The Eternal and the Transient Represent One Reality

Sri Aurobindo translates Shwetashwatara Upanishad, Chapter Six, Verse 16:  “He hath made all and knoweth all; for He is the womb out of which Self ariseth, and being possessed of the Nature Moods, He becometh Time’s Maker and discerneth all things.  And Matter is subject to Him and the Spirit in man that cogniseth his field of matter and the modes of Nature are his servants.  He therefore is the cause of this coming into phenomena and of the release from phenomena — and because of Him is their endurance and because of Him is their bondage. (Or, There is eternal Matter and there is the Spirit within that knoweth his field in matter; He is lord of both, He ruleth over Nature and her workings (or, the modes of Nature).  The world and deliverance out of the world and the endurance of things and the bonds of their endurance, of all these He is the one Cause and reason.)”

The Eternal is both “beyond time” and manifests through Time.  The Eternal transcends the manifestation of Nature and embodies Himself through the manifestation of Nature.  Everything that exists in the manifested world of Nature is under the operation of the three Gunas, or modes, Sattwa, Rajas and Tamas and their constant changing balance and interaction.  Yet the Eternal remains beyond while simultaneously creating these modes and their action to manifest the natural world.

As long as we remain fixed in our limitations of the operation of the Gunas, we experience a sense of bondage.  The Spirit is present within this operation of Nature and when we recognise that, then we are liberated from this sense of bondage.

The logical intellect always struggles with the idea of the “contradictions” that arise when one tries to understand “eternal” and “temporal” having the same source and cause, or “infinite” and “finite”.  Transcendence while simultaneously causing and experiencing the forms, systems and modes of manifestation is another difficult concept.

The mind is generally designed to look at things as “either/or” while the higher understanding that comes with the spiritual development, can integrate into a “both/and” viewpoint.  From the spiritual standpoint there is no contradiction between all of these limited mental viewpoints.

Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Shwetashwatara Upanishad, pp.369-384

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