The Profundity of Absence!

We are aware of the significance and use of presence of a thing. In this article the significance and use of absence of a thing will be discussed. The examples are taken from the branches of mathematics, physics, technology and Vedanta.

Mathematics and Computer Science:

Number system is a part of Mathematics. Zero plays a significant role in number system. As we know, when zero is put on the right hand side of a digit the value of the digit increases. The place values also owe their being and significance to zero As is known zero was proposed by Indian Mathematicians. Zero number has ‘no value’. The absence of value makes zero significant and highly useful. Zero is used both by scientists and lay men with equal felicity and benefit. Zero plays important role both in sciences and ordinary day to day activities. The hardware of computers consists of circuits and networks. Zero plays very important role in this field also.

Binary mathematics is the base for the design of computer functioning. Binary number system makes use of only two numbers, 0 and 1. Number zero signifies non-transfer of electrical signal and number one signifies the transfer of electrical signal. In this way by making use of numbers, 0 and 1, signifying absence and presence of electrical signal transferred, computer computes and controls. Thus zero (absence of value) is inseparable from arithmetic and computer functioning.

Physics and Natural Science:

Physics is one of the Natural Sciences. Matter, Energy, Space and Time play chief roles in this branch of knowledge. Space contains matter and energy and the actions and interactions concerning them. Space can exist without the presence of matter or energy. Space bereft of matter and energy is called vacuum. Thus vacuum is absence of matter or energy. Because of the vacuum matter (energy) can exist, move and transform. If vacuum does not exist, physical, chemical or biological matter cannot exist and processes cannot take place. For the creation, being and cessation of matter vacuum is necessary. Evolution, Sustenace and Dissolution of material world and its being and non-being is based on the presence of vacuum. Vacuum holds matter and its transformations. Thus vacuum (absence of matter) is the stage on which natural scientific transformations are enacted.


In electronics transistor plays an important role. In technical terms a transistor is called semiconductor. In a semiconductor electron and hole are current carriers. The vacated space by electron is defined as ‘hole’. Hole ‘moves’ in the opposite direction of electron movement. Hole is absence of electron. Hole is not a material particle. It is mere space. Concept of hole-electron pair is responsible for understanding current flow in a semiconductor and is vastly responsible for the development of semiconductor and solid state electronics. Thus semiconductor electronics is developed on the basis of the electron and absence of electron (hole) concept .


Vedanta is a philosophical system of ancient Indian thought. Vedanta is the integrated psychology and is a science on human mind. The definition, origin, structure, function, cessation and control of mind and its activities constitute the subject matter of Vedanta. State of awakening, state of dream and state of deep sleep are the conscious states of mind. Deep sleep state is a state of cessation of mind and its activities. During this phase of mind, cognition of objects or object – created experiences are not sensed. Mind remains absorbed in its source, the Self. State of Self is the natural and original state of mind. This is a serene state. This is a blissful state of mind.

Energy from Self is responsible for the mental activities and enables us to observe them as a witness. Experiencing such a thought – free and object – experience free state with awareness is wakeful sleep and without awareness it is deep sleep conscious state. This is the phase of ABSENCE of activities of mind. This is the fully conscious or thought and object – experience free phase. This is the state of Self and is the original or natural state of mind. This state is also called the state of timelessness or time-transcendence or state of cognition-free unoccupied awareness or state of liberation – moksha or nirvana or turiya state or thought, object –experience transcendent state or state of silence or bliss or peace.

The process of Knowing or (learning) is a combined activity of sense organs, mind and action organs. Knower, Knowing and the Known are the inherent divisions perceived during this phase. The awareness as these three divisions is known as triputi. Where and when the awareness of this differentiated perception, triputi, coalesces into awareness of knowing or consciousness, the consciousness of cessation of divisions as undivided pure consciousness is experienced. This is the state of unoccupied (by any cognitions or experiences) awareness. This is the continuously and eternally present blissful state of the Self. This state of, lack of consciousness of ‘triputi, is referred to absence of cognition- state or Sunyam by Buddhists. The same state is referred to as full and ego-transcendent moksha state by the Vedantins. This is also known as the state of Divine Consciousness, the phase of absence of self-consciousness as individual. The concepts of absence of value to a digit (zero), absence of matter/energy, unoccupied space (vacuum), absence of electron (hole), phase of absence of mental activities state are significant and useful in mathematics, physics (other natural sciences), technology and Vedanta. Thus absence of a thing is equally significant and useful as the presence of a thing.


More by :  Dr. Varanasi Ramabrahmam

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