you speak of is the individual "perspective" but truly is indivisible from the whole.

  • Fallensoul Oct 11, 2010

    Right....Well, seems like you've lost yours.

  • frequencytuner Oct 11, 2010

    It is all symbols.

  • Fallensoul Oct 10, 2010

    Thanks for your perspective. Is Quality also an illusion? Why reject one and not the other?

    The question should be is the person looking into the mirror the Supreme Being or the living entity? The person looking into mirror and being tricked by the mind thinking I am the mirror cannot be the Supreme being, because the Supreme Being is not subject to such mental illusions. It is not that God is under illusion and at some point He now realizes that He is God or at some point He becomes God. God is always God.

    Yet we see that we, the living entity, IS being influenced by the illusions of this world -- therefore we certainly cannot be God, nor can we ever become God. Just as a spark of fire has the same qualities of heat and light as a huge forest fire, the living entity has the same spiritual qualities as the Supreme. But the spark has the potential to become extinguished by a little water (the fractured illusions) whereas the huge forest fire does not. No fractured illusions can influence the Supreme, rather they are under full His control.

  • frequencytuner Oct 08, 2010

    You speak from a perspective. Remove perspective and you will understand there is no such thing as quantity. Quantity is the illusion. It is a fractured reflection.

    Imagine a mirror shattering at your feet. As you look down upon it you will see your entire image reflected back within each individual fragment. This is because the fracture is a trick of the mind and only true if you believe it to be. Are you the mirror or the one looking into the mirror?

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