Science of the Absolute Chapter 3 - Epilogue







The overall purpose of this chapter is to establish a fundamental ontological unity of an absolutist status, in place of the dual factors of mere appearance and of the mind, which is no less unreal as the basis of all appearance. This dialectical duality is accepted in the very first verse of this chapter and we see in the last verse how the duality is finally absorbed by a mutual process of osmotic absorption of the essence of the one into the other. We can call these two aspects the "noetic and noematic" of the phenomenological context.


By way of introducing the content of this chapter in terms familiar to the modern reader we have examined a series of positions and suppositions belonging to the modern phenomenological school of thought. Besides the noematic and noetic we have to understand other terms like eidetic, epoche, phenomenological reduction, etc., which already present a variety of new concepts coined for the purposes of a new science combining natural psychology with a philosophical theory concerning man and the world. The reader has to guard himself from becoming confused by the multiplicity of words, especially after he has read this chapter wherein other technical terms such as darkness (tamas), nescience (avidya), willing (sankalpa), mind-stuff (manomaya), etc., have to be understood as belonging together without any confusion between them.


This is where we have to bring protolinguistic structuralism into the picture. Simple though these verses seem and although they present a mere skeleton without any flesh and blood by way of elaborations and descriptions, the reader who is able to follow the successive steps represented by each verse will get an encompassing and comprehensive notion of how Narayana Guru accomplishes the reduction of duality between the mind and the phenomenological world into a basic ontological unity pertaining to the Science of the Absolute. Phenomenology is not unilaterally treated as a mere science of appearances and a distinct branch of knowledge sufficient to itself.


Instead it is presented with its reciprocal implications which absorb each other negatively at first where ontology ultimately gets primacy over teleology. Even this vertical duality of movement in thought is balanced or cancelled out by the time we attain the finalized notion limiting this chapter marked by an ontological unity without any traces of duality.


Two sets of antithetic factors are successively abolished by a methodology that gives room to the immanent-transcendent as well as the factual-virtual aspects of existence at one and the same time. The four limbs enter into interplay in a delicate manner and the notion of Isvara or Lord which properly belongs to the first chapter is again alluded to for the purposes of bringing out the contrast between two kinds of appearances. The first appearance is richer and more universal than the second called vyavaharika (the workaday world), while the first is pratibhasika (reflection-appearance). Both are different versions of the same eidetic presentiment, the first stronger than the second. Vyavaharika has a more universal validity and holds good with all normal men at any time. Pratibhasika is an appearance given to partial and feeble-minded individuals such as cowards under special circumstances. In Vedanta the former refers to the samashti (the collective aspect) while the latter belongs to the vyashti (the individual aspect). Samashti can be equated and attributed to the mind of the Lord as representing the collective mind of humanity, while the latter refers to individual errors common to all men.


A further precautionary hint is also indicated here for the guidance of the critical student. Antinomies such as science and nescience, truth and error, etc., are not treated by Narayana Guru as capable of being strictly cancelled out, leaving no remainder of content. There is a subtle bracketing principle as in Husserl's fundamental phenomenology where the bottom of a receptacle and its lid are put together in such a way that the content still remains existent and real.


Paradox, when resolved, does not abolish all content into nothingness. On the contrary by a reasoning involving both a double assertion and a double negation the full absolute existence is reaffirmed rather than emptied into nothingness. This is the reason why we see in Narayana Guru's gloss to Verse 2 the reference to atmavidya (Self-knowledge). This is to be taken in a global sense with the purpose of countering the ill effects of nescience. If we think of atmavidya as having a vertical structural status and nescience as having a horizontalized one, the difficulties presented by two sets of antinomies are solved.


The mutual absorption or osmotic interchange between appearance and its cause in the mind takes place both as exosmosis and endosmosis alternatively at one and the same time as required by each of the reasonings proper to any one verse of the series. The reversal has also to be carefully noted when it takes place. The reduction of duality into unity involves a double correction at each stage.



It is necessary to clarify here the epistemological and methodological status of this chapter and the factors constituting the relationship between other chapters as well as the inner relationships between the ten verses. This is important because it is the way integration is accomplished. Integration is always more important than a mere detailed examination of contents. There is already plenty of literature discussing in almost hair-splitting fashion the various implications of the Science of the Absolute. The numerous commentaries on the Brahma Sutras are examples of this.


While it is easy to take the elements that constitute brahma-vidya (the Science of the Absolute) apart and minutely and separately examine each component element, the reverse process is not at all an easy one.


Even an amateur watchmaker can take a watch apart but to put it correctly together again requires the skill of an expert. The structural vision of the mechanism as a totality must be understood by anyone attempting to fit the fractional aspects together. This is all the more true in the present case where Narayana Guru has made a necklace where each jewel is meant to be correctly interpreted and related to the overall resultant product. Minute workmanship is there in each unit-piece, but how they are linked together with cardinal and ordinal elements respected throughout is the very factor which alone gives a scientific status to the whole subject.


We have seen how even within the sphere of modern phenomenology there are differing standpoints where emphasis is placed on one or another of its features which between them offer a variety. We have tried to link together and review this variety in a certain methodical order. The same is true in respect of each of the verses of the present chapter, as also of the content of this chapter as a whole when related to the chapters immediately preceding and following it.


What is the raison d'être of this chapter, especially when there is another, the next chapter, which is also devoted to appearance and illusion treated as an overall category of error or Maya? In the present chapter the gross and subtle aspects of a similar world of phenomenological realities have been reduced to unity by a methodology proper to such reduction. We pointed out how it was in terms of an élan vital of a more positive order than the present that the reduction. was accomplished. In the succeeding chapter on Maya not only is ontological and phenomenological reality reconciled or cancelled out with its corresponding counterparts, but features having a more thorough-going epistemological status. We find elements admitted belonging to a purer abstraction than what phenomenology admits.


Phenomenology belongs precisely to that sphere where the visible meets the intelligible on neutral ground. We are more directly concerned here with the world of appearances. No doubt this world of appearances is an effect of a more deeply seated cause which is the mind, but for the purposes of this chapter it is the equation of effect with its cause that we are primarily concerned with.


We have also to note that Narayana Guru departs somewhat from the usual Vedantic tradition by introducing herein what amounts to a new darsana. Much confusion is seen in Vedantic literature on the question of making matter and mind and the pure and the practical participate together, with material aspects correctly inserted into mental aspects, so that a proper articulation results in a mutual relationship without cleavage between them. Arguments admitting of contradiction have to be used in the world of cause and effect where material considerations prevail over mental ones. In the pure domain of thought, however, it is possible to use a higher form of dialectical reasoning where the principle of contradiction can be bypassed without difficulty.


How could a good God create an evil world? How can gross and subtle life expressions exist together? These are problems which require a neutral ground between mind and matter which alone can explain the two-sided relationship. When Vedanta speaks of the living Self (jivatma) caught in the cyclic process of being and becoming (samsara) and at the same time speaks of souls entering into Brahman (the Absolute), two kinds of logic have to be used. This precise kind of difficulty has vitiated much of the hair-splitting polemics of the Brahma Sutras. The commentaries on this work have some very unconvincing arguments and conclusions clothed in confusing verbosity. This chapter is meant to dispel the difficulties arising from this lack of equality of status between matter and mind.


We find that by introducing an unusual darsana of his own, Narayana Guru succeeds in meeting once and for all many of the issues which crop up ad nauseam in the form of vain sophistry. This is particularly true in scholastic developments of Vedanta after Sankara.


The notion of Maya is usually seen to be interposed as an overall blanket expression to cover all possible errors to be grounded in it without a clear analysis of the component factors entering into the notion taken as a whole. We shall see in the next chapter how Narayana Guru is able to number and grade some of these component factors more clearly than has so far been done. By interposing this present chapter much of the unnecessary weight that would have rested on the Maya Darsana has been lifted. This darsana also has within its scope many subtle epistemological factors belonging to the context of the negativität of Hegel.


The notion of caitanya or vital consciousness which was the key notion of Chapter 2 is not displaced by a more compact and inner notion of the mind. As Narayana Guru explains, the mind or manas is meant to represent a number of other notions which enter into Vedantic discussions in connection with the cause and effect of appearance. Terms such as will (sankalpa), darkness (tamas), nescience (avidya), etc., are some of the technical expressions used in these discussions. Manas is also given a more dignified status where it represents the negative Self taking the place of the Lord of the first two chapters.


In every verse there is an equation of counterparts as between the key notion of manas and the world of appearances. Other antithetical elements of a horizontal order enter into the argument of each verse which should be structurally isolated and distinguished as Narayana Guru intended. Only then will the full scientific character of these plain-looking verses come into evidence. The ontology of this chapter is neither mental nor material but belongs to the neutral ground of pure phenomenology. It is wholly in keeping with the spirit of modern science as we have seen in the case of modern relativity where elastic and supple lines of light are capable of expansion and contraction, and are treated side by side with rigid logical parameters of thought involving the observer and the observed in one and the same existent reality. We shall try to clarify the structural implications of each verse of this chapter before concluding this section.



Among the features of this chapter calling for special explanation is the one that comes into evidence in the very first verse. We have a reference in this verse to the colours blue etc. The colourful world represented by our own refractory planet is only a convenient substitute for the larger universe extending infinitely and indefinitely in all directions. The visible aspect of outer space seems to have a blue colour. This blue colour cannot be distilled from the sky and possessed by us. It has the status of a kind of epiphenomenon, the origin of which is not altogether "over there" but in the weakness inherent in our own power of sight. Modern Science now permits such a two-sided view more and more. The redness of the cover of a book is not to be located in the book but in the peculiarities of the human retina.


Colour phenomena have this double character referring to the subject and object at once. Therefore it is not strange that Narayana Guru deals with the perfect reciprocity between subject and object in the phenomenon of visibility. He definitely says that although blueness is false and imagined in the sky, there is still a reciprocal counterpart of truth implicit when stated in correct dialectical language. This makes the world a miniature colourful universe floating in the subjective vectorial and tensorial space of self-consciousness.


Colour, as in a rainbow for example or in the sunrise or sunset hours of twilight, does not generally belong to reality but is to be located more on the side of appearance. The neutral and normative standpoint taken by Narayana Guru is here evident from the fact that this phenomenal aspect of visible reality, instead of being unilaterally excluded, is included both subjectively and objectively as worthy of being a sufficiently important subject for a complete Science of the Absolute. We have further to note that the first chapter of the Darsana Mala starts from the dream world of the physical world and passes on through less fine, thin and fluid aspects of space and time relations to reach a neutralized or normalized view by the tenth verse and in the second chapter.


In the third chapter a still more subtle and pure status is attained in the context of phenomenology, where subject and object meet more intimately without sacrificing inner or outer perceptive or eidetic experience. We shall continue to be in the world of existence until we enter into the fifth chapter where the zero point is seen to be implied as a central and double limiting factor placed as it were back to back. These factors have already been explained in the Preliminaries and in Chapter 2.


The subjective colourful universe within the mind or the Self need not necessarily be imagined as having the same spatial limitations or horizontal structural peculiarities as its objective counterpart. Thought is free to construct its own relation-relata complexes helped by coordinates and in terms of new relational geometrical representations and parameters. The possibilities of such a representation have already been explored by us, taking account of the various distinct disciplines which reveal the same structural elements, implicitly and uniformly seen through all of them and giving to them a scientific unity. Here we are not concerned merely with the phenomenon of colour but with its status, as an element of a universal and concrete character somewhat in the manner of Hegel, who says:

"Nature as a system of active elements in dynamic relations is the appearing image of the ontological essence of being: Nature is essentially dialectical in its qualitative Polarities.
This concrete qualitative interpenetration of light and darkness appears in the realm of real colours." (1)


A green colour, for example, can be said to be present on a leaf that we hold in our hands at a particular time and place. The same green colour can be abstracted and generalized by our mind in the manner of mathematical thinking. Then the colour need not be a reality of local fixed character, but instead can be given as a universal concrete anywhere and at any time to all human beings and even animals. We attain herein to a notion of the concrete universal which does not necessarily mean that the concreteness applies to solidity or impenetrability of matter which belong merely to natural physics. The distinction we are trying to make is sufficiently evident from the following quotation from Husserl:

"But one and the same noematic colour of which we are thus aware as self-same, in itself unchanged within the unity of a continuously changing perceptual consciousness, runs through its perspective variations in a continuous variety of sensory colours. We see a tree unchanged in colour - its own colour as a tree, whilst the positions of the eyes, the relative orientations change in many respects, the glance wanders ceaselessly over the trunk and branches, whilst we step nearer at the same time, and thus in different was excite the flow of perceptual experience." (2)

Furthermore, the colourful universe implied in the subjective space of the Self has a structure of the totality of space as given to it by Riemann and Lobachevsky with an exponential mathematical factor of measurement involved, as when the physical world is seen through a powerful telescope or microscope. What we cannot see with our actual eyes can still enter a strictly scientific world through such instruments. We begin to live in a world of squares and square roots or expanded or contracted spaces when raised to the power of +10 or -10.


We arrive at an extended series of possible visions of the world, macroscopic or microscopic, starting from a zero point where normal sight is assumed. In spite of this instrumental and inevitable distortion, the colourfulness of the world remains the same and attains to a subjective limit in either direction. The microscopic and the macroscopic reciprocally cling together and as colour itself is a phenomenon requiring topological space, we see all the more the justification for the colour-solid structure we have already adopted for our purposes.


Vedanta also deals with such a world of colour having the same phenomenal status as is seen in the Svetasvatara Upanishad and in Sankara's commentary on the Brahma Sutras (see pp.164 & 188 above, respectively). Bergson also includes colourfulness in his vision of the Stuff of the material universe at the meeting point of continuity and discontinuity of elements of pure notion. The universal concrete is further seen to be fully acceptable in Vedanta.


When creation is reabsorbed into the Absolute, all individual beings in the universe and even such minute entities as gnats and mosquitoes do not lose their concrete individualities but retain them in a schematically purified form. As the Chandogya Upanishad (VI.9.2-3): states:

".... as they are not able to discriminate " I am the essence of this tree or that tree" - even so, indeed my dear, all creatures here, though they reach being, know not "We have reached Being". Whatever they are in this world, whether tiger, or lion, or wolf or boar, or worm, or fly, or gnat, or mosquito, that they become." (3)

Elsewhere it is stated that the principle of the Absolute permeates all living beings to the very tip of their nails.


One would think that the nails, being gross and inert, would be excluded as incapable of having any participation with the Absolute which has a spiritual status as against a grossly material one. The full participation of mind and matter assumed here supports the claims of the notion of a concrete universal. We read the following in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (I.4.7):

"He (i.e. the Absolute) entered in here, even to the fingernail-tips, as a razor would be hidden in a razor-case, or fire in a fire-holder. Him they see not, for (as seen) he is incomplete." (4)



In the Prologue we dealt with a certain number of epistemological, methodological and structural features proper to the sphere of phenomenology. Intentionality as against a factual appraisal of reality is the new overall factor that has been applied to the world of mere facts so as to make it more subtle and fluid. Eidetic tendencies belonging to the mind reveal various levels where phenomenological factors present appearances of different grades of immanent and transcendent reality. The whole sphere of phenomenology concerns itself with fundamental ontology, understood in the noetic and noematic contexts.


Phenomenological reduction consists in taking a verticalized view of the content of natural science and ordinary psychology. What is more there is always the possibility of cancellation between counterparts consisting of two sets of antithetical factors When the Phenomenological sphere is reduced to its proper proportions and then cancelled out into some sort of synthetic residuum, the reality remaining consists of the pure individuality of man centrally located in a world of things around him. This is the central value revealed by phenomenological reduction or cancellation. The status of such a fundamental notion is regarded by some phenomenologists as fully absolutist. In this chapter the four antithetical factors involving Being or non-Being, each set viewed vertically and horizontally, are finally reduced into one central existence.


With these notions kept in mind we shall now examine the present chapter of Narayana Guru where we find these very elements of epistemological and methodological import.


If the chapter is read in the usual way, seeking to find in it only conventional and traditional Vedantic verities it is easy to see that all these tenets of ordinary Vedanta are also stated here, together with the clarification of certain subtle peculiarities. The commentary to these verses seems to be full of tautologies and synonyms whose shades of connotation are meant to be viewed in different arrangements or perspectives. This is apt to be confusing. Without an analysis of these verses in the light of the phenomenological features referred to above, the whole chapter might seem to be filled with banalities or reiterations. It is important therefore to scrutinize them closely, bringing out the scientific nature of the reasoning employed.

Let us examine the scope of this chapter and its limits. It is not difficult to recognize from the final verse that absolute ontological reality (sat) is meant to be the resulting residue after the reductions and reciprocal cancellations have been accomplished. We see that the paradox is still retained in a rudimentary form in the intervening verses for purposes of discussion or reduction. When, however, the last verse abolishing or reducing the former in terms of the latter calls attention to the rival claims of falsehood and full and fundamental existence, this last vestige of duality is finally abolished in favour of ontology by a process of double negation of falsehood leaving reality on the side of a downright and fundamental or Absolute existence. In the commentary to this verse it is categorically stated by Narayana Guru himself that the Siva-lingam is false and the stone is real. Ordinary devout or religious persons attached to the worship of such a symbol will be somewhat shocked in the same way as Kierkegaard shocked the religious when he emphatically condemned all congregational church-mindedness as falsehood. In the case of Narayana Guru, however, there is the saving feature that he has already devoted the whole of the first chapter to a God with a conventional value for overt adoration and worship.


Even in the present chapter he has taken care to refer to an ontological version of God, as we can see in the commentary to Verse 8 where he states, "The world is none other than the Lord"; so no sacrilege is intended when the Guru states that the Siva-lingam is false while the stone is true. One has to judge each of the verities of any one chapter in the light of the context of the subject-matter pertaining to it. If one plucks out a notion properly belonging to one chapter and puts it side by side with what belongs to another chapter, only absurd answers will result. Each darsana has an inner consistency of its own. Any notion basic to absolutism should be treated as central for a particular chapter without violating the norms and rules of the Science of the Absolute. In the Platonic context, for example, we know how Truth and Beauty can be interchanged. Jaspers, in his own way, has also put his finger on this same verity when he explains that:

"In thinking about temporal existence, one must continually run through the circuit of the modes of the Encompassing. We can remain static in none of its modes. Each demands the others. The loss of one lets all the others become false. The philosopher seeks to omit none.

The modes are related to one another. Their tension is not a battle where each seeks to annihilate the others, but rather a mutual enlivening and intensification." (4)

From this quote we can see that Jaspers stands for a certain kind of dynamic outlook and does not wish to remain static in his vision.


Appearance and its basis with a fundamental ontological status are brought together within the ontological limits of this chapter. But the final abolition of all duality takes place in the normalized and neutralized notion of the Absolute only when it is properly attained at the end of Chapter 5. Before that central verse we are still in the domain of percepts and perceptibles proper to that of sat.


We shall be passing on to cit (thinking substance) in later chapters and finally to where, by the end of the first part of the work, full normalization is accomplished consistently with the central position of the fifth chapter, as we can note in the light of the overall structure of the total work. Now let us turn our attention to the first verse in order to grasp its own limiting character in respect of the content of this chapter. We can at once recognize the two pairs of antithetical factors. The first set is a factual one where the world of physical existence is equated with its causal substratum in the mind of man. The actualities and virtualities involved move along a horizontal axis where full intentionality between them is not yet established. It is by an analogy of the relation between this first pair of antithetical factors that we have to take the first step in phenomenological reduction. The second pair of antithetical factors is between the globally understood Self and the visible world subjected to an overall structural revision.


The former corresponds to the noetic and the latter to the noematic. Unreality and non-existence adhere to the side of the transcendental essences. The equations of the positive factors with their negative counterparts are negatively pushed backwards, stage by stage, in later verses till we reach the heart of ontological existence that is free from all taint of essence. We have explained elsewhere that this negative approach proper to Vedanta is also found in the methodic doubting of the Cartesian approach. Full intentionality comes into play with the second pair of antithetical factors just mentioned and clearly distinguishable even in the first verse. In each of the successive verses we have to try and distinguish the same pair of antithetical factors and see how each gains primacy negatively and by reduction over its positive counterpart. What we mean by absolutist reduction in the context of ontological existence must be sufficiently clear to the reader from the above indications.



As we have noted in connection with the previous chapter, there are special expressions referring to matters of methodological importance, such as satkaranavada (primacy of cause over effect) and anvayavyatireka (method of agreement and disagreement). It will now be helpful once again to note in this chapter some of the special terms belonging to the context of phenomenology. Such terms will have definite structural implications. Methodology and structuralism have clusters or families of terms or favourite expressions which been developed through years of trial and chosen for linguistic usage. Vedanta has many technical terms also and this gives it the all-round precision so necessary in a Science of the Absolute.


Idioms and ideograms exist in language to serve the same purpose. We have seen in the Upanishads how structural-pictorial language is put to such advantageous use. This language also surprisingly reveals the possibility that the ancient authors of these philosophical texts had some advance inklings of the language of modern mathematics. Notions such as parity, one-to-one correspondence, inclusive and exclusive ensembles, and the possibility of abstraction and generalization of various degrees, as also prognostics based on possibilities and probabilities, were at least vaguely known to Sankara, and in more clearly intuitive terms to the Upanishadic thinkers. We find striking references to dream psychology and auto-suggestion (sometimes in a somewhat childish and distorted form) and even general notions of semantics or semiotic processes, found mainly in the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini and greatly relied upon by Sankara. Jaimini is also fully conscious of structuralism when the Vedic ritualistic situation is treated by him as a whole and openly compared to a bull whose four horns, three feet and seven hands are meant to represent aspects entering into the structure of the totality of mantras (Vedic formulas uttered at rituals) and ritualistic acts that conform to the same structure.


To quote Theos Bernard about Jaimini, we read:

"Jaimini explains that such descriptions are figurative speech, technically called catvari srnga. For example: 'The sacrifice is compared with a bull by reason of its producing the desired effect; it has four horns in the form of four kinds of priests; its three feet are the three libations (savanas) (performed three times a day); the sacrificer and his wife are the two heads; the chhandas (desires) are the seven hands. Being tied up by the three Vedas, viz. the Rik, Yajus and Sama, it resounds with the roaring sound uttered by the priests; this great god in the form of the sacrifice is amidst the mortals." (6)


We shall have occasion later to give more instances that refer to such topics to show how structural protolinguism helps to avoid verbosity and render obscure aspects of the Science of the Absolute more clear.


In the present chapter we are interested in noting and explaining specific terms. The first one that appears is ananyaya (which is no other). We also find this term used in the Bhagavad Gita (XI.54) in the context of contemplation where the disciple is asked to establish a strict bipolar relationship with the object of his meditation to the exclusion of anything extraneous to the situation. Even outside the context of contemplation the term is an important one. Perfect mechanical identity of two terms in a horizontal sense is not what is meant here. If in a certain intentional context two terms can serve in effect as essentially the same, they are vertically non-different, although nuances of meaning might seem to separate them on the basis of non-essential and non-intentional aspects. The term thus is proper to the context of an equation of phenomenological reduction between verticalized counterparts as seen employed in this chapter.


We shall now refer to one or two other expressions of the same kind, although they do not strictly occur in this chapter but are only suggestive of the way in which certain concepts are to be understood as properly fitting into the dynamism of phenomenology. One such expression is tadatmya (attaining to the status of identical selfhood). This implies that a notion can become identical with another in its inner semantic content as understood in the context of Self-knowledge. As we scrutinize, one after another, the terms of negative import used in the successive verses of this chapter, we find various terms having the same connotation are first merged into each other as ananyaya (non-different), and then each previous one is inclusively connotated by the next in succession having a more generalized and abstract status. One can easily note such a graded and inclusive succession existing between mind (manas) and nescience (avidya), as assumed in the second verse. Nescience thus covers mind and includes it. What is more it has its own dialectical and positive counterpart in vidya (knowledge) which is capable of being vertically cancelled out against its own negative counterpart. The generality and abstraction increases in the connotation of the terms such as darkness (tamas), willing (sankalpa), the author of Maya (mayin) equated to the Lord (Prabhu) and finally sat, or the final basis of ontological existence. For each of these terms one has to assume a positive counterpart. Ontology within a phenomenological vision of appearance has a status by which in the last verse Absolute ontology is attained without paradox. Fundamental phenomenological ontology cannot go any further than this limit of the vision of the Absolute, intended in this chapter as in every other chapter of the work.


The principle of tadatmya referred to above is evidenced in the transition taking place between the principle of nescience found in the magician or the author of Maya, treated as interchangeable terms.


The author of universal illusion is no other than an ontological God situated right in the heart of all beings, as stated in the Bhagavad Gita (XVIII.61):

"The Lord dwells in the heart-region of all beings,
O Arjuna, causing all beings to revolve through the principle
Of appearance (maya) (as if) mounted on a machine." (7)


Nescience has here attained an equality of status with the Lord seated in the heart of all beings. In other words, it has attained tadatmya with it. Reality itself is impersonally represented in the last verse as the negative vertical side of the Absolute without any of the anthropomorphic imagery now left behind in the first chapter.


We also bring in two other related notions referring to the known and the unknown found in the Kena Upanishad (1.3) where it is quite unmistakable that the structuralism refers to a vertical parameter. A complete Science of the Absolute has to take account of all such terms as belonging organically together. The mind, ignorance, darkness and even an ontological Lord as the Self are points in the same vertical parameter. We read as follows:

"Other, indeed, is It than the known,
And moreover above the unknown.
Thus we have heard of the ancients (purva)
Who to us have explained It. (8)

What we know is only a certain zone or area in the vertical parameter representing finalized absolutism. Relativistic versions of the same have a plus and minus aspect which is either above or below in the relational and structural parameter.


In the same way as we have now clarified in the text of this chapter the different terms which correspond to successive negative aspects of ontology, we could distinguish the successive plus or teleological-transcendental aspects of the same series in each of the verses.

The illusion and the maya-maker are dialectical counterparts as the varied magical effects also refer to the Self as the same magician. They are not strictly within ordinary human experience but are justified in the context of phenomenology, which is more than just natural science, and refer to the supernatural or occult aspects of the world of possible effects in a universe that can at least be thought of, although they are false in themselves. Other numerator aspects corresponding to denominator aspects are more strictly ontological and can be more easily recognized in some of the other verses as well. The snake-rope and ghost-pillar examples with an eidetic content are familiar in common life. Darkness is treated as having the same status as the ghost which is its immediate material cause. The errors possible to the mind of man are not of the same order as what is attributable to the will of the Lord who represents the collective mind of humanity. This subtle distinction is brought out in the commentary to Verse 4. The blue of the sky is an error because it disappears when we fly upwards, but nonetheless it is an error affecting the mind of the whole of humanity. It is a universal illusion as distinct from the mistake of a single individual who might be having hallucinations. The Lord's will has a horizontalized richness of content lending support and giving firm ground to the workaday necessary activities of human life. This is just the horizontal axis of the vyavaharika (workaday reality). Between the vyavaharika and the paramarthika (ultimate reality) there is an infinite number of quasi-stable possibilities of error, all of which can be classed under pratibhasika (a reflection of a reflection of the truth of the Absolute.)


Normalized phenomenology has to be distinguished from the possibility of superstitious visions or wrong judgments resulting from the promiscuous mixing of fact-truths with logic-truths. The maximum possibility of illusion rests on the shoulders of an ontological God who is alone capable of making falsehood appear as reality in an absolute context. It is in this sense that he is referred to as mayin (maya or magic maker).



Two pairs of reciprocities are found in Verses 6 and 9. The first one is based on a bilateral symmetry of structure on two sides of the vertical axis. One side is a horizontal replica or reflection of the other, capable of being viewed in its positive and negative dimensions at different levels along the vertical axis. A mirage in the desert has no reality except one of a phenomenological order. Both the factors are of a sterile or valueless order. It is the subject or the Self, horizontally viewed, which is the ontological basis of the mirage, as the desert is the sterile basis of it. The visible world is thus a passing show having the character of a sterile or valueless flux in relation to the subject. The future may be imagined as flowing towards the Self, while the past recedes from it. Such is the correct perspective to which the first pair of reciprocities belong.


The totality of such a process has already been structurally analyzed by Bergson. All we want to refer to here is to the first pair of bilateral and horizontally symmetrical counterparts given to the mind. An example of this is the child taking its reflection in the mirror to be as real as itself. One of these (i.e. the mirror reflection) can be equated or referred by a thinking man to its real or actual source on the positive side of the horizontal axis. In the context of complex numbers we know how real numbers have their corresponding negative numbers as, for example, 1 and -1.


Of the four antithetical factors belonging to phenomenology, these two refer to the actual and the virtual. In Verse 6, Narayana Guru wishes to call attention to this pratibimba (reflected image) phenomenon, involving the actual and the virtual only. This should not be mixed up with a second deeper-seated antithetical pair of truly eidetic phenomena which refer to two points on the vertical parameter, -1 on the minus side and 1 on the plus side. The former is the immanent (noetic) and the latter is the transcendental (noematic).


The example in the ninth verse is a familiar one to anybody who observes the mental states of children as well as adults. The sky-forest is a conceptualized version resulting from the opposite tendency to the other type of eidetic representation which attributes life to an inert doll. The two kinds of reciprocities coexist in consciousness, adhering to a structural basis of Cartesian coordinates. In an extended context, outside that of phenomenology, there are negative and imaginary numbers as well as continuous and contiguous associative links. Cardinal and ordinal numbers can be distinguished on the same basis as well as the four basic operations of arithmetic. What is contrary and what is contradictory can also be classified in this way. The former marks a vertical reciprocity of two counterparts and the latter a horizontal one.


So we see that the same structuralism can be imagined as operating at different degrees of abstraction and generalization. The operation is between actualities and virtualities with a vertical or horizontal gradation implied between them. It is in the Absolute Self that these four gradations are held together with any degree of concretion or Abstraction in the form of a unit thought or idea.



There are some striking passages in the Upanishads which have eluded interpretation by even such experts in Vedic exegetics as Sankara. In his Brahma Sutra commentary he makes profuse allusions to some of the most striking among them. There is sometimes evidence in his writings of his capacity to enter into the semantic and syntactical implications of Upanishadic texts, taking into account even such factors as sphota (bursting into meaning) found in the Panini Darsana. The structural features of semantic polyvalence are familiar to him, although much dependence is seen on the Purva-Mimamsa texts for such analyses. Both the Bhatta and Prabhakara schools of semantics are seen to be effectively criticized in his writings.


Some other aspects of structuralism are also evident here and there, and the theory of ensembles whereby classes can pertain to larger classes is not altogether unfamiliar to Sankara. He uses such devices with much ability and insight in his persistent polemics directed against the Samkhya (rationalist) philosophers who have themselves contributed to Indian speculation many structural features or frames of reference such as that of the three gunas (nature modalities). The mechanism of the mode of operation respecting an inner reciprocity between prakriti (Nature) and purusha (Spirit) is reflected in the three gunas. This finds full recognition and elaboration in Chapter 18 of the Bhagavad Gita.


Sankara has no serious objection to such a notion as found in his Gita commentary, but in his Brahma Sutra commentary he expresses himself definitely against any such schematism whenever it is put forward by the purva-pakshins (anterior questioners) who represent the Samkhya school of wisdom. We see no validity in this double-sided standpoint taken by Sankara, except perhaps in that the Brahma Sutras are more orthodox and closed, and are primarily interested in maintaining the authority of Vedism against other speculative schools which are more rational and critical in their appraisal of the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and other texts.


More than half the pages of the Brahma Sutras are devoted to the elaborate refutation of the Samkhya philosophy and its structural explanations of the Upanishads. Vedism, as we know from its origin and content, is less interested in the ontological or phenomenological aspects of the Absolute. The idea of a Supreme Lord (paramesvara), whose intelligence is all-important, dominates Vedic thought. Sabda brahma (lit., "Word-Absolute," or the Absolute of the world of sound or the spoken word) is the transcendental aspect that gains primacy over the ontological features belonging to the same Absolute. Vedism is therefore primarily intended for believers and critical reasoning or rationalism by itself is sufficient to disqualify even a great rishi (sage) like Kapila in the eyes of Vedic orthodoxy.


Vedism has placed Kapila completely outside the pale of orthodoxy, but in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (V.2) we find him honourably mentioned. Nonetheless, the Brahma Sutras tend to degrade him and the notion of the central substance (pradhana ) round which his philosophy is built. This is wholly repugnant to the Brahma Sutras, at least as interpreted by Sankara. In this study we would rather emulate the example and spirit of the Svetasvatara Upanishad which combines a rational ontological approach with belief in transcendental values. The Bhagavad Gita, which is a brahma-vidya-sastra (text on the Science of the Absolute), openly supports the Samkhya position in Chapter 18, verse 15.


Although the Brahma Sutra commentary discountenances structural interpretations of the Upanishads on any ontological or phenomenological lines, we find that Narayana Guru gives a legitimate place to pradhana in the very next darsana (see Verses 1 and 9). Whether he considers the pradhana as a substitute for Brahman as the cause of the world is another question which we shall examine in its proper place. It might be necessary for the pradhana of the Samkhyans to be submitted to a revaluation and extrapolation before it can be fitted properly into the Science of the Absolute.


All that we wish to underline here is that scientific speculation cannot afford to bypass or neglect fundamental ontological aspects of the notion of the Absolute. We have pointed out how this very chapter has its raison d'être in such a scientific necessity. Appearances have to be explained as appearances, so that reality emerges to view not in any one-sided manner, but asserts itself throughout, in all its neutral and normalized glory.


In the light of what we have said in the foregoing pages it is permissible for us to take some striking passages from the Upanishads that pertain to the phenomenological sphere because of their referring to the world of colourful appearances. We shall see how far it is possible to interpret the references based on schematism and structuralism as a linguistic device. Sankara´s great hesitancy in adopting a structural interpretation and instead basing his arguments on pure Vedic exegetic is not justifiable. Such an attitude seems to be motivated more by a desire to reaffirm Vedic orthodoxy and authority and on the basis of such an affirmation to discredit the otherwise sound and genuine schools of Kapila, Nagarjuna, Kanada and others whose contributions to Indian thought are by no means negligible.



The most striking of the four examples that we have chosen from the Upanishads is the one referring to the unborn female found in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (IV.5):

"With the one unborn female, red, white and black,
Who produces many creatures like herself,
There lies the one unborn male taking his delight.
Another unborn male leaves her with whom he has had his delight." (9)


The structural implications intended here are quite evident to anyone who is not prejudiced against the language of structuralism. In the Brahma Sutra commentary, however, we find Sankara or perhaps one of his later representatives objecting in this connection to the Samkhya viewpoint. He goes out of his way in suggesting less tenable alternatives with the sole intention, it would seem, of excluding any structural or phenomenological interpretation of the imagery presented in this Upanishadic verse. Nonetheless, Sankara in his Vivekacudamani (v.108) has the following striking verse where this principle of the same unborn female is directly referred to as having the three gunas:


"Avidya (Nescience) or Maya, called also the Undifferentiated,
is the power of the Lord.
She is without beginning, is made up of the three gunas and is superior to the effects (as their cause).
She is to be inferred by one of clear intellect only from the effects She produces.
It is She who brings forth this whole universe." (10)

The above verse clearly suggests the idea of giving birth to the whole universe. It is true that one of the meanings of aja as found in the Svetasvatara Upanishad is "she-goat" which can be substituted for the broader and more commonly accepted definition of "unborn female." Nonetheless this does not change the structural intentions of the verse. We can even substitute a dog or a cat, if we wish, giving it a red, white and black colouring without changing in any way the meaning of the metaphor. Instead of understanding this in its more natural way, Sankara suggests in his Brahma Sutra (I.4.9) commentary, an actual or plain female goat without any implications even by analogy, just by chance having three colours.


We read the following:  
"For as accidentally some she-goat might be partly red, partly white, partly black, and might have many young goats resembling her in colour, some other he-goat might love her and lie by her, while some other he-goat might leave her after having enjoyed her." (11)

From the above we see that Sankara completely shuts out any schematical interpretations especially in the matter of comparing the three colours with the three gunas (nature modalities) favoured by Samkhya structuralism. Instead he seems quite content to rely on Vedic exegetics based on the semantic polyvalence of structuralism as when he speaks of jahal-lakshana and ajahal-lakshana, which suggests the same structuralism in a more metalinguistic context. Colours have a language of their own and when fitted into their protolinguistic structure help to fix correct meanings. Although in a certain context Sankara speaks of colour as belonging to the order of the universal concrete, the use of colour in language seems to be outside his way of thinking and interpreting. There are numerous examples in the Upanishads whose secrets will leap into coherent meaning as soon as this new structural device is applied to explain them. The examples to follow will confirm this claim. There will be many other example which we shall deal with in the same manner in the following pages.


Colour itself is a factor belonging to the perceptual side of reality. It is not hard to see how white corresponds to the plus side, while black corresponds to the minus side. As for the colour red we have to remember that it is generally associated with passion or action (rajas) and therefore correctly corresponds to the rajo-guna, or active nature modality. Regarding the three gunas, we read in the Samkhya Karika of Isvara Krishna (Verse 12) the following:

"The three modes (gunas) have a joyous, grievous and stupefying nature. They serve for manifestation, activity and restraint; they mutually subdue and support each other, produce each other, consort together and take each other´s condition." (12)


This is of the nature of an outgoing tendency reaching out to possess some dear object. The two unborn males are not represented as having any colour peculiarities, although they are included in the colourful situation. They belong to a pure verticalized context, the second having a more transcendental status because he is not at the horizontal level where passions prevail. The very mention of the male and female suggests the plus and minus side of the vertical axis. The male is nearer to the purusha of the Samkhya scheme and the female to prakriti, which is only one degree more negative than maya, which is a concept more epistemological than phenomenological.


If it is the duality of the Samkhyas that is repugnant to Sankara and his school, the same duality could be seen to persist till all causes and effects are mutually absorbed and abolished. Duality is of the essence of a paradox and can only be dissolved on attaining the fullness of the Absolute. We are here still in the context of phenomenology and it is therefore natural that the visible colourful aspect prevails over more purely conceptual aspects of the same Absolute. In the verse quoted above from Sankara's Vivekacudamani it is clear that maya is mentioned as the cause giving birth to pluralistic entities of the visible world. Elsewhere in the Brahma Sutra commentary there is uncompromising insistence on the Absolute alone being the cause of the world process. Here also we discern a slight methodological and epistemological discrepancy. These matters we shall have occasion to discuss more fully later on. The difference here is only like the difference between saying it is the government which collects taxes or that it is the revenue officer representing the government, when one can pay one's taxes to either of them. The Absolute is only in principle the overall cause of the universe as Sankara himself maintains in the Vivekacudamani (v.260):

"That which, though One only, is the cause of the many; which refutes all other causes, but is Itself without cause; distinct from Maya and its effect, the universe; and independent - that Brahman art thou, meditate on this in thy mind." (13)


Thus there is no serious objection, even according to Sankara in his other writings, to giving the benefit of full structural implications to the present passage from the Upanishad. Of the two alternative males involved in the same schema one must be given a horizontal relationship in the context of passion and the other a purer vertical relationship. The latter is free from all passion, transcending horizontal interests through Self-knowledge. In the heart of the horizontally related male there is "redness" implied but the other male instead travels from the neutral grey point towards the white pole of the vertical axis representing full transparency, purity and freedom from passion.


One more point remains, that of the plurality of progeny. This plurality necessarily refers to the horizontal axis which originates at the zero point. There is another reference to the Upanishads by which the Absolute who was One, thought, "let Me be many" at a certain stage in the process of willing the world with its multiplicity of entities. This act of willing has its neutral point of participation where the one and the many meet as dialectical counterparts. The tri-coloured progeny represent such a participation of the one with the many. The one and the many have between them a mutual transparency or homogeneity belonging to the whole of the schematic representation intended here.



The next example we have chosen to clarify structuralism is found in the Katha Upanishad (VI.2-3):

"This whole world, whatever there is
Was created from and moves in Life (prana).
The great fear, the upraised thunderbolt -
They who know That, become immortal.

From fear of Him fire (agni) doth burn.
From fear the sun (surya) gives forth beat.
From fear both Indra and Wind (vayu),
And Death (mrityu) as fifth, do speed along." (14)


In the above passage five Vedic gods, when personified, represent a relationship with the principle of Life. Death, as the "fifth" represents an event of great importance in the personal life of all beings. The other gods have a transcendental phenomenological status rather than an immanent one. The sun as the source of light can be put at the top position of the positive vertical axis, and death as the dividing line can be put at the point of origination or the zero point. The three other gods are personifications of phenomena in visible world of light or in the world of the intelligibles. What is referred to as Life is the ontological ground of all phenomenological events. This occupies the negative or dark side of the structure. All phenomena have their origin or source in this ontological-immanent ground, which is the counterpart of the region of light. It can be thought of in terms reaching to darkness doubly filled by itself at its negative pole.


The thunderbolt is the central relational parameter which regulates every other secondary natural law in relation to itself. Fear is an indirect way of referring to other natural laws which cannot be violated by any factor or entity belonging to the phenomenological world. Natural laws have to be observed. There is no choice or contingency. Rigid necessity prevails. Death speeding along with the others has a specific mention as "the fifth" because death has a special double-sided status at the core of life in the vertical dimension. Agni can also be given a place in the vertical axis although he does not "speed along."



We read in the Chandogya Upanishad (VIII.14) the following:

"Verily, what is called space (akasa) is
the accomplisher of name and form.
That within which they are, is Brahman.
That is the Immortal.
That is the Self (atman, soul)." (15)

The usual way in which we find Brahman or the Absolute is to represent it as something ultimate or beyond. This ultimate is sometimes meant negatively as ultimate source or beginning. We can thus arrive at the ontological basis of the Absolute. When the reverse process of inquiry is adopted we arrive at a teleological notion of the Absolute.


Anyone who understands intimately the epistemology of the Upanishads will find that in various passages the above two alternatives get cancelled into a normalized notion of the Absolute Those who love the transcendental are generally believers in a hypostatic God, and reality is located in the world of the intelligibles. This domain is generally distinguished as pertaining to knowledge (vidya) where the bright ones (devas) belong. There is also the negative counterpart of this which is the ontological world of nescience (avidya).


Those attached to this aspect are sceptics and what they lose by such scepticism they gain back through the ontological richness of the negative context of the Absolute. We have seen how even a religious man like Kierkegaard insisted on belonging to this negative aspect of reality.


The methodology of the Upanishads consists in treating these two alternatives in a dialectical manner, wherein thought moves backwards and horizontally first from the factual and actual and then to its own virtual counterpart. In the same way numbers can in principle be absorbed into imaginary numbers where such mathematical elements as -1 reside. It is this first degree of virtuality of the horizontal negative side that is absorbed into the richer and more inclusive negativity of the vertical axis at its lower pole, we have then the other second pair of antithetical elements coming into interplay. We have to think here in terms of a cancellation or exchange of essences from one side to the other so that, by transcending death as a middle zero point, thought ascends by a double assertion on to itself.


There are two striking examples of such an ambivalent process found in the Isa Upanishad referring to nescience (avidya) and knowledge (vidya) as well as to becoming, (sambhuti) and non-becoming (vinasa). The older way of giving primacy to the one or the other is definitely replaced here by a full dialectical methodology where both alternatives are treated together. The implied dialectics cannot be stated more clearly than what we read in the Isa Upanishad (Verses 11 and 14 resp.):


"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." (16)


In the passage from the Chandogya Upanishad it should be noted that both name and form have a common substratum which is equated to the Absolute or the Self. Names are conceptual in status and forms are perceptual. When a name and its corresponding form cling together as a reality it constitutes a relation-relata unit in consciousness compared to a monad as used by Liebniz. All such units belong to the general substratum of the monadus monadum (the Monad of all monads) with the principles of sufficient reason and pre-established harmony. The former (i.e. sufficient reason) is a vertical principle while the latter is horizontal. They correspond respectively to the Sanskrit terms samanvaya-sambandha (relation by intimate inherence) and samyoga-sambandha (relation by contiguity).


Pure space (akasa) can be filled with such crypto-crystalline units of name and form in an amorphous matrix which is itself nameless. Cosmological ground gives place to a psychological substratum passing through the normative notion of the Absolute, as is seen at the end of the Chandogya quotation above. Immortality and the Self are treated as interchangeable terms.



As a final instance of protolinguism we quote from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (11.2.3-4):

"There is a cup having its mouth below and its bottom up' - this is the head, for that is a cup having its mouth below and its bottom up. 'In it is placed every form of glory' - breaths, verily, are the 'every form of glory' placed in it; thus he says breaths (prana). 'On its rim sit seven seers' - verily, the breaths are the seers. Thus he says breaths. 'Voice as an eighth is united with prayer' - for voice as an eighth is united with prayer.


These two (sense-organs) here (i.e. the ears) are Gotama and Bharadvaja. This is Gotama and this is Bharadvaja. These two here (i.e. the eyes) are Visvamitra and Jamadagni. This is Visvamitra. This is Jamadagni. These two here (i.e. the nostrils) are Vasishtha and Kasyapa. This is Vasishtha. This is Kasyapa. The voice is Atri, for by the voice food is eaten (ad). Verily, eating (at-ti) is the same as the name Atri. He who knows this becomes the eater of everything; everything becomes his food." (17)


Sankara approves of this analogy of the inverted cup because he says that although the meaning is enigmatic there is a supplementary reference in which the Upanishad author gives his own explanation. Sankara says this is not done in respect of the three colours in the case of the animal (i.e. the unborn female) involved in the Svetasvatara Upanishad. Although he seems to console himself in this one-sided way, we find that the explanation given in the Upanishad is meant to clarify the same and even more schematic and simple case of the inverted cup which is clothed in a mythological language, pushed at it were to puerile limits.


If the reference to the seven rishis (seers) is mysterious enough the mystery is only heightened by references to pairs of rishis in the ears, eyes and nostrils and a single one in the month. It is very clear that Sankara in trying to avoid the natural language of structuralism makes exegetics attain impossible limits. It is in geometry which is akin to structuralism that the human mind is fully at home, as Bergson explains:

"We shall see that the human intellect feels at home among inanimate objects, more especially among solids, where our action finds its fulcrum and our industry its tools; that our concepts have been formed on the model of solids; that our logic is, pre-eminently, the logic of solids; that, consequently, our intellect triumphs in geometry, wherein is revealed the kinship of logical thought with unorganized matter, and where the intellect has only to follow its natural movement, after the lightest possible contact with experience, in order to go from discovery to discovery, sure that experience is following behind it and will justify it invariably." (18)


Reverting to the enigma of the inverted cup we at once see that it refers to the domain of transcendental values (i.e. glories) A cup used to contain an immanent item of value such as clarified butter used in Vedic ritualism is the counterpart of the value-receptacle of a transcendental order. Differences like this are also mentioned in the Bhagavad Gita (XVIII.14), where the adhishthanam (base or pedestal) is contrasted with the divine factor.


The head considered as a cup with a mouth enabling the Vedic words to be uttered by the rishis is the same which is capable of enjoying essential values of a transcendental order. The enjoyer and the eater in Vedic language are often interchangeable terms. If this structural explanation is pushed one step further we see how the inverted cup structurally corresponds to the bracketing of Husserl's phenomenology. All values have to be contained within brackets turned reciprocally so as to enclose some epoché. To suggest such a correspondence between Husserl and the language of the Upanishad is thus not at all far-fetched.


The last remark "everything becomes his food" refers to afferent and efferent impulses at one and the same time. The nostrils, ears and eyes have the same twin and double aspects of afferent and efferent impulses belonging to each of them. The mechanism giving out information equally absorbs the same inwardly. There is always an osmotic interchange in the world of essential values taking place.


The previous chapter ended by referring to the three important aspects of the Absolute known as sat-cit-ananda (existence-subsistence-value). Although numbered as three items they are not to be treated pluralistically. Any one of them can be given its own absolutist status while the other two are also present in it, in principle at least. In the present chapter the first item referred to is sat (ontological existence). It occupies the key or central position in this chapter. In each of the verses the analogies represent the horizontal antithetical factors while the teaching represents the vertical. Let us review the verses in the series summarily:

Verse 1. The purpose of this verse is to start off by referring to the equal phenomenological status of the mind and the world presented to it. The appearance of the one is virtually present in the other. When both are so equated we attain to an idea of the ontological factor belonging to phenomenology. Then we have two sets of antithetical factors given to common factual experience. They are the blue of the sky and the sky itself. This pair is given to common experience, while the more deep-seated factors exist between the Self and the overt phenomenological world. This phenomenon includes even colour when understood as a concrete universal.

Verse 2. Here we find a subtle form of equation to be taken note of. It is between the mind and the more comprehensive notion of nescience. The mind is a simple horizontal virtuality, while nescience belongs to a deeper and richer world of intentions. Ananyaya or "not other" is the special reasoning of Vedanta that is employed to give what is horizontal a more verticalized status. The cancellation of knowledge with the world presented to science results in eliminating its eidetic content. Instead of being real in a vital or actual sense it is reduced to a mere configuration The term alekhyam or configuration suggests something sketched by an artist. It can be called a schematized version of the world.


Verse 3. The intention here is to accentuate one degree further the effect of nescience. Eidetic phenomena can be either weak or strong. The term tamas or darkness is substituted for nescience or avidya which has a weaker status. The full power of ontological darkness is capable of making a ghost emerge from its own ontological negativity as a fully eidetic representation. Just as in mathematics a numerator and a denominator are cancelled out only when they have equality of status belonging to the same class, so here too, we have to note one of the laws regulating phenomenology, which is the assumption that the negativity is of the same order as its positive counterpart and cancelable against it. The dream takes away just that amount of reality from the presentiment of the ghost as a ghost takes away from the actuality of the waking, right or conscious state. To the mind of the wise man the dream represents the result of the cancellation of the two eidetic counterparts. The ghost is a fully horizontalized version reduced into its own verticalized version in the eyes of the wise man. We have pointed out in the Prologue how the eidetic intensity is more fully accentuated here than envisaged by ordinary phenomenology. This gives a legitimate place to an ontological Self equated with the Lord as the source of all phenomena as its numinous cause.

Verse 4. Now we come to where the mind is serially equated with nescience, etc. It is finally taken over by a still more ontologically rich notion of sankalpa or will. Although sankalpa is not the same as the horizontal mind it can be equated with it when vertically reduced. Here the presentiment is not of the order of an imaginary snake but has a more valid ontological substratum in the rope. Error is not so inexcusable as in the previous verse, yet some feebleness of mind still exists for the type of error involved. It is in semidarkness that such a type of error is natural in common experience. The main point underlined is the ambivalent and mutual reciprocity between the two ontological and transcendent presentiments. The snake is superimposed on a more existent rope. Furthermore the snake-rope counterparts inseparably and more intimately belong together to one and the same phenomenological context.


Verse 5. The object here is to reduce further and fuse together the individual factors giving all of them a fuller and more finalized status. The principle of the will is on a par with the mind when vertically equated with it. When all the different negations are added together on the side of the denominator we attain a negativity which is the source of marvelous possibilities Absolute, actualities as presented to view then comes under its purview. The reference to Indra's magic is justified because here the supernatural is finally attained.

Verse 6. The phenomenal world is here compared to a mirage and this classical Vedantic analogy is aptly resorted to with great advantage. The mirage is only an epiphenomenal effect of a lower eidetic content than the puppet form of Verse 9. Here a horizontal reciprocity of a bilateral nature has the same status as between a thing and its mirror-reflection. The water in a mirage cannot satisfy thirst, although the full appearance of it is presented. Life on this plus side of the vertical axis moves forward or backward, as the case may be, in the world of empty presentiments. The observing subject is technically known as drik and is more important than its objective counterpart (drisya). What is seen, taken as a whole, is only a mirage, without any thirst-quenching power. It is a kind of passing show without any lasting value content. Only the infant mind or the unwise man is capable of treating it seriously.


Verse 7. Here the theory of actual change or transformation taking place in the phenomenal world is strictly rejected. It exists only in the world of mechanistic actualities where chemical changes such as milk turning into curds take place. In the mental world of pure Self-consciousness no actual change occurs. All change is reciprocal and belongs to a purely phenomenological or mental order. The technical terms describing such mental states having apparent reality is vivarta. The magic of Indra is once again called into service. Because this transcendental phenomenal world bears a close resemblance to actuality it is referred to "as if created" (nirmitam yatha)

Verse 8. The all-comprehensive category of error, falsehood, appearance or illusion is found in this verse. Here the foundation is laid for the further elaboration of this negative principle to be given full treatment in the next chapter. The special purpose in introducing it in advance is to say that the principle of error (maya) has an agent (mayin) as its cause. This agent is like the magician producing the numerous and varied horizontal aspects of plurality, while as the total cause it remains a unique verticalized potentiality. The horizontal is false and the vertical is true.

Verse 9. Here the phenomenological content of the whole chapter is brought into relief. The examples of a child and an adult are brought into distinguish two pairs of eidetic presentiments on the horizontal or the vertical axis. The first is noetic and natural to the child. The latter is noematic and natural to an adult. These two presentments have an inner opposition or reciprocal complimentarily. The sky-forest marks the limit for phenomenological presentiment of the will and is to be abolished when recognized as belonging to the category of falsehood or mere appearance.

Verse 10. The purpose of the final verse is to abolish the last vestige of paradox natural to the content of appearances Ontology is now given a revised, revalued and absolutist status. This is done by the process of reasoning, implying both a double negation and double assertion. Together they yield unity and abolish all doubt of duality. This apodictic, ontological and absolutist position marks the terminal limit of this chapter. Ontological negativity is still valid and is naturally carried over into the next chapter.



[1] Hegel, p.175


[2] Husserl, p. 261


[3] Hume, p. 236


[4] Hume, p. 82


[5] Jaspers, "Reason & Existence", Routledge ed., p.75


[6] T. Bernard, "Hindu Philosophy", Bombay: Jaico, 1958, p.131


[7] Bhagavad Gita, p.702.


[8] Hume, P.335.


[9] Hume, p. 403.


[10] Vivekachudamani of Sankara, trans. S. Madhavananda Calcutta Advaita Ashrama, 5th ed. 1970, p. 39.


[11] Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank., Vol.1 ,p. 256


[12] Samkhya Karika of Ishvara Krishna, trans & comm. John Davies, Calcutta: Susil Gupta, 1952, p. 22


[13] Vivekachudamani, p.101.


[14] Hume, p. 358


[15] Hume, p. 273


[16] Hume, p.364


[17] See Ved. Sut. Comm. Sank.,Vol.1, p. 254 (1.4.8)


[18] Bergson, Cr. Ev., pp. xix-xx.