Suddha Dharma Mandalam
IN PROFOUND REVERENCE TO THE GREAT HIERARCHY OF THE SUDDHA DHARMA MANDALAM
SUBHAMASTU SARVA YAGATAM
Sanatana Dharma Sootras
BHAGAVAN SRI NARAYANA.
26. Ato brahmasvarupasya atmauaha tadvibhootesca vignanam vyavasayasadhanam paramamit giyate.
26. Therefore it is deemed that the knowledge of Brahma-swarupa as Atman and its powers is the highest means for the proper functioning by one in the world-process.
In this sootra, the Lord stresses the importance of Atmopasana, as it should be evident. Sadhakas and students should bear in mind the important significance herein, in that, this Atmopasana is exhorted, not as end in itself, but only as the means for a very effective discharge of one’s own functioning in the world-process. And as such it follow that this realization of Atman has to be brought about, not by renouncing samsara, but by being in it only. This is because Atman has no separate existence except in association with Prakriti, the basis of samsara. And this samsara set afoot by Brahm has neither beginning nor end.
Sri Hamsa Yogi explains that it is given only to such of those Great Souls who have intellectually and otherwise grasped the significance of Brahmic-knowledge in its completeness, as given out in terms of Para, Karana, Avatara and Archa, that would be able to take to Atmopasana with the greatest felicity, as immanent, not only in one’s own heart but in all the formful manifestations.
Such great-Souls only are said to be the highest in the class of yogis. For, in them, the root-enemy which is ‘swartha-dosha’ giving rise to the one Atman which is of the Brahmic form, runs the Atma-Yoga Gayatri in the Bhadraketu and Vamadeva Vidyas. Atman is not to be worshipped either as such or as Brahm itself. It should be worshipped as Brahmic Form, the Representative of Brahm. For, Brahm can never be a theme either for knowing or worship in view of its absolute state extolled as ‘Neti Neti’, being beyond conception. All Brahma-Vidyas speak of that Brahm which can be conceived, and this conceptual Form of Brahm is Atman. It is this, eulogized as Eternal. He is the Lord, He is the Ishwara, He is everything worthy of worship either as Saguna – attributeful or Nirguna – attributeless.
In its transcendent state as ‘Suddha’ which is its ‘swabhava’ – own nature, it is known as Suddhatman. And this Suddhatman takes all forms in the world-processes and so its realization is pointed out as the all-pervasive Atman eternally abiding in all. When this Suddhatman is in association with Prakriti, the other aspect of Brahm that is the medium for its manifestation in the world-process, it gets into the bondage of Prakriti thus loosing its pure nature and gets to be termed Asdudhatman – the Atman that is impure; which is the Jiva – the individual soul struggling in life as life.
This knowing of Atman is not a mere intellectual knowledge of it, though it is held as final in the expositions thereon, since it is held to be something beyond and as such unrealizable. This is not what the teachings of Suddha School say. While Brahm as such is unrealizable, Atman can be visioned and contacted. And it is to get at this visioning that the intellectually grasped knowledge about Atman has to be applied. Fir, if this knowledge is not backed up with direct visioning of Atman, it is likely to take undesirable turns.
So is it, the Lord Sri Narayana, at the time of setting up of Suddha Dharma Mandalam stressed the importance of visioning this Suddhatman. Says He – upasamana swatmanam tadantastamtatha param, yah pasyati visuddhamatme sa yati paramamgatim – worshipping one’s own self, he, who visions the Suddhatman beyond it, reaches the supreme path. Herein, the worship of one’s own self as a preliminary to the visioning of Suddhatman consists in the fact of recognizing firstly that man is a soul in the body and as such, the two are to be maintained with due regard to both.
This is effected through the generation of the eight-fold atmic qualities, and controlling the prakritic qualities of Satwa, Rajas and Tamas through the aid of the conjointed efforts of knowledge, desire and action in their higher and lower aspects, generating mental equipoise in external relationship that is disturbed by the turbulent prakritic qualities, pursuing a normal life known as treading the middle path by avoiding excesses, shunning vileness of any sort in thought, word and deed, engaging oneself in purposeful meditation of Brahmswaroopa on right lines with the aid of the japa of Yoga-Gayatri, which alone will make the meditative efforts fruitful – all these are deemed to be upasana or worship of one’s own self. In other words, a proper use of the body and soul is its ‘upasana’. The inner eye divvachakshash gets opened consequently and the Sudhatman is visioned in its pristine purity.
As a result of this visioning, the practicing yogi aspirant gets in course of time all those yogic beatitudes as fruition catalogued in the sutra as spiritual luster, brilliance, splendor, wisdom, strength, with capacity to assume any form at will. For he becomes an Adhikari thereby – an office bearer in the hierarchy of Suddha Dharma Mandalam either in the group of Vidhyadhikaris – Teachers of wisdom, or Lokadhikaris – Rulers of worlds to take and effective part in the furthering of the object of the divine plan in respect of this globe. The path becomes more and more clear in course of time to enable his functioning in the whole of this Solar System and thereafter other Solar Systems as well. This is what is termed as ‘Paramam Gati’ in the sutra.
Thus should be understood the importance of the all-pervasive Suddhatman and the correspondence fruition.
It is worth while to bear in mind in this connection that it is not as if a special qualification – adhikara – is necessary for the study of Brahm-Vidya, usually urged in th religious circles, to become an Adhikari. On the other hand, it is exactly the opposite. Study and Atmopasana lead one to become an Adhikari according to the teachings of Suddha Dharma Mandalam – Atmopanasaya suddhaam vindatae adhikaritam. Hence the term ‘adhikari’ should not be deemed as one duly qualified to study Brahma-Vidya and with corresponding-Atmopasana becomes an Adhikari in the Hierarchy of Suddha Dharma Mandalam.
27. Yavadeva vijanati swatmani sarvarupam sanatanam brahmaswarupam, tavadevayam purushas cojasvivarcasvi gnani bali kamarupi cadhikari bhavati.
27. When the aspirant-purusha comes to know that the Atman in himself is the eternal Brahmic Form abiding in all, he, then, gets endowed with (spiritual) lustre, brilliance, splendor, wisdom and strength, with ability to assume any form at will, having become an Adhikari.
The fruition that one gets as a result of Brahmic quest is narrated in this sootra. In this quest, it is not enough that one realizes the Atman in oneself alone. He must realize it as all pervasive, abiding the heart-cave of all, even as the Lord says in the Gita – sootrae manigana iva – like the thread passing through the beads. It must also be further realized that this Atman is Brahma-swarupa – Brahmic Form.
Brahmaswarupamatmanamekam ‘dushta ahankara’ and the like gets annihilated and having thus become free, which is achieving freedom in the true sense, they are able to discharge effectively what all they have to do in this world-process and also be sources of greatest help to all.
Thus when on as a result of Brahma-vignana, is able to reach the stage in which the Brahma-swarupa as Atman gets to be realized and worshipped as immanence in oneself and in all, he overcomes the heresy of separativity mentally and also those dual notions of high and low, virtue and vice, right and wrong, pain and pleasure that war against each other, and achieve the highest happiness in store for men in the samsara here and also thereafter. This kind of atmic worship is known as that of Suddhatman and one who is its votary is acclaimed as Suddha.
Thus is seen the great importance of Brahma-vignana, to be acquired, not ultimately, but in the first place, which automatically leads to Suddhatmopasana and the realization of happiness.
28. Evam vignani svanurupa savibhootika vyavasayasamaptaw vyavasaymtaram-kartum paramam padam prapnoti paramam padam prapnoti.
28. Thus the Wise one having completed his functioning with the aid of vibhooties or capacities generated, appropriately to himself, attains, being released at the termination of his functioning, the supreme state; attains the supreme state (in truth).
Herine the importance of completing one’s functionings in the world, as a necessary preliminary act for attaining the supreme state is clearly brought about by the Lord. The question, however, is what is meant by completing one’s functionings and how do we know that we have so completed them.
To get at a thorough understanfding of these questions, one must study the ‘Bhakti-shatka’ of Srimad Bhagavad Gita (S.D.M. Chapters 8t o 13) thoroughly. Whereas the ‘Karma-shatka’ thereof –chapter 14 to 19 teaches the technique of applied practice to bring about the contacting of the Atman and termed ‘Abhyasa-yoga’ otherwise, it is the ‘Bhakti-shatka’ that gives a complete understanding of human nature in general classified under two board divisions as ‘daivic’ and ‘asuric’, the mode and manner in which man engages himself in functioning in the world process as impelled by the qualitative forces of satwa, rajas and tamas, the nature of these qualitative forces and how to recognize their operation, how to bring about Mukti freedom from the clutches of these yjree prakritic forces casusing bondage, a knowledge of the higher and lower aspects of Para-Brahm, resulting in the generation of vibhooties brought about by a very high order of devotion.
These vibhooties are acquired by the Yogi who is the practicing aspirant quite in accordance with his own nature and with whose aid he is able to complete the functionings that had fallen to his lot in his present birth, whatever they are. It is this feature that is spoken of in the sootra ‘swanurupa savibhutika’. It should be noted particularly in this connection that the development of such vibhooties as an utter necessity to the practicing aspirant is forcefully advocated by the Suddhacharyas of the Mandalam.
What is termed as ‘Naishkarmya Siddhi’ in the Gita may be termed as completion of functioning, though the term itself would mean the ’achievement of the state of worklessness’. The question would be how the state of worklessness could be deemed as completion of functioning. This is a world of action and no one can remain even for a fraction of a second without doing some work – nahi kaschit kshanamapi jatu tishtayakarmakrut.. Thought we are in a world of action and are impelled to do actions, the attainment of the state of worklessness – Naishaarmya Siddhu is strongly advocated by the Lord in the Gita.
This is because of Karma being associated with fruits to which man clings causing its repeated transmigratory existence, the state of worknesseness is advocated; which being devoid of fruits due to non doing, man does not get attached to it and thereby he overcomes the helpless births and deaths forced by Karma. It is this kind of Philosophy which the Vedandic School of thought advocated, that gave rise to the notion of giving up Karma by taking to the order of Samnyasa which meant giving up work and maintaining that Gnana is superior.
The Lord, however, taught the new way of overcoming the bondage of karmic forces even while engaged in work in this world, since in a world of action, Prakriti will force us to work even if we want not to – prakritistwan niyokshyasi, for all are bound by actioning by birth and nature – swabhavajena kounteya nibaddha swena karmana – and the refusal to do work because it causes bondage is not a spiritual trait but an ahamkaric act – yadahamkaramastritva na yotsva itimanyase etc.- causing greater bondage and affliction which cannot be got over through Samnyasahrama only. It is in this way that ‘Naishkarmya Siddhi’ or state of worklessness is extolled.
The Lord says also that this ‘siddhi’ is not got either by the refusal to do any kind of work or discarding any work that has fallen to our lot or undertaken, without completing it. – ‘na karmanamanaramban naishkarmyam purushosmutae, nahi samnya sanadeva siddhim Samadhi gacchati’ (Chap.XIX – 19). This kind of attitude to this ‘siddhi’ condemned herein is said to go by the name of ‘Dushta Naishkarmaya lakshana’ – a state of worklesseness hankered after by vicious and wicked people who are lazy, in the garb of samnyasin.
Therefore, when the Lord speaks of ‘Naishkarmya’, He speaks of that variety of worklesseness which has completion of work as its nature even while exercising all our faculties in work in the world. This is a very profound teaching of Gita alone and not at all in Vedanta and Gita is not Vedanta. The Lord’s definition of ‘Naiskarmya’ is – asaktabuddhi sarvatra jitatma vigataspruhah maishkarmyasiddim paranam samnyasenadhi gacchati – with buddh (the faculty of discriminating intellect) unattached everywhere, mind under disciplined control, the grasping nature (of the senses) loosened, the aspirant through Samnyasa achieves ‘Naishksrmya-siddhi’.
The profound significance of this teachings is that this ‘siddhi’ is got by samnyasa no doubt, but by a samnyasa which has achieved the capacity to exercise the three prime faculties of man namely Mahat, Manas and Indriya effectively through ‘asaktabuddi, jitatma and vigataspruhah’ – non-attachment, mental-control and non-possessive. For this kind od Samnyasa burns up the bondages of action, since it is said to be of the nature of Tàpas – austerity – smnyasa taporoopah and has such not brought about by isolating oneself giving up action, but doing exactly the opposite of it, by exercising the faculties in work – vishyan indriyihi charan. Because this king of Samnyasa loosens the bondage, it is said to be the first purifier of men – samnyasa pratam suddhih. For a work that is done free from attachment of any sort etc. is colorless and as such non-biding which means completion of work –somnyasa karnapoorti, which is in turn Naishkarmy-Siddhi with the freedom from a helpless birth and death impelled by the binding forces of Karma.
The most important point to be noted in this act of completion of work which is a necessity to one and all born in the world by the force of karmic bondage before achieving the ability to make further march towards the goal of Brahm-prapti is, that so long the idea of ‘me’ and ‘mine, persists in man looking at everything and assessing all values on the basis of his own little personality, he is said to be swayed by the ‘heresy of self-centeredness’ spoken if in the Gita as ‘karpenya-dosha’ or ‘swartha-dosha’, which is the greatest and subtlest enemy of man most difficult to overcome. Its great inimical nature consists in its pulling down a man at the most important psychological time, even unknown to himself.
This is because it utterly destroys one’s own essential divine nature – swaroopa nasa. That was the state to which Arjuna was reduced, when he made the appeal to the Lord. And hence so long one subject to this ‘heresy’; so long his work will remain incomplete resulting in related transmigratory existence with its various trials and tribulations. So that when this ‘swarth-dosha’ is washed out by the purifying power of samnysa in a given birth through the aid of those purified faculties of ‘asktabuddhi’ etc., which ensure his acquisition of vibhooties-powers to overcome the final bondage of samsara and helpless births and deaths therein frequently.
This is spoken of as ‘Mukti’ – freedom from such samsaric life, which, in its wake, enables his taking up higher activities in the Divine Plan. An Aspirant Yogi who performs actions with this mental frame of samnyasa naturally dedicates them and their fruits to the Ishwara, the all-pervasive All-Cause. And it is this kind of surrender and dedicatory action which brings about the contacting of Suddhatman unseated in the heart-cave that goes by the name of ‘Tyaga’ the famous second great purifier - dwitiya tvaga ucchvate’. This yogic method of actioning involving completion is eulogized by the Lord as of a highly dextrose character – yogah karmasukousala*’
* Details knowledge os Samnyasa and ??yaga in the light of Suddha teachings can be had in the book “Four Essays on Suddha-Yoga”
29. Close in accordance with the knowledge-ideal of the Atman in one, Desire and action become the means for functioning (in the world-process).
This sootra is an expansion of what was taught by the Lord in the sootra No. 22. In that Sootra, the Gracious Lord said “So with all beings, who delight in investigating the mystery of the world-process, vignana (higher knowledge) alone forms the most effective means in carrying out the work most appropriate to him”.
Having stated thus, the Lord explained what constitutes vyavasaya or functioning or work in the next sootra; which, He put down as Srishti, Stitiand Samahara – creation, preservation and synthesis. It is not as if the Trimurties alone are engaged in this work; every one of us from amoeba to narayana is engaged in one or the other of these three main functionings according to the congeniality of one’s own nature to a particular work.
This can be very well seen in the world with a close observation of individual human actionings. Some do creative work; while others know only to destroy. Protective feature constitutes the activities of the third group which is a general feature in all. So it can be stated that, in the main, there are only three kinds of activities to which men find themselves drawn. It is the duty of the intelligent man to find out to which kind of activity he is particularly drawn to. Psychologists would do well to make a study of this fundamental fact of life.
Having defined what ‘vyavasaya’ is, the Lord in the following Sootras taught what constitutes higher knowledge – vignana and this, He put down as ‘Brahmaswabhava-vishaya’ – pertaining to Brahm in its natural state of being as it exists by itself – in terms of Saguna and Nirguna. Thereafter the order of Brahma-vignana was given stressing that of all the aspects of Brahma-vignana, that one pertaining to its Atmic aspect, as the most conducive to Sadhana and for achievement, being associated with beatitudes which help him in his functionings and how a given particular vyavasaya gets completed, opening up the way to the highest.
In this Sootra, the Lord teaches that, for purposes of vyavasaya, it is desire and action that constitute the means therefore, knowledge serving its purpose of acquiring a mental familiarity with the ideal. So here as elsewhere the order in respect of fruitful functioning is Gnanati – knows, Icchati - desires, Yatatae - strives, and prapnoti – attains. It is a most disastrously shortsighted teaching to say that Desire is to be given up, for the simple reason it can never be given up and those that say they have given up desires may be deemed as uttering a statement which is not true. For, the very nature of the eternal law of being, centers on Iccha – Desire as the motive power; which, when it assimilates the knowledge therefore, stimulates the corresponding action. Even as actionings can never be given up according to the Gita teachings, Desires also can never be aimed to be given up.
They require to be oriented and towards this ‘Swatma - vignana helps. And when the required aid of Swatma-vignana is got, Desire and Action commence to operate, not distractedly, but as a means of achieving the aim, for which, funtionings are restored to in the world-process. So that. Gnana, Iccha and Kriya being made to be operated upon simultaneously, Yoga inevitably results and such a Yogic method of actioning is most dextrose – Yogha karmasu kouchalam; which, when propelled by the beatitudes got as a result of the idealizing Suddhatman within, may be stated as the very Divine Life itself.
Thus in this Sootra, the coordinated endeavor of Gnana, Iccha and Kriya, as conductive to the highest is taught.
30. Gnaecchakriyaasamaahaaraanam dwowhiyaatma
30. Of (the four) – Knowledge, Desire, Action and (their) Summation, two belong to the Atmic (Spiritual_ state and two to the Prakritic (material).
That Knowledge, Desire, Action and Summation are the means for Yoga, being the very characteristics of Brahm was given out in the Sootra 9 and all the teachings given so far in respect of their elucidation as such. Atma and Pratriki are the two fundamental rock-basis revealing Brahm as the whole, along with these four characteristics which constitute the Shakti aspect. Of these four, it is given out herein that two belong to Atman and two to Prakriti. What are they?
Before we find out which is which, let us try to understand what exactly is conveyed to mean by stating that of these four Shakti characteristics, two belong to Atman and two belong to Prakriti; though superficially this statement may appear obvious.
Atman and Prakriti are by themselves only static entities, though the former is sentient and the latter is not so. These two have their own respective qualities natural to them. Even as Satwa, Rajas characterize Prakriti qualities - satwam rajas tama iti gunaha prakriti sambhovaha, who nature is to effect the bandage of Atman in the Prakritic field -
Nibhadnandi mahabhaho dehae dehinam avyayam, Atman has also its innate qualities which act as its own capacity to release itself from the clutches of Prakriti and these qualities are given out in the Suddha literature as eight-fold, namely – Anasooya – jealouslessness, Daya – compassion, Kshanthi – quietness, Aspruha – non-grasping, Swocha – purity, Akarpanya – auspiciousness. Whereas Prakritic qualitites causing bondage are termed asuric even including Satwic nature – nibaddyaasuri mata, the atmic qualities are termed daivic because they lead to freedom from bondage.
The next question is how Gnana and Samahara are catalogued Atman nishta. By the term Gnana, it should not be construed as the knowledge that is got by the exercise of sense-objects. It has reference not only to the atmic principle, but also to that which is exercised by the Atman when it gets awakened. When the forces of desire and action are dominant, and the knowledge got by the sense-organs guide them, the state of Gnana cannot be deemed to have commenced its being.
However, when the working of the discriminating sense called Buddhi is brought about, it may be said that an opening in the direction of Gnana has commenced, for Buddhi is the Atman’s shakti to operate in the objective sphere. But the generation of Buddhic faculty by study, comparison and so forth, that is brought about can be said to have its maximum achievement when it is able to discern the nature of bondage and freedom in its absolute state. It is only then that desire for the knowledge of Atman takes root.
Since Atman is Gnana-vigraha, by seeking for its knowledge with the aid of the discriminating sense, Buddhi is the cause and the Gnana that is got is the result. And this Gnana is said to be Atma-nishta. But this knowledge of Atma is only hlf knowledge. It is only after contacting the Atman within and when it commences to exercise the functionings of man, that full knowledge-Vignana is said to have been obtained since the functionings are brought about by Buddhi-Yoga which is Atman-Shakti par excellence.
This Yogic Buddhi synthesizes all the actionings of gnana, Iccha and Kriya into one whole in their performances, meaning as it does through the disctates of the Atman. Such a state is called Samahara or Yogic, which is also Atma-nishta in its deeper level. Thus we see how Iccha and Kriya belong to Prakriti, while Gnana and Samahara belong to Atman.
Daivee sampat vimokshahya and these daivic qualitites are catalogued as 26 in three slokas -2, 3 and 4 of chapter VIII. Gita S.D.M. edition – abhayamsatwasamsuddhi etc. which are the eight atmic qualitites stated above. The six asuric qualitites dambo darpo etc. of sloka 5 therein are the offsprings of Satwa, Rajas and Tarmas. There need to be no apprehension that Satwa is termed asuric, for, we have Gita’s authority therefore that the satwic nature is also binding – sukha sangena badnadi gnana sangena dehinam – through attachment to enjoyment and knowledge – sukha and gnana, though it is higher than Rajas and Tamas. And there is also the tamasic nature masquerading as satwic. It is only when the trait of Suddha Satwa is generated, it has divine significance.
With this background when Atman and Prakriti with the four Shakties – Gnana, Iccha, Kriya and Samahara or Yoga, take birth as formful beings in this world of action, the highest of these being man, whose birth in this world is due to past Karmas in previous lives, this birth is marked by a sense of bondage which is present even in the child from its birth. Bondage from the adhyatmic point of view connotes that state of dependence on anything outside one’s own self and being. When the child cries a it becomes hungry, this cry denotes not only the feeling of bondage, but also the desire to get free from it
. Thus to start with, it is the Iccha-Shakti that commences to operate and because this Iccha or desire gets to seeking objects, as though such seeking and getting would secure freedom when it is not, its nishta or state is catalogued Prakriti. So also Action or kriya which exercised by sense-organs, propelled by desire towards the actual getting at the objects; and thus its nishta is also prakritik. Hence it should be realizable that of the four, Iccha and Kriya – Desire and Action are Prakritic.