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Chapter 8: Animal, Vegetable or God?

Those who are absorbed in the fulfillment
of prakriti - the manifest nature -
enter darkness,
and those who are absorbed
in the fulfillment
of hidden prakriti - unmanifested nature -
enter greater darkness.

The outward manifestation of existence is called prakriti - the material nature of the universe - visible to the eyes, touchable with the hands, knowable through the sense organs; all that with which our organs become conversant. It can be said that the visible God is prakriti; but this is the experience of those who know God. They can affirm that prakriti is the body of God. But we know only the body, we do not know that it is the body of God. Prakriti is the form of that hidden, invisible consciousness, it is the visible form of that. This fact is known only to those who know the invisible also. Otherwise we know only this much - that the visible is all there is.

The Upanishads say that those absorbed in the worship of prakriti - visible nature - enter darkness. All of us are absorbed in this way. They alone are less absorbed who offer prayers and worship in the temples. But we who are absorbed in prakriti offer our prayers and worship in the temples of the sense organs. Upasana - worship - also has the meaning to sit near. When you are absorbed in the taste of a thing, you are sitting near the organ of taste. When you are absorbed in sexual desire, you are sitting near the sex organ; the worship of the sex organ is going on at the time. Those who call themselves atheists are also absorbed, not in the worship of God, but in that of manifest nature.

It is very difficult to save ourselves from “sitting near.” We have to sit near something - we can’t avoid it. If we don’t sit near God we will sit near manifest nature. If we don’t sit near the soul we will sit near the body. If we don’t sit near the spiritual and transcendental we will sit near the worldly and mundane. Certainly we will sit somewhere. The act of sitting near will go on in every condition with one single exception. I will talk about this later on.

This sutra of the Upanishad says that they enter darkness who are absorbed in the worship of manifest nature. They enter darkness because they can establish no connection with light. The worship and adoration of manifest nature is mainly due to darkness, to ignorance. Truly speaking, darkness is the basis on which being absorbed in manifest nature depends. If you wish to fulfill any desire or passion, it will be easy precisely to the degree that your mind is filled with darkness and ignorance. It will be difficult to sit near a desire if there is light - true knowledge - in the mind. The running, the searching after desires, will be exactly as smooth as the mind is filled with insensibility. Desires pertaining to all the sense organs lead us into deep sleep. If you are awake you will pass by the sense organs; and if you are asleep and insensible you will find yourself sitting near the sense organs.

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