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)
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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

Journal : Awakening… Into The Truth

LOVE AND HAPPINESS

Everybody loves and is happy, more or less. None of which abides though : loves meet the gutter and happiness is flushed in the sink. If we are into possessions, there is always more to have; if sensory experience, more to consume. Feelings and emotions ? There is nothing more mutable than them, by the minute. Thoughts and actions follow … for the same : love and happiness.

There is a love though that is not people- or thing-specific, not even beholden to returns in cash, behaviour or kind. It is not abstract but palpable, like the love we have of ourself … but only to one that is de-identified with lineage, station or familly, with the body, sex or vitality, or with knowledge and ability. 

Such love abides : without the necessity of give and take. It is unworldly, so to say. It not an idea but is ideal, resting on the reality of the truth of an idea realised. It is of the heart, in love with that reverberating in its beat. It needs no other and is more than adequate for all – in nature, people, animals, things, good, bad and ugly – despite conflicts and contradictions in our world of action and thought. One could be opposing to restrain, fight to disable or kill to eliminate, be it one who praises or humiliates, even watch horrible conduct flow out of one’s own self … but that realised idea shines unblemished and with it, the love : perfect in the midst of imperfections, calm through the trail of agitation.

The love we each already have is not dependent on preferred happenings, though we would give ourselves with our whole heart to make things happen. It seeks no change, even while we would be working hard to bring it about. It is placid, in its own thanks of being, in its own freedom from identity and preference, in its own knowledge of truth in one’s own regard, in its own unity with the manifest, felt and unmanifest universe, and in its own bliss, eternal and infinite.

The concomitant happiness is of the nature of peace to which its variants converge with diverse hues : pleasure, joy, satisfaction, contentment, enthusiasm, discovery, welcome, fulness, exhilaration, ecstasy … There is no abiding happiness without eternal love, nor that without true knowledge. 

Though we pick up the words floating in material space, our quest for love and happiness completes itself in the transcendent space of knowledge infinite, where the terms morph into forms unrecognisable from our references in the gross and subtle spaces !

Journal : Awakening … Into The Truth

THE SANATAN WAY – II

Let a man lift himself by his own Self alone. Let him not lower himself.

  For this self is the friend and this too is the enemy of oneself.”

 

Dualism, Qualified Monism and Monism ( or Pure Monism, to differentiate it from Qualified Monism ) are different rungs in the ladder of realisation of the ontological truth and its respect with our being. They are real perspectival positions that raise concommitant attitudes with which we interact, communicate and regard ourself and other beings in our respect. 

Dualism positions every individuated being as eternally different and separate from the ultimate reality. Deism is dualistic, whether in its pantheistic or monotheistic construct. There is no hope for dualist to ever unify with his or her ideal in truth. The involved belief also brings in terms of power, with the individual considering itself weaker or fallen compared to the deity. A belief in “sin” and “salvation” therefore is natural to dualistic perspective, of being in eternal error and condemned to perpetual imperfection. 

Interestingly, with the deemed inequality between the individual being and the universal one, the concommitant attitude can only admit supplication before the deity and not the love we feel in freedom and identity with the other. The psychological reaction then towards fellow individuals is limited to two natural stream : compassion for the sameness of error and imperfection in our dualistic being or power over the other before they have on ourself in our collective condemnation. And since compassion, both the emotion in our vitality and the empathy born of understanding, does not come naturally into our hounded lives, it is the power game that rules our human order. The world we have created takes its cues from that dualism seated in our awareness of ourself. Not all the religion we subscribe to will displace that primacy on our spirit. We will continue to lie, rob, kill and cheat and confess at the exalted alter, with error as our alibi and power of the deity to forgive as the law. 

The Sanatan way offers alternate relationship models to bridge the fathomless inequality between the individual and God through identity of kind and identity of stature : father and son, mother and child, teacher and disciple, paramour and lover, friend and friend. These relationships, any one, were to be invested to a fulness, completion and perfection, in thought and action, with every passage of breath, till the time its sweetness, innocence and ease settled informally in our heart and let in the waters of love for both the deity and our fellowmen for as long as it takes to inundate the formal dualism in our belief. The distance disappears in actual effect and leads to the rise of Qualified Monism. 

Broadly, qualified monism views this very universe, and the world, as the body of the deity. Each being is then perceived by it as its own and is as dear to it as our own limbs are to us. Love brings compassion in its wake, kindness and forgiveness in our attitude. Power is no longer the primary asset; rather, it is relegated to being very contrary to the love and unity we have already established in our heart and mind, for the deity and for the brotherhood we consequently feel exultant about. Peace and happiness, derivatives directly experienced, become proof of the truth thus realised. 

Panentheism naturally trails qualified monism. The sun, tree, stone or river worshipper actually offers oblations to the primal deity, whose “body” is adorned with the sun and the moon, the stars, the earth and all beings on and in it. It forms and pervades all, as the inscrtable “space.” Among evolved minds however, the forms constituting the “body” are redundant to their connect with One, supreme and universal, because they in any case appear and disappear in time and are rendered non-essential to the living, pervading deity. 

The formless being, void of all adornments, is singularly alone in the perspective of the pure monist. They still refer to it a Existence-Knowledge-Infinite or Existence-Consciousness-Bliss-Infinite, but only as a true descriptor to that impenetrable, fathomless being in terms of experience here and now, in forms all about and their own. This converging of the universal in our being – body, possessions, other bodies in our relationships, in our vitality, feelings and emotions, mind and thought, intellect, knowledge and bliss, and sans every trace of it all – is the summum bonum of true religion, the innate experience at the root of our spiritual being. 

Pure Monism is then where we are led up to … through fervent worshipful Dualism, which today is fast going out of vogue and increasingly becoming unacceptable to secular, materially grounded and critically aware minds. Relating with the formed immanence of the universe-being, of Qualified Monism, brings the deity within our touch, permitting us to love it in truth, embrace its “presence” in the diversity all around us, respect nature and the environment that envelops us, and actually sense the brotherhood we formally hear of. When the overwhelming love of truth settles, the ground is prepared while we wait on the being-with-void, of pure monism, to inundate the knowledge we have of our self.

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