Chapter II, Verse 16
Sri Nerode’s Translation:
That which is unreal can never be; that which is real never can cease to be. This twin truth is known to the seers who recognize the essential from the accidentals or substance from shadows.
Anything that has a beginning and an end is an illusion. The wise know the only Reality (Consciousness).
Spiritual enlightenment may be defined as the state of unbroken consciousness. When consciousness becomes attached to a thing, that item assumes the illusion of having a separate existence. However, only consciousness is prime. Matter, ether, thought, all are non-existent without consciousness.
The nature of duality ensures that whatever comes into existence will also have to cease to be. However, the “substance” of consciousness never ceases to exist. The one who fears he will be lost in death is like a wave fearing that once it crashes on shore it will not be drawn back into the ocean. It’s true, that single wave exists one time. However, the elements composing the wave (mostly water) continue to exist.
Scientific meditation is the method by which one returns to a state of permanent consciousness. As consciousness expands it grows to fill the nooks and crannies of creation. An awakened devotee becomes aware both of individual existence and of oneness with all that is a portion of his consciousness.
The human ego is both subtly aware of universal oneness and in denial that any state of universal consciousness can exist. Ego arises from attachment to a unique state of separate consciousness. Individuality exists in awareness. If the wave that crashed on the shore had an ego, that particular ego would pass with the crash, but the individuality of the wave is never forgotten nor altered in any way.
Ego based arguments are limited to the perspective of peculiar attachments. This is why all human arguments about any subject are essentially false from a universal perspective. Consider that one wave meets a rocky coastline, another finds sand, still another meets the outlet of a river and many waves travel for long distances on the surface of the ocean never to meet any shore. Each describes its own existence and end very differently to each other wave. None of the descriptions are incorrect, yet each is limited by perspective.
Develop the perspective of consciousness that resolves all paradoxes and conflicts that ignorance alone creates. One cannot know what he has not learned. Once he knows, there’s no comfortable return to ignorance. In the transitional state between ignorance and enlightenment, consciousness is like a series of dots broken by remaining attachments. When attachments are surrendered, consciousness becomes like an unbroken line with no beginning and no ending.
Easter Eggs (hidden references to deeper meanings) in the original version of this this verse include:
With a sort of play on words: asatas/satas (or false/true) and bhavas/abhavas (or being/non-being) and drstas (perceived), the author Vyasa provides guidance on how an enlightened being may create the illusion of nature through the correct application of Sanskrit without adopting ignorance and attachment by taking the same action/non-action.
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