“When there was neither aught nor naught, when darkness was covering darkness, what existed then? That Akasha existed without motion.” The physical motion of the Prana was stopped, but it existed all the same.
Says Vivekananda in his lecture on Prana. Prana is the manifestation. Akash is the canvas – the Universal Consciousness – which manifests the creation. Now, Vasistha has another take on this relationship. To him Prana is no different than the wave of the ocean and Akash is the ocean. Is it different? Is the movement in Akash separate from Akash itself?
Why do I bring this up? I have seen time and again that we confuse between Prana and Chetna. Chetna, conceptually, is NOT the same as Prana. Being manifested does not necessarily lend itself to Enlightenment or Spiritual freedom (“chetna”). In fact, I would argue that one that is manifested or defined can never experience Chetna!
In a lot of the Vedic and Hindu sects – as well as other religions and philosophies – the professed ideologies have completely missed this distinction. On the one hand, many talk of monotheism and deny “forms” for God – throwing around reasons that God defined by form* is a God limited and then also that He is the ultimate consciousness and is infinite but in all this completely miss the linkage between infinity and consciousness and how form is the result of definition itself!!
* Well, to me form or no-form is the most nonsensical and useless argument.. for as long as you have “defined” a God, you have confined “It” – even assigning a gender is definition.. but then (borrowing from Ghalib) Dil ke behlane ko Ghalib yeh “form” ka khayal accha hai! Contextualising is the first step to Form – ask any artist or a poet! Ask a sculptor if he can differentiate between his imagination and his sculpture?
Consciousness is really speaking not higher or lower. It is. Differentiation is predicated on a boundary and a boundary is the building block of a form.
Reverse Engineering these linkages: If there is no form.. then there is no boundary… and so there is no differentiation and vice versa. Now, given our daily experience and looking from “this side” of glass, one can clearly see the differentiation, right? If so and taking one’s experience in the realm of senses as the only guide and based on that ridiculing monism one says that there is no One but multiple. In that act one makes a complete mockery of the word infinite. Is confining Infinity really Infinity? Well, I cannot perceive Infinite but there are so and so “Infinite” entities! Now, is such distribution of an award called “Infinity” – callously – any different from creating idols and saying they are infinite Gods? Idols are no different from a Defined Infinity. The concept and its use is EXACTLY the same!
When you talk of Infinite you cannot play with its completeness or universality. And if you respect its holisticity then you have to understand that Consciousness is – conceptually – Complete and Whole. And THAT is Chetna. Living is manifestation. Living does not end with Death, for body is the NOT the only way one is living. With Death, Prana has not rested… the “Soul” has not come to a halt. Only its grosser manifestation ends. That is why, Death is NOT the antonym of Living. Livings encompasses Death and beyond. There is a higher “Death”, if you will – the death or the quitening of the Prana… the end of “Living”. THAT is the realm of consciousness.
Now, look at creation again. What is there that is not conscious? What is there that is conscious? Or in the Vedic terms – what is that which is Chetan and what is that which is Jad? I have never seen, experienced or talked to a thing, feeling, entity or person that I can call consciousness?
In the realm of world and creation there is nothing that you can characterize as “Conscious”. So where is it? Or is there such a thing? If Prana – or the basic life-giving force is not consciouness… if matter is not consciousness.. if the limited manifestations are not consciousness or Chetna then how can it be “Infinite”? Unless everything is Consciousness or Chetna – and a manifestation of the Chetna is all this creation? Quite clearly one cannot play it both ways!
Do you see the contradictions in how we perceive the words – Infinity, Consciousness, Creation, Form, Monotheism/Polytheism (If God is omnipresent then how can Monotheism be different from Polytheism? If One is God, what is the other, when that One is omnipresent?!), Monism and Salvation? Religion and ideologies have bastardized the foundation of spiritual awakening and still have the impunity of promising freedom. Religion has used the riff-raff thinking to create followers and followers need a way. A way that is peculiar and between these protagonists above, one can create a new combination of Goals, Tools, and Aspirations. But do these combinations – nonsensical and inconsistent as they are – solve the issue? Does it help us appreciate and experience the nakedness … the ruthless Universality and the completeness of the Infinite?
In order to provide a way to Consciousness, all religions, Saints and Prophets have bastardized their prophesed goal with amazing and sickening non-chalance!