Monday, 18 September 2017

God Cannot be Limited to Non-Duality

I had a comment on an old post recently that I think is worth including here  as it points to a common misconception. The misconception might only be slight but when it comes to spiritual truth a miss is often as good (or as bad) as a mile.

I am doing an objective critique on what is posed as argument... "I believe advaitin mistakes identification*..." is itself an inconsistency. One should go through Kant's Critiques, Hegel's Phenomenology to understand Sankara's philosophy. Becoming is subsumed under Being. All identification is about an apparent form that will subsist only till such time it is disproved under a higher truth. The highest truth is the form of unity called as Absolute because there is nothing beyond it, call it God and it is immediately given the form (conceptual) of God.

To which I replied.

Or call it the Absolute and it is immediately given the form of the Absolute.

I don't think you need Kant or Hegel to understand Sankara. If you do then he failed to get his point across. I appreciate what you mean about becoming being subsumed in being and perhaps that is what happens insofar as the locus of identification or centre is concerned. But I believe the mistake of advaita is then to ascribe to the relative world no point or purpose at all. This is indicated by Sankara's inability to explain why the world should have arisen in the first place and what its purpose might be.

Individuality is not the result of ignorance but a real God-given thing without which we could never even know the Absolute or God, call it what you will.

It's easy to get lost in intellectual abstractions (a bit like Kant and Hegel) and advaita quite frankly is often guilty of that. I'm not aware of one person who really demonstrates the truth of advaita in themselves and I include such people as Ramana and Krishnamurti for whom I have great respect as well as a whole host of lesser luminaries. In each of them, very obviously, the individual still remains and, in fact, must do as the vehicle of their realisation. Are we really saying that the consciousness of a Buddha or Ramana is the same as the consciousness of the Creator of the universe? Really? If not then individuality must be a real thing, and a lasting one too even if it is transformed.

That is why I regard the true goal of the spiritual life as the integration of being and becoming, not the perception of the former as fundamentally illusionary in the light of the latter. And this is why we need the experience of being born in this world. It gives us something we need and did not have before which is the knowledge of duality that, when resolved, gives us a deeper entry into reality than simple oneness or non-duality would allow.

This world is a far richer and more meaningful thing than advaita allows. It is the expression of love which, if advaita practiced what it preached, could have no real meaning. It’s no good saying that love exists in the world of maya but not at the level of pure non-duality because that leaves love as a manifestation of ignorance in which case it is hollow.

Advaita fails to see that reality transcends a mere logical interpretation of it, and that there is differentiation right at the heart of unity. That is how a universe can arise. God cannot be limited to oneness or non-duality. Advaita needs to be supplemented by the Christian concept of the Trinity to give a living understanding of life and not a mere philosophy which doesn't stand up to examination when all aspects of reality are taken into consideration.

There is a state of consciousness that can be described as non dualistic in that the perfect oneness of all things is known but all things still have their own individual quality and integrity. To reduce life to one or the other is to limit it. This is because proper perception does not entail the sublation of all diversity to unity but the subordination. This allows for love and true understanding comes only through love.

Spiritual understanding does not reveal there is no individual self but there is something beyond the individual self. No mystic would dispute this but how would one even know it unless there was a self to know it? Are you saying it is God knowing God? In one sense it might be but then we are not God even though God has given us his being as our being and we can be aware of this uncreated part of us as the very essence of our being. It is at a deeper level than our self but it needs our self as a subject to know this. So there are always two even though they are one.

The full quote was "I believe the advaitin mistakes identification with the ground of his own being for union with God but that latter is a higher state and the reason we were brought into being and sent out into this world. Non-dualistic realisation would not have required that. We could have just rested in pure being, pure awareness, but God created human souls in order for them to integrate being and becoming, not renounce becoming, and that is a much greater state than passively resting in pure being alone."

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