We really shouldn't be talking about this at all

Greg Goode goode at DPW.COM
Fri Nov 14 12:30:55 CST 1997

At 12:41 PM 11/14/97 -0800, Jonathan Bricklin wrote:
>Greg Goode writes:

>>Ramesh Balsekar gives a hierarchy of consciousness which goes like this:
>>  (1) Consciousness at rest -- Nirguna Brahman
>>  (2) Consciousness in movement -- Non-localized consciousness, the Witness
>>  (3) Embodied consciousness -- I am
>>  (4) Attached consciousness -- I am this body, mind, etc.

>Balsekar, from what I've read, is very good on stages 3-4.  He knows the
>wisdom Suresvara speaks of:
>"Wheresoever there is doubt, there, the wise should know, the Self is not.
>For no doubts can arise in relation to the Self, since its nature is pure
>immediate consciousness."
>My problem is with (1) and (2).  The less said about Nirguna Brahman the
>better, I suppose.

I've got an audiotape where Balsekar says the same thing.

>Indeed, as Deutsch says:  "whatever is expressed is
>ultimately non-Brahman, is ultimately untrue."

Balsekar says this too, so does his disciple Wayne Liquorman.

>But "I" (stages 1-4
>inclusive) believe it is untrue because, like infinity--the one concept it
>may most resemble--Nirguna Brahman is to *full* to comprehend not too
>empty.   "At rest" sounds like a nice starting/stopping place (depending on
>whether you are counting forward or backward) but "at rest" cannot exist
>unless "in motion" exists as well.  You cannot make sense of one without
>the other.

Is this a problem?  Are you thinking that if you can't make sense of one
without the other, then we aren't correctly describing the nirguna side,
where it seems that it should be able to exist without there being any
quality-filled counterpart?  There are times where "at rest" is without the
"in motion" side.  But the terms don't seem that problematic to me.  Also,
can't you say the same for the Nirguna/Saguna Brahman distinction?  And if
we all accept Deutsch's point, why worry about the particular defects of a
particular term?

>Could learned list members offer any Sruti quotes (as closely translated as
>possible) that refer to Nirguna Brahman?  I have trouble accepting "without
>qualities" as being an invitation to create concepts that rely on an
>unrelativzed  "nothingness"--something Parmenides, quite rightly, forbids
>as absolutely unconceptualizable (unlike infinity, which is only relatively
> unconceptualizable).  At any rate, does Sruti, anywhere, speak of
>content-less consciousness, as opposed to, simply, unlocalized
>consciousness?  For that matter, Greg, does Balsekar?  Do you?

Five ideas come to mind, as we seek to speak about the unspeakable:

1. As I remember, the first couple of verses of the Rig Veda say
   something about it, not using the term "Nirguna Brahman."
   Have to check at home.

2. Balsekar also says "the emptiness of the void is the same
   as the fullness of the plenum."

3. Wayne Liquorman uses the term "featureless" instead of
   "without qualities."

4. Jean Klein and Francis Lucille use "silence."

5. Gangaji uses "That which is always there."


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