Holographic Projection of Phenomena – The Mechanics of Manifestation
The concept of “holographic projection of phenomena” is one of the many concepts that can assist us to better understand how our consensus reality works. Below is an excerpt from a book about the great modern sage Ramana Maharshi that deals with this topic. The book, entitled “Der Weg zum Selbst” (The Way to the Self), written by the German Indologist Heinrich Zimmer, was edited and published posthumously in 1944 by C.G. Jung. The translation of this passage is mine. The title for this excerpt (p. 228 – 232) from “Der Weg zum Selbst” is my own creation.
The Mechanics of How the Self Manifests as the World
Questioner: Is there a place in the physical body that one could say is where the Self is located?
Ramana: In general the right side of the chest is taken to be the seat of the Self. It is an everyday experience: whoever points to themselves motions with the hand to the right side of the chest and says: “I did that, I said that” etc. Some say the crown of the head would be the seat of the Self (sahasrara). But then, when one is tired, the head shouldn’t sink but remain upright.
In addition the word “heart” (hridaya) means “self”. Of course the location of the Self, which is called “heart” is not the muscular vessel which pumps the blood or any part of that, for the Self, the Absolute, that is described as “existence, consciousness, bliss” (sat-chit-ananda) is perfect, eternal and beyond the boundaries of time and space; the opposite terms of spatial conceptions such as inside and outside, up and down, don’t actually have any relevance or relation to the Self.
In other words, the location of the Self is there where the conceptions and movements of the mind recede, into which they sink back and come to rest. Beyond the conceptions and movements of the mind one comes to the Self, which means: beyond time and space which belong to the realm of ideas and concepts. When the adept is not satisfied with mere ideas and concepts, but craves to really experience the clear and still state, to remain in the Self or in pure Inwardness, then such considerations whether the place of the Self is inside or outside of the physical body are not important. When one remains in the Self there is no possibility for such questions to arise.
Questioner: How is it that ideas and images arise from the innermost crevices of our mind even when we are not in direct contact with objects of sense perception and hinder us from experiencing the still, silent state, from remaining in the Self?
Ramana: The actual objects of such perceptions are not external. They are the subtle inner tendencies and habits of the mind (vasana) that constitute its heritage from earlier lives based on former habits, thoughts and deeds: those perceptions are embedded in these vasana.
Their objects exist only in the mind that has lost its stillness because we falsely equate our being with our life in the body; therefore, the mind is subjected to the externally fluctuating effects of the objects of sense perception. If we do not allow the mind to become entangled in such perceptions but rather inquire inward when such perceptions arise, and seek to know to whom they occur, they then disappear on the spot.
Questioner: How is it that the trinity (triputi) of the seer, seeing and the seen (that is not there in dreamless deep sleep, in Samadhi and related states) results and blossoms on the Self that is actually one and all-encompassing?
Ramana: Out of the Self in its pure and original state of Being there first shines the reflected light of the Inner Being (chit-abhasa) as consciousness and out of it the “I”-thought arises; it is the root of all thoughts and movements of the mind. This “I”, the ego, together with that which results from it and depends on it – the world and sense perception – constitutes the seer of the objects that are seen. In this way the threefold relationship of seer, seeing and the seen apparently develop, for none of the three elements exist independently of one another and cannot be there without the others.
Questioner: It is said: the Self is beyond knowing and not-knowing. How can it then pervade the material body and give life and activity to the mind and the organs of sense perception?
Ramana: The ancient seers who knew Reality teach the following: there is a fine connection, a knot, (granthi) between the place of the Self and the center of the nervous system. This knot is the Heart-Knot (hridaya-granthi) and so long as this connection has not been cut by the experience of the truth, the Self manifests and expresses itself through the nervous system and gives the mind and the sense organs life and activity, just as the subtle and invisible electricity feeds light and power through wires and threads. When this knot between the place of the Atman and the nervous system is cut, the seers teach that the Atman remains as Itself — as pure, attributeless Inner Beingness — as It has always been.
Questioner: What is the relationship of this original state of the Inner Beingness or pure knowing to the relative cognition of the visible world, which includes the trinity of the seer, seeing and the seen?
Ramana: You can imagine it as similar to the way a film projector works: the Self, or the pure Inner Beingness is the lamp, the source of inner light. The mind, free from passionate movement (rajas) and dull darkness (tamas), in the state of bright clarity (sattva) and near to Atman, is the lens in front of the light source. The gamut of the inherited tendencies and habits (vasana) in the mind, (which are in the form of extremely subtle, intangibly flitting and darting modifications and stirrings that follow each other in rapid succession), constitute the filmstrip with the images full of forms that runs in front of the lens. The mind is the lens. Its vitalized or bright state is the light rays that pass through the lens. These make up – together with the Self – the individual “I” (jiva): the lamp with the light that the lens gathers and projects.
Just like the light that goes through the lens and projects bright light onto the screen across from it, so the light of the Self that streams from the mind through the sense organs to the outside, appears as the world of objective manifestations (or objects that become visible). The light rays that shine from the focal point of the lens onto the screen, light up the screen and bring the forms to life. Thus, the insentient, inanimate world of matter is lit up by the mind which transmits the inner effulgence and radiance of the Self to the outside.
The images of the film that follow each other on the screen (thanks to the light from the lens) are the various objects that arise in the phenomenal world with name and form, as a result of the light that is bestowed upon them from the mind. The machinery that lets the film run corresponds to the divine law by which inherited habits and tendencies (vasana) introduce/input themselves into the mind. The images appear on the screen as long as the film runs and throws its shadows onto the screen through the lens. Similarly, the phenomenal world of sense perception of the objects plays as a seemingly independent reality, as long as the inherited tendencies and habits play their game (or have their way) in the mind. The single –“I” (jiva) perceives them in the waking state and in the dream state. Furthermore, just as the lens magnifies the innumerable tiny pictures of the film strip and projects them in great size in the blink of the eye onto the screen, so the mind magnifies its seminal infinitesimal subtle tendencies and habits to immense size in no time and gives them name and form.
If there is no film, the lamp shines without projecting images onto the screen: similarly the light of Atman shines alone, without the trinity of seer, seeing and the seen when there are no tendencies (vasanas) in play that result in ideas, images and movements. This happens namely in dreamless deep sleep, in states of being unconscious, of samadhi etc. Nothing happens to the lamp, it remains completely unchanged, immutable and untouched, while it illuminates the lens, the film and the screen. Likewise, the Self remains as It is in Itself — pure and immutable — while illuminating the mind (with its tendencies and habits, as well as all objects) with Its light.
– end of translation –
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