The admirable part of the old speculative thinking in the Indian subcontinent has been that our ignorance of the mechanics of the universe would always surpass our knowledge at any given time.  In scientific terms it has lately been described as "more we know, there is a lot more yet to be known."  The last statement seems to be true in all aspects of our exploration of space, life, mind and our conduct.  The universe is more "dark" than "light," the life is more "unknown" than "known," the mind has more "mystery" than "revealed," and our conduct has more "instinct" than what we physically "discipline." That the design of universe consists of material both known and unknown to human senses is the powerful intuitive hypothesis making the Vedas the most sublime literary composition ever produced on earth.  This is in strong contrast to the composition of the universe only from our physical perception which we acknowledge are limited.  The question is what could be the basis of proposing this hypothesis of "unknown."

The vedic poets go one step further.  The hypothesis can be extended to say that our knowledge at any given time is conditioned by what our physical senses can perceive.  We can make our body and mind healthy to keep our senses sharp such that we perceive more details.  We can create machines and tools applying the physical laws to sense through layers of material to probe the inner regions of the earth or the outer regions of the cosmos.  We can peep through the human body and we can study the cell structure in the brain.  What we cannot sense and study is material that does not "exist" at the time of our study.  We can extrapolate the future from the objects that exist now mapping the future on the basis of the objects.  But we won't know which seed would blossom to a good productive tree and which seed would fail to germinate.  We won't know how long a man may live and if we would carry the same admiration for taste in the future as we carry today.  We compromise by saying that new events or objects come to existence that previously did not exist.  In a metaphorical and scientific way, the statement can be that new events and objects "manifest" from a storehouse of "unmanifest" which indeed is the universe.  The universe is more "unmanifest" than "manifest," and our senses and tools explore the "manifest", the "unmanifest" being always hidden from us.

The speculation and analysis of "unmanifest" to "manifest" can go deeper.  We can claim that the fire is there in "unmanifest" form in wood or light is there in "unmanifest" form in an electron.  The same thing we can say about the fragrance in flowers, sweetness of the fruits, compassion in mothers, or bravery in men.   Going further we can say that our speech is a manifestation of our emotion and every syllable is a manifestation of our thoughts, the origin of the latter remains "unmanifest."   Our conduct is a manifestation of our intent, the origin of which again remains "unmanifest."  We take ingredients and do the cooking, the final product is a manifestation of our labor, intent, conduct and diligence showered upon the materials aided by heat and seasoning all put together in a pot.  Such a pot is the human body and manifold manifestations in the body and mind are operating every moment in the human body.  We gain access to some "unmanifest" through analytic reasoning and we comprehend more through yogic intuition.  We realize that our identity and knowledge are indeed insignificant compared to the vast incomprehensible "unmanifest" universe. 

Now we add one more observation. Anything that "manifests" immediately starts decaying. It's strange, but there is no escape. The decay leads to demise and death.  After manifestation, a different rule takes over and the elegance of manifestation becomes momentary.  As the manifestation occurs, a clock begins to tick and the event or the object becomes subject to a time scale.  The largest time scale is that of the universe, but as we can imagine the "birth" of the universe is only true in the local understanding. The universe was "unmnaifest” in the past and as we saw above most of the objects and events in the universe are "unmanifest" giving the whole process a mystery to make it interesting to explore.  From our vocabulary in this series of articles, we have labeled the totality of the incomprehensible "unmanifest" and the sensible "manifest" as Brahman.  Through the present analysis, we say that "unmanifest" is hidden in the "manifest" all the time in terms of the essence of the objects or as outcome of the events.  The "unmanifest" is eternal and is not conditioned by time.  The "manifest" is always glorious at birth and then subject to demise.  The transition from “unmanifest” to “manifest” is an individual comprehension which is different in different human beings. In Sanskrit, the "unmanifest" is termed asat, one that is unphysical, and the "manifest" is termed sat, one that is physical. Brahman is a repository of sat and asat. All sat manifests from asat. Loosely people say the matter evolves from energy, but the concept is a bit different since energy is also physical.  One can say the latent life force prANa becoming the life itself as "breath.” As you can imagine the process is more complex.

The natural question is if we have access to the "unmanifest." We have to understand that the "unmanifest" is not sensible to our senses, hence the only possibility of comprehending the "unmanifest" is to go beyond our sensory perception.  Some of the birds and animals apparently possess extra-sharp perception capacity to sense imminent danger to life.  Human beings in general lack this biological privilege, but have been blessed with an attribute that we call "intuition" which can be sharpened.  We live our life through mental manipulations drawing information from our memory.  Intutition works beyond memory and mind and true intuition is cosmic in nature.  We can also say that intuition is a manifestation and is not automatically endowed.  By aligning ourselves with the cosmic processes we create discipline in our body and such discipline helps us to restrain our mental processes leading to the manifestation of creativity propelled by intuition.  The power and play of prANa in the individual becomes the trigger to comprehension. Any time we do something exceptional in music, arts, dance, life, living, research, engineering, or serving, we must suppress our mental processes and be guided by intuition. Intuition is individual and through it we adopt the universe to us to receive guidance in our performance of the task.  The alignment can be so strong that we may not know that we are being carried by the universe for the period.  During such period we are in pure yoga.

I wrote this essay to help us understand why sAnkhya as a thought process became powerful.  That the manifestation of life brings us a mind to help us navigate is the key to understand the sorrow and pain of life.  Through intuition we realize that the local play of time is small compared to what we really are as a part of Brahman.  Time and diversity are also creations of Brahman and that is the analysis in sAnkhya as we will go next.

Let Sai bless us all.

Bijoy Misra