Three Veils of Negative Existence
Ain (Nothing; אין)
Ain Soph (Limitlessness;אין
Ain Soph Aur (Limitless Light; אין
Ain Soph Aur
When we imagine God
before creation, evidently there was nothing else other than God.
So there was nothing to relate to and nothing by means of
which we could define God. Hence
in almost all philosophical systems, these define only out
ignorance. In Hebrew
mysticism three levels of such existence are thought of.
The first of these is Ain
the highest and first of the veils. It is literally translated as
'nothing', or simply 'no'; it is absolute emptiness, the opposite of
existence, complete absence. God
the Transcendent is called in Kabbalah Ain. Ain means
as the entity which is "truly One" (האחד
be free of properties and is thus unlike anything else
We can say that the Ain is the causa causorum[Gnostic term: Causa
Causarum - Latin for “Cause of causes.”] of everything
that is or will be. It is the uncreated Light, the one that was not
created by any entity or Gods. The Ain is the absolute, above all
things, all laws and it summarizes the perfect everything because
everything is potentially in Ain.
Moses ben Maimon ("Maimonides") (1135-1204)
In his commentary on the Mishnah (tractate Sanhedrin, chapter 10),
Maimonides formulates his "13 principles of faith". They
summarized what he viewed as the required beliefs of Judaism:
The existence of God
God's spirituality and incorporeality
God alone should be the object of worship
Revelation through God's prophets
The preeminence of Moses among the prophets
God's law given on
The immutability of the Torah as God's Law
God's foreknowledge of human actions
Reward of good and retribution of evil
The coming of the Jewish Messiah
The resurrection of the dead
Maimonides compiled the principles from various Talmudic sources.
"God's existence is absolute and it includes no composition and we
comprehend only the fact that He exists, not His essence.
Consequently it is a false assumption to hold that He has any
positive attribute... still less has He accidents (מקרה),
which could be described by an attribute. Hence it is clear that He
has no positive attribute whatever. The negative attributes are
necessary to direct the mind to the truths which we must believe...
When we say of this being, that it exists, we mean that its
non-existence is impossible; it is living — it is not dead; ...it
is the first — its existence is not due to any cause; it has
power, wisdom, and will — it is not feeble or ignorant; He is One
— there are not more Gods than one… Every attribute predicated
of God denotes either the quality of an action, or, when the
attribute is intended to convey some idea of the Divine Being itself
— and not of His actions — the negation of the opposite."
(The Guide for the Perplexed, 1:58)
perhaps the first Jewish Thinker to explicitly articulate this doctrine
of "negative theology", which says there are no words to
describe what God is, and we can only describe what "God is
not". Ain literally means "absence"
,"not so" in Hebrew. It
is a negation existence
In Sankara's Advaita, neti
neti is a Sanskrit expression which means "not this, not this", or
"neither this, nor that" (neti is sandhi from na iti "not so"). It is found in the Upanishads and
Gita and constitutes
an analytical meditation helping a person to understand the nature
of Brahman by
first understanding what is not Brahman.
All we can say, in effect, is that
"It isn't this, but also, it isn't that either". In the
end, we must transcend words to understand the nature of the
Ultimate Reality beyond human realm and understanding..
tattvamasyādivākyena svātmā hi pratipāditaḥ
neti neti śrutirbrūyādanṛtaṁ pāñcabhautikam
By such sentences as "That thou art," our own Self is
Of that which is untrue and composed of the five elements - the
Sruti (scripture) says, "Not this, not this."
Avadhuta Gita 1.25 on Wikisource
beyond Existence, separate from any-thing. Ain is
Ain is not above
nor below. Neither
is Ain still
or in motion. There
is nowhere where Ain is,
for Ain is
Ain is soundless,
but neither is it silence. Nor
is Ain a
void- and yet out of zero of Ain's
no-thingness comes the one of Ein
"He who brings forth Being from
Nought is thereby lacking nothing, for the Being is in the Nought
after the manner of the Nought, and the Nought is in the Being after
the manner [according to the modality] of the Being. And
the author of the Book of Yetzirah said:
He made his Nought into his Being, and did not say: He made the
Being from the Nought. This
teaches us that the Nought is the Being and Being is the Nought."
III 225a, Raya
of The Zohar , Vol.
In the Eighth century Sankara's Advaita Philosophy this is the Nirguna
Brahman - God of no properties
is not coarse, not fine, not short, not long, not glowing (like
fire), not adhesive (like water), without shadow and without
darkness, without air and without space, without stickiness,
odorless, tasteless, without eye, without ear, without voice,
without wind, without energy, without breath, without mouth, without
measure, without inside and without outside.
Verily, at the command of that Imperishable the sun and the moon
Upanishad, 8th Brâhmana, 7 - 9
(translated by R.E.Hume, 1877)
nothing has no purpose, no personality nor can we say it exist.
Such a Nirguna Brahman do not and cannot create.
However since there is a comprehensive fullness of properties
potentially exist in the Nirguna Brahman, there arose the next veil.
How did it happen? We
are still in the darkness. But
since things exist. It
assures that it did happen.
it alone describes the Ultimate Brahman
It’s ……….Neti (नेति)…Neti(नेति)
न+ इति! (na iti)
It is not
this...no it’s something beyond this....
It’s really not this...
The Tattva the Brahman which I am searching is not this...
No! All this knowlege is not enough to describe The
Brahaman or The Parmeshwar.
No! No....I am not satisfied its’ not
When we start ‘Feeling’
this, not ‘Understanding’
this we result to feel ...again, ‘Neti’
And yes....Here it is....
All the definitions, books, concepts, words, languagaes,
opinions, the spiritual paths, the illusions, the confusions, the
questions and the answers, the thoughts, the satisfactions and even
the feeling of uncompletenees...
Everything just ends, it’s not this....neti neti!
Then what is IT?
the Jewish Christian mysticism also the same is applicable when
describing the ultimate Being.
Sof עין סוף
Ein-Sof, the Infinite God, has no static, definable form.
Instead, the Kabbalists conceive God, the world and humanity as
evolving together through, and thus embodying, a number of distinct
stages and aspects, with later stages opposing, but at the same time
encompassing, earlier ones. The Kabbalist¹s God is both perfectly
simple and infinitely complex, nothing and everything, hidden and
revealed, reality and illusion, creator of man and created by man,.
As Ein-Sof evolves it is progressively revealed as "nothing
whatsoever" (Ayin), the totality of being, the Infinite Will (Ratzon)
, Thought and Wisdom, the embodiment of all value and significance
(the Sefirot), the wedding of male and female, and ultimately the
union of all contradictions. Ein-Sof is both the totality of this
dialectic and each of the points along the way. Ein-Sof
must be constantly redefined, as by its very nature, it is in
a constant process of self-creation and redefinition. This
self-creation is actually embodied and perfected in the creativity
of humanity, who through practical, ethical, intellectual and
spiritual activities, strives to redeem and perfect a chaotic,
contradictory and imperfect world.
The Kabbalists used a variety of negative epistemological terms
to make reference to the hidden God;
"the concealment of
"the concealed light",
"that which thought cannot
contain" etc. (Gershom Scholem, Kabbalah, p. 88) each of which
signifies that this God is somehow beyond human knowledge and
However, there are other terms, e.g., "
Root of all roots",
"Great Reality," (Scholem.
Major Trends, p. 12)
"Cause of Causes" and
"Prime Mover" (as well as
the term, Ein-Sof, "without end") which signify
that God is the origin of the world, the reality of
the world, or the totality of all things.
Yet in spite of the positive connotations, even those Kabbalists
who utilized such terms held that they referred to a God who is
completely unknowable and concealed. Of this God, the proto-Kabbalistic
work,Sefer Yetzirah had earlier said "restrain your
mouth from speaking and your heart from thinking, and if your heart
runs let it return to its place" (Sefer Yetzirah. I. 8,
as translated in Tishby, The Wisdom of the Zohar. Vol , 1 p 234).
The Creation Hymn of Rig Veda
Wendy Dongier O'Flaherty
was neither non-existence nor existence then.
There was neither the realm of space
nor the sky which is beyond.
In whose protection?
Was there water, bottomlessly deep?
There was neither death nor
There was no distinguishing sign of
night nor of day.
That One breathed, windless, by its
Other than that there was nothing
Darkness was hidden by darkness in
with no distinguishing sign, all this
The life force that was covered with
that One arose through the power of
Desire came upon that One in the
that was the first seed of mind.
Poets seeking in their heart with
found the bond of existence and
Their cord was extended across.
Was there below?
Was there above?
There were seed-placers, there were
There was impulse beneath, there was
giving forth above.
Who really knows?
Who will here proclaim it?
Whence was it produced?
Whence is this creation?
The gods came afterwards, with the
creation of this universe.
Who then knows whence it has arisen?
Whence this creation has arisen
- perhaps it formed itself, or
perhaps it did not -
the One who looks down on it,
in the highest heaven, only He knows
or perhaps even He does not know.
by Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty. From the Book "The Rig Veda -
points to the existence of a unique Creator who
exists before the
gods & creation
Drob's Symbols of the Kabbalah and Kabbalistic
As explained in Symbols of the Kabbalah, Chapter Two, Ein-sof
provides a rational/spiritual answer to the questions "Why is
there anything at all?" and "What is the meaning of human
life?" Ein-sof begets a world so that He, as the source
of all meaning and value, can come to know Himself, and in order for
His values, which in Him exist only in the abstract, can become
fully actualized in humanity. Ein-sof is both the fullness
of being and absolute nothingness, but is not complete in its
essence until He is made real through the spiritualizing and
redemptive activity of mankind. Ein-sof is mirrored in
the heart and soul of man, but, more importantly, He is actualized
in man's deeds.
Ein-sof is discussed in detail throughout Symbols of
the Kabbalah, but in particular in Chapter 2, pp. 60-119). Ein-sof
is discussed in relation to Brahman in Hinduism, the Pleroma
in Gnosticism, the One and the Good in Plato and Plotinus, the
Absolute in Hegel, and the unconscious in Freud and Jung, in Kabbalistic
Metaphors. Daniel Matt has written a scientifically oriented
introduction to Ein-sof appears in Tikkun Magazine
and is excerpted from his book
God and the Big Bang.
Ein Sof (or Ayn Sof)
סוף), in Kabbalah, is understood as God
prior to His self-manifestation
Ein Sof (or Ayn Sof) (Hebrew אין
סוף), in Kabbalah, is understood as God
prior to His self-manifestation in the production of any spiritual
Realm. Ein Sof may be
translated as "no end", "unending",
"there is no end", or infinite,
"the Endless One" (she-en lo tiklah).
Ein Sof is the divine origin of all created existence, in
contrast to the Ein (or Ayn), which is infinite no-thingness.
It was first used by Azriel ben Menahem, who, sharing the
Neoplatonic view that God can have no desire, thought, word, or
action, emphasized by it the negation of any attribute. Of the
Ein Sof, nothing ("Ein") can be grasped ("Sof"-limitation).
It is the origin of the Ohr Ein Sof, the "Infinite
Light" of paradoxical divine self-knowledge, nullified
within the Ein Sof prior to Creation.
In Lurianic Kabbalah, the first act of Creation, the Tzimtzum
self "withdrawal" of God to create an "empty
space", takes place from there. In Hasidism, the
Tzimtzum is only illusionary concealment of the Ohr Ein Sof, giving
rise to Monistic Panentheism.
In other words, "Ein Sof" signifies "the nameless
being." In another passage the Zohar reduces the term to
"Ein" (non-existent), because God so transcends human
understanding as to be practically non-existent.
Ḥayyaṭ, in his commentary Minḥat Yehudah on
the Ma'areket Elahut, gives the following explanation of the
term "Ein Sof":
" Any name of God which is found in the Bible can not
be applied to the Deity prior to His self-manifestation in the
Creation, because the letters of those names were produced only
after the emanation. . . . Moreover, a name implies a limitation in
its bearer; and this is impossible in connection with the 'En Sof.'"
Before He gave any shape to the world, before
He produced any form, He was alone, without form and without
resemblance to anything else. Who then can comprehend how He was
before the Creation? Hence it is forbidden to lend Him any form or
similitude, or even to call Him by His sacred name, or to indicate
Him by a single letter or a single point. . . . But after He created
the form of the Heavenly
Man, He used him as a chariot wherein to descend, and He wishes to
be called after His form, which is the sacred name 'YHWH'.
Sof Awr עין סוף אור
Ain Soph Aur is
the lower veil, situated closest to the Tree of Life, and it
proceeds from Ain Soph as a necessity. It means 'limitless or
eternal light'. Without any limitations, all things happen by virtue
of the fact that there is no reason why they shouldn't.
Ohr ("Light" Hebrew: אור)
is a central Kabbalistic term in the Jewish mystical tradition. The
analogy of physical light is used as a way of describing
metaphysical Divine emanations. The
metaphorical description of spiritual Divine creative-flow, using
the term for physical "light" perceived with the eye,
arises from analogous similarities. These include the intangible
physicality of light, the delight it inspires and the illumination
it gives, its apparently immediate transmission and constant
connection with its source. Light can be veiled ("Tzimtzum"-constrictions
in Kabbalah) and reflected ("an ascending light from the
Creations" in Kabbalah). White light divides into 7 colours,
yet this plurality unites from one source. Divine light divides into
the 7 emotional Sephirot, but there is no plurality in the Divine
are a number of ways to look at these negative realms. One such
representation if symbol of egg.
Ain, nothing, is the shell.
00. Ain Soph, limitless, is the
albumen, or the white of the egg.
000. Ain Soph Aur, limitless light,
is the yellow yoke.
the yoke, emerge the
universe, life, and all possibility.
of the technical terms Hartshorne used is pan-en-theism, originally
coined by Karl
Christian Friedrich Krause in
1828. Panentheism (all
is in God) must be differentiated from Classical pantheism (all
is God). In Hartshorne's theology God is not identical with the
world, but God is also not completely independent from the world.
God has his self-identity that transcends the earth, but the world
is also contained within God. A rough analogy is the relationship
between a mother and a fetus. The mother has her own identity and is
different from the unborn, yet is intimately connected to the
unborn. The unborn is within the womb and attached to the mother via
the umbilical cord.
other way to visualize these realms is entirely abstract:
0. Imagine Ain, nothing: complete
nothingness. No black, no space, no anything
at all. Nothing.
00. Out of nothing emerges Ain Soph,
no limit: empty, dark, endless space.
000. Only in this environment is it
possible to cradle Ain Soph Aur, limitless light.
The eternal space, or this eternal moment can now be flooded with
Ein Sof in
Hebrew means Endless. As
the one to the zero of Ain,
Ein Sof is
the Absolute All to Ain's
Absolute Nothing. Ain Sof Aur fills all in all and the source of all
So far we have the picture of God who has no
properties who cannot be called a Person since he did not exist as
Person. Personality is
only expressed in terms of relationships.
Once the Trinity of Ein, Ein Sof and Ein Sof Auur is formed
God became a family. These
were referred to in Jewish literature as Elohim in plural
form of Eloah or
as plural derivative of El.