The Self, being consciousness, imagines limitation, division.
From that imagination of limitation arises form, diversity, manyness.
From that thought of the Self, from that thought of limitation,
all diversity of the many is born. Matter is the limitation imposed
upon the Self by His own will to limit Himself. "Eko'ham, bahu syam,"
"I am one; I will to he many"; "let me be many," is the thought of the One;
and in that thought, the manifold universe comes into existence.
In that limitation, Self-created, He exists, He is conscious, He
is happy. In Him arises the thought that He is Self-existence,
and behold! all existence becomes possible.
Because in Him is the will to manifest, all manifestation at once
comes into existence. Because in Him is all bliss, therefore is the
law of life the seeking for happiness, the essential characteristic
of every sentient creature.
The universe appears by the Self-limitation in thought of the Self.
The moment the Self ceases to think it, the universe is not, it vanishes
as a dream. That is the fundamental idea of the Vedanta.
Then it accepts the spirits of the Samkhya--
the Purushas; but it says that these spirits are only reflections
of the one Self, emanated by the activity of the Self and that
they all reproduce Him in miniature, with the limitations which
the universal Self has imposed upon them, which are apparently
portions of the universe, but are really identical with Him.
It is the play of the Supreme Self that makes the limitations, and
thus reproduces within limitations the qualities of the Self; the
consciousness of the Self, of the Supreme Self; becomes, in the
particularised Self, cognition, the power to know; and the
existence of the Self becomes activity, the power to manifest;
and the bliss of the Self becomes will, the deepest part of all,
the longing for happiness, for bliss; the resolve to obtain it is
what we call will.
And so in the limited, the power to know, and
the power to act, and the power to will, these are the
reflections in the particular Self of the essential qualities of
the universal Self. Otherwise put: that which was universal
awareness becomes now cognition in the separated Self; that which
in the universal Self was awareness of itself becomes in the
limited Self awareness of others; the awareness of the whole
becomes the cognition of the individual.
So with the existence of the Self: the Self-existence of the
universal Self becomes, in the limited Self, activity, preservation
of existence. So does the bliss of the universal Self, in the limited
expression of the individual Self, become the will that seeks for
happiness, the Self-determination of the Self, the seeking for
Self-realisation, that deepest essence of human life.
The difference comes with limitation, with the narrowing of the
universal qualities into the specific qualities of the limited
Self; both are the same in essence, though seeming different in
manifestation. We have the power to know, the power to will, and
the power to act.
These are the three great powers of the Self that show themselves
in the separated Self in every diversity of forms, from the minutes"
organism to the loftiest Logos.