Being is Reality

All things exist. We cannot conceive of non-existence as different from existence, for even non-existence, in order that it may convey any sense, must become a content of consciousness. And consciousness must be.

Existence is the minimum to which things can be reduced, without which even thought is impossible. Everything relates to existence of some kind, and there is no thought of non-existence. To argue along the lines of Parmenides, existence is that which does not admit of any change. We cannot think what is not, for what is not cannot come into being, either from what is or from what is not.

If what is comes from what is, we would be stating something which we ourselves do not understand, for what is includes all things, and there is no such thing as the production of what is from what is. What is, again, cannot come from what is not, for what is not has no meaningful value. To posit the relation of what is to what is by way of causation involves a tautology, and to conceive of the coming into being of what is from what is not, is absurd.

There cannot be something other than what is, for what is, is the all. Even supposing that there is such a thing as the coming into being of one thing from another thing, we would have to admit that nothing other than what is can come into being, for we cannot add anything to what is, and anything added must itself be a part of what is.

There cannot be anything exceeding what is, and what is not, again, cannot come into being. That which is cannot increase, and cannot also decrease, for it is always. If something is to be removed from what is, so that the latter may be lessened, what is removed should be either what is or what is not. What is cannot be removed from what is, and what is not cannot, again, be removed from what is, for it means nothing at all.

The concept of dimension, again, is possible only when there is spatial separation of one thing from another. But even space is included in what is. So what is cannot be diminished in any way. And it cannot be increased, because we cannot add anything to it other than itself.

Existence is the whole reality. It does not admit of either addition or subtraction, production or change of any kind. In order that it may move or change, there should be space; but space is not outside it. True being has no origination, no change, and so no end. This being must be equally present everywhere, with no less or more of it anywhere. It is that which is.

As being is indivisible, it cannot conceive of a real distinction of things in it. All things are being. If there are things other than being, they must be non-being. Even becoming has meaning only when it has being. If being is to be divided, we may have to introduce some other distinguishable and distinguishing element in it, which would be nothing but non-being.

Being is reality.

from The Philosophy of Life by Swami Krishnananda, The Divine Life Society.

Topic of the month – Becoming“Becoming” seems to be an ensnaring urge for human beings the world over. This drive to “become” better or different from ‘what Is’ is not merely confined to mundane matters; it pervades the spiritual scene as well. Accordingly most of the spiritual/religious approaches cater to or focus on this human need for betterment: improving this quality or eliminating that one, mastering siddhi-s, strengthening faith, deepening some trait or transcending another one etc. And all of this “becoming” is supposed to lead us to a preset goal – whatever this may be in the respective context.

Advaita is the only philosophy that goes beyond this ubiquitous orientation towards ‘becoming.’  Not that the acquisition of certain skills or the elimination of certain identifications would be devalued but advaita points out that becoming by itself will not lead anyone to the True Knowledge, the only goal of every pursuit – simply because that goal is never away in space or time from the seeker.

Advaita’s fundamental teaching that “You are That” means that everyone in essence is already the perfection, the sat – cit- Ananda, that he/she strives to attain. In fact the only missing thing is the recognition of that simple fact. Yes, in order to gain the understanding of who you truly are, usually you will have to invest some time and effort. But at least you need not struggle to become something different from what you already are. Advaita provides the signposts towards this understanding.

Please submit your quotes, short extracts or personal blogs on this topic.

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