Hinduism,Cosmos ,Sanatan Dharma.Ancient Hinduism science.
(Compiled From The Lectures Of Swami Vivekananda)
Maya is neither Idealism nor Realism, nor is it a theory, it is a statement of the fact of this universe, what we are and what we see around us.
Maya manifests itself as Space, Time, Causation. The one question that is most difficult to grasp in understanding the Advaita philosophy, and the one question that will be asked again and again and that will always remain is : How has the Infinite, the Absolute, become the finite ? I will now take up this question, and, in order to illustrate it, I will use a figure.
Here is the Absolute (a), and this is the universe (b). The Absolute has become the universe. By this is not only meant the material world, but the mental world, the spiritual world — heavens and earths, and in fact, everything that exists. Mind is the name of a change, and body the name of another change, and so on, and all these changes compose our universe. This Absolute (a) has become the universe (b) by coming through time, space, and causation (c). This is the central idea of Advaita.
Time, space, and causation are like the glass through which the Absolute is seen, and when It is seen on the lower side, It appears as the universe. Now we at once gather from this that in the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation. The idea of time cannot be there, seeing that there is no mind, no thought. The idea of space cannot be there, seeing that there is no external change. What you call motion and causation cannot exist where there is only One.
Those of you who are acquainted with Western philosophy will find something very similar in Kant. But warn you, those of you who have studied Professor Max Müller’s writings on Kant, that there is one idea most misleading. It was Shankaracharya who first found out the idea of the identity of time, space, and causation with Maya, and I had the good fortune to find one or two passages in Shankaracharya’s commentaries. ”
Space – Time – Causation :
1. First, would arise the concept of space, here vs. there, me taking up space over here, you taking up space over there.
2. Next would be time, if something is here and not there it has to get from here to there and can’t be in both places at once, therefore, it takes time to travel from one place to another.
3. Finally causation, in space and time one thing seems to be the cause of another. In the relative sense all this is real. In the absolute sense none of it is real.
That which is subject to time, space, and causation is changeable; while that which is beyond these is unchangeable.
Time exists in mind. What is time ?
Time, for instance , means “succession,” which is a condition of thought; and space means “coexistence.” The activities of mind, being either in succession or simultaneous, produce the ideas of time and space; they are conditions, or, as Kant calls them, forms of thought. One thought following another gives us a conception of intervals which we call time. Time means succession in thought. When one thought rises after another, the interval between them is what we call Time, so it is subject to mental activity.
When two ideas rise simultaneously, that which separates them is what we call space. Thus, that which exists between the idea ” me ” and the idea ” sun ” we classify as space ; yet it is purely a mental concept, having no existence outside the mind; for who knows any concrete thing designated space ? Hence, since these ideas of time and space are merely conditions of thought, they must be subject to change, because our thought is continually changing.
The one peculiar attribute we find in time, space, and causation is that they cannot exist separate from other things. Try to think of space without colour, or limits, or any connection with the things around — just abstract space. You cannot; you have to think of it as the space between two limits or between three objects. It has to be connected with some object to have any existence.
So with time; you cannot have any idea of abstract time, but you have to take two events, one preceding and the other succeeding, and join the two events by the idea of succession. Time depends on two events, just as space has to be related to outside objects. And the idea of causation is inseparable from time and space. This is the peculiar thing about them that they have no independent existence. They are as shadows around everything which you cannot catch. They have no real existence; yet they are not non-existent, seeing that through them all things are manifesting as this universe.
Thus we see, first, that the combination of time, space, and causation has neither existence nor non-existence. Secondly, it sometimes vanishes.
To give an illustration, there is a wave on the ocean. The wave is the same as the ocean certainly, and yet we know it is a wave, and as such different from the ocean. What makes this difference ? The name and the form, that is, the idea in the mind and the form.
Now, can we think of a wave-form as something separate from the ocean ?
Certainly not. It is always associated with the ocean idea. If the wave subsides, the form vanishes in a moment, and yet the form was not a delusion. So long as the wave existed the form was there, and you were bound to see the form. This is Maya.
Anything that is in space has form. Space itself has form. Either we are in space, or space is in us. Atman, the Self is beyond all Space. Space is in the Self, not the Self in Space. Form is confined to Time and Space and is bound by the law of Causation. All time is in us, we are not in time. As the Self is not in Time and Space, all Time and Space are within the Self. The Self is therefore omnipresent.
Any thing which takes form in the mind and is conditioned by time and space must change; but the Knower, not being a condition of mind or limited by time and space, does not change. A certain thought rises in our minds and passes, then another takes its place, to be followed again by still another; yet the witness or knower of all these thoughts, whether of gross objects or of abstract ideas, remains the same. The Knower, when identified with the changes of the mind, becomes knower and thinker. Thinking is an activity of the mind substance; it is a vibratory condition of this substance ; and when the Knower takes upon itself that condition, it becomes knower and thinker.
When it identifies itself with sense powers, and sense perceptions, it becomes knower and perceiver; and it becomes the conscious mover or the physical man when it is one with the conditions and activities of the body.
We have to understand this, and impress it on our minds, that what we call causation begins after, if we may be permitted to say so, the degeneration of the Absolute into the phenomenal, and not before; that our will, our desire and all these things always come after that.
A stone falls and we ask, why?
This question is possible only on the supposition that nothing happens without a cause. Whenever we ask why anything happens, we are taking for granted that it must have been preceded by something else which acted as the cause. This precedence and succession are what we call the law of causation. It means that everything in the universe is by turn a cause and an effect. It is the cause of certain things which come after it, and is itself the effect of something else which has preceded it. This is called the law of causation and is a necessary condition of all our thinking. We believe that every particle in the universe, whatever it be, is in relation to every other particle.
First we have to understand this that the very asking of the question “why” presupposes that everything round us has been preceded by certain things and will be succeeded by certain other things. The other belief involved in this question is that nothing in the universe is independent, that everything is acted upon by something outside itself. Interdependence is the law of the whole universe. In asking what caused the Absolute, what an error we are making ! To ask this question we have to suppose that the Absolute also is bound by something, that It is dependent on something; and in making this supposition, we drag the Absolute down to the level of the universe.
For in the Absolute there is neither time, space, nor causation; It is all one. That which exists by itself alone cannot have any cause. That which is free cannot have any cause; else it would not be free, but bound. That which has relativity cannot be free. Thus we see the very question, why the Infinite became the finite, is an impossible one, for it is self-contradictory.
“Why” cannot be asked beyond the limit of causation. It can only be asked within Maya. We say we will answer the question when it is logically formulated. Before that we have no right to answer.
Coming from subtleties to the logic of our common plane, to common sense, we can see this from another side, when we seek to know how the Absolute has become the relative.
Supposing we knew the answer, would the Absolute remain the Absolute ?
It would have become relative. What is meant by knowledge in our common-sense idea ?
It is only something that has become limited by our mind, that we know, and when it is beyond our mind, it is not knowledge. Now if the Absolute becomes limited by the mind, It is no more Absolute; It has become finite. Everything limited by the mind becomes finite. Therefore to know the Absolute is again a contradiction in terms. That is why this question has never been answered, because if it were answered, there would no more be an Absolute. A God known is no more God; He has become finite like one of us. He cannot be known He is always the Unknowable One.
First, we see then that the question, “What caused the Absolute?” is a contradiction in terms; and secondly, we find that the idea of Advaita is this Oneness; and, therefore, we cannot objectify Him, for we are always living and moving in Him, whether we know it or not. Whatever we do is always through Him.
“Om Shanti Shanti Shanti”