From the Material to the Causeless Cause
The principle of Causation is inspected here, in line with how it manifests on subtler and deeper levels of mind, thought, and consciousness, rather than in the realm of physics where western science and culture are accustomed to encountering it.
Reality, called Brahman in Vedanta, unlike everything else, depends upon nothing, neither inside, outside, nor beyond the universe. Appellations assigned to It, like the “Causeless Cause” would apply here; or if thinking in terms of human destiny, the “Unmoved Mover”; or if acknowledging the role of vibration in the cosmic process, “The Unstruck Sound”; or if considering It by way of acts and deeds, the “Inactive Agent.” Many such titles can be given, each illustrating the distinct and singular nature of Reality as contrasted to all other things — objects, bodies, senses, worlds, beings, concepts, etc.
Since Brahman is deemed to be causeless, and cannot be the cause of anything due to Its formless nature, then what is the cause of all the aforementioned? The Svetasvataropanisad asks this same question in its opening slokas:
Students of Brahman consider, ‘What is the cause: Is it time, nature, cosmic law, matter, energy — even chance?’
The answer came forth:
None of these can bear examination because of their own beginnings, identity, and the existence of the self.
And so, this question, if it is placed in a spiritually inquisitive setting, has led aspiring beings on to comprehension of all that lies beyond the ken of the five senses. For, when one thinks in terms of causation, one must necessarily consider the subject of origins. The ancient rishis searched within themselves for centuries for that barely discernible path leading Godward, and eventually detected a subtle “trail of breadcrumbs” which even the pesky birds of ignorance and forgetfulness had left untouched.
When Indian philosophy broaches the subject of origins, it does so with ripe and mature acknowledgment that Reality, called Brahman, is originless. In this way it begins on a secure footing which is already sound, solid, lofty, and well-determined, giving it an advantage over other systems which always try to put Reality in terms of human thinking or, even worse, matter. According to Swami Vivekananda, Brahman is “acreate,” placing It in a superlative category all Its own. In Sri Ramakrishna’s words, “Brahman is untouched and intrinsically ever-pure, and the only thing which has never been defiled by the tongue or mind of man.”
It is with this sterling principle in place and intact that we offer a chart for study. In formulating it I have stretched the traditional terminology pertaining to the term and principle of causality to afford a wider and deeper view of the subject, i.e., its many tiers. Nothing particularly new has been added in this process, for all this wisdom is to be either found directly within, or subtly inferred from, the Vedic scriptures. I have only arranged it under headings that expand the present usage. For instance, the terms “material cause” and “efficient cause” are well known to the six orthodox darshanas of India. Brahman is both of these, depending on what vantage point one is taking — that of the world/maya, or that of Consciousness.
But in reality, and from the Advaitic standpoint, Brahman cannot be a cause for anything, for if It was It would necessarily have to enter in and involve Itself with divine, celestial, and human affairs, what to speak of lordship, guidance, karma, and cosmological and planetary matters. If the truth be known, however, Brahman’s Shakti and Her sons and daughters fulfill this set of onerous duties, the key word here being Ishvara or Ishvari — the highest manifestation of God with form that the human mind can comprehend, envision, or conceive of. Again, Reality is formless, must remain sacrosanct, should be left alone in its ivory tower — a fact that conventional religion and living beings would be wise to acknowledge and adhere to.
In this wider spirit, both of honoring and remaining true to the tradition and of bringing out what is inferred, sometimes cryptically, in the Indian scriptures, I have layered this chart of cause and effect, complete with the outward and inward directions of evolution and involution, to expose a “trail of breadcrumbs” that will lead the seeker after Truth from one superimposed strata of relativity to the next, each one being more subtle than the last. The purpose of this is several-fold.
First, the riddle of cause and effect can more easily be worked out after such a teaching transmission is gained. In this regard it ought to be stated outright that the benighted or spiritually unawakened soul is enmeshed in the diaphanous and impermeable net of Maya, a flexuous and mesmerizing labyrinth of worlds, chimerical in nature, which are the invention of the omnifarious mind given over unreservedly to unbridled imaginative desire (sankalpa/vikalpa). Such a mass of actions, such a series of karmas, has been wrought over endless cycles of time by multitudes of beings that it will take some mighty deeds of purification and transcendence for the freedom-seeking soul to see its way clear of it all.
A second reason for offering such esoteric wisdom to the people at large is to generate a healthy hunger for cosmology, both in religion and in everyday life. Who among us that is caring and concerned has not rued the disappearance of ancient and primitive cultures, and lamented as their store of knowledge withered in the character-obliterating sweep of this modern technological age? To bring back, restore, or even solidify one of the great world cultures in the contemporary mind’s memory would be a feat well worthwhile, and a great benefit to all of humanity. For what is good is called cosmology, what is better is called philosophy, and what is best is called spirituality. The three are innately interconnected, each dependent on the other in the overall scheme of things. Therefore, a study of a culture’s cosmology via a visual, like our chart, reveals the deep richness of such a system, demonstrating, among other things, the presence of God as a living Verity — for such creative genius which fashioned the lokas cannot but have an extremely profound Source — even, and especially, if that Source be Unoriginated.
The reader can see by the wealth of strata and ingredients listed on the chart that the subject of “causation” has been drawn into several headings, all with their pertinent concomitants. Quotes from the luminaries and the scriptures have also been applied, fleshing out the possibility for greater understanding. These I leave to the reader to contemplate and fathom. For, causation is an esoteric topic, and one that, due to the prevalent customs and opinions of the day, does not get sufficiently aired anywhere except for the rare and occasional spiritual circle of guru and sangha. Even there, the subject is seldom presented so as to bring it into the clear and proper light of day.
The Material Cause
Referring to the chart, we can now look at the many tiered strata of the causation ladder. It begins at the bottom with the Material Cause, rises to the Efficient Cause, enters into the Primordial Cause, brooks the Subtle Cause, meets the Cosmic Cause, and then merges into the Remote Cause, or AUM — The Word. What lies beyond that is causeless, Brahman. If one prefers to start with the one and only singular Reality, which is most sensible and understandable, then the chart can be traced from Brahman on down. This would reveal how all effloresces out of the Word, with Brahman as the Eternal Substratum, and how everything burgeons into manifestation. But let us start, in earnest, from the bottom, where mankind is presently trying to ponder his situation based upon the triple principles of desha, kala, and nimitta — space, time, and causation.
It is not just in the Hindu scriptures that food is considered foundational; all of life is based upon food. As the line of one scripture states, “Everything here is just food. Beings come into being by way of food. They sustain their lives by way of food. Going to death, their bodies then become food for others — insects, animals, fire, etc.” This reasoning is practical enough. Food is also a way of life for all cultures, all nations. And it is for these good reasons and more that it is placed at the foundation of the category called the Material Cause. Coursing upwards, when food is eaten it fosters vital energy and gets converted into sperm. Then it is given reverently to the future mother for purposes of conception. The baby is then born from the mother’s womb and, over time, the physical body develops wherein the five active and five cognitive senses develop. All along, the human brain is growing, and when it does, that rare and valued commodity called intelligence visits it (we hope).
Two very remarkable things can be said about the Material Cause: first, the fact that the brain is not the mind becomes more evident here; and second, that the entire contemporary world, and many cultures and races throughout time, believe the Material Cause to be all of life. That is, beings believe that nothing exists beyond matter, despite the presence of intelligence. A detached observer can readily see how an origins theory which proposes that man is created out of nothing, or dust, and a scientific mindset which avers that it took millions of years to evolve the gross universe, came into being and vogue. Whatever the case may be, these two do not satisfy the seeker of higher truth, who must contemplate subtler origins to gain deeper understanding.
The Efficient Cause
In this level of causation we find nature and the three gunas.
To clarify the gunas via example, water when still and stagnant, like a swamp, is under the predominance of tamas. Water, when it is flowing furiously, like a raging river, is under the influence of rajas. Water, when it is still but clear, like a mountain lake, partakes of the sattva guna. Interestingly enough, when we take the three gunas into the arena of potential called the human mind, similar analogies are available. The mind that is dull and slothful is suffering the tamo guna. The mind that is frenetic and restless is laboring under the rajo guna. The mind that is peaceful and balanced is sattvic. Even among the animal kingdom, the astute observer can see the three gunas at work. A dog, for instance, may be seen lying flat on its side, tongue lolling out and flies alighting there. The doggy is definitely in a tamasic mood at that time. But just wait! Soon it is up and on its four legs, running around barking and threatening other dogs, the fear of every fire hydrant in the neighborhood. But most wonderful indeed is that same dog transformed, sitting regally in the sun, neither lazy nor restless. Ah, the sattva guna: everyone cherishes peace and balance most highly.
The Primordial Cause
As we encounter more rarefied levels of causation in the inward sweep of Divine Reality, we come upon one that is obscure but pivotal as far as man’s present spiritual understanding is concerned. It is the prana that is being cited here again, that subtle life force which, though so obvious and connected as the inner cause of what people think and do, is never given any thought or credit whatsoever. The Primordial Cause, then, as it is being entitled here, is the flow of vital force on both gross and subtle levels of existence. On gross levels it courses through the five elements, animates the senses, operates bodily functions, etc. All of this deserves individual inspection.
As pertaining to the life functions, and has been already mentioned earlier, the heart beats, the blood circulates, the lungs inflate and deflate, the body’s waste gets evacuated, the senses operate, and the mind thinks under the facilitory auspices of prana. And as to how this pertains further to the five senses and the brain, these “six” senses (five senses and mind) owe a great allegiance to the pranic force. Relative to this, there is one story in the Upanisads wherein the gods of the mind and senses, the gods of the five elements, and the gods of other various functions in the heavens and on earth, all got together one day to debate on who was the greatest amongst them. Every one of them got up and spoke most convincingly on how he or she was the greatest power in the universe. But the god of prana only sat and waited, silently. When all had taken their turn and had their say, then prana stood up and said, “I am most definitely the greatest among you, and I can prove it!” Speaking thus, and before anyone could object, prana thereby and immediately vacated the premises, whereupon all the gods and goddesses present there fell down lifeless. No further argument was given.
The presence of life force, then, is undeniable, yet most beings, even intelligent ones, fail to acknowledge it. What is more, beings who do espy it see its inner workings and thus keep the mental picture clear. That is, people are always and ever attributing their actions and thoughts, and what happens to them on a daily basis, to God. “God made me do it,” “God granted me this boon,” “God took away my child or loved one” — these are common exclamations. But we have already stated that God, Brahman, is actionless and free of any intention or motive for beings or their lives — these lives (except in the case of the illumined souls) being assumed by the decision of their own desiring egos and lived under the force of their own personal karmas. Practically speaking, prana animates the body and senses; prana brings the forces of repercussion to bear on everyday life, and prana, again, causes the thoughts to rise and fall, advance and retard, aspire and fall down. Prana even facilitates life and death, even rebirth. Knowing this, beings should bring the forces of prana under their control so as to live a dharmic life — as the luminaries do.
On the subtle level, prana holds sway too. This has already been inferred by indicating the mind and its thoughts. These are presided over by what is called the psychic prana, which differs from the gross prana just like gross thought differs from refined thought. And here is the bridge to rudimentary spirituality. If a physicist were to detect prana, and became sure of it like the yogis are, he would soon become a metaphysicist. This epitomizes entrance into the subtler worlds which lie back in the recesses of the mind, as in the Christ’s saying that “The kingdom of heaven lies within.” Here, in this refined region, called a loka, the prana works in lightning swift fashion to bring thoughts, insights, and realizations to bear on the now awakened mind. This teaching reveals the distinction between brain and mind, the former which decays and dissolves, and the latter which stretches beyond matter and senses, remaining operative in what religion calls the “afterlife.”
The unreal never is. The Real never ceases to be.
To complete this overall description of the Primordial Cause, a mention of what the yogis call “the five tanmatras” is required. Listed on the chart under study as the “five subtle elements,” they are another unseen and missing bit of knowledge in our present-day understanding. Knowing about them will inform and connect us to the world of vital forces on so many levels which are important to our lives, scientifically, religiously, spiritually, and medically, to mention a few.
To explain this from the root up, the world, the senses, and the life forces are not to be taken for granted, or left unconnected in people’s minds. Through focused and quiescent meditation the nature of each tattva (mutable principle) is to be examined and known, and then connected consciously back into the Self. In brief, after separate meditations are accomplished on each tattva, then this liberating process of internal connections can be undertaken. This art of introspection is mostly missing in our western science and education due to a preoccupation with appearances perceived only by the senses. What underlies appearances, seen by the single eye of meditation, is far more real and vastly more important.
And so, and as a part of the meditative process, the seeker after what is subtle brings together earth with smelling, water with tasting, fire with seeing, air with feeling, and ether with hearing. When this work is complete, consciously, and the five elements have been linked to the five senses, the allocation of the elements and the senses to the subtle elements (tanmatras) comes next, i.e., earth and smell with the principle of odor/solidity, water and taste with the principle of flavor/ liquidity, fire and seeing with the principle of visibility, air and touch with the principle of tangibility, and hearing and ether with the principle of audibility. In other words, the principle of a thing/object is subtler than the thing itself, and also subtler than the senses which behold or experience it. This, in a nutshell, is the thorough examination of the world and its causes and effects on the basic yogic level, and how to look beneath appearances, or maya, to behold subtler causes.
What is good is called cosmology, what is better is called philosophy, and what is best is called spirituality.
How can this process of connections really help us? First, if external life is left unconnected, and all the elements of our existence are allowed to exist in a random and unordered fashion, the mind itself soon becomes fragmented. Then complaints inevitably begin to surface, oft repeated in this day and time, such as “I do not see any purpose to my life,” “I am bored and listless,” “Life does not make any sense,” etc. Here, the zest and verve for life are lost and the inner mystery of existence overlooked — those very things which are epitomized by prana itself. When a person is listless, then, he has literally lost hold of his vital energy, prana.
And here is a second reason for the integration of the physical elements to their primordial counterparts, that being that one can consciously gain control of the vital force and use it for revivification of body, life, and mind. This is called wholistic health in this day and age, though both higher intelligence and pure spirituality get overlooked in the quotient thus far due to contemporary man’s preoccupation with food. Besides the fact that we have never seen nor heard of a bored or listless luminary, the control of vital energy will allow the inner wayfarer to access what is subtler still. That is, if the gaining of control over the gross prana can bring good health and energy, and the acknowledgment and facility around the subtler level of prana can open the mind up to the secrets of where our ancestors have gone and are abiding, then the gaining of control over the psychic prana can throw open the doors of the all-powerful intellect and introduce the aspirant to the Subtle Cause.
The Subtle Cause
Higher intelligence has already been mentioned. In spiritual systems and circles, higher intelligence does not mean knowledge of intellectual subjects. Intellect is different from intelligence. The former is a sheath (upadhi) or container (kosha), and the latter is a free-flowing verity (partly due to prana) which shines with the Light of Consciousness Itself. The distinction between brain and mind also applies here. Suffice to say, however, that the Subtle Cause is the realm of mind per say, and intelligence plays the most important part in that realm.
In the chart under examination are found the concomitants of the Subtle Cause, or Subtle Body, consisting of karma, kama, manas, chitta, ahamkara, and buddhi. Taking the last four of these elements and placing them into one complex, we have what the ancient rishis called the antahkarana, or inner cause. Just the very name alone informs us as to what the luminaries of that time knew to be the cause of this universe. It is mind. Everything spills out of it like a ripe harvest from a cornucopia. Where does mind get it all? We will have to look to subtler causes than the antahkarana for that answer.
As to the elements of the Subtle Cause, by karma and kama is meant the innate drive of the human being to satisfy the thirst for life in the mode of separation. That is, few know the bliss of oneness with Divine Reality, or having overlooked it in the exciting sweep and prospect of physical manifestation and expression, decided or preferred to attempt to slake this thirst for worldly existence instead. This is like overlooking the real value of land for the sake of its resources.
On a related note, the prana, or life force, is probably the greatest “addiction” there is. A great hunger for what it can confer is at the root of the drive for satiation in the realms of name and form. And the mind will lose itself and give itself into that pranic fire of potential passion with a thirst that far surpasses obsessions with the various allurements of the world. Here is another reason why the yogis strive to control prana, and not give free reign to it via the desire-driven mind. “Freedom from the senses, not freedom to the senses,” is how my guru, Swami Aseshananda, always used to put it.
In addition to desire, kama, there is hell to pay in the form of karma. The Subtle Cause predicates that all actions require a reaction. This law is not just a physical one applying only to matter and energy, but is an ethical one as well, applying to the mind and its thinking process. What a man thinks, so he becomes. “This is so true,” said the Holy Mother, Sri Sarada Devi. Further, “A ship passing in front of a magnetic hill has its screws pulled out and sinks in the ocean,” said Sri Ramakrishna. While this story can be applied to the realized soul’s body under the influence of divine passion, it can also be applied to the ignorant man’s mind under the press of worldly passion, as over time his karmas tend to pull apart his common sense, and his very ability to reason. So, that karma and kama are innate parts of the mental body, and that body is the cause for all that has been listed up to this point, is telling, to say the least. It means that everything here in the realm of name and form has the seal or the impress of dual mind upon it.
That dual mind, called manas, along with the ego, are the potentially dangerous parts of the human mind, though thought (chitta) and intellect (buddhi), if given a dark turn, can wreak havoc as well. But manas is dual by nature, whereas the other three elements of the antahkarana are said to be open to transformation. When manas is said to be dual by nature, it means that it constantly and automatically throws up propositions without number for the consideration (and distraction) of buddhi and ahamkara, the intellect and the ego. Good and bad, virtue and vice, pleasure and suffering, praise and blame, birth and death, bondage and liberation — these and many other dualities accost the mind minute to minute, year by year, lifetime after lifetime. A mind developing a habit of dual thinking is thus worldly and superficial, and rendered ineffective in reaching any higher moral, intellectual, or spiritual ground. What is more, later it can become fragmented, randomly dispersed and scattered, thereby subjecting itself to be born in conditions which are unsavory and undesirable.
This overt penchant for dualities is what Sri Krishna warns about in the Bhagavad Gita. The dualities themselves are termed “the deluding pairs of opposites,” or dvanda mohena in Sanskrit. But this selfsame mind, if brought under control by subjection to purificatory exercises and disciplines, can become a portal in the opposite direction, opening to a realm of light that is peaceful, blissful, and liberating. Here, the thoughts, or chitta, come into play. If charged up with this positive light they naturally become buoyant, like a hot air balloon. But if left brooding on the deluding pairs of opposites, then they sink, gravitating to the lowest position possible, like rainwater flowing into sewage drains in the streets. Such are the dangers, and the import, of mind and its thoughts.
As for the other couple of the antahkarana, they are intellect and ego. Much like their companions, they are troublesome if left fallow and unattended by higher Awareness. The inflated ego alone is notorious for causing much of the problems in the world, but its opposite, the ripened and refined ego, is responsible for compassionate goodness. As Sri Ramakrishna has stated, “In front of the mansion of God is a great stump. One must jump over it or go around it to enter there.” This great stump is the rascal ego. Not only will it stir up countless problems in the world, it also acts as a potential barrier between the transmigrating soul and the static Divine.
As was stated earlier, the intellect is really a key for the door leading into higher mind. It is most luminous, capable of holding and exuding the light of Brahman. If the mind is rendered non-dual (“If thine eye be single thou shalt know the truth.”) and the thoughts are charged up with inspiration, and the ego is diminished so as to step out of the way, then the light of intelligence can shine, naturally and spontaneously, illuminating the very ground leading to higher Awareness. The soul seeking involution then knows which way to go, and is lost no longer in maya. Even the secrets of the causal realms, what to speak of the Cosmic Being Itself (Ishvara, the Chosen Ideal), are now open and thoroughly accessible to it.
The Cosmic Cause
Lying between the fourfold mind mechanism and the most diaphanous realms of name and form is the Cosmic Cause, consisting of the witness soul, the various cosmic laws, the principle of wisdom, and maya itself. Regarding the soul, when the ego element of the antahkarana gets refined, the sense of individuality begins to evaporate like fog and mist under the advancing noonday sun. What takes its place is Sakshi, or Witness Consciousness. Some systems call this the Purusha, which may be cited as the authentic individual soul, much different in nature and more real than the projected self, or ego. Even on earth, among embodied beings, there are cases of beings transcending their egos and becoming transparent, living in a completely different state or condition of mind than others. This Purusha is splendid, then, and radiant with burgeoning Self-awareness. Only the fact that it still retains a slight sense of separation from Brahman, a residue of the distinction of the observer and the observed, differentiates it from Atman, its ultimate destination.
The Purusha, then, looks in upon the causal worlds of cosmic law and sees the workings and the secrets of the cosmic process. Space, time, and causation themselves, form a part of those worlds of higher thought. The question is, whose thought is it? It belongs to the Mahat, the Great Mind, a subtle strata soon to be examined. And other laws, far beyond human ones, are present there as well, including the inexorable art of the passage of time in expanded cycles and the alluring power of attraction between entities. All beings, all things, even insentient ones, fall under the press of raga, the power of adhesion based upon irresistible attraction. Far distant and below, at the universal and atomic level, the effects of this law causes planets to spin on their axis and circumambulate stars, and atoms and molecules to adhere to set patterns in their own tiny spheres of rotation. On the intrapersonal level, the divine attraction of the soul for Reality even partakes of the enthralling and congenial qualities of raga. In short, the realm of the Cosmic Cause is rife with abundant light emitting off of these specialized elements of higher Reality.
Vidya, intelligence, is inherent in the Cosmic Cause as well. Our chart under study calls it higher intelligence, and the seeker after Truth has been tracking it for lifetimes. In it, and in the refined buddhi that shines with it, the Atman, pure Awareness, reflects best of all. Further, its connection with the Primal Word, AUM, is indivisible, as we will see as this study progresses.
Puzzling, but also revealing, is the presence of maya at this lofty strata. Most beings who have heard of the word maya define it as “illusion.” But maya is really only the worlds of name and form in time and space based upon causation. Reality is formless, so anything that covers It is of the nature of maya. Thus, if one looks at this chart from the Cosmic Cause downwards, more in terms of evolution rather than by way of involution as we are studying it here, the entire sweep of maya’s domain is seen. As Shankara has put it in his Vivekachudamani, called in English the Crest Jewel of Discrimination, “Everything from avyaktam (the indiscernible unmanifest nature) on down to the five elements is the nonSelf.”
The term “not-Self” refers to what is insentient and mutable. The distinction, and a liberating one at that, divides the changing from the Unchanging, the nonessence from the Essence, maya from Brahman. And conventional wisdom takes a step in the right direction when it states that one needs to separate the wheat from the chaff in order to get the grain. But this pertains to physical food and commerce, or worldly matters and their concerns. Spiritual food, grains of truth, also need to be gleaned, and this act of mental discrimination that separates insentient nature from the Sentient Soul is crucial for Self-realization. Once that step has been concluded one can see that maya is in Brahman, as Sri Ramakrishna has pointed out, “like poison is in the snake.” The realization of “All Is Brahman” is then not far off.
The chart defines maya as form and formlessness, which brings up another subtle distinction to be made. That is, there is manifest nature and there is unmanifest nature; then there is the Supreme Unmanifest Itself, Brahman. To understand this is to become aware that when all manifest things disappear, as in decay, destruction, and death, it is only their outer form that dissolves, while their inner essence simply moves into seed form, or potential. This has to do with the memory of them in part, but more with their unoriginated nature. This is why knowing the Essence, Brahman, is so important, for then one will not fall into the fallacious assumption that birth and death are real or actual. When a baby is born, it simply appears out of the unmanifested state it went into at the time of its previous “death,” and when an elderly person dies, he or she only passes back into that selfsame unmanifested condition. All the while nothing has actually happened; no transformation has taken place. This principle is called Aparinama. Importantly, the Supreme Unmanifest stands by, unaffected as well, but acting as the substratum for all that seems to pass from state to state — which is all under maya’s domain.
The Remote Cause
To comprehend more fully the apparent transformation of things, objects, worlds, and beings from one state to another, the Remote Cause needs to be fathomed, at least to a degree. This could also be called the Causal Cause. It has been likened to the deep sleep state wherein man is fully immersed in a naturally formless condition, but is as of yet unaware of it, there being a veil of nescience over his awareness. To be perceptive in this pure realm would be to awaken to inner wisdom, behold all that unmanifested nature holds, hear the unstruck sound of Om, and come face to face with Ishvara — the highest conception of God with form that the human mind can comprehend or envision. Such an acutely aware being might be tempted to disclose that all four living principles listed here — Mahat, Mahaprakriti, AUM, and Ishvara — are one and the same, seen from four different picture windows of the soul. Mahat, the Cosmic Mind, fulfills the cosmological view; Mahaprakriti, the purveyor of all the principles of nature, fulfills the philosophical wisdom view; AUM, the Primal Word/Vibration, fulfills the mystical view; and Ishvara, the Chosen Ideal, fulfills the theistic or anthropomorphical view. Other apellations for Divine Awareness such as the Cosmic Egg (Hiranyagarbha), the Firstborn, the Primeval Soul, and more also fit in here, in this very broad, very transcendent category of the Remote Cause.
The Remote Cause, or Causal Cause, is that transcendental location in Consciousness where everything resides, and where everything springs forth from. All of this can be put in terms of wisdom, living liberating wisdom. The coruscating Light of Brahman, the silent Sound of Om, the divine Body of Ishvara and Its incarnations — they are all just wisdom, Mother Wisdom. This Mother is the Shakti of Brahman, She who fashions everything out of Brahman or, She who fragments indivisible Consciousness into many parts. The dichotomy of this is that something that is indivisible cannot be fragmented. Yet there it is, the various universes of names and forms and the mass of individualized souls that inhabit them. This segues nicely into a description, however brief, of The Causeless Cause, which is the ultimate point of any study of cause and effect, of involution, of this chart, and of our very existence.
The Causeless Cause
The collection of citations and quotes gathered on this chart pertain specifically to the various strata of causes stacked one atop the other in layered form. Of all of them, perhaps King Janaka’s astute saying listed there heads the row, pertaining most directly to the actual march of cause and effect, and emphasizing the need for aspiring beings to transcend it. And this brings to the fore the Highest, the Foremost, the Perfect, the Ever-free — that which lies far beyond even the most remote of causes yet which infills them completely. This is Reality Itself, untainted by any and all causes and effects, therefore being non-dependent upon anything other than Itself. This is Brahman with Its Shakti.
Intrinsically and inseparably unified, like fire and heat, whiteness and snow, wetness and water, a diamond and its radiance, Brahman and Shakti are the twin aspects of one singular and indivisible Absolute Reality. The fact that They are rarely even distinguishable from one another has earned Them the name, “The Two who are One.” Like a snake and its wriggling motion, Brahman and Shakti are the preternatural Essence in all things, sentient or insentient. Known also as Akhanda Satchidananda — pure Existence, pure Wisdom, and pure Bliss — they are also referred to as pure Consciousness, as timeless, deathless Awareness, and as Absolute Reality. Though fundamentally immovable, nevertheless it is Their quiet presence that animates all things, all worlds, all beings — even the gods and goddesses in the highest spheres. And though there are several layers of causality between Them and all other principles — cosmic mind, intellect, mind, prana, senses, nature, etc. — They nevertheless remain constant, immediate, and intimately available to all sincere practitioners who deeply desire to know and see Them. Like “sweetness in sugarcane juice,” They appear everywhere as the true nature existing in everything, sentient and insentient.