Dissecting Brahman-Atman Operational Theory (5)
October 16, 2016
EsoBites: Real I: The Master Within (11)
Today, we begin our discussion of the strength or surety of the ancient concepts of the Eternal Atman, One Soul, One Being, the ‘I AM THAT I AM’ which is associated with Brahman. Therefore, we look to the Vedas of India as conceptualized by both orthodox and heterodox sects of Hindu Philosophy.
Afterwards, we will discuss the concepts models offered in Deep Rosicrucianism.
As, I may have mentioned earlier, the most orthodox schools of the Vedas define Atman as, “Atman, ( Sanskrit: ‘self and breath’) in Hinduism is the original, eternal, universal self, identical with the eternal core of the personality that after death either transmigrates to a new life or attains release (moksha) from the bonds of existence. It is beyond time, imperishable, and all knowing.”
In other words, by conscious choice, Atman ‘fragments or divides’ Itself into pieces to be placed into each living creature, as hidden ‘points of permanence,’ or ‘apparent individual souls.’ This soul is not the same as the ego-personality, or persona set present and active within an individual. Generally, these psychoistically-introjected persona sets are termed, ‘apparent, false, or astral selves.’ The standard reason offered, as to why Atman fragments or divides Itself into smaller souls or monads is so to be experientially present in the manifest worlds. Moreover, Atman removes knowledge of Itself from each soul fragment. Such placement creating a Grand Play designed upon the theme of conscious creatures coming to realize that within lives a ‘sleeping Atman fragment’ which must be awaked so to return to its Original State of I-Consciousness. Apparently, Atman finds Its Play most entertaining.
It is interesting that the understanding of Brahman-Atman by the various orthodox schools is rather divergent, even for the Vedanta Schools. For instance, philosophical schools such as Advaita (non-dualism) see the “spirit, soul, self” within each living entity, as fully identical with Brahman – the Universal Soul. Advaita school holds that there is One Soul that connects and exists in all living beings, regardless of their shapes or forms, there is no distinction, no superior, no inferior, no separate devotee soul (Atman), no separate God soul (Brahman). The Oneness unifies all beings, there is divine in every being, and that all existence is a single Reality. In contrast, devotional sub-schools of Vedanta, such as Dvaita (dualism), differentiate the individual Atma in living beings and the Supreme Atma (Paramatma). This identification of individual living beings/souls, or jiva-atmas, with the ‘One Atman’ is the non-dualistic Advaita Vedanta position.
The monist, non-dualist view of existence in Advaita Vedanta is not accepted by the dualistic/theistic Dvaita Vedanta. Dvaita Vedanta calls the Atman of a Supreme Being as “Paramatman,” and holds it to be different from individual Atman. Dvaita scholars assert that God is the ultimate, complete, perfect but distinct Soul, one that is separate from incomplete, imperfect Jivas (individual souls). Advaita sub-school believes that Self-knowledge leads to liberation in this life, while Dvaita sub-school believes that liberation is only possible in the afterlife, as communion with God, and only through the grace of God (if not, then one’s Atman is reborn). God created individual souls, but the individual soul never was and never will become one with God; the best it can do is to experience bliss by getting infinitely close to God.
Other orthodox schools display various permutations of the above. For example, Ātman, in the ritualism-based Mīmā sā school of Hinduism, is an eternal, omnipresent, inherently active essence that is identified as I-Consciousness. Unlike all other schools of Hinduism, Mimamsaka scholars considered ego and Atman as identical.
The Nyaya schools defined Ātman as an imperceptible substance that is the substrate of human consciousness, manifesting itself with or without qualities such as desires, feelings, perception, knowledge, understanding, errors, insights, sufferings, bliss and others. Nyaya scholars went past beyond holding Atman as “self evident” and offered rational proofs, consistent with their epistemology, in their debates with Buddhists, that “Atman exists.” These scholars developed theories on what “Atman is and is not.” As proofs for the proposition “Self, Soul exists,” for example, Nyaya scholars argued that personal recollections and memories of the form, “I did this so many years ago” implicitly presume that “there is a Self that is substantial, continuing, unchanged and existent”
The Vaisheshika, using its non-theistic theories of atomistic naturalism, posits that Ātman is one of the four eternal non-physical substances without attributes, the other three being kala (time), dik (space) and manas (mind). Time and space, stated Vaiśe ika scholars, are eka (one), nitya (eternal) and vibhu (all pervading). Time and space are indivisible reality, but human mind prefers to divide them to comprehend past, present, future, relative place of other substances and beings, direction and its own coordinates in the universe. In contrast to these characteristics of time and space, Vaiśe ika scholars considered Ātman to be many, eternal, independent and spiritual substances that cannot be reduced or inferred from other three non-physical and five physical dravya (substances). Mind and sensory organs are instruments, while consciousness is the domain of “atman, soul, self”
This concept is not far removed from the existing Teachings of AMORC, as to the refinement of the soul-personality so to understand that it is only ‘one finger on the infinite Hand of the Cosmic Mind and the “I AM That I AM.” However, the Occidental point of view is that God produced the manifest worlds so to have pre- and post-conscious creatures to bestow Love upon and to enrich the Empyrean Worlds close to God.
Whether, the Rosicrucian view arose from contact with Indian philosophers or from the Neoplatonist concept of Nous (first emanation of God, regarded as the self-contemplating Mind and Order of the universe) is difficult to determine. For both Hellenic and Indian philosophers are known to have been in contact since approximately 500 BCE.
Sufficient for this post, tomorrow, we shall try to expound upon the Deep Rosicrucian view. As a reminder, keep in mind the Law of the Library at Babel–for fuller truths are found by removing mistaken views from current truths.