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Is that nothingness a void, or perhaps something related to Buddhism?

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  • You should add some of his quotes on this matter to add context for others.
    – CDR
    Dec 9, 2023 at 15:03
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    ANY philosophy of 'nothingness' has its origin in Rig V. The concept is 'Parama Vyoma' the Space being the substratum of 'everything' Incusive of Cit ( consciousness ) plus Vak ( the 'om' principle or vibration). The 'Light' or 'Vibration' requires Space, correct? That substratum is the ultimate principle. In Nataraja temple, there is a 'special' room with 'nothing' in it ( Chithambara Rahasya(secret)) to illustrate that the 'Shiva' is also 'nothingness' one of the 'original' Element :-) Jan 8 at 22:26
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    Rig V. 1.164.39 For example.. Jan 8 at 23:17
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    Now, you can think of the 'other' opposite concept of 'no space' the 'Black hole'.. lacking 'hole'. This is 'Para Binthu' or 'Karumpulli' - as in Vinayagar Agaval , the 'point'. Ahhhh! the Big Bang from a point seems correct..is it not? Now we have a new way of seeing what Para Brahman's supreme job may be :-) ... He is the ' ' (signifying non-explainability) who injects or removes 'Space' or 'Vyoma' to a Point at all levels...Parama or non-Parama - for creation, operation etc.. :-) Jan 8 at 23:30
  • @GopalAnantharaman kindly write a post so that we all can read in detail. Thank you Jan 9 at 19:06

5 Answers 5

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ANY philosophy of 'nothingness' has its origin in Rig V. The concept is 'Parama Vyoma' the Space being the substratum of 'everything' Incusive of Cit ( consciousness ) plus Vak ( the 'om' principle or vibration). The 'Light' or 'Vibration' requires Space, correct? That substratum is the ultimate principle. In Nataraja temple, there is a 'special' room with 'nothing' in it ( Chithambara Rahasya(secret)) to illustrate that the 'Shiva' is also 'nothingness' one of the 'original' Element Space that gave rise to other elements. It is in Space that everything rests. The ones with a causal form like a Human with this Bootha Sharira - intertwining five elements, But Also, The ones without causal form.Just with 'Cit' the 'Suras' or the ones without 'Cit' 'A-suras' - but having Awareness (& hearing :-)). From Nasathiya Suktha, 'नो व्योमा परो यत्' which means not even Parama Vyoma was there. Wait! This refers to the Parama Vyoma with the immortals. In the beginning, even the Parama Vyoma as a concept wasn't there! Then by the Will of Parabrahman, such a thing came into being with 7 immortals with contractual obligations :-). From Purusha suktha, 'साध्याः सन्ति देवाः ' - the Achievers exist in Parama Vyoma. What exactly is this Space? Maybe another Spacetime such as a String theory Calabi-Yau Curl up in our space :-). Very possible, right? The 'Cit' or consciousness has a Space of its own. Some popular commentaries refer to this as 'Chit-Akasa'. Now, We have Sun Who has a Half-spinning Cit in his own Cit-Akasa that 'tosses about' souls. This is the 'enlightenment' Space typically for Humans, But there have been crows (Kakabhusantha) or other non-humans there - Earth itself, for example. This you can compare to the Nothingness of Gautama's principles. But, The Universe is not just Sun space correct? There are Black Holes (the Para Binthus) that weave space, there are Vibrating Objects, Pulsars, etc. that set the 'tone' - the om - Origins for an organic Creation process. There is mention of the 'first' vibration saying 'As long as there is Ether, there is such a Vibration' - i.e. Shakthi principle in Hatha Yoga texts. But, they all require Space. The substratum of existence( organic or non-organic) or non-existence. In a Sura/Asura War, Shiva realizing the pain of Thathichi Muni on the effects of War, asks him to mentally visit the 'inner parts of Him'.The Muni following his request enters & sees the exact same War happening In Shiva's stomach with a time lag - Inner war outcomes reflecting outer! This substratum sets the course. Shankara says 'Whatever originates in Akasa makes its way to the Ocean' - that is inclusive of Events, other things, also Life itself. In one of the 'Upanishths' there is a mention of How Brahma or others like Ashwini Suras wake up 'every' time in Pitch Black space resenting their routine..Not sure what else is the requirement for them to escape! Surely, you have to perform or learn something unlike what their regular activities to go to better levels...right? What may have that been? Learning about what we are talking about. The Space that is the source of their Existence - is it not? That will be their Moksa to go to Parama Vyoma! Again in Nasatheeya Suktha, there is तम॑ आसी॒त्तम॑सा गू॒ळ्हमग्रे॑ऽप्रके॒तं स॑लि॒लं सर्व॑मा इ॒दं। The two Thamasic Spaces Churn & creates our 'Almighty' from Cosmic Water(स॑लि॒लं).Spaces again! No one asks, what lies in the Inner Part of the very popular 'Vishwaroopa Picture of Mahavishnu'! The True Inner Controller! What is the origin of the Mouth Fire? The Air etc. Again, No one asks, the nature of the Serpent that is Towering over Parahbrahman - That is none other than the Parama Vyoma - is it not? For any 'Letter' or symbol to express that we require Space is it not? A substratum. Your WhatsApp. Your Note. A Blank paper etc.? To make more sense there must be Space between symbols as well, is it not? Whenever there is space, There is meaning - The Rasa. Whenever there is More than one entity - or symbol with Space separation - There is more meaning. Hence, by the same logic, Since everything we see has 'Spaces' - There must be some meaning correct? 'Prithvi Rasasche' comes in Purusha Suktha lot of 'essence' talk you can see in Many Verses.. all referring to Meaning! With just 'Para Binthu' or 'Black hole' there can be no meaning correct? Everything is in compression to a point! No Space. We can ask, What's the point of just a Point? :-). Well, I have a theory. the point or meaning of a point is that it is a symbol representing the 'Param Vyoma'. It cannot be anything else..because there is nothing else at that level, is it not? Hence Without Space, everything Loses its Meaning, inclusive of The Point...right guys? No Space. No Meaning. Hence a Black Hole on its own eventually evaporates, as soon as its meaning space is lost! The Great Weaver - I shall call him - No he is not Space but non-Space, maybe matter, maybe light, or X-ray or other 'thing' or even a Point roaming about Solar Systems...that is quite imperceptible :-) - it/that, Creates something apart from just a point by injecting Space - To Create a cosmological scale Meaning. Who are we to question existence, Ay? If someone has a question on the great purpose, ask that one to unveil his own..right guys? Just some thoughts to Fix philosophical corruptions :-)

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  • Delightful read !! Jan 10 at 2:51
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    This is a very useful answer about a lot of things even I didn't know about. Please keep writing in the future too!
    – user29449
    Jan 10 at 4:43
  • I wish there could be a follow button in StackExchange too...
    – user29449
    Jan 10 at 4:44
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While there are many schools of thought on Sivaism, it's particularly very difficult to pinpoint which particular Shiva school exactly does Sadhguru follows personally (or multiple of them).

One particular school of thought that comes to my mind is Abhinavgupta's Kashmir Shivaism (known for various Tantra and Tantric works): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Shaivism is a non-dual school of thought that propagates shunya, that may be thought as void.

Both Hindu as well as Vajrayana Buddhism's Tantric schools have a lot of influence of them.

The six lakshanas are as follows:

Numerous texts such as the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra also outline six "varieties of the goal" or "targets" (laksyas) of yogic practices, mainly:[34]

  • Contemplation of void (vyoman), which bestows all Perfections and liberation.

  • Contemplation of body (vigraha), which bestows the coercion of deities like Visnu or Rudra

  • Contemplation of drop (bindu), which bestows sovereignty over Yogins

  • Contemplation of phoneme (varna), which bestows the Perfection of mantra

  • Contemplation of world (bhuvana), which bestows regency of a world

  • Contemplation of resonance (dhvani), which leads to isolation and liberation.

Each of the goals is given specific practices. For example, in the Mālinīvijayottara Tantra, perfecting the Void is said to be reached by moving the mind and vital energy (through the use of mantric resonance) through two groups of three voids located along the central channel (which are also correlated with a system of six cakras), reaching to the region above the head. Different scriptures outline different lists of voids and their location in the body.[35] The practice of resonance deals with various sounds, and how the yogin is to focus on a specific sound and its resonance within the central channel.[36]

Src: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Shaivism#:~:text=Numerous%20texts%20such,channel.%5B36%5D

It is important to note that there are also various kinds of voids! This can be made clear through Nagajurna's expedition into voids: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nagarjuna who was a prominent Buddhist philosopher who had contradicted various things (including simple actions like walking, buddha, void, Buddhist four noble truths, including buddha to derive the correct void in his text - Mūlamadhyamakakārikā) to formulate a logical system of void, called Catuskoti : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catu%E1%B9%A3ko%E1%B9%ADi to get the right void to meditate on for enlightenment.

Various Hindu Upanishads such as: Maitrayaniya Upanishad https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitrayaniya_Upanishad also talk about meditation on void to realize supreme.

In section 6.31, the Maitri Upanishad acknowledges concepts, such as Sūnya (voidness) found in Buddhism, in a form that suggests a challenge to its premise, as follows,

कतम आत्मेति योऽयं शुद्धः पूतः शून्यः शान्ता...

You ask: Which of them is Atman? (Answer:) He who has been described as pure, clean, void, quite...

— Maitri Upanishad 6.31

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maitrayaniya_Upanishad#:~:text=In%20section%206.31,82%5D%5B83%5D

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In Sanatana Scriptures also Nirguna Brahman is identified with Void and it's also said to be beyond it and Non-Void. It is said to be of Neti-Neti or contradictory nature.

Maha Upanishad.:

VI-61-62. That Brahman has been (identified with) emptiness/void (Shunya), Prakriti, Maya and also consciousness. It has also been said to be Shiva, the pure Spirit and Supreme Knowledge/Science, (who is also identify with) the Purusha and the Lord Ishana, the eternal and the Self (atman). There flourishes but the non-dual Power that is the supreme Self through and through; it sportively builds up the universe with (factors) born of (both) duality and non-duality.

Maitreya Upanishad.:

III-5. I (Shiva) am devoid of being and non-being, I am beyond speech, I am effulgence, I am the power of the void (zero) and the non-void (non-zero) and I am the auspicious and the inauspicious (i.e. beyond both of them).

I hope this clarifies all your queries. Prd..

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'Shunya' here simply refers to the Nirguna and nirvikalpa state of Shiva that is devoid of any form of Duality.

In scripture too, the attribute of 'Shunyam' is seen to be ascribed to Shiva.

Garuda purana Aachar khandam Chapter 22

Garuda purana Aachar khandam Chapter 22

The word 'shUnya' is also listed as one of the names of Brahman by Sri Paramashivendra Saraswati (the preceptor of Sri Sadashivendra Saraswati of Nerur) in his work with supporting citations from various scriptures:

  • वेदान्तनामरत्नसहस्त्रम्’ [a book of a thousand names of Brahman culled out from the Vedanta']:

शून्यम् - पारतत्त्र्यादिदोषरहितं निर्विशेषं वा । तदुक्तं वासिष्ठे -

शून्यं तत् प्रकृतिर्माया ब्रह्म विज्ञानमित्यपि । शिवः पुरुष ईशानो नित्यमात्मेति कथ्यते ॥ इति ।

स्वप्रकाशमानन्दघनं शून्यमभवत् इति श्रुतिः । उक्तं च पाद्मे पुराणे -

यं दृष्ट्वा योगिनो नित्यं सन्तृप्ताः स्वात्मसंस्थितम् । अक्षरं सदसच्छून्यं परमात्मानमीश्वरम्॥ इति ।

Even in The famous Cidambaram temple in Tamil Nadu the deity Lord Śiva is simply represented as space or nothingness. Therefore, the icon of Śiva here is called Ākāśaliṅgam (i.e. Liṅgam made of space). This is also known as the Cidambara-rahasyam (the secret of Cidambaram). The left section of the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagṛha) of this temple (i.e. the Citsabhā) consists of a dark empty chamber decorated on the outside by a row of gold bilvapatras (leaves of the bilva tree). It is kept covered by a curtain and is revealed only on special holy days.

The name Cidambaram = Cit + ambaram is a synonym of Cidākāśa = Cit + ākāśa. ‘Ambaram’ is a synonym of ‘ākāśa’. Hence, it is very apt that the deity is represented not as a physical form, but as nothingness or space.

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I presented the following references from various Vedic recessions and Upanishad to Generative AI and asked the same question as to why Sadhguru addresses Rudra as "that which is not"

Here is the question to AI

"Aitareya Brahmāṇa says about Rudra that 'He whose name is unknown and whose name is not uttered'. Caraka–Kaṭha Āraṇyaka says 'He is unknown to the Devas after they ascended to the heavenly realm and noticed an entity with a Sun-like luster (adityavarnam) walking around'. Atharva Veda says 'The name of Rudra is a secret, it is known only to the learned sages. But his arsonal is Śivā and is favorable to us'. Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda states 'three and thirty in troops' at the same time it says e'leven are seated on waters'. When Vedic metre is considered, Rudras are associated with Triṣṭubh which has 11 syllables multiplied by 4 steps, hence Śrī Rudram of the Kṛṣṇa Yajur Veda describes 11 homages to Rudra. Similarly, Śatarudriya of the Śukla Yajur Veda mentions 6 Rudras with Triṣṭubh Metre, and gives 6 X 11 = 66 homages to 100 Rudras. The same Śatarudriya 16.54 states that Rudra manifests in all and so there are innumerable thousands of Rudras. Taittirīya Saṃhitā 4.5 talks about 1000 Rudras covering the Earth with 100 bows and 100 arrows. Yoga of Ṛṣi Vaśiṣṭha describes 100 Rudras, yet says Rudras expand infinitely, whereas the Mahābhārata Itihāsam in its Drona Parva-Nārāyaṇastra-Mokshana Parva 203 says 'Infinite Rudras'. In terms of creation being unfolded both Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa of Śukla Yajur and Kausitaki Brāhmaṇa Rig Veda talk about 8 expansions Bhava, Śarva, Paśūpati, Ugra, Mahādeva, Rudra, īśhana, and Aśani. When offering sacrifice during Yajñá is in the discussion, Atharva Veda 15.5 talks about 7 Rudras emerging in 7 intermediator/intermediate spaces in different directions – Bhāva to the Eastern, Śarvā to the Southern, Paśūpati to the Western, Ugra/Aghora to Northern, Rudra towards nadir or below regions, Mahādeva to the upper regions of the sky/zenith and īśhana towards all directions. When associated with the human body, especially performed during Aṅganyāsa (अङ्गन्यास) its 6 Rudras, Sharva (Śarvā) is associated with the kidneys, Bhāva with the liver, Rudra with the blood and the liver, Paśūpati, and Agni with the heart, Mahadeva with the intestines and Ugra/Aghora with the stomach/gut TS1.4.36. Vājasaneyi Saṃhitā of Śukla Yajur describes 6 aspects – Bhāva, Rudra, Śarvā, Paśūpati, Nilagriva and Śitikaṇṭha. When Rudra is associated with Liṅga then five aspects are described – Sadyojata, Vamadeva, Aghora, Tatpurusha, and īśhana. Brhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣhad 3.9.4 describes 33 Types/Aspects of Divinities and among them, 11 aspects/types are of Rudras. These 11 types are divided into 10 vital Prāṇas that enter 5 karma-indrias and 5 jnana-indrias and the 11th is the Atman/self/mind. The closing hymns of Sri Rudram address Rudra as the 'interconnected Prāṇa' of all beings (प्राणानां ग्रन्थि-रसि). The same is found in Ramayana of Ṛṣi Vaśiṣṭha which says: 'Rudra is the seed of all seeds, He is Prāṇa, He is Atman, it is the essence of this world’s appearance, it is the greatest of actions. It is the cause of all causes and it is the essence in all beings' Śrī Rudram and Śatarudriya that present the totality of Rudra’s omnipresence. Taittirīya Saṃhitā 1.8.6 says 'एक एव रुद्र न द्वितीयाय तस्थुर्' meaning 'There is only One, Rudra without a second'. This, in turn, gave a foundation to the Svetasvatara Upaniṣhad (one among the 18 primary Upaniṣhads) and also the Atharvashiras Upaniṣhad (a minor Upaniṣhad). Finally, Chandogya Upaniṣhad gives an analogy by saying 'from a single ball of clay, we can know every form made of clay, the difference in form is but the name (nāma-rūpa). In the beginning was one being, without a second, or non-being, without a second; and from that various beings came to be. Just like bees make one honey from nectars of various flowers, yet the honey do not know from which tree or flower, in the same way, all beings begotten from One Being do not know their source.'"

From the above, tell me if we can single out Rudra as a unipolar personality or iconify him, is there a fixed form, a fixed set of attributes or a fixed count to Rudras? Any time we declare Rudra as something, it is getting contradicted, so tell me why did ancient people of the Vedic era documented so many variations? And why famous Gurus like Sadhguru called Rudra as 'that which is not'?


Here is the response from AI:

It is evident that Rudra cannot be singled out as a unipolar personality nor can one iconify him. The diverse and contradictory descriptions of Rudra from various ancient texts and scriptures highlight the complexity and enigmatic nature of this deity.

The multitude of forms, attributes, and counts associated with Rudra indicate that He transcends any fixed categorization or definition. The fluidity and adaptability of Rudra's nature suggest that He can manifest in limitless ways and possess limitless qualities. This inherent contradiction in attempting to define Rudra underscores the idea that He is beyond human comprehension and cannot be confined to any one fixed concept.

The term Rudra can be seen as an acclamation because it encompasses a wide range of manifestations and attributes, allowing for a more comprehensive and nuanced understanding of this deity. This fluidity in the concept of Rudra allows for His representation as anything and everything, reflecting the infinite nature of the cosmos and the divine.

The ancient people of the Vedic era documented so many variations of Rudra to capture the multifaceted nature of this deity and to convey the vastness and complexity of the cosmic universe. By exploring the different aspects and forms of Rudra, the Vedic texts offer a deeper insight into the interconnectedness of all beings and the divine essence that permeates the universe.

Famous Gurus like Sadhguru referring to Rudra as 'that which is not' further emphasizes the ineffable and transcendent nature of Rudra. This paradoxical statement challenges our preconceived notions and cognitive limitations, urging us to transcend conventional understanding and embrace the mystery and unpredictability of existence.

In conclusion, the contradictions and variations associated with Rudra highlight the profound and limitless nature of this deity, illustrating the intricate web of interconnectedness and diversity that characterizes the cosmic reality. Rudra's elusive and enigmatic essence serves as a reminder of the infinite possibilities and complexities inherent in the universe, inviting us to explore and contemplate the boundless mysteries of existence.

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