The Transparency of Things by Rupert Spira

659 views
Skip to first unread message

Peter Jones

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 7:18:17 AM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations

The Transparency of Things: Contemplating the Nature of Experience by Rupert Spira

It's fabulous!! Not a word about metaphysics! Simple, straightforward, profound, insightful, helpful...

Many thanks to Don, (I think it was), for the recommendation. Unmissable.

Now when someone asks how all this guff about metaphysics translates into real life I can just point to this very accessible book.
 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 8:07:41 AM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
'The Transparency of Things' sure sounds like metaphysics. :)  I feel that Rupert just expresses it in such a way that one doesn't have to be into metaphysics to get it. Which is a good thing, as indifference, and even aversion to metaphysics seems to be the rule rather than the exception.

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 9:15:00 AM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations

I've just started his "The Nature of Consciousness". The early stages suggest there may be some differences with Bernardo's philosophy. For instance, "awareness is self-aware...self-knowing". Isn't the idea behind whirlpools in BK's work that localisation of consciousness is necessary before self-awareness is possible?

 

It may be that this is elaborated on later in the book, of course... 

Larry Schultz

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 10:57:54 AM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
I'm also contemplating through this book - read 1-5 pages each night.
I'd agree it's not metaphysics properly in that Rupert is offering a consciousness first perspective through an easy look at personal experience - and suggesting the reader try it on to see if it fits.
It's that analogy of dipping a cloth into a dye - then fading it . . . repeat till cloth is full color and does not fade.
Clarity of mind through repetition and familiarity - not through logic and deduction.

The-One-Who-Doesn't-Know

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 6:19:27 PM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Good point.

The-One-Who-Doesn't-Know

unread,
Aug 21, 2017, 6:56:01 PM8/21/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
I'd agree it's not metaphysics properly in that Rupert is offering a consciousness first perspective through an easy look at personal experience - and suggesting the reader try it on to see if it fits.
It's that analogy of dipping a cloth into a dye - then fading it . . . repeat till cloth is full color and does not fade.
Clarity of mind through repetition and familiarity - not through logic and deduction.
 
Spira also says that "self-enquiry" is often misunderstood as an activity of the mind searching for a self. He suggests that it would better be called "self-abidance," -resting for a while in the ever-present awareness. Exactly like in the "dye analogy," a more or less permanent transformation of perspective results from periodic engagements with the the source of awareness the nature of which is peace and happiness.  

Peter Jones

unread,
Aug 22, 2017, 7:30:23 AM8/22/17
to Metaphysical Speculations


On Monday, 21 August 2017 13:07:41 UTC+1, Dana Lomas wrote:
'The Transparency of Things' sure sounds like metaphysics. :)  I feel that Rupert just expresses it in such a way that one doesn't have to be into metaphysics to get it. Which is a good thing, as indifference, and even aversion to metaphysics seems to be the rule rather than the exception.


Yes, It's chock -a-block with metaphysics is we read between the lines. The topic is not optional when we look into these things. But he expressly does not talk about it. It's not in the text but in the implications of his description of experience.   .  

Bernardo

unread,
Aug 31, 2017, 12:42:34 PM8/31/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Yes, I seem to deviate from Rupert on this specific point. I don't think universal consciousness is intrinsically self-aware in the sense of being metacognizant of its own mental processes. I think it takes particular configurations of consciousness to achieve this, and the image of these configurations is the brain of higher animals.

Oksem

unread,
Aug 31, 2017, 8:18:08 PM8/31/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
From what I know of Rupert's work, when he says that consciousness is self-conscious, it means that consciousness does not need a finite mind to know SELF itself, but to know a world a body or a thought, it arises in form of a finite mind. And we can verify this in our experience, When I ask the question that was introduced by Sri atmananda Krishna Menon, I am conscious? The answer obviously arises as a "yes" answer through a thought, yes I am conscious. I Awareness know myself

Bernardo

unread,
Sep 1, 2017, 3:28:12 AM9/1/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
The thing is this: to know anything by direct experience while being a human being automatically includes the capacities entailed by being a human being. If a human being is capable of self-reflective awareness, then the direct experience of a human being doing self-inquiry automatically entails self-reflective awareness. Rupert's method is entirely based on direct experience, which is its strength. But then to say what consciousness is or isn't outside of being human becomes very tricky because of the very method of inquiry used. I am totally with Rupert that the most fundamental, pollution-free, ego-free state of human consciousness is pure self-awareness. But I think extrapolating that realization beyond being human is necessarily a question of philosophy, i.e. of extrapolation of direct experience by the use of reason. Cheers, B.

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 1, 2017, 9:05:15 AM9/1/17
to Metaphysical Speculations


Bernardo - To me this would be the transcendence of knower and known and not a question of philosophy but of realisation. I wonder whether the difference you mention is that Spira's explanation extends beyond Mind while you see Mind as going all the way down. Is this anything like the situation? .  

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 2, 2017, 9:13:20 AM9/2/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
This seems a good spot to drop in on one of Rupert's gatherings ... Join in as he tells the tale of he and Bernardo's stroll through the streets of Amsterdam, as well as the indivisibility of Mary and Jane.

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 2, 2017, 3:00:27 PM9/2/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
What a wonderful talk. It may be the best discussion of the relationship between (or identity of) Mind and Consciousness that I've come across for being so clear and uncomplicated and for the way he explains the different uses of these words.

Larry Schultz

unread,
Sep 2, 2017, 11:59:48 PM9/2/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
I think Rupert refers to (pure) consciousness as a 'knowingness', not as a knowing of this or that, nor even as a self-aware or self knowing.   Non Duality does not allow for a Self (or a small s self) because there is no non self . . . and there being no non self, there is no Self.

There is no Self in non duality.

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 3, 2017, 8:03:49 AM9/3/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Self ... no-self ... Meh ... Mere names that might make dismissible answers to a koan :))  

Anne

unread,
Sep 3, 2017, 10:02:30 AM9/3/17
to Metaphysical Speculations


On Sunday, September 3, 2017 at 1:03:49 PM UTC+1, Dana Lomas wrote:
Self ... no-self ... Meh ... Mere names that might make dismissible answers to a koan :))

Isn't it wonderful, when it all gets too much or too difficult to sort out, to just fall back into the peace that passes understanding!

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 3, 2017, 2:30:20 PM9/3/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Hi Anne ... At least there's no arguing with the self :)  Not so peaceful today though -- watching tennis! But hey excitement is allowed too ... No?

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 3, 2017, 2:56:44 PM9/3/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Speaking of excitement, it raises the question: isn't excitation also in the nature of TWE? If so, isn't it a foregone conclusion that worlds arise? 

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 4, 2017, 3:58:38 AM9/4/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com

When TWE was exhausted by play

(Thanks to Lila and Maia and Fay)

He was glad his mum said,

"Come home, TWE, to bed."

Thank God for the end of the day! 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 4, 2017, 7:20:36 AM9/4/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
And such a lovely way to begin the day, with poetry :)  But you've stumped this still dream-dazed mind ... Who is Fay?!

Yes, lest one forget, there must be 'rest.' Even a perpetual pendulum must have its timeless moment of stillness. And if worlds must arise and rest and arise again, without point of origin or finality, and we and those worlds are indivisible, best handle with love.

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 4, 2017, 8:07:58 AM9/4/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Fay's the fairy child  - a dreamer too.

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 4, 2017, 8:13:25 AM9/4/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Ah ... How clever ... I like it!

"And as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen
Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a name." ~ WS

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 4, 2017, 10:33:18 AM9/4/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Rupert Spira quotes that A Midsummer Night's Dream passage too in his book (The Nature of Consciousness). Also Wordsworth's, "Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting" and Kathleen Raine's "Woman to Lover". 

Arro

unread,
Sep 5, 2017, 4:10:54 PM9/5/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Hi Bernardo, I'm surprised to hear you say that but maybe I've misunderstood. Surely that's the one place philosophy can't go, only direct experience. If I've understood you correctly it would mean the Buddha and other enlightened beings are not fully realised, only semi-realised. In fact even that would not be true because anything beyond being human would be unknown and reduced to mere guess work. I'd be interested to hear your view on that. What is enlightenment to you? 

If "self-enquiry automatically entails self-reflective awareness" then it only belongs to the self, to the mind. Surely Rupert means the opposite when he talk of self-enquiry, more like the transcendence of self-reflective awareness. Going beyond the 'knower and the known' as Peter put it. After all, all the whirlpool knows and ever can know is the stream, so whether it becomes self-reflective or not the knowing with which it apparently knows 'itself' is ever-present, the knower and the known are only modulations of the knowing, and is that knowing not awareness itself, regardless of the existence of a whirlpool?

I'd be interested to know if Rupert would agree that the most fundamental state of human consciousness is pure self-awareness. Surely it would just be pure awareness, no self. And since there is no self there is nothing that could be called human or otherwise, therefore it is universal consciousness awake unto itself. In fact self-reflection is just awareness being aware of awareness, it is only our belief in a separate self that gives any meaning to the term self-reflective. Ultimately all there ever is, is awareness.

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 4:15:54 AM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
"our belief in a separate self"

But if there is no self, there is no "our" to believe in it. There appears to be a separate self, and as Rupert says, appearances are real - "An illusion always has a reality to it".
Modulations and activity of consciousness are real enough in time and space, though not, of course, eternal or infinite. 

Arro

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 6:56:47 AM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
 "But if there is no self, there is no "our" to believe in it. "

Ok, awareness's temporary belief in a separate self. 

 
"There appears to be a separate self, and as Rupert says, appearances are real - "An illusion always has a reality to it".
Modulations and activity of consciousness are real enough in time and space, though not, of course, eternal or infinite."

The reality would be knowing, the illusion would be the knower and the known. Time and space the illusion, eternity the reality. 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 8:24:46 AM9/6/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
I would still suggest that it is in the nature of Awareness to assume an individual (indivisible) subjective point of view, for the sake of relational experience. As such, since it's in its nature to do so, then the perpetual expressing and exploring of such experience is a foregone conclusion. The notion of escaping that experience is futile. So-called awakening is just the deliverance from the delusion of a subject/object dichotomy and its attendant existential suffering of a dichotomous self. However, the nature of Awareness ever remains.

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 9:47:47 AM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Nicely put, sir!

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 2:50:15 PM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Hi Ben:  As far as I'm aware, no major philosopher in history has ever asserted that Consciousness (God, Brahman, the Tao, etc) is not self-aware.  Bernardo  seems to equate "self awareness" with human self consciousness, which is why he denies this to God.  But of course, God doesn't need human ego consciousness, being Self-Aware luminously and naturally. At least, that is the empirical evidence, if you accept as evidence the reports of people who have actually had the experience, which I would think is in line with the true meaning of science.


On Monday, August 21, 2017 at 9:15:00 AM UTC-4, Ben Iscatus wrote:

I've just started his "The Nature of Consciousness". The early stages suggest there may be some differences with Bernardo's philosophy. For instance, "awareness is self-aware...self-knowing". Isn't the idea behind whirlpools in BK's work that localisation of consciousness is necessary before self-awareness is possible?

 

It may be that this is elaborated on later in the book, of course... 


Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 2:55:22 PM9/6/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
In fact, perhaps Peter can help with this in terms of philosophy.   As far as I'm aware, just taking Shankara and Longchempa as examples, the Brahman is seen as "Self aware" (perhaps that may help to distinguish it from "s"elf awareness) on the basis of BOTH philosophic reasoning AND direct spiritual experience.  I would be interested to hear if any sage-philosopher - contemporary (such as Harvard trained philosopher Franklin Merrell Wolff) or pre-modern (Nicholas of Cusa, Meister Eckhart, Rabbi Nachman, Ibn Arabi, Nagarjuna, Longchempa, Sankara, Abhinavagupta, Lao Tzu, any of the neo-Confucians, etc etc) does not come to the same conclusion.  

Which of course, doesn't mean they're right. Bernardo may be correct and they're incorrect. I'm just saying his conclusion is not the only one that has been put forth based simply on philosophic reasoning. But I do think, if you put forth an idea that is disputed by virtually every philosopher and/or sage throughout history, it would be good to (a) be familiar with those who disagree, and (b) make an attempt to correctly represent their ideas and explain why you disagree.  I haven't seen anywhere yet (including the books I've read and the comment above) where he has done either.  I would love to see it, as clearly Bernardo is becoming an increasingly important figure in this discussion. People who are far more familiar than me or anybody else here on this forum who are very familiar with these philosophers will inappropriate reject his writing (as i've seen to be the case in some of the Amazon comments and elsewhere on the net) because of his lack of awareness of these things. I'm rooting for him - but if he's not familiar with these basic things, it's going to be problematic once he finds he no longer has to deal with materialists (i'm optimistic that this may happen in the next 10 to 15 years  - and it's good to prepare ahead of time)

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 6:01:31 PM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Here's another clip from Rupert, concisely breaking it down in about 7 minutes, in which the case is made that nondual awareness would be identical to love -- i.e. objectless love.

Larry Schultz

unread,
Sep 6, 2017, 10:26:54 PM9/6/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
there's a difference between 'self aware' meaning self-sufficient, as in not needing a second (thing). . . and 'self aware' as in aware of the self, or aware of oneself.
Non Duality / Pure Consciousness is the former - meaning self-sufficient.
Self aware as aware of oneself requires a second(thing) . . . it requires a non self

Having a patina of non self (lesh avidya) is perhaps the best . . . I'll have to get to you on that  :  )

Ben Iscatus

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 3:52:21 AM9/7/17
to Metaphysical Speculations

Hello Don. As Larry suggests, there is likely a difference between infinite self-awareness and self-reflective awareness. To have self-reflective awareness (considering options, for instance), you need a perspective. Infinite Consciousness presumably can't generate a perspective until it manifests as finite mind.

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 5:51:46 AM9/7/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com

I'm not entirely sure of BK's view on this matter so have no comment on that. As has been said I think we have to be careful not to confuse 'awareness of'' with just 'aware'. At the limit awareness would be awareness of awareness, not 'of'' something else. There wouldn't be anything else.  To say God is self-aware looks like sloppy language. Better to say simply God is awareness or, with the Druids, 'Consciousness is God'.  The language falls apart if we say 'Awareness is self-aware'.  Self-reflection would be what the world is for and not prior to the world.

Bradley places a lot of this problem with the subject-predicate form of language. He writes that in metaphysics the use of predication is both necessary and illegitimate, echoing Lao Tsu's comment that Tao cannot be spoken but must be spoken. A doctrine of Unity must eventually, for an ultimate view,. collapse the subject and predicate.and thus become unsayable. Then we get into muddle because what we say is not quite what we mean and so our words become misleading. Spira handles this brilliantly and always gives both opposite views on the issues, thus cutting off one-sided interpretations of his words. He makes it look easy but it isn't. Hence it is usually easy to tell who knows their stuff from their use of language. Peirce writes 'It is easy to tell a man still at the dual stage by his use of language'. By the same token, it is easy to tell the non-dual philosopher from the rest. This would be why it is usually possible to tell which we are reading by the end of the end of the first two or three paragraphs of the preface of most books.

Whether 'God' is 'Self-aware' as Don suggests may again be a matter of language. That is, it probably depends on what we mean. I wish I could report back from a visit but my ticket still hasn't come thorough.  



Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 8:04:20 AM9/7/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
"I wish I could report back from a visit but my ticket still hasn't come thorough."

One's Buddha-nature needs no ticket. Perhaps the destination seeking, dichotomous self just falls off the train. :))

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 8:29:15 AM9/7/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Peter, since this relates to the question of what Sri Aurobindo has introduced that may be "different," I'll try again.

As far as I can see, "svaraj" may be closest to the English "Self luminous."  Of course, anything remotely "human" in terms of "self awareness" would be profoundly limited cared to a "Self-Luminous Consciousness" (Svaraj Chit).

The notion that human beings can only "experience" through "human consciousness" seems to me a Kantian/Humean abstraction that is actually quite far removed from experience - I've had the feeling for years that Klein/Lucille/Spira/Goode are intellectuals who have abstracted certain aspects of phenomenology and assume those limited sensory/conceptual experiences to be related to "Atman" (or Tao or whatever).

To be a little less obtuse, and to get back to Sri Aurobindo, what does "Mahat Atman" mean?  I've never heard any commentator put it on the same plane as human consciousness, and I've never heard of any commentator put it on the plane of the Absolute.  Everything I've seen for nearly half a century considers it to represent a consciousness vastly superior to non-awakened human consciousness (or awakened consciousness solely resting in the Self), and it is also considered to be That which holds the so-called "laws of nature" in place, which shines infinitesimally as instinct in animals and intuition in humans.

Since "we" are not human beings to begin with, there is no reason why we can't awaken a consciousness superior to what is conventionally called "human" (i.e. mental; manas/buddhi).

if that all seems like winding around, Peter, I'll ask one question: What does Mahat Atman mean?  I think if you can get clear about that, a lot of what I've clumsily been trying to say may get at least a bit clearer. 

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups "Metaphysical Speculations" group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/metaphysical-speculations/a5n5Jr6C6rM/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsub...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/metaphysical-speculations/b2baee30-6748-4752-83f0-b1684f45b90e%40googlegroups.com.
For more options, visit https://groups.google.com/d/optout.

Arro

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 12:26:04 PM9/7/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
If "escaping that experience is futile" then there cannot be a "deliverance from the delusion of a subject/object dichotomy". 

Arro

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 1:16:19 PM9/7/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
We as humans do not gain awareness from having an apparently individual perspective, the individual perspective (the knower, subject etc.) arises within awareness in the same way the object/known does. What we usually call the subject is really a subtle object. The experience most people describe as subject/object is actually object-I-call-me/object-I-call-other. The knowing with which we know the apparent experience of being a self-reflective human being does not share the limitations of that human perspective, in fact the human perspective is not a perspective at all, it is itself known, known by that which is ever-present and all pervading.  God is awareness sums it up for me. 


Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 7, 2017, 1:18:14 PM9/7/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Arro ...  I don't see how the passing away of the experience of a dichotomous self is equatable to the end of relational experience. Does one's Buddha-nature no longer know such experience?

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 7:53:41 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com


Don - I think you've misunderstood my words. Of course only a human being can experience as a human being. And of course consciousness and awareness is more than human-self-awareness. Spira appears to me to hold the same view as you.

Arro's point seems to be that if the subject-object world has been transcended then so has the world of experience-experiencer. Thus experiences do not go 'all the way down'. As Bernardo says 'All experiences are untrue'. Here 'untrue' would mean something like 'reducible' or 'not metaphysically real'.

After all, if time is metaphysically real then time-based experiences go the same way.   

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 8:18:47 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
I must still maintain that relational experience is the play of Lila. It is the very nature of Awareness -- as in Scott's Polarity/Awareness Trinity. There is no abiding escape into some non-relational state. Not even for a Buddha.

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 8:52:17 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Well, in the "realistic Vedanta" that Sri Aurobindo puts forth, all experiences are True - from the "view" (non view) of Vijnana.  If you put nothing between (ordinary) mind and the absolute, then your view makes sense. 

Again, I ask, Peter, what is your understanding of the meaning of the phrase, "Mahat Atman?"

To put it in plainer words, **within** the cosmos, is there an active consciousness which is not equivalent to Chit, but superior to the human?  That is the core question, and the core difference between Sri Aurobindo's view and that of traditional Vedanta (though Abhinavagupta and many of the Kashmiri Shavite tradition come close)


On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 7:53 AM, Peter Jones <peterjo...@btinternet.com> wrote:


Don - I think you've misundertood my words. Of course only a human being can experience as a human being. And of course consciousness and awareness is more than human-self-awareness. Spira appears to me to hold the same view as you.  

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups "Metaphysical Speculations" group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/metaphysical-speculations/a5n5Jr6C6rM/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsub...@googlegroups.com.

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:02:45 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com


On Friday, 8 September 2017 13:52:17 UTC+1, Don Salmon wrote:
Well, in the "realistic Vedanta" that Sri Aurobindo puts forth, all experiences are True - from the "view" (non view) of Vijnana.  If you put nothing between (ordinary) mind and the absolute, then your view makes sense. 

Aha yes. True words seem paradoxical! All experiences would be true if we see them for what they are, viz. reducible for an ultimate analysis. 

Again, I ask, Peter, what is your understanding of the meaning of the phrase, "Mahat Atman?"

I've not come across this phrase before. 

To put it in plainer words, **within** the cosmos, is there an active consciousness which is not equivalent to Chit, but superior to the human?  That is the core question, and the core difference between Sri Aurobindo's view and that of traditional Vedanta (though Abhinavagupta and many of the Kashmiri Shavite tradition come close)

Right. I see now what the issue is. I'd say there is 'Christ-consciousness' and perhaps this qualifies. It is defined as standing between the ordinary human mind and the transcendence of mind. Is this what you're suggesting is a point of contention between Aurobindo and Spira?
 

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:07:29 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations


On Friday, 8 September 2017 13:18:47 UTC+1, Dana Lomas wrote:
I must still maintain that relational experience is the play of Lila. It is the very nature of Awareness -- as in Scott's Polarity/Awareness Trinity. There is no abiding escape into some non-relational state. Not even for a Buddha.

I think we all agree that relational experience is the play of Lila and part of the nature of Awareness.

But we clearly do not agree about the possibility of overcoming the idea that reality consists of three things, even though the literature is bursting with references to the unity of the universe.  

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:08:59 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Right. I see now what the issue is. I'd say there is 'Christ-consciousness' and perhaps this qualifies. It is defined as standing between the ordinary human mind and the transcendence of mind. Is this what you're suggesting is a point of contention between Aurobindo and Spira?


Partially - Christ consciousness relates - at least in some respects - to true individuality (the transformation of the "dissociated alter" into a "Real" portion of the Divine, the individuality that persists when the human mind is utterly transcended.

But it is not the same as the Mahat Atman. I would suggest looking into it before responding. It's necessary to understand it - or something akin to it from other traditions, before going on. it relates to issues of what is real, what the "purpose" of evolution is, the nature of the individual, the relation between the individual and society, what a true science might be (one in which the quantitative, even in physics, takes its rightful, that is minimal, place in relation to the qualitative and ultimately to the cosmic Real-Ideas of the Mahat Atman).  I might suggest "nous" as equivalent, but the term, even by the late classic period in Greece, had been so diminished that it hardly has the cosmic proportions of the Mahat.  Mahat is a basic, fundamental term in Sankhya, took on a different meaning in Vedanta (leading to the limitations of Shankara and way way down the line, the limitations of the modern Vedantins like Klein).  De Chardin attempted some revival of the original meaning, but his physicalist tendencies and scientistic views seemed to me to diminish his attempts greatly.

Krishna Prem, in Chapter 10 of his Gita commentary, has a masterful, evocative description of the Mahat. That's a great place to start. I'll see if I can find it online (the whole book is online).

be back in a jiffy!
On Fri, Sep 8, 2017 at 9:02 AM, Peter Jones <peterjo...@btinternet.com> wrote:


On Friday, 8 September 2017 13:52:17 UTC+1, Don Salmon wrote:
Well, in the "realistic Vedanta" that Sri Aurobindo puts forth, all experiences are True - from the "view" (non view) of Vijnana.  If you put nothing between (ordinary) mind and the absolute, then your view makes sense. 

Aha yes. True words seem paradoxical/ All experiences would be true if we see them for what they are, viz. reducible for an ultimate analysis. 

Again, I ask, Peter, what is your understanding of the meaning of the phrase, "Mahat Atman?"

I've not come across this phrase before. 

To put it in plainer words, **within** the cosmos, is there an active consciousness which is not equivalent to Chit, but superior to the human?  That is the core question, and the core difference between Sri Aurobindo's view and that of traditional Vedanta (though Abhinavagupta and many of the Kashmiri Shavite tradition come close)

Right. I see now what the issue is. I'd say there is 'Christ-consciousness' and perhaps this qualifies. It is defined as standing between the ordinary human mind and the transcendence of mind. Is this what you're suggesting is a point of contention between Aurobindo and Spira?
 

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups "Metaphysical Speculations" group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/metaphysical-speculations/a5n5Jr6C6rM/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsub...@googlegroups.com.

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:15:56 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
I may just put up the whole of Chapter 10. Here's part of it:

The disciple is instructed to try to see in all things, not their separate being, but the Great Atman, by whose Powers all have their form and nature.  Each type of being on earth is what it is because of the “reflection” of some aspect of that Atman. [Footnote: “We do not mean that the Idea, locally separate, shows itself in Matter like a reflection in water; the Matter touches the Idea at every point, though not by physical contact, and by dint of neighborhood – nothing to keep them apart – is able to absorb thence all that lies within its capacity, the Idea itself not penetrating, not approaching, the Matter, but remaining self-locked” (Plotinus, Vi, v, 8)].  This “reflection” is best seen in those objects which are pre-eminent within their class, for it is in them that the Divine Archetype has best found expression. T his is the meaning of the list that Krishna gives.  In all beings, gods or men or sages, so-0called “inanimate” objects or in mental qualities, “He” is to be sought out and contemplated in the chief of every class. [Footnote: compare Plotinus, vi, 9: “Things here are signs; they show therefore to the wiser teachers how the supreme God is known; the instructed priest reading the sign may enter the holy place and make real the vision of the inaccessible.”]  For He indeed is verily the Atman in all beings, their very Self, the base on which they stand.

 

[Verses 21-38] What makes the gods shining and powerful?  It is the Light and Power of the one.  What makes the Vedas holy, worth of our reverence?  It is the ancient Archetypal Wisdom.  What is it that calls forth our aspirations in the sight of mountain peaks, calms us in sheets of water, whispers to us in trees, disturbs our hearts in animals or thrills in gleaming weapons? [Footnote: In spite of man's ill-treatment of and contempt for the “lower animals” he has always felt a disturbing sense of something strange and archetypal in their being.  This is the underlying cause of the “totemism” of sl-called primitive peoples, of the animal-gods of the Egyptians (so distasteful to both pagan Greek and Christian) and of the animal signs in the Zodiac.]  What is it but Him shining through all these beings in spiritual Powers to which, if we give names, they are but poor translation for our weakness?

[Verse 36] Even in the greatly wicked, in him who says to evil “Be thou my good,” in the fierce pride of Duryodhana, in such a type of monstrous wickedness as Shakespeare's Richard the Third, we feel His presence compelling wonder, even admiration, in spite of all the protests of our moral nature. 


We must not turn from these perceptions as mere poetic fancies, saying, as many do, that, after all, in fact an animal is but an animal; a sword, a strip of steel.  What is thus felt in beings is not a fancy but something truly, if but vaguely, seen within.  The disciple must cling to these intuitive perceptions and by constant meditation sharpen them to clearness until the outer forms seem unreal things through whose translucid shells the wondrous Powers shine in their gleaming splendours [my note: not all Indian teachers consider the outer forms “unreal things”; in particular, the greatest Tantric teachers like Abhinavagupta see the forms as having a Divine Reality in a rather dramatically different way than taught by many current “neo-Vedantins” as well as followers of Shankara; though to be fair to Sri Krishna Prem, he does say “seem unreal”].  

 

As he proceeds a change will overtake his vision.  Not only will he see the spiritual Power in each form, but since these Powers are united in a living Whole, he will begin to see, what before he could but think, the vast interconnectedness of all things. [Footnote: These connections, vaguely intuited, give life to poetry and art.  What the poet dimly senses and dares not take for more than metaphor is clearly seen by the awakened seer.  It may also be added that the use of those affinities is an essential part of Kabalistic and other forms of magic, white or black.]

 

“In our realm all is part arising from part and nothing can be more than partial; but There each being is an eternal product of a whole and is at once a whole and an individual manifestation as part but, to the keen vision There, known for the whole it is.” (Plotinus, v, 8).

 

Thus to the seeing eye all things are linked to all in a great Cosmic Harmony.  Flowers in the green are seen as one with the far-distant stars gleaming for every in the blue abyss of space.  Within this six-foot frame blow all the winds of heaven and in the heart of man lie still the glittering pomp, the sometimes cruel beauty, and all the hidden secrets of long-vanished empires buried now beneath the desert sands or ocean waves.

There is a story current that on certain days, if one go out to sea from the town known as Dwarka, beneath the waves can dimly be descried the towers and pinnacles of Krishna's island city.  Legend, no doubt, for Dwarka was not there.  Nevertheless beneath the storm-tossed surface of our hearts the vanished past still lives.  Unseen within these depths the ancient wars are fought, Atlantis shines in glory, darkens with pride and falls; Sri Krishna walks the earth and Buddha leaves his home for love of men.


Nothing is lost, for ever all remains, deep in the waters of eternal Mind.  He who can plunge within lives in the Cosmic Heart and sees Its mighty throbs send forth the cycling years to run their changing courses through the worlds back ot the blue depths of Eternity.

 

It is said that in a lotus-seed exists in miniature a perfect lotus.  So in that Mighty Being is the seed of all that is, subtle beyond all images of sense, the shining spiritual Cosmos; Infinite seeds and yet one wondrous Seed, beyond the reach of mind, yet to be seen by Mind. [Footnote: Gita, x, verses 39-42. Compare this with the so-called Nassene document.  “Accordingly they (the Egyptians) declare concerning the Essence of the Seed which si the cause of all things in the world of generation, that it is none of these things, but that it begets and makes all generated things saying, 'I become what I will and am what I am.'  Therefore that which moves all is unmoved; for It remains what it is, making all things, and becoming no one of the things produced”]

 

[Verse 40] All that is glorious, beautiful, or mighty shines by reflection of a portion of that Being.  Vainly we seek on earth a symbol grand enough to adumbrate Its glories.  In ancient Egypt and Chaldea the starry heaven was Its only symbol; the heaven with its interlinked and patterned stars whirling in gleaming harmonies around the pole.  But all the splendors of the cosmic depths, their mind-annihilating magnitudes of time and space, symbol to all men of eternal Law and Beauty, are but a moment of the Mighty Atman; infinities ranged on the shoulders of infinities; a wondrous hierarchy of living spiritual Powers where each is each and each is All and all dance forth in ecstasy the Cosmic Harmony. [Footnote: This Cosmic Harmony, known to Pythagoreans as the music of the spheres, was in the Vedic tradition termed rita, the cosmic order in which all the gods exist. Those who find in the Vedas mere chaotic polytheism and those who find incipient monotheism are alike mistaken.  Unity indeed there was, but it was not the unity of a personal being but of Divine impersonal Cosmic Order within which Indra, Varuna and Agni, the whole pantheon of Gods, all shone and had their being.]


[Verse 42] Vast beyond thought as is this spiritual realm, this flaming Cosmos of Divine Ideas, yet still beyond lies That, the One Eternal, the Parabrahman, Rootless Root of all. Beyond all Gods, beyond all time and space, beyond al lbeing even, flames Its dark transcendent Light. [Footnote: Strictly speaking, between the Great Atman and the Parabrahman are the unmanifested Two. For convenience they are here included in the Supreme Unmanifested One.]

 

From that Eternal Brahman issue forth the Mighty Atman, great beyond all thought, and all the countless starry worlds that fill the wide immensities of space.  Yet so vast is Its spaceless, timeless grandeur that all these wondrous emanated worlds are as a drop taken from out the ocean, leaving Its shoreless being ever full. Therefore Sri Krsihna, speaking for That Brahman, says, “having established this entire universe with one fragment of Myself, I remain.”

“That is the Full; this is the full;

From that Full has this full come forth;

Having taken the full from the Full

Verily the Full Itself remains.” (Ishopanishad)

 

To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsubsc...@googlegroups.com.

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:17:09 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
ok, just posted Krishna Prem's entire commentary on chapter 10 in a separate thread. 

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups "Metaphysical Speculations" group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/metaphysical-speculations/a5n5Jr6C6rM/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsub...@googlegroups.com.
To view this discussion on the web visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/metaphysical-speculations/87fda550-9953-4255-bf02-7aa2a0d635ad%40googlegroups.com.

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 9:37:42 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Who mentioned three 'things'?  

Don Salmon

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:02:00 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Who mentioned three 'things'?  
​  

me, myself and I​

--
You received this message because you are subscribed to a topic in the Google Groups "Metaphysical Speculations" group.
To unsubscribe from this topic, visit https://groups.google.com/d/topic/metaphysical-speculations/a5n5Jr6C6rM/unsubscribe.
To unsubscribe from this group and all its topics, send an email to metaphysical-speculations+unsub...@googlegroups.com.

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:03:25 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
To simplify this: since emptiness and form are indivisibly integral to the inevitable becoming of Lila, neither alone can be the ontological primitive -- which here is being called Awareness.

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:07:23 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
"Me, myself and I"

:)) 

Arro

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:23:54 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Well no, not in the sense of self/other. Relational requires two things. All we ever know is the Self. 

Arro

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:35:05 AM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
There is no escape because there is no relational experience to escape from in the first place. A Buddha is one who has realised this. You seem to reify Lila to some degree, which will surely just lead to confusion. 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 10:39:03 AM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Relational requires endless expressions of the Individual -- aka the play of Lila. If there is no such relational experience, then this conversation is over. :)

Peter Jones

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 12:36:58 PM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations

Don - Try as I might I cannot find anything in your extract above to disagree with. It's an odd thing, we disagree but I never know why.

Dana - Not sure whether we disagree. In my view relational experience is not metaphysically real, This is why it has to be created.

The 'three things' comment should have been on another thread. I got confused.  

I cannot for the life of me grasp why there is opposition here to the idea that the Universe is a Unity. If it is not then the knowledge claims of mysticism are impossible and metaphysics cannot be understood.  

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 1:07:19 PM9/8/17
to metaphysical...@googlegroups.com
Peter ... It may well be that my case is full of wholes :)

The question still arises: is it in the nature of Awareness to manifest as the ever-becoming play of Lila? -- i.e. it is self-impelled to manifest as the these expressions and explorations of the Individual in relationship. And if that's the case, calling it unreal vs real seems just another dichotomous tendency. Such is its suchness, and can't be otherwise.

Arro

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 5:37:22 PM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Dana - What conversation? I only see God's infinite being :) 

Seriously though, where, who and what is this individual you speak of? 
 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 5:53:07 PM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
Arro ... The individual that seems impelled to participate in the relational experience of this conversation. As such,  I'm seeing no contradiction of my basic point. I can only say, welcome back. :)

Arro

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 6:32:12 PM9/8/17
to Metaphysical Speculations
I would not call this conversation a relational experience, that's where we differ. You seem to be referring to the mind, or to be more clear the egoic mind, but as Osho points out "the mind does not exist". Only thoughts exist and they are just clouds in the sky of awareness. If you can sincerely find this individual in your experience then I'll be so bold as to say you are the first person in history to do so. 
Thanks, it's good to be back. :) I've been on an epic adventure.
 

Dana Lomas

unread,
Sep 8, 2017, 7:57:47 PM9/8/17