Friday, November 14, 2008
Prakasha & Vimarsha
In Tantric Metaphysics, the Original Absolute or Ultimate Reality, called Paramashiva ("Supreme Godhead") or Parasamvit ("Supreme Consciousness") is described as Prakasha. This is the Absolute Reality as pure, static, nondual Consciousness. And just as Shiva is Prakasha, so Shakti - the dynamic self-expression of the Absolute - is Vimarsha. Vimarsha is the self-contemplation of Prakasha, it is Prakasha reflecting Itself, surveying Itself, Experiencing Itself. As one Shakta Tantric text, the Kamakala Vilasa, puts it, "Vimarsha is the mirror in which Prakasha reviews itself" (Shankaranarayanan, Sri Cakra)
Thus the Godhead, which is of the nature of Prakasha, transcendentally and non-dualistically experiences (Vimarsha) Its own intrinsic nature. This is the state of Shiva and Shakti, Prakasha and Vimarsha, in total identity and union, the Ground of Being, Infinite Consciousness. Through Vimarsha, the Absolute emerges from Its original Latency, to become Self-Conscious (Vimarsha) of Its own Infinity and Its own Infinite attributes.
All Creation and all existence comes about through Vimarsha, through the Absolute experiencing Itself.
At the level of the Unmanifest Absolute (Parabrahman, Parasamvit, etc), Shiva and Shakti, Prakasha and Vimarsha, abide in total identity and union. Parabrahman is eternal and unchanging; the Quiescent Absolute Light and Truth which is beyond Light and Dark, Truth and Falsehood.
The Sufi Jili, a disciple of the great Ibn Arabi, spoke of stages of unfoldment within the Godhead Itself, in which the original simple Essence, the "Dark mist" (al-`Ama), develops consciousness and qualities by passing through various stages of manifestation, which modify Its original simplicity.
The "Dark mist" (al-`Ama), the Unmanifest
Abstract Oneness (Ahadiyya)
He-ness (Huwiyya) and I-ness (Aniyya)
Unity in plurality (Wahidiyya)
are all transcendent stages of Divine being. From Wahidiyya arise Mercifulness and Lordship, which pertain to God's relation with his Creation. And Sri Aurobindo states that the Supermind has three "poises" which are outlined as follows:
"...The first founds the inalienable unity of things, the second modifies that unity so as to support the manifestation of the Many in One and the One in Many; the third further modifies it so as support the evolution of a diversified individuality which, by the action of Ignorance, becomes...at a lower level the illusion of the separate ego..."
The Sufi Jili gives a visionary account in which the Ruh or Divine Spirit conversed with him regarding its origin and its nature, saying: "I am the child whose father is its son and the wine whose vine is its jar....I met the mothers who bore me and I asked them in marriage..."