Chapter 1 - Indeterminates, Cosmic
Determinations, and the Indeterminable
Specific things (determinates) arise in the infinite
(indeterminable) because a secret involved consciousness is behind the
material universe. The freedom of the infinite from specific form is positive,
· Question: how have specific "determinations"
arisen in the original infinite?
§ Consciousness and knowledge emerge from the nescience in small
bits, quanta, and have a slowly increasing organization.
§ When our consciousness meets the foundation of existence, it
appears to be a blank.
§ The superstructure, all the specific things (determinates) seem
to have no relation to this underlying indeterminate.
§ Main question: how did the universe arise at all?
§ The mind cannot assign a limit to the universe, so the question
remains how all these specifics (determinates, determinables, distinct
entities) could arise in the infinite.
§ Science explains the pragmatic formulas, the practical "how"
of processes (like atoms forming molecules), but not the intrinsic how
or why. At its furthest divergence, we cannot see how atoms and molecules
can produce works like Hamlet.
§ There are generic determinates, such as states of matter (gas,
solid) or states of life (plant, animal), but these also do not seem
to determine the more specific forms that derive from them. The same
question remains: what determines the specifics?
· Possible explanations
§ Force might be a self-organizing dynamic chance, working in a
But the presence of so much order seems to rule this out.
§ Mechanical necessity might govern everything.
But this is contradicted by so much variation.
And the emergence of consciousness argues against this.
§ Consciousness could be the creator, out of an original Inconscience.
The world is then the thoughts of an extracosmic divinity.
Or could be immanent in the universe, but not overt.
But if so, why all the suffering and ignorance?
Why didn't god have better thoughts, or create a better universe?
§ Secret involved consciousness could be behind the material universe.
· Involved consciousness as the source
§ Inconscience of matter would be a necessary condition, in growing
out of its opposite.
§ Forms that we see would be the general determinates of truths
of its own being.
§ Free variation of possibilities natural to an infinite consciousness
would explain the apparent aspect of inconscient chance.
§ Explains processes of nature like design, number, quality, growth.
§ Explains why physiology determines psychology: the body is a
secretly conscious energy. And how mind can transmit to the body.
· Validating the hypothesis
§ Cannot be done from the material end.
§ At level of life or mind, also not possible.
§ Quieting mind gives the first clue: first, mind is a subtle substance
(general determinate); next that currents of mental energy enter from
outside; finally that there is a mental being supporting the energy.
§ To know whether everything is a phenomenon presented to mind,
must enter a cosmic state of being: the overmind.
· Overmind awareness
§ In Overmind it becomes evident that both the individual and the
cosmos come from a transcendent reality.
§ But overmind doesn't answer the original question: is the universe
a self determination; a creation presented by nature; or a cosmic imagination?
§ Fundamental dichotomy remains in higher ranges of mind of a pure
self, without features, versus the universe, a determinative knowledge-power.
Nirguna and saguna.
§ Overmind maintains these two equally, but does not resolve them.
§ But absolute cannot be a pure indeterminable, otherwise no universe
is possible. There cannot be a dualism at the source. Whatever is created
must be of the substance of that reality. The supreme existence must
be capable of creating true self-determinations.
§ Is the self-awareness and the power of self-determination.
§ An infinite of power, but not in quiescence. In action these
appear to us as formulations.
§ Imperatives, possibles, actuals: our mind sees only the last
§ The fundamental trinity (existence, consciousness-force, delight)
are inseparable in the supermind, even if one can stand in front.
§ The first action of each reposes on a triad.
Knower, knowledge, known; lover, beloved, love; lord, object of will,
§ All powers and aspects are determinations of the fundamental
spiritual determinates: energies, conditions. Imperatives, possibilities,
· Indeterminability and specific determinations
§ Absolute is not limited or determined by any one thing or all
things; it exceeds any definable totality.
§ In experience this becomes the self, nirguna Brahman, featureless
§ But it is also the source of all things, determinations.
§ Separate cognition of this self and world is a valid spiritual
experience, because they are fundamental spiritual determinates.
§ Negative experiences carry the freedom of the infinite from limitation;
on the dynamic side, the freedom of consciousness not to be bound by
the world it creates.
§ Passage to the supramental must always go through a realization
of the pure self.
· Place of the ignorance
§ Inconscience is the Infinite's power of plunging consciousness
into a trance of self-involution.
§ It is one term, one formula of the infinite and eternal existence.
§ This means that our individuality and knowledge of the world
are in their origin a play of the infinite, and ignorance is only a
subordinate movement, a temporary phenomenon.
· Sacchidananda and supermind
§ Supermind is not absent in Sacchidananda; its determinations
there are plastic, interfused, a boundless finite.
§ But relations would not be excluded: it is not a realm of blank
indeterminability or a vacancy.
Chapter 2 - Brahman, Purusha,
Ishwara - Maya, Prakriti, Shakti
In each status of being, the spirit takes a poise
proper to that level. Brahman meets us in three general modes of self
(Brahman, Purusha, Ishwara) and power of self (Maya, Prakriti, Shakti).
The Reality can simultaneously inhabit the individual and the cosmic,
time and timelessness, etc.
· Three modes of the absolute
§ The absolute, indefinable by mind, yet determines itself to our
consciousness in the universe by real and fundamental truths of its
§ Needs a poetic, intuitive language to express the experience;
way of knowing must be appropriate to the thing known.
§ This existence reveals itself to our experience in three modes:
self (Atman), conscious spirit (Purusha), and God (Ishwara).
§ Brahman is all three at the same time; it is the absolute that
takes on different relativities, by the force of its yoga-Maya, consciousness-force.
§ The power of the reality also meets us in three modes: creative
(Maya), executive (Prakriti), and conscious divine power (Shakti).
· Suprarational and the reason
§ Looked at by the intellect, the totality thus described is a
miracle or suprarational mystery, a magical power that is other than
our own wisdom.
§ But the cause of this impression is due to the inability of a
finite consciousness to measure the infinite. The conceptions or standards
of one order of reality (e.g. atoms, cells, human body) do not necessarily
apply to another level.
§ And each finite has behind it an infinite, and the finite thing
cannot be totally understood without a knowledge of what is behind it.
§ Similarly, the reason cannot necessarily deal with the infrarational
(such as life, instinct) or the suprarational.
· Logic of the infinite
§ Suprarational has a logic of relations and connections, a complex
nexus of forces (actualities, possibilities, imperatives). These are
not observable to the reason, but are to the direct awareness of the
§ Such a larger awareness need not act in harmony with the conclusions
of the reason, though it might be perfectly "rational" in
relation to a larger motive and data.
§ An infinite consciousness would not have rules, but rather the
free adaptation of intrinsic truths. This freedom might seem to the
reason to have no standards whatever.
§ Though we cannot abandon the intellect in favor of a half-organized
intuition, we should open it to an awareness of other states and possibilities,
and strive for an utmost plasticity.
§ The infinite is at once an essentiality, a boundless totality,
and a multitude.
§ We must not seize one truth (e.g., silent self, dynamic Ishwara;
soul, nature; spirit, matter; own-self, other-self) and miss the other
· Indeterminability and determination
§ Source of the problem is conceptual, verbal, and not real. The
contradiction disappears if we realize that the indeterminability of
the infinite is not negative, not a limitation or imposition of incapacity.
§ Indeterminability is a condition of free self-determination.
· Different experiences of the being of the Reality (Brahman)
§ It is an infinitely variable oneness, moving between diversity
and unity. This can be seen in the following experiences:
Immobile silence/dynamic movement.
· Different experiences of the consciousness of the reality
§ Also not bound by a finite restriction to one state or law of
action. Can put out many states or dispositions of its force.
§ 1) We only have to admit that there can be different real statuses
§ 2) We must also admit that it has the power of self-limitation,
or secondary self-formation. The means that each individual is a center
of self-vision. The circumference may be the same for all, but the psychological
center may be different for each.
§ Must also be a power of cosmic self-limitation, the ability to
limit its action so as to base a given world and keep it in its own
harmony and order.
§ 3) Third power is its power of self-absorption, where self-awareness
exists but not knowledge. This is ultimately the dark state called the
Inconscient, a trance of self-absorption.
§ The possibility of simultaneous different statuses of consciousness
(static/dynamic, etc.) explains why we can be aware of several different
states at the same time.
· Self, Brahman and Maya
§ Brahman or purusha experienced as self is usually aloof, silent,
but not dynamically active. It is an exclusive concentration that limits
itself to a spiritual status away from activity. This is an essential
realization, but not the total realization.
§ This experience usually has also a realization of self as impersonal
automatic power, world-activity.
§ Self can be felt as the individual, but always has the character
of universality, freedom, impersonality, and transcendence; it is the
straight way to liberation.
§ Universal-individual, support and witness. Intimately connected
§ Experience of purusha-prakriti has pragmatic importance, because
if purusha is passive, then soul in mind, life, body is subject to nature.
Standing back, it is the first step to the soul's freedom.
§ Sankhya idea is that they are eternally separate entities, but
in relation to each other. Prakriti is purely mechanical, and the light
of the soul imparts the workings of intelligence. There are many independent
§ All these are pragmatic truths, but not the whole truth.
· Reason for duality
§ So that nature and the spirit can have a free action, and so
that the spirit can withdraw at any time to enforce a new or higher
§ In each status of being, the spirit takes a poise proper to that
level. In the embodied being it assumes variously the mental, vital,
physical being, and behind all stands as the psychic being.
§ But whatever the poise, the spirit is fundamentally lord or ruler
of the nature.
§ This aspect of the divine being is the most comprehensive, where
the spirit is supracosmic and intracosmic. It exceeds and supports and
inhabits all individuality. Not the same as a personal god or the saguna
· Personality and impersonality
§ Personality is a limitation to certain powers, qualities, habitual
forces; it is a formation of the superficial consciousness.
§ But the Person behind is one, eternal, and can take many personalities.
§ It is the mind's ignorance of the true person that creates the
opposition between personality and impersonality - in reality, an eternal
infinite person, the same self or spirit, manifests in the multiplicity.
§ An issue with mind's concept of Ishwara is that a ruler imposes
laws on the world.
§ But the divine can act by laws without being bound by them, because
they are the expression of the truth of things, what is within them.
§ Divine is present in the workings, but can exceed them.
§ Mechanical law is a fact, but within it there is a spiritual
law of consciousness that gives it freedom.
· Synthesis: Ishwara-Shakti
§ Consciousness is at play with Being, it is itself the consciousness-force,
Maya, shakti, the power of the being.
§ Whatever nature does, the spirit does also. There is no fundamental
§ We are looking at an infinite of which the self-power is capable
of many movements.
§ In this light a dual Person emerges, Ishwara-Shakti, divine self
and divine creatrix (mother) of the universe.
§ These are fused in the superconscient, but in pragmatic reality
of the universe they emerge.
§ We can fall into silence, but to realize a higher formation it
must be done through the divine shakti; our surrender to the divine
being must be through the divine mother.
§ The reason uses abstract concepts to grasp the impersonal truth,
but the spiritual vision is needed to see or express it completely.
· Relation between the individual and the divine being
§ In this view the individual is an immortal portion of the divine,
is the divine in our inmost reality.
§ This dependence is concealed by the ego.
§ That in us which is transcendent of nature is so by its dependence
on the divine. In other words, our dependence on the divine is the door
to the realization of our identity.
· The manifest and the non-manifest
§ Is all said so far true of an inferior order of manifestation,
below a supreme non-manifest?
§ Raises the problem of relation of time to the timeless spirit;
whether what is in time is an expression of the time-eternity.
§ What is meant by the timeless is a spiritual status not subject
to time movement; it is not a blank.
§ Time and timeless are the same Eternity in a double status.
· Space and time
§ Space may be Brahman extended, while time is Brahman in movement.
§ Space and time must be fundamental conditions of spirit which
assume a different appearance according to the status of consciousness
§ So there is a different time and space for each status of consciousness.
§ By withdrawing from the physical, we can experience a pure spiritual
space, where time may no longer exist.
§ Similarly, time itself is real and eternal even if time movement
§ And each state of consciousness has its own time.
§ There is a certain relation between different time statuses,
but not the same measure.
· Eternity and status of consciousness
§ The being can have three states in regard to its own eternity.
§ 1) Immobile, self-absorbed, no development; timeless eternity.
§ 2) Block time: simultaneous whole-consciousness.
§ 3) Progressive movement
§ All three can be taken simultaneously in experience.
Chapter 3 - The Eternal and the
The question of the individual comes from the reason
thinking of the temporary ego as the individual. In reality there is
a Person (purusha) behind the individual, which has a spiritual unity
with other selves and the world. All particulars have the absolute behind
them, and the presence of the human individual is the key to the divine
· Question and its origin
§ Even admitting the immanence of the divine in us and our individuality
as a progressive evolutionary unfolding, is it true that the individual
is in any sense eternal or persistent?
§ Problem comes from the logical reason, and must be met on its
own terms, with a clearness, precision, and subtlety.
§ This will make the origin, nature, and escape from the difficulty
· First difficulty: conception of ego
§ Reason always identifies ego with the individual, but the ego
is not fundamentally real, but a practical formation of consciousness
devised to centralize the activities of nature in us.
§ We think of ourselves as this formation of experience, which
§ We have to see that behind it there is a consciousness that is
· The Person behind the individual
§ Both the Person (purusha) and the world-material are necessary
for our present experience of individuality.
§ Purusha in the end sees itself as one with the world-being.
§ But truth of individualization is not thereby abolished; it individualizes
and still embraces the wider consciousness.
§ The soul can then still make the world-becoming its material
for individual experience, but also perceive its true self as one in
being with the transcendence.
· Unity with the world-being
§ Our unity with the world-being is the consciousness of a self
that is both cosmic and individual, and both are aware of the same self.
§ The power of its being is in cosmic differentiation and multiple
individuality; there is no necessity to hold up motionless identity
as the aim of our being.
§ It may be that the perfect undifferentiated unity is in status
of consciousness, not act of consciousness.
§ There is a practical difference between dynamic union with other
selves, and awareness by the purusha of its own action. With other selves,
we are concerned not directly, but indirectly through union with the
§ Differentiation has a divine purpose of allowing greater unity,
through other selves. This is not a return to the absolute.
· Type of unity that the individual has with the cosmic
§ Both the cosmic and the individual are becomings of the self
- unity is not a merger of the individual into the cosmic.
§ The plane of consciousness to which this mutual inclusion belongs
is not dependent upon the physical world.
§ So this is a spiritual and psychological inclusion, and the self
is indivisible even though seeming to be divided.
· Plane of this experience, and limits of reason
§ Reason is not applicable, because we are speaking of divine infinitudes.
§ The problem is that the word "individual" normally
applies to the separative, temporary ego, a thing that stands apart
from everything else, not the true spiritual Person, purusha.
§ It is necessary to mean by the individual a conscious power of
being of the eternal, always existing by unity and capable of mutuality.
§ However, by trying to get away from the idea of the ego, we fall
into a too abstract language.
§ We arrive at primary relations of the absolute (I in the world,
god in me, myself in god), but these seem to the normal mind a mass
· Absolute and contradictions
§ The reason sees the absolute as without relations, and the opposite
of the relative; or cosmic and transcendent.
§ The attempt to be as god, to be three things at once, seems either
logically confusing or practically impossible.
§ We mean by the absolute the supreme reality, the ineffable, by
which all things remain in existence.
§ But the logical reason then takes the step of speaking as if
it were incapable of relations, bound to its freedom from limitation.
§ This false step creates an impasse, and the universe itself becomes
a mystery. Our mental difficulty becomes the impossibility of the universe
to exist at all.
§ The mistake is in making an all-exclusive negation, we imagine
that the absolute is a zero.
§ In fact, the absolute cannot be limited by positive or negative
§ The positives of the absolute are its various statements of itself
to our consciousness; the negatives bring in the rest of its positivity.
§ At first there are the large primary relations: finite/infinite;
then transcendent/cosmic, universal/individual; finally the dualities
§ In the absolute all of these find a reconciliation, not a denial.
§ Absolute cannot be bound by our law of contradictions - that
is necessary for practical thinking and acting, but less rigidly binding
as we move upward from the material level.
· Distinctions and classifications; essentiality, commonality,
§ Practical distinctions are the first step, but deeper knowledge
sees the common truth among things.
§ This deeper knowledge does not deprive the other of effectiveness.
§ All things, even while different, are yet one.
§ This is true in looking at the levels of plant, animal, human,
and what is beyond human.
§ One can only understand a thing if it is known in its totality
and essentiality, not only its present individuality.
§ In practical dealings and in their own field, we have to make
distinctions (good, bad, just, unjust).
§ But these must be understood as practical distinctions, not absolutes.
· Absolute behind particulars
§ No particular thing is absolute (e.g., no action has absolute
justice), but behind all there is an absolute. The same is true of beauty,
§ The concept of time does not reconcile contradictions; it is
only our means of realizing things in succession; it is not an absolute
and cannot explain the primary relations of the absolute.
§ All persistent realities stand in a primary relation to each
other, but these are not irreconcilable or separate from each other.
§ We have to make distinct spiritual realizations which may seem
contradictory, but they should not be intellectualized into sole truths.
· Individual and eternal
§ Transcendental, universal, individual are three terms of the
reality, and each always contains secretly or openly the two others.
§ Human being is the highest power of the individual and the critical
turning point for evolution of the divine consciousness.
§ Existence of the individual is not an error, or a subordinate
circumstance in a divine Lila, but the key to the unfolding of the divine.
Chapter 4 - The Divine and the
The experience of what is undivine (suffering,
limitation, etc.) is because consciousness is limited, not the divine
being. It is a necessary consequence of the divine limiting itself,
and of a progressive evolution. Even so, our revolt against them is
necessary, and part of the adventure of the soul in self-concealing
· The question: is there a divine and undivine?
§ By speaking of the divine life as the culmination of an evolutionary
process, we imply that everything below that is undivine.
§ The question of divine/undivine is of practical significance.
§ Being satisfied with something incomplete and inharmonious is
the mark of the undivine.
§ The divine life may be progressive, but it would be harmonious
in principle and detail.
· Scope of the problem
§ What tends to baffle the reason when looking for the divine presence
is suffering and evil, but there is also the deficiency of knowledge,
truth, beauty, power, unity.
§ The essential problem is the general principle of imperfection.
§ Because we can conceive of perfection, we see our current state
as a lapse from it, or that perfection exists only as an ideal.
· Limitation and its effects
§ The core issue is that in our experience there is an effective
division or rupture in the unity of the divine existence.
§ In practice, this division becomes a limitation: of consciousness,
knowledge, delight, good, harmony.
§ A secondary effect is a perversion or contradiction of the highest
elements; and there is an attachment to this experience of division.
§ If the divine is there in essence in all things, why does the
divine tolerate or maintain imperfection and limitation?
· Possible solutions
§ Cling to the essence and deal with the external; escape; call
everything illusion, and reach for nirvana.
§ Through inner concentration, we can immerse ourself in the silent
§ But the need of the total being, the whole divine, does not rest
satisfied with that.
§ Also, does not give us the vision of real harmony; takes insufficient
account of the psychic element in us; and is a complacent intellectual/philosophical
· Psychic element
§ The psychic part in us also recognizes imperfection; it is a
§ To find the spiritual key is the law of our being; its sign is
a striving to transform the law of the external forms of our life.
§ It is the concealed divinity that keeps our discontent alive
and gives us the image of the ideal.
· God and the world: three propositions
§ If we admit a divine existence, then there are three propositions
about god and the world, but the third does not harmonises with the
§ 1) Omnipresent divinity, pure, perfect. All exists by and in
§ 2) All things are ordered and governed in their fundamental processes
by this being. (A consequence of #1)
§ 3) But because what we experience is imperfection, then the divine
reality must be different in essence, or order.
· Possible solutions: duality
§ A supreme or silent god aloof from the world.
§ Practically, this ends in a duality, god and nature, soul and
§ An active creating god and an observing inactive god, or a static
and dynamic brahman.
§ But once we admit the divine governance of the world, it must
be complete and absolute, so these dualities cannot be true.
· True solution: limitation is in consciousness, not the reality
§ Limitation, ignorance, etc. need not be a denial of the divine
§ A part may be imperfect when broken off, but recover its place
when seen in the whole.
§ The ego and separateness is itself a power of infinity, a face
of the universal being.
§ So there is no limitation of being, but there is a limitation
of consciousness. It is a practical but not a fundamental division.
§ The phenomenon of ignorance is a superficial movement; it is
itself a frontal power of the all-consciousness.
§ This is a power of concentration, similar to human concentration.
§ This putting forth of what seems to be a limited knowledge is
a great power of the divine; the miracle of omniscience is most striking
in what seems to be the inconscient.
· Consequences of the ignorance
§ Limitation and incapacity is so that the surface energy shall
be in exact correspondence with the work it has to do.
§ Again, this ability to limit itself and work through that self-limitation
is a proof of its absolute omnipotence.
§ Similarly, suffering is the restriction of delight, and again
nothing but the all-delight could impose such experiences on itself.
§ Similarly, only the inalienable unity and harmony could work
through such disharmony and discord.
· Working with the ignorance
§ Even with the above view, grief, pain, etc. are facts of the
world-consciousness, and our sense of them is in part true.
§ Imperfection is to us evil, but it is in travail of the eternal
§ Our revolt against imperfection is necessary, because we have
to ultimately reject, overcome, and transform them, because our outer
nature has a right to deliverance.
§ Suffering may be a consequence of the mind consciousness, but
mind is itself a creation of the divine consciousness, and these limitations
have a persistent reality and importance in our present phase.
· Imperfection as fixed: world as play, Lila
§ But if these are taken as a fixed law of imperfection, then our
life loses its meaning, and we can never deliver ourselves out of the
falsehood, and human existence is perpetually undivine.
§ In this case, the only explanation is that the world is an inexplicable
mystery, a cosmic game, Lila.
§ But if the play has fixed grades but is a progressive ascent,
then the human consciousness becomes a necessary transition point.
§ The gradualness necessitates a partial unfolding, and this incompleteness
· Why a progressive unfolding
§ Remaining question is why a progressive manifestation is necessary.
§ The play of self-finding, the joy of discovery, is one of the
greatest joys of conscious being.
§ It is not imposed on an unwilling creature, but rather a great
adventure of the soul.
Chapter 5 - The Cosmic Illusion:
Mind, Dream, and Hallucination
Dreams and hallucinations do not provide a valid
analogy for the world, since they are themselves based on realities.
Dreams are a transcript or symbol of reality, but so is the surface
consciousness. It appears that mind is not an original creator, but
rather an instrument of ignorance of a truth-consciousness.
· Origin of the negation of cosmic existence
§ Mind has affirmed or negated all ideas; it starts from facts,
pursues possibilities, then questions everything.
§ At the outset we live in our physical mind and perceive the actual
as fact, self-evident, without question.
§ Physical science is an extension of this mentality.
§ But the life-mind seeks a subjective, imaginative, emotive satisfaction.
It seeks always for more.
§ In consequence the human mind is always seeking, breaking bounds.
§ This constant unrest leads to a loss of certitude and a questioning
of all knowledge.
§ This give rise to the discovery that all are mental constructions,
a cosmic illusion.
§ In turn this gives rise to the great world-negating religions
and philosophies. Two of the greatest in India have been Buddha and
§ These have three great formulas: chain of Karma; escape from
· Vital recoil from life
§ Comes from a sense of disappointment.
§ Mind supports this, because it sees that all effort turns in
a circle, is not permanent, definitive.
§ And if fundamental laws are fixed, then it is hard to avoid the
conclusion that either the world is the result of an inconscient energy,
or a deliberate world of failure, or a vast illusion.
· Mental/spiritual basis for negation
§ It can be contended that the very nature of the world is an illusion;
no reasoning from its features could raise it into a reality; there
is only one transcendent reality.
§ This depends on whether the mind's experience of reality is valid,
conclusive, or imperative.
· Illusion as a subjective dream or hallucination
§ Based on the analogy of dream or hallucination.
§ The physical mind has difficulty accepting this.
§ Dream seems unreal because it ceases when it is over.
§ But different states of consciousness may have their own realities,
and this sense of unreality may be normal in passing from one to the
§ Also, a dream has no antecedents or consequents, no coherence,
unlike waking life.
§ Our lack of significance may be due to our limitation of understanding.
§ There are too many differences between dream and waking life
to allow the analogy to be applicable.
· Nature of dreams and sleep
§ Maybe they are a symbolic transcript of real things.
§ In sleep, consciousness withdraws from waking experience.
§ Inner activities take place, only a part of which is recorded.
§ Many dreams are a creation of a subconscious part, throwing up
elements of life, or fantasy.
§ The subconscious is really the border of an inner existence,
where it meets the inconscient.
§ Dreamless sleep is a profounder layer of the subconscient, where
we are unable to grasp or retain the dream figures.
§ Or we have gone inward and lost all connection with our surface
§ If the subliminal comes to the front, a subliminal intelligence
may become active, and dreams become a series of thoughts: warnings,
premonitions, indications, symbol-images.
§ And happenings on other planes can enter in.
§ It is also possible to become wholly conscious in sleep, and
sleep life can be coherent.
· Subliminal consciousness
§ Subliminal is a meeting place of the inconscient and the consciousness
descending from above.
§ It has inner senses, and can enter into mental, vital, subtle-physical
§ Waking state is unaware of the connection, but receives inspirations,
urges, etc. from the subliminal.
§ The surface is really a transcriber, whereas the subliminal is
§ The Upanishad called the subliminal the dream self, and the superconscient
the sleep self, but regarded both as a field of reality.
· Dreams revisited in terms of the subliminal
§ In this light, dreams are not unreal, but are a transcript of
reality, just as our waking experience is a transcript of reality, through
§ Our sensory experience is validated by an intuition in consciousness,
and both are amplified by the reason understanding the law of things.
§ Even if our images are incorrect, they endeavor to show realities.
§ So the dream metaphor has no value for a metaphysical inquiry
§ Hallucinations are either mental or sensory.
§ An example of a mental hallucination is a mirage, for example
a rope seen as a snake.
§ This is an imposition of an unreal figure on a reality.
§ But the image comes from another reality, is a resemblance to
§ So the analogy (saying that the world is an imposition on the
sole reality of Brahman) is unhelpful.
§ All mental errors and illusions are a miscombination of data
from a reality, a wrong perception of realities.
§ But a cosmic illusion has no basis of reality.
§ Other analogies (dreams, visions, imagination, illusions) also
compare a present with an absent reality, and are not applicable to
an imposition of a mutable unreality on a sole immutable reality.
· Nature of mind
§ What is the role of mind in all these illusions?
§ Mind is not an original creative power, it is derivative.
§ So errors of mind may not illustrate the action of an original
creative illusion or Maya.
§ Mind receives truths actual, essential, or possible from the
inconscience and superconscience, from above and within, and selects
§ Mind discovers, it does not manifest the unknown. It does not
have omnipotence. It creates, but it is not an original creator.
§ But Maya must be an original creator.
§ Mind works best when working with a substance, with actualities.
§ But Maya must create a superstructure which has nothing to do
with the reality.
§ Mind can take its own structures (imaginations) as true. Could
this be an analogy for Maya?
§ Because our knowledge is limited, imagination is a construction
of possible actuals, a variation of actuality, a way of summoning possibilities
out of the infinite.
§ Imaginations may become realities, like the persistent imagination
of human flight, so they are not purely illusory.
§ Even extravagant imaginations take actuals for their basis, like
griffins or chimeras.
§ The illusions of the mind start from a basis of some kind.
§ Mind is an instrument of a cosmic ignorance, but does not act
like a power of cosmic illusion.
§ So there is either an original power of illusions with mind as
its instrument, or a supreme truth-consciousness with imperfect mind
capable of error and misrepresentation. The inquiry so far leads to
the second conclusion.
Chapter 6 - Reality and the Cosmic
Classical theory of illusion is that there is a
sole reality, and the phenomenal world is an illusion. But the premises
for this do not hold up. The true premise is that an eternal oneness
supports an eternal dynamism, and there are multiple real statuses of
being and consciousness. So the real question is how these statuses
(knowledge and ignorance) arose, and what is the relation between them.
· Question: what is the nature of the reality
and our perception?
§ The question remains of the nature of the reality, the validity
of it and what it presents to our consciousness.
§ It might be maintained that all the truths, possibilities of
the cosmic system are put forth by Maya.
§ Reality may be real, but the individual and the perception be
§ Then energy remains as the sole reality.
§ Thus seeing the percipient, perception, and percept as a construction
of karma led Buddhism to its affirmation of the Non-Being, Void.
· Classical theory of Illusionism
§ A sole existence is the only reality.
§ Then how does the illusion come into being?
§ If all that is, is Brahman, then the power to bring the illusion
into being must be a power of Brahman. The illusion must have some kind
Then it is at the same time real and unreal, existent and non-existent.
§ If Brahman is the observing consciousness, then the illusion
could not persist, since Brahman is conscious only of its own existence.
§ If Maya is in some way real, then brahman could be the observing
Then there must be a double status of Brahman-consciousness, one of
the sole reality, the other of the constructions.
§ These unrealities cannot be made of the same substance; they
are created by the perceiving action of Brahman - the perception is
a half-real creator of unreal percepts.
· Maya as the sole conscious power of Brahman
§ If there is not the dual consciousness, and Maya is the sole
conscious power, then:
Either Maya is a subjective (and unreal) action of Brahman.
Or Maya is a power of cosmic imagination, creating names and forms out
§ But then imagination would be the sole power of the eternal;
and what would compel it to create all this?
§ The idea of a purely subjective unreal reality comes from our
distinction of objective and subjective.
§ But this could not exist in a Brahman where there is no subject
and object, so it looks like an imposition by our mind.
§ Or it creates a dualism between the being and consciousness of
Brahman, which is not tenable.
· Dual consciousness and Brahman
§ Cannot be valid for the supreme existence, because this imposes
our own principle of ignorance on the eternal self-awareness.
§ It must be a self-awareness coexisting with a voluntary will
to erect a world of illusions that take place only in the illusory world
§ This implies a need or urge or will to create the drama; but
this is a contradiction of the static nature of Brahman.
§ It is not credible that the sole power of the reality would be
to create something contrary to itself.
· Maya as absolutely unreal
§ This gets rid of the duality problem, by saying that the universe
is non-existent, Maya is unreal.
§ But we are still bound to ask how it came into being or manages
· Observing consciousness as the individual
§ If Brahman is not the percipient, then it must be the individual.
§ But since the individual is itself an illusion, this deprives
everything of significance, including spiritual existence and our salvation
§ If the individual and its salvation is real, then a reality has
been attributed to something that belongs to the illusion.
§ If the individual is also an illusion, and it is a reflection
of Brahman that is caught and released, then the question arises whose
consciousness suffers. It cannot be Brahman.
· Individual and percept are unreal, but Maya acquires a certain
§ But for whom does it acquire reality, and for whom does it cease?
§ The real being of Brahman must in some sense be projected into
the world of Maya.
§ Or if the world is imposed on brahman, it must come from somewhere
- from Brahman.
§ This drives us back to the dual being or consciousness of Brahman,
and the only answer is that it is a mystery.
· Illusion consciousness that is part of the Reality: Upanishads
§ From the four-fold Brahman of the Upanishads.
Pure self, absorbed, superconscient, free, silent
Sleep self, deep sleep, massed consciousness, the origin of cosmic existence
Dream self, all subtle, subjective, or supraphysical experience
Waking self, the field of Maya, physical experience
§ Maya is real because it is the self's experience of the self,
but it is unreal because it is a transient state.
§ There is a multiplicity of status of being.
§ But the Upanishads do not say this is a creation of an unreality
or an illusion; on the contrary, they say that the Brahman becomes all
§ And these states seem to be figurative names for the passage
of mind to another consciousness.
· Failure of the premises
§ All of the above fail to establish illusion as conclusive.
§ They only make it conceivable.
§ The theory of illusion gets rid of one contradiction, but creates
· True premise
§ Reality is an eternal oneness that supports an eternal dynamism.
§ Multiple real statuses of consciousness of Brahman.
§ Shankara takes a step towards this with a qualified reality for
§ But the question of the nature and extent of this reality arises
§ Once any reality is conceded to ourselves and the universe, it
should be a true reality within its limits.
§ The cosmic can only exist by dependence on the supracosmic, time
on the eternal.
· Temporary as evidence of unreality
§ Analogy of the pot, made of earth, being a temporary form.
§ But the pot is real by virtue of the earth being real.
§ So the cosmic is a different order of the real from the supracosmic;
time is not cancelled out of existence by the timeless eternity.
§ Basis of this is the concept of reality as immutable.
§ But there is no reason not to suppose that the reality can contain
in itself an eternal force of being, and that it can be simultaneous
with the immutable.
§ Beings may be temporary, but they are real as long as they endure.
· Experience of silence as realization of the infinite
§ This is where we normally feel the infinite; so it is reasoned
that all action limits the perception of the infinite.
§ But this looks only at our mental perception.
§ If we get into the inner being, our true self, action does not
limit or bind.
§ The limitation is imposed by our inner spiritual being on our
outer, not a bondage on the ever-free spirit.
· Conflict between intuition of reality, and intellectual
reasoning about phenomena
§ Felt most strongly in the philosophy of Shankara, as follows:
Transcendence is self-existent, immutable, and the world is temporal.
Reality manifests as Self.
The creative Maya of the self constructs the temporary world.
The world is imposed through our concepts/percepts on the Self.
Reality appears in the phenomena as the Self of the individual.
When individuality is dissolved by intuitive knowledge, the phenomenal
being is released, and no longer subject to Maya.
The world continues to exist as the creation by the self's Maya.
§ This puts everything into relation, but is not a solution.
§ If the individual can enter into the transcendence, he must be
a reality of that transcendence.
· Suprarational nature of the transcendence
§ If transcendence is seizable only by suprarational intuition,
then the mystery of the universe is also suprarational.
§ The intellectual reason creates the contradiction, but cannot
§ The truth of the world must be seen from the superconscience.
· Progressive self-expression
§ The reality does not reveal itself in its forms because it is
a progressive manifestation, an evolving development.
§ In this sense we can say that it is That and not That.
§ It is indicative of a will to creation, self-expression, the
necessity to see itself in Time, a force of being, of power in action.
§ The one thing that is unreal is the sense of separateness, but
this is a pragmatic necessity for the surface consciousness to operate.
§ Entire separativeness is not necessary for individual reality.
· General problems with a theory of illusion
§ It nullifies everything: ourselves, the universe, all knowledge,
all experience, even spiritual experience.
§ This is what led the Buddhists to deny the reality of the self,
as a construction of the mind.
§ This ultimately does not account for our existence and world
§ It is an escape, not a solution, and erects a separation from
nature, not a fulfillment of nature.
· Final test is spiritual experience, not reason
§ The experience that illusionism is based on (sense of pure selfhood)
is powerful, and valid.
§ The question is whether this is one among many, or the final
§ There is another experience which is said to have a greater divine
unity and integral reality.
§ All spiritual experiences are true, but they need a reconciliation.
§ In the passage from mental to overmental, a many-sided unity
is the leading experience.
§ If illusion is not obligatory, that leaves us free to explore
a more plastic course of thought.
§ We can concentrate on the problem of the Knowledge and the Ignorance.
· Essential reality and our experience
§ Senses give us a practical base for experience, but science often
contradicts the senses.
§ Each kind of probing (scientific, psychological, spiritual) brings
up a greater order of the real.
§ The reason has to make selections and distinct definitions.
§ But when seen integrally, phenomenal reality would take on a
different appearance that when viewed by the reason.
§ The canons of reason would appear to be partial constructions,
both real and unreal - but this would not make the world itself unreal.
· Original and ultimate consciousness
§ Would be unitarian, all-embracing.
§ Would see complementaries, not contraries, in the finite/infinite,
§ On this basis, a world-creation is natural and normal and inevitable.
§ But is this true only of an absolute, cosmic consciousness?
§ The absolute can be approached through negation, affirmation,
§ This can only be accounted for if the absolute is so far above
our experience that it can correspond to all of these.
· Being and existence
§ A distinction is sometimes made between being and existence.
§ But if self is real, the thoughts, states, etc. that lead to
it cannot be unreal.
§ Only explanation is that the forms are real, but a different
order of reality.
§ All manifestation depends upon consciousness as well as being.
§ Each status (involved inconscient, superconscience, undifferentiated)
has a reality and a power of consciousness proper to its level.
· Unreality as a formation of consciousness
§ Even if there is no absolute unreality, there is still a power
§ The mind can conceive of things that are not real.
§ Where does the ignorance begin and end? Does the removal of ignorance
remove the world?
§ Our consciousness is a mixture of true and false; it is a half-comprehension,
not a mix of unreal and real.
§ If the world has an evolutionary principle, then a greater manifestation
§ Mind insists on a standard of fact, of actuality.
§ Yet new realities can emerge, other truths; even what is nowhere
actual may be potential; it can be not unreal but unrealized.
§ So the real question is the origin of the ignorance and inconscience,
and the relation of knowledge and ignorance to the original superconscience.
Chapter 7 - The Knowledge and
If mind were the original form of consciousness,
then illusion might be the source of the world. But the integral view
(from the Vedas), is that ignorance is a limited form of knowledge.
· The central question is how the knowledge
and the ignorance co-exist, since reality is one, but our practical
basis is one of laboring through ignorance.
§ Seven principles of existence are one in their fundamental reality,
but here the world is based on an original ignorance laboring toward
§ In the reality there seems no reason for such an ignorance.
§ But in practical terms for us, our experience is a subjection
to blind force and original ignorance, where the inconscient seems the
beginning and the end.
§ Most people turn away from hope of a full success, of ordered
§ The materialist, the religionist, and the philosophic mystic
all reject the possibility here.
§ But because there are two sides, the bridging ought to be possible.
§ Our intuition of this success lacks a firm basis.
§ We recognize the dualism, and then an irreconcilable opposition.
§ So the central question becomes the matter of the co-existence
of the knowledge and the ignorance.
§ Separation, with its roots in the dividing nature of mind, is
the very soul of ignorance.
· Declaring the problem insoluble
§ Thinkers such as Buddha have refused to consider the metaphysical
problem, or declared it insoluble.
§ They state that it is a simple fact, and we have to recognize
the means of escape.
§ But without solving the root question, we have no way to know
if the remedies are correct.
§ And the nature of the human, as thinker, is to know.
§ The first origin of the ignorance is beyond the mind, because
the mind lives in the ignorance, but this is true of the fundamental
truth of all things.
· Ignorance in the Veda and Upanishad
§ In the Veda, ignorance is the absence of the divine eye of perception;
it is the non-perceiving principle in our consciousness; a limited or
false knowledge based on the fragmentary; it is the undivine Maya creating
false mental forms and appearances.
§ It is a dividing mental knowledge which does not grasp the unity,
essence of things, but instead works on separate phenomena.
§ In this conception, ignorance is a kind of knowledge, but limited
and open to falsehood.
§ Upanishad gave the antinomy of vidya and avidya.
§ These more philosophic terms began to separate the two
§ This naturally went to its extreme analytic view, where there
is a pure opposition between the two, where vidya is pure knowledge,
and avidya is pure ignorance, a creation of illusions and delusions,
and the world can have no real being.
· Integral view of ignorance and knowledge
§ Departs from the dialectical Upanishad and returns to the Vedantic.
§ This admits the sole reality of Brahman, and the fact of our
§ But does not admit the two as independent, equal powers, in which
case the possibility of cosmic illusion comes in again.
§ The solution must be reached not by analysis of ideas alone,
but total observation of all facts of consciousness, including those
above or below the surface.
· Scope of the effort
§ Dialectical intellect cannot judge essential or spiritual truths;
for that, we have to see the origin and scope of consciousness and mentality.
§ We have to approach being through consciousness.
§ But in ourselves, consciousness seems identical with mind.
· If mind were the original consciousness
§ Then illusion might be the source of all things.
§ And the world could be a subjective construction, or mind the
matrix where such a construction is made by a power such as Maya.
§ But this imposes a cosmic imagination or illusion consciousness
on the eternal reality.
§ Maya would be the power of Brahman to delude itself, and mind
its power to take that delusion as reality.
§ But if Brahman is essential one, this trick would not be possible.
§ If the fundamental reality is a mystery, this might be true,
but it might equally be true that the infinite is capable of manifesting
many processes, all true.
· Mind's power for knowledge
§ The mind has a power for knowledge as well as ignorance; even
if it is only images or representations it creates, still, these can
be reflections of truth.
§ If mind does transmit or receive other realities, then we have
to examine other supramental and inframental powers of consciousness.
· Duality, multiplicity, and consciousness
§ Unity is always apparent, below the surface of multiplicity;
all resolves itself into one being, consciousness, delight.
§ This holds for all dualities: pain/pleasure resolves to ananda,
weakness to force, etc.
§ In the same way, what we call ignorance may really be a power
of the one divine knowledge-will; it would be a limitation of knowledge,
not its opposite.
· Three forms of conscious action
§ First, a consciousness behind all, aware of itself, the divine
§ Second, the extreme opposite, an effective dynamic, creative
§ Third, a partial, limited self-awareness, which we call ignorance.
· Next steps
§ To verify the interpretation of cosmic existence that we started
from, that ignorance is a limitation of knowledge, we have to observe
the structure of our surface consciousness, and its relation to what
is above and below it.
Chapter 8 - Memory, Self-Consciousness,
and the Ignorance
A consideration of memory leads us to see an eternal
conscious being who supports the action of mind in time on a basis of
stable consciousness free from time. Our surface being is really our
deeper self adventuring through time, using memory as coin of experience.
§ We need to look at the essential movements in our current awareness.
§ Memory is often given great stress as the thing that holds our
§ Memory is one of the workings of consciousness, but not the only
§ There are two kinds: memory of self, and memory of experience.
· Memory of self
§ Memory of self applies itself to the fact of our continuing in
time, and says "I was in the past, so I will be in the future."
§ It is a sense of persistent continuity, and can lead to a conviction
§ The surface mind cannot determine whether this sense of eternity
is real or not; our belief in our immortality is only a faith.
§ In fact it is our sense of a continuous succession of moments,
and it is really Time that is eternal.
§ If there is an eternal existence, then, it must be beyond time.
· Mind as ignorance
§ The one fact that emerges from these considerations is that the
nature of the mind is ignorance; it is limited in its memory of past,
inference of future.
§ If the real being is eternal in time, then we do not know it;
and if it is a time-transcending eternity, we do not know that by mind
§ So if there is a power of knowledge in being, it must be different
§ These two powers must be either disconnected, or have some connection.
· Larger view
§ The larger view would be that the superconscient sees time within
itself, while the ignorant consciousness sees itself in time.
§ It would not make sense that the superconscient would be incapable
of knowing time and space and causality; that would be another kind
§ So the larger (Vedantic) view is that we are one conscious existence
with a double phase.
§ When the Upanishad says that the simultaneous knowledge of Brahman
as both the knowledge and the ignorance, it means that the reality is
aware of the timeless and things in time. Either one by itself is a
kind of partial knowledge.
· Purpose of memory
§ Because mind can be aware only of the present, it uses memory,
imagination, and thought as devices to represent to itself things beyond
the present moment.
§ Because the one thing we know directly is self-consciousness
in the present moment, we are tempted to call all the rest not just
phenomenon, but illusion.
· Stable consciousness behind mind
§ Behind mind is a stable consciousness, which we experience first
in its immobile status, in which there is no binding division between
itself in the past, present, or future.
§ This can become alone real to us, with the rest seen as non-existent.
§ But the real self is obviously capable of both mobility in time
and immobility beyond time.
§ A consideration of memory of experience leads to the same end.
· Time and being
§ Time is the great bank of conscious existence turned into values
of experience and action.
§ Ignorance is a way of making self-knowledge useful for time-experience.
§ Our surface being is really the deeper self adventuring through
Chapter 9 - Memory, Ego, and
Memory and ego are devices used by the mental being;
they do not constitute direct or continuous experience of past, present,
future. There is in fact one being, but the immutable self is not experienced
by the surface mental consciousness.
· Surface consciousness
§ Direct self-consciousness of the mental being is not affected
by past, present, future.
§ Can also regard time experience reflected, or see it as the cause
§ This is the surface time-self, which leads to the conclusion
of Buddhists that all is a stream.
§ Surface consciousness is purely subjective, and in constant change.
§ It sees this change as modification of its mental personality,
and the source of causation.
§ There are two parts: the mutable subjective states, and the changing
§ Memory simply reminds the surface self that it existed in the
past, but memory alone does not constitute the ego-sense.
· Four parts of mentality
§ Object, act, occasion, subject.
§ Also can be applied to subjective states.
§ But in subjective states, the person and action are not sufficiently
detached from each other, and also not from emotional movements.
§ By detaching, we become aware first of the sheer ego, then of
the witness self or mental purusha.
· One being
§ There is one conscious being that throws itself up in waves of
§ And in deeper knowledge perceives an immutable being, not phenomenal.
§ The succession of phenomena are experienced not directly, but
through the mental being.
§ This brings in the device of memory, for it divides experience
by moments of time.
§ There is no need of memory in immediate mental experience; memory
comes in when experience is related to succession in time.
§ Because the past cannot be kept with us in the surface, we have
to recover it through memory.
§ Memory is not the essence of undivided or persistent experience.
§ The division is not in experience itself, but by the observing
§ So in reality inner movements are a continuous flowing stream.
§ Memory can prolong it, but does not cause it.
§ Memory is the device that the mind uses to relate movements and
coordinate them with the reason.
· Ego sense
§ Is a point of reference, a co-ordinate center.
§ Memory reinforces it, but does not constitute it.
§ Begins as sensation in the animal, but is a united mental action
§ It is nearer to self-knowledge than the memory and ego sense
of the animal.
§ Dissociation of personality shows the importance of memory.
§ Hypnosis, other states also show the link.
§ Mind sense is the basis, memory the thread, but all is coordinated
by mind, which relates experience to an "I"
· Ego as preparation
§ Ego sense is a preparatory device for real self-knowledge.
§ But is incomplete; based on superficial mental activity; only
of individual experience; worked out by ignorance.
§ True relation between being and becoming cannot be seized, because
to the surface they always appear discordant.
§ Just as ego-sense is a diminished form of a deeper truth, so
also memory, imagination, perceptions are diminished forms of deeper