Thursday, 21 June 2012

Whitehead meets Bhagwan Hamsa on Mount Kailas

This misapprehension is promoted by the neglect of the principle that, so far as physical relations are concerned, contemporary events happen in causal independence of each other.  This principle will have to be explained later, in connection with an examination of process and of time.  It receives an exemplification in the character of our perception of the world of contemporary actual entities.  That contemporary world is objectified for us as 'realitas objectivas', illustrating bare extension with its various parts discriminated by differences of sense data.  These qualities, such as colours, sounds, bodily feelings, tastes, smells, together with the perspectives introduced by extensive relationships, are the relational eternal objects whereby the contemporary actual entities are elements in our constitution.  This is the type of objectification which (in Sec. VII of the previous chapter has been termed 'presentational objectification'.
(from Process and Reality by A.N. Whitehead. Chap. II: The Extensive Continuum

From Sankara's commentary on the Brihadaranyaka Upanisad II.iv.11:
Objection: In everyone of these instances the mergence of the objects only has been spoken of, but not that of the organs.  What is the motive for this?
Reply: True, but the Sruti considers the organs to be of the same category as the objects, not of a different category.  The organs are but modes of the objects in order to perceive them, as a lamp, which is but a mode of colour, is an instrument for revealing all colours.  Similarly, the organs are but modes of all particular objects in order to perceive them, as is the case with a lamp.  Hence no special care is to be taken to indicate the dissolution of the organs; for these being the same as objects in general, their dissolution is implied by that of the objects. 
I place these citations together to show that the dissolution of the subjective point of view arrived at by the progressive absorption of lower perspectives into higher ones, brings in its train the monistic condition of pure self-awareness, "one without a second".  According to Whitehead the natural awareness of the subject is an atomised one because "The notion of a direct 'idea'  (or 'feeling') of an actual entity is a presupposition of all common sense." (P&R)  From that bare pre-theoretic intuition Whitehead concludes:
Some real component in the objectified entity assumes the role of being how that particular entity is a datum in the experience of the subject.
All actual entities are open to all other actual entities in a philosphy of organism. In short to divest the essential insight of the bewildering prolixity of Whiteheadian categories - everything is open to everything else and this openness is limited by the nature of each entity. But what is an entity? It is from our subjective point of view, according to the evolved interests of the human being, that we divide the world. Ecology has taught us, that, although these are natural to us, Nature continuously draws back into seamless unity the pieces we have cut out of the whole.

I believe that I can connect these two citations, not by an easy assimilation but by the  telescoping that is a feature of both.  In the way that actual entities are in each other according to the rubric of their eternal objects, do I dare to call them limiting adjuncts, so are the limiting adjuncts/upadhis successively dissolved.  as described in the experience of the sage on Mount Kailas.  That this is merely a fanciful connection with the philosophy of organism must be countered by the remark of Whitehead’s in Process and Reality:
This conception of an actual entity in the fluent world is little more than an expansion of a sentence in the Timaeus “But that which is conceived by opinion with the help of sensation and without reason, is always in the process of becoming and perishing and never really is.” Bergson in his protest against ‘spatialization’ is only echoing Plato’s phrase “and never really is”.

The words of the sage Bhagwan Hamsa on Mount Kailas mirrors the progressive dissolution of the stages between becoming and being:

Here my Manas merged into Antahkarana (heart); the antahkarana with the Manas merged into Chitta (mind-stuff); the Chitta along with Antahkarana and Manas merged into Buddhi (intellect); the Buddhi with Chitta, Antahkarana and Manas merged into Ahankar (egoism); and the Ahankar along with Buddhi, Chitta, Antahkarana and Manas merged into Absolute Brahma! I found myself reflected everywhere in the whole Universe! It was all one harmony - full of wisdom, Infinite Love Perennial and Bliss Eternal! Where was the body, its tenements and the ‘I’! It was all Satchitananda. (Truth, Wisdom, Bliss).
(from The Holy Mountain by Bhagwan Shri Hamsa)

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