Freedom, Death And Immortality : The Vedic Yoga Perspective — I

There is a world that inludes us, in which our being is apparently born, and there is this world we each have, as we grow up, in particular to ourself. The two are not the same, not just in their expanse but also as entities.

Truth Value

of  World–Body–Prana–Mind–I

The first — the world which includes us all — is like a word, a sound without a listener; the second is what it means to us. We are optional, dispensable to the first, the One. The second — the world we hold within, as meanings — is diverse and impossible without us. We do not know the One in truth and always have this urgent need to know. The second already forms to ourself, among many such worlds we are not even aware of, particular to other individual beings who we do even know. We have an equally constant, lifelong need to question this world, particular to ourself, for its truth value. This questioning remains a passive one in all of us except with a few in whom it shapes up as an urgent quest.

One of the first reduction we observe of ourself starts with physical, mentally proximate objects, places, things or people that are included in the world particular to ourself, their respective meanings for ourself, and happenings or events in our experience involving them that we must live or deal with, hate or desire. They are our world in particular to which our senses are drawn and our mind preoccupies with.

That spatial extension of ourself, anchored in things we possess and people who possess ourself, starts from our body, with which our self identifies. Its surface demarcates the spatial domains we regard as within, internal to ourself, and without, external to us.

As an existential individual being, we are the World-Body-I or simply the Body-I. It manifests the desires and hates, wants and apathy we each carry for things and people in our world.

A look further within reveals the prana, the vitality coursing through the body, functioning in and taking inputs from the senses, powering our drives, and moving our organs and limbs to their respective functional freedoms. It packs energy into emotions and becomes available to our will or resolve.

The emotional flares are largely involuntary and the power available to our will mostly dissipates or is overtaken by the next one that seizes our willfulness.

As this sensing and empowered existential being, the aware individual with capacity to choose and act, we are the World-Body-Prana-I or simply the Prana-I. It holds the power of One but, in the absence of a higher calling or focus on a larger purpose, is spent largely on basic survival needs, food and sex, unexamined wants and fears, selfish desires and personal hates.

That is, it is restated, until we acquire the ability to subject our emotion to scrutiny by our mind, which is the still more immediate or proximate inner domain to our self than the body. The mind is both a tool to doubt, analyse and investigate, and a repository of known consequences we have suffered or enjoyed in past, on account of actions flowing from our will-backed emotions or mind-mediated choices, most of which “knowledge” changes and modifies in time. Our memory includes mutating ideas and knowledge of few settled truths learnt by consistent results in experience over time.

Finally, the mind also weaves this cloak of ideated qualifications we have of ourself, of the person we believe we are to our self from moment to moment, depending on the prevailing emotion, thought, concern or purpose preoccupying us.

In the light of presentation so far, we are the World-Body-Prana-Mind-I or simply the Mind-I, as which we present ourself and interact with others, if we have not deliberately modified the true-to-ourself persona for role-playing purposes.

*

… to be continued …

 images

Universe, World And The Self

This essay arose of a conversation that remained incomplete, largely because of the apparent unfamiliarity my interlocutor had with the subject, which factor lent an air of abstraction to the matter despite it being so obvious and close a phenomenon to ourself. The difficulty at the core of its seeming obtruseness was two-fold : one, the meaning we carry of the terms are so very formal that they remain distant from ourself, compared to the carnal and electronic objects that readily engage the youth of our day; and two, any attempt to segregate the entities, and their phenomenal effervescence in our mind, fails to start because we ourself are too caught up in the mix to lay out the categories at play separately, sequentially and seamlessly between the universe yonder, our world at hand, and the heady couldron of vitality playing things up as feelings, emotions and thoughts in our mind.

Universe, World And The Self

The Terms

The universe is the endless expanse, the mother set, containing all the astronomical and heavenly bodies, visible and invisible, known and mysterious. It includes our world and our self within it.

The world about us reduces to “our” world for all practical purposes, with objects that actually occupy our memory and mind more or less, in some way or other. The entities come in all shape and form, state of animation and consciousness, nature and character, and value to ourself in the long and short term.

The self — our self — is the being we are, the person who decides the right and wrong for ourself, who is curious and who engages with the objects in our world, who notices the feeling and identifies with the prevailing will and emotion, happy or sad, enthused or indifferent.

The Personal Phenomena

Our individual being involves our world and our self, with all the objects and entities about us, which we live in the midst of and value, positively and negatively, often in the same single thing, person or being. There is a wider world out there, distinct from our world, that we are either not intimately aware of or to which we are indifferent because it does not touch us, that does not engage us in the least for now. But our living being is restricted to all that affects us, physically or by their presence in our memory, in the way it makes our vitality rise and ebb, outward to action or inward to feeling quickened or depressed, draws our emotion to flare with a will of its own, triggers our thought stream hither and thither, making our desire next sprout or dry, and leads our self through an experience memorable or forgettable.

Our experience of life, and indeed our life itself, is an endless train of such streaming consciousness constituted of this mix : feelings and emotions, will and thought, desire and knowledge, memory and more, with the self — the sense we have of ourself — often helpless like a ball ricocheting  from the walls upon a momentum imparted in unknown past or an oarless boat in the middle of  flowing waters. What we gather along the journey in life, through our growing up years, is knowledge and memory of the character or nature of things, person or individual beings, usually in binary terms : happy, or not. Each encounter or recall of this summary sense, as it happens, brings in its trail the emotion and will that our psychological or attitudinal behaviour, caution or enthusiasm and more extreme expressions at the juncture. And thus life continues to happen : happy or sad, or in the pall of any other shade in between.

The Exploring And Analysing Self

There are several reasons why we wake up to need of reviewing the momentum of the personal phenomena upon which we are carried, and to the burning will to intervene. Often it is the consequences, material and mental, that leave us dissatisfied, inadequate, delinquent or destitute. Or, usually in comparison with our peers or with inspiration from other people’s lives past or present, there is a sense of not doing justice to what we have and what more we could do with greater control over our phenomenal being, with empowering our psychological self at making the most of our situation, spotting opportunities and playing up to our strengths. Too, it is extremely deflating to our self-esteem to realise that we are living the animal way, to our lowest nature, or are being merely passive or reactive to our happennings. And lastly, we might discover that the unexamined knowledge we have gathered is mostly untrue, that we need to revisit each as they come and bring our conclusion up to date. Whatever the cause, we then want to put an end to our self-cipher outside-in existence and steel ourself to imposing our will inside-out, to being what and how we want ourself to be and experiencing a life by our own choices than by what fate or our world has thus far deemed it to be.

A true awakening is more a phase than a moment : outwardly langorous and dilated but hyperactive inwardly. In that state of concentrated awareness, we refuse to be moved even as we go through the motions and insist on observing and knowing the details of our personal phenomena as it occurs : the feeling caused by an object on our world, the emotion representative of our reaction to it, our will that automatically presents itself … that jucture when we can choose to react or contemplate the pros and cons of alternate courses, the thoughts at reviewing the object, the feeling and the emotion, the will we were ready to commit ourself to, and the state of our own being, the quality of our self … We hold ourself at it, intending to exhaust the fulness of one series : object, feeling, emotion to the object and to the feeling it causes, the will and the choices, the doubts, the light on ourself, and the values we hold to ourself in the shadows of our each thought and glance at the categories and their possibilities thus laid out.

Our Self And Our ValuesSelf and Values

To fast forward, we may now observe the continuous series of categories laid out before us, connecting seamlessly the universe and the self :

[ Universe ] — [ World ] — [ Our World ] — [ Objects, Entities, Plants, Trees, Animals, People, Food, Sex, Beautiful Form, Panorama, Family, Friends…] — [ Senses : Sight, Smell, Taste, Touch, Hear ; Mind ] — [ Feeling ] — [ Emotion : Will ] — [ Thought : Doubt, Examination, Analysis, Possibility ] — [ Knowledge ] — [ Self : State, Quality, Values ]

Of  the above, we notice, animals are arrested by their emotions and accompanying will; and so are we. The only interactive behaviour that sets them to peace, and is hence both necessary and sufficient, is love. And so it with us, as far as others are involved and our interactive behaviour goes.

However, as human beings with the power to be pro-active, to change ourselves and our world about us, we need to choose our values and therefore need to know what works, which yields what and how. The knowledge and values are already indicated by our history, our myths, our texts ancient and modern, our epics, our traditions and our ways of life. It is upto each one of us to inform ourself, know and choose for ourself, and to embark upon that journey of examining and clarifying from experience that which is absolute and invariable and those that are relative and dependent upon situation and circumstance.

Some truths are universal though :

—   Feelings are nature’s means to reveal itself to us. Men do not cause feelings, our world does. We do not stop feeling except when we are literally or sort of dead.

—  Emotions are our own and arise almost always from the dark and unexamined part of our within. They are mostly wasteful except when prompted of love.

—   Our mind is a means and an instrument to feel, examine and know our world, our emotions and will, our memory and impressions from past, as also to sense the state and quality of our self and the values we associate with.

—   The values we choose and commit ourselves to provides a firm unshakeable ground to ourself; nothing else does. The self committed to values empowers the will to choose the right course of action; nothing else does.

—   There is no truth apart from our self. It is lost in the mind, in thoughts and habitual emotions, in addictive feelings, when we begin our search for our self. The process of extricating our self and living in the light of its truth is the eternal way.

Let’s walk it.

Footprints

Beauty Of The Quest

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part X : INDIA (1924)

The Talmud relates that the dove brought the first olive branch to Noah from Mount Moriah. And Mount Moriah and the mountain Meru both lie in Asia. Here is the beginning of all things. Here is the source for all travelers and all searchers. Here is raised the first image of the Blessed Maitreya—Messiah—Muntazar, the Messiah now awaited by the Mohammedans. Thrice powerful M ! Here, above all disputes, the teachings have raised up the olive branch of the new world. Here is ordained the universal commune.

Some one voluntarily approached and touched our tent ! Who is this man, with his long black braid and a turquoise earring in his ear, and garbed in a white kaftan ? It is the Lama, Pema Don-dub, the local ikon painter. We ask, “Can you paint for us the Blessed Maitreya, exactly like the one in Tashi-lhunpo ?” He consents and now he sits on a tiny rug in the corner of the white gallery, and with various pigments, paints the Image full of symbols. He prepares the fabric for the painting and covers it with levkas (a mixture of chalk on glue), and irons it with a shell. He works exactly like Russian ikon painters. In the same way does he grind his colors, heat them on a coal pan; and thus does he keep an additional brush in his thick black hair. His Tibetan wife helps him to prepare his colors.

And so, in the corner of the white gallery is being conceived the ingenious image, many-colored. And each symbol upon it more clearly defines the Blessed One. Here is the frightful bird-like Garuda and wise Magi and Ganeshi, elephant of happiness, and Chintamani, the Steed, bearing on its back the miraculous stone, Treasure of the World. A sacred cycle of chosen symbols. And upon the image and the hands is laid pure gold.

Like our ikon painters, the artist lama chants hymns as he labors. The chants become more fervent; this means he is beginning upon the Image itself.

And another wonder occurs, only possible in this land. In the deep twilight when the waxing moon possesses all things, one hears through the house the silvery tones of a handmade flute. In the darkness, the artist lama is sitting upon his rug, playing with rapture before the image of Maitreya-Messiah-Muntazar.

The Strings of the Earth !

Talai-Pho-Brang.


Panoramic Kashmir
Panoramic Kashmir (Photo credit: NotMicroButSoft

PIR-PANZAL (1925)

Where have passed the hordes of the great Mongols ?

Where has the lost tribe of Israel concealed itself ?

Where stands the “Throne of Solomon” ?

Where lie the paths of Christ the Wan­derer ?

Where glow the bonfires of the Shamans, Bon-po, of the religion of demons ?

Where is Shalimar, the gardens of Jehangir ?

Where are the roads of Pamir, Lhasa, Khotan ?

Where is the mysterious cave, Amarnath ?

Where is the path of Alexander the Great to forgotten Taxila ?

Where are the walls of Akbar ?

Where did Ashvagosha teach ?

Where did Avan-tisvamin create ?

Where are the citadels of Chandragupta-Maurya ?

Where are the stones of wisdom of King Asoka ? . . .

All have passed by way of Kashmir. Here lie the ancient ways of Asia. And each caravan flashes by as a connecting link in the great body of the East. Here are the sandy deserts on the way to Peshawar; and the blue peaks of Sonamarg; and the white slopes of Zoji-La. And in the flight of the eagles is the same untiring spirit; in the fleet steed is the same unalterable motion. Nor does the world of roses and shawls of Kashmir resemble that forgotten and hidden world of Kashmiri blades.

Sacre du Printemps“— when we composed it together with Stravinsky, we could not conceive that Kashmir would greet us with its very setting. In Ghari, camping out by night, when the vivid spring sky became afire with stars and the mountains were azured, we observed rows of fires upon the mountains. The fires started into motion, separated and strangely circled about. Then the mountain slopes became aglow with these fiery processions. And in the village below, dark silhouettes began to whirl about brandishing resin torches on long staffs. The flaming circles proclaimed the end of winter frosts. And the songs proclaimed the Sacred Spring. This is the festival of the Ninth of March.

Bulbul,” the nightingale, sings on the apple tree. The cuckoo reckons out a long life. White linens are spread on the meadow and a samovar is boiling. Red and yellow apples and sweet cakes are passed around to those seated upon the spring grass. The eyes of the violets and the white and yellow narcissus are woven into a many-hued carpet. At evening, flocks of ducks and geese completely cover the tiny islands over the lakes. Small bears steal out on the spring glades. But none fears them—unless the mother-bear is with her cubs. . . .

The river banks are sloping. A line of boatsmen steer their canopied boats. . . . Upon a broad road the oxen drag themselves and the wheels grind along. Three-hundred-year-old plantains and tall poplars guard the ways. And the teeth of the encoun­tered travelers gleam often in the smile of greeting.

In the sheds lie the sleighs—veritable Moscow sleighs. In the yard, a crane screeches above the well. The straw roof is over­grown with green moss. Along the road are gnarled willow trees. And the greetings of the children are noisy. But where is this ? Is it in Schuya or Kolomna? It is in Srinagar, in the “City of the Sun.”

Tiny, big-bellied pillars—small ornamental designs—steep little steps of stone—the gilded roofs of the temple—creaking, orna­mented window-shutters—rusty locks—low little doors with their “curtesy”—carved balustrades—slanting tiles on stony floors—the odor of old lacquer—small windows with diminutive panes. Where are we then ? Is this the Kremlin of Rostov ? Are these the monasteries of Suzdal ? Are they the temples of Yaroslavl ? And what of the endless flocks of daws ? What of the naked branches behind the windows ? This is the chief palace of the Maharajah of Kashmir. How curious is everything which re­mains from antiquity. But the modern additions are hideous.

Upon the road are many Fords. In the hotel dining room one sees the faces of Americans. In the jewelry shop, side-by-side, hang two paintings—one of the view of Delhi, the other the view of the Moscow Kremlin. Among the crystals into which one gazes for destiny; among the sapphires of Kashmir and the Tibetan turquoises, are shimmering green Chinese jadaites—and like a garden, many-colored are the borders of the embroidered kaftans. Like precious shawls, the rooms of the museum are strewn with minute Iran-designs and “Gandhara,” belabored by destiny, unifies the cleft branches of West and East.

In the styles of the temples and mosques; in the angular carved dragons; in the tentlike, sloping hexagonal tower, is seen an unexpected combination of the old wooden churches of Norway and the Chinese pagodas. Out of one well is drawn the Roman­esque Chimera, the animal ornaments of Altai and the tiny animals of Chinese Turkestan and China. The Siberian paths of the nations have carried afar the same meaning of adornment.

The fort of Akbar stands firmly planted. But after you have climbed the steepnesses and flights, you may perceive that the old bricks and the claybeaten cement barely hold together. The arches are ready to give way.

Nishad, the garden of Akbar, occupies the site from the lake to the hill—a high place. The structures are modest and upon the corners are the little towers so beloved by him. They are characterized by simplicity and brightness.

Shalimar—the garden of Jehangir—is also in character with its possessor, standing “for itself.” There is less of outward show, but more of luxury—of that luxury which brought the descend­ants of the Moguls to poverty. The last Mogul, in Delhi, secretly sold furniture out of the palace and destroyed the valuable fac­ings of the walls of Shah Jehan and Aurungzeb. Thus ended the great dynasty.

The weaver of Kashmir accompanied the making of each of his designs with a special chant. Such a searching for rhythm reminds us of the great harmony of labor.

No song relates why the mountain “Throne of Solomon” bears this name. This is a place of such antiquity. Janaka, son of Asoka, had already dedicated here one of the first Buddhist temples. Seven centuries later the temple was rebuilt and con­secrated to Mahadeva. . . . But whence comes the name of Solomon? The mountain received the name of Solomon from a legend that Solomon, desiring a respite from the conventions of a sovereign’s life and from the burdens of his court, trans­ported himself upon a flying carpet to this mountain with his favorite wife. Here, again, we come upon the mention of that “flying apparatus” possessed by Solomon. A similar mountain is in Turkestan and in Persia.

It is not alone the mountain “Throne of Solomon” which transports the consciousness into biblical spheres. In the valley of Sindh the prophet Elijah is reverenced in a special manner. Most stirring are the legends; how the prophet sitting in his cave saves fishermen and travelers. Under various aspects, at times benevolent, at times stormy, the prophet appears to defend the works of justice and piety. Mohammedans and Hindus, divided by many differences, equally reverence the prophet Elijah.

Purple iris will always recall Moslem cemeteries. They are covered with these flowers. But there is also joy. The lilacs have blossomed, lilies of the valley are nodding and the wild cherry tree glistens.

Mount Moriah Cemetery Gate


The Death Phenomenon

Source : http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.adidaupclose.org/extraordinary_evidence/tour.html

A Cosmic Journey

Connie Mantas


Connie Mantas has been a devotee of Adi Da since the early 1970’s. She is a registered nurse who at the time worked with the dying. Connie was taken through a remarkable experience by Avatar Adi Da . . . Avatar Adi Da walked over to her during a gathering at His House at The Mountain Of Attention, and asked her to lie down on the floor next to Him. He lay flat on His back next to her and closed His eyes, saying “Now do exactly as I do.” Then, through silent Instruction, He guided her through the patterns of conditional existence that are experienced in the death transition.

This story was taken from Chapter 8 of The Promised God-Man Is Here, by Carolyn Lee.

Connie MantasFirst there was an explosion of inner sounds. Then I felt the layers of the body-mind release and fall away. “I” was separating out from the physical body and seemed to fly upwards, whirling through dark space at an incredible speed. I was moving toward an overwhelming, brilliant light. At one point, I recall slipping through a kind of “grid” as a speck of consciousness.

For an instant, I did seem to lose all self-awareness, but throughout the rest of the experience I was aware of the most remarkable clarity. I found that I felt more familiar and at ease traveling without the body than when I was dragging it along, anchored to it by my usual physical-body identification. I felt myself to be alive as Consciousness, at ease as the witness of mind and attention.

At different moments in this Cosmic journey, I felt the deep urges of the body-mind drawing me back towards embodiment, and I sensed the frustration of having no physical body through which to enact or fulfill desires. This made a stunning impression on me, and I remember feeling how foolish it would be to waste the opportunity of a human lifetime to do the [spiritual practice] that could help free me of the binding attachments I had now seen so clearly.

Then I became aware of a loud buzzing or humming sound as I slowly came back into [identification with] the body-mind, taking on each layer [or sheath], starting with the most subtle. The inner sounds quieted until once again I was aware of lying on the floor.

When I opened my eyes, the face of Beloved Adi Da was right next to mine, and He was grinning at me with a gigantic smile. He opened His mouth and started to laugh. It was more than a laugh — it was a victorious and triumphant Shout, glorious to hear. Instead of being awestruck by this remarkable journey I had just taken with Him, I felt sheer marvel at Who He Is. I felt, “Yes! There is this great scheme of conditional existence, of which human embodiment is a part. But first, and most importantly, HE IS THE MASTER OF IT ALL! And I have a relationship with That One!”

Without exchanging a word with me, Beloved Adi Da got up, walked to His Chair and began a discourse on death and the “grid” through which we pass at death. This was one of the first occasions at which Beloved Adi Da spoke of the total pattern of phenomena, or the Cosmic Mandala, as He would later describe it. As always, He had one primary message — no experience, high or low, is the answer to our suffering. No “one” survives in the Great Plastic of forms. Only Consciousness Itself persists, the Eternal “I”, the Self-Existing and Self-Radiant Condition of all, Beyond the grid of appearances.

The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Lake Co...
The Mountain Of Attention Sanctuary in Lake County, California (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Indian Muslims … In Cowardice !

From When They Were Being Made …

Edited Version Of The Interview Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Gave In April, 1946.

Full Version Published May 28, 2012 In Journal : The Poet… Watching History : I

Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress i...
Flag adopted by the Indian National Congress in 1931.

Q : But the question is how Muslims can keep their community identity intact and how they can inculcate the attributes of the citizens of a Muslim state.

A : Hollow words cannot falsify the basic realities nor slanted questions can make the answers deficient. It amounts to distortion of the discourse. What is meant by community identity ? If this community identity has remained intact during the British slavery, how will it come under threat in a free India in whose affairs Muslims will be equal participants ? What attributes of the Muslim state you wish to cultivate ? The real issue is the freedom of faith and worship and who can put a cap on that freedom. Will independence reduce the 90 million Muslims into such a helpless state that they will feel constrained in enjoying their religious freedom ? If the British, who as a world power could not snatch this liberty, what magic or power do the Hindus have to deny this freedom of religion ? These questions have been raised by those, who, under the influence of western culture, have renounced their own heritage and are now raising dust through political gimmickry.

If the Muslims still feel under threat and believe that they will be reduced to slavery in free India then I can only pray for their faith and hearts. If a man becomes disenchanted with life he can be helped to revival, but if someone is timid and lacks courage, then it is not possible to help him become brave and gutsy. The Muslims as a community have become cowards. They have no fear of God, instead they fear men. This explains why they are so obsessed with threats to their existence — a figment of their imagination.

The world needs both, a durable peace and a philosophy of life. If the Hindus can run after Marx and undertake scholarly studies of the philosophy and wisdom of the West, they do not disdain Islam and will be happy to benefit from its principles. In fact they are more familiar with Islam and acknowledge that Islam does not mean parochialism of a hereditary community or a despotic system of governance. Islam is a universal call to establish peace on the basis of human equality.

In future India will be faced with class problems, not communal disputes; the conflict will be between capital and labour. The communist and socialist movements are growing and it is not possible to ignore them. These movements will increasingly fight for the protection of the interest of the underclass. The Muslim capitalists and the feudal classes are apprehensive of this impending threat. Now they have given this whole issue a communal colour and have turned the economic issue into a religious dispute. But Muslims alone are not responsible for it. This strategy was first adopted by the British government and then endorsed by the political minds of Aligarh. Later, Hindu short-sightedness made matters worse and now freedom has become contingent on the partition of India.

Jinnah himself was an ambassador of Hindu-Muslim unity. In one Congress session Sarojini Naidu had commended him with this title. He was a disciple of Dadabhai Naoroji. He had refused to join the 1906 deputation of Muslims that initiated communal politics in India. In 1919 he stood firmly as a nationalist and opposed Muslim demands before the Joint Select Committee. On 3 October 1925, in a letter to the Times of India he rubbished the suggestion that Congress is a Hindu outfit. In the All Parties Conferences of 1925 and 1928, he strongly favoured a joint electorate. While speaking at the National Assembly in 1925, he said, “I am a nationalist first and a nationalist last” and exhorted his colleagues, be they Hindus or Muslims, “not to raise communal issues in the House and help make the Assembly a national institution in the truest sense of the term”.

In 1928, Jinnah supported the Congress call to boycott Simon Commission. Till 1937, he did not favour the demand to partition India. In his message to various student bodies he stressed the need to work for Hindu Muslim unity. But he felt aggrieved when the Congress formed governments in seven states and ignored the Muslim League. In 1940 he decided to pursue the partition demand to check Muslim political decline. In short, the demand for Pakistan is his response to his own political experiences. Mr Jinnah has every right to his opinion about me, but I have no doubts about his intelligence. As a politician he has worked overtime to fortify Muslim communalism and the demand for Pakistan. Now it has become a matter of prestige for him and he will not give it up at any cost.

Q : It is clear that Muslims are not going to turn away from their demand for Pakistan. Why have they become so impervious to all reason and logic of arguments ?

A : It is difficult, rather impossible, to fight against the misplaced enthusiasm of a mob, but to suppress one’s conscience is worse than death. Today the Muslims are not walking, they are flowing. The problem is that Muslims have not learnt to walk steady; they either run or flow with the tide. When a group of people lose confidence and self-respect, they are surrounded by imaginary doubts and dangers and fail to make a distinction between the right and the wrong.

The true meaning of life is realised not through numerical strength but through firm faith and righteous action. British politics has sown many seeds of fear and distrust in the mental field of Muslims. Now they are in a frightful state, bemoaning the departure of the British and demanding partition before the foreign masters leave. Do they believe that partition will avert all the dangers to their lives and bodies ? If these dangers are real then they will still haunt their borders and any armed conflict will result in much greater loss of lives and possessions.

Q : But Hindus and Muslims are two different nations with different and disparate inclinations. How can the unity between the two be achieved ?

A : This is an obsolete debate. I have seen the correspondence between Allama Iqbal and Maulana Husain Ahmad Madni on the subject. In the Quran, the term “qaum” has been used not only for the community of believers but has also been used for distinct human groupings generally. What do we wish to achieve by raising this debate about the etymological scope of terms like millat [community], qaum [nation] and ummat [group] ?

In religious terms, India is home to many people — the Hindus, Muslims, Christians, Parsis, Sikhs etc. The differences between Hindu religion and Islam are vast in scope. But these differences cannot be allowed to become an obstacle in the path of India gaining her freedom nor do the two distinct and different systems of faith negate the idea of unity of India. The issue is of our national independence and how we can secure it. Freedom is a blessing and is the right of every human being. It cannot be divided on the basis of religion.

Muslims must realise that they are bearers of a universal message. They are not a racial or regional grouping in whose territory others cannot enter. Strictly speaking, Muslims in India are not one community; they are divided among many well-entrenched sects. You can unite them by arousing their anti-Hindu sentiment but you cannot unite them in the name of Islam. To them Islam means undiluted loyalty to their own sect.

Apart from Wahabi, Sunni and Shia there are innumerable groups who owe allegiance to different saints and divines. Small issues like raising hands during the prayer and saying Amen loudly have created disputes that defy solution. The Ulema have used the instrument of takfeer [ fatwas declaring someone as infidel ] liberally. Earlier, they used to take Islam to the disbelievers; now they take away Islam from the believers. Islamic history is full of instances of how good and pious Muslims were branded kafirs.

Prophets alone had the capability to cope with these mindboggling situations. Even they had to pass through times of afflictions and trials. The fact is that when reason and intelligence are abandoned and attitudes become fossilised then the job of the reformer becomes very difficult. But today the situation is worse than ever. Muslims have become firm in their communalism; they prefer politics to religion and follow their worldly ambitions as commands of religion. History bears testimony to the fact that in every age we ridiculed those who pursued the good with consistency, snuffed out the brilliant examples of sacrifice and tore the flags of selfless service. Who are we, the ordinary mortals; even high ranking Prophets were not spared by these custodians of traditions and customs.

Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946.
Gandhi addressing AICC in Bombay, July 1946. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Light, Beauty And Truth.

ALTAI-HIMALAYA

A Travel Diary

By Nicholas Roerich

[ Published by Claude Bragdon ]

Part IX : INDIA (1924)

Cover of "Altai-Himalaya A Travel Diary"

In the twilight under the flowing stars, in the purple sheen of the mist, sounds the soft voice of the lama, telling his calm tale of the “King of the World,” of His power, of His action and wisdom, of His legions, in which each warrior shall be possessed of some extraordinary gift. And he tells of the dates of the new age of general well-being.

The tale is taken from an ancient Tibetan book, wherein, under symbolic names, are given the future movements of the Dalai-Lama and Tashi-Lama, which have already been fulfilled. There are described the special physical marks of rulers under whom the country shall fall during the reign of the monkeys. But afterwards the rule shall be regained and then will come Someone of greatness. His coming is calculated in twelve years —which will be in 1936.

When the time came for the Blessed Buddha to depart from this earth He was asked by four lords of Dharmapala to bequeath to mankind His image. The Blessed One consented and desig­nated the most worthy artist, but the artist could not take the exact measurements because his hand trembled when he ap­proached the Blessed One. Then said Buddha, “I shall stand near the water. Thou shalt take the measurements from my reflection.” And the artist was thus enabled to do so, and exe­cuted four images, modeled from a sacred alloy of seven metals. Two of these images are now in Lhasa and the remaining two are still hidden until the appointed time.

One Tibetan ruler married Chinese and Nepal princesses in order that through them he might attract to Tibet the two sacred images of Buddha.

Twelve hundred years after Buddha, the teacher Padma Sambhava brought closer to men the teachings of the Blessed One. At the birth of Padma Sambhava all the skies were aglow and the shepherds saw miraculous tokens. The eight-year-old Teacher was manifested to the world in the Lotus flower. Padma Sambhava did not die but departed to teach new countries. Had he not done so the world would be threatened with disaster.

In the cave Kandro Sampo, not far from Tashi-ding, near a certain hot spring, dwelt Padma Sambhava himself. A certain giant, thinking to penetrate across to Tibet, attempted to build a passage into the Sacred Land. The Blessed Teacher rose up and growing great in height struck the bold venturer. Thus was the giant destroyed. And now in the cave is the image of Padma Sambhava and behind it is a stone door. It is known that behind this door the Teacher hid sacred mysteries for the future. But the dates for their revelation have not yet come.

Wherefore do the giant trumpets in the Buddhist temples have so resonant a tone ? The ruler of Tibet decided to summon from India a learned lama, from the place where dwelt the Blessed One, in order to purify the fundamentals of the teaching. How to meet the guest ? The High Lama of Tibet, having had a vision, gave the design of a new trumpet so that the guest should be received with unprecedented sound; and the meeting was a wonderful one—not by the wealth of gold but by the grandeur of sound !

Why do the gongs in the temple ring out with such great volume ? And, as silver, resound the gongs and bells at dawn and evening, when the atmosphere is tense. Their sound re­minds one of the legend of the great Lama and the Chinese emperor. In order to test the knowledge and clairvoyance of the Lama, the emperor made for him a seat from sacred books and covering them with fabrics, invited the guest to sit down. The Lama made certain prayers and then sat down. The emperor demanded of him, “If your knowledge is so universal, how could you sit down on the sacred books ?” “There are no sacred volumes,” answered the Lama. And the astonished em­peror, instead of his sacred volumes, found only blank papers. The emperor thereupon gave to the Lama many gifts and bells of liquid chime. But the Lama ordered them to be thrown into the river, saying, “I will not be able to carry these. If they are necessary to me, the river will bring these gifts to my monastery.” And indeed the waters carried to him the bells, with their crystal chimes, clear as the waters of the river.

Talismans… A mother many times asked her son to bring to her a sacred relic of Buddha. But the youth forgot her request. She said to him, ‘I shall die here before your eyes if you will not bring it to me now.’ The son went to Lhasa and again forgot the mother’s request. A half day’s journey from his home, he recalled the promise. But where can one find sacred objects in the desert ? There is nought. But the traveler espies the skull of a dog. He decides to take out a tooth and folding it in yellow silk he brings it to the house. The old woman asks of him, ‘Have you forgotten again my last request, my son ?’ He then gives her the dog’s tooth wrapped in silk, saying, ‘This is the tooth of Buddha.’ And the mother puts the tooth into her shrine, and performs before it the most sacred rites, directing all her worship to her holy of holies. And the miracle is accomplished. The tooth begins to glow with pure rays and many miracles and sacred manifestations result from it.”

A man searched for twelve years for Maitreya-Buddha. No­where did he find him, and becoming angry, he rejected his faith. As he walked along his way he beheld one who with a horsehair was sawing an iron rod, repeating to himself, “If the whole of life is not enough yet will I saw this through.” Con­fusion fell upon him— “What mean my twelve years,” he said, “in the face of such persistence ? I will return to my search.” Thereupon Maitreya-Buddha himself appeared before the man and said, “Long already have I been with you but you did not see me, and you repulsed me and spat upon me. I will make a test. Go to the bazaar. I will be upon your shoulder.” The man went, aware that he carried Maitreya. But the men around him shrank from him, closing their noses and eyes. “Wherefore do you shrink from me, people ?” he asked. “What a fright you have on your shoulder—an ill-smelling dog full of boils!” they replied. Again the people did not see Maitreya-Buddha, for each beheld only what he was worthy of seeing.

The lama says, “There are three kinds of teaching—one for the stranger, one for our own, and the third for the initiated who can retain. Now through ignorance they slaughter animals, they drink wine, they have property and eat meat and live squalidly. Does religion permit all this ? Where is beauty, there is teaching; where is teaching, there is beauty.

The people here are sensitive. Your emotions and desires are transmitted so easily. Therefore know clearly what you desire. Otherwise instead of Buddha you shall behold the dog.

That which is hidden in the past is not of importance—that which in age-old books, copied and unfinished, lies covered with dust. For the new construction, that which now resolves itself into life is important. Not through library shelves but through the living word is measured the possibility of future structures.

Under Kinchenjunga are secreted the caves in which are rest­ing the treasures. In stone coffins the cave dwellers are praying, torturing themselves in the name of the future. But the sun has already defined the future; not in secret caves, but in full sunlight one perceives the worship and expectation of Maitreya-Buddha. It is now three years since the Tashi Lama solemnly and openly dedicated the great New Image in his Tashi-lhunpo. The intense, invisible work progresses.

The Tashi Lama is now on his way to Mongolia by way of China. Unprecedented through the ages is this event. Mystery ! Incidentally, it may be that through Sikhim passed only the ab­ducting detachment and the Lama himself moved on to Mon­golia.

On a sacred morning upon the mountain started to glow rows of fire—another mystery !

Just now the wave of attention is turned toward Tibet—behind the mountain rampart events are stirring, but Tibetan secrecy is great. Information is contradictory. Whither disappeared the Tashi Lama ? What military manoeuvers proceed on the Chinese border ? What transpires on the Mongolian line ? A year of events !

Sikhim is called the land of lightning. Of course, here also occurs lightning but is it not simpler to call it “the land of future steps” ? For it would be difficult to imagine a better threshold to the mysteries of the future than this unexplored, rarely pene­trated country of rocks and flowers.

As behind a tiny silver apple on a saucer, do the hills and steps of the Himalayas reveal themselves. Hundreds, perhaps more, are the monasteries in Sikhim, each crowning the top of a summit. A small temple in Chakong; a big suburgan and monastery in Rinchenpong. Upon the next mountain appears gleaming white Pemayangtse, still higher, Sanga Chöling. Tashi-ding is almost unseen. On the other side of the valley is Daling and opposite Robling and still nearer Namtse. For a distance of forty miles one may behold the monasteries, for we must not forget that here one sees extremely far.

And again before us is the wall to Tibet. And not the back­bone of the lizard but the snow-white girdle is outlined upon the peaks of this wall—the girdle of the earth. Let us point the arrow northward—there must be the base of Mount Meru.

English: I took this photo of the 110 ft (35 m...
110 ft (35 metre) Maitreya Buddha facing down the Shyok River, Nubra Valley near Diskit Monastery (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

Devanagari Invocation of Isha Upanishad
Invocation of Isha Upanishad (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter V : Madhva’s Eternal Dualism

Madhva, also known as Madhvacharya or Anand-Tirtha “Purna Prajna,” accepts much of Ramanuj’s Qualified Monism but irrevocably departs in his principle of eternal dependence of individual souls on the one Supreme that alone is independent. He agrees with Ramanuj’s belief system of atomic size of the soul and its subservience to Supreme entity, the authenticity of Vedas, the self-evidence of the instruments of knowledge, the triad of evidences, dependency upon the Panch-ratra, and the reality of plurality in the universe. 

But in his doctrine, ultimate principles are dichotomised into the one independent and the many dependent; as it is stated in the Tattva-viveka : Independent and dependent, two principles are received ; the independent is Vishnu the Lord, exempt from imperfections, and of inexhaustible excellences. He brushes aside the interpretation of the absolute principle being void, in the face of proofs positive of duality : perception, for example, of “This” – the individual being – is different from “That” – the Universal being.

The Pure Monists (Advaitin) rejoin : Do you hold that perception is cognisant of a perceptional difference, or of a difference constituted by the thing and its opposite ? The former will not hold : for without a cognition of the thing and its opposite, the recognition of the difference which presupposes such a cognition, will be impossible. If the latter alternative : is the apprehension of the difference preceded by an apprehension of the thing and its contrary, or are all the three (the thing, its contrary, and the contrariety) simultaneously apprehended ? It cannot be thus preceded, for the operation of the intellect is without delay (or without successive steps), and there would also result a logical seesaw (apprehension of the difference presupposing apprehension of the thing and its contrary, and apprehension of the thing and its contrary presupposing apprehension of the difference). Nor can there be a simultaneous apprehension (of the thing, its contrary, and the difference) ; for cognitions related as cause and effect cannot be simultaneous, and the cognition of the thing is the cause of the recognition of the difference; the causal relation between the two being recognised by a concomitance and non-concomitance (mutual exclusion), the difference not being cognised even when the thing is present, without a cognition of its absent contrary. The perception of difference, therefore (the Monists conclude), is not easily admissible. 

To this Madhva replies as follows : Are these objections proclaimed against one who maintains a difference things in themselves, or against one who maintains a difference between things as subjects of their attributes ? In the former case, you will be, as the saying runs, punishing a respectable Brahman for the offence of a thief. In considering the Upanishad saying, “Thou art That,” if the difference is in their essence, then an actual cognition of “That” is unnecessary; the difference is eternally underscored since the difference presupposes a contrary counterpart. 

If the difference is by their attributes, which form the determinate usage (name and notion) we have of them in our understanding, then too their essential contrariness remains as actual contrary counterparts; for example, the essence of a thing so far as constituted by its dimensions is first cognised, and afterwards it becomes the object of some determinate judgment, as long or short in relation to some particular counterpart (or contrasted object). Accordingly, it is said in the Vishnu-tattva-nirnaya : Difference is not proved to exist by the relation of determinant and determinate ; for this relation of determinant and determinate (or predicate and subject) presupposes difference; and if difference were proved to depend upon the thing and its counterpart, and the thing and its counterpart to presuppose difference, difference as involving a logical circle could not be accounted for ; but difference is itself a real predicament (or ultimate entity). 

For this reason (viz. because difference is the thing in itself), Madhva continues, it is that men in quest of a cow do not act as if they had found her when they see a gayal, seeing which they do not recall the word cow. Nor let it be objected that if difference be a real entity between, say, milk and water, then the same difference should be perceived in a mixture of milk and water as well; for the absence of any manifestation of, and judgment about, the difference, may be accounted for by the force of some obstructions that hinder the perception viz. aggregation of similars and the rest. 

Thus it has been said (in the Sankhya-karika, v. vii.) : From too great remoteness, from too great nearness, from defect in the organs, from instability of the common sensory, from subtlety, from interposition, from being overpowered, and from aggregation of similars.

There is no perception respectively of a tree and the like on the (barren) peak of amountain, because of its too great remoteness ; of the collyrium applied to eyes because of too much proximity ; of lightning and the like because of a defect in the organs; of a jar or the like in broad daylight, by one whose common sensory is bewildered by lust and other passions, because of instability of the common sensory ; of an atom and the like, because of their subtlety ; of things behind a wall, and so forth, because of interposition ; of the light of a lamp and the like, in the day-time, because of its being overpowered ; of milk and water, because of the aggregation of similars. 

Difference (duality) is also ascertained by inference. Thus the Supreme Lord differs from the individual soul as the object of its obedience ; and he who is to be obeyed by any person differs from that person : a king, for instance, from his attendant. For men, desiring as they do – let me have pleasure, let me not have the slightest pain – if they covet the position of their lord, they do not become objects of his favour; nay, rather, they become recipients of all kinds of evil. He who asserts his own inferiority and the excellence of his superior, he it is who is to be commended; and the gratified superior grants his eulogist his desire. 

Therefore it has been said : “Kings destroy those who assert themselves to be kings, and grant to those who proclaim their kingly preeminence in all that they desire.” 

Thus is the statement of those (Advaita-vadins) in their thirst to be one with the Supreme Lord, that the supreme excellence of Vishnu is like a mirage. Through offending this supreme Vishnu, they must enter into the hell of blind darkness (andha-tamasa), as is laid down by Madhya-mandira in the Mahabharata-tatparya-nirnaya : 

” Daityas, enemies of the eternal Vishnu, cause his anger to wax great ; He hurls the Daityas into the blind darkness, because they decide blindly.” 

This service (or obedience of which we have spoken) is trichotomised into (i) stigmatisation, (2) imposition of names, and (3) worship. Of these, stigmatisation is (the branding upon one self) of the weapons of Narayana (or Vishnu) as a memorial of him, and as a means of attaining the end which is needful (emancipation). Thus the sequel of the Sakalya-samhita : “The man who bears branded in him the discus of the immortal Vishnu, which is the might of the gods, He, shaking off his guilt, goes to the heaven (Vaikuntha) which ascetics, whose desires are passed away, enter into.

Imposition of names is the appellation of sons and others by such names as Kesava, as a continual memorial of the name of the Supreme Lord. 

Worship is of ten kinds, viz. [A] with the voice : (1) veracity (2) usefulness (3) kindliness (4) sacred study ;

[B] with the body : (5) almsgiving (6) defence (7) protection ;

[C] with the common sensory : (8) mercy (9) longing and (10) faith. 

Worship is the dedication to Narayana of each of these as it is realised.

Thus it has been said : ” Stigmatisation, imposition of names, worship; the last is of ten kinds.” 

Difference (or duality between the Supreme Being and the universe) may also be inferred from cognisability and other marks. So also difference (or duality) may be understood from revelation, from texts setting out duality in emancipation and beatitude, such as : ” All rejoice over truth attained ; truthful, and celebrating the gift of the divine Indra, they recount his glory ; among those that know the truth, Brahman is in the universe ; He is the true spirit ; true indeed is individual spirit ; truth is duality, truth is duality … in me is illusion, in me illusion, in me illusion.” 

Again : “After attaining this knowledge, becoming like unto me, in creation they are not born again, in retractation they perish not” (Bhagavad-gita, xiv. 2). 

Nor should suggestion be made that individual spirit is God in virtue of the text, He that knows the absolute becomes the absolute; for this text is hyperbolically eulogistic, like the text, “Worshipping a Brahman devoutly, a Sudra becomes a Brahman,” i.e. becomes exalted. 

If people urge that according to the text : “If the universe existed it would doubtless come to an end,” this duality is merely illusory, and in reality a unity, and that duality is learnt to be illusorily imagined ; it may be replied : What you say is true, but you do not understand its meaning ; for the real meaning is, if this world had been produced, it would without doubt come to an end; but since it does not, it is everlasting, a five-fold dual universe. Illusion is deemed to be the will of the Lord, in virtue of the testimony of many passages such as : 

” The great illusion, ignorance, necessity, the bewilderment … The originant, ideation, thus is thy will called, Infinite. 

The originant, because it originates endlessly ; ideation, because it produces all ideas. The illusion of Hari, who is called a-, is termed (a-vidya) ignorance : Styled (vidya) illusion, because it is pre-eminent, for the name vidya is used of the pre-eminent. The excellent knowledge of Vishnu who, though one, is calledby these names; for knowledge of Hari is characterised by spontaneous beatitude it bestows.” 

That in which this excellent knowledge produces knowledge and effects thereof is pure illusion, as known and sustained by the Supreme Lord; therefore duality is not illusorily imagined. For in the Lord illusory imagination of the universe is not possible, illusory imagination arising from non-perception of differences (which as an imperfection is inconsistent with the divine nature). 

If it be asked how then that (illusory duality) is predicated, the answer is that in truth there is a non-duality that is real; Vishnu, being better than all else, has no equal and no superior. Accordingly, the grand revelation : 

” A difference between soul and the Lord, a difference between the unsentient and the Lord, a difference among souls, and a difference of the unsentient and the soul, each from the other. Also the difference of unsentient things from one another, the world with its five divisions. This same is real and from all eternity ; if it had had a beginning it would have an end : Whereas it does not come to an end ; and it is not illusorily imagined : For if it were imagined it would cease, but it never ceases. That there is no duality is therefore the doctrine of those that lack knowledge ; and this doctrine of those that have knowledge is known and sustained by Vishnu.” 

The purpose, then, of all revelations is to set out the supreme excellence of Vishnu. With this in view the Lord declared : 

” Two are these beings in the universe, the perishable and the imperishable ; the perishable is all the elements, the imperishable is the unmodified. The other, the most excellent person called the Supreme Spirit, is the undecaying Lord, who pervading sustains the three worlds. Since, transcending the perishable, I am more excellent than the imperishable (soul), hence I am celebrated among men and in the Veda as the best of persons (Purushottama). He who uninfatuated knows me thus as the best of persons, he all-knowing worships me in every wise. Thus this most mysterious institute is declared, blameless (Arjuna) : ” Knowing this a man may be wise, and may have done what he has to do, Bharata” (Gita, xv. 16-20). 

While merit, wealth, and enjoyment are transitory, emancipation is eternal ; therefore a wise man should strive unceasingly to attain thereto. And emancipation is not won without the grace of Vishnu, according to the text of the Narayana Upanishad : Through whose grace is the highest state, through whose essence he is liberated from transmigration, while inferior men propitiating the divinities are not emancipated ; the supreme object of discernment to those who desire to be liberated from this snare of works. 

According to the words of the Vishnu-purana : If he be propitiated, what here may not be won ? Enough of all wealth and enjoyments. These are scanty enough. On climbing the tree of the supreme essence, without doubt a man attains to the fruit of emancipation.

And it is declared that the grace of Vishnu is won only through the knowledge of his excellence, not through the knowledge of non-duality. Nor is there in this doctrine any connection with texts declaratory of the identity (of personal and impersonal spirit) such as, That art thou; for this pretended identity is mere babbling from ignorance of the real purport. 

“The word That, when undetermined, designates the eternally unknown. The word Thou designates a knowable entity; how can these be one ? “ 

And this text (That art Thou) indicates similarity (not identity) … Not essential unity, for even when one is emancipated it remains different.” The difference is in the independence and completeness of the Supreme Spirit and thesmallness and dependence in the individual spirit.

Vishnu is the refuge of liberated souls, and their supreme ruler. 

There is no proof anywhere, then, that the world is unreal. Besides, we would ask :

Is the statement that the world is false itself true or false ?

If the statement is true, there is a violation of a real non-duality.

If the statement is untrue, it follows that the world is true. 

Perhaps it may be objected that this dilemma is a kind of fallacious reasoning, like the dilemma :

Is transitoriness permanent or transitory ?

There is a difficulty in either case. As it is said by the author of the Nyaya-nirvana : The proof of the permanence of the transitory, as being both permanent and transitory, is a paralogism. And in the Tarkika-raksha, “When a mode cannot be evinced to be either such and such, or not such and such, the denial of a subject characterised by such a mode is called Nitya-sama. “

If you (Advaita-vadin) reply : We accept the unreality (or falsity) of the world, not its non-existence, this reply is about as wise as the procedure of the carter who will lose his head rather than pay a hundred pieces of money, but will at once give five score. 

For falsity and non-existence are synonymous. We dismiss further prolixity. 

Shivalli Brahmins
Shivalli Brahmins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Islam – Prehistory, Myths & Present (V)

Major tribes Arabia at the dawn of Islam.
Major tribes Arabia at the dawn of Islam. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Who And What Had Inspired The Prophet … ?

Any transformation needs a measure of introspection, a degree of witnessing and due deliberation before and after the “A-Ha” moment. So too, Muhammad’s revelation is less about ‘magic’ and supernatural, and more of a realisation and a vision of the way forward from where the world was. It needs to be recalled that the Arab Muslim emergence did not happen in vacuum. The path of Islam did not drop out of nothing in the 7th Century, with the rise of an ambitious, middle-aged, epileptic man who declared himself to be a prophet. The development requires to be seen along a series, before and after.

Close to the Prophet epoch, we have Mazdak, a Persian reformer and religious activist who died c. 524 or 528, Very much in the likeness of Muhammad, Mazdak ideas gained prominence in the Arab world of his time and acquired much influence under the Sassanian reign of Shahanshah Kavadh I. 

Mazdak too claimed to be a prophet of God and drove his religio-communal vision over proto-socialist social welfare programs instituted under his supervision. Much of the same things followed a hundred years later, albeit with different attitude and style; it was as if the Prophet had himself adapted Mazdek’s vision, though not the latter’s ways.

Mazdak was the chief representative of a religious and philosophical teaching called Mazdakism, which he viewed as a reformed and purified version of Zoroastrianism, such as Muhammad claimed to be doing in respect of the “original” religion instituted by Abraham. And quite as Mazdak’s teaching has been argued to display influences from Manichaeism, so has Islam derived from Mazdakism. Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion of Sassanid Persia, and Mazdak himself was a Zoroastrian priest or mobed; but most of the Zoroastrian clergy regarded his teaching as heresy. 

It is claimed that the original founder of Mazdakism was a Zoroastrian philosopher known as Mazdak the Elder, who taught a combination of altruism and hedonism : “He directed his followers to enjoy the pleasures of life and satisfy their appetite in the highest degree with regard to eating and drinking in the spirit of equality; to aim at good deeds; to abstain from shedding blood and inflicting harm on others; and to practice hospitality without reservation.”

The doctrine was developed by Mazdak the Younger, son of Bāmdād. Later, Mazdak was blamed for heresy and for sharing of women etc. in the spirit of commonality. As the first real socialist among Arabs who emphasised the community – common identity, effort and collective welfare – Mazdak must have had quite an impact. Much of Islam, as a community, is modeled on the Mazdakian vision. 

Altruism is what Islam preaches from the pulpit, but only for the believers. And hedonism is what was commended in practice, as can be seen how the Prophet indulged in food and sex. The sense of community and commonality is also strong in Islam. Is that why the Prophet acquired his wives from among those related to his first followers ? All but one were obtained by divined right from among both his enemies and followers, whom he knew closely !

Like Zoroastrianism and Manichaeism, Mazdakism had a dualistic worldview. The doctrine laid two original principles of the universe : Light, the good; and Darkness, the evil. The two were mixed by a cosmic accident, tainting everything except God. Light is characterised by knowledge and awareness, by acts of design and free will, whereas Darkness was manifest as ignorance, blindness, and random acts of fancy and willfulness. 

Mazdakian tenets lay that mankind’s role in life was to release parts of himself that belonged to Light through deliberate alignment and good conduct. But where Manichaeism saw the mixture of good and bad as a cosmic tragedy, as does Islam, Mazdak viewed this in a more neutral, even optimistic way. 

Mani, the prophet and Manichæus apostle of Jesus Christ, made his attempt to succeed and surpass the ways of Christianity, Zoroastrianism and Buddhism. So does the Prophet declare himself as the last one, the most high.

Mani provisioned in advance a cave which had a spring and informed his disciples that he was going to heaven, and would not return for a year, after which time they were to seek him in the cave he had spoken about. The people, it is reported, went to the cave and found their teacher, who showed to them an illustrated book called Ergenk, or Estenk, which he said he had brought from heaven. Thereupon he gained many followers, with whom he returned to Persia. 

The entire narration is uncannily similar to how Muhammad pushed himself and his vision to power. But he must have also been familiar with the danger of making such an attempt. The new Iranian king, Hormisdas, joined and protected the Manichaen sect; he built Mani a castle. The next king, Bahram or Varanes, at first favoured Mani but, after Mani’s debate with Zoroastrian teachers that the king had set up, the latter had him flayed alive; his skin was stuffed and hung to public view. Thereupon most of his followers fled to India and China. Those who remained were reduced to slavery.

With Mani’s example being a widely known, one can see why Muhammad loved the sword, the need for military buildup and the utility of enslaving the opposition, if not killed.

Panoramic view of Masjeed Al Nabawee at sunset.
Panoramic view of Masjeed Al Nabawee at sunset. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Islam – Prehistory, Myths & Present (II)

The Damning Case Against Islam 

Gay muslims
Gay muslims (Photo credit: hebedesign)

Those who are familiar with this blog also know my antipathy

for the Islamic belief – system; not for the people who live with

the same physiology as the rest of humanity, experience the

same emotions, work, laugh and cry, and aspire as we all do.

Indeed, there is a need to understand why Muslims behave as they do; and the followers of Islam need that realisation the most !

Ali Sina, who was born to Muslim parents, writes @ http://alisina.org/about-ali-sina/ :

“We believe that only truth will set mankind free. The truth about Islam is so ugly that no one wants to look at it.  We did and revealed that truth with brutal honesty. The fact is that Muhammad was a psychopath. He was a liar, a pedophile, an assassin, a rapist, a thief, a lecher, a narcissist, a terrorist, a mass murderer and a madman. Muslims emulate a criminal and this explains the madness in the Islamic world.”

Islam divides mankind between Muslims and kafirs – a derogatory term that deniers of truth, blasphemers. And it instills hatred for the unbelievers among its believers, pitching them at a perpetual war, since no one has the authority to erase those canons from Islamic texts. 

We can never have peace when a fifth of mankind adheres to an ideology of hate and worships a psychopath who said non-Muslims are …

  • najis (filthy) (9:28),

  • don’t befriend them (9:23), 

  • let them find harshness in you (9:123),

  • instill terror in their hearts (8:12),

  • slay them wherever you find them (9:5),

  • and their property and women are made halal to you, enjoy them, they are lawful and good (8:69).

This faith of hate must be eradicated for humanity to survive and find its peace. Muslims must be read out the truth to wean them away from the barbaric exhortations of their books. (That indeed is the scope of this series of blog posts.)  The fact that more than a billion benighted souls worship a thug does not make this cult and its founder deserving of respect. The ‘Prophet’ is more of an unhinged cultist like Hitler, Stalin, Jim Jones, Shoko Asahara and Charles Manson, than an enlightened soul as Jesus, Buddha or Zoroaster. His is not a religion but a very dangerously misguided cult.

The hour is come to tear down the wall of distrust between Muslims and the rest of mankind. The men who effected over 21000 terror attacks since 9/11 are not a ‘few bad Muslims who have misunderstood Islam and Jihad’. According to Maltus Swiss Research, they have killed 9856 non-Muslims every day on an average in the period between year 2O10 and 2012 alone. It is a political script they following to terrorise others into submission and gain power for themselves.

It is no sane god that raises a religion to divide mankind and institute a never-ending war. Speaking of which, it needs mention that Allah is not God.  Originally known as the Moon god Hubaal (HaBaal in Hebrew),  Muhammad carved this deity in his own image. Like his creator, Allah is a narcissist.  Muhammad described ‘his’  Allah thus : 

khairul mâkerin (best deceiver)  3:54,

al mutakabbir (proud and haughty) 59:23 ,

al jabbâr (compeller, oppressor, tyrant) 59:23,

al qahhâr (subduer)  13:1614:4838:6539:440:16 ,

al khâfid (abaser) 95:5,

al mudhell (humiliator) 3:26,

al mumit (death giver3:1567:15815:2357:2,

al muntaqim (avenger32:2243:4144:16,

al mua’khkhir (delayer71:4 and

ad-dârr (harmer, afflictor6:17.

These are satanic attributes that underscore the threat of triumphant evil residing in man. They already reflect in how Muhammad acted in his own lifetime, treated women and children, and condemned his hordes to a life repressed.

Women, Before And After Islam

33.30 O Consorts of the Prophet !

If any of you are guilty of evident unseemly conduct,

the Punishment would double upon you,

and that is easy for Allah.

31.  But any of you that is devout in the service of Allah and His Messenger, and works righteously,

to her shall We grant her reward twice : and We have prepared for her a generous Sustenance.

That is how Muhammad would often remind his several wives to behave, in ways as to not attract the attention of other men and cover themselves up so they do not evoke desire among strangers.

32.  O Consorts of the Prophet !

Ye are not like any of the (other) women: if ye do fear (Allah), be not too complacent of speech, lest one whose heart is diseased should be moved with desire : but speak ye a speech (that is) just.

33.  And stay quietly in your houses and make not a dazzling display, like that of the former Times of Ignorance; and establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity; and obey Allah and His Messenger. For Allah only wishes to remove all abomination from you, ye members of the Family, and to make you pure and spotless.

Are these verses from God or worries of an impotent aging man with a bevy of young and attractive wives ? Muhammad needed to control his wives and that is the reason behind the Islamic veil.  What was originally meant for the wives of the Prophet became part of Sharia, and is now imposed in all Islamic countries with ludicrous justifications.

That women in Arabia had more liberty and authority before Islam than after can also be evinced from the fact that Khadijah, Muhammad’s first wife, had a business of her own and had many men at her service. Muhammad was but one of her employees. Do we have any instance of a common woman in Islamic society who ran their own business and hired men to work for them ? 

Ironically, there is no mention of men going to suffer any consequence for mistreating their wives. As a matter of fact, men are instructed to abuse their wives verbally, emotionally, and physically.

Q.4:34 Men are the maintainers of women because Allah has made some of them to excel others; and because they spend out of their property; good women are therefore obedient (to men), guarding the unseen (their private physiology) as Allah has guarded; and (men,) (as to) those women on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them, and leave them alone in the sleeping-places, and beat them; then if they obey you, do not seek a way against them; surely Allah is High and Great.

If anyone has any doubt about the position of women in Islam, the above verse should make it clear. It takes away the woman’s independence and leaves them subservient to men. The verse suggests that men are the masters and owners of the house because they are the breadwinners. It implies that women are incapable of, and should not be allowed to, work and become providers. It assumes that a woman’s work at home, their taking care of children and the household, is worth nothing. And the a woman must be grateful for the piece of bread that her husband provides to her.

The entire train of explicit and implicit is worth a recount : First, the women are relegated to the rank of a slave. Then Muhammad goes further… He instructs men to punish their wives verbally, sexually and physically, downgrading them to the level of animals. In a world in which one could pay a fine for cruelty to animals and square up with calls for justice, the teachings of Quran are too obvious to swallow. It is unthinkable that a just God would pronounce such insults on women and condemn them to a life of such horror. The superiority of men over women is also ratified in verse 2:228 where it says : and men are a degree above them (women)”.

Plainly, Muhammad used these scare mongering tactics to collect money from his foolhardy women who gathered around him and listened to his stories because he held the power to shelter them or cast them to the wolves.

In another place the Prophet of Allah compares women to devil.

“Jabir reported that Allah’s Messenger saw a woman; so he came to his wife, Zainab, as she was tanning leather and had sexual intercourse with her. He then went to his Companions and told them : THE WOMAN ADVANCES AND RETIRES IN THE SHAPE OF A DEVIL, so when one of you sees a woman, he should come to his wife, for that will repel what he feels in his heart.

~  Bukhari Volume 1, Book 6, Number 301

Of course, the seer was speaking of the loins when he spoke of the heart. One empathises with how a wife feels while knowing that her husband is fancying another woman and is using her anatomy to merely relieve himself ! The morality of the Prophet of 1.2 billion followers of Islam is stark.

There are numerous verses in the Quran and Hadith that are similarly outrageous. Observe the sense in the following Hadith…

Abu Huraira narrated :

Allah’s Apostle said, “If a husband calls his wife to his bed (i.e. to have sexual relation) and she refuses and causes him to sleep in anger, the angels will curse her till morning.” ~ Bukhari Vol 4, Book 54, Number 460

It would seem from these verses that Allah has nothing better to do than worry about the sexual pleasure of his male servants. It is quite absurd that God would employ so many angels to sit around and curse the women who do not please their husbands sexually. Hadiths like these are repeated so frequently that one begins to suspect whether Allah is a dirty old pervert – a voyeur who obtained his pleasure through ensuring that men had their fill of pounding sex with their kept women.

Abu Huraira reported Allah’s Messenger as saying : By Him in Whose Hand is my life, when a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he (her husband) is pleasured by her.

~ Sahih Muslim Book 008, Number 3367

It is easy to see that the Prophet of Islam was excessively concerned with sex. He was an old man with decaying teeth and foul smelling mouth, but with wives who were attractive courtesans. They must have enjoyed their status as the wives of the Prophet and the first ladies of Arabia, but may not have been keen to share the bed with an old man. Were the warnings about angel’s curse and Allah’s wrath were to coerce his wives to sleep with him ?

How can Muslim women endure so much insult and still trust the Prophet ? The following is a very obscene, derogatory and offensive statement from a man regarded as holy…

Narrated Usama bin Zaid :

The Prophet said, “After me, I have not left any affliction more harmful to men than women.”

Bukhari Volume 7, Book 62, Number 33

The moral values and ethical benchmark of Muhammad are revealed in the following story…

Narrated Abu Usaid :

We went out with the Prophet to a garden called Ash-Shaut till we reached two walls, between which we sat, and The Prophet said, “Sit here,” and (himself) went in (the garden). The Jauniyya (a young girl from Bani Jaun) had been brought and lodged in the house in that date-palm garden, in the home of Umaima bint An-Nu’man bin Sharahil. Her wet nurse was with her. 

When the Prophet entered upon her, he said to her, “Give yourself to me (for sex) as a gift.” She said, “Can a princess give herself to an ordinary man ?”

The Prophet raised his hand to pat her so that she might become tranquil. She said, “I seek refuge with Allah from you.” He said, “You have sought refuge with One Who gives refuge.”

Then the Prophet came out to us and said, “O Abu Usaid ! Give her two white linen dresses to wear and let her go back to her family. 

~ Bukhari Volume 7, Book 63, Number 182

Didn’t Muhammad have enough women already ? Did he have to mount every beautiful woman, even girls under 10 years of age, whom he met ? We observe his wilful and uncontrolled temper : in a mere moment, he is overtaken by lust and compelled to ask the little Jauniyyah to “give herself to him as a gift”; when refused, he becomes violent and raises his hand to beat her; then, when she screams and seeks refuge with Allah, the brute in him comes to sense and feels guilty for his despicable behavior. To mollify his conscience, he decides to compensate the girl by bribing her with clothes. 

Is this the profile of a mentally stable man ?

For more, visit http://alisina.org/blog/2010/11/11/women-before-and-after-islam/

Islam – Prehistory, Myths & Present (I)

The Damning Case Against Islam 

Miniature of Muhammad re-dedicating the Black ...
Muhammad re-dedicating the Black Stone at the Kaaba. From Jami Al-Tawarikh, c. 1315 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Those who are familiar with this blog also know my antipathy for the Islamic belief – system; not for the people who live with the same physiology as the rest of humanity, experience the same emotions, work, laugh and cry, and aspire as we all do.

But their entire idea-being, their life and values perspective with which they view themselves, the world and the others in it, is warped beyond repair. It’s not just crap, lies and demeaning to humanity; it’s evil and destructive, way past measure. They associate spritual strengths to what are essentially political calls and dream of material equivalents in the spiritual realm.

Hence, this series …

There is no truth in a belief system that destroys diversity of human thought and life perspective, and aims to replace it with a uniform monochromatic pervasiveness. There is no future for a collective that is committed to annhilating people merely because they are different. And there can little happiness in a society where female and children are disrespected, devalued and repressed… 

The only viable way of life is one that admits and exults in diversity, accepts and co-exists with competing thoughts and beliefs, and respects the sacred feminine. Unfortunately, the happy and viable way of pre-Islamic life in Arabian penisula was lost when Muhammad cursed  al-Lat,  al-Uzza  and  Manat, the much loved and immensely regarded icons of people in Mecca, after he was advised to delete the “satanic” verses from Quran.

It is well-known that progression of Islam was compulsorily accompanied by the sword, except where people freely retained their cultural symbols and their earlier way of life. The text-trio of Muhammad’s new religion – Quran, Hadith and Sharia – fostered community values that mandated terror, lies, slavery, torture and rape as “just punishments” and acceptable means to subdue the non-believers, in order to saddle their souls and propagate brand Muhammad. It invaribly meant destruction of their settlements and plunder of their assets. That experience is part of our history, especially of the Jewish, Zoroastrian, European and the Indian people. And we hope the world will never forget that truth !

Some historians and Islamists have alleged that the Meccan Quraish lacked compassion for the poor, or were a society in disintegration. These conclusions are without substance, and have their only basis in Muslim texts. Indications are rather that they were economically buoyant and that social inequality in pre-Islamic society did not lead to a collapse, as claimed by the invading umma of the prophet.

If the pre-Islamists in Mecca and around were steeped in “Jahaliyat”, or ignorance, we are not informed of any blood-letting, massacre or genocide they perpetrated because of that. 

What should concern us is that Islam is a threat to mankind.  Islam reduces its followers to being brainless hate mongers.  Hate is the essence of this faith… hate of non-believers, hate of believers who interpret Islam differently, hate of those who leave Islam, hate of women, hate of homosexuals, hate of freethinkers, hate of the Jews, hate of the Hindus … and the list goes on. Even dogs and pigs have not been spared from hate.

Observe, in just one instance among many, what the “enlightened” Muslim invaders of the new “religion of peace” did in India : Rizwan Salim, himself a Muslim, writes… Savages at a very low level of civilisation from Arabia and west Asia, with no culture worth the name, began entering India from early 8th Century onward. Islamic invaders demolished countless Hindu temples, shattered hundreds of thousands of sculpture and idols, plundered innumerable palaces and forts of Hindu kings, killed vast numbers of Hindu men and carried off Hindu women, ( as if they did not have any remotely respectable of their own ). 

“Educated and even illiterate Indians know this story very well. History books tell it in remarkable detail. But many Indians do not seem to recognise that the alien Muslim marauders destroyed the historical evolution of the earth’s most intellectually advanced civilisation, the most imaginative and rich culture, and the most vigorously creative society ever. It is clear that India, at the time when Muslim invaders turned towards it (8th to 11th century), was the earth’s richest region for its agriculture and craft, wealth in precious and semi – precious stones, gold and silver, religion and culture, its fine arts and letters.”

We need to understand why; and the followers of Islam need it the most !

To be continued …


MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter IV : Ramanuj‘s Qualified Monism

Before elaborating on Ramanuj’s wonderful amalgamation of Madhvacharya’s Devotional Dualism and Shankar’s Absolute Monism, the “Sangraha” author – Madhava Vidyaranya – takes the opportunity to rationally condemn the Arhat’s doctrine. He says … The simultaneous co-existence of existence, non-existence and other modes in a plurality of really existing things is an impossibility. Nor should any one say : Granting the impossibility of the co-existence of existence and non-existence, which are reciprocally contradictory, why should there not be an alternation between existence and non-existenc, there being the rule that it is action that alternates. Nor let it be supposed that the whole universe is multiform, in reliance upon the examples of the elephant-headed Ganesa and of the incarnation of Vishnu as half man, half lion ; for the elephantine and the leonine nature existing in one part, and the human in another, and consequently there being no contradiction, those parts being different, these examples are inapplicable to the maintenance of a nature that is itself multiform, as being both existent and non-existent in one and the same part (or place). 

Again, if any one urge : Let there be existence in one form, and non-existence in another, and thus both will be compatible ; we rejoin : Not so, for if you had said that at different times existence and non-existence may be the nature of anything, then indeed there would have been no vice in your procedure… And so the Sangraha author’s acute observations go on to demolish the Arhat belief construct. He even mocks … “you have not proved what you wished to prove, a multiform statement (as both existent and non-existent) proving nothing. In either case, there is rope for a noose for the neck of the Syad-Vadin.” Disapperance-Day-of-Sri-Ramanujacharya

And : “An admirable author of institutes has the founder of the Arhata system, dear to gods (uninquiring pietist), proved himself to be … when he has not ascertained whether his result is the settling of nine or of seven principles, nor the investigator who settles them, nor his organon, the modes of evidence, nor the matter to be evidenced, whether it be nine-fold or not ! 

In like manner if it be admitted that the soul has (as the Arhatas say), an extension equal to that of the body, it will follow that in the case of the souls of ascetics, who by the efficacy of asceticism assume a plurality of bodies, there is a differentiation of the soul for each of those bodies. A soul of the size of a human body would not (in the course of its transmigrations) be able to occupy the whole body of an elephant; and again, when it laid aside its elephantine body to enter into that of an ant, it would lose its capacity of filling its former frame. And it cannot be supposed that the soul resides successively in the human, elephantine, and other bodies, like the light of a lamp which is capable of contraction and expansion, according as it occupies the interior of a little station on the roadside in which travellers are supplied with water, or the interior of a stately mansion ; for it would follow (from such a supposition) that the soul being susceptible of modifications and consequently non-eternal, there would be a loss of merits and a fruition of good and evil unmerited.”

The author says : The Arhat doctrine, therefore, as repugnant to the eternal, infallible revelation, cannot be adopted. The venerated Vyasa accordingly propounded the aphorism (ii. 2, 33), ” Nay, because it is impossible in one ; ” and this same aphorism has been analysed by Ramanuja with the express purpose of shutting out the doctrine of the Jains. The tenets of Ramanuja are as follows : Three categories are established, as soul, not-soul, and Lord; or as subject, object, and supreme disposer. Thus it has been said, “Lord, soul, and not-soul are the triad of principles : Hari (Vishnu) is Lord ; individual spirits are souls ; and the visible world is not-soul.”

Next follows a very fine series of arguments and counterarguments over Ramanuj’s belief system and that of Adi Shankar. The author brings their respective core affirmations face to face. 

Others, again (the followers of Sankaracharya), maintain that pure intelligence, exempt from all differences, the absolute, alone is really existent ; and that this absolute whose essence is eternal, pure, intelligent, and free, the identity of which with the individuated spirit is learnt from the “reference to the same object” (predication), ” That art thou,” undergoes bondage and emancipation. The universe of differences (or conditions), such as that of subject and object, is all illusorily imagined uner the spell of ignorance. Existent alone was this in the beginning, One only without a second, and so forth. 

To the Pure Monists, Ramanuj replies : All of what you say is about as profitable as it would be for a ruminant animal to ruminate upon ether ; for an entitative primordial ignorance is not more supposable than an absence of knowledge. For (we would ask), is any self-conscious principle presented, as an object and as a subject of ignorance, as distinct from cognition ? If it is presented, how can the ignorance continue since ignorance of a thing is terminable by knowledge of its essence ? If on the other hand none such is presented, how can we be conscious of an ignorance which has no subject and no object ? 

If you say : A pure manifestation of the spiritual essence is revealed only by the cognition opposed to ignorance (or illusion), and thus there is no absurdity in the consciousness of ignorance accompanied with a consciousness of its subject and object ; then we rejoin : Unfortunately for you, this (consciousness of subject) must arise equally in the absence of knowledge (for such we define illusion to be), notwithstanding your assertion to the contrary. It must, therefore, be acknowledged that the cognition, I am ignorant, I know not myself and other things, is conversant about an absence of cognition allowed by us both. 

Well, then the Monists may contend, let the form of cognition evidentiary of illusion, which is under disputation, be inference, as follows : Right knowledge must have had for its antecedent another entity (such as, illusion), an entity different from mere prior non-existence of knowledge, which envelops the objects of knowledge, which is terminable by knowledge, which occupies the place of knowledge, in as much as it (the right knowledge) illuminates an object not before illuminated, like the light of a lamp springing up for the first time in the darkness. 

This argument, Ramanuj replies, will not stand grinding (in the dialectic mill) ; for to prove the antecedent illusion, you will require an ulterior illusion which you do not admit, and a violation of your own tenets will ensue, while if you do not so prove it, it may or may not exist ; and, moreover, the example is incompatible with the argument, for it cannot be the lamp that illumines the hitherto unillumined object, since it is knowledge only that illumines ; and an illumination of objects may be effected by knowledge even without the lamp, while the light of the lamp is only ancillary to the visual organ which effectuates the cognition, ancillary mediately through the dispulsion of the obstruent darkness. We dismiss further prolixity. 

The Veda never sets out an inexplicable illusion. Nor (is the cosmical illusion to be inferred from the “grand text,” That art thou), inasmuch as the words, That art thou, being incompetent to teach unity, and indicating a conditionate Supreme Spirit, we cannot understand by them the essential unity of the mutually exclusive supreme and individual spirits ; for such a supposition (as that they are identical) would violate the law of excluded middle. To explain this. The term “That” denotes the Supreme Spirit exempt from all imperfections, of illimitable excellence, a repository of innumerable auspicious attributes, to whom the emanation, sustentation, retractation of the universe is a pastime ; such being the Supreme Spirit, spoken of in such texts as, “That desired,” “let me be many,” “let me bring forth.” Perhaps the word “Thou,” referring to the same object (as the word “That”), denotes the Supreme Spirit characterised by consciousness, having all individual spirits as his body; for a “reference to the same object” designates one thing determined by two modes. 

Here, perhaps, an Advaita-vadin may reply : Why is there an absurdity (as the Sankaras would say), on the hypothesis enunciatory of the reality of the universe, in affirming that by a cognition of one there is a cognition of all things : for it is easily evinced that the mundane egg, consisting of the primary cause (prakriti), intellect, self-position, the rudimentary elements, the gross elements, the organs (of sense and of action), and the fourteen worlds, and the gods, animals, men, immovable things, and so forth, that exist within it, constituting a complex of all forms, is all an effect, and that from the single cognition of absolute spirit as its (emanative) cause, when we recognise that all this is absolute spirit (there being a tautology between cause and effect), there arises cognition of all things, and thus by cognition of one cognition of all. Besides, if all else than absolute spirit were unreal, then all being non-existent, it would follow that by one cognition all cognition would be sublated. 

But Ramanuj’s tenets have no cognition of an ideated dissolution of Illusory effects evident as mundane, which the Pure Monists affirm is the fruit experienced by anyone who has realised his true nature, that is Brahman. It is laid down by the Ramanujas that retractation into the universe (pralaya) is when the universe, the body whereof consists of souls and the originant (prakriti), returns to its imperceptible state, unsusceptible of division by names and forms, existing as absolute spirit – the emanative cause ; and that creation (or emanation) is the gross or perceptible condition of absolute spirit, the body whereof is soul, and not souls divided by diversity of names and forms, in the condition of the (emanative) effect of absolute spirit. In this way the identity of cause and effect laid down in the aphorism (of Vyasa) treating of origination, is easily explicable. 

The statements that the Supreme Spirit is void of attributes, are intended (it is shown) to deny thereof phenomenal qualities which are to be escaped from by those that desire emancipation. The texts which deny plurality are explained as allowed to be employed for the denial of the real existence of things apart from the Supreme Spirit, which is identical with all things, it being Supreme Spirit which subsists under all forms as the soul of all, all things sentient and unsentient being forms as being the body of absolute Spirit.

What is the principle here involved, pluralism or monism, or a universe both one and more than one? Of these alternatives monism is admitted in saying that Supreme Spirit alone subsists in all forms as all is its body ; both unity and plurality are admitted in saying that one Supreme Spirit only subsists under a plurality of forms diverse as soul and not-soul ; and plurality is admitted in saying that the essential natures of soul, not-soul, and the Lord, are different, and not to be confounded. 

Of these (soul, not-soul, and the Lord), individual spirits, or souls, consisting of uncontracted and unlimited pure knowledge, but enveloped in illusion, that is, in works from all eternity, undergo contraction and expansion of knowledge according to the degrees of their merits. Soul experiences fruition, and after reaping pleasures and pains proportionate to merits and demerits, there ensues knowledge of the Lord, or attainment of the sphere of the Lord. 

Of things which are not-soul, and which are objects of fruition (or experience of pleasure and pain), unconsciousness, unconduciveness to the end of man, susceptibility of modification, and the like, are the properties.

Of the Supreme Lord the attributes are subsistence, as the internal controller (or animator) of both the subjects and the objects of fruition ; the boundless glory of illimitable knowledge, dominion, majesty, power, brightness, and the like, the countless multitude of auspicious qualities ; the generation at will of all things other than himself, whether spiritual or non-spiritual ; various and infinite adornment with unsurpassable excellence, singular, uniform, and divine. 

Venkatanatha has given the following distribution of things : 

” Those who know it have declared the principle to be twofold, substance and non-substance ; Substance is dichotomised as unsentient and sentient ; the former being the unevolved (avyakta), and time. The latter is the near and the distant ; the near being twofold, as either soul or the Lord ; The distant is eternal glory and intelligence.”

Of these ” Substance undergoes a plurality of conditions ; the origiuant is possessed of goodness and the other cords ; Time has the form of years, etc. ; soul is atomic and cognisant ; the other spirit is the Lord ; Eternal bliss has been declared as transcending the three cords (or modes of phenomenal existence), and also as characterised by goodness ; The cognisable manifestation of the cognisant is intelligence ; thus are the characteristics of substance summarily recounted.” 

Of these (soul, not-soul, and the Lord), individual spirits, called souls, are different from the Supreme Spirit and eternal. Thus the text : Two birds, companions, friends, etc. (Rig-Veda, i. 164, 20). Accordingly it is stated (in the aphorisms of Kanada, iii. 2, 20), Souls are diverse by reason of diversity of conditions. The eternity of souls is often spoken of in revelation, “The soul is neither born, nor dies, nor having been shall it again cease to be ; Unborn, unchanging, eternal, this ancient of days is not killed when the body is killed ” (Bhagavad-gita, ii. 20). 

Otherwise (were the soul not eternal) there would follow a failure of requital and a fruition (of pleasures and pains) unmerited. It has accordingly been said (in the aphorisms of Gautama, iii. 25) : Because no birth is seen of one who is devoid of desire. That the soul is atomic is well known from revelation, ” If the hundredth part of a hair be imagined to be divided a hundred times, the soul may be supposed a part of that, and yet it is capable of infinity.”

And again : ” Soul is of the size of the extremity of the spoke of a wheel. Spirit is to be recognised by the intelligence as atomic.” 

The visible, unsentient world, designated by the term not-soul, is divided into three, as the object, the instrument, or the site of fruition. Of this world the efficient and substantial cause is the Deity, known under the names Purnshottama (best of spirits), Vasudeva (a patronymic of Krishna), and the like. 

” Vasudeva is the supreme absolute spirit, endowed with auspicious attributes,

   the substantial cause, the efficient of the worlds, the animator of spirits.” 

The worship of the Deity is described in the Pancharatra as consisting of five elements, viz., (1) the access, (2) the preparation, (3) oblation, (4) recitation, (5) devotion. Of these, access is the sweeping, smearing, and so forth, of the way to the temple. The preparation is the provision of perfumes, flowers, and the like appliances of worship. Oblation is worship of the deities. Recitation is the muttered ejaculation of sacred texts, with attention to what they mean, the rehearsal of hymns and lauds of Vishnu, the commemoration of his names, and study of institutes which set forth the truth. Devotion is meditation on the Deity. When the vision of the visible world has been brought to a close by knowledge accumulated by the merit of such worship, the infinitely compassionate Supreme Spirit, tender to his votaries, bestows upon the votary devoted to his lord and absorbed in his lord, his own sphere – infinite and endless, and marked by consciousness of being like him, from which there is no future return to the sorrows of transmigratory existence. 

So the traditionary text : “When they have come to me, the high-souled no longer undergo future “birth, a receptacle of pain, transitory, having attained to the supreme consummation.” 

” Vasudeva, having found his votary, bestows upon him his own mansion, blissful,

   undecaying, from whence there is no more return.” 

After laying up all this in his heart, leaning upon the teaching of the great Upanishad, and finding the gloss – Brahmasutra – on the Vedanta aphorisms by the venerated Bodhayanacharya too prolix, Ramanuja composed a commentary on the Sariraka-mimansa (or Vedanta theosophy). In this the sense of the first aphorism, ” Then hence the absolute must be desired to be known,” is given as follows : The word then in this aphorism means, after understanding the hitherto-current sacred rites. Thus the glossator writes : ” After learning the sacred rites,” he desires to know the absolute. The word hence states the reason, viz., because one who has read the Veda and its appendages and understands its meaning is averse from sacred rites, their recompense being perishable. The wish to know the absolute springs up in one who longs for permanent liberation, as being the means of such liberation. 

By the word absolute is designated the Supreme Spirit, from whom are essentially excluded all imperfections, who is of illimitable excellence, and of innumerable auspicious attributes. Since then the knowledge of sacred rites and the performance of those rites is mediately through engendering dispassionateness, and through putting away the defilement of the understanding, an instrument of the knowledge of the absolute; and knowledge of sacred rites and knowledge of the absolute being consequently cause and effect, the former and the latter Mimansa constitute one system of institutes.

On this account the glossator has described this system as one with the sixteen-fold system of Jaimini. That the fruit of sacred rites is perishable, and that of the knowledge of the absolute imperishable, has been laid down in virtue of Vedic texts, such as : Scanning the spheres gained by rites, let him become passionless ; Not wrought by the rite performed, accompanied with inference and disjunctive reasoning. Revelation, by censuring each when unaccompanied by the other, shows that it is knowledge together with works that is efficacious of emancipation, in the words : Blind darkness they enter who prefer illusion, and a greater darkness still do they enter who delight in knowledge only ; knowledge and illusion, he who knows both passes beyond death together with illusion, tastes immortality by knowledge. Conformably it is said in the Paficharatra-rahasya : “That ocean of compassion, the Lord, tender to his votaries for his worshipper’s sake, takes five embodiments upon him. These are styled Adoration, Emanation, Manifestation, the Subtile, the Internal Controller.” 

And : ” Cut is his heart s knot, solved are all his doubts, and exhausted are all his works, when he has seen the Highest and Lowest,” because he becomes one with that Supreme.

 Mandana-Misra-and-AdiShankaras-debate

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

Sculpture of the two Jain tirthankaras Rishabh...
Jain tirthankaras Rishabha (left) and Mahavira (right).

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems

that men have lived with over extended period, that they chose over others

for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through … 

Chapter III : The Arhat Or Jain Belief System

The Jain way of life was contemporaneous with the rise of Buddhism, after the catastrophic developments about 1900 BC, when the Vedic convictions were seriously in question. Yet, it was Buddhism that took to prominence with the advent of the third Buddha, Siddhartha Gautam. There are 24 Tirthankars, enlightened ones, in Jain tradition; but this particular belief system was widely embraced only with rise of Mahavir, about 1200 years after Gautam Budha.

Jain Arhats or Tirthankars rejects the Buddhist doctrine of momentariness of everything. They say : If there is no permanent soul, then even attaining worldly fruit in life will be impossible; for, without that individual agency to regulate, the action or effort of one person would have its consequences reaped by another. Because there is a permanent soul, we have this conviction, ” I, who previously did the deed, am the person who now reaps its consequences.” 

The soul remains constant through the previous and the subsequent period; the discriminating Jain Arhats reject as untenable the doctrine of momentary existence, in which the soul is said to last only an instant and has no continuity from the previous to the subsequent moments. They define existence as “that which possesses an origin, an end, and an [intermediate] duration.” Therefore, the Arhats exhorted, they who seek the summum bonum of being (human) must not accept the doctrine of Buddha, and should rather honour only the Arhat doctrine. 

The Arhat’s nature has been thus described by Arhachchandra-suri : “The divine Arhat is the supreme lord, the omniscient one, who has overcome all faults, desire, etc. He is adored by the three worlds, and is the declarer of things as they are.” 

But may it not be objected that no such omniscient soul can enter the path of proof, since none of the five affirmative proofs can be found to apply, as has been declared by Tautatita [Bhatta Kumarila] ? The latter says :

1. No omniscient being is seen by the sense here in this world by ourselves or others ; nor is there any part of him seen which might help us as a sign to infer his existence. 

2. There is no injunction (vidhi) of scripture which reveals an eternal omniscient one, nor can the meaning of the explanatory passages (arthavada) be applied here. 

3. His existence is not declared by those passages which refer to quite other topics ; and it cannot be contained in any emphatic repetitions (anuvada), as it had never been mentioned elsewhere before. 

4. An omniscient being who had a beginning can never be the subject of the eternal Veda ; and how can he be established by a man-made and spurious “Veda” ? 

5. Do you say that this omniscient one is accepted on his own word ? How can you establish either when they thus both depend on reciprocal support ? 

6. If you say, the saying is true because it was uttered by one omniscient, and this proves the Arhat’s existence, how can either point be established without some previously established foundation ? 

7. But they who accept a supposed omniscient, on the baseless word of a parviscient, know nothing of the meaning of a real omniscient’s words. 

8. And again, if we now could see anything like an omniscient being, we might have a chance of recognising him by the [well-known fourth] proof, comparison (upamana). 

The Jains reply as follows : The supposed contradiction of an Arhat s existence, derived from the failure of the five affirmative proofs, is untenable because there are proofs, as inference, etc, which do establish his existence. In fact, any soul will become omniscient when, its natural capacity for grasping all objects remaining the same, the hindrances to such knowledge are removed. 

Interestingly, the Jains hold the soul to be a substance and not a person ! They say, “Whatever thing has a natural capacity for knowing any object will, when its hindrances to such knowledge are done away, actually know it, just as the sense of vision cognises form directly when the hindrances of darkness, etc, are removed. Now there is such a soul, which has its hindrances done away, its natural capacity for grasping all things remaining unchanged; therefore there is an omniscient being. Nor is the assertion unestablished that the soul has a natural capacity for grasping all things ; for, otherwise, it could not be maintained that knowledge can be produced by the authoritative injunction of a text * ; nor could there be the knowledge of universal propositions, such as in our favourite argument, ” All things are indeterminate from the very fact of their existence”. Of course, a follower of Nyaya (logic) will grant that universal propositions can be known, though he will dispute the truth of this particular one, because we [Jains] are convinced that there are certain special means to destroy these obstructions, viz. the three ” gems ” of right intuition, etc. By this charm too, all inferior assaults of argument are also countered.

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* The teachers of Purva Mimamsa accept that the soul has a natural capacity for grasping all things ; they allow that the knowledge embracing all things can be produced by the discussion of injunctions and prohibitions, as is said by Sankara in his commentary on the Sutras.

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But the Naiyayiks (logicians) may interpose, “You talk of the pure intelligence which, after all hindrances are done away, sees all objects, having sense-perception at its height; but this is irrelevant, because there can be no hindrance to the omniscient, as from all eternity he has been always liberated.” We reply that there is no proof of your eternally liberated being. There cannot be an omniscient who is eternally “liberated.” The very fact of his being liberated suggests that, like other liberated persons, he was previously “bound” ; and if the latter is absent, the former must be too, as is seen in the case of the ether. 

“But is not this being’s existence definitely proved by his being the maker of that eternal series of effects, the earth, etc ? For, according to the well-known argument, the earth etc must have had a maker because they have the nature of effects, as a jar.” This argument, however, will not hold, because you cannot prove that they have the nature of effects. You cannot establish this premise from the fact of earth being composed of parts, because this supposition falls upon the horns of a dilemma ! Does this “being composed of parts” mean (i) the being in contact with the parts ; (ii) the being in intimate relation to the parts ; (iii) the being produced from parts ; (iv) the being as the substance in intimate relation ; or (v) the being as the object of an idea involving the notion of parts ?

The Jains continue to decimate the logic behind the premise : Not the first, because it would apply too widely, as it would include ether which, though not itself composed of parts, is in contact with the parts of other things ; nor the second, because it would similarly include genus, etc. as this resides in a substance by intimate relation, and yet is itself not composed of parts ; nor the third, because this involves a term ( ” produced ” ) just as much disputed as the one directly in question ; nor the fourth, because its neck is caught in the pillory of the following alternative : Do you mean by your phrase used above that it is to be a substance, and to have something else in intimate relation to itself, or do you mean that it must have intimate relation to something else, in order to be valid for your argument ? If you say the former, it will equally apply to ether, since this is a substance, and has its qualities through intimate relation with other things ; if you say the latter, your new position involves as much dispute as the original point, since you would have to prove the existence of intimate relation in the parts, or the so-called ” intimate causes,” which you mean by ” something else.” 

We use these terms in compliance with your terminology ; but, of course, from our point of view, we do not allow such a thing as ” intimate relation,” as there is no proof of its existence. Nor can the fifth alternative be allowed, because this would reach too far. as it would include soul, etc, since soul can be the object of an idea involving the notion of parts, and yet it is acknowledged to be not an effect. Nor can you maintain that the soul may still be indiscerptible in itself but, by reason of its connection with some thing possessing parts, may metaphorically become the object of an idea involving the notion of parts ; because there is a mutual contradiction in the idea of that which has no parts and of that which is all-pervading, just as the atom which is indiscerptible but is not all-pervading. 

And, moreover, is there only one maker ? Or, again, is he independent ? In the former case your position will apply too far, as it will extend erroneously to palaces, etc, where we see for ourselves that it is the work of many different men such as carpenters, etc, and, in the second case, if all the world were produced by this one maker, all other agents would be superfluous. As it has been said in the ” Praise of Jina” :

1 ” It is said, there is one eternal maker for the world, all-pervading, independent, and true. But we have none of these inextricable delusions, whose teacher art thou.” 

And again :

2 ” There is here no maker acting by his own free will, else his influence would extend to the making of a mat. What would be the use of yourself or all the artisans, if Iswara (God) fabricates the three worlds ? “ 

Therefore it is right to hold, as we do, that omniscience is produced when the hindrances are removed by the three means we have alluded to. And an objection cannot be be made that ” right intuition,” etc, are impossible, as there is no other teacher to go to, because this universal knowledge can be produced by the inspired works of former omniscient Jinas. We accept an eternal succession of revealed doctrines and omniscient teachers, like the endless series of seed springing from shoot and shoot from seed. So much for this preliminary discussion. 

The well-known triad called the three gems as right intuition, etc, are thus described in the Param-agama-sara (which is devoted to the exposition of the doctrines of the Arhats) … ” Right intuition, right knowledge and right conduct are the path of liberation.” This has been thus explained by Yogadeva : 

When the meaning of the predicaments, the soul, etc, has been declared by an Arhat in exact accordance with their reality, absolute faith in the teaching, i.e., the entire absence of any contrary idea, is “right intuition.” And to this effect runs the Tattvartha-Sutra, “Faith in the predicaments is right intuition.” Or, as another definition gives it, “Acquiescence in the predicaments declared by a Jina is called right faith ; it is produced either by natural character or by the guru’s instruction.” “Natural character” means the soul’s own nature, independent of another’s teaching; “instruction” is the knowledge produced by the teaching of another in the form of explanation, etc. 

” Right knowledge ” is a knowledge of the predicaments, soul, etc, according to their real nature, undisturbed by any illusion or doubt ; as it has been said, “That knowledge, which embraces concisely or in detail the predicaments as they actually are, is called right knowledge by the wise.” 

This knowledge is fivefold : mati, sruta, avadhi, manas-paryaya, and kevala; they mean as stated herebelow – 

1. Mati … by which one cognises an object through the senses and the mind, all obstructions of knowledge being removed. 

2. Sruta … the clear knowledge produced by mati, all the obstructions of knowledge being removed. 

3. Avadhi … knowledge of special objects caused by the removal of hindrances, which is effected by ” right intuition,” etc. 

4. Manas-paryaya … clear definite knowledge of another’s thoughts, manifest upon removal of all obstructions raised by the veil of envy. 

5. Kevala … pure unalloyed knowledge, for the sake of which ascetics practise penance. 

6. The first of these (mati) is not self-cognised, the other four are. Thus it has been said – 

True knowledge is proof which nothing can contradict, which manifests itself as well as its object ; it is both supersensuous and is itself an object of cognition.

Right conduct is the abstaining from all actions tending to evil courses that have effects constituting the mundane. This has been explained at length by the Arhat : “Right conduct is relinquishing the entire blamable impulses ; this has been subjected to a five-fold division, as the five great vows – ahimsa, sunrita, asteya, brahmacharya, and aparigraka.”

Ahimsa is avoidance of injury to all life, movable or immovable, by any act of thoughtlessness. Kind, salutary and truthful speech is called sunrita. That speech is not truthful which is prejudicial and unkind to others. Not taking what is not given is declared to be asteya. 

The vow of brahmacharya (chastity) is eighteen-fold, viz. abandonment of all desires, heavenly or earthly, in thought, word and deed, whether by one’s own action or consent, or by causing another to act. Aparigraha is renouncing of all delusive interest in everything that exists or not ; since bewilderment of thought may arise from a delusive interest even in the unreal. 

7. When carried out by the five states of mind in a five-fold order, these great vows produce the eternal abode.

The full account of the five states of mind has been given in the following passage [of which we only quote one sloka] –

” Let him uphold the vow of sunrita uninterruptedly by abstinence from laughter, greed, fear and anger, and by deliberately avoiding speech;” and so forth. 

Convergence of these three – right intuition, right knowledge, and right conduct – produce liberation.

Tattvas or predicaments are two : jiva and ajiva. The soul, jiva, is pure intelligence ; the non-soul, ajiva, is pure non-intelligence. Padmanandin has thus said :

” The two highest predicaments are soul and non-soul ; discrimination is the power to discriminate between the two, while pursuing what is to be pursued and rejecting what is to be rejected. The affection, etc, of the agent are to be rejected ; these are objects for the non-discriminating. The supreme light of knowledge alone is to be pursued, which is defined as upayoga.” 

Upayoga or “true culmination of the soul’s activity” takes place when vision truly perceives and recognises the soul’s innate nature ; but as long as the soul, by the bond of pradesa and mutual interpenetration of form it produces between the soul and the body, considers itself as identified with its actions and with the body that they produce and form, knowledge may rather be defined as ” the cause of the soul’s cognition of itself being other than these.”

Intelligence (chaitanya) is common to all souls, and is the real nature of the soul viewed as parinata i.e. as it is in itself. But under the influence of upasamakshaya and kshayopasama, the soul appears in its “mixed” form, as possessing both, jiva and ajiva. Or again, by the influence of actions as they arise, it assumes the appearance of foulness, etc. 

Hence has it been said by Vachakacharya : ” The aupasamika, the kshayika, and the mixed states are the nature of the soul. So too are the audayika and the parinamika.” 

The aupasamika state of the soul arises when all the effects of past actions have ceased, and no new actions arise to affect the future. The Kshayika state arises when there is absolute cessation of actions and their effects, as in final liberation. The “mixed” (misra) state combines both these, as when water is partly pure. The audayika state is when actions arise exerting an inherent influence on the future. The Parinamika state is the soul’s innate condition, as pure intelligence, etc, and disregarding its apparent states. This nature, in one of the above-described varieties, is the character of every soul, whether happy or unhappy.

It is further explained : ” Not different from knowledge and yet not identical with it ; in some way both different and the same ; knowledge is its first and last form ; such is the soul described to be.” 

If you say that, ” As difference and identity are mutually exclusive, we must have it as one or the other; that the soul is both is absurd” ; we reply, that there is no evidence to support you when you characterise it as absurd. Only a valid non-perception can thus preclude a suggestion as absurd ; but this is not found in the present case, since (in our opinion, the advocates of the Syad-vada) it is perfectly notorious that all things present a mingled nature of many contradictory attributes. 

Others lay down a different set of tattvas from the two mentioned above, jiva and ajiva ; they hold that there are five astikayas or categories : jiva, akasa, dharma, adharma, and pudgala. To all these five we can apply the idea of “existence” (asti), as connected with the three divisions of time, and we can similarly apply the idea of ” body ” (kaya) from their occupying several parts of space. 

The jivas (souls) are of two kinds, “mundane” and “released.” The mundane soul reincarnates from birth to birth ; these are again divided into two : those possessing an internal sense (samanaska), and those without it (amanaska). The former possesses the power of apprehension, talking, acting and receiving instruction ; the latter are without this power. These latter are also divided into two, as ” locomotive ” (trasa) or ” immovable ” (sthavara). The “locomotive” are those possessing at least two senses [touch and taste], as shell-fish, worms, etc, and are thus of four kinds : as possessing two, three, four, or five senses. The “immovable” are earth, water, fire, air, and trees. But here a distinction must be made. The dust of the road is properly “earth,” but bricks, etc, are aggregated ” bodies of earth,” and that soul by whom this body is appropriated becomes ” earthen-bodied,” and that soul which will hereafter appropriate it is the “earth-soul.” The same four divisions must also be applied to the others, water, etc. Now the souls which have appropriated or will appropriate the earth, etc, as their bodies, are reckoned as “immovable” ; but earth, etc, and the ” bodies of earth,” etc, are not so reckoned because they are inanimate. These other immovable things, and such as only possess the one sense of touch, are considered as ” released,” since they are incapable of passing into any other state of existence. 

Dharma, adharma, and akasa are singular categories [and not generic], and they have not the attribute of ” action,” but they are the causes of a substance’s change of place. Dharma, “merit,” and adharma, “demerit,” are well known. They assist souls in progressing or remaining stationary in the universally extended sky [or ether] characterised by light, and also called Lokakasa; hence the presence of the category “merit” is to be inferred from progress, that of ” demerit ” from frozen station. The effect of akasa is seen when one thing enters into the space previously occupied by another. Pudgala body possesses touch, taste, and colour. 

Bodies are of two kinds, atomic and compound. Atoms cannot be enjoyed; the compounds are binary and other combinations. Atoms are produced by separation of these binary and other compounds, while these arise from the conjunction of atoms. Compounds sometimes arise from separation and conjunction combined ; hence they are called pudgalas, because they “fill” (pur), and “dissolve” (gal). Although ” time ” is not properly an astikaya, because it does not occupy many separate parts of space [as mentioned in the definition], still it is a dravya [or tattva], as the definition will hold ; “substance” (dravya) possesses “qualities and action.” Qualities reside in substance but do not themselves possess qualities, as the general qualities, knowledge, etc, of the jiva, and form, etc, of the body, and the power of causing progress, stationariness, and motion into a place previously occupied, in the case respectively of ” merit,” ” demerit,” and akasa.

” Action ” (paryaya) has thus been defined ; the actions of a substance are, as has been said, its existence, its production, its being what it is, its development, its course to the end, as, e.g., in the knowledge of objects, as of a jar, etc, happiness, pain, etc ; in the pudgala, the lump of clay, the jar, etc ; in merit and demerit, the special functions of progress, etc. Thus there are six substances or tattvas [i.e. the five mentioned above and ” time “]. 

Others add more tattvas … Asrava is described as the movement of the soul called yoga, through its participation in the movement of its various bodies. As a door opening into the water is called asrava, because it causes the stream to descend through it, so this yoga is called asrava because by it, as by a pipe, actions and their consequences flow in upon the soul. Or, as a wet garment collects the dust brought to it from all sides by the wind, so the soul, wet with previous sins, collects, by its manifold points of contact with the body, the actions which are brought to it by yoga. Or as, when water is thrown on a heated lump of iron, the iron absorbs the water altogether, so the jiva, heated by previous sins, receives from all sides the actions which are brought by yoga (mixing of the soul with the body and actions). 

Kashaya (” sin,” ” defilement “) is so called because it ” hurts ” the soul by leading it into evil states ; it comprises anger, pride, delusion, and lust. Asrava is two-fold, good or evil. Thus abstaining from doing injury is a good yoga of the body ; speaking what is true, measured and profitable, is a good yoga of the speech. These various subdivisions of asrava have been described at length in several Sutras. ” Asrava is the impulse to action with body, speech, or mind, and it is good or evil as it produces merit or demerit,” etc. Others, however, explain it thus : ” Asrava is the action of the senses which impels the soul towards external objects ; the light of the soul, coming in contact with external objects by means of the senses, forms the knowledge of respective objects or bodies.”

Bandha, ” bondage,” is when the soul, by the influence of “false intuition,” “non-indifference,” ” carelessness,” and “sin”, and also by the force of yoga, assumes various bodies occupying many parts of space, which enter into its own subtile body and which are appropriate to the bond of its previous actions. As has been said : “Through the influence of sin the individual soul assumes bodies suitable to its past actions; this is, bondage.” 

The causes of bondage are false intuition, non-indifference, carelessness, and sin.

(a) “False intuition” is twofold, either innate from one’s natural character, as when one disbelieves Jain doctrines due to influence of former evil actions, or by influence of another’s teaching. 

(&) ” Non-indifference ” is the non-restraint of the five senses, and the internal organ, from the set of six, earth, etc. 

(c) “Carelessness” (pramada) is want of effort to practise the five kinds of samiti, gupti, etc. 

(d) ” Sin ” consists of anger, etc. Here we must make the distinction that false intuition, etc, cause those kinds of bondage called sthiti and anubhava; yoga [or asrava] causes kinds called prakriti and pradesa. 

” Bondage ” is fourfold, as has been said : ” Prakriti, sthiti, anubhava, and pradesa are its four kinds.” 

I. Prakriti means “the natural qualities,” as bitterness or sweetness in the vimba plant or molasses. 

2. Sthiti lasts beyond billions of units of time.

3. Anubhava is effect produced in different material bodies caused by our actions ; there exists a special capacity (anubhava) for producing their respective effects. 

4. Pradesa is the entrance into the different parts of the soul by the masses, made up of an endless number of parts, of the various bodies which are developed by the consequences of actions. 

Samvara is the stopping of asrava by which the influence of past actions (karma) is stopped from entering into the soul. It is divided into gupti, samiti, etc. Gupti is the withdrawal of the soul from that ” impulse ” (yoga) which causes mundane being. It is threefold, as relating to body, speech or mind. Samiti is acting so as to avoid injury to all living beings.

Moksha ( or Nirvana)

Moksha is the attainment with which there is an entire absence of all future actions, as all causes of bondage (false perception, etc) are ceased forever ; and, since all past actions are abolished in the presence of their causes, there arises the absolute release from all actions. As it has been said : “Moksha is the absolute release from all actions through decay (nirjard} of all actuated and potential causes of bondage and mundane being.” 

Then the soul rises upward to the end of the world. As a potter’s wheel, whirled by a stick and by hands, moves on even after these have stopped until the impulse is exhausted, so the previous repeated contemplations of the embodied soul for the attainment of moksha exert their influence even after they have ceased and bear the soul onward to the end of the world.

Others hold moksha to be abiding in the highest regions, the soul being absorbed in bliss with its knowledge unhindered and itself untainted by any pain or impression thereof. 

” The doctrine of the syad-vada arises from our everywhere, rejecting the idea of the absolute …” If a thing absolutely exists, it exists altogether, always, everywhere and with everybody, and no one at any time or place would ever make an effort to obtain or avoid it. The whole is thus summed up : Four classes of our opponents severally hold the doctrine of existence, non-existence, existence and non-existence successively, and the doctrine that everything is inexplicable (anirvachaniyata) ; three other classes hold one or other of the three first theories combined with the fourth. 

Now, when they meet us with the scornful questions, ” Does the thing exist ? ” etc, we have a ready answer, ” It exists in a certain way,” etc. Syad-vada ascertains the entire meaning of all things. Thus said the teacher in the Syadvada-Manjari :

“A thing of an entirely indeterminate nature is the object only of the omniscient ; a thing partly determined is held to be the true object of scientific investigation. When our reasoning based on one point proceed in the revealed way, it is called the revealed Syad-vada, which ascertains the entire meaning of all things.” 

” All other systems are full of jealousy from their mutual propositions and counter-propositions ; only the doctrine of the Arhat has no partiality and equally favours all sects.” 

The Jaina doctrine has thus been summed up by Jinadatta-suri :

” The hindrances belonging to vigour, enjoyment, sensual pleasure, giving and receiving, sleep, fear, ignorance, aversion, laughter, liking, disliking, love, hatred, want of indifference, desire, sorrow, deceit … these are the eighteen faults (dosha) according to our system. The divine Jina is our Guru, who declares the true knowledge of the tattwas. The path of emancipation consists of knowledge, intuition and conduct. There are two means of proof (pramana) in Syad-vada doctrine – sense-perception and inference. All consists of the eternal and the non-eternal ; there are nine or seven tattwas. The jiva, the ajiva, merit and demerit, asrava, samvara, landha, nirjard, mukti … we will now explain each. 

Jiva is defined as intelligence ; ajiva is all other than it ; merit means bodies which arise from good actions, demerit the opposite ; asrava is the bondage of actions, nirjard is the unloosing thereof ; moksha arises from destruction of the eight forms of karma or “action.” But by some teachers ” merit ” is included in samvara and ” demerit ” in asrava. 

” Of the soul that has attained the four infinite things and is hidden from the world, and whose eight actions are abolished, absolute liberation is declared by Jina. The Swetambaras are the destroyers of all defilement, they live by alms, they pluck out their hair, they practise patience, they avoid all association, and are called Jain Sadhus. The Digambaras pluck out their hair, they carry peacocks tails in their hands, they drink from their hands, and they eat upright in the giver’s house; these are the second class of the Jain Rishis. 

“A woman attains not the highest knowledge, she enters not Mukti, so say the Digambaras ; but there is great division on this point between them and the Swetambaras.”

English: Jain sadhvis meditating (in Brindavan...
Jain sadhvis meditating (in Brindavan)

MATTER TO CONSCIOUSNESS

 

Sarva Darshana Sangraha

by Madhava Vidyaranya,

Chief Of Sringeri Math and Author Of Panchadasi

14th Century AD.

A compendium of all thought and 16 belief – systems that men have lived with over extended period,

that they chose over others for obtaining a life and values perspective to guide themselves through …

Chapter II : The Buddhist Belief System

A Greco-Buddhist statue, one of the first repr...

Puranas, the traditional record of dynasties and kings place the great Buddha about 18th Century BC, a time of great chaos and uprootedness, just after the River Sarasvati had dried up and life was displaced from its settled origins in its valley in present day Gujarat, Rajasthan and Haryana. People moved North into Punjab and towards East along the the course of rivers Ganga and Jamuna. 

These eastern regions in Kosala and Magadha were already populated

and the massive migrations from the West led to much social conflict and churn through survival pressures, power quests and aspirations to affluence. It was a melting pot of gigantic proportions, which threw up several alternate life-views while people picked up their lives with severe ethical and moral questions on the social and personal perspectives they all had largely subscribed to before, through the millennium after the Kurukshetra War that had laid to waste millions of lives and ushered in a new world order. The drying up of the River Sarasvati was no less catastrophic, concomitant as it was with a number of frequent famine cycles.

In those interesting times, the Buddha’s way was a great call for moderation. It was universally heard, appreciated and adopted, though expectedly life throw up the extreme alternates as well. Charvaka’s materialist atheism was one of them.

Buddhists observe : The reasons you (Charvakas) lay down to establish the difficulty of ascertaining invariable concomitance are unacceptable, inasmuch as invariable concomitance is easily cognisable by means of identity and causality. It has accordingly been said : ” From the relation of cause and effect, or from identity as a determinant, results a (specific) law of invariable concomitance … not through mere observation of the desired result in (other) similar cases, nor through the non-observation of it in (other) dissimilar cases.” 

On the hypothesis (of the “logician” Naiyayikas) that it is concomitance and non-concomitance, say, A is where B is and A is not where B is not, which determines an invariable (cause and effect) connection, but that the unconditional ( or unconditioned) attendance of the major or the middle term is unascertainable in all instances, it being impossible to exclude all doubt with regard to instances in past and future and present but unperceived … an inadequacy that also affects the Buddhist system … the latter says, “Not so, for such a supposition as that an effect may be produced without any cause would destroy itself by putting a stop to activity of any kind; for such doubts alone are to be entertained that do not implicate us in practical absurdity; as it has been said : Doubt terminates where there is a practical absurdity.“

And, if a man does not allow inference as a form of evidence, pramana, one may reply, “You merely assert thus much, that inference is not a form of evidence : Do you offer no proof of this assertion, or is there one you have ? The former alternative is not allowable according to the maxim that bare assertion is no proof of the matter asserted. Nor is the latter alternative any better, for if while you assert that inference is no form of evidence, you produce some truncated argument (to prove, i.e. infer the contrary), you will be involved in an absurdity, just as if you asserted your own mother to be barren ! 

Besides, when you (logician) affirm that the establishment of a form of evidence and of the corresponding fallacious evidence results from their homogeneity, you yourself admit induction by identity. Again, when you affirm that the dissent of others is known by the symbolism of words, you yourself allow induction by causality. When you deny the existence of any object on the ground of its not being perceived, you yourself admit an inference of which non-perception is the middle term. 

Hence has the Tathagata said : The admission of a form of evidence in general results from its being present to the understanding of others. The existence of a form of evidence also follows from its negation by a certain person.

All this has been fully handled by great authorities; and we desist for fear of an undue enlargement of our essay. 

Buddhists discuss the highest end of man from four standpoints, subscribers to which are respectively categorised as Madhyamika, Yogachara, Sautrantika and Vaibhashika. The Madhyamika adopts the doctrine of universal void (nihilism); Yogachara, of an external void (subjective idealism); Sautrantika, of the inferability of external objects (representationism); and the Vaibhasika, of the perceptibility of external objects (presentationism). 

Thus the venerated Buddha, the one teacher, has disciples of four kinds, in consequence of this diversity of views; just as when one has said, “The sun has set,” the adulterer, the thief, the divinity student, and commoners understand that it is time to set about their assignations, their theft, their religious duties, household chores and so forth, according to their several inclinations.

In effect, the Buddhist belief may be simply expressed as :

  • All is momentary;

  • All is pain;

  • All is like itself alone; and

  • All is void.

The Buddhist thus drives the non-physical, non-ephemeral nature of the soul :

” What has rain and shine to do with the soul ? Their effect is on the skin of man. If the soul were like the skin, it would be non-permanent ; and if the skin were like the soul, there could be no effect produced upon it.”

Dilating on existence of beings and things, celestial bodies included, it is perceived that each of them change in part or full, without exception, in short and long term, and are replaced by another, like or unlike. They all – positive projections in existence – are hence categorised as “momentary.” And the “infinite” universal or mother existence that contain these successive momentary entities in existence is neither perceived nor is cognisable by any other valid means. Hence the universal infinite from which these entities form and into they unform, that permanence with character contrary to all these in existence, is void or non-existence. Therefore it has been said by Jnana-sri (Buddha, the knowledgeable) : 

  • What is … is momentary, as a cloud, and as these existent things.

  • The power of existence is relative to practical efficiency and belongs to the ideal, but this power exists not as eternal in things eternal (ether, etc).

  • Each entity has only one form, otherwise one thing could do the work of another.

Conformably it has been said … ” Great is the dexterity of that which, existing in one place, engages without moving from that place in producing itself in another place. This entity (universality) is not connected with that wherein it resides, and yet pervades that which occupies that place : great is this miracle. It goes not away, nor was it there, nor is it subsequently divided, it quits not its former repository : what a series of difficulties ! “ 

If you ask : On what does the assurance rest that the one exists in the many ? You must be satisfied with the reply that we concede it to repose on difference from that which is different (or exclusion of heterogeneity). We dismiss further prolixity.

That all transmigratory existence is identical with pain is the common verdict of all the founders of institutes, else they would not be found desirous to put a stop to it and engage in method for bringing it to an end. We must, therefore, bear in mind that all is pain, and pain alone. 

If you object : When it is asked, “like what ? you must quote an instance,” we reply : Not so, for momentary objects self-characterised being momentary, have no common characters, and therefore it is impossible to say that this is like that. We must therefore hold that all is like itself alone.

Objects are not determined by any one of the four alternatives. Hence it has been said …

“A religious mendicant, an amorous man, and a dog have three views of a woman s person, respectively that it is a carcass, that it is a mistress, and that it is a prey.” 

In consequence of these four points of view – Madhyamika, Yogachara, Sautrantika and Vaibhashika – when all ideas concerning any or all entities are come to end, to their final extinction, the result is a void. To be true, there is nothing more to be taught : The student has only two duties, interrogation and acceptance. Of these, interrogation is putting forth questions in order to attain knowledge not yet attained here and now. Acceptance is assent to matters enunciated by the teacher. 

Critically speaking, the nihilists on the Budhist way are excellent at assenting to that which the religious teacher enounces but defective in interrogation, whence their traditional designation of Madhyamikas (or mediocre). The “method” does not answer the question : Who is witnessing the void, and how ? If the void itself is witnessing it, then it could hardly be void proper !

Yogacharas, on the other hand, seem to realise the predicament : they accept the four points of view proclaimed by the spiritual guide and the void of external things, but question : Why has a void of the internal (or baselessness of mental phenomena) been admitted ? Their reasoning is : Self-subsistent cognition must be allowed or it will follow that the whole universe is blind.” Therefore does Dharmakirti proclaim, ” To one who disallows perception, his vision of objects is not competent (to start with).” 

Likewise, the Sautrantikas hold that the absence of external world is untenable, as wanting evidence, which the Vaibhasikas provide while admitting the perceptibility of external objects. It brings the “truth” content in Buddhist thought to a full circle !

The testimony of one’s own consciousness however is an important contribution by those Buddhists who continued their contemplation along the lines of prevailing Yoga – Sankhya studies. Sense perception occasioned by six cognitions : sound (ear), touch (skin), colour (eye), taste (tongue), smell (nose) and, in addition to traditional inclusions, pleasure (mind). The four conditions necessary to sense-perception are : data, suggestion, medium, and the dominant (organ). For instance, the form of blue is the data in our understanding, cognised upon a suggestion in our sight, through the medium if light and the dominant eye organ.

So too with the universe, our perception of which consists of mind and five kinds of its modifications : sensational, perceptional, affectional, verbal, and impressional. Of these, the sensible world is the sense organs and their objects, the perceptional world is the stream of subject-recognitions and of presentments of activity, the affectional is the stream of feelings of pleasure and pain generated by the two aforesaid worlds, the verbal (or symbolical) world is the stream of cognitions conversant about words … the words ” cow,” and so forth, and the impressional world is constituted of the miseries … as desire, aversion, etc caused by the affectional world, the lesser miseries … as conceit, pride, etc, and merit and demerit. 

Reflecting, therefore, that this universe is pain, an abode of pain, and an instrument of pain, a man should acquire a knowledge of the principles and the method of eliminating this pain. Hence it has been said, “The principles sanctioned by Buddha are, to the saint, the four methods of eliminating the aggregate of pain.” In these words the sense of pain is known to every one; the ” aggregate ” means the cause of pain. 

This aggregate is twofold, as (1) determined by concurrence or (2) determined by causation. Of these, there is an aphorism comprising the aggregate determined by concurrence, ” which other causes resort to this effect ; the condition of these causes thus proceeding is concurrence ; the concurrence of causes is the result of this only, and not of any conscious being ” … such is the meaning of the aphorism. To exemplify : A germ, caused by a seed, is generated by the concurrence of six elements. Of these, earth as an element produces hardness and smell in the germ; water as an element produces viscidity and moisture; light as an element produces colour and warmth ; air as an element produces touch and motion ; ether as an element produces expansion and sound ; the season as an element produces a fitting soil, etc. 

The aphorism comprising the aggregate determined by causation is : “With the Tathagatas, the nature of these conditions is fixed by production, or by non-production ; there is continuance as a condition, and determination by a condition, and conformity of the production to the cause ; the nature of these conditions, that is, the causal relation between the cause and effect, results from production or from non-production. That which comes into being, provided that something exists, is the effect of that as its cause ; such is the explanation of the nature (or causal relation). Continuance as a condition is where the effect is not found without its cause. Determination by a condition is the determination of the effect by the cause. 

One might interpose that the relation of cause and effect cannot exist apart from some conscious agent. For this reason it is added that there existing a cause, conformity of the genesis to that cause is the nature which is fixed in conditions (that is, in causes and effects) ; and in all this no intelligent designer is observed. 

Emancipation is the suppression of these two causal aggregates, or the rise of pure cognition subsequent to such suppression. The method (path, road) is the mode of suppressing them. This method is the knowledge of the principles. Such is the highest mystery. 

As an anecdotal instance, the name Sautrantika arose from the fact that the venerated Buddha said to certain of his disciples who asked what was the ultimate purport (anta, end) of the aphorism (stitra), “As you have in quired the final purport of the aphorism, be Sautrantikas.” Thus did the name come to be.

It should not be contended that a diversity of instruction according to the disciples modes of thought is not traditional (or orthodox) ; for it is said in the gloss on the Bodha-chitta :

” The instructions of the leader of mankind (Buddha), accommodating themselves to the character and disposition (of those who are to be taught), are said to be diverse in many ways, according to a plurality of methods. For as deep or superficial, and sometimes both deep and superficial, these instructions are diverse, and diverse is the doctrine of a universal void which is a negation of duality.”

It is well known in Buddhist doctrine that the worship of the twelve inner seats (dyatana) is conducive to felicity.

” After acquiring wealth in abundance, the twelve inner seats are to be thoroughly reverenced ; what use of reverencing aught else below ? The five organs of knowledge, the five organs of action, the common sensory and the intellect have been described by the wise as the twelve inner seats.”

The system of the Buddhists is described as follows in the Viveka-vilasa :

” Of the Bauddhas, Sugata (Buddha) is the deity, and the universe is momentarily fluxional ; The following four principles in order are to be known by the name of the noble truths : Pain, the inner seats, and from them an aggregate is held, and the path (method). Of all this, let the explication be heard in order… 

Pain, and the features of the embodied one, which are declared to be five – sensation, consciousness, name, impression, and form. 

The five organs of sense, the five objects of sense, sound and the rest, the common sensory, and the intellect (the abode of merit), these are the twelve inner seats. 

This should be the complement of desire and so forth, when it arises in the heart of man. Under the name of soul’s own nature, it should be the aggregate. 

The fixed idea that all impressions are momentary is to be known as the path, and is also styled emancipation.

“Furthermore, there are two instruments of science, perception and inference. The Bauddhas are well known to be divided into four sects, the Vaibhashikas and the rest. The Vaibhashika highly esteems an object concomitant to the cognition ; The Sautrantika allows no external object apprehensible by perception ; The Yogachara admits only intellect accompanied with forms ; The Madhyamikas hold mere consciousness self-subsistent. All the four (sects of) Bauddhas proclaim the same emancipation, arising from the extirpation of desire, etc, the stream of cognitions and impressions.”

” The skin garment, the water-pot, the tonsure, the rags, the single meal in the forenoon, the congregation, and the red vesture, are adopted by the Bauddha mendicants.”

Related articles

Buddha statues in a temple on Jejudo, South Korea
Buddha statues in a temple on Jejudo, South Korea

The Buddhist Fallacy

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Though occasioned by a few conversations I had on social media, the topic has been with me for about two decades now : the fallacy in Buddhist thought, if one is looking for truth. For our world of action, there is no better subscription than the Buddhist way. For, it is in the very tenor of what the great Buddha himself presented in the new path : action … terminate absolutely the (lower) desires to end misery in your life and the world about … evolve out of even the (higher) desires to end absolutely the cycle of karma and rebirth.

Keeping the context of cultured thought of the times in which Buddha stood up and presented his own is important, if one is not to merely imagine and project one’s own meaning to what Buddha held forth in his assemblies. He disdains the rituals of Vedic or the later Sindhu-Sarasvati religious culture and he is silent on the ” God ” concept that tradition was then full of. It simplifies much in people’s life, freeing their attention to concentrate on the job at hand : action, on what to do, how to live one’s life, what to believe of what is manifest, which to regard as right or the correct path, how to decide … the entire life and values perspective in short that enables us to critically view our life and situational instance, and act in its accord.

What I see instead is that people, both hard core and romantic subscribers of Buddhist way, are reposing more and more of their quest for truth in it. It just leads to a jumboorie of imagined truths, the kind that Carl Jung warns us about : Enlightenment is not a matter of raising clouds of light within us; it is to illumine the very darkness all about.

Truth, in Buddhist way, can only be speculative, which in itself is a fine thing to do. But since it says, “overcome the self,” its followers presume that the directive means “negate the self.” It implies that the self is either a non-existent entity that we regard as existing through ignorance or that it exists but only until we are able to “eliminate” through our effort.

The first implication is a philosophical one, and still begs the question : So, what exists, in truth ? The second categorically means that the self does not exist in truth, and leads us back to the first. Without attempting to answer the ultimate question, let us revert back to the original directive Buddha proposes : Overcome the self. To me, in its context, it means that we become more powerful than the desiring self, the one which takes us over and commits acts that leads to misery for ourself and the world around us. That, we should win it over and make it subservient to our dictates, to the values perspective that Buddha clearly lays out. It is not a call for negating our very self, for there has to be one even for “overcoming the self.”

To sum : Buddhism could be a great way to action, to live and reduce misery, if not end it. But there is no truth in.

Personally, I find the Buddhist way a trifle too contradictory to something that I regard as non-negotiable : Life is; embrace it.

How is one to embrace life, if all of life and the world is nothing but misery ?

How does the anecdotal Buddha recommend joy, and advise us to enjoy our wealth but with offerings to others ?

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Indian History And Its Historians

Part VI :  The Pernicious Effects Of A False History

An Indian stamp honoring Pāṇini.
An Indian stamp honoring Pāṇini.

One of the criticisms leveled at the new breed of Indian historians who wish to uncover the authentic history of India, after the morass of inconsistencies into which it has sunk, is that they are motivated by political considerations and that they are ‘nationalistic’. 

While one fails to see any violation of ethics in being a nationalist, the charges seem lame if perplexing to us Indians. Political motivations have always dominated the pursuit of Indological studies during the colonial era right from the outset, since the time Sir William Jones discovered the Sanskrit language. One such political motivation was the need for the Europeans to define their identity outside the burdensome framework of Semitic traditions, which dominated their religious life until then. The notion that the North European Viking owed much of his civilisation to the Mediterranean Semite was not palatable to most of the elite in European countries. The length and intensity of that shame is unimaginable today but was as real as their current deep reluctance to accept the historical facts that locate the Proto-Indo-European in India ! 

The discovery of Sanskrit was a matter of immense “political” relief : that, finally, the languages of Europe did not after all derive from Hebrew but from an ancestor language which was initially assumed to be Sanskrit. In the immediate aftermath of the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William Jones, there was a great gush of admiration and worship of the sublime nature of Sanskrit texts such as Kalidasa’s Sakuntala. But that appreciation was political, not in truth, barring a few souls, of whom Voltaire was amongst the foremost. 

The ideas of racial superiority were still dominant in 18th Century Europe despite the Renaissance and the much celebrated Age Of Enlightenment. And it showed, as the Europeans realised that the present day practitioners of Sanskrit were not blonde and blue-eyed, nor as mightily depraved or strong as they themselves were. The fact that they had conquered, robbed and tortured, their own cultural forebears would have been a horribly uncultured thing to do on part of the Europeans, and was hence equally shameful and unacceptable. 

The European Indologists therefore came upon an ingenious explanation, which led them to declare that the Sanskrit culture of the subcontinent was not native to the subcontinent but was impregnated by a small band of nomadic Viking like marauders – the Aryan invaders. These “specialist” scholars then proceeded to root and project themselves, within the short span of 200 British-rule years, as being the intellectual class of India. Of course, the Macaulian project would “educate” the natives and create sidekicks by thousands, and increase their tribe.

This hypothesis (because that is what it was) had of course no basis in fact, but it served the purpose and killed several birds with one stone. It denied India the autochthonous legacy of the dominant culture of the subcontinent, helped create a schism in the Indian body politic, implied that the native Indic was incapable of original thought and certainly not capable of producing a language like Sanskrit. It still fulfilled their obsessive need to escape from the Semitic umbrella and yet did not pin them down to the influence of a “subject” people. The thesis held the ground that their ancestors did not come from India but from a long lost Shangri-La, of whom there were no survivors; an exceptionally nice fit, to say the least, since the hypothesis could never be contradicted !

Thus was born the mythical Aryan, whose only qualification was that he should hail from a land that was anywhere but India, a nowhere, preferably from a region not very densely inhabited or conscious of their antiquity. It gave the excuse for the British to claim that they were indeed the later day version of that long-lost impregnating race, destined to lord it over lesser, more unfortunate people by reason of the fact that they were “Aryans.” One only has to refer to some these stalwarts such as Trautmann (1997) or Chakrabarti (1997), to feel the perversion.

In sum, Indic study during the British era has always been accompanied with a healthy dose of imperialist dogma and by the colonialist’s disdain for a people who, they felt, could be so easily vanquished in battle by a handful of Englishmen. These attitudes and presuppositions are deeply entrenched in the psyche of the Occidental, fortified as they are by text books which retain the caricaturised view of India and its native people. This is in addition to the normal human tendency to exhibit a degree of pride and the urge to devalue civilisations other than their own. 

This is a train of thought that needs to be explored further, but let us revert to our topic. It is not as if there was a total lack of scholarly impulse and intellectual curiosity among Indologists then, regardless of nationality and despite much pressure from European academics to toe the embedded line. But this stream of objective scholars died out pretty soon and became almost extinct in the nineteenth century, with a few exceptions amongst the French. European Indologists came to subscribe to the promoted thought, and fell into the habit of emphasising that Indic research by native scholars, who threw up alternate conclusions, were shallow and unsubstantial, or were derived from work done by the Greeks, as Sir William Jones had postulated. 

The fact is that British presence in India began with nibbles and encroachments long before the Battle of Plassey, in 1757 CE, but so overriding was the British concern for commerce and power that they remained insulated from subcontinental culture and its civilisational treasure for almost three hundred years, until the arrival of a relatively well educated scholar like Sir William Jones. He indeed noticed the similarities between Sanskrit and European languages. Prodosh Aich, after extensive research into primary sources, comes to the conclusion that the vaunted linguistic scholarship of Sir William was, to put it mildly, much exaggerated. 

The coming of the British and the discovery of Sanskrit by Sir William had a terminally fatal effect on the conduct of scientific studies in India. It cut off the Indic from his own native source of traditional learning and replaced it with the traditions of a land far away, with which he had no contact and did not relate to. One consequence was that literacy fell to 6% of the population at the turn of the 20th century. Education was tightly controlled by the government and all support to schools that did not teach English was summarily stopped, except in states that were ruled by a local Maharajah such as Travancore, Cochin, Baroda and Mysore. 

India was turned into a vast Gulag where no ideas, other than those of the British, were allowed to flower and propagate, and the Indian was effectively barred from traveling to foreign lands, except on a one way trip as indentured labor, lest they return with subversive notions of freedom and democracy which, as Churchill remarked on more than one occasion, were not applicable to subject populations of British colonies. So great was the travel restriction that the Indic internalised this consequence to be a native characteristic that presumed aversion to adventure and exploration. There was no fund allocation for research and no encouragement to savants, who had little opportunity to pursue further studies. The steady stream of Indic scholars and researchers, which lasted till about 1780 CE, finally dried up.

Most certainly, there were gains from change in the medium of instruction to English. Indic youngsters in later times were at an advantage when it came to gaining admission to graduate studies in North American universities, in part due to the fortuitous circumstance that a substantial part of the new world communicated in English language. Coupled with the investment in higher education made by Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first Prime Minister, it catapulted India into one of those leading countries that supplied educated hands to western economies. More lately, it has been a major player in the Information Technology for a while. 

But the negatives remain. The vast majority of the Indian population is not a participant in this new bounty, because they do not have access to expensive schools that are modelled to include costly environment and scarce scholars with teaching abilities in a foreign tongue. The most telling impact of the newly coined endeavor called philology, with its unwanted gush of attention engendered ever since the discovery of Sanskrit, was the manner in which the Indic was viewed by the rest of the world and, even more importantly, the internalisation of British and European view of India by the average literate English educated Indic. Till then, the Indic was widely respected throughout the world and his geographical origin was synonymous with scholarship. 

Today it is commonplace in India to deride somebody who expresses pride in his tradition, and his civilisation, as being jingoistic. The British went to extraordinary lengths to undermine the civilisational commonalities amongst the people of India by various means and diverse instruments. Anything that had a negative impact was played to the hilt. The knowledge and pride of India’s antiquity, history and cultural heritage, was systematically downvalued and new datelines had to conform to the belief that India did not contribute anything of significance to the civilised world, and that all she knew in the area of science and mathematics was learnt from the Greeks. The Indian was uniformly characterised as a shiftless, indolent individual with very few redeeming qualities. 

So great was the change and so lasting its effect that today vast numbers of Indian youth have almost the same opinion of India and Indic traditions that the colonial overlords had, and propagated, in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. There has been a massive change in the psyche of the Indic, much of it for the worse, a fact that was brought out in vivid portrayals by V S Naipaul, when he coined the phrase ‘the wounded civilisation’ in his reference to the Indian subcontinent. Examples of the internalisation of the European views of India abound today. Even eminent Indian historians like RC Majumdar have expressed some of these views in his works, without substantiating how they have been arrived at.

… to be continued

English: This is one of 12 miniatures from a m...
One of 12 miniatures from a manuscript of Hindu rituals and devotional tracts. The manuscript is written in the Sanskrit language, in Sarada script. It has 74 pages and was made in Kashmir during the 18th century.

Read more of Kosla Vepa uploads 

Awakening …

Of  Religion, Enlightenment and Liberation (Moksha) …

” It’s great to be born into religion but terrible to die in one.”  ~ Swami Vivekananda

Русский: Свами Вивекананда Свами Вивекананда в...

Religion has connotations :

To the historically aware in the West, it is dogmatic …

and has led to cramping of man’s urge for freedom, Inquisition, Crusades,

social hold to power by the clergy, priviledged heirarchy

of self-proclaimed God representativess … That’s a lot of history to beware of !

In India, on the #Sanatan way, religion has aimed for liberation, of absolute kind …

to freeing the individual of all books, limiting religious practices,

and every other hold on man’s spiritual expansion.

It’s all that man needs for his spiritual, mental and physical well-being !

Hence, “secularism” has a meaning in the Western context,

and our West inspired members of Constituent Assembly included it our constitution.

Indian courts of law have consistently deemed Hinduism to be non-religious, to being a way of life.

The word “secularism” has hence no meaning, no context in the #Sanatan way.

One does not become enlightened by imagining figures (forms) of light, but by making the darkness conscious. ~ Carl Jung

Deutsch: Carl Gustav Jung

Secular enlightenment sets the human being up with knowledge,

intellectual insight –  with humanity and humanism.

Spiritual enlightenment is the next level,

where the entire life and the whole existence is embraced.

 

Liberation, the summum bonum, is quite quite another …

–  where the discrimination between mtl form and ego being is absolute and permanent.

–  where the discrimination between mental form and witness being is absolute and permanent.

–  where discrimination between spiritual form and pure consciousness is absolute and permanent.

" Die Inquisition in Portugall " - O...

 

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I’m back to challenge this namby-pamby-ness … (in the Buddhist way of constant prayer to save oneself from the rough impacts of life on our being, cycles of peace and discontentment, agitation and calm, etc.)

One, the mind is agitated not only because of discontentment. Sometimes, life throws up a situation when we have fight for what seems just, or an event is rolling in to harm all that is dear to us … but this love for fake peace will forever throw us into a paralysis, when the need of the hour is that we deliberately allow power to flow into the mind and vitality, and wield it. 

Two, even in the case of discontentment, when the mind is agitated, it is good … for that is how it will exhast itself. We only need to be awake while it happens. That capacity to remain wakeful is important, not a constant call for some imagined calm.

Life is … face it with strength, embrace it with love. Come what agitation, we must remain awake to make deliberate choices, love even the enemy we are fighting against, and live through the experience mindfully as it happens.

With that strength and capacity to discriminate, love and struggle, perhaps, life itself will sue for peace that we will gratefully accept with honour, while putting aside our guard and allowing relief to take over. One day … life itself will open the way to peace and contentment — in reality, not just in our wailing imagination.

That is the Sanatan way … as distinct from the Buddhist one.

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

Truth & I

This is a spin off from a discussion on the web … on God !

“Is this not an important part of the dynamic multidimensional mind …

Can you find nothing of value with meeting this view, at least as a challenge ?”

My response to the plea is that starting any discussion with God is a bad idea.

Perhaps, ending up at that would make for more sensible exchange.

Consider, what God can we really speak of while we know so little about ourselves ? Sharing personal experiences is fine because that would be on an informal and subjective matter. But to write something on stone would be premature without a clear perception in our truth, with which others can relate and which one can stand up and defend using commonly understood terms.

I do speak of bliss and the Self because they are in our experience and notion; it isn’t the same as speaking of God. Is God relevant to the dog sucking on the bone ? I am not sure if he is even aware of God, but it is plain that nobody in the entire universe is more pleased, fed and satisfied than a dog with a bone. And, like it, our senses need their respective objects to home in, not God as a hard, formal entity. Experience is a matter between the world and us, or us and ourself, subject to rules and laws, norm and order. And the Self is indisputably evident to each one of us.

When I broach bliss infinite, I also speak of zero identity, silence and love, and of the process to take ourself from being between the world and ourself, from sense and vanity, to love without object, to silence without thought. What remains is peace that I term as bliss infinite. So when people with vanity speak of God, I instantly choose to be counted with atheists.

It’s impossible to find someone without vanity ordinarily, much less hear him speak… of God. I am fortunate to have met one such and have heard him speak, when it was plain that he was referring to the all-inclusive truth supreme. The common skepticism at any mention of the over-individualised notion of “inner reality” is understandable. I mean, only an overly vain person would com-municate notions of the “inner” to the dog perched on his senses !

The dog is equally an individual and he ‘knows’ that all other individuals are no different. He would be right in wondering what the whole babble and brouhaha was all about. Almost all voluntary attempts by us at introspection are short-lived and prove to be more of fad or diversion, which make no difference to the individual’s spiritual content or moral perspective. Forced attempts, imposed by others, are worse. 

There is something fateful or innate at work when the introspection abides for long, deepens with increasing withdrawal from material values, without loss of honesty. There is a surge of courage and quiet determination to live by one’s own accepted truths.

* * *

Dawkins was in Jaipur and I found his view a lot more balanced, less bigoted and militant. All knowledge or realisation must deal with morality. As an aside, that is my compelling argument against intellectual property rights. What damned “rights” on knowledge of any kind ? Or, why must we have to give references, when all of what we wish to say is ours, with us ? If it’s not, we shouldn’t be saying it anyway.

The formal aspect of Truth or truths is onerous. There are libraries out there where it goes dry. It is the informal one that I wish to put across : it is mine… and for that reason could be shared with everyone. That Truth is… my HOME, that which is truly me and mine, which I am, with which I can rest without fear, be absolutely free and fulfilled, which nothing in the whole universe can remove or distort. There is no other Truth than the one which is our Home. 

This is no parable I’ve begun. People are spent on a ” home ” for themselves. They build, buy, rent one for their body… a house or apartment, car or craft. But then the worst amongst us, who constitute the 99%, come to believe that the home they have so invested in is also the ”home” to their emotion, to their thought, their identity, and their happiness !

What is concurrent within us, the ego-person, is a build up and an intensification of vanity… which says : I possess; I win; I acquire; I am successful. It is all a matter of process that is normal to our drive and inevitable in our quest.

But, as surely as sure can be, it is vanity too that blocks our outgrowing, our evolution and progression into the true Home …

for our emotion – which is Love,

for our thought – which is Silence,

for our identity – which is Void, and

for our spirit – which is Bliss Infinite. 

The vain phenomenon limits us to what we have, even as it automatically makes us pore over all that we do not have. Without liberating ourself from that acquisitive pitch, we can never give up our right to pride … and can hence never view people with Love or see things with Silence.

To my mind, these are the real aspects and issues to spirituality : Home of the Self and being Void of Vanity. I find these ideals more pertinent to my quest than God. It is these that will address the monstrous twists with which we reduce ourselves to the gutter.  

I myself have experience with belief in God … the Hindu way, which posits that God is all there is in eveidence. It served to connect me better with others, the environment around, and with the wider universe. It topped up my capacity to accept life and its experiences, both happy and sad. It also shored up my ability to remain focused on whatever I had set for myself and fortified my moral strength through clarifying my values perspective.

But I’d fully appreciate if one did not believe in God and could still avail the stated capacity, ability and strength for himself.

* * *  

Our monstrous idiot, Digvijay Singh of the Congress Party, says :  

Can an individual be allowed to hurt the sentiments of the ”people ?” 

My answer is a clear ” Yes,” provided the individual is true to himself in intent and the mode and manner is completely non–violent. I can visualise the Charvaka, the Jain, the Advaiti and the Buddhist … standing in the courtyard of a temple, before a Vaishnava shrine or any place of worship or congregation, professing their contrary beliefs without any physical obstruction or violent opposition. 

That is the culture of this land from ancient times.

That is what we must all affirm today. 

Freedom is above all the freedom of speech and expression… which must allow every person to say what the people do not want to hear, what they disagree with, and what they might find hurtful to their belief.

Of course, I repeat, with the caveat that the expression be accompanied with peace in mode and manner. 

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

 

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – III

What is the most important thing about us, in the way we are ? Admittedly, it would be everything for someone or other, more or less : survival and daily ablutions, basic needs, food, sex, house, travel, car, possessions, girlfriend or wife and family, clothes and sartorial accessoties, home, friends, countryside, fishing or other hobbies, rest and leisure and, of course, money. 

There is nothing the wrong with any of it and there is nothing complete about each of them either. Every time we are fulfilled with these, the fulness lasts for a while, more or less, and recedes. The right or wrong about them lies in ourself, in the limiting manner we are held up by them or in the way we acknowledge it with gratitude and move on in our quest. It is common to begin being defined by what things comes to mean to us, in the way each one of them cyclically fulfills us in some measure, more or less, over and above their truth in the balance. We start with liking them, then are obsessed by them, which we deem as “love,” which but is nothing more than a auto-suggested habit, as it happens in case of addiction.

What would we move on to ? The wit says, self-improvement, which is a wise thing to point but needs more specific pointers to direct ourselves. Improvement along what lines ? It speaks of a more exact and real understanding, a more calm and non-violent values orientation, more moral strength to stand by one’s values, and an evolution towards obtaining a more adequate and complete understanding in truth. But, in a way, I seem to be repeating myself, for all of these are inter-related and inter-dependent. 

The picture then emerges of broadly two kinds of humans, by their spiritual make-up : one that projects and is ready for the conflict and violence and, the other, of one who is involved in examination and understanding than in projecting oneself. So, how do we distinguish them ? By naming the categories and mapping out the essentials of the human animal and the human human. It would be difficult to accept the nomenclature but it is no more than the commonly encountered attitude against admitting that one is imperfect and that one needs to improve !

The mapped essentials are sketched out here below :

 The Human Animal Loop

The Human Human Loop

On the whole, spiritual evolution, moral strength and values orientation are more a matter of understanding and truth, ability and skills, than God, faith and religion. It takes immense effort to understand anything material or mental, and the difficulty only increases when it comes to knowing oneself. There are so many material distractions and preoccupations to overcome, so many trapping psychological hold-ups to encounter, so much failure to persist and retain the quest in focus … When, in fact, the only obstacles are our own naturalised habits !

But the super-human arises out of this battle against oneself. The Vedas and Krishna, in Bhagwad-Gita, acknowledge : ” It’s a wonder. It’s a wonder. It’s a wonder.”

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – II

https://vamadevananda.wordpress.com/2013/03/20/journal-awakening-into-the-truth-10/ … Hereon, it becomes difficult to chart the inner processes and describe nature of change they each bring about in the very nature of our mind and its consequence upon ourself… contd

Karmas are attracted by the activity of mind, ...

The mind is not in the horizontal spread of, and of the same order as, the material universe, in which the body-identified individual finds itself as one amongst trillions. The Mental Space is a vertical shift away within the self and, phenomenally speaking, is of an entirely different order. A view of one’s mind is available only to the particular individual to whom the specific mind unit belongs. So, there can be no group study, examination or observation, of the mind. 

The task is an uphill one : for, the individual-self must rise to identify with the witness consciousness peering through the buddhi or the intellect to avail of the toehold unaffected by the mind, against one’s own sensory habits anchored to material objects that, to our vitalised sensibility rooted in subconscious drives, promise what we all prefer in our experience : pleasure, joy, ecstasy and happiness. 

But that involves allowing the emotion-backed will to take over our self, consenting to the consequential intent, wading into action for specific result, and pushing ourself through hope and despair. That choice we commit ourself to, through consent and action, is our Karma; and the habitual proclivity in the nature of our mind, to act in order to avail, is a display of the dominating Guna or the Great Qualifier of each thing or being manifest, which in this instance is Rajas.

The entire creation, gross and subtle, is qualified by the three Gunas : Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Though all three Gunas are present in each being, there is predominance of one at any given point in time in accord with its Karma or the nature of choices it has habituated itself to, the general character of the species to which it belongs, and the environment it finds itself in. 

Typically, the dominance of Sattva leads one to arise and rise into more calm and peace, non-violence, quest for truth, inclination to focused contemplation and persevere at effort to gain knowledge, patience and honest conduct, freedom from envy and covetousness, and attenuation of worldly ambitions. Rajas makes one more driven to action, more given to vitality and less to self-examination, reduced scrupulousness, to more ambition for material acquisition and attachment to sensory pleasures, and to more agitated states of the mind. Tamas causes the tendency to remain in inertia and general inaction, and easy slide down into mere physical pleasure, without assuming responsibility or striving to exert.

The mind is made of wholly non-material impressions left by our Karma in the unit mind. These too determine the predominant Gunas that characterise the mind unit and qualify the “person” or the individual self attached to it. Hence, phenomenally, one with reduced residual karma would have progressively attenuated activity in Chitta and Manas, in that order. 

Theoretically, an individual without any residual karma, with his quest for knowledge and experience quenched, will not have a mind unit as the rest of us are attached to. Such a person will no longer be an “individual” but will be unified with the undifferentiated infinitude of the Causal Space, where the three gunas exist in a state of perfect balance and there are no object things or differentiated beings to observe ! 

One is then the being itself, of which all beings are manifest and de-manifest; one is then knowledge itself, of which finite knowledge forms arise and become extinct; and, one is then bliss itself, of which all transient pleasures and joys are experienced and which all beings constantly desire. One is then the Soul of the universe, pervading the Mental and Material spaces, pervading all phenomena and beings in them.

Buddha, The Conqeror

Courtesy Nicholas Roerich archives : http://www.roerich.org/wwp.html

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

MIND, KARMA AND GUNA – I

What is the mind ? Where is it located ? What is it made of; its warp and woof, so to say ?

Of what does it take on its distinct, individual character ? What is it that determines it ?

I’ve asked a couple of these questions at a time on all social media forums I frequent. Predictably, but surprising nonetheless, there wasn’t a single response, not even a tentative one. The reason however is not difficul;t to fathom : none had spent time exploring it and, therefore, had no idea to contrbute. The most the “gurus” online dish out are generic advisories, dos and dont’s, promises and dreams.

A clear, self-verified knowledge, cutting through the mind’s inscrutability and myths alike, would be more enlightening and useful to every interested individual on the planet. For everybody has a mind in which all one’s experience is sensed, in which all reactive emotions arise with will and thoughts respective to each, and where the wilful ego takes on the colours of the moment. It’s the animal loop within us, largely characterised by auto-inputs from the subconscious.

Of course, we all have the human loop in the mind as well, starting with the triggered or imagined thought but brought over to intellect and conscious memory. It leads us to analyse, comprehend, corelate with facts in memory, conduct further research, form defining ideas, understand, contemplate, and arrive at the truth or fulness that abides. It takes effort, at times much, to direct oneself along this loop, keeping calm all the while and pushing oneself on to that peace where our understanding is complete.

This line of investigation of the mind, which can virtually contain the whole of the universe within it, brooks no presence of God, faith, religion or cleric. It is about the individual and his mind : what is it, how does it work, etc. But before one can take the inquiry any further, the reality of the mind must be acknowledged, as distinct from our material appendages such as limbs and organs. The mind seems virtual in comparison and hence comes to preoccupy few amongst us. Those who are taken up however would vouch that the mind is more real, more fundamental to being human, than the body or its parts !

The inscrutability of the mind is both a cause and a consequence of the complexity involved in our understanding of it, of perception perceiving itself : it is already defined by the very mind we seek to understand. We will need a place apart to stand on before, to paraphrase Archimedes’ famous quote, we can observe the happenings in the mind objectively. It takes a while, usually a long while, before our individual-self becomes free enough to witness the mind-field phenomena.

Once the individual-self graduates to the witness mode, he begins to observe the nature of the mind, its propensities and their root, which Vivekananda best summarises, “As pleasure and pain pass before the soul, they leave upon it different pictures, and the result of these combined impressions is what is called a person’s “character.” If you take the character of any person, it is really but the aggregate of tendencies, the sum total of the bent of the person’s mind. You will find that misery and happiness are equal factors in the formation of that character. Good and evil have an equal share in molding character, and in some instances misery is a greater teacher than happiness.”

Unlike the physical body that grows old and weak and lies forsaken, inanimate, upon its death, the mind has no such limitation of lifetime or ageing. It temporarily ceases to be during our deep sleep state; but it comes back to being with the same structure and architecture, specific tendencies and identities that it held before. It is subject to laws that are of entirely different nature than the ones that prevail in the Material Space. The space in which the individual mind exists is infinitely more subtle, such as to be invisible to the physical eye. The individual self however, being more subtle than the mind, can perceive the latter if it is lead to shed its engagement or preoccupation with gross objects, by cutting asunder the attraction they hold for our respective sense organs – smell taste, sight, hearing and touch.

The Mental Space is the transit buffer between the manifest and unmanifest universe, along both directions : projection and absorption. This domain is available to our awareness, to all beings that have a developed brain and nervous system. The unit mind is trifurcate : Chitta – Feeling and Emotion, powered into action by vitality, in which our animal will arises and most instantly overpowers the individual self; Manas – Thought and Ideas, where doubt and rationality works itself out to the contemplating self; and, Buddhi – Knowledge and Wisdom, where true witness conscious self resides and avails of long-term integration of learning impressed from past experiences in current lifetime.

Mind - Sructure


Hereon, it becomes difficult to chart the inner processes and describe nature of change they each bring about in the very nature of our mind and its consequence upon ourself.

To be continued …

English: Photo of Swami Vivekananda at Jaipur ...
Swami Vivekananda (Photo credit: Wikipedia)