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Dyczkowski: Finite and Infinite

sexta-feira 9 de março de 2018

The New Way (navamārga) taught in Kashmiri Śaiva doctrine is transcendence through active participation. Not freedom ‘from’, but freedom ‘to’. Desire is not denied, but accepted at a higher level as the pure will or freedom (svātantrya) of the absolute. Desire is to be eliminated only if it is desire ‘for’ (ākānkşā), rather than desire ‘to’ (icchā). Matter cannot sully the absolute, nor is it unreal. Freedom is achieved by knowing ‘matter-unreality’ completely; ignorance of the spirit is [40] ignorance of the true nature of matter. From this point of view ignorance is failure to experience directly the intimate connection (sambandha) between the infinite and the finite, thus justifying an active participation in the infinite-finite continuum. Following this New Way the transition from the finite to the infinite does not require that we postulate any ontological distinction between them. The finite is a symbol of the infinite. The infinite stamps its seal (mudrā) onto its own nature replete with all possible forms of the finite. This is the transcendental attitude of the absolute, namely its impending manifestation as the finite. Reality is the state of eternal emergence (satatodita) of the finite from the infinite and vice versa. Expansion of the relative distinction (bheda) between the elements constituting the All is equivalent to contraction of the undivided (abheda) awareness of its totality and vice versa. Neither excludes the other, but together they participate in the allembracing fullness (pūrnatā) of the pulsation (spanda) of the absolute in its different phases of being. True knowledge (sadvidyā) from this point of view, is to know that the apparent opposites normally contrasted with one another, such as subject and object, unity and diversity, absolute and relative, are aspects of the one reality.

The Vedāntin’s way is one of withdrawal from the finite in order to achieve a return (nivŗtti) to the infinite. This process, however, from the Śaiva point of view is only the first stage. The next stage is the outward journey (pravŗtti) from the infinite to the finite. When perfection is achieved in both movements, that is, from the finite to the infinite and back, man participates in the universal vibration of the absolute and shares in its essential freedom. Thenceforth, he no longer travels "to’ and ‘from’ but eternally ‘through’ the absolute, realised to be at once both infinite and finite. The highest level of dispassion (paravairãgya) is not attained by turning away from appearance but by realising that the absolute manifests as all things. The absolute freely makes diversity (bheda) manifest through its infinite power. The wise know that this power pours into the completeness of the All (viśvamandala) and in so doing, flows only into itself. Standing at the summit of Being (parakāşţhā) the absolute is brimming over with phenomena. The streams of cosmic manifestation flow everywhere from it as does water from a tank full to overflowing. Replenished inwardly by its own power, it emerges spontaneously as the universe, and makes manifest each part of the cosmic totality as one with its own nature.