निमेषोन्मेषाभ्यां प्रलयमुदयं याति जगति
तवेत्याहुः सन्तो धरणिधर-राजन्यतनये ।
त्वदुन्मेषाज्जातं जगदिद-मशेषं प्रलयतः
परेत्रातुं शंङ्के परिहृत-निमेषा-स्तव दृशः


nimesonmesabhyam pralayam udayam yati jagati
tavetyahus santo dharanidhara rajanya tanaye
tad unmesad jatam jagad idam asesam pralayataha
paritratum sanke parihrta nimesas tava drsah
With eyes open or shut, You can effect, as saints say,
The being or non-being of the world, O Daughter of the Earth-Supporting Lord;
What thus came to be as you opened them, this entire world, without anything left,
To save, I now surmise, You remain now with eyes unwinkingly withdrawn
In Verse 55 we are still concerned with attitudes connected with the language of the eyes of the Goddess. The gods of the Hindu heaven supposedly do not wink. Fish, which belong to the subhuman level, do not wink either. The meditative eyes of a Buddha are seen to be introspectively withdrawn into a half-open/half-shut condition. Besides the side-glances of Devi, which can refer to particular interests, the open or shut eyes could refer to an interest in the whole of creation. When her eyes are open the world presents itself; when they are closed it disappears. The simple act of opening and shutting the eyes thus has two opposite effects. The visible world and the intelligible world can alternate within consciousness in a similar way. Plato divides reality in this way into two categories: the visibles and the intelligibles. We could call them with equal validity observables and calculables, percepts and concepts or names and forms, according to the philosophical context belonging to different historical, geogra­phical or cultural expressions. If visibles have a horizontal reference, then calculables could be said to have a vertical reference.
Cosmologically speaking, there are many theories of creation and destruction found in myths, philosophies and sciences. God as a creator or maker, or as the Great Architect, is a theological, anthropomorphic version of creation. More philosophically-biased schools would explain creation in terms of vijnanavada, the rationalist school belonging to the Buddhistic context.
Vedanta prefers to adopt the doctrine of mayavada, where indeterminism finds a place side by side with mere rationalism or empiricism. Evolutionism can colour the same picture and give us an endless variety of theories. There is creative evolution, emergent evolution and parallel evolution, as well as the Darwinian and Lamarckian theories, which all differ more or less from one another. Modern physics speaks of creation in terms of the “big bang” theory as against the “steady state” theory. It is not necessary for the purpose of this verse to enter into the details of all such theories. As Sankara stands for pure Advaita Vedanta, it is our task here to see how far this picture of the Goddess creating and sustaining the worlds tallies with his theories as expounded in his great commentaries. A close scrutiny of this verse reveals that, despite resembling the theory of instantaneous creation familiar to us in the Buddhistic vijnanavada school, there is always present an Absolute Goddess, whose function it is to create, maintain or withdraw at will. Buddhists do not recognize any such linking spiritual principle. This Vedantic view conforms to what is known as vivartavada, that is, reality treated as a phenomenal presentiment. According to Vedanta, evolution applies only to matter, as in the familiar example of milk turning sour. The spirit can know no such change. The world is “will and presentiment”, as Schopenhauer puts it, and is thus comparable to a dream that can come and go without involving material change or decay. Such are some of the considerations with which we have to delimit the functions of the Goddess so as to fit them into the correct context intended here by the author.
The first line indicates that the theory presented in this verse is accepted by saints or wise men (santah). It thus belongs to a perennial philosophical context, even anterior to Sankara's own Vedanta. By opening her eyes, the Goddess brings the world into being as an overt reality. When she closes her eyes, the reality disappears and gives place to virtuality. According to Eddington, there could be four distinct chairs: a conceptual chair, a perceptual chair, an actual chair and a virtual chair. Each of these four chairs needs a corresponding man, abstract or concrete, factual or virtual, to sit on it. Such is the full quaternion structure within the polivalently possible meanings of which the consciousness of everyone circulates, participating successively within these four aspects in a figure-eight alternation. Even this fourfold polivalence can be further simplified, as in this verse where the three states, open, closed, and the middle, are brought into the picture as covering the essence of creation, subsistence and dissolution which the cosmic process must necessarily imply in any philoso­phy. The Absolute is a constant beyond the changing face of its own phenomenal functionings. Meanings could circulate semiotically or syntactically into a deeper “meaning of meanings”. The final meaning of all meanings attains the Absolute, as is meant to be implied here in the state of mind and appearance. Overtness and innateness could be compared to space and time, and through the transparency of articulated space and time, which are both amorphous, as Bergson would put it, we could see a meaning of lasting interest to humanity, even long after relativity is forgotten. The withdrawn half-shut eyes of the Goddess reveal the same picture as Bergson's, but in Sankara's language. We can still notice a mythological consideration which is retained in this highly philosophical version of creation in the epithet, “Daughter of the Earth-supporting Lord”, which also means to show that the Goddess belongs to the ontological side of the total structural situation, as also pralayatah (from dissolution, or “the deluge”).
The expression “without anything left over” shows that, as counterparts, the perceptual and actual contents have an interchangeability. In the context of the Absolute, nothing can be left over as a remainder. The pluralistic world of relativism, when it includes everything without remainder under its scope, attains an equality of status with the unique Absolute of the numerator side. Cancellation is possible only between ensembles of the same status, whether one or many. Only two totalities can be cancelled out. The theory of ensembles in modern mathematics makes this requirement binding.
From Bergson, as referred to above:
"Traversing Time and Space which we have always known to be distinct, and by that very reason as amorphous, we shall be able to see, as if by transparency, an organism of articulated Space-Time. The mathematical notation of these articulations, effected on a basis that is virtual and carried to its most high degree of generalization, will give us an unexpected hold on reality. We shall then have in our hands a powerful means of investigation, a principle of research of which one could predict even from the present, that the human spirit will not renounce it, even when experience should impose a new form to the Theory of Relativity."


(Vijnanavada: the subjective idealism taught by the Yogacara school of Buddhist philosophy. ED)







What we have here is the Sharira Vijnana Vada of the Buddhists or the "action cinématographique" of Bergson.
(Like the frames of cinematographic film passing at high speed in front of the lens to create an image on the screen, the opening and closing of the Devi's eyes create and dissolve universes. We are talking of the infinite series of universes of Quantum Mechanics, present and past - all of them in the here-and-now. Do not forget that, in Verse 97, the Devi is addressed as Maya. "... you remain as the great Maya, making the universe go round, as queen of the Ultimate Absolute." ED)
("Vijnana" means, roughly, consciousness; vijnanavada implies a universe created by consciousness - this is dealt with in Bhana Darsanam of the Darsana Mala of Narayana Guru:
"Where consciousness exists, there the
Object of consciousness exists, where
Consciousness exists not, its object neither.
Thus, both by agreement and difference, certitude comes.

The object of consciousness is no different from the universe. So the Devi creates and destroys universes with the opening and closing of Her eyes.
Such an observer-created universe is envisaged by modern physics in the Anthropic Principle.
The following quaotations are relevant here:

“I think that mind and matter are merely convenient ways of grouping events”'  Bertrand Russell.

“I regard consciousness as fundamental. I regard matter as derivative from consciousness. We cannot get behind consciousness. Everything that we talk about, everything that we regard as existing, postulating consciousness.”  –  Max Planck, theoretical physicist who originated quantum theory, which won him the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1918.  ED)

It is a doctrine acceptable within the context of Maya.
We have the creation and dissolution of the world in a constant split-second continuum.
The world is an illusion presenting itself in split-second pictures, looked at from outside.

But as a flux, from inside the Devi, there is no such alternation.
In the philosophy of Madhva, duality persists.
(Madhva, or Madhvacharya, was the founder of the Dvaita school of Vedanta, which emphasizes Bhakta, or worship of a divinity, usually Vishnu, rather than the uncompromising non-dualism of Sankara's Advaita. ED).

With Sankara we have a figure-8 dynamism between the counterparts.
Overt and innate aspects of creation are neutralized.
There is a neutral balance between noumenal and phenomenal aspects of creation.

The four limbs of the quaternion structure, as described by Eddington:


1. THE ACTUAL CHAIR in which the actual man can sit; this chair will exclude another chair, and occupies a particular space.


2. THE VIRTUAL CHAIR, in which only  a virtual man can sit; much like a mirror reflection.


3. THE ALPHA-POINT CHAIR, the form of the chair generalized,
It excludes all other chairs.
This is the universal concrete version, it excludes horizontally but not vertically.


4. THE OMEGA-POINT CHAIR: the word "chair" in the dictionary; it is purely conceptual.


"From "The Science of the Absolute"

An actual, virtual, conceptual or nominal chair with four persons of corresponding status, who can only sit on the appropriate chair and thus not violate the epistemology involved, is the essence of the same structuralism we have tried to outline. If an actual heavy man "sits" on a nominalistic chair, the resultant situation can only be at best considered a joke or an absurdity. Eddington has written something along these lines, as follows:
"Let us first notice that the phrase "chairs we sit upon" adds nothing to the term "chair". For what sits on the chair is the body; and if we have to discriminate the scientific chair, i.e. the object, not really a chair, which the physicist describes, from the familiar chair, we must also discriminate the scientific body, i.e. the object, not really a body, which the physicist describes, from the familiar body. So when we sit on chairs the familiar body sits on a familiar chair, and the scientific body sits on a scientific chair. And if there is an abstract body it doubtless performs an abstraction of sitting on an abstract chair." "