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The Brahmanic Paradox

by Robert E. Wilkinson

A brief discussion of Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet's 'Time & Imperishability'
Chapter 1: 'Transcendence and the Immanence of the One'
 
"He arrived at the knowledge that Matter is Brahman."

Taittiriya Upanishad - Sri Aurobindo, The Life Divine : p.231

'...The first aspect of the Transcendent [or Static Brahman] that arises in our purview is its unmoving nature. That is, if indeed it is extra cosmic and represents something, some dimension, some plane of consciousness which from our poise within the cosmos we must view as 'beyond', then, given the fact that the principal feature of the cosmos is movement, it stands that in the Transcendent this element is withheld. We know therefore that one of the prime attributes of the extra-cosmic Absolute is that it is unmoving and immobile. This represents the great divide between Cosmos and the Transcendent Brahman. It is this immobility that has provided yogins with the exquisite experience of Peace. Extending the consciousness to the ultimate reaches of itself, all relatives in the universe dissolve into this great and immense static Calm.

If indeed the Transcendent is significant of that which lies beyond movement and the snare of the Gunas - creation, preservation and destruction - it is recognisable that this Ultimate Beyond does not suffer the fate of decay. For in such a condition, what can there be that is subject to decay? The process that engenders decay and death is irrevocably related to movement. The Transcendent being unmoving, it is understood that the next quality we discover is its imperishabiliy. The Transcendent does not perish because it is, in fact, unborn, - unborn in our moving and evolving universe. There is nothing of it that can be born and hence no experience of decay and death, much less of any rebirth.

Without a doubt the experience of that irrefutable imperishability is the single most enticing factor that has instigated the pursuit of realms beyond. At the same time, it is that devastating perception of disintegration that has established the vision of Mahakala (Great Time) as a prize for only those 'rare highest souls'.

However, we approach now a third characteristic which has the intrinsic power to overturn our secure understanding and cast an element of paradoxical doubting into our quest and experience. It is this: If the Transcendent is unmoving and imperishable due to its other-worldliness, or its poise beyond and outside of the cosmos, then we encounter a particular aspect of its nature which has been the bed-rock of Indian spirituality from time immemorial. This is its indivisibility. Given the fact that it is a homogeneous Consciousness beyond the planes of existence in which division occurs, it stands that this Transcendent is hence indivisible. Consequent to this, we know that this perception offers the most compelling aspect of the Absolute: its unity, its oneness. Yet with this appreciation many of the paradoxes which face the human spirit arise; and due to this unity, oneness and indivisibility, it can be shown how until now no path has truly bridged the chasm that this experience of transcendent indivisibility and unity has created in our spiritual experience. And it is precisely because of this chasm that the highest Vision has been withheld from the seeker. For to bridge this intriguing chasm is to resolve the paradoxes.

The main aspect of the paradox is this: If the Transcendent or Static Brahman is indeed indivisible, then it stands that none of the experiences seekers have until now had of Its poise beyond and out of the moving cosmic dimension have been faithful to the truest and highest Truth. They have been real and overwhelming experiences, but they have suffered from a severe limitation. This limitation resides exclusively in the fact that any experience of the Transcendent which does not include the totally of Itself must be, to a certain extent, deceiving. For we cannot divide the indivisible. If the Transcendent is all-encompassing - and this is one of its most secure attributes - within Itself lies that which we consider irredeemably subject to division. The unity of the Transcendent carries us to the clear perception that the only true experience of Reality is an integral one. How then to achieve this perception of wholeness?

It must be stated that this discovery is the key that unlocks those iron doors which do not permit entry into Mahakala's (Time's) sanctum sanctorum, and hence withhold from us the true meaning of life and death and our purpose in this material creation.

We cannot divide that which is lndivisible. This means then that there can be no true experience of those attributes that have been here enumerated of the Absolute which introduce the element of division.

Thus the Transcendent's stasis can never be disconnected from its kinesis, a kinesis which in any case arises in its own Being. Likewise, its imperishability must contain within it the elements of all that is created, preserved and destroyed. But how is this accomplished?

The chasm is cleared of darkness and the bridge constructed in our awareness when we understand that the vast Transcendent in the act of manifestation is reduced to a seed. This is the profoundest mystery of creation. It is the origin of all things. The Unmanifest enters the Manifest (of Itself) by virtue of this compression to a Seed, - that precious bija, that miraculous Hiranyaretas which is Agni. This Flame-Child stands at the Origin, he who is the first God extolled in the Veda. Thus all the attributes that we can conceive of in the Transcendent Beyond are drawn, by its own power of manifestation, into the Seed of Itself. That is, immobility, indivisibility, imperishability, are all properties which are contained in this miraculous Golden Bija.

What happens then to this Seed, which stands as the foundation of material creation?

The Golden Bija is the origin of spatial reality and the base of material creation. Manifestation (of the Unmanifest) results then in a central truth-seed, which from that Point extends itself, multiplies, grows, in the experience of creation, preservation and dissolution. This can be appreciated if we observe the nature of the cosmos we inhabit, which confirms this perception in that all its material bodies orbit a Centre. Indeed, centrality is one of the foremost aspects of the universal dimension. Yet there is a consciousness, a reality that extends beyond the material creation, or rather within which creation in matter is contained. But in appreciating this fact, a curious phenomenon took possession of the human mind. Somehow, along the way of human evolution the experience of God resulted in the fact that the Transcendent (the very significance of the word stands as a clue: that which lies beyond ... ), which contains this universe in its Being and is all-encompassing, became veiled or masked to the perceptive eye of consciousness in the human being; and these contained dimensions came to be considered or seen as somehow inferior, or reflected an inferior spiritual poise and realisation, or a partial reality. This then reached its extremes in the formulation of the theories of Illusionism in all its many facets, and ultimately laid emphasis on an escape from these apparently inferior cages in which the human consciousness was seen to be imprisoned.

A divisive perception of this nature is not a property of the Divine Consciousness. It reflects a wholly human, mental poise and suffers from the scourge of a separative vision and experience, results of the mental orientation of the species. Because of this limitation of the present instrument, the Lord withdrew the vision of Himself as the Time-Spirit from Arjuna, since in this state it is not possible for humanity to attain a fuller and truer unified vision due to these limitations of the instrument and its subjugation to the rule of Mind.

The human species is an evolving collective entity. At present, civilisation as a whole is experiencing the pain of realising its limitations and insufficiencies and of knowing that as a race its actual constitution cannot permit a higher experience to come. To reach a wider and deeper collective experience, a new, more refined, more enhanced instrument is demanded. The turmoil of humanity at present is due largely to the fact that pressure is being applied on all quarters of Earth existence to compel the emergence of higher faculties so that a new way can manifest. Some details of this evolutionary process are given in Indian Scriptures. For example, in the Puranas we find mention of 'the Nine Creations'. The final stages, the 7th, 8th and 9th, refer to the mental, the overmental and the supramental creations, respectively. Mental man is not the ultimate and highest but is merely a transitional creature. The evolutionary process, governed by the play of the tattwas and the gunas, is the mechanism to evolve a higher species. And one of the principal characteristics of this newly-emerging creation, superior to the present mental being, is a capacity to experience the indivisibility of God, - a consciousness, hence, of true unity. For this the being of the human experiencer must be fortified in such a way that it can withstand the impact of seeing the Time-Spirit working in the worlds, via the action of creation, preservation and destruction or dissolution, with an equanimity of being that arises from the knowledge of the Core-Purpose at the heart of material creation.

The Golden Seed contains this central truth. Our direct link with the Transcendent lies in this Seed, in the heart of ourselves and in the heart of our material universe. Thus to know that Purpose - the only real road to survival and salvation for the human species - one must plunge into the heart of matter and not away from it and into the Beyond. Since Time is inextricably linked with matter and material reality and cannot be seperated from the spatial, cosmic dimension, it becomes evident that to discover this truth and to embark upon this entirely new direction in our quest, we must realise God as presented to Arjuna in the supreme Vision he was granted of the Time-Spirit.1

The Bhagavad Gita was the truth, the highest truth of the past Manifestation, the 8th. In this 9th Manifestation another way emerges, the way of Mahakala, carrying humanity to the threshold of the 9th and highest of the Puranic stages of creation. Central to this process, upholding it, controlling it, securing its inevitable, victorious fulfilment is that Golden Bija, - Hiranyaretas. Our experience of God must thus be in this Immanence; and the Seed contains the totality of that which is extra- cosmic. It is the Transcendent born in the manifest universe, it is the Eternal born in time, and there is no difference between the two. Rather we may say, this manifestation in matter presents an enhanced and more complete experience. The purpose of material creation is thus to express the fullest attributes of the Supreme Consciousness. Multiplicity is the truth of the cosmos, a splendid diversity whose reason for being is that all aspects of God can be given expression, that the Absolute can know Itself, can enjoy Itself. Self-knowledge and self-enjoyment are the propellants for deployment of the Absolute in material creation, in this great Dance of Shiva. The hierarchy that exists in the universe covers the entire range of such a self-knowing and self-enjoyment, resulting in the fact that at any given moment all possibilities of expression, of manifestation, exist simultaneously. For this is the nature of that Golden Seed: simultaneity and wholeness and compactness are its keywords. All is contained within the Seed.

And is there an end or a beginning to that Transcendent which stands beyond these distinctions? There can be no end to that which never had a beginning, which is 'unborn'. Therefore, as all the other attributes of the Absolute are contained in the seed of Itself, so too is this supreme quality of ceaselessness and eternal manifestation.

Time's function in the material universe is to draw the compact, involved elements held in the Seed to fruition. Time is thus the motor of Consciousness. It draws out and into extension that which arose at the Origin, at the moment of passage of the Unmanifest to the Manifest. This passage is the bridge connecting statics to dynamics. Time is movement, or rather it gives forth a body of itself in the cosmic principle of perpetual motion, or dynamic consciousness. Hence we encounter the splendid, colossal image in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad2 of the universe in the form of a Horse, - that great and majestic Vedic symbol of energy, speed, kinesis. 'Time', the Upanishad tells us, 'is the self of the horse sacrificial'. In this superb image the Seer describes the deepest truth of cosmic existence: that Time is the propeller and stands in the inner recesses of material creation and urges, propels it onward to completion, to fulfilment of its inherent purpose ..."

Notes:

1. "...Time is the remaining aid needed for the effectivity of the [Supramental yoga]. Time presents itself to human effort as an enemy or a friend, as a resistance, a medium or an instrument. But always it is really the instrument of the soul. '...' To the ego it is a tyrant or a resistance, to the Divine an instrument. Therefore, while our effort is personal, Time appears as a resistance, for it presents to us all the obstruction of the forces that conflict with our own. When the divine working and the personal are combined in our consciousness, it appears as a medium and condition. When the two become one, it appears as a servant and instrument ..." Sri Aurobindo; The Synthesis of Yoga, p. 61.

2. "The real power, the fundamental greatness of the Horse is not the material world, not the magnitudes of Space, but the magnitudes of Time. Time, that mysterious condition of universal mind which alone makes the ordering of the universe in Space possible, although its own particular relations to matter are necessarily determined by material events and movements." Sri Aurobindo; The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

Comments:

In this brief excerpt, the reader will appreciate that Ms. Norelli-Bachelet's cosmology deals with what, for centuries, has been disconnected from traditional spirituality, the question of Time and Measure, "the Divine Maya". Her cosmology discloses the deepest truths of Reality which include the Being as well as the dynamics of the Becoming of that same Being. As she points out, TIME, is the vehicle, the medium for the Absolute or Supreme consciousness to be and to become and it is knowledge of this principle which integrates the Spiritual and Physical dimensions and grants the individual an irrefragable vision of unity.

"It cannot be denied that Time is a major feature of our material universe. In consequence, it stands to reason that when spirituality decides that the universal manifestation is "Maya", unreal and illusory, Time is immediately shunned and the seeker is required to go 'beyond time', i.e., to the experience that appears to obliterate Time. Conversely, if we are engaged in a path that seeks a transformation of matter and an experience of the highest planes of reality in this material creation we are obliged to accept the instrumentation of Time. Furthermore, we must seek a means or a key by which Time itself becomes the element utilised in the gestation of a new and superior consciousness-form in the material creation. Hence a new harmony of time results, the essence of which is contained in the [Supramental Cosmology]." The New Way, Vol. 3, 1983, Patrizia Norelli-Bachelet

By articulating the process by which the "Transcendent" becomes the "Immanent Seed of Itself", Ms. Norelli-Bachelet has reversed the long-standing perception of Time as the destroyer and presents mankind with an entirely new awareness of Time as the integrative mechanism by which a Divine purpose is expressed in the world. Her Supramental Cosmology grants the individual a direct experience of the Supreme within the physical manifestation.