The stuff of the World

 Suppose, I sit and imagine with and within my mind that I and you are both sitting at a Caribbean beach (of course wearing masks and observing safe distance) watching the boats and the men and their activities. What can we say about the stuff with which all those objects in my imagination are made up of? Is there any substance at all in them?

Suppose I see in a mirror me and the entire room where I am. What can we say about the stuff with which all those objects in the reflection are made up of? Is there any substance at all in them?

Suppose a bunch of exquisite and unseasonal flowers and an imposing elephant are conjured up by a magician (Illusionist). They are indistinguishable from real flowers to the eye and the animal’s behavior is very natural, What can we say about the stuff with which all those objects in the magic are made up of? Is there any substance at all in them?

If some one says that God created the world with no prior material and only by a thought, what can we say about the stuff with which all those objects in the world are made up of? Is there any substance at all in them?

[Swami Nikhilananda adds a note explaining what a “Substratum” is at 4.45, GK as follows: “From the standpoint of Reality, the Atman is not even a ‘substratum.’ For, nothing whatsoever exists, in relation to which the Self can be called the substratum. The term “Substratum” is used in connection with the Atman only from the relative point.]

 
 
 
 

4 thoughts on “The stuff of the World

  1. These examples are not analagous, Ramesam. Ignoring the fact that the ‘bottom line’ of Advaita is that there has never been any creation, the shruti texts that speak about the creation of the world say that it is made out of the creator’s own substance, like the spider’s web. Presumably you would not say that the spider’s web does not exist? (Certainly the fly would not…)

    Best wishes,
    Dennis

  2. Could one be certain that the creation analogies are all strictly “analogous” in the shruti, Dennis?

    For example, 2.1.20, brihat talks about सुवर्णमणि-लोह-अग्निविस्फुलिङ्ग (gold, iron and sparks of fire); 3.15, GK mentions मृल्लोहविस्फुलिङ्गा (clay, iron, and sparks); 1.1.7, muNDaka cites spider and its thread, earth and the herbs and human being and his hair and nails! One cannot claim a similitude in all these.

    That’s true – “Certainly the fly would not…” say “the spider’s web does not exist.” Therefore, the shruti exhorts us, don’t be the ignorant fly. Be bold and be the spider!

    regards,

  3. If “the standpoint of Reality” causes us to relinquish the notion of Atman as a substratum, it also to say the least, quite logically puts the kibosh on all our investigations: “Unlike the curiosity arising in common life to know ‘what, with what, and ‘how’…there remains nothing more to be sought for after one is taught, ‘That thou art, or ‘I am Brahman, for that knowledge has for its content the Self which is all. A curiosity can arise only when something is left over, but nothing remains there beyond the oneness of the Self about which one may be curious.” (BSBh 2.1.14)

    When you’re It, the rest is silence.

  4. Rick Riekert: “When you’re It, the rest is silence.”

    Thanks Rick.
    Your interventions are always very meaningful.
    However, your comment here is much more relevant at the other thread, The world does NOT disappear. So I am copying it there anticipating your permission.

    regards,

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