arivilumeriyarinnitunavan tannuruvilumottu purattumujjvalikkum karuvinu kannukal anchumulladakki terutere veenuvanangiyotitenam
Permeating the knowledge which brilliantly shines at once within and without the knower is the Karu; to that, with the five senses withheld, prostrate again and again with devotion and chant.
~ Sri Narayana Guru (Atmopadesha Shatakam — 1)
The world within and the world without is but one functional reality which Guru calls the Karu. The philosophy of Spinoza is very close to what is contained in the first verse of Atmopadesha shatakam. What Guru calls Karu appears in Spinoza’s philosophy as substance. The substance of Spinoza is self-founded and self-established; it includes within itself all matrices of causes and effects. Spinoza gives two attributes to substance: extension and cogitation. In Vedanta, extension is called vyapti. Spinoza’s concept of extension appears in the Guru’s verse as ‘outside’, and his idea of cogitation is akin to ‘knowledge’ as it is used here. Guru’s expression “at once brilliantly shining” comes in Spinoza’s philosophy as omnia. …