The Whole gives rise to parts, yet is beyond them || Acharya Prashant (2014)

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Speaker: Parts change, the whole remains unchanged.

First of all, this whole, that is being talked of, is not a sum of the parts. Usually, when we refer to a whole, what we mean is, that there are the parts and when they are taken together, we get the whole.

In the existential sense, the whole is not the sum of the parts. The whole is from where all the parts emerge and yet the whole remains whole.

In the mathematical sense, in the worldly sense, when a part is disassociated from the whole, then something reduces from the whole. In the existential sense, the whole remains whole even after manifesting all the parts. The whole has infinite potency to express even more parts, after all the parts have been expressed.

So, when it is said that the parts change, the whole remains unchanged, what is meant is, that the whole alone exists. It is neither reducible nor can it be augmented. There is nothing that the parts can do to it, for all the parts exists within it.

Even in absence of all the parts, the whole is still there; even in the presence of all the parts, the whole is still there. Actually, the parts are not present, only the whole is present. What appears as the part is the inability of the part to see the whole. Otherwise, there are actually no parts, there is only the whole.

One part looks at another part, and being a part it sees only parts. One part looks at another part and because the looker is a part, all it can see is parts. Otherwise, the parts don’t exists, only the whole exists. We all know the famous Shanti path from Upanishads. Right?

Listener 1: Purnamadah Purnamidam.. (That is Full, This is Full)

Speaker: Take away not only the parts, even the whole from the whole, yet the whole will remain. Take away everything that can be taken away, yet you can take nothing away. There is not mathematics, there is not two plus two is equal to four. We are talking of the infinite, from which whatever can be taken out, if taken out, reduces nothing. And that taking out is not a separation, is a manifestation.

Usually, when we say a part is being taken out, what we mean is, that the part is being separated from the whole. In the existential sense, the part is never separated from the whole, the part is a manifestation of the whole. There is no point of separation.


Listener 2: And in that, how will the whole manifest itself only as a part, it will always manifest as a whole.

Speaker: Manifest as a whole. Right. So, what is the part?

Part is a fragmented way of looking; otherwise, there is no part, there is only the whole.

Listener 3: Parts are what we think.

Speaker: Parts are what we think. Wonderful!  And that is why understanding is wholeness. You can never understand the part. You can never understand a ‘thing’. You can never understand an ‘issue’. You just understand, and understanding is total . So you can never say that I am clear about ‘this matter’. You can be clear, you can understand, but can never be clear about a ‘particular’ matter.

Getting it?

~ Excerpts from the Shabdyog session at Advait BodhSthal, Noida. Edited for Clarity.

Watch the session: Prashant Tripathi: The Whole gives rise to parts, yet is beyond them

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