I love the analogy in the Bhagavad Gita about akasha and the Self.
It gives me a better understanding of what I experience in the woods on my mountain hikes.
As akasha pervades the cosmos but remains unstained, the Self can never be tainted, though it dwells in every creature. (Bhagavad Gita 13:32)
The Sanskrit word, akasha, means ‘space’ or ‘ether’ depending upon who is translating it.
I get the idea
It gives me a better understanding of that feeling I get out there on a trail. Like I am ‘coming home’ each time I enter the woods.
It is so comforting. And it explains why I am ‘at one with it all’.
I am not just this body with its thoughts and feelings. I permeate the trees, birds, rocks and rills everywhere around me and I don’t have to be embarrassed about saying so.
Yet I do have my individuality as well.
Figure that out! It’s a mystery of the senses in this body I call Bill.
But think ‘space.’
Just for a moment, consider what it is that we mean by the concept of ‘space.’
Yes, there is empty space all around us. But then, trees occupy space as do rocks and soil. Move a rock and you move it from one space to another space.
You cannot move it out of space. Everything is in space. And when Bill moves from one space to another space, the space does not change. It remains the same no matter what takes its place once Bill moves to new space.
I can fill empty space in a glass with water, but the space is the same inside the glass. Unless the glass is moved, of course. Then, if it is moved, that space remains behind empty of the glass, but filled by something else that takes its place in the same space.
I’m going through this mental exercise for myself. You may find it interesting too.
The reason I’m doing it is to get different perspectives on what we mean by space so as to get a better idea of what is meant by my ‘Self’ that the Gita refers to.
Pardon me if I now bring in a few verses from the ancient Eesha Upanishad. It speaks of the space, or Self as if it were space.
The Self is everywhere, without a body, without a shape, whole, pure, wise, all knowing, far shining, self-depending, all transcending.
I like this one from the Katha Upanishad, which speaks also of the Self, which is like space:
Self rides in the chariot of the body, intellect the firm-footed charioteer, discursive mind the reins.
Senses are the horses, objects of desire the roads. When Self is joined to body, mind, sense, none but He enjoys.
Just change out that word ‘Self’ in those quotes and slip in the word ‘space’ and see what you get.
Amazing, isn’t it? Except for space being wise and all knowing, it gives me a good analogy for understanding my one-ness with all those trees and snow out there on the trail.
Think it would pass muster in our Science 101 course?