Science of the Absolute Introduction to Part 2 (a)






In seeking certitude in the name of a Science of the Absolute covering at one and the same time the subject-matter of physics and the object-matter of metaphysics, we have traveled over five chapters. These chapters had their starting point in the problem of the visible world presented to a thinking person. Such a world is "out there" and cannot be present without some cause. Both philosophy and science agree in trying to explain mere appearances by delving into causes immediately or remotely implied in the phenomenal world of effects. Colours have vibrations as their causes, and different kinds of vibrations might be explanations for the varied colourful appearance. As a universal phenomenon given to the senses even this colourful appearance has to be included within the totality of any reality in a complete Science of the Absolute.


This colourful world presented to us can be subjected to deeper and deeper research. Travelling from apparent effects to causes imagined to lie one behind the other and treated as a whole, the world presented to us can have one cause. When cause is equated with effect and when the limbs of such an equation are considered interchangeable we have a form of absolutist enquiry which properly pertains to the context of the first chapter. When cause and effect are directly related as dialectical counterparts we have a process and a method of reasoning which, starting from extreme effects consisting of essences of a mathematical order, proceeds negatively by stages to the inclusive notion of a material cause for the whole phenomenal world. Cause and effect are treated as belonging together to one and the same context of the Absolute. There is here a transition to be noted between the positive side represented by effects and the negative side represented by the total cause.


The end of the first chapter marks the absolutist status of an overall cause for phenomena in general. It also attained to an ontological and negative status. Such a cause is treated as a factor equal to the notion of God as the origin of all material manifestations, wherein every manifested object can be explained. Thus it is a negative method or research into a total cause that was undertaken in Chapter One. The common man whose curiosity about the visible world takes the form of wonder and mystery is initially and summarily answered for the time being, within the limits of this chapter. A theological God "sitting" in heaven as well as an ontological God who like sprout from seed is the material cause, are both comprised within the scope of the chapter and given their legitimate position on the Omega and Alpha points of a vertical axis. The plus and minus and neutral structural ambivalent implications have also been recognized at the centre of this chapter.


In the next four chapters we see how this negative reduction of effects into causes is further continued systematically. This reduction of multiplicity into unity is accomplished in the second chapter along lines acceptable to mathematics and science. Deeper and deeper seats of negative causes of a global or total order are revealed at the end of the third, fourth and fifth chapters, until we reach the terminating notion of the fifth chapter where the ontological Self is given a fully absolutist status of its own. The negative movement in the overall plan of this work attains its limit here, and from Chapter Six onwards a reversal of methodology occurs.




A unified or complete philosophy cannot subscribe to any partial or prejudiced standpoints. The True, the Good and the Beautiful are triple expressions generally treated together. In Vedanta the inseparable aspects of sat-cit-ananda (existence-subsistence-value) similarly belong together in a unified Science of the Absolute. Pure ontological existence has an added significance only when it is proved to be lasting and not transient. A correction is thus applied by reason to what is given to the senses as a simple datum. Even a lasting thing cannot be significant to human life just because it endures. It has to enter into human life as some item that is helpful in making life happy or at least free from avoidable suffering. Philosophers who refuse to treat value-judgment as part of philosophy only show their partiality. To do this in the name of science preferring logical norms to anything flavouring of sentimental preference such as the god of a certain religion or ethics is a mistake.


We have examined elsewhere how this prejudice had its origin in the excesses of the Inquisition. The history of Christianity, ever since it parted company with pagan wisdom and philosophy, is marked with the opposition that developed between Church dogma and scientific and pagan belief. Besides having carefully to accept or reject dogma and heresy, even certain mystics like Eckhart, Tauler, Ruysbroeck and St. John of the Cross were persecuted by the Church authorities. The story of such a development is a long and tortuous one to follow. Value-judgments were incorporated into Church dogma during the Middle Ages. Yet outside the official Church the mystics somehow managed to keep up a tradition of their own. This is where we find absolutist values free from narrow dogma, preserved intact, presenting a surprising richness and variety. After being excluded from philosophy for a long time we find a tendency recently to revive both axiology and epistemology.


The Good of Plato is found in classical philosophy and the idea of the Christian God depends on this supreme axiological factor if it is to go beyond a Semitic interpretation. In order to mark out this idea of goodness so fundamental to Christian values, it must be remembered that first of all Plato was revalued in a revised version by the pagan philosopher Plotinus who also had a tremendous influence on Christianity. Another interesting pagan philosopher was the Emperor Julian, called an apostate by the Church, although he never formally belonged to it during his adult life. Julian depended largely on Plato and his highest value was Helios or the Sun. He conceives of Helios in three ways, first as transcendental, secondly as Helios-Mithras, and thirdly as the visible Sun.
We read as follows:

"Accordingly his light has the same relation to the visible world as truth has to the intelligible world. And he himself as a whole, since he is the son of what is first and greatest, namely, the Idea of the Good, and subsists from eternity in the origin of its abiding substance, has received also the dominion among the intellectual Gods those things of which the Good is the cause for the intelligible Gods.

Now the God is, I suppose, the cause for the intelligible Gods of beauty, existence, perfection and oneness, connecting these and illuminating them with a power that works for good. These accordingly Helios bestows on the intellectual Gods also since he has been appointed by the Good to rule and govern them, even though they come forth and came into being together with him, and this was, I suppose, in order that the cause which resembles the Good may guide the intellectual Gods to blessings for them all, and may regulate all things according to pure reason.

But this visible disc also, third in rank, is clearly for the objects of sense perception the cause of preservation., and this visible Helios is the cause of the visible Gods of just as many blessings as we mighty Helios bestows on the intellectual Gods." (1)


While God or the Good can absorb all values of different hierarchical gradations, such a notion was definitely Platonic and during the scholastic period Plato, Plotinus and perhaps even Julian exerted great influence on a few of the Church Fathers as well as scientists like Galileo and Copernicus and scientific philosophers like Bruno. These latter were called pantheists and disbelievers and labeled anti-Christian and heretics by the Church authorities. Their story makes a dreary history of the battle between the Church and free-thought. Scepticism and science were compelled by historical necessity to go hand in hand and believers were obliged thus to seek their salvation separately. It was Newton who, although a believer, said in a scientific spirit that God is not good but goodness.


The idea of God not sitting "above" in heaven, but residing in the hearts of men as a central guiding consciousness, is sufficiently reiterated in the writings of some of the mystics. Thus, when orthodoxy and dogmatism are abolished and not allowed to prejudice our minds, we find the same perennial philosophy flourishing throughout the ages in all climes. Meister Eckhart and William Law are two good examples of this high type of mystical wisdom.


We read Eckhart first:
"I have often said before that there is an agent in the soul, untouched by time and flesh, which proceeds out of the Spirit and which remains forever in the Spirit and is completely spiritual. In this agent, God is perpetually verdant and flowering with all the joy and glory that is in him." (2)


William Law, the 17th Century English mystic, has a "triune of Life, Light and Love". This comes very close to the Vedantic notion of sat-cit-ananda.
We read as follows:
"But now, all that is Divine, great, glorious and happy in the Spirits, Tempers, Operations and Enjoyments of the Creature, is only so much of the Greatness, Glory, Majesty and Blessedness of God, dwelling in it, and giving forth various Births of his own triune Life, Light and Love, in and through the manifold Forms and capacities of the Creature to receive them, that we may infallibly see the true Ground and Nature of all true Religion." (3)

Philosophy in India has not had the same disadvantage because there was never an Inquisition breathing down one's neck. Nonetheless orthodoxies are found and still persist in the name of Vedism and Aryan supremacy. A close examination of these features reveals to us the basic fact that human nature is capable of cruelty and exclusiveness anywhere in the world.


The identification of goodness with truth is fully recognized in the famous dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi, found in the "Brihadaranyaka Upanishad" (IV 5.1-h), where what is dear or of high value is identified with the same ontological Self, which is the basic reality as a final reference within the consciousness of everyone.
We read as follows:

"Now then, Yajnavalkya had two wives, Maitreyi and Katyayani. Of the two, Maitreyi was a discourser on sacred knowledge (brahma-vadin) ; Katyayani had just (eva) a woman's knowledge in that matter (tarhi).

Now then, Yajnavalkya was about to commence another mode of life.
"Maitreyi." said Yajnavalkya, Lo, verily, I am about to wander forth from this state.
Behold! Let me make a final settlement for you and that Katyayani.'

Then spoke Maitreyi: 'If now, sir, this whole earth filled with wealth were mine, would I now thereby by immortal?'

"No, no!" said Yajnavalkya. 'As the life of the rich, even so would be your life be. Of immortality, however, there is no hope through wealth".

Then spake Maitreyi: 'What should I do with that through which I may not be immortal? What you know, sir - that, indeed, explain to me.'

Then spake Yajnavalkya: 'Though, verily, you, my lady, were dear to us, you have increased your dearness. Behold, then, lady, I will explain it to you. But, while I am expounding, do you seek to ponder thereon.'

Then spake he: 'Lo, verily, not for the love of a husband is a husband dear, but for the love of the soul (atman) a husband is dear,

Lo, verily, not for the love of a wife is a wife dear, but for the love of the soul is a wife dear, Lo, verily, not for the love of all is all dear, but for the love of the soul all is dear.
Lo, verily, it is the soul (atman) that should be seen, that should be hearkened to, that should be thought on, that should be pondered on, o Maitreyi." (4)


Whether in the East or West the inseparable association of value with existence is fully recognized. A complete Science of the Absolute will not violate any basic or perennial tradition when it treats existence-subsistence-value unitively. In order to show how Western philosophical thought also treats of these three categories, we refer to Brentano who represents this in his "intentionality"
We read the following about his philosophy:

"According to him the only three forms of psychic activity, representation, judgment and phenomena of love and hate, are just three modes of 'intentionality', i.e., of referring to an object intended. Judgments may be self-evident and thereby characterized as true and in an analogous way love and hate may be characterized as "right". (5)

Other philosophers who incorporated axiology in their philosophy under a separate heading are: Spinoza (voluntarism), Epicurus (pleasure), Bentham (hedonism), Kant and Royce (formalism) Dewey (instrumentalism), Plato and Hegel (a unitive gradation of values) and Schleiermacher and Otto (religious or numinous). (6)


Humanity is obliged to seek happiness in a world of values. Its sufferings can be traced as coming from the world of existent things, as well as from inner conflicts and doubts. Whether in the course of choosing an action or in avoiding one, it is still caught between the two. The third category of the source of suffering comes from the world of chance where good and bad luck enter into its state of satisfaction or peace of mind. Religion is a consolation where humanity in its suffering relates to various celestial beings like angels, etc. or value factors reaching the value represented by a most high God. We have to place humankind in the abstract and in an equally abstract world of values before we are able to enter into the second half of this work wherein we see the progress of a man intelligently guiding himself to his supreme goal of liberation and peace through affiliation to high and higher values.

There is a type of abstraction long recognized in Vedanta by Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva in their elaborate systems of philosophy. They begin with such considerations as human suffering and its remedy, resulting in happiness, bliss, liberation, emancipation or extinction as the word nirvana might imply. European philosophers, when they find Eastern philosophers assuming suffering for their starting point, too readily classify them as pessimists. They fail to recognize that every philosophy has to have certain starting assumptions. Sin is the starting point for Christian philosophers and missionaries who want to convert everyone to their religion.

If the mention of sin and Satan were prohibited more than half of Christian literature would be consigned to the flames. For Buddhism on the other hand it is enough to deny there is suffering in this world for the Buddhist to become confused in systematically developing his polemics. Likewise the Communist can also be confused in his effort to convert others if one should refuse to recognize an exploited proletariat.


A Hindu might be confounded by someone refusing to recognize the self (atman). Philosophical Hindu thought has always recognized three factors wherein spiritual progress could have its grounds. They are called adhibhautika (what refers to the elementals, i.e. cosmological), adhidaivika (what refers to the gods, i.e. theological) and adhyatmika (what refers to the Self, i.e. psychological). It goes without saying that the location of suffering in these three zones has the corresponding possibility of happiness countering it. One has to seek in the elementals a remedy for the suffering caused by them, and from God what consolation or blessing he is able to bestow on a believer. Likewise the Self when wrongly treated can be its own enemy, but when correctly understood without any duality or conflict between different aspects, it is one's best friend. The Bhagavad Gita in Chapter 6, Verses 5 and 6 points this out:

"By the Self the Self must be upheld, the Self should not be let down; the Self indeed is (its own) dear relative; the Self indeed is the enemy of the Self. The Self is dear to one (possessed) of Self by whom even the Self by the Self has been won; for one not (possessed) of Self, the Self would be in conflict with the very Self, as if an enemy." (7)


We have seen how Schroedinger has suggested a possible epistemological revision for scientific thought along Vedantic lines. There is a special type of abstraction and generalization adopted in his methodology presupposing a certain type of epistemology.


We have to think of man first as conforming to an abstract principle or phenotype and a universalized concrete entity with none of his peculiarities effaced or eliminated, insofar as they are universal and lasting in character. All men are always caught between the alternation of darkness and light, whether in terms of our own planet or in the larger context of astronomy. In the world of logic man belongs to his own universe of discourse wherein the seeks happiness and avoids suffering through reason and intuition. The world of things presents obstructions or impediments to happiness. One has to avoid accidents on the highway or the forest path. The elementals do affect human life directly. Those who gamble on horse racing are supposed to have some kind of prayerful attitude towards a god of good luck. The possibilities for such are unlimited and angelic hierarchies or Vedic and Pagan gods fill the bright world of concepts or intelligibles where their number is legion. Each tradition has innumerable grades of such entities who control providence, chance or good luck. All these three kinds of factors have to be kept in mind at one and the same time if one is to clearly visualize what is often referred to as spiritual progress.

These items can be broadly divided into two categories: those belonging to the world of intelligibles and those belonging to the world of visibles. More simply they can be called conceptual or perceptual values. The Good of Plato belongs to a world of intelligibles while the Nous of hylozoisin refers directly to the perceptible order of reality. Paganism is distinguished from Christianity by its adherence to hierophanies rather than to a one-and-only God excluding all others. In India the Vedic world of the devas with its emphasis on mantras (sacred utterances) is full of rich conceptual content. Elementals also enter into the Vedic world of ritualistic sacrifice (yajna) where each phenomenal aspect has its corresponding hypostatic divinity and its elemental counterpart of a hierophantic sacredness.


The equation or interaction between these two sets of values is supposed to yield beneficial results to man, carrying him through a series of values ranging from earth to heaven. Vedic values are limited to the three worlds and are characterized as hedonistic rather than fully absolutist and spiritual. When Vedism is revalued and absolutist factors enter into the system of values within which man is concerned he is promoted from relativistic Veda to an absolutist Vedanta resulting from a dialectical revaluation of the former. The Bhagavad Gita (11.46) points out the inferiority of the Vedas in this striking passage:

"There would be as much use for all the Vedas to a Brahmin of wisdom as there could be for a pool of water when a full flood prevails all over." (8)

Hedonistic values are replaced by pure absolutist values intended to yield final liberation and happiness instead of mere heavenly pleasures of a non-absolutist nature. Liberation in the fullest sense is the prerogative of Vedanta alone and not of the Vedas. Such considerations fall outside the scope of western speculation except in the strict Christian context where its own cosmology and eschatology have heavenly values meant for the good and faithful. Even within Vedanta there are different schools where heavenly values somehow are included with the scope of its own eschatology. The vaikuntha is where Vishnu lives in all his glory. Such a value world pertains to the Ramanuja school of Vedanta. In the Saivite context there is Siva's abode called kailasa. Other Vedantins like Madhva have svarga or heaven, described as very spacious in the Bhagavad Gita (IV.21).


The soul of man circulates between these value worlds, alternately going from one to the other according to the kind of mental or physical sacrifice (yajna) he performs.


Before the alternating movements between these value worlds can be imagined it is desirable to get a complete picture of the double-sided hierarchy of values. One set is rooted above in heaven while the other has its source in the here-and-now world of religious and ritualistic actions. The word karma in Vedanta primarily means such ritualistic action. Even outside the Vedic world all acts of piety and works can be included under this category of karma where religious obligations remain rooted in human behaviour anywhere in the world. The world of values belonging to Vedism is graphically pictured in some detail in the Bhagavad Gita (XV.1-4.)
We read as follows:

"They speak of an unexpended (holy) fig tree (asvattha) with roots above and branches below, whose leaves are sacred verses; he who knows it is a Veda-knower.

Below and above spread its branches, nourished by the modalities of nature (gunas), sense-values its buds, and downwards also there are ramified roots which bind to action in. the world of men.

Nor is its form here comprehended thus (as stated), nor its end, nor its beginning, nor its foundation. Having sundered this holy fig tree with strongly-fixed roots with the weapon of decisive non-attachment.
Then (alone) that path is to be sought, treading which they do not return again (thinking) I seek refuge in that Primordial Man from whom of old streamed forth active manifestations." (9)

What is attempted to be clarified by the above verses is the structural complexity presented by the world of values. In the first instance there is reference to Vedism deriving its values from the world of the bright gods (devas). Those who do not believe in propitiating Indra or Varuna, the representatives of phenomenal or elemental forces in nature, fail in making appropriate ends and means tally in their worlds where actions are meant to bring such ends and means together so as to yield a satisfactory benefit.


This world of values has its roots above the domain of the intelligibles or the shining ones. The bright light of the visible sun, as well as the symbolic light of an invisible Sun, belong to the same context. All the great undertakings of men become enriched and strengthened in their striving for spiritual progress always present as an urge in man when properly turned to this high purpose. In the Bhagavad Gita (III.10) the idea of sacrifice is held as a high principle or purpose in life. Mankind was supposed to have been created by Prajapati the first progenitor of mankind, together with sacrifice:

"In ancient times, having created the peoples with sacrifice as pertaining to them (necessarily) Prajapati (the Lord of the peoples) said: "By this shall you grow and multiply: let this be to you the milch-cow of all desires." (10)


All spiritual striving anywhere in the world is meant to be comprised under this master-notion of sacrifice. It is the same in Vedic ritualism and in the sacrificial offering by Agamemnon of his daughter Iphigenia to Artemis. Everything with good as an end has to involve some kind of sacrifice as a means. Nothing is gained without risk of some sort, and sometimes one risks all to gain all. These are basic notions in spirituality. When man undertakes sacrificial works of various kinds to attain high or low ends in the world of values, some sacrifices are superior to others and imply an intelligent understanding of both the phenomenal and noumenal counterparts in the world of the elementals or the gods.


Both the elementals and the gods however should be understood as implicit in the Self of man who projects these worlds of value from within himself. It is in the Self that ends and means are finally cancelled out in terms of final liberation or emancipation. Such are some of the leading ideas to be kept in mind before analyzing and fully understanding the implications of the above-quoted verses.


The world of Vedic values has first of all to be distinguished as the first verse of Chapter 15 of the Gita requires us to do. The branches spreading upwards as well as downwards, where the Vedic verses are the leaves, are to be understood as representing a hierarchy of free, sacred or holy value-elements. The upward-spreading branches evidently refer to hypostatic values while the lower ones refer to presences of the world of elemental things like the sacred earth referred to in an earlier chapter (VII.9). After recognizing these two ambivalent value-factors related to spiritual effort, we have now to think of the means to be adopted. These means consist of establishing relations between tangible entities in the world of action and God. This world of action is compared to tangled roots capable of holding in their clutches all men attached to sacrificial or religious works of one kind or another. The tangled lower roots bind and enslave all men in this world through the spiritual intentions necessarily shared by them all. We have specially to take note of here how the sacred and holy have their roots above and yet, judged by their effects, are capable of binding men down below in their ramifications.. Although each verse of the Veda is compared to a leaf, the branches nourish them with the three nature modalities (gunas) so as to make for fresh values sprout.

Clothed in allegorical language this image of the asvattha tree actually taking nourishment through its aerial and terrestrial roots has clear structural implications which can be analyzed in the light of what we have developed in the foregoing pages.


The principle of sacrifice found in the heart of all men can be considered as the vertical parameter joining ends and means in this two- sided world of values ranged at different levels of the double tree or hierarchy. In conclusion it is most important to note that the whole of this structural edifice must finally be abolished before the path of really genuine absolutist spirituality could emerge. The person who does this thinks in terms of an emancipation so final and lasting that he will never again be taken in by the bondage of cyclic phenomenal alternation between values here in life or those of a "hereafter". It is the sword of detachment and renunciation cutting the hard roots of entanglement whereby final emancipation results. Vedic relativism can only be fully transcended by a radical absolutism.





The gap between the two sets of values found in the foregoing section must somehow be bridged. Here the problem is similar to finding a unified field theory applicable to all physics. Vedic values tend to be based on an emotional appreciation of pleasure or pain. The taboos and interdictions in Vedic literature have their counterparts in the notion of the sacred or the holy. To attain this there are strict obligatory injunctions to observe.

The sacred and profane constitute a pair of dual factors giving to the spirituality of the Vedas a character based on vidhi (obligatory rule) and nisheda (prohibition).


The Samkhya philosophy is a discipline representing the rational approach to emancipation. If Vedism is orthodox, the Samkhya is heterodox. The age of the Samkhya is referred to in the Bhagavad Gita  (XVIII.13) as dating back to the krita yuga or the pre-historic age. In another reference (VIII.26) the two rival disciplines, one giving primacy to intelligence and the other to emotions, are referred to as sukla-krishna-gati or the bright and dark paths.


Samkhya and Yoga are also contrasted on a similar basis in Chapter 2 where Yoga covers Vedism and Samkhya, its rational counterpart. The dark or black and white paths can also apply to the paths of light and darkness. The dark or black path refers to the way of the ancestors (pitriyana), while the white or bright path refers to the way of the gods (devayana). No complete Science of the Absolute can accommodate within its scope two rival realities or values. To reduce them into unitive terms is therefore the first and foremost task to be accomplished. It is precisely this task the Gita undertakes in all of its 18 chapters. The whole of the Gita is an attempt to dialectically revalue the complete range of religious and philosophical thought in India.


Whether we think of the duality of Samkhya and Yoga or of devayana and pitriyana, the basic methodology applied by the Gita is to reduce unitively the black and white aspects. Spiritual progress concerns itself with universal values belonging to human life and cannot tolerate any duality. Absolutism has to belong to one and the same axiological, epistemological or real context. When counterparts of a given situation are cancelled out, as in Hegelian dialectics, there is a synthesis. This is like the "moving image of eternity" found in Plato's Timaeus, yielding in every case a synthetic factor, whether real, rational or axiological. This kind of revaluation can be applied in various ways, taking counterparts belonging to different departments of spirituality. In the same way Plato is able to abstract the value of Beauty from actual instances on the one hand and Beauty thought of in the abstract on the other. All existent, subsistent and value factors yield their own central absolutist notion. The very possibility of the ten darsanas in the Darsana Mala is founded on such a possibility. Cause and effect when cancelled out yield an absolute Cause.


Similarly, ruler and ruled can be cancelled out into a central notion of good citizenship. Likewise both father and son can have the same relationship whether filial or paternal. The value is not subject to change when viewed from whichever side. The quality of Son found in Jesus belongs to such an absolutist order The various hypostatic entities of the Bhagavata religion with the four hypostasies of Vishnu or Vasudeva represent a scale of adorable values for the devotees. In the world of holy presences the same hierarchy of values is spread tree-like in many possible ramified sets. The Sacred Yggdrasil of Scandinavian mythology must be included in this picture found in the "Prose Edda" of Snorri Sturluson. Chapter 10 of the Gita is devoted to such absolute positive values called vibhuti. One is able to recognize what value factors are to be considered unique and absolutist as against those of mere relativist worth.


All these matters of methodology and axiology are masterfully treated throughout the Gita and it is not necessary to go into the matter in any great detail. The whole of the Gita can be treated as concerned with a dialectical revaluation along the basic lines of yajna (sacrifice), dana (gift) and tapas (austerity). These items are not treated for their own sake but in the light of unitive reason or buddhi-yoga. We have only to refer to the various chapters where long enumerated items are found in contexts such as daivi-sampat or divine values (see XVI.5), where there are several such graded items given referring to real, rational and value factors.




Just as a ship has to be charted correctly by latitude and longitude in order to continue on an intelligent course, so the Self of man also has to guided in relation to its proper orientation belonging to contemplative life. Trouble is avoided and favourable courses are sought through the establishment of active bipolar relationships. Even when we have understood how to reduce the Self to its proper proportions, to recognize the true from the false and to distinguish what is scientific from what is only mythologically real, by eliminating extraneous factors so as to recognize oneself as one really is in the context of contemplation, it is most necessary to guide oneself objectively or positively in a world of values such as those outlined above.


There are values which are undesirable and others conducive to better contemplation leading to the desired result of liberation In this matter of progress in spirituality the inner world has to come into agreement with the outer. For this purpose the whole of absolute reality or truth has to be treated as belonging to two main categories. A world of things, not as actual but as representing values treated together with an abstract world of interests, belongs to the bhogya-visva or enjoyable universe. This has its counterpart in the bhokta-rupa or the form of the enjoyer or the Self. When these aspects come together such an enjoyable Self benefits from contemplation. Without postulating these two main divisions and without understanding their dynamism no spiritual progress can be imagined.


We have already covered the question of the orientation of the Self in relation to the phenomenal world. The full noumenal and ontological status of the Self has been fixed by us at the end of the fifth chapter. Everything extraneous to the pure Self was eliminated by a negative method of reduction. Now we are entering into a process of construction where the direction of the ship is to be oriented to more and more positive and vertical values. Normalization will also take place within the limits of the remaining chapters.


We are thus naturally brought to think of the structure of the ship and how it is to guide itself through a "sea of troubles" as Shakespeare called the pluralistic and relativistic world. Just as a properly built ship with good floating capacities is necessary for sailing, so we have to think of the Self with its innate structure and constitution as essential for spiritual progress. It is in this sense that some kind of structural unit is to be thought of as a global psycho-physical entity representing the Self as a universal concrete factor. This factor is dynamically related to the vertical and horizontal aspects of life-values at one and the same time.


Contemplative texts like the "Vivekachudamani" (Verse 96) have attempted to formulate such an entity, calling it either linga sarira (symbolic body) or sukshma sarira (subtle body) comprising eight cities where some components are treated as sets of pentads. We have to remember that such a symbolic and structural construction is not to be thought of as fully interchangeable with the absolute Self. Such a structural image is merely meant to help thought and language. In Vedanta we find a great variety of such constructed wholes comprising psycho-physical elements treated unitively as corresponding to value counterparts in the outer world.


We know in the world of psycho-physics of the subtle regulating laws associated with Weber, Fechner and Wundt. Here, the observer is able to appreciate that a stimulus producing a ray of light and the event he observes have a special relationship where logarithmic factors enter. The Weber-Fechner law relating stimulus to its observability or appreciation is not regulated to mere arithmos, but has to go hand in hand with a more subtle mathematical factor called logos. Logarithmic proportions or harmonies extend from the world of sounds to colour and light in general, where the observer and the observed enter into a qualitative relationship at one and the same time.


The Vedas refer to the gods as the enjoyers of sacrifices by men caught in the world of mere arithmetical things and actions. In such a participation a subtle dialectical interchange of values occurs and is to be thought of as belonging to spiritual progress or regression. If we use the terminology of the Samkhya philosophy instead of Vedism the same case is stated where prakriti or nature is the agent in action and purusha or spirit is the enjoyer of the benefits. This applies with equal force to both meritorious and prohibited actions. When the duality between these counterparts is progressively abolished in favour of a total absolutism we find the enjoyer and the enjoyments belonging to one and the same context with lesser and lesser duality implied between them.

In the Bhagavad Gita (XIII.20) we read the following:

"In what concerns agency for cause and effect the motivating factor is said to be nature; in the matter of the experiencer of pleasure and pain, the motivating factor is spirit." (11)


This same kind of revaluation of duality is seen in almost every chapter of the Gita. This process begins directly in the fifth chapter in verses 4 and 5 and concludes there with the categorical statement that he who sees the unity of Samkhya and Yoga alone truly sees. The purushottama or paramount person of Chapter 15 results from the two other subordinate purushas being brought together into revalued unity. Such a purusha is represented as the masculine bijaprada or bestower of the seed and the feminine yoni or source or womb. Both these are identified with the same person in an androgynous fashion as we find in (XIV.3,4):


"My womb is great Brahma (supreme deity); in that I place the germ; thence is the birth of all beings, 0 Bharata (Arjuna).Whatever tangible forms are produced in all the wombs, 0 Son of Kunti (Arjuna) great Brahma (supreme deity) is their (common) womb and I am the seed-bestowing Father." (12)

The objection against the duality of the Samkhya is remedied here by having recourse to an androgynous analogy instead of retaining the duality of the two sexes. We cannot say the artificiality implied in the duality is completely abolished even here. On final analysis the notion of the Absolute cannot tolerate even a shadow of duality if it is to be given its fully normalized status. Within the limits of discourse such analogies are used as aids for linguistic purposes only.


In the Brahma Sutras (II 4.1-19) we come across a series of aphorisms dealing with very delicate structural implications between the function of the senses, mind, ego and the vital tendencies all unitively belonging together. This is to make the contemplative relate himself correctly to the world of values where his choice lies at any given moment. These Sutras, together with Sankara's hairsplitting and logic-chopping commentary makes difficult reading. Sometimes one is even tempted to leave the matter altogether. The vagueness of the arguments usually reveals some valid standpoint in speculation in such a way that one is reminded of a giddy mountaineer groping his way up a misty peak, as Max Muller himself once remarked.


In going through the pages of the Brahma Sutras we have to keep in mind some of Sankara's presuppositions, however vague, regarding structuralism and even mathematical ideas like ensembles and one-to-one correspondence.



As there are many pages of such delicate logic we cannot within the limits of space here examine each of the structural aspects implied in his notion of a symbolic body (linga sarira). As the Brahma Sutras are also called sariraka-mimamsa or a critique based on the agent within the body, these structural analyses of the components of the panchapranas or five vital tendencies immediately implied in the notion of the living body have a special importance in the Science of the Absolute. It is not therefore out of place for us to refer to Sankara's commentary dealing with both the subtle body and the vital tendencies. This will give the reader a rough idea of what is presupposed by Sankara. He formulated the notion of the sukshma sarira or subtle body, only to have it made into a fetish for worship by his later followers, who could hardly see the schematic or structural status intended by Sankara. The vagueness of Sankara here is in reality preferable to the cut-and-dried and ready-made versions of later disciples who so easily used it as a cliché. We read first in II.3.47 where the seventeen-fold aggregate is referred to. This aggregate is "the subtle body consisting of the ten sense-organs, the five pranas, manas, and buddhi." (13)

Sankara begins his commentary on this as follows:

"Vyasa and others state in their smritis that the highest Self is not afflicted by the pain of the individual soul, "That highest Self is said to be eternal, devoid of qualities, nor is it stained by the fruits of actions any more than a lotus leaf by water. But that other Self whose essence is action is connected with bondage and release- again and again it is joined with the seventeen-fold aggregate." On the ground of the particle 'and' (in the Sutra) we have to supply 'and scripture also records that.' So for instance, 'One of them eats the sweet fruit, the other looks on without eating and 'The one Self within all things is never contaminated by the misery of the world, being himself without' (Ka.Up.11.5.11)." (14)


In II.4.5. Sankara says there is no conflict because different Upanishadic passages list a different number of pranas: from seven to thirteen depending on the Upanishad. Sankara says there are seven pranas plus additional ones, basing this on the Brahma Sutras and their reference to the Upanishads. He does agree that more than seven are mentioned as he says in II.4.6:

"In addition to the seven pranas scripture mentions other pranas also, such as the hands, etc., 'The hand is one graha and that is seized by work as the atigraha ; for with the hands one does work.' (Bri.Up.111.2.8), and similar passages. And as it is settled that there are more than seven, the number seven may be explained as being contained within the greater number. For wherever there is a conflict between a higher and a lower number, the higher number has to be accepted because the lower one is contained within it; while the higher is not contained within the lower." (15)


The categories belonging to the living self are seen here to be structurally scrutinized.

 This same section of the Brahma Sutras dealing with the vital tendencies covers over twenty sutras. Sometimes the discussion is meant to bring out the relative importance of the various senses or vital tendencies as in the example of the well-known "colloquy of the gods" where Indra is the most superior god, but not superior to the Absolute which is more directly related to the senses and their functioning. Without the Absolute none of the senses can. function.


Thus the pentads of the eight-fold city have an inner structural unity between them depending directly on the Absolute and independent of other pentads. When we think of the vital tendencies there is sometimes the question whether they existed before general creation or only came into being as effects after creation had begun. Even after deciding this delicate matter there still remains the question of the distinction, dignity and importance of the chief vital tendency and how it is to be treated. Sankara in II.4.8. treats the chief vital tendency as more important than the other vital tendencies. To support his point he quotes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad as follows:

"Then Breath was about to go off. As a large fine horse of the Indus-land might pull up the pegs of his foot-tethers together, thus indeed did it pull up those vital breaths together. They said: 'Sir, go not off! Verily we shall not be able to live without you!" (16)


The Breath is the same as the chief vital tendency in the above quotation. Whether the usual pranas and the chief prana belong to the same order or not is another question. Similar distinctions are made between the elementals, sometimes treated in a threefold fashion as earth, fire and water, Even so their perceptual and conceptual status is a matter of discussion. The whole section therefore has to be read together and understood so as to reconstruct a string of pentads or other unitary elements belonging together and representing a psycho-physical entity referring to the Self. This Self here is not to be mixed up with other descriptions found in other Upanishads. It is meant specially to reveal a mechanism underlying the taking of bodies and discarding them. Of the two sides involved in such a process the dual treatment of matter and mind is not acceptable to the spirit of the Upanishads. Both matter and mind become so pure that the material elements follow the spiritual ones in the process of attaining one body from another.


This question of taking fresh bodies touches one of the most central and subtle of problems found in the Upanishads.


The Bhagavad Gita (XV.10) points out this as one of the most difficult questions to visualize and says "this the foolish cannot see; the wisdom-eyed can see." In the next verse it points out that one must be a person of perfected works or a kritatma in order to see the subtle mechanism involved. All this reveals the double-sided nature of the entity we are concerned with. It should not be confused with the libido, ego, id or subliminal self of Western psychology. Neither should it be confused with other graphic portraits of the same entity found in other sections of the Upanishads, such as the image of the chariot and horses found in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (II.6) etc. The change from body to body, if assumed to be taking place, has to do so at the very core of absolute reality where duality exists in a most pure and schematic form, before even the emergence of name and form. In other words it has to belong to a context where algebra and geometry cannot be thought of separately.

This neutral matrix of consciousness where forms crystallize and names are conceived touches the deepest stratum of reality and fully participates in the Absolute. Each of the various pentads has to belong to the same neutral order and all of them have to be strung together as pearls before the eight cities can cover all the value-factors belonging to the contemplative context of spirituality. Only then can they enter into homogeneous relationship with their own objective counterparts in the enjoyable world. Both the enjoyer and the enjoyed have to belong to the same context and each pentad is a level ranging from cognition to emotion, where every symbolic Self consisting of eight pentad cities works out its own salvation. There are two references to the higher and lower nature of the Absolute and the eight fold structure of the contemplative Self.


The first found in the Bhagavad Gita (VII.4) says:

"Earth, water, fire, air, sky, mind, reason also, and consciousness of individuality, thus here is divided My eightfold nature." (17)


In Sankara's "Vivekachudamani " (Verse 96) we find this eightfold structure referred to as eight cities:

"The five organs of action such as speech, the five organs of knowledge such as the ear, the group of five Pranas, the five elements ending with the ether, together with Buddhi and the rest as also nescience, desire and action - these eight cities, make up what is called the subtle body." (18)



The direct reference to the eight cities or eightfold nature constituting the Absolute is the result of the cumulative effect of all references to such matters found in the various Upanishads. Although the versions in the Upanishads vary considerably, Sankara in his Brahma Sutra commentary shows how a general consensus of statements can be gleaned for purposes of discourse. The same purpose is the guiding one in the Bhagavad Gita when it refers to the higher and lower nature of the Absolute. The lower nature refers to existential aspects while the higher is transcendental. The lower eightfold nature has the earth as its first item. It is not the physical earth which is to be thought of but rather a revised epistemological version of the same. There is a subtle reversal of order here, whereby what is perceptual is treated as conceptual. The primacy given to these items becomes changed over. These are subtle methodological and epistemological considerations difficult to explain without going into great details of discussion.


There is an objectivity and a subjectivity to be supposed at the first instance between the vertical and horizontal aspects of reality.

There is also a deeper division between the essences of what is objective and subjective within the scope of the vertical axis itself. This complex situation requires penetrating analysis in the light of an absolutist epistemology, where subjectivity and objectivity belong together without any traces of duality at the core of the normative notion of the Absolute. Narayana Guru in Arivu (Knowledge, or the Epistemology of Gnosis) has attempted such an analysis using the same four-fold structure with a double implication brought fully and analytically to view.


A careful reading of this text (see pages 722-724) will help at least to show that the paradox involved is capable of unitive or contemplative analysis according to a method and theory proper to the subject. The reader should notice how we have avoided as far as possible even the use of technical terms known to special schools of psychology or philosophy. Even the word "gnosis", most suitable from the philosophical angle, is avoided in the text so that it may not be confused with any school of gnosticism hitherto known. To speak of Gnosis would go against the thorough absolutism of the knowledge treated of in these verses, as Verse 8 must show in particular.


The division into six and two in Verse 14 seems justified because objectivity is implied in desire and in action, the last two items of the series of sub-divisions of knowledge referred to above by Sankara. These are all to be remembered as lying in the two sets, what is subjective in one series yielding place to the objective, or vice versa, as seen from the two poles involved, that of knowledge or of the known. The central gnosis covering unitively and differencelessly the other aspects enumerated, whether on the plus or the minus side, is really what represents the Absolute as Knowledge itself.


The following peculiarities of the tacit method implied in this composition may also be noted here while we are at this elusive subject: 
(a) We find that knowledge "there" and known "here" are juxtaposed and dialectically examined. Mere mechanistic logic cannot be expected to yield unitive thinking in such a problem;

 (b) We find secondly the argument consisting of a series of rhetorical questions making them absurd and implying a unitive reality lurking behind the absurdity suggested in each question.

Although there is something Socratic in the method here, more positive confirmations are here and there interspersed in the composition especially after Verse 11. The beginning is ontological but the concluding verses are neither ontological nor teleological, immanent nor transcendent, material nor spiritual, but neutrally unitive.

Knowledge as a central personal experience of the human being is related to the Platonic world of the Intelligibles on the one hand, and to the material world of prime matter or the entelecheia of Aristotle on the other. Alternating ascending and descending dialectics are very deftly employed by the author, making this composition a masterpiece of contemplative workmanship, unrivalled in literature anywhere.

Due allowance must be made by the English reader for any slight originality or concession made for the sake of English idiom; this has been kept at a minimum as far as possible. Lastly, the principle of double negation employed in Verse 7 (marked by an asterisk) is to be noticed. Intellectual straining, it must be borne in mind, will not make for definiteness of meaning here. The verses must be read in a contemplative mood in order to enter into the full spirit and meaning intended by Narayana Guru.



(The Epistemology of Gnosis)

This which is known here, is none other
On reflection, knowledge it becomes;
As knowledge is one with this ever,
Nought else there is but knowledge alone.

Without knowledge this could not be,
Even granting the known to have reality;
Should but this one knowledge be wanting
What knowing could there be for knowledge; none such we can know.

Beyond the measure of knowledge, whatever we can know
As knowledge even that too shines;
As within consciousness here, dream abides.
So comprised in knowledge is all that is there.

If knowledge be all-filling,
Non-knowledge, where could it abide?
Going after knowledge from here,
As knowing that there, where could it reside?

If from knowledge no fading out could be
And knowledge alone is, to where could all this descend?
Knowledge is not known. here
When known both become one and the same.


Prior to knowledge "What?" if we should ask
Other than knowledge nothing here is found;
The unknowing, what limitation could it have?
And as for knowledge, there is nothing here to see.

Of knowledge we are aware; of its absence
We have no awareness here; which in which abides
Though known here; not as knowledge do we un-know
When we ourselves should here regard.

Even from the day that knowledge ever was, this too has been; (But) how Could this stand if knowledge alone was real?
Of knowledge no disjunct category there is;
(And) whatever could there be if but knowledge were not?

There is a habitation for knowledge
None distinct there is for the known;
If there is knowledge as an item distinct
How could the known enter thereinto?

Consumed by the known, all will be gone.
What in knowledge is it that is not known?
And as for knowledge, how could it arise at all?

As the knower of knowledge, what makes known here
That we do become; if this is conceded
What kind of knowledge, and how comes
The known; and what kind could it be?


Yourself is what is known as knowledge;
By putting down your own knowledge, it becomes the known.
The known is thus twofold: one conscious of knowing
And the other not conscious of the same.

Knowledge too, likewise in its turn proceeding
Became reflected in the knower once again
And one spark of knowledge falling into this the known
Into five shreds it became split up.

If one could still be cognizant of oneself
As the knower of knowledge, still knowing knowledge to be all,
The one that is knowledge and the one that is the knower
Within that which is known, six and eight, too, they become.

Corresponding likewise with this known
Knowledge too seven and one makes eight;
Knowledge is thus specifically distinguished
As also the known, when separated one from one


It will be noticed in the above analysis of consciousness into duplicate eightfold items, Narayana Guru does not make any attempt to fill it with any ontological or value content. After all the variety of realistic imagery or suggestions contained in the various Upanishads, as well as in the Brahma Sutras, dealing more picturesquely with the implications of the items for careful scrutiny, it is sufficiently clear that this epistemological analysis is meant merely to serve as a structural and categoric reference. The Bhagavad Gita (XIII.4) makes pointed reference to the great variety of literature extant on such a subject.


When we add to this the commentaries of Sankara, Ramanuja and Madhva is easy to see how even the broad outlines of what makes for wisdom become overlaid with too many alternative considerations enumerating merits, virtues or qualities within the scope of a wholesale philosophical vision.


Narayana Guru avoids this complexity by being satisfied with merely numbering the items, whether in the Self as the knower or the non-Self as the known. Knower and known are brought together as belonging to the same context of neutral and absolute understanding. Filling such a framework with some contemplative value-factors is left an open matter as it can be done in endlessly various ways according to each contemplative or mystical tradition.


Of all the texts attempting to fill this outline frame of reference with recognizable value contents what is found in xiii, 5-11 of the Bhagavad Gita seems to be of remarkable interest. The field (kshetra) and the knower of the field (kshetrajna) refer to the same Self and non-Self aspects in turn referring respectively to knowledge (jnana) and the known (jneya). The contents enumerated under knowledge, corresponding to the knower of the field are more than eight, and what is more refer to complex contemplative attitudes of the mind. We can just recognize the eight items in Verse 5 where the knower of the field is dealt with. When we try to do the same with the field (kshetra) the richness of thought and the complexity of the items make their enumeration difficult. The verses (5-11) are now quoted for ready reference to show how they answer roughly to the same double series outlined as a frame of reference as found in Narayana Guru's "Arivu".


"The great elements, ego-sense, reason, and also the Unmanifest, the ten senses, and the one (mind) and the five conceptual aspects of the senses, Wish-dislike, pleasure-pain, the organic aggregation, vital intelligence, firmness: this in brief, is the field, with modifications named. 
Freedom from conventional pride, unpretentiousness, non-hurting, non-retaliating forbearance, straightforwardness, loyal support of the teacher, purity, steadfastness, and the state of self-withdrawal;

Detachment in respect of sense-interests, absence of egoism, insight regarding the pain. and evil of birth, death, old age, and disease:

Without clinging to, (and) without intensely involved attachment to, (relations such as) sons, wives (and property such as) houses, and having a constant neutral mental attitude in respect of desirable and undesirable happenings.

Devotion to Me to the exclusion of everything extraneous, and never straying from the (direct) path, preference to dwell in a place apart, distaste for crowded living;

Everlasting affiliation to the wisdom pertaining to the Self, insight into the content of philosophical wisdom - this is declared to be wisdom; whatever is other than this is ignorance." (19)



Axiology has its many laws sometimes treated as tenets, dogmas, doctrines or articles of faith. When they are concerned with the sacred and the profane, the sinful and the meritorious, they could be theologically or mythologically treated with figurative language referring to various possible value-systems belonging to heaven, hell or earth. Theological and eschatological notions pertaining to this aspect of spiritual or contemplative life are so complex that anyone with a scientific attitude has to be wary of the beliefs or behaviour patterns they recommend. Axiology has to be treated in its bare outlines only if it is to reveal its main structural outlines and comprehensive laws.


To enter fully into its ramifications jeopardizes the degree of scientific certitude we are attempting to maintain. There are however some overall laws to be stated without actually entering any questionable domain of religious belief. Fanaticism and orthodoxy are unscientific prejudices always acting in ways detrimental to Truth or to the good of all. What is taboo in one religious observance is often accepted or condoned in another. Scientific axiology has thus to steer clear of such prejudices.


As we see in the last three chapters of the Darsana Mala, axiology comes into the discussion only in its barest outlines and broadest generalities. In Chapter 8 the Self when it contemplates itself is taken to comprise bhakti or devotion. When the two aspects of the Self are more subtly equated we have the subject-matter of Chapter 9 where contemplation matures and becomes meditation. The last chapter refers to liberation and is meant to cover all forms of emancipation or salvation. Here the equation between the Self and the non-Self takes place in such a way that a positive direction is maintained in terms of spiritual progress. The last remnants of reciprocity or differences between the Self and the non-Self tend to be gradually absorbed.


In the sixth and seventh chapters axiology does not enter in so directly, although the Self and the non-Self are still treated in a global and conceptual manner. The reasoning Self is an instrument or organon. The instrumental status of the citendriyatma (the Self of pure reason and the senses) of the sixth chapter, is imperceptibly graded into the purer and global concept of the Self as a reasoning entity in the seventh.


Reason is here a positive process of ratiocination. The consciousness structurally examined with its duplicate implications in the fifth chapter had only a passive status where the will was not yet pronounced. This justifies another chapter where reason operates actually.


Before leaving the limits of the seventh chapter we must first state that a man's spiritual aspirations must correspond to the total situation where he finds himself. As the Bhagavad Gita (XVII.3) says, a man's faith determines the man himself. This corresponds to similar sayings like "birds of a feather flock together," and "the dress makes the man." When water finds its level it is obeying an overall law of nature. There are absolute laws holding good in spiritual life. A solid floats on water in a manner in keeping with its specific gravity which is an inner factor cancelled out finally in relation with the outer factor of the water displaced. A law of reciprocity holds good here as in spiritual life. These overall ways stated in forms such as "As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be" are broad axiological assumptions familiar to religious thought. What is spoken of as karma in religious doctrine can be expressed in plain language by the dictum "whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap". This is like action and reaction being opposites in Newtonian mechanics and time and space having a more verticalized status in the theory of Relativity.


Selfishness is bad because it cuts out the totality of human beings from its thought and attitude. Theories of ethics are not always conceived along universal and absolutist lines. When ethics is considered relatively it offers endless varieties or schools. It is only by giving to ethics a normative absolutist reference that it can be brought under the aegis of a unitive scientific discipline.


Utilitarian ethics belonging to closed and static groups are not scientific. We are therefore not tempted to enter into the divisions and subdivisions of human conduct and belief. It is however safe to state as an overall law that spiritual aspiration must always be wholehearted and wholesale without limited peculiarities and preferences. Clans, classes, castes, tribes and nations represent closed and static loyalties and have to be finally discarded in favour of an open and dynamic way of life.


As a human being each person belongs to the total axiological situation in which he is placed. His aspirations must always be guided by universal considerations without fear or favour. Looked at in this way prayer can be considered as a clarification of the relation between an individual in the world of plurality and relativity and the universal totality of the situation where he happens to be placed. A true prayer is not one asking God to bestow partial favours on one individual at the expense of another. It should always apply to humanity as a whole. Heaven and earth have to be equated. The essences of the one have to be transferred to the other. Heaven really exists "inside". Prayer in this contemplative sense is a relation between the Self and the non-Self where both are finally cancelled out in favour of a neutral and fully absolutist Self. As happiness underlies all prayer it is in scientific terms of the axiological context that we have to understand what a prayer finally means.


All prayers of closed and static groups addressed with unilateral aims in favour of their private interests and against rival groups are of no scientific value, although for institutional religious purposes they might have to be tolerated. The God invoked in any prayer must correspond to a high value for the benefit of the general good and the good of all.


If the generous outlook implied in a prayer embraces life in general, such a prayer is of a superior kind. For atheists and others who do not pray at all it is not harmful to have a form of prayer whose interests lie only in fixing and affirming the day-to-day relations binding man with his fellows. It is an. axiological bipolar relationship bringing solidarity which is of utmost importance here.


The word "God" has already found its place in all the world's dictionaries, and we are still free to revise and re-define the meaning of the term in the improved dictionaries of the future. As long as there is not a definite reason to discard this most convenient and universal term, it should not be discredited. It seems hardly possible to speak with normal emotions without finding oneself using the name of God. There is no need to throw this idea overboard. In trying to substitute it one might merely end up by adding just another word for God to the dictionary. As each culture has its own names for the high gods or God, the connotations and denotations are too numerous to mention. A God who is not locally fixed and is instead a universally valid notion for all time has a fully scientific character. The Absolute is in fact what the word is meant to cover, as the word God in practice is limited in its general use to theology and religion. Other terms like Dharma, Tao, or the names of the Most High in every religion or culture should be considered equally interchangeable with the term God. Pure water which called by any other name is still good for use. It is totally unscientific to speak of "my God" or "your God". Prophetic religions place God hypostatically at the top of the Omega point in the vertical axis. Non-prophetic and hylozoist religions tend towards animism or pantheism and have sacred presences treated as hierophanies at the Alpha point of the vertical axis. When understood unitively, both belong to the same Absolute.


When treated in this way a scientific prayer about the absolute Principle is not unthinkable or impossible. When rid of all parochialisms and confusions of language a simple prayer to God should be acceptable to all scientists when there is nothing detracting from its fully universal absolute character. As we have said it is the relation of the person or persons who pray to the larger context of high universal values that should be considered the core of any prayer. Further, if prayer respects and conforms to the normative structural requirements of the Self of one in relation to the Self of all, such a prayer has a further enhanced scientific status.


We have seen how Narayana Guru in "Arivu" analyses and presents a structural framework of relationships between subject and object in terms of pure consciousness. This frame of reference by itself may not serve some of the emotional requirements of prayer treated as a normal human necessity for the common man and woman. High and dry abstractions do not appeal to most humans, and it is not fair to leave the generality of mankind out of consideration without their emotional appetites being properly catered to. By being highly philosophical one should not lose the common touch. It must have been with these considerations in mind that Narayana Guru by special request composed the prayer reproduced below. We are not recommending it for adoption by any specific group or individual. Our present interest is to show merely how a scientific prayer is possible to compose. What we wish to draw the reader's attention to is the bipolar relation it succeeds in establishing between two reciprocal aspects of the same Self through values such as generosity, open-mindedness and adoration properly belonging to prayerful human nature. It is particularly interesting to examine closely the structural implications of this prayer.


The reader should scrutinize the verses and understand them for himself. By way of indication however we can point out that God and his greatness as a high value is placed above in a schematic sense in the first half of the prayer. In the second half it ends aptly by referring to happiness hereunder as meant to sum up the meaning of the prayer as a whole. In the middle we find the meaning-content narrowing down to a thin point where the Word is treated as equivalent to God. This is where the Logos and the Nous meet in a kind of hourglass-like conic structure. The cones are inverted and placed apex on apex here. It should be noted in Verse 4 how Narayana Guru had in mind a definite fourfold structural frame.


These and other subtle implications follow from what we have explained already in various sections. Here the structural implications have a general axiological background fitting into the notion of the Absolute. This should be treated as merely another attempt to fill the otherwise seemingly empty content of the Absolute when treated as knowledge. This is done in order to help man in his spiritual life to achieve inner peace and happiness. It must also be remembered that in this prayer God and the Absolute are interchangeable terms. We now present in full Narayana Guru's "Daiva Dasakam" translated from the Malayalam.



(A Prayer for Humanity)

O God, as ever from there keep watch on us here,
Never letting go your hand; You are the great Captain,
And the mighty steamship on the ocean,
Of change and becoming is Your foot. 


Counting all here, one by one,
When all things touched are done with,
Then the seeing eye (alone) remains,
So let the inner self in You attain its rest. 
Food, clothes, and all else we need
You give to us unceasingly,
Ever saving us, seeing us well-provided.
Such a one, You, are for us our only Chief. 
As ocean, wave, wind and depth
Let us within see the scheme
Of us, of nescience,
Your glory and You. 
You are creation, the Creator,
And the magical variety of created things.
Are You not, 0 God,
Even the substance of creation too!


You are Maya,
The Agent thereof and its Enjoyer too;
You are that Good One also who removes Maya too,
To grant the Unitive State! 
You are the Existent; the Subsistent and the Value-Factor Supreme
You are the Present and the Past,
Add the Future is none else but You.
Even the spoken Word, when we consider it, is but You alone.
You state of glory that fills
Both inside and outside
We for ever praise!
Victory be, 0 God, to You! 
Victory to You! Great and Radiant One!
Ever intent upon saving the needy.
Victory to You, perceptual Abode of Joy!
Ocean of Mercy, Hail! 
In the ocean of Your Glory
Of great profundity
Let us all, together, become sunk,
To dwell there everlastingly in Happiness!



Thoughts take place within consciousness. They are mental events intended primarily to solve various problems presenting themselves for solution for the purposes of yielding certitude in taking decisions. Thoughts also belong to the world of discourse where scientific as well as scriptural literature belong. Probabilities and possibilities belong together to a universe of total discourse where certain things or events are considered probable and other events can only be more generally thought of as possible. It is also to be noted that the improbable is not necessarily impossible. The latter contains the a priori, while the former belongs to the a posteriori. Problem solving is a function common to both of them. Such problems must have some sort of utilitarian or idealistic significance to be able to help in making life easier or to offer overall consolation. Such is the total situation of contemplative spirituality to be kept in mind, especially in the second part of this book which deals with choices between higher and everyday values for the sake of inner peace and happiness.


In order to bring out the structure of absolute or pure consciousness where probabilities and possibilities exist together, let us put together at random a series of questions and try to answer them. Let us say a modern man is asked the question: do you believe in science? His answer will be 'yes'. If you then ask, are you also a believer? The answer will most likely be 'no'. The reason for this is because scepticism belongs to scientific inquiry where doubt is given primacy over belief. There is a contradiction here wherein even the scientist is caught.


If we now ask a pious Christian if he believes a cosmonaut found heaven while he was in outer space, he will say that no such thing is possible because it is not mentioned in the scriptures. The religious man is essentially a believer, but he becomes a thorough sceptic in certain situations when he feels he is his own authority.


If you further ask him if God is a fact of direct experience, he might say it is so to some mystics, but he is satisfied in being just a believer in God. God is not a fact but rather an article of faith required by commandments or injunctions.


When we think of a simpler case of asking a man who is called John Brown if he believes he is John, Brown, or John Brown and what the factual correspondence is between the names and his person, a structural difficulty of another nature comes into view. His surname belongs generically to his ancestors and can be anything from a colour to an object while his Christian name is specific and particular as the choice made by his parents. It often belongs not to a factual context but to a scriptural one. Wittgenstein has dealt in detail with these kinds of word-games in his "Philosophical Investigations". In Eastern countries the convention about names might be the other way around, but the total structural implications between the nominal and factual aspects remain the same.

If we now take Eddington´s example of four men sitting on four different chairs understood as belonging to the four different structural orders, it is evident that a heavy man cannot sit on an abstract chair. Likewise a nominal chair requires a nominal man to sit on it without absurdity. Similarly a perceptual man belonging to the world of science has to have his own physical chair if he is to avoid a major or minor catastrophe. Thus facts and beliefs have to be structurally matched in duplicate quaternion fashion. If this law of structural composability or compatibility is violated we have unscientific literature, whether in physical science or religion. What is true in a laboratory may not be true in a seminary, but each can be made into a nominalizing factor for the other so that the scientific certitude required for a unified Science of the Absolute might result.


The following random statements are meant to reveal the structural implications vital to any unified Science of the Absolute where axiology is also an organic part:

1. A subjective, selective and structural world where modern physical theories exist without contradiction must be the common ground for heaven and hell to belong together through the intermediary of death as a neutral dividing point.

2. Prejudices of part and whole, one and many, big and small, secondary and primary, etc. have all to be revised and fitted into a homogeneous context where visible figures and the language of signs meet to help certitude. A full normalization is to be expected here.

3. Spirituality refers directly to the Self and must be understood in terms of the mind or some external factor corresponding to it in its structure. A neutral normative ground is to be assumed.

4. As Bergson points out, one must take an inner view of reality. He also points out the importance of a double effort and double correction in opposite directions.

5. Experiment and immediate experience are two certitudes meeting in the conscious Self. A negative reduction and positive construction is here implied.

6. Kant's schematismus contains a secret ground, where, from two sides conceptual and perceptual factors come together in the Absolute.

7. When the conceptual and the perceptual are unmixed but treated under a unitive method, superstition becomes revalued and revised.


9. Allegories, fables and myths have an indirect language. They can be improved by a mathematical language derived from axiomatic convention or from scientific experience.

10. What is visible is not always infallible although causes and effects must belong together as double aspects of the same reality.

11. Partial and absurd arguments as when a man says one-half of a hen can be killed and eaten and the other half can be kept for laying eggs violates the unitive totality where all truth belongs. In the Science of the Absolute there is no piecemeal approach.



While we are on the subject of happiness and in the context of the Daivadasakam of Narayana Guru, a union of reciprocal counterparts of the Self is indicated as possible in. Verse 6. The question arises naturally whether happiness is limited by physical death or exists irrespective of death. This question brings us to the borderline of physical science. Questions such as the survival of the human personality after death are still being discussed by various psychic organizations without a final answer in sight. Earlier scientific thinkers and writers like F.W.H. Myers, Conan Doyle and Pierre Janet have been responsible for much literature on this subject, attempting to bring such a question within the purview of scientific thought.


We are here on very refined or thin epistemological ground. The possibility of survival after death is itself a question calling for an epistemological decision. Happiness is the central subject-matter here. It refers to a real inner experience known to every person while he is alive. Everyone is concerned with this and the question of whether this happiness comes to an abrupt end on the event of death is always present. Such a thought could make him unhappy even here and now. Unless there is a definite reason for happiness beyond death all hope would be out of place. It is not fair to deny this possibility although it may be doubtful as a probability. Happiness as a human value need not have a physical content nor termination.


When we say that the truth shall make one free, the freedom referred to is a value and implies the happiness resulting from getting rid of bondage. Here we are on very subtle ground. Much more so than at the end of the first part of the work where we ended on the note of reciprocal interaction between two aspects of pure consciousness. There we were still within the limits of neutral consciousness. What lives beyond experience as a more subtle essence as against ontological existence is the concept of value. Values are just notions mathematically present at the core of absolute substance holding together as its ambivalent antinomies both existence and essence. After dealing with ontological and existential aspects we are now passing beyond the borders of the physical to the metaphysical. As in the case of Bergson's sense of a unique time given to common sense in the form of an inner and immediate intuitive experience so there are some overlapping features within the reach of human understanding. Values cling to this intuitive experience, having a reality alternatively bringing happiness or unhappiness. All human beings experience such an alternating circulation of values taking place in a psycho-physical entity finer than any consciousness involving a duality between percepts and concepts. An osmotic interchange of values following certain delicate lines of alternation and circulation between compensatory aspects of consciousness can still be imagined. Reasoning belongs to such an order when it moves between analysis and synthesis, the a priori and the a posteriori, the pure and the practical, and the noumenal and the phenomenal.


Almost every religion in the world tacitly recognized such a possibility of alternating states within the soul or the Self. The soul or Self is subjected to reward or punishment at the hands of a person or by some abstract philosophical principle such as karma as known in Buddhism.


What is involved here is a compensation of values. How this actually operates and what kind of ground it has for such compensatory operations of the subtle dynamism regulating punishment or rewards, are questions often left unexplained in most discussions. God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Some overall value factor covering the need for religion is always involved here whether in theology or eschatology. A sinner must beware of punishment and a virtuous person can expect to be happy with rewards. The former goes to hell or purgatory, experiencing different degrees of suffering depending on the degree of sin. There are also graded heavens in certain religions. The promise of rewards and punishments is one of the main functions of popular religion and the day of judgment is a natural corollary belonging to such a total situation.


All kinds of promises are made by rival religions and it is impossible for a man of scientific learning to find his way through the many alternate theories. The only step the scientist can take is to apply Occam's Razor ruthlessly and cut away all extraneous and uncertain matter. We shall see how Narayana Guru in the following chapters cultivates this great virtue and refuses to be brought into any discussion about secondary details of an eschatological nature. He speaks elsewhere of good reputation as a value left behind by a kindly man after his death. This is a broadening streak or line tracing itself on some real and persisting substance where a high absolutist life like the Buddha's has influenced the conduct of men for over two thousand five hundred years. A man may wish to resemble the Buddha as a living motive within his real consciousness, whether such consciousness on final analysis has a physical, metaphysical or neutrally normalized status. We are on thin ground where possibilities and probabilities meet and neutralize each other. The Absolute is neither nothing, something, nor both. It belongs to an independent epistemological category of its own.


In an extended sense and at least for purposes of discussion, the osmotic exchange or circulation of subtle value-factors cannot be ruled out from the scope of a unified Science.


Heavens, hells and purgatories of great variety are mentioned in various religions. They are too numerous to be referred to exhaustively. They have however one and the same structuralism whether understood as a verticalized positive series of worlds of favourable values or as a similar unfavourable negative series, as in Mahayana Buddhism. Dante's "Divine Comedy" and Milton's "Paradise Lost" and Goethe's Faust also have a similar hierarchy of value-worlds. The Parsi heavens resemble the Vedic ones in certain respects. Ascending and descending angels representing scales of values are found in the Biblical Ladder of Jacob. The extremity of such a scale has feeble or pronounced antinomies meant to be purified in a central fire implying death as a generalized principle of control.


The word yama in Sanskrit not only means "gathering together" or "controlling", but also death as a trial for the soul. Passing through death is a fire test purifying the soul both in its ascent and descent. Horizontal aspects are conferred afresh on the soul by death as implying life. Vertical aspects become more pronounced in their ascent. In an ambivalent scale of values, the alternate goings and comings of the soul take place along a vertical axis. In certain feeble cases of alternation it follows a figure-of-eight where the upward and downward paths have gyroscopically regulated points of participation or non-participation of matter or mind factors. No quantitative factor must be attributed to such a process conceived only in pure schematic terms. When we use the word "point" we should not think of an actual stoppage but only of fluid points in a process of flux or pure becoming. As the process becomes further purified the verticalization becomes thinner and more pronounced. Approximating to more absolutist values even the pure vertical parameter is abolished and when their mutual absorption is perfect all duality between subject and object vanishes. Such are some of the guiding thoughts to keep in mind trying to follow some of the subtler implications relating to the subject of alternating pleasure or pain or rewards and punishments.


When the equation of the Self with the non-Self is complete the question of reward and punishment does not arise. Even the gods are abolished. The question of reincarnation also does not arise. Before such a culmination is supposed it is still legitimate to think of a value-circulation between two poles representing good and evil in the context of the Absolute.


The alchemy involved in life and death involves a complex process of interchanges between existences and essences. Double distillation, evaporation, crystallization and sublimation at different levels of neutralization are here involved together as a process. Essences can be condensed at levels of purification. In various Upanishads are described in greater or lesser detail the processes whereby the soul reaches the regions of the sun or moon and returns by different paths of smoke or cloud to be eaten in the form of grains or other food by procreating humans. This imagery is full of suggestive indications calling to be put in proper order by those endowed with a certain scientific intuition. To do this one has to reduce all complexities to simple terms. Terms like "sublimation" and "repression" as well as the formation of complexes remaining in the subconscious are familiar as the technical terms of what is also called analytical psychology. Such terms belong to the same context as the ones we have tried to elaborate above. In revealing this psycho-physical dynamism we have only tried to substitute mathematical language for the fabulous and the mythological. What remains now is to distinguish more clearly, though still cryptically, the horizontal and vertical versions of structuralism. This we can do when we think of a man with a plough looking for his bullocks to help him with his work. The plough and the bullocks belong to the horizontal axis of action.


A Vedic brahmin on the other hand, sitting before a lighted sacrificial fire and offering sacrifices, also has ends and means like ploughs and bullocks, but belonging to the world of the gauna (relativistic) and apurva (unexpected). The Vedic brahmin belongs to a finer world of actions where his ends and means are the object of sacrifice and religious utterances (mantras). Both these (action and chant) together are meant to have the effect of exalting his soul through the gates of death where it undergoes certain value adjustments or modifications and gives consolation. It rises further when the essences are sublimated. This yields pleasures of a hedonistic or absolutist order, depending upon the intensity of the element of sacrifice involved. Some merits are richer and more lasting than others in their power to yield either mere pleasures or true and lasting happiness. Throughout the Upanishads the same pattern persists and both the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras give us the gist of these processes. When further clarified by Sankara´s commentary on the Brahma Sutras one can see that he is not a total stranger to the structural way of thinking. Some residual outlines of this way of thinking in the departments of axiology and eschatology can be clearly seen. Ethics and aesthetics are also axiological and can be fitted into the same frame of reference.


The general life-process of ordinary plants and animals presents a horizontal process of Darwinian evolution. This evolution is mechanically conceived. Where higher intentions are capable of being attributed to superior human beings such as homo sapiens, there is a vertical or creative evolution. Creative evolution is in fact a spiritual process taking place in terms of self-consciousness, attaining to a high degree of perfection in the case of the attributes of God. Values can adhere in a more earthy and simple manner as in the case of the holy tulsi plant in the axiology of the Vaishnavas where it is considered a counterpart of Vishnu in a descending scale of values. Kalidasa´s drama "Vikrama-Urvasiya" represents a similar descent of a goddess to the status of a simple plant in a valley.


All these ideas are vague and only suggestive. Still we are able to extract all that remains scientific by way of a structural dynamism and pattern as seen through myth or figure or speech. Science can only be interested in the schematic and structural clarity found in this complex process and must leave higher and subtler imagination in eschatological exegetics to experts or to esoterics. We now quote four verses from the Bhagavad Gita relevant to this subject and having sufficient clarity.
We read in order from IX, 20-21 and VIII, 24-25:

"Knowers of the three (Vedas), soma-drinkers, purified from sin, worshipping by sacrifices, pray of Me the way to heaven; they, attaining the holy world of Indra (Lord of Gods) enjoy divine feasts in heaven.
They, having enjoyed that expansive heaven-world then, on their merit exhausted, they enter the world of mortality, thus conforming to the righteous notions implied in the three (Vedas), desiring desirable objects they obtain values which come and go.

Fire, light, daytime, the bright fortnight, the six months of the (summer) northern solstice, going forth on that (cosmological) occasion, those people who can understand the Absolute reach the Absolute.

Smoke, night, the dark fortnight, the six months of the (winter) southern solstice, on that (cosmological) occasion, the yogi attaining the lunar (relativist) light, return" (20)


The Brahma Sutras with Sankara´s commentary give further perspectives on the same theme. Sankara explains the basic division in III.I.17 as follows:

"...knowledge and works are under discussion as the means for entering on the road of the gods and the road of the fathers. The clause, "those who know this," proclaims knowledge to be the means whereby to obtain the road of the gods; the clause "sacrifices, works of public utility, and alms," proclaims works to be that by which we obtain the road of the fathers" (21)

The two divisions of the vertical axis are here clearly indicated. In III.1.13 the neutral ground of origin belonging to Yama, the god of death, where everything is re-melted and reshaped by fire is now referred to. The ascending and the descending paths are also sufficiently indicated.
We read the following:

"The latter descend to Samyamana, the abode of Yama, suffer there the torments of Yama corresponding to their evil deeds, and then again re-ascend to this world. Such is their ascent and descent ... For a scriptural passage embodying Yama´s own words declares that those who die without having offered sacrifices fall into Yama´s power. The other world never rises before the eyes of the careless child deluded by the delusion of wealth. This is the world, he thinks, there is no other; thus he falls again and again under my sway.' (Katha Upanishad I.2.) (22)


Further too some of the interesting sidelights tending towards a schematic rather than an actual view of the process seem to find support in the following remarks of Sankara in III.1.4. The metaphorical is in essence the same as lakshanartha (indirect or figurative meaning). The distance between the metaphorical and schematic is not very great.
We read as follows:

"The entering of speech, etc. into Agni is metaphorical, because we observe no such entering in the case of the hairs of the head and body. For although the text says that 'the hairs of the body enter into the shrubs and the hairs of the head into the trees,' still we cannot understand this to mean that the hairs actually fly away from the body and enter into trees and shrubs. On the other hand, the soul could not go at all if we denied to it the limiting adjunct formed by the pranas, and without the latter it could not, in the new body, enter into the state of fruition. Besides, other passages distinctly declare that the pranas go with the soul. From all this we conclude that the passage about speech, etc. entering into Agni, metaphorically expresses that Agni and other divinities who act as guides of the pranas and co-operate with them, stop their co-operation at the time of death"  (23)

Next we find a subtle equation of three distinct concepts called water, faith and man established in a passage of Sankara. He appeals to the syntactical coherence of the text and also relies on a semantic unity. The lakshanartha (indirect meaning) argument is also appealed to in the case of a man as valiant as a lion being himself called a lion. We see here that even nominalism is resorted to in the example of men standing on a platform. Here man is only qualitative and faith and water are related by association of cause and effect in the context of Vedic ritual.


In any case the literal meaning is avoided by Sankara as it is a qualitative relational connection that counts in an overall schematic context. 
We read in III.1.5:

"To this view of the purvapakshin (anterior questioner) we demur, because, in the case of the first fire, the word sraddha (faith) is to be taken in the sense of 'water'. - On what ground? - On the ground of fitness. For on that explanation only beginning, middle, and end of the passage harmonize so that the syntactical unity of the whole remains undisturbed ... Moreover, water, when forming the seed of the body enters into the state of thinness, subtlety, and herein again resembles faith, so that its being called sraddha is analogous to the case of a man who is valiant as a lion being himself called a lion.- Again, the word sraddha may fitly be applied to water, because water is intimately connected with religious works (sacrifices, etc.) which depend on faith; just as the word 'platform' is applied to men (standing on the platform). And finally the waters may fitly be called sraddha, on account of their being the cause of faith, according to the scriptural passage, 'Water indeed produces faith in him for holy work" (24)

The schematic status of the process is further evident by the use of the term "conjunction" in the following quotation (III.1.26) pertaining to the same process of a descent of the soul reaching from the moon to plant life. Although schematism requires a homogeneous ground where classes of entities belong together, many layers of such schematic abstractions, some more concrete than others, are epistemologically permissible. The jump from one layer of abstraction to another is negligible, because it is meant merely to explain what is concrete in terms of the abstract as both belonging to the same Absolute.


Conjunction is a relational factor belonging to schematism. Sankara stresses the overall importance of this relational and qualitative feature. It is in vectorial terms that this kind of schema can be understood. While waking entities exist in actual Euclidean or Newtonian space, dreams exist in a vectorial or qualitative space. Both are real in their respective contexts.
We read as follows:

"Hence we must interpret the passage to mean only that the soul enters into conjunction with one who performs the act of generation; and for this we again infer that the soul's becoming a plant merely means its entering into conjunction with a plant" (25)

In respect of the negative vertical aspect of values we have this interesting reference to the seven hells in III.1.15-16. To avoid any contradiction or duplication it is best to place them in a negative scale on the vertical axis as seven points of stability in the value-world. Chitragupta who is in charge of one of these hells called Raurava is not a rival to Yama, but as Sankara points out, he is a superintendent in a lower place in the hierarchy. Sankara also approves of such a schematic treatment.
We read as follows:

"Moreover, the purana-writers record that there are seven hells, Raurava, etc., by name, which serve as abodes of enjoyment of the fruits of evil deeds. As those who do not sacrifice, etc. go there, how should they reach the moon? - But, an objection is raised, the assertion that evildoers suffer punishments allotted by Yama is contradicted. Smriti mentions different other beings, such as Chitragupta etc. who act as superintendents in Raurava and the other hells. This objection the next Sutra refutes:

"There is no contradiction, as the same Yama is admitted to act as chief ruler in those seven hells. Of Chitragupta and others Smriti merely speaks as superintendents employed by Yama." (26)



Rich and antique deposits of highly suggestive axiological wisdom are found in Greek drama. This serves as a living source for psychology. Concepts such as catharsis and nemesis used in modern psychology stem from ancient Greek sources. From Greek tragedy and myth psychology has coined the terms Oedipus Complex, Narcissism, Electra Complex, etc.

In the regions around the Mediterranean where oriental caravans and Phoenician traders met for many centuries it is not surprising to find ideas of equal axiological importance. We have already contributed several essays related to such cultural aspects. The dialectics of Romance and Tragedy are not limited to the Romantic movement resulting from the Renaissance, but reach back to the days of the great tragedies of Sophocles, Euripides, and others, Even before this era of drama there were the mysteries of Eleusis and the Satyr-dramas where Dionysos was represented. This great god of frenzy refuses to belong to the respectable side of life and the dithyramb or poem in free style accords better with his life of abandonment. Pure vertical values come into interplay here, implying a double-sided expression divided by the principle of Death. Rising from the dead is also found at the basis of Christian dogma and it derives its support from the same double-sided life-values found in Dionysos.


The great tragedies of the Greeks were performed annually at a festival in honour of Dionysos. His personality is what is respected in the three unities of time, place and action in the structure of Greek Tragedy. These unities and other structural features of tragedy can all be treated as an attempted analysis of the Absolute Self. Having already examined these matters in some detail it is hardly necessary to go into them once again. (27)


Besides Vedism, from which a rough outline of axiological dynamism is derived, we are able to find further clarification of the same subject in a form more ready for use in modern thought than the cryptic and esoteric statements of the Vedas, Puranas etc. Greek drama presents in a tragic setting punishments and rewards issuing from the Self for or against itself. Ideas such as nemesis and catharsis are sung by the Greek chorus supplementing each tragic scene. This gives depth and suggestive significance to the situation directly affecting both the minds of the actors and the spectators alike. Human beings, gods, and dignitaries having their realm in the nether world all represent in their interplay and action the various aspects of axiological structuralism in the Self of man. Alcestis is brought back to life with the help of Herakles and without the help of Zeus who sits in high heaven. This angry god with his thunderbolt is primarily a punishing deity who did not assist in the restoration to life of Alcestis.


Prometheus, who is on the side of human beings, is chained to a rock and exposed to a vulture who in the daytime consumes his liver, which is restored each night.


These are telling images which have entered into modern language as inevitable idioms never to be discarded. Prometheus' own brother Epimetheus is retrospective and negative, while Prometheus is prospective and positive. When the natures of the two are fused together we get the suggestion of structure resembling the function of Dionysos. This function is called dithyrambos, meaning "double-doors". The drinking bouts and Bacchanalian revelries of Dionysos have had great influence on latter day European culture. The pure tragedy belonging to the context of absolutism was progressively watered down and diluted by dramatists like Shakespeare and Victor Hugo. Tragi-comedies dualistically conceived replaced pure Greek tragedy, relaxing also the rule of the three unities of time, place and action.


Shakespeare's "Othello" is a mild imitation unable to attain the stature of Greek drama. The axiological structuralism at the core of the Absolute is the most important contribution of Greek tragedy. The interplay of punishment and reward and other factors in spiritual progress, which mark off humanity from mere animals, are elaborately worked out in the tragedies of Euripides, Sophocles and others. Modern critics have unearthed precious indications helpful as a guide.
We read the following from a modern student of Greek drama:

"The disappearance of Persephone, taken to Hades and carried away to the inferno, represents the descent of the soul into the world of generation; Dionysos torn into pieces by the Titans is the soul made multiple by becoming present in different parts of the body; Prometheus attached to a rock and the Titans who devour Dionysos, who is consumed with avidity in Tartarus; that means the soul attached to the body which is itself attached to the earth; Hercules engaged in many tasks; that is the soul which prepares itself for its deliverance; Apollo the god who purifies and Athena the goddess who saves, permit the soul to gather once again its strength; Demeter brings back the soul to its first source." (28)


The complexity of the structure implied in the above might be considered detrimental to its fully scientific character. The following from the "Bacchae" by Euripides simplifies the matter because only two factors are brought in.
We read as follows:

"There are two powers, young man, which are supreme in human affairs: first, the goddess Demeter; she is the Earth - call her by what name you will; and she supplies mankind with solid food. Second, Dionysos the son of Semele; the blessing he provides is the counterpart of the blessing of bread; he discovered and bestowed on men the service of drink, the juice that streams from the vine-clusters; men have but to take their fill of wine, and the sufferings of an unhappy race are banished, each day's troubles are forgotten in sleep - indeed that is our only cure for the weariness of life, Dionysos, himself a god, is poured out in offering to the gods; so that through him mankind receives blessing." (29)


In principle Dionysos represents a verticalized version of axiology. There is a complementary horizontalized version to go with this, represented by Apollo who is social and orderly. Nietzsche in "The Birth of Tragedy" has beautifully brought out this difference.
We read as follows:

"If we at all conceive of it as imperative and mandatory, this apotheosis of individuation knows but one law - the individual, i.e. the delimiting of the boundaries of the individual measure in the Hellenic sense. Apollo, as ethical deity, exacts measure of his disciples, and to this end he requires self-knowledge. And so, side by side with the esthetic necessity for beauty, there occur the demands "know thyself" and "nothing overmuch"; consequently pride and excess are regarded as the truly inimical demons of the non-Apollonian sphere, hence as characteristic of the pre-Apollonian age, that of the Titans; and of the extra-Apollonian world - that of the barbarians. Because of his Titan-like love for man, Prometheus must be torn to pieces by vultures; because of his excessive wisdom, which could solve the riddle of the Sphinx, Oedipus must be plunged into a bewildering vortex of crime. Thus did the Delphic god interpret the Greek past.

Similarly the effects wrought by the Dionysian seemed "titan-like and barbaric" to the Apollonian Greek; while at the same time he could not conceal from himself that he too was inwardly related to these overthrown Titans and heroes. Indeed, he had to recognize even more than this: despite all its beauty and moderation, his entire existence rested on a hidden substratum of suffering and of knowledge, which was again revealed to him in the Dionysian.
And Lo! Apollo could not live without Dionysos! The "titan-like" and the "barbaric" were in the last analysis as necessary as the Apollonia" (30)


The morality of the Upanishads also differs from ordinary social duties in the same way. Good works of social utility are, strictly speaking, outside the scope of the way of life found in the Upanishads. Siva's frenzy is the same as that of Dionysus. The relation between the Apollonian and the Dionysian is clearly one involving the vertical and the horizontal values in life.


In no other context are all the structural implications more clearly worked out than in the triple tragedy of Oedipus. In Sophocles´ "Oedipus Rex" the two daughters, Antigone and Ismene, represent complementary and vertical values. Ismene is more negative while Antigone is positive and wilful. They have their horizontal counterparts in their two battling brothers who in the end are killed. Oedipus has incestuous relations with his mother Jocasta and in the agony of self-reproach and guilt commits suicide to abolish the inner contradiction of the situation. Oedipus plucks his eyes out and is faithfully attended to by his daughter Antigone. The ambivalent implications of the horizontal and the vertical aspects of absolutist axiology cannot be made clearer than in these great dramas.
Even when there happen to be two heroes, or a hero and a heroine as in works not tragically conceived in the classical sense but in a more liberalized version, the interest has to be centered on both of them unitively enclosed in brackets if drama is to fulfil its high role as it did in the hands of the great classical masters of Greece. Hugo's "Hernani" has Dona Sol, the heroine, as his dialectical counterpart and the interest centers round these two personalities taken together. They are to be looked upon as the obverse and reverse of the same soul. When the midnight hour strikes in the last scene of the last act we find Don Ruy Gomez rising to truly tragic heights representing Fate or Providence standing for the Absolute in the lives of men. The requirements of a tragedy, which Aristotle referred to in his definition, apply equally to this part of Hugo's creation as to the best examples of Greek tragedy. Aristotle's definition of tragedy is given in his "Poetics" (6:25-30) as follows:

"A Tragedy, then, is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in language with pleasurable accessories, each kind brought in separately in the parts of the work; in a dramatic, not in a narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish its catharsis of such emotions." (31)



In the second half of this work we pass from reduction to construction. In other words instead of equating the non-Self with the Self, we now equate the Self with the non-Self. This latter equation has to be kept in mind if the significance of the last five chapters is to be fully understood. This is especially true of Chapters 6 and 7 where instrumentalism and reason are found.

On first sight these appear to have nothing to do with axiology and its circulation in consciousness, but on closer examination it is seen that knowledge has a high value. The means of attaining knowledge through reason is therefore to be included under the overall title of axiology. The different kinds of reasoning processes used by the thinking Self in attaining the Absolute also come within its scope. This is exactly what Chapter 7 is concerned with. The Self is treated as something corresponding to the notion of an organon, the title given by Aristotle's disciples to his treatises on logic. Such an organon is treated as a reasoning instrument, consisting of some kind of absolute thinking substance having its counterpart in abstract and general thought processes.

The Self can thus be understood as corresponding to the notion of an organon in the context of various reasoning processes reviewed in the seventh chapter. It is also justified and in keeping with the nature of this work as a whole to call the Self of the sixth chapter an instrument belonging to action in a generalized sense.


The Self is an organ. of action, and instrumentalists like Bergson and Dewey treat the human agent as an instrument even for reasoning purposes. There is thus some overlapping of functions in the sixth and seventh chapters. Thinking is a subtler process than acting. Brute action is mechanistic, but the dynamic and creative activity of the élan vital presupposes a thin and fluid matrix. When the mechanistic implications of action are stressed too much, there is a horizontalized version of action and reaction taking place as equal and opposite forces in a Newtonian world of machines.

When pragmatic thought builds bridges and skyscrapers the brute aspect of action gains ground and we move away more and more from a verticalized world of values into a horizontalized one of technological processes. Narayana Guru does not treat instrumentalism in this way, but is more in line with Bergson who concluded at the end of his "Two Sources of Morality and Religion" that "the universe is a machine for the making of gods." This is a verticalized version of instrumentalism. John Dewey also accepts this position, but goes further in the same direction - perhaps more than is really justifiable. The rational processes of thought, according to Dewey, should have no metaphysical implications at all, but instead should have a backward reference to the instrument. In a certain sense, this attitude is justifiable, but it can be exaggerated as Dewey has done.
Dewey writes:

"Modern philosophic thought has been so preoccupied with these puzzles of epistemology and the disputes between realist and idealist, between phenomenalist and absolutist, that many students are at a loss to know what would be left for philosophy if there were removed both the metaphysical task of distinguishing between the noumenal and phenomenal worlds and the epistemological task of telling how a separate subject can know an independent object. But would not the elimination of these traditional problems permit philosophy to devote itself to a more fruitful and more needed task? Would it not encourage philosophy to face the great social and moral defects and troubles from which humanity suffers, to concentrate its attention upon clearing up the causes and exact nature of these evils and upon developing a clear idea of better social possibilities; in short upon projecting an idea or ideal which, instead of expressing the notion of another world or some far-away unrealizable goal, would be used as a method of understanding and rectifying specific social ills?" (32)

Narayana Guru's position on this is one of action on the lines of a pure act having its source in Aristotle´s unmoved mover. The Self has the double possibility of saying to itself at one and the same time, "I act," or "I do not act". The paradoxical status of the thinking substance understood in the context of the Absolute is retained by Narayana Guru. This permits an intelligent discussion of action to take place. Instrumentalism is not to be understood in its gross or mechanistic sense, nor in a too subtle sense as understood by Dewey. The two chapters have to be kept apart and understood as belonging to two distinct orders of absolutist values where ends and means come very close. Bergson's position on instrumentalism is much closer to Narayana Guru's:

"... instinct perfected is a faculty of using and even of constructing organized instruments; intelligence perfected is the faculty of making and using unorganized instruments. The advantages and drawbacks of these two modes of activity are obvious. Instinct finds the appropriate instrument at hand: this instrument, which makes and repairs itself, which presents, like all the works of nature, an infinite complexity of detail combined with a marvelous simplicity of function, does at once, when required, what it is called upon to do, without difficulty and with a perfection that is often wonderful ... The instrument constructed intelligently, on the contrary, is an imperfect instrument. It costs an effort. It is generally troublesome to handle. But, as it is made of unorganized matter, it can take any form whatsoever, serve any purpose, free the living being from every new difficulty that arises and bestow on it an unlimited number of powers." (33)

The Self as the organon covers the requirements of both instrumentalism and reason, because it can be thought of as a living and conscious instrument.



Whether we think in terms of an organon or an instrument of thought, there is an interplay between two aspects of consciousness when any activity, however subtle, or any thought, however weak, takes place within the spirit of man. This neutral ground or spirit is none other than the common universal consciousness already examined in the fifth chapter. Even in the world of cybernetic information both actions and retroaction are conceivable with a party of status between them.


Consciousness is neither mental nor material, inside nor outside. It can be said to be both or neither. This neutral ground has been named "substance" and it was Spinoza who defined it so as to give it an absolute status. In the world of information, action and retroaction resembling thought take place with a perfect reciprocity between the ambivalent, complementary, compensatory and even cancelable aspects of the twin factors involved in the situation. The double-sidedness is always capable of being cancelled out or neutralized into the unitive terms of the Absolute. This is like cancelling out the numerator against the denominator in fractions. If one is a thesis, the other is an antithesis, and the result is a unitive value, or an existential or rational entity. The cancellation occurs in consciousness.


In order to see how it takes place in an almost experimental manner, let us imagine a Greek tragedy being acted in an amphitheatre filled with thousands of spectators. The nemesis present on the stage when the tragedy is being acted out produces a corresponding catharsis in the minds of the onlookers who have similarly to enter into the spirit of the acting as well as its effect. When unitively put together the situation is an ennobling one. Such high cultural values coming within the direct experience of a large public exalt the human spirit. The appreciation of the same tragedy under similar circumstances in any part of the world and throughout the centuries has a degree and quality of conviction equal to apodictic scientific certitude. A two-sided inner experience meets to normalize certitude within consciousness. The truth of the values, feelings or passions involved in the tragedy is proved by its corresponding echo in the heart of each of the spectators. Thus outside the laboratory we have a fuller scientific truth than what is derived from the feeble trial-and-error methods of experimentalism. Even in ordinary life when a man pulls out his watch and says it is five minutes past two, corrections are involved in the situation. One depends on a comparison with other watches while the other has its source in an immediate and inner individual experience. A Science of the Absolute has to respect both corrections. In fact scientific thinking already tacitly accepts such a double correction. Observations and calculations enter into scientific thinking by equal right.


The North and South Poles of the globe were not explored at the same time. Greenland looks bigger in Mercator's projection than it actually is. When a ship is sailing towards the North Pole the structure of space involved is the consensus of the opinions of experts in physiography and allied subjects. Here the totality of the globe with its latitudes and longitudes at the North and South Poles is largely a matter of convention and not of experimental reality. Catharsis and nemesis also structurally belong together to the same knowledge-situation. The analysis of such an interdisciplinary structure as well as its global understanding as a whole is one of the most important prerequisites for any Science of the Absolute. Consciousness and nothingness too are included under "substance" or dravya. It is one of the seven categories of the real (sapta-padartha) of the Nyaya-Vaiseshika philosophy. Thus physics and metaphysics already have much common ground. Terms like transubstantiation and consubstantiality show that this notion is known to Christian theology . The latter term "consubstantiality" is supposed to have been used by the Emperor Constantine while settling a Christian theological dispute in connection with the Trinity in 325 A.D. The notion of substance was later clarified by Descartes who attributed to it thought and extension as existing together at its core. Although he was later charged with dualism, Descartes did not himself admit any such paradoxical element. This was because he was able to put both factors together as conjugates or correlates, having them coexist without contradiction in the notion of an absolute substance. The absolute substance has to transcend paradox to be absolutist at all, and all philosophers have tried in their own way to transcend paradox in order to attain the Absolute.


The natura naturans and natura naturata of Spinoza are correlated aspects of the thinking substance in his philosophy. Leibniz´s mixed monadology also implies the same two factors, though less overtly, in his principles of sufficient reason and pre-established harmony. Kant's pure and practical reason have the same structural unity. All these philosophers have used the notion of absolute substance in almost the same way at least when looked upon from a structural standpoint.

What we wish to establish here is how consciousness, even in the context of axiology, retains the same structural features within itself when referring to the Self and the non-Self. Between the Self and the non-Self there is a reciprocity, a complementarity, a compensatory relation and even a relation of cancelling both factors into a unitive and absolute consciousness. For the purposes of the sixth and seventh chapters the reader would do well to retain in his mind this reciprocal duality between instrument and action or the organ or thought and its reasoning. In the last three chapters it is recommended to keep in mind a more intimate and subtle complementarity between the two aspects involving the Self and the non-Self. Complementarity may be said to apply to Chapter 8 and compensation to Chapter 9. In the final chapter the cancellation of counterparts attains to mathematical abstraction and generalization. The purity of value increases as we approach the final verses of the text until it is self-absorbed absolutely. If we should now try to give precision to the notion of substance in the Vedic context we find how any idea of materiality is rejected. Appreciation of bright divinities is the main characteristic of the subject-matter of Vedism. If it errs at all it will be on the side of spirituality. It is in the so-called heterodox schools of philosophy that support is found for concepts resembling materiality. The Charvakas or Materialists were outside the pale of Vedic orthodoxy. The revaluation of the various Vedic gods into one god under the inclusive name of sarva-devah took place by slow stages fit after the historic role of Vedism was beginning to be played out. Through intermediate concepts such as Brihaspati, Brahmanaspati and Aditya, the slow change into the notion of the Absolute took a long time to be formulated and defined.


Nearly one half of the Brahma Sutras consists of denunciation of such notions as the pradhana (prime potent power) of the Samkhya and the primary atom (paramanu) of the Vaiseshikas. The charge of inertness (jadatva) is sufficient enough to condemn any reality on the ground that it is an unintelligent principle that is proposed as the cause of the universe. After many hesitant steps by Sankara, such ambiguous factors as maya (negative principle), karanasarira (causal body) and lingasarira (subtle body) were made acceptable. We also find that no notion with a fixed locality corresponding to substance is countenanced in the Brahma Sutras.

But a belated recognition of the claims of a notion resembling substance is found in III.2. 7,11 and 15 of the Brahma Sutras. The ambiguity is only abolished with great difficulty by Sankara as we can gather after carefully reading his commentary.


The Absolute is the final reality on which substance has to depend. This is unequivocally described in the Upanishads as cinmatra (pure mind-stuff). The difficulty in relating it to anything of a local fixed character is understandable. The Upanishads fall into two distinct groups, namely those recognizing an Absolute with form (saguna or sarupa) and those an Absolute without form (nirguna, arupa). The nearest concept corresponding to the notion of substance is the Vedantic one of kutasthatma (the "rock-fixed Self" or "one established on a rock"). One of the meanings of such a Self is that it consists of a changeless substance. The Self of man in its comings and goings between life and death or between waking, dreaming and deep sleep is supposed to have its locus in the nadi (centre of vitality).


These nadis are not necessarily multiple but rather belong together qualitatively, as Sankara explains in the analogy of when we say of a man "he sleeps in the palace, he sleeps on the couch", it is the same as to say: "he sleeps on the couch in the palace". Furthermore the space of the nadis can be interchanged with that of the heart. Although the Self in the body is of a minute size it is not to be confused with the paramanu.


Like a drop of water taken from a lake and having an individuality of its own, the question of the identity of the Self is left open and can be interpreted either way. A series of notions of different grades of materiality or finiteness is treated as if these differences did not matter in fixing the nature of the subtle substance of the Self. Thus we have the nadi spoken of by Sankara as identical with the pranas (vital tendencies), the Self and the Absolute. Sometimes such a Self is compared to a bright immortal person who is both within the earth and the human body. Such an entity is to be distinguished by its limiting adjuncts or upadhis. They are not tangible or extrinsic like the ones found in a red flower placed under a clear crystal and seeming to colour the crystal. The limiting adjuncts here belong intrinsically to the substance and whatever outlines the substance has, giving it definiteness as an entity, come only from nescience (avidya) lodged within the notion of the Absolute.


These are some of the considerations about substance to be kept in mind when following the line of thought in the following quotations from Sankara´s commentary on the Brahma Sutras. Regarding the state of deep sleep we read in III.2.7 and in many quotations from the Upanishads presented by Sankara to support his view:

"When a man is asleep, reposing and at perfect rest so that he sees no dream, then he has entered into those nadis." (Chandogya Upanishad VIII.6.3).

"Through them (i.e. the nadis) he moves forth and rests in the surrounding body." (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad II.1.19).


"In these the person is when sleeping he sees no dream. Then he becomes one with the prana alone." (Kaushitaki Upanishad IV.20).


"That ether which is within the heart in that he reposes." (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.4.22).

"Then he becomes united with that which is; he is gone to his Self." (Chandogya Upanishad VI.8.1).

"Embraced by the highest Self (prajna) he knows nothing that is without, nothing that is within." (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.3.21) (34)


From the above we can note the gradation beginning with the nadis and ending with the Self. They are treated by Sankara as if they were interchangeable. In the same sutra we have the notion of breath and existence being linked together along similar lines. They are also treated as alternatively interchangeable seats for substance. Once again Sankara quotes from an Upanishad for support:

"For in the complementary passage the text states that the soul desirous of rest enters into the Self, 'Finding no rest elsewhere it settles down on breath' (Chandogya Upanishad VI.8.2); a passage in which the word 'breath' refers to that which is (the sat). (35)

The qualitative nature of the space intended to be fixed is accomplished by an appeal by Sankara to semantics and syntactics The distinction between the space in the nadis or elsewhere such as the heart is treated as having no importance when space is looked at qualitatively:


"We on the contrary see that one and the same case is employed even where things serve different purposes and have to be combined; we say, e.g. 'he sleeps in the palace, he sleeps on the couch'. (Where two locatives are to be combined into one statement, 'he sleeps on the couch in the palace.' So in the present case also the different statements can be combined into one, He sleeps in the nadis, in the surrounding body, in Brahman." (36)

The limiting adjuncts of substance are only of an epistemological order and intrinsically attributable to nescience which is not a reality. Thus the purely schematic status of substance is fully established by Sankara in III.2.15:

"What is merely due to a limiting adjunct cannot constitute an attribute of substance, and the limiting adjuncts are, moreover, presented by Nescience only." (37)
"The crystal, e.g. which is in itself clear, does not become dim through its conjunction with a limiting adjunct in the form of red colour; for that it is pervaded by the quality of dimness is an altogether erroneous notion. In the case of Brahman the limiting adjuncts are, moreover, presented by Nescience merely. Hence (as the upadhis are the product of Nescience) if we embrace either of the two alternatives, we must decide in favour of that according to which Brahman is absolutely devoid of all difference, not in favour of the opposite one." (38)


The paradox is now fully transcended by Sankara although he took many hesitant steps in arriving at it. The two hierophanies or lower perspectives where the Self as related to the human body and earth as sacred presences or principles are indicated in contrast to the Person located in the Sun. Sankara in III.2.12. quotes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (II.5.1) in order to establish the non-connectedness of Brahman with the limited adjuncts:

"This bright immortal person in this earth, and that bright immortal person incorporated in the body; he indeed is the same as that Self." (39)

Finally the schematic status of substance is described clearer than the above when Sankara uses two analogies of sunlight. The first found in III.2.15 deals with sunlight and its crookedness when touching an object. The second analogy in III.2.20 deals with sunlight and its reflection in water. When put together these two analogies help to reveal the schematic status of substance. Its smallness, bigness or outline form are irrelevant and are to be eliminated from the central notion.
We read:

"Just as the light of the sun or the moon after having passed through space enters into contact with a finger or some other limiting adjunct, and, according as the latter is straight or bent, itself becomes straight or bent as it were: so Brahman also assumes, as it were, the form of earth and the other limiting adjuncts with which it enters into connection. Whenever two things are compared, they are so only with reference to some particular point they have in common. Entire equality of the two can never be demonstrated; indeed if it could be demonstrated there would be an end of that particular relation which gives rise to the comparison." (40)


The purpose of these two analogies in referring to two kinds of participation, one by reflection as of the sun in water (III. 2.20) and the more direct participation as when a finger in water appears bent without being so (III.2.15) is not clear. In the text in question Sankara refers to reflection in water because there is nothing to correspond to the water. He however explains this objection away by saying analogies are only to be treated for the purpose they serve and any inconsistencies can be waived aside. It appears the two analogies referring to sunlight have a complementary structural relation between them. The sunlight from above indirectly clarifies outlines of things, as in reflections; while knowledge from below directly reveals the form of things. The bimba-pratibimba-nyaya (argument by image and reflection) belongs to the dualistic philosophy of Madhva, where two-fold structuralism is more clearly recognized. Ramanuja's ubhaya-linga-adhikarana (section devoted to the double aspect of something) can better accommodate the analogy of the sun and its reflection. Some kind of vague complementarity seems to be present in the mind of Sankara here between the effect of light directly produced and the reflected images.


The distinction between. cit (reasoning) and cidabhasa (reflected reasoning) is implied here. Direct clarification of light and reflection by the appearance of light suggests a structural reciprocity between conceptual and perceptual aspects of consciousness. In Sankara's Dakshinamurti-Stotram (Praise to the Lord Facing South) there is direct reference to the same mirror reflection in a more structurally complete form. (Verse 1, our translation):

"To that sacred presence of the Guru
Who, like a mirror-reflected city sees within
The universe, through Maya as in sleep
And who in wakeful state understands as presented
To the senses, his own non-dual Self
To such a south-facing form of Dakshinamurti
I do now prostrate."


Dream and waking presentiment are here brought under one non-dual Self.



The last vestiges of duality and paradox refusing to be dissolved by reasoning have to be finally abolished. When duality is abolished the paradox is dissolved by itself. This is the final operation of the pure Self implying the abolition of this plurality of substance. All pluralities have to be brought under the two correlates of bhogyavishva (the universe of enjoyment) and bhoktarupa (the form of the enjoyer). These are the two correlates where duality and paradox reside, and which dissolve themselves into the Unitive Absolute.


The notion of absolute substance is schematically arrived at in the previous section. This corresponds to the Vedantic notion of kutastha (rock- fixed) and has many rival notions all representing the absolute Self in one context or another. We shall enumerate some of them in order to eliminate them or give them secondary place in, an overall scheme of correlation.


We first take the cosmological concepts virat-purusha (Outer Cosmic Man), vaisvanara (Inner Wakeful Universal Man) and hiranyagarbha (The Golden Gem). The first concept pertains to the personified universe. The second is the same seen from the universal perspective of a person eating or digesting food. The third applies to creation and passes from the existential to the subsistential aspect of absolute reality, representing a high value as suggested by the word hiranya or golden.


The next pair are jivatma (living Self) and paramatma (the Supreme Self). The Supreme Self refers to the pure Self on the plus side of the vertical axis. The living Self is subject to horizontal conditionings and can be placed at the point of origin where the two correlates intersect. The jivatma gives rise to many varieties of Selfs depending on the six bhavas (stages of becoming) which are:


1. asti (being); 2. janma (birth); 3. vriddhi (growth): 4. parinama (change): 5. apakshaya (decrease); and 6. vinasa (extinction).
These are all secondary and are merely generalizations of many possible stages in the process of becoming more fundamental and occupying the negative vertical axis are the prajna (the intelligent Self), karana (the causal Self) sutratma (serially conceived Self) and the subtle body known under the names of lingasarira or sukshmasarira. These last two entities referring to the subtle body are composed of the senses (indriyas), mind (manas), intelligence (buddhi) and the five pranas (vital tendencies). This combination forms the subtle body and is found in different contexts of this present work.

We have also the five grades or distinctions applied to the Self. They refer to existential, subsistential and value factors usually connected with the five kosas (sheaths) all having an absolutist status of their own, They are: annamaya (comprised of food), pranamaya (comprised of the vital tendencies), manomaya (comprised of mind stuff), vijnanamaya (comprised of pure reason) and anandamaya (comprised of value). These five kosas can be structurally conceived as forming inner and outer sheaths for purposes of description only. This can be done without degrading any one of them in respect of the other in the matter of dignity in the context of he Absolute.


Some Vedantic writers use other expressions for the purpose of discussion. Narayana Guru is seen to make the distinct reference to cidatma (reasoning Self) and cittendriyatma (the Self of pure reason and the senses.) He also refers to kutastha (rock fixed) in its own special context. We shall examine these later in connection with the text.


The dreaming Self is referred to as taijasa (pertaining to light) and has an intermediate position between the vertical plus and minus aspects. It is given this name because it is capable of illuminating objects of dream. Because of its virtuality it can be given a place in the negative side of the horizontal axis. These various entities are subject to changes belonging to the central notion of kutashta representing absolute substance.


By methodological reduction ambivalence, duality or paradox can progressively be abolished. The next step to abolish consists of the horizontal factors of secondary importance such as the mind, body-sense etc. Like the plus and minus quantities of arithmetic they nullify each other because of their transience or changefulness. On further reduction negatively we can imagine them as absorbed or implied in the more general and abstract plus or minus sides of the vertical axis. Names and forms could cancel each other in terms of a neutral certitude. When further reduced into two counterparts we arrive at the notion of a lower Absolute (apara brahman) and a higher para brahman. Even the Upanishads speak of these two Absolutes as we can see from the Brihadaranyaka (II.3.1-3):

"There are, assuredly, two forms of Brahman: the formed (murta) and the formless, the mortal and the immortal, the stationary and the moving, the actual (sat) and the yonder (tya).

This is formed (Brahman) - whatever is different from the wind and the atmosphere. This is mortal; this is stationary; this is actual. The essence of this formed, mortal, stationary, actual (Brahman) is (yonder) (sun) which gives forth heat, for that is the essence of the actual.

Now the formless (Brahman) is the wind and the atmosphere. This is immortal, this is moving, this is the yon. The essence of this unformed, immortal, moving, yonder (Brahman) is the Person in that sun-disk, for he is the essence of the yonder." (41)

The postulation of these two Brahmans so openly referred to has offered a major challenge to composers of sutras like Jaimini and Badarayana and commentators like Sankara. In spite of the combined efforts of these teachers the relation between these two Brahmans has remained a major puzzle.


Even careful scholars like George Thibaut show their puzzlement: 
"Among the passages where diverging views of those teachers are recorded and contrasted, three are of particular importance. Firstly, a passage in the fourth pada of the fourth adhyaya (Sutras 5-7), where the opinions of various teachers concerning the characteristics of the released soul are given, and where the important discrepancy is noted that, according to Audulomi, its only characteristic is thought (caitanya), while Jaimini maintains that it possesses a number of exalted qualities, and Badarayana declares himself in favour of a combination of these two views. The second passage occurs in the third pada of the fourth adhyaya (Sutras 7-14), where Jaimini maintains that the soul of him who possesses the lower knowledge of Brahman goes after death to the highest Brahman, while Badarayana - whose opinion is endorsed by Sankara - teaches that it repairs to the lower Brahman only. Finally, the third and the most important passage is met with in the fourth pada of the first adhyaya (Sutras 20-22), where the question is discussed why in a certain passage of the Brihadaranyaka Brahman is referred to in terms which are strictly applicable to the individual soul only."(42)

The question is not only puzzling to the author of the sutras but Sankara also seems not quite sure about establishing a unity between the two Brahmans and abolishing the paradox. We read the following in III.2.22:

"It is impossible that the phrase, 'Not so, not so!' should negate both, since that would imply the doctrine of a general Void. Whenever we deny something unreal, we do so with reference to something real; the unreal snake, e.g. is negated with reference to the real rope." (43)


It is easy to see here how Sankara is afraid to agree at all with the sunyavada (the principle of the Void) of the Madhyamika school of Buddhism. Sankara maintains that if the snake as well as the rope aspects are both abolished emptiness of the Void results. This fear is unfounded when we follow the method adopted by the Isa Upanishad (11 & 14) where two pairs of conjugates similar to the snake and rope are dialectically treated:

"Knowledge and non-knowledge -
He who this pair conjointly (saha) knows,
With non-knowledge passing over death,
With knowledge wins the immortal.

Becoming (sambhuti) and destruction (vinasa)-
He who this pair conjointly (saha) knows,
With destruction passing over death,
With becoming, wins the immortal." (44)

In the above passage ubhayam-saha (both taken together or conjointly) is a methodological indication of primary importance. The higher and lower Brahmans, when subjected to the same method, will not be abolished in favour of emptiness. Instead a unitive absolute value results from the cancellation of the two factors. In mathematics four divided by four is not zero but one. It is this vertical operation that matters in the context of the Absolute.


The duality we are finally faced with between the higher and lower Brahman is graphically brought out in the Upanishads, where a golden person is found in the orb of the sun as well as in the lotus in the heart of man. The same golden person was located earlier, as we have seen, in the earth and the body of man. We now read from the Maitri Upanishad (VI.1):


"For thus has it been said: 'Now, that golden Person who is within the sun who looks down upon this earth from his golden. place, is even He who dwells within the lotus of the heart and eats food." (45)

We should not be carried away by the colourful nature of the description. What is important from a scientific standpoint is to be able to recognize the mathematical equation between two aspects of the absolute Self. Such an equation is meant to be unitively understood, yielding one final certitude. So when the paradox drops by cancellation of counterparts and when duality vanishes we arrive at the notion of a pure neutral Absolute.



We have quoted from Sankara above in connection with the analogy he uses in bringing out the nature of the changeless Self in relation to its own changeful manifestations in actual experience (see page 766). The double-sided structural implications are only vaguely foreshadowed by Sankara. It is sufficiently clear however that he had some kind of double structuralism in his mind. His commentaries on later sutras unfortunately only heighten the difficulty instead of making the implicit structuralism clearer. Taking the analogy of sunlight, helping to clarify conceptual and perceptual representations of the Self, we will see the two Selfs distinguished by their activity or function. (The translation of the word karmani should be "function" and not "activity"). This reference to the two Selfs and their respective functions is the same as the two aspects of natura naturans and natura naturata. Similar distinctions we have tried to explain already. There is a conceptual as well as a perceptual Self to be clearly distinguished before the implied paradox between them can be abolished. When the commentary refers to ether uniformly pervading space and as present even. in a hollow visible object, some kind of material and imponderable entity must be in the mind of Sankara.


Sunlight on the other hand is more like thought than matter. When these two factors are put together we arrive at a structural pattern resembling a thinking substance. The Self can be examined under two different perspectives, the first existential and the second subsistential. They both refer to the double-sided structural aspect required in any notion of two Selfs. Just as pure ether is independent of the conditionings of lines or shapes of objects, pure sunlight is independent of its own varying and reflected forms. Water itself is extraneous to the analogy as Sankara explains in a quotation cited above (p.747) whereby it (water) is taken as equal to faith, for syntactical reasons. What results from all these considerations is a residue of a two-sided structuralism bringing together matter and mind. As structuralism is treated by us as an important integrating link between the various darsanas the following examination of the implied structuralism in Sankara is not superfluous. We first quote the actual sutra (III.2.25) composed by Badarayana:

"And as in the case of (physical) light and the like, there is non-distinction (of the two Selfs), the light (i.e. the intelligent Self) (being divided) by its activity; according to the repeated declarations of scripture." (46)

As we shall now see in Sankara's commentary on this sutra, there is no mention of karmani (function or activity) found in the original sutra. He depends on a purely schematic distinction based on ignorance as an adjunct.


"As light, ether, the sun and so on appear differentiated as it were through their objects such as fingers, vessels, water and so on which constitute limiting adjuncts (here a footnote by Sankara reads: Light is differentiated as it were by the various objects on which it shines; the all-pervading ether is divided into parts as it were by hollow bodies; the sun is multiplied as it were by its reflections in the water.), while in reality they preserve their essential non-differentiatedness; so the distinction of different Selfs is due to limiting adjuncts only, while the unity of all Selfs is natural and original." (47)

To this Thibaut adds the following penetrating footnote:

"It certainly looks here as if the Bhashyakara did not know what to do with the words of the sutra. The 'karmani'... is as good as passed over by him" (48)


Anandagiri and Govindananda by their further explanations referring to the function of the two Selfs hardly succeed in making Sankara's position any clearer. The gap left open is only normal because a complete structuralism using modern mathematics cannot be expected in full and finished form from Sankara. It is however highly laudable how Sankara was able to approximate to some kind of schematic pattern of thinking at least in this particular commentary.


Before we pass on to other normative notions found in the six darsanas of Indian philosophy let us point out that insofar as we are able we shall try to fit all such normative notions into the same pattern of an integrated Science of the Absolute. We shall include all important schools of thought as far as it is possible. We shall also have occasion to come back to the Brahma Sutras with Sankara's commentary. This is the most valuable source-book for speculation about the Absolute in the context of the Upanishads. We hope to achieve a structural unity and this in turn will give to our Science of the Absolute an integrated and unitive status.



[1] W. Wright (trans.), "The Works of Julian the Apostate", London, 1913-1923. For a history of Julian and a short commentary to "King Helios", see articles 26 and 26 of the series "Pagan Europe," by John Spiers, Values, Vol.Xll, Nos.2 and 3 (November-Dec,1965).


[2] R. Blankney, "Meister Eckhart", New York, 1957, p.209


[3] "The Works of William Law", Vol.IX, (privately printed for G. Moreton, 42, Burgate Street, Canterbury, 1893), p.6.


[4] Hume, pp. 144-5


[5] Runes, p.41


[6] See Runes, pp.32-33 for a more detailed account.


[7] Bhagavad Gita, pp.286-287.


[8] Bhagavad Gita, p.150.


[9] Bhagavad Gita, pp.598-699.


[10] Bhagavad Gita, p186


[11] Bhagavad Gita, p.557


[12] Bhagavad Gita, p.556-557


[13] Ved. Sut Comm. Sank., Vol.II, p.65n.


[14] Ved.Sut Comm. Sank., Vol.II, p.65


[15] Ved. Sut Comm. Sank., Vol.II, p80


[16] Hume, p.159


[17] Bhagavad Gita, p-322.


[18] Sankara's "Vivekachudamani", Verse 96


[19] Bhagavad Gita, pp. 343-348


[20] Bhagavad Gita, p.400 and pp.375-376, resp


[21] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol II, p.124


[22] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol II, p.122-3


[23] Ved. Sut. Comm.Sank., Vol .II, p.106.


[24] Ved. Sut. Comm.Sank., Vol .II, p.107-108


[25] Ved. Sut. Comm.Sank., Vol .II, p.132


[26] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank.,Vol.III, p.123.


[27] See our "Dialectics of Romance and Tragedy" (two parts), Vol.III Nos.10-12 (July-September 1958).


[28] V. Magnien, "Les Mysteres d'Eleusis", Paris, 1940. Our Trans.


[29] P. Vellacott (tr.), "The Bacchae and other plays of Euripides", London, 1954, p.190.


[30] F, Nietzsche, "The Birth of Tragedy", tr. C. Fadiman, in The Philosophy of Nietzsche, New York, 1952, pp.966-967.


[31] R.McKeon (ed), "Introduction to Aristotle", New York, 1947, p.531


[32] J.Dewey, "Reconstruction in Philosophy", New York, 1951, p.107


[33] Bergson, "Creative Evolution", p.155.


[34] Ved. Sut Comm. Sank., Vol. II, p. 141


[35] Ved. Sut Comm. Sank., Vol. II, p. 142


[36] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol. II, p. 143


[37] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p. 156


[38] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p. 153


[39] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p. 154


[40] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p. 156 and 159, resp.


[41] Hume, p.97


[42] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.I, p. xix (intro.)


[43] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank. Vol.II, p. 168


[44] Hume, p.364


[45] Hume, p. 424


[46] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol. II, p. 172.


[47] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol. II, p. 172.


[48] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol. II, p. 172-173