Threefold Development (Contd.) --------------------------------------------
Every object in creation has been reduced to its constituents, and it has been discovered that there is nothing in an object except its constituents. This is a law that can apply to every object, whatever its character be. The difference in the contour or the shape of the object is not very important. What is important is the nature of the substance out of which it is formed. You know very well that from the point of view of shape, a walking stick is different from a table, but from the point of view of the substance, both of them are made of the same wood. So, the knowledge of the walking stick would imply the knowledge of the table also, irrespective of their differences structurally. In a similar manner, the rule can be applied to everything in the world, and the Upanishad points out to us that all things in the world are permutations and combinations of the original untriplicated elements,—fire, water and earth. The redness in the sun, says the Upanishad, is a vibration that is emitted from the fire that is in the sun. The whiteness that dazzles us is due to the water principle, and the darkness there is due to the earth principle. So is the case with the moon, so is the case with the lightning, and so is the case with every other object. The colours
The colours mentioned here are not the colours as we understand them in our ordinary language. A colour is a capacity which is present in something structurally, which emits certain vibrations causing a perception of a kind of colour in its body. So the colour is only a reaction that is set up in the process of perception. This reaction is caused by the nature of the object that is inherent in the thing, which actuates the perceiving eye to recognise it in the form of the colour that we appreciate. So is the case with the redness and the whiteness or the blackness that the Upanishad speaks of in respect of objects. They are not merely abstract qualities, but are substances in essentiality, and the Upanishad is trying to analyse the substance of an object and is not merely giving information on colour in the way we understand it in the world. The redness in the sun referred to here is something substantially present in the sun. It is the body or the orb of the sun partially, and if it looks red to us it does not mean that it has a character of redness apart from the substance that it is. It is the substance itself that is presented before our eyes in the form which we interpret as redness. So, the colour of an object is not something different from the object, as it is the way in which the object sets up vibratory reaction in respect of the perceiving apparatus. What the Upanishad points out is that the three colours that we see in objects are really the threefold presence of the elements—fire, water and earth—so that if these elements are to be withdrawn from the object, there will be no object left at all. If you really know the wood that is in a table, there would be no table. And so is the case with any other complex substance which is in turn constituted of particulars, and if every particular element within it is withdrawn, the object is no more there. This is the case with every object in this world. We are under the impression that there are millions of things in this world; many things, uncountable, we think, is the number of the objects of the world. What is the importance of this countlessness? They are all but various dimensions of one single mass of triplicated elements and, because of the difference in the dimensions and the proportion of the mixing of the elements, we mistake one object to be something different from the other. Essentially they are the same. The difference of the object is notional; it is not physical. Physically, substantially, essentially or basically, they are identical. But we are unable to perceive this basic essence on account of our weddedness to the complexity of perception and our belief in the externality of things. The otherness in the object is the cause of our belief in the diversity of things. We have separated ourselves as perceivers, separating ourselves from the atmosphere of the object.
It is unfortunate that the connectedness of the subject with the object is not perceivable to the eye. There is a very important intrinsic connection between the perceiving individual and the object perceived. It is more than what appears on the surface. The subject plays a very important role in the perception of an object. It is not that something is located outside the earth or far off in space, undetermined by everybody else from its own point of view, under its own setup. Everything is determined by everything else so that there is no such thing as an absolutely independent object, whether it be organic or inorganic. The independence of an object is an illusion. That illusion of the perception of an independence in the object arises on account of a false abstraction of the circumstances of an object from the other factors in which the same object is involved. Whenever we perceive an object, we take into consideration only those aspects of the presentation of the object which the eyes can grasp or which the senses can cognise. There are other factors in the object which the senses cannot contact. It does not mean that our five senses are everything. Suppose we have one thousand senses; we would have seen many other things in the world. Unfortunately, or fortunately, we have only five senses. So we can see only five aspects of an object. But we mistake these five aspects for everything. There are other rudimentary elements in the location of an object which are unrecognisable by the senses. That which exists between me and you is not an object of perception. Therefore, it is not possible for the senses to report towards the existence of that which is between me and you and, so, because we are wedded to the reports of the senses, we completely ignore the aspect of that which is invisible and intangible. If the relationship of the perceiving subject with the object and vice versa could be recognised and also the relationship of the object with other objects be evaluated properly, then there would be an immediate merger of objects into an ocean of Being and that will be a single eye seeing a single object and not the many eyes or many senses seeing a multitude of things. So this is the philosophical background to which our mind is driven by the analysis of the Upanishad when it says that every object is constituted of three elements—the fire, the water and the earth elements.