Nature of the Absolute – Part 3

Vedic metaphor suggests something like this: suppose an expansion of God-dess sleeps and dreams this world. God-dess’ dream creates a “reality” that goes on for billions of human years, measures billions of light years across, and seems so solid and captivating that some believe it is all that exists. Yet it is a dream, an illusion.

Cosmic Consciousness is higher than Undifferentiated Oneness in the hierarchy of manifestations as we understand the absolute, personal God-dess. Undifferentiated Oneness constitutes the basic reality underlying all concrete formations.

Cosmic Consciousness cognizes, controls, and regulates the concrete formations. From our perspective, Cosmic Consciousness implies a differentiated, qualified state of God-dess. Cosmic Consciousness is qualified in a limited sense as a partial manifestation of God-dess, who is qualified in endless ways. Cosmic Consciousness exists within the living beings and material nature, consciously maintaining all.

God-dess relates to conditioned living beings and nature through Cosmic Consciousness. God-dess creates the world and enters into it as Cosmic Consciousness. God-dess pervades, sustains, and regulates the living entities and the entire universe collectively and individually as Cosmic Consciousness.

God-dess possesses infinite energies, or modes of distinction, but from our perspective and level of understanding, the three most important are the spiritual energy, material energy, and the living entities. They inhere in the nature of God-dess. Spiritual energy constitutes the essence, or intrinsic self of God-dess, and forms the substratum of the entire transcendental world where God-dess displays transcendental forms and activities. Material energy relates externally to God-dess and causes the material world. It relates to God-dess in the sense that all energies ultimately inhere in God-dess. God-dess’ intrinsic, perfect selfhood transcends the duality of matter and exists totally free of its influence.

We perceive the material universe as a space-time manifestation. It appears real just as the world we inhabit in dream seems real, but when we wake up, we realize it was an illusion. We consider this waking world to be reality, but it is another level of illusory dream.

This does not mean we do not exist. We exist as eternal, individual spirits. The illusion is our false identification with our temporary, material body and its products. Even if life seems one big nightmare, it is good to know we can wake up and a better life awaits us.

God-dess’ consciousness pervades the entire material creation, which is God-dess’ dream. Everything is God-dess’ energy and nothing is separate from her-him. Therefore, everything is ultimately spiritual. Because we see things as separate from God-dess, they are called material. When we realize this is God-dess’ creation, simultaneously one and different from God-dess, and only God-dess exists, then we reach enlightenment. Then we remain awake within the dream. We know what’s what.

God-dess regulates and controls material energy through Cosmic Consciousness. Material energy, being unconscious, cannot function by itself. The three modes that set material energy in motion–goodness, passion, and ignorance–exist in a state of equilibrium before creation. According to the Vedic view, God-dess starts the process of creation by glancing at material nature, which disturbs its equilibrium and energizes it. This glance also impregnates material nature with the living entities as an expression of God-dess’ exuberant joy and love. Creation provides the entities an opportunity to consciously evolve and learn to relate with God-dess. Material creation is neither eternal nor unreal. It is real but subject to change and annihilation, unlike the transcendental abode of God-dess.

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God-dess pervades all as the ground of all being and cause of all causes. His-her presence in every atom, in every galaxy, in every rock, tree, and person sustains creation. God-dess keeps electrons spinning around the nucleus, stars orbiting in galaxies, and all creation alive with wonder. God-dess manifests as Cosmic Consciousness, and metaphorically speaking, the universe is her-his body.

God-dess remains intimately involved with creation and creatures, rather than a distant High God who set creation in motion and now lets it work according to natural laws with no further involvement. God-dess pervades all as the all-knowing and all-loving Cosmic Consciousness, but not as the all powerful controller.

God-dess is incredibly close and immanent. We can talk to God-dess. She-he hears, knows, feels, and experiences our lives along with us. God-dess talks to us and guides us on the path of life. God-dess remains a constant presence with us. We are free to acknowledge God-dess’ presence and follow God-dess’ guidance or not.

The living entities share God-dess’ spiritual nature but live in the material nature until they are ready to fully enter the spiritual realm. The more we learn to experience God-dess and consciously live in the material world responsibly, the more we spiritually evolve. God-dess uses persuasive attractiveness to entice all beings to the spiritual world to experience the fullness of their existence.

The Vrindaban Goswamins describe the spiritual energy as subdivided into three energies, which correspond to existence, consciousness, and bliss. By the existential energy, God-dess maintains his-her own existence and the existence of other beings. By means of this energy, God-dess exists as an independent substance and forms the ground or support of all other things, which derive their existence from God-dess. The conscious energy makes God-dess omniscient and enables her-him to impart knowledge to others.


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