Chapter 10: Old Habits Die Hard
Now one of the greatest problems before all the scientists of the world is how to unite all these different branches. In the old days, in Aristotle’s time, a single person used to write about the whole of science. Aristotle, a single man, has written about all the sciences. Now nobody can be an Aristotle again; those days are gone. He has not only written about all that was scientifically available, he has also written about God, heaven, hell - the supernatural world.
Hence the word metaphysics. Metaphysics has a very strange origin. Aristotle wrote about mathematics, chemistry, physics, whatsoever scientific knowledge was available in those days. And then after all these chapters he wrote a chapter about God. It was just a coincidence that after the chapter written on physics he wrote about God; the next chapter was about God. “Metaphysics” means “after the chapter called Physics.” It became the very name of philosophy - metaphysics, beyond physics. In fact, it refers to Aristotle’s book: the chapter that followed the chapter “Physics.”
But one man like Aristotle will never be possible now. Science has become very much divided, and it goes on being divided. Remember the definition: knowing more and more about less and less. Then religion will be just the reverse process: knowing less and less about more and more. Hence in religion nobody can be an expert. It is a movement from the particular to the universal.
And mysticism is the ultimate peak of religion. Mysticism can be defined in the same way: knowing nothing about all. That’s how Dionysius defines it: agnosia, knowing nothing. About the all, about the whole, nothing can be known because you are part of it. The knower and the known are no more different; they are one.
This is what he is saying in the language of theology. What he is saying is significant. He is defining science very clearly, not knowing that he is defining science. He is defining religion very clearly and mysticism very accurately. He says:
I think, too, that you have understood how the discussion of particulars is more lengthy than of universals.
Of course. The description, the discussion of the particulars is bound to be very lengthy. The Encyclopedia Britannica cannot be written on a postcard. But the essence of all the Upanishads, one hundred and eight Upanishads, can be written on a single postcard, or even a single postcard may be too big. It can even be condensed into a single sutra, into a single statement. And exactly that kind of statement is available.
The Upanishads say: tatvamasi, Thou art that - and they say all is contained in it. Everything else that is said in the Upanishads is nothing but an explanation of this single statement consisting of three words: “Thou art that.” There is no difference between you and the universe. You are it.