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Delving Into All That Is Eternal & Non-eternal

Published: 05.03.2006
Updated: 02.07.2015

There are three schools of thought regarding truth: eternalism, non-eternalism and eternal non-eternalism.

Eternalists believe that the essential or basic element is totally eternal with no room whatsoever for variation.

Non-eternalists believe that things die, they change every moment. Whatever is, undergoes change every moment. Eternal non-eternalists believe in the doctrine of manifold aspects. They accept every element as both eternal and ephemeral or non-eternal.

Clarity in the use of language is dependent upon space, time and the individual user. Right interpretation is not possible without this context.
Even the expression, 'I shall go', does not carry full meaning unless it is made clear when and where I shall go. Take this sentence 'So-and-so is not here'. It does confirm the person's existence but she is not where we want to see her.

This is spatial transience. The sentence 'At present it is not' denotes temporal transience. That which is not subject to space and time is eternal or perennial.

The perennial is present at all times and in all places.

All elements are eternal. As much as was there in the world shall remain undiminished. Not even an atom is added or reduced. The basic element is eternal and its extension belongs to a particular period.

Most religious people regard their regulations as eternal. Unthinkingly everything can be called eternal, but can any material extension be ever eternal? We say, 'Religion is perennial'. What is religion?

Man presents every fact through language. When language itself is non-eternal how can regulations and definitions couched in language be eternal?

Eternal is that which is natural, religion which is the natural purity of the soul is eternal. But how can regulations and definitions framed to interpret religion be eternal?

Has any definition of religion given so far been eternal? That which is made is not eternal. Definitions are man-made, so they cannot be eternal.

Are non-violence and truth eternal? What is non-violence? Eternality ends where there is form or shape. Non-violence as the soul's naturalness can be eternal.

Memory traces or samskara takes one back into the past. Mao said that Russia had become revisionist because it had strayed from Lenin's doctrines.

China changed feudal tradition, but the doctrine applied for bringing about the change came to be regarded as eternal.

Shankaracharya placed passion for scriptures in the same category as that of passion for sexual indulgence. We are adept in the use of words.

We have great attachment to the past, to what we're accustomed to, and to what is ancient. We're not attached to the topical as much as we are to the distant past.

We live in the present but are more inclined towards the past. Therefore, we find it difficult to understand truths newly revealed. That which has outlived its utility can claim our respect, but not magisterial authority.

It is not wise to cling to a thing that has outlived its utility, Only those people develop who think of changes. They are always losers who mistake the transient for the eternal and do not change it.

As told to Lalit Garg.


Times Of India Saturday, March 4, 2006

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  1. Lalit Garg
  2. Non-violence
  3. Samskara
  4. Shankaracharya
  5. Soul
  6. Space
  7. Times Of India
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