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The Real and the Apparent
John: Hi, Ram. I am having trouble getting my mind around this quote, and I wonder if you can shed some light on it: “All modifications have speech as their basis and it is name only. Clay alone is real.” (Chandogya Upanishad IV.1.4)
Swami Dayananda talks about words and that nothing has substance. The shirt is fabric, but if you look closer you see that fabric is yarn, yarn is fiber, fiber is cellulose and other molecules which when you break them down become atoms, protons, neutrons, mesons, quarks, space and awareness, the atman.
I am not sure if Swami Dayananda’s progression from fabric to space to awareness relates to the Chandogya Upanishad quote. Anyway, in my life I sit at my desk at work, deal with people and situations that come up during the day, things are happening. I don’t quite see how these “things that are happening” have “speech as their basis and it is name only.”
Ram: Hi, John. “Speech” means “name.” Forms – the things that happen to you every day – appear in you, awareness. They are named “people, work, desk, situations, etc.” but when you inquire into them they resolve into awareness, you, just like a shirt resolves into cotton, which resolves into fibers, which resolves into atoms, etc., which resolves into space, which resolves into awareness.
The idea “the world is nuts” is speech. There is no world apart from the name. It is just an idea manufactured out of you, awareness, as insubstantial as cotton candy. The reality is awareness out of which these ideas – words – are manufactured. They are apparently real. We say “apparently” because when you subject them to analysis they are seen to be nothing but names and forms for awareness.
~ Love, James