The Essence of Advaita Vedanta
Al Drucker, August 2006
Twenty-five years ago, when directed by Sai Baba to give talks on Indian Spirituality to foreign visitors at the ashram in India, I started with a series of questions. In this article I would like to begin with these questions again, for they lead right to the heart of the spiritual mystery.
A spiritual teacher gave a koan, a paradoxical riddle, to one of his students. He said: "Show me your face before you were born!" In other words, show me 'you', before you were born. That's a good place to start the spiritual inquiry. Not whatever image you hold in your mind of the present 'you', or of a past 'you', or of some future 'you' after you have achieved your spiritual goals. Not the 'you' of this 'lifetime' between birth and death, but the 'you', if any, before conception and after death... where there is no familiar body, no familiar world, no familiar 'life', no familiar 'waking' state 'you'. Before birth, who were 'you'? And is that 'you' still around in this present 'lifetime'? In other words, in the core of your being, in your heart of hearts, do 'you' remain ever unchangeably the same, whether in or out of manifestation?
And in this present 'lifetime', consider for a moment those strange experiences happening every night in dreams, of wandering in strange worlds, experiencing realities quite different from this 'waking' one, and yet so convincingly real within their own setting, you have no reason to question their authenticity while they appear to be happening? Where did these worlds, their people, and the particular 'you' appearing in the dream stories, come from? They suddenly appear on the screen of consciousness, seemingly coming out of nowhere. Their stories, their world, their settings, their people seem to require no previous history. Just as in a movie, they appear ready made. And then, where do all these dream denizens and furnishings go when the dream suddenly and unexpectedly goes poof, with only a fading memory lingering into the 'waking' state? How do you account for their sudden origin and their sudden demise?
Why do you dream? Who is the 'you' dreaming? If it is not the 'waking you', then who is responsible for this daily making and unmaking of dream worlds? And do these dreams contain some message? Or is the dream and its happenings so casual and fleeting, and ultimately meaningless, that you can ignore it and contentedly go on with your 'waking life', regarding it as totally different in content and kind from your dream life? Except for their strange curiosity, we tend not to pay much attention to dreams, but, in fact, the dream holds an important message for you, not necessarily in its content, but in its form. Its illusory nature is a metaphor for the illusory nature of the 'waking' state, which you mistake as 'real' life, but is just another dream.
Going even further into the night when dreams are finished, what about the period of blackout, so much like death itself, that comes along as you disappear into deep sleep? In that, the mind becomes unconscious, quiescent. There no longer is any awareness of body or mind or world or 'you'. They're all gone, and yet you wake up again into conscious awareness in the morning, rested, energized, ready to face another day. If there was nothing going on there, why do you feel newly refreshed? And, is this experience of non-experiencing, which comes at night while one is 'alive', a harbinger of what comes 'after death'? Isn't it strange that you consider yourself fully 'alive', even though that aliveness refers only to your 'waking' state, and every night you experience these recurring lapses of deathlike, unconscious nothingness, without any apparent characteristics of 'life'? And yet, the after-effects of this nightly period, when it disappears upon awakening in the morning, is a remarkable feeling of restfulness and rejuvenation. Why is such a vital 'life-sustaining' daily occurrence, taken so casually for granted?
Using up your energy during the day and getting tired and sleepy at night is so thoroughly stamped into the human experience, it feels natural. But is it really natural? Is getting tired and sleepy and energy-depleted the natural condition of your true Self? If the disappearance of the individual 'you' with its body, mind and world, results in you regaining energy and 'waking up' rejuvenated, that condition must surely be closer to your natural Self. And if that is true, it is reasonable to ask if that refueling of subtle energy is also available during the day, or does it only happen to emerge when the busy-making states of 'waking' and 'dream' recede, and for a moment die away in deep sleep? Could that energy resource possibly be here right now, always available, hiding behind your awareness, just waiting to be discovered?
And if indeed you have managed even during your 'waking' state to tap into that replenishing energy, which was previously available only when you went unconscious in deep sleep, does that mean that you have reached your spiritual goal and are home at last in your real Self? No. The reference for that state of energy rejuvenation has been deep sleep, where 'you', your world and mind and individuality, all appear to be gone, and only the darkness of nothingness, the death-like emptiness of unconsciousness, remains. That cannot be your true Self. Instead of that dark, empty, unconscious landscape, the Self surely must be the unbounded fullness, the unmitigated brightness, the awareness, joyfulness, love, the peaceful stillness, the aliveness, the mystical oneness and beyond, that has to be your true nature.
And so, if deeper than deep sleep with its property of nothingness, there is an even greater state of unchanging fullness, infinite energy, and awareness, is such a God-like state knowable? And who would know it, if the familiar 'you' has vanished, and consciousness finds itself beyond the individual mind and its familiar experiences of 'waking' life? Is there anything to be done to reach that beyond, or are you already there and always have been, but simply don't realize it? Is its absence in awareness due merely to the narrow view taken by the mind, which was never taught to look beyond itself, in total surrender to what it cannot know?
Such are some of the questions to be examined here. There are still other important questions, particularly around the concept of God. Who is God? When you speak of God, is it of the Creator-Father, or are you speaking of an ever-existent Spirit Presence? Or could you be speaking of nothing other than You, the real You, the Self, the Ultimate Reality, the One beyond which nothing else is? If so, then is there any real meaning in the concept of God as the Creator, First Cause? Or are these mere ideas arising in and associated with maya, illusion?
The Western spiritual and religious teachings, as well as many Eastern teachings, no matter how beautifully inspiring and profound they may be, do not directly address most of these questions. They invariably start from the reference point of the 'waking-state' individual seeking liberation, and focus on his mind and its role in shaping his illusory life. And so those teachings usually concentrate on the transformation or transcendance or silencing of the mind. And as they are usually concerned with the 'waking' state, they generally ignore the dream state, and, even more so, invariably ignore the mindless, worldless, I-less, deep sleep state. And so, most of the focus is on the evolutionary experience of awakening from illusion, practiced by the 'waking-state' character calling itself 'I', rather than focusing only on That which never changes and knows nothing of illusion, having no knowledge of, and no relation to, temporal 'life'. Going completely beyond temporal 'life', includes going beyond every conceivable thought that can be thought, for, thoughts are responsible for the projection of all the gross and subtle forms that make up the illusory worlds of dreams, both of the night-time and day-time variety.
Therefore, to answer the questions given above, you look beyond all ideas of form, gross or subtle, and beyond whatever can be differentiated or named, and beyond even the highest spiritual states of samadhi, to turn your attention to the ultimate non-dual Truth, as taught by the Advaita Vedanta. The Vedanta has been turning out awakened masters for many millennia, even long before Western recorded history. The questions outlined above are the fundamental questions that collectively reflect everyone's experience, and it follows that there must exist some simple satisfactory answers to them, leading to a mystical knowing of Truth. (By 'Truth' is meant that which is eternal, which never changes; and 'knowing' as used here, refers not to the conceptual, rational, linear understanding of your mind, but rather to the intuitive, mysterious awareness of universal presence, felt to be the very heart of your Self.)
So, what does the Vedanta say? It says all there ever is is Sat Chit Ananda, Being Awareness Bliss. Call it Parabrahma, the Absolute; or call it Paramatma, the Self; or in Western parlance, call it God. Sat Chit Ananda, God, and the Self are all interchangeable terms for the Eternal, the Absolute, the One Reality. It may appear to be covered by nama and rupa or name and form, which is that which changes and is associated with time and space. Whatever changes is not eternal, but must gets its energy, its sentience and existence from the eternal Self, the Sat Chit Ananda on which it sits and which it clothes. People are nama and rupa, nature is nama and rupa, mind constructs are nama and rupa. They are the dress of the Divine, the many faces of God. When seen correctly and associated with Sat Chit Ananda, their existence is the One Reality, the Self. When seen as independent, separate and unrelated to Sat Chit Ananda they are illusion, maya, inconsequential, non-existent make-belief. As such they are just meaningless ideas, like a light-beam devoid of light or a bubble devoid of water; they have no basis. They are totally unreal. And yet, they may fool the ignorant and appear to be real.
Sat Chit Ananda is sometimes called the Fourth or Turiya. Why the 'Fourth'? The reference is to the three daily states of illusion that all living beings cycle through, and the Fourth, the one Reality, the unchanging Truth beyond the three states. The three states of illusion are the 'waking' or gross state, the dream or subtle state, and the deep sleep or causal state. In the Vedanta, these three are represented by aum, where 'a' speaks of the daily 'waking' state of worldly life, 'u' the subtle nighttime state of dream fantasy, and 'm' the causal deep sleep state containing the seeds of all potential manifestations and worlds; aum makes up the changing world of illusion. But beyond the daily cycle of aum, is the one Truth represented by OM, called the Fourth state, which is not really a state but the unchanging Reality, the deep silent omnipresent Truth of pure Being, referred to as Sat Chit Ananda. So, in the same way that self is illusion and Self is the true Reality, aum is illusion and OM is the true Reality.
So, the changing relative world of illusion, or maya, is nama and rupa, a collection of names and forms which are dissociated in the mind from that which gives them existence, namely, the Sat Chit Ananda. The world of illusion is the dream, whether it be the sleep dream of the night or the 'awake' dream of the day. It is a fictional fabrication in your mind having no abiding meaning. This illusion of maya consists of two very powerful shaktis, or powers. The first is the veil (avarana) which hides the ever-present truth of Sat Chit Ananda. The other is the projection (vikshepa), superimposed on the veil, which generates a world made up of nama and rupa, that is not real, but appears to be real. At the same time, what truly is real, the Sat Chit Ananda, the very heart of you, is obscured and made to appear as unreal. Together these two shaktis, the veil and the projection, make up both the world of the night dream and the world of the day or 'waking' state, the latter being no different in character from the night dream.
So, in two of the three states of illusion, the gross 'waking' and the subtle dream, both of these shaktis are active. The metaphor that is frequently given to illustrate this is that of viewing a rope at dusk. A veil of darkening obscures the scene and hides all but a hazy image of the rope. The mind gives the image meaning, linking it with a remembered thought of a snake. That imagined snake is then projected outward, perceived to be real and actually out there.
But, unlike the 'waking' and dream states, in the third common daily state of deep sleep, the meaning-assigning mind is quiet, and there is only the one shakti of the veil. The projection is missing. Therefore, in that state there is no illusory world, no body, no individual calling itself 'I'. and no mind to differentiate objects, gross or subtle, into separate names and forms. In that state the Truth is hidden, viewed through the cloak of maya as nothingness, emptiness, unconsciousness. But there is no untruth projected to further obfuscate the Reality.
Living in a world of untruth requires a continuous expenditure of energy. When the available energy is exhausted sleep comes. It is like a switch that turns off the energy-draining unreality of the illusory world. But just like throwing a switch to turn off a fan, the blades continue to rotate for a time as they coast down. That remaining rotation is the dream state, in which other, shorter episodes of unreal worlds are projected, but in which less and less energy is used up. Then there comes the quiescent state of deep sleep in which there is no projection of unreality at all, and therefore, without any disturbing overlay, the energy of truth can silently filter through the veil and bring contentment and ease, recharging the battery of 'life'.
But then, following deep sleep, since the seeds of manifestation remain, the karmic habit of welcoming the full illusion, projection and all, back into the mind, starts the whole illusory cycle all over again. This cycle continues day after day, year after year, life after life, until the veil itself is finally pulled aside and, as the Vedanta puts it, 'the seeds of manifestation are fried'. With consciousness dwelling only on pure Consciousness, the seeds of illusion are consumed, maya is finished, and the unchanging truth of Sat Chit Ananda, the one Self, stands revealed.
Can Reality and Illusion Co-exist?
As a metaphor for the ultimate Reality, consider the ocean, the vast body of water which makes up the largest part of the visible world. Of course, the world consists of more than just ocean. To be complete, the metaphor must also include non-ocean, such as land and sky. Where the ocean meets non-ocean there is a boundary, a discontinuity. At the boundary, one state meets another state different from it and having nothing intrinsically in common with it. Ocean is water, land is earth, sky is air. These are distinct elements which do not share common properties. At the boundary where these different states meet you find a multiplicity of phenomena, each with their own particular names and forms and characteristics. These appear to be quite individual and distinct from each other. To name a few such phenomena at the boundary of ocean and non-ocean, you can think of waves, snow, ice, fog, clouds, steam, hail, spray, currents, swells, turbulence, storms, dew, sink-holes, water spouts, hurricanes, icebergs, etc.
These phenomena, appearing at the discontinuity where ocean and non-ocean meet, appear, in many cases, to be significantly different in form from each other. But they have two things in common: Although they seem to have unique names and attributes, they are all made up only of the ocean's element, namely, water. And when viewed from non-ocean, each in their own particular area of influence tends to cover the ocean, hiding it from view, locally replacing the vast boundless expanse of calm featureless ocean with their own characteristic forms. So, they arise at the discontinuity of ocean and non-ocean, and although they are made up of the ocean, they appear to have totally unique characteristics, and to have the effect of hiding the ocean from view, when seen from the point of view of non-ocean. In contrast to this, when the reference point is deep in the midst of the ocean, all that is seen is only the one unchanging featureless, watery ocean. So, all these forms appear only at the boundary, when viewed from non-ocean, a reference point located beyond the ocean.
What does this metaphor tell you? If the ocean represents Reality or Truth, and the non-ocean represents untruth or illusion, then it becomes clear, that if you believe that illusion can be real, in other words, that something other than absolute Reality can convincingly pose as reality and appear to exist, then there will be two worlds, a world of Reality and a world of non-reality or illusion appearing as reality, with a boundary between them. Of course, this duality of Truth and untruth can appear to exist only in the deluded mind of one who believes that the world, God, and himself, are in some essential way, different and distinct from each other.
It follows from the example of the ocean and non-ocean, that if there could be such a thing as both Reality and non-reality coexisting, then when seen looking outward from the world of illusion, there would be many seemingly separate and distinct forms and phenomena, much as at the boundary of ocean and non-ocean there appeared the many seemingly disparate forms, such as waves, ice, steam, etc., but all made up of the one substance of the ocean, namely water. In the same way, if Reality and non-reality could co-exist in the mind, there would appear to exist an infinite variety of seemingly distinct names and forms, but all made up of the imperishable Reality, namely, Sat Chit Ananda. This commonality, however, will not be evident, at all. Instead the various phenomena will appear to be different from Reality and different from each other. They will in effect hide the true Reality from view, replacing it with their own forms, which will now be considered to be the commonly accepted 'reality'. That is the very situation that the deluded mind finds itself in, in the 'waking' and dream states.
Conclusion: It is near impossible to see Truth from the vantage point of non-truth, particularly using the mind as the instrument for this purpose. For the mind is itself steeped in untruth and by its very makeup (thoughts), it is designed to obscure the Truth. Truth or Reality can only be seen from Truth not from non-truth. The mind, associated with the individual, is non-truth and therefore incapable of perceiving Truth. Therefore, whatever the mind perceives through the medium of its thoughts, can be rejected as non-existent, non-truth, non-reality.
There is, however, true Perception which does not involve the mind and does not involve the individualized consciousness. Universal Love, deep Peace, abiding Stillness, true Beauty, are beyond the realm of mind. They may be mistakenly associated with particular objects or environments, but they are the very substance and nature of Reality and are therefore ever unchanging. They do not come and go. They do not appear here or there. They are ever-present everywhere. They are all that is. They transcend the mind. Looking out from Love, only Love is visible. Your mind may see it otherwise, but that won't change what alone is there.
The classical example, that has already been mentioned, of the obfuscation of Truth by illusion, is the rope and the snake. In the twilight, you may mistake an innocuous rope to be a snake, when it is dimly perceived in the mind. Then you become frightened and excited. But, when you illuminate the snake with a flashlight, intending to get a better look at it to assess the danger it presents, then, to your surprise, you find you don't see the snake in greater clarity at all; instead, you see that it is not a snake but a rope, and was always just a rope. Darkness, that which is the absence of light, that which is not, can never be illuminated by light and seen more clearly thereby. It just disappears when the light comes, and then, what was always there reveals itself. If instead of running away in fear, you face the fear head-on and use the light to illuminate the snake, you discover the snake is gone, as is the fear that came with it, and the truth which was covered over, now reveals itself. The snake is just a dark thought. A thought of fear. It doesn't exist. It represents the absence of light. In shining the light, the dark covering disappears.
That light is the CIA, Constant Integrated Awareness. How do you get hold of that Light that illuminates the Truth and shines away the darkness? If the glasses are already sitting on your nose, and you use them to look for the glasses you think you lost, will you find your lost glasses? No. You have them already. Similarly, you haven't lost the Light. You don't need to find it. You already are the Light. You need only to recognize it. You may think yourself a worthless beggar, but when told you are the crown prince, then you need only accept it, believe it, own it. For if it is true and you already are that, then it will naturally manifest in your consciousness. The details and story and feelings along the way, are not important. They can take any number of forms and adventures. It is just that the veiling fear permanently leaves, and as it does, you become like the lotus, unfolding petal by petal in the grandeur of your own Self-recognition.
In the traditional Vedantic way of speaking of it, the real You, the Self, stands behind the illusory you, the individual self, which covers the Self. That real You, the Self, is the one universal Reality that is all there is. The illusory 'you', the individual self, with its distinguishing characteristics and separable parts that, for so long, 'you' believed you are, and that 'you' also believed every other separate thing, living or nonliving, gross or subtle, manifested or unmanifested, phenomenal or ideational, regards itself as being, was never real and does not exist. When you consider yourself to be an individual, differentiated and separate from others, this 'you' is nothing at all.... a mere hallucination, a fictional character without true meaning.
But, when it is seen correctly, not as something separate and different, but merely as an evanescent name and form, an insubstantial outer covering worn by the one universal Self, then that seemingly separate individual is correctly seen as being the one Self, which alone is real. Therefore, it is ludicrous to think that 'you', this individual composite body/mind/personality can ever become that Self. Clothing cannot ever become the man. Whatever the clothing, the man underneath remains the man, unchanged by the clothing. The individual 'you' cannot be transformed into the Self. The only transformation possible is in the seeing of what already is, but was previously misperceived. Correctly seen, you are not the separable individualized self; that self never existed. But you are always, everywhere, the one universal Self, nothing else.
The particular distinguishing body/mind/personality equipment is merely some outer clothing covering the Sat Chit Ananda, in other words, cloaking the Self. The Self, ever inner-directed is not aware of it. For It, the illusory forms are non-existent. And so it is with all illusion... ego, bodies, forms, shadows, darkness, worlds, thoughts and ideas, time and space, 'you', all arise inexplicably in the mind, in the presence of the Self, like cloud shadows and the Sun. They appear at the boundary where the possibility of something other than everything is entertained. Once they appear, they hide the Self, as seen from the reference point of 'you', the individual. But Self is not aware of this. The plethora of forms are unrelated to It. They have no cause. They have no effect. They are nothing.... just passing clouds. They are not of your concern. You need only to heed Immortality... you need only to abide in your true Self.
And so, every moment, whatever it looks like, whatever appears to be playing on the field of perception in your 'waking' mind, be it a dream of joyful oneness, or a nightmare of dreadful separation and terror, or anything in-between, each moment is an opportunity to go deep to the outer appearance and recognize the unchanging Context, the ever-present Truth underneath, which is always the same, no matter how it appears on the outside. That is the good news of the CIA, the Constant Integrated Awareness that is your ticket home.
Devoid of maya, what does Truth look like? What is Truth as viewed from the reference point of Truth itself? Call it Singular Reality, the ongoing, non-dual basis beyond deep sleep, ever existent before conception, beyond death, and deep within every instant in-between. What follows is a look at Singular Reality as viewed by the Fourth, which is You, the pure Self, God, the Sat Chit Ananda, untouched by the veil of illusion and the projection of dream worlds.
Truth as Viewed from Truth
From the Isha Upanishad: "Om. This is Full. That is Full. Out of the
Fullness comes the Fullness. And yet the Fullness remains ever Full.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace."
All there is is God. There is nothing else. God is the totality of everything. God is Truth. God is Love. God is Light. God is pure Consciousness. God is all meaning. God is all Reality. God is all Existence. What is not God is not real and has no existence. It is nothing.
God extends eternally. God as Love, everfull, is who You are, extending forever. You are God. There is no difference of any kind. There is no way to distinguish where You end and where God begins. You can never in any way be other than the fullness of God, ever whole, ever perfect, ever sinless, ever pure Love.
You are holiness itself. There is nothing more holy than You. You are all power. There is no power outside of You, or more powerful than You, or that can oppose You in any way. You are all energy, You are all passion. You are the unlimited, singular, ever-extending Love that is God. You are the sacred idea that is the mind of God. You are pure Spirit, extending Yourself as Love eternally. You are the Self, God. There is no one other than You, ever.
You have no body. At no instant is your body, physical or subtle, ever real. You know of no world outside of You. For You there is no time or space. At no instant are these ever real. You're not an individual. You know nothing of separable objects or forms. You don't dream. You're not born. You do not die. You have no center, no within or without. There is no limited individual 'you', as 'you' have constituted yourself and think of yourself. Such a 'you' is nothing, always devoid of meaning. In eternity there is only the true You, unchanging. That is all there is.
There is no God as creator or cause, of which you are the creation or the effect. You have no source, nor are you a source. You have no beginning and you have no end. There is only the constancy that You are. There is nothing besides You. There is only the one perfect beginningless Love of God, that is You. You are the totality of all of it, always home in God, always home in You.
You are the One, the sum total of all there is, the one Thought that makes up God. Yours is the one Life, which is God's Life. Yours is the one Mind, which is God's Mind. Yours is the one Will, which is God's Will. Being identical with God, God cannot be outside of You or beyond You or other than You. God cannot be God except in being You. God as an idea is impossible without You. You are the master reference point for everything. Knowing who You truly are, knowing your Self, You know God. That is all there is to be known. You cannot ever not know that. There is not a moment when You do not know your Self as God. It was, it is, and it always will be, the totality of who You are, the one Self, God.
You fully know who You are, but You know nothing of who You are not. You know nothing of illusion. You know nothing of nothingness. You know nothing of time and space. You know nothing of separation. Therefore, You know nothing of the world of separation. You know nothing of bodies and forms and shades of non-light, and ideas of non-love, and states of non-peace. You know nothing of temporal, individualized entities. You know nothing of separable, specialized parts of the whole. You know only Yourself, eternal, unchanging, wholeness itself. You are Love and You see only Love. You are Light and You see only Light. You are Peace and You see only Peace. You are God and You see only God.
Being certain of Yourself, You are certain of everything. You know nothing of uncertainty and doubt, and You know nothing of conditions other than unchanging unqualified Love. That is what You are. You need do nothing to be that. You already are that, and You can do nothing to be other than That, other than who You are. It is your Truth. It is your Reality. It is your present, ever unchanging Eternal State. Right now, You are in heaven and heaven is in You. You are Heaven. You are the one Self, the Paramatma, the Parabrahman, the Absolute, the Sat Chit Ananda. This is your Reality for all eternity. It is the only Truth there is.
Is there anything to be done to realize the Truth of who You are? No. Nothing needs to be done. Nothing can be done to become who You already are and always have been. To believe that there can be anything other than You, the Self, God, is sheer ignorance. This ignorance is the cause of every possible sorrow. But ignorance is not real. There is neither bondage nor ignorance. Dreams may appear out of nothingness and appear to play out on the pure screen of Consciousness that is You. But they have nothing to do with You. A dream may appear with a spiritual theme, playing out as a dream of awakening, in which 'you', a dream character calling itself 'I', appears to live a life within the illusion and believes himself to be bound, and who then chooses through various spiritual practices and teachings to follow a path of awakening to Truth. In such a dream there will be both sadhana (effort) and grace. But none of that has anything to do with You, the Truth. Truth is eternally unconditional, unchangeable.
Every teaching and every sadhana deals only with dream activities and dream characters, which are totally illusory. Sadhana is dream effort, much like taking dream water to slake dream thirst. Its ultimate purpose within the dream is to remove the mistaken notion obsessing the dream character, that he is anything other than the ever-pure, unchanging God, the one true Self. Sadhana dehypnotizes the dream character from the hypnotic idea that he is not God. In that story, awakening plays out as a subjective experience, and spiritual effort plays out as the cause of that experience. But all efforts and experiences have no real value in Truth, because the ever-free, ever-awake Self, You, God, is not affected by any dream effort, and 'you' the illusory, asleep, dream character will not transcend the dream and become real, as a result of it.
Reality has nothing to do with awakening, or with enlightenment, or with 'you' and your experiences, or with the world in which 'you' appear to exist, or with dreams, gross or subtle, day or night. Reality has nothing to do with projections, superimpositions, mental fabrications, or anything that comes and goes. Reality is God unchanging, Self unchanging, You unchanging, You as pure Awareness and Love. You were never anything else. You cannot not be it now. A dream may play out for a moment, inexplicably appearing and disappearing, but for You it is non-existent. Rope does not know of snake, Sun does not know of cloud, Light does not know of shadow or dark. You remain as You are, pure Love extending eternally without limit or end.