18.4 ISHOPANISHAT P.4
Description by superlatives, but contrary extremes
Whether it is the time of modification or transformation (pariNAma) or it is the time of manifestation or appearance (vivarta) of Brahman as the universe, the Transcendental Supreme is the same in both. The time of modification is the time of movement, time of evolution. The opposite of this is the time of ‘no movement’, time of involution. This description of the supreme Reality that is given here is also the description of the Microcosmic Reality, that is, the Atman. That is why the contrary extremes appear in the wording: ‘moves’, moves not’; ‘far’, ‘near’; ‘within’, ‘without’. Mundaka Upanishat (III – 1 – 7) echoes this thought, almost in the same words: Brahman is supreme; he is self-luminous, he is beyond all thought. Subtler than the subtlest is he, farther than the fartheset, nearer than the nearest. He resides in the lotus of the heart of every being. The Bhagavad-Gita also (13-15), reverberates in the same language: He is within all beings and without. He is motionless yet moving. He cannot be cognised because of his subtlety. He is close to all, yet measurelessly far. The simultaneous qualities of all these extremes tell us that it is independent of Time, Space and Matter. This is the reason for our being told that when we do self-enquiry, we should be prepared to ignore Time, Space and Matter – that is the way we may identify our vision with that of the Lord’s because His vision is not a function of any of these three and that is how we may hope to transcend the three.
Retreat, detach yourself, love and serve
The verses 6 and 7 give a stepwise formula or working rule for our identification with the vision of God:
Yas tu sarvANi bhUtAni Atmany-evAnupashyati /
Sarva-bhUteshhu cAtmAnaM tato na vijugupsate // 6 //
Yasmin sarvANi bhUtAni AtmaivabhUt vijAnataH /
Tatra ko mohaH kaH shokaH ekatvam-
anupashyataH // 7 //
He who sees all beings in the Self and the Self in all beings, hates none. To the illumined soul, who sees everything as a manifestation of His own Self, how can there be delusion or grief since he sees only oneness.
The first approximation for this conceptual identification of vision is a sense of unity with other existences. IshA-vAsyam-idam sarvaM. This unity makes you give respect to everything that you see since everything that is seen is God. The next step is to identify it with the Self. The respect shown to other beings widens now into compassion and love to the things in which we see our own Self. But this oneness is only an artificial oneness, a pluralistic unity. Real knowledge begins with a perception, not just an understanding at the intellectual level, of this oneness. The concept of pluralistic unity must give place or lead to, a total comprehension or perception of the Incomprehensible in the experiential level. To do this one has to first retreat from the outside world – nivRRitti. Then see everything in Oneself. The opposite of this is a narrow I-feeling; that is what causes attachment and hate. By a proper enquiry into Reality, the ignorance arising out of absence of enquiry slowly begins to melt. Where the search concerns ultimate Truth, true religion and spirituality cannot be far behind. The spiritual disciplines purify one’s mind and this coupled with the association of the sAtvic type of people lead to an illumination which unfolds the harmony of oneness. This is the vision. After this vision, the world from which we have retreated is drawn into the Self. Ethically, the formula is: Detach yourself attitudinally, and then Love. Live in that dynamic unity. No more separate self, no more likes and dislikes, no more hopes and fears. This is the only way of serving society, says Swami Vivekananda. Nobody can be of real use to society if he does not have an element of sacrifice, renunciation and a vision of oneness in all that he sees. That is why the first verse says: Enjoy by renouncing.
These two verses therefore serve to underscore the harmony of sama-dRRishhTi (equanimous view) which is the hard-core message of the entire Gita. The Gita itself has almost the same words in various contexts: (6 – 29) ‘He sees the Self in all beings and all beings in the Self by his vision which is one with that of the Self; he has the equanimous vision’. (6 – 30) ‘He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me is not lost to Me nor am I lost to him’. This equanimity of vision, further defined in Bhagavad-Gita 14-24 is the rationale for the Commandment of Jesus: Love Thy Neighbour. But why? Why should I love my neighbour? The answer comes from the fundamental faith of Hinduism: Your neighbour and you are one and the same Self essentially. The analogy of the Gita that the JnAni sees the tile, the stone and gold equanimously means that he sees all things as part of himself. The Self is the support, basis, AdhAra or adhishhTAnaM for whatever that is seen. The latter is the object; and the object is to be merged in the subject. The seen is to be merged in the seer. The lighted is to be merged in the light. The view is to be merged in the viewer. When one achieves this state, there is no hate or doubt -- na vijugupsate.