Science of the Absolute







1. na'vidyate ya sa maya vidya'vidya para'para tamah pradhanam prakrtirbahudha saiva bhasate
What is not real, that is Negation,
Which by itself, as by science-nescience,
Transcendence-immanence, darkness and prime potency
Of nature, in many forms looms.
YA NAVIDYATE, what is not real,
SA MAYA, that is negation,
SA EVA, itself,
VIDYA, science,
AVIDYA, nescience,
PARA, transcendance,
APARA, immanence,
TAMAH, darkness,
PRADHANAM, prime potency,
PRAKRITIH, nature,
(ITI) BAHUDHA, (thus) in many forms,
BHASATE, looms
The term Maya refers to what is not real. What really does not exist but seems to exist in practical life is what is to be understood here. It is this same Maya which is not real but in practical life seems to be the basis of science, etc.

2. pragutpatteryatha'bhavo mrdeva brahmanah prthak na vidyate brahma hi ya sa maya'mevaibhava
Just as for the origin of the pot the clay itself is
In its non-being,(so too before the origin of the world), as other than the world,
What had no being as the Absolute itself,
Such is Maya, the negative principle of indeterminate possibility.
YATHA, just as,
(GHATASYA) UTPATTEH PRAG, before the origin (of the pot), ABHAVAH, the non-existence,
MRID-EVA, is the clay itself,
(TATHA JAGAT UTPATTEH PRAK), (in the same way before the origin of the world),
YA BRAMANAH PRTHAK NA VIDYATE, what as other than the Absolute is not there,
YA BRAHMA HI, what is the Absolute indeed,
SA MAYA AMEYAVAIBHAVA, such is the negative principle of indeterminate possibility
Although the term abhava as used in ordinary language means nothingness according to the Nyaya (Logic) school of philosophy, it is counted as a padartha (i.e. a category of existence). Even according to the Advaita philosophy, abhava is non-different from its counterpart bhava (being). Before the pot originated, its non-existence is to be attributed to the clay. In other words, it is the clay that remains as the prior non-existence of the pot. Therefore the non-existence prior to the origination of the pot has its anterior existence which is stated to be the clay. To state this another way, the non-existence of the pot and the existence of the clay are the same. But in reality even after the origin of the pot what is the being of the pot is a supposition, and the being of the clay is real. The non-existence of a certain object always resides in the existence of another thing. As the clay constitutes the anterior non-existence of the pot, it remains as another entity. Similarly, before the origin of the world its non-existence remains something which is none other than the Absolute. In other words, it is the Absolute alone. But from the Absolute which is without change of form, how this world with all its different forms came about is a matter that cannot be decided on the basis of inferential reasoning (anumana), etc. Therefore, that non-existence which was the cause of the origination of the world and is non-different from the Absolute is described here as the principle of indeterminate possibility. In other words, Maya - is the non-existent - is the Absolute. That which does not really exist is Maya, as has already been stated in the previous verse. Within the scope of the term Maya it is not wrong to include also manas (mind), sankalpa (willing), and other faculties.

3. anatma na sadatma saditi vidyotate yaya sa vidyeyam yatha rajjusarpatattvadharanam
"The non-Self is unreal, the Self is real".
Thus what looms is vidya (knowledge),
As the reality of the snake (appearance)
(Superimposed) one the rope-reality is understood.
ATMA SAT, the Self is real,
ANATMA NA SAT, the non-Self is unreal
ITI YAYA VIDYOTATE, thus what looms,
SA IYAM VIDYA, that what is here is knowledge,
YATHA-RAJJU-SARPA-TATTVA-AVADHARANAM, as the reality of the snake superimposed) on the reality of the rope is understood.
That knowledge which sees things as they really are is knowledge or science. That knowledge which makes us aware that the Self alone exists and all else outside it does not exist is (also) knowledge or science. Maya has a bright-intelligent side and a dark ignorant side. Of these, the bright-intelligent side is here referred to as vidya or science, which is the way to salvation.

4. atma na sad anatma saditi vidyotate yaya saiva'vidya yatha rajjusarpayoryatharthadrk
"The Self is unreal, the non-Self is real."
Thus what looms is avidya (nescience) indeed,
As the erroneous cognition
As between rope and snake.
ATMA NA SAT, the Self is unreal,
ANATMA SAT, the non-Self is real,
ITI YAYA VIDYOTATE, that what looms (in awareness),
SA EVA AVIDYA, that indeed is nescience,
YATHA RAJJU-SARPAYOR-AYATHARTHA-DRIK, as the erroneous cognition as between rope and snake.
What has the form of knowledge is vidya (science), and what has the form of ignorance is avidya (nescience). That is to say, nescience is contrary to science. Patanjali has said (in the "Yoga Sutras", II.5):

"What is transient (anitya), unclean (asuci), having a seat of suffering (duhkham), and belonging to the side of the non-Self (anatma) are respectively to be taken to be (as the opposite, such as) lasting (nitya), clean (suci), happy (sukham), and consisting of the Self (atma). Such perverted awareness is produced by nescience (avidya)."
Wrong value-judgments are thus included under nescience.

5. indriyani manobuddhipancapranadayo yaya visrjyante saiva para suksmangani cidatmanah
The senses, the mind, intelligence and the five
Vital tendencies, what creates -
That is the transcendent (para) indeed, even (they being)
The subtle limbs of the reasoning Self.
CIDATMANAH, of the reasoning Self (which is the vital principle), SUKSHMA-ANGANI, the subtle limbs,
INDRIYANI, the senses,
MANO-BUDDHI-PANCAPRANADAYAH, mind, intelligence, the five vital tendencies, etc.,
YAYA, that by which,
VISRJYANTE, is created,
SA-EVA PARA, that indeed is the transcendent aspect (of Maya)



The five organs of knowledge;
hearing (SROTRA),
sight (CAKSUS),
touch (TVAK),
taste (RASANA)
smell (GHRAND)



The five organs of action;
speech (VAK),
grasping (PANI),
legs (PADA),
excretory organs (PAYO)
sex organs (UPASTHA)



The five vital tendencies;
the upward vital tendency, (PRANA),
the downward (APANA),
the equalizing (SAMANA),
the outgoing, (UDANA)
the evenly spread (VYANA)
All these are the subtle limbs of the reasoning Self (which is the same as the vital-principle). Both the vital principle and the Absolute together form the thinking Self.

When the limbless Absolute comes to have these subtle limbs, it is called jiva or vital principle. So, in this manner, the Absolute without limbs is that factor which created limbs causing the erroneous consciousness of a living being; that limbless aspect of Maya is called para or the transcendent.

6. aganyetanyavastabhya sukhi dukhiva muhyati cidatma mayaya svasya tattvato'sti na kincana
Adopting as its own these limbs, the reasoning Self,
By its own negative base of error, imagines
(Itself) as if happy or suffering,
In truth, there is nothing at all.
CIDATMA, the reasoning self (which is the vital principle),
SVASYA MAYAYA, by its own negative base of error,
ANGANI-ETANI-AVASHTHABYA, adopting as its own these limbs, SUKHI IVA, as if happy,
DUKHI-IVA, as if suffering,
MUHYATI, imagines,
TATTVATAH, in truth,
KINCANA NA ASTI, there is nothing at all.
When the vital principle (jiva) has happiness or suffering of a sensuous character, it considers them to belong to itself and that there is an agent behind such happiness and suffering. (It also) erroneously considers itself to be happy or suffering. But in reality this happiness and suffering are only presentiments and therefore unreal. The vital principle which is the reasoning Self is ever free from happiness and suffering. It is Maya which is the transcendental (para) that is at the basis of this wrong assumption.

7. indriyanam hi visayah prapanco'yam visrjyate yayasaiva para'dhyatmasthulasankalpanamayi
The objective data of the senses, which is the world,
What emanates forth - that indeed,
In the context of the Self, is the immanent (apara),
The basis of all gross presentiments of the will.
INDRIYANAM HI, of the senses indeed,
VISHAYAH, the objective data,
AYAM PRAPANCAH, which is the world,
YAYA, by what (Maya factors),
VISRIJYANTE, emanates forth,
SA-EVA, that indeed,
ADHYATMA-STHULA-SANKALPANAMAYI APARA, which in the context of the Self is the basis therein of all gross presentiments of the will, is the immanent
This visible world of the five elements has been already stated to be a product of the will. What remains in the Self in the form of gross presentiment and creates this world as presented to the senses is that aspect of Maya called the immanent (apara). What is called para or transcendent is subtle and what is called apara or immanent is gross.

8. suktikayam yatha'jnanam rajatasya yadatmani kalpitasya nidanam tattama ityavagamyate
As the ignorance about the mother-of-pearl
Is the basis of the silver-presentiment,
So too what in the Self is the basis (of the world),
That is known as darkness (tamas).
YATHA, as,
SUKTIKAYAM, in the mother-of-pearl,
KALPITASYA, what is a presentiment,
RAJATASYA, of silver,
AJNANAM, lack of knowledge
NIDANAM, the basis,
ATHA, so,
ATMANI, in the Self,
YAD, that which,
KALPITASYA, of what is imagined,
JAGATAH, as the world,
NIDANAM, the basis,
AJNANAM, lack of knowledge,
TAT-TAMAH-ITI-AVAGAMYATE, this is known as darkness
Some people see the mother-of-pearl and mistake it for silver. The reason for this error is ignorance. In the same way, ignorance, which is the cause of the presentiment of the world, is darkness. When the Self is properly understood we come to know that it alone is real and the world is only a presentiment in the Self and is unreal. Just as darkness is the cause of error in perceiving silver in the mother-of-pearl, so the cause of the supposition of the world in the Self is that aspect of Maya called darkness.


9. dhiyate'smin prakarsena bije vrksa ivakhilam atah pradhanyato va'sya pradhana miti kathyate
Because of being that aspect (of Maya) which is a marvel,
By containing all this (universe) like a tree in a seed,
Or by virtue of its importance (above others),
This here is known as the prime potent power (pradhana).
BIJE-VRIKSHA-IVA-AKHILAM, as the tree in the seed, everything,
ASMIN, in this (i.e in this aspect of Maya),
PRAKARSHENA DHIYATE, contains as a marvel,
ITI ATAH VA, or else it,
ASYA, of this,
PRADHANYATAH (VA), (or) its importance,
IDAM, this pradhana
MITI KATHYATE, is known as the prime potent power.
In the same way as a large banyan tree is contained in a small seed, the whole of this universe is contained within Maya. Because in a marvelous way it contains the whole universe in itself, it is called prime potent power. There is the further justification for calling it pradhana, the prime potent power, because it is a more comprehensive factor than science (vidya) and other factors already enumerated.


10. karotiti prakarsena prakrtyaiva gunan prthak nigadyate'sau prakrtiritihatrigunatmika
By its very nature, because in a marvelous way
It diversifies the three nature modalities,
This aspect (of Maya) consisting of the three
Modalities is well known as Nature (prakrti).
PRAKRTYA-EVA, by its very nature,
GUNAN, the nature modalities,
PRAKARSHENA in a marvellous way,
PRTHAK KAROTI-ITI, in that it diversifies,
ASAU, (this aspect of Maya),
TRIGUNATMIKA, as consisting of the three modalities,
PRAKRTIH-ITI-HA NIGADYATE, it is well-known as nature (PRAKRTI)
The three Nature modalities remain potentially united within Maya before creation. At the time of creation Nature separates them out in a surprising manner. Because it was separated out in a surprising way it is called Nature. The varieties observed in Nature are all due to the three nature modalities. Nature is no other than what is the basis of the variety seen in the world. In this darsana, the same Maya has been described under the eight items (including Maya) which are: vidya (science), avidya (nescience), para (the transcendent), apara, (the immanent), tamas (darkness), pradhana (prime potent power), and prakriti (nature). This is not the ultimate Reality, but instead it is called Maya; because it is the basis of the discrimination of the Self from the non-Self it is called vidya ; because it is the basis of contrary knowledge it is called avidya ; because it remains in the form of potentiality and creates the subtle limbs of the vital principle, such as the indriyas, it is called para ; because it remains in a gross form and creates-the sense data called the world it is called apara ; because it remains in the form of darkness forming the basis of wrong suppositions it is called tamas ; because it bears within itself the whole universe in a surprising manner it is called pradhana ; (and) because it remains in the form of the three nature modalities, and by its own nature it is able to separate them, it is called prakriti. These are only the main divisions, but if necessary we could elaborate them into further subdivisions.








The two-sided epistemological status of this chapter is of primary importance for us to discuss, before we can enter directly into the spirit of the individual verses. We have already pointed out that the key concept of this chapter is cidatma or the reasoning Self. This double expression is meant to serve a definite purpose. The ontological Self of the third chapter was coloured by a thick shade of darkness or falsehood. In this chapter it appears less deep in its darkness. We are still, however, on the negative epistemological side in the context of the Absolute.

The darkness here is just enough to be a kind of "clear-obscure" twilight accommodating the kind of error which makes the mother-of-pearl seem like bright silver. There is a subtler contrariety or contradiction (or both) of an epistemological order, implied in other examples like the snake-rope confusion. This involves a more basic gullibility or predisposition to error than is normal to the robust commonsense attitude of a realist and a practical man of the world. We have also pointed out that this whole chapter is outside the usual scope of Vedanta. The content of Maya is not only analyzed into its components, but its subtler ambiguity or ambivalence is more fully revealed as a two-sided negative and irrational factor. By introducing the concept of cidatma the Guru gives a revised locus to the particular kind of irrationality intended by Maya. In doing this he is able to meet the objections of those who are against the Maya principle of Sankara and accommodates their viewpoints within the scope of this or the previous chapter avoiding all possible lacunae.






In his short commentary, Narayana Guru raises cidatma by equating it to the status of the Absolute. On the other hand it is also suggested that the same concept can be equated horizontally with where the vital principle (jiva) is inserted or implied. This is a two-sided mechanism participating on the plus and minus sides both vertically and horizontally. We have used the analogy of a smoky quartz crystal. Here the smokiness is so translucent that the crystalline nature is able to show itself, sometimes becoming quite evident, as on the plus side. This is indicated by the slight retouchings of Narayana Guru in the commentary, whereby the notion of Maya is raised fully even to the unitive status of an Absolute. It could be said to represent the vertical negative aspect. This is not accomplished in violation of the spirit of the whole work.


Each of the Darsanas is meant to be not only treated in the light of the Absolute, but also with the normative Absolute implied in each verse. All are meant to be interchangeable with any other notion given a central place and unitive treatment in each chapter. Just as the names Narayana, Vishnu, or Hari are meant to refer to the same Absolute when used by Ramanuja or Madhva, so it is not the names that matter so much as the meaning and intention behind them. Plato has used such concepts as Beauty and Truth, and it is quite permissible to treat any significant value as having a fully absolutist status. In the attitude of Karl Jaspers we have seen already how a modern thinker accepts this.





In Vedantic literature generally the term Maya is used as an all-inclusive or blanket expression to cover many items of errors of judgment and value in human life. Ambiguity, ambivalence, irrationality, absurdity, as well as more delicate errors of judgment, as also more fundamental ones due to optical illusion and the like, are all jumbled together and made to be included under the overall term Maya. We find in the Maya Darsana a healthy departure from this usual and confusing approach. The important items making for the evil of Maya as an overall negative principle of error are reviewed and presented in a methodical order with a clear definition of each element. Maya has also already been referred to in passing in previous chapters where ontology or methodology had primacy. It was not necessary in the earlier chapters to cover the same ground. This is the reason why the present chapter has a more epistemological status in the context of reason. We see, however, some axiological references made in the commentary or gloss where it is concerned with the effects of a lack of Self-knowledge and where Patanjali, the author of the Yoga Sutras, is quoted.


In certain matters this chapter anticipates future chapters and what is more important, prepares the way for the next Darsana. All these delicate distinctions have to be fully appraised and appreciated by anyone wanting the full benefit of the minute workmanship of Narayana Guru. The same linking thread runs through the entire length of the Darsana Mala, as in the forward and backward movements of the "homeostasis" found in modern cybernetics. There is a gentle negativity and also a similar positivity found here. In thermodynamics, where the notions of entropy and negentropy are referred to, the same principle is involved. Also the processes of endosmosis and exosmosis found in biology can be helpful in understanding the mutual participation of essences here where negativity still dominates.






If the objectors to Maya could see the great effort made by Narayana Guru to agree with them, in that he gives to error an absolutist status almost equal to the positive Absolute, they might come down from their anti-Maya positions. Likewise the principle of contradiction is still retained in the favourite example of mother-of-pearl and silver, where the error is of an epistemological order and not to be explained away by any new kind of khyativada (principle of finding the attribution of error to some aspect of total fact, substance, or value).


The first verse refers to the overall category of error and negativity characterizing the concept of Maya. Error primarily refers to something having no raison d'être of its own. By underlining this aspect and giving it the very first place in the treatment of the subject, Narayana Guru has shown that the seven objections of Ramanuja have no sound basis. Having totally and emphatically denied the reality of Maya, his objections are fully accepted in principle by Narayana Guru. Yet this does not mean that one should not discuss its epistemological implications. Even to reject a false notion one has to use some critical judgment. When a National Bank resorts to elaborate accounting to cancel old notes and issue new ones, all calculations would be muddled if the cancellation department did not function correctly. The same is true for the Absolute, which can only emerge fully into view when the last vestiges of paradox have been abolished or made so transparent and thin that the paradox itself is dissolved into the core of the fully non-dual notion of the pure Absolute. Maya refers simply to the negative vertical parameter which needs normalization with reference to its own positive counterpart. Both positive and negative are then to be cancelled out in favour of a fully neutral and normal Absolute.







The magic of words can be alluring, so let us attempt to give precision to the variety of terms found in the present chapter.


The word "Maya "has already been used in Chapter 1, Verse 1; Chapter 2, Verses 3 and 7; and Chapter 3, Verse 8. In each chapter it has had a slightly different connotation or denotation. Even within the limits of this chapter the content of the term is held between two limiting factors which refer to wonder and fecundity. Also it is important always to keep in mind Sankara's definitions of Maya (see page 488).


We can now see how Narayana Guru is able to improve the situation by giving a clear definition of Maya in the present chapter. This helps to clear up the confusing meanings of some of the terms, such as jiva (vital principle) and brahman (the Absolute), both related to Maya. It will be profitable for us at this point to prove the advantages of the geometrical or schematic way of thinking. In the first and last verses there is an indication of the element of wonder and the all-surpassing and all-comprehensive fecund nature of Maya. Maya is meant to have an absolutist status of its own and its overall character of negativity or nothingness is the only point on which it differs from the fully perfected and purified notion of the Absolute. The Absolute can be thought of as that which is absolute among all that is relative, or the Relative of all relatives. When cancelled out against its own counterpart, we then have the Absolute of all absolutes, unnamed, formless and fully in-itself, for-itself and by-itself, with no duality nor rivalry. We will come to this complete unrivalled position at the end of the next chapter. In this chapter, however, a slight epistemological and methodological asymmetry is permissible and expected to be taken as normal.





In the first verse of this chapter there are two ambivalent pairs called vidya-avidya (science-nescience) and para-apara (transcendence-immanence), as well as three other items: prakriti or nature, pradhana or prime potent power and tamas or darkness. All these three have their ambivalence absorbed within themselves. They occupy a more central position in the scheme and are each placed at some point on the vertical parameter.


At this stage we shall try again to make clearer the implications of the schematic language we are using. First of all, there is a horizontal line of demarcation between the world of percepts and the world of concepts. If one writes the word "red" with a red pencil or alternatively proves the redness by making a red line or scribble, in this simple manner, the conceptual (invisible) and perceptual (visible) aspects are brought into clear distinction.

This distinction has been the subject of metaphysical speculation from most ancient times. In the Republic (Book VI), Plato resorts to the division of a vertical line into two parts with further subdivisions. The first broad division refers to this same distinction called the visible and the invisible (1), also called elsewhere the intelligible. The further sub-divisions depend upon the clarity of the ideas they represent. For our purposes we distinguish the two divisions more simply as the world of percepts or perceptibles and the world of concepts or conceivables.






On the basis of this distinction, the total knowledge-situation when thought of as a globe or circle has a horizontal line passing through its centre, serving as a schematic reference. Above, it consists of the conceptual elements of knowledge, while below it are the corresponding perceptual elements. Vedanta also recognizes this division by a nama-rupa or name-form distinction. Such a way of thinking is not foreign to Indian wisdom, and we find a masterful passage in the Bhagavad Gita (XIII. 34) where this kind of schematism is fully evident: 
"Those who by the eye of wisdom perceive the difference between the field and the knower of the field (its bearing on) elements-nature- emancipation - they go to the Supreme." (2)

 It is to the principle of the Cartesian coordinates that this new way of thinking in terms of analytical and geometrical forms has been a great improvement. It is not hard to recognize how Vyasa in the Bhagavad Gita, as well as Sankara and Narayana Guru, had the same type of structuralism in their minds, in spite of the fact that one of them tried to give, as we are doing in this present work, an elaborate protolinguistic form to the possibility of such a language Let us now take the first pair of ambivalent factors in Verse 1 called vidya-avidya. This pair is meant to have a superior epistemological status, higher up on the vertical axis than the para-apara pair. The alternating circulatory process involved in the domain of science and nescience takes place around a centre placed at a higher level on the vertical axis.






The figure-of-eight representing the alternatives as a living process takes place in a purer and more verticalized sense when the two antinomies or ambivalent factors are involved. The second pair which are para-apara have a horizontalizing tendency a little more accentuated than the former pair. Here the transcendent-immanent more closely approximates to the distinction of the field (kshetra) and the knower of the field (kshetrajna) as found in the above quotation from the Gita.


We have also to note that in the context proper to the first pair of antinomies the question of happiness (sukha) and suffering (dukha) does not occur. In the context of knowledge conducive to liberation on the one side and bondage on the other, sukha and dukha become one degree more vitalistically real as an alternating process at the lower level with a central locus placed in the vertical axis, where this process takes place between the plus and minus sides of the total knowledge-situation. When Narayana Guru points out that the vital principle (jiva), also a vitalistically conditioned self, is caught in a certain type of confusion, imagining itself to be alternately happy and suffering, such duality is abolished by merely stating, as he does soon after, "In truth there is nothing at all". (See Verse 6). Such a statement can be justified with the help of our schematic language when we say that the horizontal, which is the function of Maya, can be overcome by a philosophically trained mind which, by its better understanding, refuses to recognize the horizontalized value-implications where vital tendencies incline the Self to horizontalized interests. By a full verticalization of these tendencies one transcends the duality of the ambivalent interests. When this is done such interests become less and less accentuated, as if by a lighter and lighter coloration and become finally absorbed in terms of a pure mind-stuff (cid) in the purer vertical parameter. This process is already foreshadowed in Chapter 3, Verse 2, where it is seen clearly that real interests have a merely schematic status in the mind of a philosopher.







The general overall setting of the dynamism of Maya is found in Chapter 1, Verse 2. The Lord is endowed with a vague and mysterious attribute, and is able to create things from himself and at the same time exist outside his own creation. In the Bhagavad Gita (II, 28) it is further shown how all things remain unmanifested at the beginning and the end, and manifested in the middle state: 
"Beings have an unmanifested origin and manifested middle states, 0 Arjuna, and again unmanifested terminations. Where is there room for plaint herein?" (3) 


In this chapter we also find in Narayana Guru's gloss on Verse 6 happiness and suffering referred to alternately with reference to the jiva or vital principle. The factor affecting such alternation is Maya, which has a dynamism proper to itself and is capable of being accentuated or intensified, with a dualism between the pure and practical aspects where it pulsates or alternates in a continuous succession. When such attenuated pulsations are very fast, as in the case of electromagnetic pulsations, they tend to get fully absorbed into the vertical, and this horizontal conflict becomes unnoticeable. Life, when viewed in a perfectly verticalized context abolishes events such as birth and death, absorbing both into a one-dimensional continuum. Such an interpretation is justified in the Gita where it shows the two alternative views one may adopt.  




In Chapter II, 12 everything visible is seen to be abolished forever: 
"Further never was I non-existent, nor you nor these chiefs of men; neither shall we, all of us, ever cease becoming hereafter." (4)


While in Chapter II, 26 an alternating process is presented: 
"Or again if you should hold This to be, constantly ever-born or as constantly ever-dying, even then, 0 Mighty Armed (Arjuna), you have no reason to regret it." (5)


Such passages show the pulsations of Maya as an alternating process accentuated along a verticalized or horizontalized reference. The states of happiness or suffering can alternate very quickly or become evident within longer amplitudes of the time factor. Maya is therefore recognizable at the basis of such an alternating process, where expansion or contraction of tendencies takes place. In Chapter 2, Verse 7 of the Darsana Mala further light is seen to be shed on the implication of the Maya factor with the term maya-viduragam, or "as something banishing Maya far away."


We can divide into minute atoms, using a descending method of dialectics reaching the microscopic world of nuclear physics, or we can alternately ascend to the macroscopic world of astronomical plenitude. In both cases Maya is transcended and left behind. Although this double-sided dynamism does not seem to be possible according to Sankara's commentary on the Brahma Sutras, nonetheless it is accepted by Narayana Guru. He gives the analytic as well as the synthetic an equal status. The former belongs to the world of the perceptibles in the domain of physical science and the latter belongs to the world of concepts in the domain of metaphysics.






In the second part of this work we shall examine the lopsided view taken by Sankara on this matter. For the present, it will suffice to visualize clearly the double-sided dynamism at the basis of its functioning at the core of the reasoning Self (cidatma).


From the pair of antinomian factors held together in the epistemological context where vidya (science) and avidya (nescience) belong, we can pass vertically downwards to the more ontological colour domain of the immanent and transcendent similarly held together. Finally in the analysis of the components of Maya, we pass on to the next important serialized item called tamas (darkness). We have already pointed out how this darkness is not so thickly laid on as in the previous chapter. We see the error for which the typical example adopted is the analogy of the mother-of-pearl and the silver appearance instead of the rope-snake appearance. This latter analogy explains the fuller perversion of values when nescience treats the non-Self as the Self, and thus epistemologically the principle of contradiction is more fully admitted for logical purposes. The milder example of the mother-of-pearl and silver appearance is used by Narayana Guru where the visual mistake does not contain the same epistemological elements of contrast or contradiction between them. In mistaking the Self for the non-Self, resulting in this perversion of values, the error is more serious. Narayana Guru´s position in his epistemology and methodology resembles the attitude of Sankara himself. In more real and ontological terms of pleasure and pain he is satisfied with the mother-of- pearl example favoured by Ramanuja. Duality can exist in mild or accentuated, subtle or gross forms. Logical duality implying contradiction cannot be explained away, but ontological duality is capable of being transcended by the mind.


The difference in this matter between Sankara and Ramanuja is thus capable of being reconciled by a more scientifically revised absolutist methodology and epistemology.







We can recognize a gradation between the various factors making up the plus or transcendental side of the vertical axis of consciousness in the quasi-ontological context of the second ambivalent pair. The indriyas or sense organs which constitute a positive factor with the organs of action (karmendriyas), as their corresponding negative counterparts, represent values where the afferent and efferent tendencies of the mind neutralize or cancel each other out in terms of real interests capable of being located at various structural levels.


The mind, the focal meeting point of the interests treated together, when fully passive does not make any choice between alternative interests. When reasoning enters more actively into the context, there is discrimination between two alternative interests presenting themselves at the same time. This element of discrimination gives to the passive mind a deeper seat in the pure consciousness of the cidatma (reasoning Self). The interests themselves depend upon still more deeply-seated vital tendencies where organs of action and organs of knowledge neutralize each other at the seat of motor tendencies at a still deeper level of vitalistic urges. Between the vital tendencies known as pranas (explained in the short commentary to Verse 5 in this chapter) and the intellectual interests found at a higher level of the senses, we have a reciprocity and ambivalence. We see here a gradation in a descending order at successive points in the vertical axis, tending to be more and more gross.






The five vital tendencies function by expansion and contraction of sensory or motor organs, and have among them a chief vital tendency called mukhya-prana. Such a reduction is recognized even by Sankara in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras II.1.20), where we read: 
"Nor must the vital airs, on account of their being divided into classes, be considered as something else than vital air; for wind (air) constitutes their common character." (6) 


Further too, we see in his Viveka Cudamani (Verse 96), these vital airs included by him as one of the eight component items of the sukshma sarira (subtle body).



We have now to take particular note of the functioning of the immanent aspect of the second pair of ambivalent factors (i.e. para-apara). The transcendent has just been disposed of and now we shall refer to the apara or immanent. The immanent is described in Verse 7 as adhyatma-sthula-sankalpa-na-mayi, or as "what in the context of the Self is the basis therein of all gross presentiments of the will".


The first point to notice is that such a presentiment, though concrete, is not outside the scope of the Self. It still enjoys here the full and dignified status of a Concrete Universal as found in Hegel's philosophy. Vedantic philosophy generally dismisses anything not made of pure mind-stuff, calling it inert (jada) and unintelligent (acit). Ramanuja calls it mecha or insignificant, while Sankara, at least in his Brahma Sutras Commentary treats it as belonging to materialistic philosophy as represented by Kanada and Kapila.






To such thinkers he will not give any credit at all in what he conceives as constituting the proper domain of brahmavidya, the Science of the Absolute. (See II.2.1-18 of Sankara´s Commentaries for a serial refutation of the Samkhya (rationalist) philosophy of Kapila and the Vaiseshika (atomist) philosophy of Kanada.)


Some later Vedantins, however, make amends for such wholesale bypassing of all knowledge based on perception (pratyaksha). In this connection it is interesting to find the work of the 17th Century South Indian Vedantin, Dharmaraja Adhvarin. His Vedanta Paribhasha treats of all the pramanas (instruments of knowledge) found in the epistemology of Vedanta. The first pramana is perception, and it receives full epistemological recognition. We read as follows (1.1 and 1.18, respectively): 
"Of these, that which is the distinctive cause (karana) of valid perception (pratyaksha) is the pramana - pratyakshaHere, just as the water of a tank, going out through a hole and entering fields through channels, comes to have, even like those (fields), a quadrangular or other figure, similarly, the internal organs too, which are of the nature of light, going out through the sense of sight, etc., and reaching to the locality of contents like pot, is modified in the form of contents like a pot. This same modification is called a psychosis (vritti)." (7) 
Concrete things are not to be altogether dismissed from the scope of a complete Vedantic epistemology. Even the colourful implications of the universal concrete, given to generalization and abstraction, as is natural to any complete philosophy, is not to be considered outside the scope of the immanent aspect of the veiling and projecting power of Maya as a principle behind the presentiments of the will.






Such presentiments consist of the very stuff of the will, as indicated by the term sankalpamayi. We have also seen how Bergson presents a corresponding colourful version of prime matter subjected to movements of continuity or difference existing together in his notion of the schéma moteur.



There are many grades of indeterminism or uncertainty, from simple optical illusions to subtle errors of an epistemological order. The propositional calculus and logistics reveal a series of conditional grades of truth alternating within the limits of tautology and contradiction. This produces many varieties of incertitude. Logic-truths also add to this complexity. When appearances and realities cling closely together in such a way that one easily mistakes one for the other it becomes important to definitely fix the locus of error.


In India this attempt to locate error as belonging intrinsically or extrinsically to its proper grade, to be placed in the total situation where error is possible is called khyativada (the principle of finding the source of error). One thing is taken for another and the basic aspect where error is possible is the seat of such wrong or right 'reputation' or imputation called khyati. In order to give a discussion some kind of definitiveness, Vedanta and allied schools of thought make use of the example of the mother-of-pearl and silver appearance. Here the visible silver has to be taken as real as Ramanuja does when he says (in I.1.1): 
"Those who understand the Veda hold that all cognition has for its object what is real; for Sruti and Smriti alike teach that everything participates in the nature of everything else." (8) 




But from the ontological side, when the effect from the mother-of-pearl is treated as false and when both cause and effect factors are given equal status we arrive at a paradox. This paradox suits the purpose of transcending paradox by Sankara through his epistemology and his postulation of anirvacaniyakhyati (the principle of unpredicability). Other varieties of error have only a milder form of ambiguity, where one or the other of the two aspects is true. This is atmakhyat, favoured by the Buddhist Vijnanavadins (subjective idealists) who say: 
"It is established that the three worlds are representation only (ideation only).... the three worlds are only mind. Mind, thought, consciousness, discernment are all different names .... 'only' excludes external objects; it does not do away with mental associates." (9) 


Realists tend to treat error as outside the scope of the Self and idealists place it in the subjective Self. Error does not arise at all with some other philosophers who put it in an intermediate position. These latter khyatis do not involve any paradox or ambiguity factor of a deep epistemological order.


Two other khyatis, called anyathakhyativada (basis of error located elsewhere) and anirvacaniyakhyativada (the principle of impredicability), have the paradoxical being-non-being status of the Absolute or the Self at their basis. The former anyatha khyati is found in the Nyaya (Logical) school of philosophy. We read the following: 
"What is set aside by true knowledge is the wrong apprehension, not the object." (9) 


The latter khyati is found in Sankara´s epistemology.




This position of anirvacaniyakhyati has been quoted once before, on p.389. In trying to give precision to the principle of uncertainty Narayana Guru has his own definition, where he consciously relies on the classical example so dear to Indian speculation. This definition is in Verse 8 of the fourth chapter: 
"As the ignorance about the mother-of-pearl
The basis of the silver presentiment becomes
So, too, what in the Self is the basis (of the world)
That is known as darkness (tamas)."


This definition has no vagueness at all about it. There is a delicate interplay of two uncertainties, one of an ontological order and the other of a conceptual order. The two move alternatively as it were between the two poles located in the Self. A certain ignorance is said to be the basis of the wrong appreciation of value involved. Thought moves between two alternating errors: the first, not appreciating fully the ontological basis of the mother-of-pearl; and the second, being too easily carried away by the glamorous silvery appearance. There is not much to choose between these errors. For the purposes of this chapter, Narayana Guru allows a slight primacy in favour of ontology when he says that the locus of the error can be traced to the lack of full knowledge about the mother-of-pearl as an ontological reality. So, the error is a kind of ambiguity between two alternative positions where the negative is given slight primacy over the positive. This is done so as to remain consistent within the frame of reference of this chapter. This slight asymmetry will be balanced at the end of the next chapter and the anirvacaniya position fully dealt with.






Sankara's position gives full credit to paradox where both being and non-being, and neither being nor non-being, are equally valid. This corresponds to the full status of the Absolute as a pure schema or idea emerging to view only when the plus and minus factors are fully cancelled out against each other. When this is done the position of the Absolute is almost empty of content and even the attempt to name it would be wrong. This position is in the same spirit as that of the Tao Teh Khing, where it is said that the Tao (Absolute) that can be named is not the lasting and eternal Tao. This is also found in the concluding passage of the Mandukya Upanishad describing the fourth state (caturtham) of consciousness where all predicability is denied to the absolute Self. This tallies with the finalized version not yet attained in this chapter, where we are still within the reach of a negatively poised ambiguity.


At this stage of our discussion we will now attempt a schematic definition of Maya promised at the beginning of the analysis of Verses 1 to 8. The two other remaining items to be analyzed are pradhana and prakriti. Together they constitute reciprocal aspects of the same principle of Maya. The first phase of our definition is tentatively enunciated as follows: Maya implies a descending and horizontalizing specificatory or negative tendency while still retaining a subtle epistemological paradox at its core.



Both the terms pradhana and prakriti have the prefix pra- meaning "more so." When they are interpreted as prakasa the element of splendour or wonder is added. Prakarshena means in a wonderful manner". The two suffixes are meant to indicate a reciprocity between their respective operations within the creative functioning of Maya.






The radical -krit means "overt activity or doing", while -dhana means "to contain or hold together" in the manner of a receptacle holding the dispersing peripheral specificatory tendencies (11). We have to place this latter principle of decentralization at the extreme vertical negative point of the ontological or existent pole in the scheme so far developed. Manifestation negatively commences at this pole, as seen in the verses just quoted from the Bhagavad Gita where it is stated that the beginning is unmanifested (avyakta).


The Vaiseshika doctrine of ultimate atoms (paramanu) can also be consistently fitted into this prime ontological context where everything is contained in nascent form, referred to by Kanada as adrishta (12). This pole is also suggestive of the cup containing the essential materials used in Vedic sacrifices. It is a kind of receptacle where divergent tendencies meet together to fuse into a unique unity. The "inverted cup" already mentioned (see pages 495 to 497) is structurally its counterpart on the plus side of the vertical axis.






Having now fixed the position of the pradhana at the negative extreme limit, as the ontological source of Maya, and also revealing this structural paradox at the core of the Absolute, it is easier for us to fix the implications of prakriti. We have evidently to find a place for it at a level in our structure where the horizontalizing tendencies operate most strongly. Therefore prakriti finds its place at the zero point of the vertical correlate. Its function is pluralistic and centrifugal because of its specificatory creative urge expressing itself in the manifold colourful variety of the visible world. Although this variety is endless it has to presuppose the three nature modalities (tri-guna), called sattva (pure), rajas (active), and tamas (dark). The Gunas can be schematically represented in terms of the colour solid as follows: sattva belongs to the white tip of the top cone, rajas to the middle red zone where maximum specification prevails, and tamas to the black tip of the bottom cone where ontological necessity again gathers all tendencies together into its own unseen prior state. The red could be thought of as marking the same level as the neutral grey on the vertical parameter.


Having explained this much we now give the rest of the definition of Maya: From the extreme point of negativity in the vertical axis a reciprocal ascending movement of specificatory tendencies attains to a maximum horizontalization at the zero point in the centre. These two reciprocal processes can be viewed in terms of entropy or negentropy, or as endosmosis and exosmosis where they absorb each other. However, the reciprocity is not yet perfectly equalized because negativity prevails over the positive. At the end of Chapter 5 this will be correctly balanced. A double process has to be imaginatively visualized. This is a prerequisite for atmavidya (the Science of the Self) as Sankara points out in the Vivekacudamani, Verse 16.







In the second verse of this chapter the word abhava (non-existence) is found. This term, which is fundamental to the Nyaya-Vaiseshika methodology, is also approvingly adopted by Narayana Guru in his commentary (on page 548). In its revalued form the term is meant to clarify the position of the latter-day Nyaya-Vaiseshika philosophers who include abhava as a regular padartha (category) together with the six other categories. In Vedanta the term prag-abhava, or anterior non-existence, is used in relation to material substances such as clay, as the Guru Narayana himself does in this verse.


Philosophizing with matter as the starting point was repugnant to Socrates who openly objected to the hylozoists, whom he charged with being interested only in mud and stones, and not in the world of the intelligibles. In India this same contempt is revealed by Sankara in his Brahma Sutra Commentary. It is not difficult to discover, by carefully reading between the lines, how Sankara's philosophy is also tainted with this prejudice. A large part of his commentary contains a rather matter-of-fact polemical denunciation of the Samkhya and Nyaya-Vaiseshika approaches. He takes his stand quite rightly on the claims of sabda pramana (the validity of the scriptural texts), but his way of upholding the a priori and axiomatic method is not altogether scientific. In standing for the notion of the Absolute in all its independence and purity, Sankara never tires of stating again and again his objection to the ontological pradhana of the Samkhyas. He also summarily dismisses Buddhist philosophy and the paramanu (ultimate atom) doctrine of the Vaiseshikas.






No credit is given to the ancient rishis (sages); Kanada, and even the great Buddha are supposedly unable to counter the arguments of the Vedic lawgiver, Manu. The slightest criticism of the Vedic word, even when impossible and contradictory positions are found, is nonetheless endorsed by both Sankara and Ramanuja. This extreme intolerance in the name of orthodoxy unmistakably comes into evidence when the question of caste and Vedic orthodoxy are mentioned. In the apasudra-adhikarana (section denying Vedic rites, religion, etc., to the proletarian), the spiritual status of the sudra is discussed. This orthodox attitude denies any rights and dignity whatsoever to the common person. It is comparable only to the instances of slavery and lynching in America and the anti-Semitism of Europe and Hitler before and during the last World War. This section of the Brahma Sutras is a blot on human nature and genuine Indian spirituality should not be confused with it. We find mention of permission given to punish sudras by killing them if they happen to know the contents of any part of the Vedas. If they innocently happen to hear the Vedas being recited it is permitted to pour molten lead or wax in their ears. If the sudra is caught uttering any Vedic passage he is to have his tongue cut out. Although exceptions to this rule are mentioned and reluctantly approved using far-fetched and irrelevant arguments, as Max Muller pointed out, this section of the Brahma Sutras (I.3.34-38) sufficiently reveals the nature and intensity of the intolerance and exclusiveness of a group of orthodox Hindus. The claim of Hindu tolerance made by Swami Vivekananda in his famous Chicago Address seems very weak when viewed from this particular perspective.





That Sankara has no word to say against this in his commentary is rather strange because his position regarding caste is different in the Vivekacudamani, where in verse 297 he compares caste to a rotting corpse. Also in his Upadesasahasri (A Thousand Advices) in Verses 14 and 15 he tells the student it is wrong to think of himself as being a Brahmin. Whenever Narayana Guru met an orthodox person claiming to represent Vedanta, invariably the first question he put to him was whether or not there was any justice or kindness in the section of the Brahma Sutras dealing with the status or dignity due to sudras.


We have alluded to this section of the Brahma Sutras at some length merely to show how spirituality can degenerate into something closed and static. This tendency is evident in Sankara's commentary where he does not even succeed in covering up his intention of completely destroying all philosophical views different from those of the Brahma Sutras. He never accepts another's standpoint, but always clings tenaciously to his own. His conclusion found in II.2.17. regarding the Vaiseshika philosophy is summed up as follows: 
"It thus appears that the atomic doctrine is supported by very weak arguments only, is opposed to those scriptural passages which declare the Lord to be the general cause, and is not accepted by any of the authorities taking their stand on Scripture, such as Manu and others. Hence it is to be altogether disregarded by high-minded men who have a regard for their own spiritual welfare." (13)






 The only relieving feature of Sankara´s commentary is the extremely subtle nature of some of his speculation revealing delicate fencing tactics directed against a number of imaginary opponents. Unfortunately, many of these opponents are not true representatives of the schools of philosophy they are supposed to represent, but instead are mere caricatures. Sometimes they are even degraded to a lower position and presented as unintelligent. This device is used for the glory of Vedism and Vedanta. It appears that this work must have been written for the training of a group of Vedic Brahmins for use against their more philosophical and spiritual opponents. Fortunately the position of the Brahma Sutras is openly and dynamically revalued by the Bhagavad Gita.


In contrast the approach of the Bhagavad Gita is strikingly different to that of the Brahma Sutras. The Gita is strictly in accordance with scientific norms of thought and completely open and dynamic when it says in Chapter IV, Verse 11: 
""My very path it is, that all men do tread from every possible approach." (14) 


This open outlook is further evidenced when it says in Chapter IX, Verse 32, that sudras, women, and even those of sinful origin can attain to the supreme goal. (15)

The Samkhya philosophy also receives complete recognition in Chapter XVIII, Verses 13-16. (16) 
The purpose of the Gita is to revalue the restate both the orthodox and heterodox currents of thought of its time. In Chapter V, Verses 4 and 5 the emphasis is on complete equality of status between orthodox and heterodox disciplines. (17)
In Chapter IX, Verse 32, reference is made to five distinct levels or categories in the context of a philosophical analysis of the Absolute.





It is admitted in Vedanta that one and the same Absolute has three distinct aspects called satyam-jnanam-anantam (ontological truth or reality, wisdom, and infinity). Here a vertical series of distinct levels is seen passing from the existent through the subsistent and finally to the world of high values. Vedanta accepts ananda (value or bliss), atma (the Self), and brahman (the Absolute) as referring to the same Absolute. Such combined theological, psychological, and cosmological treatment does not refer to three different Absolutes. Anyone who is not able to understand such a unity is said in the Katha Upanishad to "wend from death to death". There is also the Vedantic toleration of different names, such as the Supreme, Vasudeva, Hari, Vishnu, or Narayana; all being accepted as referring to the same Absolute. Furthermore, we have to notice that the rules of Vedanta are not violated when the cause of the universe is traced to the Absolute or even to its secondary negative derivations or aspects such as Maya. We quite often read in Vedantic literature that Maya is the cause of the universe. Strictly speaking, this should not be permitted if the Brahma Sutras and Sankara's commentary are to be taken literally, because, according to them, the cause of the world cannot be anything but Brahman.


It must be permissible for a philosopher to interpose any number of intermediate notions considered as immediate or remote sources of the world. For example, in another context, the immediate source of colour is the vibrations behind the effect. This does not mean that the overall source of colour is denied. The orthodoxy reflected in the Brahma Sutras seems to insist vehemently that only brahman is the cause of the world. The consensus of the meaning of the text, as understood by its author. Badarayana, is the only reason required to prove the direct and unique causal relation between the phenomenal world and the Absolute. Thus the pradhana of the Samkhya philosophy is totally rejected.





In strictness the same objection can be applied to Maya as the cause of the world. Every philosopher, in making the transition between the world of appearances and the Absolute, has to overcome the paradoxical elements between them. At one or another epistemological grade of his discussion this can be done. For the purposes of necessity he can use as many intermediate concepts as might be needed for his system in order to bypass all contradiction and resolve paradox. This is permissible as long as he consistently explains his terms. Therefore it is not necessary for an open- minded and scientific philosophy to object to another's terminology when it is clear and precise. As we have just noted, much latitude already prevails in the matter of naming the Absolute and the three or five categories belonging to it, and it is not incorrect for a philosophy like the Samkhya to refer to a term like pradhana. The term pradhana only means "Prime Nature", as a receptacle similar to the notion found in Plato's "Timaeus".


In the Bhagavad Gita (XVIII.13,14) already referred to, there are the five categories called adhisthanam (basis or pedestal), karta (actor or doer), karanam (instruments of action), cesta (varied activity), and daivam (the divine principle). To bundle them all together under the term Maya is a much easier task for the non-critically minded metaphysician than to clearly and analytically number these categories. Instead of being a drawback in speculation, such analysis into categories should be welcomed. The Gita is therefore more critical, scientific, and methodological in its approach than the Brahma Sutras which generally takes its stand on the evidence found in the scriptures. Doing this only gives certitude to its highly orthodox beliefs.






The term adhisthanam found in the Gita (XVIII.14) is a reference of special importance, because it refers to the ontological aspect of the Absolute. When one finds there reference to the Samkhya philosophy, which is respected here rather than jeered at, the dialectical revaluation undertaken by the Gita is evident. We read as follows: 
"In what concerns agency for cause (hetu) and effect (karya) the motivating factor is said to be nature (prakriti) ; in the matter of the experiencer of pleasure and pain, the motivating factor is spirit (purusha)." (18) 


The duality of prakriti and purusha has been attacked by certain Vedantins on the grounds that the two factors involved are comparable in their relationship to a lame beggar with sight being carried by a blind beggar with strong legs. Such an example used in this way is not valid when prakriti and purusha are fitted into a fourfold structural context instead of only a twofold one. This is exactly what the Gita revaluation accomplishes when we carefully examine the implications found in the last quoted verse above. They are related to a deep seated and common basic cause (hetu). These two aspects of the same Absolute meet on a common epistemological ground called hetu, admitting neither contradiction nor tautology but accommodating both the twin aspects structurally, organically or functionally.


Material and psychological factors are seen to be attributes of both. Nature is viewed from its effect-side first and deep-seated causes are traced horizontally to their origin in the receptacle of prime matter or pradhana. The reference to the instruments of knowledge as experiencing pleasure and pain is given an intermediate position between the source and its manifestation. Spirit is related to the same material basis, corresponding to the notion of pradhana which is more of a potential than a kinetic aspect of Nature.






The main distinguishing feature of purusha (spirit) is that it has a consciousness capable of appreciating pleasure or pain. The enjoyable (bhogya) is the horizontal correlate of the vertical enjoyer (bhokta). Both belong to the same context of the Absolute. The justification for such an interpretation of this verse is found in the frequent references to these two aspects of Nature as bhogya and bhokta. Another verse of the Gita (IV, 32) is also highly suggestive of this same type of structure. The verse reads as follows: 
"Thus many and varied are the sacrifices spread in front of the Absolute. Know them all as originating in action. Thus understanding them you shall gain release." (19) 


Here 'sacrifices spread out' unmistakably has a horizontal Upanishadic reference.



In the Svetasvatara Upanishad, Kapila is referred to with honour. We read: 
"(Even) the One who rules over every single source,
All forms and all sources;
Who bears in his thoughts, and beholds when born,
That red (Kapila) seer who was engendered in the beginning" (20)


Next, we go to VI. 16 of the same Upanishad where concepts such as prime matter or pradhana (the potent aspect of nature), prakriti, (nature as manifested), and visvakrit, the maker of all, figure together in a delicately interwoven manner. We read as follows: 

"He who is the maker of all, the all-knower, self-sourced, intelligent, the author of time, possessor of qualities, omniscient, is the ruler of primary matter (pradhana) and of the spirit (kshetrajna), the lord of qualities (guna) the cause of reincarnation (samsara) and of liberation (moksha), of continuance and of bondage." (21)





What specially interests us here is the similarity to the Unmoved Mover of Aristotle as well as to the Prime Mover, which is the same when more abstractly viewed. Also "prius nobis" or what is prior in terms of knowledge corresponds to the adrishta of the Nyaya-Vaiseshika philosophy as a paradoxical notion of absolute substance, having its double aspects of natura naturans and natura naturata. All this is foreshadowed in the above quotation. It is not a teleological Absolute that is the source of all things, but rather an ontological one. The ontological Absolute forms the negative pole of the vertical axis while the Vedantic teleological Absolute forms the positive side. This is fully recognized in the Maitri Upanishad (VI.10) for the purpose of tracing the origin of the material world. Formal and material causes are thus equally in order in the light of the epistemology of this and other Upanishads.  

 It is not hard to recognize the notion of pradhana as corresponding to Aristotle's notion of entelechy. Purusha is the vertical positive correlate of prakriti and both meet at the negative vertical level of the Absolute. Prakriti and pradhana occupy their respective positions on this same negative side of the vertical axis. This is the reason why Narayana Guru refers to atma (the Self) instead of cidatma (the reasoning Self). When he treats of prakriti and pradhana he further proceeds in an epistemological manner towards the negative factors making up the totality of Maya. The study of Maya can be undertaken from two ends, which are those of prakriti when the three gunas or nature modalities are fully operative in it. This is the seat of the most delicate of paradoxes in consciousness and it is where all philosophy has its origin.  







The Nyaya (Logical) point of view of Gotama, the Vaiseshika (Atomist) point of view of Kanada, and the Samkhya (Rationalist) point of view of Kapila, are all seen to be woven into a set of unitive whole visions by Narayana Guru. On first appearance this may seem to be an artificial construction, but a fuller analysis of the Darsana Mala will dispel such an opinion. What will be revealed instead is the fine workmanship of all the chapters that go into making the single garland. It requires microscopic scrutiny to establish a link between non-existence (abhava) and the unseen principle (adrishta) implied in the atoms (anu) of the Vaiseshikas. We have to recall what has already been said in the attempt to link the ancient Greek concepts of Nous and Logos (see pages 84-37). Western pre-Socratic philosophers like Empedocles, Heraclitus and Anaximander have contributed much to hylozoist thinking where prime matter is treated in relation to a vital life principle.


It is important to note that in Verse 2 Narayana Guru adopts a fully dialectical methodology bringing in the concept of abhava. This term is explained in his short commentary to Verse 2 as belonging to the Nyaya school of philosophy. Abhava has for its further corollary the notion of ananyatva or non-otherness. This is advantageously used in Verse 2 where the material cause and its effect are treated as being perfectly interchangeable dialectical counterparts. This same methodology is consistently found throughout each chapter and it is this element that lends structural unity not only to the present chapter but to the work as a whole.






Abhava is treated as a padartha (category) in the Nyaya-Vaiseshika school of philosophy. It was added as a seventh category to the six others which are dravya (substance), guna (nature modality), karma (action), samanya (universal), visesha (specific) and samanvaya (mutual inherence). It is easy to see that abhava brings up the tail end of the overall epistemological series. Although it refers to non-existence, it is not meant to be empty of all content. We have to suppose a more basic and pure matrix or content on which the notion of non-existence can be fixed on some kind of neutral world ground. The possibility of an equation between this non-existence and its dialectical counterpart which is the Absolute, is sufficiently evident from the second half of Verse 2, where it says brahma hi, which is ("even the Absolute."). It might be now asked how a negative entity can be equated with the non-negative Absolute? This slight asymmetry is found consistent with the title of this chapter and its subject-matter. It will be progressively abolished and normalized by the end of the next chapter. For the present let us go one step further and recognize the vertical parameter relating abhava to the extreme point where the ultimate atom (paramanu) is distinguished in the context of the pradhana. The Samkhya revaluation of the pradhana justifies the association of the paramanu with the pradhana.

Kanada's view of the atom is as it were related to a vanishing point corresponding to the negative pole in our structural representation. Just as Euclidean points are without dimensions but merely have location in absolute space, the atom can be considered as linking existence with non-existence. There is reference in the Vaiseshika system to binary atoms called dhyanuka as well as triune atoms called tryanuka. There is also reference to a quaternion structure between two sets of atoms with unique specific qualities of their own.






They refer to the first four of the five elements and each corresponds to their respective sense organ in the human body. These atoms are not just physical "realities" to be looked upon as unilaterally objective in status. They are rather psycho-physical entities, where extension in space can meet with cogitation in subtle terms of essence. The intricacies of such a position are not easy to explain strictly in the light of the various philosophies attributed to this school. The variety of viewpoints found within the Vaiseshika developed from pre-Upanishadic times makes it difficult to fix any particular period or school as final in such matters. We also find this account on ontology in the Vedanta, where as late as the 17th century, the author of the Vedantaparibhasha, Dharmaraja, already quoted, added his important contribution. Indian wisdom is a growth of thousands of years with an earlier and a later limit covering many centuries.. We can do no better therefore than to rely on the masterful summary and estimate of the Vaiseshika philosophy presented by Theos Bernard which reads as follows: 
"If science has shown us that matter is merely an extension of the invisible, the question arises, how can something of magnitude be produced from something without magnitude? This can best be illustrated by an example from mathematics, which deals in the realms of abstraction. Through a process of logical reason in the analysis of matter, we arrive at a place beyond which further division would involve us in the fallacy of regressus ad infinitum, which no reasonable person can admit. This ultimate position is designated a point, which is defined as that which has neither parts nor extent, but position only; therefore, it can be considered only from its position, which is a stress in the universal, all-pervading cosmic force out of which all things come. As such, it occupies no space, has no inside or outside; having no parts, it is not produced and cannot be destroyed, which involves the separation of parts; therefore, it is eternal, and it has no magnitude, that is, no length, breadth, or thickness. This positional reality is what is meant by the Sanskrit word anu and the superlative of the term, paramanu." (22) 





Bernard now shows how the prime atom takes on both a binary and ternary form. We read: 
"If, at least two points (anu) associate themselves in such a manner as to combine along a common axis, the resultant effect is classified as a binary or a form consisting of two variables. This form is described as a line which is defined as a series of related positions or association of points so coordinated As to have a single axis. In Sanskrit this binary form is known as dvyanuka
To produce the third element of thickness necessary for the creation of all visible phenomena having magnitude, it is necessary for at least three lines to associate themselves in such a manner that they will combine to form an integral whole, operating and functioning as a single system. This system is technically classified as a ternary form, that is a rational integral, homogeneous function of a set of three variables. In Sanskrit it is designated as a tryanuka or trasarenu." (23) 


We now read this interesting observation regarding the ternary atom:
"This combination of lines gives thickness to the former unit having only length and breadth, and thus produces all visible forms known to us in the objective world, varying only in the degree of intensity of the association forming either vaporous clouds or a glittering diamond." (24)






Bernard concludes as follows: 
"In this manner, all the objects of the phenomenal world are produced. So, in the last analysis, everything is but an appearance of an intangible reality; that appearance is the magnitude called mass, which is only a means of measurement and not an actual reality. These new forms act independently from their fundamental constituent parts in the same way that a gyroscope exerts its own influence when it is operating." (25) 


The affinities of this analysis of the atom with our four dimensions and our own two-sided conical structural model are easily recognizable. Each inverted cone has three dimensions where the extreme negative point at the bottom corresponds to the position occupied by the atom. The gyroscopic operation refers to the centrifugal and centripetal functions inherent in Nature. The reference to the indivisibility of the atom reminds us of Schrodinger's reference to the ultimate atom found in modern physics as non-material and as a mere image.


Both pradhana and prakriti are to be thought of together, though operating with a reciprocity at two different levels. They represent between them the two gyroscopic movements whose prakriti separates centrifugally the three qualities and centripetally fixes them together once again in a mutually transparent or invisible manner.


Non-existence (abhava) is always presupposed in the negative limiting notion of the paramanu which is itself eternal, unique and without dimensions. It also has the element of adrishta (unperceivability) as a synthetic a priori beyond in the negative direction, being based in an absolute neutral world-ground which is the amorphous matrix of all manifestation of names and forms.






The non-otherness (ananyatva) of abhava (nothingness), taken side by side along with the notion of the Absolute, is one of the subtle points in the second verse that fully deserves thus our recognition.



The one problem puzzling philosophers in both the East and the West is the question of the participation, insertion or articulation of mind with matter. The parallelism between them and the occasionalism where interaction takes place is well known in Western rationalism. In India the Vaibhasikas, Yogacaras and Vijnanavadins who believe in momentary appearance and disappearance have been examined by Sankara in his commentary on the Brahma Sutras. The simpler and more original Buddhist standpoint also receives more respectful recognition by him. Yet many of the arguments directed against these schools are seen not to be dignified enough and often full of childish objections not fully respecting the total setting where each theory has been set forth. One even sometimes wonders if the same Sankara is responsible for each and every comment on the numerous sutras. Here and there a superior and well-constructed critique emerges, but generally one becomes disgusted with the low order of argumentation used against anyone who is not in the orthodox Vedic camp.


In the Brahma Sutras (II.2.28) we have an example of a brilliant critique of certain Buddhist positions. This shows in itself that it did not come from an ordinary mind only capable of arguing in childish ways. We find in this critique the finalized Vedantic standpoint where the principle of negativity prevails in its two-sided ambiguity and incertitude.






We are quoting from it because of its bearing on the reality both of the visible world and the mental world behind it. The real is not explained away but treated on a par with its own dialectical negative counterpart, resulting in anirvacaniya-khyati-vada or the principle of unpredicability. To use the term of Heisenberg, two "conjugates" are involved here. We are led to this line of inquiry because in the present series of verses we find in the commentary to Verse 3 that it is vidya or science that is able to bring emancipation. Let us now examine briefly Sankara's version of the dynamism behind the interaction between mind and matter. We see how his argument is in agreement with Narayana Guru's own standpoint. We read as follows: 
"The non-existence of external things cannot be maintained because we are conscious of external things. In every act of perception we are conscious of some external thing corresponding to the idea, whether it be a post or a wall or a piece of cloth or a jar, and that of which we are conscious cannot but exist .... Nobody when perceiving a post or a wall is conscious of his perception only, but all men are conscious of posts and walls and the like as objects of their perceptions. That such is the consciousness of all men appears also from the fact that even those who contest the existence of external things bear witness to their existence when they say that what is an internal object of cognition appears like something external. For they practically accept the general consciousness, which testifies to the existence of the external world, and being at the same time anxious to refute it they speak of the external things as like something external ...... If we accept the truth as it is given to us in our consciousness, we must admit that the object of perception appears to us as something external, not like something internal." (26) 





There are two sets of dynamisms clearly visible in the sixth verse of this chapter where the ambivalent aspects belonging to the cidatma (reasoning Self) are cancelled out into a neutral state between pleasure and pain. There is also another dynamism involved between prakriti and pradhana having a centripetal and centrifugal alternating implication. This takes place at a lower level where the positive reasoning faculty does not enter to the same extent into the situation as in the former. Verse 10 clearly indicates the dynamism immediately behind prime matter. There are unmistakable horizontalized implications herein, while the former dynamism between the transcendental and the immanent concerns the deep seat of alternating value appreciations. This latter alternation is reflected in the Isa Upanishad (Verses 11 and 14) where vidya-avidya (science-nescience) and sambhuti-vinasa (becoming-destruction) are represented as circulating in rapid alternation between the two poles which we could suppose as implying a figure-of-eight pattern of circulating movement (see pages 494-495). The other two dynamisms alternating at frequent or long intervals within the negative core of Nature have a motion similar to a gyroscope. There is always a quantitative division of cells and a qualitative continuity of chromosomes as in biology, as Schrodinger explains in his work.







As we have previously stated, Bergson in the "Two Sources of Morality and Religion" refers to the universe as "a machine for the making of gods." He is speaking here as an instrumentalist who is capable of attaining the idea of God from the functional or operative side of instrumentalism. The converse version of the same overall situation is found in the Bhagavad Gita (XVIII.6), where it states: 
"The Lord dwells in the heart-region of all beings, 0 Arjuna, causing all beings to revolve through the principle of appearance (Maya) (as if mounted on a machine.)" (27) 


In the Maitri Upanishad (VI.38) the Absolute is referred to as "of size of thumb or span within the body" (28). In the Darsana Mala there is the reference to the tendency of light and darkness not being able to coexist. All these are basic antinomies with their equivalents found in any serious philosophy. The Absolute is the only principle that can effectively abolish the paradox and in doing so it sets up a circulatory alternation of tendencies in consciousness. We have already referred to these as endosmosis-exosmosis and entropy-negentropy. In cybernetics there is also this functioning called action and retroaction (feedback) and also the idea of homeostasis (equilibrium). In the previous section reference was made by Theos Bernard to the gyroscope in dealing with the paramanu of the Vaiseshikas and now we see how the Bhagavad Gita treats all beings as revolving on a machine. Reference was made to these statements in order to show that Indian wisdom can also treat of the mechanistic world of the machine when it wishes to. In other writings of Narayana Guru we find this subtle bipolar mechanism lending itself to the paradox of Maya.






We read the following in Verse 33 the Atmopadesa Satakam (One Hundred Verses on Self Instruction): 
"Knowledge in order to know itself
The earth and other manifestations became.
In inverted manner thus now mounting, now changing over,
Like circulating fire-faggot it keeps turning round." (29)

The circulation of thought confirming to a figure-of-eight is clearly implied in Verse 17 of the same work where we are given a graphic structural image of a rotating hanging lamp consisting of two decks or tiers representing the conceptual and perceptual aspects of cognition. The two poles brought up respectively by the concepts of the atom and the Infinite (akhanda) is also referred to by Narayana Guru in the Atmopadesa Satakam, in Verse 96. We read:

"The atom and the infinite as being and non-being
Loom thus from either side; this experience too
Of being as well as non-being shall thereafter extinction gain,
And devoid of any basis, shall forever cease to be! (30)


The parameter uniting the Logos and the Nous has already been explained by us in various contexts. Mind and matter or name and form participate from two opposite sides instead of being graded one into the other as evolutionists and even certain creative evolutionists like T. de Chardin might imagine. Bergson speaks of such an approach as an error starting from the time of Plato.






According to him instincts meet intelligence at a point where they disperse each other. This meeting of antinomies resulting in world manifestation, described in Verse 33 of the Atmopadesa Satakam quoted above, makes it clear that such a meeting comes from opposite sides.


If we now think of the implications of such a structural double- sidedness regarding spiritual progress, it is true in the first instance that the desire for such progress points its arrow to the plus side of the situation. But philosophers like Nietzsche have also pointed out that thinking of what "was" is one of the greatest tribulations to the spirit. Dwelling on the past is a form of regret and dangerous to spiritual progress. This is why pitriyana (ancestor-worship) is degraded in the Vedanta and devayana or worship of the gods is at least tolerated as the next best, pointing the arrow in the right direction for normal spiritual progress. In this connection Narayana Guru does not rule out even the possibility of attaining the hidden treasure of the Absolute by digging into the negative and retrospective layers hiding it. Such a progress moving in this negative direction can attain in principle at least the ultimate atom (paramanu) and by this attain the light of the Absolute. We read in the Atmopadesa Satakam, Verse 64 the following:
"This which ever prevails, surmounting each interest item
One's proper retrospection alone can compromise.
By means of extremely lucid memory, however, the revealing
Of ultimate-wisdom-treasure is still not us unjustified." (31)






We conclude this section by pointing out that Kanada and Kapila should not be looked upon with contempt as is done in the Brahma Sutras. Both these philosophers have made large contributions to the Science of the Absolute. If ordinary pious and religious spiritual progress does not move in the same negative direction it should not to be thought wrong for more sturdy contemplatives to take this negative and more scientific approach. Viewed in this light the contributions to an integrated Science of the Absolute made by Kapila and Kanada remain monumental.



Although the title of this Chapter is Negativity, referring as it does to the principle of error, we have to remember we are still in the domain of ontology. At first sight ontology means existence (sat), but the status of the word sat is the same as the existing reality referred to in Chapter 1. Here the notion of sat in pure or absolutist epistemology belongs to a purer context in the negative vertical axis. The ontology implied in the previous chapter on phenomenology is where eidetic presentiments and tangible phenomena based on the mind were treated together.


We are now dealing with subtler forms of illusion. Verse 17 of the Atmopadesa Satakam refers to a lamp burning with a shadow as the basis of the visible form. In this light and shadow analogy the side that light represents stands for conceptual knowledge, understood as referring to the vidya or science found mentioned in the beginning of this chapter. The extreme negative limit is the all-comprehensive notion of negativity implied in the pradhana which attains its own dignity as the unique rival factor of the positive or normalized Brahman of the Sutras, or the Absolute.





In the concluding summary of the textual commentary Narayana Guru enumerates eight items, including Maya, (see page 555) and discusses each of them summarily, with Maya as an overall principle of negativity meant to cover a series of other graded aspects of ambiguity and error. These eight items can be regarded as boxes within a box. Yet such a view becomes incompatible when grades of error are themselves considered in the light of a purer epistemology where dignity or richness of content become homogeneous and equally transparent to the light of the one Absolute. The boxes need not be considered then as small or big or gross or subtle in size or nature. Prakriti, for example, with its strong dynamism cannot be enclosed in simple negativity. These grades have only a categorical or schematic status with an inner dynamism proper to the whole.


The proof that we are still in the domain of ontology is found in the accentuation placed on the ignorance of the mother-of-pearl in Verse 8. This can be contrasted with the same example in the last verse of Chapter 6, where the silver appearance seems to be given primacy. These are delicate aspects of Narayana Guru's detailed workmanship in the structure of this garland of verses.


Another such delicate point to be noticed is the definition of vidya as opposed to avidya. Here we find a high degree of transparency wherein this positive ambivalent aspect of nescience participates and reveals the Absolute as the basis of all apparent duality. The smokiness of the quartz crystal which is lighter than in the previous chapter, has here beginning at its tip a transparency and brilliance giving it the epistemological gradation which this chapter is meant to emphasize.






We now summarily review the verses: 
Verse 1. It is important to note that Maya is meant to cover all other negative concepts and its rival in dignity and status is the neutral Absolute itself, still to emerge into full view in later chapters. The inner contradiction involved in asking whether Maya is real or exists, or even bringing in the question of belief or non-belief, is revealed by the very first characteristic of Maya in the definition given in the very first verse. It is like a person shaking his head to say "no" when asked not to move his head by a doctor or barber or of writing the words 'this is a white pencil' with a black lead. There is an inner inconsistency in denying Maya which is itself based on a basic denial.


Verse 2. The non-otherness of what is unreal in connection with the Absolute requires careful examination. The non-existence of a pot contains the existence of the clay which is its material cause. This dialectical way of thinking is an accepted feature of Indian logic and fully valid in Vedanta, although properly speaking this method originated with the Nyaya (Logical) school of philosophy. Cause and effect thus belong to a context similar to a reversible reaction and together constitute a pure mathematical equation where the terms are interchangeable. In principle there is no harm in equating pure nothingness with the pure Absolute as is done by the Madhyamika school of Buddhism.

We have to suppose that the negative side of the Absolute is first absorbed into the pure nothing anterior to nothingness referred to here. By the very act of abolishing the negative, the positive Absolute evaporates because the positive and negative are dialectically interdependent. The paradox is to be solved thus by double negation and double assertion so that the neutral Absolute could be attained.






Verse 3. This verse begins with a double negation ("The non-Self is unreal ...) in order to doubly assert ("...the Self is real) the fully Absolutist ontological aspect of the Self. Here the Self belongs to the ontological or negative side because the appearance of the snake belongs to the conceptual non-Self side. A subtle inversion is present which is the basis of the appreciation of wrong values and which comes into evidence in the next verse where a simpler pair or ambivalent ontological factors is under consideration. Already in its germinal state nescience contains the element perverting normal values of intelligent life.


Verse 4. When the third verse is understood, the meaning of this verse becomes clear enough. This verse only states the converse position of the last .


Verse 5. Here the central notion is cidatma, a combination of pure reason and the Self. There is here both the horizontal and vertical aspects, brought into relationship with each other. This aspect of the Self as cidatma is subject to alternating pleasure and pain. Narayana Guru in his short commentary relates this with the jiva or vital principle and jiva (vital self) should be understood as the horizontal correlate of cidatma. There is also a reference in the commentary to the limbless Absolute with which cidatma can also be correlated. Such an Absolute is the verticalized version of the same. Besides the definitions contained in the verse, our structural analysis helps to fix these notions more precisely


Verse 6. When the structural mechanism of verse 5 is understood a full verticalization of the tendencies in the jiva would be found to abolish the ambivalent alternation of pleasure and pain At a higher level both get absorbed into the Absolute.






Verse 7. In the immanent (apara) aspect of the ontological, fully existential and negative Absolute there is the nuclear pattern of reality present as a universal concrete. This is compatible with our own idea of the colour solid. The universal concrete of Hegel tallies with this ontological aspect. When nature operates more fully this potential nuclear aspect of the concrete universal transforms itself kinetically from its inner epistemological status to a more manifest one.


Verse 8. The delicate interplay of ambiguity between the mother-of-pearl and the silver appearance rests on an ontological rather than a teleological or psychological basis. A fuller knowledge of the mother-of-pearl abolishes the error of the silver appearance. Negativity, when pushed further, abolishes duality by diminishing the possibility of error at the opposite pole. We have already pointed out how the position will be reversed in Chapter 6 when we pass from ontology to teleology employing an ascending dialectical reasoning.



Verse 9. In the second half of this verse an alternate meaning is given to the notion of pradhana or the negative "receptacle" at the bottom of the total situation. It has its counterpart in the inverted cup that we have alluded to in the third chapter. The pradhana is a notion referring to the negative pole of the vertical axis.


Verse 10. The terms trigunatmika (consisting of the three nature modalities) and prakritya-iva (by its inner nature) are meant to underline that nature is not to be considered extrinsic to the context of this chapter, which might suggest itself rightly or wrongly in the light of Samkhya duality to some critics.  


In concluding this chapter Narayana Guru indicates in his short commentary how it is possible to have many subdivisions of Maya. Items such as type-psychology, types of philosophy, religion, painting, music, literature and even diet can all be, discussed under the threefold modalities of Nature.





In Chapter 13 of the Bhagavad Gita some of these aspects are covered. The Gita as well as the Samkhya Karika also mention that when sattva predominates rajas and tamas are passive; when rajas predominates sattva and tamas are passive, and when tamas predominates sattva and rajas are passive. The last chapter of the Bhagavad Gita extrapolates and applies the principles of the three gunas in a variety of ways.


The further ramifications of the operations of prakriti found in the commentary are sufficiently clarified in the Gita. We have also to point out here how the chapter on phenomenology has certain aspects properly belonging to this chapter. Narayana Guru recognizes this apparent overlapping in his commentary in Verse 2 where he says Maya can also cover manas (mind) and sankalpa (willing), already treated in the previous chapter. Phenomenology and negativity have some overlapping aspects giving room for further ramified sub-divisions in this chapter. Strictly speaking, Einstein's restricted relativity can be included here. Even in nuclear fission it is the negative particle of the neutron that is most important. Thus the interjection ha is also suggestive of the horizontalizing power of the hydrogen bomb.







[1] Socrates, speaking in the "Phaedo", says: "We may assume then, if you please.... that there are two species of things, the one visible, the other invisible .... and the invisible always continuing the same, but the visible never the same". H.Cary (trans.), "Five Dialogues of Plato", London, 1947.


[2] Bhagavad Gita, p.570


[3] Bhagavad Gita, p.135


[4] Bhagavad Gita, p.120


[5] Bhagavad Gita, p.133


[6] Ved. Sutr. Comm.Sank, p.342


[7] "Vedantaparibhasha", pp. 9 and 13, resp., trans. S. S.Sastri Adyar (Madras, S.India) 1942, pp.9 & 13


[8] Ved. Sut. Ram. Comm; p.119.


[9] "Vimsatika" by Vasubandhu, from "Buddhist Mahayana Sutras", B.B. Cowell, trans. Oxford, 1894.


[10] "Gautama's Nyayasutras with Vatsyayana's Bhashya", Jaganatha Jha trans, Poona, 1939, IV.2.35.


[11] Monier-Williams, "A Sanskrit-English Dictionary", Oxford, 1873. See pp.245 and 453, resp., for a complete description of krit and dhana.


[12] It is interesting to note the fourfold scheme outlined by the Vaiseshikas; we read the following:

"By these four (i.e. earth, water, fire and air), we should not here understand the discrete things of common experience bearing those names, but their ultimate material causes which are supra-sensible - the atoms (paramanus) which are partless and eternal."

M. Hiriyana, "Outlines of Indian Philosophy", London, 1951, p.229. See also Bernard, pp.64 - 71, for a most interesting and detailed account of theatomic theory of the Vaiseshikas.


[13] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol. I, p.400


[14] Bhag. Gita, p.224


[15] Bhag. Gita, p.411


[16] Bhag. Gita, p.665


[17] Bhag. Gita, p.261


[18] Bhag. Gita, p.557


[19] Bhag. Gita, p.247


[20] Hume, p.406


[21] Hume, p.410


[22] Bernard, p.66


[23] Bernard, p.66-67


[24] Bernard, p.67


[25] Bernard, p.67


[26] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank.,Vol.1, pp-420-421


[27] Bhag. Gita, p.702


[28] See our commentary on this verse in Narayana Guru's,"One Hundred Verses of Self Instruction", (Atmopadesa-Satakam), Varkala . (Kerala, S. India), 1969; and also in the article "The Philosophy of a Guru: III. Transcending Paradox", Values, Vol.X, No.7 (April, 1965), pp.571-572.


[29] See our commentary on this verse in Atmopadesa-Satakam; and also in the above article, p. 574.


[30] & [31] See our commentary on these verses in "Atmopadesa-Satakam"; and also in the above article, also in "The Philosophy of a Guru", Values Vol X, p. 571 & 572.






The neutral vision of the Absolute should not be tarnished even with the slightest taint of negativity. In the last chapter one attained to the extreme limits of negativity in the notion of nature, revealing the potentialities of a universe full of possible varieties. There is an element of surprise within it reminiscent of the Big Bang theory of modern cosmology. This active and expanding aspect of the universe, though revealed as a mere possibility and not as a fact, touched the extreme limit where visible manifestation is potentially or kinetically implied between pradhana and prakriti respectively. This limit belongs to perceptual physics and not to conceptual metaphysics.


We are now going to balance this one-sidedness in the present chapter. Such a balancing implies a double correction enabling the extreme negativity to cancel itself out into normality by finding within the Absolute a corresponding numerator factor. It is in this sense we have called this chapter Normalization. Further, this normalization is to be understood as taking place, as in pure mathematics, within the core of pure reasoning or consciousness. Thought here moves within its own positive and negative amplitude. No outward fact, thing or event is important. The mathematical formalism of Hilbert agrees with the contents of this chapter. Two pure aspects of the Absolute interact here, abolishing the duality of each other so as to reveal the fully normalized Absolute. Normalization and re-normalization refer respectively to the double correction implied. We have seen how Eddington recognized this approach, as revealed by Whittaker (see page 7).


Although Narayana Guru's title for this chapter is Bhana-Darsana (vision through consciousness), this normalization peculiar to Eddington has unified and somewhat subjective status very similar to the epistemology proper to Vedanta. We have also seen how scientists like Schrodinger recommend a new synthetic way for understanding reality (see pages 63, 67-68 & 284). Selectionism, structuralism and subjectivism belong to the new epistemology of science.


Bergson's metaphysics paves the way for such a new epistemology in the context of a Unified Science where physics and metaphysics could coexist, Bergson says that one has to enter into the situation and not take snapshots from outside. He further states that perceptual and conceptual time, sitting together as it were back to back, can exist in relation to a common parameter. Such a time is given transparently to the view of the future man of research and the double correction which does violence to the natural inclination of thought is to be applied. Bergson is undoubtedly putting his finger on some of the subtler aspects of normalization. We have already quoted these points from him profusely. They help to reveal the fact that physics and metaphysics can be treated together under one unified discipline. When this is done, Bergson inevitably asks: "Can we then not attain the Absolute?"


In Vedanta this double-sided reference is also familiar. The Katha Upanishad (III.1) mentions two selves drinking of the truths pertaining to the world order in the sukrita-loka (world attained through good works):

"There are two that drink of righteousness (rita) in the world of good deeds; Both are entered into the secret place (of the heart), and in the highest upper sphere.

Brahma-knowers speak of them as 'light' and "shade', and so do householders who maintain the five sacrificial fires, and those too who perform the triple Nachiketas-fire." (1)

These two selves exist together as twin entities, inseparable like sunlight and shade. Also in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (IV.6) is the familiar example of the two birds of equally beautiful plumage sitting together in the same tree. One eats sweet fruit, while the other looks on passively. These striking examples refer to the double correction to be applied to the notion of the Absolute.


We read as follows:
"Two birds, fast-bound companions,
Clasp close the self-same tree.
Of these two, the one eats sweet fruit;
The other looks on without eating." (2)


Even the four classical examples used in Vedanta each involve two aspects of reality or truth. The examples of wave-water, rope-snake, pot- clay and mother-of-pearl and silver are meant to be used in different contexts where normalization of error is intended. In the last example of mother-of-pearl and silver, the interplay of right and wrong between the two sides is so subtle and natural that it can be used most profitably in explaining the need for normalizing the physical and metaphysical prejudices hindering the vision of a fully neutralized Absolute. In the snake-rope example the frightened man suffers in a more crudely and unphilosophical form the conflict of the yes-no of the situation. The clay-pot example should interest the logician who gives primacy to the material cause. The wave-water example is the most inevitable one for Advaita Vedanta where all paradox and contradiction are abolished by a fully verticalized view. Even the bubbles and foam in water produced by horizontal disturbances are not admitted as having any reality other than water. These two broad divisions in consciousness exist in Vedanta as well as in modern thought.



In this chapter we are dealing with these twin aspects of consciousness, interacting as it were by an infinitesimal difference. The ambivalent and antinomian factors involved come into a delicate interplay which is to be understood as belonging to either in a purely mathematical or highly mystical language.


Occasionalism as known to Descartes, whereby the will of God makes for psycho-physical interaction, is the nearest metaphysical notion related to what we are concerned with here. Gestalt psychology with configurations emerging to view as integrated entities and not merely as eidetic presentiments also help us.


We have to do here also with a world of one-to-one correspondence. Even the one-sided formalism of Hilbert is left behind here and semiotic or logistic movements in consciousness, unilaterally having their perceptual or conceptual contents, have to be bypassed in terms of two-sided intuitionist mathematics algebraically and geometrically at once. Such consciousness as implied here is neither inside nor outside and yet seems to be in both these places at one and the same time. The alternation between the twin aspects is so rapid as to make it unnoticeable. Electromagnetic pulsations and not biological alternations are analogies that apply here. Manifested objects can emerge to view as if from pure transparent nothingness, or else exist in the form of more subtle inner experience, leaving only a faint impression of a schematic order in consciousness. We are thus in a world of mathematical 'things' or entities and these should not be confused with the mere abstractions of pure mathematics, as pointed out by Hilbert. Only these subtle structural features of intuitionist mathematics, which are only now beginning to be precisely formulated, can lend us any frame of reference for discussing this twin emergence of generic and specific things occupying consciousness in its purest form.


We have already referred to two striking examples from the Upanishads where a mystical rather than mathematical picture-language is adopted. The implications are so subtle that they have eluded the analysis of even the best critical minds.


Sankara in his various commentaries on the Upanishads does not even attempt a structural explanation of them but rather treats them all as revealed versions of scriptural truth not originating in man and therefore to be treated as valid on face value. The modern scientifically-minded person has now the task of making his choice. He can treat this kind of lingua mystica as referring to some sort of "secret doctrine" and therefore impossible to analyze or alternately he can apply to the subject-matter the latest methods of intuitionist mathematics. The structured elements present in this chapter can be treated as a frame of reference with which the further analysis of the characteristics of consciousness would be possible. Although we are here on highly a priori synthetic ground where the Schematismus of Kant holds good, mathematical analysis of its component elements into broad categories in terms of pure thought is not impossible. This is where the lingua mystica and the language of mathesis universalis can step in conjointly to take over the difficult task of the analysis of pure consciousness The very purity of such consciousness makes the participation of mind and matter possible on homogeneous ground with only an infinitesimally small separation between them. When this separation is abolished the Absolute is revealed. Such is the limiting point suggested in the last verse of this chapter.


In the first verse we have to note that nothing of the phenomenal or physical world referring to events or things is allowed to enter the pure and transparent domain of consciousness where the contents of this chapter prove themselves by a double verification taking place within the most abstract of parameters whose plus and minus sides interlace or interpenetrate almost indistinguishably.



In the Preliminaries we have mentioned the notion of complementarity and indeterminism. Niels Bohr tries to avoid all mysticism, suggesting instead the idea of complementarity. Such a notion is supposed to regulate the relations between physics and metaphysics in the same way as psychology and physics complement each other. While he insists on avoiding mysticism he is inclined to go further than most modern psychologists in suggesting a drastic revision of physics, so as to make it capable of facing the new problems of relativity and quantum mechanics.

Heisenberg enters more deeply into the nature of the paradox. He says that modern progress in science has made man face himself as a problem to himself because the positive direction of progress reveals certain limitations beyond which it cannot go. Just as the compass of the ship refuses to point north, but instead turns towards the iron of the vessel, Heisenberg imagines humanity caught between the horns of a paradox or dilemma whereby, as he puts it, "the image of the universe, according to the science of Nature, ceases to be, in its proper sense, the image of the universe, according to the sciences of Nature" (see page 132 of Volume I) Heisenberg also attempts elsewhere a structural classification of the various branches of physics. (see page 131 of Volume I). They all belong to four epistemological orders, requiring a "fifth" class or ensemble which would include all of them together under one grand and inclusive ensemble, or class of classes. These classifications however remain very vague in their outlines, and Heisenberg is not able to find a place for Schrodinger's equations or structural models. He is thus almost on the same vague ground as mysticism, and the help we can derive from Heisenberg is not very definite.


Schrodinger on the other hand boldly seeks out new epistemological avenues to save science from its present impasse. Regarding the "hopeless conflict" between Berkeleian idealism and its uselessness for understanding the real world, he says:
"The only solution to this conflict, insofar as any is available to us at all, lies in the ancient wisdom of the Upanishads." (see page 204)
Schrodinger's position seems to go further than most of his fellow scientists in the matter of agreeing with the overall position found in this chapter. It is pointed out by J.P.Vigier that De Broglie places matter and mind together on neutral and common ground in the context of the substance of Descartes (see pages 289- 290). One common feature of the position taken by all modern scientists is the adherence to Eddington's subjectivism, selectionism and structuralism. De Broglie's own position is not very clear and so far we have been unable to find in any of his writings anything to shed light on this. All these leading scientific thinkers are for a thoroughgoing revision of the epistemology of science. The normalization of this chapters refers directly to this problem.



Whatever the status of ultimate physical reality is according to the revised epistemology of physics, an irreducible paradox is bound to persist at its core. The particle and wave have to be reconciled by the correct structural forms which are neither matter nor mind. Complementarity might give a central place to cause as an all-comprehensive concept. The principle of incertitude is capable of dissolving this paradox into less ambiguous terms. In the Cartesian notion of "Substance" the two aspects of cognition and extension do not get fully abolished except when treated as a mathematical Absolute. In Spinoza's philosophy this unity of Substance in spite of its structural duality, is accomplished at a higher axiomatic level.


The Monadology of Leibniz similarly presupposes a special variety of units called monads where the paradoxical implications are transcended by "sufficient reason" and "pre-established harmony." Liebniz's Monadology is ultimately covered by the all inclusive notion of the monas monadum. Kant's ding-an-sich or thing-in-itself is where the epistemological status of ultimate reality attains to its pure limits. The thing-in-itself cannot be known except through the a priori synthetic approach. The categories which are its components are capable of being subjected to a schematic treatment. Spinoza sees the possibility of subjecting his Absolute Substance to the correlated reference of a mesh system where we find the same correlating elements of Cartesian structuralism. We have already covered these matters in detail in other writings. (3)


All we wish to underline here is that a paradox remains irreducibly at the core of the thing-in-itself of Kant and the Absolute Substance of Spinoza. Only a mathematical treatment can accomplish its abolition and dissolution. Intuitionist mathematics or axiomatic thought now makes it possible for us to see how perceptible and conceptual entities could inhere, reciprocally abolishing all taint of duality in one and the same integrated normative notion of the Absolute.


In the philosophy of Kant there is an abstract and pure ground common to mathematics and philosophy. The a priori synthetic and the a posteriori analytic are movements in pure reason and its mathematical and philosophical criticisms. Pure reason does not need any support or confirmation from things, entities, percepts or even concepts. The thing-in-itself has a status having nothing to do with the world of physical experience.


The characteristic of Kantian thought in relation to mathematical thinking is brought out in the following way:

"Kant's answers to our test questions about the nature of pure and applied mathematics can now be roughly formulated ... The propositions of applied mathematics are a posteriori insofar as they are about the empirical material of perception and a priori in so far as they are about space and time. Pure mathematics has for its subject-matter the structure of space and time free from empirical material. Applied mathematics has for its subject matter the structure of space and time together with the material filling it." (4)

We notice here that between the a priori and a posteriori there is a pure thing-in-itself, giving room for analytic as well as synthetic processes of thought to take place in it with a character which is the same in intuitionist mathematics. Kant's position is further clarified, where rational dynamism can operate without the need of direct sense experience which only serves as the occasion for the acquisition of the knowledge of the implied national dynamism.


We read the following:

It is important to emphasize that Kant does not regard, say, rational dynamics as merely one of many thinkable alternative theories, but as part of that one natural science which is synthetic and a priori - i.e. which is true of the world and independent of sense-experience. Sense-experience in this view is in no way the ground of our knowledge of rational dynamics but merely the occasion of acquiring it. Just as a child learns that a certain answer to a certain sum is correct on the occasion of experimenting with the beads of an abacus, so Galileo acquired the knowledge of the law of freely falling bodies on the occasion of his experiments at Pisa. (5)





 Purer mathematical intuition is without any logical or ratiocinative content and could be free from even semantic processes. It consists only of pure semiosis which is outside the scope of the consciousness even of the eternal moment, i.e. the present, which touches the empty thing-in-itself and with which pure intuition is directly concerned. Between the aspects of memory and of the given data of events possible within this pure reasoning process, there is still room for a two-fold reference; the first having its seat deeper in memory, and the second of a more prospective character. Together they make up a closely-linked couple, alternating quickly to blend their respective mathematical content so as to make for the emergence alternately or together of forms or ideas. The horizontal elements entering into the composition of such an interplay between two levels in pure consciousness tend to be eliminated to the extent that mathematical intuition attains to a higher and higher abstraction. The double-sided vestige of ambivalence or antinomy is retained in the form of a subtle mathematical factor referred to as continuity and this is retained in the form of a subtle mathematical factor sometimes referred to as "two-ity". We read the following from L.E.J. Brouwer's paper entitled "Historical Background, Principles and Methods of Intuitionism" appearing in the Oct.-Nov. 1952 issue of South African Journal of Science. Sections from this paper are seen quoted by Kroner, as follows:



"The first act of Intuitionism completely separates mathematics from mathematical language, in particular from the phenomena of language which are described by theoretical logic, and recognizes that intuitionist mathematics is an essentially languageless activity of the mind having its origin in the perception of a move of time, i.e. of the falling apart of a life moment into two distinct things, one of which gives way to the other, but is retained by memory. If the two-ity thus born is divested of all quality, there remains the empty form of the common substratum of all two-ities. It is this common substratum, this empty form, which is the basic intuition of mathematics." (6)


The further implications of "two-ity" are strikingly brought out by Kroner, where this idea is seen to be the basis of a one-one correspondence that Frege attributes to numbers in general.
We read as follows: 

"Just as perceptual objects which resemble each other must be positive or neutral candidates for inexact concepts, so mathematical objects which stand in one-one correspondence must be positive candidates for exact concepts. Resemblance or empirical similarity is quite different from that one-one correspondence or mathematical similarity, which Frege uses in defining number." (7)


We have already cited Poincaré who points out in connection with Cantor's theory of ensembles where one-one correspondence between similar ensembles is to be included as basic idea (see page 130). Here we come up against a subtle structural feature within modern intuitionist mathematics, where algebraic and geometric languages meet to reveal a paradox hiding in the heart of pure mathematics.


Although we have not the space to enter fully into all the implications pertaining to the structure of pure mathematical elements, it is nonetheless fairly simple for the lay reader to see the general plan revealed by the following interaction between so-called proper and improper elements. We now turn to G. Verriest who has this to say:

"In order to give, in all possible cases, a significance to the sum and the product of two elements, one introduces two new elements: the element zero V (which means absence of points, lines and planes) and the universal element U (or the totality of elements, that is to say, space). By definition, the element zero V is contained in any element whatsoever and it is recognized that it has a negative number of dimensions; equally by definition the universal element U contains any element whatsoever and has three dimensions. These two new elements are called improper elements, and the others are proper elements. Let us now suppose that A and B represent, for instance, two straight lines which do not meet in space; one would then have A+B = U and A.B = V and one sees that the sum and the product of the two elements always represent an element which is either proper or improper." (8)

It is not difficult to discover a similar structural plan in Kroner´s book also bringing light on the same distinction between vertical and horizontal aspects called here "perceptual" or "mathematical" objects. They are treated as having no direct participation with each other, but must necessarily belong to the same ground in consciousness where alone mathematics could be possible. This participation cannot be any other than at the element zero V. The sum and the product are both resolved in favour of proper (horizontal) or improper (vertical) elements.


We read from Kroner once again:

"It is natural and easy to extend the unconnectedness-thesis from concepts to objects, statements and theories. We define a perceptual object as one which has only perceptual characteristics, a mathematical object as one which has only mathematical characteristics; and two objects as 'unconnected' if their characteristics are unconnected. Thus mathematical and perceptual objects are unconnected. We define a statement as perceptual, if and only if to assert it is to assign or refuse a perceptual characteristic to one or more objects; and we define it as purely exact, if and only if the concepts which are assigned or refused in asserting the statement are purely exact. We call the assigned or refused concepts the 'constituent concepts' of the statement; and define two statements as unconnected, if and only if their constituent concepts are unconnected. Mathematical and perceptual statements are thus unconnected. Lastly, we call a theory purely exact, if and only if all the statements and all the constituent concepts of the statements are purely exact; and we call it perceptual if one or more of its statements and, therefore, one or more of their constituent concepts are perceptual. Thus mathematical and perceptual theories are unconnected." (9)

Thus the pure philosophy of mathematical intuition tallies with its own experienced or experimental counterpart. The former tends to be axiomatic and descends through various stages of postulates, theorems, riders, lemmas, etc. in order to give logical results of descending certitude. Only hypothetical certitudes are derived from experimental observations which are most certain at the pole of actual things and events having a horizontal reference.


The hypothetical constructions find their place in that intermediate zone where reasoning, descending from axioms, is able to meet the ascending hypothetical constructions. Axiomatic and experimental thinking thus meet and yield an ambiguous certitude in the middle zone where both types of thinking join. The various grades of certitude involved are distinguished as follows:

"To sum up our discussion of applied mathematics: the application to perception of pure mathematics, which is logically disconnected from perception, consists in a more or less strictly regulated activity involving (i) the replacement of empirical concepts and propositions by mathematical, (ii) the deduction of consequences from the mathematical premises so provided and (iii) the replacement of some of the deduced mathematical propositions by empirical. One might add (iv) the experimental confirmation of the last-mentioned propositions – which, however, is the task of the experimental scientists rather than the theoretical." (10)

The present state of intuitionist mathematics is superseding even the formalism of Hilbert as is sufficiently clear from the above-mentioned quotations. It is interesting to note that in the quotation to follow the use of the word "belief", which term is rather unusual for the ordinary scientist to use, as he more usually prefers to be called a sceptic or a man of systematic doubt. An element of faith is necessarily involved when one goes from perceptual physics to conceptual metaphysics. It is intuitionist mathematics alone that can accomplish this transition without violating the requirements of human understanding. In a later quotation we will see Bergson referring to the "faith of the physicist" because even for the theoretical physicist it is necessary to go beyond what is strictly perceptual.


Faith is necessary in order to have a normative reference outside of the perceptual for the adequacy or regularity of thought. We conclude this section with a final quotation from Kroner:
"It is indeed likely that intuitionist mathematics on the lines of Brouwer's programme will continue to flourish, whether his theses are accepted as self-evident insights or not. Many mathematicians are profoundly interested in its problems without being noticeably interested in its privileged status. Belief in the satisfiability of the intuitionist programme has not been shaken." (11)



In the Chapter on Methodology we examined in detail Bergson's revaluation of Einstein's two theories of relativity. These stages of revaluation represent the broad methodological outlines that can apply equally well to relativity in general. When relativism and plurality are subjected to methodic revaluation we pass through more and more radically revised visions of reality where all particulars can be included under many generic terms. What is perceptually visible in the data of the senses can be made more and more abstract to the extent that generalization is pushed backwards to its innermost sources where pure synthetic reason attains a unitive absolutist status.


Bergson has here applied his genius to the revision and revaluation of Einstein's theory which gives primacy to "observation as the final arbiter." Starting from this limiting point where the observable features of space and its shrinking are seen in the light of the hypothesis of the Lorentz contraction, Bergson takes his inquiry through what he calls demi-relativity to a more complete one where there is a bilateral rather than a unilateral application of the equations of Lorentz.


Then he also brings in the notion of reciprocity, taking the place of mere relativity. Two physicists have an equal epistemological status by virtue of this principle of reciprocity applied to each of them. The referred and the referent status of two rival systems are finally shown to be capable of being epistemologically interchangeable.


Bergson's revaluation goes still further. He is able to bring into one and the same structural scheme a perceivable time and an inner-experienced duration, where between them two simultaneities and two successions are involved. Time and space come to have a subtler form of reciprocity. In his final states of revaluation he is able to effect the transition from the physical to the metaphysical through an appeal to the mathematical way of thinking, whereby the same physicist entering a ball and fully convinced of physics when finally shot into outer space becomes convinced of the truth about the unique and absolute philosophical status of time. It is not necessary for us to review again the precise arguments, supported by valid and correct mathematical equations, by which Bergson has reduced multiple and relativistic times to one unique absolute Time given to both common sense and the highest mathematical reasoning. Although Time is the central factor chosen by him for such a methodological treatment, the same treatment in its broad features can also be applied to any other basic pluralistic category. Such an application reduces it to unity and gives it the same unique and unrivalled absolutist status. We have already pointed out how Platonic Truth and Beauty are amenable to this treatment.


We have also seen that phenomenological reduction also permits this kind of reduction by cancellation of counterparts. In trying to apply his absolutist methodology to Einstein's relativity Bergson´s task was highly complicated because he had to keep in mind two theories of relativity. Einstein formulated these two theories at different times and in his unified field theory he went into further mathematical abstractions. For the purposes of our present study we cannot afford to get lost in the complications and ramifications found in these formulations and in Bergson's revaluation. In spite of the complexity of the situation it is still possible for us to look into the four versions of reality with which Einstein and Bergson were concerned. Both use pure mathematics in their effort to establish a unity where diversity prevails. While Einstein prefers to remain an orthodox physicist treating observation as the final arbiter, Bergson prefers to be both a philosopher and a physicist with a revised epistemology.

The mathematical convention acceptable to both of them remains the same. Einstein's prejudice in favour of observables makes him take an altogether different course from Bergson. We shall not attempt to compare or contrast them. As Bergson represents our own point of view in the matter of treating unitively physics and metaphysics we shall try to recognize his four stages of revaluation. In this revaluation he attains fully to an absolutist vision of reality.



In the present chapter we have pointed out how thought moves in a highly purified mathematical atmosphere where even semantic and logistic aspects of structuralism can be eliminated under the principle of Occam's Razor. The structural details of the colour solid when dealing with phenomenological and other aspects belonging to the Absolute can now be dispensed with.


We are here concerned with more or less hypothetical and theoretical notions, as well as mathematical and subjective abstractions. The greater part of the scaffolding can now be removed, with just enough left for the analysis of the subtler characteristics we are dealing with.


We can forget all about the three dimensions of length, breadth and depth and reduce the world of pluralistic things in space so as to make them refer to one horizontal axis. Time on the other hand is best studied from the inner experience of duration. We leave off the piecemeal approach proper to space where mechanistic division and subdivision are permitted. If we review again the various stages whereby Bergson accomplished the reduction of the multiplicity of time and plurality of space, arriving at a Cartesian frame of reference consisting of two correlates, as adopted even by Einstein, we shall see what is essential for further discussion in this chapter. The fourfold quaternion of complex mathematical elements will suffice for discussing the implications of the similar fourfold division used by Narayana Guru in this chapter.


In the context of Vedantic thought this same fourfold basic structure belonging to the absolute Self is fully recognized in the Mandukya Upanishad. They are referred to as sthula (gross or perceptual), sukshma (subtle or virtual) karana, (causal) and turiya (completely absolute beyond any relativity); All this will be discussed later on. These fourfold aspects refer respectively to three states of consciousness, waking, dreaming and deep sleep. The fourth state (i.e. turiya) attains the Absolute. We also find that in the present chapter Narayana Guru takes these fourfold features in duplicate form from the original fourfold pattern found in the previous chapters on the ontological side. This fourfold structure now tends to have a one-one correspondence with its own counterpart representing the side of the metaphysical. Thus physics and metaphysics become unified.


Bergsonian reduction follows lines similar to what Narayana Guru has adopted. We see however that Bergson employs his own unique picturesque language where he not only talks of microscopic and sub-microscopic beings, but also used the literary device of two-dimensional and uni-dimensional flat animals carrying on imaginary conversations between themselves. His systems of reference are many, where some are called "referring" and others "referred to". There are also privileged systems with fuller and fuller mathematical reciprocity wherein a mythical Paul and Peter are supposed to exist with different degrees of self-consciousness, sometimes falling within the limits of physics while at other times transcending such limits and arriving at the world of metaphysics. Bergson also gives vivid descriptions of models with or without colours, progressively reducing their horizontalized structural implications into a fully verticalized version. In such a version we find even helicoidal structures and vermicular forms, all of which can be safely forgotten in this chapter. Consciousness with its two-sided implications is presented here in pure transparency.


Difference of perspectives in space tend to expand or contract it, while differences in time, experienced within consciousness, lengthen or shorten its duration. What is more, time can eat into space and vice-versa. It is here we have to think of Langevin's famous example of a man shot into outer space who finds himself aging slower than men on earth. This is one of the famous scientific myths now exploded and discredited. Bergson is able to discuss the causes of this fanciful yarn and finally establish a unique and single Time for both common sense and unified Science.


We have however to keep all these matters in mind before we can undertake to distinguish Bergson's fourfold epistemological grades of reality. This is very important to remember. In this same connection it what O.F. Sutton said about mathematicians being no respecters of convention should not be forgotten. Instead such people seem to be more eager to break away from convention than to adhere to it. On the other hand somebody like Bergson fully respects mathematical convention when he is able to equate two privileged systems of reference. He considers both systems to be mathematically interchangeable without violating any convention. He opens up the way to integrating physics and philosophy with the help of mathematics, which must also be given the status of an integrated discipline. It is in this sense that we have characterized the present work as having a fully scientific status.



Einstein is a scientist who gives primacy to observables. His continuator, Eddington, definitely states that concepts matter. While scientists are making up their minds about this we find Bergson entering the same field as a full-fledged philosopher who wants to be treated neither as a dialectician nor a metaphysician, but as one who respects all the claims of reality under the notion of the Absolute. Even the reality of colour is not outside his scope. We have already explained these matters in Chapter Two. For the purposes of this chapter we have just pointed out that much of what Bergson has already said is not now needed. We cannot however, even at this stage, abolish the basic aspects of the equations and structural features involved here, without which methodology would remain esoteric and merely mystical. Let us therefore say that the Cartesian coordinates, together with the equations that answer to them, constitute the irreducible element of protolinguistic or metalinguistic features that we have still to retain in this chapter.


It is true that the mathematics employed by Einstein in developing his unified field theory, which involves elaborate considerations such as orthogonal n-legs and other complicated structural features of space, is also not strictly necessary for us. A simple quaternion having a duplicated or double aspect with a subtle reciprocity between the physical and metaphysical is all we need for our purposes.


The physical corresponds to what Narayana Guru calls bhanasraya or the perceptual ground of consciousness, and to bhana which is its conceptual and therefore metaphysical counterpart. To abolish the duality between them while still retaining its ontological reality is, as we have said, the terminating limit of this chapter.



In this long and laborious revaluation of relativity in terms of a unique absolutist Time, we have to recognize four distinct stages in which categorical and structural realities within consciousness emerge into the field of contemplative vision. The status of each of these four orders of reality are either actually observable, subjectively or virtually experienceable or have a fully verticalized status in the profounder sense found in pure intuitionist mathematics. The vertical axis of reference is the synthetic a priori within whose amplitude pure mathematical processes move up or down between the limbs of analysis and synthesis All this we have already explained.


We can characterize the first category as consisting of visible lines of light when reduced to its ultimate implications as Bergson does. These lines of light moreover lengthen or shorten according to the Lorentz contraction. The figures that they make with their lines of light are varied according to Pythagorean distances or what Whitehead calls "separation."


The distinctive feature of this first category is its visibility. The possibility of its absorption into its own horizontal negative counterpart with a virtual status as more subjective, and having a mathematical, or abstracted and generalized form, distinguishes the second limb or category.


Coming to the third category, we have to think of the limitation of the instruments used in the Michelson-Morley experiment, as also the equations of Lorentz which may be said to answer to the same frame of reference. Instead of mobility, visibility or elasticity we have to suppose immobility, rigidity and mathematical invisibility. It has thus a virtual or hypothetical status, although it can be included as belonging to physics in that it can be considered, in principle at least, to be perceptual in an extended sense though not capable of being actually perceived. Categories one and two can be placed as having an epistemological reciprocity and interchangeability along a horizontal axis, while the third and fourth would occupy the negative vertical.


We have now to recognize that categories three and four belong to a pure context resembling intuitionist mathematics. Simultaneity and succession of events coexist here without contradiction, because both of them are inner or outer realities moving within the direct and immediate inner experience of a Peter or a Paul. If Peter insists on being a physicist he has the freedom to choose this system in category three.


Category four is on the plus side of the vertical axis and we can think of it as belonging to Paul who has the freedom to treat his own system as a privileged one. Finding himself in a similar situation as his fellow physicist Peter does in his rival system, whatever paradoxical elements might be present in his experience he attributes to the error of judgement of his counterpart, thinking himself to be right from his own standpoint.


Mathematically, however, the two systems are interchangeable. When this last fact is recognized the connection between philosophy and science will also be fully recognized. The eventuality of Paul being converted from his faith as a physicist to the more inclusive one of a philosopher takes place when he enters the ball which will shoot him into outer space where he is supposed to see the inhabitants of the earth age a hundredfold. The interchangeability of the privileged system of Peter and Paul effectively abolishes this myth of early relativity, and as Bergson points out, Paul becomes a philosopher while he is in outer space. The transition between his faith in physics and in philosophy thus takes place en route while he is in the process of change in movement. The subtle epistemological implications of the conversion of Paul are best stated in Bergson's words as follows:

"But once again one cannot express oneself mathematically except in a hypothesis of a privileged system; and the physicist feeling himself free from the hypothesis of reciprocity, once he has paid homage to it in choosing as he liked a system of reference, abandons it to the philosopher and expresses himself already in the language of the privileged system. Taking his stand on the faith of such a physics Paul would enter into the ball and will see en route that philosophy was right." (12)



The resemblance between the fourfold structuralism found in the co-ordinates of Descartes and in the equations of Lorentz and which is also present in Bergson's reduction of relativity into absolutism, is so striking that we now present in full the Mandukya Upanishad, because it is fully pertinent to the same structural problem at hand.


The first verse of the Upanishad begins with the mystical syllable AUM, and in a later verse (the eighth) there begins a psychological analysis involving a non-objective inner substance. The structure, although proposed in a vague mystical way rather than in mathematical language, nonetheless stands out quite distinctly. Narayana Guru's own ideas in this chapter may be said to have directly or indirectly been inspired by this Upanishad. We read (our own translation) as follows:

1. That (Eternal) Syllable, AUM, is all this: Its further elaboration past, present and future, all is this AUM indeed; even what is beyond transcending the three times, that too is AUM.

2. All here is the Absolute (brahman) indeed; this Self (atma) is the Absolute; this same Self (He is four-limbed (catushpad).

3. In the waking state (He is) overtly conscious (bahirprajnah) having seven parts (13) and nineteen faces. (14) Nourishing (Himself) on the concrete (sthulabhuk) the Universal Man ( vaisvanara), the first limb.





4. In the DREAM state (He), the inwardly conscious (antahprajnah) with seven parts and nineteen faces nourishing (Himself) on the well-selected (praviviktabhuk) is the luminous one (taijasah), the second limb.

5. That (state) wherein., on falling asleep, one desires nothing at all, sees no dream at all, that is the WELL-DORMANT (sushuptam) (which) attaining to a unitive status (eki-bhutah), filled even with a knowing, content (prajnanaghana) made of bliss ( anandamaya), nourishing (Himself) on bliss (anandabhuk), of a sentient mouth (cetomukha) is the knower (prajna), the third limb.

6. This is the LORD OF ALL (sarvesvara), the All-Knower (sarvajna). This is the inner Negation-Factor (antaryamin). This is the Source (yoni) of everything and the beginning and end of beings

7. As not inwardly conscious (antaprajna), not outwardly conscious (bahirprajna), not conscious both-wise (ubhayatah-prajna), as not filled with a knowing content (prajnanaghana), not conscious ( prajna), not unconscious (aprajna), unseen, non-predicable, ungraspable, bereft of quality, unthinkable, indeterminate, as the substance of the certitude of a unitive Self (ekatmaprathyayasaram), as the calmer of the manifested (prapancopasamam), tranquil (santham), numinous (sivam), non-dual (advaitam) is the fourth limb considered to be.
He is the Self (atma) that is to be realized (vijneyah).

8. The same Self treated as the AUM is substance (matra); state is Substance and Substance State; under the letters A, U and M.

9. The A stands for the WAKING state where the Universal Man (vaisvanara) is the first substance because of obtaining (apti) or being the first (adimatva). He obtains all he wants and becomes first too, who understands thus.





10. The U stands for the DREAMING state which is the Luminous One (taijasa), the second substance because of superiority ( utkarsha) or from being intermediate (ubhayatva). He leads wisdom-generations (jnanasanthathi) and becomes one of sameness (samana) too. None ignorant of the Absolute could be born in the family of him who understands thus.

11. M stands for the WELL-DORMANT state, the knower (prajna), which is third because of ascent (miti) or from descent (apiti). He verily ascends (minoti) or descends (into) everything here who understands this.

12. Free from substantiality (amatra) the Fourth is outside discussion (avyavaharya), calmer of the manifested (prapancopasamam), numinous (sivam) is this non-dual (advaitam) One which is even the AUM the Self itself. He enters the Self by the Self who knows thus.





In the Preliminaries we have in a general way examined the question of normalization and certitude. Even simple forms of certitude, such as determining the length of an object by measurement though the use of arbitrarily chosen units of measure, involve the acceptance of the a priori although this is highly repugnant to scientists who insist on giving primacy to observation. All axioms and postulates, without which no formulation of a scientific theory in mathematical terms is possible, involve the a priori which has become inseparable from any scientific method, whether complex or simple. This is not generally admitted by most scientists and they often seem surprised when told that essentially all axiomatic thinking is the same as a priorism. A priorism is akin to dogmatism and therefore is a kind of belief or faith. When such dogmatism is based on religious scripture it becomes highly objectionable and the scientific thinker prefers disbelief.


Where theories involve subtle factors that cannot be directly verified, such as the lines of light in the contraction of Lorentz, they belong less and less within the context of visible verification. This is how myths and superstitions become possible in theoretical science. Some kind of normalized reference becomes necessary for giving certitude a scientific character. A double correction from the sides of the theoretical as well as the practical has to be applied together or alternatively so as to achieve scientific certitude. We have seen how Eddington refers to the example of Procrustes in trying to explain his idea of a normalized science. We have ourselves referred to the more simple yet striking example of the Pythagorean theorem where certitude is reached from both sides of the knowledge situation.


Certitude does not reside in the operation of mathematical symbols nor in mere visible verification. Both have to meet on a neutral middle ground. An interplay of ascending and descending dialectical processes must meet and neutralize each other. This will yield degrees of apodictic certitude in theories or hypothetical constructions. Moderns like Karl Popper, Vincent Edward Smith, and Paul Freedham seem to accept in one degree or another a scientific method implying a kind of dialectical process (see page 43-49).


Statistical and probability methods which are largely employed in population counting and in defining economic trends are as full of uncertainty as any statement in a fairy tale. Still they pass as respectable scientific verities. Newspapers seem to respect outmoded and exploded theories such as those of Malthus. Superstitions die hard once established. The witch-hunting of the Middle Ages is perhaps the only form of injustice comparable to this superstition in modern scientific thinking which seems to influence so easily both the popular mind and politicians who shape the policies of their country.


All these evils arise from the non-recognition of the need for normalization. One-sided loyalties either to the scientific or the religious attitude spell the same disaster from either end of scepticism or belief.


In the present chapter which is highly mathematical and purely epistemological in status, the paradox is seen to be at its thinnest, yet still persisting at the core of philosophical thinking. It is when perfect balance is maintained between the ontological negative and the teleological positive that a neutral outlook is possible. It is only on the basis of a plain and practical sense that any idea of absolutist normalization can be possible, without religious exaggerations or arbitrary rejection of the a priori. It is with this central neutral normative notion of the Absolute that a unified and scientific character is given to the subject-matter and object-matter of the present work. A direct reference to this method of double correction or normalization is found in Verse 8 of this chapter.



Modern writings on the Philosophy of Science concerned with the latest developments in non-classical mathematics are seen more and more to use the term "structure" in a special context of their own. Phenomenology and operationism have adopted the same term in a very extended sense. After the formalism of Hilbert, the intuitionist mathematics of Borel and Brouwer are the latest development in new mathematics. The laws of physics have been classified on the basis of a structural discipline. The possibilities of such a structural comparison or analysis of disciplines more widely distinct than physics is now considered to be a great and interesting possibility.


The "Grand Larousse" has the following description of this new development in mathematical thinking:

"Every representation of a discipline by another puts into evidence a structural aspect common to the two disciplines. It is in part the occasion for a formalizing transcription. The Hilbertian project has exercised an accelerating influence on a complete recasting of mathematics, having for its aim the making out of it a general theory of structures.
It is here a matter of evolution towards abstraction which is in the very nature of mathematical activity. It has above all progressed by the function which has been operative between the theory of groups (ensembles) and the structural studies realized by the algebras (other than the ordinary algebra such as the algebra of quaternions, groups, etc.) Present day topology offers us a striking example of this new tendency. The merit for this general recasting of mathematics accrues most particularly to the French School called Bourbakis." (15)

We see from this how structuralism offers us an instrument wherein different disciplines claiming to be scientific can all be classified, compared and referred to a central structural norm. When we remember together with this feature of structuralism that it necessarily reflects the laws of physics and the logical operations and functions normal to it, extending over the whole domain of natural laws, including even language and logic, we easily see what an important instrument of research it constitutes.


We have already seen how Bergson becomes very enthusiastic about certain aspects of structuralism that are explained in his study on relativity. His enthusiasm sufficiently shows itself when he says:

"We shall then have in our hands a powerful means of investigation, a principle of research of which one could predict even from the present, that the human spirit will not renounce ..."


Even if one aspect of structuralism inspires a philosopher like Bergson, it is not an exaggeration to any that intuitionist mathematics structurally understood holds the key to many an intricate problem.


We ourselves feel strongly in favour of structuralism and we have worked out in greater detail some of the structural implications in our monograph on protolinguistic structuralism with the hope that this will eventually serve, not only as a regulative factor in logic, but also as a framework for linguistic or semantic characteristics. In the monograph we have also referred to the experimental foundations for such a structural pattern. Logistic and propositional calculus have implicit in them certain structural features called matrices, but the rest of logic still uses a language constituting as it were a language to explain language, sometimes referred to as a metalanguage. The possibilities for such a language have been explained by Russell and Whitehead under the sonorous and misleading title of "Principia Mathematica". Leibniz's great dream of a universal mathematics must have been the inspiring factor behind this attempt.


The future of such a mathematical and logical metalanguage is not bright at present. One can even predict from all indications that it is heading towards a blind alley. This is because of its complexity and of innate technical difficulties in the matter of typing and printing a complete set of new symbols never before used. What we have presented as an alternative to this is a simpler approach based on the geometry of algebra, rather than on any form of new algebraic symbolism. When Leibniz spoke of a universal mathematics it was not certain if he visualized the kind of development that Russell and others have in mind. The key to Leibniz's characteristica universalis we have reason to guess lay in another direction. He must have seen in the algebra of geometry the foundations for a universal mathematics.


Instead of a metalanguage it is simpler and more legitimate to think of a structural language or visual version of symbolism constituting a protolinguism at the source of the primary movements in thought, where, as Bergson says, 'the human mind naturally feels at home.'


The formulations of theories can be made to answer to the structural pattern. When the full implications of such a one-to-one correspondence becomes elaborated as we might hope for in the near future, we have a powerful method of double correction and verification. When speculation goes off the mark it can quickly catch itself violating the first principles of the structural pattern and in a reciprocal manner the algebraic language will act as a corrective to the geometric one.


The science of structuralism is completely new and its possibilities and features are still at the stage of trial and error. This is seen from P. Destouches-Fevrier's "La Structure des Theories Physiques". The eminent physicist, De Broglie, who has written an introduction to the work does not undertake to appraise its value and excuses himself as one not essentially qualified as a logician. Nonetheless he does not hesitate to recognize the soundness of the efforts made by Destouches-Fevrier and vouches for the comprehensive criticism and inflexible vigour which throws light on the relations between diverse theories by which it succeeds in bringing out the essentially new traits found in contemporary quantum physics. About the other aspects of this structuralism he says:

"Such studies necessarily involve an attentive examination of the logical structure of these new theories and on this point the preoccupation of Destouches-Fevrier joins up with those of the eminent representatives of mathematical physics and the philosophies of science notably von Neumann, Birkhoff and Reichenbach" (17)


There are many unfamiliar terms developed for the purpose of this new structural approach. Expressions such as composibility, adequacy, universal function, operator, properties of fact, properties of right, subjective logic and four types of schemas, are all of special significance in this new branch of physiological mathematics. We cannot do any more than indicate how the terms are used and also how the general lines of structuralism are presented. It is of particular interest to us to note the fourfold schema at the end. We read the following from this original and thought-provoking work:

"It results from this that the experimental calculus of propositions in the case of subjectivity is altogether different from the calculus of classical logic (valid in the case of objectivity) and constitutes a new logic of complementarity and of subjectivity. Logical calculus constitutes a trellis (or "lattice") that is ortho-complemented, which satisfies the rules of a projective algebra of geometry with an infinite number of dimensions with an ortho-complementarity." (18)

"The examination of other diverse properties of the structure of physical theories furnishes the principles of their classification."

"They are classified in relation to their sizes, a neutral size being a size that is comparable with any other size whatsoever."

"The theories could equally well be classed in relation to evolutionary properties of the operator: 1. non-linear theories; 2. linear theories; 3. theories that are completely linear."


After referring to a normal and general concept of a universal function (f), and how such a normal function could be one and only one for any given physical theory except in an objectivist context, the author continues:


"We have afterwards distinguished between properties of fact and properties of right and have studied in particular the incomposability of right with sizes. In considering sizes in an extended sense one can complete the theory of decomposition of an element of precision (forecasting) in a linear combination of fundamental elements. This has led us to classify subjectivist theories into four types: theories of a vectorial schema, theories of a quasi-vectorial schema, theories having a closed schema and theories having an open schema." (19)



Any philosophy claiming to be both scientific and absolutist at one and the same time, has to face many basic epistemological and methodological difficulties. The Vedanta philosophy is primarily concerned with the Absolute and also claims to use critical or reasoned speculation together with tacit acceptance of certain texts to support its claims. We have within Vedanta widely divergent varieties such as those represented by the schools of Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva. In this work we are not limited to a philosophical tradition or scriptures like the Vedas, representing only one cultural growth. There are other philosophies and scriptures of the world which claim our equal respect. In India there are also the Buddhist, Jain and South Indian traditions which are not orthodox because they are not unquestionably loyal to the Vedic word.


Of the three main representatives of Vedanta, Sankara's philosophy is the most outstanding because of its uncompromising attitude regarding the Absolute whereby it can hold its own in the light of critical and speculative reasoning. He is not unaware of the use of semantic secrets such as the polyvalence of direct and indirect meanings. Some of his examples and analogies seem to reveal a knowledge of the subtleties of syntactics as well as advanced mathematical concepts like the theory or ensembles.


Sankara has the difficult task of applying his own exegetics to explain the various enigmas found in the Upanishads. His efforts to explain them and sometimes to explain them away reveal a peculiar difficulty inasmuch as some of his analogies and clarifications are themselves at least as vague or mysterious. There is often not much difference between the original enigma and the equally enigmatic clarifications.


How can a good God be held responsible for the evil found in His creation? Is God an instrumental or material cause of the universe? Or is He both causes in one? How are actualities derived from thin and pure epistemological mental factors where the Absolute belongs, without heterogeneity between God the creator and the gross world created by Him? Is the principle of contradiction to be admitted in speculations about the nature of God? Or is this to be transcended by a higher dialectical approach, bypassing contradiction? Are we to give to argumentative speculative reasoning as much importance as to the axiomatic approach, treating the Word of the scriptures as the only arbiter for deciding all problems? Was the world created at one stroke or was it a slow evolutionary process? Is God a person hypostatically seated above His creation in His loneliness and glory? And if so, how does He come to be seated also in the hearts of men and at the core of material creation? How can the hypostatic and hierophantic elements of the sacred be correctly fitted into a unitive overall scheme if God is not to contradict Himself or be reduced to a mere tautological entity? When contradiction or tautology are not dissolved by the strongest of speculative reasonings, how is the basic paradox in the total knowledge-situation finally to be resolved? How is the Absolute, whose last vestiges might refuse to be abolished, to be attained without any taint of ambiguity? These are some of the problems that a Science of the Absolute has to face.


Anyone who reads Sankara's commentary on the Brahma Sutras will see that he uses certain methods which, strictly speaking, are untenable. He says for example that the exception proves the rule and that glaring contradictions found in the scriptures have to be accepted in the name of loyalty to the Vedic word which could never make a mistake. Even outside Sankara´s polemics, we very often hear in discussions of such texts opinions that are clearly contradictory. Again proverbs such as "nothing succeeds like success" and "the proof of the pudding is in the eating" are so fundamental in character that one does not know if a valid proof has been advanced at all. The saying "the exception proves the rule" can be turned around and we can ask if many exceptions do not abolish the rule. Infinite regression is treated as objectionable by all philosophy, yet we do not know why it should be so. There is a basic paradox behind all these questions which is clearly enunciated in the Bhagavad Gita II, 16.

"What is unreal cannot have being and non-being cannot be real; the conclusion in regard to both these has been known to philosophers." (20)

Stated this way the paradox means almost nothing we can lay hold on. It has the vague form of a double assertion of being at the expense of the double negation of non-being. Analyzed in this way we can already see a positive and a negative aspect, where double assertion and double negation can operate in the general context of the quaternion which is the innermost or nuclear form of subjectivist structuralism. This is where mathematics and logic have a common ground.


Subtle semiosis can also move through a priori synthesis and a posteriori analysis in the domain of a double corrective necessary for arriving at absolutist certitude, resulting both from the axiomatic and the experimental sides of the situation.


Even Sankara fails to resolve the residual paradox. Of Sankara's method of dealing with the two aspects of the Absolute, one from the relativistic side and the other from the fully absolutist side, we have in the following selection from his commentary on the Brahma Sutras (III.3.17) a good example. By Sankara´s approach from both sides at once it is seen that the paradox is not completely abolished by his laboured exegetics. The term upadhi (conditioning adjunct) introduced by Sankara does not specially help in the matter of making the paradox altogether disappear. We read the following:

"There is a Self called the living one (the individual soul), which rules the body and the senses, and is connected with the fruits of action. With regard to that Self the conflict of scriptural passages suggests the doubt, whether it is produced from Brahman like ether and the other elements, or if, like Brahman itself, it is unproduced. Some scriptural passages, by comparing it to sparks proceeding from a fire and so on, intimate that the living soul is produced from Brahman; from others again we learn that the highest Brahman, without undergoing any modification, passes, by entering into its effects (the elements), into the condition of the individual soul. These latter passages do not thus record an origination of the individual soul." (21)

Sankara now brings in a questioning sceptic who, after showing his arguments, concludes by saying the individual soul is a product of Brahman. Sankara answers this as follows:


"...For we know from scriptural passages that the soul is eternal, that it has no origin, that it is unchanging, that what constitutes the soul is the unmodified Brahman, and that the soul has its Self in Brahman. A being of such a nature cannot be a product. The scriptural passages to which we are alluding are the following: 
The living Self dies not. (Chandogya Upanishad VI.11.3); This great unborn Self undecaying, undying, immortal, fearless is indeed Brahman. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.25); The knowing Self is not born, it dies not. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.18); The Ancient is unborn, eternal, everlasting. (Katha Upanishad 1.2.18) Having sent forth that, he entered into it. (Taittiriya Upanishad 11.6); Let me now enter those with this living Self and let me then evolve names and forms. (Chandogya Upanishadnails. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.7); Thou art that. (Chandogya Upanishad VI.8.7); I am Brahman. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 1.4.10); This Self is Brahman, knowing all. (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 11.5.19).
All these texts declare the eternity of the soul, and thus militate against the view of its having been produced. But it has been argued above that the soul must be a modification because it is divided, and must have an origin because it is a modification. It is not, we reply, in itself divided; for scripture declares that 'there is one God hidden in all beings, all-pervading, the Self within all beings.' (Svetasvatara Upanishad VI.11); it only appears divided owing to its limiting adjuncts, such as the mind and so on, just as the ether appears divided by its connection with jars and the like. Scripture (viz. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.5, 'that Self is indeed Brahman, made up of knowledge, mind, life, sight, hearing,' etc.) also declares that the one unmodified Brahman is made up of a plurality of intellects (buddhi), etc. By Brahman being made up of a mind and so on is meant that its nature is coloured thereby, while the fact of its being entirely separate from it is non-apparent.


Analogously we say that a mean, cowardly fellow is made up of womanishness. The casual passages which speak of the soul's production and dissolution must therefore be interpreted on the ground of the soul's connection with its limiting adjuncts; when the adjunct is produced or dissolved, the soul also is said to be produced or dissolved. Thus scripture also declares, 'Being altogether a mass of knowledge, having risen from out of these elements it again perishes after them. When he has departed there is no more knowledge.' (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV,5.13). What is meant there is only the dissolution of the limiting adjuncts of the Self, not the dissolution of the Self itself. The text itself explains this, in reply to Maitreyi's question "Here, Sir, thou hast landed me in utter bewilderment. Indeed I do not understand him, that when he has departed there is no more knowledge'), in the words, 'I say nothing that is bewildering. Verily, beloved, that Self is imperishable and of an indestructible nature, but it enters into contact with the sense organs.' Non-contradiction moreover of the general assertion (about everything being known through one) results only from the acknowledgment that Brahman is the individual soul. The difference of the attributes of both is also owing to the limiting adjuncts only. Moreover the words 'Speak on for the sake of final deliverance' (uttered by Janaka with reference to the instruction he receives from Yajnavalkya about the vijnanamaya atman) implicitly deny that the Self consisting of knowledge (i.e. the individual soul) possesses any of the attributes of transitory existence, and thus show it to be one with the highest Self. From all this it follows that the individual soul does not either originate or undergo destruction." (23)


Even the most critical of readers of the above will not be completely free from the same kind of bewilderment expressed above by Maitreyi to Yajnavalkya. If we search for any explanation from Sankara we find two specific factors which he relies on. The first refers to upadhi or conditioning adjunct. This must be distinguished from adhyasa or superimposition. The favourite example of upadhi is the one of a clear crystal seemingly red because of being placed on red silk. If one presses the question further and asks what outside factor other than the all-inclusive Brahman constitutes such a conditioning adjunct, the answer relies on a second factor referred to as darkness or ignorance, sometimes also further qualified as anadi (without beginning). In our terminology this factor of ignorance does not have anything but a negative and horizontal reference., The adhyasa on the other hand being of a more subjective order refers to the vertical axis. Since the two references persist, to that the paradox must be taken to persist also. The more adding of more technical terms by Sankara does not totally abolish the paradox with its implied contradiction.


Another famous speculative argument is contained in the overall reliance on non-contradiction by scripture. Non-contradiction does not by itself constitute sufficient reason enabling us to arrive at a proper conclusion. Many open questions remain non-contradicted. As a result of all these weaknesses in the arguments at least some residual paradox must be said to linger on in the mind of the critical reader. The gap between axiomatic thinking and simple everyday experience remains to be bridged and it is in the region of this hiatus in the total knowledge-situation that structuralism must come to the rescue. It can render great service by fixing the limits of improbabilities and impossibilities.

When something is impossible it is also not probable; but probability can still be expected to be valid unless something is proved impossible. General ideas belonging to the world order distinguished as ritam descend from the more axiomatic pole.


However, satyam or ontological reality is built up from below and so when one meets the other absolute certitude results. These structural peculiarities have first to be kept in mind together with all the other features we have referred to. As in the case of pure numbers in the theory of ensembles neither events nor things need be supposed in a world belonging to the order of the schematismus. Both can co-exist, implying a qualitative vertical succession and a quantitative horizontal contradiction till both are abolished on fully attaining the Absolute. When Sankara in the above quotation takes it for granted that the individual soul can exist without contradiction within the totality of the Absolute, the only plausible reason for the co-existence of two such different things in one is the principle of a single ensemble pertaining to another more inclusive ensemble. Modern mathematical thinking is therefore the only way whereby the various claims in the Upanishads can all be accommodated together. Such schematic thinking also seems to be present in some of the other analogies and subtle reasonings found elsewhere in Sankara´s commentary on the Brahma Sutras.



In the above quotations from Sankara we already notice from his use of semantic analogy to the predicative adjunct of femininity of a man who is cowardly and weak, the attempt to reduce into subjective and qualitative linguistic or mathematical terms what is otherwise objective and quantitative. It is only after such a reduction to a homogeneity between the various factors involved in the visible world that the Absolute as the cause of the gross world can be derived. In Vedanta cause and effect are interchangeable terms as Sankara declares in many places.


Primacy of cause is adopted in Vedantic methodology for the purposes of a stage-by-stage reduction of two correlated conjugates or factors until perfect homogeneity between them is established. It is only when such a mutual transparency has been established between the vertical and horizontal aspects that the lingering paradox can be resolved and fully abolished. This involves a double correction and recognition of full inner reciprocity or complementarity in a perfect homogeneous matrix. The interaction or osmosis between the qualitative and quantitative aspects can take place only when equality of the epistemological status between them has been first established.


The process of further reduction into absolute unity takes place at one and the same time by double negation and double assertion in a more fully logical, semantic or mathematical sense. This kind of stage-by-stage reduction is exactly what is found in Bergson's methodology where the time of common sense agrees with a unique and absolute Time. Passing through stages of demi-relativity to full relativity, and then establishing horizontal reciprocity before attempting to abolish finally the duality between physics and metaphysics, Bergson accomplishes the task of giving an absolutist status to relativity. A detailed methodology, similar to Bergson's has also to be adopted by the Science of the Absolute, so as to bridge the gap between experiments and axioms.


Substituting terms like nescience (avidya) and giving it an eternal status side by side with the Absolute does not finally abolish the duality implied in the paradox. The Bhagavad Gita (III-39) refers to this as "the eternal enemy of the wise", comparing it to an ever-burning fire of passion. In spite of the difficulty of fully abolishing paradox, Sankara in certain places makes bold speculative attempts to resolve the paradox by the use of analogies taken from common experience.


It is not hard to see in this the same intense wish to abolish all vestiges of duality in the context of a fully epistemological version of the Absolute. This is not the same as the Vedanta of Ramanuja and Madhva who are more willing to dilute Vedanta for popular consumption. We will now select a few striking examples from Sankara´s commentary on the Brahma Sutras. We see in them a strong suggestion of schematic thinking on the lines of modern mathematical developments.



In I.1.17 Sankara labours much to establish a unity between the Self consisting of knowledge and the Self consisting of bliss. The Taittiriya Upanishad (II.7) is quoted where it says: 'It (i.e. the Self consisting of bliss) is a flavour; for only after perceiving a flavour can this (soul) perceive bliss.' The problem is that one who perceives cannot be the perceived. Sankara admits that the Upanishads permit the belief in two Selfs, one to be searched for and the other given to natural experience. In trying to reconcile this, he resorts to a device highly reminiscent of mathematical structuralism. We read:
"Nor can it be said that the Lord is unreal because he is identical with the unreal individual soul; for the Lord differs from the soul which is embodied, acts and enjoys, and is the product of Nescience, in the same way as the real juggler who stands on the ground differs from the illusive juggler, who, holding in his hand a shield and a sword, climbs up to the sky by means of a rope…." (24)


The ontological and teleological versions of the same Absolute having their respective positions at the minus and plus poles of the vertical axis are clearly indicated here.



In I.2.11 there is a delicate problem between two grades of paradox found in two analogies in the Upanishads. In one, reference is made to two birds in a tree. The other analogy is where two souls entering the same cave are given equal status by drinking the results of their good deeds. In answer to a questioner who points out that both these examples cannot reveal the same unity, Sankara uses an ingenious example. Though it is taken from common usage in language, in the light of modern mathematics we can recognize the same theory of numbers and notion of ensembles implied in this analogy where Sankara employs mathematical abstraction and generalization of groups or sets. The exact quantitative number of people holding the umbrella is brushed aside as irrelevant to the situation in the analogy below. It refers to the umbrella-men which is just meant to refer to a group of persons under one heading or as a class.
We read as follows:

"Just as we see that in phrases such as 'the men with the umbrella (lit. the umbrella-men) are walking,' the attribute of being furnished with an umbrella which properly speaking belongs to one man only is secondarily ascribed to many, so here two agents are spoken of as drinking because one of them is really drinking." (25)



In I.4.16 Sankara is again faced with the difficulty of referring to two grades of created entities with a double aspect implied between them. They are to be traced to the same cause (which is the Absolute) where there is no duality. Sankara resorts to another device where two ensembles have a one-to-one correspondence between them.


We read:

"The passage therefore sets forth the maker of the world in a double aspect, at first as the creator of a special part of the world and thereupon as the creator of the whole remaining part of the world; a way of speaking analogous to such every-day forms of expression as, 'The wandering mendicants are to be fed and then the Brahmanas." (26)

The theory of ensembles found in the previous example is further elaborated here by Sankara.



In I.1.27 Sankara explains the apparent contradiction between passages in the Upanishads. One passage puts the heavenly world beyond the earthly one, while the other passage suggests a continuity with the earthly world. Sankara resorts again to common language. Here the visual and structural geometric aspects are more evident. A vectorial space and direction is involved. We read:

"Just as in ordinary language a falcon, although in contact with the top of a tree, is not only said to be on the tree but also above the tree so Brahman also, although being in heaven, is here referred to as being beyond heaven as well." (27)



In I.2.7 Sankara is faced with the problem of limited space occupied by the Absolute. Space according to him can be viewed in two distinct ways. In the contemplative context of the Absolute space is not a physical actuality but a universalized mathematical entity where limited space, as in the eye of a needle, is its dialectical counterpart. The worldly way of treating space as physical actuality with local and fixed duration is non-mathematical.


This has to be reduced into a mathematical unity having a universal concrete status. The reference to parrots and cages has the purpose of emphasizing the universalization of the concrete. Absolute space has no limitations and only a schematically revised version of universal concrete space can be accommodated within it without any inner conflict. We read:
"The case is, moreover, to be viewed as analogous to that of the ether. The ether, although all-pervading, is spoken of as limited and minute, if considered in its connection with the eye of a needle; so Brahman also. But it is an understood matter that the attributes of limitation of abode and of minuteness depend, in Brahman's case, entirely on special forms of contemplation, and are not real. The latter consideration disposes also of the objection that if Brahman has its abode in the heart, which heart-abode is a different one in each body, it would follow that it is affected by all the imperfections which attach to beings having different abodes, such as parrots shut up in different cages, viz., want of unity, being made up of parts, non-permanency, and so on." (28)

The same principle of universality of reality is described in the same sutra where a man is referred to as being both king of Ayodhya and King of the World.


Before passing on from the Prologue to the Bhana Darsana we have to note that the "consciousness" of this chapter has a dynamic and epistemological grade of its own. The chapter begins with an interchange of two aspects of consciousness, each having a four-fold character. Even Gestalt Psychology recognizes that a configuration such as that of music is distinct from the instrument, its mechanistic base. There is a quick and almost imperceptible succession whereby essences in consciousness are interchanged as if by a subtle osmotic process where participation is possible between the ontological and the teleological aspects of the Absolute.


By this kind of interaction between the generic and the specific classes, systems, sets or ensembles belonging to each of the four limbs of the double structural pair of references, four orders of reality emerge which will become apparent after scrutinizing the text. What should be further noted in advance is that "consciousness", here does not become so positive as to be the basis for the active ratiocination treated of in the seventh Chapter (Jnana Darsana). Although primacy here is slightly in favour of the ontological side, the attempt is to give both these sides an equality of status as proper to the central position occupied by this chapter in relation to the work taken as a whole. In the last verse of this chapter we have to note especially that this participation is openly declared. The mahavakya (great dictum) sat-eva-tat is stated in the last verse for this purpose. This is done in order to show the transition from the negative to the positive side, which becomes fully accomplished only after we have passed the neutral point between the first and second half of the work. If exosmosis is a process taking place from the negative to the positive, endosmosis is the reciprocal process of the same. These subtle distinctions have to be kept in mind.



[1] Hume, p.351.


[2] Hume, p. 403


[3] See our "Search For a Norm in Western Thought," Values, Oct 1965 to Nov. 1966.


[4] S. Kroner, "The Philosophy of Mathematics", Hutchinson University Library, London, 1960, p. 29.


[5] Ibid., p.143


[6] Ibid., p.122


[7] Ibid., pp. 167-168


[8] "Les Nombres et les Espaces", Verriest, Armand Colin, Paris 1956 pp.180-181. Our translation.


[9] Kroner, p. 171.


[10] Ibid., p.182


[11] Ibid., p.149


[12] Bergson, Dur. et Sim. p. 109. Our translation.


[13] "Bright heaven is the head of this Universal Man, the sun is the eye, the wind is the breath, space is the water-making part of the body, supporting earth is the foot and fire is the heart", as suggested in the Chandogya (V, 18.2), where we find two more items: hair compared to sacrificial grass and chest compared to sacrificial space. Contemplative correspondences are here implied, rather than actual entities.


[14] The five senses of perception (jnanendriyas) viz. hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell, five objective or actual aspects of the organic functioning of the ego (karmendriyas) called speech, handling, locomotion, generation and evacuation; five vital urges (pranas) together with that centre where the impressions meet ' which is called in the mind (manas); the discriminating intellect (buddhi); the sense of individuality (ahamkara) and the relational sense (citta) - thus making nineteen in all.


[15] Paris, 1963. Our translation


[16] This monograph is to be appended to Vol. III of this work.


[17] Intro. To "La Structure des Theories Physiques" by Destouches-Fevrier, P.U.F., Paris 1951 p. ix. Our translation.


[18] Destouches-Fevrier, p. 330. Our translation.


[19]  Destouches-Fevrier, pp. 330-331.Our translation


[20] Bhagavad Gita, p.124.


[21] Ved.Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol.II, pp. 29- 30.


[22] Ibid. Vol. II, pp. 31-33


[23] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol.II, p. 70.


[24] Ved.Sut. Comm.Sank., Vol.II , p. 119


[25] Ibid. p. 271


[26] Ibid. p. 96


[27] Ibid. p. 114







1. antarbahirvadasinam sada bhramaracancalam bhanam dvidhaiva samanyam visesa iti bhidyate
Present equally within (and) without,
In constant bee-agitation,
Consciousness is of two kinds -
The generic and the specific.
BAHIRVAD ANTAH ASINAM, present as within (and) without,
SADA BRAHMARA-CANCALAM-BHANAM, in constant bee-agitation, consciousness,
SAMANYAM VISESAH ITI, as the generic and the specific,
DVIDHA-EVA BHIDYATE, is of two kinds
That which is called consciousness is what constitutes the basis of all events and is of the form of a mental activity. This consciousness remains both outside and inside. In other words, it seems to be both outside as well as inside. (Yet) on closer examination it is neither inside nor outside. Because it has no stable state of existence it is called most changeful. Conventionally it is capable of being referred to as having generic or specific aspects. This will be explained later.
For both consciousness and its basic counterpart, four grades of differences (are) known as the concrete (sthulam), subtle (sukshmam), causal (karanam), and absolute (turiyam). Because it is difficult to grasp what constitutes the generic and specific aspects without first knowing the factors of consciousness and its basis, we have first to consider these and afterwards explain how the generic and specific aspects enter into them.

2. sthulam suksmam karanam ca turyam ceti caturvidham bhanasrayam hi tannama bhanasyapyupyacaryate
As the concrete, the subtle, the causal and the Absolute,
Basic consciousness (is) of four kinds,
So these names even (of basic consciousness)
Are also applicable to consciousness.
STHULAM, (as the) concrete,
SUKSHMAM, the subtle,
KARANAM, the causal,
TURYAM CA ITI, and the Absolute,
CATURVIDHAM, (there are) four kinds,
BHANASRAYAM (BHAVATI), of basic consciousness,
TAT NAMA HI, these names too,
BHANASYA API, for consciousness also,
UPACARYATE CA, are applicable also
For consciousness, as well as for its basic counterpart, there are four divisions.

They are:
concrete basic consciousness,
subtle basic consciousness,
causal basic consciousness
and Absolute basic consciousness.
In the same way there are (four divisions for consciousness) and they are also concrete, subtle, causal and Absolute, respectively.
The difference of generic and specific belongs to all of the components of consciousness. They are broadly divided into two, giving four generic and four specific sets e.g., generic-concrete consciousness has its counterparts in specific-concrete consciousness as also, two such as generic-concrete basic consciousness and specific-concrete basic consciousness. As with the concrete, we have to extend such divisions as applicable to the subtle, the causal, and the Absolute.

3. drsyatmiha kayo'ham ghato'yamiti drsyate sthulamasritya yadbhanam sthulam taditi manyate
Lo, here, "I am the body, this is the pot,"
Depending on the concrete,
What looms in consciousness,
That is known as the concrete.
IHA, here (in a visible manner),
AHAM KAYAH, I am the body,
AYAM GHATAH ITI, this is the pot,
STHULAM-ASRITYA, depending on the concrete,
YAT BHANAM DRSYATE, what looms as consciousness,
TAT STHULAM ITI MANYATE, that is known as the concrete
That which is called concrete consciousness is in the form of "I am the body; this is the pot", because both derive their reality from visible concrete objects. In other words, that which looms in the form of concrete objects is concrete consciousness. This concrete consciousness is experienced by everyone in the wakeful state.

4. atra kayo ghata iti bhanam yattadvisisyate tatha'hamayamiti yat samanyamiti ca smrtam
Here, what is the consciousness of the body
And the pot, that is the specific,
Likewise too what is (the consciousness of) "I" or "this"
Is known as the generic.
ATAR, here (in what has been said above),
KAYAH, (of) the body,
GHATAH, the pot,
ITI BHANAM YAT, what is the consciousness,
TAT VASISHYATE, that is the specific,
TATHA, likewise,
AHAM, (of) "I",
AYAM, "this",
(BHANAM) YAT, what is (the consciousness),
(TAT) SAMANYAM-ITI CA SMRTAM, (this) as the generic is known
Because the body, pot, cloth, house, etc. each have a discrete specific status qualified by specificity in reference to each other, such items of consciousness are called specific.The body is specified by the differences implied in such ideas as pot, cloth, house, etc. The cloth is specified by the difference implied in such ideas as body, pot, house, etc. Thus each object has a discrete status of its own. Therefore, the consciousness of such is called specific. Such items as "I", "this", "that", etc. are called generic because they do not specifically distinguish such items as, body, pot, cloth, house, etc.; so they do not refer to their discrete individuality. For each of the four such as gross, subtle, etc. there are the generic and specific aspects to be considered.

5. indriyani manobuddhivisayah panca vayavah bhasyante yena tatsuksmam asya suksmasrayatvatah
The senses, mind, intellect, interest items
And the five vital tendencies,
By what are made conscious - that is (know as) the subtle.
Because of dependence on the subtle.
INDRIYANI, the senses (such as hearing),
MANO-BUDDHI, mind (and) intellect,
VISHAYAH, interest items, (like sound and form),
PANCAVAYAVAHA, the five vital tendencies,
YENA BHASYANTE, by what is made conscious,
ASYA SUKSHMASRAYATVATAH, because of dependence on the subtle,
TAT SUKSHMAM (ITI MANYATE), this (is known) as the subtle.
The subtle consciousness is what emerges from the subtle basic consciousness. Each of the senses has a specific capacity; such as the ear having the power to appreciate sound; the eye to appreciate form; the skin to appreciate touch; the tongue to appreciate taste and the nose to appreciate smell. It is by this subtle specific capacity that we are able to appreciate a sound originating from a distance. It is by the same subtle specific capacity that other senses such as the eyes come to appreciate objects of interest, as well as the mind being capable of thinking; the intellect of discriminating the recognizing for itself the functioning of the (five) vital tendencies. It is by the specific power that we are even able to feel the presence of these senses. But their real form is so subtle that it becomes difficult to fix it. It is on the basis of something very subtle that the senses, mind, intellect and five vital tendencies are brought within the scope of consciousness. Therefore, because this kind of consciousness has its origin in the subtle basic consciousness, it is called subtle consciousness. It is during the dreaming state of consciousness that we clearly experience this kind of subtle consciousness. Even when the organs are not in direct relation with the objects in the dream state we have the experience that these organs are capable of appraising those objects. This is a common experience of all people in the dream state. In other words, in the dream state all people experience this subtle consciousness.

6. ajno'hamiti yadbhanam tatkaranamudhartam atra'hamiti samanyam viseso'jna iti sphurat
"I am ignorant". Such a consciousness
Is said to be the causal.
Here, that aspect which stands for "I" is the generic,
And the specific what stands for "am ignorant".
AJNOHAM, "I am ignorant",
ITI BHANAM YAT, such a (specific) consciousness,
TAT KARANAM ITI UDAHRITAM is said to be causal,
ATRA, here,
AHAM-ITI YAT TAT SMANYAM, what stands for "I" is the generic,
AJNANAH ITI SPHURAT (YAT TAT) VISESHAH (CA BHAVATI), (and that which) makes for the consciousness "am ignorant" is the specific.
In this verse we go one step beyond what we were concerned with in the previous verse. Beyond the senses, mind, and intellect, veiling all knowledge in a certain way, there is an ignorance or nescience which has the function of revealing to consciousness what is implied in a sentence such as "I am ignorant." It is this nescience that is the causal basis for both the gross and subtle consciousness, as also their basis. It is because of this causal ignorance that we have the consciousness of what is implied in the sentence "I am ignorant." Therefore this consciousness is called causal consciousness. It is in the state of deep sleep that all men experience this kind of consciousness. "I slept well and knew nothing." This form of experience is well known to all persons who have experienced deep sleep. Here the "I'', because it is common to all people, is generic and unitive in character. The more definite awareness "am ignorant" applying as it does to the individual aspect of each person, while remaining infinite still, is called specific.

7. aham brahmeti yadbhanam tatturyamiti samsyate samanyamahamitiyamso brahmetyatra visisyate
"I am the Absolute." Thus what consciousness attains
Is praised as (the consciousness of) the Absolute.
Here, the element "I" is the generic,
And "Absolute" is its specific attribute.
AHAM BRAHMA-ITI BHANAM YAT, "I am the Absolute"- thus what consciousness makes,
TAT-TURYAM-ITI SAMSYATE, is praised as that absolute consciousness,
ATRA, here,
AHAM-ITI-AMSAH SAMANYAM, the element "I" is the generic,
BRAHMA-ITI (AMSAH) VISISHYATE, (the element that refers to the Absolute is the specific
In the case of contemplative yogis or mystics in their state of perfect samadhi (contemplative calmness) which is still conditioned by mental activity; what is experienced in the form of identity with the Absolute as a further state beyond the state of causal ignorance is what is here referred to as absolute consciousness. Although the Absolute cannot actively enter our conditioned consciousness, still in the case of those yogis who constantly engage themselves in the meditation of the Absolute, when they attain to a state of identification with the Absolute they experience a consciousness in the form of "I am the Absolute." The absolute consciousness comes into evidence only when the natural dispositions (vasanas) of the senses and the consciousness of "I am ignorant" belonging to the state of deep sleep have become weakened. The 'praise' alluded to here is used in connection with this state in order to extol its value as a desirable or significant spiritual goal. All varieties of consciousness are to be understood as comprised within the scope of the four states of consciousness, beginning from the simple ones like that of the pot which is in the common experience of any one person, and finally ending with the supreme experience given to the yogi in the form of consciousness of "I am the Absolute". There is not anything higher than this last state even for the most advanced man of spirituality. In this last stage we have also to distinguish that the "I" is common to all individuals while the specific attribute of the Absolute is of an individual character pertaining only to specially qualified yogis.

8. yatra bhanam tatra bhasyam bhanam yatra na samanyamahamitiyamso brahmetyatra visisyate
Where consciousness (exists), there the
Object of consciousness (exists), where
Consciousness exists not, its object neither.
Thus, both by agreement and difference, certitude comes.
YATRA BHANAM (VARTATE), where consciousness (exists),
TATRA BHASYAM VARTATE, there (exists) the object of consciousness,
YATRA BHANAM NA (VARTATE), where consciousness (exists) not,
TARA BHASYAM NA VARTATE, the object of consciousness (exists) not,
ITI-ANVAYENA VYATIRIKENA API BODHYATE, so by agreement and difference certitude comes
Agreement is when we appraise the fact that wherever there is consciousness there is also the object of consciousness. Agreement (anvayena) is defined as the inseparable association of ends and means. Here the ends are the object of consciousness while the means are consciousness (itself). By this method of agreement and difference we should understand that only where there is consciousness there is the object of consciousness and conversely wherever there is an object of consciousness there is also an accompanying consciousness that goes with it. Difference (vyatirekena) is defined as non-existence; that is the lack of a concomitant associative link as between ends and means. Where there is no object of consciousness there is no consciousness either. This is called difference or absence of agreement. Here the absence of ends is the absence of the object of consciousness, while the absence of means corresponds to the absence of consciousness (itself). By this method of difference we come to know that where there is no consciousness there is also no object of consciousness, and vice-versa, (thereby attaining to unitive certitude).


9. yatha drgdrsamatmanam svayamatma na pasyati ato na bhasyate hyatma yam pasyati sa bhasyate
As with the eye which cannot see itself,
(So) the Self does not see itself,
Therefore indeed, the Self is not the object of consciousness.
That which the Self sees is the object of consciousness.
YATHA DRIG-DRISAM SVAYAM NA PASYATI, as with the eye that cannot see itself,
(TATHA) ATMA ATMANAM (SVAYAM) NA PASYATI, (so) the Self does not see itself,
ATA ATMA NA BHASYATE HI, therefore indeed the Self is not the object of consciousness,
ATMA-YAM PASYATI SA BHASYATE, that which the Self sees is the object of consciousness
It is the Self that ever remains without becoming the object of consciousness, as the one ever-remaining reality, although by the mere presence of the Self all things enter into consciousness. Although by the very presence the Self remains alone in its loneliness as a witness devoid of all conditionings, it is without any limitations either. In the form of existence-substance-value it is beyond all states, without change or activity, and not graspable by the mind. There is no consciousness of the self in the Self. To explain this we take the example of the eye with the help of which we can see everything but (the eye) does not help us to see itself.

10. yadbhasyate tadadhyastam anadhyastam na bhasyate yadadhyastam tadasadapyanadhyastam sadeva tat
What is the object of consciousness, that is conditioned,
What is unconditioned, that is not the object of consciousness.
What is conditioned is non-existent,
But what is unconditioned, itself THE EXISTENT IS THAT.
YAD BHASYATE, what is the object of consciousness,
TAD ADHYASTAM (BHAVATI), that is conditioned,
YADANADHYASTAM, what is unconditioned,
TAT NA BHASYATE, that is not the object of consciousness,
YAD ADHYASTAM, what is conditioned,
TAT ASAD, that is non-existent,
API YAT ANADHYASTAM, and what is unconditioned (i.e. the Self),
By this darsana the conclusion arrived at is that all things that are objects given to the senses, etc. and which enter consciousness are to be considered non-existent, and the only reality is that which is not the object of mental activity and is not the object of consciousness which is not conditioned but is the basis for all effects of consciousness, while itself remaining without any basis except in the Self.








We have here the fairly difficult task of first fixing the context and correctly appraising the contents of the present chapter. The purpose it is meant to serve must also be fully understood. There are three items according to Vedantic methodology called vishaya-sambandha-prayojana (content-context-purpose) originally laid down by the Purva Mimamsa and fully acceptable to Vedanta. We find here the central notion round which this chapter revolves is the Self (atma). The vital consciousness (caitanya) of the second chapter gave way to the mind (manas) in the third chapter where phenomenological aspects were examined as a unitive vision. In the fourth chapter the reasoning Self (cidatma) was the central notion wherein negativity was found as an epistemological principle. We compared this to a smoky crystal quartz. Continuing the same analogy we could also think of a quartz crystal having a higher degree of transparency. This transparency is first to be supposed as taking place at the extreme negative pole of nescience. Here the ontological Self as the existent is able to participate almost directly with the Absolute. An equation is capable of being established between the ontological Self and its own positive counterpart which is the idea of the Absolute given to contemplation.


For purposes of epistemologically and methodologically fixing the position of this chapter this transparency can be legitimately imagined as having a high degree of self-luminosity. As a radioactive substance glows in darkness with a subdued brilliance, so this negative luminosity in the Self becomes more and more pronounced till it is permissible to think of it as putting in the shade all the positive conceptual factors in consciousness. This factor is the basis in consciousness for the emergence of visual objects given to the senses, such as stars. The senses can be viewed from an inner and more subtle standpoint which is that of the Self, able to feel subjectively from inside the presence of the sense organs with their objective data.


Even when the eyes are shut it is possible to feel their presence in terms of inner experience. The mind, intellect and other subjective attributes of this self-consciousness itself can also be similarly appreciated from within. The gross presentiment and the inner appraisal of subtle factors can both be inclusively comprised within a general sense of unknowing at a deeper negative and verticalized seat of consciousness. What is more, there is also presupposed here the possibility of quick interaction taking place between the perceptual and conceptual aspects of the same consciousness. The degree of subjectivity assumed here is even greater than what we shall presently find when we come to Chapter Six. In Chapter Six we find that instead of the atma or cidatma there is reference to citendriyatma or "the Self of pure reason and the senses". The interaction we have referred to takes place in such quick succession that it resembles an electromagnetic pulsation. Thermodynamics and the biological analogy of heart, or even of osmotic interchange is here inadequate where the pulsation rather belongs to the context of quantum mechanics and wave propagation.


We have also to think of emergent configurations like those found in Gestalt psychology where the interaction between physical and meta-physical factors results in emergent configurations together having the status of a "structured whole". In the beginning of this chapter it is shown how these emergent factors are of four kinds, existing as reciprocal duplicates and permitting interaction between them at every point in the structure and at every level of consciousness. The structural analysis of this chapter is a complicated one because each configuration, while belonging to any one of the four duplicated limbs of the quaternion, are said in the very first verse to have the overall possibility of moving within the amplitude of generality or specificity. We shall try to clarify the structure and dynamism as we examine each of the verses.


The purpose of this chapter is a structural analysis of the psycho-physical dynamism of normal Absolute consciousness.

While considering these preliminary generalities here it will be profitable to remember in advance that the last two of the four limbs of consciousness have an epistemological importance together with an ontological richness. The two first limbs of the quaternion refer to secondary phenomena within total consciousness. In other words the first two belong to an horizontal or arithmetical order, while the second two are more purely vertical or algebraic. The horizontal dimensions are implied in the latter in the same way as multiplication or square roots imply, in principle at least, addition or subtraction. The Self occupies a central position where four correlates meet with their positive and negative factors radiating from the point of origin in four divergent directions. We have to explain here also that the fourth dimension has a comprehensive status by which it absorbs and reduces the other dimensions however numerous into one, which is the vertical.


Mathematical convention permits of such absorption of three dimensions referring to length, breadth and thickness into one as Bergson has shown how in our Chapter II on methodology. We are only concerned with Hilbertian and post-Hilbertian mathematics which enable us to put together all the proper and improper elements. Their composability and adequacy vouch for their scientific validity.


We have also to explain why we have called this chapter "Normalization" rather than "Consciousness". More positive events in consciousness involving a greater degree of attention will be considered in the form of ratiocination in Chapter Seven. Here it is a more neutral and passive aspect of consciousness that is structurally analyzed into two duplicate reciprocal counterparts coming into quick and intimate interaction. The last of the emergent factors resulting from the interaction envisaged in this chapter is the notion of the Absolute.


Such a neutral notion, which is capable of being viewed equally well from the positive or the negative side, brings us as near as possible to normalization. When the implicit duality or paradox melts or disappears completely, even the crypto-crystalline structural units tend to be dissolved into the general homogeneity of the liquid matrix. Thoughts with any alternating implications of movement, however delicate, must imply a form when the language of structuralism is still being respected. A perfectly normalized Absolute is like the ding-an-sich of Kant and cannot be distinguished either as known or knowable. This two-sided variety is also referred to in the Kena Upanishad where we read:

"It is conceived of by him by whom It is not conceived of.
He by whom It is conceived of, knows It not.
It is not understood by those who (say they) understand It.
It is understood by those who (say they) understand It not." (1)

Such a perfectly neutralized Absolute is beyond mind, word or thought. It is necessary therefore that a one-sided treatment, however minimal in its implications, has to be adopted by any philosopher who tries to present a consistent vision approximating the fully normalized notion of the Absolute. Narayana Guru takes care in the commentary to the verse to point out that it is the conditioned Absolute that is still the subject-matter of the chapter. Normalization being a process of double correction from the positive or negative side, together or alternatively, allows also for the process of renormalization from whatever side it might be undertaken. In this central chapter renormalization consists in the reduction of all objective non-Self entities into an overall status of equality with the Self. Full normalization results when the equation between the Self and the non-Self is intuitively grasped. When this occurs the meaning of the last phrase in Verse 10 (sad-eva-tat) will be fully understood.



The precise nature of consciousness has been the subject of both philosophical and psychological discussion by various school of thought. Even in physics the question of a ponderable and imponderable ether is alternatively suggested or rejected for purposes of calculating or explaining what is observed. We have seen in this connection how varied are the suppositions for each theory of relativity where space, time and matter have different grades for the limited, general and unified field theories. (2)
Consciousness is generally spoken of as a stream and in certain psychological schools an inner and outer zone is included, the former being an umbra and the latter a penumbra, distinguishing their central or peripheral positions. Empiricists like Russell have also recognized that consciousness is not an objective reality, and that it is neither outside nor inside. The notion of neutral monism is fully recognized both by logical positivists like Russell and pragmatists like James. Although there are slight differences of standpoint between pragmatism and empiricism the imponderable nature of consciousness is a matter generally agreed upon. Philosophers have been intrigued by the paradoxical substantiality of consciousness. The pragmatist position is stated by its so-called founder, Charles S. Pierce as follows:


"Pragmatism is the principle that every theoretical judgment expressible in a sentence in the indicative mood is a confused form of thought whose only meaning, if it has any, lies in its tendency to enforce a corresponding practical maxim expressible as a conditional sentence having its apodosis in the imperative mood." (3)


It is this feature of quickly alternating succession in consciousness between 'indicative' and imperative', between what is physical and what is metaphysical, that gives to consciousness this highly elusive character. It is sometimes referred to as an epiphenomenon. Narayana Guru in his commentary on the first verse as well as in the text underlines this elusive nature of the status of consciousness when he points out that it seems to be inside and sometimes to be both inside and outside and yet on closer examination it is not there at all. The rationalist philosophers postulated a kind of Absolute Thinking Substance having the paradoxical elements of substantiality and non-substantiality or mental status inseparable and somehow combined. The substance of Descartes combines extension and thought within its scope. Spinoza goes further into a substance with a fully absolutist status. The monad of Leibniz, although atomic in size, has some peculiarities of its own and does not constitute mere inert matter. Sufficient reason and pre-established harmony operate through these quasi-substantial monads. Kant also makes use of the notion of substance, though conceived more schematically and categorically.


In the first verse we note further that there is a pulsation containing a vibration involving the alternation between the physical and metaphysical aspects of the same paradoxical substance The vibrations are reminiscent of the electromagnetic diffusion of energy. Waves radiate with the velocity of light from one end of the universe to the other without any ponderable ether proved to be involved as its medium. The same paradoxical nature of a conscious substance resides unabolished even at the core of modern scientific thought.


In Indian philosophy the Jainas, who perhaps represent the oldest school of philosophy in India, when they deal with consciousness leave this question unanswered by their syadvada or principle of possibility and probability. They also prefer to have a series of basic categories for different philosophical viewpoints described as anaikantavada (principle of non-uniqueness of status). This distinguishes their schools as against the Vedantins who insist on tracing everything back to one unique Absolute, under the perspectives of cosmology, psychology and theology. The Buddhist position is more complicated because of their many different schools. The Sautrantikas and Vaibhashikas are both schools of Realism. The Sautrantika position on consciousness and memory is summed up by Vasubandhu in his "Abhidharma-Kosa":

"Consciousness, being in a special condition and connected with a (previous) knowledge of the remembered object, produces its recollection ...  
  1. It is a condition which includes
  2. attention directed towards this object,
  3. an idea either similar or otherwise connected with it and
  4. absence of bodily pain, grief or distraction etc., impairing its capacity. But supposing all these conditions are realized, consciousness nevertheless is not able to produce remembrance, if it is not connected with a previous experience of the remembered object." (4)
The Vijnanavadins or Idealists deny the external reality of the world in association with ideas. The Madhyamikas or Sunyavadins (sunya: the principle of nothingness or the void) treat consciousness and the world as unreal:


"The object of knowledge in a dream is not seen when one awakes. Similarly the world disappears to him who is awakened from the darkness of ignorance. 
One having origination does not originate himself. Origination is a false conception of the people. Such conceptions and (conceived) beings: these two are not reasonable." (5)

The Yogacaras or contemplative Idealists say:

"What is the essence of constructive thought? Is it an imagined sensation or some other function? The first is impossible! (An imagined sensation is indeed a "contradictio in adjecto"). Sensation and imagination being the one passive and the other active, (the one non-constructive and the other constructive, imaginative sensation) would be as it were a liquid solid stuff. (Constructive thought or imagination) is a function different (from sensation). The question is whether it operates after (sensation) or simultaneously with it? The first is impossible, because cognition being a momentary flash cannot operate by degrees. Even those schools who deny Universal Momentariness; even they maintain that thought, as well as motion, cannot operate intermittently and therefore (sensation and imagination), cannot operate alternately, (when something is felt and imagined at the same time).

 But if you assume that sensation and imagination work simultaneously, we can admit this, with the proviso that the object is immanent in cognition; because if we suppose that what we feel is (not in us), but out of us, the term "feeling" will lose itself every intelligible meaning." (6)

Here we see how contradiction is transcended by attributing simultaneous states of consciousness.


A more detailed examination of the position of the Buddhists on this subject presents many secondary problems which we cannot go into here. In Sankara's commentary to the Brahma Sutras (II.2.24) we find him refuting their contentions about the nature of consciousness. He refutes both the Buddhist and Jaina positions in a way which is sometimes too easy and which relies on a subtle form of functionalism. For example Sankara says that:
"The real existence of space is to be inferred from the quality of sound, since we observe that earth and other real things are the abodes of smell and the other qualities." (7)

The Upanishads also present many difficulties of a paradoxical nature. In the Svetasvatara Upanishad (V.9) the living Self is supposed to be the size of a hair split a hundred times lengthwise and a hundred times crosswise. It is extremely atomic, yet "partakes of infinity" and should be reduced into nothingness like a non-dimensional Euclidean point. Although locally fixed at a point in space it is meant to permeate space without distinction of limited or unlimited space as an attribute of the Absolute. The minutest atom so conceived is still described as infinite in its own quality of minuteness. This is a paradox hiding at the existential pole of the atom which refuses to be abolished. Various ingenious arguments are advanced by Sankara to explain away this difficulty. His appeal to the conditioning adjuncts (upadhis) of the Self is not very effective. At one place in his arguments he even gives the example of a statue of a human figure which he says can be filled with a kind of pure substantiality non-different from the substance in a living human being. (8) 

Sankara here reveals himself as a mathematical structuralist because the geometrical outline of the statue is interchangeable with the space including the vital elements.


The Vedantic distinction between ghatakasa (space within a jar, i.e. limited space) and mahakasa (ultimate or unlimited space). also suggests a twofold structure of space which is seen not to be made properly explicit by Sankara.


The structure of space remains a major problem even to Einstein. who finally decided on a Riemannian space as against a Lobachevskian or a Euclidean space-structure. The more basic or limiting instances of Euclidean or Newtonian space are not altogether rejected by Einstein, but it is the space structure of Riemann that he is most interested in. Thus we see that the difficulties about the substantiality and localization of consciousness are many and have persisted throughout the history of thought. In our own view self-consciousness can be viewed from inside its own central point of origin within the qualitative space located in the heart of living beings. Size does not matter because it is only a quantitative factor. Atomicity of self-consciousness can be thought of as consistent with the negative pole of the vertical axis where existence has a local fixed character tending to be more so in the same direction of negativity. Here space attains to its own infinite or infinitesimal status without violating the structural requirements and without sacrificing any of its implications corresponding to the ghatakasa of Sankara. At the other pole of conceptualization its dialectical counterpart mahakasa can be given its own legitimate structural position. Here space expands like the sky without any conditioning adjuncts except those arising from the impossibilities due to innate weakness of human thought.


Thus by giving three definite and distinct perspectives (gross, subtle and causal) to consciousness and dealing with each of them for purposes of analyzing the dynamism of consciousness, the time-honoured problem is solved. For the purposes of this chapter the alternating vibrations and pulsations within limits of the paradox are retained by Narayana Guru so that consciousness can be structurally analyzed and its dynamism studied. It is therefore still the conditioned consciousness we are dealing with as Narayana Guru points out in Verse 10. Unconditioned Consciousness will be referred to in the beginning of the Chapter VII on active or pure reason.



The reference in the first verse to the vibrating movement of the wings of the bee and the double reference to inner and outer worlds unmistakably reveals the same world of electromagnetism The world of the red shift and spectral analysis together with quantum mechanics and the implications of relativity theory have at present abolished solidity and distance. The whole attitude began apparently with simple discoveries such as the magnetic field revealing itself on a plane at right angles to the direction of an electric current. Here is an orthogonal structural feature having its counterpart in mathematical equations and correlates. The Pythagorean principle seems to be hiding and lending force to the notion. of the quaternion supposed to be at the basis of the elements.


Faraday's discovery of the relation between electric and magnetic forces, when treated together with Maxwell's equations, reveal a world with a double aspect. Interaction between these two aspects results in various combinations of qualitative and quantitative factors of ponderable and imponderable ether. The Lorentz equations still have validity even though the Michelson-Morley experiment was a failure. The Maxwell equations reveal a constant which is the velocity of light, when wavelengths and frequencies are multiplied. The gap between the equations and Faraday's discovery of the structural relation between electricity and magnetism has been filled by other discoveries. Each physicist who is able to formulate a new equation. on the one hand and find a corresponding peculiarity in the fine world of electromagnetism on the other, becomes famous because one more secret resulting from the interaction of qualitative and quantitative aspects of ponderable and imponderable matter has been revealed.


Radar, television, radio and x-rays are all based on vibrations or oscillations and wave disturbances or diffusion in a kind of elastic substance. Sometimes this substance is compared to jelly and at other times it is spoken of as empty of content.


The possibilities of such grades of realities that are being revealed seem to have no limit. More starting discoveries seem to be in the offing. Practice and theory are racing with each other, the one gaining primacy over the other. The impenetrability of matter is no hindrance to cosmic rays and the distance separating the earth from the moon is precisely measurable and stands revealed to the technique of radar. In television, light and sound are both qualitatively and quantitatively mixed to appeal to the ear as well as the eye. Without some mysterious and paradoxical reality the relationship between equations and actualities cannot be explained. Heinrich Hertz, the great physicist who experimentally proved the existence of electromagnetic waves, finds a mystery even in the mathematical formulae so necessary to physics, when he says: 
"One cannot escape the feeling that these mathematical formulae have an independent existence and an intelligence of their own, that they are wiser than we are, wiser even. than their discoverers, that we get more out of them than was originally put into them." (9)

The relationship between equations and actualities cannot be explained. The notion of the thinking substance remains valid. Besides diffusion there are techniques of reception where minute unit disturbances are caught and amplified by metallic antennas.


A monadic unit and a unit comprising within its scope the whole of outer space (at least as far as the moon) is now a tangible reality because of electromagnetic discoveries. In some of the Upanishads there are references to the soul being as small as the 100th part of the tip of a strand of hair and again divided 100 times crosswise. Also there is a reference boldly assuming the soul as able to pass through death, reaching the moon and then returning again to take its place in the cavity of the heart. We cannot distinguish here whether science or secret doctrine is the greater fact or a fable. Interstellar space holds the secret of cosmic rays having surprising implications. The quick vibrations of the wings of the bee (referred to in the first verse) imply an alternation between two subtle complementary aspects of time and space. The truth of a mathematical formula answers to the truth of a structurally understood fact. Maxwell was therefore able to confirm what Faraday found, such as the alternating interaction called "participation" between mind and matter. Psycho-physical parallelism can also be fitted into the same structure because the orthogonality at the basis of the structure can have a vertical and horizontal series of parallels with a kind of resemblance between them. Cartesian Occasionalism can take place where the coordinates meet and where apperception takes place.


Wave propagation implies something like the formation of smoke rings or soap bubbles (10). Whatever the structure may be there is always a vertical and horizontal component.


Nuclear physics also reveals the same two components. When Narayana Guru says that the reality of consciousness is both within and without as well as neither within nor without, he is only abolishing in two logically permissible ways the paradoxical relation between such conjugates or antinomies as space-time, mind-matter, natura naturans, natura naturata, etc., Quick vibrations might abolish the perceptibility of vibrations altogether. Low pitched sounds have a different status from x-ray frequencies. The possible varieties can be discussed in principle at least under our four structural elements as in complex numbers or even in the context of logic and semantics. The conceptual and perceptual aspects are the only over-all factors that are always involved in such interaction. The two are distinguished by Narayana Guru as bhana and bhanasraya. Each of them has four divisions and is further subject to intense specification or mild generalization in consciousness referred to as visesha (specific) or samanya (generic).



Although the material substance involved in electromagnetism has been variously referred to as waves, elastic or jelly-like, wrinkles, soap bubbles and smoke rings, their particle character has been more elusive. Photographic sensibility is relied upon to fix its nature. The capacity to produce or be the basis of sound or visible phenomena has been more evident than any other attribute of materiality. This must be the reason why Narayana Guru uses the term drisyatam-iha ("lo, here") referring to the status of visibility or sound. Elastic lines of light in physics are a similar aspect of reality. On the other hand vibrations imply a tangible basis where some actual functioning is to be thought of in however abstract a form. Vitality is one of the most basic of functions actually present in the Self of man. In the Upanishads vital tendencies are referred to as pranas, and the dignity and status given to them have puzzled many commentators.


Laboured efforts are seen to be made in trying to equate pranas with the highest Absolute, rather than referring to them as a principle of Nature (i.e. a prime potent power like pradhana). In spite of such a repugnance to this ontological principle on the part of orthodox Vedantins it is not hard to see in the present chapter how the functional and structural notion is consistently developed.


The five pranas have an intimate structural unity at the negative extremity of consciousness. Sometimes this is located in the vectorial space of the heart and at other times in a more negative manner with the atom or anu.


The pranas represent nascent tendencies only and do not depend on any quantitative space. If a small metal antenna can receive electromagnetic energy coming from a great distance, such an independence of functioning within a minute area is quite legitimate to presuppose. The five pranas have a definite structural relation between them, while belonging together as a unit in an intimate manner. The prana is the upward vital tendency while the apana is the downward vital tendency. The equalizing vital tendency is samana and the outgoing vital tendency is udana. The evenly spread vital tendency is vyana. There is also the mukhya-prana which is the chief vital tendency and can be placed on the plus side of the vertical axis. This chief vital tendency is often referred to as a king and the other tendencies as his ministers. If we keep these features in mind while reading the following quotes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV.3.7) we see how some kind of consistent status given to elements of consciousness in the context of this chapter is acceptable. In the opening line the word pranas is incorrectly translated by Hume as "senses." We read as follows:


"The person here who among the senses (rather "vital tendencies") is made of knowledge, who is the light in the heart. He, remaining the same, goes along both worlds, appearing to think, appearing to move about, for upon becoming asleep he transcends this world and the forms of death." (11)


In Verses 11 to 14 of the same Upanishad we read about the state of dreaming:

"On this point there are the following verses:

Striking down in sleep that is bodily,
Sleepless he looks down upon the sleeping (senses).
Having taken to himself light, there returns to his place
The golden person, the one spirit (hamsa).
Guarding his low nest with the breath,
The Immortal goes forth out of the nest.
He goes wherever he pleases - the immortal,
The golden person, the one spirit (hamsa).
in the state of sleep going aloft and below,
A god, he makes many forms for himself -
Now, as it were, enjoying pleasure with women,
Now, as it were, laughing, and even beholding fearful sights.
People see his pleasure- round; Him no one sees at all." (12)

Next in the Chandogya Upanishad (III.14.2), we come to this interesting verse dealing with the Self and the Absolute:

"He who consists of mind, whose body is life (prana), whose form is light, whose conception is truth, whose soul (atman) is space, containing all works, containing all desires, containing all odors, containing all tastes, encompassing this whole world, the unspeaking, the unconcerned This Soul of mind within the heart is smaller than a grain of rice, or a barley-corn, or a mustard-seed, or a grain of millet, or the kernel of a grain of millet;

This Soul of mine within the heart is greater than the earth, greater than the atmosphere, greater than the sky, greater than these worlds." (13)


A careful scrutiny of the above verses reveals firstly that small, middling or large size is of no importance in the Chandogya Upanishad. Secondly, this content has mainly to do with light and sound permeated by a form of living intelligence in which the other elementals have their counterparts. These counterparts should be thought of in mental terms and as encompassing the whole of space. Thirdly, there is a reference to more than one world.The first world has an ontological reality and the other belongs to the peripheral limits in the world of values. The world of celestial or astronomical luminaries comes within the range of the entities rooted in the conditioned Self below. The duality is thus bridged by a soul as unifying factor.


As pointed out in Verses 11 to 14 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad the golden person or one spirit is free to enjoy all things whether considered "respectable" or not. On final analysis it is the categorical imperative derived from the opposite a priori pole that must be kept in mind. The reference to sexual pleasure in Verse 13 is just to show its full freedom and unconcern about choice. No moral stigma or implications should be prematurely read into it. Such factors can be given their place in a more unconditioned version of the Absolute which this chapter does not specifically claim to cover. In principle full absolutism is to be attributed even to the present chapter as it is meant to be a vision of the Absolute in the context of consciousness. The possibility of a fully normalized absolutism is included within the scope of this chapter at the end of the last verse.


The phrases "appearing to think, appearing to move about" found in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (IV.3.7) indicate the last remnants of a paradoxical character wherein "the person" is to be understood. No unscientific mystification is intended here. Persons temperamentally disposed to seek mysteries can find them even in the multiplication table of the number nine where there is a "fearful symmetry" behind such things as described by the poet William Blake in his poem referring to a tiger and its stripes.


Verse 14 of the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad definitely dismisses the final recognition of any hypostatic or hierophantic divinity or sacred presence when it says, "People see his pleasure ground - Him no one sees at all." This is important to keep in mind. The alternating movements of going and coming back, passing beyond death, etc. have their own particularly pure eschatological implications.


The exact status of electromagnetic reality corresponds to the above verse in the Chandogya Upanishad. It corresponds to the third order of consciousness as analyzed in the Verse 5 of the Mandukya Upanishad (see page 626). In the fourth state (turiya) the pure Absolute alone is to be thought of without any conditioning duality whatsoever.



Every science needs a unit-notion. Like cells in biology, when atoms and quanta familiar in physics are understood in a more philosophical context we have the notion of the monad. Hylozoists have their concept of particles endowed with life. Likewise the Vaiseshikas (atomists) have single, two-fold and three-fold atoms derived from the ultimate atom or paramanu. Thinking and substance referring to mind and matter are necessarily inseparable in terms of Self-Consciousness. Even when consciousness is homogeneously treated as a substance, we can still recognize structural features within it, which are real at least to the extent that they help clear thinking.


Even if we agree to there being no duality possible within absolute substance, structuralism exists for semantic clarification and does not interfere with the unity of the thing-in-itself, in the same way as the equator does not physically interfere with ships passing "over" it. Structuralism should never be mistaken for reality but understood as a device for linguistic purposes. It is a proto-linguistic version. of what logistic already recognizes in its scheme of fundamental relations in thought. Nature and inner consciousness obey the same schematic features. It has been analyzed by Narayana Guru in its most nuclear form in Verses 41 and 42 of the "Atmopadesa Satakam" (One Hundred Verses on the Self):


" In "this is a pot" the initial "this" is the harsh,
While the pot is what makes its specific attribute.
For the mind with its myriad Indra–magic to come,
Understand that this is the basis of functioning

In "This is knowledge" the initial "this" is the same
While its specifying factor is the cognitive consciousness;
For the mind and all else to be effaced for the good path to gain,
"This" is what one should contemplate." (14)

Here we can supply the correlates implied in the coordinates of Descartes for purposes of reference as a quantified unit. A quaternion is compared to a packet or a grain, which is a constant having a quantitative as well as a qualitative unity as a substance. In terms of consciousness when referred to the two axes of reference and related to two typical representative and simple semantic terms such as "This is a pot." and "This is knowledge," we have for our purposes a unit-concept which can be correctly fitted into the epistemological context of the present chapter. Radioactivity and meson decay, etc., are not unlike sparks coming from fire, when light and matter exist together, giving in principle the same status to the spark as to the fire from which it comes. This analogy is accepted by Sankara and other Vedantins and finds a place in the Upanishads. Although there is a structural duality between the fire and the sparks, such a duality can be explained in the light of the teaching of Parmenides or Zeno where the One and the Many are brought together.


The verses of the "Atmopadesa Satakam" under reference here help to throw an important sidelight on the subject for the purpose of clarifying the overall structural features worked out in detail in this chapter. We are particularly thinking of the reference in Verse 3 to "I am the body, this is the pot." In "this is the pot" a more fully pronounced objectivity is found and in "I am the body" subjectivity enters to a greater extent. These two cases are meant to be two varieties of horizontal objectivity and can be referred to the two limbs even of the plus side of the horizontal axis.


"I am the body" is placed nearer to the point of origin. Such units are innumerable and infinite as the eternal waves on the ocean.


Even though sparks could have different grades of luminosity or materiality such gradations do not violate the overall structure to which each monadic unit in the four limbs could belong. If we now pass on to the consciousness experienced from inside, making us intuitively feel the presence of the senses, mind, intellect and the five vital tendencies, we find again the kind of gradation referable to the negative limb of the horizontal axis. The five pranas taken together as a unit are capable of bringing up or marking the rear or the extremely subtle negative limit. Each of the items constitutes a monad of its own, consisting of the elements of thought and substance. As for the positive and negative limbs of the vertical axis, the phrase "This is knowledge", when analyzed into "I am ignorant." and "I am the Absolute" represents the negative and positive structural aspects respectively. The general and the specific refer to the intensity or force whereby consciousness radiates positively or outwardly. At the centre of the structure is the Self, the most generalized factor in consciousness. Specificity resides at the fringe or periphery. Alternating pulsations or vibrations imply a quick and intensified succession. All grades or emergent factors can be thought of here. Only those that are directly referable to the limbs of the quaternion are here treated. When we think of the quaternion having its own duplicate implied in the conceptual or perceptual counterparts, and we visualize their alternate or simultaneous interaction, the structural pattern and the dynamism implied become clearly evident. In no case should we confuse an actuality given in life with the emergent four grades of reality found mentioned in this chapter, although each derives its nomenclature from some basic experience in consciousness, one of which is the experience of actual things in the waking state.


What this chapter treats of is therefore not actuality or objectivity in ordinary life but an emergent vision of the same, basically referable to the actualities and virtualities of ordinary life. The virtuality of the dream state is next to the actuality of the waking state. Then come the immanent (perceptual) and transcendent (conceptual) factors conscious in deep sleep. While we are still on the subject of the unit-notion of structure it will be good to remember that the totality, composability and adequacy of the use of structural language consists of other features than the quaternion and its normalization. The counterparts are partial aspects or cross-sections in two dimensional terms of a structure having any number of dimensions above two. The positive and negative aspects present features familiar to the science of conics where important structural notions of astronomy or laws of nature in general such as the parabola, hyperbola, ellipse, etc. and the equations answering to them naturally belong. Both the ancient Greeks and modern astronomers attach much importance to conic structures. Ancient examples are Plato and Apollonius, classical examples are Kepler and Newton and in more recent times we have the Rutherford-Bohr model of the atom.


The four limbs of the quaternion can be interchanged without violating the orthogonality fundamental to their structure. The projective features of the same can be treated as belonging to solid rather than plane geometry. Topology and vectorial and other qualitative aspects of geometrical space or even geometrical things intuitively understood in a purely axiomatic context can all be thought of together in the same context of structuralism. Schematism and structuralism are the same except that the former includes thought-aspects of a non-geometrical order. Thus the notion of structuralism developed by us from the Preliminaries onwards could serve the different requirements of each of the chapters.


In earlier chapters ontological realism had to refer to the universal concrete and colourful aspects of structuralism. As we proceed these colourful aspects can be discarded because of the purer and purer epistemological gradations in the vision of the Absolute with which each of the later chapters have to deal.


In the present chapter, abstraction and generalization have attained to a high degree of mathematical purity. We have been able to think of the duplicate quaternions only to the exclusion of other features. The interaction or mutual correction between these quaternions gives us the notions of normalization and renormalization. This chapter occupies the key position at the centre of the garland of verses and the reader has to look out for valuable methodological implications, particularly in the last four verses. We have also to look for a treatment of reciprocity and a reduction of duality into absolute unity implicit at the end of the last verse as we have pointed out many times before. These various stages of methodology and the structural features corresponding to them are worked out along the same lines by Bergson in Durée et Simultanéité, although he thinks more in terms of a dynamic schéma moteur rather than of any fixed and rigid schema. When a common consciousness is attributed to both the physicist and metaphysician (as Bergson has done) then the full recognition of such a unitive methodology and its implied normalization naturally takes place and in later chapters the twofold structural implications do not become so necessary.



The two vertical limbs of the quaternion as understood in the context of a pure schematismus have a dignity and richness of their own, making them stand out in strong relief, absorbing into themselves the virtual and actual essences of the two horizontal limbs. The lower vertical-negative called causal or karana is still fully ontological within the scope of the present chapter. Its negativity however is not so opaque as in previous chapters. Here besides the transparency found at its positive-vertical pole, the total or absolutist structural entity begins to have a self-luminosity of its own, established from its own negative-vertical pole. The positive and negative aspects of light begin to belong together to the same ontological Absolute. The final equation at the end of the last verse should be thought of as having no duality implied between its reciprocal counterparts. The unitive Absolute is thus fully attained at the end of this chapter, although such unity belongs still to the philosophy of physics rather than that of metaphysics.


An equation can be true both ways. Its reversibility is no violation of any mathematical law. The causal limb of the vertical axis has an all- comprehensive status in respect of any grade of effects whatsoever, whether belonging to this chapter or not. We have to put all effects within a circle as belonging to one super-class of effects, and think of causality as implying a high degree of negative absolute independence. When we think of the fourth state, which is the notion of the Absolute, together with the specific factors implied in it, we have likewise to give to this notion the most ultimate positive and comprehensive character, while it remains specific and unique in its lonely dignity. The Self that cognizes such a supreme notion of the Absolute attains to the finalized spiritual dignity marking the culminating point meant to be referred to within the scope of this chapter. At the end of his gloss (didhiti) on Verse 7 Narayana Guru takes care to refer to this experience as "final" and "supreme", by which he wishes to abolish the notion sometimes found in Vedantic texts such as the Yoga Vasishta where reference is made to a state of consciousness beyond the fourth, called turiyatita (beyond the Absolute).


Such further extension violates fundamental logical notions and confuses the issues for the scientific philosopher who wants to establish a precise mathematical equation between the counterparts. Otherwise a series of equations would be needed to say what one equation could otherwise effectively accomplish. Here the counterparts to be equated are the causal Self and the fourth state of the Absolute. Such an equation presupposes the highly pressurized contemplative mind of the yogi to establish this equation within himself. Narayana Guru also underlines this feature in his didhiti. In the Bhagavad Gita (XI. 8) such specific appraisal of positive absolute value is said to be given only to persons having a "divine eye". An intense practice of correct absolutist contemplation is to be necessarily presupposed here. This aspect will be treated more completely in Chapters 7 and 9. The generic and specific aspects of the causal and absolutist contents have to be carefully distinguished before the final equation referred to above can be established. The Self that says to itself, "I am ignorant" refers to the content of ignorance as its own unique or specific aspect. To feel ignorant in an overall absolutist context is a very high qualification. "The Cloud of Unknowing" corresponds to this noble state of mind which is the essence of mysticism. This is evident in the following:

"There is none other God but He that none may know, which may not be known" says the contemplative soul. "No, soothly, no! Without fail, no!", says she. He only is my God that none can one word of say, nor all they of Paradise one only point attain nor understand, for all knowing that they have of Him." (15)

This state is a globally and emotionally coloured state of inner agony also found in the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita where the despondency of Arjuna is dealt with. This same conflict or agony is likewise found in the Katha Upanishad where the young Nachiketas quarrels with his father and goes to the god of death for instruction.. This kind of dependency cannot be resolved, as pointed out in the texts, merely by the Vedic values belonging to the three worlds of earth, heaven and the intermediary world. The agony refers directly to the thirst for the knowledge of the Absolute and all despair is dispelled when a glimpse of the Absolute is arrived at. The specificity of the two cases, horizontal or vertical, tends to be polarized in opposite directions from the centre where the Self remains ever the same in its natural glory within wherein all generalization must reside.



The problems of logic are many and complicated. Different schools of philosophy have their favourite forms of logical reasoning whereby various grades of truths ranging from fact-truths to truths of pure reason are established. In the West we have Aristotelian logic with its numerous syllogisms, all classed under four main types. The discovery of these types and their structural implications has led to the analysis of logical structures by modern logicians. Students of logic have the task of recognizing different grades of syllogisms, making the study of logic as intricate as grammar or syntax. The propositional calculus can also be elaborated into all the ramifications of logistics discussed in the "Principia Mathematica" of Russell and Whitehead. It goes to the credit of C.S. Pierce to have penetrated more closely into the nature of and implications between middle terms and major and minor premises, so as to analyze and grade them into classes or groups.


In logistics we have the terms "if", "but", "either-or", "neither-nor", etc., along with notions whose subdivisions yield all the different permutations and combinations used in cybernetic information systems. We have already examined some of these mazes where matrices play their part. Thinking machines have to move between two poles of a logical situation offering a range of choice within the amplitude of action and reaction and the homeostatic equilibrium involved.


In Indian logic the situation is no less complicated. The Nyaya Vaiseshika system has developed its own highly technical methods of reasoning. What are called vyaptis (inclusive applicabilities) have their own logical field or frame where they yield various grades of certainty. Both East and West know of induction and deduction, and we have seen how the two complementary processes belong to the same context as dialectical reason.


Buddhist logic has also its own forms of reasoning corresponding to dialectical reasoning. All these matters do not come in for elaborate discussion here because in Chapter 7 different kinds of ratiocination are to be reviewed. In Verse 8 of this chapter an overall structure of logical reasoning is presented to us in advance, because it helps to reveal the structure of thought as a positive and negative alternating process. Such a process alternates between reciprocal counterparts where this interaction yields a normalized and renormalized certitude. Although in principle all equations are reversible in the world of physics, reversibility is only recognized as a methodological principle. Explosion and implosion, evolution and involution, entropy and negentropy, endosmosis and exosmosis are acceptable to theoretical physicists interested in the philosophy of science. We have seen this type of reasoning used by Costa de Beauregard (see page 207) and John A. Wheeler (see page 207). All we have to remember in the present context is how thought has a double movement in the subtle world of probabilities and possibilities. This yields different certitudes within the structural totality where thought lives and moves, always with an implied constant which is none other than the Absolute.


The desirable certitude of one school of philosophy may not be accepted by another. Among the Nyaya-Vaiseshika and Samkhya schools a difference is recognizable because the former holds to the reality of the atom and thinks in more concrete existential terms. The Samkhya school is interested in an epistemological ground of a thinner logical order. The terms anvaya (valid consequence) and vyatireka (invalid concomitance) are accepted by both these schools of philosophy. Vedantins however have their own favourite form of reasoning which, according to Satischandra Chatterjee (16) has no use for the combination of the two sides of the anvaya-vyatireka method.


But Vedanta according to us, when revalued and treated under methodologically graded darsanas as in the present work, profits by this double-sided method of reasoning, especially where structuralism and normalization are concerned. Narayana Guru refers to this type of unitive reasoning so as to reveal the degree of certitude belonging to this chapter, where the structural implications of the total knowledge-situation are not yet meant to be completely abolished. We are still here in the negative dimension of ontology. Perfect normalization abolishes all logical predicabilities and certitudes. The ontological Self represents the Absolute of this chapter. To recognize the Self by itself is a logical impossibility as is seen in Verse 9. The double reasoning here reveals a certain tragic impossibility separating concepts from percepts. The dividing line is still real in this chapter and the double movement of reasoning moves up and down along a logical parameter at right angles to the line where concepts are divided from percepts. Thus there is a horizontal dividing line belonging to the same unit structure side by side with its vertical counterpart which is its own most logical parameter. Thus the vertico-horizontal implications between the reciprocal aspects or counterparts of consciousness as structurally understood in the context of duplicate quaternions become further evident to us. In ordinary reasoning the favourite example taken for the double movement is that of fire and smoke. Wherever there is fire there is smoke and vice-versa. This reasoning holds good only in principle when we think of a red-hot poker or an electric fire where there is no smoke but only fire, where there is a complementary factor not so readily analyzed. Another favourite example of Indian logic is gandhavati-prithvi (the earth having the quality of smell as its unique specific attribute). Water also has this quality to some extent but in principle it does not have it to the same specifying degree as earth. Even if water has an element of earthiness implied in it we have to eliminate it by the argument of vyatireka.


A similar example favoured by more theoretical philosophers is that of thinkability and nameability. All that is thinkable is in principle also nameable. This follows from the anvaya type of argument where names refer to a reality of a subtle nominalistic order. This is the use in Indian logic for kevalanvayi (pure sequence) and kevalavyatireka (pure non-sequence) treated as disjunct items. (17)


The combined method of agreement and difference has no legitimate use for realistic or merely logical systems, but comes into use where a notion such as that of the pure Absolute is to be spoken of as both existent and non-existent. In Vedanta the paradoxical element when cancelled out does not abolish all units into nothingness, but always leaves a residue of a basic ontological substratum. This substratum is the pure Self resulting from the normalization implied in this chapter. Anvaya-vyatireka when applied to the total situation in the context of the pure Self still retains at its core a structural limit of impossibility in that the Self cannot be objectively cognized by itself. The plus and minus aspects meet in neutrality tending to transpose the subject into the object. This transposition which takes place in the deepest seat of self-consciousness is what is referred to in Verse 9. The clinching of the same argument takes place at the end of the chapter, marking the extreme limit to which ontological absolutism can be pushed.



The Pythagorean world of numbers has been looked upon as a mystery from pre-Socratic times. Pythagoras' followers were persecuted and the great philosopher was forced to leave Krotona for the island of Samos. In spite of this we still find groups of Pythagoreans in many big cities of Europe such as Brussels, Paris, London, etc. Even Rome has a secret temple in the basement of a building in the centre of the city where the lovers of Pythagorean wisdom go to acquaint themselves with the divinities and mysteries connected with the world of numbers. Earlier in this chapter we have also referred to the luminous and immortal divinities who enjoy the values of the "two worlds" found in the Upanishads. These entities hold a mystery which at present is being abolished more and more in the name of science. We now have a scheme of complex numbers including incommensurable, rational negative, imaginary and quadrative numbers. All belong to a complex structural pattern consisting of symbols as well as signs no less mysterious than those of Pythagoras´ theories.


The electrical engineer of modern days cannot perform his duties with any degree of intelligence unless he accepts these complex mathematical and subtle configurations where magnetism measured by Gaussian units and electricity measured by Oersted units enter into the "facing" of complex circuits. The divinities and semi-divinities could now be thought of as being applied or harnessed to actual dynamic situations having an unquestionable physical reality. The mathematical view of complex numbers when treated apart from their applicability seems to be based on conventions developed by the intuition or imagination of gifted mathematicians. But when this same structural pattern has a direct function in the hands of electrical engineers the mystery deepens further and reveals the Absolute where it meets reality from the opposite pole.


The two realities belong to a common epistemological zone where one exercises a normalizing and corrective influence on the other. We read the following from a working engineer concerned directly with practical aspects of complex numbers: 
"Quadrative numbers are just as real mathematically as the negative numbers. Physically sometimes the negative number has a meaning if two opposite directions exist; sometimes it has no meaning where only one direction exists. Likewise, the quadrative number sometimes has a physical meaning, in those oases where four directions exist, and has no meaning in those physical problems where only two directions exist.

In plane geometry, and in electrical engineering when dealing with alternating current phasors, the ordinary numbers represent the horizontal direction and the quadrative numbers the vertical. One horizontal direction is "+" and the other "-", and so also for the vertical. Normally, positive is chosen to the right and upward, negative to the left and downward; but these choices are purely a matter of convention.

In space geometry, and in mechanics, problems often lie in more than three dimensions. In electrical engineering, problems occur which depend on the relations between the currents in three, four or even more separate circuits. For all these, it may be useful to express the relations in complex algebra, using numbers generalized to three or more dimensions." (18)

The bhana and bhanasraya (the conceptual and perceptual aspects of consciousness) here enter into intimate relationship while retaining their quaternion structure. Pythagorean numbers have now a new order of reality because of their applicability as pure mathematical entities or even to actual situations arising in the electric power house.


Whether Narayana Guru has this structure of complex numbers in his mind while composing Verse 8 is an open question. The anvaya-vyatireka method, as we have shown, has its own structural implications.


The logical movement takes place along a vertical parameter and has to pass a horizontal dividing line separating percepts from concepts. In Narayana Guru's commentary on this verse he refers to this implicit structural secret when he says that wherever there is consciousness there is also the object of consciousness. All possible places are thus implied in the word "wherever". In the converse situation of vyatireka he takes care to mention the word 'alone' (kevala), excluding all possibility where there is no dependence of ends on means. It is not therefore unjustified on our part to say that there is a structural difference between the forward and backward processes in the double movement of reasoning. Possibilities and probabilities have to move within a frame of reference where probabilities have a horizontal reference and possibilities a negative vertical descending movement The pattern of complex numbers is thus implicit in the mind of Narayana Guru. It becomes explicit only by the subtle indication of the difference between the two movements in consciousness. Both these movements belong together to the same context, so that the absolute certitude of the ontological Self becomes correctly established. If we also remember that in the negative limb of the vertical axis ontological abstraction reaches its absolute limit, we will have an overall idea of the structural, implications of this chapter.



In the last two verses of this chapter we find the duality between the Self and the non-Self still persisting. Ontologically speaking, the Self is the Absolute and cannot have any rival in whatever constitutes the non-Self aspect. Within the scope of the non-Self we have to include everything already enumerated as present in consciousness, from gross objects to objects having a supposed or super-imposed status in pure self-consciousness. Whatever enters consciousness from the objective side does not belong to the true Self and is therefore called adhyastam or supposed. It is by negating this positive and conceptual non-Self entity that the Self attains to its full absolute reality.


The subtle relationship persisting at the core of ontological subjectivity cannot be abolished. Whatever objective and conceptual factors might be present in consciousness cannot become a distinct factor within self-consciousness. The process of reduction, beginning with the second chapter where a series of verticalized and negative equations always give primacy to the cause, comes to its end here as a Self that is self-sufficient, existing by-itself and for-itself. Absolutism cannot tolerate any rival even for relational purposes. It has to remain the same whatever else it might happen to be related to. Everything outside it has to be non-absolute and therefore false. Such is the broad position implied in the last two verses.


We cannot better conclude this section than by quoting from a theological treatise where we find a description of a God of self-consciousness. St. Augustine is generally taken to be a Platonist and his ideas find common ground with perhaps the greatest and boldest of early Christian mystics, Dionysos the Areopagite. Both these mystics have much in common with eastern thought. Whatever might be the source of this theological version of the highest spirit within man it is indeed a rare one to find. The semitic God of Christianity is generally found "above"; "The Kingdom of God Within" is usually ignored or not treated seriously. The translator of Dionysos, C.E.Rolt feels that if Nietzsche had read Dionysius he would not have broken with Christianity. He also thinks Plotinus traveled in the Punjab, although there is no evidence to support this, and expresses his concern about "certain Indian teachings which are now becoming too familiar in the West," being a source of trouble for the missionaries. If we forget the reference to a Christian God here and substitute the absolute ontological Self, what Augustine says fits well into the context of this chapter.


The following is found in the "Confessions" (IX.25):

"Could one silence the clamorous appetites of the body; silence the perceptions of the earth, the water and the air; could he silence the sky, and could his very soul be silent unto itself and, by ceasing to think of itself, transcend self-consciousness; could he silence all dreams and all revelations which the mind can image; yea, could he entirely silence all language and all symbols and every transitory thing - inasmuch as these all say to the hearer:

'We made not yourselves but were made by the Eternal' - if, after such words, they were forthwith to hold their peace, having drawn the mind's ear towards their Maker, and He were to speak alone, not through them but by Himself, so that we might hear His word, not through human language, nor through the voice of an angel, nor through any misleading appearance, but might instead hear without these things, the very Being Himself Whose presence in them we love – might hear Him with our Spirit even as now we strain our intellect and reach, with the swift movement of thought, to an eternal Wisdom that remains unmoved beyond all things - if this movement were continued and all other visions (being utterly unequal to the task) were to be done away with and this one vision were to seize the beholder, and were to swallow him up and plunge him in the abyss of its inward delights, so that his life for ever should be like that fleeting moment of consciousness for which we have been yearning, would not such a condition as this be an "ENTER THOU INTO THE JOY OF THE LORD" (19)



We now give a very short summary of each of the verses of this chapter:

Verse 1. This verse refers to the stream of consciousness resulting from a pulsation taking place between conceptual and perceptual aspects of Self-consciousness. The effect of such a pulsation is an emergent factor neither physical nor mental but a combination of both. It has no location inside nor outside, but belongs to qualitative rather than quantitative space. The pulsation can be intense or mild, ranging between oscillations and quick vibrations, resulting in generic or specific configurations given to the mind. This view is also that of Gestalt psychology where such configurations occupy peripheral or central zones in consciousness. Here they are neutrally held together by the Self.


Verse 2. The principle of the quaternion representing the correlates implied in Descartes and in complex numbers is in evidence here. Its duplicate form refers to the physical and psychic aspects of consciousness. Both use the same names or monomarks to signify in each of the four limbs. The fourth limb called turiya absorbs and abolishes every other specific item in consciousness.

Verse 3. The gross configuration belonging to the first limb is defined in this verse. Visibility is an attribute, though merely of the order of a Gestalt configuration. It refers to an emergent presentiment within consciousness, rather than to any physical actuality. In the case of the pot and the body, the former is more peripheral and specific than the latter, which is generic and nearer to the source in the Self.

Verse 4. This verse further elaborates the specific and generic aspects of each of the monadic units belonging to the horizontal plus side. The actuality of the pot or body is the specific attribute while the pronoun whether personal or not covers more vertical generalities.


Verse 5. Experience here is not what is given overtly to the organs, but is to be included within the scope of consciousness. What is actually seen is not important.


Verse 6. This verse passes from simple arithmetic to a richer and more abstract order having a more generalized and abstract axis of reference. This axis is the vertical also found in mathematics. The I-sense is here qualified by a negative attribute giving it its specific character. Specificity is here given a revised direction within total self-consciousness. Whatever is specific has to be an event in consciousness, and as such has to be considered a positive factor. The bottom of the vertical axis in mathematics consists of extracting negative roots and the neutral Self is the point of origin rather than the negative extremity. The causal ego, when it sinks in deeper and deeper sleep into negativity, comes to feel more and more clearly the specific attribute of ignorance. A phenomenological reduction and bracketing has to be kept in mind. The negative vertical limb is the one referring to the richest ontological aspect of the Self.


Verse 7. This verse directly refers to the turiya where all relativism is absorbed into the unity of absolute Self-consciousness. Strictly speaking this Self-consciousness should not have any division of subject and object. It is anterior to all predicability, but as Narayana Guru explains, this fully unconditioned status of the Self is not intended in this present chapter. Full normalization of the Self takes it beyond the scope of any analytic description in the same way as the named Tao is not the Absolute Tao. Rare instances of yogis who by constant practice of a certain type of meditation attain to this consciousness in the form of "I am the Absolute" is permissible only in principle, as Narayana Guru explains in his short commentary.


Verse 8. The double method of agreement and difference has a structural implication with the same four limbs where the alternating pulsations of reasoning take place within consciousness and move along a logical parameter alternately revealing the interlacing of vertical possibilities and horizontal probabilities. This eternal alternating process when fully normalized within consciousness helps us to attain to the Absolute. It is the point where consciousness alternates that is most important and not its horizontal elements or features.


Verse 9. In the alternating process described in the previous verse ontological realities within the Self occupy opposite epistemological poles. At the negative pole consciousness is absorbed into its own general ontological matrix. On the plus side individual concepts stand out in relief, like sparks from a fire. They are relation-relata units having the same structure. The purusha or Golden Person who is immortal has this conceptual status on the plus side. He cannot come into consciousness on the minus side in the same way as the eye or "I" cannot see itself. You can write the word "red" with a red pencil, but the ontological redness of the pencil is not of a conceptual order. What enters consciousness as an event has necessarily to be outside consciousness.

Verse 10. The same idea of a basic antinomian principle lurking within consciousness is further clarified in this verse. Going one step further it abolishes the plus side in favour of the minus side by calling it asat or non-existence. Perfect self-identity is attributed to the ontological Self having attained to its own self-sufficient and absolutist status. This marks the limit of the chapter as well as of the first half of the work. It is important to note that the final phrase sad-eva-tat, "That is Existent." is the mahavakya (great dictum) though stated in reverse syntactical order.



[1] "The 13 Principal Upanishads" by R.E. Hume, P.337
[2] Regarding the unified field theory, we read in the "Encyclopaedia Americana" (1966 edition) about the dominant theme in Einstein's work after receiving the Nobel Prize in physics for 1921: "Thereafter the dominant theme of Einstein´s work was a search for a unified field theory that would weld theories of electromagnetism and gravitation into an organic whole. Although one of the founders of the quantum theory, Einstein did not feel that its probabilistic approach was the right road to ultimate insight. His last proposed unified field theory was explained in an appendix to his book, "The Meaning of Relativity". (5th ed., rev., 1956) (Princeton, N.J.)


[3] Runes, p. 245


[4] Th. Shcherbatsky, "Buddhist Logic", New York, 1962, Vol.III p. 343.


[5] "Mahayanavimsaka of Nagarjuna", trans. V. Bhattacharya, Calcutta,1931, p.14 (Verses 15 & 16).


[6] Shcherbatsky, Vol.II, pp.364-365.


[7]Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.I, p.412.


[8] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p.44


[9] Danzig,p.78


[10] We read the following on pp.69-70 of Edna Kramer: "To understand such usage, think of wave propagation as being somewhat like the blowing of soap bubbles one after another at uniformly timed intervals, each bubble to expand at the same speed forever in our mind's eye unless some obstacle is encountered. If our 'waves' are electromagnetic, then the bubbles can be pictured as having a speed of radial expansion equal to 186,000 miles or 30,000,000 meters per second. We can in. imagination blow one bubble each second. Then as the bubbles expand, their radii will always differ by 186,000 miles. If, in our mind's eye, we blow 2 per second, the radial difference will be 93,000 miles. If we blow 3, the difference will be 62,000 miles. The number blown each second is called frequency of the radiation, and the radial difference is-called the wave length."


[11] Hume, p.134


[12] Hume p. 134-135


[13] Hume, p.209-210


[14] "One Hundred Verses of Self-Instruction", comm. Nataraja Guru, Narayana Gurukula,Varkala, India, p. 148-151
See our Commentary on this verse in: Narayana Guru: "One Hundred Verses of Self Instruction" (Atmopadesa-Satakam); and also in the article "The Philosophy of a Guru, VI. The Universe of Contemplative Discourse," Values, Vol.X:No.10 (July 1965), pp.765-766.


[15] "Mysticism", Evelyn Underhill, Meridian Books, NY,1956,p.337.


[16] See "The Nyaya Theory of Knowledge", Univ. of Calcutta, 1950, pp.270-272


[17] See the following for discussion: Chatterjee, pp-268-270; S.Barlingay, "A Modern Introduction to Indian Logic", Delhi, 1965, pp.134-137; and B. Atreya, "The Elements of Indian" Logic, Bombay, 1948, pp.91-94.


[18] P.L. Alger, "Mathematics for Science and Engineering" New York 1957, pp. 60-61, 67 resp.


[18] St.Augustine's "Confessions", IX. 26