Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Nature of the Unchanging

“Those who are seers of the truth have concluded that of the nonexistent [the material body] there is no endurance and of the eternal [the soul] there is no change. This they have concluded by studying the nature of both.”……….Bhagavad-Gita 2:16

In continuation of my last post which dealt with the significance of the immersion of idols of deities such as Ganesa and Durga, the nature of non-existence of material nature and the perennial attribute of the implicate order from which all manifestations evolve as unchanging, is the subject of this post.

This verse from Bhagavad-gītā clearly states that the conclusion as to the nature of materiality and the changeless attribute of the soul have been arrived at by study of the nature of both.

It is easy to understand that all creations in the universe are subject to the second law of thermodynamics and tend to exhibit increased entropy (decay, dissolution and chaos). This is also true in our immediate environment as we observe plants, animals and humans come into being, grow and then decay into base elements. But how can we study the nature of the soul and arrive at a conclusion that it is beyond decay and annihilation.

The classical answer to this question is that one has to study the scriptures and go into deep, intuitive enquiry to know the nature of the soul. The classical commentary on this text is on the following lines; "In the Vedānta-sūtras, as well as in the Śrīmad-Bhāgavatam, the Supreme has been accepted as the origin of all emanations. Such emanations are experienced by superior and inferior natural sequences. The causative energy and the effected energy are seen as two categories and are assigned status due to a temporal and primacy domain. All material manifestations, therefore, are always subordinate to the Primal cause namely; the Supreme Lord. This is similar to the master and the servant, or the teacher and the taught.”

It is also taught that such clear knowledge is impossible to understand under the spell of ignorance, and to drive away such ignorance the Lord teaches the Bhagavad-gītā for the enlightenment of all living entities for all time.

This commentary is bordering on a dogma. And contrary to the essence of the teaching. The Sanskrit word that is used for ‘study’ in this verse is ‘dṛṣṭaḥ’ which means ‘observed’ and has very topical connotation in Quantum physics.

My own perception is from a more logical and scientific direction. Temporality is evoked in classifying the nature of the manifest and the unmanifest soul. The yardstick for benchmarking temporal to eternal lies in the very concept of time. There can be two approaches both of which will take us to the same conclusion.


Firstly, from observation all creations at the gross level have limited span of existence. While we humans may have a life span of 100 years, the very elements that make up this gross manifestations have a much longer existence. Take the Carbon 14 in our bones, it takes 5,730 years to decay by 50% of its original mass (this scientist call half-life). Now if we look at Uranium (U235), it has a half life of 703,800,000 years and the nucleus of the atom will decay in 1040 (10 followed by 40 zeros) years. As we enter the more subtle realm longer is the existence.

We also know through science that all this decay is not total disappearance but conversion to a more fundamental energy. At the very fundamental substratum there is only energy which scientist call Vacuum energy or Zero point energy. This is the consciousness field which is ever present and from which all evolve.

Secondly, time is a mental construct due to our position in a four dimensional Space-time. Today we have proof from the scientific research that for sub atomic particles from the same source, quantum entanglement is a reality or in other words everything that we observe and that which is beyond the senses are interconnected in multidimensional field where instant communication is taking place beyond space-time. This is due to the fact that all matter and energies of the universe are from a single source at the Big Bang and pre-existent.

From these studies a conclusion can be drawn that material nature is impermanent and the consciousness field which is the soul is ever present and eternal.

Love to you all

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