NATURE AND UNITY OF THE PRINCIPLE
Frithjof Schuon

The Principle is the Absolute; that is to say that it is the absolutely Real. It is the Absolute which excludes all contingency; but it is also the Reality of all that is real.

The Principle is essentially Consciousness, Power and Love, thus Life; Love encompasses Beauty, Goodness, Beatitude. These are the undifferentiated aspects of the Essence or of the Principle; they are situated one within the other, each is container and each is content, without intrinsic differentiation.

To say that the Principle is one means that It is Absolute, and that in consequence It is absolutely unique and absolutely simple. It is unique: being absolute, It excludes all that is not the Absolute; in admitting relativity, we say that what exists does so only through It; that nothing can be without the unique Cause. It is simple: being absolute, It excludes all separativity; in admitting relativity,--and we have no choice but to do so,--we say that the Principle includes all that exists; that Reality as such is indivisible. Being one, the Principle is both Void and Totality.

God, being Unity, wishes to unite; infinite, He wishes to realize Union according to all possible modes, or at all degrees of the Possible. Wishing to unite, He separates to be able to unite; that is the function of My. From this follows the creation of the world and, within the world, the realization of all contrasts; within extension and within duration, beings and destinies.

The objective and unique Principle, discerned in the mind, presents itself first of all as transcendent; but It is equally immanent in the objective world, otherwise the world would instantly be reduced to nothingness.

The subjective and simple Principle, realized in the heart, presents itself first of all as immanent; but It is equally transcendent in relation to the empirical subject--the ego woven of images and tendencies--otherwise the ego as such would be identified with the absolute Subject, with the divine Self.

Perceiving the Self in intellectual discernment, we perceive objectively the Essence of our own subjectivity; and realizing it unitively in our heart, we realize subjectively the Essence of objective Reality, thus the unique and transcendent Real.

Firstly, the Principle is real; It is Reality itself. Secondly, It is both immutable and living, or absolute and infinite; It is therefore the Absolute and the Infinite, the Void and Totality. Thirdly, It is conscious, powerful, loving; It is at once Spirit, Cause, Goodness. Fourthly, It is at once, first, last, outward, inward; It is at once the Origin, the Result, the Manifested, the Non-Manifested. But It is always the One.

The Six Aspects of Reality

"The Real is one."

"The Real": It is the Absolute, and It is the Infinite. Absoluity excludes all contingency; Infinitude excludes all limitation. The Absolute is discerned by our spirit as transcendent Object; the Infinite is realized in our heart as immanent Subject. Transcendence has an aspect of immanence since the Truth is inscribed in the very substance of our spirit; and immanence has an aspect of transcendence since the Self transcends the I.


"The Real is": It is purely, and It is totally. The first aspect is Vacuity, which excludes all manifestation; the second is Totality, which excludes all privation.


"The Real is one": It is unique, and It is simple. The first aspect is One-and-onliness,, which excludes all repetition; the second is Simplicity, which excludes all division.


Absoluity, Vacuity and One-and-onliness are exclusive; Infinitude, Totality and Simplicity are inclusive.


It is in virtue of Absoluity, of Vacuity and of One-and-onliness that the Real alone is; and it is in virtue of Infinitude, of Totality and of Simplicity that the world exists, and that it is not other than the Real.


Absoluity gives rise, by compensation in a certain way with regard to nothingness and thus by inversion--although in illusory mode since the Absolute is the Real--to Relativity.


Likewise: Infinitude gives rise, by compensation and inversion, to Limitation.

Likewise again: Vacuity gives rise to its contrary, Manifestation; Totality gives rise to Privation; One-and-onliness gives rise to Plurality; and Simplicity, to Diversity.

That is to say that the Real:

relativizes itself, but without nullifying Absoluity;

limits itself, but without nullifying Infinitude;

manifests itself, but without nullifying Vacuity;

deprives or diminishes itself, but without nullifying Totality;

repeats or reproduces itself, but without invalidating One-and-onliness;

divides itself, but without invalidating Simplicity;


and this more and more in the direction of a nothingness never attained and never capable of being so.


The Real thus produces the world, degree by degree, beginning with the divine Degree, if one may say so; namely the creative Principle, with Its Qualities and its treasury of Archetypes.

 

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