By seeming coincidence, three sincere truth seekers found themselves before the presence of a well known wise person (jnani or jivanmukta) of the land.
Soon enough there was an argument amidst the seekers. A confronting case of conflicting opinions arose.
Each decided to make their cause before the jnani.
The first said,
“The One above created this. The almighty omniscient God. He guides, seated in his glory in heaven, every little creature, every divine spark. The only purpose of our existence is to be with Him, regain our original home… worshipping him… bathed in beatific light eternally shining like brilliant stars.”
The second said,
“What the first said is true in a sense. We are indeed the same and yet different. We are a part of the One who is with infinite divine attributes. The One is the WHOLE. We exhibit finite attributes of the WHOLE. We are inseparably locked together and yet also apart”.
The third seeker said,
“Between the One and us, there is no real difference, no separation, no being a part. The One and we are not different. The differences are apparent. In essence the One and we are the same. We could quite well say there is NO TWO, there is just One. But due to our ignorance we think we are different”.
But all three agreed and said “We know there is One. Some call it god, spirit, self, Consciousness, being, true emptiness, All-Pervading Absolute”.
Then they admitted and posted a question to the jnani:
“What is its nature? What is its relation to the world and us? We are beset with conflicting opinions. One is “separate”, second is “a part”, and third is “not different”. How do we know and which should we choose? Let us hear your point of view on this puzzling issue…”
This is what the wise person said…
Before I talk of the One, its relation to the world and us… let us enquire into the nature of the One.
Our sacred books the Upanishads state in no uncertain terms, “One is Limitless-Existence-Consciousness (sat-cit-ananda)”.
Any of these words can be used to point to the All-Pervading Absolute. They are not adjectives but words in apposition. Meaning, they're parallel words used for the same referent (import).
They are words defining the essential nature of the One.
Consciousness being self-evident, requires no other evidence to reveal itself.
It enables us to know we exist. Making each one of us a self-conscious person… with self-conscious existence… with a capacity to know, to be aware of all we do and do not know.
Every bit of information, time, space or revelation… depends on an already existing conscious source for it to be known.
Existence means in essence “being”. Which is defined as, Is-ness MINUS subject/object/action MINUS past/present/future.
In short: Existence = Is-ness MINUS space/time/objects.
A slight movement causes a change inviting you to ask the condition about the object. Which phase is the one before, the one present, or the one after the movement?
Existence has to be known.
To know implies an existence.
Existence can be known only by an existing conscious being, a self-evident conscious source.
I know I exist, I must exist to know.
Both Existence and Consciousness are not different as we can see.
When I see a book, a bird or a tree, I say quite definitely…
“A book is, a bird is, or a tree is“, by which I really mean…
“Book consciousness is. Bird consciousness is. Tree consciousness is”.
We can see in every thought, every statement, is-ness and consciousness are present.
Although two words, they are not different. One includes the other.
It is self-evident Consciousness requiring no external revelation from a faculty or sense organ.
Like a lighted candle within the lampshade of our minds… shedding its light through our senses… it is a self-revealing conscious light illumining our mind and senses… and through them the world.
As we said earlier, The One is Limitless Existence Consciousness (satchitananda).
Are these words merely adjectives? Like a big fragrant yellow rose separating the flower… differentiating it from others?
Flower separates it from other objects in the world. Rose separates it from other flowers.
We can keep adding adjectives until the particular object is precisely pointed out.
But where Existence-Consciousness is concerned, these words in apposition are words of definition… pointing to the nature of the One.
They are not words of separation, since there are no others to separate… no other existences or other consciousness.
If doubts still arise whether Truth is many or one, our sacred books help further by adding very quietly a crucial word “Limitless”, placed in apposition to Existence-Consciousness.
Putting to rest speculation of many and one, since limitless means there can be just one… pervading creation… pervading you and me.
Limitless means it must be everywhere simultaneously… without change or movement… enveloping time, space and objects.
If a thing is here, it cannot be there, nor can it be exactly in the same place as another at one and the same time.
There can never ever be, not even in your dreams, two limitless beings existing… because one will limit the other.
Neither object nor time nor space can limit the One… because if they do, a conflict will result
that will surely contradict the meaning of limitlessness.
Just as water limitlessly pervades an ice cube and wood limitlessly pervades a chair or stool… without a change. So does the One limitlessly pervade the entire creation.
Limitless and All-Pervading refer to one and the same thing.
Limitless Existence-Consciousness is the Truth, the one reality… with neither parts nor particles.
It is an undivided whole in itself complete and full… never an increase or a decrease… an indivisible whole.
For if there are parts, what would lie in between?
It can only be awareness… for the space between the parts has to be known by a conscious existing being.
Moreover, if there are parts… the whole would be an aggregate, a sum total of parts… making the Limitless One dependent on its parts. There no longer will be an All-Pervading being.
The words Limitless-Consciousness-Existence would become meaningless.
Limitless, All-Pervading, Eternal, Changeless Existence… each word points to the Limitless One.
We use so casually words such as eternal, permanent and forever… in a relative sense, like “ever after”.
What we really mean is an extended length of time. Whereas time and the One have a different relation.
Time places no limit on the One. It cannot.
The One is the subject… while time is an object. For time has to be known by an existing conscious being.
Thus there is no time for it too comes and goes.
The One never was… no birth, death, beginning or end… neither coming nor going.
It is, always, all-pervading… without slightest change.
You can see how illogical it sounds when we say we will be eternally blessed or eternally damned on a particular day… sometime in the distant future.
How can we use the word eternal for an event unfolding in time?
If we are to be eternally damned, we must be damned already here and now, since eternity cannot come and go. In which case there would be no hope for us.
If we are eternally blessed, we could never be damned.
An unthinking usage of words resulting in much confusion.
Time is the shadow of movement. For example, a day is the earth's rotation.
Splitting time results in time of micro denominations.
And with further reduction… time appears as a series of moments… a series of now's.
What exactly is now?
Now is the present moment. Past and future are based on it.
Every past was once a present. Every future will become a present.
It is from the present, we calculate both past and future.
It is the instantaneous march of moments.
Even as I think of the now, in a flash it becomes the past!
How can we calculate its length?
A moment, an instance… allows for millions of divisions.
A division implies length, space… between then and now… between now and later.
As we continue to divide… decreasing the length of time… time and space merge… resulting in neither time nor space.
Only the observer… the conscious being remains… who is in essence Consciousness.
Paradoxical as it may sound, content of time is timelessness, as is the content of space being spacelessness… which is Consciousness.
Content of the observer, the conscious being, Time, space and movement… are inextricably locked together. Since movement causes both time and space.
Space envelops everything. Space remains unmoving. It appears to us that space supports the entire universe.
So does Consciousness support even space… for space becomes an object of a conscious knowing subject. The Limitless One is the basis of space.
Time and space appear to bend, as do light and other elements, to suit the observer’s perception appearing as wave or particle, depending on the mind-set of the viewer.
Whereas Consciousness does not bend. It is changeless Existence.
Change has no role in the Absolute for changes belong to the relative world.
It needs a changeless being to give the word a meaning.
Without a changeless being what does change by itself mean?
Words such as Truth, Absolute, Being Eternal, Real and All-Pervading each of them refers to the One Limitless Existence Consciousness… which is identical in essence with I, the individual Consciousness.
One of the students asks “How important are these definitions particularly some that are so obvious?”
These words need explaining. As we go along we will find the explanations so germane
to the topic under discussion.
Without a proper understanding, how will we know what is real and what is not…the relation between the One and the world… or the truth of ourselves.
It is not a point of view. It is the truth. Incredible as it may sound… it is a statement of fact.
The Limitless Conscious being cause of the universe is same as I, the individual… of the same essential nature.
There being just One… the differences we see around can only be apparent… not real as we think them.”