Infinity in the Upanishads
That (which we do not yet know) is the whole; this(which we can sense) is the whole
From that whole arises this whole (world as we know it)
When the whole is taken out of the whole, the whole still remains whole.
I read somewhere that Lao Tzu had in his possession the copies of Indian scriptures and having read them and others in his library which he took care of, he adopted some of them in his 81 verses and more in his life. Whether this is true or not is besides the point.
More to come in this post...
--------- Added after 6th March 2005 ----------
Do note the uncanny correlation between the verse above and Chapter 1 of the TTC. The Tao does not call the gross or the sublime as parts of something. The shanti mantra above too addresses them as the "whole". What I proceed to say is my interpretation and stands to criticism as anything else on this blog.
Let us consider the 2nd line in the shanti mantra:
From the whole that we believe in comes the whole (that we would like to believe in). Some minds need tangibles before they can deal with anything. They need proofs and theories and specimens. Such a mind deals with the tangible whole (I resist using the phrase "gross whole" as it might have negative connotations) and what it can create is also in the realm of tangibles. So be it with the specialists (as JK calls them). They need statistics and lab tests and sundry before they will accept the possibility and, later, the existence of something. This is what Lao Tzu refers to when he says "Ever filled with desire we only see and observe what can be sensed" (rather as per the translation arrived at above, which is definitely not Lao Tzu's handiwork). When the need to sense doesn't exist and the need to measure and assure ourselves ceases, what we enter is the intangible whole. This whole gives rise to a whole world of tangibles and intangibles, but the tangibles here are not measured. This whole, mind you, is still derived from the absolute whole which also contains and is the wholeness of tangibles. I think we are getting vague here. Let us slow down. There is one whole which contains, although it cannot be cleaved on the grounds of containment, the whole world of tangibles and intangibles. This whole shall hereafter be addressed as Whole, merely to reduce confusion. So we realise that the whole of tangibles creates a whole world of tangibles and the whole of intangibles creates a whole world of intangibles (which includes tangibles which needn't be measured). I hope we are together. What I wish to impress upon the intellect is that the single line in the shanti mantra is applicable to both the wholes, and the need for brevity felt by our ancient sages drove them to compress the interpretation into 2 words (if you ignore the sandhi of the words in the 2nd word). Please rest to admire the brilliance of the mind. To capture the immensity of purport and import in merely two words is either the height of intelligence or presumption of wisdom of the reader. But as my starting line of this paragraph notes, these wholes are a projection of our belief systems. Hence, in the absence of belief, rather the absence of our desire to believe, we can arrive at the interpretation that the whole referred to in that line is nothing but the Whole. It is, infact, ironic that a single manifestation of the whole (viz. our mind) would issue preferences over the movement of the Whole.
Let us go to the first line:
Note the impartiality in assigning wholeness to either. Both (the tangibles and intangibles) are complete in themselves. Neither takes a position of superiority over the other. Neither is intended to be superior to the other. So be it in our lives (this is a diversion). Today I wish to study philosophy and meditate but that doesn't make me in any way superior than the the stock broker on the floor who concerns himself purely with the vagaries of the monied markets. Many tales by Lieh Tzu hint at this as well, and shall be discussed later. It is of paramount importance that we lose the awe and dim the aura associated with knowledge (not wisdom) and esoteric pursuits. In the Whole, nothing is treated as more important than the other.
The most exciting beauty (at least to me) lies in the unmistakeable parallel that is drawn between the last lines of the shanti mantra and Chapter 1:
"Both these (the named and the nameless) spring from the same source (or the Tao) although they are addressed differently
The source of confusion/wonder/mystery is the sameness of these two different entities
This mystery/(wonderful source) which holds the mystery of the Tao, is the gate to all subtleties/wonder/realisation"
I shant taint this beauty with my words. Do let the inevitable arrive.