Chapter 16: Only This Is
So depending on who is seeing, differences arise. When a knower looks, the body is not seen by him at all. When an ignorant person looks, the soul is not seen at all. The ignorant man looks in such a way that he sees only the body, a knower looks in such a way that he sees only the soul. For the knower it is impossible to see the body and for the ignorant it is impossible to see the soul.
This is the reason sages like Shankara could say that the world is false, it is not there at all.and materialists like Brahaspati could say that soul and God are all untruths, only matter exists. There is no inconsistency between these two, because there is no meeting ground for them. These are two statements seen through different perspectives. The whole way of looking at life is different. No world is seen from the point where Shankara looks at it; only the world is seen from the point where the materialist Charwak looks. This is a difference of perspectives. These are statements of people who have looked entirely separately and whose ways of looking are different.
It is like this: if smell is the only mode of detection for you, if you only have the nose as a sensory organ.. There are some animals, birds and insects who do live only through smell, who find their way through smell. Now such insects who find their way only through smell have no way of knowing what sound is, what music is, because there is no way to detect music through the sense of smell. Music has no smell whatsoever - if it is good music it is not fragrant and if it is bad music it is not stinking. Smell has nothing to do with sound. So someone who is equipped only with the detection system for smell will not know sound. For him sound does not exist. Something only exists in our world when we have the means to detect it.
Remember, we have five senses, hence we are able to recognize five elements. If we had ten senses we would be able to recognize ten elements. Below man on the ladder of evolution are animals; some of them have four senses, some have three senses and some have two only. Their world is limited to the number of senses they have.
For an animal that does not have ears, though he may have the rest of the senses, sound does not exist. Not that sound is not there, but if you do not have the medium to catch the sound, the sound becomes nonexistent for you, this world is soundless for you. If there are no eyes, there is no light in the world. So you will know only that for which you have a medium.
Your world is your medium.
An ignorant person searches through his body medium. This is the reason an ignorant person always asks, “Where is God? Show me.” What he is saying is, “As long as my eyes do not see, I will not agree.” When you say that as long as you have not seen God with your own eyes you will not believe, what is it that you are really saying? You are saying that as long as God does not become an object that you can see, you cannot agree about his existence. But who has told you that God is an object for the eyes to see? And if God is not an object that can be seen by the eyes then you will never encounter him, because your very insistence about seeing him through the eyes will become the barrier.