Conceiving the Inconceivable 2.2.19

Forums Forums Vedic Philosophy Conceiving the Inconceivable 2.2.19

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #14082
    Krishna Keshava Das
    Participant

    Dear Sripad Rishiraj Prabhu,

    Please accept my humble dandavat pranam. I am writing to you regarding some clarification of your idea discussed in Conceiving the Inconceivable 2.2.19 (190) purport paragraph 2:

    Thus, color exists in both black and white, and yet, color is neither black nor white. Since color is inside black, and white is a type of color, therefore, white is also inside black. […] If the transcendent property of color did not exist, then black and white will also not exist. And if the immanent property of color (within black and white) did not exist, then black and white would remain logical opposites, but not definitionally interrelated because the common property of color – which is immanent in both – would not exist. Therefore, the claim that two opposites are mutually defined is only a superficial understanding. The deeper reason for this mutuality is that properties such as color are both transcendent and immanent.

    In earlier parts of the book, you discuss Universal, Individual, and Contextual, which seems to be a slightly different conception than the Universal, Particular, and Individual aspects of every Concept discussed by Hegel and Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja. This discrepancy seems to be relevant to the above quoted paragraph. You say:

    Thus, color exists in both black and white, and yet, color is neither black nor white. Since color is inside black, and white is a type of color, therefore, white is also inside black.

    Where color = Universal,

    Black (or white) = Particular,

    And a phenomenal instance of a black or white thing = Individual

    So, the universality of color is negated in the particular instantiation or moment of color called black or white. Here, there is no denying the transcendent nature of the universal color, however the (positively) immanent nature of universal color, which you seem to claim, is being challenged.

    Color only exists within black in a negative sense. Due to the particularity of black color, the universal color which all diverse particular colors participate in, is negated. Black is a color but color is not merely black, like your example that a cow is a mammal but mammal is not merely a cow. Thus, if we want to say that white is inside black, it seems reasonable to conclude that white only exists inside black in a negative sense as well. Black is the negation of white, and all other particular colors for that matter.

    In the third paragraph of the purport to the next verse you say “Therefore, to change one thing into another, we don’t need new material ‘stuff.’ We just need to change the hierarchy of the modes.” Where tama-guna = inertia, raja-guna = activity, and sattva-guna = knowledge. This claim seems to be based on the positively immanent nature of universal which was just challenged above.

    The reason for mentioning this doubt is that positive immanence of Bhagavan throughout reality seems to be inaccurate, while negative immanence seems to be more precise to how Krishna describes the situation in Bhagavad-gita:

    BG 9.4: By Me, in My unmanifested form, this entire universe is pervaded. All beings are in Me, but I am not in them.

    BG 9.5: And yet everything that is created does not rest in Me. Behold My mystic opulence! Although I am the maintainer of all living entities and although I am everywhere, I am not a part of this cosmic manifestation, for My Self is the very source of creation.”

    These shlokas also seem to support the following application of Universal-Particular-Individual aspects of the concept of the world (cosmic manifestation), in relation to the Lord:

    Universal = Brahman (Transcendent; jivas are sparks of Bramhajyoti)

    Particular = Paramatma (Positive Immanence; Ksirodakasayi Vishnu is with each individual jiva)

    Individual = Bhagavan (Negative Immanence; Jivas are energy of Krishna but Krishna is not any individual jiva)

    It would be greatly appreciated if you can help clarify for me the points raised above.

    #14083
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    Universal, Particular, and Individual aspects of every Concept discussed by Hegel and Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja

    Hegel is not a reference for me. I could write a lot about what Hegel was doing, but here are some simple things. First, Hegel had a progressive idea of history, and we have a cyclical idea of history. Second, for Hegel, the thesis produces its antithesis, which then combines to create a synthesis, but we have the opposite idea, namely, that there is a synthesis, which divides into thesis and antithesis to produce a material world of duality. Third, in this struggle between thesis and antithesis, there is never a synthesis; rather time passes by, and sometimes thesis dominates and then its antithesis dominates, which is why we get cyclical time. Fourth, we are fundamentally opposed to binary opposites like thesis and antithesis; the modes of rajas and tamas are thesis and antithesis, but sattva is neither of these two; this means, even when one rises upward, it is not because of the synthesis of the opposites, but by rejecting both opposites. Fifth, the transcendent state is neither of the three modes; Brahman is not the synthesis of three modes; it rejects all the three. So, before we go headlong into referencing Hegel, please sort out the above discrepancies for me.

    Where color = Universal,

    Black (or white) = Particular,

    And a phenomenal instance of a black or white thing = Individual

    Do you mean to say that black or white are not universals? Aren’t there many black and white things, due to which black and white are universal concepts attached to many things? The very definition of a universal is that which occurs in many individual things. So, black and white are universals, by the definition of universals. They are more detailed universals compared to color, but universals nevertheless. This is quite like both mammals and cows are universals. The word ‘particular’ means exactly the same as ‘individual’. The term ‘particular’ is contrasted to the term ‘general’, while the term ‘universal’ is contrasted to the term ‘individual’. They mean the same thing. So, before you call black or white particulars, please elaborate on the reasons why they are not universals.

    So, the universality of color is negated in the particular instantiation or moment of color called black or white. Here, there is no denying the transcendent nature of the universal color, however the (positively) immanent nature of universal color, which you seem to claim, is being challenged.

    Then, why do you say that “black is a color”? If color is not immanent in black, then how could you just look at black, and say that it is a color? It is not obvious if black is a color, is it? You don’t say that black is a shape or a taste. How do you know, unless you can see color immanent in black?

    Color only exists within black in a negative sense. Due to the particularity of black color, the universal color which all diverse particular colors participate in, is negated. Black is a color but color is not merely black, like your example that a cow is a mammal but mammal is not merely a cow. Thus, if we want to say that white is inside black, it seems reasonable to conclude that white only exists inside black in a negative sense as well. Black is the negation of white, and all other particular colors for that matter.

    We’ll get to a negative sense later on. It requires a discussion that occurs in Nyāya philosophy, where something exists in something else as an absence. For example, if you see an empty room, you can say “there is no sofa in the room”. How do you know? Your perception can only make positive assertions. So, how can you detect the absence of something? Before we get there, we have to also recognize that the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence (this is also a Nyāya proposition). So, you don’t see a sofa, which is the absence of evidence. But you cannot use that to say that the sofa is absent, because that is tantamount to the evidence of absence. So, existence in a negative sense is a more complex and sophisticated idea, which doesn’t apply to the immanence of color.

    By your argument, humanity must be absent in all humans, because humans are particulars, and the universals must be negated in the particular. In short, all particular humans must not have any humanity in them for them to be called humans. Note the contradiction in the claim?

    The reason for mentioning this doubt is that positive immanence of Bhagavan throughout reality seems to be inaccurate, while negative immanence seems to be more precise to how Krishna describes the situation in Bhagavad-gita:

    How does unmanifest form imply negative immanence? Fire is unmanifest in wood, and by a mantra, fire is manifest in wood. Lust may be unmanifest in someone right now, but upon contact with another person, lust may manifest in them. Manifest and unmanifest have no relation to immanence. You are using Platonic ideas about a form that are the basis of terms inform and information. In Platonism, form is immanent in substance. But we are not talking about form and substance. We are talking about how one form is immanent in another form. For example, yellow is a form, and color is a form. However, the color form is immanent in the yellow form.

    Now, if you confuse our idea of immanence with the Platonic idea of immanence, then that is confusion about vocabulary, unrelated to what I’m talking about. It’s not my fault that English doesn’t have enough words to distinguish between Platonic and Vedic immanence, so I’m compelled to use the same words, although I’m clarifying it repeatedly to say that we are talking about the immanence of one form inside another, not the immanence of form in substance.

    Particular = Paramatma (Positive Immanence; Ksirodakasayi Vishnu is with each individual jiva)

    Are you implying that just because Paramatma is with every jiva, therefore, there are as many Paramatma as there are jivas? There is only one Paramatma, and yet, He is visible in everything. There is one place called Kshira Ocean, and He resides there. And yet, He is in everything. Now you try to reconcile the idea of one thing that is in everything and tell me how it is possible.

    I think a lot of your problem comes from adopting Hegel’s ideas, despite their numerous problems, and despite the fact that they are patently contradictory to Vedic philosophy. Then, the next set of problems arises due to Platonic ideas of form and immanence within a substance. You should ask yourself this: How useful are these ideas in modern mathematics, physics, computing, and logic? Let’s say that Hegel and Plato were right. Now you use their ideas to produce a theory, that addresses the problems of mathematics, physics, logic, and computing. Then we can also think like them. If they are not solving the problems of modern science, then what is their value for religion?

    #14085
    Krishna Keshava Das
    Participant

    I am a little surprised by your change in tone and mood since we shifted from personal email to this forum, by your request. What you have just posted here was not your initial response to my message posted above. I will post your original reply here, followed by my response to that message which you received personally, before moving on to address what you have added above.

    Keshava Krishna Prabhu, Hare Krishna!

    This is a deeper subject, and the summary is: The person is transcendent, and the personality is immanent.

    If you read someone’s book, their personality is immanent in the book. But by printing many copies of the book, the person is not being replicated.

    The deeper subject is that the person is understood in six ways: Self-awareness, intention, emotion, cognition, conation, and relation. The person is self-awareness, but the other five aspects are personality, and they are also immanent in their creations. So, there is a difference between “I” (aham = person) and “Mine” (mayā = personality).

    mayā tatam idam sarvam — all this contains mine

    na ca aham tesu avastitah — and I am not in them

    The “I” is the person, and “mine” is the personality. The person is not in the creation, but the personality is.

    However, the deeper aspects of personality (intention and emotion) can never be dissociated from a person (they are only present in a specific person). The more superficial aspects of personality (cognition, conation, and relation) can be dissociated from a person (they are also present in other persons). Hence, when the personality is seen in their creations, due to the superficial aspects, it is sometimes called separate from the person, and due to the deeper aspects, it is called inseparable from the person.

    If you would be so kind, please post this question in the forums, and I will paste my response there. These are useful to other people as well.

    Hare Krishna!

    –Ys, Rsiraja das

    Dear Sripad Rishiraj Prabhu,

    Dandavat pranam. Your reply is sincerely appreciated. I feel some concern due to our Acharyas never making such a distinction between person and personality. Srila Prabhupada seems to  translate as both “Me” and “My/Mine.” Krishna is equally known as the Supreme Personality of Godhead and as the Supreme Person. Krishna, the Supreme Person/Personality, is always engaged in pastimes of sweet exchanges with His devotees, while His bahiranga shakti / external potency manifests as a very different person/personality with very different behavior as Mayadevi, Durga, etc.

    mayā tatam idam sarvam — all this contains mine
    na ca aham tesu avastitah — and I am not in them

    The ‘I’ is the person, and ‘mine’ is the personality. The person is not in the creation, but the personality is

    But if the person Krishna is not in the cosmic manifestation while His personality is, why would Mayadevi be described as a distinct person i.e. Durga who has a unique personality very different from Krishna’s? How can we justify this distinction of person/personality in such a case?

    Within the context of my doubt regarding this distinction, the six ways of describing the qualities which serve to differentiate person and personality also seem confusing to me. For instance, you describe “relation” as a superficial aspect of personality, which is in the creation where the self-aware person is not, however it seems that relation is of utmost importance. Isn’t “relation” properly conceived the capacity for bhakti-yoga?

    Based upon Sripad Puri Maharaja’s beautiful presentation of Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Saraswati Thakur’s concept of “Predominating and Predominated Moieties,” the King is abstract without kingdom/subjects, the Lord is not Lord without that which/whom He lords over. So, it seems the personal identity is inseparable from relation, let alone from personality. This emphasis restores Mahaprabhu’s conception of the necessarily simultaneous identity and difference of shakti and shaktimam, the energy and energetic, the finite and the infinite.

    Finally, I am hoping for a little clarity regarding the dynamic of Universal-Particular-Individual as described in my last message, which you seem to replace with Universal-Individual-Contextual. This seems to lead to you emphasizing the context of the creation within Bhagavan (the individual aspect of the Absolute concept), as opposed to recognizing and elaborating on the role of the particular (localized) aspect of the Absolute, i.e. Paramatma/Narayan, Who is actually the expansion directly involved with the material creation.

    Again, I sincerely appreciate you taking the time to respond to my inquiries Prabhu. Haribol!</p>
    Humbly in service,
    Krishna Keshava Das
    Serving Assistant to
    Sripad Bhakti Madhava Puri Maharaja, Ph. D.
    Princeton Bhakti Vedanta Institute of Spiritual Culture and Science
    http://www.bviscs.org // linktr.ee/bviscs

     

    #14086
    Krishna Keshava Das
    Participant

    Dandavat pranam Rishiraja Prabhu,

    There seems to be a contradiction between your statement in the Preface

    The mammal is the whole and the cow is its part. However, when you see a cow, you  also say that it is a mammal, although you cannot reduce the mammal to the cow. […]  This is expressed by saying that – (1) the cow is a mammal, and (2) the mammal is not a  cow.

    And your statement in Conceiving the Inconceivable  2.2.19 (190) purport paragraph 2:

    Since color is inside black, and white is a type of color, therefore, white is also inside  black.

    Here is the problem as I see it in terms of sets:
    Mammal is a set M{cow, dog,  elephant, hog, ….}
    Cow is a subset of M, C{Jersey, Holstein, Surabhi, …}.
    Color is a set Co{red, black, white, blue, …}
    Black is a subset of Co, B{dark black, light black, ….} The other member colors are not in the set B.
    So, how can the other colors be present in black?
    Universal-Particular-Individual (UPI) represents the three dynamic interrelated aspects which are  necessary to completely describe any given concept. Particular means a “particular kind” of  Universal; a Particular Universal if you prefer. There are many Particular Universals in a  Universal, i.e. animal (Universal) includes mammal, reptile, insect, bird, etc (all Particulars).  However the designation of what is either U, P, or I can be very fluid. We just called mammal as  a Particular kind of the Universal animal, but mammal may also become the Universal where  Particular kinds include cow, dog, pig, etc.

    The aspect of Particularity is essential to complete comprehension of a concept, and this  essential function is not fulfilled by your replacement of “Particular” with “Context.” One of the  problems it leads to is you emphasizing the context of the creation within Bhagavan (the  Individual aspect of the Absolute concept), as opposed to recognizing and emphasizing the role  of the Particular (localized) aspect of the Absolute, i.e. Paramatma/Narayan, Who is actually the  expansion directly involved with the material creation. This is what I originally was referring to  when I said:

    The reason for mentioning this doubt is that positive immanence of Bhagavan  throughout reality seems to be inaccurate, while negative immanence seems to be more  precise to how Krishna describes the situation in Bhagavad-gita.

    Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is not positively related to the material world. This is confirmed in  Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita  Adi 2.52  (Sri CC), and  Sri Brahma-samhita  verses 6 and 7,  elaborated on in Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s purport. Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is only  negatively related to the material world, through His variegated expansions such as  Puruṣ-avatār  Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu  as Paramatma. This is elaborately explained in  Srimad Bhagavatam  Canto  1 chapter 3 and  Sri CC  chapters 2 and 5. Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is only immanent in the material creation through His reflection known as Paramatma. This reflection is the negation of  His true form, thus only representing Him indirectly in a manner where His true form is not  directly manifest i.e. Krishna is unmanifest in the material creation similar to the fact that I am unmanifest in the mirror which reflects my image yet is only made of glass. This is explained in  Sri CC  2.19-20 and in Srila Prabhupada’s purport:

    The sun is situated in a specific location but is reflected in countless jewels and appears  in innumerable localized aspects. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,  although eternally present in His transcendental abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, is reflected in  everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. […]

    You say:

    By your argument, humanity must be absent in all humans, because humans are  particulars, and the universals must be negated in the particular. In short, all particular humans must not have any humanity in them for them to be called humans.

    There are two main points to be made here: (1) Humanity is not a Universal to which human  would be Particular. Human/humanity are a Particular kind of mammal (Universal), of which an Individual person is an instance. (2) Negation does not mean annihilation. This is explained by  Sripad Puri Maharaja:

    Now this negation does not imply the annihilation of that which is negated, otherwise  the negation itself would be annihilated and cease to exist. So, negation implies a  correlation between the positive and negative aspects of existence. For example, night  may be considered the negation of day. Now, we all know that night exists, and equally  that day exists. The negation of day does not result in mere annihilation of day into  nothing – the negation produces something called night, which is the existing negation of  day. So both exist as the negation of each other, yet there is no question of annihilation of  anything.

    Regarding the five issues you raised in your correspondence:

    First, Hegel had a progressive idea of history, and we have a cyclical idea of history

    In Vedic philosophy, cyclical history is the material conception of  samsara . When you break the  cycle of  samsara  , escape from  samsara  , you enter eternal time which is Krishna enjoying  Himself through Himself. This is what Hegel is referring to when explaining history as being the  progression of Spirit coming to know itself as Spirit. His conception is on the Absolute platform,  not the mundane. Spirit is at first indeterminate or asleep in/as Nature, it becomes determinate in life, and it gradually progresses to  self-determination [freedom] of itself as Spirit. History is this progressive development of Spirit which is  observable through the progressive development of the history – first as bound in Nature to the repetition or cycle of determinate or finite life: birth-death-birth-death, etc. from which we must progress to liberation or freedom in the eternal, self determined Spirit.

    Second, for Hegel, the thesis produces its antithesis, which then combines to create a  synthesis, but we have the opposite idea, namely, that there is a synthesis, which divides  into thesis and antithesis to produce a material world of duality.

    Hegel never, ever, used Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis in his own writings. This is something that comes from the pre-Hegelian philosophies of Kant, Fichte and others, and is sometimes used to give a mostly  superficial hint to what Hegel was actually talking about.  The understanding of Hegel  demonstrated in your challenges seems to come from a misled generic interpretation of Hegel  which is held by many who have not studied/understood what Hegel  himself wrote. For Hegel an original unity is a dialectical union of opposing determinations which are misunderstood as an independent duality [as material world] but are in fact dialectically united.

    Third, in this struggle between thesis and antithesis, there is never a synthesis; rather  time passes by, and sometimes thesis dominates and then its antithesis dominates, which  is why we get cyclical time.

    This is contradictory to what you say in point 2, “there is a synthesis, which divides into thesis and antithesis.” First you say “there is a synthesis” and then you say “there is never a synthesis.” Please check your logic here.

    Fourth, we are fundamentally opposed to binary opposites like thesis and antithesis; the  modes of rajas and tamas are thesis and antithesis, but sattva is neither of these two; this  means, even when one rises upward, it is not because of the synthesis of the opposites,  but by rejecting both opposites.

    Not everyone interprets the modes/gunas as you do. In cell biology we have: building up, tearing down, and maintenance – anabolism, catabolism, metabolism – rajas, tamas, sattva, respectively. This is the function of the Guna Avatars. Brahma creation, Shiva destruction, and Vishnu maitenance. They are all essential parts of a system.  Only by going beyond life and death and its continuous cycles can one  become free of all three. There is no sattva guna in spiritual world – it is nirguna – the world of sat, cit, ananda, as generally understood.

    Fifth, the transcendent state is neither of the three modes; Brahman is not the synthesis of three modes; it rejects all the three.

    Agreed. It seems the problem is your basic misunderstanding of Hegel, and a few logical mistakes. I am very grateful to you for the opportunity which this dialogue has presented me with to look  closer at some important details regarding these topics. Hopefully you will respond to the challenges I raised to your distinction between person and personality in my original message.

    #14087
    Krishna Keshava Das
    Participant

    Dandavat pranam Rishiraja Prabhu,

    There seems to be a contradiction between your statement in the Preface

    “The mammal is the whole and the cow is its part. However, when you see a cow, you  also say that it is a mammal, although you cannot reduce the mammal to the cow. […]  This is expressed by saying that – (1) the cow is a mammal, and (2) the mammal is not a  cow.”

    And your statement in Conceiving the Inconceivable  2.2.19 (190) purport paragraph 2:

    “Since color is inside black, and white is a type of color, therefore, white is also inside  black.”

    Here is the problem as I see it in terms of sets:

    Mammal is a set M{cow, dog,  elephant, hog, ….}

    Cow is a subset of M, C{Jersey, Holstein, Surabhi, …}. The other members of the set M are no not in C.

    Color is a set Co{red, black, white, blue, …}

    Black is a subset of Co, B{dark black, light black, ….} The other member colors are not in the set B.

    So, how can the other colors be present in black?

    Universal-Particular-Individual (UPI) represents the three dynamic interrelated aspects which are  necessary to completely describe any given concept. Particular means a “particular kind” of  Universal; a Particular Universal if you prefer. There are many Particular Universals in a  Universal, i.e. animal (Universal) includes mammal, reptile, insect, bird, etc (all Particulars).  However the designation of what is either U, P, or I can be very fluid. We just called mammal as  a Particular kind of the Universal animal, but mammal may also become the Universal where  Particular kinds include cow, dog, pig, etc.

    The aspect of Particularity is essential to complete comprehension of a concept, and this  essential function is not fulfilled by your replacement of “Particular” with “Context.” One of the  problems it leads to is you emphasizing the context of the creation within Bhagavan (the  Individual aspect of the Absolute concept), as opposed to recognizing and emphasizing the role  of the Particular (localized) aspect of the Absolute, i.e. Paramatma/Narayan, Who is actually the  expansion directly involved with the material creation. This is what I originally was referring to  when I said:

    “The reason for mentioning this doubt is that positive immanence of Bhagavan  throughout reality seems to be inaccurate, while negative immanence seems to be more  precise to how Krishna describes the situation in Bhagavad-gita.”

    Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is not positively related to the material world. This is confirmed in  Sri Chaitanya Charitamrita  Adi 2.52  (Sri CC), and  Sri Brahma-samhita  verses 6 and 7,  elaborated on in Srila Bhakti Vinod Thakur’s purport. Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is only  negatively related to the material world, through His variegated expansions such as  Puruṣ-avatār  Kṣīrodakaśāyī Viṣṇu  as Paramatma. This is elaborately explained in  Srimad Bhagavatam  Canto  1 chapter 3 and  Sri CC  chapters 2 and 5. Svayam Bhagavan Krishna is only immanent in the material creation through His reflection known as Paramatma. This reflection is the negation of  His true form, thus only representing Him indirectly in a manner where His true form is not  directly manifest i.e. Krishna is unmanifest in the material creation similar to the fact that I am unmanifest in the mirror which reflects my image yet is only made of glass. This is explained in  Sri CC  2.19-20 and in Srila Prabhupada’s purport:

    “The sun is situated in a specific location but is reflected in countless jewels and appears  in innumerable localized aspects. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead,  although eternally present in His transcendental abode, Goloka Vṛndāvana, is reflected in  everyone’s heart as the Supersoul. […]”

    You say:

    “By your argument, humanity must be absent in all humans, because humans are  particulars, and the universals must be negated in the particular. In short, all particular humans must not have any humanity in them for them to be called humans.”

    There are two main points to be made here: (1) Humanity is not a Universal to which human  would be Particular. Human/humanity are a Particular kind of mammal (Universal), of which an Individual person is an instance. (2) Negation does not mean annihilation. This is explained by  Sripad Puri Maharaja:

    “Now this negation does not imply the annihilation of that which is negated, otherwise  the negation itself would be annihilated and cease to exist. So, negation implies a  correlation between the positive and negative aspects of existence. For example, night  may be considered the negation of day. Now, we all know that night exists, and equally  that day exists. The negation of day does not result in mere annihilation of day into  nothing – the negation produces something called night, which is the existing negation of  day. So both exist as the negation of each other, yet there is no question of annihilation of  anything.”

    Regarding the five issues you raised in your correspondence:

    1.   “First, Hegel had a progressive idea of history, and we have a cyclical idea of history”

    In Vedic philosophy, cyclical history is the material conception of  samsara . When you break the  cycle of  samsara  , escape from  samsara  , you enter eternal time which is Krishna enjoying  Himself through Himself. This is what Hegel is referring to when explaining history as being the  progression of Spirit coming to know itself as Spirit. His conception is on the Absolute platform,  not the mundane. Spirit is at first indeterminate or asleep in/as Nature, it becomes determinate in life, and it gradually progresses to  self-determination [freedom] of itself as Spirit. History is this progressive development of Spirit which is  observable through the progressive development of the history – first as bound in Nature to the repetition or cycle of determinate or finite life: birth-death-birth-death, etc. from which we must progress to liberation or freedom in the eternal, self determined Spirit.

    2.   “Second, for Hegel, the thesis produces its antithesis, which then combines to create a  synthesis, but we have the opposite idea, namely, that there is a synthesis, which divides  into thesis and antithesis to produce a material world of duality.”

    Hegel never, ever, used Thesis-Antithesis-Synthesis in his own writings. This is something that comes from the pre-Hegelian philosophies of Kant, Fichte and others, and is sometimes used to give a mostly  superficial hint to what Hegel was actually talking about.  The understanding of Hegel  demonstrated in your challenges seems to come from a misled generic interpretation of Hegel  which is held by many who have not studied/understood what Hegel  himself wrote.

    For Hegel an original unity is a dialectical union of opposing determinations which are misunderstood as an independent duality [as material world] but are in fact dialectically united.

    3.   “Third, in this struggle between thesis and antithesis, there is never a synthesis; rather  time passes by, and sometimes thesis dominates and then its antithesis dominates, which  is why we get cyclical time.”

    This is contradictory to what you say in point 2, “there is a synthesis, which divides into thesis and antithesis.” First you say “there is a synthesis” and then you say “there is never a synthesis.” Please check your logic here.

    4.   “Fourth, we are fundamentally opposed to binary opposites like thesis and antithesis; the  modes of rajas and tamas are thesis and antithesis, but sattva is neither of these two; this  means, even when one rises upward, it is not because of the synthesis of the opposites,  but by rejecting both opposites.”

    Not everyone interprets the modes/gunas as you do. In cell biology we have: building up, tearing down, and maintenance – anabolism, catabolism, metabolism – rajas, tamas, sattva, respectively. This is the function of the Guna Avatars. Brahma creation, Shiva destruction, and Vishnu maitenance. They are all essential parts of a system.  Only by going beyond life and death and its continuous cycles can one  become free of all three. There is no sattva guna in spiritual world – it is nirguna – the world of sat, cit, ananda, as generally understood.

    5.   “Fifth, the transcendent state is neither of the three modes; Brahman is not the synthesis of three modes; it rejects all the three.”

    Agreed. It seems the problem is your basic misunderstanding of Hegel, and a few logical mistakes.

    I am very grateful to you for the opportunity which this dialogue has presented me with to look  closer at some important details regarding these topics. Hopefully you will respond to the challenges I raised to your distinction between person and personality in my original message.

    #14088
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    There is no contradiction between color being in black, and white being in color. They are not physically inside. Your example of sets assumes physical containment. Black is defined in relation to color, and in relation to white. These are different kinds of relationships. That’s why modalities.

    When you see an apple, the apple is inside you and outside you. Likewise, you are inside the apple and outside it. The apple is inside because all its qualities are in your consciousness. And it is outside, because the apple exists even if you don’t perceive it. Likewise, you are inside the apple because apple’s nature defines your experience. And you are outside the apple because you can choose to ignore the apple. This inside and outside necessitates the use of modalities.

    I am not replacing particular with contextual. For me, a particular (as you have defined it) is a universal. Contextuality is another modality of meaning due to which one of the many meanings of a universal is selected. You are assuming that a universal has a fixed meaning; it doesn’t. This is the age-old problem of Greeks. They tried to give unique definitions to words like “beauty” and failed. They did not recognize that beauty is a universal but there are many kinds of beauty, all of which are in the perfect beauty, but even if all those kinds of beauty are not manifest, it is still beautiful. These varied kinds of beauties–or the particular ideas of beauty–are not relevant always. They are selected according to context. Thereby, tiger’s nails are also beautiful in some contexts. Contextual is essential to expand the universal. Without context there is no expansion of the universal.

    In yoga philosophy, Paramatma is a person, and He is visible in the heart, but not to everyone. The fact that He is not visible to everyone is described as avyakta (unmanifest). However, since He is a form, therefore, it is called a murti. The deity is vyakta murti and Paramatma is avyakta murti. Hence it is said that God is outside and inside. Outside as deity and inside as Paramatma. What we cannot see isn’t necessarily absent, or a negative existence. Abhava is a different category than avyakta. The former is absence and the latter is unmanifest. You are equating the two. I don’t have the time to go into details, but they are not the same thing. You have to know this difference.

    The “synthesis” I have talked of is called non-duality. And the thesis and antithesis I have talked about is duality. Non-duality creates the appearance or illusion of duality, when personhood is replaced with objectivity. An object is governed by rules and regulations, while a person is not. Therefore, when persons are objectified, and governed by rules, that is called duality. However, factually, there are no objects. There is only personhood. The objectivity of the person is an illusion. And that illusion toggles from one state to another, due to which there is never a synthesis. Non-duality is achieved when the illusion is given up.

    If you are having a torrid dream, and you wake up, you don’t say that I synthesized all the aspects of dream in my waking state. You discard the dream entirely to wake up. In the same way, duality never becomes non-duality. However, non-duality creates the illusion of duality (how that arises is yet another type of discussion, related to how God produces evil in this world).

    Hence, there is no synthesis between thesis and antithesis, and yet, the synthesis creates the illusion of thesis and antithesis. These things are not contradictions if we understand the nuances of duality and non-duality, and how non-duality produces the illusion of duality. The good sometimes creates the illusion of evil. However, evil never leads to good. We have to discard evil to reach good. We can also say that truth sometimes creates an illusion. We have to discard the illusion to reach the truth.

    There is cyclical time even in the spiritual world. That is why there is day and night, month after month, season after season, and year after year. Summer follows spring, and rains follow summer. However, the love is eternal, relationships are eternal, and the body is eternal. This is a deeper point about change vs. motion. The body can move, without the soul changing the body. So, there is a cyclical pattern in the body movement, and there is a cyclical pattern in the soul changing bodies. Just because the cycle of soul changing bodies ends, doesn’t mean the cycle of soul’s activities ends. Both times are cyclical, but they are cyclical in different ways. And that cycle involves toggling. The day doesn’t synthesize with night. Day and night remain separate alternating proclivities.

    You have decided that you want to follow Hegel. I can’t argue with that, except that I will ask you to return to my question: How do you use Hegel to solve the problems of science?

    It is quite fashionable to resurrect past philosophers. When we suffer, sometimes we get nostalgia. We look at the past, and say: That was much better. Thereby, some try to ressurrect Plato, others Kant, others Jung, and you want to resurrect Hegel. We are also resurrecting Vedanta. But we cannot have different standards for such resurrection. There is one problem—the problem of science—by which everything will be measured. So, use Hegel or praise him by all means, but demonstrate how his ideas (whatever they may be) solve the problems of science. Anything else is waste of time.

    Regarding the distinction between person and personality, I already clarified it. A person has a personality, which can also be present in that person’s creations. What more needs to be said? The issue you ran into was (a) nobody has said it earlier, (b) the personality in nature is a negative existence, and (c) your ideas about particular seem to be different from contextual. How can we progress in that conversation unless we wipe the slate clean of those problems?

    Our philosophy is simple. The world is like God’s speech. The speech was in God, the speech has separated from God, and God is in His speech. The God in whom the speech resided earlier is Bhagavan. The speech that has separated from God is Brahman. But that speech references Bhagavan, and the reference is called Paramatma. This reference arises because when God speaks, He describes Himself. For example, one might say “I am tall”. The speaker is not the word “I”. But the word refers to the speaker, such that all the statements comprising the world cannot be applied to anyone except the speaker. So Bhagavan is the speaker and Paramatma is “I” in the speech. The “I” is the root or the subject, and “tall” is the expanded object of “I” expanded from that “I”.

    In SB 1.1.1, two words–anvayat and itaratah–are used which means directly and indirectly. The material world is an indirect creation, but it is not disconnected from God. The spiritual world is a direct creation, and hence closer to God. The issue is about proximity to God, not connection or disconnection from God. Materialistic people, however, disconnect matter from God. For them, somehow God is absent in this world. This is the reason that religion in the West led to the atheism of modern science, because the world was separated from God by Deism. And you are resurrecting that idea in another way, by calling Paramatma a negative existence.

    The distinction between speaker and “I” exists in God as inner and outer nature. God’s inner nature is loving, but His outer nature is egoistic. The “I” is the beginning of this egotism. This is a sidebar, but in some cultures, the word “I” is rarely, if at all, used. In Hindi, for example, the sentence “I am going” is spoken as “We are going”. And the English sentence “We are going” is spoken as “We people are going”. This is because whoever uses the word “I” is considered too egoistic.

    However, since someone can use the word “I”, and that would be an egoistic person, therefore, “I am tall” is the claim made by an egoistic personality. God has an egoistic nature too, although it is called His outer nature. In some religions, God is called omnibenevolent, and people want to use God’s benevolence to get salvation from this world cheaply. For such people, God has an outer nature—God is not omnibenevolent for such people. This nature is also His nature, and yet, not His inner nature. Love is God’s inner nature and egotism is His outer nature. But both are His natures. Therefore, you cannot say that He is not loving. And you cannot say He is not egoistic.

    God expands a world from a loving nature, when the soul is loving. And God expands a world from an egoistic nature, when the soul is egoistic. They are both parts of God, because both natures are aspects God. And yet, one nature is inner and the other nature is outer. In semantics, inner means the core, essence, and fundamental, while outer means peripheral or inessential. This is the meaning of internal and external energies. They are both expanded from God’s nature. And yet, the internal energy is core, essential, and fundamental, and external energy is peripheral. You can also use terms like directly and indirectly. The core is direct and the periphery is indirect, not disconnected.

    There is an egoistic form of God represented by Lord Shiva. He represents God’s outer nature. If you study Shaivism, you will find a lot of discussion about how an “I” becomes “I am X”. The X expands out of “I”, and the two are connected in the statement “I am X”, such that they are separate and inseparable. This is the distinction and union of Shiva and Shakti (X is called His Sakti).

    Paramatma is a partial manifestation of this ego in Lord Shiva, due to the division of the ego into three aspects–sattvarajas, and tamas. Paramatma is the sattva subpart of the egoistic “I”, the outer nature. The inner nature of God eschews this egoistic “I” and hence the world is emotionally disconnected from Him. However, it is not cognitively and relationally disconnected from Him, because God also has an egoistic aspect, although it not God’s inner or essential nature.

    How this egoistic nature of God progressively manifests from His inner loving nature constitutes the study of spiritual cosmology. Many partial forms of God expand from Krishna, ultimately leading to the egoistic form of God, called Lord Shiva. This means that Krishna is the most humble and loving form of God, and every other form of God is somewhat more egoistic. This egotism appears as the relative detachment of these expanded God’s forms from their manifested creation. And humility and love appears as the relative dependence and attachment of God on His creation.

    However, just like “I” references the speaker, similarly, even as Lord Shiva expands a world of egotism, He inwardly meditates on Lord Krishna. Krishna is immanent in Lord Shiva due to this meditation. Therefore, “I” is not just a word; it is a person. As we discussed earlier, there are no objects. Even when Lord Shiva is “I”, although that “I” was spoken by Krishna, Lord Shiva does not confuse the meaning of “I” to be Himself. He knows that the word “I” was spoken by Krishna, and hence it pertains to Him. This reference of “I” to the speaker is Lord Shiva’s meditation on Krishna.

    Due to this meditation of “I” on the speaker, love is the basis even of egoistic projection. That means even in the outward projection of the ego, there is an inward loving nature. Due to this inward loving nature, even the material world expanded from Lord Shiva is considered beneficient.

    Therefore, we have to ponder many questions: (A) Why is material nature personified? (B) When nature is personified, isn’t Krishna in the heart of the person who manifests it? (C) How can we say that Krishna is not in material nature when He is in the heart of the person who manifests it? For example, if someone has a cheating heart, will we say that their works are devoid of cheating?

    There are many nested levels of reality. The demigods are parts of Paramatma, the Paramatma is a part of the Shakti, the Shakti is a part of Shiva, Shiva is a part of Balarama, who is part of Krishna. And as the parts exist in the whole, similarly, the whole exists in an unmanifest form in the parts.

    The manifestation of the parts in the whole means that the whole is aware of the parts. And the unmanifestation of the whole in the parts means that the parts are unaware of the whole.

    The ignorance of the whole in the part is not negative existence, non-existence, etc. It is just that the vision is not developed to see it. And when you don’t see something, you cannot conclude that it doesn’t exist. Not seeing something is called avyakta and not being present is called abhava. By the principle that the absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence, avyakta is not abhava. However, since very few people can see Paramatma, hence, the ignorance of the presence of the whole in the parts is called the unmanifest form. It is unmanifest in the same way that fire is unmanifest in wood. It is not absent, and yet it is unmanifest. Hence, abhava is not avyakta.

    If you read this book unconditioned by prejudices, you will find a lot. But if you are going to judge this book by your pre-established prejudices, then there is nothing I can do. It is your choice.

    #14090
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    One more thing you have to see in general is that every religion says that God created the soul and the world. But they don’t say that God is with the soul and the world. They detach the soul and the world from God, thereby creating separate individualities. That separation is itself egotism. Hence, all these religions that say that God created the soul and the world, but God is not with (or in) them, are themselves byproducts of egotism. They are all materialistic religions, sometimes called “cheating religions” because we cannot solve the real problems of life with such a religion.

    One such problem is: Can we know God from His creation? And the answer is always no in a religion under which God is separate from the word because God is not in the world. Since God is not in the world, and we are in a world detached from Him, therefore, we can never know of His existence in the world. We have to go to the transcendent world, but right now we don’t know if that even exists. Hence, we have to accept the transcendent world on faith. Separation immediately necessitates faith.

    This epistemological problem of knowing God here and now results in other downstream issues. For example, there are many souls and material things. How can this diversity expand from unity? This is the first problem. The second problem is that given this diversity, how can we know the unity? If God created diversity, then to know the unity from the diversity, we have to know everything in the world. Otherwise, our knowledge is incomplete. Practically, however, we cannot know everything. Hence, we cannot know the unity from which diversity has sprung. This means that we cannot know God unless we go to the transcendent world, and we don’t know if such a world even exists.

    These problems are solved in Vedic philosophy by saying that God is the unity, and there is diversity in the unity, and there is unity in the diversity. Brahman is the diversity. Paramatma is the unity in diversity. And Bhagavan is the diversity in the unity. If Bhagavan wasn’t diverse, then how could He create so many things? Then again, if there wasn’t one source, what would be the explanation for diversity? So, Bhagavan is diverse and unified, but He is the diversity in the unity. Then, if all this diversity has emerged, how can we know the unity from the diversity? If we try to know everything, then that is well nigh impossible. Thus, we could never know the source of diversity. The answer to that problem is that the whole truth is inside every small truth. Therefore, you don’t have to go broader in order to know everything. You can also go deeper in order to know everything.

    Depth and breadth are contradictory ideas in ordinary thinking: The jack of all trades is a master of none, and the master of one trade knows nothing else. This contradiction is overturned by this tripartite understanding of the Absolute Truth. You can know the whole truth by going deeper. Even if you completely understand just one atom, you would have understood the whole truth.

    However, the issue in the material world is that this immanent form of God is also manifested out of outer nature, or egoistic as opposed to a loving nature. This ego is further divided into three parts–sattvarajas, and tamas. The ego of tamas is based on fear and domination of others. The ego of rajas is based on confidence and assuredness in oneself. And the ego of sattva is based on the understanding that I have to neither fear the others nor do I have to be assured about myself. Rather, I have to just do my duties to the best of my abilities and the rest will be taken care of automatically. It is not confidence in the self, nor fear of others. It is rather the confidence that nature is just and benevolent. If I do my duties correctly, then I’m assured of success in my life.

    This is the sense in which sattva rejects both rajas and tamas. The person in rajas will say: I am capable and I have this power, and I will do all these things by my power. The person in tamas will say: The world is out to get me, and I have to defend myself by attacking and subjugating them. And the person is sattva will say: I am neither the most capable, nor do I have to fear others. I have to just do my job sincerely, and nature will automatically take care of everything. You put your faith in a system as opposed to putting trust in yourself or having the distrust of others. This sattva is progress, but it is not the unity of rajas and tamas. It is rather the rejection of both natures.

    This type of confidence is not spirituality, and yet, it is a progressive state toward spirituality. Since there is a strong conception of self and duty in this, it is also a material ego. And this material ego is personified by the Paramatma. He can guide a person in the just and moral duties of life, and He embodies the moral life. If one emulates this Person, then one is liberated from the cycle of birth and death. That attempt at liberation is imbued with the egotism of the well-being of the self. Hence, this conception of Paramatma is not considered the ultimate stage of spiritual perfection. The reason is that the Paramatma form of God personifies the egotism of performing duties for liberation. This is egotism rather than love. Hence it is considered material and different from God’s nature. But it is egotism in the mode of sattva, rather than egotism in the modes of rajas or tamas.

    Thus, by being in the mode of sattva, a person is liberated from the consequences of their actions. Liberation from the laws of material nature naturally leads to the idea that there is something binding us to this world. That is the science of guna and karma, or choice and consequence. Some choices bind us to this world, and other choices liberate us. The same law states both. But that law is actually a person. He is not an ordinary person, because He is already situated in pure sattva. Hence, He is liberated from the laws, by the same principle that other souls can be liberated.

    This idea is stated very simply by describing a government and a population. God and demigods are the government, and other people are the population. The government is perfect, and so we can put our trust in the system of governance, rather than trust in our power or distrust of others.

    In Newton’s mechanics, three laws apply to each particle. You can imagine a computer inside each particle that computes that particle’s behavior. Thus, it is already assumed that the universal laws are in each thing because those things are following those laws. In the same way, the idea that the Paramatma is in each atom is no stranger than saying that each atom follows a universal law. The difference is that the “law” in question is a Supreme Person. He is the government or ruler.

    The problem of modern science is the thinking that the laws are above the government, which means that the ruler is under the laws (also called democracy). Therefore, laws are impersonal, and they control the person. So, if there is a God in this world, He must be adjudicated by the same laws. Otherwise, He could violate the laws, and the order in nature would naturally disappear.

    This problem doesn’t arise in Vedic philosophy because God is liberated precisely because He is moral. The Supreme Controller is also an ideal person because He behaves without pride in Himself or out of fear of others. This principle applies not just to God, but to every living entity. That is, by acting in sattva, we can be liberated from the laws of choice and consequence (i.e., transmigration). Thereby, sattva is also equated to the universal, rajas to contextual, and tamas to individual. The Supreme Person in sattva is also the universal, He is also the law, and He is the ruler.

    We have to remember that the universal must also be an ideal. This is one idea that Greeks got right; they equated the universal to the ideal. But science has rejected that equivalence. The laws of nature are just facts. We don’t have to ask why they are so, because they are not expected to be ideal. Could nature be governed by better laws? Sure. But is nature governed by those laws? Not necessarily. This agnosticism of science divorces it from all value judgments, which means the universal laws of nature are not the ideal laws of nature. We don’t think of ideality; we just measure facts. One consequence of this agnosticism is that people start saying that the world was made for us. The Intelligent Design Argument, for example, reduces to: God exists because I exist. They should instead say that God exists because I am suffering. But they don’t say that. This is egotism.

    The agnosticism of science has roots in classical Greek philosophy when they failed to account for something that is perfect in a context, and yet not ideal. For example, ideally, wars must never happen. But wars for self-defense are perfect. Likewise, ideally, beauty means God, but non-ideally, even the nails of a tiger can be called beautiful in some circumstances. Greeks could never figure out how to distinguish between the contextual perfect and the universal ideal. And this is the reason that philosophy and science moved away from the quest for ideality. Something less than ideal is a part of that ideal, because it encompasses some aspect of that ideal, although is not fully ideal.

    However, if we return to the discussion of the ideal, then the laws of nature are perfect even if they are not ideal. For example, there is suffering in this world to correct the miscreants. That is not ideal, but it is perfect. Hence, the material world is perfect, but it is not ideal. Thereby, Paramatma is also perfect although not ideal. This perfect although not ideal is a part of the ideal. He is present in each atom entails that every atom behaves perfectly even if it is not ideal. For example, ideally, an atom should not cause disease. But in certain cases, it is perfect for an atom to cause diseases.

    Therefore, Nature is not working randomly, or even by imperfect and ideal agnostic laws. The basic principle for nature’s work is perfection. So, when we seek the laws of nature, we must ask: What is the best that could happen in this case? How do we determine the best thing? How does our choice interact with the best alternative? All those questions are now the foundation of science. All these questions are also questions of choice and consequence, also called dharma and karma.

    Since the Paramatma is in us, therefore, we don’t have to know the external world to know the whole truth. It is already within us. You just have to seek the Paramatma in the self. Then again, if we want to study the world, we still don’t have to study the whole world. We can just study one atom and we can perfectly know the whole truth about the creation. This is the solution to all the problems of empiricism and rationalism—we cannot empirically know the whole creation, but we can empirically know ourselves and one atom (any atom). Likewise, our rationality cannot capture the whole creation, but it can capture the nature of the self or one atom (any atom). By going deeper into these subjects, we know the whole truth, because that truth is simply the idea of perfection. This idea is a universal, it is personified in Paramatma, and it contextually acts in different ways to produce the perfect outcome within a given situation (which could be imperfect in other situations).

    Now, you can contrast these things with all other religions. First, God is transcendent and not immanent in the world, so we have to accept His existence on faith because we can never see Him in this world. Second, since God is transcendent, therefore, His guidance can only come to us through messiahs, because God cannot guide everyone in their hearts. Third, due to this messianic principle of obedience, the same rules must be applied to every single individual. Fourth, the idea of the soul, God, and liberation has absolutely no connection to worldly reason and observation because reason and observation apply to matter, and God is not in control of matter, or the controller within.

    If we cannot see the importance of Paramatma’s position in this world, then we are going to fall prey to the same types of issues as other religions—(a) blind faith in transcendence, (b) reliance on messiahs, (c) universality of rules, and (d) detachment from reason and observation. Everyone is prey to these issues to varying extents. For example, we cite our messiahs (gurus) without checking against reason and observation, we accept their claims based on faith because they cannot be verified in this world, and we advocate universal rules because God cannot individually guide anyone.

    As the position of Paramatma is neglected, the religion transforms into one of blind faith, messiahs, universal rules and regulations, detached from reason and observation. This is because, in all these religions, God created the soul and the world, but God is not with the soul and the world.

    #14093
    Ashish Dalela
    Keymaster

    I am a little surprised by your change in tone and mood since we shifted from personal email to this forum, by your request. What you have just posted here was not your initial response to my message posted above. I will post your original reply here, followed by my response to that message which you received personally, before moving on to address what you have added above.

    First, a point of clarification. This reply went to “spam” due to automated spam detection tools. It happens sometimes, and most likely if the computer you are using is marked as a “spammer”. As you know, you are constantly being tracked by online tools (I have tried to minimize them, but I can’t eliminate them totally; detecting spam is the one use I tend to put these tools to use willingly). When you go posting in today’s woke culture, a lot of things are marked as “spam”. For example, if you use your computer to post on atheistic forums, and someone on that forum marks your post as a “spam”, your computer gets tagged as a “spammer”. Then, when you post in other places using the same computer, you are automatically tagged as a spammer. Talk about intelligence in computing! I periodically look at these so-called spams and unspam them. I have done so in your case. It was delayed because I haven’t been keeping good health and was down with a fever the last few days.

    Second, my tone changed because I gave you a simple response about how God is in His creation, by giving the example of how an author is in his books, but you could not accept it. The author’s presence in the book requires a distinction between a person and a personality: The personality is replicated many times when the book is printed, however, the person is still just one. Prabhupada said many times that he lives in his books. But you print a million copies of the books, and that won’t replicate the soul a million times. So, if one has pondered the question of how the author lives in his books, then this distinction between person and personality would not seem so strange. The problem is that nobody ponders such questions. They just take them for granted unquestioningly. And hence when an explanation to that is offered, the answer seems rather strange and convoluted.

    Third, my response could have triggered in you a quest for the answer to the question: How is the author in the book? But you did not do that. Instead, you launched into somewhat orthogonal things. Thereby, you evaded the problem on the basis of which I made my claims, and went on to state other things, which means by your response we were already talking past each other. Ideally, you could have offered an alternative explanation of how the author lives in his books, and then we would have stayed on track. But since you went sideways after my first response, I had to change my tone.

    Now, onto the other issues, you have mentioned. The book example is somewhat imperfect because the book seems impersonal. This is due to our material conditioning. Factually, the person Bhagavata and the book Bhagavata are both “served” in the same way. That would not be possible unless the book was also a person. But due to our illusions, we treat the book impersonally. Hence, when something is embedded in something impersonal is also impersonalized. But what if it is not impersonal? What if it is a person? Then “embedding” inside another person would be that person meditating on the author of that book. That meditation has external effects, due to which we can also be led to meditate on the same topics. This is tied to deeper issues on the nature of causality. I can’t get into that here, but if you like you can read more on the doctrine of Satkāryavāda.

    In any case, when the personality is embedded into a person, the persons are distinct, but they have the personality of the creator. This is like parent and child. The child gets (certain aspects of) the parent’s personality. The child is a part of the whole person. So, the distinction is between whole and part, not between two separate things. Hence, Durga’s personality is also in Krishna. What is that personality? It is the nature of feminine aggression and conquest, like a mother controlling a child. Can Krishna be a mother? Sure. Is Krishna a mother? Yes. But do we know Him as a mother? Perhaps not. So, that aspect of Krishna’s personality is unmanifest to us. It is not absent.

    The mother is beating the child to correct it, and rewarding the child to encourage it. This beating and rewarding personality is Durga, but She is the mother, and that motherly quality is also in Krishna. So, Durga is also in Krishna, but we don’t know and we don’t see it. To manifest it, Krishna expands into Durga. Why? Because He wants to display His motherly nature. But we say: That is a separate person because we don’t know about Krishna’s motherly nature. Hence, we have to ask: How did Durga arise? Where did She come from? The answer is that She is a part of Krishna.

    We have discussed the other reasons for embedding previously. You are likely thinking about sets and objects inside other objects. But I’m thinking about persons, and how one person is inside the consciousness of another person, and yet outside of it. As noted earlier, this objective thinking is an illusion, but since it exists pervasively in this world, it is very hard to overcome it. Due to this type of thinking, when we say that God is “immanent” people assume that it is like a ball inside a box. A ball inside a box cannot be outside the box. And hence all the contradictions. But the immanence of a person inside another person doesn’t contain the person inside the other person. The person on whom we are meditating is inside and outside. Prabhupada called this “Krishna consciousness” by which Krishna is seen in the devotee’s heart always, although He is outside. That is the immanence of God in the soul. Immanence is not a contradiction to transcendence. That is because we are always talking about persons. The contradiction arises if we talk about objects and sets.

    The meaning of Krishna consciousness is that Krishna is in everything, although we may not be conscious of it. When we are not conscious of Krishna, then He is unmanifest. When we are, then He is manifest. Manifest or unmanifest, He is always present. This is why it is the consciousness of Krishna, not the invention of Krishna, interpretation of Krishna, creation of Krishna, etc. Since Krishna uses the terminology “I am in everything”, we are using the same term of immanence.

    But since that immanence is interpreted in terms of materialistic notions, therefore, we end up thinking in terms of object containment. The entire sequence of conclusions resulting from object containment is false and illusory. The fact is that even when a ball is put inside a box, it is not inside the box. This is realized by yogis who simply disappear from prison and appear elsewhere. It is because their body was never inside a prison. The idea of physical containment is an illusion. A prison is a person, and a yogi is a person. The yogi disconnects himself from the prison and escapes the prison, quite like a person losing awareness of another person and being unable to recall their actual form. The yogic practice is all about how to connect and disconnect with things, and by that, they can enter and exit places, times, and situations like it was a room you are walking into.

    Like that Krishna walks into a devotee’s heart simply by establishing a connection to Krishna. He is entrapped inside a devotee’s heart just like a ball is seemingly entrapped inside a box. That entrapment doesn’t mean that He is not outside, or in other hearts. We have to give up object-based thinking completely, and along with it the ideas of objects and set containment. These ideas are the very essence of the materialistic illusion. Hence set theory is called the “foundation” of modern mathematics. This is because it is the root of the illusion called objectivity and numerosity.

    If we personalize nature, then yellow is “meditating” on color, color is “meditating” on sight, etc. Due to that “meditation”, a personality called color is both inside yellow and outside it. Ultimately, all these material conceptual personas are meditating on Paramatma, who is also aware of the tripartite Sakti (and thereby Brahma and Shiva), and so it goes until Krishna. It is awareness due to which something is inside, but since that awareness is also a choice, therefore, it is outside. (In gross levels of matter, that choice is almost nil, so they are always in the awareness mode.) Awareness and choice are different modalities of consciousness. So, in one mode, the thing is inside, and in another mode, it is outside. This is converting the inconceivable to conceivable.

    All these things are discussed at length in the preface and introduction of the book. And yet, if we miss that preface and introduction as just something the author opines while the real stuff is in the sutras, then those sutras are read as if the preface never discussed it. The correct questions to ask are: In which modality is it X and in which modality is it not-X? How do these modalities arise? How do we change our logic to modal? But those questions are not asked. Rather, the standard question is: “You said X here, and you said not-X there, so it is a contradiction, hence it is false”.

    Isn’t this the fundamental problem of inconceivability that we are trying to solve? Isn’t the book title “Conceiving the Inconceivable”? What is the basic rule then? Convert all impersonal to personal. Then it is inside and outside. And that person is also in many modes like choice and awareness. So, this is the basic argument of the book, namely, that we throw away current logic and use a new logic.

    The current logic is based on objects, and we need a new kind of logic based on persons. If you try to think of persons in terms of object logic, you will run into contradictions. The simplest of that contradiction is that the apple is inside and outside when we observe an apple. To resolve such contradictions, we change our logic to a personal logic. This is the revolution I’m talking about.

    Since matter is also a person, therefore, this modal logic also applies to matter. Within classical logic, you get contradictions in the study of matter, and to avoid these contradictions, we must avoid asking some questions, and thereby science becomes incomplete. To complete it, we have to rejuvenate all those questions and resolve the ensuing contradictions. That is possible only with modal logic, and the use of modal logic requires the understanding that even matter is a person.

    So, personalism requires a new kind of logic, which also converts the inconceivable into conceivable. Things are inconceivable because we are thinking of them in terms of objects rather than persons. This is the evolution of Vedanta, and it is scientific because we are applying the same principle to the study of matter, soul, and God. By that, we solve the problems of science and we convert religion into science. If we miss this basic principle, then we should go back to the beginning and restart.

Viewing 8 posts - 1 through 8 (of 8 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.