ZERO, ONE, INFINITY, AND GOD

trimurthis
[Here is an old essay that I wrote back in June 1998. It is presented again with some spelling corrections.]

Brahman is a concept central to Hinduism, yet a great deal of mystery surrounds it. It is stated to be an actuality beyond the reality of this universe, which is impossible to describe. The mental discipline and effort required to experience Brahman appears to be daunting indeed.

Jnana Yoga prescribes discrimination as the process to comprehend this concept. By saying “neti, neti (not this, not that)” one can finally arrive at the realization of Brahman. It is said that to one who has realized Brahman the world appears as a “mansion of mirth.” One can then see through the reality of this world as if it were an “illusion.”

With all these hints let us examine the concept of Brahman using the modern vocabulary available to us.

To a mathematical mind, Brahman would be like a zero where this universe is concerned. Zero is an absence of quantity. An absolute zero would be an absence of all quantity. The universe is reducible to matter, energy, space, and time, all of which are quantities. Thus, Brahman can said to be the absence of all matter, all energy, all space, and all time. More precisely, then,

Brahman is an actuality that has no mass, no motion, no wavelength, and no location in space, or in time.

Furthermore, zero is that point from which all quantities are measured. Thus, Brahman can said to be that point from which the very nature of Space, Time, Energy, and Matter is postulated. By postulate, we mean, something put there as the basis or foundation. More precisely, then,

Brahman is the absolute potential.

Now, there is nothing except Brahman. Thus, the capability to postulate and consider would be inherent to Brahman. This infinite power to be Cause is called Sakti in Hinduism. It is difficult to speak of Sakti as separate from Brahman because any separation first requires the consideration of Space. It is also difficult to assign sequence to Brahman and Sakti because any sequence requires the consideration of Time. More precisely, then,

Sakti is Brahman as infinite cause.

We think of God as a Super Being separate and remote from us.  But this may be looked upon as the considerations of matter, energy, space, and time combined with Brahman or Sakti.

Is God one?  Brahman or Sakti, certainly, cannot be described quantitatively as being one.  “God is One” is not an inherent condition.  It is a consideration added to the actuality of Brahman or Sakti after adding the basic considerations of matter, energy, space, and time.

It is not surprising that the differentiation among Brahman, Sakti and the considerations of matter, energy, space, time, etc. are not easy to grasp.

A problem persists as a problem as long as it is not viewed in its entirety. The moment we view a problem thoroughly it ceases to be a problem because it reduces to an understanding.  Similarly, a reality persists as a reality as long as it is not viewed in its entirety. The moment we view it thoroughly we recognize it to be made up of certain considerations that we hold in common.

Thus, reality may be changed if we can only muster up enough courage to view it thoroughly, and recognize our own considerations leading up to it. But the fact of the matter is that when one is very much attached to a reality, changing that reality would be a terrible thing indeed.

Is God zero, one, or infinity? One can answer that question only when one is willing to examine it  thoroughly, along with a thorough examination of one’s own considerations involved, from a non-attached viewpoint.  Reality or considerations may be changed, but the inherent condition or actuality can never be changed.

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