-Acharya Mahapragya, Dec 1, 2006, 12.00am IST
Take a lemon in your palm. You know that it is a lemon by seeing its colour and form. In darkness you can recognise it by its smell or by touching or tasting it. All physical objects are recognised by the sense-organs.
But the colour and form of the lemon are not the lemon. These are mere modifications of the lemon. Each sense-organ is capable of recognising only a single modification of an object.
What then is the object whose modifications alone are known by the sense organs? What is the real nature of objects? Scientists have come to know the particles of which things are made but the real nature of objects continues to evade them. Philosophers are also in search of the basic substance of the universe.
The universe is composed of waves and it is a modification of its original substance. that remains hidden in the waves and modification. The sense-organs which catch the waves and modifications are themselves modification of the substance or of its waves.
Each one of them can catch only a single modification of the substance. No sense-organ is capable of comprehending what lies behind the waves or modifications.
Therefore, what lies beyond remains a mystery. Some say that there is nothing beyond the waves. Both the knower and the known are themselves nothing but waves. The question as to what is beyond the waves is a wrongly framed question.
Breath is itself composed of waves. Living bodies are conglomeration of waves. We believe that our bodies are solid.
It is not so. We can perceive the subtle vibrations of our bodies by means of anityaanupreksha or contemplation on the transitory nature of things.
We think that our bones are solid. But bones have pores in them. A cork is a network of holes. A wall is composed of innumerable tiny particles.
Everywhere, each object has holes, pores or liquids. These modifications are so numerous that we cannot arrive at the basic substance of things. Like the human body, the mind and intellect are also a series of waves. Whatever we know through the medium of waves is composed of waves only.
The medium of knowledge determines the nature of the things known. In comprehending the waves we do not comprehend anything which is beyond the waves, beyond the modifications.
Unsurprisingly we have declared that there is no basic substance like the soul. The medium of knowledge mentioned above does not allow us to posit the existence of a substance beyond the comprehension of the mind.
But such a substance is the creation of mind itself. How can the mind comprehend that which is beyond it? The mind knows nothing except itself. Like a tape recorder, it communicates only that which has been recorded in it.
Unfortunately we have planted in the mind the idea that there are things beyond it, which it cannot comprehend. All evidence to prove the existence of a substance beyond the mind is a mental construct.
Meditation is also a wave of the mind and, therefore, it does not reveal anything beyond itself. We are so enmeshed in the world of modifications and waves that we are unable to see anything beyond.
It is our limitation which compels us to search for the soul and this is the starting point of spiritual quest. There are two things: Waves, which compose our knowledge and that which is beyond the waves. The starting point of spiritual quest lies between these two.