The invisible (Brahman) is the
The visible (the world) too is the Full.
From the Full, the Full having come,
the Full (Brahman) remains the same.
This sanskrit verse is the peace invocation which precedes the Isa and other Upanishads belonging to the Shukla Yajur Veda. It tells us that beyond and behind the manifested Universe is the reality of Brahman, which is the fullness of pure Being. This world of becoming being nothing but Brahman, is also the Full. From the point of view of total reality, it is all Full-ness everywhere. The verse then adds:
From the Fullness of Brahman
has come the Fullness of the Universe,
leaving Full-ness alone as the remainder.
What then is the point of view or level from which the sentiments of this verse proceed? It is that of total Reality, the Absolute and the Infinite in which the `within' and `without' of things merge. The Upanishads call it the ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda, the unity of absolute existence, absolute awareness and absolute Bliss. Itself beyond all distinctions of time and space, it yet manifests itself through all such distinctions. That is the true nature of Brahman; it is also the true nature of man. A second theme of the Upanishads therefore, is the realization by man of his true nature, the fullness of his being, Poornata.
To speak of fullness is to speak of fulfillment, integrality, wholeness; and these are words that express the deep aspirations of the human heart, aspirations which cannot be long suppressed. Every pulse of the human heart, every struggle of life in general, is towards fulfillment. Every step that we take in life has fulfillment for its goal, the urge to wholeness for its motive. This is a general feature of the universe: the drop strives to join the ocean, the fraction finds its wholeness in the integer and man finds his fulfillment in God.
At first, due to lack of knowledge (avidya) about Bliss, we engage in pleasure-seeking activities, mistaking pleasure for happiness. Later, when we realize our mistake, we seek instruction from a Guru and travel on the right spiritual path:
asatho maa sath gamaya;
thamaso maa jyothir gamaya;
mruthyor maa amrutham gamaya.
Let us move from the Unreal to
from ignorance to the bliss of knowledge
from the perishable to the ever-lasting
And when we experience true Bliss, we want to share our experience with the world and say:
Seek and you too shall find this Bliss in you.
Let us all feel this fullness in us and then, truly we shall want nothing. We shall not desire to receive, but want only to give. And, giving always and to the fullest extent every time, we will continue to remain in the state of Poornata, fullness.
How blissful to realize and be always in this state of consciousness, Sat Chit Ananda and proclaim to the world:
"If only you will, You can realize the eternal Bliss that is always within you!": EternalBliss
The Poornamadaha slokam is a very popular one, and much wondered at. Its meaning is very unique and hence, after knowing it, the listener is full of more wonder!
Adhaha means That and Idham means This -- like, that is there, this is here. The word That being a pronoun indicative of the past is used here to refer to the source -- the source of all creation, this universe. We visualize creation as arising from some supreme power - God or Brahman in traditional thinking. That Brahman is infinite, Full -- meaning, "that which leaves no space again, which leaves nothing beyond itself." In the philosophical sense, therefore, the strict meaning is: Nothing beyond it, nothing other than it.
When we say commonly that a pot filled to the brim is full, a limitation is involved; for, though we may not be able to add more water in the pot, we may do so somewhere else or in another object. This limitation is removed by the statement "That is Full". It implies a state of affairs where nowhere and at no time anything more can be added since everything is included. Anything and everything in the Universe which can be comprehended at any time (past, present, future) is included in That which is Full.
Idham means This: - the entire created Universe - this too is Full. Brahman, the conceptual absolute Reality from which the Universe has sprung forth, is infinite and therefore, the Universe too is infinite because it has no beginning or end in space/time and includes everything.
Since two infinities seem to be a contradiction in terms, what is the idea of declaring: That is Full and This too is Full? For, if Brahman is infinite and there is an Universe other than Brahman which is also infinite, Brahman can no more be called infinite.
This is reconciled through Vivarthavada - standpoint of appearance; e.g., rope and snake. The rope in the dark did not become snake; the snake was merely an appearance on the rope, in the perception of the observer. Similarly, this Universe too merely appears on the Brahman. When we see the Universe, we do not see Brahman and when we see Brahman, we do not see the Universe. It is not possible to perceive both at the same time as two different objects each of which is infinite. We say that Brahman is infinite and Brahman itself appears as the Universe and therefore, the Universe is infinite.
This infinite universe having appeared on the Brahman, did anything happen to Brahman or did Brahman lose anything? The answer is NO. For, even after the Universe appeared on the Brahman, it being only an appearance, nothing is subtracted from the Brahman which remains infinite. A hundred people may see a snake upon a rope but the appearance of the snake on the rope does not make a difference to the rope which remains the same.
How do we stand to gain or lose by this statement? What is its relevance to us? One has to find out where one stands: am I included in the universe or in the Brahman?
All that is objectifiable is included in the term This - this body, mind, this flower, this person or thing, the moon, the sun etc. By the principle of exclusion, That then stands for oneself - the entity reached by negating all objectifiable things. When this is realized, one is able to declare: I am Full. The Fullness in me is not from any point of view of the body which is limited by thoughts, but from the point of view of pure awareness. As the body, as the mind, I cannot be infinite. But as awareness, I am infinite; I do not then perceive a limit, a boundary, a beginning, or end. I am pure awareness, which by its very nature, is unlimited, unconditioned in space and time. In deep sleep, there is no body, no mind. There is no otherness with reference to anything, nothing second to me; I alone am. This aloneness, not loneliness, is complete, full, infinite. This is the perception which we should gain even when we are out of the deep sleep state.
"I have endless sorrow" is a common lament. When we act based on our ego, which is the individual center that has struggles and sorrows, the projected world seems to be infinite - it appeared on the true I, the source and the infinite world seems to be full of sorrow. This source of sorrow vanishes with the awareness that the reality underlying the ego, the Self, the pure consciousness is a simple, problem-free existence of infinite Bliss and that the problematic existence has merely appeared on it. Like the shining of light which banishes the apparent snake from the underlying rope, self-knowledge removes the appearance which clouds the true Self and reveals the source which is pure Bliss. At every moment, even at a moment when we are perceiving the greatest of our problems, the problem-free source alone exists:
This recognition comes with the
insight of self-knowledge.
We see then that there is no sorrow, since we are ever-full;
we are Bliss.
(Prepared from lecture-notes taken by M.K. Krishnaswamy)
All things -- good, bad, beautiful, ugly -- exist together in a complex totality, or "Way," that unfolds of its own accord, impervious to human desires or interventions.
"The real is originally there in things, and the 'sufficient'
is originally there in things. There's nothing that is not real and nothing that
is not sufficient," Chuang Tzu wrote. "Hence, the blade of grass and
the pillar, the leper and the ravishing beauty, the noble, the sniveling, the
disingenuous, the strange -- in Way they all move as one and the same."
(From an article in LA Times, Jan12, 2003 by Sam Crane: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-crane12jan12.story?null)
Chuang Tzu has used the word 'sufficient'. In the Upanishads this is referred to as Poornam. Both the terms mean: whole, integral, complete. Chuang has explained the term by referring to the concept of opposite-pairs integrating to form the whole. We will be ignorant as to the True nature of Reality if we have a fractured perception of it. An enlightened view by society should be to value every person as complete in the person's 'as is' state -- in the words of the Upanishad, poornamidam - having origin in Poornam , Fullness.
First let me try to state in clear terms exactly what he proved, since some of us may have sort of a fuzzy idea of his proof, or have heard it from someone with a fuzzy idea of the proof..
The proof begins with Goedel defining a simple symbolic system. He has the concept of a variables, the concept of a statement, and the format of a proof as a series of statements, reducing the formula that is being proven back to a postulate by legal manipulations. Goedel only need define a system complex enough to do arithmetic for his proof to hold.
Goedel then points out that the following statement is a part of the system: a statement P which states "there is no proof of P". If P is true, there is no proof of it. If P is false, there is a proof that P is true, which is a contradiction. Therefore it cannot be determined within the system whether P is true.
As I see it, this is essentially the "Liar's Paradox" generalized for all symbolic systems. For those of you unfamiliar with that phrase, I mean the standard "riddle" of a man walking up to you and saying "I am lying". The same paradox emerges. This is exactly what we should expect, since language itself is a symbolic system.
Goedel's proof is designed to emphasize that the statement P is *necessarily* a part of the system, not something arbitrary that someone dreamed up. Goedel actually numbers all possible proofs and statements in the system by listing them lexigraphically. After showing the existence of that first "Goedel" statement, Goedel goes on to prove that there are an infinite number of Goedel statements in the system, and that even if these were enumerated very carefully and added to the postulates of the system, more Goedel statements would arise. This goes on infinitely, showing that there is no way to get around Goedel-format statements: all symbolic systems will contain them.
So Goedel's incompleteness is something to expect. It is even something that can be intuitively understood without a mathematical approach and proof: the incompleteness concept appears in clearly recognizable form in Zen Buddhism.
So it brings to mind how to solve the paradox. There is the idea that consciousness might be a kind of superset of the universe, and thus through consciousness we might understand the universe. Yet we must realize that consciousness and the universe represent a yet larger system or universe to "understand" ( if that word still applies ). This continues iteratively as well.
We can perhaps move beyond the self-referential part of the paradox by moving beyond the self: becoming through some higher dimensionality or level of complexity something with no coherent self, or clear perception- point.
The Zen answer to what to do next is that real truth is in everyday life. This may well be so: in a universe where knowledge defeats us, what can we do but be what we are? We have to ask why it is that it matters that knowledge of the universe be moved into symbolic representation in our minds. The information we seek is in existence around us at all times, happening in the patterns we seek to understand and quantify. What good is there in this understanding? Clearly we are evolutionarily driven to this attempted understanding, but is there a better reason to be had?
The meaning of "where knowledge defeats us" has been stated
beautifully by Ramana Maharishi
in Upadesa Saram thus:
"gnyaana varjitaa agnyaana-heena chith" ज्ञान वर्जिता अज्ञानहीन चित्
Understanding God with the logical mind filled with knowledge is an
The import of Poornamadah, Poornamidham has to be experienced like Meera, Andal, Ramana & Ramakrishna -- not merely understood. Otherwise, we will continue to be in the tight grip of Incompleteness and wanting to know more, eternally.