Your Mission

Human beings cannot propagate a great ideology by their knowledge, intellect or social status alone. They can only do it through their conduct. Human conduct gets purified by intuitional practices. It is not necessary that one should come from a so-called high family, or that one should have completed university studies. Rather, these factors may create false vanity in one’s mind which may ultimately stand in the way of reforming one’s conduct.

In this universe of ours, two forces are working side by side – the sentient and the static. Sometimes the sentient force and at other times the static force dominates. There is no scope for a pact between these forces. Human beings will have to march ahead amidst the ceaseless struggle of these opposite forces. In the society, on the one hand we see the hoards of antisocial elements, and on the other hand we feel a sense of frustration among the moralists. These moralists have therefore developed a tendency to go out of the society. With more wealth and strength, the antisocial elements are in an advantageous position, and the moralists appear to be the culprits. This state of affairs is neither desirable nor behooving, and it should not be allowed to continue.

Your duty will be to unite the moralists. Let there be two camps. Let there be an open fight. The moralists have been scattered for so long that they could not fight. The united strength of five moralists is much more than the united strength of a hundred immoralists because there is an unholy alliance amongst the latter. Meditation behind closed doors will not do. Gather strength by intuitional practices and unite yourselves against the immoralists.

So your duty is three-fold. Your first duty is to observe morality and to do intuitional practices. Without this you cannot have mental determination. Your next duty is to unite the moralists of the world, otherwise Dharma will not endure. The exploited mass who do not observe Yama and Niyama – the cardinal moral principles – cannot fight against their own sense of frustration. It is therefore necessary to unite the moralists. This will be your real Dharma. You will become great by doing this, because ideation of the Great makes a person great. At the third stage, you will have to mercilessly fight against sin wherever it has taken root in this world.

You will have to propagate this mission from door to door. No political party or so-called religious institution can bring salvation. Praising God in concerts with drums and cymbals will not bring salvation either, because this will not bring the sinner to submission. To curb the onslaughts of the immoralists today, arms are more necessary than drums and cymbals.

It is not possible to fight against sin as long as there is some weakness in your mind. In this fight, your goal is not the sin or the sinner, your goal is the Supreme Consciousness. Anything that comes in the way of this has to be removed mercilessly. When clouds collect around the pole-star and cover it, your duty will be to remove the clouds and follow the pole-star without caring to see where the clouds have gone. If you always think of your enemy, your mind will adopt the bad qualities of your object of ideation, but if the Supreme Being is your goal, your mind will be metamorphosed into the Supreme Being itself.

Remember – you have to serve humanity. You have to dedicate yourself to the cause of humanity as a whole. Your life is valuable; your time is all the more valuable. You should not waste a single moment. The task is glorious. The task is novel. Lead the life of a warrior and constantly fight against evils. You will be victorious. So march ahead!

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
December 1966

Your Ideal in Life

[As Bábá(1) took His seat in the room in the Jamalpur Ashram, He said:] In the Mahábhárata period we find two persons coming quite close to Shrii Krśńa – Arjuna and Sudámá. Both were greatly devoted to him. Now tell me, which of the two is the greater devotee of Shrii Krśńa, and whom would you choose as the ideal of your life?

[One by one, persons present there expressed their views. Some said that Arjuna was more devoted to Shrii Krśńa than was Sudámá, for he did all that the Lord asked him to do. Arjuna was the ideal of their life for he was a great karma yogii (yogi of selfless action) and the much-troubled world of today needed a karma yogii. A similar number were for Sudámá. Even being such a poor man and knowing that his childhood playmate Krśńa could shower riches on him, he never ever asked for even a little material help. Sudámá was a greater devotee than was Arjuna. Sudámá was the ideal of their life. When all had expressed themselves, Bábá said:] Devotion means unconditional self-surrender. The measure of devotion is the amount of this self-surrender. One who has more of it, is a greater devotee than one who has less of it.

[Bábá paused and then said:] Arjuna and Sudámá were great devotees. But while comparing their devotion by this yardstick, we have got to say that Sudámá was a greater devotee than was Arjuna. You know the story in the Mahábhárata – Arjuna refused to fight when Shrii Krśńa asked him to do so. This shows that Arjuna did not have full faith in and complete surrender to Shrii Krśńa. Had there been complete surrender, Arjuna would have done as directed by Shrii Krśńa. On the other hand, we notice a complete surrender by Sudámá. He never desired anything from Krśńa, his sakhá [friend], who could have given him anything and everything. Howsoever he was, he remained content. Even when his wife forced him to go to Shrii Krśńa to request Him to remove his poverty, he went to him but didn’t ask for a thing. Sudámá was a greater devotee than was Arjuna.

[Bábá again paused and then continued (in reference to the second of the original questions):] Now whom should you take to be your ideal? Neither of the two – neither Sudámá nor Arjuna. You do know that neither of the two is perfect – so how to take anything imperfect as the ideal of life? Your ideal has to be perfect – so your ideal is to be the Lord and the Lord alone. No one else should be your ideal.

And you should not pray to the Lord, “Make me this, make me that; make me Arjuna or make me Sudámá.” No, such should never be your prayer, for suppose the Lord wants you to become even greater than what you are praying to become? In such a case, you are creating a hindrance to your own welfare.

What you must do is simply surrender to the Lord and leave everything else to Him and Him alone. Your ideal should be the Lord, and your effort should be towards a complete self-surrender. You should ask the Lord to make you what He wants. You should ask the Lord to take that work from You which He desires.

And if he finds that you have the potentialities to do His work, but you are lacking in self-surrender and you have not forgone your ego, then in such a case He will first create circumstances in which your ego will be forced to yield and surrender. After this only will the Lord choose you to be the medium for His work. You do know, similar was the case with Arjuna. Arjuna had the potentiality, but he also had some ego left in him. Shrii Krśńa first made him surrender by showing His virát́a rúpa [Cosmic form], and then alone was Arjuna chosen to be the medium.



(1) An affectionate name for the author, used by the author’s disciples. –Eds.

March 1963 Morning, Jamalpur
Published in:
Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 31

Which Is the Right Path?

Many people ask themselves the same question: “Which is the right path?” Whenever scholars discuss this question together, they each give a different answer. So what should ordinary people do? Which path should they follow, and which one should they reject? Unable to discriminate between “shreya” (leading to welfare) and “preya” (leading to downfall), they are in a dilemma.

Some philosophies cannot be applied in the world of reality; they have no practical application whatsoever. But when given sophisticated names, they may sound quite attractive. Imagine someone makes the supposition that the River Ganges is made of honey and starts speculating how many factories could be started to process the honey and so on. In the beginning there was a mistake in the fundamental premise that the Ganges is made of honey. There are many such ludicrous theories. Shiva had this to say about them: “Lokavyamohakárakah” That is, these theories misguide and disease the human mind. Only that philosophy which can be applied in the practical sphere deserves to be accepted. Everything else should be rejected. But how can common people recognize such a philosophy? A tough problem indeed. A similar, almost insurmountable problem is to know what to do and what not to do in the social sphere. A number of reputed scholars and illustrious poets have expressed their feelings about this, but none of them are prepared to accept the viewpoints of their colleagues. As all are equally expert in the field of argumentation, what is one to do? It is quite a dilemma! Once, in answer to the common question, “Which is the right path”? a great poet said:

Shrutayo vibhinnáh smrtayo vibhinnáh
Naeka muniryasya mataḿ na bhinnam.

Dharmasya tattvama nihitama guháyám,
Mahájano yena gatah sah panthá.

All the religious scriptures differ from one another. Everyone claims to have had a revelation of God. What a dilemma! If these were all true cosmic revelations, why should there be so many differences of opinion? Some advise that devotees should meditate facing the west whereas others insist they should sit facing the east. These are confusing propositions. How can the same person meditate facing both east and west at the same time? Some scriptures say that the labour class (shudras) do not have the right to do spiritual practice, some claim that women don’t have that right and others stipulate that homeless people don’t have that right either. And yet some scriptures say that dharma should be as easily accessible to all as light and air. Which should be accepted and which should be rejected? Whom should one eulogize and whom should one criticize What should be done in the midst of such confusion? In fact, the scriptures themselves are confusing, as indeed are the social treatises. At one time the most important treatise was the “Paráshara Saḿhitá”, then came the “Nárada Saḿhitá” and then came the theory of Karl Marx. There are innumerable differences between the various social treatises and books of ethics. “Shruti shástra” means “religious code” and “niiti shástra” means “social code”. The social code is also called “smrti shástra”. The socio-economic system, or the system of distribution of wealth, came within the scope of “samája shástra” or social code. One such social code says, “Try to acquire as much wealth as you can with the help of your intelligence and analytic brain.” Another says, “Wealth should be divided in equal proportions”, whereas yet another says, “Distribute wealth according to necessity.” According to other theories, however, wealth should be distributed according to individual need; that is, one need not give the same amount to everyone. So many people, so many minds. In this situation, what should the common people do?

In order to find the answers, many people rush to the munis (saints) and rśis (sages). But there is a similar problem: who is a muni? The word “muni” means a person who always ideates on Iishvara, whose mind is in constant touch with Him. In the practical field, however, we notice that the more one is endowed with cunning and duplicity, the greater one is revered as a muni. It is also noticed that no one muni ever agrees with another – there are as many opinions as there are munis. So what should the common people do? Whom should they accept and whom should they reject? What is the wisest thing to do? The answer is as follows;

Dharmasya tattvaḿ nihitaḿ guháyám

The real spirit of dharma lies embedded in the innermost cavity of the human mind. Each and every object has its inherent noumenal cause. The banyan seed, for example, is the noumenal cause of the large banyan tree which will emerge out of it. Similarly, dharma has its basic root. Where does that root lie? It lies in Parama Puruśa. One who worships numerable deities has undoubtedly forsaken Parama Puruśa. This is not dharma – we should give it some other name.

Some religions decree that widows will have to undergo penance and accept certain rules and follow certain abstinences. They are not supposed to eat certain types of food, for example. All these impositions have nothing to do with Parama Puruśa and are definitely not dharmic. So what does common sense tell us? It tells us that each and every human being is a child of Parama Puruśa. The unmarried young girl and the widow are both His children. Do you think Parama Puruśa likes the idea that the widow should wear coarse cloth? Of course He doesn’t. Rather, He is happy when He sees that everyone is well dressed, everyone is happy, everyone is singing, dancing and chatting in a joyful mood. If widows are persecuted, it is a negation of dharma. What is the real spirit of dharma? One is to approach Parama Puruśa and assimilate His innermost bháva (idea). That is the real spirit.

Dharmasya tattvaḿ nihitaḿ guháyám

In each and every human being there is a sense of existence in the innermost cavity of the mind. All the worldly clashes and struggles, all the subtle ideas and thoughts centre around this existential “I” feeling. “Because he has insulted me I seek revenge.” Everything centres around this “I” feeling. “I am good, but he’s bad.” It is all the result of that small “I”. If the small “I” is good, the world is automatically good. The part of the mind in which the “I” resides is called “guhá”. Here “guhá” does not mean a mountain cave but that innermost cavity within the human mind where the seer “I” lies hidden. And this seeing or witnessing entity of the small “I” is the very root of dharma. Who lies hidden in that innermost cavity of the existential “I” feeling? Parama Puruśa, of course. All the entities of this world are sheltered in Him.

So the differences of opinion between various scriptures are of no concern for you. You should only be concerned about the particular path which will take you to Parama Puruśa, and move along it. There is no time to waste debating which scripture should be accepted and which one should be rejected. You have come to the world with a limited amount of time – don’t waste it on such trivial controversies.

We are all the progeny of Parama Puruśa. He is creating each and every thing. There is no need to worry about the man-made distinctions between tall and short, black and white, male and female. Identify your mind with the Cosmic Mind and see whether that pleases Parama Puruśa or not. Do whatever pleases Him.

No father wants to see his child die of starvation or one of his children eating or accumulating more than required. You will have to develop the economic sphere to ensure that these things will never happen. In social life no father would wish to see his widowed daughter forced to dress in an austere fashion, persecuted socially, or debarred from attending social functions. You must not support these things. Rather, you must provide equal opportunities for all.

Parents hate to see their children weep. If they do, they take them on their lap and comfort them with love and affection until their tears stop. You will have to build a society in which no one is forced to weep, where everyone smiles joyfully all the time and gets ample scope for laughter. Seeing such mirth and merriment, Parama Puruśa will feel immensely pleased. By giving joy to Parama Puruśa you will feel even more joyful and will feel His close proximity. This is the actual social code. And the actual spiritual code is the one that helps humans move towards Parama Puruśa. Under no circumstances should one create unnecessary controversies. The social code aims at bringing a broad smile to the faces of the progeny of Parama Puruśa. You should all move along this path – you are sure to meet with success.

5 November 1978 morning, Kalikata

Where There Is Dharma There Is Iśt́a, and Where There Is Iśt́a There Is Victory

The subject of today’s discourse is, “Where There Is Dharma There Is Iśt́a, and Where There Is Iśt́a There Is Victory.” The mutual relationship between dharma and Iśt́a is inseparable; they co-exist side by side. Dharma without iśt́a is unthinkable, and vice versa – iśt́a without dharma is equally unimaginable. And when the relation between these two is inseparable, then dharma and iśt́a without victory is also unthinkable.

Now let us see what is dharma. Dhriyate dharma ityáhu sa eva Paramaḿ Brahma – that which sustains a living being is its dharma. The word “dharma” is derived from dhr+man suffix. What sustains a living being? Each and every object or being, irrespective of whether it is animate or inanimate, movable or immovable, has a particular characteristic, which is it special identifying mark. On the basis of this unique characteristic one can distinguish between gold and silver, between copper and iron. When this unique characteristic is absent, we can say categorically that “this is not gold, this is not silver.” Therefore, dharma is the fundamental determinate of one’s entitative existence.

In the physical world or in the world of senses, it is possible to bring about a certain degree of progress of an entity when it is identified with its inherent characteristic. For instance, cows have a particular characteristic, whereas buffaloes have a different characteristic. Similarly, there is a marked difference between the characteristics of plants and of animals; and in the plant world also there are different species of plants with different inherent characteristics. Although various plants have certain unique characteristics, they all have certain common characteristics as well; for instance, all plants are static, not dynamic. Likewise, although all animals have their differences, they too have certain common characteristics – for instance, they are all dynamic. The fundamental difference between the plant and animal worlds is this: that the former are static and the latter are dynamic. (However, plants differ from inanimate objects, although they are static like inanimate objects).

Likewise, there are various gaseous factors which have certain common characteristics, which enable us to categorize them as gases. There are certain distinctions among them as well. For instance, oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen – all belong to the gaseous factor, but because of their fundamental characteristics, they differ from one another.

Thus we find that there are different stages in the evolution of creation; first inanimate matter evolved, then plants, then living creatures, and finally human beings. It may be said that since humans are living beings, why should they not be placed on a par with other creatures! It is because they are endowed with certain characteristics which are lacking in other creatures. Just as the basic difference between plants and other animate entities is that plants are static and other living beings are dynamic, similarly the fundamental difference between human beings and other living beings is that humans can follow Bhágavata Dharma while other beings cannot. Humans are aware that they have to do something extraordinary in their lives, but this awareness is lacking in other creatures.

The aspects of Bhágavata Dharma that make human beings unique are four in number: 1) Vistára or expansion, 2) rasa or flow, 3) sevá or service, 4) tadstithi or ensconcement in the Supreme. Vistára is movement along the path of expansion. Rasa means flow. Microcosms are goaded into action by a particular flow. This is why I once said that human existence is an ideological flow. If any entity’s existence goes against its ideological flow, it harms itself. Under those circumstances, people would rather commit suicide than sacrifice their ideology. You might read in history that in the case of ideological conflicts, millions of people left their countries and migrated to other lands. Millions of people leave their countries even today and, if the occasion arises, will do so in future, unless we build and ideal human society.

What is Sevá or service? Such work should be performed that will please Parama Puruśa. You know that service and commercial transactions are not one and the same. A commercial transaction is mutual: the guiding principle is to give something in exchange for something else. But service is unilateral; you are not accepting or demanding anything in exchange for your service. Human beings possess this spirit of service: it is part of their Bhágavata Dharma. They want to serve Parama Puruśa and they do not get the chance directly. So they serve the other children of the Lord, and thereby they please Him. This is the true service to Parama Puruśa.

Tadsthiti: Human beings have the tendency to merge in Parama Puruśa, for He is the only Supreme desideratum of all unit beings. Thus we find that the essential characteristics of Bhágavata Dharma are expansion, flow and service and the final goal is ensconcement in Parama Puruśa.

Everything has a limit, but human longing and thirst are unlimited. With limited objects, unlimited hunger cannot be satisfied. Through intense research and continuous culture, human beings have advanced a great deal. They have discovered through their newly-acquired knowledge, attained by research, that they need the help of an entity which itself is infinite, because their hunger is unlimited. In the entire universe, there is only one infinite Entity, and that is Parama Puruśa is called dharma. The observance of dharma is a must for all – whether one is educated or uneducated, white or black, tall or short. Those who do not follow the path of dharma, are truly foolish – they are the unlucky ones.

Ye pashyanti jaganti jantavah sádhujiivitáh
Ye punarneha jáyante sheśáh jat́haragardhaváh.

A life devoid of the pursuit of dharma is not life for a living being. Those who, even after attaining a human body, do not perform their duties like humans, or do not follow spiritual practices, are said by the scriptures to be humans by birth only – in reality they are like asses born from human mothers.

It has been rightly said, “Where there is dharma fulfilment there is iśt́a.” The word iśt́a has a number of interpretations. First, iśt́a means that which, once it is attained, brings the fulfilment of one’s long-cherished desires. Secondly, iśt́a means the dearest or most favourite object or entity. For instance, a person may have an attachment for mangoes, or blackberries, or sugar cane or money. But that which is the most favourite of all these is considered as one’s iśt́a. It may happen that a person has amassed vast riches but has no relations to feed – then he or she will not be happy.

Then what is the most favourite object? Human beings are followers of Bhágavata Dharma: this is their unique characteristic that distinguishes them from other living beings. Those who have attained human structures but are not following Bhágavata Dharma – expansion, flow, service, and salvation – should not be called human beings – it would be a travesty of the truth to call them thus. If they are mobile, there is hardly any difference between these humans and other living beings; but if they are immobile then they will be considered to belong to the category of plants. By no means do they deserve to be called humans, because the greatest characteristic of humans is their Bhágavata Dharma. If the colour of gold is black, then it is no longer gold, because it has lost the characteristic of gold. Likewise, if human beings do not follow their dharma, then they hardly deserve to be called humans. Dhriyate dharma ityáhuh.

The word “dharma” has another interpretation which is complementary to the previous one:

Sukhaḿ váiṋchati sarvo hi tasmáddharma samudbhútam
Tasmáddharma sadákárya sarvarńaeh prayatnatah.

[Everyone desires happiness: that is the innate characteristic of all living beings. Such a quality should always be cultivated carefully by each and every living entity.]

There is a basic difference between eśańá [longing] and icchá [desire]. Icchá means “desire” or “intention”, whereas eśańá or “longing” presupposes an active endeavour to fulfil that desire. In each and every living being there is the innate desire for happiness, and there is an active effort to fulfil that desire as well. In their search for happiness, human beings discovered that the entire property of this universe will never be able to satisfy their psychic hunger. With unsatiated hearts they kept on repeating, “My hunger is not yet satisfied, my thirst is yet unquenched.”

Thus in the process of this constant search for happiness, one finally attains that Entity who is the most beloved of all and that entity is one’s iśt́a. With the acquisition of money, people still feel that they have nothing; in spite of possessing a huge amount of money they often beat their chests in despair. So it is not money they seek – what they truly desire is peace, not happiness. But it is only rarely that people attain peace in life.

Iśt́a means Parama Puruśa but why is He called Iśt́a? The answer is that by attaining Parama Puruśa one no longer has any unsatiated hunger or unquenched thirst. He is so vast that the human mind can never fully grasp Him. And if there is no emptiness in the mind, how can anyone feel hunger or thirst?

So there are two meaning for the word iśt́a: first, the one whose realization fills the mind, thus removing all psychic dissatisfactions; and secondly, the most beloved of all entities. When the mind attains its most coveted object, it becomes filled; and thus in the last analysis both the above-mentioned meanings are virtually one and the same. I once told you that if Parama Puruśa ever comes to you and asks you, “What do you want? I will give you whatever you want” – you should answer, “Oh Lord, you can befool others, but not me. Besides You, whatever there is in this universe is all finite and limited. These entities will never be able to till or satisfy my mind, so what shall I do with them? Thus I do not ask anything of You except You Yourself.”

If Parama Puruśa wants to give you something you should say, “Oh Lord, many thanks, but I want nothing from you. If you really want to give me something, give Yourself to me. I do not want to fill my mind with mundane objects.” Thus Parama Puruśa alone is the iśt́a; and where there is dharma there is iśt́a and where there is iśt́a there is dharma. So dharma and iśt́a can never remain separate. Water and fish cannot exist separately; if fish are forcibly separated from water they will die. Likewise, Iśt́a also cannot be separated from dharma; and thus no one can proclaim that such-and-such dharma is atheistic because it does not accept the existence of the Supreme Entity. If one accepts dharma it means that one has accepted Iśt́a, and if one accepts Iśt́a it means that one has accepted dharma. Some people hypocritically assert that Mr. So-and-so does not believe in dharma. This is only an external show; internally he accepts dharma and thus he accepts Iśt́a also. It is sheer duplicity to speak thus, which is unbecoming and degrading for human beings.

Falsehood is the noumenal cause of all phenomenal crimes. Those who lie are hypocrites and cheats. All crimes and sins are embedded in falsehood. If a thief stops telling lies, then will any theft be possible? No, certainly not. According to the wise people, a thief must be free from two defects – but I want to add one more: 1) a thief should not stay awake during the day – a thief should sleep during the day and stay awake at night. 2) A thief must not speak the truth. Suppose the thief is caught red-handed and the police ask, “Have you committed this theft?” If he is truthful he will straightaway admit his crime. So you see, to speak the truth is a grave defect in a thief. And the third defect is that a thief is that a thief should never cough, because if he does the inmates of the house from which he is stealing will wake up and he will be caught.

Where there is dharma there is Iśt́a; the two are inseparably connected, and thus those who follow dharma are sure to follow Iśt́a also. Dharma cannot exist where there is no love for God. There are some people who say, “We do practice yoga but we are atheists.” This is impossible. Those who speak thus are not true yogis. Where there is dharma there is bound to be Iśt́a, and Iśt́a means Parama Puruśa. He is the soul of all souls, the greater “I” of all microcosms. In each and every human being, two “I’s” are hidden – the smaller “I” and the greater “I”. The small “I” is the various microcosms such as Ram, Shyam, Tom, Dick, Harry, etc.; but for all the greater “I” is one – Parama Puruśa. All the conflicts and struggles among the microcosms are all centered around their small “I’s”.

“Where there is Iśt́a there is victory.” Human beings are very frail and weak: they gather their vital energy from food, drink and air, and with that vital energy they keep on working in the external world. Their little brains which they have received due to the grace of Parama Puruśa are the physical base of the human intellect and power of contemplation, and with these they perform all their activities. But the power of their tiny brains is extremely limited, and their capacity of contemplation is also limited. The two functions of the mind, thinking and memory, are also very limited, because they depend on these limited human brains.

Now if these weak human beings can establish a relationship with Parama Puruśa – saḿyogo yoga ityuktah jiivátma paramátmanah – then they remain no longer weak. Take the case of a lake. If it is connected with an ocean then it is no longer a lake: it becomes part of the ocean, and all the qualities of the ocean also accrue to it. Its water will become as salty as sea water, and even the surging waves of the ocean will also crash on its shores. Then can we still call it a mere lake? Certainly not. In the same way, human beings are no doubt very ordinary and weak creatures, but if they connect themselves with Parama Puruśa then they no longer remain helpless, they become one with Him. If they constantly ideate on Him, if they always sing His glories and become engrossed in His ideation then they no longer remain ordinary mortals. Then they will achieve success in whatever task they undertake. But that success, that victory does not belong to them – it belongs to dharma, to Iśt́a. If the most powerful emperor of this sea-girt earth dares to fight against dharma, even a handful of gold in his hands will turn to a handful of dust, and he will meet with miserable defeat. This is the inexorable law of dharma. Thus I have said, “Where there is dharma there is Iśt́a, and where there is Iśt́a there is victory” You should always bear in mind that victory does not mean the victory of weak human beings – it means the victory of dharma, the victory of Iśt́a. Intelligent people who move firmly along the path of dharma and sit on the lap of Iśt́a are destined to be victorious. In this case also victory does not belong to such people – victory belongs to Iśt́a.

You are all intelligent boys and girls – you should fully understand this truth, and remember that whatever the scriptures you might have read, the most important thing is sharańágati, taking shelter in the Lord. Just as the little child seeks safe shelter on the mother’s lap, similarly each and every microcosm, each and every devotee finds a safe haven on the lap of Parama Puruśa, and thus they are crowned with victory. This is the supreme truth. May you all be blessed.
4 July 1979 DMC, Purnea
Published in:
Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 12

What is Dharma?

Human beings are the highest-evolved beings. They possess clearly-reflected consciousness, and this makes them superior to animals. No other being has such a clear reflection of consciousness. Human beings can distinguish between good and bad with the help of their consciousness, and when in trouble they can find a way out, with its help. No one likes to live in misery and suffering, far less human beings, whose consciousness can find means of relief. Life without sorrow and suffering is a life of happiness and bliss, and that is what people desire. Everyone is in quest of happiness; in fact it is people’s nature to seek happiness. Now let us see what one does to achieve it and whether it is achieved by those means. In their search for happiness people are first attracted towards physical enjoyments. They amass wealth and try to achieve power and position to satisfy their desires for happiness. One who has a hundred rupees is not satisfied with it, one strives for a thousand rupees, but even possessing thousands of rupees does not satisfy. One wants a million, and so on. Then it is seen that a person having influence in a district wants to extend it over a province, provincial leaders want to become national leaders, and when they have achieved that there creeps in a desire for world leadership. Mere acquisition of wealth, power and position does not satisfy a person. The acquisition of something limited only creates the want for more, and the quest for happiness finds no end. The hunger for possessing is unending. It is limitless and infinite. However dignified or lofty the achievement, it fails to set at rest people’s unlimited quest for happiness. Those who hanker after wealth will not be satisfied until they can obtain unlimited wealth. Nor will the seeker of power, position and prestige be satisfied until he or she can get these in limitless proportions, as all these are objects of the world. The world itself is finite and cannot provide infinite objects. Naturally, therefore, the greatest worldly acquisition, even if it be the entire globe, would not secure anything of an infinite and permanent character. What then is that infinite, eternal thing which will provide everlasting happiness? The Cosmic Entity alone is infinite and eternal. It alone is limitless. And the eternal longing of human beings for happiness can only be satiated by realization of the Infinite. The ephemeral nature of worldly possessions, power and position can only lead one to the conclusion that none of the things of the finite and limited world can set at rest the everlasting urge for happiness. Their acquisition merely gives rise to further longing. Only realization of the Infinite can do it. The Infinite can be only one, and that is the Cosmic Entity. Hence it is only the Cosmic Entity that can provide everlasting happiness – the quest for which is the characteristic of every human being. In reality, behind this human urge is hidden the desire, the longing, for attainment of the Cosmic Entity. It is the very nature of every living being. This alone is the dharma of every person. The word dharma signifies “property”. The English word for it is “nature”, “characteristic” or “property”. The nature of fire is to burn or produce heat. It is the characteristic or property of fire and is also termed the nature of fire. Similarly, the dharma or nature of a human being is to seek the Cosmic Entity. The degree of divinity in human beings is indicated by their clearly-reflected consciousness. Every human being, having evolved from animals, has, therefore, two aspects – the animal aspect, and the conscious aspect which distinguishes a person from animals. Animals display predominantly the animality, while human beings due to a well-reflected consciousness also possess rationality. The animality in human beings gives them a leaning towards animal life or physical enjoyment. They, under its influence, look to eating, drinking and gratification of other physical desires. They are attracted towards these and run after them under the influence of their animality but these do not provide happiness as their longing for it is infinite. Animals are satisfied with these limited enjoyments as their urge is not infinite. However large the quantity of things offered to an animal may be, it will take only those which it needs and will not bother for the rest. But humans will certainly act differently in these conditions. This only establishes that animals are satisfied with the limited, while the desire of human beings is limitless, although the desire for enjoyment in both is prompted and governed by the animal aspect of life. The difference in the two is due to the possession by the human being of a clearly-reflected consciousness, something which animals lack. The infinite nature of the human urge for absolute happiness is due to their consciousness alone. It is this consciousness alone which is not satisfied with the physical pleasure of possession, power and position – things which in spite of their huge proportions, are only transitory in character. It is their consciousness which creates in human beings the longing for the Cosmic Entity. The objects of the world – the physical enjoyments – do not quench the thirst of the human heart for happiness. Yet we find that people are attracted by them. The animality in people draws them towards gratification of animal desires, but the rationality of their consciousness remains ungratified since all these are transitory and short-lived. They are not enough to set at rest the unending and unlimited hunger of the human consciousness. There is, thus, a constant duel in humans between their animality and rationality. The animal aspect pulls them towards instant earthly joys, while their consciousness, not being satisfied with these, draws them towards the Cosmic Entity – the Infinite. This results in the struggle between the animal aspect and consciousness. Had the carnal pleasures derived from power and position been infinite and endless, they would have set at rest the eternal quest of consciousness for happiness. But they do not, and that is why the fleeting glory of temporal joys can never secure a lasting peace in the human mind and lead people to ecstasy. It is only the well-reflected consciousness which differentiates human beings from animals. Is it then not imperative for human beings to make use of their consciousness? If their consciousness lies dormant behind their animality, people are bound to behave like animals. They in fact become worse than animals as, even though endowed with well-reflected consciousness, they do not make use of it. Such people do not deserve the status of human beings. They are animals in human form. The nature of consciousness is to seek for the Infinite or realize the Cosmic Entity. Only those who make use of their consciousness and follow its dictates deserve to be called human beings. Therefore, every person, by making full use of his or her reflected consciousness, earns the right to be called a human being and finds his or her dharma or nature to be only the search for the Infinite or Cosmic Entity. This longing for the Infinite is the innate quality or dharma which characterizes the human status of people. Happiness is derived by getting what one desires. If one does not get what one desires, one cannot be happy. One becomes sad and miserable. The clearly-reflected consciousness in people, which alone distinguishes them from animals, seeks the Cosmic Entity or the Infinite. And so people derive real happiness only when they can attain the Cosmic Entity or get into the process of attaining It. Consciousness does not want earthly joys because being finite none of them satisfy it. The conclusion we arrive at is that the dharma of humanity is to realize the Infinite or the Cosmic Entity. It is only by means of this dharma that people can enjoy eternal happiness and bliss. The characteristic or dharma of human beings is to attain Brahma. It is, therefore, necessary to see whether Brahma exists or not, as it would be futile to attempt to get something which does not actually exist. If Brahma exists, we must know what It is. Every action a person performs, appears to have been executed by his or her physical organs, the indriyas. These organs or indriyas are ten. And it appears that almost every action that a person performs appears to have been performed because of these ten indriyas. Yet this is not actually so. If the mind does not work behind them, the indriyas by themselves cannot perform any action. It is the mind which works and the ten indriyas are merely the instruments through which the work is executed. The action which originates in mind only finds its external manifestation with the help of the indriyas. To explain this we can take the example of a person looking at a book. It is only the mind which visualizes the book with the help of the eyes. If the mind does not work the eyes will not be able to see the book. For instance, a person in an unconscious state because of anaesthesia or some other reason will not be able to see the book even if his or her eyes are wide open. In such an unconscious state the eyes are not damaged, yet they cannot perform their natural function because the contact with the mind is suspended. This is why under the influence of anaesthesia, the organs or indriyas do not function, although they remain in perfect order. Often, when we are absorbed in thought, we fail to notice a person or recognize a friend standing right in front of us. This is only because, in spite of our eyes being in perfect order and wide open, the mind, which actually performs all actions, does not make use of the indriyas, the eyes. It is the mind which works and the indriyas only help in its external manifestation. If it is the mind only which works, let us see how it acts through these indriyas. For instance, looking at a book is an action which the mind performs with the help of the eyes. When the mind sees a book, what actually happens is that the mind, with the help of the eyes, takes the shape of something we call a book. This shape which the mind takes is different from the image which is formed on the retina, as the mind can see and become like a book even when the eyes are closed; but the eyes cannot see when the mind does not function. So it is the mind which takes the form of a book during visual perception. This portion of the mind which takes the form of the book is termed citta or mind-stuff. But even if the citta takes the form of a book, there must be something other than the citta which does the work of seeing. The part of the mind which does the work of seeing is called ahaḿtattva or doer “I”. But “I” will not be able to see anything unless “I” exists. So there must be another part of the mind which is different from these two. This third part of the mind is the part which gives the feeling of “I” and is called mahattattva. Without the feeling of the existence of “I” or knowledge of the self, no action can be performed. This feeling of “I” or knowledge of the self comes from mahattattva or buddhitattva. The collective name for these three – citta, ahaḿtattva and mahattattva – is mind or antahkarańa or introversial psychic force. But these three portions of mind are only the outward manifestations of mind. It is with this mind that the action of seeing a book is performed, and this is termed psychic assimilation of rúpa tanmátra. Tanmátra is a new term and should be explained. The microscopic fraction of a wave radiated from an object and received by the indriyas is called tanmátra or inference. To explain this further, it can be said that the idea of a book is grasped with the help of rúpa tanmátra (the ideatory vibration of the nerves creates an image or figure in the mind) when one looks at the book. But if the eyes are closed or if one is in a dark place, one can still recognize the book by touch. Here the idea of the book is assimilated due to another tanmátra, that is, the tanmátra of touch or tactual perception. Again if someone drops a book out of sight or out of reach, it is possible to identify it as a book through the auditory tanmátra. Citta comes in contact with the tanmátras only when ahaḿtattva wants it to. The act of looking at or identifying the book must be done by ahaḿtattva as citta by itself does not possess the capacity to perform any function. When ahaḿtattva or the part of the mind which works wants to see a book, citta comes in contact with the organs of sight, that is, the eyes. The eyes receive the rúpa tanmátra from the book. This tanmátra which is always present in the environment in the form of waves, strikes against citta through the eyes, which form a sort of door to bring citta in contact with the outside world. Citta then takes the shape of the book, and ahaḿtattva identifies or sees it as per the shape which citta has taken. Similarly, when ahaḿtattva wants to hear something it puts citta in contact with the organs of hearing, the ears. The ears receive the sound tanmátra, which is always present in the physical environment, through the medium of sound waves. Citta, on the impact of this tanmátra, becomes the sound itself, and ahaḿtattva hears that sound. This shows that citta takes the form of whatever ahaḿtattva desires or does. To put it another way, citta manifests the actions which ahaḿtattva performs. It has already been explained that citta, ahaḿtattva and mahattattva or buddhitattva constitute the mind. Citta only has the capacity to take the form which ahaḿtattva wants. Similarly ahaḿtattva only has the capacity to perform actions. It can only work. There must be something to make it work. That something is mahattattva or buddhitattva, which gives one the feeling of “I”. This feeling of “I” is derived from the mind and this “I” in the mind makes ahaḿtattva and citta perform their respective functions. Without this “I” it is not possible to feel or see a book even if, under the influence of ahaḿtattva, citta takes the shape of the book. But then this “I” is only a part of the mind. That is, there is another “I” which is the possessing “I”, or the “I” which knows that there is a mind. The existence of “I” in the mind only proves that there is another real entity which is beyond mind and which knows the existence of mind. This “I” which is the witnessing entity and witnesses the existence of mind and the existence of buddhitattva or the feeling of “I”, is called átman or unit consciousness. Thus through introspection and concentrated thinking one observes that átman and mind, that is, unit consciousness and mind, are two separate entities. Átman or unit consciousness and mind are two separate entities, yet they must be related to each other. In the first instance it appears that I am aware of my existence. Then the same “I” that appears to prove my existence makes me work, and a part of my mind called citta takes the form of the book through tanmátras to enable me to see the book. The “I” that gives me consciousness or the “I” which witnesses the existence of my mind and therein of the “I” which gives the feeling “I exist” is átman or unit consciousness. The “I” that gives the feeling of “I exist” and also proves the existence of átman or unit consciousness, is mahattattva. The “I” that works or sees the book is ahaḿtattva and the portion of mind that takes the shape of the book and enables ahaḿtattva to see it is citta. This shows that the same “I” has a different function at each stage. How these different functions of the same “I” come about needs further clarification. The statement “I exist” presupposes the presence of “I” which is the witness of this existence. This witnessing entity is átman or unit consciousness and its presence is established by the feeling of existence that one displays by one’s every action. That this assertion of “I exist” is different from átman or unit consciousness is seen from the fact that this “I” presupposes the presence of my átman or unit consciousness. This feeling proves that unit consciousness is only consciousness and that without consciousness existence is not possible. Without consciousness there can be no feeling of existence. What then is going to witness the existence of “I”? Consciousness is therefore essential to create the feeling of mahattattva or buddhitattva. To be explicit, mahattattva or buddhitattva cannot exist without átman or unit consciousness. But the witnessing entity and the pure “I” feeling appear to be different functional forms of the same “I”. In fact the “I” that witnesses my existence, also manifests itself as the “I” of “I exist.” The witnessing “I” is unit consciousness or átman and it manifests itself as mahattattva or buddhitattva and thus establishes its own existence. It is the witnessing entity or unit consciousness which on taking up the function of the “I” of “I exist”, is called mahattattva or buddhitattva. Thus unit consciousness is not only consciousness, it also has a quality with the help of which it manifests itself through different functions. This quality is not consciousness, as otherwise it would not be necessary for unit consciousness to manifest itself as mahattattva and express itself as the “I” of “I exist”, which is different from the witnessing entity. Consciousness and its quality are therefore two separate entities in átman or unit consciousness. As this quality is different from consciousness, it must have been obtained from somewhere. There must be some other factor to qualify átman to make it manifest itself as mahattattva. That which gives this quality to átman is called Prakrti. In other words, it is due to Prakrti qualifying átman that it is manifested as mahattattva and gets the feeling of “I”. Prakrti needs an explanation. Prakrti is the entity which controls natural phenomena. Prakrti is neither nature nor quality. For instance, the quality of burning is said to be the nature of fire. There must be something which gives this quality to fire; just as there is some entity which gives its quality to unit consciousness. That which qualifies unit consciousness is Prakrti and not the quality which is exhibited due to Her influence. Prakrti is a Sanskrit word and is derived pra – kr + ktin and it means to do something in a special way. Unit consciousness establishes its existence only by being qualified by Prakrti. In other words, Prakrti qualifies unit consciousness or átman to give it the feeling of its existence. Energy is required to perform any action. As Prakrti performs the action of qualifying átman or unit consciousness, She is a unique force. She is the principle which qualifies unit consciousness. It is Prakrti who, by Her influence on unit consciousness, gives it the qualities of different functions. Prakrti is a unique force – a principle. But some questions which arise are: whose principle is She, and where does She come from? Prakrti is the principle of Puruśa, and it is by His own principle that Puruśa is influenced and qualified. As Prakrti is the principle of Puruśa, She must exist within Puruśa. In fact She always does. Unit consciousness and its prakrti can never be separated from each other, just as the burning principle of fire which cannot be separated from fire. Anything which acquires a characteristic quality due to the influence of a principle or force, cannot exist if that principle or force is withdrawn from it. The two will always go together, and so do unit consciousness and its principle, prakrti. Unit consciousness and its prakrti are inseparable like the two sides of a sheet of paper. The only function of Prakrti is to continually create different forms by Her influence over consciousness. Unit consciousness is the witnessing entity and realizes its existence only when it is qualified to manifest as “I” of “I exist.” The principle of Prakrti which establishes the existence of unit consciousness by qualifying Puruśa is called sattvaguńa, the sentient principle, and the part of mind which is thus formed to give the feeling of “I exist” is called mahattattva or buddhitattva. It will be more correct to say that under the influence of sattvaguńa, unit consciousness manifests itself as mahattattva or buddhitattva. Every action presupposes existence. Unless I exist, I shall not be able to see. Here also we find that “I” has two different functions or aspects. The first is the witnessing entity or consciousness, which, in order to prove or realize its existence, has acquired the feeling of “I exist,” and the same “I” now performs the function of seeing. The “I” of “I exist” is the buddhitattva which, while seeing something, takes up the function of seeing in addition to establishing the existence of unit consciousness. When unit consciousness is influenced by Prakrti, it manifests itself as buddhitattva. Similarly, the additional ability to perform an action is also caused by the influence of Prakrti on buddhitattva. Prakrti will also be present in buddhitattva as it is only a manifestation of unit consciousness, and Prakrti is bound to be with unit consciousness wherever and in whatever form it may exist. The principle or guńa of Prakrti which gives this quality or capacity to buddhitattva is called rajoguńa, the mutative principle. Thus when buddhitattva is influenced by Prakrti, it displays two functions or aspects. The latter, which it gets from rajoguńa and which gives it the capacity or quality to perform an action, is known as ahaḿtattva. That is, buddhitattva manifests itself as ahaḿtattva when influenced by rajoguńa or the mutative principle of Prakrti. Every action is bound to have a result in the end. For example, when you look at a book the result is seeing the book. How we see a book was explained earlier. Citta, which is a part of mind, picks up the form-producing tanmátra of the book and itself becomes the form of the book. It is that book that ahaḿtattva sees. Citta takes the form of what ahaḿtattva wants it to be. When ahaḿtattva sees a book, citta becomes that book, and when it hears a sound, citta becomes that sound. Citta therefore is entirely dependent on ahaḿtattva for its form. Citta keeps on changing its form at the bidding of ahaḿtattva. It must then be very closely connected with ahaḿtattva. How citta is formed needs clarification. Citta, as was explained earlier, is a part of the mind, and buddhitattva and ahaḿtattva are the other two parts. Buddhitattva and ahaḿtattva are manifestations of unit consciousness formed due to the influence of sattvaguńa of Prakrti over it and of rajoguńa over buddhitattva. In other words it is unit consciousness which, under the influence of Prakrti, takes up the function of ahaḿtattva in the second stage. Hence Prakrti is present in ahaḿtattva and is bound to qualify it further. In fact, it is due to Prakrti qualifying ahaḿtattva that it manifests itself as citta. The quality of Prakrti which influences ahaḿtattva is called tamoguńa, the static principle. It is as a result of the influence of tamoguńa that ahaḿtattva, or the “I” that performs actions, has to take up the mental image of the result of its action. This means that when “I” see a book, it is “I” that becomes like the book. Another “I” thus comes into being under the influence of tamoguńa. It is this “I” which takes the form of the mental image of the book during perception. This “I” which becomes like the book or takes on the form of the book is citta. Thus it is unit consciousness which gradually manifests itself as citta. In the preceding paragraphs it was established by logic and reasoning that it is only unit consciousness which, under the influence of the different principles of its Prakrti, gradually manifests itself as citta, and as a result of this, mind comes into being. The existence of unit consciousness is essential for mind, which is only a gradual manifestation of unit consciousness under the qualifying influence of Prakrti. Mind, in fact, cannot be formed without the presence of átman or unit consciousness. But we know that mind is present in every individual. Hence átman or unit consciousness is also present in every individual. There are innumerable individuals in this universe, and as átman or unit consciousness is reflected in each one, there appear to be many átmans or unit consciousnesses. The collective name for all these átmans or unit consciousnesses is Paramátman, Bhúmácaetanya, Brahma or Bhagaván. Just as twelve units make a dozen, twenty make a score, and the collective name for a very large number of soldiers is an army, the collective name for all the unit consciousnesses is Paramátman, Bhúmácaetanya or Bhagaván. The name Bhagaván should not be construed as a mighty human figure with powerful hands and feet. It is the collection of all our átmans. The nearest word in English which may be used for átman or unit consciousness is “soul”, so Bhagaván may also be called Universal Consciousness or Universal Soul. This shows that Bhagaván does exist and that It exists as Paramátman or Universal Soul, Bhúmácaetanya or Cosmic Consciousness, or Brahma, the Eternal Blessedness.

What Are the Noble Truths?

The subject of today’s discourse is, “What Are the Noble Truths?”

Ánandádhyeva khalvimáni bhútáni jáyante
Ánandena játáni jiivanti ánandaḿ prayantyabhisaḿvishantiiti.

This universe has emanated from the Supreme Bliss or Ánandam; it is being maintained in Ánandam, and will finally dissolve in Ánandam. Some people say that this universe is full of sorrows; there is no joy in it, About three thousand years ago, many philosophical queries first sprouted in the human mind. Prior to this there were scriptures but no philosophical treatises. Acarya Kapila was the first philosopher. Out of great admiration people used to call him ádividván, “the first scholar.” According to some persons, truth is fourfold: caturáryasatyam. What are those four noble truths? – 1) sorrow, 2) the cause of sorrow, 3) the cessation of sorrow, 4) the means to the cessation of sorrow.

Now, what was the overall outcome of this pessimistic outlook, the viewpoint of looking upon the world as filled with sorrow? People became victims of an escapist psychology and began to renounce home and hearth. They wanted to relinquish all their allotted duties and escape – but where? There was no answer. In an attempt to escape from one’s sins and misdeeds you may retire to the Himalayas from Kanpur, but you cannot go beyond that. So the question arises, where will you escape to? Suppose you commit some wrong, and to escape the evil outcome of those misdeeds and avoid punishment you try to hide yourself in the sky or in an unknown place or at the bottom of the sea or in a mountain cave. But can you really hide yourself anywhere? In fact in this universe there is not an inch of space where one can conceal oneself to avoid sorrow. If one accepts this world as a reality, one will have to undergo sorrows and miseries; there is no escape. Wherever people go in the universe, sorrows and miseries also accompany them.

But to a sádhaka or a devotee, this world is not full of sorrows, rather it is full of joys. Sádhakas renounce their family lives not to escape from the sorrows of the world but for the attainment of Supreme Blessedness. Those monks and nuns who renounce family life do not hide themselves in mountain caves; rather they dedicate themselves to the service of all. Transcending the limits of their small families, they identify themselves with the greater happiness of a bigger family.

The scriptures say that this universe has emerged from Ánandam or Supreme Bliss. The word Ánandam has two interpretations: first, a particular state where the amount of bliss is so great that no one can possibly be deprived of it; and second, a state where there is no feeling of pain or pleasure, joy or sorrow, at all. According to our philosophy, Ánandam means infinite happiness, sukham anantam ánandam.

Where did this universe come from – what is the source of its emanation? Sorrow is not a personal entity; hence out of sorrow nothing can be created. But Ánandam or the Infinite Happiness is a personal Entity. Parama Puruśa in His eternal stance is ánandasvarúpa, the embodiment of bliss. When He descends from His eternal stance to His transitory form then whatever emanates from Him in that state certainly imparts less bliss than that which flows? His Eternal Being. The stage in which Parama Puruśa does not create and does not even desire to create anything, is His Eternal Stance. And the state of bliss in which Parama Puruśa in that condition is called nityánanda. On the other hand when Parama Puruśa creates this universe, the living world, He is said to be in His liilábháva or transitory from, and the bliss which He imparts in that state is called His liilánanda.

Now the universal question of all human beings is this: Why did Parama Puruśa come within the scope of liilabháva? What was the necessity for this? Why did He create the universe? We understand that this is all His liilá, His divine sport. He has no doubt created human beings, animals and so many finite objects, but after all these microcosms are undergoing a great deal of suffering with regard to their food, clothing, housing, education, medical care, etc. Had He not come within the scope of liilabháva, had He not created this universe, this problem would not have arisen at all. Then what was the necessity of doing all this?

Yes, the jiṋániis or philosophers may complain that it would have been better if Parama Puruśa had not created this universe but instead remained in His Eternal Stance. But those philosophers do not realize that had Parama Puruśa remained in His Eternal Stance, then they themselves would not have been born, and then how could they have disseminated their philosophical knowledge? Similarly, the karmiis or people of action should also realize that as Parama Puruśa has composed this dream of creation, there are some roles which are happy and some which are sad. And if there are no unhappy roles, whom will the karmiis serve? As long as there is sorrow there is scope to serve, otherwise there would be no scope to serve anyone.

And what is the bhakta’s view? According to them, when Parama Puruśa was in His Eternal Stance He was all alone; there was no second entity besides Him. He had the power to speak but there was no one to talk. He had the capacity to be angry, but there was no one on whom He could vent His anger. “Why was this work not done in time? You will have to complete it within such-and-such a time” – to whom could He speak thus? There was no one to hear Him. What a pitiable condition.

The devotee says to the philosopher, “Look philosopher, I do not understand your theory of action – I only know that I exist and my Lord exists. What purpose does it serve to scavenge amidst the garbage? I knew only that my Lord was alone, and to remove this monotonous loneliness He created a universe within His mind and divided His creation into numerous fragments.” These entities or fragments are not external to Him… they are the internal creations of Parama Puruśa, He is continuing His divine sport with the numerous entities of His creation. He does not continue His play with any external entity that will complain and say, “Parama Puruśa is giving me trouble”… after all He is playing with His own limbs, with His own creations. Therefore no one has anything to complain about.

If Parama Puruśa is continuing His play with His own limbs, is it to undergo sorrow? Certainly not it is to enjoy eternal bliss. Can we imagine that He can create this vast world of living beings only to become steeped in sorrows and miseries? Not at all. Rather He created this universe to play with all and remain in a state of bliss. This was His main intention. Obviously there is no sorrow behind this creation; rather there is joy, there is bliss. As I told you earlier, sorrow is not a personal entity, but ánandam is a personal entity, because it comes from the identity of Parama Puruśa Himself. And that Ánandam has been transformed into the innumerable microcosmic identities. Thus Ánandam or the Supreme Bliss is the penultimate cause of the creation of the universe.

Sá váeśa tadá draśt́á na pashyad drshyamekaŕat́;
Mene sasta nivátmánaḿ supta shakti suśaptádrk.

The infinite energy that was lying in my Parama Puruśa is manifesting itself through the creation of this universe. Parama Puruśa is creating and will continue to create: in His drama there will always be new characters every moment. Some will be rich, some poor, some intelligent, some foolish, some stout, some thin, some black, some white – but all are the dramatis personae of His drama. The one who is playing the role of a king today and the one who is playing the role of a subject are all acting according to His direction. Those who are playing the roles of unhappy characters are standing on the theatrical stage and shedding tears, and those who are playing the roles of happy people are laughing. But all these tears and laughter are within the drama. A devotee well understands this secret of His drama. He who is playing the role of a king in the drama may be a poor man in real life, and at the end of the play he goes home and chews on dry crusts of bread. But in the drama he was a king.

In fact, all the people in this universe are playing the roles allotted to them, but that does not mean that they will truly become that role – they will be as He wishes them to become. Each and every living being is the progeny of Parama Puruśa. All exist with Him, and ultimately they will all merge in Him. So no one should even belittle oneself. A drop of water and the entire quantity of water in the ocean are all the same water. The difference is only that one is very small in quantity and the other is vast. When the drop of water identifies itself with the ocean, then no one will call it a drop any longer – for it has become one with the ocean.

Now, it may be said that the microcosms are very small – how will they become vast? Páshabaddho bhavetjiiváh páshasamuktah bhavecchivah. But how to get rid of the bondages? By doing sádhaná and kiirtana one will have to move forward: one must not be caught in the snares of bondage. Human beings come onto this earth for a very short period, and they must make the fullest utilization of the short span of their lives. They should always remember that they may be tiny, seemingly insignificant portions of this universe, but after all they exist within Him and remain with Him. Usually they do not realize this because they are bound by the snares of Máyá. They do not realize that however insignificant they may seem, they are with Him; and as there cannot be anything outside of Parama Puruśa they also exist within Him, and thus He has become their personal property. Those who are wise from the worldly point of view are less devotional; they say, “As Parama Puruśa belongs to all, thus He belongs to me also.” The karmiis (people of action) say, “As Parama Puruśa is mine, He belongs to everyone else as well”. But the devotees say, “As Parama Puruśa is my personal property, He belongs to me and to me alone. I am ready to give up everything else, but not Him.”

People say that human beings are assailed by their individual sins and misdeeds. This is no doubt true, but at the same time it is equally true that human beings are the progeny of Parama Puruśa. If Parama Puruśa is púrńávatár (the complete Lord), then human beings also can be kálávatára or aḿshávatára or khánd́ávatára (partial manifestation of Lord), and can become one with Him. He is always with human beings: He is watching whatever they do, for they are all within His vast mind.

Sahasrashiirśá Puruśah sahasrákśah sahasrapát;
Sa bhúmiḿ vishvato vrtvá’tyatiśt́haddasháuṋgulam.

* * *

Puruśa evedaḿ sarvaḿ yadbhútaḿ yacca bhavyam;
Utámrtatvasyesháno yadannenátirohati.(1)

A unit entity has a small mind, but Parama Puruśa has an infinite mind; then how far can you get through debate and argument? If you starve for two days, on the third day your power of thinking will be paralysed. You possess so little power, whereas Parama Puruśa possesses a vast mind. You see with only two eyes, whereas the Supreme Entity has innumerable eyes. You take the help of your mental eyes to see the images in your mind; but to see you Parama Puruśa does not require any eyes at all, because you are within His mind.

Sahasrapáda: When you move from one place to another you require a vehicle, but Parama Puruśa’s legs are extended everywhere; He does not need to move from one place to another. If you go to another place from here you cannot think that Parama Puruśa has gone far from you, because in fact you are where you were. He has entered each and every part of your mind; whatever you are thinking, have thought or will think in the future is all know to Him. Does that mean, then, that He is terrible, or frightening? Not at all. On the contrary He is all-merciful: He is showering His compassion on all. He scolds people only out of love, out of a spirit of welfare for all.

Puruśa evedaḿ sarvaḿ yadbhútaḿ yacca bhavyam: Whatever has been, is being and will be created is all within the Macrocosmic Mind. Even time, space and person all emanate from His mind. Therefore He is already of what was created and what is going to be created. If you perform virtuous deeds and thus elevate yourselves to higher realms, Parama Puruśa will be there with you. Conversely, if you degrade yourself to hell due to your misdeeds, there also He will be with you, because human beings are all a part and parcel of Him. Hence under no circumstances should people worry about anything. If you really go to hell then there also you will do sádhaná and kiirtana and wherever you do kiirtana, there Parama Puruśa will have to come because he Himself has said, “Náhaḿ tiśt́hámi vaekuńt́he, yoginám hrdaye na ca, madbhaktáh yatra gáyanti tatra tiśt́hámi Nárada.”-“I do not reside in heaven, nor in the hearts of yogis; but wherever my devotees sing kiirtana I remain there. For me there is no difference between a literate and illiterate person between a scholar and a fool.”

So when Parama Puruśa is with you in all circumstances, and when you are not alone, then how can you say that the world is full of sorrows? Rather the world is certainly full of joy because it is from joy that the universe has emerged, in joy it is being maintained, and finally the culminating point of all movement is the Supreme Bliss. I have often told you that one of the names of Parama Puruśa is Hari. Harati pápánii ityarthe Hari: that is, the Entity who steals all the sins of the microcosms is Hari. All the microcosms are part and parcel of Parama Puruśa: all are His progeny, His dear children. Human beings out of ignorance commit sins, and supposedly for this they are sent to hell. But if some bad actions are committed, naturally their consequences also must be undergone. One who attains an animal life as a result of one’s sins will have to undergo many afflictions in that animal birth. Parama Puruśa dearly loves His children, and thus he sometimes scolds them and tries to rectify them through punishment. Certainly He cannot want His sons and daughters to undergo pains an troubles; rather He wants them progress physically, mentally, an spiritually.

And what does He do to protect you? He must lighten the burden of your sins, and thus he steals them away from you. He tells his affectionate devotees, “Surrender all your sins to me;” but the devotees’ hearts are always filled with love for Him – how can they give their sins to Him? They will rather say, “I will feed Him with dainties and delicacies, and sing sweet devotional songs to Him – how can I give my sins to Him? I cannot.” But until one’s sins are surrendered, one will have to undergo the vicious cycle of endless births and deaths. So what does Parama Puruśa do in that case? Without taking the permission of the devotees, He surreptitiously steals their sins, and thus they become liberated from the bondages of all their sins. As this burden of sins is removed, the devotees can move forward at a much faster speed and arrive sooner at their destination. For this act of stealing, one of the names of Parama Puruśa is Hari.

Kalyáńamastu – may you all be blessed.

(1) Rgveda Puruśasúktam. –Trans.

20 March 1979 DMC, Kanpur
Published in:
Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 11

Verse, Mythology, History and Itihása

Today’s subject of discussion is [[“Verse, Mythology, History and Itihása”]]. Saḿskrta literature is broadly divided into four categories: verse (kávya), mythology (puráńa), history (itikathá) and itihása. What is kávya? “Vákyaḿ rasátmakaḿ kávyam.” When a certain story or event is expressed in a lucid way and in a captivating style, it is called kávya. A story may or may not be true, but it must be narrated in a charming style.

The story of a puráńa is also not true, but it has educative value. In fact, all the puráńas were written in order to educate the masses. They were mainly composed by Vyásadeva whose real name was Krśńadvaepáyana Vyása. Vyása is not his actual name, it is only a surname. At the confluence of the Gauṋga, Sarawati and Jamuna rivers near Allahabad, there is a small island with black soil which used to be under water. Many of you know that the land through which the Gauṋga flows is yellowish in colour, and thus the Ganga water is also yellowish. But the land through which the Jamuna flows is black cotton soil. And the island at the confluence of these three rivers also had black soil: thus it was named “Krśńadviipa.” There, in a fisherman’s family, Vyásadeva was born. As he was born on an island of black soil (Krśńadviipa) he was named Krśńadvaepáyana Vyása. He is the one who classified the Vedas into three parts: Rk, Yaju, and Atharva. Later on the musical portions of all these three Vedas were collected to form the fourth Veda, the Sámaveda. And as he edited and divided the Vedas into different parts, he was popularly known as Krśńadvaepáyana Vedavyása.

This Vedavyása was also the author of the Puráńas which he wrote in order to educate the common people. There are many stories in the Puránas, but they are not factually correct; the only purpose behind the stories was mass education. After writing the Puránas, Vyásadeva realized that while writing them to educate the common people, he had taken the liberty of narrating many of Parama Puruśa’s extraordinary qualities and forms out of his own imagination and he also extolled the virtues of many places of pilgrimage. Then he realized that this was not proper on his part, because Parama Puruśa is indescribable and omnipresent: to exalt a particular place of pilgrimage or to praise the qualities of Parama Puruśa was not proper. Thus in a repentant mood, he asked Parama Puruśa for forgiveness:

Rúpaḿ rupavivarjjitasya bhavato yaddhyanena kalpitam
Stutyánirvacaniiyatákhilaguro duriikrta yanmaya
Vyapitvyam ca nirakrtam bhagavato yattirtha yatradina
Kśantavyaḿ jagadisho tadvikalatadostarayam matkrtam.

The meaning of this shloka is, “Oh Parama Puruśa, you cannot be bound within the limitation of forms, yet I have described your various divine forms – this I should not have done. Secondly, I have eulogized you, I have described your virtues; but in fact your virtues are indescribable – I shall never be able to describe them all. That I have tried to do so – this was my audacity. And I know you are omnipresent, that your glory is everywhere, and yet I have glorified specific places of pilgrimage: this is also my great offence. I have knowingly committed these three serious errors due to my mental weakness; oh Parama Puruśa, I beseech your forgiveness.”

So we see that the Puráńas are fictional, but they are of immense educational value. Yet what Vyasadeva said while asking for forgiveness is also true: how can the Supreme Entity, who has created so many forms, be confined to a particular finite structure?

Dyotate kriidate yar maduyate dyotate divi
Tasmaddeva iti proktah stuyate sarvadevataeh.

Parama Puruśa cannot be limited to any finite structure. It is a fact that He is expressing His extraordinary capacity and discharging His responsibility through the medium of a particular structure, but He cannot be limited to that particular structure alone. And so far as His qualities are concerned, they are limitless. He is the Supreme Controller of everything, but no one controls Him. He is the Self-Controlled Entity (svayaḿdhá). From this Vedic Saḿskrta word svayaḿdhá, the word khodá or khudá came into the old Persian language; both have the same meaning. Svayaḿdhá literally means, “one who takes care of oneself.”

And He is endowed with countless qualities; His virtues cannot be enumerated. So He is asheśaguńaḿ – “the Entity with endless qualities.” Guńahiinamasheśagańábharanam. The word guńahiina means “devoid of guńas or binding principles”; He is guńahiina because how can the Entity who is binding all the creatures in the universe by His own binding faculties, be bound by anything else? Hence He is called guńahiina. He is not concerned with the binding faculties, for they all originate from Him.

Once some people approached the poet Padmadanta saying, “You are such an accomplished poet; why don’t you write something extolling the qualities of Parama Puruśa so that others may be benefited thereby? It may not be possible to describe His qualities in totality, but at least you can try.” To this the poet replied:

Asitagrisamam syat kaijalam sindhupátre
Surataruvarashákha nishita patramúrvii
Likhati yadi grhiitvá sáradá sarvakálam
Tathápi tava guńáńamiisha páraḿena yáti.

I think you are all familiar with an ink tablet – when it is dipped in water, it produces ink. When writing one requires ink, pen and paper, and also a writer is necessary. Here the poet has imagined that to describe Parama Puruśa, the ink tablet must as great as the Himalayan mountains, and the ink-pot must be as vast as the ocean. And what about the pen? It cannot be smaller than the párijata tree (a gigantic mythological tree in the garden of paradise). (Taru means any great and beautiful tree. In Saḿskrta taru is in masculine gender; shurataru means a tree in the garden of paradise. In mythology the párijata tree is used as the pen, and if the entire atmosphere of the earth is used as a sheet of paper, and if the Goddess of Learning herself writes with this immense pen, paper and ink-pot for eternal time, even then she cannot finish describing all the qualities of Parama Puruśa.

(Sára means knowledge; Sárada means “the entity which imparts knowledge.” So Sárada is the Goddess of Knowledge. It must be remembered that Sárada means the Goddess of Learning, the mythological Goddess Sarasvati. Sáras means “white effulgence.” And Sarasvati means “one whose body is made of white effulgence.” And Shárada means Durga. Shárada, Durga and Sarasvati are mythological goddesses, not Vedic deities. Of course, in the Vedas there is reference to one Sarasvati, but that is the name of a river. In Saḿskrta, Sara means “large pond or lake of white effulgence.” The reference to Sarasvatii in the Vedas is the river Sarasvati (Gauṋga, Jamuna and Sarasvati): Ambitame ne d́iitame Sarasvatii – “Oh, mother Sarasvatii, the greatest of all rivers.”)

If one tries to describe all the qualities of Parama Puruśa, one will never be able to do it. Yet I have tried to confine you within the bondage of my language; so apologized Vyásadeva.

Mythology (Puráńas) and History (Itikathá)

Now let us discuss the puráńas. The stories that are invented to impart knowledge to people are called puráńas (mythology). Here the events are not actually true, but many of them are highly educative. Take the case of the Rámáyańa: it is fictional, but it is of immense educational value.

Next comes history (itikathá). When we maintain a chronological record of some event, then that record is called Itikathá: Ghatánáyáh painjiin am iti itikathá ucyate. The English equivalent for itikathá is “history”. In Saḿskrta, there are other synonyms also – purákathá, itivrtta, or purávrtta. All these words mean “history.” The English word “history” is derived from a Latin root; its French equivalent “histoire” means “to record.” So whatever has been recorded, whether good or bad, whether educative or not, is termed itikathá. Whatever is taught in the history in schools and colleges is partly, if not fully, itikathá: that is, some unnecessary matters have been included, and some necessary information omitted.

The fourth category of literature is itihása. Itihásati ityarthá itihása. The word itihása is derived from iti + has + ghaiṋ. Itihása is that part of itikathá which carries some educative value. The entire history or itikathá is not all itihása; itihása, which has no English synonym, is only that particular part of itikathá which has educative value. What is taught these days to students in the name of history of India (Bharatvarsa Itihás) is not really itihás. It is actually itikathá. Take the case of the Mahabharata.

Dharmártha kámamokśarthaḿ niitisuákyasamanvitam
Purávrttakatháyuktamitihásah pracakśate

The history book which teaches the readers about the four vargas (dharma or psycho-spiritual practice, artha or intellectual pursuit, káma or physical longing and mokśa or spiritual salvation), which provides a code of ethics for human beings and presents the dos and don’ts of life, may be called itihása.

Now the question is, what are these four vargas? Human life is expressed in four major ways (vicarańa). Hence I intentionally use the word vicarańa. Carana means movement, a special kind of movement by which people find the solution to the pressing problems of their lives – problems concerning their food, clothes, education, medical treatment, shelter, etc. Vicarańa means a special type of movement keeping a vigilance on all sides.

The first varga is káma, that is, the fulfillment of the physical longings of life. According to some people, káma means sexual urge, but this is a wrong conception: people lacking in proper knowledge of the Saḿskrta language make this sort of mistake. Káma means longing for the fulfillment of all physical and mundane necessities, such as food, clothing, education, shelter, etc.

The second varga is artha. Artha means that which brings an end to suffering. Human beings usually suffer from triple afflictions: physical, mental and spiritual. That which alleviates these triple afflictions is called artha. We know that in the physical sphere human beings suffer in various ways – not only from the shortage of food and clothing, but also from others pains and sorrows as well. Suppose someone falls down while walking; this is also suffering in the physical sphere.

In the psychic sphere, too, people suffer much pain, for example at the death of a beloved one. Even those people who have no problems of food, clothing, accommodation or education or medical care, also bitterly weep at the loss of their near and dear ones. This is psychic affliction.

Then there is spiritual affliction. “Parama Puruśa is mine, and I am His – this I realize. Yet I cannot make Him exclusively my own at all times.” This affliction of not attaining Parama Puruśa as close as one desires, is spiritual affliction.

The devotees say, “I belong to Parama Puruśa and Parama Puruśa is mine – He belongs to me alone and to no one else.” The intellectuals say, “Yes, Parama Puruśa belongs to all, therefore He belongs to me also, because I am included in all.” The people of action (karmiis) say, “No Parama Puruśa is mine, and as He is mine He belongs to all. Because I am not alone in this universe, He also belongs to my father, my mother, my relatives, and to all others as well. Just as the moon is the maternal uncle (candámáma) of all – of my father and my grandfather – so Parama Puruśa is my maternal uncle as well, and He is the universal maternal uncle.”

But the devotees say, “No, no I can share all my belongings with others, but not my Parama Puruśa. He is mine and mine alone – He belongs to no one else. I cannot even think of sharing Him with anyone.”

When I realize that Parama Puruśa is my own, and yet I still cannot attain Him exclusively, then there is a profound pain in the mind, and that pain is spiritual affliction.

Now, that which removes these triple afflictions is artha. Regarding physical affliction, we know that sometimes people feel hungry. Now, how to remove this physical affliction? People go to the market with money; they buy something to eat and then their hunger is removed. Now since their hunger is temporarily relieved through the medium of money, money is termed artha in Saḿskrta.

In the human mind, too, there are various sorrows and sufferings. For instance, if one fails to understand something, one suffers mentally. Suppose someone is asked about the meaning of the Saḿskrta word aparámrst́a, but one does not know the meaning. Even while eating, or going to sleep, one suffers a feeling of uneasiness in the mind due to this lack of knowledge. Then when one suddenly comes to know from someone, or from a dictionary, the meaning of the word, then one’s mental uneasiness is relieved. So “meaning” is also called artha in Saḿskrta, because knowing the meaning of something removes one’s mental suffering. So artha means money and artha also means meaning: that which removes suffering in the physical, psychic and spiritual spheres is called artha.

Suppose one feels hungry; one may gather money and buy some bread from the market. Here money is artha. But the passing of one winter does not remove cold forever: similarly, if one eats today, it will not permanently remove one’s hunger. Tomorrow one will feel hungry again as usual, and again there will be a necessity for money. But that object which removes hunger permanently is called paramarthá: Trividha dukhasya átyantikii nirttih paramártháh. That is, only paramarthá can bring about permanent relief from the triple afflictions of human beings. Hence artha brings temporary relief, and paramarthá brings permanent relief.

The third varga is dharma. Dharma means proper conduct. When a cow behaves according to its own nature, we say that cow is good; similarly when a monkey behaves as a monkey should, we say that the monkey is good, because it is following its own intrinsic nature. Have you ever travelled by buffalo-cart? If buffaloes draw your cart into a pond, you will say that buffaloes are behaving just as buffaloes should, because the very nature of a buffalo is to forget its sense of responsibility and plunge into the water.

Similarly, if human beings act according to their allotted duties and remember that the attempt to attain Parama Puruśa is the greatest duty in human life, then only such persons deserve to be called true human beings, for only they are following their dharma. Itihása teaches humanity how to establish themselves in the true spirit of dharma.

Mokśa or salvation is the attainment of the highest goal in life – the complete self-surrender to the Supreme Desideratum of life. When human beings cultivate the spirit of Bhagavat Dharma, they are sure to attain salvation ultimately. It is the duty of history to inspire human beings to follow the path of salvation.

Thus we see that there are altogether four vargas – káma, artha, dharma and mokśa. Itihaśa is a kind of scripture which helps human beings to attain these four vargas, and which also imparts lessons of morality. Niiti or morality is derived from the Saḿskrta root verb nii + ktin suffix. Nii means “to lead” and niiti means “the code of conduct which leads human beings towards the state of highest fulfillment.” Niitivákya samanvatam: that which contains a code of morality, which provides the necessary guidance to human beings on their path of movement, is niiti.

Puravrttakathá yuktam; that is, history or itikathá of this sort is called itihása. Saḿskrta literature, as I have said earlier, is composed of four types of compositions: kávya or poetry, purána or mythology, itikathá or history, and itihása. The main purpose of all of these is to provide an understanding of what should be done and what should not be done. It is most important for human beings to move in the realm of spirituality, more than in other realms. Human beings should have followed the proper teachings, but unfortunately, previous teachers did not teach us in this way, and that is why there has been such great chaos in the social and psychic spheres.

As a result of these improper teachings, many family people have suffered from the inferiority complex that as they were living mundane lives, they were sinners. This sort of idea was firmly implanted in the minds of family people as the result of false propaganda by the opportunistic exploiters, who wanted to protect their vested interests in the spiritual sphere. These exploiters also did not want to disseminate dharma among the masses at all, for they feared that the spread of dharma would undermine their vested interests.

But Ananda Marga is for one and all: I wish to disseminate dharma among all. The dedicated monks and nuns of Ananda Marga have accepted their life of renunciation not out of any escapist mentality, but to further the cause of human welfare; and through their service, they seek to lead human beings along the path of righteousness to the abode of Supreme Bliss.

In Saḿskrta there are various verbs for “movement”: for instance, the verbs cal, braj, car, at́, and many others. Each of these verbs has different connotations; for instance, the verb at́ means to walk or to move while learning something. The person who visits different countries and learns various things is a paryatáka or tourist.

The verb braj means “to move while enjoying bliss.” While one moves from place to place, one encounters various beautiful sights and sounds and marvels at the wonderous creation of the Lord. This gives the visitor great joy and satisfaction; hence the verb braj means “to move while enjoying bliss.”

When the Aryans first left their original homeland, the Caucasian region, and arrived in India via Persia, they discovered many new things of absorbing interest and delight in Persia. Previously the Aryans did not know anything about wheat or rice, and when they first discovered wheat they found that it was extremely tasty, as if their tongues were dancing in joy tasting various dishes prepared from wheat. In Saḿskrta dhúna means “to dance in delight”; and one of the Saḿskrta synonyms of tongue is go. So that the food which delights the tongue was termed godhúma. Later it Prakrta this was distorted to gohuma; then from gohuma it became gehaḿ in Hindi, and gaham in Oriya, and gaham or gam in Bengali. All there are derived from the original Saḿskrta term godhúma.

In Persia the Aryans first came in contact with rice as well. Previously oats and barley were their staple foods, but in rice they discovered the possibility of preparing varieties of dishes such as cooked rice, rice, beaten rice, etc. Those foods which could be used for preparing types of dishes were called briihi. Just as in Saḿskrta grammar the system of combining several words into one is termed bahubriihi samása, so the Aryans named that food from which various types of dishes could be prepared as briihi. The word briihi became rihi in old Latin, rici in modern Latin, and rice in modern English.

So when the Aryans found that Persia offered them various delights, they named it aryánaḿ vraja, that is, “the bountiful land of the Aryans.” From this the county was called Iranbej, and the present name is Iran. The Arabic name of the country is Pharas, from which the word Persia has come; but the proper name of the country is Iran.

So we have seen that the word braj means, “to move while enjoying bliss.”

Similarly, the verb ejati means “to move with a particular purpose”: samanam ejatii iti ityarthe samájah. When many people of a particular community are moving forward with a munity of people who have taken a vow to move together. For particular purpose, it is called samája (Samánamejati) – the community of people who have taken a vow to move together. The people of these samajas, for instance, Utkal Samáj or Koshal Samaj, have decided to move collectively hand in hand sharing the common joys and sorrows of life, struggling collectively against wrongs and injustices. Thus samaja is derived from the root verb ej.

Another verb is cal. Cal is a general term for movement: calati, calata, calani. There is another verb car, which means to move while eating, just as cows move while eating grass. But human beings generally do not move while eating, so this verb is not used for human beings. (Sometimes we do move along the streets eating peanuts or chana chura (a fried snack); in this case, we are also moving while eating, so here the verb carati would be used; but this is an exception.)

So vicaranam means a special type of carana or movement; that is, when people move collecting the indispensable necessities of life for their all-round growth and development. Brahmani vicaranam Brahmacaryam. What is a Brahmacarin? A person who has accepted Brahma as the chief nourishment of one’s existence in the physical, psychic, and spiritual spheres of life is a Brahmacarin. Sometimes the word Brahmacarin is misconstrued to have an altogether different meaning; but the real meaning is one who moves in the Cosmic World. Brahma + car + nini + 1st case ending singular = Brahmacarin.

Our PROUT will provide all the means of nourishment – food, clothes, education, medical treatment, accommodation, etc. and thus it will lead human society towards the Supreme Goal or Parama Brahman. Human beings should move with this spirit. Thus itihása is that scripture which provides us with all the facilities for our forward movement towards the four vargas.

Dharmártha kámamokśarthaḿ niitisuákyásamanvitam
Purávrttakatháyuktamitihásah pracakśate.
25 March 1979, Midnapur
Published in:
A Few Problems Solved Part 3

Three Fundamental Factors to Succeed in Sádhaná Márga

Wherever there is any effort to achieve anything in the physical, psychic or spiritual spheres, one does not succeed easily. That is to say the path of fulfillment, the path of forward movement, is not always a smooth one. In this respect three basic points should be remembered very carefully. The first one is the qualification, that is, the minimum qualification that a sádhaka should possess. According to the definition given by Lord Shiva a sádhaka must possess a human structure, that is he or she must be a human being. This is the minimum qualification of a sádhaka.

The second point is that to succeed in the path of sádhaná márga seven secret codes must be learnt and mastered. What are these seven codes of success? This question was asked by Shiva’s wife Parvati. Shiva replied:

Phaliśyatiiti vishvása siddherprathama lakśańam,
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktam trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.
Caturtho samatábhávo paiṋcamendriya nigrahah
Saśthaiṋca pramitáháro saptamam naeva vidyate.

At Patna, I discussed this matter in detail. You may go through my discourse.

Now what is the effective way to perform an action (karma)? You all know that even if one has fixed one’s goal, even if one’s goal has been predetermined, one may fail to attain it if one does not follow the correct procedure. It has been said that this procedure, this method should be based on “Prańipátena, pariprashnena and sevaya”. That is to say, in order to succeed in the field of karma, one should be fully conversant with prańipátena, pariprashnena and sevayá.

What is the meaning of “prańipáta?” The word “prańipáta”; is derived from the Saḿskrta prefix “Pra” + “ni” + “pat” + “ghaiṋ” prań – ni – pat + ghaiṋ. Prańipáta means “total surrender”. But where should one surrender? At the altar of one’s goal. The Sádhaka should surrender totally and selflessly at the base of that altar. And to whom should one surrender? One is to surrender to the supreme goal of one’s life, to the highest point of one’s supreme stance.

The second factor is “pariprashnena”. People generally ask questions to improve one’s intellectual knowledge. Sometimes questions are asked simply to test someone’s depth of learning. Again having ascertained something, sometimes questions are being asked in order to perform the karma rightly and properly. Here the meaning of “Pariprasna” means those questions whose answers one will execute in one’s daily life. Questions are asked to obtain correct guidance so that one may march ahead and act accordingly.

The third point is “sevayá”. “Seva” means rendering selfless service. To whom is this “Seva” to be offered? It is to be offered to the oppressed classes ascribing the idea of Náráyańa or Brahma on them. “By rendering this sevá or service, I am doing nothing extraordinary. Rather I feel grateful to the needy person for having given me the opportunity to serve.” This is how one should feel while serving. Hence everyone should be conscious of the actional side of life in order to be successful. This actional side is nothing but to serve according to the direction of the main rules of “service” inherent in “Prańipát, Pariprashna and Sevá.”

15 December 1978, Calcutta

The Vaeshya Age – The Age of the Capitalists

Both the kśatriyas and the vipras like to enjoy material wealth, though their methods of accumulating material objects are different. The vaeshyas, however, are more interested in possessing material objects than enjoying them. Looking at their possessions, or thinking about them, gives them a certain peace of mind. So in the Vaeshya Age the practical value of material goods is less than at any other time. They gradually become inert both literally and in financial terms. This is the greatest curse of the Vaeshya Age, because the less the mobility of material goods, that is, the greater their stagnation in different spheres, the more harmful it is for the common people. In the Kśatriya and Vipra Ages it is very rare for people to die of starvation while grains rot in the warehouses. Although there is disparity of wealth in the Kśatriya and Vipra Ages, kśatriyas and vipras do not kick others into a pit of privation, poverty and starvation while they themselves enjoy their wealth. This is because they see other people as tools to be used for the purpose of exploitation, but do not see them as the wellspring of exploitation as the vaeshyas do. To a vaeshya, the shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras are not only tools to be used for exploitative purposes, they are the wellspring of exploitation as well.

The vaeshyas gain material objects of enjoyment through the physical efforts of others; or directly through mental efforts; or sometimes through such physical efforts, sometimes through mental efforts, and sometimes through both simultaneously, according to the situation. So in this respect the vaeshyas are similar to the vipras. However, the difference is that when the vipras acquire objects of enjoyment, they do not let others know that that is their intention; they resort to various types of logic, quote from the scriptures, fake indifference, and employ many other techniques. The vaeshyas do not do such things. In this regard at least, they are more straightforward than the vipras. They do not hide their intentions, which are to accumulate an increasing number of objects of enjoyment.

As vipras are to some extent guided by conscience, they do not utilize their intellects solely to accumulate objects of enjoyment. If they develop a greater degree of conscience or if their intellects increase, they will often neglect to do this altogether. But this never happens with vaeshyas, first of all because they are somewhat lacking in conscience. And secondly, if any of them do have a bit more conscience, they will satisfy it by making donations according to their convenience, priorities or inclination, but they will never stop accumulating objects of enjoyment. A vaeshya with a conscience may donate a hundred thousand rupees at a moment’s notice, but while buying and selling he will not easily let go of even a paisa.

The consequences of accumulating material objects of enjoyment are not the same for vaeshyas as they are for vipras, either. Because they generally spend some time thinking about higher pursuits, vipras do not ideate on objects of enjoyment. But vaeshyas do. As a result they one day take the form of matter.

Vaeshya Mentality

Whatever glory the vaeshyas gain, they gain at the risk of their lives. In this regard they are definitely greater than the vipras and may also be greater than the kśatriyas. The vaeshyas always keep in mind the possible ups and downs in life and their personal profit and loss; thus they develop the capacity to adapt to a wide variety of situations. They are neither especially attracted to luxuries nor repelled by hardships. This is the key to their success.

Vaeshyas are fighters, but their methods of fighting are different from those of the kśatriyas or even the vipras. Actually they lack the powerful personalities of the kśatriyas and are in fact the opposite – weak personalities. They do not hesitate to sell their personal force, their society, their nation, the prestige of women, or national welfare, which the kśatriyas would never do. Vipras limit their fighting to the intellectual sphere, but this is not exactly the case with vaeshyas. Although they also fight intellectually, they do so only to make money. If a vipra and a vaeshya ever engage in a purely intellectual fight, the vipra will win. But if the fight is between their urges for financial gain, the vaeshya will win; the vaeshyas will lock the vipras’ minds up in their iron safes.

Vaeshyas perceive the world through greedy eyes. They do not have the capacity to correctly or fully understand worldly issues. They do not understand anything except the economic value of things. Their commercial outlook is not confined to the material world only; it also includes the psychic and spiritual worlds.

Even though vaeshyas, as a kind of intellectual, have the capacity to acquire psychic wealth, they do not utilize this capacity properly. However, some vaeshyas do find quite subtle ways to make money – it all depends on the degree of their intellect.(1) Though they may have a developed intellect or a desire to do good, they never forget that their primary aim is to make money. They worship whichever god makes them rich. After earning tens of millions of rupees by cheating people with their business acumen, they use a small part of their profit to construct temples or dharmashálas [pilgrims’ inns], because they believe that this will absolve them of their sins.

Vaeshyas do not like to tread the path of desireless action in order to make their minds one-pointed and realize God. They avoid or usually try to avoid the real purpose of dharma, for they do not have any sense of or feeling for religion other than some degree of fear of God. If this fear decreases, they begin to behave like mean-minded demons. In such a state of mind they can commit any type of sin to satisfy their hunger for money.

A mind which runs after money moves in very crooked ways. Although this movement involves intense effort, due to the crudeness of its objective the movement cannot be straightforward: it is crooked, extremely crooked.

Due to their intense effort vaeshyas are mutative by nature, and due to the crudeness of their objectives they are static by nature; thus they are a combination of the mutative [red] and static [black] forces and are symbolized by the colour yellow.

Though vaeshyas make greater efforts than do kśatriyas, their efforts are more psychic than physical.

Deadly Social Parasites

Vaeshyas believe that only a few people can accumulate material wealth, depriving the rest. Thus there will always be only a few vaeshyas, while those who are the objects and tools of their exploitation form the majority. Like exploited beasts of burden which carry bags of sugar, in their crippled state of mind the majority feel that they do not have the right to taste the sweetness. This feeling is the greatest ally of the vaeshyas, so directly or indirectly they always try to nurture this type of feeling in the minds of the majority. Consequently they propagate various types of isms and ethereal theories with the help of the vipras in their pay whom they have reduced to the level of shúdras. When the majority, unable to tolerate this exploitation any longer or find any other way out, desperately leap into action, the Vaeshya Age comes to an end. But it takes a long time for downtrodden people to understand that the vaeshyas are the parasites of society. Hence thorough preparation is required to end the Vaeshya Age.

By vaeshyas I mean here the low type of vaeshyas. However, I am not prepared to call those who are not low vaeshyas, “high” vaeshyas; because while it is true that they give donations as well as exploit, and that society may be benefited by their donations, that will not bring the people who have died from their exploitation back to life!

The vaeshyas increase their wealth by buying the back-breaking labour of the shúdras, the powerful personalities of the kśatriyas, and the intellect of the vipras, according to their needs. The shúdras, just like beasts, sell their physical labour in exchange for mere subsistence. Because they sell their labour, society survives and moves ahead. The powerful personalities of the kśatriyas build and maintain the social structure with the labour extracted from the shúdras. Through their intellect the vipras utilize the personal force of the kśatriyas, and through their money and capitalistic mentality the vaeshyas utilize the vipras’ intellect to increase their wealth.

The vaeshyas do not confront any social problem directly. Just as they buy the labour of the shúdras, the personal force of the kśatriyas and the intellect of the vipras with money, so they endeavour to solve all social problems with money. They do not win victory on the battlefield; they buy it with money. In poverty-stricken democratic countries they buy votes. As they accomplish everything with money, their vital force comes from money. They therefore take all sorts of risks in life to accumulate money. For money they can sacrifice their conscience, their sense of good and bad, right and wrong, at any moment. So in order to save the exploited shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras from the vaeshyas, money, which is the source of all their power, has to be taken out of their hands.

Of course it is not wise to think that all social problems will be solved just by taking money away from the vaeshyas. Although they will have lost their money, they will still have their greedy, money-making mentality.

Thus the structure of society will have to be built in such a way, and society will have to progress in such a way (maintaining balance among time, place and person), that the greedy, money-making mentality of the vaeshyas is rendered ineffectual. This cannot be accomplished by persuasion or by delivering philosophical talks. Their money-making intellect will have to be rendered ineffectual through physical force, and they will have to be shown the divine truth and made to sit and perform spiritual practices to awaken their pinnacled intellect.

To the vaeshyas the social body is merely a machine for making money. The vipras are the head, the kśatriyas are the arms, and the shúdras are the legs of the machine. The authors of scripture may say that the vaeshyas are the thighs of the machine, but I would say that this is incorrect. Of course the vaeshyas are part of the social body, but they are not part of the money-making machine within that social body. They are separate. They supply the oil, water and fuel to the machine, but they take far more from the machine than they spend on it. They think, “As I supply oil, water and fuel to the machine to keep it running, all of the output is mine. My money built the machine, and with my money I can destroy it. If necessary I will get more work out of it by supplying it with more oil, water and fuel, and if I no longer need it I will send it to the junkyard.”

If, in the history of human struggle, the role of the vipras is one of parasitic dependence on others, I cannot find words to describe the role of the vaeshyas. Both the vipras and the vaeshyas exploit society, but the vipra exploiters are not as terrible as the vaeshya exploiters. The vaeshyas are like a deadly parasite on the tree of society which tries to kill the tree by sucking dry all its vital sap. But if the tree dies, the parasite will also die. The vaeshya parasites understand this and therefore try to ensure the survival of society by making some donations; they build temples, mosques, churches and pilgrims’ inns, give little bonuses, feed the poor; etc. Calamity only comes when they lose their common sense out of excessive greed and try to suck society completely dry.

Once the social body falls unconscious, the vaeshyas will die along with the rest of the body. Otherwise, before allowing themselves to die, the exploited shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras can unite to destroy the vaeshyas. This is the rule.

Crooked Intellect

The path of the vipras is crooked and so is the path of the vaeshyas. The difference between them is that since the vaeshyas’ crooked intellect has no trace of spiritual consciousness, it often proves to be suicidal.

A dreadful calamity will befall society if those who have intellectual capacity squander it by running after mundane pleasures instead of utilizing it to realize spiritual bliss – if they utilize all their intellect to fatten themselves by sucking the vital juice of others. So there can be no social welfare until this type of mentality is eradicated or rendered ineffectual through circumstantial pressure. No political leader or governmental or social system can build a welfare state, a socialistic state or an ideal society if they neglect this fundamental disease. If those who go around looking for opportunities to enlarge their stomachs by sucking the vital force of others continue to control society or the nation through their own group of sinners, what can one expect to see in such a society except a horrid picture of hell!

Most of the evils that occur in society are created due to the exploitation carried out by the vaeshyas. In order to increase the size of their bank balances, the vaeshyas create an artificial scarcity of such items as food, clothing and other essential commodities, and then earn a profit by black marketeering. Those who do not have the capacity to purchase commodities at exorbitant prices steal, commit armed robberies and engage in other criminal activities in order to obtain the minimum requirements of their lives. Poor people deprived of food and clothing work as the agents of the greedy vaeshyas engaged in black marketeering and smuggling. When these poor people are caught, they are the ones who get punished, while the vaeshyas escape thanks to the power of their money. Such ill-fated poor people lose their consciences and descend deeper into sin. Society condemns these sinners, while the rich vaeshyas, the instigators of the sinners, play the role of public leaders. They wear garlands, set off verbal fireworks, and shrilly exhort the masses to make greater sacrifices.


The repugnant social disease of prostitution is also a creation of the vaeshyas. As a result of excessive wealth the vaeshyas lose their self-control and their character on the one hand; and many unfortunate women are forced by poverty to descend to this sinful occupation on the other hand.

In India prostitution has been outlawed, but every rational person knows that it cannot be stopped by legal means. Poor women who once lived in red-light districts have only fled out of fear of the law to respectable localities. As a result the sin which was previously confined to certain areas is now spreading to other parts of town. In order to eradicate this sinful occupation in India, it will be necessary to eliminate the vaeshya social system, because in eighty per cent of cases the cause of prostitution is economic injustice. Of course if due to wrong education or base propensities people (both men and women) give indulgence to this sinful occupation, it will continue even after the eradication of economic injustices. So instead of enacting laws, the exploitation of the vaeshyas will have to be eliminated, as will other social injustices. And instead of legally banning something, a healthy outlook should be encouraged.

Of course it is in the nature of a vaeshya-dominated social system that many good laws are framed just to win cheap applause from the public. However, none of these laws are strictly implemented; because if they were, it would become difficult to exploit people.

The Acquisition of Wealth

Neither the vipras nor the vaeshyas directly produce the wealth of society; instead they accumulate the wealth produced by others. To say that there is a heaven-and-hell difference between their methods of acquiring wealth is to say little. The vipras use their intellect and acquire the hard-earned wealth of others in order to meet their material needs, maintain their reputation in society and protect their prestige. But the vaeshya outlook is different. They are content to simply accumulate wealth, and derive pleasure from thinking about their accumulated riches. Hence even millionaire vaeshyas sometimes neglect the bare necessities of life. They forget their hunger when they are counting their money; they forget their personal needs – their minds get absorbed – when they see the wealth they have accumulated. And as for prestige, they sell it for money without any hesitation.

If a certain commodity is easily obtainable in the open market, a vaeshya will welcome a customer with folded hands, saying, “Please come in, sir, have some betel.” But when the same commodity is only available in the black market, the same vaeshya will not even recognize that customer.(2) In other words, to vaeshyas money is the only thing that matters. Where money is concerned, their own prestige or the prestige of others is of no consequence.

When people use their intellects over a long period of time solely to accumulate material wealth, their intellects, because they have inculcated this sort of thought in their mental bodies, gradually develop in that direction. In other words, “How can I accumulate more?” ultimately becomes their only thought. Their social spirit and sense of humanity gradually disappear until eventually they become total blood-sucking leeches. They do not retain even the tiniest scrap of humanity.

At the beginning of the Vaeshya Age some social spirit still exists in them alongside the desire to make money. Whatever their motive may be, the vaeshyas do sometimes spend generously on social service and charitable activities, but by the end of the Vaeshya Age they lose even the last vestiges of social consciousness, and as a result of their foolhardiness shúdra revolution occurs.

At the beginning of the Vaeshya Age the vaeshyas use their money-making intellect both for social service and for accumulating money, and in these matters they take advice from other members of society. But by the end of the Vaeshya Age they become so irresponsible due to the intoxication of accumulation that they are not prepared to take advice from anyone. They use their money-making intellect solely to exploit society.

How the Vaeshyas Evolve

In the Vipra Age those who were defeated due to their lack of physical strength, courage or intellectual ability tried to discover an alternative way to live and gain social recognition. The particular type of psychic clash which arose in their minds due to their constant efforts to establish themselves developed in them their money-making intellect. This skill helped them to utilize the strength of the strong, the courage of the brave and the intellect of the intellectuals, and the more they were able to do this the more they became known as shreśt́hiis.

Here the funny thing is that the vaeshyas, who had money but no social status, were able to obtain from the vipras whom they exploited titles of respect such as shreśt́hii(3) and sádhu [honest]. (Sádhu became sáhu and today it is Sáu [a common surname].) The vipras took on the worry-free job of priests to these shreśt́hiis and sádhus. They underwent austerities, performed worship and recited scripture on behalf of the shreśt́hiis in return for money. The courageous kśatriyas took upon themselves the responsibility of being armed gatekeepers, and began to salute the shreśt́hiis twice a day. Other vipras became clerks, accountants, etc.; and the shúdras became porters and labourers. Through their work they all gradually began to elevate the status of the shreśt́hiis. This is an objective picture of the Vaeshya Age in every country of the world.


Some vipras’ economic intellect is awakened while under the patronage of the economic intellect of the vaeshyas. Such people become pseudo-vaeshyas, and towards the end of the Vaeshya Age their dominance of society becomes evident. The vipras’ crooked thinking blends with the vaeshya-like economic intellect of these pseudo-vaeshyas, but the pseudo-vaeshyas do not possess any of the good qualities of either the vaeshyas or the vipras. So although they carry on the vaeshya legacy up to the very end of the Vaeshya Age, they finally fall into utter disgrace and disrepute.(4)

In their efforts to perpetuate their exploitation without hindrance, the pseudo-vaeshyas make use not only of their economic intellect but also of whatever other intellectual capacities they possess. By hook or by crook they even seize governmental power. They then use that power as an instrument of exploitation, a cruel machine to ruthlessly pulverize the whole of society. Out of fear that their descendants may face financial difficulties in the future due to their lack of competence, they not only continue to exploit the whole of society, but also set aside for those descendants huge sums of money which remain wholly or partially unutilized.

The non-utilization of capital is the worst consequence of economic exploitation. Exploited and downtrodden people who do not want to be exploited to death, revolt. Thus shúdra revolution occurs during the period of the Vaeshya Age which is dominated by dishonest vaeshyas.

The vitality of the Kśatriya Age gives way to the intellectuality of the Vipra Age, and the intellectuality of the vipras is bought for money in the Vaeshya Age. The vaeshyas buy the vipras’ intellect with money, and with the help of that intellect they build up their state, society and economic structure, putting them to work as they choose.

Generating Collective Wealth

Nothing in the world is exclusively good or exclusively bad. Is the Vaeshya Age only an age of economic exploitation? Is there nothing good in this present Vaeshya Age, and has there never been anything good in it? Although it is a fact that the vaeshyas’ economic exploitation has always surpassed their service, they have nevertheless done service, however small or insignificant it may have been. When the vipras collect something (directly or indirectly), they decide how and to what extent it can be put to use, how it can be enjoyed by the people and how it can be utilized for their welfare. But the vaeshyas collect things without thinking about how they can be utilized for social welfare. Instead they think about how to compel people through circumstantial pressure to buy those things so that they can earn money in exchange.

Material goods have no practical value for the vaeshyas, except as a source of income. This type of mentality leads them to illegally hoard foodstuffs out of a greedy desire for greater profits, depriving millions of people of food and pushing them down the road towards death.

We do not expect vipras to do such things. The vipras do promote their personal interests and their domination, but they do not try to deprive the shúdras and kśatriyas of a chance to live. But if the vaeshyas think of the kśatriyas or shúdras as thorns on the path of making money, they will deprive them of a chance, and often out of greed for greater profit indirectly kill them.

Having said all this, I still contend that nothing in this world is exclusively good or bad. For any individual or collective endeavour, capital, either in the form of money or resources, is initially required. The opportunity to create such capital, to create capital in a massive way or in a widely-diversified way, comes in the Vaeshya Age. With the help of such capital, wealth can be generated for both individual and collective needs, and this is what happens.

In order to raise the general standard of living in a society, state or economy, capital is required, whether the capital comes from within a particular country or from outside. No matter where it comes from, it must be controlled partly or completely by an individual. The individual controller is, of course, the vaeshya. But if, without examining how it should or should not be used, the use or control of the capital is entrusted to a government, a cooperative or a representative of the public, non-utilization or misutilization of the capital will be inevitable in all circumstances. This is one of the main reasons why capitalistic countries develop extremely rapidly in the material sphere.

Furthermore, if large amounts of capital are placed under collective management, a small error on the part of the managers will lead to gross misutilization. This is the main reason why the system of collective farming, or the commune system, has failed in socialistic countries. If the ownership of wealth is taken away from individuals and placed in the hands of the state – in other words, if the vaeshya system is abolished by force – managers will not have the same control over that wealth as individual owners would.

State Capitalism

One thing more needs to be said about collective capital: collective capital does not always mean the establishment of socialism. Where collective capital means the capital of the state, if the state tries to increase its national wealth without stopping exploitation in society and without trying to increase individual wealth, increasing the national wealth will mean increasing the individual wealth of only a few people in power. Thus, although there is an increase in the per capita income, the per capita income of the poor does not increase, and the per capita income of the well-to-do does not decrease.

Although one cannot support this sort of state capitalism, one cannot deny that the state has to utilize capital in order to increase the wealth of the state. If state capitalism actually increases the per capita income of every person without constantly seeking to exploit, we cannot but praise it – it can be considered exemplary socialism. After all, a state must invest capital if it wants to increase the national income. Such capital investment is clearly a vaeshya system.

Perpetuating Exploitation

The vaeshyas became established through their materialistic intellect. First they defeated the vipras through their materialistic intellect and financial machinations, then they turned them into sycophants so that they could harness their intellects in order to increase their wealth.

Although the production, accumulation and distribution of things indispensable for the preservation of human life are carried out under the ownership or partial supervision of the vaeshyas, those whose labour, personal force and intellect are actually used to produce and distribute essential commodities are not vaeshyas. In order to meet their own needs those people mortgage their labour, personal force and intellect to the vaeshyas. The vaeshyas clearly understand that their system of exploitation will fail without the help of the shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras.

Thus behind their grandiloquence the vaeshyas continue their psychological manipulations in order to perpetuate their capitalistic rule. Through this process the shúdras and kśatriyas readily become their slaves. Although the vipras understand what is happening, after a short struggle they are also compelled to surrender to the vaeshyas like a fly caught in a spider’s web.

These psychological manipulations, a part of vaeshya philosophy, begin to fail only when the shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras lose their minds due to excessive exploitation. They then become desperate, blind, mindless people who completely lack conscience, intellect or rationality. One day they mercilessly smash the vaeshya structure to pieces. How or why they did it, or how the new structure will be built – these considerations, this type of thinking – never enter their minds. They only jump into the struggle in order to survive. They think, “Since there is no point in living, let us die sooner.” While this directionless revolution is going on, the condition of the shúdras, kśatriyas and vipras becomes almost the same. It is useless to expect from them anything worthy of human beings.

Intellect controls strength; therefore the vipras control the shúdras and the kśatriyas. But, Annacintá camatkárá [“Wonderful are the ways of hunger”] – when even intelligent people find themselves struggling to survive, they readily sell their intelligence for money; for this reason the vipras sell themselves to the vaeshyas. They not only sell themselves, but also surrender the shúdras and the kśatriyas, whom they had previously controlled, at the holy feet of their vaeshya overlords. Without the help of the vipras, it would be virtually impossible for the vaeshyas to force the shúdras and the kśatriyas to work.

It is therefore evident that in a capitalistic structure, when the vaeshyas struggle to perpetuate their system of exploitation, they do not physically struggle, they merely spend money. Upon taking the money, the vipras then fight with their nerves, the kśatriyas with their muscles, and the shúdras with their sweat and labour.

Thus it is clear that in any type of communal or other reactionary-instigated conflict, there are wealthy bosses on both sides behind the riots and fracases. The bosses themselves never take up spears, lances or axes and fight.

The victory of wealth over intellect, the vipras’ surrender at the feet of the vaeshyas, does not come about in a single day. As mentioned earlier, the vipras get caught like a fly in a spider’s web; they do make some efforts to understand their situation, but finally they become so entangled in the web that their vitality gets exhausted in the struggle and they have no alternative but to surrender. They are then compelled to sing the victory songs of the vaeshyas as they beat their heads in despair.

Through the power of money the vaeshyas take over all the constructive work accomplished by, or useful things built by, the intelligence and ideological commitment of the vipras, the sacrifice and personal force of innumerable kśatriyas, and the labour of countless shúdras. Sometimes the vipras, kśatriyas and shúdras seek the help of the unworthy vaeshyas in order to preserve some worthy institution. But for the sake of money, they are compelled to name the institution after those vaeshyas.

However, the vaeshyas’ cunning methods of economic exploitation do encounter set-backs according to time, place and person. Whenever they see the vipras, kśatriyas and shúdras moving towards counter-evolution or counter-revolution, they adopt new forms of deception in order to save their position. Until an actual shúdra revolution occurs, they engage themselves untiringly in trying to discover newer and more artful methods of deception.

It should be remembered that in countries where the dominant vaeshya structure is at present extremely firm and stable, the strength of that structure was not created in a day. The vaeshyas laboured a long time to build it and they will try to maintain it by any means. To expect, under such circumstances, that they will be won over by humble requests, or will voluntarily put on a loincloth and renounce the world, is sheer lunacy. Actually such things are possible if they become inspired by a great spiritual ideology; however, this would require the long-term, continuous propagation of morality-based spirituality among the vaeshyas. Intelligent people should certainly consider whether it is really rational to allow the exploitation of the masses to go on until such a day comes.

The occasional charity works that the vaeshyas undertake are only a trick to maintain their exploitation. Most of their charitable activities are not inspired by humanism; their sole purpose is to keep the machinery of exploitation, that is, the vipras and the shúdras, functioning. If the vipras and the shúdras die, who will there be to exploit? The cunning vaeshyas consider such charitable activities as investments.

The help that vaeshyas extend to poor people in difficult times, during floods and famines, they afterwards recover with interest. They are benefited in various ways. First, their businesses continue to run and they make good money. Secondly, people who are disgruntled with the vaeshyas’ exploitation are to some extent pacified and their wounded minds are temporarily soothed.

Of course these comments do not apply to those vaeshyas who do social service out of humanitarian or spiritual inspiration. No doubt there are some honest vaeshyas who are worthy of veneration by everyone.

Whatever dignity a person possesses as a human being in either the Kśatriya Age or the Vipra Age is dealt its heaviest blow in the Vaeshya Age. In the Vaeshya Age a person’s dignity is measured in terms of money. The repercussions of this defective evaluation of human beings are not confined only to the realm of dignity; they have far-reaching effects in all spheres of society.

No matter how many other qualities they may possess, vipras and kśatriyas who think independently, possess a sense of dignity or are self-reliant, cannot establish themselves unless they learn to flatter the vaeshyas in a psychological way. Even the unworthy son or relative of a wealthy person has the opportunity to sit at the head of society, and through the power of money an unattractive daughter is properly married to a good bridegroom. A good marriage cannot be arranged even for the sons of the poor, intelligent and educated though they may be, let alone the daughters of the poor. In fact in the Vaeshya Age people cannot hope to be respected unless they are rich. Those who hope for respect or have gained it, depend or have depended on the mercy of the vaeshyas.

Yasyásti vittaḿ sah narah kuliinah;
Sa pańd́itah sah shrutavána guńajiṋah.
Sa eva vaktá sa ca darshaniiyah;
Sarve guńáh káiṋcańamáshrayanti.

[Those who have wealth are high-caste, are well-educated, possess many abilities, are good orators and are good-looking. They have all these qualities because they have money.]

The methods of social exploitation used in the Vipra and Vaeshya Ages are somewhat similar. Certain aspects of society in the Vipra Age therefore remain unchanged in the Vaeshya Age, such as the social system, the law, the status of men and women and the right of inheritance.

Breaking the Vaeshya Structure

The difficulties faced by those who have tried and are trying to break apart the structure of the Vaeshya Age in order to rebuild society on a humanistic foundation, are not less, but are in fact a little more, than the indescribable social tortures that great people suffered in the past when they tried to reform the social structure of the Vipra Age. This is because those who wanted to break apart the vipras’ structure had to fight the vipras and also the kśatriyas and shúdras under their protection, but those who want to strike at the vaeshyas’ structure have to fight against all the vipras, kśatriyas and shúdras who are obedient to the vaeshyas.

But there are similarities between the two. The common people misunderstand great people who act on their behalf and for their welfare, or even if they understand them, they do not give them their support. Their nerves, courage and labour are bought with the vaeshyas’ money.

The vipras exploit the masses in the Vipra Age under the pretence of religion, which cannot be challenged. The same thing occurs in the Vaeshya Age, but vaeshya exploitation is more dangerous. In the Vipra Age the vipras exploit others through religion in order to promote their personal interests, but in the Vaeshya Age the vipras exploit others through religion in order to promote both their own and the vaeshyas’ interests.

In the Vaeshya Age this religious exploitation is more psychic than physical, because the vaeshyas use the vipras to try to spread intellectual propaganda among the masses to prevent them from finding any philosophical justification for their suppressed grievances against the vaeshya structure. This intellectual propaganda aims to convince people that they are the victims of circumstance. It argues, “Everything is destiny. Everything is preordained.” Such doctrines help the vaeshyas to perpetuate their structure. They destroy the personal force of people and make them the playthings of fate. People accept the idea that everything is preordained, and support the status quo.

Those who try to break the structure of the Vaeshya Age and show the downtrodden the path of liberation, will have to advise the people to free themselves from the intoxicating effect of the opium of religion; otherwise how will they be able to serve the downtrodden people?

A group of exploiters loudly object to a remark that was made by the great Karl Marx concerning religion. It should be remembered that Karl Marx never opposed spirituality, morality and proper conduct. What he said was directed against the religion of his time, because he perceived, understood and realized that religion had psychologically paralysed the people and reduced them to impotence by persuading them to surrender to a group of sinners.



(1) In the winter of the Bengali year 1368 [end of 1961 or beginning of 1962 BCE], some opportunistic astrologers (vipras) declared that the world would soon come to an end following the conjunction of several planets in a particular house of the zodiac. Perhaps they thought that the public would be frightened by such a declaration, and just prior to the cataclysm might renounce everything and donate a large part of their wealth to the vipras in an effort to ensure that they would go to heaven. This plan of the Indian vipras met with some success; out of fear many sinners undertook charitable activities.
The frightened vaeshyas arranged sacrificial fires presided over by the astrologer-priests. They thought that perhaps the smoke from the sacrificial fires would change the course of the planets concerned, moving them out of the zodiacal house they were in and thereby preventing the destruction. The commercial mentality of the vaeshyas (capitalists) was glaringly evident in their temporary religious fervour.
Along with this there was another amusing thing I noticed. For use in the sacrificial fires the vaeshyas sold unsaleable ghee, which was unfit for human consumption, at exorbitant prices.

(2) [[Because the vaeshya will try to sell the item to the customer at an exorbitant price.]] –Trans.

(3) Shreśt́hii, “man of wealth” was coined from shreśt́ha, “superior man”. –Trans.

(4) For descriptions of shúdras cast in similar roles in the Kśatriya Age, and kśatriyas cast in similar roles in the Vipra Age, see pp. 14 and 39. –Trans.


The Ultimate Aim of All

Sarvájiive sarvasaḿsthe brhante
Tasmin haḿso bhrámyate Brahmacakre;
Prthagátmánaḿ preritáraiṋca matvá
Juśt́astataste namrtatvameti.


[All unit entities, all unit structures, revolve around the Nucleus Consciousness in the Cosmic Cycle of creation. This rotation of theirs will continue as long as they think that they are separate from their Creator. When they become one with the Nucleus, they will attain immortality.]

All living beings in the universe – animals, birds and humans, all living entities – have different saḿskáras [mental reactive momenta]. Therefore, no two things are of the same type. Neither will two [plants] be of the same category, nor two birds or animals, nor two humans. Both the physical body and the mental body will be different. No two persons have identical faces. Actions are not the same either. Even saḿskáras are not the same.

Humans are divided into groups on a psychological or an anthropological basis. We say, “These people belong to this group” or “to that group.” Among these people some are Austric, some Dravidian, some Negroid, and some Caucasian. But if we observe, there are sub-branches and offshoots of these groups of humans. There are so many branches and sub-branches, that finally we have to accept that each human being belongs to a special group. In each group there can only be one person. Thus there are so many groups. It is not possible to say that so many persons belong to this group or that. (This will be the conclusion from a position of subtler thinking. We can divide humans [into groups] only from a position of crude thinking.)

Not only that, the ájiiva, or occupation, of every person is different. These occupations are also of two types, crude and subtle – that is, physical and mental. For example, a person may be a doctor or a lawyer. This is the person’s crude occupation. Like crude occupations, mental occupations are different. Mental occupations, mental ájiivas, are known in the shástras [scriptures] as ábhogas.

Suppose fifty persons are travelling together. They are travelling together, but the ábhoga of all of them is not the same. One person is thinking that he has to reach his shop as early as possible. Another person is thinking that she has to reach the court early. In her mind the thought is that of the court. Another person wants to reach a sweet shop to buy rasagollá. In that person’s mind the thought is that of rasagollá. Thus everyone has a different ábhoga and a different ájiiva. No two persons can be found having the same ájiiva. In other words, crude bodies are different, and similarly the mind and mental feelings. If there is a cowardly man in a village, you cannot say that all the people in the village are cowards. Or if there is a person who is brave, you cannot say that all the people in the village are brave. Everybody has his or her saḿskáras, is moving with these saḿskáras. With their saḿskáras humans will reach the Parágati [Supreme Desideratum, “where the journey of finite entities ends”].

These different persons also have different structures. Each will get a structure suitable to his or her occupation. Therefore, no two persons have the same structure. Why? Because each needs a different structure for the expression of his or her saḿskáras. If some being has to fly, it will get wings. If some being has to run, it will get legs. Its structure will be like [its saḿskáras]. One who has to do a lot of reading and writing will get a cranium suitable to his or her requirement. That is why it has been said, Sarvájiive sarvasaḿsthe [“all unit entities, all unit structures”].

If somebody wants to bring all under one pattern on the basis of some arithmetic or some social rules, or if all are stamped in the same way, the result will not be good. If we say that the rules for Ram, Shyam, Sohan, and others are all the same, it will not be proper. Why? Because each has a different ájiiva and a different structure. How can we bring them all into one class?

What will then be our duty? We will have to make the kind of arrangement that they need or that should be provided to them. From the point of structure the living beings need a classification which will be given. But from the point of the special ájiiva and the special characteristic of the structure, they will have to be given a special status. This is our social dharma.

Every human being, every animal, every plant, moves on with its different ájiiva and different structure. Moves towards what? Towards the ultimate aim, towards the central point, towards the Vishva Nábhi, the Cakra Nábhi, the Supreme Nucleus. So they are marching from electronic imperfection towards nuclear perfection. No one can avoid this movement. That is why it is called Parágati. They are moving towards the centre, consciously or unconsciously. And who is in the centre? Parama Puruśa. You cannot live without Him. Some may be angry with Him, unhappy with Him, but no one can live without Him. Why? There is no one who is your own except Him. Parama Puruśa is more dear to you than you are to yourself. Parama Puruśa belongs to you more than your hands and legs belong to you. Why? Because you will leave your hands and legs one day, but you cannot leave Parama Puruśa and go anywhere. Why? Because in this universe there is nothing beyond Him. Where can you go? You will remain within His circle.

Assume for a moment that a cow is tied to a stake with a thong or a strip. The thong may be short or long. If it is long, the cow will move relatively far away from the stake; whereas if it is short, she will not be able to go far away as she circles the stake. But in either case she has to go around the stake, considering it as a centre.

Similarly, a person (who is sometimes called haḿso(1)) is moving around [in] Brahma Cakra [the Cosmic Cycle]. The radius of Brahma Cakra is very big, though it is not infinite. People are moving around without knowing who is at the centre. They go around without knowing that they are tethered to a stake. They think that they are everything, that they know so much. They think so much. Each person thinks that he or she is not an ordinary person. This creates pride in a person. One does not know that he or she can be pulled towards the stake.

Thus a person moves around the stake. While moving, a question suddenly comes into his or her mind. The person asks where he or she is going. When this saḿvid, this realization, comes into the mind, then the person realizes that he or she is moving around a stake. The person asks where he or she is going, from which point to which point. Is the line simple and straight, or is it [vrttá, a circle]? What is this line? From where comes the inspiration to move around? When this question arises in the mind, the radius starts to be reduced. The person begins to realize that he or she has to go towards the centre, the nucleus, towards the práńakendra. The day this realization comes, the person becomes a sádhaka, a spiritual aspirant. The person now knows that the more he or she moves, the more the radius will be reduced. When the radius becomes nil, when there is no vrttá, then the person will merge in Parama Puruśa.

The person will continue moving around the stake as long as the person thinks that he or she, and Parama Puruśa at the centre, are two different entities. The person will have to go around as long as that person has the feeling that he or she, and the Entity which has sent him/her, are different. When the person realizes suddenly, upon nearly reaching the stake, that he or she, and the Entity which has sent him or her, are not different, the distance between the two will disappear and the two will become one.

But what must happen first before this union takes place? There His grace, His krpá, is needed. When it is available, the oneness will be achieved. People may reduce the radius by constantly moving around, but they will not be able to achieve oneness if His krpá is not available. When it is available, a person will merge in Amrta Puruśa. This is the ultimate aim of all animals, plants, or anything which has a life. Thus a person is unknowingly moving, and will have to move till he or she becomes one with Him. This is the truth. Therefore, the person who comes onto the path of sádhaná early is a wise person and also lucky.


(1) The word haḿso has been used in the shloka quoted above to mean a jiiva – a person or unit being. It has sometimes been use this way in Sanskrit, Hindi, etc., especially in poetry. –Eds.
18 November 1979 morning, Delhi
Published in:
Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 23