Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 05 Oct 2015



Note: This article is meant for intellectuals only

Shri Anil asked: How can you say that God is non-existent (Asat)?

Shri Swami Replied: In the Gita, God Himself said (Sadasat chaahamarjuna) that He is not only existent (Sat) but also non-existent (Asat). I will just give a tautology of Sat and Asat to be applied not only to God but also to the world. The Gita says that God is both existent and non-existent. In the Gita, elsewhere also, same point is stated that God cannot be told as either existent or non-existent (Nasat tat naasaduchyate) Simultaneously, the Veda says that this world is existent (Sadeva...) and non-existent (Asadvaa...). Existence and non-existence are self-contradicting concepts. Therefore, you have to follow the following analysis of Sat and Asat.

The existence or truth is of two types: 1) Absolute and 2) Relative. Absolute truth means that which is permanent in all the three times [past, present and future] and relative truth means that which exists in the present time only based on the existence of the absolute truth. The rope is absolute truth and the illusory snake is relative truth. Let us apply both these in God and world. 1) God: Is Sat because God exists absolutely and God: Is Asat because there is no relative existence in God. 2) World: Is Sat because world exists relatively and World: Is Asat because there is no Absolute existence in world. By this, God can be called as existent (Sat) or non-existent (Asat). Similarly, world can be called as existent (Sat) or non-existent (Asat).

The resulting sense of the above statements must be understood as that 1) God is existent to Himself, which means that God alone can understand Himself (Brahmavit... Veda). Here, existence means understanding because you say that something exists only when you understand it. 2) God is non-existent to the human beings, which means that God cannot be understood by human beings since He is beyond space and time (Yasyaamatam... Veda). 3) World is existent to the human beings since human beings are part and parcel of the world. 4) World is non-existent to God because world is just imaginary world of God. In the imaginary world, nothing can oppose the imagining person and anything can be changed into anything by the will of the imagining person. The case of God in human form is in both ways depending on the context of occasion. Shankara, the human incarnation could pass through the bolted doors of the house of Mandana Mishra and here the God-component in Shankara is in reference. Same Shankara suffered with blood motions (Bhagandara Roga) and the death of the body took place due to that. Here, the individual soul–component is in reference. The human incarnation can be said as a two component—single phase system like the alloy of two metals. It is a homogeneous mixture of the two components, which do not react with each other to form a new compound. In a mixture, the two components exhibit their individual properties, but, the alloy being in single phase, the properties are mutually super-imposed on each other and isolation is impossible. This results in the monism of Shankara. However, since it is a mixture only, the two components are only mixed but not reacted with each other and hence the dualism of Ramanuja and Madhva also results simultaneously. Both the concepts are simultaneously important to different observers. One observer is the human being worshipping the human incarnation as God, which should be in monism only so that the goal is reached by it. Another observer is the human being possessed by God, which should be in dualism only so that ego does not affect it. Both these concepts should be recognized as equally important so that all the human beings get benefited individually without any damage and loss.