The expression, neti–neti, literally means “neither this, nor that.” The first is the rejection of a separate self or ego. It is a rejection of fragmentation or split from universal spirit. It means in the wholistic multidimensional context that we are not just separate egos.
We can not ever be defined as being separate from spirit without introducing a delusion. Thus “neti neti” as a statement means that we are not anything separate, as in the dualistic framework of a separate “I” or “Is.”
So just as the first neti can say no to a separate observer (ego) free from subject-object duality, the second neti can say I am not just the whole, but also the parts of the whole —I am both at the same time.
What is Consciousness?
“What consciousness is can never be defined psychologically. We can analyse and classify its work and effects.” -H. P. Blavatsky
WATCH VIDEO: Peter Russell: Why is There Mind?
One may say that it is an affirmation of the Buddhist idea of anatta or anatman, the unreality of a
separate self or ego. That the ego is “maya,” a necessary illusion produced by ignorance of central unity which bind us all — yet a realizable Reality
Thus neti neti is best understood as an affirmation that we are not the body — that the body is part of a vaster interconnected web of life — both of form and formless. “Neti neti” can be said to be a deep statement of non-duality, neither one or the other, but rather both.
Neither form nor void but both form and void. Both body and separate from body simultaneously.
Dharmaputra and His Dog
(Adapted from Your Life is Your Message, by Eknath Easwaran
There is a story from the Indian tradition: There once lived a king called Dharmaputra, who was the soul of virtue and compassion. When the time came for him to shed his body, he ascended to heaven accompanied by a dog. When he reached heaven’s gate, the Indian equivalent of St. Peter looked up his name.
“Let’s see . . . Dharmaputra. Yes, we have orders to let you in. But we don’t have any listing for a dog.”
“Won’t you please look again?” asked Dharmaputra. [...]
Read the complete story here.