The Essence of Dharma-14.

Spoken on February 11th, 1973)

Inasmuch as consciousness is undivided, there cannot be externality to it. Even a universe cannot exist outside it, but the universe exists. We are seeing it. So we have two continuities, two continuums – the universal continuum and the consciousness continuum. This double continua of consciousness and matter has led some people to imagine that there is an infinite matter and an infinite consciousness.

This is the Sankhya philosophy of India, which says there is an ubiquitous and eternal matter and also an ubiquitous and eternal consciousness, Purusha. But what is that which is between the two? Nobody knows. This is a no-man’s land. As there cannot be a no-man’s land between consciousness and matter, Vedanta comes to the forefront and says, “Sankhya, you are wonderful.

You have gone ahead of the scientists in positing the existence of consciousness. You have won a victory over the ignorance of the scientists. But you are also mistaken inasmuch as you have created an unbridgeable gulf between consciousness and matter. How does consciousness know that matter exists if there is no connection between the two?”

If Sankhya is ultimately right, how does the Purusha know that matter is? The very fact that consciousness knows the existence of matter shows that consciousness pervades matter. It is not an unbridgeable gulf between the two.

The universe is such a mystery before us. It is a beautiful blend of object and subject – the object being matter, the subject being the spirit. We cannot as human beings understand what this beautiful blend is. Today I am not going into the subject of the nature of this blend of spirit and matter, as my purpose is something else.

But Vedanta prescribes a solution for this enigma of the duality of spirit and matter, to which a hint is given in the Thirteenth Chapter of the Bhagavadgita, where the Absolute is described. The Absolute is both subject and object.

To be continued
Swami Krishnananda


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