Duality and Non-duality and the two factors!

God and Creation – the two dichotomies can be seen in one of two ways – as separate or as one. Most of the world views it in the first paradigm – i.e., they are two separate entities. That is where the Duality vs Non-duality schools of religion and spirituality come in.

Duality school, in its attempt to formulate a "world view" will necessarily have to create a third entity in order to "explain" the workings of the creation for if one was to look at everything as it exists in real terms then there is very little to say how man (soul) and nature would be same – hence they are different in basic terms! However, within their individual realms – these two "sub-worlds" have the same mechanisms and same "dough" or existence! Interestingly, the very "Realists" who debunk the theory of One-ness between the basic "material" of creation (which is wave energy – no such thing as matter exists at the lowest level of creation or primordial level) and Human/beings; suddenly start using the abstraction of similarity and "one-ness" within the limited confines of the two realms of Nature and Soul! Now, if the dissimilarity between Nature and Soul that was so visually evident to the dualists in real world was indeed the Truth, then how could that property suddenly be abandoned within these two subsections? By the same token, there would be a distinct entity for every species – indeed every creature and piece of animate and inanimate object!! But the dualist rejoices in a mish-mash of selectively picking one concept and trashing it at another juncture to make believe himself that he is right! Dualism is a classic example of the situation where the coffin is created first and then the body is "trimmed" to fit into it.

Also read:  What is Meditation?

Non-duality school puts forward a "world view" where it says that at the most basic level every part of creation is "made" out of the same material! Its configuration of this material in different forms decides the created. And this basic material itself is non-different from its origin. The property of manifestation is what makes the existence of this basic material evident. For if there was no manifestation or an observer.. then what is to say that the "basic material" was even "created"!!? Therefore, there is NO difference between the basic building block of the creation as it "stands alone" and the Origin or the Creator! This is, the main import of a non-dualist at the most basic level.

However, the view of the non-dualist is fraught with one major weakness. Why would something manifest in that basic material? Did the basic material have a "choice"? That is a question that is difficult to conceive an answer for.. and one that has never been answered satisfactorily ever! I presume because it can never be answered by a created who sees oneself as "separate" from others in creation – without any regard for the underlying sub-atomic property of all the created entities! Only when one could get to "see" and "feel" at the sub-atomic level could one understand the nature of that basic material!

At the material and worldly level the reason why this scenario is difficult to even entertain is because to satisfactorily explain this scenario one has to come up with an explanation of this basic material that is shrouded in contradictory terms. That it is something that has manifest or created every thing – since everything is "of" it… yet it is neither affected nor party to the rise and destruction of the "created"! So while it is the basic material of all creation it is yet… not subject to the same rules! Something like a person having a dream.. I have a dream in which "a world" arises and gets destroyed due to and "in" me.. yet the destruction of everything in that dream has NO affect on "me" the dreamer. But while the dream lasts, it is “real” both, to me as well as the “actors” who act and react spontaneously (off of their “own” script and partly from my “script” as I change my dream!)!

Therefore, most non-dualists came up with TWO seemingly contradictory terms to explain the phenomenon of "God" or this basic material – Transcendence and Immanence! Given below is a discussion on both.

The discussion starts with Om or Omkar, because out of Om comes the basics of the origin.. Om is Transcendence and Kar is Immanent.

Description of Omkar
The word ‘O-ankaar’ denotes that God manifests Himself ceaselessly throughout His Creation in diverse forms, features and colours, and in this way becomes knowable to man. But, in spite of manifesting Himself diversing, God remains One; He remains Immanent in His Creation, while at the same time remaining Transcendent. This God is at once One and Many implying Unity in Diversity. Kapur Singh suggests Oan = Transcedent, -kar = Immanent. The Mandukopanishad defines the word as: "That which was, is, will be, is all Onkar. And that which triple transcends is Onkar too."

– derived from the Latin in manere "to remain within", refers to philosophical and metaphysical theories of the divine as existing and acting within the mind or the world. This concept generally contrasts or coexists with the idea of transcendence.
– Of a mental act performed entirely within the mind; "a cognition is an immanent act of mind"

In worship, a believer in immanence might say that one can find God wherever one seeks Him. This understanding is often used in Hinduism to describe the relationship of Brahman or the Cosmic Being, to the material world. (i.e., monistic theism). Hinduism posits Brahman as both transcendent and immanent – varying emphasis on either quality is made by the different philosophies/denominations within the religion. Immanence is one of the five key concepts in Druze, and is represented by the color white. Scholars such as Henry David Thoreau, who popularised the concept of immanence, were influenced by Hindu views.

Is a condition or state of being that surpasses, and is independent of, physical existence.

Transcendence is described and viewed from a number of diverse perspectives within Hinduism and it’s multi-faceted scriptural metaphysics. Some traditions such as advaita view transcendence in the form of ‘God’ as the Brahman Nirguna (God without attribute–indeed even without "god-ness"), transcendence being absolute. Other traditions such as bhakti yoga view transcendence as God with attributes – Brahman Sarguna, the Absolute being a personal deity (Ishvara) such as Vishnu or Rama.

Within the Bhagavad Gita transcendence is described as a level of spiritual attainment, or state of being which is open to all spiritual aspirants as the goal of yoga practice. The state at which one is no longer under the control of animalistic base desires and is aware of a higher spiritual reality.

  • "When the yogī, by practice of yoga, disciplines his mental activities and becomes situated in transcendence — devoid of all material desires — he is said to be well established in yoga." BG 6.18

The exact nature of this transcendence is given as being ‘above the modes of material nature’, which are known as gunas (ropes) which bind the living entity to the world of samsara (repeated rebirth) within Hindu philosophy. (See BG 14.22-25)

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