Suddha Dharma Mandalam
IN PROFOUND REVERENCE TO THE GREAT HIERARCHY OF THE SUDDHA DHARMA MANDALAM
SUBHAMASTU SARVA YAGATAM
Sanatana Dharma Sootras
BHAGAVAN SRI NARAYANA.
15. Evam brahmadharmaabhivardhananameva brahmano vyavasaayaha saswataha.
15. The multiplication of Brahm-dharmas thus, is the eternal functioning of Brahm.
This sootra while postulating the functioning of Brahm as the multiplication of dharmas defines also such functioning as ‘saswata’ or eternal. This is Sanatana Dharma – the terms ‘Sanatana’, ‘Saswata’ even while indicating an eternity transcending time, space and causation, also implement a duration, a continuity, a cause and effect in respect of the dharmas, which are inevitably governed by time etc. But no one can possibly say as to when and where this commenced and when and where it would cease to be. However from the point of view off knowledge which should have a starting point somewhere, it is said that this functioning by Brahm commenced with its famous ideation – Ekoham, Bahusyam Prajayeyeti – I am one, let me become many.
The term ‘Vyavasaaya’ in this sootra and attributed to Brahm carries with it a very high significance, It is used in the sense of ‘functioning’ which is different from act or work; nor does it mean effort, resolution or idea only, in which sense the term is used also. Herein, it is used to indicate the entirety of creational and destructional activities with the interim sustenance for a while of the created beings, with perpetuity and continuity in absolute ordiness, in terms of Dharmas, whici is the very crux of Brahmic secret.
In the Gita, the Lord ‘Vyavasaayaatmiga Buhdairekeha kurunandana, bahusakhaa anantaascha buddhayo avyavasayinam’. In this, the importance of ‘Vyavasaya’ or functioning is stressed as an attribute of that supreme shakti known as ‘ Buddhi’ the direction it takes, being deemed as the very canalizing force of Atma – ‘buddhireva atmanogatihi’. When this Buddhi-shakti is engaged in functioning or Vyavasaya, it has a singleness of purpose; amd it gets flittered in various directions, when it is not so engaged. Such Vyavasaya, by us aspirants consists in knowing and falling in line with ‘Vyavasana’ of Brahm in the propagation and infinitising the operation Brahm-Dharmas – Gnana, Iccha, Kriya and Samahara.
And this is what is called Sanatana Dharma, and this feature is constant and present everywhere, as the root of creative intelligence and preservation. Hence it is, everyone is bound to know it as first principle before any other thing.
16. Sa chaanadyantaddehabootaanamtataatwat.
16. This is without beginning and is endless, because the embodiments thereof are event so.
This sootra is just an explanatory stress of what is convey in the previous one reiterating and emphasizing the imponderability of a determination in time of the origin and also of the infinities of involved in the act of multiplication of these four Brahma-Dharmas. What are called world-processes are nothing more than a collective functioning of Atma and Prakriti in terms of these four dharmas set afoot by Brahm. The state of infinity is to be predicated therefore, in virtue of the millions of varieties of different degrees getting manifested with corresponding changefulness. Embodied beings are manifestations of this phenomenon.
Though these are changeful for all appearances, there is a continuity and perpetuity in respect of the stress of a particular feature of one of these dharmas. And until this is brought out in bold relief the embodied beings who are the agents of operation undergo a series of transformation through repeated births and deaths, towards effecting it. So it is said every embodied being is a type-design of Brahmic ideation. When these facts are completely realized by the embodied beings, the work of finding out the kind of Brahmic-design a particular embodied being represents, is its major work and in fact its real work.
A discovery of it leads to the realization of that particular dharma, which, by its inherent nature to protect, enables the knower to transcend the perils incident to this life, with an opening out of greater areas for fulfillment, with a development of further capabilities and powers correspondingly towards this.
Since Brahm is infinite, the individual having fully realized his place in the Brahmic functioning commences his march towards it consciously. As greater capacities accrue to the individual, greater vastas are thrown out before his vision. Consequently there is no end to this march since Brahm is infinite. And so it is, the Hierarchs of the Race, the Tirumoorties, his lieutenants, and the Paramatma, having attained immortality through this knowledge are ever engaged tirelessly, and ceaselessly in this joyous march towards the never-ending Infinity which is Brahm.
17. Tatha yuktanamcha dehabhootaanaam swavyavasaya evamahaapurusharthaha.
17. Hence, the great and grand human aim of those embodied beings who are yuktas consists in functioning only in engagements congenial to themselves.
In so far each and every created being is a type-deign of Brahma-sankhalpa, it was anticipated in the previous sootra by implication that it behoves on each to discover and find out the particular design of Brahm-sankhalpa he represents fro which he, she or It is projected in this world-process. The non-knowing of this design is root ignorance. Deposited as this design is in the causal body of the individuals, it has to be learnt through means congenial to such knowing. Because this design varies with various individuals, it cannot be learnt through conditioning and regimentating the mind.
The mind has to be kept in a state of true pliability, so as to help the scintillant intelligence to catch at the design and launch it in the field of actoning.
And this is name herein as ‘swa-vyavasaya’ – one’s own functioning. Those that are called ‘Yuktas’ – that is to say, those that have attained the status of Yuktas as the result of their having developed this kind of intelligence are said to engage themselves in such ‘swa-vyavasaya’, which is in accordance with the particular kind of Brahmic-design of which he became the knower. This is functioning in engagement congenial to oneself. Consequently, it is the bounded duty of every one to discover this, because it is deemed as the greatest goal of human attainment. – Mahapurushantha.
Gita speaks of ‘swa-dharma’, which is an exact corresponding term of ‘swa-vyavasaya’ mentioned in this sootra. ‘Vyavasaya’ is ‘samsara-vyavasaya’ or functioning in the world-process. World-process or Samsaras are given out as four in the main viz -Gnana-Samsara, Iccha-samsara, Karma-samsara and Samahara or Yoga-samsara. We, human beings are said to be in the world-process of actioning or Karma-samsara.
That Gnana,Iccha, Kriya and Samahara, however by themselves are the four Brahma-dharmas, we were taught already. Thus, it could be seen that, between Brahma-dharmas and world-processes or Samsaras, there exists a kind of close intimacy with each other. So it is declared that Dharmas shine resplendently in conjunction with ‘Vyavasayas’ and ‘Vyyavasayas’ get enlived through Dharmas. Consequently ‘swa-vyavasaya’ is ‘swa-dharma’, and ‘swa-dharma’ of a particular embodiment is the particular Brahmic design ordained for it.
‘Swy-dharma’ should not be made to mean merely caste-functioning in terms of brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaisya and Sudra, as it is usually done in the Gita-commentaries. These caste functionings have their origin in the ‘gunas’ or the qualities of individual-embodiments. These embodiments are ‘prakritic’ in nature, and so the ‘gunas’ and the caste-functionings, which these ‘gunas’ generate have only the bodily or prakritic basis as such and not the soul basis. ‘Swa-dharma’ has a soul basis on the other hand. And as to what this ‘swa-dharma’ is, the individual had to discover for himself and cannot be known by performing caste-functionings, which are merely a conditioned and regimented life and as such cannot generate a pliable mind, quite necessary to know one’s own dharma. So it is, the Lord, in the Gita exhorts and extols the one, who transcends the gunas or quality-forces and also acts formulated thereon as Yukta-functioning. And ‘Yukta’ is one profusely eulogized in Gita.
Though regimented caste-functioning is gone in this land and with the Caste System has commenced to collapse, the released quality or guna-forces are taking a wild turn with false ideas of ‘swatantra’ or freedom, which again have only a bodily basis, and so there is a complete upsetting of all moral and social laws and a clash of individual ‘swatantras’. The whole world over in the name of such ‘swatantras’ is under a sort of deluge, due to an inordinate release of these quality-forces, which generally take a subversive and ruinous turn. So, it is necessary to overcome these quality-forces and attain the state of ‘nistrigunya’ – transcending the three qualities according to Gita and then engage ourselves in ‘swa-dharma’.
It is with this end in view that Suddha-dharma thought has been released. Aspirants and well-wishers of humanity must make it their study.
18. Tadvayavasaya sadhanamcha brahmasanatanadharma vignanam.
18. The aid conducive to such functioning is the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma.
This sootra makes it clear that even for the performance of one’s functioning conducive to one’s own nature, which is ‘swa-vyavasaya’ or ‘swa-dharma’, the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma is an absolute necessity.
For all dharmas are rooted in this supreme dharma, though they take multiple forms according to time, place and personality. And this is the reason why dharma is difficult to be determined and hence cryptically declared –‘amureshu dharmaha’ – dharma is of the nature of atom which means that is outside the pale of general classification when applied to individuals. And individual’s dharma – ‘swa-dharma’ may be anything according to his nature, being governed by qualitative forces known as ‘Gunas’, resulting in asuric or daivic nature as the case may be – the heredity principle having only a very minimum influence.
So much so, it is not as if there is such a thing as ‘adharma’; for a while the dharma that is followed by daivic people is termed ‘dharma, the dharma that is observed by the asuric people gets known as ‘adharma’. That is all. Nor there is anything absolute in the two, since there is always an element of ‘adharma’ in those declared ‘dharma’, and ‘dharma’ in those declared ‘Adharma’. And these tow kinds of opposite dharmas – Dharma and Adharma – have, nonetheless, their root basis only in Sanatana Dharma, whici is absolute for all time, for all places, for all beings.
This absoluteness of Sanatana Dharmas is so because it is just a reflection of the mode of functioning of the Absolute – Para Brahm, which has transformed itself into ‘Jagat’ and its contents out of its own sweet will, pleasures and ideation. As such, a knowledge of this Eternal Dharma is a valid necessity for functioning in the world. And it is only those that are freed from the grip of ‘swartha dosha’, or ‘Karpanaya dosha’, as King Dhritarashtra and Arjuna respectively termed that greatest enemy of man – the separative tendency that stresses the sense of ‘me’ and ‘mine’ I the realms of thought, word and deed, and difficult to overcome normally, can discharge their functions normally. Those that are termed ‘Yuktas’ in the previous sootra, having realized the fact of all-pervasiveness of Brahmic law, also realize their role as ‘Agent’ only and vacate the make-believe initiative role.
Such Yuktas of Brahmic consciousness get themselves blessed with a complete knowledge of Sanatana Dharma. And the Lord in the Gita extols such ‘Yuktas’ calling on all to qualify themselves for this status.
19. Vyavasayadkikaranamcha prakritischa samsaro nanarupha<
19. Samsara, which is the basis of functioning and material in nature, is multiformed.
The term ‘samsara’ in this sootra, which is declared to be the material basis for the performance of ‘vyavasayas’ is of a very great significance and has to be understood clearly. This is because we are in it. The general spiritual teaching of Vedanta and of allied literature to reject ‘samsara’ for attaining ‘moksha’ or freedom, if valid, it is only after a thorough knowledge of what it is its scope and purpose and the nature of its influence. Even then, there is no such thing as ‘rejecting, samsara, due to the simple fact that it can never be rejected at any time because it is eternal, as the very Brahm itself. The idea of ‘rejection’ of samsara has crept into the religious belief f this country, because of the ignorance of the true nature of samsara and the inability to tackle it as a result.
The exuberance of this land advocated this idea of ‘rejection’ of samsara, naming it ‘worldly life’ and deeming it as inconsistent and as opposed to ‘spiritual life’ is something like ‘give the dog a bad name and hand him’. There is no such thing as absolute worldly life without the spiritual element in it or vice versa in any plane of being, because ‘Spirit’ and ‘Matter’ emanated in their conjunctive relationship with the veri ideation ‘sankhalpa’ of Brahm, the Absolute, to transform itself from its unitary state of oneness to that of many or infinite.
This oneness or manyness, both being becoming of the Absolute Brahm constitute the very nature of ‘samsara’ which is also declared as ‘Brahm-samsara’ and ‘Sanatana Dharma’, being the law, mode and manner in which the ‘becoming’ of Brahm into one and many, gets obtained, is revealed for us to know. And hence ‘samsara’ should never be rejected even in thought, since it can never be done except as a make-belief which is false utterly.
What Maharishi Gobhila says in respect of ‘samsara’ is worth noting in this connection by serious students. He says “yagna (dedicatory offerings), dana (acts of charity), tapa (austerity), the two vidyas or learnings para and apara (higher and lower), bondage and freedom, post-mortem existences,have been declared and explained only on the basis of samsara. So also, the brahmic knowledge in terms of Om, Tat, Sat: the ideas of sthoola (gross); sukshma (subtle), karana (causah), turiya (the fourth), and the five fold conceptions of Brahm in terms of Akshara, Jivatma, atma, Paramatma and Purusha shine because of ‘samsara’. So it is authoritatively clear that samsara is not to be ‘rejected’, notwithstanding the fact of it s material nature, as it is incorrectly advocated so far in this land.
But there is such a thing as overcoming ‘samsara’. Why should it be overcome, it may be asked, when it is postulated that it is eternal. The idea of overcoming ‘samsara’ dawns because of the ills and evils associated with it, the evanescence and joylessness of it, and the helpless repeated transmigratory existences in it forced by karmic bondage. Since these are true in respect of world life ‘prakrita samsara’ or a life subject to the influence of matter, the act of overcoming them does not take place with a mere knowing of the existence of the spiritual principle of Atman, its counterpart.
It results with the knowledge of the ways of spiritual principle – ‘atma samsara’; and associated said with it only, a man commences to function, in a state of freedom from ills. That is to say, since samsara is associated both with Atma as well as Prkriti, it is only through and understanding of the very nature of ‘samsara’ and not merely Atma or Prakriti that one can attain absolute freedom. So it is said ‘samsara vignanam moksha sadanam’ – knowledge of ‘samsara’ is a practice to attain freedom. As such the important question arises – what is ‘samsara’.
According to the sootra, ‘samsara’ prima facie is not only declared to be material in nature – prakriti – but also the basis – adhikarana, for functioning – vyavasayabhavaha becomes a possibility. And because of the infinite shapes and planes, possible to be assumed for purposes of movement, samsara is defined as ‘samsarama yogyaha samsaraha’ – samsara is that which is characterized by movement. This state of dynamism is obtained in the various world-processes, which Samsara is.
In the Gita, when the Lord enunciates as the principle of his Religion, the knowledge of Kshetra and Kshetragna – Kshetra Kshetragna yorgnanam vat tat gnanam matam mama – he stressed the importance not only of Atman – Kshetragna, but also of Prakriti – Kshetra magnana and tatwagnana, While the term ‘adhyatmagnana’ is what it connotes, ‘tatwagnana’ as referring to Prakriti, is because ‘tatwa’ herein connotes, the rudimentary tatwas or atomic principles, twenty-four in number, so well know, as those of Gayatri. These twenty-four tatwas go to make the ‘adhikarana’ called samsara, which is multiformed and infinite due to various kinds and degrees of combinations. According to Suddha Tatwa, these combinations of twenty-four tatwas go to make only four in the main and are termed tatwakootas.
(1) ‘Indriya-tatwakoota’ or senses-group in which are grouped the five mahabhutas (earth, etc), their five tanmatras (smell, etc), the five gnanendriyas (eye, etc) and the five karmendriyas (hands, etc);
(2) Manas-tatwakoota or mind-emotion group;
(3) Mahat-tatwakoota or intellection and knowledge group;
(4) Avyakta-tatwakoota or the group in which Atma and Prakriti abide undivided.
In the Gita, the sloka ‘indriyani paranyahu etc’ – chap V-25 (S.D.M. edition) brings out the significance of these main four samsaric planes. According to the dictum ‘ as above so below’, the planes of samsaric matter obtained in the objective world have a corresponding similarity to those in the subjective being of individuals also. However, the objective samsaric planes have also different denominations as lokas or worlds such as Bhoo, Bhuva etc. Movement in these objective planes is effected by the individuals in their whole being in course of time; whereas in the subjective realm of man, the Atman is alone made to effect the movement in one’s ownself.
Those that aim at this through meditative practices are know as yogis – Yograthaha; while those that aim at the former engage themselves in the performance of homas or fire offerings and such like ceremonials with material means and theses are named Bhograthas – seekers of enjoyment. While the yogis get the benefit of the latter also, the latter for all their efforts get only an evenscent sojourn in the higher worlds and subject to rebirth in this world, to take to yogic endeavor which they have failed to do resulting in their fall.
The Lord in the Gita says - .abrahma bhuvanalka punaravrithinorjuna’ – lokas up to Brahma (Lord of creation) are subject to rebirth. It is through yoga only, the capacity to transcend this is got. It is stated in the Gita thus – ‘mamupetya punarjanma na vidyatae’, attaining me, rebirth (subject to karmic forces) does not happen.
Now, these movements in these samsaric planes are associated with corresponding sensations of those planes, the movement being the vyavasayas o rfunctionings in the various planes consequent thereon. In the Gita, the nature of these functionings also four in number according to the four planes, is given out in the sloka ‘Iccha dwesha sukham duhkham etc’ of Chap XXI – 6 (S.D.M. edition). Herein Iccha etc, refers to the functioning in the mind-emotional plane in man which is ‘Manas tatwakoota’ or manas-group. Iccha or desire is the very nature of the ‘manas’ plane and consequently the sensation of desire when ‘manas’ is made to operate constitutes its very shakti or power; the other associates of ‘iccha’, namely ‘dwesha’ etc, are the results of ‘iccha – functioning. It is this very ‘iccha’ or desire that gets transmuted to ‘bhakti’ or devotion when gets directed to Ishawara. Normally, with human beings, devoid of devotion, ‘iccha’ causes attachment only – spiritual or material. This is ‘iccha’ or Manas-samsara.
The term ‘Dhriti’ has reference to Yogic-functioning or Yoga-samsara. Since Yoga does not merely mean a practice, nor a mere attainment of God-consciousness only, but also refers to such yogic functioning. ‘Dhriti’ does not mean merely fortitude. It means that supreme capacity to hold together the functions of Manas, Prana and Indriya, through Yoga for ever. The Lord refers to this in the Gita ‘dritya yaya dharyatoe’ Chap XXI – 10 (S.D.M. edition). This yogic functioning by man which is performed with consciousness in the ‘avyakta’ plane is unitary-functioning or whole function. The functionings in the other three planes are not so, being disjointed in their nature in the absence of Yoga:
Of these four Samsaras – Mahat, Manas, Indriya and Avyakta, the first three form a group and the other one is so by itself, because all get integrated into it, and hence Yoga constitute the main two divisions of ‘samsara’. Similar terms obtained in the ‘Darsanas’ should not all be confused as having any kind of reference in any way to what is mentioned here. The Sankhya and Yoga knowledge go by the famous name of ‘Yoga Brahma Vidya’ which treats about ‘Brahma Samsara Dharma’ in terms of three and one – Triwaikatwa. Of the two Vidyas – Para and Apara, the former treats of Yoga and the latter of Sankhya.
What is meant by transcending ‘Samsara’ and attaining ‘Moksha’ is that act of overcoming the helpless repeated births and deaths in those three samsaric planes of Mahat, manas and Indriya through a knowledge of Apara-Vidya and reach the unitary Yoga plane of Avyakta through Para-Vidya, which is euphemistically declared as drinking the nectar of immortality – ‘Vidyayamritamsnutac’.
20. Yavachcha drataman brahmasanatanadharma vignannam tavadeva vyavasayasha tadikaranascha tadhkartru ratmanascha prabhutvam sruyate.
20. So long the knowledge of the eternal law of brahmic functioning is firm, so long is heard the lordliness of general functioning, the basic planes on which it is carried an and of the actor or the agent which is the Atman.
This sootra not only proclaims in unequivocal terms the high importance of the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma of Brahm, to all of us – the evolving human beings, who are ‘samsarees’ but also states, how in the absence of this knowledge, the functionings of individuals remain merely poor, prosaic, uneventful and mechanical. This is because Atman, which is the agent of Brahm and who is the actor truly to b ring to pass the ideation of Brahm in terms od ‘dharma samsara vyavasaya’ – dharmic world functionings, is precluded there from by the overwhelming forces of prakriti, which are the tree-fold gunas, otherwise known as Gunamayeemaya or Maya merely. Becoming subject to these forces, it loses its lordliness and becomes a slave to the enjoyment of the material pleasures. It is in this state Atman is called Jivatman, and all of us are in this state.
The tragedy of it consists in the fact that we are also unaware that we are Jivatmans, but assumes importance, identifying ourselves with the name and form endowed to us by Prakriti. And in this state, we undergo the experiences of pleasure and pain through a series of helpless transmigratory existences. It is only when the awakening comes which must be sooner or later, that man gets to realize that he is not merely a body with importance of a name and form only, but that he is a soul, or Jivatman, as to many Jivatmans and gifted with a ‘manas’ and ‘buddhi’ capable to overcome the bondages in life and also penetrate the secret of its mystery. With the dawn of this higher knowledge, he slowly gets diverted into the worship of Ishwara in himself wichi is ‘Atmopasana’.
This also results in his overcoming the bondages imposed by prakriti and its forces so long; and in the realization of the truth that he is only an agent of the Atman within himself and does all actions that are to be done in a dedicatory spirit – yagna to it; which ultimately results in his loosing the separative Jiva consciousness and getting his consciousness identified with the Atman within himself, which is also seen by him as all-pervasive also. It is at this stage that the Overlordship of Atman over every form of Prakriti gets established and true functioning – vyavasana commences. Even there, the atmic consciousness exercises its lordliness, only when it recognizes itself as the actor-agent of Brahm, for Brahm is Absolute and not so the Atman.
Such a true knowledge of Sanatana Dharma is necessary for all round lordliness as mentioned in the sootra – lordliness in the ways of functionings, lordliness in the planes in which the functionings are effected and the lordliness of the agent, the Atman, who does all theses.
It is a very high level indeed; and it is from such a high level that Lord Krishna, the Avatar gave out his teachings of Gita graciously, to help the evolving individual souls. The famous declaration by the Lord about himself (Chap III-6 S.D.M.) is arresting. He deems himself as the agent of Brahm of amrita (divine knowledge), of the Eternal Dharma and of consummate bliss; while on his own, he is the very Atman himself ‘ah,a atma gudakesa’. And so, he sends up a tribute of praise and adoration to the one even above himself – the Purusha – tamevachadyam purusham prapadya (Chap VII -13 S.D.M.). This is a truth that should be noted by the sadakas.
Therefore, it should be clear, how important the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma is to the individual and society, even for just a peaceful living in this world and ormality. So it is incumbent on everyone to know and study the truth of Sanatana Dharma.