I am the inconceivable ultimate reality, without hands and without feet.
I see without eyes, I hear without ears.
Free of all forms, I am the knower of all.
But none can know me.
I am eternal consciousness.
Before entering into this sutra, it will be good to understand a few words. This sutra is indicating towards that which is, yet has no body, towards that which is, yet has no form, towards that which is, yet has no shape.
The form, the shape and the body are visible to us, but what is not visible to us also exists. I look at you and what I see is not really you – because what you really are cannot be seen by my eyes. I see your hands, I see your legs, I see your body, your skin, your eyes and ears – but I don’t see you. There is no way to know you from the outside in the same way that you experience yourself from the inside.
You believe that other people have a soul, an interiority, only because you can conceive of a soul within yourself. Otherwise, only the other’s body is visible; whether or not there is something else within it is not visible. Within your own self you feel that there is something more than the body: this is why you infer that it must be the same within the other. But you cannot see it in the other, and what you can see is different from it. This is why one day it happens that what you knew to be alive yesterday is dead today. Everything is the same as it had always been until yesterday, yet nothing is the same. What was visible is still visible, what the senses could perceive is still there, but something that is beyond the grasp of the senses has disappeared, has moved away. And what has moved away is also never seen as it moves away. The body dies, it is destroyed, it decomposes, but nothing is ever seen to be leaving the body.
This is why scientists have always said that man has no soul inside, that the soul is nothing but a part of the physical body. It is nothing but a sum total of the parts of the body, just as when a clock runs there is no soul running it; it is an assemblage of mechanical parts. When this mechanism breaks down, we don’t ask where its soul has gone. There never was any soul in it to begin with.
So far, the scientists, the scientific thinkers, have been saying that the body is also a mechanism, and that the activity that is happening as a result of the cooperation of all these mechanical parts is life. They say that life is not something separate from this body. This has been the cause of constant controversy and, knowingly or unknowingly, mankind has become divided into two groups: one group does not believe that man is a mechanism, and the other group believes that man is a mechanism. The group that believes that man is not a mechanism also cannot believe that the universe is a mechanism. For the group that believes that man is a mechanism, they have no difficulty in believing that everything in life is only a mechanism. For them, the whole universe is only a mechanism.