VBT – Meditation 94.5

Mind And Matter

Philosophers all over the world have been arguing for centuries about what basic stuff the universe is made of, what the substance is. There have been propositions, systems, that say that matter is the basic reality and mind is just an outgrowth, that matter is basic and mind is just a by-product, that mind is also material, only subtle. Charwak proposed this in India, Epicurus in Greece, and even today, Marxists and other materialists go on talking in terms of matter. Just opposite to this, there has been a second system of thinking which says that mind rather than matter is the basic stuff, and that matter is nothing but a form of mind. Vedanta and other idealist philosophies of the world have reduced everything to mind.

Just at the beginning of this century, it was thought that the materialists had become victorious because physics and other scientific investigations were proving, or appeared to be proving, that matter was the basic substance. But just two or three decades ago the whole thing changed completely. One of the greatest scientists of this age, Eddington, said, “Now we can say that the universe appears to be more like a thought than like a thing.” And as the physicists, Max Planck and Einstein, worked deeper, they came to realize that the deeper one penetrates matter, the more matter disappears – something more than matter, more beyond than matter, appears to be there.

You can call it mind more easily than matter because it is a form of energy. One thing is certain: it is not material in the old sense at all.

For Tantra, for yoga, there has been no choice. Tantra doesn’t say that either matter or the mind is the basic reality. Tantra has a third standpoint, and I think that that standpoint is ultimately going to win. Tantra says mind and matter are both forms of something which we can call ‘X’. Neither matter nor mind is substantial but a third entity, which exists in both but which is not confined to either, is the real – these two are the manifestations. Matter and mind are not realities, but forms of a third reality, a basic reality, which remains hidden. Whenever it manifests itself, it manifests itself either as matter or as mind.

So the whole conflict between mind and matter, and their followers, is baseless, because the ultimate substratum that physics has now come to know is really neither like matter nor like mind. The division has disappeared, the duality has disappeared. The behavior of the basic substance is very vague: sometimes it behaves like matter, and sometimes it behaves like mind. You may be surprised to know that physics cannot say anything about individual atoms – they are unpredictable, just like any human being. Nothing can be said about the individual atom and how it is going to behave. It appears that it has a certain independence; no causality can predict how it is going to behave. We can predict mass behavior, but we cannot predict the behavior of an individual atom. Sometimes it behaves in cause-effect terms, like matter, and sometimes it behaves like mind, as if it has a will of its own, as if it has a choice.

With Tantra, this idea of physics fits very well. But why does Tantra say that the basic reality is the third, the unknown, the ‘X’? Not because Tantra is interested in propounding any theory about reality, no. It is proposed just as a help for SADHANA, just as a help for spiritual growth. If it is so – that the reality is the third, and mind and matter are just two manifestations – then you can enter the reality through two doors: either from matter or from mind. If you try to enter from matter, then there are certain techniques to use. Hatha Yoga is a technique to enter reality through matter, through the body. You have to do something with the body, you have to transform the body, you have to crystalize certain chemical phenomena in the body, and then you will enter into the reality.

Or, you can enter directly through the mind. Raja Yoga and other methods are used to enter through the mind. And for Tantra, both are right.


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