Paul Brunton Philosophic Foundation homepage > Notebooks of Paul Brunton > Perspectives > Chapter 28: The Alone
Philosophy understands sympathetically but does not agree practically with the Buddha's consistent refusal to explain the ultimate realization. His counsel to disciples was: "What word is there to be sent from a region where the chariot of speech finds no track on which to go? Therefore to their questionings offer them silence only."
It is certainly hard to capture this transcendental indefinable experience in prosaic pen-and-ink notes. But is it really so impossible for the initiate to break his silence and voice his knowledge in some dim finited adumbration of the Infinite? To confess that intellectually we know nothing and can know nothing about the Absolute is understandable. But to say that therefore we should leave its existence entirely out of our intellectual world-view, is not. For although the exact definition and direct explanation of words are unable to catch the whole of this subtle experience within their receiving range because they are turned into ordinary human intellectual emotional and physical experience, they may nevertheless evoke an intuitive recognition of its beauty; they may suggest to sensitive minds a hint of its worth and they may arouse the first aspiration towards its attainment for oneself.
Why if this state transcends thinking, whether in words or pictures, have so many mystics nevertheless written so much about it? That they have protested at the same time the impossibility of describing the highest levels of their experience does not alter this curious fact. The answer to our question is that to have kept completely silent and not to have revealed that such a unique experience is possible and that such a supreme reality is existent would have been to have left their less fortunate fellow men in utter ignorance of an immensely important truth about human life and destiny. But to have left some record behind them, even if it would only hint at what it could not adequately describe, would be to have left some light in the darkness. And even though an intellectual statement of a super-intellectual fact is only like an indirect and reflected light, nevertheless it is better than having no light at all.
So long as men feel the need to converse with other men on this subject, so long as masters seek to instruct disciples in it, and so long as fortunate seers recognize the duty to leave some record--even if it be an imperfect one--of their enlightenment behind them for unfortunate humanity, so long will the silence have to be broken, despite Buddha, and the lost word uttered anew.
The topic with which all such metaphysical thinking should end after it has pondered on mentalism is that out of which the thinking principle itself arises--Mind--and it should be considered under its aspect as the one reality. When this intellectual understanding is brought within one's own experience as fact, when it is made as much one's own as a bodily pain, then it becomes direct insight. Such thinking is the most profitable and resultful in which he can engage, for it brings the student to the very portal of Mind where it stops activity by itself and where the differentiation of ideas disappears. As the mental muscles strain after this concept of the Absolute, the Ineffable and Infinite, they lose their materialist rigidity and become more sensitive to intimations from the Overself. When thinking is able to reach such a profound depth that it attains utter impersonality and calm universality, it is able to approach the fundamental principle of its own being. When hard thinking reaches a culminating point, it then voluntarily destroys itself. Such an attainment of course can take place deep within the innermost recesses of the individual`s consciousness alone.
Mentalism is the study of Mind and its product, thoughts. To separate the two, to disentangle them, is to become aware of Awareness itself. This achievement comes not by any process of intellectual activity but by the very opposite--suspending such activity. And it comes not as another idea but as extremely vivid, powerfully compelling insight.
Thinking can, ordinarily, only produce more thoughts. Even thinking about truth, about reality, however correct it be, shares this limitation. But if properly instructed it will know its place and understand the situation, with the consequence that at the proper moment it will make no further effort, and will seek to merge into meditation. When the merger is successfully completed, a holy silence will pervade the consciousness which remains. Truth will then be revealed of its own accord.
If Mind is to be regarded aright, we must put out of our thought even the notion of the cosmic Ever-Becoming. But to do this is to enter a virtual Void? Precisely. When we take away all the forms of external physical existence and all the differences of internal mental existence, what we get is an utter emptiness of being which can hardly be differentiated after we have taken away its features and individualities, its finite times and finite distances. There is then nothing but a great void. What is the nature of this void? It is pure Thought. It is out of this empty Thought that the fullness of the universe has paradoxically evolved. Hence it is said that the world's reality is secondary whereas Mind's reality is primary. In the Void the hidden oneness of things is disengaged from the things themselves. Silence therefore is not merely the negation of sound but rather the element in which, as Carlyle said, great things fashion themselves. It is the supreme storehouse of power.
To attach oneself to a guru, an avatar, one religion, one creed, is to see the stars only. To put one's faith in the Infinite Being and in its presence within the heart, is to see the vast empty sky itself. The stars will come and go, will disintegrate and vanish, but the sky remains.
Mind is the essence of all manifested things as World-Mind and the Mystery behind unmanifest Nothing.
The term nonduality remains a sound in the air when heard, a visual image when read. Without the key of mentalism it remains just that. How many Vedanta students and, be it said, teachers interpret it aright? And that is to understand there are no two separate entities--a thing and also the thought of it. The thing is in mind, is a projection of mind as the thought. This is nonduality, for mind is not apart from what comes from and goes back into it. As with things, so with bodies and worlds. All appear along with the ultimately cosmic but immediately individual thought of them.
Nonduality simply means that there is nothing other than the unseen Power, nothing else, no universe, no creature.
What we need to grasp is that although our apprehension of the Real is gradual, the Real is nonetheless with us at every moment in all its radiant totality. Modern science has filled our heads with the false notion that reality is in a state of evolution, whereas it is only our mental concept of reality which is in a state of evolution.
He will have gone far intellectually when he can understand the statement that mind is the seeker but Mind is the sought.
He can find the nothingness within himself only after he has evaluated the nothingness of himself. The mystery of the Great Void does not disclose itself to the smugly satisfied or the arrogantly proud or the intellectually conceited.
IT is the Principle behind both consciousness and unconsciousness, making the first possible and the second significant. Yet neither consciousness nor unconsciousness, as we humans know them, resembles it.
He will arrive at the firm unshakeable conviction that there is an inward reality behind all existence. If he wishes he may go farther still and seek to translate the intellectual idea of this reality into a conscious fact. In that case the comprehension that in the quest of pure Mind he is in quest of that which is alone the Supreme Reality in this entire universe, must possess him. The mystery of Mind is a theme upon which no aspirant can ever reflect enough: first, because of its importance, and second, because of its capacity to unfold his latent spirituality. He will doubtless feel cold on these lofty peaks of thought, but in the end he will find a heavenly reward whilst still on earth. We are not saying that something of the nature of mind as we humans know it is the supreme reality of the universe, but only that it is more like that reality than anything else we know of and certainly more like it than what we usually call by the name of "matter." The simplest way to express this is to say that Reality is of the nature of our mind rather than of our body, although it is Mind transcending the familiar phases and raised to infinity. It is the ultimate being the highest state. This is the Principle which forever remains what it was and will be. It is in the universe and yet the universe is in it too. It never evolves, for it is outside time. It has no shape, for it is outside space. It is beyond man's consciousness, for it is beyond both his thoughts and sense-experience, yet all consciousness springs mysteriously out of it. Nevertheless man may enter into its knowledge, may enter into its Void, so soon as he can drop his thoughts, let go his sense-experience, but keep his sense of being. Then he may understand what Jesus meant when saying: "He that loseth his life shall find it." Such an accomplishment may appear too spectral to be of any use to his matter-of-fact generation. What is their madness will be his sanity. He will know there is reality where they think there is nothingness.
There is here no form to be perceived, no image born of the senses to be worshipped, no oracular utterance to be listened for, and no emotional ecstasy to be revelled in. Hence the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, said: "In eternal non-existence I look for the spirituality of things!" The philosopher perceives that there is no such thing as creation out of nothing for the simple reason that Mind is eternally and universally present. "Nothing" is merely an appearance. Here indeed there is neither time nor space. It is like a great silent boundless circle wherein no life seems to stir, no consciousness seems to be at work, and no activity is in sway. Yet the seer will know by a pure insight which will grip his consciousness as it has never been gripped before, that here indeed is the root of all life, all consciousness, and all activity. But how it is so is as inexplicable intellectually as what its nature is. With the Mind the last word of human comprehension is uttered. With the Mind the last world of possible being is explored. But whereas the utterance is comprehensible by his consciousness, the speaker is not. It is a Silence which speaks but what it says is only that it IS; more than that none can hear.
The absoluteness of the Godhead is complete and basic. It is not categorically identical with man any more than the ray is with the sun; they are different although not more fundamentally different than the ray from the sun. Hence there can be no direct communication and no positive relationship between them. A profound impenetrability, an existence beyond comprehension, is the first characteristic of the Godhead, when gazed at by human sight.
The Mind's first expression is the Void. The second and succeeding is the Light, that is, the World-Mind. This is followed by the third, the World-Idea. Finally comes the fourth, manifestation of the world itself.
Mind is the essence of all conscious beings. Their consciousness is derivative, borrowed from it; they could know nothing of their own power; whereas Mind alone knows all things and itself. When it knows them in time, it is World-Mind; when it knows itself alone, it is the unknown to man and unknowable Godhead.
The Supreme Godhead is unindividualized. The World-Mind is individuated (but not personalized) into emanated Overselves. The Overself is an individual, but not a person. The ego is personal.
As Mind the Real is static, as World-Mind it is dynamic. As Godhead It alone is in the stillness of being; but as God it is the source, substance, and power of the universe. As Mind there is no second thing, no second intelligence to ask the question why it stirred and breathed forth World-Mind, hence why the whole world-process exists. Only man asks this question and it returns unanswered.
What is the meaning of the words "the Holy Trinity"? The Father is the absolute and ineffable Godhead, Mind in its ultimate being. The Son is the soul of the universe, that is, the World-Mind. The Holy Ghost is the soul of each individual, that is, the Overself. The Godhead is one and indivisible and not multiform and can never divide itself up into three personalities.
When Mind concentrates itself into the World-Mind, it establishes a focus. However vast, it goes out of its own unlimited condition, it passes from the true Infinite to the pseudo-Infinite. Consequently the World-Mind, being occupied with its cosmos, cannot be regarded as possessed of the absolute character of Pure Mind. For what is its work but a movement of imagination? And where in the ineffable absolute is there room for either work or imagination? The one would break its eternal stillness, the other would veil its unchangeable reality. This of course it can never do, for Being can never become Non-Being. But it can send forth an emanation from itself. Such an emanation is the World-Mind. Through its prolonged contemplation of the cosmos Mind thus becomes a fragment of itself, bereft of its own undifferentiated unbroken unity. Nevertheless the World-Mind, through its deputy the Overself, is still for humans the highest possible goal.
Neither the senses nor the intellect can tell us anything about the intrinsic nature of this Infinite Mind. Nevertheless we are not left in total ignorance about it. From its manifestation, the cosmos, we may catch a hint of its Intelligence. From its emanation, the soul, we may catch more than a hint of its Beneficence. "More than," I say, because the emanation may be felt within us as our very being whereas the manifestation is outside us and is apart.
The Infinite Power can never become exhausted. It is self-sustaining.
Let us not deceive ourselves and dishonour the Supreme Being by thinking that we know anything at all about IT. We know nothing. The intellect may formulate conceptions, the intuition may give glimpses, but these are our human reactions to IT. Even the sage, who has attained a harmony with his Overself, has found only the godlike within himself. Yes, it is certainly the Light, but it is so for him, for the human being. He still stands as much outside the divine Mystery as everyone else. The difference is that whereas they stand in darkness he stands in this Light.
The chasm between the Real and man seems entirely impassable. The intellect is conditioned by its own finitude, by its particular set of space and time perceptions. It is unable to function where absolutes alone reign. The infinite eternal and absolute existence eludes the grasp of man's logical thought. He may form mental pictures of it but at best they will be as far off from it as a photograph is far off from flesh and blood. Idea-worship is idol-worship. Everything else is an object of knowledge, experienced in a certain way by ourself as the knower of it; but the Infinite Real cannot be an object of anyone's knowledge simply because it cannot be conditioned in any way whatsoever. It is absolute. If it is to be known to all it must therefore be in a totally different way from that of ordinary experience. It is as inaccessible to psychic experience as it is impenetrable by thought and feeling. But although we may not directly know Reality, we may know that it is, and that in some mysterious way the whole cosmic existence roots from it. Thus whichever way man turns he, the finite creature, finds the door closed upon his face. The Infinite and Absolute Essence is forever beyond his vision, unreachable by his knowing capacity and inaccessible to his experience, and will forever remain so. The point is so subtle that, unless its development is expressed with great care here, it is likely to be misunderstood. Although man must pause here and say, with Socrates, "None knoweth save God only"--for with this conception he has gone as far as human thought can grasp such mysteries--nevertheless he may know that the seers have not invented an imaginary Reality. He has neither been left alone in his mortality nor abandoned utterly to his finitude. The mysterious Godhead has provided a witness to its sacred existence, a Deputy to evidence its secret rulership. And that Witness and Deputy can be found for it sits imperishable in the very heart of man himself. It is indeed his true self, his immortal soul, his Overself. Although the ultimate principle is said to be inconceivable and unknowable, this is so only in relation to man's ordinary intellect and physical senses. It is not so in relation to a faculty in him which is still potential and unevolved--insight. If it be true that even no adept has ever seen the mysterious absolute, it is also true that he has seen the way it manifests its presence through something intimately emanated from it. If the nameless formless Void from which all things spring up and into which they go back is a world so subtle that it is not really intellectually understandable and so mysterious that it is not even mystically experienceable, we may however experience the strange atmosphere emanating from it, the unearthly aura signifying its hidden presence.
Reason tells us that pure Thought cannot know itself because that would set up a duality which would be false if pure thought is the only real existence. But this is only reason's inability to measure what transcends itself. Although all ordinary experience confirms it, extraordinary experience refutes it.
In the moment that there dawns on his understanding the fact of Mind's beginninglessness and deathlessness, he gains the second illumination, the first being that of the ego's illusoriness and transiency.
The divine essence is Unknowable to the finite intellect, but knowable, in a certain sense, by the deepest intuition. And this sense can arise to the man previously prepared by instruction and purification, or by studied knowledge and purification, if he puts away thoughts, even those about the essence, or lets them lapse of their own accord, and awaits its self-disclosure patiently, reverently, lovingly--three conditions of high importance.
The inability of little man to enter into the knowledge of transcendent God does not doom him to perpetual ignorance. For God, being present in all things, is present in him too. The flame is still in the spark. Here is his hope and chance. Just as he knows his own personal identity, so God knows God in him as the Overself. This divine knowing is continually going on, whether he is awake or asleep, whether he is an atheist or a saint. He can share in it too, but only by consenting to submit his intellect to his intuition. This is not an arbitrary condition imposed by theocratic whim but one which inheres in the very nature of the knowing processes. By accepting it, he may put the whole matter to the test and learn for himself, in due time, his other nonpersonal identity.
The actual experience alone can settle this argument. This is what I found: The ego vanished; the everyday "I" which the world knew and which knew the world, was no longer there. But a new and diviner individuality appeared in its place, a consciousness which could say "I AM" and which I recognized to have been my real self all along. It was not lost, merged, or dissolved: it was fully and vividly conscious that it was a point in universal Mind and so not apart from that Mind itself. Only the lower self, the false self, was gone but that was a loss for which to be immeasurably grateful.
Every man credits himself with having consciousness during the wakeful state. He never questions or disputes the fact. He does not need anyone else to tell it to him, nor does he tell it to himself. It is the surest part of his knowledge. Yet this is not a knowing which he brings into the field of awareness. It is known differently from the way other facts are known by him. This difference is that the ego is absent from the knowledge--the fact is not actually perceived.
Mind has no second thing to know and experience, no world. Nor can anyone know and experience Mind and yet remain an individual, a person.
The final grade of inner experience, the deepest phase of contemplation, is one where the experiencer himself disappears, the meditator vanishes, the knower no longer has an object--not even the Overself--to know for duality collapses. Because this grade is beyond the supreme "Light" experience where the Overself reveals its presence visually as a dazzling mass, shaft, ball, or ray of unearthly radiance which is seen whether the bodily eyes are open or closed, it has been called the divine darkness.
(a) Awareness alone is whatever it turns its attention to, seems to exist at the time: only that. If to Void then there is nothing else. If to world, then world assumes reality. (b) What is it that is aware? The thought of a point of awareness creates, gives reality at the lowest level to ego, and at the highest to Higher Self but when the thought itself is dropped there is only the One Existence, Being, in the divine Emptiness. It is therefore the Source of all life, intelligence, form. (c) The idea held becomes direct experience for the personality, the awareness becomes direct perception.
The true union, completely authentic and completely beatific, where mind melts into Mind without the admixture of personal wish or traditional suggestion, cannot be properly described in words. For he who experiences it may know its onset or its end because of the enormous contrast with his ordinary self, but he will not know its full height simply because he will not even know that he is experiencing it. For to do so would be to re-introduce the ego again and thus fall away from the purity of the union. There would then be admixture--which is the fate of most unions.
If you believe that you have had the ultimate experience, it is more likely that you had an emotional, or mental, or mystic one. The authentic thing does not enter consciousness. You do not know that it has transpired. You discover it is already here only by looking back at what you were and contrasting it with what you now are; or when others recognize it in you and draw attention to it; or when a situation arises which throws up your real status. It is a permanent fact, not a brief mystic "glimpse."
After the last sermon has been preached, the last book written, Mind remains the Mystery behind all mysteries. Thought cannot conceive It, imagination picture It, nor language express It. The greatest mystic's experience is only his own personal reaction to Its atmosphere, as from a distance. Even this blows him to pieces like a bomb, but the fact that he can collect them together again afterwards shows that it must have been present in some inexplicable supernormal way and was not lost, both to continue existence and to remember the event.
Only after he has worked his way through different degrees of comprehension of the world whose passing his own development requires, and even after he has penetrated the mystery beyond it, does he come to the unexpected insight and attitude which frees him from both. In other words he is neither in the Void, the One, or the Many yet nor is he not in them. Truth thus becomes a triple paradox!
In The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga and The Wisdom of the Overself I unveiled that portion of the hidden teaching which negated materialism and showed the world to be immaterial and spiritual. In this book I unveil the remaining portion which shows that the person himself is devoid of real existence, that the ego is a fiction, and that there is only the One Universal Mind.
The "Void" means void of all mental activity and productivity. It means that the notions and images of the mind have been emptied out, that all perceptions of the body and conceptions of the brain have gone.
Without keeping steadily in view this original mentalness of things and hence their original oneness with self and Mind, the mystic must naturally get confused if not deceived by what he takes to be the opposition of Spirit and Matter. The mystic looks within, to self; the materialist looks without, to world. And each misses what the other finds. But to the philosopher neither of these is primary. He looks to that Mind of which both self and world are but manifestations and in which he finds the manifestations also. It is not enough for him to receive, as the mystic receives, fitful and occasional illuminations from periodic meditation. He relates this intellectual understanding to his further discovery got during mystical self-absorption in the Void that the reality of his own self is Mind. Back in the world once more he studies it again under this further light, confirms that the manifold world consists ultimately of mental images, conjoins with his full metaphysical understanding that it is simply Mind in manifestation, and thus comes to comprehend that it is essentially one with the same Mind which he experiences in self-absorption. Thus his insight actualizes, experiences, this Mind-in-itself as and not apart from the sensuous world whereas the mystic divides them. With insight, the sense of oneness does not destroy the sense of difference but both remain strangely present, whereas with the ordinary mystical perception each cancels the other. The myriad forms which make up the picture of this world will not disappear as an essential characteristic of reality nor will his awareness of them or his traffic with them be affected. Hence he possesses a firm and final attainment wherein he will permanently possess the insight into pure Mind even in the midst of physical sensations. He sees everything in this multitudinous world as being but the Mind itself as easily as he can see nothing, the imageless Void, as being but the Mind itself, whenever he cares to turn aside into self-absorption. He sees both the outer faces of all men and the inner depths of his own self as being but the Mind itself. Thus he experiences the unity of all existence; not intermittently but at every moment he knows the Mind as ultimate. This is the philosophic or final realization. It is as permanent as the mystic's is transient. Whatever he does or refrains from doing, whatever he experiences or fails to experience, he gives up all discriminations between reality and appearance, between truth and illusion, and lets his insight function freely as his thoughts select and cling to nothing. He experiences the miracle of undifferentiated being, the wonder of undifferenced unity. The artificial man-made frontiers melt away. He sees his fellow men as inescapably and inherently divine as they are, not merely as the mundane creatures they believe they are, so that any traces of an ascetical holier-than-thou attitude fall completely away from him.
To keep this origin always at the back of one's mind because it is also the end of all things, is a necessary practice. But this can only be done if one cultivates reactionlessness to the happenings of every day. This does not mean showing no outward reaction, but it does mean that deep down indifference has been achieved--not an empty indifference, but one based on seeing the Divine essence in all things, all creatures, and a Divine meaning in all happenings.
There is but One God, One Life, One infinite Power, one all-knowing Mind. Each man individualizes it but does not multiply it. He brings it to a point, the Overself, but does not alter its unity or change its character.
The One Mind is experiencing itself in us, less in the ego-shadow and fully in the Overself, hardly aware in that shadow and self-realized in the light that casts it.
It is the unique not only because of what IT is but also because two statements concerning IT can be quite contradictory, yet each can still be correct!
First, remember that It is appearing as ego; then remember to think that you are It; finally cease to think of It so you may be free of thoughts to be It!
Absolute mind is the actuality of human life and the plenitude of universal existence. Apart from Mind they could not even come into existence, and separated from it they could not continue to exist. Their truth and being are in It. But it would be utterly wrong to imagine the Absolute as the sum total of all finite beings and individual beings. The absolute is not the integral of all its visible aspects. It is the unlimited, the boundless void within which millions of universes may appear and disappear ceaselessly and unendingly but yet leave It unaffected. The latter do not exhaust even one millionth of its being.
Awareness is the very nature of one's being: it is the Self.
We must never forget that the entire dynamic movement occurs inseparably within a static blessed repose. Becoming is not apart from Being. Its kinetic movement takes place in the eternal stillness. World-Mind is forever working in the universe whereas Mind is forever at rest and its still motionlessness paradoxically makes all activity and motion possible. The infinite unconditioned Essence could never become confined within or subject to the finite limited world-form. The one dwells in a transcendental timelessness whereas the other exists in a continuous time. There cannot be two eternal principles, two ultimate realities, for each will limit the other's existence and thus deprive it of its absolute character. There is only the One, which is beyond all phenomena and yet includes them. The manifestation of the cosmic order, filled with countless objects and entities though it be, does not in any way or to any extent alter the character of the absolute Reality in which it appears. That character is unvarying--is never reduced to a lower form, never confined in a limited one, never modified by conditions, never deprived of a single iota of its being, substance, amplitude, or quality. It always is what it was. It is the ultimate origin of everything and everyone in this universe, yet it remains as unchanged by their death as by their birth, by their absence as by their presence. Everything in the universe is liable to changes, because it was born and must die. We venerate God because He is not liable to change, being ever-existent and self-subsisting, birthless and deathless.
It would be completely false to regard the Void as being a nothing and containing nothing. It is Being itself, and contains reality behind all things. Nor is it a kind of inertia, of paralysis. All action springs out of it, all the world-forces derive from it.
"The Godhead is as void as though it were not," said Eckhart. "Pass from the station of `I' and `We' and choose for thy home Non-entity. For when thou hast done the like of this, thou shalt reach the supreme felicity," wrote Qurratulayn, a Persian poetess, nearly a century ago. We may begin to grasp the meaning of such statements by grasping the conception that Infinite Mind is the formless, matterless, Void, Spirit. Mortal error is mistaking forms for final realities instead of penetrating to their essence, Mind. Whatever can be said about the unnameable "Void" will be not enough at least and merely symbolic at most. The mystic's last Word is the Freemason's lost Word. It can never be spoken for it can never be heard. It is the one idea which can never be transferred to another mind, the one meaning which can never get through any pen or any lip. Yet it is there--the supreme Fact behind all the myriad facts of universal existence. To elevate any form by an external worship or an internal meditation which should be given only to the formless Void is to elevate an idol in the place of God. Muhammed is reported to have once said that the worship of any one other than the great Allah, i.e., "the Beginningless, the Endless," was the first of major sins. Yet to honour the sublime No-thing by thought or rite is hard for the unmetaphysical. And it requires much metaphysical insight to perceive its truth. The cold impersonality of this idea is at first repelled by us with something like horror. A change in this attitude can come about only gradually at most. But if we perseveringly pursue our quest of truth we shall overcome our aversion in the end. If it be true that Truth is not something we can utter, that the Nameless cannot fitly be represented by any name, we may however continue to use any word we like, provided we keep its limitations clearly in our understanding of it. After all, although the thinking intellect creates its own image of truth, it is the Overself that starts the creative process working. But in the end we shall have to reserve our best worship not for a particular manifestation in time but for the Timeless itself, not for a historical personage but for the impersonal Infinite.
We are constantly faced by the hoariest of all problems, which is "Why did the Universe arise out of the depth and darkness of the Absolute Spirit?" The Seer can offer us a picture of the way in which this Spirit has involved itself into matter and is evolving itself back to self-knowledge. That is only the How and not the Why of the world. The truth is not only that nobody has ever known, that nobody knows, and that nobody will ever know the final and fundamental purpose of creation, but that God himself does not even know--for God too has arisen out of the Absolute no less than the universe, has found himself emanated from the primeval darkness and utter silence. Even God must be content to watch the flow and not wonder why, for both God and man must merge and be absorbed when they face the Absolute for the last time. (In the symbolic language of the Bible, "For man cannot meet God face to face and live.")
That which both Greek Plato and Indian Vedantin called "the One" did not refer to the beginning figure of a series, but to "One-without-a-Second."
The Real is forever and unalterably the same, whether it be the unmanifest Void or the manifested world. It has never been born and consequently can never die. It cannot divide itself into different "realities" with different space-time levels or multiply itself beyond its own primal oneness. It cannot evolve or diminish, improve or deteriorate. Whereas everything else exists in dependence upon Mind and exists for a limited time, however prolonged, and therefore has only a relative existence, Mind is the absolute, the unique, the ultimate reality because with all its innumerable manifestations in the universe it has never at any moment ceased to be itself. Only its appearances suffer change because they are in time and space, never itself, which is out of time and space. The divisions of time into past present and future are meaningless here; we may speak only of its "everness." The truth about it is timeless, as no scientific truth could ever be, in the sense that whatever fate the universe undergoes its own ultimate significance remains unchanged. If the Absolute appears to us as the first in the time-series, as the First Cause of the Universe, this is only true from our limited standpoint. It is in fact only our human idea. The human mind can take into itself the truth of transcendental being only by taking out of itself the screens of time space and person. For being eternally self-existence, reality is utterly timeless. Space divisions are equally unmeaning in its "Be-ness." The Absolute is both everywhere and nowhere. It cannot be considered in spatial terms. Even the word "infinite" is really such a term. If it is used here because no other is available, let it be clearly understood, then, that it is used merely as a suggestive metaphor. If the infinite did not include the finite then it would be less than infinite. It is erroneous to make them both mutually exclusive. The finite alone must exclude the infinite from its experience but not vice versa. In the same way the infinite Duration does not exclude finite time.
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