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Tao Te Ching, Metaphysics of Adam and Knowing the Names of Opposites

Allah turns you 

from one state to another,

 

and teaches you 

by means 

of 

opposites.


~ Mevlana Rumi


The Divine Intelligence, the Highest Intelligence presents and teaches us all by means of opposites, only the Essence of that Reality is where all dualities annihilates, all opposites collapses. The fact that the fabric of reality consist of opposites - is a point never to miss in order to understand the very matrix we find ourselves entangled in.

Following on the last post on Tao Te Ching and Sufi Light on it, lets turn to it's 2nd Chapter.

Subject matter of the 2nd chapter of Tao Te Ching is the necessary duality embedded in reality.

When the world knows beauty as beauty, ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other

Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other

Same message translated again by another author:


When people see things as beautiful,
ugliness is created.
When people see things as good,
evil is created.

Being and non-being produce each other.
Difficult and easy complement each other.
Long and short define each other.
High and low oppose each other.
Fore and aft follow each other.


This is the inbuilt duality that is necessary for the world to exist and work. Without the play of duality, existence as we experience it, would not be possible. If one understand the above message it would be clear to one why there exists suffering, why there exists pain.

In ontological dualism, the world is divided into two overarching categories. The opposition and combination of the universe's two basic principles of yin and yang is a large part of Chinese philosophy, and is an important feature of Taoism, both as a philosophy and as a religion.

From metaphysical perspective, there is an important distinction between duality and polarity.

Duality refers to the physical separateness of related yet opposite phenomena or modes of being.

Classic examples are the duality of the positive and negative electric charges, the north and south poles of a magnet, and the male and female bioforms. The entire physical world is based on duality - it could not possibly exist without the principle of duality because there can be no creation without an apparent separateness. Metaphysically, the fundamental substance of the universe "out there" is a direct expression of the most primary duality of all - that of subject and object, mind and matter.

The concept of polarity, on the other hand, is the essence of the underlying unity of these dualistic pairs, so to use it to express separateness is missing its true nature completely. Polarity may be the cause of duality, but understanding it as a single phenomenon which does so, actually makes it the unifying principle of dualism. Polarity is the primary reality here - duality is the experiential result.

For example, the single phenomenon known as the electromagnetic force is the underlying field for both the duality of the electric charges and the duality of the magnetic poles.

Polarity is represented by an arrow, a vector, which designates a directed essence of creative influence, a dynamic quality with a preferred direction, a flow. The decision to give one end of the vector the forward-point and not the other is an arbitrary choice, with the possible exception of a few decisions based on aesthetics or intuition.

What is important is that the point indicates that one direction along the vector is different than the other direction. This gives rise to the oppositeness of any manifested duality, like the electric charges; and again, to call one charge positive and thus the other negative is purely a matter of definition.

Time is a polarity, and it displays a definite preferred direction between two opposite modes of being, past and future. We experience the "flow" of time as an ever-changing present, with the past and future as opposite fields from the perspective of the present. In this example we see an excellent clue as to how a single phenomenon with a built-in two-sided polarity (time) gives rise to a three-fold level of manifestation (past-present-future). Every example we see and experience in the physical world is a clue to the nature of higher modes of being.

Duality, the creative drive for the entire objective universe and time itself. However, while it is a physically experienced phenomenon, polarity in itself remains completely non-objective, like the concept of force in classical physics.

In fact, polarity is the creative essence of force whether used in the language of physics or the language of metaphysics. The "quantum leap" beyond physics into metaphysics is to further recognize that force is the essence of consciousness and the experience of time which goes with it -- the life-force of the universe.

So, here we touch upon the most fundamental principle of metaphysics and non-dualistic mysticism -- how a single transcendental reality, "shines" with an intrinsic polarity which provides the individual within creation with the experience of duality, the two-fold subject-object, consciousness-spacetime, along with the resulting three-fold experience of time, past-present-future. (credit)


In Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu says something in very simple terms.

When the world knows beauty as beauty,
ugliness arises
When it knows good as good, evil arises
Thus being and non-being produce each other

Difficult and easy bring about each other
Long and short reveal each other
High and low support each other
Music and voice harmonize each other
Front and back follow each other


In duality, one opposite give birth to the other. Day is there because of Night; such is the case of Light and Darkness, Mercy and Wrath, Heaven and Hell.

In the Last Testament we are again reminded about the duality intrinsic in the creation.

Are those who know equal to those who know not? (The Quran 39:9)

So indeed, with hardship is ease. Indeed with hardship is ease. (94:5)

It is He who makes one laugh, and makes one weep. (53:43)




In the unfolding of the genesis story of Adam, as transmitted in the Last Testament, we also find the reflection of the same truth. The story of Adam is very mystical and taking it literally will only make us limited in our comprehension, instead if we go beyond the language, God permitting, we may reach somewhere.

In the pre-eternity, or it could well be that we are communicated about a long process during which human consciousness graduated from pre-adamic stage to adamic stage. Perhaps we are being told about the dawn of human consciousness through this narrative.

 Man We did create from a quintessence (of clay); (23:12)

And of His signs is this: He created you of dust, and behold you human beings, ranging widely! (30:20)

Its a possibility that the story of Adam is the story of barbaric and base human form (symbolized as clay, dust or mineral) consciously evolving into a more conscious, wise human being (one who is worthy of representing the image of divine consciousness). What was the catalyst of this transformation? It can only be knowledge, which may well be symbolically expressed as God teachings Adam the names.

After God declared His intention to place a successor authority on earth, He created Adam and taught Adam all names.

And He taught Adam the names - all of them. (2:31)

During the creation narration we again find duality which was necessary. For example: after Adam was taught all names (capacity of knowledge of everything) God asked the angels to inform Him the names. This was to demonstrated the contrast of knowing and not knowing, the polarity. Adam became the pole of knowledge and angels became the pole of innocence (not knowing).

In the language of Lao Tsu, "when the world knows beauty as beauty, lack of beauty arises," similarly knowledge (in Adam, in being) gave birth to lack of knowledge (in Angels, in non-being). Lao Tsu said, "Thus being and non-being produce each other."

The names that Adam learned, the knowledge of things, are in reality names of opposites, and that is why when we understand something, we understand it through comparison and contrast. The human mind cannot escape the realm of duality.

There is another incident of duality in the narrative of Adamic genesis.

And behold, Divine Commandment said to the angels: "Bow down to Adam" and they bowed down. except Satan: he refused and was arrogantly proud: He was one of the ingrates. (2:34)

So here is also the duality those who bowed down obeying the commandment and one who didn't bow down. One give rise to the other.


When Adam was in dwelling in the paradisal state, God commanded them not to approach a certain tree. But Satan, the arch-deceiver deceived them into eating the fruit of that tree. Some say that this tree was a tree of forbidden knowledge. Through eating the fruit of that tree, the following was the result:

When they tasted of the tree, that which was hidden from them of their shame became manifest to them... (7:22)


Again duality or opposites in play: what was hidden of their shame, became manifest, exposed.

The story of opposites continue. Paradisal state in contrast with earthly state. Adam was commanded to descend from one to the next and with a new duality established, the duality of "one of you an enemy to the other (Adam vs Satan)" (7:24)

The separation of Adam from the paradisal state, the separation from the garden of the Gardener is a precursor and necessary duality for reunion.


a poet said:

my beloved asks,
'in separation we talk about union.
in union what shall we talk about?'

the answer is easy,
'just be in separation;
so that in union,
    you know how
    to appreciate
communion.'

separation is preparation.
(of union)


Dualistic analogies are necessary for general comprehension of aspects of our reality, especially since we have evolved as dualistic beings and generally have a dualistic outlook on the world. But these analogies can only go so far - ultimately the underlying reality is non-dual. That is Tawhid. Essential Unity and Primordial Pristine Oneness.

And while approaching the Unity and Oneness, one will encounter the Divine Being within Whom both Opposites merge. Since this physical reality is holographic. What we see within the largest is also reflected in the smallest. As we have opposites within us, duality exists in material reality, similarly within God, Who is Absolute and hence His, Her, It's Attributes are also of Absolute. Thus God is both Merciful, Forgiving and Wrathful, Avenger. The Divine Names revealed in Islamic tradition introduces one to this gnosis of Opposite Names of God.

For example:

God is al-Muhyî  -   The Giver of Life, The Creator of Life, The Reviver
also,
God is al-Mumît  -   The Creator of Death, The Life-Taker

God is - al-Awwal - The First, The Pre-Existing
also,
God is al-âkhir - The Last, The End and Ultimate

God is az-Zâhir - The Manifest, The Evident
also,
God is al-Bâtin - The Hidden, The Inner

God is al-Muntaqim - The Avenger, The Inflictor of Retribution
also,
God is al-'Afûw - The Forgiver, The Effacing

God is ad-Dârr - The Awesome Corrector, The Distresser, The Creator of Harm
also,
God is an-Nâfi' - The Creator of Good, The Auspicious 

al-Qâbid - The Withholder, The Restrainer, One Who Constricts
also,
al-Bâsit  - The Unfolder, One Who Expands

al-Khâfid  - The Humbler, The One who Softens, the Debaser
also,
ar-Râfi' - The Exalter, The Uplifter

As Christ said, let thine eyes be single, seeing only the One. The One manifests It's Unity through Multiplicity, through His infinite Attributes and Qualities, yet Spiritual Work is to realize and see the One. There are opposites in God, but all opposites unites in Him.


In the 2nd Chapter of Tao Te Ching, the end part is about practical spirituality.

Lao Tsu kind of lays down the foundation of a complete man, a master who has mastery over the self, who is in touch with the living knowledge of the Ever Living and Real:

Therefore the Master
can act without doing anything
and teach without saying a word.

Things come his way and he does not stop them;
things leave and he lets them go.

He has without possessing,
and acts without any expectations.

When his work is done, he take no credit.
That is why it will last forever.


Here is a Sufic Interpretation of the above paragraphs from last part of the 2nd Chapter of Tao Te Ching:

This is the description of the surrendered soul, one who has become harmonious. A mu'min, who has perfected his or her faith through complete certainty and surrender. Such a Man act without doing anything, because he has died before dying. Knowing with full certainty that Allah alone acts, He is the Real Doer, Living Lord and we are just servant, obeying Command and moving through His power (la hawla wa la quwwata illa bil'Llah), hence such a Man act without doing.

When such state is achieved, much communication happens in the realm of unseen, in the realm of unspoken words, in the realm of language of the soul which is unvoiced.

Things come his way and he does not stop them; things leave and he lets them go - this is state of surrender and practice of deep patience (sabr) with constancy.

When his work is done, he take no credit - that is why the truly wise one knows who the Real Doer is, all credit, praise and thanksgiving for him, her is due to the Real.

That is why it will last forever - the realized ones understand that the True Inheritor of all is God and God alone. Allah is al-Wârith - The Inheritor of All, The Supreme Heir and Allah is al-Bâqî - The Everlasting. So when real credit is given to the One to Whom all credit, praise and thanksgivings are due, through His Doing, such actions never wastes away, but remain forever as His Doing.

Allah does not allow to be lost the reward of the doers of good. (9:120

The Divine Intelligence will never let the deeds of the truly faithfuls be lost (47:4)




Again returning to the subject of duality and unity:

In God's presence, there is no room for two egos. You say "ego," and He says "ego"?

Either you die in his presence, or He will in your presence, so that no duality may remain. Yet it is impossible that He should die either in the universe or in the mind, for "He is the Living, Who does not die." (Qur'an 25:58).

He has grace in such measure that, were it possible, He would die for you to remove the duality. But since His death is impossible, you die, so that He may become manifest in you and the duality be lifted. Die before you die.

~ Rumi's Discourses (Fihi ma fih, 24-5)

This is also the secret of the christian cross, the horizontal axis crossing out the vertical axis, representing separate "i" apart from the One.

And finally:

Beyond the idea of right and wrong,
Beyond all  dualities there awaits a field.
The field of Oneness.
We all shall meet there.


And that
to
your Lord
(is) the final goal.

- Quranic Chapter of the Star, 53:42


# Further:
* Anandavala - Toward a System Theoretic Metaphysics of the Nature of Reality
* Islamic Perspectives on Trials and Tribulations
* Religious symbolism of unity of opposites
* Separation and Union

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