Simultaneous Oneness and Difference

Philosophical thought regarding the relation between God-dess and humans, God-dess and the world of finite experience, noumena and phenomena, follows two main lines. Some emphasize basic distinction between infinite and finite and believe in the absolute transcendence of one over the other. Others emphasize identity between them and believe in God-dess’ immanent presence in the human spirit and the world of experience.

Both lines of thought contain strengths and weaknesses. We need both for an adequate, full explanation of the situation. God-dess reconciles beliefs of identity and difference in a higher synthesis outlined by Krishna Chaitanya and developed by his followers like Jiva Goswami.

Simultaneous oneness and difference encourages a high tolerance for ambiguity like quantum theory. Rather than either/or, it is both/and, which gives much room for complementary perspectives and differing interpretations. Chaitanyaism is a diverse heterodoxy despite efforts of certain camps to establish an orthodoxy. Nevertheless, ambiguity is fundamental to the spiritual quest for that which remains unknowable in our present state of existence.

Transcendence and immanence exist as associated aspects of an inherent unity in God-dess, as a form of panentheism. The immanent aspect of God-dess called Cosmic Consciousness exists simultaneously with God-dess’ full splendor of infinite perfection, potencies, and attributes transcending all finite things. Cosmic Consciousness regulates and observes the actions of the finite souls and unifies all things. This is symbolic language used to help us comprehend God-dess’ omnipresence and fullness of knowledge. God-dess exists as the blissful, personal absolute above and beyond the world of our senses. God-dess simultaneously pervades the universe in a hidden form in which all beings exist. He-she supports all, yet exists beyond all as the source of everything.

God-dess remains simultaneously different from the world and identical with it. God-dess creates the world from him-herself and remains separate. Identity and difference paradoxically exist simultaneously.

Simultaneous oneness and difference applies not only to God-dess and his-her energies, but to all objects and their energies. God-dess appears in many forms but remains one. God-dess’ sports, names, and forms are simultaneously different and non-different. Even the various parts of God-dess’ body are one and different. Each part can carry out the functions of the other parts and of the whole. The part is identical with the whole, but still a part, thus different from the whole.

God-dess’ form remains inconceivable because it is infinite and immeasurable, mostly beyond our conception. The Vedic scriptures describe God-dess:

as “the greatest of the great” and “the smallest of the small,” as “one who moves and yet moves not,” as “one who is far as well as near, immanent as well as transcendent,” and as one who does not have the mind or sense organs like ours and yet performs all the functions of these. (Kapoor 156)

God-dess paradoxically indicates union of the opposite ideas of difference and non-difference leading to a higher, fuller unity. This means perfection, or the ability to encompass all extremes of experiencing reality. God-dess’ potency reconciles transcendence with immanence and maintains her-his fullness in relation to the material world by reconciling real difference with real identity. This pertains to God-dess, the living entities, and nature, as well as to all energies and their possessor.

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