This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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The Unity of the Self

Having set aside the error of pantheism, we can now safely quote Shankaracharya’s treatise on knowledge of the Self to understand the way in which the ‘identity’ of the Self in all states of the being is to be understood.

No distinction invalidates the essential unity and identity of Brahma as cause [karana, which is Brahma as nirguna] and effect [karya, which is Brahma as saguna]. The sea is the same as its waters, and does not differ (in nature) in any way from them, although the waves, the foam, the spray, the drops, and the other accidental modifications which these waters undergo exist apart or conjointly as different from one another. An effect is not other [in essence] that its cause [although the cause, on the contrary, is more than the effect]; Brahma is one [as Being] and without duality [as Supreme Principle]; Itself, It is not separated [by limitations] from Its modifications [formal or formless] It is Atma, and Atma is It. The same earth yields diamonds and other precious minerals, crystal rocks and common worthless stones; the same soil produces a diversity of plants offering the greatest variety of leaves, flowers, and fruits; the same nutriment is converted in the organism into blood, flesh, and various excrescences, such as hair and nails. As milk is spontaneously changed into curds and water into ice [all without these changes of state implying any change of nature], so Brahma modifies Itself in diverse ways, without the aid of instruments or external means of any kind whatever. Thus the spider spins its web out of its own substance, subtle beings take diverse forms, and the lotus grows from marsh to marsh without organs of locomotion. That Brahma is indivisible and without parts, is no objection; it is not Its totality which is modified in the appearances of the World, but it is Itself viewed under the special aspect of distinction or of differentiation, that is, as saguna or savishesha: and, if It can be viewed thus, that is because It comprises all possibilities within Itself, without their being in any sense parts of Itself.

Diverse changes are presented to the same soul while dreaming; diverse illusory forms are assumed by this same subtle being without in any respect altering its unity. Brahma is almighty [containing all things in principle], capable of every activity [although ‘actionless’], without organ or instrument of action of any sort; therefore no motive or special end [which only concerns the ‘individual act’] other than Its own will [indistinguishable from Its omnipotence, its Shakti] must be assigned to the determination of the Universe. No accidental differentiation must be imputed to It [as in the case of a particular cause], because each individual being is modified in conformity with its own nature [thus, maintaining conformity with Dharma]; thus the raincloud distributes rain with impartiality, and this same fertilizing rain causes different seeds to grow in various ways, producing a variety of plants according to their species.[1] Every attribute of a first cause is (in principle) in Brahma, which is nevertheless devoid of every [distinct] quality.’[2]

That which was, that which is and that which will be, truly all is Omkara [the Universe principially identified with Brahma, and, as such, symbolized by the sacred monosyllable Om]; and all else which is not subjected to threefold time [trikala, the temporal condition in the three modalities of past, present, and future] is also truly Omkara. Assuredly, this Atma is Brahma, and this Atma [relatively to the various states of the being] has four conditions [padas, a word which means literally ‘feet’]; in truth, all this [that is to say, not only the modalities of the individual being, but also the non-individual states of the total being] is Brahma.[3]

[1] ‘O Principle! Thou bestowest on all beings that which befits them, Thou hast never claimed to be called equitable. Thou whose benefits extend to all times, Thou hast never claimed to be called charitable. Thou who wast before the beginning, and who dost not claim to be called venerable; Thou who enfoldest and supportest the Universe, producing all its forms, without claiming to be called skillful; it is in Thee that I move…’ (Chuang Tzu, ch. 6.

[2] Brahma-Sutras, II.1.13-37. See also: Bhagavad-Gita, IX.4-8: ‘It is I, devoid of every sensible form, who have developed all this Universe…Immutable in my productive power [Shakti, who here is called Prakriti because it is considered in relation to manifestation], I produce and reproduce [throughout all the cycles] the multitude of beings, without a determinate aim, and by the sole virtue of that productive power.’

[3] Mandukya Upanishad, I.1-2.

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