Richard Kerr <R.Kerr@perspolicy.usyd.edu.au> wrote: >firstname.lastname@example.org (Madhudvisa dasa ) wrote: >>You say you are not a "thing" but are a "process". But whatever you are >>you are a "person". That is clear. Therefore you say a person is not a >>thing... I don't know about this. >You've got what I'm saying straight. There's (at least) two ways of >existing. There is absolute existence, where something has intrinsic >existence, like, say, a drawing pin. Then there is contingent existence, >where the thing in question depends on the existence of other things. All material ideas are relative to something else. That is how they are defined. There is no meaning to heat without cold, there is no meaning to summer without winter, there is no meaning to the concept of "drawing pin" without the concept of a drawing and a pin! There is no meaning to "drawing" without the idea of "paper" and "pencil"... Ultimately all we see here in the material world is but the arrangement of many small particles, all alike, arranged in different ways. Everything is relative to everything else. Nothing is independent. So a drawing pin is not absolute. But you, the spirit soul, are absolute and God is absolute. That is the qualitative difference between matter and spirit. Matter is relative and spirit is absolute... >Trivially, all the things we normally encounter exist contingently upon >the atoms of which they are composed, but there can be more to the story >than that too. Yes. More or less what I said above. >The thing that I consider to be "me" only exists >contingently. NO. The soul is absolute, spiritual and non-material. It can't be quantified in material terms, because it's not material, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. >there is no eternal (absolutely existing) thing that I can >point to and say "That is me. That is the essence of me." You may not be able to point to it but it is there. kesagra-sata-bhagasya satamsah sadrsatmakah jivah suksma-svarupo 'yam sankhyatito hi cit-kanah "There are innumerable particles of spiritual atoms, which are measured as one ten-thousandth of the upper portion of the hair." Therefore, the individual particle of spirit soul is a spiritual atom smaller than the material atoms, and such atoms are innumerable. This very small spiritual spark is the basic principle of the material body, and the influence of such a spiritual spark is spread all over the body as the influence of the active principle of some medicine spreads throughout the body. This current of the spirit soul is felt all over the body as consciousness, and that is the proof of the presence of the soul. Any layman can understand that the material body minus consciousness is a dead body, and this consciousness cannot be revived in the body by any means of material administration. Therefore, consciousness is not due to any amount of material combination, but to the spirit soul. In the Mundaka Upanisad (3.1.9) the measurement of the atomic spirit soul is further explained: eso 'nur atma cetasa veditavyo yasmin pranah pancadha samvivesa pranais cittam sarvam otam prajanam yasmin visuddhe vibhavaty esa atma "The soul is atomic in size and can be perceived by perfect intelligence. This atomic soul is floating in the five kinds of air (prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana), is situated within the heart, and spreads its influence all over the body of the embodied living entities. When the soul is purified from the contamination of the five kinds of material air, its spiritual influence is exhibited." (From Srila Prabhupada's purport of Bhagavad-gita 10.17) >Danny's challenge (if I can answer it here, Danny) is that the process >of interaction between the components of the instantaneous me is still a >thing. Well, I suppose if you wish to call a process that has no >independent existence, no mass for instance, Mass is a relative thing. The soul is absolute. We have difficulty conceiving something which is absolute because there is no experience through our senses. Our senses experience relative things. So many try to deny the existence of the soul... It cannot be materially "seen" but that does not mean it doesn't exit. >a "thing" then I am that >sort of thing. I am a "thing" in the same way that a clap is a thing. A clap is a material, relative thing. The soul is absolute. >(But only if you clap with one hand in a forest while nobody else is >around to hear it.) That's not the common-or-garden definition of >"thing", you know. That's another of those Buddhist things which elevates the conversation to a purely esoteric level... Perhaps by meditating on such things one can conceive of something absolute, something not relative... But generally Buddhists come to the conclusion there is nothing, the void, nirvana... >>What survives death and carries on to the next body is the soul. It is you >>actually. Perhaps you are calling the soul a "process"? >Maybe. We haven't agreed on the definition of 'soul' yet, and I haven't >heard a good one anywhere else either. I quoted one earlier in this post. The soul is a tiny absolute spiritual particle which is part and parcel of the Supreme Spiritual Person. It is sitting on the life-airs within the body (generally in the heart) and its symptom is consciousness. The proof of something existing apart from the material elements is the consciousness and the very obvious transformation of the body at the time of "death" [the soul leaving the body]. If there were only chemicals the same chemicals are there in the dead body, so life could be reintroduced by chemical manipulation. But this is not possible once the soul the life, the consciousness, the person has gone. We can bring the scientific principal of conservation of energy into our service here. If you analyze a living person you will find a lot of energy. That energy cannot cease to exist at the time of death. It leaves to body, with the soul, and the soul continues his journey to the next life... >Try meditating for a while. Interesting you should mention meditation. The purpose of meditation is to see the soul in the heart and at a higher level to see the super-soul, God also in the heart and ones relationship with God. >Sit quietly, count your breaths and try to But this type of meditation is impossible in this age. Our minds are too disturbed, the atmosphere is not at all conducive to it. cancalam hi manah krsna pramathi balavad drdham tasyaham nigraham manye vayor iva su-duskaram "For the mind is restless, turbulent, obstinate and very strong, O Krsna, and to subdue it, I think, is more difficult than controlling the wind." (Arjuna to Krishna in Bhagavad-gita 6.34) >get to 10 without wandering off. You won't be able to. (I don't often >make sweeping generalisations, either...) No. What you say is almost universally true in this age, Kali-yuga. Mostly the "meditators" are sleeping or listening to their restless mind! >When you meditate like this you come to understand that consciousness is >not the single seamless happening that we normally think it is. "Bits" >of you pop in and out of existence and none of it is really permanent. There are three things, the mind, the intelligence and the soul. The mind is always making plans for sense gratification and trying to convince the intelligence to accept them, the soul is observing this... So this is the "noise" you are experiencing when you meditate. The solution is to engage the senses in the service of Krishna. If the senses are always engaged in this way gradually the mind will come under control. Instead of suggesting ways to enjoy the senses it will suggest ways to serve Krishna. It is not stopped mind you.. The subject matter is changed that's all. We can't make the mind "void"... We have to engage it in something positive. >The idea that there is something permanent that survives to pass on to >another body is an illusion. There is no real reason to believe it. Only because you can't see it! It's your idea, fair enough... But why should I accept your idea over Krishna's? yatha prakasayaty ekah krtsnam lokam imam ravih ksetram ksetri tatha krtsnam prakasayati bharata "O son of Bharata, as the sun alone illuminates all this universe, so does the living entity, one within the body, illuminate the entire body by consciousness." (Bhagavad-gita 13.34) >To experience real permanence you need to look outward, not inward. I >find it in prayer, not meditation. The only source of constancy is God, >it seems to me, and if I survive death at all it will be by God's >intervention, not the natural transmigration of an (illusory) me to an >(illusory) body. We also pray. It is one of the nine items of devotional service. But prayer is also meditation surely... You are a part of God, God is your father. So you have the same qualities as God, although he has them in an unlimited way and we have them in a very limited way. God is eternal, so you and I are also eternal. >>As far as the "firm ground of [our] fundamental [non-]existence" >>you are starting to sound like a Buddhist here and I could never >>understand Buddhists! >>Perhaps you should have put the smile in... >Funny. I've always found the plethora of Hindu gods to be hard to come >to grips with. It hasn't ever gelled with me at all. Yes Hinduism is a problem. We are not Hindus. We are Viasnavas. Viasnavas believe in one God. Krishna, Vishnu. He incarnates at different times and in different forms but He is the same Vishnu, Krishna. The multi-demigods the Hindus worship are situated on different planets in this universe and they have positions of authority and can grant benedictions within the material world. But they can't help one get out of the material world. So such worship is for the materialists... Thank you. Hare Krishna! Madhudvisa dasa (email@example.com) /sudarsana All glories to His Divine Grace A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada!