Oneness with the Absolute Truth refers to qualitative oneness, not quantitative

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Continued from previous page… Srila Prabhupada clarifies what the Vedic scriptures mean when they talk about the spiritual souls’ oneness with the Supreme Lord.  

Oneness with the Absolute Truth clarified
Sri Isopanishad | page-a-day series | 16

MANTRA 7

TRANSLATION. One who always sees all living entities as spiritual sparks, in quality one with the Lord, becomes a true knower of things. What, then, can be illusion or anxiety for him?

PURPORT. Except for the madhyama-adhikari and uttama-adhikari discussed above, no one can correctly see the spiritual position of a living being. The living entities are qualitatively one with the Supreme Lord, just as the sparks of a fire are qualitatively one with the fire. Yet sparks are not fire as far as quantity is concerned, for the quantity of heat and light present in the sparks is not equal to that in fire. The maha-bhagavata, the great devotee, sees oneness in the sense that he sees everything as the energy of the Supreme Lord. Since there is no difference between the energy and the energetic, there is the sense of oneness. Although from the analytical point of view heat and light are different from fire, there is no meaning to the word “fire” without heat and light. In synthesis, therefore, heat, light and fire are the same.

In this mantra the words ekatvam anupasyatah indicate that one should see the unity of all living entities from the viewpoint of the revealed scriptures. The individual sparks of the supreme whole (the Lord) possess almost eighty percent of the known qualities of the whole, but they are not quantitatively equal to the Supreme Lord. These qualities are present in minute quantity, for the living entity is but a minute part and parcel of the Supreme Whole. To use another example, the quantity of salt present in a drop is never comparable to the quantity of salt present in the complete ocean, but the salt present in the drop is qualitatively equal in chemical composition to all the salt present in the ocean. If the individual living being were equal to the Supreme Lord both qualitatively and quantitatively, there would be no question of his being under the influence of the material energy.

In the previous mantras it has already been discussed that no living being—not even the powerful demigods—can surpass the Supreme Being in any respect. Therefore ekatvam does not mean that a living being is equal in all respects to the Supreme Lord. It does, however, indicate that in a broader sense there is one interest, just as in a family the interest of all members is one, or in a nation the national interest is one, although there are many different individual citizens. Since the living entities are all members of the same supreme family, their interest and that of the Supreme Being are not different. Every living being is the son of the Supreme Being. As stated in the Bhagavad-gita (7.5), all living creatures throughout the universe—including birds, reptiles, ants, aquatics, trees and so on—are emanations of the marginal potency of the Supreme Lord. Therefore all of them belong to the family of the Supreme Being. There is no clash of interest.

The spiritual entities are meant for enjoyment, as stated in the Vedanta-sutra (1.1.12): ananda-mayo ‘bhyasat. By nature and constitution, every living being—including the Supreme Lord and each of His parts and parcels—is meant for eternal enjoyment. The living beings who are encaged in the material tabernacle are constantly seeking enjoyment, but they are seeking it on the wrong platform. Apart from the material platform is the spiritual platform, where the Supreme Being enjoys Himself with His innumerable associates. On that platform there is no trace of material qualities, and therefore that platform is called nirguna. On the nirguna platform there is never a clash over the object of enjoyment. Here in the material world there is always a clash between different individual beings because here the proper center of enjoyment is missed. The real center of enjoyment is the Supreme Lord, who is the center of the sublime and spiritual rasa dance.

 

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Source: Sri Isopanishad. Translation and purports by His Divine Grace A.C.Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Copyright BBT International http://www.vedabase.com/en/iso