Dr. Vijai S Shankar MD.PhD.
Published on www.acadun.com
6th September 2009
“Not of substance”
The word emptiness does the rounds in spirituality. It denotes the state to be in and drives many an individual to achieve the state of emptiness. It is proclaimed that the state of emptiness is separate from the world that is apparently filled. Every religion mentions emptiness either emphatically or subtly.
The world, that is supposedly filled, is believed to be the cause of misery, worries, anxiety and sadness, besides many other undesirable feelings. It is further believed that even the desirable feelings need to be absent in order to attain the state of emptiness.
This proposition attracts the individual to hanker for the state of emptiness. Many spiritual techniques and regimes, if practised, promise man the state of emptiness.
Sounds very attractive indeed to the ego, and a compulsive desire to attain the state of emptiness grips the mind. But could the ego recognise the state of emptiness?
The ego just cannot recognise emptiness. Therefore, those who have propagated this state have obviously realised the state of emptiness, otherwise why would they propagate it?
They would not for that would be deceiving people further than they already are. So a clear understanding of the state of emptiness is required. Man believes that a state of emptiness exists, and it is not the state he is in already every moment.
But man has not enquired about the feasibility of a state of emptiness. Of course, the knowledge of a state of emptiness makes man proud and so he is compelled to continue believing in its existence.
The point to consider is, if the state of emptiness does exist outside this world, which does exist, what would be the nature of its existence? It is believed that the state of emptiness implies enlightenment or soul.
The soul or enlightenment is within man and in every moment there is. Enlightenment or the soul is, however, a timeless and thoughtless state, and is accordingly a state of emptiness. But the soul is present within man and man is in this world, which he believes is not empty.
Every moment is enlightened for the soul is present in every moment and needs to be to keep the moment alive. The moment is all there is, and this moment is alive and this moment is timeless and thoughtless and, therefore, empty.
In the moment the mind is absent because the moment is timeless and thoughtless. This can only mean that the moment is the state of emptiness. If the moment in which man is alive is the state of emptiness, which he desires, it means that the moment cannot have anything of substance within it.
Anything made of substance cannot exist in the moment because the moment is the state of emptiness, and substance cannot exist in a state of emptiness. This would imply that the moment wherein man is alive is the state of emptiness, which he so desires.
But the moment is not without substance, and so man believes. Science, however, holds another view. Science has made it known that everything in life is actually a state of energy, including the substance that man believes exists.
Just as those who proclaimed the existence of the state of emptiness need to be respected, so too the scientific declaration of the existence of substance as energy needs to be respected.
In fact, both proclaim the same for energy is light and therefore empty, as is the state of emptiness. Emptiness means nothing of substance, and the world is just that - empty as empty can be.
If the world is indeed empty, the world of substance needs to be an optical illusion and it is just that – an optical illusion. To emphasise this point, man needs to consider that substance would require space and time to exist.
Let the factor of time be considered first. If man appeared on earth after elements, matter, vegetation and animal kingdom, and this is what man believes, for every religion known to man proclaims it to be so, including those who support the theory of evolution, this would mean that time existed before man to accommodate the fundamental five elements, matter, vegetation and the animal kingdom. This assumption would pose certain improbabilities.
How could vegetation, let alone animal kingdom, appear without man being around to plant a seed? How could the first animal have taken birth? God would be needed to make them appear, but does God exist in time?
Certainly not, and even if God existed in the moment when the five elements, matter, vegetation and animal kingdom were created, God would need to be present in every moment for God is everywhere, and He needs to be, to maintain not only the moment but also everything in it.
If God were everywhere and in the moment, it would mean emptiness is present in every moment. If God is present in every moment and the world is of substance, then God certainly cannot be compassionate, considering what happens to substance in the moment. Therefore, the state of emptiness is contradicted even though God would be present in the moment.
It is neither God nor man who could have planted the first seed or made the first animal appear. It would be ridiculous to consider the prospect of man creating an animal.
Therefore, time did not come before man; time appeared with man as soon as the mind appeared and sophisticated to accommodate time as a thought. Since time cannot be separated from space, it only means that space too is a thought as would be the five elements, matter, vegetation, animals and man.
Since life is not of substance, for energy is all there is in life, the world, man and everything in the world needs to be an optical illusion of light, which is energy, and it is just that.
The mind with all its actions, situations, events, problems and solutions, spiritual practices and the entire knowledge is an auditory illusion of sound and needs to be just that. It is that, for a word is just a sound that man makes but appears as a word.
Everything that appears in this world is an optical illusion of light and everything that is known or heard is an auditory illusion of sound. The world is the emptiness which he so longs for.
The world is emptiness for substance is absent in the world. Substance is just a thought and not physically real. The moment man understands the illusory mind, he begins to admire the emptiness in which he lives, with its magnanimous optical and auditory illusion that gets manifested every moment, spontaneously, uncontrollably and unpredictably.
Understand that emptiness is a mirror in which man and the world is reflected.
© Copyright 2009 V. S. Shankar