The Concept of Bindu

I introduced a Table 1 – Māyā_Dimensions in Appendix 8 . Here I would like to elaborate on this concept and present more details on how this table has come about. In this ‘form’ it does not exist in any present literature and has been actually enthused from a variety of sources/readings both from the western and eastern sides. In establishing this diagram I have tried to bring some method to a very large body of writings and concepts starting with the idea of dimensions from physics and integrating it with the idea of Māyā from early Hindu writings. We must keep in mind that we are stepping out here into ‘something of the Unknown’ and the only reassurance that I have had is that from time to time my various metaphysical and Vedic readings have fitted almost hand in glove with this picture. So, now, I would like to carry you step by step through this journey….The structure shown above is the first blank table that I put together based on the work of two authors, both from the field of parapsychology , attempting to integrate the diverse disciplines of university education into a new order, a novel synthesis :-

(1) Serena Roney-Dougal, a Ph.D in Parapsychology who has written the book “Where Science & Magic Meet” (Element 1991)
(2) Ken Wilber, a prolific spiritual and scientific writer who helped forge the new field of transpersonal psychology. An original thinker whose pioneering work has given him the title of ‘the Einstein of consciousness’. He has more than sixteen books to his credit. His latest is “A Theory of Everything – An integral vision”.

● What is the starting “point” of dimensions? Exactly that, the ‘point’, which geometrically speaking is ‘zero’ dimension. It has no measurement, no length or width or breadth ; it is the bindu of hindu philosophy that which is pivotal to all creation. We have to be careful with terminology here – bindu or ‘point’ is not void or emptiness. It is not the shūnya of Sanskrit. The bindu is a ‘vibrant’ idea ; it may not have spatial dimensions or ‘sides’ to it but it is. This is beautifully explained in an article in Kalātattvakośa [1] from which I excerpt below :

The term bindu , dot, point, spot, drop, semen, can be derived from the verbal root bid, meaning ‘to cleave, to split’. According to the Nirukta it is derived from the verbal root bhid, meaning ‘to pierce’, hence ‘hole’…

According to modern geometry, the point is the minutest unit with which a line is drawn. The point is indivisible and without length and breadth. When we think of bindu as the minutest unity we are reminded of the concept of paramānu ( Vaiśesika defines paramānu as : mūrtatve sati niravayavah : being limited, it is without any body part ).

In Yogabhāsya of Vyāsa we find that a substance when reduced to its minutest unit is called paramānu , and in the same way the minutest time unit is called ksana. But bindu is neither a time unit like ksana nor a space unit like anu ( ANauu ). It is a unit of consciousness , and at the same time becomes body of the material world.

Thus bindu is variously explained in terms of Hindu philosophy. In māyā (Appendix 8), we learnt that the observable universe is a reflection of the mind which is the seat of our individual consciousness.

      • Here we are learning that this very act of observation has a fundamental unit viz.

bindu

We will further see that it is this unit that unfolds into the substantial units of space, time, speech, form and chaos-order. [In fact, we are getting close to some of the ideas of Quantum Mechanics].

● We will now look at some western writers who have talked about the ‘point’ in terms of a deeper meaning. Intuitively, they strike a chord with the eastern idea of the bindu going far beyond the conventional, bland geometrical definition of a ‘point’ :-[2]

◊ Firstly, Thomas Stearns Eliot (1888 – 1965), winner of the 1948 Nobel Prize for literature, whose poems have a spiritual undertone. He was well acquainted with Vedic philosophy and used Krishna and Arjun’s dialogue from the Bhagwadgita in his famous metaphysical poem ‘The Waste Land’. In fact, he concludes it with a quotation from the Brihadarārānyaka Upanishad followed by …..shantih shantih shantih.

I am going to present extracts from Eliot’s Four Quartets, which are brilliant, in that, it takes speech to a higher dimension by structuring a poem as a musical symphony. Further, its central theme is “the union of the flux of time with the stillness of eternity” and, this, the poet calls the ‘still point’. A critique explains [3]:-

The title of the poem is derived from the terminology of music. ‘Quartet means a set of four voices or instruments. Each part of the poem is divided into five movements equivalent to the five musical movements of a symphony : allegro, andante, minuets, scherzo and rondo… Eliot achieved the height of his musical skill in Four Quartets and he, himself, has said in his essay, The Music of Poetry, that poetry maybe benefited by a quantum of musicality in it.

The four parts of Four Quartets are not independent poems because they revolve around the same central theme of time. Therefore, the four parts make a definite pattern which is the unity of the poem. Eliot speaks of two kinds of time : the ordinary fleeting Time, and the eternal Time that he refers to as the ‘still point’ in which past, present and future stand united.

Here, I am going to look at the first, the second and the fifth movements of Burnt Norton – the first poem ; and at the fifth movement of Little Gidding – the fourth poem. However, I have hyperlinked all the Four Quartets in the references. I recommend a guided study using one of the many critiques in print. The idea of ‘eternal children’ silently hidden in the rose garden is taken from a poignant, thought-provoking short story by Rudyard Kipling of a blind English mistress in a large country estate. It is called ‘They’ because the blind lady is aware of the inside and outside of her vast estate in terms of the activity of these children and their giggles and laughter. She always refers to them as ‘they’.
You will see that in Four Quartets Eliot has carried the ‘still point’ beyond ‘fixity’ and enriched it by curling various ‘times’ into it – past, present and future :

“Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present.”

And, as if to stress the overlap of the beginning and the end, Eliot uses the same lines to both open and close the Ist movement of ‘Burnt Norton’.  In the same movement, the poet also says:

 “And the pool was filled with water out of sunlight,

And the lotos rose, quietly, quietly,

The surface glittered out of heart of light,

And they were behind us, reflected in the pool.”

Here, Eliot is very close to the Purānic creation myth in which Vishnū, the Sun God & the Preserver gives birth to Brahmā, the Creator riding a lotus emanating from his nābhī or navel. In fact, nābhī is a group word for bindu and is the seat of the third Chakra i.e. the Manipura . And, as the creation happens ‘the pool’ reflects the mayānvi universe.