Transcendence and Immanence again.


Concerning transcendence and immanence, there is discontinuity in the first and continuity in the second (“things are in God and God is in things with a kind of discontinuous continuity” – F. Schuon in Logic and Transcendence, p.61). Initially, one might suppose that this cannot be spoken of in Advaita Vedanta, for how could the supreme Spirit, Atma , inhere in what is illusory, the world of beings? (Bhagavad Gita, VII, 12 and IX, 4-5: “The whole cosmic manifestation is pervaded by Me by My unmanifest form (avyakta). All beings exist in Me though I Am not in them”). But here it is not Atma (or nirguna Brahman) which is the subject, but Being or the relative Absolute (saguna Brahman), which is the root or material cause of all that exists, and, according to the principle of tadatmya (non-reciprocal relationship) all beings, qua effect, participate in their cause, but the cause (Brahman) is not conditioned by any causal relationship, hence its transcendence.

From the viewpoint of the Absolute (paramatma), on the other hand, there is in reality no causality, no creation (this is called ajati); what appears to be such and such, is only a magician’s trick. As Schuon wrote: “For the Vedantins, the separation between the Absolute (Paramatma) and the Relative (Maya=Ishwara) is as rigorous as is, for the Semites, the separation between Creator and creature; but by compensation there is an aspect which admits of union between the created and the Uncreated, in as much as nothing that exists can be other than a manifestation of the Principle or an objectivation of the Self; ‘everything is Atma’” (Islam and Perennial Philosophy, 1976, p. 41). Schuon uses the expression, “as rigorous”, but it can be said that, from the same principle of tadatmya, Being  (saguna brahman) is, or is contained in, Beyond Being (nirguna brahman), but Beyond Being is not Being; here again discontinuous continuity.

But all of the above is doctrinal: concepts, language, which separates, divides; it is analytical. Its counterpart, synthesis, which derives from intuition (or ‘higher reasoning’) brings about unity, inclusiveness, even if it appears as paradoxical. In essence (synthesis), all is One – “One without a second”.

About amartingarcia

General surgeon (retired). Studied Western philosophy at U of Toronto. Afterwards interest turned to advaita vedanta and non-duality for past 20 yrs, plus a long interlude in Sufism coinciding with that period. Now contributing in ’Advaita Vision’ with regular posts and discussions.
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