5. Love and Light and Darkness
The nature of God in his natal round is of a vast but no longer infinite consciousness, growing in awareness but shrinking steadily in magnitude. He’s still in a blissful state, but this, too, has changed from the passive, diffuse Ananda of the Crown to an active, ecstatic radiance, which is nothing less than love. The love of God is glorious and unconditional, even though there is as yet no object for it. This divine love is traditionally called Caritas in the West, where it’s said that God is love. Caritas is inseparable from the other integral aspect of God, which is light. The light has sharpened in brilliance from the previous round, because it’s now bounded by the darkness with which it coexists.
The darkness continues to grow until it crosses a fateful threshold and intrudes upon the awareness of God. Thus it’s no longer encompassed by God’s being, but appears to be outside himself. This new veil of illusion has a galvanizing effect upon God ~ for if there’s something that’s other, it can only exist in contrast to a self. In the first round God as Spirit knew everything; when he entered the second round he lost that omniscience, but then he knew that he knew. Now at last it dawned upon him that there is a knower, verily himself. And so the Omnicosmos resonated with a new mantra: I AM.
With the attainment of self-awareness God gained cognizance of many things. He sensed that the source of his being was the absolute reality of OM, and knew that he had lost touch with its fulness. He grasped his own limitations, and yearned to get back to the perfection of OM. We can imagine this yearning to be oriented upward, as when we view the Omnicosm two-dimensionally with the word OM at the top. Thus the darkness was below, and when God turned his attention to it we imagine him looking downward. This produced a different yearning, and a new idea arose in the mind of God: since he now had an outside, why must it be an empty void? Wouldn’t it be interesting if there were something in it! But how could this come to be? Since he was the only being in existence, he would have to do it himself. He could create.
This astounding new concept filled God with an alluring sensation, a thrill of pleasure different in kind from the bliss of the glory above. The urge to create was the birth of desire, which the Hindus and Buddhists recognize as a dire turning-point. A veil of stark opaqueness fell over the reality of Oneness; God’s identity was subsumed into the Shiva half, and the apparently external void became Shakti, enticing him into an unknown realm with the promise of a dark ecstasis.
For a timeless interval he shifted his attention back and forth between the two states, now looking up and being filled with spiritual bliss, then looking down and reveling in the sheer sensation of the titillating mystery below. He compared the differences and pondering his options, and meanwhile the darkness continued to grow. At last near the end of the round God hovered on the shore of a great black sea, an Abyss of unfathomed magnitude. His love and light radiated into the Abyss, unrequited and unreflected, void of all pith and purport.
The inhalation of the second breath began to draw God back into the OM, an ineluctable process transcending all power of choice. The last thing we behold in the round is a mighty Godform poised like a guardian, standing forever at the portal of the Abyss. God in this aspect is called by the Hindus Sarvasaksin: he who sees all but does naught, who watches forever but never acts. He is Shiva standing adamantly against the implorations of Shakti to fall into her arms and become.