“The individual ego taking to the path of devotion (Upāsanā) imagines itself to be related to the manifest Brahman, who is supposed by it as having manifested himself. Such an ego is said to be of narrow intellect because it thinks that before creation all was of the nature of unborn reality”
……….. Mandukya Karika – Chapter 3:1 ‘Advaita Prakrana’
In its fundamental aspect Gaudapāda explains how the path of devotion when construed by the mind can lead to distortion. This should not be viewed as a condemnation of the path of Bhakti but an admonition to move beyond the dictates of the mind into a higher realm of God realization.
All mental constructs have a certain frame of reference which is normally derived from past experiences or perceptions and through evolutionary knowledge imprinted in the human psyche.
Gaudapāda clearly proposes a non-creation philosophy and this is endorsed at the very end of this chapter in the Karika where he says “No jiva ever comes into existence. There exists no cause that can produce it. The supreme truth is that nothing ever is born.”……. Chapter 3:48
This leads to the question as to what is the manifestation that we observe and where is its origination? In proposing an Advaitic or non-dual philosophy of reality, all manifestations are presumed to have its origination in the undivided oneness of Brahman. But this consciousness in any self which thinks that all that exists is the plural manifestations of an undivided oneness, presupposes an infallibility of the subjective consciousness. Since subjective consciousness, operating through the mind is in a limited domain of existence; any definition of pre-existent nature by it is outside its experiential realm and hence is invalid.
In the Gospel of Thomas when Yeshua is questioned by the disciples about the destiny of the created world, he answers; “The disciples said to Yeshua, “Tell us, how will our end come?”
Yeshua said, “Have you found the beginning, then, that you are looking for the end? You see, the end will be where the beginning is.
Congratulations to the one who stands at the beginning: that one will know the end and will not taste death.”……. Saying 18 ‘Gospel of Thomas’
The whole concept of time is questioned in these words. The most important thing to note is the words “the end will be where the beginning is”. The experience of creation is like travelling a loop road which serves no greater purpose than as a lay by and a place to take stock of your situation. Therefore I would term every creation as a consciousness cleansing loop which itself is appended to a larger loop of samsara. The ultimate is the infinite plenum of ‘oneness consciousness’.
We should also examine why this error happens in our perception of the unborn or uncreated reality. There are two distinct modes of perception. The first and most common is through the agency of the mind through the actions of thought. The second mode, which is very rare and can only be reached by Sādhanā, is through a state of being. All spiritual benefits, that we derive from Bhakti (devotion) or from Jñana if they remain only at the level of the mind then we cannot rise to the level of full realization of the unborn reality. But when these practices are translated into a state of being then it is possible to comprehend the nature of unborn reality.
This is the emphatic teaching of Gaudapāda in his exposition in ‘Advaita Prakrana’.
Love to you all