Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Three Monks

Shankar : Brethren, this debate which I am having with you exists only as an appearance in the sphere of individuated consciousness. The consciousness which pervades the phenomenal universes is one unified essence. The first dream is of my being Shankar and the projection of that dream is your being Ramanuj and Madhav in the primary dream of the imaginary being conveniently named ‘Shankar’. The consciousness within which the unitary essence appears as three distinct individuals having a heated discussion on the fundamental nature of being is holistic.

Madhav : You are engaged in a cunning play with words! How can the object ever be perceived unless it has an existence, distinct from the perceiver? I see food and eat it to sate my hunger. If I, the food and the process of eating are one and the same, I should be just as happy without having to eat the food. That , however, would lead to hunger and ultimately starvation. If you consider reality to be unified, whu don’t you eat burning coals instead of cooked rice?

Shankar : Brother, give me burning coals and I would eat them for they are That. And I am That!

Madhav : You may have some special yogic power to digest what is inedible for the common populace. Yet, that doesn’t apply to the multitude. Besides such a trick can hardly be ground for inferring the unity of the perceiver and the perceived. If you are what I too am, why don’t you express vedantic aphorisms through my mouth
? I challenge you to do that. It is my distinct personality which allows me to have a differential grasp on the perceived world.

Shankar : I would say you are that part of my being, which is still ignorant of its fundamental nature!

Madhav : How impertinent!

Ramanuj : Venerable Shankar, how do you account for the deep devotion which the soul naturally feels for a perfect personal God. Can such a pure emotion arise for an imaginary being? A Supreme being of perfect divinity would be necessary for inspiring such love.

Shankar : The love is the natural desire of the ‘individuated’ to merge into its true unified essence. No external being can ever inspire my love. A lover loves his beloved for he sees his own essence in her, he loves her for differential expression of his own intimate essence.

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