A. It seems to me that Shankara introduced two
orders of reality: Brahman and maya.
R. They are not exactly two orders of reality.
We have said that the only real is the absolute
and the constant, and the only constant-absolute
is Brahman. A dream, for example, disappears
completely leaving no traces for he who wakes
A. How can we connect the empirical world with Brahman! I
mean, how can we resolve the problem of the connection
between the two? If maya is separate
we must find the cause of its origin. If it is
not detached from Brahman then it must
be a product of Brahman, and in this
case the effect must be as real as its cause.
As you see, the world must be real-absolute.
R. If we were confronted by two distinct realities
naturally the problem of their connection and
their relationship would arise, together with
the question of establishing which one of the
two should be considered as coming first. In
our case, however, we are not given two distinct
realities (the two distinct realities are, instead,
the problem of the dualists), and therefore this
problem does not concern Advaita.
The relationship between the two factors in
question is similar to that which arises when
we try to find the connection between the dream-projection
and the mind-substratum in the dreaming state.
A dream is only a continuum-discontinuum standing
out against the screen of our mind only to disappear,
as mist before the wind, at the touch of waking.
Thus, the empirical universe is simply a continuum-discontinuum
which irradiates on the screen of Brahman.
A. So we are not confronted by two orders of
reality and therefore we must conclude, as I
was saying just now, that the universe or the
empirical reality (effect) is the product of Brahman (cause).
Thus the effect must be of the same nature of
the cause, therefore the effect is real-absolute.
R. An effect, although of the same essence of
the cause, is not the cause; thus a mountain
conjured up by the mind in a dream or imagined
while awake is not the whole mind. Let us say
that the mountain is a consciential moment of
the mind, but the mind is something more. The
mountain comes and goes but the mental substance
remains; the mountain is only one of
the indefinite expressive potentialities or possibilities
of the mind. Thus, the universal mind has projected
all this empirical world which, although of the
same essence as the mind, is not the universal
mind in its entirety.
We said before that the Ishvara Principle-seed
contains countless expressions of life which
represent only vital moments of the Principle-seed.
Clay is more than the simple jar, just as the
electronic substance is more than a particular
spatial-temporal physical element. Hence the
various degree of truth which we discussed before.
The formal universe is nothing but the representation
of indefinite picture-dreams of the great cosmic
Dreamer; vibrating notes played by the great
universal Musician; sketches, drawings, paintings
of the great Painter; geometry of points and
volumes of the principial Geometer. The error
lies in considering the projecting consciential
moment as such, to be Absolute. The mistake is
to think that the human formal consciential moment
itself (one of the indefinite notes played by
the great Musician) is an absolute, whereas it
is, in the totality of things, but a twinkling
of an eye which, compared to the principial Seed,
is without any value at all.
Shankara says that there are certain magician-fakirs
who give performances whereby they can, by the
powers of the mind, project a believably 'real'
image of a rope, and then of an individual climbing
up the rope, followed by another individual who,
holding a knife, kills the first. The audience,
on seeing this show, are bewildered
and horrified. Finally, like mist in the wind,
the picture-image vanishes and all we can see
is the fakir sitting calmly on the ground, immobile. The
empirical reality is similar to this picture-image,
like this insubstantial event, this movement,
which after all, is only apparent movement.
Let us say a few words more about maya.
Maya is not a substantial ens, but
a fleeting, contradictory and impermanent datum; maya is
an ascertainment of facts, on the part of the
individual; it is not even a particular theory
for explaining the universe.
Maya is apparent movement, just as
the dreaming movement is apparent. Besides,
we cannot look for its cause, because to look
for the cause of the change in that very same
change would lead us to a reductio ad absurdum. That
apparent movement disappears instantaneously
at the realization of being, just as
the empirical ignorance of a thing disappears
instantaneously at the rise of the knowledge
about the thing itself. In this case empirical
ignorance could not be absolute, nor could it
be a substantial factor. In fact it could not
even have a real cause, because a real cause
cannot produce an unreal effect.
A. So maya is a limitation and therefore
we must conclude that being limits itself.
R. We are back into the game of reasoning ad
absurdum. Whatever we call maya: limit,
super-imposition, phenomenon, creative power;
it makes no difference. All of these are simply
names which, in truth, stand for a certain
A. I comprehend, but this results in two consequences;
firstly that this operative process is a form
of naturalistic pantheism and, secondly, that Brahman, by
transforming Itself into moments-frames, cannot
be the constant.
R. Today I must really congratulate you, because
you seem to be more like a true researcher than
a prejudiced critic. I am following your consciousness
and your attitude and I believe that by stimulating
one another we will find.
Pantheism, according to the philosophical view,
argues that everything is nature, that there
is no transcendent Ens and that all
is immanent in an absolute sense.
Now, this is not the view of Non-dualism. We
have already said that a frame-image is just
a particular, spatial-temporal factor of the
principle. The principle remains unmoved
upon itself just like the magician-fakir of the
example. Therefore, this condition transcends
the phenomenon. In other words, the phenomenon-universe
is a reflection, a projection of the Seed-principle
which remains transcendent and non-manifested.
Thus, we have that which is manifested and objective
and that which is non-manifested and subjective,
what appears and what remains veiled, what is
phenomenon and what is noumenon. It would be
more appropriate to speak of "panentheism",
rather than of pantheism.
Besides, we should bear in mind that the same
universal principle-seed is only one of the infinite
reflections of Brahman nirguna, which
totally transcends both the principle-seed and
the projective development proceeding from it.
Therefore, we have: the formal life, the principle-seed
(phenomenon and noumenon) and, finally, the root
of both, the Constant. We should not confuse
what is form and life with that which is the
root of both or, in other words (just to give
names to these data), we must distinguish between Brahman
nirguna, Brahman saguna and the world of
names and forms.
A. Since Non-duality, Asparsa or Advaita, maintains
the non-generation and the a-causality of all,
how can we reconcile this affirmation with what
we have just said?
R. Apparently there seems to be a contradiction,
but in fact it is not so. By the term "birth" we
mean a "coming forth", a "springing
from something in order to start being".
Thus we say that an individual is born in the
sense that he has come into existence with an
autonomous life of his own.
If one looks at things properly, the universe
did not "come forth" from Brahman
saguna so as to have an absolute life of
its own. The universe or cosmic dream is only
an "ideal modification" of the Ishvara mind,
just as a dream is a thought movement of the
dreamer's mind. The image-pictures of the dreamer
do not come out from his reality to become another
autonomous and absolute reality. The dreamed
mountain is nothing but an objective idea of
the sleeping mind. Ice is a modification of water
yet it has never abandoned the water element
to take on an independent and absolute existence
of its own. The Principle cannot abandon its
own principial nature.
Looking at the question from this perspective,
we cannot speak of the birth or origination of
something, because in actual fact nothing is
born; simply, All is the ideal modification of
the universal Mind.
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