Suddha Dharma Mandalam
IN PROFOUND REVERENCE TO THE GREAT HIERARCHY OF THE SUDDHA DHARMA MANDALAM
SUBHAMASTU SARVA YAGATAM
Sanatana Dharma Sootras
BHAGAVAN SRI NARAYANA.
21.Arabya hi Naraayanaajjagajjanmadikartuhu Parameshwaraatparamaatmaanoha Paramapurushaad Brahmaa Vishunscha Rudraaschaanyae deva Mahaatmaano Maharschayassiddhascha manavaascha praninassarvaepi swavyavasaayam yatha Sanaatana dharmavignaanamaacharanti.
21. Beginning from Narayanam the Lord of Evolution, Preservation and Involution, Paramatma the over-Lord of the cosmos, Brahma-Vishnu-Rudra the supreme beings, other Devas, Mahatmas, Rishis, Siddhas Men and all other animate beings also, discharge their natural functionings, only to the extent of their knowledge of Sanatana Dharma.
In this sootra, not only the absolute supremacy of Sanatana Dharma is reiterated, but also that, all, whoever it is, from ameba to Narayana, perform their functionings only to the extent of their knowledge of Santana Dharma. The highest knower of Sanatan Dharma is Narayana and the least is ameba; all others, Men, Rishis, Siddhas, Mahatmas, brahma-Vishnu-Rudra, and Paramatma progressively occupy the graded scale of this supreme knowledge according to the extent of their limits.
It follow, therefore, that it is incumbent on every one to know what Sanatana Dharma is, its implications and workings to the extent of their capacity, f they desire to free themselves from the agonizing influences of fortuitous living and lead a life of freedom, which means understanding the Eternal Law or Samatana Dharma and act in consonance with it.
Herein, Narayana is the Purusha, the direct representative of Brahm. The occupant of Anandamayakosha, which is Turiyateeta or transcending the fourth, otherwise known as the fifth or the ultimate plane. This is the farthest limit – sakashtha – and the final refuge – sa paragatihi -; also hailed as Yoga-Narayana ever in conjunction with Yoga-Devi; and He is the Lord of Creation, Preservation and Convergence, all in one.
His lieutenants in this act are Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra, discharging the functions of Shrishti, Stiti and Laya respectively and they are termed parama-purushas in this sootra.
The Overlordship of the cosmos is exercised by Paramatma, who is the turiya-tatwa or the fourth plane. This Overlordship consists in exercising control over the movements of Pravritti, Nivritti and Yoga. He is also hailed as Vasudeva. And in this work, he is assisted by Anirudda Pradyumna and Sankarshana. Details on this head can be had in Chapter II – Nara-Narayana-Dharma Gita of Sri Bhagavad Gita.
Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra also represent Paramatma in reference to their particular acts of Shrishti, Sitti and Laya. And how they do it can be equally gathered in the second chapter stated above.
For all these, to discharge their respective functionings, it is the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma that helps. And its mystery is such that, the highest knower of it is Yoga-Narayana, the refuge of all.
Mahatmas, Rishis and Siddhas are the adhikarapurushas who occupy a distinct role in respect of Srishti and Laya and Praritti, Nivritti and Yoga. And their knowledge of the working of Sanatana Dharma is less, due to their own constitutional get-up. And as regards, men and other animate beings, being ‘samsaris’ or evolving beings, the knowledge of Sanatana Dharma is by far less. In fact, they may no know the name even, let alone its workings; although, in fact, they are governed by it unconsciously. And it is due to the want of this knowledge that men are tossed about in life helplessly, leading a chance life taking delight in evanescent things and failing of attain Swatantra or freedom of life and living.
Hence, it is stressed that it is necessary for every one who would like to achieve the said freedom to have a knowledge of Sanatana Dharma to the extent of their own limitation, which is quite enough for their purpose to start with.
22. Atassarvasamsaarajushaam purushaanaam vignanamaeva swaanuroopavya saaya ssadhnatamam bhavati.
22. So, with all beings, who delight in investigating the mystery of the world-processes, higher knowledge (vignaana) alone forms the most effective means in carrying out the work appropriate to him.
Since Sanatana Dharma is supreme and its knowledge is stressed as a necessity for all, to those that would like to investigate the mystery of the world-processes in terms of birth and death etc. taking a delight in such investigation, so that they may display a special dexterity in regard to their own nature propelled functioning, the acquisition of higher knowledge. Vignana is important, as the Lord deems it.
‘Vignana’ is not to be understood as mere knowledge, because this term carries a very high technical significance from the view-point of tatwas.
‘Samgnana’, ‘Vignana’, ‘Pragnana’ and ‘Gnana’ are four terms used in Upanishads and other adhyatmic literature to mark the various kinds of knowledge formations. The general meaning of the term ‘gnana’ as knowledge, technically refers to that which pertains to sensory transactions of ‘Indriyatatwakoota’ and has the object of realization of ‘Aksharatma’; ‘Pragnana’ on the other hand pertains to the comprehension of the ‘Vibhooties’ of Atman that takes infinite forms of high excellences, endowed with certain powers to bring about a particular purpose, and the knowledge of the mind emotional plane or ‘Manas-tatwakoota’; ‘Samgnana’ is yogic knowledge and otherwise called ‘Suddha vignana’ and refers to the to knowledge of Paramatma in the fourth plane, which is ‘Abyakta-tatwakoota’.
‘Vignana’ signifies that knowledge about the ‘Atman’ is Kevala-aspect, the witness as well as the propeller of world functioning, abiding in ‘Mahat-tatwakoota’ or the knowledge-plane. It is this aspect that is at once Nirgunaa s well as Saguna, about wichi the Lord refers to in the next but one sootra.
23. Vyavasayassarvesham Srishtistitisamahara roopascha bhavati.
23. For all, vyavasaya or functioning is of the form of creative, preservative and synthetic (activities).
This sootra defines ‘vyavasaya’ that is functioning. It is termed as activities pertaining to creativity, preserving or protecting those that are created and then synthesizing then into the one whole. Thsese activities are propelled by the qualitative forces that constitute the very nature of Prakriti or matter and they are Satwa, Rajas and Tamas – Rhythm, Mobility and Inertia.
To give a tone to these qualitative forces, by virtue of which each one is enabled to perform actions congenial to one’s own nature, ‘Vignana’ as was postulated in the previous sootra is very important. For all kinds of activities, knowledge or gnana is necessary for knowledge and action goes together always. Here knowledge is termed as ‘vignana’ and not merely ‘gnana’. As to what ‘vignana’ means, the Lord defines in the next sootra.
It is one of the kinds of higher knowledge. For it is ‘vignana’ alone that would enable the activities to take to a completely intelligent course, in terms of creativity etc. If not, all these activities will not have the feature of excellence and orderliness; and in so far we are in the World of action, the importance of such orderly and excellent functioning can never be minimized. If not, the whole thing will redound in chaos, as it is at present in the world, being bereft of higher knowledge, and ‘chance’ become the law of life, which is the characteristic of mass method of actioning. This kind of mass actioning is propelled by the wild qualitative forces that are unchastened by ‘vignana’.
In such a state of wild actioning, mostly by rajasic and tamasic qualities, destructive feature of activities alone takes dominance. And destruction is an activity which is against the law of life and is formulated by ignorant people and restored to by men of cruel deeds. That such destruction is against law is proved by this sootra itself which does not even recognize this kind of activity. This fact has to be quite clearly borne in mind.
However, generally, three kinds of activities – creation, preservation and destruction – srishti, stiti and samhara – are catalogued. In this sootra, however, the Lord postulates ‘samaahaara’ as the third activity and not ‘samhara’. Samaahaara means synthesizing, while ‘samhara’ means destruction. Being so, doubts regarding the relative nature of ‘samhara’ and ‘samaahaara’ are bound to rise. Could it be that synthetic activity is allied to ‘destructive’ activity?
There is bound to be amazement when it is stated that it is so. Synthetic activity involves a total destruction of all those forces that perpetuate ‘separativity’ as the law of life. Or the three activities, that of synthesis is of a very big order, for it is, in fact, an intelligent prolongation of the ‘preservative’ feature. The enemies of preservative activity are destructive and this is caused by ‘separativity’ – that nature in human beings congenitally incapable to recognize the divine order in life.
This separative nature is destroyed by the power of ‘synthesis’. Such a power of synthesis is Yoga. Hence Gita’s frequent call on people to become ‘Yogis’ by generating a frame of mind called ‘samatwa’ since the leads to Yoga and synthesis – ‘samatvam yoga uchayate’. This helps to destroy the lower nature in the individual which is ‘destructive’ in its very nature and tending the augmenting of creative and preservative forces. This is done with ‘yogabala’ – strength of yoga.
And until a man realizes this truth, he can never overcome the ills incident to life and not at all the overcoming of the frequency of a helpless transmigratory existence. Through the aid of ‘vignana’, the nature of synthetic activity is got and this would help the attainment of freedom.
This age of Kali is said to be one of ‘samaahaara’ or synthesis. The frequency of wars and other disturbances caused in the world are a sort of total adjustment of humanity as a whole to shred its ‘separativity’ and generate the feature of synthesis. And until this feature becomes an accomplished fact in the world, there will be no peace at all since every attempt toward it will be only from a wrong angle. Therefore, it behoves on men to resort to ‘vignana’ so that they may learn how to engage themselves in activities not only congenial to their nature, but also for the general welfare.
24. Vignaanam hi brahmaswabhava vishayakameva bhavati, Brahma cha bahuda varnitam srutshu sarvasu sagunannirgunamaiti.
24. Virgnana or higher knowledge consists in that of those pertaining to Brahmic nature, by Brahm is meant that which is described in various ways in the scriptures as Saguna or Attributeful and Nirguna or Attributeless.
To the question as to what is meant by ‘vignana’ here is the answer given by the Lord. He says that it pertains to that of Brhamic nature in terms of Saguna and Nigurna. In the ‘NOTES’ under sootra 22, it was pointed out that ‘vignana’ belongs to one of the four main categories of knowledge viz. ‘Samgnana’, ‘Vignana’,’Pragnana’ and ‘Gnana’ and that it refers to that of Atman abiding in the Mahat-Tatwakoota or knowledge-plane, wherein, Atman is at once Sagnana and Nirguna.
In the spiritual literature of this country, especially in the Upanishads, a lot of information is available describing the characteristics of Saguna and Nirguna. While ‘Saguna’ which means attributeful is generally recognized as referring to the Trimoortic forms – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva, that of ‘Nirguna’ is not so much a common knowledge being confined to what is known as ‘Adwita-Vedanda’, the other two – Dwita and Vasashtadwita giving only a secondary or practically no importance to it at all.
There are endless quarrels between theses schools of thought on these features of ‘Saguna’ and ‘Niguna’ about which we need not go into here. Be it as it may. Here the Lord posits that Sagnana and Nirguna are both important as being the very nature of Brahm and the theme of ‘vignana’. ‘Saguna’ attribute of Brahm refers to Divine incarnations such as Rama and Krishna in addition to the Tirumoorties. The ‘Nirguna’ form is that which is termed in the Shrutis as ‘Sakshi’ or witness abiding in the heart-cave.
These two forms, Saguna and Nirguna are intimately associated with world-processes, and hence, they have to be carefully studied and investigated to know the extent of their influence. That which is above these two is ‘Suddha’ and is the characteristic of Brahm in its ‘Para’ aspect. The Lord mentions this in the next sootra.
Activities in general are also classified as Pravritti and Nivritti. ‘Pravritti’ is usually that method of engaging oneself in the world activities with attachment for world-objects and the resulting contractual gains. To this kind of activities, ‘Saguna’ form is the highest ideal, as the embodiment of all excellent attributes and as the conferrer of boons, sought by the Devotees.
This may be generally termed as the worship of extra-cosmic God. ‘Nirvitti’ is withdrawal from world activities and pursuing a course of activity, which has for its object the attainment of knowledge and to those that pursue this course, the ‘Nirguna’ is the ideal. While the Vedas are deemed to teach the path of Pravritti, the Vedanta is said to tech Nivritti. What is termed as Suddha activity, is a higher kind of activity, which even while engaged in the course of Pravritti and Nivritti has for its aim the realization of Brahm in its ‘para’ aspect.
Only those that are free from the grip of ‘swartha-dosha’ or ‘karpanya-dosha’, the heresy of separativeness, due to an excessive preponderance of I-ness and mine-ness associated with the body, and brought about through the purifying influence of Samnyasa and Tyaga can effectively engage themselves in the suddha mode of activity.
The theme of Srimad Bhagavad Gita is in reference to this mode of activity which results in, after a due completion of world-activities, Brahma-sameepya, approximating to Brahmic goal, the highest in that category. Such a science dealt with in the Gita is neither Vedanta nor any of the existing spiritual teachings and is known as Yoga Brahma Vidya or the Synthetic science of the Absolute, which has to be mastered by one and all, the correct approach being the Text of the Gita published by Suddha Dharma Mandalam; the signifying influence of which is fully brought out, as in nowhere else, in the commentaries thereon by the Yogins of Suddha Dharma Mandalam and of whom Sri Hamsa Yogi stands foremost.
25. Ayameva hi brhmavignanakramah prathamam brhmatadvibutivijnanam, brahmaiva karanam vyuhamititasya tadvibhutesca vignanam dvitiyam, brhmavatararahasyasvarupavibhutivgjnanam trtiyam, brhmatmasvarupatadvibhutivignanam pancamam; iti hi srutiveditam.
25. The order obtained from the knowledge of Brahm is verily as follows: Firstly, the knowledge of Brahm and its power; Secondly, the knowledge of Brahm and its power as the cause of manifestations: Thirdly, the knowledge of the secret of Incarnations of Brahm and its powers; Fourthly, the knowledge of the nature or worshipful Images of Brahm and its powers and Fifthly, the knowledge of Brahm as Atman and its powers; such is the scriptural teaching.
The gracious Lord in this sootra gives the order in which ‘Brahma-vignana’ has to be understood and realized. In the 10th sootra, the Lord gave out what constituted Brahma-gnana in itself as being a self-understanding in terms of a five-foldness which is the very characteristic of Brahm as Para (Transcendent), Karana (causal), Avatara (incarnation), Archa (worshipful) and Antaryami (immanent).
In the previous sootra, what the term ‘vignana’ connotes was taught as referring to the two-fold general classification of ‘Brahma-swaroopa’ as ‘Saguna’ and ‘Nirguna’; which are the two important aspects in relation to the world and its contents, and which are deemed ‘Shakti-swaroopas’, by which is meant that all the functionings in the world-processes are carried on with ‘Shakti’ in the leading role.
And because Brahm as ‘Saguna’ and ‘Nirguna’ bound by ‘Shakti’ sets on motion the never-ending world-processes, it does not mean that Brahm vacates its own nature as ‘Para’ or Transcendent or Suddha, the eternal. Consequently, according to Suddha-Tatwa, Para or Suddha-Brahm, Nirguna-Brahm and Saguna-Brahm are the general three fold total classification given to Brahm in its eternal association with Shakti. Accordingly, the five-fold Brahma-swaroopas mentioned in this sootra are seen to correspond to the above three, in that, the Para aspect as denoting Suddha-Brahm, the Karana aspect as referring to Nirguna-Brahm, and the other three – Avatara, Archa and Antaryami aspects as being Saguna – Brahm.
And in so far a mere knowledge of Brahm is incomplete without understanding the place of Shakti with it, it is exhorted in this sootra that the order of ‘Brahma-vignana’ redounds itself in the knowing of Para or the Transcendent with its powers, of Karana with its powers and so on.
From this it should be borne in mind by those that seek Brahmic knowledge, that Brahm is not to be deemed as ‘ultimate’ but as the transcendent – ‘Para’, which can grasped through that Vidya which teaches about negation as ‘Neti Neti’. It is withthis prima facie grasp of Brahm as one of ‘utter negation’, and having realized its extraordinary power, that one should proceed to know and realize its next aspect as Causual-Karana and the powers associated with it in the act of projecting the world-processes; thereafter the doctrine of divine Incarnation and its powers in this descent could be fruitfully appreciated and realized; and this creates a devotion of the worship of the Images of the divine Incarnations as Archa moorti; which ends in getting into tune with the immanent Atman pervading all creation and the powers associated with it.
Such is the order of Brahm-vignana, which starts with Brahm in its transcendent aspect and ending in its realization as Atman.