The Absolute’s oneness is not in non-differentiation, but in non-disconnection

The Absolute Truth is one. This intuition has dawned on many thinkers worldwide who have sought first principles, the foundational reality underlying all things. Moreover, the Absolute’s oneness is stressed repeatedly in the Upanishads, metaphysical masterpieces within the Vedic library.

But what does this oneness mean? Monistic thinkers equate it with non-differentiation. They hold that reality features no differentiation at all – the differentiation between you and me is an illusion, as is the differentiation between us and God. Subjects that perceive and objects that are perceived are all illusion; a non-differentiated stream of consciousness alone exists.

However, this conception is profoundly impoverishing. It strips existence of its greatest driving force: love. We all long to love and be loved. Acknowledging the foundational reality of love, Gita wisdom offers a more nuanced and enriching revelation of oneness: not the dissolution of all individuality, but its loving harmonization. The Bhagavad-gita’s sixth chapter (06.28-30) describes progressively higher states of spiritual realization, culminating in vision of the all-attractive personal Absolute, Krishna. The most spiritually evolved souls see Krishna in everything and everything in Krishna (06.30). Thus, they see everything connected, not everything merged.

How do they see the Absolute’s oneness? By seeing that everything is Krishna’s energy (07.04-06), that nothing can exist without him (10.39), that everything derives its attractiveness from him (10.41). Realizing this oneness, they dedicate themselves to him with both their head and heart (10.08, 15.19). Illusion arises not from the perception of duality, but from the perception of disconnectedness of the part from the whole (15.07). Love, when directed towards the Absolute, reveals the connectedness of all of existence and connects the soul with the Whole in an eternal bond of ecstatic love. Indeed, pure love for Krishna with the resulting eternal union comprises the ultimate reality, beyond all illusion.

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