By Shrii Shrii Anandamurti
In ancient times when the desire to worship awakened in the minds of the primitive people for the first time, at that initial stage they took men of great wisdom and strength as the objects of their adoration. Before this they had been Nature-worshippers or physiolaters. When their mental hunger was no longer satisfied by the worship of mountains and rivers, trees and creepers, forests and seas, dawn and dusk, or thunder and lightning they took their first step towards the contemplation of God through the medium of hero-worship. As a result, a kind of incarnation doctrine came into being, ascribing full Brahma-hood to an aspect of manifestation. This practice was adopted in the name of religion, and was popular in society for many generations after. But the urges of the human heart are limitless. The desire to know their inner nature led human beings to the philosophical path, and as a result of philosophical dissertation and discussion their way of thinking gradually changed. They began to think how it was possible to attain the beginningless, indivisible, super-exultant self through such unit-worship – through the worship of the finite. When the realization dawned in their minds, they felt a great agitation – a mighty inner stirring in their hungry hearts, a longing to know the beginningless, endless, unmanifest, all-pervading Entity. How and what is that which the mind will apprehend with its entire being?
The first hint of Brahmabhávaná or intuitional science was mentioned in the ancient writing of the Rgveda. That first seed grew into a huge tree in the Yajurveda with numerous branches and twigs. At that auspicious moment, human intellect saw through the radiance of its supra-mundane knowledge, through its clairvoyance, that whatever it wanted in the material world emanates from and belongs to the Supreme Absolute Bliss – all are but the unit-manifestations of the Supreme Entity. None of these are its whole self. But it cannot neglect these units, for they, too, are not outside it. They too, are an inseparable part of the Supreme Entity.
The common people could not grasp the deep Brahmatattva or Intuitional Theory, and so they tried to hold on to the superficial, extroversial trappings of religion such as sacrifices, rites and rituals, making them the medium for their religious expression. But wise and educated people realized that as a result of this worship of the crude, people with a developed intellect and consciousness would gradually revert towards crudeness and gradually be transformed into crudeness. We must however admit that it is not possible to give up the effort to attain the crude in the form of physical necessities. Nevertheless, having food and clothing and other physical needs cannot completely satisfy the hunger of the human heart. At different times human beings have gone without clothes or anything for years or voluntarily renounced the world when it proved antagonistic to the deepest urges of their heart. So it will not do for human beings to think only of providing themselves with the crude necessities. If anybody leads this type of life, they will never experience bliss – they will always feel inside them the aching void of the desert.
So human beings concluded after due cogitation: since it was not possible to give up the units and since they would have to go in for the “whole” after all, they would just as well forestall heir attachment for the finite by always keeping awakened in their minds, even while making use of the units, a sense of their being the image of that very Supreme Spirit. The pleasure-ward trend of the attachment would then be diverted towards the Bliss-ward course itself. By ascribing divinity to everything and thereby eliminating the limitedness of its littleness, humans would realize and enjoy the Supreme Bliss. In the Vájasaneyii Samhitá (Code) of the Yajurveda it is said, –
Ishá vásysamidaḿ sarvaḿ yat kiiṋca jagatyáḿ jagat
Tena tyaktena bhuiṋjiithámá grdhah kasyasviddhanam.
This world is changing, moving. The word jagat (world) is derived from the root, gam-kvip, which means moving. This universe is the psychic manifestation of Brahma. All thought processes are moving and restive, and that is why this world, the psychic manifestation of Brahma. All thought processes are moving and restive and that is why this world, the psychic manifestation of Saguńa Brahma (the Subjectivated Transcendentality), is moving and restive. A thing that appears beautiful today is not necessarily so tomorrow. A sandesh (sweetmeat) that is delicious today will not be fit for consumption after a few days. Indeed one cannot even vouch for its shape still being intact. Every unit is in a state of change, and that is why the pleasure derived from unit objects cannot last permanently. So what should a Sádhaka (spiritual aspirant) do? He or she must ascribe divinity to every unit object. Everything is the manifestation of God. Whether it is land, home, river, mountain, respect, insult, day or night – everything is He and His manifestation as a unit. Make proper use of all objects thinking that they are His gifts to us. To enjoy or endure anything is to enjoy or endure Him. Avoid the attraction of the unit and make contact with the integral whole. When you are able to live this way, the desire to steal the property of others will completely disappear. In Ananda Marga there is a special process through which one can dedicate everything to God. The ascription of divinity to objects means the pursuit of the Infinite, leaving the finite behind. Are you feeding your son? No, no, you are feeding the son-like manifestation of Brahma. Are you tilling the field? No, no you are serving the finite manifestation of Brahma with your plough. Really speaking, the ascription of divinity to objects precludes their material enjoyment, as the objects then merge in the non-material Supreme Brahma. Thus the mind of one, who has established him or herself in real Vaerágya (the renunciation of all sensual pleasures) can never become attached to finite objects. Even in their midst he or she remains beyond the reach of their attraction and gains eternal peace after death.
No truck with water while I bathe
With hairs flowing free
Nor woes nor griefs shall ever scathe
Unwet I dip in sea.
Dedicated to God, night and day
Awake, asleep or dreaming be
No lures of world or desires gay
Dare ever come between He and me.
Do your work, but do not be caught up with it. A great man said, –
Grind spices or be a cook
Touch not the pan you ever
Dance a frog ’fore serpent’s hook
But let it not devour,
In the sea of nectar shall you bathe
Unwet shall remain your hair
Tie the elephant to a spider’s web
Love awaits you there.
Here the spider represents the little unit, the Sádhaka. A Sádhaka will realize what divine love is like only when he or she prepares the cobweb of devotion and ties the elephant, the Supreme Entity to it.
Life is intimately bound up with work If people do their work ascribing divinity to each object they are involved with, then, because of their non-attachment to material pleasure, they cannot be bound by the reactions of their actions. Life also cannot be the cause of such bondage, nor for that matter can the reactions of one’s actions be the cause of future lives. Otherwise a person who lives a long life will perform many actions, thus creating many reactions of greater sorrow to be experienced, and one will be a victim of the actional cycle life after life.
Kurvanneveha karmáni jijiivisecchataḿ samáh
Evaḿ tvayi nányatheto’sti na karma lipyate nare.
Always ideate on Brahma and nurture the desire to live for a hundred years. You will thus not get caught up in the reactions to your actions. This is the only way, by which you can save yourselves from the bondage of your reactions.
The ascription of Brahmahood to all activities is only possible for a Sádhaka – it is only possible through spiritual practices or the Sádhaná of the átman (soul). To establish oneself in Brahma is not possible through the Sádhaná of the mind, racing up and down at the beck and call of the senses. The person who busies himself with the Sádhaná of the mind instead of that of the Átmań is, in fact running after darkness or an uncertain future.
Asúryyá náma te loká andhena tamasávrtáh;
Táḿste pretyábhigacchanti ye ke cátmahano janáh.
Those who are sensually and materialistically inclined destroy themselves because through their actions they deny their own souls. Whether they profess to recognize the existence of the soul or not, their actions are certainly detrimental to their self-development. In this material world you may have come across many people who acknowledge the existence of Brahma, who say that they recognize the existence of soul, argue over it and are not afraid even to shed blood for the preservation of their religion, yet in their individual lives they are always chasing after sensual pleasures. They are of the above type. They gradually drift away from light towards darkness, regressing from a developed human life towards animal life. Although they have attained a human body, they have not shown any interest in behaving in a way that is worthy of a human being. The foremost duty of a human being is Brahma-sádhaná or the worship of God.
Essentially the soul and the Supreme Soul are the same. It is the objects of the mind that are different. A person whose mind has accepted the Infinite as its object has indeed identified himself with the Supreme Soul. Now the question may arise; when the Supreme Soul is infinite in nature, how does the distorted idea of individuality come about, and what relation is there between the unit-soul and this observable world? The Dharma or characteristic of an individual is to advance from the finite towards the infinite, from a part to the whole. This characteristic emanates from the desire to attain happiness – for self-preservation. As long as the goal is not limitless, one cannot gain the eternal happiness of all the imaginable and unimaginable entities. The Supreme Soul alone is beginningless and endless, and that is why limitless happiness is only possible through the Supreme Soul. The pain of losing unit objects is far greater than the pleasure they give us. The suffering that one sees in the world is merely the pain caused by that loss. But a persons of wisdom are never affected by the pain of loss for they know that the cause of all suffering is one’s own Saḿskáras. These Saḿskáras are the reactions resulting from one’s actions, past and present.
The Saḿskára born of pleasure and pain or the consequential momentum that creates the state of microcosmic subjectivity in the Macrocosmic Consciousness and stamps the Integral Body with the seal of limited unit-hood, has got its rudimental cause in the Saḿskáras acquired by the Supreme Being in the state of bondage. Actually, it would be more accurate to call it the mental reflection of action and reaction instead of calling it the distortion of the Supreme Soul.
The individuality of the unit is not complete in itself. So until one merges in the Whole Entity, one’s suffering cannot be alleviated. I have already said that the Sádhaka’s sufferings are caused by the Saḿskáras which one created oneself. One should therefore not be afraid of experiencing these reactions or accuse Brahma of injustice on this account. Humans very often complain, “God, so you had this in store for me. Is this my reward for so much worship and so much charity?” Such complaints are foolish, even sinful. At the time of suffering a Sádhaka should reproach himself for his past misdeeds and refrain from evil actions in order to avoid more suffering in the future. Everyone should bear in mind that as long as the fire of woes is not extinguished – so long as the Saḿskáras are not burned one has got to suffer. That is why I say you must not find fault with others because of your Saḿskáras; they are merely the reactions caused by your own mistakes and misbehaviour. Do you not see in the reflection the same wreath that you put around the neck of a shadow? Poet Vidyápati said:
Countless miles and ages lie
Life to life, between me and Him.
Dogged by Fate and here am I!
The fault not His, but mine and grim,
Don’t get upset over your suffering and difficulties. Learn from your painful experiences and acts, and behave wisely in your next life. Accept the beginningless and endless entity as the object of your ideation and behave accordingly.
Anejadekaḿ manaso javiiyo naenaddevá ápnuvan púrvamarśat;
Taddhávato’nyánatyeti tiśt́hat tasminnápo mátarishvá dadháti.
He is the only entity which does not move. Where there is no difference of places, there is no movement. How can the all-pervading entity in whom everything exists, have movement? He is faster than the mind, as the motive force that exists in His psychic body, i.e. the motive force of His thought process, dictates the movements of all the entities of the world; it is from this that they get the impetus to move. The senses are not capable of understanding. This is because the movement of the senses is towards objects, and so-called motionless objects are merely external forms of His mental expressions, His efferent thought-waves. His Blissful Entity is resplendent in its original state beyond the sphere of the mind. It is because of the cognitive Entity that life and energy exist in the world and that all processes of creation are continuing in a planned way.
Tadejati tannaejati tad dúre tadvantike;
Tadantarasya sarvasya tadu sarvasyásya báhyatah.
He is moving. No, no, He is not. He is motionless like the stump of a tree. He is far away. No, no, He is not. He is very close. He is the life of my life. He is within you and me. He is inside and outside everything everywhere. When a Sádhaka becomes well-acquainted with His Blissful Entity, we say that he or she is established in Brahma. At that stage there is both internal and external unity. The mind remains indifferent to worldly attractions and one makes real acquaintance with the Supreme Being. Although the body remains in the mortal world, the soul is merged in the Supreme Soul. The mind then becomes unrecognizable. Whose mind is it after all? Poet Cand́idása has written, –
What pangs reside in Radha’s heart,
Unlistening she sits alone in solitude.
Even in reverie, her eyes fixed, skyward rest
Like a saffroned recluse, averse to food.
Unleashing strands, she watches the braid
Of her hair rich and flower-bedecked
With smiling gaze at the clouds staid
She whispers something with hands outstretched.
Like a pavonine couple, with eyes unmoved,
Exchanging thoughts with passioned glance,
Wooing Kaliya as though renewed,
Candidasa says, a novel stance.
This manifestation of this observable world is called Saiṋcara or Extroversion during its movement from the subtle to the crude, and the movement of the created units and the world from the crude to the subtle is called Pratisaiṋcara or Introversion.
Thus goes the cycle of evolution from the subtle to the crude and from the crude to the subtle. The movement of the unit is from the crude to the subtle. The path comprised of the extroversial movement away from and the introversial movement towards Brahma, is called the Brahmic or Cosmic System, which is revolving under the forces of Saiṋcara and Pratisaiṋcara.
Under the influence of Vidyámáyá (Introversive Force or Force of Macrocosmic attraction) the unit activates the centripetal or introversive momentum of His thought-process through his Sádhaná, and by worshipping Avidyámáyá (Extroversive Force or Force of microcosmic distraction) he extends the centrifugal or extroversive action of His thought-process and prolongs its duration. In Vidyá cognition predominates, whereas in Avidyá there predominates action (Vidyá is a Cognitive force, and Avidyá is an activating force devoid of cognition). Cognition and action should be balanced in the life of a Sádhaka, or else it will be difficult to move towards Brahma.
Andhaḿ tamah pravishanti ye’vidya mupásate
Tato bhuyáiva te tamo ya u vidyáyáḿratáh.
The person who worships Avidyá drifts towards darkness and the person who worships Vidyá goes even deeper into the darkness.
Iti shushruma dhiiráńaḿ ye nastadvicacakśire.
Vidyá and Avidyá have contrary concomitants. Neither of them has equilibrated movements. People with calm and collected intellect, Sádhakas with developed intuition, who could very well understand such things due to their judgment, have made the above declaration with regard to Vidyá and Avidyá i.e. salvation is not possible through the cultivation of only one of these two principles. For the attainment of salvation, there must be balance between Vidyá and Avidyá to move forward. Although the movement towards Brahma must be introvertive (Vidyá), one should not give up Avidyá completely in relation to the practical world. This also has got to be made compatible with one’s own spiritual way of life by ascribing normal and divine bearing to it. Here the balance between Vidyá and Avidyá refers to the equitable conduct and behaviour during the period of material enjoyment.
Vidyá incávidyá inca yastadvedobhayaḿ saha
Avidyá mrtyaḿ tiirtvá vidyayá mrtamashnuvte.
It is those Sadhakas who are well-versed in intuitional knowledge, who are able to properly grasp this extroversive and Introversive Science. They do not deny any of the principles of creation, preservation and destruction. Forestall death through proper Karma-Sadhaná, a pursuit of action without denying it, and attain immortality through valid knowledge.
Yastu sarváńi bhútá ni átmanyevá nupashyati
Sarvá bhúteśu cátḿánam tato na bijugupsate.
A person who sees himself in everything and everything in himself can never hate anybody or anything. The capacity to overcome hatred is the main characteristic of Brahamajiṋána or one versed in intuitional science. Because of their pervasive egalitarian vision, there is not the slightest chance of their committing any sin in secret.
Yasmin sarváni bhútániátmaevábhúdvijánatah
Tatra ko mohah kah shoka ekatvamanupashyatah.
When the sense of persuasiveness of one’s soul in all living and non-living objects awakens in one’s mind, one neither hankers after anything nor is one afraid of losing anything. One feels a sense of oneness with all objects and attachment and grief fade away.
Sa paryagácchukramakáyamavraḿamasúviraḿ shuddhampápaviddham
Kavirmaniiśii paribhúh svayambhúryáthá tatyato’rthán vyadadháccháshvatiibhayah samábhyah.
The characteristic of that Supreme Being is its all-pervasiveness. The Sádhaka or the practitioner of intuitional science gets installed in Him, and with His bearing the sádhaka eventually identifies himself with hIm. In that bearing of His abides the splendour of all-fulfilment – the seed of all-knowingness. “Tatra niratishavam sarvajiṋavijam.” The Supreme Being has no crude body. He is absolutely faultless, pure, sinless, all-mighty, all-observing, all-knowing, self-controlled and Svayambhú or self-creating. He is not comparable to anything or anyone – “Na tasya pratimá asti,”, i.e., He has no image. In Him there is unlimited forgiveness. From the very beginning He has been giving everything to the units and will continue to do so. Such, is the attitude of that Great Being. One who is dazzled by the superficial splendour of His creation and gets entangled in it through one’s extroversial tendencies forgets the great, noble Creator behind this creation. Is it not foolish to forget the Lord of the creation for the created? Mother is cooking. The son suddenly cries for his mother. Mother gives him a toy, and the son is so fascinated by the toy that he forgets all about his mother. But when a son does not forget his mother and stop crying in spite of the toy in his hand, then the mother is compelled to embrace him and take him on her lap.
The son, too, holds his mother with one hand, the toy with the other. God is compelled to surrender Himself to the wise Sádhaka, who does not forget Him for the love of this toy-like creation – who does not relax his efforts to attain God.
Andham tamah previshanti ye’ sambhútimupásate
Tato bhúya iva te tamo ya u sambhútyaḿ ratáh.
Those who run after Sambhúti or the glamour of creation and those who are obsessed by the fear of Asambhúti or the possibility of is destruction are both racing towards the world of darkness. A Sádhaka should look upon both Sambhúti and Asambhúti, i.e. creation and destruction, equitably and with equanimity. Scientists who are wholly and solely dedicated to the worship of Sambhúti and hermits who live in constant fear of destruction are both on the wrong path: they are not on the path of salvation. Only the person who uses judgement and accepts both of them attains immortality.
Sambhutiiṋca vináshaiṋca yastadvedobhayaḿ saha
Vináshena mrtyuḿ tiirtvá sambhútyámrtamashnute.
One who knows the truth about creation and destruction gets established beyond the reach of death. The observable world is subject to creation and destruction. The movement from creation to destruction at first glance appears to be absolute, but the person who has understood the secret of creation and destruction and has thoroughly understood the world system, is alone able to establish him or herself beyond the range of this system.
The last hurdle on the path to the attainment of deathlessness and the realization of Brahma is the Hirańyamaya Kośa of the unit. As long as the Hirańyamaya Kośa exists, the Sádhaka cannot realize the Absolute Truth. The glamour of creation and the fear of destruction always upset a Sádhaka. The Supreme Being in His infinite glory is situated above the causal mind (Hirańyamaya Kośa).
Hirańmayena pátreńa satyasyá pihitaḿ mukham
Tattvaḿ púśannapávrńu satyadharamáya drśtaye.
O God! Remove the shining veil of Hirańyamaya Kośa, so that we may establish ourselves in Satyaloka (the region of Truth) Thy abode, so that our minds may not be attracted to the brilliance of the Hirańyamaya Kośa. This was all that was said about Brahma in the Ishopanisad.
When a person progresses from the crude to the subtle as a result of his Sádhaná, all the bondages gradually start disappearing by themselves, and when a strong desire awakens in the mind to attain that pure consciousness within, the Hirańyamaya Kośa also gets destroyed. In each of the five different stages of mind i.e. (1) Kámamaya Kośa (Crude or Conscious mind), (2) Manomaya Kośa (Subtle or Sub-conscious mind, (3) Atimánas Kośa (Supra-mental mind), (4) Vijiṋánamaya Kośa (Subliminal mind), (5) Hirańyamaya Kośa (Subtle-Cosmic Mind) – (the last three are collectively called causal or astral or unconscious mind) some sort of finite object directly or indirectly remains, and this object becomes the cause of bondage – “Mana eva mauśya nám kárańam bandha mokśayo”. In other words the unit attains salvation only when she/he empties her/his mind of all objects. Just as an iron sword can perform acts of cruelty or merely cut the rope tethering and animal, similarly, according to its objective tendencies, the mind can also be the cause of both bondage and liberation.
All unit objects are external. Love for such unit objects can never be lasting, for the mind always keeps hopping from one object to another. That is why I say, withdraw your love from the unit and merge yourself in the whole. Don’t mistake the unit for the soul or God. The attainment of one’s inner self is only possible through love for the Infinite. Dońt pretend to be inferior and as a result become lazy. Fill your heart with love of the Infinite, and your soul will be transformed into the Supreme Soul. No worldly happiness is limitless. Dedicate yourself completely to the blissful ocean of the Supreme Soul. Then alone will you realize what happiness really is. This path to attain happiness, this Sádhaná of self-surrender I call absolute devotion. Carry on performing your worldly duties with sincerity, and at the same time think about the pure self within you. Then alone will your Sádhaná be justified. The constant thought of your pure inner Self will certainly one day establish you in your original source, and this is the ultimate aim of Sádhaná. The Soul is by nature characteristically pure. The mind gets tied to Saḿskáras (potential reactions) due to its actions, and that is why the unit becomes the slave of life and death. When all the Saḿskáras are destroyed through spiritual Sádhaná and mental purification, one goes beyond life and death to the eternal region of immortality, where there is no difference between the soul and His Supreme Soul. Amen!