15.20: Peeling the Cosmic Onion
Just as we need to peel off multiple covering layers to reach the essence of an onion, we need to peel of multiple covering layers to reach the essence of the cosmos.
Scientists are among today’s most prominent cosmic onion peelers; using their material tools and techniques, they peel the panorama of material phenomena to seek an underlying order. Yet their search, even if successful, is profoundly, permanently incomplete; their particles, forces and laws hardly relate with the emotion, experience and love that are the driving realities of our daily lives.
Gita wisdom recommends a more realistic approach to cosmic onion peeling: “Begin the enquiry with that which all of us know really exists: our own consciousness.” After all, consciousness is the necessary reality that enables us to do any enquiry at all. Because material science focuses only on matter and neglects consciousness, its peeling fails to reach consciousness.
However, if we start with consciousness, as do spiritual scientists, the Bhagavad-gita (13.31) indicates the reality that we will discover: underlying the variety of matter is the uniformity of spirit, the source of all consciousness.
Significantly, the Gita doesn’t stop the peeling there; it doesn’t assume, as do the impersonlists, that the uniformity of spirit is a barren homogeneity. It peels further and reveals within that uniformity an eternal diversity: the diversity of innumerable individual souls centered on one supreme individual, Krishna. And unifying these diverse individuals is the ultimate reality: love, love so endearing that it attracts even the all-attractive. This, the Gita (15.20) indicates, is the greatest of all secrets.
Thus, when we successfully peel beyond the endpoints of material jnana (science) and spiritual jnana (impersonalism), we discover to our delight that the very love that is presently life’s driving purpose is in its pristine and potent form existence’s crowning reality