Hell is the Other

The man of today is drowning in the ocean of subjectivity, in phenomena, falling for his own shadow, falling a second fall. By continuous feeding of our little desires we have made a mistress out of them; mental and physical needs become more subtle, and we have developed a consciousness for them; we have become too conscious of every disturbance, and we struggle to suppress it one way or another, like a madman trying to calm the waters by pressing down upon waves. But this growth of desire has no end, a shoreless ocean it is; it opens up indefinitely like a fractal.

We are so mesmerized with the dance of forms that we can’t remember our exalted station. Man is a frail and fragile creature, a transient phenomenon; but what is within him, or what animates him, is immortal and indestructible. It is the androgynous perceiver of all the states of reality. It perceives all points of view at once; It sees through all eyes: It is the beholder of every now and then, of every here and there. It is what it is; “I am that I am.”

This universe is a one-man universe. There is no one else in it but you; there is no “other.” It is like when we reenact a situation or lost opportunity in our head, playing all sides and conversations by ourselves! This world, this diversity of subjects and objects, it is one of those situations in the mind of the Solitary One. And you are that One, the One without a second, the only One; and there is nothing like it.

If you see the success of others, why jealousy! In them, in their hearts, it is you; their gaze is your gaze. So their achievements should make you better and happier; their success is yours and their failure too is yours. Who else is in this world!? When you judge you judge only your own perceptions. If you are true to yourself, if you are objective at all, you must realize that you see nothing but your own perceptions. So, if the world is hell for you it is the hell of your own perceptions; and if it is heaven, it is the heaven of your own perceptions.

The otherness of the other is just another perception. The other is a manufactured reality, a notion, an alien interpretation read into the Current of Forms. I am all alone; I am the only reality. The diversity of subjects and objects, giving rise to the illusion of multiplicity, has its cause in a greater and higher intelligence beyond the mind. Being one and alone, It perceives within itself an apparent diversity, much like when a single mind can perceive such diversity in a dream state. As it is in the nature of light to shine, it is in the nature of consciousness to project, to make an image of its ideas. So the reality of the image is not to be found in the image itself but in the consciousness that projects it. All we perceive is light; world, diversity, is an interpretation: “The face of Truth is concealed by a golden vessel.” (Isha Upanishad)

In this world there is no such thing as equality. There are greater men as there are lesser men. What shines in them is the same; the difference is only in what they reflect of that Intelligible Light. The difference is in the degree to which they reflect in the outside world what is reflected within them. It is the matter of concentration and utilization. The psycho-physical constitution of a man, and indeed of this modern people, is such that the intelligence shining in him is mostly dissipated by mundane curiosities and irrelevant information; the attention is leaking out every which way.

As sun shines equally on everything, pure intelligence too shines equally in every being and animates it; but the receptivity of the spirit to this light always depends on our spiritual/intellectual orientation. If your mind-body complex is consuming most of your intelligence, then you are moving toward intellectual dullness and stupidity. Here lies the difference between literacy and knowledge, between mere information and true wisdom: Literacy doesn’t make noble men; it doesn’t impart virtue. Books don’t make men; it is men who make books. We see more crookedness, arrogance, and awkwardness in the merely literate than the illiterate. While literacy concerns itself with the letter, or the most superficial reading of it, knowledge is concerned with the spirit behind the letter, i.e. the transcendent and immutable meaning of things.

The imperative has always been the same: Know thyself. Know, first, that by knowing which everything else is known.

We produce informed but not wise men. We produce readers but not seers. We produce sterile beings. It is by the admission of our scientists and philosophers that “the more we know we realized how little we know.” That this knowledge, this outward curiosity, adds not to knowledge but to our ignorance. Then, how can it be called knowledge when by possessing it we feel less knowledgeable. Simple is the answer: This cannot be knowledge in the true sense of the word if it does not remove ignorance and instead multiplies it. That is why the more we fill ourselves with this world-knowledge, the more empty and arrogant we become. This is the difference between knowledge and literacy; in the latter we accumulate letters, a pile of names and forms, something even a tiny flash-drive can do; while in knowledge we accumulate nothing; we only peel off the many layers of ignorance; we add no more conceptions but stand behind all conceptions. By reaching the ground of Being we stand under everything; then and only then can we say we truly understand.

In true knowledge we add nothing but subtract everything until the true Self shines, until its beams emerge from underneath a pile of forms and letters. Literacy makes a man heavier, less flexible, less immortal; but knowledge, i.e. knowledge of universal principles, makes a man light, more flexible, and closer to immortality. At the summit, when the last veil, i.e. your human cover, drops and His face, your true Self, is beheld, then immortality is realized. And it is the immortal man who hovers over the surface of the waters, the waters in which the literate man of today is drowning to his demise.

Some make their own truths, and some let themselves be made by the truth: To be made is to be hammered.

 

Indifference, Station of Wisdom

“One may be indifferent to the enjoyments of this world only in expectation of better enjoyments in the next. This kind of indifference is tainted with desires which bar the door to Knowledge. But the indifference that results from a due deliberation on the evanescent nature of this world as well as the world to come, is alone pure, and productive of the higher good.”

Adi Shankara, 8th century CE Hindu philosopher

From Present to Presence

The moment is always free due to its nature, like a balloon that tends to fly away. It is the ego who apparently ties it down to a particular situation/narrative, i.e. a complex of name and form. The now is the vessel of total reality; we have broken it into pieces and call them past and future. We were once gathered in Adam, but he fell into subconscious and shattered into existence, into us. Each is seeking the paradise for him/herself; we have forgotten that we are the very pieces of paradise. We are the petals of one and the same flower.

We fell from His presence to His presents, from essence to attributes, from Adam to the world.

This man falls for the fruit again and again. For the boldest and thirstiest of all men, the saint, who renounces all presents for a glimpse of His presence, this market does not have what he seeks. Here they sell only images; here everything and everyone is an image. The saint, though he appears to be, he is not.

The body seeks the stench of the world while the soul follows the scent of Truth . Oh, there is a rose garden in the heart. This world is a distraction; this marriage is an affair. The soul is His eternal bride.

Everyone is saying the same thing and everything is singing the same song; they are just putting it differently.

He gave us a choice, as to our fundamental orientation, whether we want to see His face or His back!

I seek solitude not because I enjoy isolation; I seek it because I hate isolation.

All separation is from Him.

All experience is spiritual experience.

In this courtyard I may be one among the many, but on the throne and with my Lord I am the one in the many.

Ignorance, the primordial vice, is the support of existence.

Spiritual realization does not consist in escaping the world but in seeing it as it is.

Of the metaphysical transparency of phenomena we can say this: Every phenomenon has a metaphysical root whose universal form is reflected in the phenomenon itself, so that the outward form is only an image or reflection of the inward meaning or essence. The manifest part of a tree, i.e. its trunk and branches, has the same form as the unmanifest part of the tree, its root. Thus, the soil, or that which separates earth from heaven, is really the plane of reflection through which the unmanifest essence projects itself into the manifest form. This portrays the universal architectonic of Reality which regenerates itself, much like a fractal, beginning from the Godhead and repeating itself all the way up to the most mundane aspect of any phenomenon. This universal form, i.e. the polarity of principle and projection, is the origin of all dualities: Essence and form, mind and matter, subject and object, ego and world, lord and the servant, heaven and the earth, creator and creature, up and down, north and south, wave and particle, the I and the other, happiness and misery, profit and loss, friend and enemy, union and separation, good and evil, with and without, inward and outward, light and darkness, life and death, mortality and immortality, here and there, now and then, right and left, me and you, etc. Now you get to make only two moves, either toward your root and principle, i.e. your first cause, or away from it, to become whole or remain a hole. To perceive in all these pairs the presence of one and the same principle, one and the same meaning; this is the metaphysical transparency of phenomena, that is, to see the painter in the painting.

 

Know Thyself

“Just as a mirror takes on the hues of images, so also the abstract Intelligence assumes the different shapes of objects, by virtue of its holding them within itself.

Abstract Intelligence can thus be made manifest by eliminating from it all that can be known. It cannot be known as such and such, for it is the supporter of one and all.

This, being the Self of the seeker, is not cognizable. Investigate your true Self in the aforesaid manner. [Note: There is no agent other than the Self to know the Self; there is no light other than Its light to illumine It.]

You are not the body, nor the senses, nor the mind, because they are all transient. The body is composed of food, so how can you be the body?!”

Tripura Rahasya, chapter XVI, verses 20-23

Metaphysics & Geometry

Metaphysics is the science of the universals; it is the science of essences, i.e. realities that are universal and unchanging,i.e. do not depend on time or any particular degree of manifestation. Metaphysics is not the same as speculative philosophy or theories of creation. Metaphysics is and is true whether or not Big Bang Theory of the Hypothesis of Evolution are true. The subject matter of metaphysics proper is the Truth as perceived by the so-called Divine Mind. Metaphysics is not a human knowledge but is the content of the Divine Intellect or Pure Intellect. Metaphysics is not invented or learned; it cannot really be taught; it is only discovered, i.e. remembered, by a Seeing that is altogether other-worldly and absolute. This science, contrary to all other human sciences, is not done by speculation or experimentation but through intellection which is a transcendental, and by no means mental, activity of the spirit.

Metaphysics is about Truth Itself and not what men and women, whether saints or philosophers, have thought or said about the truth. Metaphysics is about the architectonics of reality as a whole, i.e. totality, as opposed to empirical science which consider reality only insofar as it is sensible and measurable by minds and men. We cannot say, for example, that metaphysics is other than physics though it is also not identical with it. Metaphysics encompasses all other sciences and is their very ground, but the nature of its relation to human sciences is always misunderstood; this relation is best understood only within the framework of an analogy, of course until the attainment of metaphysical realization which is the same as the Liberation. So, we offer the following analogy that we hope clarifies the nature of the relationship between metaphysics and empirical reality or empirical sciences:

Consider a video game in which your avatar, i.e. your embodied character inside the game-world, is put in a world similar to ours and its mission is to explore this world and find its natural laws. Basically, in this game you are a scientist that has to use the tools of the game to find the most general regularities of that world, things such as  gravity, electricity, etc. Now, if we want to transpose the idea of metaphysical knowledge into the context of this game, what element of the game should we choose? Let us begin by saying that metaphysics is not anything of the nature of a fact or a piece of knowledge within the game-world and can be sought and found in the same manner that one seeks and finds the facts of a world. It is not something that our scientist can find by means of exploring inside the world game.

Within the context of our game, metaphysical knowledge can be compared not to any natural law or any fact of the game-world but to the programming code that is behind the very phenomenon called the game-world and has made that world possible. Our scientist cannot find this underlying code by exploring inside the game-world and experimenting on its phenomena; he himself and all his explorations, etc. are nothing but the manifestations of the programming code underlying the game. To access metaphysical knowledge, i.e. the code in this analogy, the avatar does not even have to look outside himself or to move around, for this knowledge is, as it were, inside him, i.e. known by realizing that “there is a game” and then trying to transcend it. Now, how a game can be programmed so to make such our scenario possible, and whether it is possible or not, is entirely irrelevant here. The point of analogy was only to show the radical nature of this science of metaphysics and its relation to all other empirical sciences which can know only what is inside the game and not what is behind it. Even the methods of inquiry are radically different: In empirical science we explore and experiment, but metaphysical truths, i.e. that programming code, is not susceptible to such methods of investigations; the only way of accessing such knowledge is to somehow exit or transcend the game, or more precisely, to wake up rather than to look out and explore.

It is natural that the methods of inquiry inside the game, methods designed to find empirical facts and natural laws, can in no way help one even become aware of the possibility of a programming code behind the game, let alone finding that code. All such methods, all empirical sciences, are sciences of phenomena, but metaphysics, being the science of essences, i.e. the science noumena as opposed to phenomena, has nothing to do with phenomena but the meaning behind them. In other words, metaphysics studies the metaphysical roots of phenomena. Therefore, the failure of empirical methods in becoming conscious of the possibility of metaphysical knowledge, let alone discovering it, is only a failure and a shortcoming and doesn’t mean that there is no metaphysical foundation, or code, behind the game, a code that is different from the facts and natural laws inside the game simply because these laws are themselves manifestations, or projections, of that very code. One cannot use these methods to prove or deny the existence of a program behind the game, and this indicates the futility of all attempts at denying that there is a metaphysical foundation behind all things. The ultimate proof of metaphysical truths and realities is metaphysical realization, and this realization has been known and done and is not something up for discussion or refutation. As we have said many times, those trying to deny metaphysical knowledge, which by the way has nothing to do with god or religion but encompasses them, are like blind men trying to dispute the reality of a rainbow. A true metaphysician, i.e. a Jivan Mukta, never bothers trying to prove to anyone the possibility and reality of metaphysical truth; he can at best show the way for the seeker of truth to see and realize for himself that which is never a matter of opinion or speculation of any kind: The only proof of the Face is the face Itself.  

Now, what does all this have to do with geometry? Well, as we said metaphysics is the science of universal and immutable truths, realities that are unchanging, and hence do not depend on time or any becoming whatsoever. Thus, all theories of creation, modern or traditional, religious or secular, are only human theories and speculations and at best have symbolic value, for they all presuppose a becoming of some sort. In metaphysics, there is no becoming. Creation is a human fact; from a metaphysical, i.e. transcendental, point of view, creation and becoming are absurd and unreal concepts. But since we find ourselves as humans in the midst of a world of becoming, our thinking is conditioned by it and can understand things mostly in terms of being and becoming. At the same time, because of the transcendental nature of metaphysics it can only be understood through analogies until the point of metaphysical realization in and through which all metaphysical truths are grasped immediately and intuitively and with absolute certainty.

A proper and successful analogy is that which is based on a fundamental but common feature present in both sides of the analogy. Since immutability and the absence of time and becoming is the most fundamental and definite characteristic of metaphysics, the most appropriate analogical means for its expression should be another science that is devoid of the concepts of time and becoming. We know that all empirical sciences such as physics, biology, etc. are in fact about change and becoming, so they cannot possibly provide enough ground for a successful analogical method of communicating metaphysical truths. Of all the sciences accessible to man, the only one that is devoid of the concept of change and time is geometry, and in general pure mathematics. There is a direct correspondence between most propositions of geometry and abstract algebra, and this to the extent that we can even say geometry and abstract algebra are only two different ways of expressing same mathematical truths: In abstract algebra we are dealing with abstract symbols and their relationships but in geometry we are dealing with spatial relationships, so it is like abstract algebra only with the advantage of visualization. For this reason, geometry is a little more suitable for communicating metaphysical truths because it allows some space for visualization which is a great tool in all learning.

Thus, we believe and we can show that metaphysical truths, which are entirely independent of the concepts of god, creation, divine, etc. but are at the same time the very source and ground of all these concepts and realities, is best conveyed through geometry. And it is no surprise that geometry has always been considered a sacred science and present almost in all esoteric schools such as Pythagoreanism, Platonism, Neoplatonism, Eastern and Western religious esoterisms, and also in Freemasonry. For example, the letter G at the center of the symbol for Freemasonry consisting of square and a compass, traditional tools of architecture, stands both for God and Geometry, in which God is viewed as the Great Architect of the Universe who creates by means of immutable and intelligible relationships, i.e. geometrical forms. We only add that geometry is not to be seen as identical with metaphysics, and we should not think that in reality there are points and circles; but geometry and its concepts are used as the best symbolic means of expressing intelligible realities that are beyond any spatial relationships. In other words, geometry is the reflection of intelligible truths in the plane of human mind which can understand things only in terms of the conditions of time and space. The reflection of the sun in the pond is not the sun but can tell much about the sun, at least about its form. Metaphysics too exposes the universal forms by which truth can manifest Itself, the Truth Itself and in Itself remaining always unmanifest and only known by being it, a mode of knowledge accessed upon metaphysical realization, i.e. Supreme Identity.

It is outside the scope of this article to delve into geometry and show the metaphysical truths that are reflected in it. Our goal was only to show, firstly, the radical nature of the science of metaphysics and its relationship to all other spheres of human knowledge, and secondly, to suggest the best way of approaching this science, which is done through geometry. We hope that in the future we can devote a few articles to some aspects of metaphysics using geometrical truths. The main problem that makes metaphysics difficult to understand for the average mind is that metaphysics is not a science for everyone and requires a very refined and objective intelligence not deformed by the assaults made against the mind by the universal compulsory education. One needs to know some abstract algebra and be very well familiar with geometry, particularly the theory of functions, power series, Taylor Expansions, etc. in order to perceive the subtle metaphysical truth reflected in these forms. However, metaphysical truths, which is a way toward liberation and Supreme Identity, is not the only way. Religion and spiritual disciplines have the same end in view. While metaphysics is the way to Truth for the born philosopher, religion is a way for everyone, even the last man. The spiritual man if he succeeds may come to see the Face of Truth, but the metaphysician if he succeeds comes to see the Whole of Truth.

We end this piece by mentioning the simplest of all metaphysical truths whose reflection is found in the geometry of a circle:

Where there is a circle there is also a center, as no circle can exist without having and belonging to a center. A center, a singular point, however, can be without belonging to a circle. But what is a circle really? A circle is nothing but the expression of its center in terms of spatial relations. All the points on the periphery are the outward projections of the central point. In other words, a circle is nothing but a dimensionless point in expansive mode: Circle is the expression of a point. Or, when a point utters itself, the circle is that utterance.

Note that in expressing itself the center has not become, or turned into, a circle; the center doesn’t become the circle or cease to be the center; the center just is, and it is all that there is, for the circle is nothing but the center in its expansive mode: Circle is only a point’s dream. In reality, there is no expansion or contraction; there is only expression, the sound, The Word.

As every circle has a center and is nothing but a homogeneous expression of that center, every world, i.e. degree of manifestation, has an origin and is nothing but the homogeneous expression of that origin. This origin is exactly what is known as God in all spiritual traditions of the world.

In more abstract terms, a circle is the Taylor Expansion of a dimensionless point. Here, there are no two realities but only one reality with different names. To see and understand the exact logical and ontological relationship between the center and the points on the periphery of the circle consider this analogy: In life you are one person but with different roles or relationships. Say you are a man; to your wife you are a husband; to your son you are a father; to your father you are a son; to your employer you are the worker, and to your employee you are the boss; you can also be an uncle, a grandfather, a nephew, etc. As a father your relationship to your son is different from your relationship to your wife as a husband, etc. All these names, i.e. son, father, boss, husband, cousin, etc. which are different roles and relationships pertain to you, one and the same person. All these names designate different relationships that can be potentially established, or activated, within one and the same person; some of them may be only potential, for example you are only potentially a father when you have no kids, but once you have a child you have activated that potentiality which was within you all along and was nothing apart from you. Now, the logical and ontological relationship between you and all these names, i.e. relationships, is the same as the logical and ontological relationship between a central point and all the other points on the periphery of a circle spanned by that central point. Therefore, there are no many points; there is no becoming. There is one reality and multiple expressions, the expressions being only potentialities within one and the same point which is the basis of all Reality.   

 

 

 

The Paradox of Atheism

The battle of the atheists is not really with religion but with their own understanding, or more precisely misunderstanding, of what religion is, for what they know of religion is the most literal, and hence the most superficial understanding that they themselves have read into it. For instance, a physicist cannot possibly take seriously a layman’s questioning of the peculiarities of modern physics, not so much because the latter is inferior to him, though his knowledge is, but because due to lack of proper training the layman’s objection isn’t really to physics but to what he understands of it, an understanding that is not grounded in experience and evidence but in pure speculation.
In the same way, it is futile to take the objections of atheists seriously or bother to debate them, for they have not even tasted religion, and hence their judgment of it is entirely groundless and devoid of objectivity. After all, how can a blind man become a rainbow scholar and specialist, and worst of all deny the reality of rainbows!?
A lot of these militia atheists, i.e. pseudo-intellectuals of our time, lose their temper when hearing of new age spirituality and fake gurus such as Chopra’s mixing of science and religion, claiming that these masters are not qualified to read into science their own spiritual impulses, for they do not have the proper training to understand science. And I must say I very much agree with atheists on this point, for this new age mixing of science and religion is not only unnecessary for one’s spirituality, but it also damages both science and religion, for they read into sciences such as quantum physics what is totally unrelated to it.
But the main point is that the same objection applies to atheists themselves: If a layman is not qualified to judge science or dispute its claims, the atheist too is a layman when it comes to religion: Spiritual realization is an activity, much like science, equipped with a well-defined goal and method. Even the most brilliant scientists or philosophers, such as Einstein, etc. are unqualified to judge the facts of spiritual life without having undergone the proper training under a spiritual master.
Thus, we only turn the atheist’s objection against himself, for he is oblivious to the fact that when it comes to religion he himself is in the exact same position as that of an arrogant layman’s skepticism when it comes to science.

What is Religion

Of religion we can say that it is akin to an iceberg only whose tip is visible to the common man while most of it is concealed from view, not so much because of a conspiracy to hide its essential content but because this content, being purely metaphysical, remains inexpressible in mundane terms, and hence it is always reserved for an intellectual elite who are willing to dive in and realize the Truth for themselves, a truth that underlies all outward forms and expressions.

No doubt the word religion, along with the word God, has acquired a peculiarly western meaning in that it is understood to be no more than a dogmatic belief in an ideology in competition with other ideologies such as system philosophies, sciences, etc. But if we take religion in this sense, then we have missed its essential content and function, and what is worse we can no more include in this definition some major spiritual traditions. For instance, Hinduism, along with Buddhism, cannot be said to be a religion in the above sense; neither is it a philosophical system, for it is much more than a mere religion or a system: Hinduism is rather a way, or as it is termed by its true practitioners an eternal way, Sanatana Dharma. More alien to this western definition of religion is the esoterism that underlies all religious traditions, an esoterism whose sole aim is the attainment of perfect knowledge of Truth, i.e. the Ultimate Reality. In Buddhism, for example, there is no notion similar to that of God in Abrahamic traditions, and this to the extent that from the point of view of Abrahamic exoterism, Buddhism can be regarded as a more or less agnostic, if not an atheistic, tradition. For this reason, Hinduism and Buddhism, among some other Eastern traditions, are not subject to a clear cut division between an esoteric, purely mystical and intellectual, and an exoteric, purely formal and devotional, department. This division into esoteric and exoteric is more vivid in traditions such as Islam and Christianity, though the esoterism within these traditions is concealed under a predominantly formal and exoteric outlook; in such traditions outward forms are emphasized much more than the essential, metaphysical content which is accessible only through an esoteric understanding. i.e. gnosis. However, esoterism is still and always present in all religious traditions, Abrahamic or otherwise, though access to it may be more or less difficult in some traditions, and this is so for reasons that depend entirely on the collective intellectual capacity of a people insofar as they are the recipients of revelation.

Therefore, in order to have a definition of religion that encompasses all spiritual traditions, i.e. traditions based on revelation, we have to understand what tradition implies in the spiritual context. Tradition, not to be confused with customs of popular origin, is a non-human, i.e. divine, influence that propagates in time and space, using culture and social structure as a medium of its propagation and operation. This non-human influence is nothing but revelation. Thus, a useful picture that can assist us in understanding the nature of tradition is that of a stone producing concentric circles in a pond upon its impact: When a stone, spiritual influence, makes contact with the surface of a pond it creates concentric waves propagating in all directions; its propagation in time is the transmission of the spiritual influence through history and by an unbroken chain of spiritual masters, Guru Parampara, that is connected to the center, the Avatara, i.e. the Son and the Logos; and its propagation in space is the echo of that spiritual influence, namely the truth, that reaches all people in a given historical period. There is not a people who has been left out.

Now, outward forms, which is the only level at which traditions seem to diverge, are no more than means of communicating The Message which has to adopt a particular form in order to speak to a people. Truth is one but has to speak different languages in order to make itself understood to different cultures. Or as Ananda Coomaraswamy says, “different cultures are the different dialects of one and the same spiritual language.” Also, according to Rig Veda, “Truth is one, but sages call it by various names.” Esoterism,  which is the level underlying all forms, is where the differences fade and all these different traditions converge. Thus, one must look at spiritual journey as a path that leads to the summit of a mountain; the summit, the Truth, is one and the same, but it can be reached through different paths starting from the base. It is obvious that as we approach the summit, the different paths become closer and closer together, and it is at the summit that all paths converge to the same point, a point at which there are no more differences because there are no more paths.

The summit, or rather moving toward it and ultimately reaching it, is the inner message or call of all religious/spiritual traditions. This call is none other than the universal invitation to “Know Thyself.” The essential identity of the inner Self with the Truth, i.e. Supreme Identity, is expressed by a Muslim mystic as following: “I searched for myself and found God, and I searched for God and found myself.” Supreme Identity constitutes the essential doctrine of Advaita Vedanta formulated by Shankara: “Brahman is Real; world is illusory: Atman [Supreme Self] is Brahman. This identity, That thou art, is expressed in one form or another in the kernel of all orthodox traditions though gravely misunderstood by pseudo-spiritual movements of the modern age. It should be emphasized that this inner Self has nothing whatsoever to do with this psycho-physical compound we call human being which is only a transient appearance veiling its permanent principle, i.e. the Self. The Highest Point at which this identity is consummated, the Truth, the Ultimate Reality, The Absolute and the Infinite, the Godhead, Brahman, Deliverance or Liberation, i.e. Moksha, Nirvana, Fanaa-al-fanaa, Birth and Breakthrough (Meister Eckhart), Transcendence, Enlightenment, Unconditioned Reality, i.e. Supreme Identity, or the placeless state of Eternal Self-Knowledge, is the supreme goal of human life. It is a point at which, according to Dante’s Paradise, “every when and every where is concentrated into a dimensionless point.”

From what we said above we can offer an all-encompassing definition of religion: Religion is the science of Reality.” All orthodox, i.e. true, religious traditions contain within them, and by necessity, the means not only of attaining the knowledge of Ultimate Reality but also of utilizing that Reality for the good of mankind. Note that experience is an essential component of all science. Contrary to the common assumption that religion is only a matter of faith and that its truths can never be verified, religious experience is at the heart of all living traditions. It may be true that religious experience for the beginner is entirely subjective, experienced only at the level of feeling or passing visions. However, at higher levels and when the higher states of the being are realized, we are no more in the sphere of human subjectivity but rather come to the permanent acquisition of states, or stations to be more precise, that are known with irrefutable self-evidence, a degree of certainty alien to the human mind. What is more, the attaining to the ultimate state, the state-less state, i.e. Turiya, is a complete transcending of all contingencies, and hence it is an illumination, a transcendental experience, that comes with absolute certainty in which the doctrine is immediately verified and all doubts instantly removed. This summit of spiritual ascent is none other than the unconditioned state where there is direct experience of the Truth, known as Brahmanubhava in Shankara’s doctrinal expositions. Therefore, faith and belief are only means, or preconditions, that support the aspirant in the path of spiritual realization whereby faith is ultimately transcended and replaced by intuitive and immutable knowledge, for those who can see need not believe. This is the reason that all religious traditions are based on two intrinsic dimensions of Doctrine and Method.

What distinguishes this science from what nowadays passes as science is that religion considers reality as a whole and without limiting it to one particular aspect. Modern sciences, on the other hand, consider only a very limited, and above all the least real, aspect of total Reality, that is, they consider reality insofar as it is sensible and measurable. All modern sciences are blind, from their very inception, to a supra-sensible reality which is inexpressible in terms of quantity. We see only in quantum physics, and yet with an halfhearted understanding, that the idea of material and sensible reality is replaced by the idea of a purely intelligible reality that is not susceptible to commonsense or human imagination. But even quantum physics, along with all other modern sciences, can have no access to unconditioned reality for the simple reason that all these sciences are too human and ultimately subjective, having no intellectual foundation in the self-evident ground of all knowledge, i.e. the Pure Intellect.

Reality in itself, however, can be known only by an objective intelligence, undivided and un-fragmented by the flood of the senses and not defiled by human subjectivity and the facts of empirical consciousness. This objective intelligence is no more a human faculty but a ray of the Intelligible Light, the Solar Ray of all mythologies, emanating from the Divine Intellect. This sort of intelligence, which is the only means of true and objective knowledge, is accessible only in and through orthodox spiritual traditions which include within themselves true philosophies such as those of Plato and Plotinus. The final aim and sole function of all religious practices, all rites and symbols, is to remove from the soul the dust that obscures and dissipates that Intelligible Light, a purification that inevitably leads to an effective knowledge of total Reality, which amounts to the same thing as the summit of all spiritual ascent. In fact, consciousness-of-a-world, i.e. empirical consciousness, which is ignorance rather than knowledge, world being a veil over the Face of Truth, is the result of the refraction of the Intelligible Light, the source of all knowing, by the plane of human mind. In effective spiritual realization which amounts to the withdrawal and gathering of this Light into its source, i.e. mystical concentration or Samadhi, all phenomena, including the universe and the mind, disappear all at once whereby the never-lost identity of Atman with Brahman is immediately realized. Thus, it is never the individual human person who realizes the Truth, for the human person is himself the very veil that hides the ever shining Face of Truth. Instead, it is the nothingness and illusory nature of existence, human or otherwise, that is realized upon the annihilation of all forms and phenomena. This unveiling, which is meaningful only from the point of view of the spiritual aspirant seeking Liberation, is itself found to be illusory from the point of view of the Absolute, for there is nothing but the naked Truth, never veiled and never lost. From this point of view known as Paramarthika, which is the only true point of view, both bondage and liberation are realized to be illusory. In other words, at all times and in all places nothing is and nothing is known but Brahman, the knower and the known both being Brahman, i.e. Satcitananda, being of the nature of Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. Therefore, empirical consciousness, being of the nature of ignorance, is no more than an illusion, a veil known as Maya, superimposed on the just mentioned Truth of Brahman: In truth, and at all times, nothing is known or seen but Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, i.e. the Supreme Essence.

Thus, religion is the only true science of reality because it aims at the knowledge of ultimate reality, a knowledge which is essentially unitive and nondual, and hence it is attained by identity rather than difference. One knows That Reality by being It rather than reducing it to an object of empirical consciousness, a reduction that is absolutely impossible. Prayer, meditation, invocation, etc. are all means of establishing an effective communication with the source of all reality, a communication by which one can choose either to stay in a spiritual orbit and hence enjoy the warmth of Truth, or to ride the Solar Ray into the Sun and achieve Supreme Identity and immortality. We only add that this immortality is not the same as perpetuity, an indefinite prolongation of one’s individual existence in time or in other planes of manifestation. Immortality par excellence is rather becoming free from the bounds of time and individual existence; it is an attainment, by identity, of the unconditioned Reality, a timeless state not conditioned by existence. Thus, the truly enlightened man, the Universal Man and the Solar Hero, attains immortality by going beyond being and non-being, and He dwells in the Eternal Present, the permanent actuality of the Self, and is no more subject to time or existence in any sense of these words. Religion, as a science of Reality, or more precisely as a Way rather than an end and a goal in itself, provides the spiritual aspirant with all the necessary means for attaining to this unconditioned state, i.e. the perfect knowledge of total Reality, by a sophisticated interplay of doctrine and method without which Truth cannot be known but all of which are to be ultimately transcended in the face of The Naked Truth.