SPIRITUALITY SCIENCE – ESSENCE – IDENTITY – UNITY – EXISTENCE:
There is no ‘Essence’, there is no ‘Identity’, and there is no ‘Existence’ of man if there is no ‘Unity’ between the three fundamental orders called 1. God, 2. Soul, and 3. Matter. The Sanskrit word “ASMI” stands for ‘Unity’ or “EIKYATA” of the three fundamental orders. I want to invite my readers to join me in a discussion to interpret the terms Essence, Identity, Unity, and Existence that appear in the Indian Holy Scriptures and are variously interpreted by the major Indian Schools of Thought known as ‘Advaita'(Unqualified Non-Dualism), ‘Visistadvaita'(Qualified Non-Dualism), and ‘Dvaita'(Dualism).
Adi Shankara held that the Divine Soul or Paramatma, and the individual soul or Jeevatma are identical or the same. He did not account for the existence of his human body. He was satisfied by claiming that his human body does not describe his true or real identity or essence. In his view, the material world including the appearance of man is deceptive for it is the product of Illusion.
Ramanuja held the view that God is modified by the orders of Matter and Soul. He stated that the Soul is modified by the body for the body has no separate existence from its Soul. Similarly, the Soul modifies God for it has no separate existence apart from God. His aim was to achieve Soul’s Union with a Personal God. He had not accounted for the existence of the living human being whose Body, and Soul have no separate existence without maintaining Unity with God.
Madhva maintained that the simple fact that things are transient and ever changing does not mean that they are not real. He rejected Shankara’s Theory of Maya or Illusion but, at the same time he may have failed to acknowledge that the phenomenon of Illusion could be an important basis for the reality of man’s existence on the surface of a very fast spinning object like Earth. Man’s existence demands a blissful state of ignorance of the realities of motion of planet Earth while he synchronizes his existence taking the cues from Sun’s apparent motions across the sky that generate the experience of Sunrise and Sunset.
Aitareya Upanishad claims that Consciousness is God or Brahman and it states that all existence is supported by Consciousness. To that extent, Consciousness can be defined as the awareness of the fact of one’s own Existence. In my view, the ‘Essence’ and ‘Identity’ of a thing can be described if, and only if the thing had a past ‘Existence’, or is existing in the present, or has the potential ability to exist in the future. Essence and Identity are predetermined by the requirement called ‘Existence’.
If the universe is accounted by three distinct or separate orders such as God(“BRAHMAN”), Soul(“ATMAN”), and Matter, man represents the single, harmonious effect called ‘Unity’ or “ASMI.” The terms such as Soul or “ATMAN”, or “JEEVATMA” may have to be used to explain the fact of ‘Unity’ and the manifestation called ‘Existence’ by which the thing called “I” gets its name, and form, becomes differentiated and can be recognized as “I AM.” I want to categorically claim that it will be of no help or use if terms such as Soul, Atman, and Jeevatma are narrowly defined to simply describe the Essence or Identity of man. I would like to direct this discussion towards the importance of ‘Unity’ or of the term “ASMI” which means always present, and ever existing. Thus ‘Existence’ becomes the defining feature or chief attribute of all things and without the fact or reality called ‘Existence’, no truth can be known, and things have no Identity or Essence.
MY IDENTITY – MY CONNECTION – REBBAPRAGADA – KASTURI – SARVEPALLI – CONNECTION:
I am able to recognize and describe the ‘Identity’ of my maternal grandfather and his brothers for man always comes into existence with an original form, and gets a name for it can be clearly differentiated from all other men. My maternal grandfather’s younger brother was married to Mrs. Rukmini, daughter of Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. This ‘Connection’ with Sarvepalli family is important for several reasons. Most of my readers of this blog post in India can easily identify the person who existed as Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. He served as India’s first Vice President for two consecutive terms from 1952 to 1962, and served as India’s second President from May 13, 1962 to May 13, 1967. Apart from being a statesman, Dr. Radhakrishnan is recognized as an Indian philosopher and had published 56 books. His most popular books are Indian Philosophy, two-volumes and The Principal Upanishads(1953).
Man must understand what it is to be a Substance and what it is to Exist. The Indian traditional thoughts about man tend to divide man into two categories; 1. The Sentient Soul or the Conscious Being, and 2. The Insentient or the Physical Being that is unreal, constantly changing, perishable, and leads a mortal, transient, or evanescent existence.
The above statement that claims that the universe consists of a combination of the perishable and imperishable may need further clarification. It cannot be entirely true for the Chemical Elements that constitute Physical Matter cannot be destroyed or they are imperishable. Indian tradition describes man as “DEHA”, the physical body which is often compared to an empty vessel or house which is distinct, and separate from an entity called “DEHE”, or “DEHINAH”, the indweller, the embodied being, the tenant who occupies a place of dwelling or residence. The indweller of the physical human body is identified as Soul, Atman, or Jeevatma. This separation of Body/Mind, and its Soul into unrelated, or independent entities poses huge problems if I have to account for the physical reality of man’s Subjective and Objective Existence in the present world, the world that exists today as a self-evident truth.
Man’s existence in the world begins with the act called ‘Conception’, the Union of the originating Principle or Seed with Egg Cell. In the Divine Song of The Bhagavad Gita, Chapter X, verse #39, Lord Krishna claims that He is the Originating Seed of all types of Existence and hence it must be understood that the fact of Existence requires an Original Cause, an Original Purpose, and an Originating Seed or Principle.
If God is viewed as the fosterer of the People, and if God is explained as the Originating Seed that accounts for man’s existence, God, and man’s physical body cannot be separated into separate parts.
For God(Brahman) is defined as the ‘First Cause’, man’s physical existence can be accounted as the single, harmonious “Effect” of that Original Cause that brings Unity between the three orders called God, Soul, and Matter.
Man’s physical existence begins with the stage called ‘ZYGOTE’, the fertilized human ovum or Egg Cell. This single cell grows, multiplies, and fully differentiates to develop all the tissues, organs, and organ systems that are parts of the human body. The human body is the “Effect” of an Originating Seed, and cannot be considered as an empty vessel or an empty dwelling that is apart from its resident or indweller.
The Single, Fertilized Egg Cell is conscious of its own existence and the developing Embryo on its sixth day of existence implants itself into the tissues of Mother’s womb to secure its own further existence.
The Newborn Baby always arrives into the world with an original, unique, distinct, and one of its own kind of genome that has never existed in the past, and will never exist again in the future. Every man who is born can only exist as an Individual with Individuality. Every man can be identified as a specific individual. The Law of Generation and Propagation is based on the principle of Creation that always causes the production of original objects that cannot be further duplicated. For man’s form, and appearance is always associated with differentiation, man’s identity can be easily described by attaching a proper name.
The word ‘Essence'(Latin. Essentia) describes that something which makes an entity what it is; intrinsic, fundamental nature, the most important quality of something to constitute its essential being. Essence is used to describe the inward nature of anything that is important to know its manifestations that can be physically observed. The word ‘Spirit’ or ‘Soul’ are often used to describe the ‘true’ or unchanging principle of man for man’s physical identity is not constant. The term ‘Identity'(Latin. idem) means the same(Sanskrit. idam). The Latin word identitas is related to Latin. essentitas and hence Identity and Essence are always related and they help to know the thing or entity that they describe. Identity is about the condition or fact of being the same, or exactly alike, sameness or oneness. In modern times, identity is about the condition or fact of being a specific person or thing. Whereas the term ‘Individuality’ describes the sum of characteristics or qualities that set one person or thing apart from others. Individuality is the condition of the Individual who exists as a single, separate, or particular thing. For man, his Individuality sets him apart from all other men. The term ‘Existence'(Latin. existere, or exsistere) is about the act of existing, the state, or the fact, or the reality of actual being. Existence demands that the thing or entity must come forth, stand forth, to manifest, living, or being alive. The term ‘Unity’ implies the state of being united to make something complete in itself, the quality or fact of being a totality or ‘Whole’. Unity is used to signify a Complex, the product of a Union of related parts, or an arrangement of parts that will produce a single, harmonious effect. Unity is thus concerned about the ‘Effect’ it generates while a thing could be made up of diverse elements or individuals. For human body is constituted by trillions of Individual, and Independent Living Units called Cells, the ‘Effect’ called ‘Unity’ is of fundamental importance to know man’s ‘Essence’, or ‘Identity’ that is manifested by his ‘Existence.