SIVANANDA'S

 

VISION OF PERFECTION

 

 

 

By

 

Jnana Bhaskara

 

Dewan Bahadur K.S. RAMASWAMI SASTRIAR, B.A.,B.L., M.S.G.S., M.Ph.,

(Retired Judge)

 

 

 

 

Published by

 

The Sivananda Literature Research Institute,

 

(The Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy)

 

P.O. Sivananda Nagar.

Rishikesh Himalayas

 

 

1959

 

(Price Rs. 5)

 

Published by

 

Sri Swami Chidananda,

 

for

 

VOI The Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy

 

 

 

 

First Edition: 1959

 

 

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED BY

THE DIVINE LIFE TRUST SOCIETY

 

 

 

Published

 

out of the magnanimous donation of

Guru-Bhakti-Ratna

 

H.H. SRI RANI NITYAKUMARI

 

 (of Nepal)

 

TO THE JNANA YAJNA FUND

 

 

Printed at

 

The Y.V. Forest Academy Press,

 

P.O. Shivananda Nagar

 

 

 


 



 

 

 

PUBLISHER'S NOTE

 

This is truly a spiritual treasure. It is a complete scripture giving the blessed reader within a single volume knowledge which the illustrious author has gathered during years of intense study and con-templation. It gives the essence of our scriptures besides the essence of Sri Gurudev's immortal teachings.

 

Sri Jnana Bhaskara K.S. Ramaswami Sastriar is one of the few who have diligently studied every word that has emanated from the divine pen of Sri Gurudev. His manner of presentation of Gurudev's teachings is unique and inimitable. He is to Gurudev's teachings what Sri Veda-Vyasa is to the Vedas.

THE DONOR

 

It is in the fitness of things that the pious, devout and divine Rani Nityakumari Ji of Nepal has contributed the cost of publication of this gem of spiritual literature. For, she is a gem among devotees. Her supreme devotion to the Lord and equally intense Guru Bhakti have earned the admiration and reverence of all those who have had the good fortune of meeting her.

 

Her noble and talented daughter Rajkumari Bhesh-Rajyalakshmi rivals the mother in Bhakti. And this is obvious from the inspiring poems in praise of her Lord Sri Krishna, and Gurudev Sri Swami Sivananda published as appendix to this volume.

 

We are deeply indebted to Sri Swami Jnananandaji

Maharaj whose services in the matter of reading the proofs of this volume, and the special attention paid by him to the Sanskrit quotations, are inestimable.

22nd May 1959

PUBLISHER

 

GRATITUDE

 

To H.H. Sri Swami Jnananandaji,

Revered Swamiji,

I am one of the sincere admirers of your great Sanskrit learning and sincere piety and simplicity. I have your "Sivananda Stotrapushpanjali" in my Parayana literature.

All the Swamijis at Sivanandanagar have done me the unique honour of making me a functionary of the Sivananda Literature Research Institute and of helping the quick production of my magnum opus "Sri Sivananda's Vision of Perfection." Gurudev's inspiration made the writing of the book possible, and your help made its quick publication a fact. Your great learning made the printing of the Sanskrit quotations in the book accurate and you were also good enough to do the difficult and thankless task of proof-reading.

I am deeply grateful for your help.

स्मर्तव्या वयमादरेण भवता यावत्पुनर्दर्शनम्

Yours Sincerely,

K.S. Ramaswami Sastri



 

 

 

PREFACE

 

This volume seeks to embody my vision of Swami Sivananda's Vision of Perfection. I have already written various works, essays, and articles summing up the Master's teachings from time to time. But in this volume I have tried to sum up his gospel during the most prolific and perfect period of his life. I am now in old age and the flame of life naturally burns low. But the flame of my affection, admiration and adoration for Gurudev burns as bright as before! May God crown with success his unceasing and manifold efforts to teach humanity its high purpose and supreme destiny!

 

     Madras

7th March 1959                 K.S. RAMASWAMI SASTRI

Sivaratri Day

 

SIVANANDA'S BOOKS: A NEW BIBLE

How They Solve My Daily Problems

MRS. EUNICE DAVIDSON, ENGLAND

 

Swami Sivananda's books are in constant use with me. If any problem crops up, I take one of his books in my hands and say: "Help me, Swamiji! Please give me a message from your book." Then I open it at random, and what do you think I get! Yes, there is a letter, or a paragraph, that he has written for somebody else, and it speaks to me, giving me the answer. So, you see now Swami Sivananda's books have taken the place of a new Bible. I thank the dear Guru!

 

SIVANANDA'S LIGHT ILLUMINES

THE WEST

 

GREAT SIVANANDA!

You are my spiritual masseur, and for this priceless service of yours I shall be eternally grateful to you and I mean 'eternally' in the very proper sense of the word.. You have reached me in the depths of my heart many times with all your loving blessings which have powerfully worked their way into my life.

 

Your most recent personal letter to me reached me, as you know, not in the way of secular mail service, but in photostatic form in the December issue of the Divine Life magazine. The ever-charming day by day accounts in the Forest Academy Weekly' have kept some element of my awareness close to you. Thus I never can feel that meeting you is in any way far away and long ago. Please continue to look at me as one very near and dear to where you are.

 

You have eminently honoured me by the book publication of my students' comments on your work and I only wish to convey this great honour back to you as a thanks offering. In the meantime, you continue to bless me and my students with high-lifted hands constantly in my coloured slides of you and of the enormous works you do in the Ashram. My own Forest Academy education continues efficiently with the help of the incomparable amount of book publications which I have received regularly. Therefore, I consider myself as an enrolled student in your classes. To think of you fills me time after time with a tremendous joy. If my thought projections would have the power to convey any message, you would feel waves of enthusiastic good wishes and limitless gratefulness reaching you from my direction.

 

This letter could well grow one hundred pages long without ever exhausting the mention of all the many benefits which I derived from your publications. Let me mention by way of example only a few: your 'Essence of Vedanta' has been prescribed as a textbook in several of my classes and has proven to be a most valuable source-book of information on ever so many aspects of Vedanta traditions. Your monumental work 'Sadhana' is constantly used for getting answers to many points of discipline and achievement. Your 'Autobiography', which I have just read this last week, is one of those very exciting autobiographies of Yogis, of which we have only too few. It is a rare treat to be permitted to follow your path and activity through your blessed life, and our love for your personality is greatly enhanced by it.

 

All in all I know it is to a large extent due to your gracious influence that life never appears to me as a puzzle, but always as an opportunity, exciting and stimulating, and when life has meaning and purpose, one has no time to worry about death nor does one have to hanker after so-called pleasures which are only a poor consolation for a lack of the essential. May you shine on and on.

 

With love,

 

Dr. Frederic Spieg elberg, Ph.D.,

Stanford University,

California.

 

SIVANANDA MUST BE GOD!

Wonderful are the activities of our Divine Life

Society. Only the Divine Spirit can work and manage such a big institution.

H.M. Mehta, B.A.,LL.B.,

Solicitor, Bombay.

 

SIVANANDA'S MESSAGE SPREADS

IN AMERICA

Revered Light-Bearer!

Your illumined spirit has come ever closer to us in the course of the past year or more during which time we have been receiving a veritable stream of publications emanating from your inspired and prolific pen. Your productivity is truly amazing; your fountain of wisdom inexhaustible.

We are deeply grateful.

To have such association with your spirit as we receive from handling your many writings is in itself a source of inner strength as well as material support. We do feel greatly blessed in receiving this double strength from you and your divinely endowed institution.

We shall do our best to make your work better known in our country. Our current Interpreter which will be going forward in the next few days mentions some of your works.. Succeeding issues will aquaint our readers with yet others. Also by other circularisation your publications are being made known to many. Also your books are in our shelves for sale and for reference. We do not have a book-store; our distribution is almost exclusively on the mail order basis, but now and again we do have callers who come to our offices and who then have the privilege of directly contacting the various literature we carry for sale.

Again our very deep gratitude for the association we are privileged to have with your radiant life-giving spirit, we are-

Yours in joyous fellowship

THEODORE HELINE

New Age Press, Inc. Los Angeles, California.

 

 

ON SIVANANDA LITERATURE

 

Sri V. Santhanam

 

(Editor-in-charge, "Dinmani" , Madurai)

 

There are no words to thank you for the letter of Upadesa. Even if I do severe Tapas for thousands of Janmas, I know that I won't be liberated unless I get Upadesha from a Guru. Your Holiness has lifted me from this mire of Samsara Sagara. Your holiness is an ocean of mercy. Your holiness is our visible God. I know it will gladden thy heart if I carry out thy instructions sincerely. That is the best love-offering of a disciple to his Guru. Your holiness's limitless grace will lift me up. I am having practical experience. of thy grace even within this short space of time.

 

Your holiness's writings are no ordinary, words, Once we read them, they enter our heart in a concrete form and voice. Whenever we go astray or feel depressed or diffident, your holiness's writings which had entered our heart in the form of a divine voice, cries out your holiness's warnings, instructions and words of cheer. That divine voice of your holiness cries in such a way that we cannot brush it aside. Oh, what a power thy writing has. It has no parallel. For such, a great help of your holiness what can we poor mortals do to your holiness except our complete surrender to thy lotus-feet, Saranagathi to Guru Maharaj?

 

As is usual with thy holiness's Daya-Swabhava I have received three books.. These books and letters of your holiness printed in other books clear most of my doubts. I am always reading your holiness's books, marking them and taking notes of important points and doing Parayanam of them. I wish the whole world knows the value of them. During the course of this novel Parayanam, those nectar drops infuse confidence and new life in us. What Sri Sivananda-Hridayananda says is true. Your holiness's body is simply a leela. You are God. Is there any parallel to your holiness's Karuna; who rushes to Sishyas' door and gives Upadesa? How fortunate we are to live at a time when your holiness's presence graces this earth! Only a God like you can enlighten humanity.

 

Your teachings, if broadcast through papers and journals, will revolutionise Tamil Nad, nay the whole world. There are no sane guides to humanity today except you, our Guru Maharaj. Only a man who has vast experience and widely read can understand this truth. Our Guruji's Avatara is a wonderful phenomenon for which you can find no parallel anywhere. You are a mystery.

 

-In a letter addressed to Sri Swami Sivananda.

 

 


 

Contents

BOOK ONE.. 16

Sivananda's life and Life-Work. 16

A Recent Vision. 16

BOOK TWO.. 62

Sivananda's Vision of Health, Holiness and Happiness as Physical Perfection. 62

BOOK THREE.. 69

Sivananda's Vision of Culture as. 69

Mental Perfection. 69

BOOK FOUR.. 75

Sivananda's Vision of Dharma (Righteousness) as Ethical Perfection. 75

BOOK FIVE.. 97

Sivananda's Vision of the Ideal Society. 97

and State as National Perfection. 97

BOOK SIX.. 103

Sivananda's Vision of Universal Peace. 103

as International perfection. 103

BOOK SEVEN.. 108

Sivananda's Vision of the Hindu Gospel, as Scriptural Perfection. 108

BOOK EIGHT.. 123

Sivananda's Vision of Yoga-Vedanta as Philosophic & Psychological Perfection. 123

BOOK NINE.. 169

Sivananda's Vision of Integral Hinduism (Purna Advaita) as Religious Perfection. 169

CHAPTER 11. 200

SADHANAS IN PURNA ADWAITA MEANS OF GOD-REALISATION.. 200

CHAPTER III 223

PHALA (BEATITUDE) IN PURNADWAITA.. 223

PURNA PHALA (FULL BEATITUDE) 223

BOOK TEN.. 234

Sivananda's Vision of Religious Harmony. 234

as Inter-Religious Perfection. 234

BOOK ELEVEN.. 237

Sivananda's Vision of Universal Ethics, 237

Philosophy, Religion & Spiritual Perfection. 237

APPENDIX.. 242

KRISHNA PREM AND GURU-BHAKTI 242

Guru-Bhakti-Ratna, And Vainika Joyti 242

Rajkumari Sri Beshrajyalakshmi Rana of Nepal 242

Story of Swami Sivananda. 263

 


 

 

 

BOOK ONE

Sivananda's life and Life-Work

A Recent Vision

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. WHAT IS PERFECTION

 

I cannot begin this book on Sivananda's VISION OF PERFECTION better than by quoting two brief passages from his writings, all of which are full of his visions of high and holy perfection.

 

"The world is today at the crossroads. One-way points to the path of Brahman and Ahimsa which leads to perfection, real freedom, supreme peace, eternal bliss and immortality. The other way leads to the path of atom bomb and destruction."

"The lower orders of creation live and have their being under the conditions ordained by nature. Man, alone can adapt himself and control his environments."

 

This book aims at describing Swami Sivananda's Vision and quest and conquest of perfection in all aspects of life by knowing the Life Divine and, treading the Path Divine.

 

His writings comprise over four hundred volumes. I have presented the essence of his earlier volumes in my previous five works on him. I shall try to present in this volume the essence of his later volumes written and published specially during the period from 1947 to 1959. These volumes are nearly two hundred in number and cover the entire gamut of human possibility and perfection.

 

2. HIS VISION OF PERFECTION

IN HIS OWN WORDS

 

SIVA GITA, SIVANANDA GITA AND SIVANAN-DA'S AUTO-BIOGRAPHY

 

I have stated often in my five previous works on Swami Sivananda and his message and gospel to India and the world, that I have boundless admiration for his Autobiography entitled SIVA GITA. It is the supreme self-revelation of a supreme spiritual seeker-striver-saint of the modern age.

 

He was born on 8th September 1887 at Patta-madai in the Tirunelveli District in the line of the supreme scholar-saint Appayya Dikshitar whom he appropriately calls in his recent Auto-biography as "a giant among geniuses" and "the lion of Vedant" (pages 4, 5) and "one of the greatest spiritual luminaries" (page 6): His parents were P. S. Vengu Iyer and Parvathy Ammal. He chose the medical course and ran a medical journal called AMBROSIA a name which was prophetic of his enjoyment of Vedanta Amrita in his later life. He was a doctor in Malaya for ten years. Even as a doctor he was a philanthropist and a social worker and a devotee of God. His present passion for curing the ailments of the body and the soul was an alter-flame that shone brightly even then. In 1924 he felt an imperious inner urge towards total renunciation and took Sanyas at Rishikesh in 1924. In his case Sanyas and Sankirtan, Yoga and Vedanta went hand in hand. He says: "May you all empty yourselves of the ego through Sanyasa and may you fill yourselves with the Truth of Vedanta." He has combined also the simplicity, innocence and truthfulness of a child with the sublimity, spirituality and sweetness of a sage. He says: "I am childlike in my Swabhava. So, I mix with all. I become one with all. I am very happy and joyful and make others also happy and joyful. I do salutations to all first. I always speak sweetly." For 15 years he was engrossed in Tapas and meditation. He used to sleep on leaves. He lived for many years in meditation in a small hut (kutir) in Swargashram. He then went on lecture-tours for ten years. Since then, he has founded innumerable institutions on the slope of a hill bordering on the Ganga. He founded in 1936 the Divine Life Society which has now got hundreds of branches all over India and the world. He founded the All-World Religions' Federation in 1945, His Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy is a world-famous institution where Yoga and Vedanta are taught. There is also a Yoga Museum there. The Viswanath Mandir is a holy temple. There are also the Sivananda Primary School, the Sivananda Ayurvedic Pharmacy, the Sivananda Charitable General Hospital, the Sivananda Eye-Hospital etc. There is also a press. His publications till now are nearly five hundred volumes. He is publishing 'Health and Long Life', 'The Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy Weekly, 'Wisdom Light', 'Yoga-Vedant' (Hindi), and the monthly 'Divine Life' etc. There are many other institutions. Free food is given by him in the Annakshetra every day to pilgrims sadhus and godly travellers.

 

Swamiji is regular in his Ganga-baths and Yoga Asanas and Pranayama. He is passionately fond of satsang, and bhajan and sankirtan. He is equally keen on doing service. He says: "I cannot live without service. I rejoice in giving." He is always full of humour and has abundant vim, vigour and vitality. He always greets all with a smile and makes kind enquiries about them. He says: "I sing, dance, run and jump in joy."

 

He has a passion for work and is incessantly at work. He says: "Change of work gives me rest. Meditation gives me abundant rest. Work gives me delight. Service gives me happiness. Writing bestows joy. Meditation energizes and envigorates me. Kirtan vivifies me." "The Mahamantra Kirtan is my favourite Kirtan."

 

He is always happy. He says: "I am the richest man in the world. My heart is full. Further, all the wealth of the Lord belongs to me now. I have attained this through Sanyasa, renunciation, untiring selfless service, Japa, Kirtan and meditation. I fast on Ekadashi. I do not take even a drop of water. I take milk and fruits on Sundays. I do not take salt on Sundays. I love nature, music, art, poetry, philosophy, beauty, goodness, solitude, meditation, Yoga and Vedanta. I am humble and simple. I return good for evil. I love Ganga and the Himalayas. Ganga is my mother divine. Himalayas is my father divine. They inspire and guide me. Ganga has nourished me. Ganga has comforted me."— "I do not waste even a single minute. I ever keep myself fully occupied. I am a strange mixture of service, devotion, Yoga and wisdom. I am a practical Vedantin. I practise and advocate the Yoga of synthesis. I practise Ahimsa, Satyam and Brahmacharya. I respect all saints and prophets of all religions. I serve all, love all, mix with all, and see the Lord in all. I serve the poor. This is my chief delight. I give very prompt reply to all my letters.

I spend everything. I take immense delight in feeding the poor and my students. I try to be a mother to them. To raise the fallen, to lead the blind, to share what I have with others, to bring solace to the afflicted, to cheer up the suffering, are my ideals. To have perfect faith in God, to love my neighbours as my own Self, to love God with all my heart and soul, to protect cows, animals, women and children are my aims. My watchword is love. My goal is Sahaja Samadhi Avastha or the natural, continuous, superconscious state."

 

Such is the remarkable SIVA GITA. It consists of 18 sketches of himself by Swamiji, just as the Bhagavad Gita consists of 18 chapters. A beautiful and remarkable commentary (Bhashya) on it is SIVANANDA GITA by Swami Sadananda who is a great scholar and knows Swami Sivananda's life and work intimately.

 

A yet more wonderful work is the AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF SIVANANDA which is his own Bhashya on his own Sutras in Siva Gita. It stands in the same relation to Siva Gita as Sri Krishna's Gospel in the Eleventh Skandha of Srimad Bhagavata as recorded by Vyasa stands in relation to the gospel of Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita as recorded by Vyasa. We learn from it about his intensive and extensive spiritual sadhanas and his spiritual Siddhi as the result of such sadhanas. With characteristic humility he does not give details as to why he felt an imperious urge to renounce the world and become a sanyasi in 1923. He merely says: "I led the life of a wandering monk, just for a short period, in search of my Guru and of a suitable place charged with spiritual vibrations, for spending my life in seclusion and to do rigorous sadhana." (Pages 23, 24). He takes a legitimate pride in his inner call to take sanyas. He says: "When there is a change of heart, there should be a change in external form also. The glory and the liberty of a Sanyasi can hardly be imagined by the timid and the weak. From the sacred hands of Paramahamsa Viswananda Saraswathi I received holy initiation on the banks of the Ganges on 1st June 1924. The religious rite of Viraja Homa was done for me by my Acharya-Guru, Sri Swami Vishnudevanandaji Maharai at Kailas Ashram." (Page 24) Swami Sivananda fully emphasizes the need for a Guru. "He alone can show you the path to attain God, who is the Guru of Gurus. Self-realisation is a transcendental experience." (Pages 24, 25) He says at the same time that Guru's grace and the Sishya's intensive sadhana are both vital. "Guru's grace is needed by the disciple. The Guru cannot do sadhana for the student." (Page 25)

 

Swami Sivananda's practice of sadhana was in the supreme birth-place of holiness the Himalayas —where the Vedic sages practised their sadhanas. He says: "I found Rishikesh an ideal place for intense and undisturbed spiritual practices for all seekers after Truth." (Page 26) He says also: "The scenery of the Himalayas is charming, soul-elevating. The Holy Ganga is a blessing." (ibid) "I became one with nature." (Page 32) He had access to holy books and holy Mahatmas. He did not merely seek solitude. Solitude, service and spirituality were inter-blended in his sadhana. On many days he had to go without food and walked many miles and faced many hardships. Thus he developed Titiksha (endurance), service, sympathy and compassion simultaneously. (Page 30) He practised Yoga Asanas for blending radiant health and spiritual uplift. (Page 30) -In 1931 he finished his pilgrimage to Kailas and Manasarowar. He went on many lecture-tours and took part in many spiritual conferences. (Pages 38, 39) He was daily engaged in Japa, meditation, Pranayama etc., and also conducted Kirtans. (Page 41) He conducted prayers and study-classes, and took part in collective sadhana. (Pages 56, 57)

 

It was after such attainment of individual spiritual uplift and perfection that he felt a call to work for the spiritual uplift and perfection of India and the world." He says: "Systematically to carry on the divine mission on a large scale, I established the Divine Life Trust Society in 1936. The Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy, an Ayurvedic Pharmacy, the Sivananda General Hospital, the Sivananda Eye Hospital, the printing press, the religious library, etc., are at work side by side with the worship in the temples, the Bhajans, and Sankirtan, etc.

 

We can now fully enter into the spirit of this immortal work and into the self-revelation of Guru deva whom we may call Maha-Purusha, Maharshi, Maha-Yogi and Mahatma. He says: "I love seclusion. I have to hide myself at times. I do not crave for name and fame. But the divine will was different. The whole world came to me with divine glory and splendour. I carried the Message of the sages and saints and taught the world the way for peace and bliss. People have become irreligious owing to wrong education and evil influences. Just at this critical juncture, I started the Divine Life Society." (Pages 63 to 65)

 

About the divine mission of the Divine Life Society, he says: "It includes all the fundamental principles of all religions and faiths. There are no pet dogmas or sectarian tenets. It leads people to the spiritual path. It lays great stress on the practical side of sadhana. It explains in a rational and scientific manner the Yoga of Synthesis. Divine knowledge is not the sole property of Sanyasins, recluses. The path of divine life sadhana is no other than the essence of all Yogas. There are neither petty dogmas nor secret doctrines nor esoteric sections in the Divine Life movement. Practise religion and live up to its teachings. Real religion is the religion of the heart. I taught my gospel of Divine Life, which is a system of religious life suited to one and all. The spiritual oneness of all humanity is a great lesson man needs today. I do not encourage lop-sided development, but urge my disciples to combine the important branches of Yoga with emphasis on dynamic selfless service and cultivation of virtues, while yet giving the full scope of individual discretion to the aspirant." (Pages 63 to 86) Thus the Sivanandashram is an embodiment of what Gurudev calls at page 67 as "universal ideals for spiritual perfection." It stresses individual attention and consideration. It is based on the fullest love and reverence for the human personality as such. It is Ahimsa to all living beings in full action in its full swing. It is inspired by a genuine spirit of accommodation. (Pages 89 to 104), Gurudev says that youth is the best period for renunciation. (Page 108) He says that all women are manifestations of the Divine Mother and have religious instinct and natural, inborn divine qualities. (Pages 112 ta 117) He says: "Some orthodox people and sanyasis say that women are not fit for the path of renunciation. My view is different. They, too, are eligible to tread the path of Yoga and renunciation. Among them there are many from foreign countries also. I give them initiation into the order of sanyasa." (Page 116) In this respect Gurudev has widened the bounds of ancient and orthodox Hinduism. 'In Upanishadic times also there were Yoginis and Brahmavadinis and Parivrajikas. His ideal is to have a separate Ashram for women. He says: "In the absence of proper support from the world for an ideal institution exclusively for women, I have permitted many educated and cultured ladies to dive in this Ashram." (Page 116)

 

Another special feature about Gurudev's vision of perfection is his advice to combine service and meditation. (Page 119) To redress the old overemphasis on study and meditation, he even goes the length of specially stressing service and Kirtan. (Page 81) But his sense of spiritual synthesis demands a harmonious development of heart; intellect, mind and body (page 130) and wants a complete harmony of service song, meditation and merger in Godhead. He advises sanyasis to keep away from politics. (Page 122) The supreme sadhanas are service, prayer and meditation.

 

We can now realise why his mind has been blossoming in countless publications (page 119, 120) and why there are repetitions in his books. He does not claim any copyright in his books or demand any royalty for them. (Pages 135, 136)

 

In my tribute to Gurudev in respect of this Autobiography, I say: "I am happy that God has blessed me to become an octogenarian and enabled me to see, hear read, and admire the self-revelation of a supreme soul." (Page xxviii)

 

3. THE PEAK ACHIEVEMENTS OF

SWAMI SIVANANDA

(1947 TO 1959)

 

Such is the saint who went from Madras to Malaya and came back from Malaya to Himalaya. He has thousands nay tens of thousands of disciples and admirers in all the five continents. If I collect their tributes to him here, such a collection alone will fill a volume. I have made a garland of many of such tributes in my earlier works on the saint. On 8th September 1947, his Sashtiabdapoorthy the 61st birthday celebration was celebrated with great fervour and joy all over India. In 1950 he went all over India and visited Ceylon in that tour, and delivered innumerable spiritual discourses and sankirtans. He convened and conducted the World Parliament of Religions in 1953. His Platinum Jubilee was celebrated on 8th September 1956. His image in marble was installed and consecrated that day in a Mandir next to the Viswanath Mandir. The Sivananda Pillar was erected in 1957. His highest teachings are inscribed on it. He has given messages on innumerable occasions. I shall quote here only three passages from his messages on those unique occasions:

 

Seek Him. Realise Him. Only then can you be perfect and free. Develop faith and devotion. Strengthen your faith through Satsang and the study of scriptures. Persevere in your sadhanas. Cultivate a melting heart, a giving hand, kind speech, equal vision. You will soon attain God-realisation. May the Lord bless you?

 

(His Sashtiabdapoorthy Message 8-9-1947)

"We are living in a new world. We are living in the atomic age. An immediate change of heart is inevitable. The success of the Parliament is the assurance of world peace.

We are assembled here to establish the Parliament of Religions in our own heart, to cultivate divine virtues, and to see the One Self in all. We should melt all illusory differences and feel that One God dwells in all beings. There is only one religion, and that is the religion of love, the religion of faith, the religion of Consciousness. Truth is One; sages call It variously. 'Be good, do good'-these four words sum up the essence of all religious teachings.

 

All religions should unite today for this great purpose of rallying their forces to fight out materialism and godlessness which alone are the causes of disharmony and misery.

 

I hope and pray the Almighty Lord that the Parliament of Religions would convert man's heart into an abode of religion that is synonymous with Dharma, with selfless service, with cosmic love, with Atma-jnana. May all people tread the path of virtue, reach the domain of wisdom, and shine as Jivanmuktas in this very birth! May the blessings of the One God be upon all!"

 

(His Message at the Parliament of Religions in 1953.)

 

"Happiness is within. Peace is within you. You are Satchidananda in reality. You are immortal. You are Bliss itself. Love all. Serve all. May God bless you all with health, long life, peace, -prosperity and Kaivalya Moksha."

 

(His Platinum Jubilee Message 8-9-1956 )

 

4. SIVANANDA: DAY-TO-DAY

1947 TO 1957

 

I wish to make a special mention of the way in which nearly thirty volumes have recorded his doings and utterances during recent years (1947 to 1957). They are treasure-houses of wisdom and contain intimate personal touches and are thus as important as the bigger works which contain his teachings, expositions and messages. They have been compiled by Swami Gurusarananda and especially by Swami Venkatesananda. They run into thousands of pages. I can do no more than make a posy of a few fine fadeless flowers blooming in this garden:

1. Levitation cannot give you liberation.-VIII.4

 

2. If you protect Dharma, Dharma protects you.—VIII.11

 

3. Avoid extremes. Walk along the middle path.—VIII.15

 

4. Construct more Ashrams and less atomic bomb factories.—VIII.15

 

5. Allot work according to capacity, talents and aptitude.-VIII.18

 

6. Combine Bhakti and Jnana with Karma.- VIII.18

 

7. Know thyself and be free.-VIII.18

 

8. Without truthfulness how can one earn the Lord's blessings?-VIII.18

 

9. Do Japa, Kirtan, service.-VIII.21

 

10. Avoid unnecessary arguments.-VIII.27-

 

11. Do Nama Sankirtan in all collective gather-ings.-VIII.31

 

 

12. All troubles that happen are for good. They make one divine.-VIII.34

 

13. Swamiji's advice for a high blood pressure patient: "Reduce salt in your diet. Observe Mouna. Speak less."-VIII.37

 

14. Swamiji asked an eye-surgeon: "Do you perform the operation ego-dectomy?" The surgeon felt bewildered and asked: "What is that operation?" Swamiji replied with a laugh: "The killing of the ego." VII.40

 

15. Practise Ahimsa, Satyam, Brahmacharya. Do Japa. Do Pranayama. Practise Nama-smaran and kirtan. Kundalini will rise up of her own accord."-VIII.44

 

16. Sat Chit Ananda that is Nirguna medita-tion."—XII.7

 

17. Swamiji was asked: "Is it not possible to attain spiritual knowledge by reading books written by realised souls, or is it necessary to have a teacher?" REPLY: "When even for worldly things you require a teacher, what to speak of spiritual matters?" After a pause, he added: "But everything is possible for a man of will, analysis and self-reliance. He can do everything." XII.20

 

18. My ideal is service.-XII.36

 

19. The medical profession is a noble profession. Through it you can very easily purify the mind and the heart. God-realisation is a matter of days and hours if you serve the patients sincerely and with Bhav. This Bhav you can develop if you feel that you are serving the Lord Himself in the patient. XII.38-(We can now realise Swamiji's Bhav in Malaya where he was a doctor for 10 years.)

 

20. Few of the people here are as much students of the University as I am. I have written so many books. Yet, ever today I feel that I am a student.-XII.46

 

21. No amount of Upanishad-reading and repeating Om Om Om will be able to awaken the Consciousness in you. The heart must be purified. Service alone can do that.-

XII.39

 

22. You had compassion for others. That is practical Vedanta.-XIII.20

 

23. Enquire. Discover. Recover. Detach. Attach. Detach the mind from the objects and attach it to the Lord.-XIII.42

 

24. If a man goes on doing only good actions, he will automatically get Samadhi, after acquiring the Sadhana Chatushtaya and practising Sravan, Manan and Nididhya-san.—XIII.43

 

25. Advice to the girl-students of D. A. V. College, Dehra Dun, on 12-2-1956: "You should live like Madalasa, Maitreyi Sulabha, Gargi. You should become Brahmavadinis." — XIV.37

 

26. To accept everything but not crave for anything is wisdom.-XV.11

 

27. The constant remembrance of God, the cultivation of virtues, and the spiritualisation of all activities are the easiest Sadhanas for the vast majority of people to attain God-realisation.—XV.15

 

28. Suppose there is a pot full of water. It is full. That is Sampoornam. Suppose this pot which is full is kept in another pot which is full of water. Now there is water both inside the small pot and outside. Everywhere there is water now. This is Paripoornam.-XV.25

 

29. Existentialism agrees with Vedanta. Brahman is Existence-Consciousness. XVI. 2

 

30. Drugs will do no good to the mind and therefore they are now curing diseases with psycho-therapy.—XVI.3

 

31. You are only a Vedantin. You should also practise Asans, Pranayama. You should improve your health. You should be more social. You should speak sweet words and win others' hearts.-XVI.5

 

32. A woman who is modest, who is devoted to her husband, who carries out all his commands, who does kirtan and trains her children also in leading a religious life, is certainly a Devi. But, the woman who is proud, self-willed and arrogant, who argues with her husband and does not carry out his commands, and who stands in the way of his spiritual practices or demands of her poor husband costly dress and necklace is a devi with an 1 added (devil).- XVI.8

 

33. Give up smoking at once. Gradual giving up is no good. It will be a failure. Whenever the tendency arises to smoke, chew some pepper or a piece of ginger. The tendency will go away.-XVI.19

 

34. I love all gods. Om Sri Ganesa-Saravana-bhava Narayana- Siva-Dattatreya- Rama Krishna- Anianeya- Bhaskara- Gayatri-Tripurasundari- Mahalakshmi- Saraswathi Durgayai Namah.-XVI.53

 

35. Satyam Sivam Sundaram Kantam is a beautiful formula for Nirguna meditation.- XVI.54

 

36. Feel everything is God.-XVII.14

 

37. For Jnana Yoga, you must have pucca Vai-ragya. xVIl.27

 

38. Meditation on God and selfless service can both eradicate evil thoughts. The latter is the easier path. —XXI.57

 

39. Watch your thoughts. Practise self-intros-pection.--XXIII.2

 

40. Teacher, teach thyself first. Physician, heal thyself first. Lecturer, lecture to thyself first. Reformer, reform thyself first.— XIII.26

 

41. Music is not entertainment. Music is Yoga. It is Bhakti Yoga or Sankirtana Yoga. Saints like Tyagaraja attained God-realisa-tion through music. —XXIII.49.

 

42. Swamiji was asked: "How long does it take one to complete the Forest University course on Yoga and Vedanta?" Reply: "A life-time."-XXII.84

 

43. Sages are the salt of the earth. They are cosmic benefactors.-XXIV.28

 

44. Even if the patient is far away, you can send him your thought-vibrations which will heal him.-XXIV.32

 

45. Do Namasmaran during work also.-XXIV. 38.

 

46. Swamiji was asked: "What is the easiest method for concentrating the mind on one object? Reply: Do Japa. Keep the picture of Lord Krishna in front of you and meditate on His Feet, Pitambar, Flute etc.. XXV.12

 

47. Swamiji was asked: "Which is the best Asan to keep up Brahmacharya ? Reply: Sirshasan and Sarvangasan.-XXV.12

 

48. There are various methods of awakening Kundalini through Hatha Yogic Kriyas, through Pranayama, through Vichar, through Guru's Grace, through devotion, through selfless service etc.-XXV.39

 

49. Do not bother yourself always about finance and kitchen.—XV40

 

50. Peace and courage have their origin in re-nunciation.-XXV.40

 

The Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy Weekly issues contain many incidents relating to Gurudev and many teachings by him. In the issue dated 30th January 1958, he explained the significance of Patanjali's definition of Yoga as 'Chitta Vritti Nirodhah (control of mental states) and the Gita definition 'Yogah Karmasu Kausalam (Yoga is skill in action), which implies that when you act without a serise of doership and as an instrument of God and offer all to God, action is a source of liberation and ceases to be a source of bondage (page 515).

 

A recent brochure entitled 'Anecdotes of Siva' deals with various interesting incidents and inspired teachings in 1947 to 1950.

 

1. Swamiji told a pensioner: "You must do a lot of charity. You must reduce your expenses. So long you have supported a small family. Now you must expand and treat all poor people as members of your family. pages 1 and 2

 

2. Neither want nor give up that should be the attitude of a Vedantin. page 8

 

3. Practise Vedanta in daily life. No use singing its glories. page 12

 

4. A Jeevanmukta as long as he is living has to observe the strict laws of nature.-page 13

 

5. Become the C. I. D. officer of your own mind Intr. spect. Analyse yourself. Examine yourself. Meditate. Be free.-page 15

 

6. Dedicate yourself to some spiritual institution. Through the institution serve humanity. You will attain Moksha. page 17

 

7. Disease is in the mind. Shake it off. page 22

 

8. Egoism: shun it, sacred or secular. page 27

 

9. To observe Ahimsa, Satyam, Brahmacharya: to do Japa, kirtan, meditation: to study Gita, Upanishads: to serve and love all:- that is divine life. page 28

 

10. Everyone is your own Atman. Have the Virat-Bhavana always that is the road to Moksha.

—page 47

 

11. One should ascend to the heights of spirituality step by step as it is evolution and not revo-lution. page 73.

 

I found in Srimathi Padma Bharatharaja's 'Life of Sivannda a Song', a portion called Sivananda Prasnottari chronicled by Sri Swami Gurusarananda. I cull here a few of Swamiji's answers to questions as recorded in it.

 

Do not worry about Kundalini. It will take care of itself. Kundalini will rise of its own accord, when purity of life is achieved by the practice of Japa and meditation. page 19.

 

.."A saint is one who has realised God with attributes (Saguna Brahman) through the practice of devotion, A sage is one who has realised the attributeless Brahman (Nirguna Brahman) through the path of knowledge. In essence, they are one." —page 36.

 

"Know thyself and be free.' page 38

 

"Do more Sadhana. Develop more Vairagya. A little Mouna ( silence), a little Pranayama, a little Ekanta (seclusion)-these are all aids. Fasting develops Sattva." page 39

 

"Always Namasmaran-Ram, Ram. If you cannot meditate, practise Namasmaran and Kirtan."— page 40.

 

"Practise the teachings of the Gita. Convert everything into Yoga."-page 41.

 

"That which takes you to God is Dharma, that which pulls you down to worldly, sensual pleasures is Adharma.'- page 44.

 

"Control the mind by Vairagya, Abhyasa, Satsanga, Japa, Kirtan."- page 48

 

"The world is a vast university. Nature is the best teacher." page 54

 

"Everyone is an idol-worshipper. The Muslim worships Kaba. Christians worship Jesus on the Cross. The mind wants a prop to lean on." —p. 57

 

"Sri Sai Baba still keeps the astral body to elevate the aspirants."-page 61

 

5. SIVANANDA'S LETTERS

 

I think that Swami Sivananda is the greatest letter-writer in the world. His incoming mail-bag is a big bag. His outgoing mail-bag is an even bigger bag. His letters must have passed the million-mark long ago. I give below a few sentences from his letters to children and to elders in recent years. They are to be found in 'CHILDREN'S DIVINE TREASURE' (1958), 'SIVANANDA'S LETTERS TO DR. CHATRAPATI' (1950), 'MORAL AND SPIRITUAL REGENERATION OF THE WORLD' (1957) THE LETTERS THAT TRANSFORM compiled by Sri Swami Raghavananda, SIVANANDA VANI (1958), GUIDING LIGHTS which contains 575 letters (1958) etc.

 

"Do Ram Nam Kirtan daily."-'Children's Divine Treasure' page 137.

 

"Be good. Do good."- page 138

 

"Love all. Serve all." page 145

 

"Lead a simple life." page 153

 

"Work while you work, Play while you play. That is the way To be cheerful and gay." page 159

 

There is God in the stars. Beauty is God. Breath is God. Smile is God's language." page 165

 

"God is everywhere. Feel His presence everywhere."— page 179

 

"Be regular in your Japa, meditation and study of Gita."-'Letter To Chatrapati': page 2.

 

'The supreme stage of Samadhi is the culmination of all Sadhanas.'-page 9

 

'Break the bonds of desire. Purify the mind.'-page.45

 

"Renunciation of egoism leads to Atma-Jnana.' -Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the world. page 150

 

'A perfect Brahmachari can move the world.'— -'The Letters that Transform' page 3

 

'Along with the medicines, ask the patients to repeat the Lord's Names. This will help quick recovery? —The Letters that Transform: Advice to a Doctor page 17

 

'Give your hands to work and the mind to God.' -page 18.

 

Faith is the search-light for finding God.'— -Sivananda Vani "Enter Silence and be silent, after intense lecture-hour."-Guiding Lights, Letter to Vijayalakshmi page 5

 

"Suddham and Sivam are inseparable. They are like rose and fragrance, coolness and ice, light and fire, sweetness and sugarcandy."-Letter to Swami Suddhananda Bharati page 8

 

"Be regular in your Japa, Kirtan and meditation. Tap the source and draw power and strength.' —p.9

 

Evil is negative good. Evil exists to glorify good.'-page 11

 

"Become angry with anger, because it does the greatest mischief." —page 12

 

Meditation releases a great deal of spiritual energy which transmutes all lower energies into Ojas or spiritual force."— page 17

 

"Watch your thoughts. Control the tongue. Overcome anger by love. Be firm in your resolves." page 28

 

"Life is the greatest of teachers and the world is its school."— page 28

 

"Victory over the mind is certainly victory over death." —page 30

 

"Purity is the key by which the door of intuition is opened." —page 31

 

"Virtue opens the gate of immortality." —p.37

 

"The heart is the best temple of God." — p.62

 

"To live is to serve. To live is to love. To live is to give. The law of life is love. The sustaining law of the universe is love. Love is all-powerful.

 

The master key to open the door of Moksha is pure, divine love."— page 63

 

"The whole world is one family of God." p. 64

 

"Vedanta is an art of living to be practised all throughout one's life. It will make happy homes and happy society."— page 68

 

"The opening of the higher Consciousness is the aim of Yoga and meditation. Yoga and meditation increase the creative capacity in all spheres of life." page 68

 

"Experience is the child of action. Action is the child of thought."— page 72

 

"Compassion is Advaita. Kindness is Advaita. Vedanta is no tan abstruse metaphysical theory but is one of harmonious living." page 82

 

'Anger is a modification of desire and lust. Anger and lust can be controled by repetition of Lord's Name, meditation, Satvic diet, Satsang and study of holy scriptures, and the cultivation of virtues like forgiveness, tolerance, love and spirit of service, discrimination and Vichar (Atmic enquiry)."- page 83

 

Knowledge of Atma is possible only to one who ceases from desiring objects. Desire of Brahman is not desire." —page 88

 

Divine help and encouragement come to aspirants through dreams alsi." page 89

 

'The technique of awakening Kundalini is to be learnt directly from a Guru. It is dangerous to practise with the help of books.,, page 109

 

Prayer is not asking. It is communion with the Lord. It is an intense longing of the soul to be one with God.'— page 118

 

'Life is meant for God-realisation. Life is a medium for evolution. Learn and be wise. Experience is man's only real teacher'— page 120

 

Moksha is identical with immortality, eternal bliss and everlasting peace.' page 123

 

Pain and affliction come with a specific purpose in His Plan for the soul's unfoldment.' page 129

 

'Mind is the axle to the wheel of Moha.' p.146

 

'Sorrow is the precursor of the knowledge of Atma.'—page 148

 

'Broad-minded tolerance and knowledge of Yoga-Vedanta are India's great contributions to the world..'- page 149

 

'Truth is one, universal, eternal.' page 202

 

'The spiritual seed must be sown when one is young.'- page 213

 

Righteousness brings blessedness. The fruit of discrimination and detachment is wisdom'—p. 218

 

'Divine life is to be lived in small details.'— p. 220

 

'God is above all, in all, through all. He is all-in-all'— page 221

 

'The grace of Guru and the Lord are necessary for leading the spiritual life.'-page 222

 

'Work is worship. Convert every action into Yoga.-page 224

 

'The universe is a mirror in which is mirrored the Being and Beauty of God.'— page 228

 

Who is blessed? He who practises what he knows. The body is a lamp. The heart is the wick. The oil is your love for the Beloved.'-page 230

 

'Life is a series of awakenings.'-page 259

 

'A life of self-analysis is a life towards Self-realisation.'— page 267

 

'Moral conduct is the stepping-stone to the higher stages of meditation and wisdom.'-page 274

 

'The body is the field. The ten senses are the ten bulls. The five Pranas are the five labourers.' page 286

 

'Glad to know you are an M. L. A, now: Motionless Luminous Atma.'-page 297

 

'To live in God is to do the will of God.'—p.305

 

'Vedanta is a system of thought and an art of living?-page 314

 

'An hour's meditation is better than years of study.'—page 355

 

'The way to God is through the heart.'-page395

 

'The secret of Divine Life lies in the spirit of service and sacrifice.'— page 396

 

Vedanta is meant for each and every one and not only for a selected few.'— page 407

 

Reason is not infallible but intuition is infallible.

Therefore, develop intuition'-page 432

 

'Be regular in your prayer and meditation. Convert your room into a Church. God is all-pervading. He dwells in thy heart. Feel His presence everywhere. He will protect you in all ways.'-'Swami Sivananda The Sage of Pracical Wisdom page 55

 

6. SWAMI SIVANANDA'S ANALECTS

 

In these brief, aphoristic, and suggestive fragments, Swamiji gives to us his synthesised, harmonised and composite philosophy which pursues the way of the golden mean and avoids the extremes of sectarian philosophies and religious dogmas. I shall give here a few pithy sayings which bring out in a series of fragments a full and fresh philosophy of life, a new and valid world-view.

 

1. Creation is a joyous self-expression of the One.-page 73

 

2. Egoism is born as a result of ignorance and! from egoism arises the whole psychic equipment of men and the world as well.-page 10

 

3. When Truth is known, duality vanishes.— page 10

 

4. Practice of Advaita Vedanta destroys the feeling of duality. pages 11, 12

 

5. Vedanta is not pessimistic. It is the highest pinnacle of optimism. page 12

 

6. Practice of Vedanta leads to the realisation of the Supreme Brahman. page 14

 

7. Brahman transcends the whole world and also manifests Himself as the whole world. This is a mystery. page 15

 

8. Nirvana is not utter extinction. page 20

 

9. There is a heaven of eternal bliss within the reach of every man. page 30

 

10. The Light of lights is within you. page 56

 

11. Let the outward and inward man be at-one.

-page 95

 

12. Meditation awakens intuition.-page 103

 

13. Contact with saints is the highest good.-page 112

 

14. God is the aim and end of human life. p.171

 

15. For a true lover of God all places should be like heaven. page 193

 

7. SWAMI SIVANANDA'S PARABLES

 

'Parables of Sivananda' (1955) is a very valuable section of Swamiji's holy work. The effectiveness of parables has been shown to us by the scriptures from the dawn of time. The latest of the spiritual leaders in India who used the parable as an effective instrument for imparting spiritual wisdom was Sri Gurudev Ramakrishna Paramahamsa.

 

'Parables of Sivananda' contains very effective lessons in the simplest words and has been called as 'an effective Home Instructor on Yoga and Vedanta.' If it is used well at home and in the school, and on the platform, it will build up a righteous and spiritual life all round. It consists of 108 parables. I shall mention here only a few of them:

 

1. Just as a mother is necessary for her daughter to learn that butter exists in milk and that churning will bring it out, even so, a Guru is necessary for a man to know that God is, that He is all-pervading and that He is attained through Sadhana. -page 4

 

2. Describing a house as the place where a crow sits is not helpful definition, for the crow may not always be there. God is the Creator of the world. But the best definition of God is that He is Infinite Truth, Consciousness and Bliss (Satyam Jnanam Anantam Brahman).-page 5

 

3. You cannot adorn an image. If you adorn yourself, your image will shine. Man is but an image of God. pages 8, 9

 

4. Joy is like the jack-fruit which must. be opened to be enjoyed. pages 10 to 13

 

5. If the king's servant denies his master, he will get punishhed. pages 16, 17

 

6. A man searched for his wrist-watch in the darkness and could not find it. When his friend brought a light, he found it. pages 18, 19

 

7. If a tree withers, the wise boy waters the roots, but a foolish boy waters the leaves. pp.28-9

 

8. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a ditch. pages 42, 43

 

9. If the rat releases the cobra in a basket by making a hole in it, it will be the first victim.- pages 84 to 86

 

10. Don't try to remove dirt by dirt. page 98

 

8. SIVANANDA'S STORIES

In my first volume 'The Gospel of Sivananda' I dealt with his 'Stories from Mahabharata', 'Lives of Saints', 'Philosophical Stories', 'Illuminating Stories', etc. His recent stories to children are contained in CHILDREN'S DIVINE TREASURE and contain much wisdom in a nutshell. I give two of them here.

 

A GREEDY BOY

In his house there were raisins in a narrow-necked jar. He put his hand into it and took a handful. But he was not able to draw his hand out. He cried. His mother said: "Drop some raisins from your hand. It will come out." He did so, and his hand came out. She then told him: "My boy, never be greedy again."

 

THE NARROW-MINDED DEVOTEE

A foolish devotee had a golden image of Buddha. She came to a monastery which had many such images. But she did not like them. When she burnt incense before her image, she did not want the fumes to go to the other images. She drew a curtain round her image. In a short time her Buddha became dark and grim while the others were bright. Such is the case with narrow-hearted persons.

 

DIVINE STORIES (1952) contains many fine spiritual lessons. The story 'Glory of Satsang' is very interesting.

 

Viswamitra praised Tapas while Vasishta praised Satsang. They went to the Trimurthies. Brahma was busy. So was Siva. So was Vishnu. Vishnu referred them to Adi-Sesha. He said: "Take the earth-burden from my head. I shall reply." Viswamitra offered his Tapas, but the burden was there. Vasishta offered his Satsang. Adi-Sesha was relieved of the burden.

Equally fine is the story of the 'Charcoal Seller'.

 

A villager used to go to a distant forest and cut fuel, make into charcoal and sell it. The king gave him a very near forest full of sandal trees. The man cut it and made into charcoal. Only one tree remained. The king blamed him for doing so and asked him to sell at least the remaining tree as sandalwood. He did so and got a large sum of money. Swamiji says: "This body is the forest and the individual is the poor charcoal-seller."

 

SPIRITUAL STORIES (1958) is a precious volume of spiritual gems. I shall give only a few sample stories here.

 

Once upon a time the king died without an heir. The state elephant put the royal garland round the neck of a sanyasi. He did not want to rule, but the people prayed to him to do so. A neighbouring king invaded, but the sanyasi did not offer resistance. He said: "Why do you want to destroy, to take the throne? Take it." The neighbouring king felt ashamed and made the sanyasi the king of his kingdom also. Such is the power of renunciation. page 65

 

A boat was plying in the sea, but a storm arose. Some passengers put on life-belts and plunged into the sea. The sharks ate them up. One man sat in the boat and said: "God will protect me." Eventually the storm ceased and he was safe. page 106

 

Akbar gave a feast to the poor. All except one said: "Akbar Badshah ki jai". But one man did not say so. Akbar had him pushed out. That night he heard God's voice saying: "I treat all alike. Why did you have my saint pushed out?' Akbar sent for him and begged his pardon. The saint said: "Like God, His saints also never get offended. I am glad that you had a vision of God."-page 108

 

Ram Lal did one virtuous act and many sins. He was asked by Yama: "Will you enjoy the result of the virtue or sins first?" Ram Lal said: "I shall enjoy first the fruits of virtue." He went to heaven. From there he went to Kailasa and had Darsan of God Siva, and thence to Vaikuntha and had Darsan of God Vishnu. When the time came for him to taste the fruits of sins, his Darshan saved him and he went to Paradise. page 113.

 

9. OTHER RECENT WRITINGS

 

Most of these are in the nature of compilations of miscellaneous instructions scattered in the various magazines etc., and of the innumerable spiritual messages sent by Swami Sivananda on innumerable occasions such as anniversary celebrations of religious societies, weddings in the families of his disciples and devotees, etc. A few brochures consist of his brief, recent, illuminating ideas and ideals.

 

I. SIVANANDA'S INSTRUCTIONS

Aphorisms, Pearls of Wisdom, Light, Power and Wisdom, Nectar Drops, Wisdom Nectar, Waevs of Ganga, Precepts for Practice, Joy, Bliss, Immortality, Essence of Teachings, Treasure of Teachings, and Sivananda Smriti are some of the books of the pithy sayings of Swami Sivananda. So Says Sivananda, Sivananda Upadesamritam, Daily Readings of Swami Sivananda, Upadesa Mala, Telegraphic Teachings, Guru Bhakti Yoga, and Sivanandaism are compilations of miscellaneous instructions.

 

The teachings are classified under various headings such as Religion, Peace, The Universe, Worldly People, Sufferings, Conquest of Mind, Concentration and Meditation, Devotion, Satsang, Japa, Faith, Yoga, Vedanta, Sadhanas, Siddhi, Truth, Self-control, Service, Character, Light, Power, Wisdom, Immortality, Divine Ambrosia, Nectar Drops, Spiritual Dynamics and Therapeutics, the Psychic World, Spiritual Evolution, and Perfection etc. I shall give here only a few precious aphorisms and instructions:

 

APHORISMS contain 552 sayings.

 

1. Argument produces hostility, strained feelings and wastage of energy.

 

2. Practice instils truth into the hearts of men while preaching amuses their ears.-'Aphorisms'

 

3. The essence of all existence is evolution or a constant realisation of new ideals. ibid

 

4. The vast majority of persons have no ideal, no programme of life, and no background of thought.-ibid

 

5. Meditation on OM with Bhav and feeling leads to the realisation of Brahma Jnana.-ibid

 

6. Spiritual experiences vary according to the temperament, mode of Sadhana and other factors.

 

7. Ahimsa is another name for Truth or Love. So says Sivananda.

 

8. Self-control is the best of all vows.-ibid

 

9. Selfless service can reveal to you the identity of humanity.-ibid

 

10. Draw strength from within.-'Light, Power and Wisdom'

 

11. The world is a great school.-ibid

 

12. No faith, No Jnana.-ibid

 

13. Immortality is thy birthright.-ibid

 

14. God is the inner ruler.-ibid

 

15. Renunciation is the greatest wealth.--'Nectar Drops'

 

16. Meditation is the key to Self-realisation.-- ibid

 

17. Pain is necessary for the retinement of the soul.-ibid

 

18. Banish egoism and desire before you can be inspired.- ibid

 

19. Guru Mantra and Devata form a unity. -ibid

 

20. Every thought that you send out is a vibration which never perishes.'Daily Readings'

 

21. The nature of the mind is such that it becomes that which it intensely thinks of.-ibid

 

22. Meditation is a preventive, a germicide and a tonic.-ibid

 

23. Most of the diseases take their origin in overeating, sexual excesses, and outbursts of anger and hatred.-ibid

 

24. Prayer generates good spiritual currents, and produces a rare tranquillity of the mind; it elevates the whole emotional nature, and is accompanied by the growth of inward grace, inner strength, and a sense of at-one-ment with the Supreme Being. -ibid

 

25. The ideal of the social ethics of the Gita is Lokasamgraha, the well-being and solidarity of the world. This is brought about by each individual through the performance of Swadharma in the spirit of non-attachment and self-surrender.-ibid

 

26. Conquest of self is conquest of the world.- 'Wisdom Nectar'

 

27. True happiness lies in virtue and not in earthly possessions.-ibid

 

28. Religion begins with the opening of intui-tion. Intuition leads to God-realisation.-ibid

 

29 Keep the spiritual lamp burning side by side when you light the lamp of secular knowledge.-ibid

 

30. Smile away worries.-ibid

 

31. Unity is life. Diversity is death.-ibid

 

32. Divine Life is life lived in accord with the Divine Will.-ibid

 

33. Kundalini Yoga should be practised in the proper manner with the proper basis. First practise Yama and Niyama.-ibid

 

34. The real Jesus or Krishna is in your own heart.- ibid

 

35. Reform yourself. The society will reform itself.-'Upadesamala'

 

36. Remember time is more precious than money.-ibid

 

37. All virtues revolve round Ahimsa. ibid

 

38. Character is the sure foundation of spirituality.-'Waves of Ganga'

 

39. Righteousness is the gateway to God-vision. —ibid

 

40. Prayer is an artless opening of the chamber of your heart for the descent of Divine Light.-ibid

 

41. Mysticism is the direct experience of God. Mystic experiences are outside the realm of reason. —ibid

 

42. Let the Sadhana be regular, continuous, unbroken and earnest.-ibid

 

43. Life is an unfoldment.-ibid

 

44. The supra-cosmic consciousness is the highest state. It is known as Nirvikalpa Samadhi.-Precepts for Practice'

 

45. It (Sadhana) looks a drudgery in the beginning. Later on it imparts joy, peace, strength, courage and freedom.-ibid

 

46. To some marriage hinders progress, to others, it helps.-ibid

 

47. Intelligence is nine-tenths memory only.

 

48. Everything is lost when faith is lost.-ibid

 

49. A pure heart is the beginning of divinity. ibid

 

50. The mind is the seed of the world.-ibid

 

51. Religion is the link between man and God. ibid

 

52. Bliss is Brahman's essential nature.-'Joy, Bliss, Immortality'

 

53. Mind is the biggest radio.-ibid

 

54. Go back to the source.-Essence of Teachings'

 

55. That which is permanent never changes. —ibid

 

56. It is Bhav that makes actions into Yoga and service into worship.-ibid

 

57. To be good is to do good.-ibid

 

58. Unselfishness is the test of religion.-ibid

 

59. Divine Life is the way to world peace and individual salvation. — 'Telegraphic Teachings,

60. Virtue is the unfolding of love.-'Pearls of Wisdom'

 

61. Humility is the complete destruction of egoism.-ibid

 

62. Guru Bhakti Yoga is total self-surrender to the Satguru.-'Guru Bhakti Yoga'

 

63. The state of Samadhi is maintained even during work.-'Sivananda-ism'

 

64. Human body is as much divine as anything else is.-'Treasure of Teachings'

 

65. Behaviour is a mirror in which you display your image.-'Sivananda Smriti'

 

66. Yoga confers self-mastery. Yoga leads to God-union. —'Sivananda Upadesamritam'

 

II. SIVANANDA'S MESSAGES

 

Swamiji's inspiring messages have been sent not only on important public occasions and holy days in the year, but also on the happening of domestic events in the lives of his devotees. I shall refer to many of them when dealing with the special aspects of his teachings and shall content myself here with refering to a few of his general messages.

 

Holy Days

 

The Message of the Sun the message of Light, is the message of unity, of immortality, of true selflessness, of the perfection of the elements of Karma Yoga.-ILLUMINATING MESSAGES," Sankranthi i.e., Pongal Message.

 

Renunciation and establishment in Self-consciousness are the two great features of Siva.-'Sivaratri Message

 

The traditional concept of the Guru is a unique and wonderful gem in the cultural treasury of Bha-ratavarsha. Guru Purnima Message

 

The highest ideal is cosmic love. Cosmic love is subtler than ether; so it pervades every atom of creation; cosmic love is more powerful than the greatest weapon discovered by man; so it will instantly destroy all the evil forces within the heart of man and around him, too. This cosmic love itself is God; for God, the Supreme Power that has created the universe and sustains it is love.-Message for the Congress of Ideals held in Germany in May 1954

 

What is India without the Upanishads? The two are synonymous. What the life-breath is to a man, Upanishads are to India.-Message for the Upanishad Jnana Yajna conducted by Sri K. S. Ramaswami Sastriar at Madras

 

The Upanishads constitute the life-breath of India.-Message for the Upanishad Jnana Yajna conducted by Sri Swami Chinmayananda at Poona

 

Life on earth is a gradual process of unfolding of the Divine Consciousness which man essentially is. In varied and subtle forms, selfishness, greed, desire for personal gain and selfish enjoyment characterise the lower self of man. This ceaseless activity in the spirit of pure worshipfulness effectively shakes him up and out from the sloth of gross Tamas.-'Illuminating Messages' in Swami Sivananda: The sage of Practical Wisdom

 

What wonderful inventions! The world has shrunk. Distance has been conquered. Our life has been made comfortable. The printing press, radio and television help knowledge to spread far and wide. All these we owe to science., The West is advanced in science. Material prosperity, comfort, luxury and scientific advancement cannot give you peace. Peace and happiness are not in objects. They can be had only in the Atman, in God. Material prosperity and wealth are of no use here. You have to acquire the wealth of virtues, the wealth of meditation.-Message tape recorded by Sivananda-Radha on 13th January 1959. 'Swami Sivananda's Divine Messages'

 

III. SIVANANDA'S BROCHURES

 

I propose to deal below in detail with the recent major works of Swami Sivananda. I shall briefly refer here to his other writings which are small in size and to numerous complications of his instructions.

 

In AIDS TO GOD-REALISATION (1952) and PATH TO GOD-REALISATION (1954) he teaches us about Japa, meditation, Bhajan, Sankirtan, Ahimsa, Mouna, Brahmacharya, Satvic food, etc.

 

In WHAT AND WHO AM I (1955), Gurudev explores the depths of personality to reach the Self which is the Self of the ego and of the whole universe; and asks us to reach and realise That (Tat).

 

In THE GATEWAY TO BLISS (1956) he shows us that the heart is the spiritual thermometer (page 23) and that if our heart has purity, peace and perfection, we can realise God.

 

In ASHRAMS AND SAINTS IN INDIA (1957) and GREAT MEN AND WOMEN (1958), Swamiji, in his usual noble, generous and enthusiastic mood of appreciation and praise, glorifies many great men and women of our time and many great institutions and Ashrams of today. In the former book, 107 Ashrams and saints are glorified. He says: "Who is a saint? He who lives in God or the Eternal, who is free from egoism, likes and dislikes, selfishness, vanity, mine-ness, lust, greed and anger; who is endowed with equal vision, balanced mind, mercy, tolerance, righteousness, cosmic love; and who has divine knowledge, is a saint. Saints and sages are blessings to the world at large. "They are custodians of superior divine wisdom, spiritual powers and inexhaustible spiritual wealth." (page xii). Gurudev in his divine humility offers prostrations and adorations to all good men and women. Even my unworthy self is in that list.

 

In regard to Ashrams, Gurudev says: "Ashrams are spiritual abodes or centres where sanyasins Yogis and devotees live and practise meditation. Kathas, and Yoga classes are held, and spiritual aspirants are trained for religious propaganda. Householders come and stay here and lead the divine life during their holidays, charge themselves with spiritual energy and go back to the world, carry on their work with a new changed angle of vision, divine Bhav and selfless spirit. Ashrams are a blessing to the world at large. Had it not been for their existence, this world would have surely wiped out spirituality and great dynamic Yogis and spiritual Masters. May this world abound in countless ideal Ashrams. May the kings and Maharajas take now at least more real interest in supporting and starting many Ashrams and thus receive the blessings of the sages, and become more prosperous and enlightened! May people understand the glory of Sanyasa and the usefulness of Ashrams!" (pages x, xi). It is thus clear that the existence of sages and saints, and of Ashrams which are their abodes will ensure the excellence of such super-social life as will keep the personal and social life of ordinary human beings from being overwhelmed by selfishness. By glorifying saints and Ashrams Gurudev shows to us his own saintly nature. The same unique and noble trait which shines out in Saint Tyaga-raja's famous Pancharatna (five gems) song Enthro Mahanubhavulu (Many are the great ones) shines out also in all the utterances and actions of Gurudev.

 

In the recent book 'Swami Sivananda, The Sage of Practical Wisdom' (1959) by Major-General A.N.

Sharma, he pays his homage to many great spiritual personages. He says: "Bharatavarsha has always been a land of Eternal ideals, sublime idealism and of supermen who converted these ideals into actuality in their every-day conduct. Sri Gandhiji is a name that symbolises a force and a power. This is the outcome of an unassailable moral purity and a spotless character. His name has become synonymous with unbending moral rectitude, heroic allegiance to Truth and perfect uprightness in private and public life." (pages 116, 117) I shall quote below a few of Swamiji's tributes to womanhood:

 

She is full of tenderness and devotion.

She is elegant and graceful.

She can attain easily God-realisation,

Because she has more love than man.

This is her natural trait.

She goes to bed late after service

And gets up early to start her work.

She is not Abala, But she is dynamic.

She holds the key of the house

And the key of the nation too.

Great Men and Women-page 106.

Woman is the Lakshmi of the house.

She is Goddess.

Without her there is no charm,

There is no happiness in a house.

She is the soul of the house.

She radiates joy and love to all.

She ably manages the house.

She comforts the husband, children and guests.

She starves and makes others happy.

She is full of sacrifice and surrender.

She is very patient, humble and gentle.

She has more endurance than man.

She is the first Guru for her children.

She moulds their destiny.

Glory to women!

Prostrations to women—

The manifestations of Para Sakthi!

ibid page 108

Man is rational.

Woman is emotional.

Man is strong.

Woman is beautiful.

Man is rough.

Woman is graceful.

Man is worldly.

Woman is devotional.

Man is impatient.

Woman is patient.

Man is rude.

Woman is gentle.

Man is less charitable.

Woman is more charitable.

Man is selfish.

Woman is unselfish.

ibid page 109

Heart of a woman is soft.

There is an eternal spring

From which flows love abundantly.

Meadows of faith adorn its both sides.

Close to this spring

Flows gleefully

A lovely fountain of devotion immaculate.

 

ibid page 110

 

Swami Sivananda has given to us a great and good and glorious vision of human perfection in his MORAL AND SPIRITUAL REGENERATION OF THE WORLD (1957) and his CHOICE BEFORE HUMANITY (1958). In the former Gurudev deals with glaring moral lapses and shows how we must have proper educational, professional, social and economic life and what should be the role of Sanyasins in society. I shall refer to these aspects in the later chapters. In the latter he shows how man has arrived at the cross-roads of destiny and must perfect himself in all ways to save human civilisation and attain divine perfection.

 

He concludes thus: "That is his destiny. In that lies his redemption. He has to strike a balance between material prosperity and spiritual progress. In this lies wisdom, the saving grace. Man cannot discard material prosperity, nor can he ignore spiritual refinement. Either he effects this balance and thereby ensures peace and welfare, or he destroys himself through the worship of the deities of materialism by their subservient genie, the weapons of destruction. The choice is before humanity."-page 52

 

10. RECENT VOLUMES ON

SWAMI SIVANANDA

 

The number of volumes describing Swami Sivananda and his teachings are more than a hundred in number. I shall deal here only with a few of the recent books in the main with the later phase of his spiritual career.

 

I wish to refer at the outset to the briefest and most recent book on Gurudev by his oldest disciple, Swami Paramananda who has a loving and lovable personality, and who is also a dynamic organiser who organised successfully Gurudev's All-India and Ceylon tour in 1950. He is a strong, silent man, a man of few words and abundant activity, a man who inspires all the activities of the Sivananda Ashram but keeps aloof and shuns the limelight. His unparalleled humility is evident from his regarding and describing himself as S. L. and S. R. Padukas (Sivananda's Left Paduka i. e., footwear, and Right Paduka). He has been Gurudev's Padukas from 1930 and will always continue to be so. He has an abundant fund of humour and calls his brief work as the PHILOSOPHY AND TEACHINGS OF H. H. SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA (1959) as his English translation of a work by S. L. Paduka and S. R. Paduka. We can never think of the Padukas apart from the Padaravindas (lotus feet) or of the Padaravindas without thinking of the entire divine Form. What is the message of the Padukas? Swami Paramananda gives in a few words:

 

"Serve. Love. Be patient. Bear insult. Bear injury. Adjust and adapt. Hate not anyone. Become humble. Crush the ego. Work ceaselessly for the welfare of others without any selfish motive. Pain is the best teacher in the world. Evolve through selfless service. Develop equal vision. Be adamant in the practice of Yoga.

 

"We were transformed by his touch. Implicitly we followed his footsteps.

 

Our existence is to serve mankind unselfishly without expecting anything in return. Ideal Karma Yoga is our path."

 

Swami Paramananda refers appropriately to the rule of the Padukas of Sri Rama, and to sri Sankara's poem 'Namo Namah Sri Gurupadukabhyam'. Nay, he says with equal apposition: "By service to our master, we become part and parcel of his Divine Form. Those who touch us become divine it once. We ultimately became the abode of all his powers. We were responsible for the visit of the Master to every home in all villages, towns and cities all over India and Ceylon in the year 1950. We are worshipped in all temples and shrines. We are given a prominent place in the houses of his devotees."

 

Every word in this brochure is true. Swami Paramananda tells me whenever he meets me: "Always by your side' I am proud to have Gurudev's Padukas by my side. I love this Siva Paduka Gita as much as I love 'Siva Gita'. Let me say in Valmiki's words, to Gurudev:

 

अधिरोहार्य पादाभ्यां पादुके हेमभूषिते ।

एते हि सर्वलोकस्य योगक्षेमं विधास्यतः ।।

 

Stand on these sandals decorated with

gold.  They will bless the whole world.

 

I wish to mention also a recent book which is illuminatingly revelatory of the Great Master, viz., SIVANANDA REGALIA (1958), by Sri Swami Chidananda who is a great scholar and saint, and is, further, a devoted disciple of Gurudev. I have had, by the grace of Swamı Paramananda, the pr. vilege and happiness of seeing and studying the Regalia in full detail during many days. In that room have been stored in a spirit of admiration and adoration, and accumulation, the personal effects (so petty in monetary value, so rich and valuable in spiritual value) of Swamiji, since 1924 such as a small box with pepper and cardamom used by him in his Sankirtan Conferences, during his lecturing and propaganda tours, his pens and pencils, his spectacles his Kamandalu (water-pot), his tiger-skin and deer-skins used as Asans (for sitting) Japamalas (rosaries), trunks full of manuscripts and note-books, his books and pamphlets, 1000 letters by him to Swami Paramananda, albums containing photographs of his Yoga Asans and other activities, taperecorded speeches and Bhajan songs, movie-films his activities, caskets presented to him witl addresses, his Padukas (wooden shoes), OM badges. Mantra note-books sent by devotees, Chamaras (yaktail fans for use during worship), silver images of gods and goddesses, elephant tusk, pictures of Mt. Kailas and Lake Manasarovar etc. Swami Param-ananda whose loving effort has collected the 'Regalia' says in his introduction to the book: "This building (where the above-said treasures are housed) looks like the Tower of the Himalayas. It is the heart of the Ashram also. It is like a Light-house. It was established on the 8th of January,

1956. Sivananda Regalia is a store-house of Sivananda's spiritual power. Swami Venkatesananda says in his preface: "The Sivananda Regalia is all Sivananda within and without." Swami Chidananda (General Secretary of the Divine Life Society, and Vice-President of the Yoga-Vedanta Forest Academy) says in his lectures on the 'Sivananda Regalia': "It is in itself an unspoken biography, unspoken and dramatic sort of biography which gives before us in a sort of regular, systematic way, glimpses of definite phases of his life, especially of his life of renunciation, and each phase has got a silent message of its own, a silent message that is not only inspiring, that is illuminating and guiding, but also a practical message."- pages 30, 31.

 

ALL ABOUT SIVANANDA (1957) by Swami Venkatesananda is an invaluable work which contains all that a loving, beloved and learned disciple has observed about the Master. The first chapter tells us in detail about Swamiji's exercises, favourite Asans, Pranayama, method of meditation, Kirtan, dance, prayer, routine, food, drink, clothing, psychology etc. About the saint's psychology, he says: "Siva's psychology is, unlike the Western psychologists, a practical recognition of the soul's supremacy. over mind and intellect, and not a mere intellect's guesswork of the workings of the mind (which is the foundation of the ever-changing pattern of Western psychology). From his day-to-day actions, psychologists have great lessons to learn." - page 26: Chapter Two describes Swamiji's philosophy, creed, ideals, mottoes, view of life, way of life, ethics, Yoga, integral Sadhana, sociology etc. i Chapter Three describes his style, aphorisms, ten commandments, etc. Chapter Four describes his multi-phased message. Chapter Five describes his institutions, achievements and Kirtans (songs) .

 

In SIVANANDA-MY GOD (1957) and SIVANANDA-THE LIGHT OF THE HIMALAYAS (1958) Swami Sivananda-Hridayananda alias Dr. Chellamma, M. B. B. S. D. O., now eye-surgeon, Sivananda Eye Hospital, has poured her heart at the feet of Swamiji in beautiful and inspiring prose and verse. She describes how she read his works, had a vision of him in her meditation and was drawn to Rishikesh in April 1955. She says to him about the miracle of his grace: "I came across your photo, in the book, and I felt as if I have come across the Divine Self I was seeking all these years. . I see wonderful visions of Sivanandanagar, the steps by which you walk, the Ganges ghat where people take bath, the Mandir, the white buildings, Satsang you effice with the long table. Sometimes i sel you reading, writing and talking to disciples, and sometimes reclining on a fine easy chair. I waited

 

40 years to get to thy feet. I have seen you walking by the side of the buildings, by my side, by the side of the Ganges. In my vision I sometimes see you praying inside the Viswanath Mandir. You appeared as a young Sanyasi and there was an aura of blazing light round thy form. - pages 294 to 314, 'Sivananda My God.

 

I wish also to refer to the remarkable volume, YOGA CHAKRAVARTHY (1958) by Yogiraj Sri Harry Dickman who is a profound student of all the works of Swamiji. He has summarised especially Swamiji's books on Yoga. He has specially stressed what many readers have missed, viz., the twelfth chapter of 'Practical Lessons in Yoga' about spiritual vibrations and aura (page 53). He concludes his work thus:

 

"Let us pray and hope that one day or another Sri Siva will disclose the history of his pilgrimage to the innermost shrine and conquest of the internal world, which will surely be read by thirsting Sadhaks, with no less rapture than his trip to Mt. Kailas and Manasarovar. May the grace and blessings of the Perfect Master, sage and Yogi of Himalayas be upon you all and lead you safely to the highest pinnacle of Self-realisation." - pages 226-7

 

I shall now proceed to make a brief reference to the other recent books on Sivananda. Dr. Radha Kannan's SHALL WE MEET THE MASTER (1952) gives a brief resume of Swamiji's basic teachings about spiritual truths and Yoga Asans.

 

Swami Raghavananda's PHILOSOPHY AND TEACHINGS of Swami Sivananda (1954) describes Swamiji's teachings on the Nature of Reality, the Nature of God, soul and matter, of bondage and freedom, the nature of the mind, the nature of good and evil, Karma and re-incarnation, the state of the soul after death, the need for a Guru, Sadhana, the Yoga of Synthesis, Jivanmukta, and Moksha. I shall quote here a few sentences from the book.

 

"OM represents all the symbols of God, all the symbols of all religions, cults and schools. It is the basis of all sounds and all languages. It represents all names."

 

"If the mind is attached to the objects of this world, this is bondage. If it is unattached, this is liberation."

 

"Pure Maya dispels impure Maya, like a washerman who removes dirt through dirt. Lust, anger, and greed are impure Maya. Viveka, Vairagya, Dhyana and Japa are pure Maya."

 

"Mind is Atma-sakti. Mind is God in motion."

"God is supreme Good. Rajas and Tamas are the cause of evil."

 

"That which elevates you and takes you nearer to God is right; that which brings you down and takes you away from God is wrong."

 

"Desire is the cause for pleasure. Pleasure is the womb of pain."

 

"To shed the animal in man and to sublimate the human in him into the Divine; to express this sublimation in his daily life this is divine life."

 

"Have one Yoga as the basic Yoga. Combine other Yogas also. This is the Yoga of Synthesis."

 

Swami Omkarananda's SIVANANDA AND THE MODERN MAN, STUDIES IN THE PERSONALITY OF SWAMI SIVANANDA, and EVERYMAN'S PHILOSOPHY OF SWAMI SIVANANDA (1954) seek to enter into the master-mind of Swami Sivananda which is a mine of spiritual thoughts. He says: "The mind of the Master is ever engaged in ceaselessly transmitting thoughts of power."— Studies in the Personality of Swami Sivananda, page 12. He refers to Swamiji's heart of joy and words of honey and says that Swamiji bestows knowledge not in a mood of superiority-complex, but in a mood of service as if the receiver is superior to the bestower. That is my experience as well. Swamiji has always on his lips a fascinating smile which is the natural expression of the tenderness of his heart. His smile does not merely shine in the eyes and the lips, but lights up the whole face. He has a wonderful memory for faces and names. Swami Omkarananda rightly calls Swami Sivananda as 'Everyman's friend', as 'A spiritual awakener', as 'A man with a multiple mission', as 'a revealer of the Inner Reality', as 'a man with a transfiguring touch', as a 'Superman', and as 'an Impersonal Personality.

 

SAT-GURU SIVANANDA (1957) is by Sri R. Viswanathan. It describes well the Swamiji's quest of God, his austerities and pilgrimages, his mission, his institutions and instructions, his All-World Religions' Federation, the All-World Sadhus' Federation, his correspondence and hospitality, Bhajan and Sankirtan, his Forest Academy, and his cosmic compassion. It calls Swamiji as orator, writer, singer, teacher, Guru, hero, and God. He has made a posy of a few of Swamiji's precious sayings.

 

Srimati Padma Bharataraja's LIFE OF SIVANANDA-A SONG (1957) has condensed Swamiji's life and gospel in 209 brief English poems.

 

Sri Indrajit Sharma's SIVANANDA-TWEN-TIETH CENTURY SAINT (1958) is an evaluation of Swamiji's life and work by a young man 'who is about 28 years young'. He refers eloquently to the powerful Spiritual Radio Station installed at Ananda Kutir to broadcast spiritual messages to the whole world. The work includes 400 sayings of Swami Sivananda compiled by Swami Krishnananda, and also Swamiji's 20 Spiritual Instructions and 20 Hints on meditation and 10 Hints on the course of Sadhana. The author calls Swami Sivananda "a multi-faceted diamond in the crown of Mother India" and as 'mercy incarnate' and as 'the Acharya of the atomic age' and refers to 'the saga of his rich inner life', and his contribution to world-peace and the moral and spiritual regeneration of the world. The book contains also Swamiji's letters to him and Swamiji's answers to his questions on Yoga.

 

Sri Savitri Asopa's SIVANANDA-POET, PHILOSOPHER AND SAINT contains many gems including Swamiji's article on 'The spirit of Indian Spiritual Inheritance' which was contributed to the fifth anniversary souvenir of the Triplicane Cultural Academy and his brief exposition of the wisdom of the major Upanishads. The author describes well Swamiji's personality and philosophy. Then follows 'a poetic homage to the Poet-sage.' Then follow fine 'meditations' and 'scenes from Swamiji's office'.

 

The book SIVANANDA, THE SOCIALIST by Sri K. A. Tawker is a splendid presentation of Swamiji's responsiveness to the pressure of the modern age. The author describes Swamiji's Pancha Sila, i. e., Ahimsa, Satyam, Brahmacharya, Asteya and Aparigraha.

 

SWAMI SIVANANDA AND OTHER SAINTS is a symposium which strikes new ground. It begins with an 'Epitome of Sivananda's Teachings' and closes with 'Sivananda Upadesamritam' which con-tains 923 brief aphoristic sutra-like English sentences giving the essence of his gospel while combining variety and brevity. Yogiraj Harry Dickman whom I referred to above has described the place of Sivananda among the prophets and saints like Buddha, Jesus, Vivekananda, Gandhi, Aurobindo and Ramana. Others also have done so and compared him with them and Sri Sai Baba. Savitri Wadhwani has compared him with some eminent Western philosophers like Socrates and Plato, Descartes and Leibnitz, Locke and Berkeley.

 

In CHILDREN'S SIVANANDA (1958) Srimati Sivananda Vani gives us a simple and charming account of Swamiji's life and gospel. The book contains also Swamiji's letters to her. A few sentences from these are given below as being precious utterances:

 

'Always be cheerful and joyful, because you have taken shelter under Ram; and when you have taken shelter under Ram, you must be peaceful, joyful and blissful.- page 115

 

'Om or Pranava is the symbol of Brahman. It is the word of power'- page 116

 

'God's name is the greatest source of strength. So be given to it constantly.' page 120

 

'Close your eyes. Withdraw the senses. Look within. Meditate and realise the Light of lights that never fades.'- page 123

 

Freedom is in detachment. Freedom is perfection. Freedom is Self-realisation. Know thy Self, Vani! and attain freedom now and here'-page 125

 

'Meditation is the daily food for a devotee. To live is to serve; to live is to love; to live is to give; to live is to realise God.' page 128

 

'The offering of ego in the fire of wisdom is the greatest form of sacrifice.' page 129

 

'Egoism prevents the descent of divine grace.' -page 130

 

Meditation stills the mind of its bubbling emotions and thoughts, removes distraction and mental discord, and produces compassion and tranquillity.' - Letter to Sri Sivananda Vani's daughter Mohini page 195

 

CHILDREN'S DIVINE TREASURE (1958) is another sweet and divine volume. It contains in the main Swamiji's words of love to children and their words of love to him. Here are a few gems:

 

Swamiji on Divine Life for Children

 

Speak softly. Speak sweetly. Speak little. Speak the truth. Speak with love. Observe silence. Think carefully before you speak.

 

Serve the poor. Serve the sick and needy. Serve with love and devotion. Service is worship. This is the highest religion. Become a scout. Learn First Aid.

 

Pray, meditate and chant Lord's Names daily. Pray from the bottom of your heart with divine feeling and love. Pray to God for purity, wisdom, devotion.

 

Together with your school-lessons study the Quran, Bible, Gita, Upanishads, Zend Avesta daily. Put into practice what you have learnt.

 

Respect all religions, cults, faiths. Respect all saints of all religions. All religions lead to God.

 

Love all; serve all. Be kind, truthful, ,pure humble, merciful and generous. Be kind to animals.

Never hurt the feelings of others. See God in all.

Obey parents, elders and teachers. pages x, xi

Master Kamal Kumar's Tribute

 

"To me Swamiji is God Himself. I love Him, adore Him and respect Him. He is a kind and loving saint. I have many letters written in Swamiji's handwriting. I keep them as my costly treasure." pages xv, xvi

 

The book contains also children's stories and Vedantic riddles, etc. It calls a cigarette as a cylindrical substance having fire on one side and a fool on the other.-page 70

 

Why are flowers lazy?

Because we always find them in their beds.' Page 72

 

SIVANANDA IN STANFORD (1958) is a fine review of Sri Swami Sivananda's works by the students of the Stanford University in America. It shows the truth of Swami Vivekananda's beautiful saying: "Like the dew which falls unseen and unheard, and yet brings into blossom the fairest of roses, such has been the contribution of Indian thought to the world' The reactions of the Western students to Swamiji's life, personality and teachings have been gathered under appropriate titles such as -Sivananda's Personality, Sivananda's Divine Life, Sivananda's Yoga, Sivananda on Religion, Wisdom,

World's Religions, Hinduism, and The Story of Swami Sivananda. Here are a few of the tributes:

 

'A man who works to help others, Sivananda, though poor in riches, is wealthy in heart indeed.' Ferny S. Simon

 

He seems to offer moral support and psychological encouragement from every conceivable angle.' -Jeanne Dozier

 

If every one followed the teachings of Siva-nanda, all the problems of man and world would be solved.'-Brook T. Powell

 

'He is trying to bring the East and the West closer.'-Jane Crouan

 

'Sivananda's philosophy is one of great strength. Ginger Bradley

 

'The emphasis seems to be on Buddhism and Hinduism specially the deliverance from the me' and the realisation of the 'T': the Atman'-Helen Bolling

 

He is the Voice of New India.'-Allen Tweedy

'He is an excellent example of Sri Aurobindo's Superman'-Barbara Westinghouse

 

I shall now refer to a few other books. Sri T. N. V. Rajan's SIVANANDA-THE ENLIGH-TENED. In a poem in it he states a question and a reply.

 

'Was it the Master or child or friend?

 

I answer: Master, child and friend.

 

In another poem he says:

'Ganga's beloved, the rhythm of her waves And the melody of her motion thou hast caught. Sri Kapila's SIVANANDA- SAINT AND SAVANT (1958) describes his life and shows his eminence in all directions.

 

Another book entitled SIVANANDA: THE GUIDING STAR contains the tributes to him by his Eastern and Western disciples on the occasion of his sixty-eighth and sixty-ninth birthdays. An outstanding tribute is by Sri Swami Chidananda in which he aptly says: "Ths unique personage, though apparently an orthodox Sanyasi of the Sankarite tradition, holds aloft the ideal of selfless service which he advocates with all the zeal and ardour of a fiery reformer.' page 37. 'The Divine Life' is its companion volume and contans the tributes paid to Swamiji on his 70th birthday, his seventy-first birthday and his seventy-second birthday.

 

SIVANANDA- THE MESSENGER OF DIVINE LIGHT also relates to the Platinum Jubilee celebration (70th birthday celebration).

 

In PHILOSOPHY AND TEACHINGS OF SWAMI SIVANANDA (A SYMPOSIUM) (1958) many disciples and admirers have paid tributes to his many-sided genius. It contains also my tribute entitled 'Swami Sivananda's Philosophy and Religion." -pages 120 to 134

 

I shall finally refer to Major-General A. N. Sharma's brief but comprehensive and discerning portrayal of Gurudev 'Swami Sivananda The Sage of Practical Wisdom (1959). He shows how Gurudev is a world-teacher and says that he teaches that our life should be a continuous prayer to God and that prayer will itself lead to meditation (pages 8, 9). "He expresses in his every action the ultimate goal of all religions." (page 13) "Here is a living saint in flesh and blood who is approachable and kind to all." (ibid) General Sharma appropriately and truthfully calls Gurudev as "a symbol of international spirituality and synthesis of Yoga." (pages 17 to 21) "Here is a Jivanmukta who has by his personal experience raised himself into universal consciousness of the Supreme and has united all types of Yoga and simplified them to our benefit, free from dogmas, with absolute freedom of interrelation and freedom of expressing that mysterious Reality in any way which appeals to our mind and consciousness, knowing all the time that it is impossible to fathom the unfathomable in words." (page 19) The volume contains also many letters by Gurudev to many disciples, many messages, and many sayings and instructions.

 

11. A SUMMING UP

 

In my first book on Swamiji, I included his famous -"Twenty Important Spiritual Instructions". He has summed up the essence of the scriptures again and again. In this book which I have written after having studied his big books and his brief summations of his teachings, I desire to give only my summary of his supreme teachings in ten sentences, and his own world-famous summary of his supreme teachings in ten words.

 

TEN-SENTENCE SUMMARY

 

1. Egoism prevents the descent of divine grace.

 

2. The offering of the ego in the fire of wisdom is the greatest form of sacrifice.

 

3. Divine Life is life in God or the immortal soul. You can lead the divine life while remaining in the world.

 

4. Religion shows the way to attain Self-realisation or eternal life in Brahman.

 

5. Questions Why do you encourage dance, drama and music?

Answer: Music and dance are divine. Music is Nada-Yoga. It at once enables one to attain union with Nada-Brahman, the sacred Pranava. Nritya or dance enables you to enter into Bhava Samadhi. Drama is a very powerful instrument for the dissemination of spiritual knowledge. Drama is an art-form that touches the heart. -Children's Sivananda, pages 214, 215

 

6. Take Satvic food.

 

7. Never let a day pass without meditation

 

8. Faith is the soul of religion. Faith in God is the first rung in the ladder of spirituality. Have perfect trust in God. Faith transcends reason.

 

9. Arise, awake, plunge into selfless service, Ahimsa, Satyam, Brahmacharya, truthfulness, the constant thinking of the Lord.

 

10. The Lord is everywhere. Feel His presence everywhere.

 

TEN-WORD SUMMARY OF SADHANA

Serve. Love. Give. Purify. Meditate. Realise.

Be good. Do good. Be kind. Be compassionate.

 

TEN-WORD SUMMARY OF SIDDHI

Enquire 'who am I?' Know the Self and be free.

 

12. CONCLUSION

 

There is a beautiful Sanskrit verse which says:

 

ध्यानमूलं गुरोर्मूर्तिः पूजामूलं गुरोः पदम्

मन्त्रमूलं गुरोर्वाक्यं मोक्षमूलं गुरोः कृपा

 

The Guru's person is the object of meditation. His feet are the object of worship. His words are Mantras. And, His grace is the source of beatitude.

 

It is through the grace of the Guru that the grace of God flows to human beings. I have tried to picture above Swami Sivananda as the perfect seeker. striver, and saint, and to give a brief account of his mission and his teachings, especially during the decade (1947 et seg.) The ensuing pages seek to present his vision of perfection. Though for the sake of brevity, I have called the book 'Swami Sivananda's Vision of Perfection', its adequate title would be 'Swami Sivananda's Vision, Quest and Conquest of Perfection.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK TWO

Sivananda's Vision of Health, Holiness and Happiness as Physical Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. INTRODUCTORY

 

Swami Sivananda's brief poem on 'Health and Longevity' contains quintessential practical wisdom in which is crystallised the Indian hygienic experience of centuries, nay millennia.

 

He who drinks and has no thirst

Or eats and has no hunger,

He who does not take any exercise

Suffers illness and dies young.

 

He who drinks buttermilk

He who eats tomatoes and lemons,

He who walks three miles daily

Is healthy and attains longevity.

 

He who is moderate in everything,

He who basks in the sun,

He who takes cold bath

Is healthy and attains longevity.

 

He who is very busy,

He who talks a little,

He who drinks water in the early morning,

Is healthy and attains long life.

 

He who fasts and meditates,

He who eats to live,

He who takes to nature-cure,

Is healthy and attains immortality.

 

Swami Sivananda says that the chief causes of disease are pessimistic thoughts, fear of disease, lack of the proper kind of food, overwork, worries and anxieties, bad habits like over-eating, smoking, drinking, etc Dr. Hahnemann says: "The root-cause for all diseases is sin or passion. Flesh is simply a servant under the absolute control of the vital force.' The primary requisite of man is robust and radiant health. Prevention of disease is far better than cure of disease. The best way of prevention of disease is to sleep well, rest and relaxation, to bask in the sun, breathe pure air, drink pure water, take wholesome nutritious food, do Yoga Asans, and Pranayama, to live a sinless life, to have mental composure, and to have faith in Dharma and devotion to God. Cleanliness and godliness should go together. It is not enough to care for personal health and hygiene. We must care also for public health and hygiene, because if it goes wrong, it will ruin personal health also.

 

Swami Sivananda's vision of physical perfection includes health, holiness and happiness as constituent elements. We make a mistake when we do not think that health, holiness and happiness should go together. Kalidasa says well:

 

शरीरमाद्य खलु धर्मसाधनम्

 

The body is the first and best instrument of Dharma.

 

Charaka says:

 

धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणों आरोग्यं मूलमुत्तमम्

 

Health is the source of righteousness, wealth, pleasure and beatitude.

 

Dharma is righteousness, radiance, rapture. The supreme Dharma is God-realisation or Atma- Darsana. Yagnavalkya says:

 

अयं हि परमो धर्मः मद्य. गेनात्मदर्शनम्

 

Yoga is an aid to health is an aid to Yoga

 

A man whose health is bad cannot perform Yoga or meditate or attain divine wisdom. Swami Sivananda says well that godliness is a vital factor in health. He says well that God is the master Architect who supervises the building of our bodies, the mason being Para-sakti, and His assistants being Vitamins A to E.

 

2. SIX GREAT BOOKS ON HEALTH

 

HEALTH AND LONG LIFE (1949), HEALTH AND HAPPINESS (1950), HEALTH AND HY- GIENE (1957), and HEALTH AND DIET (1958) form a peerless quartette of books of supreme wisdom on health. As I have dealt with them in detail in my earlier works on Gurudev (such as 'Gospel of Sivananda, Sivananda the World prophet, Sivananda's Metaphysics and Message), I shall make here only to a few salient features in them.

 

In 'Health and Long Life', he deals with Naturopathy, Radiant Health, Hygiene, Diet, Fruits and Vegetables, Hydropathy, Chromopathy, Sun-cure, Homeopathy, Fasting, Exercise, Kaya Kalpa, etc

 

In 'Health and Happiness' he speaks about Health, Nature-cure, Diet, Exercise, Breathing etc.

 

In 'Health and Hygiene he describes Public Health, housing, air, water, food, clothing, personal hygiene, exercise and sleep, mental hygiene, school hygiene, maternity and child welfare, domestic hygiene, value of sunlight, parasites, village sanitation, disposal of refuse, infections and contagious diseases, disinfection, climate and meteorology, vital statistics, anatomy and physiology.

 

In 'Health and Diet' he deals with health, food, growth of children, health menu etc. We must study along with them his PRACTICE OF NATURE CURE (1952) and PRACTICE OF AYURVEDA (1958). In the former he deals with water cure, sun cure, colour cure, Brahmacharya, exercise, massage, sleep, care of teeth, diet, fasting, herbs etc., as also with the treatment of diseases, children's diseases, snake-bite and scorpion sting. He deals also with deep breathing, musico-therapy, spiritual healing, especially Mantras. In the latter he deals with Indian Materia Medica, home remedies, herbal remedies, drugs, Kaya Kalpa and Rasayana.

 

I may refer also to YOGIC HOME EXERCISES and HOW TO GET SOUND SLEEP (1951).

 

3. HIS VIEWS ON MEDICAL SYSTEMS

 

I shall show later on how Swami Sivananda's mind is an integral mind dealing with spiritual problems in an integral way. We see the same integrality of outlook in regard to the nature of health and hygiene, and in regard to the systems of medicine. He warns us against making a fad of any system of medicine. Having been a distinguished effective and popular medical practitioner, he knows well the strong and weak points of Allopathy. He says: "A busy man will find it difficult to fast for days and weeks and months. It will be irksome for him to undergo the treatment prescribed by a Naturopath for months and years. He wants immediate relief and repair. This he finds in Allopathy or Homeopathy." (Health and Happiness, page 203) He says at the same time: "Too much drugging is bad. It is also better to avail oneself of Nature's aids." (ibid page 204) He points out how naturo-pathis treatment is much in vogue in America. (Health and Long Life page 11). He says: "Naturopathy takes recourse to the natural methods of diet, exercise, bathing and massage, internal cleaning, restricted diet, fasting, sunbaths, open air life." (ibid page 9) "Naturopath is living in tune with Nature. Naturopathy is only a part of the whole truth, viz., living in tune with Nature as an aid or as a step in seeking the Reality behind Nature, i.e., God." (Practice of Nature Cure page 43)

 

The basic ideology of Naturopathy is that the human body has got curative and recuperative potencies of its own, which could be stimulated by the energies of the elements of which the boddy is composed, and especially of sunlight, air, water and earth. It is no doubt true that owing to many reasons the people have become votaries of Allopathy and especially of injections, because the other systems of healing ailments have been sadly neglected. But the fact that naturopaths have cured diseases pronounced incurable by allopaths is undeniable As stated already, Swami Sivananda was an alopathic doctor by training and became a naturopathic doctor as the result of reflection and experience. He condemns the excessive reliance on drugs and injections. In my volume 'Gospel of Swami Sivananda' I dealt with his great book on Health and Long Life'. He said in it: "Build up the body through Nature's aids. Avail yourselves of the healing agencies of Nature the sun, water, air earth, steam, fasting, herbs, etc. Live in tune with Nature. Naturopathy stands unrivalled, because Mother Nature acts as a kind and able physician there. No foreign matter is introduced in the system. Nature's agencies are utilised. Naturopathy is the divine system of treatment. Sunbath increases the haemoglobin (iron) of the blood and replenishes Vitamin D. Fasting is Nature's greatest curative agent. Expose the body to air as much as possible." "The fact is that as our bodies are composed of the elements, we must go back to these for replenishment and regeneration. When need arises, just as we go to the treasury or the bank when we are of money."

 

But this does not mean that Gurudev is hostile to Allopathy. He wants us to reailse the virtues of the other systems of medicine such as Ayurveda, Homeopthy, Hydropathy, Chromopathy, Electropathy, Heliotherapy, Musico-therapy etc., He puts in a strong plea for the Ayurvedic medical theory of Tridhatus or of Tridoshas or the three humours (Vatha, Pittha and Kapha) and condemns the light-hearted and unscientific condemnation of it by allopathic doctors. The Hindus have exalted Ayurveda as one of the Upavedas. Swami Sivananda says in his recent work 'Practice of Ayurveda' (1958): "Ayurveda is an exact science. The allopathic doctors are perhaps intolerant towards Ayurveda. They have not understood and recognised the value and importance of the Indian system of medicine. If they combine Allopathy and Ayurveda, they will be more useful to the suffering humanity and will do wonders in the field of medicine." (page 24). He pleads for the establishment of an All-India Ayurvedic University at Delhi. (page 32)

 

Many researches have been made in recent times in regard to biochemistry and dietetics. The human body needs proteins, carbo-hydrates, fats, mineral salts and Vitamins. But today we have to take as food overcooked items deficient in the above elements in a larger or shorter measure. Swami Sivananda advises the Indians to follow the traditional methods of cooking and eating. He says that by taking cooked and concentrated foods with spices and condiments, we fill our belly with denatured food. (Health and Happiness, page 15) He advises us to take plenty of milk, honey, fruits, vegetables and cereals. He says: "Fruits and vegetables which are sun-cooked foods, are the elixir of life and are Nature's remedies (ibid page 16). "Every kind of fruit contains valuable Vitamins and minerals-elements essential for health and growth."

 

India has found out by experience that Surya-namaskar, Yoga Asanas, and Pranayama cum naturopathy will bring in quick curative results. It is only now that doctors have realised the vital roles played in bodily health by the ductless glands, viz., the pituitary gland, the thyroid gland, and the two adrenals. The Yogis found out by experience or intuition or both that the Asanas (postures) utilised the gravitational pull of the earth to increase the flow of blood to all the organs of the body, and especially the ductless glands which when activated, have immense vitalising powers over the vital organs such as the lungs, the heart, the stomach etc., and increase our physical vitality, stamina and powers of resistance to disease.

 

We have also to eliminate the waste products from the human body by the action of the lungs, the skin, the kidneys and the bowels. Such elimination is stimulated by sun-baths which, when properly had with due safeguards, produce Vitamin D and increase perspiration. Hipbath in cold water stimulates the bowels and the kidneys. Similarly, the application of a paste of anthill clay mixed with one-third quantity of fine sand cures tumors, boils, ete. Sunlight, water and earth in combination result in the germination of seeds. They have not only creative powers but also preservative and curative powers. This was found out by many persons and especially by Louis Kuhne in the West, who showed how the cause of diseases is the accumulation of waste-products due to wrong feeding and wrong living. The blood-stream in the course of its unceasing circulation deposits waste-products on various organs and tissues, thus generating various ailments. Thus the diseases are diverse but their cause is one. Tumours, boils etc., are Nature's attempts to throw out accumulated impurities. The body seeks to cure itself and the doctor must aid such self-curative endeavour. If the doctor merely suppresses the symptoms without refashioning feeding and living and utilising sun, air, water and earth, he cannot do adequate good.

 

4. SWAMI SIVANANDA'S HT

MEDICAL BOOKS

 

PRACTICAL HOUSEHOLD REMEDIES describes the medical value of easily procurable articles like betel leaf, etc.

 

A BOON TO DIABETICS (1950) describes the treatment of diabetes according to Allopathy, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Naturopathy, Chromopathy, and Yoga.

 

ASTHMA: ITS CAUSE AND CURE (1952) describes the treatment of asthma according to the above-said systems.

 

HOME NURSING (1955) deals at length with nursing.

 

CARE OF THE EYES (1957) deals with eye-diseases in extenso. The great eye surgeon Sri Swami Sivananda-Hridayananda (Dr. Chellamma) is in charge of Sivananda Eye Hospital. She is now a Sanyasini and is devoted to it and to Gurudev.

 

TALKS ON FIRST AID (1957) by is Major-General A. N. Sharma describes first aid in great detail. It shows how observation, tact, resourcefulness, dexterity, sympathy, perseverance, explicitness" or clarity of instructions and discrimination or choices of the better way "are"Vital eléments in first aid!! Gurudev has blessed and approved of the Work.

 

HOME REMEDIES (1958) deals with variousa herbal, home, remedies, in an alphabetical order."

 

5. THE GREATNESS OF THE MEDICAL PROFESSION

 

Swami Sivananda has stressed also the divine nature of the work of doctors. In his message to the U. P. State Medical Conference on 22nd December 1951, he said:

 

"It (the science of medicine) has a lofty mission of its own. It has for its glorious aim the service of mankind without distinction of race, nationality, creed, caste or status. It is impartial and devoid of like and dislike, and has neither friend nor foe. Its purpose is sublime. It is divine. The whole world is his and to the world he belongs. The medical man truly demonstrates the living of religion in practice."

 

In another message to the doctors he says:

"In this medical aid is hidden all that is best and most essential in Sadhana. Suffering is universal, and, therefore, the healing heart should also be universal. All medical practitioners would do well to: establish the habit of repeating the Lord's Name while treating a patient."

 

He gives also the following warning: '"The doctor who has neither sympathy nor patience, who has no Atma-bhav, who simply uses his knowledge for accumulating wealth lives in vain." (Health and Happiness, page 184) His final advice is: "A doctor should have a very large Vedantic heart and broad tolerance. He should welcome good from each system and utilise it in the treatment of his patients." (Preface to 'Home Remedies' 1958, page iii).

 

 

 

BOOK THREE

Sivananda's Vision of Culture as

Mental Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

1. THE IDEAL OF EDUCATION

 

Swami Vivekananda said: "The ideal of all education, all training should be man-making." He wanted life-building and character-making education. He wanted national education and said further: "Ve must have a hold on the spiritual and secular education." "It (true education) may be described as a development of faculty, not an accumulation of words, or as a training of individuals to will rightly and efficiently." Swami Sivananda also enforces this ideal which was the essence of the ancient Indian Ashrama ideal and Gurukula scheme of education. We can well combine science and spirituality and should not regard them as mutual enemies. A synthesis of the highest science and the highest spirituality is practical and feasible, and should be the aim of education. In SIVANANDA YOGA SAMHITA he says: "Life without religion is a waste. Side by side with their college studies, students should attempt to fix the mind on the Lord." (page 305). He advises them to practise Yoga Asanas Suryanamaskar and Pranayama for health, holiness and happiness, as also for spiritual meditation and realisation.

 

Swami Sivananda is for giving the intellect a high place in human life, but is against its being made life's dictator. He says that "it (the intellect) is finite and frail, and is impotent when man is assailed by temptations." He says further: "Every one should acquire the eye of intuition; intuition transcends but does not contradict pure reason. Intuition can be developed through faith, devotion and purity of heart." He says also: "It (education) must be thoroughly national and rational." His contrast of education and culture is equally important. He says: "The ideal of education is man-making, character-making." "Culture is discipline, restraint, wisdom, and Self-realisation. Western culture and civilisation lack something seriously. The values of life are interpreted in terms of power and material possessions. The life fed on this culture and civilisation is moving blindly towards war. There is no spiritual ideal. In the culture and civilisation of India the prominent element and strain is ethical and spiritual." It is thus clear that education should lead not only to mental perfection, but also to the perfection of emotion and will. He says: "True culture is the discipline of head,, heart and hand."

 

In his great address in 1954 to the University of Roorkee, of which Sri M. C. Bijawatji was the Vice-chancellor, he explained what is his conception of education for perfection. The young men gave him a royal reception and heard him in large numbers with great respect and devotion. He told the students of Engineering to realise their power of creativeness of a higher social order. He said: "Remove the engineers; there will be no beauty in this world." Thus every profession for which education is given should be devoted to public welfare and bring out the soul's creativeness, and must be inspired by godliness.

 

He stands also for State-supported and diversified education at the secondary and university level, and says that scholarship be provided for the students who are handicapped by poverty. He pleads also for the giving of moral and religious education which alone will be an effective cure for indiscipline. He says in his above-said address to the Roorkee University: "Religious education is essential. The most urgent need today is to introduce in our schools and colleges an elementary religious education. By all means let us avoid sectarian dogmas. But on that account religion should not be left out of our educational institutions. Select such texts as would instill in the minds of the youth healthy ideas and would enable them to grow into real men and women. Real religion is universal. Real religion is selflessness. Gita contains the essence of spirituality, and Gita has also been acclaimed a non-sectarian, universal scripture. Of what use is your biology, physiology, psychology, and the other ologies; of what use are your text-books which give you every kind of information other than what your inner Self needs? Secular education is no education at all.

Education loses all its value if it does not have ethical discipline and spiritual culture as its foundation. The soul is the root. The mind is the trunk. The body constitutes the leaves. The leaves are no doubt important; they gather the sun's rays for the entire tree. The trunk is equally important, perhaps more. But if the root is not watered, neither would survive for long. Real education will enable You to attain perfection in these (virtues). Getting

 

a couple of degrees and then a petty job should not be your goal and ideal. Education must instil the spirit of service in you. Asans and Pranayama enable your inner organs to function properly; they strengthen the vital inner organism."

 

2. THE IDEAL STUDENT

 

Swami Sivananda refers often to the ideal of Nachiketas in the Katha Upanishad. When tempted by offers of wealth, pleasure and sovereignty, Nachi-ketas preferred the path of Sreyas (auspiciousness) to the path of Preyas (pleasure) and prayed for divine knowledge.

 

Swami Sivananda says further that it is necessary that the emotions should be trained along with the intellect, and that the students should take interest in the cultivation of the appreciation of Beauty and Art. He says: "Beauty is Truth and Truth, Beauty. God is the source of Beauty. God is Beauty itself" He gives the world a sublime vision of art. Art is not for pleasure's sake or for Art's sake or for the sake of mere excitement or entertainment or pastime. He says: "Art is not for the fleeting pleasures of the human creature, nor yet for the mere aesthetic enjoyment; it is more than all these. Art is a kingdom of intense feeling. It is an expression of the Unseen through the seen." He is of the opinion that spiritual music or kirtan is necessary for men as well as women for the purification and exaltation of their emotions. In his work MUSIC AS YOGA he says: "We too can attain Lord's Darshan through singing kirtan and songs. The easiest, cheapest, quickest, safest and surest way to attain God-realisation is Sankirtan Yoga." (page xix). "Music is a synthesis of the various Yogas or paths to God-realisation." (page 5). Rasa and rhythm are inseparable.

 

Swami Sivananda is also of opinion that "every student should have at least an elementary knowledge of physiology, anatomy, hygiene, sanitation and child welfare (for the girl students), treatment of common diseases and of common domestic medicines. Everyone should possess a perfect knowledge of how to maintain perfect Brahmacharya. Last but not least, there should be Chair for Yoga.

 

Specialisation of study to meet the complexities of modern civilisation should be on such a basis of useful vital common knowledge. "Something of everything and everything of something" is a wise rule of educational life.

 

3. EDUCATION FOR WOMEN

 

In regard to women's education, Swami Sivananda is against unsexing education. Women are as eligible for knowledge as men, but their God-given realm is the home. She must be the queen of the home and the mother of the race. She must not take to tiresome or heavy or cruel or unsexing work in life. Teaching, medicine and nursing are noble, non-violent and non-exacting forms of work. Swami Sivananda says: "The performance of domestic duties, the management of the household, the training of the children, the economising of the family means these are the women's proper offices." (YOGA IN DAILY LIFE, pages 14 to 16). "Some could devote themselves to social work, art,, meditation, religious work, teaching, nursing and the medical profession. (STRI DHARMA pages xxv to xxviii) He says: "Modesty is the ornament of women. To behave like a man destroys the elegance, grandeur, grace and beauty of the fair sex." (PEARLS OF WISDOM page 33).

 

4. THE LINGUA FRANCA OF  INDIA

 

Swami Sivananda teaches also that every Indian student must learn Sanskrit. He even suggested that it should be made the national language of India. Though the Indian Constitution did not make such a provision, yet Sanskrit and Veda are the only two powerful cementing bonds in India. It is wrong to call is a dead language. Swamiji says: "It should be taught as a compulsory language in all schools and colleges." Even if its study is not compulsory, the people must realise its value and study it. He says: "Study of Sanskrit instils devotion in one's heart. It makes one pious. bestows a religious bent of mind on him."

 

5. THE INTEGRAL EDUCATION

 

Swami Sivananda's ideal of education is a combination of attainment of diverse forms of equipment and skill for upgrading our national life in science, art and religion, and in administration, agriculture, industry,, trade and commerce, along with a passion for truth, non-violence, righteousness, and a real knowledge of the Self. The most urgent need of today is increased employment leading to increased production in agriculture and industry. There is today a considerable deficiency of nutritive food crops, milk and butter. Unless we pass on from our present deficit economy to a surplus economy in these respects, all hope of intellectual and cultural perfection will be futile.

 

Swami Sivananda is not content with the routine education given in our schools, colleges and universities. He says that professors, teachers and students should go to villages during holidays and conduct night schools for the people and bring about it a quick and total liquidation of illiteracy, because without total literacy, there would be no possibility of a well educated electorate. He says that the students should také to constructive work, go to villages, and instruct the people in health, hygiene and serve them. ,Moral and Spiritual Regeneration a of the World', pages 59, 60) He suggests also that g if the students help the villagers, a spirit of selfless: service will be instilled in the students, He, says also that there should be constant meetings outside. the class-hours between the teachers and the students He advises the students to concentrate on their studies and not take part in political movements.

 

6. ADVICE TO TEACHERS

 

Swamiji's advice to teachers is to keep up the spiritual outlook and impart it in addition to the teaching of school-lessons. He says:

 

"In your class, always at the end, talk kindly to the students on the importance of spiritual life, ethical discipline, study of Gita or religious books, service of the poor and country and the sick with Atma-bhav or Narayana Bhav. Give a slight spiritual colouring in your lectures, a little link with the Lord, and Adhyatmic matters. Explain to the students the glory and importance of Brahmacharya." The Letters That Transform, page 8.

 

"They themselves should be endowed with ethical perfection. Otherwise, it will be like the blind leading the blind." 'Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World, page 60.

 

"Mere intellectual achievement in the art of delivering dry lectures will not suffice." ibid, page 60

 

"Both parents and teachers should have and impart a clear knöwledge of sexual health, hygiene, Brahmacharya, of attaining longevity, controlling passion, etc."-PRACTICE OF BRAHMACHARYA, page 23.

 

THE YOGA-VEDANTA FOREST UNIVERSITY

(1958) shows that Swamiji's ideal university (now known as the Acadamy) in Himalayan brought into existence to realise the above ideals. It is a blend of the ancient Gurukula and the modern university. It seeks to harmonise ancient spiritual truths and modern methods. Gurudev says that the cultural unification of India is needed in the cause of world welfare (xxii to xxiv). He says further that India's spiritual knowledge must be given to the whole world He says: "This teaching has to be imparted to the foreigners so that they may develop a true sense of proportion and utilise all their existing stock of knowledge in the scientific field, sublimate that knowledge and thus transform it into true wisdom which is spiritual perfection." —page 182.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK FOUR

Sivananda's Vision of Dharma (Righteousness) as Ethical Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. PURUSHATHAS

(AIMS OF LIFE)

 

The soul while it is in its embodied life and is in contact with the world, must live a full life, seeking all the proper aims and ideals of life Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha (righteousness, wealth, pleasure and liberation). Thus, Hinduism does not advocate extreme materialism or extreme asceticism, but takes its stand upon the natural tendencies of an embodied being in contact with the world which has a variegated appeal to our keen outgoing senses and in which we have wandered during many births tasting the sweet and bitter fruits of life, and seeks to sublimate our mind till it begins to enjoy the life divine and yearns for and attain the highest Purushartha or Moksha by the grace of God.

 

Two special features about the Hindu concept of Dharma are the completeness of its vision of the aims of life and the existence of elaborate shastras for each of the aims of life (Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha). The Dharma Sutras and Dharma Shastras (law) deal with Achara (ritual), Vyavahara and Prayaschitta (contrition and expiation for sins), The Dharma Sutras are those of Vasishta (belonging to the Rig Veda) and those of Baudhayana and Apastamba, Satyashada, Hiranyakesin, Drahyayana (belonging to the Yajur Veda), and those of Vishnu (belonging to the Katha school of Yajur Veda) and those of Gautama (belonging to the Sama Veda). There are various Dharma Sutras also.

 

Of the Dharma Shastras, Manu is the oldest and most venerated authority. There are many other Smritis. Parasara Smriti is the authority for the Kali age. Those authorities deal with education, ethics and law in great detail The Dharma Shastra is vitally linked to the Moksha Shastra. Education should lead us finally to the attainment of immortality.-

 

विद्यया ऽमृतमश्नुते

 

The Artha Shastras are not mere economic and political sciences dealing only with agriculture, industry, trade, commerce and the political institutions. Artha (wealth) and Kama (pleasure) should be in conformity with Dharma (ethics) and should not run counter to it. Wealth by itself or pleasure by itself, irrespective of the righteous or unrighteous acquisition and expenditure of wealth and pleasure by itself. irresrective of its ethica, or unethical

 

character is not a Purushartha (noble aim of human life). Wealth controlled by Dharma, aid pleasure controlled by Dharma are proper Purusharthas. Sri Krishna says in the Gita:

 

धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु कामोऽस्मि भरतर्षभ ।

 

We may also say:

 

धर्माविरुद्धो भूतेषु चार्थोऽस्मि भरतर्षभ ।

 

Kautilya's Artha Shastra deals with economics and politics by themselves. But the Santi and Anusasana Parvas of the Mahabharata link the same to Dharma and Moksha, and therefore gives to us the real and sublimated view of Hindu culture about Artha (wealth). They show to us how wealth should be used for righteous pleasure and Dharmic life. They. show also that there was no absolute monarchy or despotism in India. Hindu civics stressed the importance of autonomy in the management of rural and urban civic affairs. Varta means economics. Dandaniti means politics., Hindu culture linked them well to each other and to ethics (Dharma Shastra) and to religion (Moksha Shastra).

 

Kama Shastra (Erotics and Aesthetics) is a vast and diversified science in India. Vatsyayana's Kama Shastra deals with Kama (pleasure) but shows also the glory of a righteous domestic life in which ethical conduct and refined pleasure are shown in a blended form. Hindu aesthetics is another vast subject. The Hindu aestheticians say that aesthetic pleasure due to the cultivation and enjoyment of art is related to spiritual bliss (Brahmananda sahodarah). I have dealt with Hindu aesthetics elaborately in my book Indian Aesthetics, the Indian Concept of the Beautiful, Kalidasa (two volumes), and Studies in Ramayana. I have dealt with all the aspects of Dharma, Artha, and Kama fully in my book on Hindu Culture and the Modern Age published by the Annamalai University.

 

2. SAMSKARAS

(SACRAMENTAL RITUALS)

 

The quest for God by leading a life divine will be successful only if we adopt a new attitude towards life in the world. If we are merely addicted to sense-enjoyments in a mood of unreflecting pursuit of pleasures or out of an uncontrolled and uncontrollable passion for pleasure which subjugates the voice of reason and reflection, we will be bound to the lower levels of life and will be tied to the wheels of the chariot of Samsara. The entire aim of Samskaras and Dharmas is to create in us such a libera- ting new attitude. We must consider the nexus of sacraments (Samskaras) and of individual and social ethics (Dharmas) from this loftier and truer point of view, and should not merely perform them in a mechanical way and thus mistake the wood for the trees. Rituals are indispensable but not supreme. They are called the husk of religion but there can be growth of grain if grain with the coating of husk is sown, and there can be no growth of grain if the husked paddy is sown. Sri Sankara says that the Samskara (ritual) has a dual operative function, and removes sins and cleanses and purifies the mind. and also intensifies our Gunas (Godward impulses).

 

संस्कोरोहि नाम संस्कार्यस्य गुणाधानेन वा दोषापनयनेन वा ।

 

Brahma Sutra Bhashya, I, 1, 4

 

In this matter four basic concepts are vital. First, we must realise the truth taught in verses 1 and 2 of the Isavasya Upanishad, and in Chapter 3 of the Bhagavad Gita. This world is not of our making and we have no control over its course. It is of God's making and was created by Him as a place of enjoyment of Karmic fruits and as a place of probation for achieving the life divine.

 

ईशावास्यमिदं सर्वं यत्कि च जगत्यां जगत्

तेन त्यक्तेन भुञ्जीथाः मा गृधः कस्यस्विद्धनम् ॥

कुर्वन्नेवेह कर्माणि जिजीविषेच्छतं समाः

एवं त्वयि नान्यथेतोऽस्ति न कर्म लिप्यते नरे ॥

 

(The entire world must be regarded as indwelt and perfumed by the Divine Being. Therefore, enjoy in a spirit of renunciation and non-possessiveness what He bestows. Do not covet another's wealth. Seek to live for a hundred years doing your duty in a spirit of dedication. Such action will never be a source of bondage.)

 

The second basic concept is that of Yajna or sacrificial love-offering. This is one of the pivotal ideas in the Bhagavad Gita. The Lord says:

 

"All beings are born out of food; food comes from rain; rain is the outcome of Yajna; Yajna comes out of Karma; Karma comes from Veda; Veda comes from God. Thus the universal scripture is centred in sacrifice. He who does not follow and cause others to follow this God-created and God-guided wheel of life is a man of sinful life, is the slave of his senses, and leads a vain purposeless life.)

 

अन्नाद्भवन्ति भूतानि पर्जन्यादन्नसंभवः

यज्ञाद्भवति पर्जन्यो यज्ञः कर्मसमुद्धवः ॥

कर्म ब्रह्मोद्भवं विद्धि ब्रह्माक्षरसमुद्भवम्

तस्मात् सर्वगतं ब्रह्म नित्यं यज्ञे प्रतिष्ठितम् ।।

एवं प्रवर्तितं चनं नानुवर्तयतीह यः

अघायुरिन्द्रियारामो मोघं पार्थ स जीवत्ति ।।

 

Gita III 14 to 16

 

नायं लोकोऽस्त्ययज्ञस्य कुतोऽन्यः कुरुसत्तम        Gita, IV-31.

 

See also Gita II 27, 28.

 

From this concept of Yajna which converts our self-regarding egoistic possessive attitude into other- regarding altruistic attitude of renunciation comes the twin concepts of Nishkama Karma and Loka Samgraha (desireless action and love of universal welfare and righteousness). This is stressed again and again in the Gita. We must not cast away action in a spirit of Akarma (inaction) and we must not do work out of a passionate desire for the fruits of action.

 

कर्मण्येवाधिकारस्ते मा फलेषु कदाचन

मा कर्मफलहेतुभूर्मा ते संगोऽस्त्वकर्मणि ।।

योगस्थः कुरु कर्माणि संगं त्यक्त्या धनञ्जय

सिद्धयसिद्धयोः समो भूत्वा समत्वं योग उच्यते ।।

दुरेण ह्यवरं कर्म बुद्धियोगाद्धनञ्जय

बुद्धौ शरणमन्विच्छ कृपणाः फलहेतवः ॥

बुद्धियुक्तो जहातीह उभै सुकृतदुष्कृते

तस्माद्योगाय युज्यत्व योगः कर्मसु कौशलम् ॥

Gita, II, 47 to 50

 

The word Yoga imports (1) same-sightedness, that is, Samatwa, that is, doing our duty in a spirit of dispassion and dedication viewing alike success and failure, in a spirit of detachment. It means also (2) skill in action (Karmasu Kausalam) as disinterested and dedicated action converts action which binds the soul into action which liberates the soul. It means also union with God as I shall show in the next chapter.

 

Another basic concept is that we must not adopt an over-optimistic or over-pessimistic attitude to life. The former will lead to materialism and addiction to pleasure. The latter will take away all our energy and incentive to effort. Life is a place of probation for the realisation of perfection and not a place for the enjoyment of ceaseless round of irrational pleasures. Kalidasa says that even if a man lives awhile in this death-girt world it is a Labha (great gain) for which he must be thankful to God.

 

मरणं प्रकृतिः शरीरिणां विकृतिजर्जीवितमुच्यते बुधैः

क्षणमप्यवतिष्ठते श्वसन यदि जन्तुर्ननु लाभवानसौ

RAGHUVAMSA VIII-87.

 

Another basic concept is that of Rina (debt). Everyone is born with a threefold debt and must clear it. The first debt is to the gods who have given us the world in which to live and strive. So we must clear that debt by grateful sacrificial worship. The second debt is to our ancestors who have given our body to us. We must clear that debt by leaving sons. The third debt is to the sages who have handed down to us the scriptures which teach us the way to liberation. We must clear that debt by studying the scriptures, teaching them and handing them on to others in unbroken succession. Manu says:

 

ऋणानि त्रीण्यपाकृत्य मनो मोक्षे निवेशयेत्

अनापकृत्य तान्येव मोक्ष‌मिच्छन् व्रजत्यधः ।।

 

(Having discharged these three debts, a man must fix his mind on Moksha. He goes down if he desires Moksha without discharging them.)

 

The above are the key-ideas. It will not be possible, nor is it necessary, to describe here all the rituals in Hinduism. They are (1) Nitya, i.e., obligatory every day like the Sandhya prayer, (2) Naimittika or to be done on special occasions e. g., Amavasya (new moon day) and Mahalaya Tarpana (offering of water libations to ancestors on new moon days) or Sraddha (annual offerings of food or Pindas to the ancestors, and (3) Kamya, i.e., to attain particular desires, e.g., universal sovereignty by Aswamedha and Rajasuya sacrifices, rain by Kariri Ishti, progeny by PutraKameshti etc.

 

सन्ध्यास्नानं जपो होमो देवतानां च पूजनम्

श्रातिथ्यं वैश्वदेवं च ष‌ङ्कर्माणि दिने दिने ।।

 

The daily duties are thus described:

(Thus, bath Sandhya, Homa, daily worship of God, offering food to guests and Vaiswadeva, should be done every day.)

 

are forty in The Samskaras, sacraments, number and cover the entire life of man from conception, to death: (1) Garbhadana or conception (2) Pumsavana, (3) Seemantha, (4) Jatakarma or birth ceremony, (5) Namakarana or naming, (6) Annaprasana or the first giving of food, i.e., cooked rice, (7) Choula or tonsure, (8) Upanayana or investiture with the sacred thread, (9 to 12) Four Vedavratas like Prajapatya etc., (13) Snana or Samavartana, (14) Vivaha or marriage, (15 to 19) Five Mahayajnas called Pancha Mahayajnas, (20 to 26) Seven Pakayajnas or cooked food offerings, i-e., Ashtaka, Anvashtaka, Parvana, Sravani, Agra- hayani, Chaitri, and Aswayuji, (27 to 33) Seven Haviryajnas or offering of grains, i.e., Agnyadhana, Agnihotra, Darsapoornamasa, Agrayana, Chaturmasyam, Niroodapasubandhanam, and Sautramani. (34 to 40) Seven Somayajnas or Soma offerings, i.e.. Agnishtoma, Atyagnishtoma, Ukthya, Shodasi, Vajapeya, Atiratra, and Aptoryama. Samskaras 1 to 14 exist in a large measure. It is a pity that Vedic study is lessening and it must be revived. Samskaras 20 to 40 are sacrifices and have fallen out of use and others are going out of use. The fact is that since the time of the Buddhism nay, even earlier from the days of the Upanishads there has been growing a revulsion of feeling against animal sacrifices. The story of Sunassepa itself is a pointer in that direction. In recent centuries the followers of Sri Madhwa declared themselves in favour of Pishtapasu, i.e., offering of animal-like effigies made of rice-flour. The Hindu community will give up all animal sacrifices totally or on the basis of some substitute or on a Mantric basis or will take to alternative Samskaras. We need not regret the disappearance of animal sacrifices from Integral Hinduism. But there is no doubt that the five Mahayajnas by householders are on a different footing. They are Brahmayajna, i.e., teaching Vedas, Devayajna (worship of gods), Pitruyajnas (Tarpanas and Sraddhas to ancestors), Bhutayajnas (offerings to wandering beggars, beasts and birds) and Manushyayajnas (the feeding of Athithis or guests). Manu says:

 

नित्यं स्नात्वा शुचिः कुर्यात् देवर्षिपितृतर्पणम्

देवताभ्यर्चनं चैव समिदाधानमेव च ।।

अध्यापनं ब्रह्मयज्ञः पितृयज्ञस्तु तर्पणम्

होमोदेवो बलिभौंतो नृयज्ञोऽतिथिपूजनम् ।।

 

By these daily sacrifices we become related to the world in a proper way and in an adequate measure.

 

The five Mahayajnas, Agnihotra and Aupasana have to be done every day. Darsapoornamasa has to be done once in 15 days. Aupasana is a Paka- yajna whereas Agnihotra and Darsapoornamasa are Haviryajnas. Of the other Pakayajnas one Aupasana has to be done once a year. The Somayajnas and all the other yajnas have to be done once in a life-time.

 

In addition to these 40 Samskaras, Gautama mentions 8 Atma-gunas (qualities):

 

दया सर्वभूतेषु क्षान्तिरनख्या शौचमनायासो

मंगलमकार्पण्यमस्पृहेति ॥

 

(Compassion towards all, forbearance, absence of jealousy, purity, non-overexertion, auspicious action, munificence, and non-covetousness.)

 

He then proceeds to say: "He who has performed all the 40 Samskaras but has not got the 8 Atma-gunas cannot attain heaven; but he who has all the Atma-gunas, but has performed only some of the Samskaras will attain heaven." Manu says:

 

यस्यैते चत्वारिंशत् संस्कारा न चाष्टावात्मगुणा नस

ब्रह्मणस्सायुज्यं सोलोक्यं च गच्छति ।।

यस्य तु संस्काराणामेकदेशोप्यष्टावात्मगुणाः

अथ स ब्रह्मणस्सायुज्यं सालोक्यं च गच्छति ।।

यमान् सेवेत सततं न नित्यं नियमान् बुधः

यमान् पतत्यकुर्वाणो नियमान् केवलान् भजन् ।।

 

Thus ethical life is of even greater importance than a mere life of conformity to sacraments. Manu says that Japa (meditation on God) and Maitri (love to all beings) will secure all good results even if there is a sacramental deficiency.

 

जप्येनैव तु संसिध्येत् ब्राह्मणो नात्र संशयः

कुर्यादन्यन्न वा कुर्यान्मैत्रो ब्राह्मण उच्यते ।।

(II-87)

 

Kulluka Bhatta says in his gloss on the above verse that as sacrifices involved killing of life, they are not attractive to all persons and that Japa of Pranava etc., leads to Liberation even without the doing of sacrifices, and that this does not imply the negation of sacrifices but the affirmation of the equal and even superior spiritual efficacy of Japa.

 

यागादिषु पशुबीजादिवधात् न सर्वप्राणिप्रियता

संभवति तस्माद्यागादिना विनापि प्रणवादिजपनिष्ठो ॥

निस्तरतीति जपप्रशंसा न यागादीनां निषेधः

 

In the Gita Sri Krishna says that He is Japa- Yajna among Yajnas (X.25). It is said that chanting God's Names is as efficacious in Kali Yuga as Dhyana (meditation) in Krita Yuga, sacrifice in Treta Yuga, and worship in Dwapara Yuga.

 

ध्यायन् कृते यजन् यज्ञैस्त्रेतायां द्वापरेऽर्चयन्

यदाप्नोति तदाप्नोति कलौ संकीर्त्य केशवम्

Bhagavata

 

Along with the above-said Vedic Samskaras, the Hindus have taken into their life various Agamie rituals also, e.g., Ekadasi, various vows, various special Pujas, pilgrimages, etc. Among such vows and Pujas may be mentioned Saturday fasts, Shashti fasts, Varalakshmi Puja, Gowri Puja, Anantapadmanabha Vrata, Satyanarayana Vrata, etc. The Hindu year is a ceaseless round of fasts, feasts and festivals, e.g., Sankranthi, Rathasaptami, Sivaratri, Rama Navami, Acharya Jayanthi, Upakarma, Gayatri Japa Navaratri, Deepavali, Karthigai, Vinayaka Chaturthi, Vaikunta Ekadasi and Arudra Darsanam.

 

Thus rituals have a great value. They remove evils, and confer purity and spirituality. They are also necessary as a strong socially binding force among the believers. They link the past and the present and the future. They kindle reverence of God and seeking for His grace. The funeral ceremonies create a sense of grateful remembrance of our obligations to our ancestors and link the generations with each other in a mood of intense love. Rituals enjoin also fasts and vigils and have a great disciplinary value, and make our mind inclined Godward. The Gita expressly says that Yajnas (sacri- ices), Daana (gifts) and Tapas (austerities) are purifiers and must never be given up.

 

यशदानतपःकर्म न त्याज्यं कार्यमेव तत्

यशो दानं तपश्चैव पावनानि मनीषिणाम्

 

It is thus clear that rituals have a great value purifiers and cleansers of the mind and intensiers of the Godward impulses in the mind. But the cress on this or that type of Samskara has varied. "hile Buddhism delivered a broadside attack on edas and sacrifices, the Hindu sages, saints and ers shifted the emphasis from animal sacrifices Japa, meditation and worship, and sacrifices in nich destruction of life was not involved, while t openly condemning the latter. The result was at sacrifices involving the killing of life became s and less when Vedic Samskaras and Agamic mskaras were synthesised and when the stress Ahimsa (non-injury), Karunya (compassion) and mer Atma-gunas rose in intensity and range.

 

In conclusion a special mention must be made the need for a Guru and the daily worship of God houses and temples. The modern idea that we learn religion from books is a wrong and barren. There can be no living touch with God except the help of a Guru. Further, some people think image worship is new to Hinduism and is unessary. But it is not a correct view. The Vedas us definite descriptions of the divine forms. Ramayana refers to temples (Vishnu Ayatana The epics and Puranas refer to Kshetras (holy places), Theerthas (rivers), Alayas (temples), Murthis (images), etc. The Agamas definitely describe the construction of temples, the daily worship and the festivals there, and the details of daily worship. Images are aids to meditation.

 

प्रतिमास्वप्रबुद्धानां योगिनां हृदये हरिः

 

No one says that an image is God. God's power is manifested in it in a dynamic form by Mantras, Pujas etc., just as an electric switch gives us light and works fans because of power flowing from a central powerhouse. The worship has 16 elements, viz. Dhyana (meditation), Avahana (invocation). Asana (enthroning the deity), Padya (washing the feet), Arghya (offering hospitality), Snanam (ablution), Vastram (offering pure garments), Yajno- pavitam (investing with a pure sacrificial thread). Chandanam (offering sandal), Pushpam (offering flowers along with 108, 300 or 1000 names of the Deity), Dhupa (burning incense), Deepa (waving lights), Naivedya (offering food), Tamboolam (offering betel). Neerajanam (burning camphor), and Suvarnapushpam, Mantrapushpam, Gita, Nritta, Vadya, etc. Along with images with forms, Linga, Shalagrama, and Yantras also are worshipped. There must also be Mantra Japa, Bhajana, and Sankirtana. Gratitude to God for His boons is shown by offerings of food etc., to Him. Devotion to Him is shown by worshipping (Archana) His image with flowers.

 

Swami Sivananda has taught thus to the whole world the philosophy of idol worship: "Idols are not the idle fancies of sculptors but shining channels through which the heart of the devotee is attracted to and flows towards God. The divinity of the All-pervading God is vibrant in every atom of creation. There is not a speck of space where He is not. Why do you then say that He is not in the idols? Even as you can catch the sound waves of people all over the world through the radio receiving set, it is possible to commune with the All-pervading Lord through the medium of an idol. Regular worship, Puja, and other modes of demonstrating our inner feeling of recognition of divinity in the idol unveil the divinity latent in it. This is truly a wonder and a miracle. It is like a powerful lens that focuses the sun's rays on to a bundle of cotton. Puja makes the idol shine with the divine resplendence. God is then enshrined in the idol." 'Illuminating Messages' pages 235 to 237). He has described elaborately Hindu fasts, rituals and festivals in his illuminating book HINDU FASTS AND FESTIVALS AND THEIR PHILOSOPHY (1947).

 

 

I may point out also that like temples and image worship, reverence for and worship of the cow, and especially reverence for mothers are ingrained in the Hindu consciousness. The Vedas call cow Aghnya, ie., unkillable. The cow is necessary for the offering of milk and ghee to the gods. The cow is also regarded as Kamadhenu and Mahalakshmi, and as being the symbol of plenty, auspiciousness and pros-perity. The bovine species is the companion of man in agriculture and his life, wealth and happiness are bound up with it. In his Raghuvamsa, Kalidasa. our supreme national poet, shows how India was united, prosperous and spiritual when gods, sages and cows were loved and revered by King Dilipa, and how in the time of King Agnimitra the glory of India set when India departed from those ideals and took to a life of mere pleasure and materialism.

 

Swami Sivananda says: "The key to human brotherhood lies in the protection of animals, our dumb brethren. Without kindness to animals, no amount of slogans and placards will create human brotherhood. Fear of public opinion might temporarily divert the cruelty instinct to other channels (the animals) but in time it will manifest itself as cruelty to human beings too! Only when cosmic love takes its seat in the hearts of all are peace, cessation of wars, human brotherhood and human weal possible."

-Message to the India Society for Protection of Animals,

London, Illuminating Messages, pages 216, 217.

 

In another precious message, Swamiji says: "Cow is the living symbol of selflessness. She should be worshipped, and man shoul dlearn from her. Worship the cow if you desire to enjoy prosperity and spiritual evolution, if you wish to grow in the divine virtue of selflessness. The question of cows that yield no milk is exactly on a par with the question of your own parents who have ceased to earn for you. Treat your cow and your aged mother alike. Most of all, remember that you too will grow old. Would you like your children to forget what you have done for them and to treat you as you now treat the unproductive cows? Legislation may be necessary to ban cow-slaughter, but the great divine work of protecting unproductive cows shoula not be left to the Government alone. Private institutions supported and maintained by public charity and goodwill, should come forward with schemes for the protection of cows in Go-shalas." - 'Illumina-ting Messages', pages 144 to 146.

 

In another message he says: "To relay the Voice of Ahimsa is of greater merit than the performance of the greatest Yajna." ibid, page 220. "Cow-slaughter on whatever spacious argument, is something more than a pure economic waste. On the protection of the cow not only hinges a large measure of national prosperity, but also depend the health, strength and brain-power of the individuals who constitute the nation."-'Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World, page 51.

 

Swami Sivananda shows to us how the women of India have been always loyal to the Hindu rituals and to the highest ethical and spiritual life and are the best preservers of our traditional culture, and the aesthetic, emotional and spiritual elements in life. He says: "In India religion is kept up by the ladies only. There is a peculiar religious instinct in them. Hindu ladies are highly devotional. They infuse the religious spirit in the males through their daily conduct and practical life. They get up in the early morning, cleanse the houses, bathe, do Japa, make a small temple in their houses and keep there the pictures of the Lord and Puja vessels ete

 

They keep the place sacred and in the evening do Arati and prayer."-'Path to God-realisation', page 16. As regards reverence to the mother which is perhaps the basic and most deeply ingrained element in the Hindu consciousness, Swami Sivananda says: "In the West the woman is the wife. In India woman is the mother. Mother is worshipped. Mother is considered as the Goddess Lakshmi of the house." ('Yoga in Daily Life', pages 27, 28). "India recognises the ideal of motherhood as the highest honour for a woman." (ibid, page 16)

 

3. DHARMAS

(INDIVIDUAL AND SOCIAL ETHICS)

 

Hinduism has always taken its stand upon the ethical life as opposed to the life of hedonistic impulses. The Kathopanishad says:

 

अन्यच्छ्र योऽन्यदुतैव प्रेयस्ते उभे नानार्थे पुरुषं सिनीत ।।

तयोः श्रेय आददानस्य साधु भवति

हीयतेऽर्थाद्य उ प्रेयो वृणीते ।। श्रेयश्व प्रेयश्च

मनुष्यमेतस्तौ संपरीत्य विविनक्ति धीरः

श्रेयो हि धीरोऽभिप्रेयसो वृणीते प्रेयो मन्दो

योगक्षेमावृणीते ।                                           (Kathopanishad)

 

(The ethical and the pleasant both approach man. The wise man who chooses the ethical, gets what is auspicious The man who chooses the pleasant loses what is auspicious. The wise man discriminates between the ethical and the pleasant, after examining both The wise man prefers the ethical to the pleasant, but the unwise man prefers the pleasant through his desire for prosperity.)

 

The Dharma Shastras, The Yoga Shastras, and the Brahma Jnana Shastras (ethics, mysticism and philosophy) insist with one voice that we should live and practise what is good for the soul in preference to what is pleasant to the senses and the mind. In the Kathopanishad, Nachiketas is shown as rejecting pleasure, prosperity and sovereignty. We are taught that the mind must control the senses and the intellect must control the mind if the soul is to attain the real goal of embodiment, i.e., the realisation of God.

 

( सोऽध्वनः पारमाप्नोति तद्विष्णोः परमं पदम् )

 

Ethics (individual and social) is thus pivotal in regard to our individual life, our life in society, and our search for God. Without it, our life would be a hedonistic life and a total failure from a spiritual point of view. Without it no real and valuable social, economic and political life can exist. Without it culture and civilisation would vanish Without it all our Godward search and effort will be a futility, a frustration and a failure Without it, we cannot attain any real worldly happiness or any spiritual bliss. Let us, therefore, clearly realise that without ethics we can get nothing in life.

 

Hindu ethics is based on the fundamental concept of the unity and divinity of all life. We do not accept the merely utilitarian view of ethics, though it has an element of truth in it. The spiritual unity of all is the real basis of the Brotherhood of Man. It is absurd to talk of the Brotherhood of Man if we do not accept the Fatherhood of God. We must love our neighbour as ourselves, because essentially we are one in God and finally one with God. What unites us to one another and to God is the ethical nature. Yajnavalkya teaches how every aspect of human love has reality only because of the Atman (God) in all. Atmanastu Kamaya Sarvam Priyam Bhavati, (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV 4, 5.)

 

आत्मनस्तु कामाय सर्व प्रियं भवति

 

Dharma is the Moral Order. Rita is the Order of Nature. Both are from God and are the self-expression of God We must deem it to be our primary duty to respect and obey both In chapter XVI of the Gita Sri Krishna enumerates the virtues and the vices and sharply differentiates the Daivi Sampath (ethical and divine nature) from the Asuri Sampath (unethical and demonaic nature). He says that the former alone will lead to spiritual liberation, that the latter will lead to bondage, and that Kama, Krodha and Lobha (lust, anger and greed) are open gates leading to Naraka (hell).

 

दैवी सम्पद्विमोक्षाय निबन्धायासुरी मता

त्रिविधं नरकस्येदं द्वारं नाशनमात्मनः

कामः क्रोधस्तथा लोभस्तस्मादेतत्त्रयं त्यजेत्

 

Along with such vices go also Moha, Mada and Matsarya (delusion, pride and hatred).

 

The Satvic (pure) ethical way may be distaste- ful at first, but, if persisted in, will become sweet as nectar.

 

यत्तदग्र विषमिव परिणामेऽमृतोपमम्

तत्सुखं सात्त्विकं प्रोक्तमात्मबुद्धिप्रसादजम्           (Gita X Vii-37)

 

Sri Krishna is at pains in the earlier same chapter (XVIII) to tell us what food will help the maintenance of the ethical nature, what habits will be conducive to it, what Tapas or austerity will feed and fan it and so on. These will enable us to get out of ego-centricism and selfishness, self-worship and fierce possessiveness and to cultivate an attitude of love and renunciation in regard to others, and an attitude of ever-increasing surrender and devotion to God. Manu describes Ahimsa, Satya, Astheya, Shaucha and Indriya-nigraha (non-injury. truth, non-covetousness, purity and control of the senses) as the universal virtues (Samasika), which men and women of all races, creeds and colours should cultivate.

 

अहिंसा सत्यमस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः

एतं सामासिकं धर्म चातुर्वण्र्ये ऽब्रवीन्मनुः                  (Manu X 63)

 

Manu describes also that steadfastness, forgiveness, control of the mind, non-covetousness, purity, control of the senses, wisdom, learning, truth and absence of anger are Dharmas.

 

धृतिः क्षमा दमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः

धीर्विद्या सत्यमक्रोधो दशकं धर्मलक्षणम्                  (Manu Vi-9)

 

The concept of Ahimsa led not only to the abolition of animal sacrifices but also to increasing vegetarianism in food and pacifism in state and society without sacrificing defensive strength. The concept of Saucha (purity) led to daily bath and abstinence from liquor and softness of speech, and benevolence of mind as expressive manifestations of purity of body, speech and mind.

 

We must never forget that Ahimsa is not mere non-injury which is a negative virtue and which primarily refers to desisting from physical harm. In Chapter XVI, verses 1 to 3 when describing the Daivi Sampath (the divine and Godward mental endowment),), Sri Krishna mentions not only Ahimsa but also Abhaya (fearlessness), Akrodha (non-anger), and Adroha (refraining from wishing ill). Thus perfect fearlessness, non-injury, non-anger and non-maliciousness should go together. Further, Ahimsa implies also positive love, friendship and compassion.

 

अद्वेष्टा सर्वभूतानां मैत्रः करुण एव च

 

It is this emotion of love that takes various forms, viz devotion to superiors, friendship for equals and pity and compassion to inferiors.

 

The Mahabharata is a mine of individual and social, economic and political ethics Four precious truths which shine therein as ethical gems of the purest ray serene may be referred to here. First, desire never ends but grows by enjoyment, just as fire grows with the pouring of ghee.

 

न जातु कामः कामानामुपभोगेन शाम्यति

हविषा कृष्णवमेव भूय एवाभिवर्धते

 

Secondly, the essence of Dharma is, do not do unto others what you wish that they should not do unto you. Thus the Golden Rule of the Bible was anticipated in India many millenia before Christ.

 

श्रूयतां धर्मसर्वस्वं श्रुत्वा चैवावधार्यताम्

आत्मनः प्रतिकुलानि परेषां न समाचरेत्

न तत् परस्य कुर्वीत यद्यदात्मनि नेष्यते

 

Thirdly, the essence of all the 18 Puranas is: Punya (meritorious act) is doing good to others and Papa (evil act) is doing harm to others.

 

अष्टादशपुराणानां सारसारं समुद्धृतम्

परोपकारः पुण्याय पापाय परपीडनम्

 

Lastly, the fool is invaded every day by a thousand joys and a hundred fears, but so is not a wise man. I cry out aloud with lifted arms, from righteousness come wealth and joy, but none heeds me. Never give up Dharma out of cupidity or fear or greed, even if your life is in danger. Dharma is eternal, but joy and grief are fleeting. The soul is eternal but its embodied state is ephemeral.

 

हर्षस्थानसहस्राणि भयस्थानशतानि च

दिवसे दिवसे मूढमाविशन्ति न पण्डितम्

ऊर्ध्वबाहुर्विरौम्येतत् न कश्चित् शृणोति ताम्

धर्मादर्थश्च कामश्च स किमर्थ न सेव्यते

न जातु कामान्न भयान्न लोभात्

धर्म त्यजेत् जीवितस्यापि हेतोः

धर्मो नित्यः सुखदुःखे ह्यनित्ये

जीवो नित्यो हेतुरस्य त्वनित्यः

 

In regard to individual life, a vital concept is that of the four Ashramas or stages of life, viz. Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sanyasa, i.e., the student, the householder, the recluse and the ascetic. These Ashramas are not now what they have been described to be. Kalidasa describes them thus in his Raghuvamsa:

 

शैशवेऽभ्यस्तविद्यानां यौवने विषयैषिणाम्

वार्धके मुनिवृत्तीनां योगेनान्ते तनुत्यजाम्

     (Raghuvamsam 1-8)

 

Though we cannot adopt all the stringent rules of Brahmacharya and Gurukulavasa in the scheme of modern education, we must catch the Gurukula spirit of reverence for the teacher and discipline of body, tongue, mind and heart. There is no need to deplore the fact that every one does not become an anchorite and an ascetic nowadays, because in the later phases of life people tale to solitary self- reflection and the spirit of Tyaga, if not the vest- ments of the Sannyasi. All honour is shown to Vanaprastha and Sanyasa even today, but there can be and are Vanaprasthas living outside forests and in villages towns and cities, and Sanyasis without orange-robes. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa lived in Calcutta and never donned ochre-coloured robes. The Grihastha may not in modern Hinduism perform all the forty Samskaras referred to above, but is performing the most vital of them and is striving to cultivate the Atma-gunas. There is no real basis for self-reproach or for condemnation by others in regard to the Ashrama scheme today.

 

The so-called caste system of four Varnas was based on a spirit of mutual service and equality. Mahatma Gandhi says: "In this conception of Varna (caste) there is absolutely no idea of superiority and inferiority. If I again interpret the Hindu spirit rightly, all life is absolutely equal and one." Whenever caste arrogance lifted up its head, irritations and hatred were the result. The ideal was a Cooperative Commonwealth. The hereditary principle in caste will not hurt if there is no caste arrogance or superiority complex. The Yaksha Prasna and Dharma Vyadha stories in the Mahabharata show clearly that character (Sheela) and not birth (Jati) is the basis of respect. Saints came from all castes and were revered.

 

न शुद्रा भगवद्भक्ता विप्राः भागवता स्मृताः

सर्ववर्णेषु ते शूद्राः ये ह्यभक्ता जनार्दने

 

Nor must it be forgotten that the present system of innumerable subcastes is a travesty of the original system and has enfeebled and weakened the Hindu society and made it a bundle of microscopic minorities. Untouchability was but historic legacy due to unclean habits and occupations and is now fortun- ately, in practice and under the Indian Constitution, a thing of the past

 

There is also another social aspect to be borne in mind. The Vrithis (gainful occupations) of the various social groups have varied from time to time and have evolved into the present state from what it was long ago or in the Middle Ages. The confining of the Brahmins to the traditional six оссuраtions (Yajana or performing sacrifices, Yaajana or officiating at sacrifices, Adhyayana or learning scripture, Adhyapana or teaching scripture, Daana or giving gifts, and Pratigraha or receiving gifts) was and could never have been absolute, as all the members of that community could live in that

 

way. They took to other professions also. Nor could all the Kshatriyas have taken to administration and military service. The others also were found there. Nor could all the Vaishyas live by agriculture, cattle-rearing and trade. When they found trade profitable, they gave up cattle-rearing and agriculture. Nor could all the Sudras live by service. They took to agriculture, animal husbandry, arts and crafts etc. The slogan of Apatdharma was accepted as the normal state of things. Kautilya allowed the Sudras to take to agriculture and diverse arts and crafts. Parasara allowed Brahmins to take to agriculture as a gainful occupation doing or without doing the actual ploughing work. He allows Kshatriyas to do so. He allows both Vaishyas and Sudras to take up agriculture, trade, industries, arts and crafts.

 

षट्कर्मसहितो विप्रः कृषिकर्म च कारयेत्

स्वयं कृष्ट तथा क्षेत्रे धान्यैश्च स्वयमार्जितैः ।।

 

निर्वपेत् पञ्चयज्ञांश्च क्रतुदीक्षां च कारयेत् ।।

क्षत्रियोऽपि कृषि कृत्वा देवान् विप्रांश्च पूजयेत्

वैश्यः शूद्रस्तथा कुर्यात् कृषिवाणिज्यशिल्पकम् ।।

 

Gautama says that when such a state of things happens, all the castes are equal (X. 6). In the Maskaribhashya onthis Sutra, it is stated that in such a state of things there is no duty of service at all and there should be no superiority or inferiority complexes.

 

Economic and political life in the Hindu society quite naturally follows such social egalitarianism We hear much nowadays about Socialism and Communism, and the socialistic and egalitarian pattern of society. The Hindu social and economic life was based on the village and the joint family, and the sanctity of private property. Yet, towns and cities existed as centres of culture and trade euphoria. The joint family system allowed partition and private self-acquired property while taking care of the helpless and the destitute, without turning them over to the state. Private property, though allowed, was directed to be regarded and used as a trust for the kinsmen and the public. Daana or liberality was extolled as the highest virtue and Anna-daana or gift of food was regarded as the most meritorious of all acts. Starvation deaths were unknown. The Bhagavatha gives the public a highly salutary rule of life, viz., to divide wealth into five parts for Dharma for fame for investment, for pleasure, and for kinsmen.

 

धर्माय यशसेऽर्थाय कामाय स्वजनाय च

पञ्चधा विभजन् वित्तं इहामुत्र च मोदते ।।

 

Politically also we had all types of states in ancient India, e.g., monarchical, digarchical, democratic, republican, etc. The norm was monarchy, but it was laid down that Dharma was the king of kings, and that the king should consult the public and heed the advice of the ministers, and never levy taxes at his sweet will and pleasure or squander them as he liked India suffered for many centuries under the rule, or rather the misrule, of innumerable of petty princes who were always at war with one another. Fortunately, India has achieved her independence and has become a Federal Republic, and has brought about a drastic reduction in the number of states either by integration or by merger. India has thus become a compact united federal democratic republic, as no prince could claim to rule the whole of India, and the people of India have resolved to have a federal state, and a govenment of the people by the people for the people

 

4. ETHICS:

DOMESTIC AND PROFESSIONAL

 

Swami Sivananda, with his remarkable and original blend of the old and the new, has stressed also the need of ethics inside the family and in the professional life and in public life. In the domestic circle, the husband and the wife should intensify each other's religious life, instead of killing it by indifference or deflation or hostility. Each must do Japa and Kirtan, and study religious books.- 'Moral and Spiritual, Regeneration of the World' pages 75, 76.

 

In the world of business, higgling and lying, and dishonesty should be avoided. There should be no adulteration. Only a moderate and reasonable profit should be taken.-ibid, pages 80 to 82.

 

In regard to medical ethics. Gurudev says that doctor should not divulge the secrets of his patients to others." After taking up a case, he should not drop the patient. Urgent summons by a patient should be responded to immediately. The primary duty of the doctor is the relief of suffering. He must disseminate the knowledge of hygiene. He must charge only moderate fees. ibid, pages 83 to 86

 

In Law, the advocate should not take up false cases for the sake of fees. He must not coach up witnesses. He must be honest, sincere and loyal to his client. He must give free legal aid to poor persons.—ibid, pages 87 to 89.

 

In the industrial sphere the industrialist should pay fair and adequate wages to the workers. He should avoid unfair competition in business.-ibid pages 90, 91.

 

In regard to journalistic ethics, Gurudev says that journalists must be truthful and work for the public welfare, and raise the standard of popular thinking.-Illuminating Messages, pages 317 to 319.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK FIVE

Sivananda's Vision of the Ideal Society

and State as National Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

1. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF INDIA'S

INDEPENDENCE

 

Swami Sivananda says that every nation must be free and must develop according to its own genius and in the light of its own social, economic and political ideals. He rejoiced when India attained her independence on 15th August 1947. He said then: "Today India is a free nation. Glory to the Mother. Glory to those brave workers who under the inspired leadership of Gandhiji, strove towards that end." But, he pleads also for social, economic and political justice and social unity and economic independence and abundance. He pleads that politics should have a moral and spiritual basis and that there should be a Dharmic conception of the means and ends of life on the earth, and that the proper ideal is a Dharmic society based on liberty, equality, fraternity and justice, and that. every nation should consist of groups functioning on the basis of division of labour inter-dependence, and mutual service. The materialistic should be subordinated to spiritual aims. In his Independence Day message on 15-8-1950, he said: "India's independence was not born of a national revolt or revolution. It was the fruit of the self-sacrifice of a handful of morally and spiritually strong men of God." In his Independence Day mes-sage, 1951, he said: "Is it not a significant factor that India, our beloved Bharata Matha, won her freedom, not through the fanatic zeal of a revolutionary, not through the armed strength of the nation, but through the unprecedented leadership of a Mahatma who lived and preached Ahimsa?"_ Illuminating Messages, pages 26, 27.

 

Gurudev thus stood unflinchingly and courageously against foreign rule in India or any other country and for self-rule and for the government of the people by the people everywhere. He feels that freedom denied would be freedom lost and that aggression, conquest and rule of one country by another will degrade both the countries. Humanity must recognise and realise the indivisibility of universal freedom, universal prosperity and universal happiness.

 

He stands, further, for an integral vision of the entire life of man. Science and religion are different aspects of life but are really inseparable. Religion and politics, economics and sociology are different aspects but are really inseparable. He says: "Science and religion, and politics and religion are inseparable. They obviously go hand in hand. Politics prepares the ground for the reception of the spiritual seeds. If there is no economic independence, if there is no freedom and peace in the country, how can spiritual seeds be sown in the land?"

 

2. SIVANANDA'S POLITICAL GOSPEL

 

Swami Sivananda asks the Socialists not to be too busy with the superficial aspects of life, and to look deep and think sincerely. He says:

 

"The intention or motive of the socialists is highly laudable. They want to make the people happy by the equal distribution of objects and wealth by taking them away from the capitalists and land-lords. They feel for the miserable lot of the poor. Some others have joined the movement to show to the public that they are also selfless workers. Socialistic workers with unregenerate lower nature with self-assertive Rajasic vehemence, with the dangerous habit of self-justification, with dissimulation, falsity of speech, cannot do any good to society. Socialism cannot remove all social evils." -'Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World', pages 36 to 38.

 

Swami Sivananda's political gospel stands midway between capitalism and communism, and may be called democratic spiritual socialism. He is against uncontrolled egoistic hedonistic capitalism. He is equally against materialism, violence and regimentation. He is against too much uncontrolled individualism and too much compulsory collectivism. He does not want the society to be meryed in the individual or the individual to be merged in the society. The individual lives in and for the society: the society must live in and for the individual: and both must live in and for God. Modern socialism has many forms and aspects but it has certain common features, viz., the subordination of individual freedom to the interests of the community, the substitution of co-operation for competition and of the public sector for the private sector, the national ownership of land and capital, instead of private ownership, and the abolition of inheritance and succession. But Swami Sivananda's Divine Life like Mahatma Gandhi's Satya-Ahimsa is not for the extinction of the family or of private property. These are vital and basic human institutions and those who attack them outright will merely dash their heads against a stone-wall, as basic human nature is more powerful than Marxism or other social theories. The supreme saints and prophets pleaded love and compassion to the poor, and the conception of property as a trust for the family and for the society. The family itself is a nursery of altruism. The greatness of a civilisation depends on its fund of altruism. Religion seeks to restrain and then sublimate egoism instead of legislative or destructive expropriation which merely enthrones bureaucratic tyrannies in the place of the tyranny of uncontrolled selfish egoism. Swami Sivananda, like Swami Vivekananda, claims to be a socialist. He says.

 

"I am the greatest communist. I revolt against self-aggrandisement. I practise and teach equal vision and equal treatment because there is only one Atman."

 

He wants the socialists not only to have high aims but also to have spiritual knowledge and mental self-control.

 

He is against the exploitation of labour by capitalists and is equally against the violent destruction of capitalists and the violent expropriation of capital by labour, and pleads for a Dharmic egalitarian socialistic economic ideal. He stands for evolutionary gradual non-violent democratic Dharmic socialism and for sensible and progressive land reforms and legislative control on incomes and dividends, and the taxation of the rich and the co-partnership of Labour and Capital.

 

Swami Sivananda is never tired of asking us to be on our guard against the modern mechanised, mechanical, mechanising machine age. He says: "Modern age is the machine age. As such, it is power-ridden. Discovery of newer ways of generating power, exploring fresh aspects of known forces, inventing machines to make machines is the present craze under man's control; but man himself does not have his senses and mind under control. This has resulted in the misuse and abuse of the fruits of civilisation and science, because all power corrupts. The adoption of the Yogic way of life is the release from and the guarantee against such misuse of power and the resultant disaster. Training in Yoga brings to man several super-normal powers that no machine can ever generate. Yet, the discipline laid down on the path ensures against their abuse." THE GATEWAY TO BLISS, pages 39, 4R.

 

3. THE IDEAL SOCIETY AND STATE

 

In an ideal society and state, there should be industrial self-sufficiency. Gurudev stands for full Swadeshi. He says: "Use indigeneous articles and help the growth of village industries. This will lead to our economic independence. Economic independence is indispensable." He pleads also for a proper inter-mrelation and interdependence of Capital and Labour. Capital and Labour are not natural enemies. It is selfishness that makes them enemies. It capitalists develop an anti-social mania for profits and use machines to displace men, and if labourers want to take things easy and go slow and develop a mania for more and more wages and less and less work, if capitalists resort to lock-outs and labourers resort to strikes without realising how they destroy each other and also lead to the deterioration of the life of the nation, they become public enemies. He says:

 

909 "An industrialist becomes machine-minded. He comes to regard the army of workers he employs as so many automatons. He has no sympathy for the - labourers. This is wrong. It is his moral duty to look to their welfare in as much as their labours build up his prosperity. He must pay fair and adequate wages, afford them facilities instead of driving them to undertake strikes, demonstrations, etc. Heartless exploitation of labour is a grave transgression of the moral law."-Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World' page 35, and 'Sivananda Smriti' page 241.

 

On the question of over-population and family planning, Swami Sivananda advises the wise means of self-restraint which Mahatma Gandhi advocated as against contraceptives and abortions. He says:

 

"Restraint of sex-urge leads to the restraint of other impulses. Rapid increase in our country's population and shortage of food thereby involving colossal expenditure in importing foodgrains from foreign countries, have compelled the national leaders to launch a vigorous campaign for birth-control and planned parenthood. In spite of advanced agricultural methods and reclamation of waste-land, it has been found impossible to cope food production with the increase of population. Hence the growth of population has to be restrained, if there is to be no lowering of living standards, mass starvation, famine and consequent degradation of morality. Self-restraint gives moral strength and spiritual vision. There is no safer and better solution for the restriction of population than self-restraint."= 'Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World', pages 39 to 41.

 

Mahatma Gandhi's view was the same. He said: "If the rural population practised moral restraint, they could limit the size of their families better than through the aid of contraceptives. Artificial methods are like putting a premium on vice, the remedy will be worse than the disease." "In my opinion it is an insult to the fair sex to put up her case in support of birth-control by artificial methods. I have little doubt that the vast majority of women will reject them as inconsistent with their dignity."

 

Gurudev gives in support of his view the opinions of many modern Western specialists. Sir Lionel Beale says: "Sexual abstinence has never yet hurt any man. Virginity is not hard to observe, provided that it is the physical expression of a certain state of mind." Prof. Osterau says: "The sexual instinct is not so blindly powerful that it cannot be controlled and even subjugated entirely by moral strength and reason. He must know that robust health and ever-renewed vigour will be the reward of this voluntary service." Sir Andrew Clark says "Continence does not harm; it does not hinder deve-lopments; it increases energy and perception." Bernard Shaw says: "Unless we restrain desire, we destroy ourselves."

 

In this and other respects, the sanyasins have, with their super-social ideals, a great part to play in social welfare. There is a vital need of such a band of educated and selfless sanyasins. Swamiji says: "If the new civilisation is to be an enduring one (not merely a prelude to a bigger war) it has to be based on lasting values of a spiritual nature. The providing of this fundamental spiritual basis to the new humanity is the work of the Sadhus, sanyasins, and monks of the world." Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World', page 100.

 

It is such an ideal state and society which Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Sivananda call as Rama Rajya. Mahatma Gandhi said on 12th June, 1946: "Rama Rajya can be religiously translated as the Kingdom of God on the earth.. Politically translated, it is a perfect democracy in which inequalities based on possession and non-possession, colour, race,creed or sex vanish. In it, land and state belong to the people, justice is prompt, perfect and cheap, and there is freedom of worship, speech and the press all this because of the reign of the self-imposed law of moral restraint."

 

Swami Sivananda says: "The advent of Rama Rajya verily implies the ushering in of prosperity and plenty, blessedness and bliss, peace on earth and goodwill to man." "If only our philosophers realise the fundamental importance of politics and the politicians realise the fundamental importance of philosophy, there would not be the hell that is prevalent today. I realise now why Plato pleaded for a Philosopher-King."

 

The ideal society depends on the ideal state and the ideal economic basis of both state and society. But, after all, it rests in the main on the ideal human material-on good men and good women. If the human beings are good and godly persons, everything including society, state, economic prosperity, abundance, and justice will be safe. If they are bad and ungodly, mere institutions and mere laws cannot work the magic. Women, even more than men, are pivotal forces and factors in the national life, even though it is true that if either men or women give up their spiritual nature, everything will go wrong with the people and the state and all the laws and institutions of the country.

 

 

 

 

BOOK SIX

Sivananda's Vision of Universal Peace

as International perfection

 

 

 

 

 

1. TOWARDS WORLD PEACE AND GOODWILL

Swami Sivananda teaches that the concept of nationality is good and noble, while the concept of selfish jingoistic imperialistic nationalism is evil and ignoble. He says: Nationalism, capitalism and militarism must perish. Humanism, humanitarian-ism, based on the Vedantic principle of the unity of life, should take their place." He says further: "Political Freedom is at best a stepping-stone to the real freedom which is your birthright. The so-called free nations of the West are still bound and trammelled. Their minds are ever filled with anxieties about their future and suspicion and enmity towards others. Politics without a moral and spiritual basis will dwindle into an airy nothing. Politics should aim at realisation through the service of the country and spiritualise the whole country." (Swami Sivananda's Message on 15th August 1947, the day of India's independence.)

 

Universal peace can never be attained so long as social tensions continue and economic, and political rivalries and exploitations exist in the world. We find everywhere that a very large percentage of the national income is spent on armaments and that the percentage is increasing year by year. If the ideals of Ahimsa are spread in each nation, the need for huge armaments will diminish. It is because of mutual suspicion and dislike that nations unwillingly spend large sums on armies and armaments. If human greed is eliminated, exploitations will disappear, and hatred will end with exploitation. Swami Sivananda suggests as a solution the establishment of Ashrams to spread spirituality, Santi and Ahimsa. We must also consciously cultivate the international mentality along with the cultural mentality, the professional mentality, and the national mentality in our schools and colleges. We must outlaw war and resolve to realise the brotherhood of man. The poet sings thus of such a golden age:

 

These things shall be, a better race,

Nation with nation, land with land

Unarmed shall live as comrades free.

In every heart and brain shall throb

The pulse of one fraternity.

 

2. SIVANANDA AND TENNYSON

THE CONCEPT OF ONE WORLD STATE

 

Swami Sivananda does not merely stand for universal peace because he knows that so long as the armament race continues among the nations, the bulk of the income of every nation will be spent on the stock-piling of armaments. The modern atom bombs and hydrogen bombs and cobalt bombs and inter-continental ballistic missiles exhaust all the national treasuries and will eventually destroy all the nations. This cannot be prevented by the League of Nations or the U. N. O. We must work for the elimination of national armaments and not merely for small disarmaments by way of reduction of armaments. The U. N. O. alone must be armed, while the nations keep the police force: and the minimum military force to quell riots, rebellions and insurrections. Swami Sivananda is against tyrannies and dictatorships which we now see in many countries despite the vacuous vanity and self-praise of modern civilisation. He says: "A well-organised World Federation can prevent war among nations and ensure peace in the world, but such an organisation will function only when its members are noble men with pure and lofty ideals. They should be imbued with the spirit of tolerance, co-operation and brotherhood." The ultimate aim, objective and goal should be the establishment of the One World Government. Swamiji dreams like Tennyson in his poem Locksley Hall' about the time to come when universal peace and human concord will be achieved.

 

For I dipt into the future far as human eye could see,

 

Saw the vision of the world, and all the wonder that would be.

 

Saw the heavens fill with commerce, argosies of magic sails

 

Pilots of the purple twilight, dropping downwith costly bales;

 

Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew

 

From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue;

 

Far along the world-wide whisper of the south- wind rushing warm,

 

With the standards of the peoples plunging through the thunder-storm;

 

Till the war-drum throbbed no donger and the battle-flags were furled

 

In the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World.

 

There the commonsense of most shall hold a fretful realm in awe,

 

And the kindly earth shall slumber lapt in universal law.

 

Long before the aeroplanes began to fly at staggering speeds, the poet foresaw the battles of the air-navies of the peoples till humanity learnt to govern itself by democratic discussion and decision in the Parliament of Man, the Federation of the World. Nor has universal law arrived as yet. But the poet's faith did not waver and sixty years later, and in his equally famous poem 'Lockley Hall Sixty Years After', he expressed his doubt and said:

 

Chaos, Cosmos! Cosmos, Chaos, once again the sickening game:

 

Freedom, free to slay herself, and dying while they shout her name.

 

But he finally recovered his faith and said:

Something kindlier, higher, holier all for each and each for all.

 

All the full-brain, half-brain races led by just- ice, love and truth,

 

All the millions one at length with the visions of my youth,

 

All diseases quenched by science, no man halt or deaf or blind,

 

Stronger ever born of weaker, lustier body, larger mind,

 

Earth at last a warless world, a single race, a single tongue-

 

I have seen her far away, for is not Earth as yet so young?-

 

Every tiger-madness muzzled, every serpent- passion killed,

 

Every grim ravine a garden, every blazing desert tilled,

 

Robed in universal harvest, up to either pole she smiles,

 

Universal ocean softly washing all her warless isles.

 

Swami Sivananda says: "The possibility of a One World State has been a proposition that has been considered by philosophers from the time of Plato downwards and by statesmen from time to time such as Bismarck. Theoretically, there is no impossibility in a One World State guarding the interests of the comity of the nations of the whole world. But this naturally involves that all the powers concerned should resign some of their authority and power to the One World State to enable it to keep the world free from strife, contented and happy. There are philosophers and politicians of the present-day world who are emphatically of opinion that the present United Nations' Organisation should convert itself into a World State. In another sense, however, the world can easily become a One World State if all the nations comprising it free themselves effectively from the weakness and feelings inseparable from chauvinism. If the whole world stands by Truth and Non-violence and there is no need for national barriers and safeguards of any description, it is obvious that nothing need prevent the whole world from coalescing into one family. Rama Rajya was such an instance."-YOGA QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS, pages 171, 172.

 

3. ON WORLD PEACE

 

Swami Sivananda probes yet further the problem of world peace. He shows that no ultimate and final solution of the problem will be found unless the reign of the Spirit over Matter is established in all the aspects of human life individual, social, economic, political, national, international and universal.

He says:

"There is only one solution for all the problems that face man, and that is that the Spirit should rule over matter. This applies to the individual's personal life, social contract and spiritual endeavour. And it equally well applies to the nations' internal administration, external relationship with other nations and to the general promotion of civilisation in its truest sense. It is a well-recognised universal law that man is the microcosm of the universe which is the macrocosm, and that what applies to him, applies to the whole universe.."-Illuminating Messages', page 387.

 

'Politics has its basis in sociology, has its basis in individual personal development: individual personal development is governed by the philosophy and the religion that each man follows."-ibid page 396.

 

"Man is afraid of man, nation is afraid of nation. Everybody is afraid of atomic and hydrogen bombs. Therefore, they resort to cold war. But this is worse than war. It is said that bravery, chivalry, and the spirit or sacrifice and service are brought out during a war. But this cold war is devoid of even this virtue. Hypocrisy becomes the order of the day. Real peace can come only out of love and understanding. Ignorance is the common enemy Egoism is the universal enemy." ibid, Message to the World Peace Conference, Stockholm, page 399.

 

"Any international league or treaty without a spiritual basis will totally fail to bring about lasting peace and happiness for the world. War will again break out after some time with redoubled vigour and increased hatred; more machine guns and bombers will be manufactured. Individual peace alone can lead to the establishment of universal peace."

 

Swami Sivananda has given to us a true picture of international ethics. He says: "Nations can prosper only if they stick to the principles of international morality. The ethical laws which govern the relations of individuals to one another should also govern the relations of the nations to one another. A World Federation should be established.

Then alone the international morality can be put into practice. A well-organised World Federation can prevent war among nations and ensure peace in the world. But such an organisation will function successfully only when its members are noble men with pure and lofty ideals. They should be imbued with the spirit of tolerance, co-operation and brotherhood. They must set aside narrow racial spirit and have wide universal vision. If not, the organisation will fail like the League of Nations after the Great War and the U. N. O. today. Equal privileges

 

should be given to all nations. Every nation should have equal rights. Nothing should be the monopoly of a particular nation. No nation should have absolute sway or supremacy in anything. Sea, land, and air must be the common property of all nations." -'Moral and Spiritual Regeneration of the World', pages 92 to 94.

 

BOOK SEVEN

Sivananda's Vision of the Hindu Gospel, as Scriptural Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

1. PRAMANAS OR SOURCE-BOOKS

OF INTEGRAL HINDUISM

 

I do not propose to describe and discuss the source-books of Hinduism in any considerable detail here. I have done so elsewhere in other books by me. As I have described above, my angle of vision and my method of approach, and as I wish in the interests of brevity to give a succinct account the Pramanas (sources), the Tattvas (truths), the Sadhanas (means) and the Phalas (goals) of Integral Hinduism, I shall content myself with clear, concise, compressed, categorical statements, as otherwise this portion of the work alone will swell into one volume or even many volumes. Swami Sivananda has described the Hindu Scriptures, Ethics, Philosophy, Mythology and Sects in his book ALL ABOUT HINDUISM (1947).

 

The Pramanas or sources of Hinduism are Srutis (Vedas), Smritis, Itihasas, Puranas, Agamas and Darsanas. The Vedas are regarded as being eternal (Anadi) and not created by any person including God (Apaurusheya). They are like the breath of God (Nihsvasitam). They consist of Karma Kanda (ritual portion), Upasana Kanda (meditation por. tion and Jnana Kanda (philosophical portion). They are Rik, Yajus, Sama and Atharva. The Muktika Upanishad says that the Rig Veda had 21 Sakhas (branches or recensions), the Yajur Veda had 109 Sakhas, the Sama Veda had 1000 Sakhas and Athharva Veda had 50 Sakhas. We now have one Sakha (Aitareya) of Rig Veda, 3 Sakhas (Kanva, Taittiriya and Madhyandina) of Yajur Veda, and 2 Sakhas (Gautama and Talavakara) of Sama Veda. Each Veda is divided into three portions: (1) Samhitas or Mantras (hymns), (2) Brahmanas or prose expositions of sacrifices, rituals, etc., to which are appended Aranyakas, and (3) Upanishads or philosophical expositions. But only a few of these recensions are extant. The Rig Veda is, in fact, the most ancient book of the whole world. The Mantras and the Brahmanas form the Karma Kanda (ritualistic portion) of the Vedas whereas the Aranyakas and the Upanishads form the Jnana Kanda (philosophy). The Rig Vedic priest is called the Hota: the Yajur Vedic priest is called Adhvaryoo: the Sama Vedic priest is called Udgata; and the Atharva Vedic priest is called Brahma.

 

I have described the Vedic literature briefly in my book entitled "A Primer of Sanskrit Literature". The Rig Veda Samhita contains 1017 Suktas arranged in 10 Mandalas. Each Sukta consists of Riks or Mantras, i.e., prayers addressed to Indra, Varuna, Surya, Agni and other deities. The invocation is mainly for benefits in this world. But there are also invocations for a sinless life and for God's grace. The total number of Riks or Mantras is 10,600. Nearly one-fourth of these is in the Gayatri metre. The other stanzas are in other metres called Anushtup, Trishtup, Jagati, etc. The Western scholars are puzzled b the Rishis invoking each god as the Supreme God. Max Muller calls this attitude as henotheism or kathenotheism. Some of them are puzzled by the gods being invoked in pairs. Some see in the Riks only a personification of the powers of Nature. Others see some kind on animism at work therein. But the Rig Veda itself contains the key to its own solution. It knew and said that "there is only one God, though sages call Him by various names". ('Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti' R. V. I, 164) Sat is a name non-indicative It means Pure Eternal Being. Yet, this monotheism is called by Prof. MacDonnell as polytheism. A Rig Vedic hymn says:

 

इन्द्र' मित्रं वरुणं अग्निमाहुः अथ दिव्यः सुपर्णो गरुत्मान्

The Purusha Sukta says:

 

सब्रह्म सशिवः सहरिः सेन्द्रः सोक्षरः परमः स्वराट ।

The Nirukta says:

(vii 4)

एकस्मान्मनोऽन्ये देवाः प्रत्यंगानि भवन्ति ।।

It says also:

 

एकैकस्यापि बहूनि नामधेयानि भवन्ध्यपिवा कर्मपृथक्त्वात्

 

Thus the religion of the Rig Veda is a realisation of the unity of Godhead; of the unity of the Absolute and God, of God immanent in Nature and transcendent, of God functioning as Creator, Pre- Server and Destroyer of the entire universe and yet being Infinite Satchidananda, of God taking on also each specific cosmic function such as rain, light, heat, life, etc., and becoming in form Indra, Surya, Agni, Vayu, etc. Thus we have here a fusion of Monism and Monotheism, and not polytheism or henotheism or kathenotheism at all. Sat, Brahman and Atman are of neuter gender and are equated with Purusha, Iswara, Vishnu and Siva. It will not be possible to pursue this matter further in this work whose main aim is to present vibrant, unified, dynamic, synthesised integral Hinduism.

 

I may, however, mention that in the Purusha Sukta, we have a clear clue to the Vedic idea of creation (R. V. X, 90). In the Nasadiya hymn (R. V. X, 129) we are told that whatever existed at the beginning cannot be called Asat (non-being) as it was the cause of being or Sat as the variety of the universe had not yet emerged. The One was there by itself, breathing, ie., existing without breathing air (Anit Avatan). From its will the manifestation of the universe began. The Purusha Sukta hymn works out this idea in another way. From the Purusha the world is born by His sacrifice, i.e., self-transformation into the infinite variety of the universe. And, yet the Supreme Being is in His fulness all the same, despite the emergence of the universe into which He had transformed Himself. He had become the universe, is immanent in it and yet transcends it. In other hymns of the Rig Veda also, we see often not mere prayers for worldly boons but also an urge for knowing the eternal truths and for knowing and realising God.

 

Yaska says in his Nirukta that we should view the Vedas from three standpoints, viz., Adhibhautika, Adhidaivike and Adhyatmika-i.e., physical. divine, esoteric and psychical angles of vision. If we combine and fuse these three interpretations, we can have in integral vision of the totality of Reality. Everything has an external physical form and is ensouled by a divine potency and is finally and ultimately an aspect of the soul. The divine form is conceived of as being similar to the human form. Such anthropomorphism (Purushavidhata) is inevitable as it is one of the inescapable conditions of our thinking. The Infinite Spirit works through such self-manifested agencies to form and shape Its self-projection as the universe. What is in the Anda (external world) is also in the Pinda (the human body). The sun, the wind and the moon correspond to the eye, the breath and the mind, and the divine potencies in the former energise and vivify the latter as well. It is said that the sun has got three levels of being, viz., Ut which dispels terrestrial darkness, Uttara which shines among the Gods, and Utthama which is the Supreme Being Himself (R. V. I, 50, 10).

 

The Samhita of the Yajur Veda consists of 40 Adhyayas or chapters containing 1886 stanzas, about half of which are found also in the Rig Veda. There are two versions or recensions of it, viz., (1) Taittiriya or Krishna Yajur Veda in which the Samhita and the Brahmana portions are mixed up, and (2) Vajasaneya or Shukla Yajur Veda, in which the Samhita is distinct from the Brahmana. The Samhita describes the prayers to the gods, the preparation of the altar, the instruments needed for the sacrifices, the sacrificial offerings, etc. It describes Yajnas like Aswamedha, Rajasuya, etc., the domestic ceremonials, etc.

 

The Samhita of the Sama Veda contains 15 books which are divided into 32 chapters. There are 460 hymns, most of which are found in the Rig Veda. Only 75 Mantras are new. The hymns of the Sama Veda are to be sung on the basis of Udatta, Anudatta and Swarita Swaras.

 

The Samhita of the Atharva Veda consists of 20 Kandas. There are 731 hymns compiled by Atharvan, the Angirasas, and the Bhrigus. Many spells for winning love or for destroying enemies or for diverse terrestrial advantages are found in the Atharva Veda.

 

BRAHMANA AND ARANYAKAS

 

One of the Brahmanas belonging to the Rig Veda is the Aitareya Brahmana which consists of 40 Adhyayas and describes the Soma sacrifices, Agnihotra, ete. At the end of it we find the Aitareya Aranyaka and the Aitareya Upanishad. The other Brahmana belonging to the Rig Veda is the Kaushitaki or Sankhayana Brahmana which contains 30 Adhyayas. At the end of it we find the Kaushitaki Aranyaka and the Kaushitaki Upanishad.

 

The Krishna Yajur Veda has the Taittrirya Brahmana in 3 Adhyavas and the Maitrayana Brahmana, while the Shukla Yajur Veda has the Satapatha Brahmana in 100 Adhyayas. The Aranyaka of the latter has the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad at its end. The Taittiriva Brahmana has the Taittiriva Upanishad and the Mahanarayana Upanishad at the end.

 

The Sama Veda has two Sakhas, viz., Talavakara and Tandya. The Tandya Sakha has three Brahmanas, viz., the Panchavimsa, the Shadvimsa, and the Chhandogya at the end of which is the Chhandogya Upanishad. The Talavakara Sakha has the Talavakara Brahmana at the end of which is the Talavakara or Kena Upanishad.

 

The Atharva Veda has the Gopatha Brahmana. As already stated, each Brahmana has an Aranyaka.

 

UPANISHADS

 

The Upanishads are the Himalayan peaks of Hinduism. They form the Jnana Kanda (philosophy) of the Vedas. Each Sakha of each Veda is said to have an Upanishad. 108 Upanishads exist and have been published. The main Upanishads on which we have the Bhashyas (commentaries) of Sri Sankara and others are ten Upanishads called Dasopanishads (Isa, Kena, Kata, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Aitareya, Taittiriya, Chhandogya and Brihadaranyaka). I refer to my book "Studies in the Upanishads" for fuller details. The Upanishads contain the highest philosophy of integral Hinduism, and they, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras are called the Prasthana-traya (three sacred sourcebooks of Hinduism).

 

As already stated, the Muktika Upanishad assigns one Upanishad to each Sakha (recension) of each Veda. The Rig Veda has 21 Sakhas; the Yajur Veda has 1000 Sakhas; the Sama Veda has 109 Sakhas; and the Atharva Veda has 50 Sakhas. The total number is 1180 and so there should be 1180 Upanishads. But only 108 Upanishads are accepted as authoritative and extant. Some of them are metrical and some are in prose.

 

The supreme value of the Upanishads is their spiritual vision of the Eternal. God is realised as the Formless Reality (Brahman) and as God with form and attributes. Brahman is realisable and is not a mere unknowable abstraction. Its knowledge leads to deathlessness and eternal self-conscious supreme bliss. Brahman has become the world, is immanent in it, and transcends it. The Upanishads affirm in some places the soul's unity with Brahman and in other places the soul's harmony with Brahman. They avoid the limitations of anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism. They do not say that God is like man, but that God is in man, and is man, and that God is the eternal reality (Akhanda Satchidananda) in man. Such is the peerless mysticism of the Upanishads, i.e., total freedom from the bondage of Samsara, the attainment of immortality and eternal, infinite, supreme bliss, the realisation of union with God in the sense of identity or communion by Jnana or by Bhakti.. The Upanishads decry the Karma Kanda (or religion of sacrifices) not because the latter is false or useless, but because its results are ephemeral whereas union with God is eternal and is the result of Bhakti leading to communion with God or Dhyana or Sravana.

Manana and Nidhidhyasana leading to union and identity with God.

 

Vedangas

 

These are the auxiliary sciences which help us to understand the Vedas on which Sayana has written an elaborate Bhashya (commentary). These are Siksha (phonetics), Kalpa sutras (rules relating to ritual), Vyakarana (grammar), Chehandas (prosody), Nirukta (Vedic etymology and dictionary), and Jyotisha (astronomy). The Kalpa sutras relate to domestic or family rituals (Grihya sutras) and also to sacrificial rituals (Srauta sutras). The Sulba Sutras relate to the sacrifices known as Chayanaus.

 

Upavedas

 

There are four Upavedas, viz., Ayurveda (science of medicine), Dhanurveda (military science), Artha Shastra (economics) and Gandharva Veda (science and art of music). These Upavedas seek to relate the Vedas to the needs and joys of our terrestrial life.

 

Smritis

 

These consist of Dharma Sutras and Dharma Shastras. They deal with Achara (our duties in life), Vyavahara (the law), Asaucha and Prayas-chitta (the rules of pollution and the rules of expiation of sins).

The Dharma Sutras are:

(1) Vasishta belonging to the Rig Veda.

(2) Bodhayana, Apasthamba, Satyashadha, Hiranyakesin, Drahyayana-belonging to the Krishna Yajur Veda,

(3) Vishnu belonging to the Yajur Veda (Katha school),

(4) Gautama belonging to the Sama Veda.

The Dharma Shastras are those of Manu, Yajnavalkya, Parasara, Narada, Brihaspati, Harita, Usavas, Angiras, Yama, Atri, Samvarta, Katyayana, Daksha, Satatapa, Gautama, Apastamba, Vasishta, Vyasa, Vishnu, Devala, Prajapati, Vyagrapada, and Sankha Likhita. It is said that Manu is the authoritative Smriti in the Krita age (Yuga), Gautama is the authoritative Smriti in the Treta age, Sankha Likhita is the authoritative Smriti in the Dwapara age, and Parasara is the authoritative Smriti in this Kali Yuga.

 

कृते तु मानवः प्रोक्तो त्रेतायां गौतमः स्मृतः

द्वापरे शंखलिखितो कलौ पाराशरः स्मृतः

 

2015 Kritya Kalpataru and Smriti Muktaphala are elaborate manuals of Dharma Sutra rules. My book on Dharma Sutras and Dharma Shastras (published by the Venkateswara Oriental Institute, Tirupati) deals with the Dharma Sutras and Dharma Shastras in detail.

 

The Itihasas (Epics)

 

Swami Sivananda has given the world three gra-lmophone records called Sangeetha Ramayana and has shown the excellence of Valmiki's Ramayana in his volume BEAUTIES OF RAMAYANA. In the latter, he says: "A feature that distinguishes it (Ramayana) from the other epic (Mahabharata) is, while the latter is a guide to man's conduct in the wider social sphere, Ramayana is an invaluable guide to man in the domestic sphere. The Ramayana abounds in direct admonitions to guide you in life. Ramayana reveals the ideal conduct in life from its simplest domestic stages right up to the loftiest spiritual side as well. It is a guide to the true aspirants in treading the path of spirituality, leading to complete emancipation from the cycle of birth and death." (pages I to VI) Thus the Ramayana is not only the epic of the domestic life. It is also the epic of the good and godly life. In it God is revealed in His incarnation as Sri Rama. In the epic Mahabharata and in the Purana Srimad Bhagavata God is revealed in His incarnation as Sri Krishna. Life in its wholeness individual, social, and spiritual is revealed in these gems of Indian Epic Literature. The word Rama contains two letters Ra (the essence of the sacred Mantra Ashtakshari) and Ma (the essence of the sacred Mantra Panchakshari. (page ix)

 

Thus the great Itihasas Ramayana and Mahabharata are the oldest, longest and greatest epic poems in the world. I have described them in detail in my works 'Studies in the Ramayana' and 'A. Mahabharata Primer'. The Ramayana describes the ideal man as the maker of the ideal society and the ideal state. The Mahabharata shows how the ideal society and state arernecessary to make the ideal man. The Ramayana shows the need for the sovereignty of Dharma (righteousness) over Kama (pleasure). The Mahabharata shows the need for the sovereignty of Dharma over Artha (wealth). Societies and individuals will be ruined by lust and avarice and can be redeemed by righteousness. Itihasas teach us Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha by telling us the lives of our heroic ancestors.

 

धर्मार्थकाममोक्षाणामुपदेश समन्वितम्

पूर्ववृत्तकथायुक्तमितिहासं प्रचक्षते

 

Puranas

 

The Vedas are illustrated, explained and ampli- fied by the Itihasas and the Puranas.

 

इतिहासपुराणाभ्यां वेदं समुपबू हयेत्

 

says Manu. There are 18 Puranas (Brahma, Padma, Vishnu, Siva, Bhagavata, Narada, Markandeya, Agni, Bha- vishyat, Brahmavivarta, Linga, Varaha, Skanda Vamana, Kurma, Matsya, Garuda, and Brahmanda) and 18 Upa-Puranas (minor Puranas). Puranas should have five characteristics and should describe (1) Sarga or primary creation, (2) Pratisarga (secondary and supplemental creation), (3) Vamsa or account of the progenitors of men, (4) Manvantaras (accounts of Manus), and (5) Vamsanu- charita (chronicles of the later kings).

 

सर्गश्च प्रतिसर्गश्च वंशो मन्वन्तराणि च

वंशानुचरितं चैव पुराणं पञ्चलक्षणम्

 

The Bhagavata describes ten characteristics. The Puranas form the source of many living aspects of Hinduism such as rituals, fasts, Vratas (vows). modes of worship and Mantras, etc. They are classified into six Satvika Puranas, six Rajasa Puranas, and six Tamasa Puranas. This classification has reference to the three Gunas of Prakriti and does not imply any exaltation or condemnation of this or that God among the Trimurthies (Trinity). If one God is praised, the praise is to inculcate Bhakti (devotion) to Him and not to cry down the other gods. This is called the Nahi Ninda Nyaya (the principle of non-denunciation).

 

Agamas

 

The Agamas, Tantras and Yamalas are scriptures communicated by God Siva to Goddess Parvati. There are Vaishnava Agamas, 28 Saiva Agamas and 64 Shakta Agamas. Many of them are unknown to the public even now. Sir John Woodroffe (Arthur Avalon) published some of them and expounded the sublime ideas therein. The Agamas describe temple construction, temple worship and temple rituals and established the Hindu temples on a firm and lasting basis. I have dealt with them in detail in my work 'The Light of the Agamas'. The teachings of the Tantras have been explained in many volumes by Arthur Avalon. The Kamika Agama says that the Tantra is so-called because it amplifies (Tanoti) the Veda and saves the soul (Trayate).

 

Darsanas

 

These are philosophical systems. In India they are not mere intellectual speculations as in the West but are called Darsanas (visions of the universe from one angle of vision or another). They are divided into Nasthika Shaddarsan (six heretical philosophical systems) i.e., Charvaka or Lokayatika (agnosticism), Jainism, and four schools of Buddhism viz., Vaibhashika, Sautrantika, Yogachara, and Madhyamika. Asthika means affirmative, i.e.,

 

saying that there is Shastra (scripture), there is soul, and there is God. Nasthika means that which denies one or two or all the three of these categories. The Charvaka system is pure materialism. Jainism and Buddhism derived their ethics from the Vedas. Jainism admits the soul but not God. Buddhism does not admit either. Both attack the caste system and deny the authority of the Vedas. Both accept the law of Karma and transmigration. Some traces of Niratma Vada are said to be found. in the Upanishads, but this is denied by the orthodox Hindus.

 

नेति नेति असदेव सौम्य इदमग्र आसीत्

 

What is alleged there is the dissolution of mind or Buddhi and not of the soul. Even these faiths are valuable as they generate renunciation and relax the hold of materialism upon us.

 

Thus in India, religion and philosophy are inter related and inter-dependent, and both are inseparably related to logic, philosophy and ethics. All these are aspects of a single Integral Science, i.e., the Science of Truth.

 

The Asthika Shaddarsan (the six orthodox systems of Hindu philosophy) are vital aspects of Hinduism and form a ladder leading to the highest goal. They fall into three groups:

 

(1) Nyaya by Gautama and Vaiseshika by Kanada;

 

(2) Sankhya by Kapila and Yoga by Patanjali: (3) Purva Mimamsa by Jaimini and Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta by Badarayana

 

Each consists of a number of Sutras or aphorisms followed later by Bhashyas (commentaries). All are called Asthika as they accept the authority of the Vedas and postulate the soul, though the Sankhya and the Purva Mimamsa are silent about God and Yoga calls God as the Primaeval Guru and not as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the universe.

 

I have described these in great detail in my work 'The Metaphysics and Message of Swami Sivananda'. Dr. Sir S. Radhakrishnan's 'Indian Philosophy' (two volumes) form an authoritative exposition about them. I shall hence refer to them very briefly in this work, as its aim is not the exposition of the historical evolution of Indian philosophic thought but the exposition of Integral Hinduism.

 

Gautama's Nyaya Sutras describe the universal categories and expound the principles of logic. Kanada's Vaiseshika Sutras describe the atomic origin of the universe. Both Gautama and Kanada postulate God, the universe and the soul. Both describe Apavarga or Moksha as the goal resulting from the removal of Mithya Jnana (wrong knowledge). The Nyaya system refers to 16 topics, of knowledge. It describes Pratyaksha (perception), Anumana (logical inference) and Sabda (verbal testimony or scripture) as the Pramanas or sources of knowledge. The elements of a logical syllogism are proposition (Pratijna), reason (Hetu), major premiss (Udaharana), minor premiss or the application of reason (Upanaya), and conclusion (Nigamana). The Prameyas are twelve in number, viz., soul, body, senses, objects, Buddhi, mind, activity (Pravritti), fault (Dosha), transmigration, fruit or result of action (Phala), pain (Duhkha), and liberation (Apavarga). God rules the world according to the Law of Karma which causes Adrishta which leads to results of actions at the appropriate time. The soul is eternal and has got pleasure, pain etc., and enjoys the fruits of Karma, but can attain Apavarga (liberation) by Jnana. The Vaiseshika system says that there are six categories (Padarthas) and that these have 17 qualities. The world is built of atoms. The soul has got pleasure and pain. The right knowledge of the Self destroys false knowledge and confers liberation. Nyaya and Vaiseshika propound the Arambha Vada, i.e., the first creation of the world by God. The Vaiseshika system views the universe from the point of view of physics rather than from the point of view of metaphysics.

 

The Sankhya system is so-called because it enumerates the constituent categories of the universe. It relies on three Pramanas, viz., Pratyaksha, Anumana and Sabda. It postulates infinite Purushas (souls) and Prakriti (matter), which are both Anadi (beginningless) and eternal, but is silent about God. It enumerates 24 categories:

 

Prakriti or Pradhana, i.e., primordial matter which consists of three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas), Mahat, Ahamkara, five Tanmatras (subtle elements), Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara, five Inanendriyas (organs of knowledge), five Karmendriyas (organs of action) and the five gross and visible elements. When Purusha (the twenty-fifth Tatva or principle) is attracted by Prakriti, there is disequilibrium among the Gunas of Prakriti; the universe evolves and Samsara begins and continues. The discrimination by Purusha of his real nature as Chaitanya leads to liberation. The evolution and involution of the world go on in cycles.

 

The Sankhya and the Yoga systems propound the Parinama Vada, i.e., the evolution of the world out of Prakriti and its involution into Prakriti.

 

The Yoga system of philosophy accepts the Sankhya terminology and stresses a course of disciplines leading to Samadhi (Self-realisation by Purusha). In it God (Iswara) is the Adi-Guru (Sah Purvesham Api Guruh Kalena Anavachchadat). Devotion to him will quickly lead to Samadhi (Iswara Pranidhanadva). The course of eight disciplines consists of Yama and Niyama (ethical life), Asana (posture), Pranayama (breath-control) Pratyahara (introspection), Dharana. (fixity of mind), Dhyana (intense one-pointed meditation) and Samadhi (Self-realisation), which is either Savikalpa or Samprajnata (conscious of diversity) or Nirvikalpa or Asamprajnata (conscious of identity). Pranava (OM) is the symbol of God. Even if one Purusha is dissociated from Prakriti in Samadhi, Prakriti exists for other Purushas. The Yoga sutras deal with four topics: (1) Samadhi or ecstatic trance, (2) Sadhana or means, (3) Vibhhuti or supernatural powers, and (4) Kaivalya or Self- realisation.

 

The Purva Mimamsa system relates to the Karma Kanda. Jaimini accepts three Pramanas, viz., Pratyaksha, Anumana and Sabda. He accepts the soul and is silent about God. He says that Karma results in Adrishta which leads to Phala or fruits of action in heaven (Swarga) or in hell (Naraka) or on the earth. He does not admit Moksha.

 

The Uttara Mimamsa is the Vedanta proper. It consists of four Adhyayas: (1) Samanvaya or synthesis, (2) Avirodha or non-controversy by establishing the untenability of systems of philosophy not based exclusively on the Vedas, (3) Sadhanas or means of liberation and (4) Phala or liberation (Moksha). The Uttara Mimamsa has had different systems of interpretation by Sankara, Bhaskara, Yadavaprakasa, Vijnana Bhikshu, Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Baladeva, Vallabha, Chaitanya, the Saiva school of Srikanta, the Veerasaiva school of Srikara, the Shakta school, etc. I am describing and discussing these below. All agree in affirming Moksha (liberation of soul).

 

I may here refer to Madhusudana Sarasvati's view in his Prasthana Bheda that the five systems (Nyaya, etc) were given out by sages to lead to the Vedanta by creating in us Vairagya and Jnana (renunciation and wisdom).

 

 

न हि ते सुनयो भ्रान्ताः सर्वज्ञत्वात् तेषां

किंतु बहिर्विषयप्रवणानां आपाततो पुरुषार्थ

प्रवेशो न संभवतीति नास्तिक्यवारणाय ते

प्रकारभेदा दर्शिताः ।

 

I plead for the same liberal and integral attitude in regard to the later Darsanas (Advaita etc.) Those sages took different view-points to enable us to integrate, realise and achieve liberation through Bhakti and Jnana. Each of them stressed Tatva- Sadhana-Phala in his own way according to the needs of the age though with a common

 

Later Pramanas

 

 

It may be further pointed out that some of the works in modern Indian languages have been elevated to the rank of Pramanas. The Vaishnavas exalt the Tamil Divya Prabandham to the rank of Veda and say that they are Ubhaya Vedantins (having scriptures in two languages, i.e., Sanskrit and Tamil). The Saivas exalt the Thevaram and Thiruvachakam etc., and talk about the twelve Tirumurais. The Hindi-speaking Hindus exalt Tulsi Das's Ramacharitamanas to the rank of scripture. But all Hindus are agreed about the supreme validity, importance and acceptability of the Vedas as the highest scripture (Pramana).

 

We must remember also another aspect of Pramanas. While Hinduism affirms the supreme validity of Sruthi (Vedas), it affirms also the validity of Pratyaksha (perception) and Anumana (rational inference). In it alone there is no cleavage or clash or combat between Science and Religion, or between Philosophy and Religion. It is not mere creed or dogma or ritual though it gives a legitimate and concordant, but subordinate, place to them all

 

2. PRASTHANA-TRAYA

(THE THREE SUPREME SOURCE-BOOKS)

 

The Upanishads, the Brahma Sutras, and the Bhagavad Gita have been recognised by all sages and seers, saints and philosophers as the supreme source-books of Hinduism. No Hindu thinker is accepted as a supreme teacher or guide in India unless he has studied and expounded them. I have referred above to the Uttara Mimamsa (Brahma Sutras) in addition to the Upanishads and the Gita. Swami Sivananda has expounded them fully. As I am going to discuss below his exposition of Yoga-Vedanta and Integral Hinduism (which form the essence of his exposition of the Prasthana-Traya, I shall make only a cursory reference to his books on these supreme source-books of Hinduism. His WISDOM OF THE UPANISHADS, TEN UPANISHADS, PRINCIPAL UPANISHADS, Parts I and Il and his DIALOGUES FROM THE UPANISHADS expound the Upanishads. He says about the Upanishads: "The Upanishads (which are called the Sruthi Prasthana, source-scripture) are the mines of Divine Wisdom. They are eternal sources of knowledge. Possessed of that knowledge, one becomes immortal. He becomes All-knowledge, All-power and All-bliss."-UPANISHADS FOR BUSY PEOPLE.  "The Upanishad constitute the life-breath of India."-FIRST LESSONS IN VEDANTA, page 137. "The Upanishads are so-called because they take you nearer to the Reality, they enable you to sit close to the Reality, Truth or Brahman."-SIVANANDA YOGA SAMHITA, page 1. His two books on BRAHMA SUTRAS cover a thousand pages.

 

The Brahma Sutras consist of four chapters (Adhyayas) devoted to Samanvaya (synthesis), Avirodha (non-contradiction), Sadhana (means of spiritual perfection) and Phala (goal). They are called the Nyaya Prasthana (source of philosophy). Swamiji has dealt in his work with the presentation of its truths according to the Advaita philosophy as expounded by Sri Sankaracharya. His exposition is both brief and full. He says: "There, are more than fourteen commentaries on the Brahma Sutras. The highest philosophy of Sri Sankara which speaks of the identity of the individual and supreme soul cannot be understood by the vast majority of persons. Therefore, Sri Madhva and Sri Ramanuja started their Bhakti-cult. The different schools are different rungs in the ladder of Yoga. The students must place their foot step by step and finally reach the highest peak of perfection the Kevaladvaita realisation of Sri Sankara. As temperaments are different, different schools are also necessary to suit the taste, capacity and stage of evolution of the aspirant. Therefore, all schools and cults are necessary. They have got their own place and scope. The views of various Acharyas are all true in respect of the particular aspect of Brahman dealt with by them each in his own way. Sankara has taken Brahman in His transcendental aspect while. Sri Ramanuja has taken Him chiefly in His immanent aspect." (pages 3, 8) There are also the Bhashyas of Sri Madhva, Nimbarka and Vallabha. These five schools are called Kevala Advaita, Visishtadvaita, Dvaita, Bhedabheda and Shuddhadvaita. Swami Sivananda has a synthesised outlook while affirming the identity of the soul and the Oversoul at the highest level.

 

Swami Sivananda has dealt with the Gita (called the Smriti Prasthana, i.e., source of Smriti) in an elaborate commentary. A Smriti is called so as it follows the Sruthi (Vedas) and declares its purport and essence. Swami Sivananda says that the Gita contains "the rare secrets of Yoga, Vedanta, Bhakti, and Karma."He says that it was taught by Lord Sri Krishna to Arjuna on the eleventh day (Ekadashi) of the bright half of the month of Margasirsha, according to the Hindu Almanac. He says further: "In the whole world-literature there is no book so elevating and inspiring as the Gita. Gita is the cream of the Vedas. It is the quintessence of the Upanishads. It is the universal scripture for all people of all temperaments, and for all times. Gita is a unique book for all ages. The Gita is a gospel for the whole world. Man is a composite of three fundamental factors, i.e., cognition, feeling and will.

So, there are three Yogas (Jnana, Bhakti, Karma).

One Yoga is as efficacious as the other." (pages 1 to 11).

 

In his brochure BHAGAVAD GITA FOR THE BLIND he gives the Gita teachings in a nutshell. In the volume ETHICS OF THE BHAGAVAD GITA (1957) Swamiji says that the Gita teaches the middle path which leads to God (page 20). It summarises the Gita gospel and also contains Gurudev's Gita Jayanthi messages and an one-act play on the Gita. GITA MEDITATIONS (1953) deals with God, soul, sainthood and spiritual life of Sadhana as described in the Gita. It says: "The Gita is a wonderful message of hope, consolation, peace, and, above all, the divinity of Man." (page 45);

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK EIGHT

Sivananda's Vision of Yoga-Vedanta as Philosophic & Psychological Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

In PRECEPTS FOR PRACTICE, Swami Sivananda gives us an exalted vision of Yoga, when he says: "Yoga is the science of sciences by which the basic principles of existence are discovered in, Samadhi. In the practice of Yoga the mind is gathered, collected and concentrated and made to yield knowledge." (page 104) Yoga is thus the sum-total of the spiritual Sadhanas. Gurudev defines Vedanta as Self-knowledge, Science of Reality, the supreme philosophic view of the universe, soul and God.

Philosophy in India is not mere intellectual speculation. It is based on scripture, has reason as its ally, and accepts spiritual experience as the goal and culmination. As in the next portion of the work I deal in detail with Integral Hinduism as the essence of Yoga-Vedanta, I shall refer here only to the general features of Yoga-Vedanta as expounded in Swami Sivananda's exalted, integral, synthesised and Self-realised exposition of Yoga as the means (Sadhana) and Vedanta as the goal (Siddhi).

 

2. YOGA IN GENERAL

 

In YOGA MAHARNAVA (1958) Swami Sivananda deals with the tenets and techniques of all Yogas (fifty-four in number). These Yogas contain not only the traditional four Yogas, viz., Karma Yoga, Dhyana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga which are referred to in chapter XIII of the Bhagavad Gita, but many more names. The Vaishnavas added the term Prapathi Yoga. Mahatma Gandhi gave the term Anasakti Yoga. Gurudev has given a full alphabetical list in the above book. The list comprises the following:

 

1. Adhyatma Yoga; 2. Advaita Brahma Yoga; 3. Anasakti Yoga; 4. Asana Yoga; 5. Ashtanga Bauddha Yoga; (Buddhism); 6. Asparsa Yoga; 7. Atma Yoga; 8. Atma-samyama Yoga (referred to in chapter VI of the Gita); 9. Bed Pan Yoga (i.e., service of the sick by cleaning the bed-pan); 10. Bhagavad Gita Yoga (combining fixation of the mind on God and Nishkama Karma); 11. Bhakti Yoga; 12. Brush Yoga (art as means of God-union); 13. Buddhi Yoga; 14. Dhyana Yoga; 15. Dynamic Yoga (serve, love, give, purify, meditate, realise);, 16. Guru Sharana Yoga; 17. Hamsa or Paramahamsa Yoga; 18. Hatha Yoga; 19. Highest Yoga (bear insult, bear injury); 20. Japa Yoga; 21. Jnana Yoga; 22. Karma Yoga; 23. Lambika Yoga (practice of Khechari Mudra which enables a person to lengthen tongue and close the posterior portion of the nostrils and gives him the ability to fly or to be buried under ground); 24. Laya Yoga ( closing the eyes, nostril and ears by the fingers of both the hands by Shambavi Mudra, Tratak or fixed gazing on a fixed spot, concentrating on Anahata or mystic sounds such as Vina Nada, Venu Nada etc., heard in meditation-all these lead quickly to Samadhi); 25. Likhit Japa Yoga (writing God's names); 26. Maha Yoga (dissemination of spiritual knowledge); 27. Mantra Yoga (uttering divine Mantras); 28. Namaskara Yoga (bowing to all); 29. Nada Yoga (concentration on Nada or sound); 30. Nididhyasana Yoga; 31. Oordhvareta Yoga; 32. Prakritika Yoga (concentration on Prakriti Tattvas); 33. Prapatti Yoga; 34. Prema Yoga; 35. Purna Yoga (Yoga of Synthesis) ; 36. Purna Brahma Yoga (the union of the soul with the Oversoul immanent in it); 37. Raja Yoga; 38. Samadhi Yoga; 39. Samatva Yoga; 40. Sankhya Yoga;

41. Sankirtan Yoga; 42. Seva Yoga; 43. Shoe and Bed-pan Cleaning Yoga (cleaning the shoes of persons and the bed-pans of sick persons); 44. Swananda Yoga (absorption in your own work); 45. Sulabha Yoga (see God in all); 46. Sivaraja Yoga (concentration on the Panchakshari Mantra); 47. Swadhyaya Yoga (reading scriptures) ; 48 Swara Yoga; 49. Yoga of Synthesis; 50. Sanyasa Yoga; 51. Triple Yoga (service, devotion and knowledge) ; 52. Trisula Yoga (daily programme and resolves and spiritual diary) ; 53. Tantra Yoga (Shaktism); 54. Viswatma Yoga (God is all).

 

There are sections also on Kriya Yoga and Kundalini Yoga. There is a famous saying: "In the world there is nothing great but man; in Man there is nothing great but mind." A famous stanza in Sanskrit says:

 

मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयोः

 

(In the case of men, the mind is the cause of bondage and of liberation.)

 

Swami Sivananda has given in various books a masterly analysis of the mind-PRACTICE OF YOGA, MIND, ITS MYSTERIES AND CONTROL, CONCENTRATION AND MEDITATION etc.) The mind is ordinarily attached to pleasurable contact with objects. It can be elevated to the level of scientific reason. It can be still further elevated to the level of philosophic thought. It can be elevated still further to the level of spiritual Intuition. It can be elevated finally to the level of Spiritual Illumination, of God-communion (Bhakti), of God- union (Savikalpa Samadhi) and of total merger in God (Nirvikalpa Samadhi). In 'Practice of Yoga' Gurudev refers to diverse kinds of meditation, e.g., negative meditation (I am not the body or the senses or the mind'), positive meditation ('I am the All, I am all in all, I am Satchidananda'), meditation on the Mahavakyas (Prajnanam Brahman, Aham Brahmasmi, Tat Twam Asi, Ayam Atma Brahman), meditation on Soham, Saguna Brahman meditation and Nirguna Brahman meditation (pages 168 to 174). The potencies of the mind are fully discussed in 'Mind, Its Mysteries and Control'. Swami Sivananda shows how different views have been held about the nature of the human mind. Indian philosophy calls it Antahkarana (internal organ) and calls it Chitta (sub-conscious mind), Ahamkara (egoism), Manas (mind) and Buddhi (intellect), according to its functions. He refers to its Vrittis (modifications or states) and its Vasanas (tendencies generated by actions). He then treats about its control, introspection, meditation, Siddhis, etc.

In 'Concentration and Meditation' he states how to concentrate the mind, how to meditate, what are the kinds of meditation, and what are the experiences in meditation, etc.

 

In many recent books Gurudev has emphasised the importance of Yoga, i.e., mental control in and through concentrated meditative introspection on God. Even in his earlier works-YOGA IN DAILY LIFE and YOGIC HOME EXERCISES-he had emphasised them. The fault is that the lazy or restless or dispersed mind which is fond of sense-pleasures will not do Karma Yoga or Bhakti Yoga or Prapatti Yoga or Jnana Yoga. In 'Yoga in Daily Life' he says that Moksha or liberation cannot be got without Sadhana, and Sadhana is impossible without mental concentration (v). In 'Yogic Home Exercises' he says that such exercises can make us healthy and strong and give us high physical and mental efficiency and are both preventive and curative. Sirshasan will increase mental power and Sarvangasan keeps the thyroid gland in a healthy condition. Swami Sivananda stresses also the value of Pranayama and Brahmacharya. In his brochure on YOGA he says that the control over the Chakras (nerve-plexuses) in the cerebro-spinal column gives the Yogi full control over the entire body (page 14). He says that Yoga is a practical doctrine and is not meant for recluses or anchorites or ascetics but is for all (page 223). He says further that as a result of the alchemy due to the inner awakening the Yogic adept becomes a friend of all beings (Lokahita); Sarvabhuta-hite-ratah, to use Sri Krishna's favourite word in the Gita.

 

Seven Recent Great Books on Yoga

 

They are YOGA FOR THE WEST (1951), YOGA AND REALISATION (1955), SIVANANDA YOGA SAMHITA (1956), SURE WAYS FOR SUCCESS IN LIFE AND GOR-REALISATION (1957), YOGA

-QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (1957), HOW TO BECOME A YOGI (1958), and SADHANA (1958).

 

SADHANA is the most complete and luminous of all of them.

 

In 'Yoga For the West' Gurudev says: "Yoga is an exact science. It is a perfect, practical system of self-culture. It is the discipline of the mind, senses and the physical body. It helps the student to attain perfect concentration of the mind, ethical perfection, moral excellence and spiritual calmness. It is the master-key to unlock the realms of Peace and Bliss, Mystery and Miracle. Yoga does not consist in sitting cross-legged for six hours or stopping the beatings of the heart or getting oneself buried underneath the ground for a week or a month: these are mere physical feats. Real Yoga is the attainment of the higher divine knowledge through conscious Communion with God." (page 3) "Take to Yoga practice and awaken your dormant powers. The second book says: "Mastery over mind should he the object of Yoga Sadhana." (page 15) It says also: "The Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita may be called the Integral Yoga." (page 85) "This is the Yoga of Synthesis the Yoga of the Bhagavad Gita." (page 91) The third book-Sivananda Yoga Samhita-also deals with all the various aspects of Yoga (Karma Yoga, etc.) In the fourth book-Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation -Gurudev contrasts life in matter and life in Spirit by means of Tyaga, Tapas, Vairagya and Abhyasa (page xxvi). Real success is not material success but spiritual success (page xxxv). Gurudev specially stresses culture of will, and memory, ethical, emotional and Bhava culture (page 9 to 34). We can control lower aims and desires by concentrating on their opposites (Pratipaksha Bhavana) (page 40). He specially stresses memory-culture which is now sadly neglected (pages 44 to 64). He says that we can intensify sight and hearing, and do Satava-dhana (many things at a time) (pages 65 to 72). We can eradicate negative qualities and intensify positive qualities or virtues (pages 149 to 239). 'Yoga Questions and Answers' covers the entire field of Yoga by the method of question and answer. The sixth book How to Become a Yogi-consists of Gurudev's Yoga teachings compiled by Swani Satchidananda. It shows the golden path to godliness and tells us how to become happy and wise (pages 25 to 66). The greatest of all these books is 'Sadhana'. It is a Yogic encyclopaedia, relating to different temperaments, Adhikaris, Sadhanas and realisations. It shows the necessity of (1) an ideal; (2) a programme; (3) Abhyasa and Vairagya; and (4) a refuge in times of external stress (pages iii to v). Bhakti is a vital element in all Sadhanas (viii). Sadhana must lead to Samadhi (xx).

Selfishness leads to bondage and selflessness leads to liberation (xxvii). The three governing factors of Sadhana are (1) constant remembrance of God, (2) cultivation of virtues, and (3) the spiritualisation of all activities. Gurudev then deals with Sadhanas in the Prasthana Traya (Upanishads, Brahma Sutras and Gita), in the epics and Puranas, in Yoga Vasishta, and in his own Sutras. He then gives a complete summary of seventeen Sadhanas (Sarva Sadhana Sangraha). He then deals with Siddhis (occult powers), Yoga Sadhana, Vedanta Sadhana, etc. He gives elaborate advice to Sadhaks (aspirants) in the path of Yoga Sadhana. These are condensed in the form of 700 hints (Sivananda Sadhana Saptasati). Then follows my exposition of 'Sivananda's Synthesis of Sadhanas' (pages 505 to 510).

 

3. VEDANTA IN GENERAL

 

While the West regards philosophy as a speculation, India regards Vedanta as a Darsana (experience or realisation). Sadhana is spiritual endeavour: Siddhi is spiritual experience. Sri Krishna says in chapter XV of the Gita: 'I am the Reality knowable by the Veda; I am the maker of the Vedanta; I am the Knower of the Veda."

 

वेदैश्च सर्वैरहमेव वेद्यो वेदान्तकृद्वेदविदेव चाहम               XV-15

 

In his earlier books on Vedanta-RELIGION AND PHILOSOPHY, DIVINE LIFE, VEDANTA IN DAILY LIFE, VEDANTA FOR BEGINNERS, FIRST LESSONS IN VEDANTA, VEDANTA IN A NUTSHELL, PHILOSOPHY AND MEDITATION ON OM, etc-Swami Sivananda has given to us valuable ideas about the nature of religion, philosophy and divine life in general and Vedanta in particular. He teaches about Religion: "Religion is eternal life in the immortal soul. Religion is union with God. It is the attainment of divine consciousness. Religion must develop the whole man his head, heart and hand." ('Religion and Philosophy' page 1) "Vedanta speaks of one Atma or Brahman or Self." (page 2) "There must be integral development. Vedanta without devotion is quite dry. Bhakti without Jnana is not perfect. Karma, Bhakti and Jnana do not exclude each other." (page 9, 10) "Dwaita, Visishtadwaita, and Adwaita are all stages on the way to the Ultimate Truth." (page 11) "Divine Life is life in Atma or Spirit." (Divine Life, page 1). "Vedanta is the realisation of oneness." (Vedanta in Daily Life, pagel) "Brahman is the Ab-solute; Brahman is Bliss." (Vedanta for Beginners, page 10) "Vedanta is knowledge of Self." (Philosophy and Meditation on Om, page xiv) "Om is the symbol of Brahman." (page 1) "It will represent all symbols of God, all symbols of religions, all cults and schools." (page 5)

 

His recent works on Vedanta expound the same ideas with greater elaboration and fulness. They are FIRST LESSONS IN VEDANTA (1952), SCIENCE OF REALITY (1957), YOGA-QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS (1957), SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCES (1957), TREASURE OF TEACHINGS (1957), ESSENCE OF VEDANTA (1958), GOD EXISTS (1958), EASY PATH TO GOD-REALISATION (1958), SELF-KNOWLEDGE (1958), PATH O GOD-REALISATION (1958), PHILOSOPHY OF DREAMS (1958), VEDANTA IN A NUTSHELL

(1958). In 'First Lessons in Vedanta' Gurudev describes the three bodies (Sthoola, Sookshma, and Karana) and the five sheaths (Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya Koshas), Avidya (nescience), Adhyaropa (super-imposition of matter on Spirit), Apavada (exclusion of matter from Spirit), three Avasthas (wakring, dream and sleep), Moksha (beatitude) and other vital topics of Vedanta. 'Science of Reality' consists of poems on Reality. In 'Yoga-Questions and Answers' all the Vedantic topics are briefly described in the form of question and answer. He describes Viveka (discrimination), introspection, self-analysis, dispassion, mental purification, meditation, sublimation of sex, celibacy, etc. Sahaja Samadhi is a continuous habitual indwelling in the Spirit. Gurudev discusses all the Yogas and all the Vedantas. He says: "Philosophy is a moral and intellectual science which tries to explain the reality behind appearances by reducing the phenomena of the universe to ultimate causes through the application of reason and law." (page 94) Reality can be known only by intuition. He describes also Eschatology or life after death, rebirth, heaven and hell and paradise, the three forms of Karma (Prarabdha, Sanchita and Agami), remembrance of past births, etc. (pages 127 to 132) In 'Spiritual Experiences, he describes the four states of consciousness (waking, dream, sleep and Tureeya or Samadhi or superconscious state), Turiya is described by Wordsworth thus:

 

"We are laid asleep

In body and become a living soul."

Tintern Abbey

 

'Cosmic Consciousness' is rising from body consciousness to universal consciousness. (page 28)

Nirvikalpa Samadhi is non-dual consciousness (pages 55 to 60) Gurudev describes also visions and lights and sounds in meditation. (pages 70 to 82) He describes also manv Yogic experiences and Siddhis. In 'Essence nf Vedanta' he describes the negation and annihilation of the ego, as also diverse Vidyas, the strugele for the Infinite, categories in Vedanta, six Khyatis, etc. In 'God Exists', Gurudev shows that God exists and can be seen and is Satchidananda, and is the changeless basis of all change.

God is Truth, Law, Love, Peace. (page 102) In 'Easy Path to God-realisation', he describes Siva and Shakti, and the four orders and stages of life (Brahmacharya, household life, Vanaprastha, Sanyasa), etc. In 'Self-Knowledge', Gurudev describes the universe, Hinduism, Guru and Disciple, Incarnation, diverse Yogas, Maya, Brahma Vidya, Jivan mukti, etc. He says: "Vedanta holds the first place amongst all systems of philosophies. It is no creed.

It is practical. It is the religion of the Upanishads. It is unity in diversity. (pages 251, 272) In the 'Philosophy of Dreams', Gurudev says that they are due to Vasanas (mental impressions left by Karmas). Some Karmas are worked out in dreams. There are also prophetic dreams. In 'Vedanta in a Nutshell', Gurudev says: "Philosophy is the rational aspect of Religion." (page 1) "The Upanishad is a philosophy of life." (Treasure of Teachings, page 8)

 

4. YOGA-VEDANTA AND SCIENCE

 

The great contribution of Indian thought is the integrated unity of science, art, philosophy and religion which the Western thought puts rigorously apart. Utility, beauty and divinity are three rays of one sun. Inanimate nature and animate being are the body of which God is the soul. As the English poet Alexander Pope says:

 

"We are parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose body nature is, and God the soul."

 

In reality nature is only manifested God and soul is God playing at separation to have intenser union. The marvels of science are due to the marvels of the mind. The highest values of life are Beauty, Goodness and Truth. Let us, however, not forget that Utility also is a ray from God. That is why the Hindu doctrine of Purusharthas blends the righteous, the useful, the beautiful and the true- (Dharma, Artha. Kama, Moksha). A.N. Whitehead the great scientific thinker, says well: 'When we understand all about the sun, and all about the atmosphere, and all about the radiation of the earth, we may still miss the radiance of the sunset." (Adventures of Ideas, page 199) I may add, we may see and know the radiance of the sun but may still miss the radiance of God, of whom the sun is a ray

 

यदादित्वगतं तेजो जगद्भासयते ऽखिलम्

यञ्चन्द्रमसि यच्चाग्नौ तत्तेजो विद्धि मामकम्

 

The trend of modern scientific thought is more in the direction of monism than of theism. The ether was said to be the subtlest form of matter. The atom was smashed and shown to be something of an infinitesimal solar system with protons, electrons and neutrons as its constituents. The world is ultimately reducible to units of electrical charges. Dynamic energy (called Shakti in Sanskrit) is the ultimate and subtlest constituent of the universe. Though science tries today to derive life and mind from matter, the effort is a failure. All of them are derivatives of energy (called in Sanskrit as Shakti or Maya or Prakriti) at different levels of subtleness and potency. We find order, purpose and value in life. A Cosmic Universal Power controls the origin, evolution and destiny of the universe.

 

Thus Yoga-Vedanta seeks to combine the scientific, the philosophic and the religious visions of Truth. It does not give an unduly high place to the seen, as Western science does; nor does it seek to give an unduly high place to reason as Western philosophy does. It gives, if at all, a supreme place to scripture (Sruthi). But in the same breath it gives an equally high value to logic (Yukti) and to experience (Anubhava), while, stressing the fact that mere logic will not lead to a clear and true vision of reality (Naishaa Tarkena Matiraapaneyaa). The Yoga-Vedantic stress on spiritual experience is parallel to the scientific stress on factual experience. This is hence a trulv scientific approach to reality. The saving is that an experience cannot be negated bv a hundred arouments or a hundred texts. Philosonhv is not a mere guess at truth or a discovery of truth but is a realisation of truth. The Kena Upanishad says that Brahman cannot be seen or heard or thought about but can be realised by intuition. Swami Sivananda says: "Intuition is an experience in which the mystic feels his oneness with God or the Supreme Being." "Purification concentration and meditation are the three main stages in the path of intuitive realisation. (Every-man's Philosophy of Sivananda, pages 12, 13)

 

5. YOGA-VEDANTA

AND OTHER INDIAN PHILOSOPHIES

 

The intuitions of the Vedic rishis was far anterior to the philosophic systems which arose as the result of later thinkers seeking to integrate the same so as to present a coherent vision and view of the universe. Science, philosophy and religion were a unity in trinity in India. The aim of all of them was to seek, attain and realise God and rise to the state of God-communion and God-union which was realised and proclaimed as the goal of life and the summum bonum of existence. The sublimation of the universe as a mode of being of the Absolute and of the soul as being a mode of being of the Absolute is the supreme glory of Yoga-Vedanta.

 

It will be wrong to view Yoga-Vedanta, the highest achievement of the Indian genius in isolation from other Indian philosophie thought in special, and from universal philosophy in general. I have shown above how Sri Madhusudana Saraswati, the great Adwaitic thinker whose work Adwaita Siddhi is one of the peaks and summits of Adwaita Vedanta, says that all the Darsanas have been sponsored by Maharshis (great sages) and that they were intent on accentuating Vairagya which is the soul of Nishkama, Dhyana, Bhakti and Jnana, and that we must take a unified, synthesised and integrated view of the Darsanas (Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, and Uttara Mimamsa) as they represent different stresses, tensions and intensities of Vairagya. We must relate science, human values and divine experiences, though that is not the method of Western philosophers. The key-word of Indian philosophy is Moksha (beatitude), but Western philosophy is not keen about beatitude at all. It is concerned with Epistemology and investigates the Pramanas (sources of knowledge) more than Western thought. It is more concerned with Eschatology or the state of being after death than Western philosophy. Its emphasis on Karma and transmigration is another point of departure from Western thought.

 

The Sankhya philosophy is rooted in the inescapable dualism of matter and Spirit. It reduces the world of matter into 24 Tattvas or principles. The souls are innumerable. Involvement in matter is the source of misery. The separation of soul from matter is the summum bonum of existence. There is no reference to God or Iswara in the system. In the Yoga philosophy this dualism is continued but God or Iswara is postulated. Iswara is not, however, regarded as the Eternal Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the universe or the Ever-blissful Absolute but is regarded as the Ever-free Yogi and the teacher of the path of liberation to the universe. The Nyaya and Vaiseshika systems are concerned with logic and the atomic constitution of the universe but deal also with the categories of the universe and the cause of spiritual bondage and liberation. They postulate Iswara as the Creator, Preserver and Destroyer of the universe. In the Purva Mimamsa system rituals are regarded as leading to results and there is no reference to Iswara or God. The summit of all the systems is the Uttara Mimamsa where God, soul and matter are shown in their inter-relation and we have in it a complete and coherent system of philosophy.

 

We are all likely to think, when we investigate Yoga-Vedanta, that it should be Monism alone or Dualism alone or that it should be Monism alone or Theism alone. But that is not the Vedantic approach in the Upanishads or the Gita or the Brahma Sutras. When we find that there are Upanishadic passages saying that Brahman transcends name and form and can only be negatively described (Neti- Neti-not this, not this) and when we find also that there are Saiva, Shakta and Vaishnava Upanishads there is no use in trying to explain away the one or the other. When the Gita says in chapter XII that the worshippers of the Avakta Achintya Brahman and the worshippers of God with name and form reach Sri Krishna and the difference between the two paths is one of difficulty and ease, and not one of result, there is no use in trying to explain the one or the other. When in Adhyaya IV, Pada IV, Sutras 8 to 14, Vyasa says that we can realise Brahman in our disembodied state or in our embodied state, there is no use in trying to explain away the one or the other type of beatitude. Sri Sankaracharya says in his Bhashya on the above Sutras:

 

बादरायणः पुनराचार्योऽतराव उभयलिंगश्रुति-

दर्शनादुभयविधत्वं साधु मन्यते यदा

सशरं। रतां संकल्पयति तदा सशरीरो

भवति, यदा त्वशरीरतां तदाऽशरीरीर इति ।।

सत्यसंकल्पत्वात् ।। संकल्पवैचित्र्याच्च ॥

 

Some seekers after salvation seek the bliss of the disembodied state in Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Other seekers after salvation seek the bliss of enjoyment of God in His pure eternal Suddha Satva body as one of the Trimurthies in Satya Loka or Vaikuntha or Kailasa. What is there inappropriate in this view which is blessed by Sri Badarayana himself and declared by him to be the correct view.

 

यादृशी भावना यस्य सिद्धर्भवति तादृशी

 

(Whatever be the temperamental search, the attainment is of the nature of the search.)

 

This is the eternal Yatha-Kratu Nyaya, i.e., the realisation attained is of the type of realisation sought. In Ramanuja's Sri Bhashya on IV, 4, 1-2 (Brahma Sutras) he says:

 

भगवांस्तु बादरायणः स्वमते न सिद्धान्तमाह ।।

संकल्पादेव इत्येतदतश्शब्देन परामृश्यते

अत एव संकल्पात् उभयविधं सशरीर-

मशरीरं च मुक्तं भगवान बादरायणो मन्यते ।।

एवं चोभयी श्रुतिरुपपद्यते

 

Thus while the two Acharyas might differ as to whether the soul is Anu (atomic) in its nature or is Vibhu (infinite) in its nature, and as to whether the relation of the soul and Oversoul is one of unity in body-soul relationship or one of identity they seem to postulate the ultimate supreme spiritualisation as being of two types (not two levels of higher and lower, not two gradations- of beatitude or infinite perfect supreme bliss.

 

In the theistic Upanishads (Saiva, Vaishnava, and Shakta) monotheism is emphasised. It is emphasised also in the Itihasas, Puranas and Agamas. In the Dasopanishads and in the Yoga and Vedanta Upanishads monism is emphasised. God is described in the neuter gender as Brahman, Tat, Sat etc. The culmination of this view is in the Yoga-Vasishta. The Bhagavad Gita reconciles these views and is the supreme Ghataka Sruthi reconciling the Bheda Sruthis and the Abheda Sruthis, and harmonising monotheism and monism. Sri Vyasa is another great revealer of reconciliation and synthesis (Samanvaya). I shall show later on how this is the heart of Sri Sankara also. I affirm that it is also the heart of Sri Swami Sivananda.

 

6. YOGA-VEDANTA

AND WESTERN PHILOSOPHIES

 

In the West philosophy is an intellectual speculation about Truth. It is wider than science but is not different. It seeks to unify all experience and give an integrated vision of the universe. F.H. Bradley says that it is a quest to gain possession of reality in an ideal form. It is against dogma and keeps away from religion. It does not like to be distracted from its pursuit of Truth by concepts of God and divine purpose and design. Many philosophers proceed on the basis of empirical investigation or pragmatism or rational questioning. A few rely on idealism and intuition. In short it is allied more to science than to ethics or religion. While the Indian philosophers called God as the Supreme Reality and as being Satchidananda, (Being, Consciousness and Bliss), the Western philosophers describe Beauty, Goodness and Truth as the ultitimate values. Swami Sivananda discusses Greek philosophers and modern Western philosophers from Eckhart and Bacon to Schopenhauer in his great work STUDIES IN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY (1958). In it he calls the Western approaches to philosophy as Positivism and Scepticism and Agnosticism (pages 131 to 133). He discusses also cosmology, ontology, philosophical psychology, epistemology and axiology (which studies the values of life such as art, philosophy, religion and science (pages 135 to 175). He shows how the ascent of philosophy is from nihilism to Self-realisation (pages 231 tto 246).

 

In the same book in the chapter on 'World Order after Vedant' Gurudev gives us a sublime picture of the spiritual perfection attainable by all spiritual persons living in an ideal spiritual society. He says: "Society would be organised on the knowledge of the highest Self. The sanction of authority will be derived from the Self. Every individual, therefore, will have to bear the first great responsibility of observing self-discipline." (page 247)

 

"Science will be allowed to flourish as the lower portion of Yoga. Arts will be encouraged in so much as they sublimate the instinct and ennoble the senses. Talent will be valued in proportion as it serves God's creation. Achievement will be respected if it is humble. There will be no idea of wealth. The less realised will follow the more. Mothers will work for all the children together, not for their children alone. Men will work for the society, not only for their wives and children. All will be on the same par." (pages 242, 243)

 

"The true theory of ethics must be founded after an investigation of the ultimately real. This can only be done if life can be viewed in the perspective of antecedent and post-mortem existence and if this world of ours can be valued in relation to regions of higher and more perfect modes of existence. Such a system of ethics would be final and would result from perfect intuition." (pages 243, 244)

 

"Similarly, the ultimate theory of art must be based on the ultimate facts about the nature of the Really Beautiful, the fountain-head of Beauty. In this sense alone it is true to say that Art for Art's sake is the highest maxim of art. Because they (the Ramayana and the Mahabharata) view life as a whole, and expose life's hollowness, and thus raise one to the heights of reflection and meditation i.e., because they raise man above earthly existence and stimulate the intuition to the perception of the Absolute, they are works of real art. They have intrinsic value. Thus once it is realised that the Good, the Beautiful and the True have absolute existence and therefore is the only positive value, it becomes the function of ethics, art and science to attain to it. And further when it is understood that the Good, the Beautiful, and the True are one and the same, it becomes plainly the duty of man to harmonise ethics, art and science." (pages 244, 245)

 

In the concluding portion of this book Gurudev shows in the chapter in Empiricism how in the Bhagavad Gita we have the fulfilment, crown and consummation of all the world philosophies eastern and western. He says: "The method of intuition has been worked out in the Bhagavad Gita in the most perfect form and in clear terms. One should engage in selfless service. Why? In order to exhaust potential sources of egoistic behaviour." (page

"So it is the glory of the Indian saints that they have gone beyond the mere principles of psycho-analysis and established a perfect method for the realisation of the Self or the 'Thing-in-itself'. The classical text-book is the Bhagavad Gita." (page 256)

 

"Renunciation will come by itself. It is the natural terminus, the culminating point of selfless service, ending in a dawn of the knowledge of the Self." (ibid)

 

7. SWAMI SIVANANDA'S

VISION OF YOGA-VEDANTA

 

It was a great teaching of Swami Sivananda to have given the world the word Yoga-Vedanta. Many teachers tried to separate Yoga and Vedanta. Even in Yoga and in Vedanta each thinker over- valued one Sadhana or one realisation. But Swami Sivananda taught the Yoga of Synthesis or Integral Yoga and the synthesis of Vedanta or Integral Vedanta, and finally effected the synthesis of Yoga and Vedanta in Integral Yoga-Vedanta. It is not wisdom to try to grade Sayujya and Karvaiya or to try to prove or disprove Adwaita alone or Visishtadwaita alone or Dwaita alone or any other vision and realisation of Yoga-Vedanta by exalting one and condemning others or by giving them a low place in spiritual values.

 

The value of philosophy consists in seeing and realising what is real. eternal and infinite, i.e.. Satchidananda as opposed to Anrita-jada-duhkha. Swami Sivananda savs: "Philosophy is a moral and intellectual science which tries to explain the reality behind appearances. It is the art of perfect life." (Everyman's Philosophy of Sivananda, page 23)

 

Gurudev's concept of Yoga-Vedanta has no place in it for pessimism. He takes his stand on the Vedic affirmation that the universe is an emergence from and manifestation of bliss.

 

आनन्दाद्धय व खत्विमानि भूतानि जायन्ते

आनन्देन तानि जीवन्ति आनन्दं

प्रयन्त्यभिसंविशान्तीति

तद्विज्ञासस्व तद् ब्रह्म ति ॥

 

(From bliss all these beings are born; by it they live; they enter into it finally. Know it. It is Brahman.)

 

Gurudev says: "All the creatures, all the worlds are created or rather projected by Brahman from the body of Brahman and the same Brahman is sustained by Brahman, and the very Brahman is dissolved or destroyed by Brahman into Brahman." (Essence of Vedanta, Sivananda Vidya, page 67) It is the Karma, the egoism, the egotism, and the love of sense-pleasures on the part of beings that brings about pain, grief and misery. If we recover our poise, spirit of contentment and willingness to accept what comes to us and eliminate "the fever and fret of the soul", we can eliminate unhappiness, misery, grief and pain, which do not reside in things but are only the products, effects, results and derivatives of our spirit of egoism and possessiveness. As the Panchadasi of Vidyaranya says, the cause of our bondage is, not the universe (Prapancha), but our mental attitude to the universe (Dheepra-pancha). The mind is the cause of bondage; the mind is the cause of liberation.

 

मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयोः

 

The fact is that God exists for ever as the Absolute Bliss whether the creation or manifestation or evolution of the universe takes place or not, just as the sun shone even before the planets arose from him.

 

असत्यपि कर्मणि संविती प्रकाशते

इति कर्तृत्वव्यपदेशदर्शनात्

 

Brahma Sutra Bhashya, 1, 1,5

 

 

 

In Himself He is the unrelated Bliss without attributes. As soon as the Absolute wills creation or manifestation, He is God in relation to the universe as the omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent Creator, Father, Ruler and Protector, as being immanent in it and as transcending it, and as the Eternal Fountain of Grace and Giver of Liberation. He is seeing the universe in its unmanifested state until its manifestation and later in its manifested state.

 

यत्प्रागुत्पत्तेरीश्वरज्ञानस्य विषयो भवति

तत्त्वान्यत्वाभ्यां अनिर्वचनीये नामरूपे

अव्याकृते व्याचिकीर्षिते इति ब्रूमः

Brahma Sutra Bhashya I, 1, 5

 

The universe is ultimately electrons, protons and neutrons. But these charges of electricity do not generate themselves. It is by the will of God that such manifestation begins and evolves. Matter, be it subtle or gross, is inert. It must evolve from Spirit by being energised by Spirit. Electric charges are a resultant of the basic primordial dynamic vibration of Spirit which passes from the statism of Brahman the Absolute to the dynamism of God and His creation. Becoming is dynamic Being, and Being is static Becoming. Matter, Life, and Mind are higher and higher stages of such dynamism and make up the sum-total of the universe. The One manifested itself as the Many-

 

सदेव सौभ्य इदमग्र श्रासीत्

सोऽकामयत बहु स्यां प्रजयेयेति ॥

 

The Ichcha Shakti, the Jnana Shakti and the Kriya Shakti are three aspects, inter-related and inter-blended, of one basic Chit-Shakti (dynamism of the Absolute). We can fully solve the mystery of creation only when we rise and soar into the plane of the cosmic consciousness in Nirvikalpa Samadbi (intimate divine communion).

 

Nobody has till now completely and successfully solved the cosmic mystery. The interrogation began in the Rig Veda and has been going on ever since. A well-known verse says that we should not peer into the eternal, the infinite and the supreme with our analogies and arguments culled from the transient and finite aspects of life.

 

अचिन्त्याः खलु ये भावाः नैतान् तर्केण योजयेत्

प्रकृतेस्तु परं यत् स्यात्तदचिन्त्यस्य लक्षणम्

 

(Do not bring logic into the inconceivable. The inconceivable is what is beyond Prakriti.)

 

But the human reasoner is an irrepressible and insatiable questioner and can never be put by. One explanation is that God has no purpose in creation and that is His Leela (pastime). Another explanation is that it is the nature of the One Infinite to finitise itself and become the many. The Perfect has and can have no need or want and there is not and there cannot be, any external force outside it to become finite and manifold.

 

दैवस्यैष स्वभावोऽयमाप्तकामस्य का स्पृहा

 

(Such is God's nature. How can the Ever Blissful have any urge or need or want or desire?)

 

Another explanation is that the universe is the overflow of God's Ananda into manifestation. Kashmiri Saivism quotes the verse in Kalidasa's Raghuvamsa about the birth of a child and the bestowing of love upon it not lessening the mutual love of the parents but multiplying it.

 

रथांगनाम्नोरिव भावबन्धनं बभूव यत् प्रेम परस्पराश्रयम् विभक्तमप्येकसुतेन तत्तयोः परस्पस्स्योपरि पर्यचीयत

 

As creation is due to a dynamic upsurge and overflow of divine bliss (Ananda), like a tidal wave, it does not imply a diminution or division or substraction of bliss. Another explanation is that the Infinite puts on finitude to taste the joys of infinite bliss in a new and intenser form after the pain of Samsara (cycle of birth and death) which is only the self-discipline of finitisation as a probation for experiencing full Ananda (bliss), just as a person walks in the sun to enjoy the joy of the shade all the more.

 

यदेवोपनतं दुःखात् सुखं तद्द्रसवत्तरम्

निर्वाणाय तरुच्छाया तप्तस्य हि विशेषतः

Kalidasa's Vikramorvasiyam

 

Such dynamic and voluntary self-finitisation of the Infinite took on a continuity which is succinctly called Avidya or Adhyasa or Maya or Shakti or Leela, and its Self-realisation of its inherent Infinity of bliss is called Vidya or Jnana or Anubhava or Moksha. In the language of the English poet: "Sweet is pleasure after pain."

 

This is why Sri Sankara calls creation as

 

अस्य जगतो नामरूपाभ्यां व्याकृतस्य

अनेककतृ भोक्तृसंयुक्तस्य प्रतिनियतदेशकालनिमित्तक्रियाफलाश्रयस्य मनसाप्यचिन्त्यरचनारूपस्य जन्मस्थितिभंगं यतः सर्वज्ञात् सर्वशक्तेः कारणाद्भवति तद्ब्रह्म

Brahma Sutra Bhashya I, 1, 2

 

He says also:

 

सुवर्णाज्जायमानस्य सुवर्णत्वं हि निश्चितम्

ब्रह्मणो जायमानस्य ब्रह्मत्वं च विनिश्चितम्

 

Maya is the principle of self-finitisation (Meeyate Anena iti Maya). This Maya doctrine gets a new support from Einstein's doctrine of Relativity.

 

Swami Sivananda never wavers in his teaching about the realisation of the Absolute (Nirguna Nirakara Brahman) or Nirvikalpa Samadhi in which there is realisation and certitude of the Absolute. He accepts the supreme value of the Mahavakyas. He does not seek to explain away the Abheda Sruthis or the Bheda Sruthis, and gives us a clear vision of the harmonising scriptural texts (Ghataka Sruthis).

 

Such a harmonising can be made not only by the Antaryamin concept or the body-soul concept (Sarira-sariri bhava) or the sovereign-subject concept, or the father-son concept or the lover-beloved concept, but in and by many other ways. Let us not cry out slogans about Pratibimba Vada or Avachcheda Vada or fight about the soul being Anu (atomic) or Vibhu (infinite) or about God being formless and having form or having this or that form.

 

Swami Sivananda's integrated Yoga-Vedanta teaches that the One became the Many by its Sankalpa (thought-power) without losing its integrality, and that the Many came out of the One, are in the One, and merge in the One. The Absolute is always Infinite (Ananta) and Integral (Sat) and Full (Purna) and Real (Satya) and remains always itself, while becoming the universe by means of its Shakti (dynamism) which evolves into Maya which evolves into Prakriti which evolves into the elements which ultimately become the Prithvi (earth). The waves rise out of the ocean when the wind of Shakti moves. But the ocean and the waves are always one. The waves rise from the ocean, remain in the ocean and merge into the ocean. In the language of the Gita, Akasa (ether) becomes air, is immanent in air, transcends air and yet never loses its wholeness and integrality. (IX, 6).

 

When Swami Sivananda was asked: 'Which is better-Dwaita or Adwaita?", he replied:

 

"Both are ideal for different temperaments. A Dwaitin feels that he is the servant of the Lord. The Adwaitin feels that be is one with the Lord. But the God reached is the same in both the cases. It is all a question of difference in taste, temperament, nature or Swabhava."

 

God is both God and the Absolute; the Absolute is God considered in Himself and God is the Absolute considered in relation to the world. The soul, so long as it is in Triguna matter in the created universe or in the eternal Suddha Satva paradise, is Anu; but when considered in itself apart from either adjunct (Upadhi), it is infinite (Vibhu). Moksha is bliss whether it is in union in oneness with the Lord or union in love of the Lord. Swami ji says: "In Self-realisation there is no degree." (JOY, BLISS IMMORTALITY, page 171). Moksha is Ananda in unity or in diversity. Bhagavan Sri Krishna Himself refers to this multiple vision of God in Himself and in relation to the world.

 

ज्ञानयज्ञेन चाप्यन्ये यजन्तो मामुपासते

एकत्वेन पृथक्त्वेन बहुधा विश्वतोमुखम्

 

(Many worship by Jnana Yajna, Me who is in relation to the universe in identity, in separation, and in other diverse ways.)

 

The sublimest expositions by Gurudev of his own integral philosophy is in pages 191 to 246 of his STUDIES IN WESTERN PHILOSOPHY (1958), and his ESSAYS IN PHILOSOPHY (1954). Не shows how intuition is the chief source of knowledge ('Studies in Western Philosophy', pages 211 to 215), how the Self is infinite (pages 215-216), how the world is a manifestation of the Absolute (pages 217, 218), and how the destiny of the individual is God-realisation, God-communion and God-union. (pages 218 to 220) He discusses also the Law of Karma and Reincarnation (pages 221 to 226).

 

In his 'Essays in Philosophy' (1954) he shows how the destiny of man is unity with God, for man is inseparable from God." (page 5) "Man is a part of the world and the world is rooted in God; it cannot exist if God is not. The reality of the world is the reality of God." (page 5) In fact God is Nitya Satya (changeless reality) while the world is Parinami Satya (changing reality). The universe is one, and God and universal love is a corollary from this truth (page 12). Gurudev says: "The business of science is the generalisation of phenomena; it is the function of philosophy and Yoga (Yoga-Vedanta) to explain it. Religion is the practical aspect of philosophy. Philosophy is the rational aspect of religion." (page 23) "The scientist tries to answer the HOW of the problem; the philosopher and the Yogi the WHY of it." (page 23) "Science is not an enemy of religion. Science is an enemy of superstition. Both science and religion are engaged in the search for Truth. Their attitudes are essentially the same. But the fields of application vary." (page 24) "Science is partially unified knowledge." (page 25) "Philosophy knows God; religion lives and moves in God." (page 26) "God is the First Cause, the eternal unmoved Mover." (page 33) Gurudev then explains the subjective proof, the teleological proof, the cosmological proof, and the theological proof of God. (pages 37, 38) The world is phenomenal reality while God is noumenal reality. (page 47) Maya is the energy of God or Iswara. (page 51) Gurudev then discusses intellect and intuition elaborately (pages 69 to 84). All are eligible for salvation (Mukti). He gives a critical appreciation of Western philosophy (pages 102 to 104).

 

Swami Krishnananda's THE REALIZATION OF THE ABSOLUTE (1952) is a most faithful and admirable summary of Gurudev's Integral and Synthetic Yoga-Vedanta philosophy.

 

Thus Swami Sivananda's supreme merit lies in his vision of Yoga-Vedanta as a supreme synthesis of categories (Tattvas), as a supreme synthesis of means (Sadhana) and as a supreme synthesis of goals (Phala), nay, as a supreme synthesis of all these syntheses. He is himself a Karma Yogi, a Dhyana Yogi, a Bhakti Yogi and a Jnana Yogi in combination. He does not see any irreconcilable contradiction among those Yogas. He works, he meditates, he sings Kirtans, and he investigates Reality. He does not admit any incompatibility between the concept of God and the concept of the Absolute. He shows how God can be experienced as the basic and innermost reality of matter and soul, and how in Nirvikalpa Samadhi God, soul and nature merge into one another and are identical with the Absolute. In his ESSENCE OF VEDANTA he says: "The Vedic seers, one and all, declared in the most unambiguous terms, the universality of Truth. 'Etad vai Tat' (Katha Upanishad), Sarvam hyetat Brahman' (All this is Brahman Mandukya Upanishad), "Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma (All this indeed is Brahman Chandogya Upanishad) -all these Upanishadic declarations show the truth clearly. Throughout the Upanishads the one distinct note that rings is that of unity. The entire universe from Brahma down to a blade of grass as also the apparently lifeless immobile inanimate objects are pervaded, guided and supported by Consciousness; Consciousness is their basis; Consciousness is Brahman. (Aitareya Upanishad)." (page 106)

 

While some thinkers cannot think of God except in terms of name and form, and other thinkers glibly talk of God as having no name and no form, Gurudev does not see any inescapable irreconcilability between the Absolute and God. While some thinkers exalt Vishnu over all other aspects of God, and others exalt Siva and others exalt Devi and yet others exalt Subrahmanya, Gurudev has no such fanatic, bigoted partiality complex or superiority complex. Talking about these complexes which have disfigured mediaeval Hinduism and to some extent modern Hinduism, one cannot understand why Brahma, the Creator, has been left in the shade, without a temple, without worship, and without hymns and Bhajans. In the Bhagavata, God Vishnu says in the Daksha Yajna episode:

 

अहं ब्रह्मा व शर्वश्ध जगतः कारणं परम्

 

At the end of the Bhagavata in Skanda XII we are shown Markandeya, the devotee of God Siva, as the devotee of God Vishnu, and God Siva teaches him the final supreme lesson:

 

न ते मय्यच्युतेऽजे च भिदामण्वपि चक्षते

 

While some thinkers deny Jivanmukti and affirm only Videhamukti, Gurudev affirms and stresses Jivanmukti in which is experienced in Nirvikalpa Samadhi the most complete and blissful identity between the soul and the Blissful Absolute beyond Name, Form and Causality. This is one of his favourite and basic ideas which he stresses again and again in his works.

 

8. MONISM, QUALIFIED MONISM AND DUALISM: A RE-SYNTHESIS

 

How does it happen that Sri Sankara who was the teacher of Nirguna Brahman was an ardent worshipper of Vishnu? Is there any inherent incompatibility between philosophic monism and religious worship of God? Why did Sri Ramanuja and, later yet, Shri Madhva move away from such an attitude and give us different world-views? Is it impossible to resynthesise their interpretations of life and recombine the colours of the spectrum into the white light? There was a time when Adwaitins and Vaishnavas had intermarriages as in the instance of Appayya Dikshita's grandfather and grandmother. Later on intermarriage disappeared, and yet later interdining, too, vanished.

 

It is the Adwaitic doctrine of Maya that has roused the ire of the so-called dualists. It is the old battle of Being and Becoming in ever new forms in ever new theatres. Can there be perpetual change without a basic permanent changeless principle of which change can be predicated as a manifestation in the plane of relativity? If there be such a basic Being, the question arises, Why should it change at all? If we analyse ourselves in our waking state, we feel that we are the same, and that yet we are the witnesses of an endless series of, changes with which we identify ourselves. And yet in deep sleep the basic Being is experienced and all sense of change is eliminated altogether. When Sri Sankara says that the One's becoming the many is due to Maya

 

which is Anirvachaniya, he looks at the tangle from the static standpoint. When Sri Ramanuja propounds his seven Anupapattis (logical errors) and hurls his seven arrows at the Maya doctrine, he looks at the tangle from the dynamic standpoint. Sankara met the Buddhist (even there only the Hinayana Buddhist) doctrine of illusion by the doctrine of Anirvachaniya. The word Maya itself has different meanings. It may mean Shakti or illusion or Prakriti. It may mean a mystical mixture of unity and diversity, i.e., unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

 

इन्द्रो मायाभिः पुरुरूप ईयते

मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं तु महेश्वरम्

 

What is the cause of diversity? The diversity of fruits of actions due to the diversity of Karmas of an infinite number of individual souls (Jivas), is the cause of the objective diversity. Avidya-kama-karma (ignorance-desire-action) is a favourite phrase of Sri Sankara. Taking this triplicity to the cosmic level we get Maya of Ishwara, Srishti-sankalpa (creative will), and Srishti (creation). Just as Avidya (individual ignorance) is Anadi (beginningless) and Santa (having an end), even so Maya is beginningless and has an end for the Mukta (the liberated seer), Sri Sankara says that Maya is a positive category (Bhavarupa) and is not a mere negative or illusory principle, but it can be stultified and transcended. It is hence indefinable (Anirvachaniya) and does not belong to the category of what is (Eternal Truth like Brahman) or the category of what is not (mere illusion).

 

Sri Ramanuja takes it that Maya is a sort of taint on God, and he attacks the doctrine fiercely. But in Sri Sankara's eyes Maya is not a rival category. If so his doctrine of Adwaita would be stultified. If the Avidya of each Jiva (individual) -and they are infinite in number according to Sri Ramanuja-does not affect God who is the Antaryami of the Jivas, is there anything surprising in the doctrine that Maya does not affect Brahman? If the Jivatman (soul) can be in a body and yet be essentially untouched by the evolutes of Prakriti, what is there surprising in Brahman's being essentially untouched by Maya and its macrocosmic evolutes as well as by the derivative microcosmic evolutes?

 

When Sri Sankara predicted a Paramarthika Satta (absolute or noumenal reality) and a Vyava-harika Satta (relative or phenomenal reality) and distinguished them from a Pratibhasika Satta (illusion of reality) he gave us a master-key which could unlock the locked chests of world-interpretations. He got rid of the Buddhistic theory of nihilism, and saved the doctrine of absolute monism from weak. and erring compromises with doctrines of duality or triplicity or multiplicity. Noumenal reality and phenomenal reality are two grades of reality, each of which leads to the disappearance of the other out of the content of experience. The doctrine of Maya is nothing more than the affirmation in the form of a slogan or a Mantram of the aforesaid dichotomv of the concept of reality into noumenal reality and phenomenal reality.

 

Let us remember also that science has a potent voice in this matter. Science has made a powerful analysis stripping the appearances of Being and positing the essence of Being in its own way. It has reduced colours and sounds to vibrations. It has pursued its hunt of the elusive Maricha of matter till the golden skin and the diamond ruby and emerald spots on it have given place to real and essential and inescapable being. As Balfour wittily said, Matter has not only been explained but explained away. Science arrives at primordial, universal energy as the reality after analysing and explaining away and negating the appearances of things. A recent European writer says well:

 

"We can say that science demonstrates Maya. It forces us out of our subjectivity, the false perspective, partial and limited, arising from the fact that we are installed in a body and in the ego. Further, Maya does not signify the negation of the world and the wisdom which flows from it does not lead to a devaluation and disdain of it all. But this movement of a return to ourselves is always very soon corrected by a movement somewhat inverse, which prevents us from seeking our profound being in our illusory self inclined to egoism. If we free ourselves from the network of illusions and examine thoroughly the nature of our being, we shall find, according to the well-known Hindu doctrine, our petty ego giving place more and more to the Oversoul, to the Great All, the Ultimate Reality.

 

This is why Swami Vivekananda used to say again and yet again, 'But the Maya of the Vedanta, in its last developed form, is neither Idealism nor Realism, neither is it theory. It is a simple statement of facts of what we are and what we see all around us' He taught also that Vedanta is neither pessimistic nor optimistic and that the true doctrine of Vedanta is that nescience (Maya or Avidya) is the cause of misery and that each soul is potentially divine (Satchidananda-swarupa). He demonstrated that the view that Vedanta has no satisfactory basis of morality is absurd, and that the Vedantic theory of the unity and omnipenetrativeness of the Spirit is the only basis of all ethics. He was never tired of repeating that Vedanta is eminently and thoroughly practical. He says, 'The Vedanta also says that not only can this be realised in the depths of forests or caves but by men in all possible conditions of life..'

 

This is why all theoretical arguments that the doctrine of the identity of all is inconsistent with morality and altruism and love fall flat and feel pointless. Loka-samgraha, Prema, Kainkarya, and Bhakti are seen as often in the followers of the monistic school of thought as in the followers of the dualistic schools of thought. Dr. Deussen once said in striking words: 'The Vedanta in its unfalsified form is the strongest support to pure morality. Indians! Keep to it? Ordinarily the ego identifies itself with the finite body, senses, and mind. Why should its expansion be regarded as inconsistent with ethics and devotion? Altruism and love imply such psychic expansion. Maya is the sense of separation from others. If our egoistic sense of finiteness and separateness (Avidya or Maya) is negated by knowledge, the cause of altruism and love will in no sense suffer but will improve and triumph with full victory.

 

अयं निजः परो वेति गणना लघुचेतसाम्

उदारचरितानां तु वसुधैव कुटुंबकम्

 

The concepts of 'T', 'mine', or 'stranger', are the calculations of little minds. To men of broad minds the whole earth forms but one family.

 

This realisation will come also when we regard all beings as images of God or as children of God or as Amshas (parts) of God. But why should we suppose and assert that it will not come when we réalise that they are one God? Such a realisation is not only a powerful means of denying the petty finite limited ego-centrism but also a real source of the intensive and extensive love of all beings. If every soul is Brahman, the souls in the universe cannot be really separate from one another. Thus the concepts of universal renunciation and service and love flow as readily from the concept of Maya as from any other spiritual concept in the world. The concept of spiritual fellowship is a basic concept; but the concept of spiritual identity is an even more fundamental realisation.

 

We may consider here in brief the seeming reconcilability of the Adwaitic doctrine of Vibhuta and the Visishtawaitic doctrine of Anutva in respect of the individual souls. Here again we see the mighty potency of the primary analogies, examples, and illustrations which fascinated the great founders of the three systems of thought and which tyrannise over our minds even to this day. The Avachcheda-Vada, the Bimba-Pratibimba-Vada, the Rajju-sarpa (rope-snake), the Shukti-rajata (nacre-silver), the Sthanu-Purusha (stump-man, the Marumareechaka (mirage), the Vyadha-rajaputra (king's son brought up as hunter),Dashamastwamasi (you are the tenth person) and other illustrations seem to throw light on the identity of the universal soul and the individual souls as well as their infiniteness of being consequent on such identity. The Amshamshi-Vada, the Angangi-Vada, the illustrations of Agnivisphulinga (fire and sparks), and Deepeprabha (lamp and light, etc., seem to throw light on the organic relationship of God and the world- Chit and Achit and on the Vibhutva of God (Paramatman) and the Anutva of the individual soul (Atman). But, after all, what is the basic difference between the infinite pervasiveness of the Atman (as propounded by Sri Sankara) and the infinite pervasiveness of the Dharmabhuta Jnana of the Atman or individual soul as propounded by Sri Ramanuja)? If infinite Dharmabhuta Jnanas can be infinitely pervasive, why should not there be infinite Vibhu Atmans with Akhandakara Vritti till the identity of the Jivatman and Paramatman is intuited and realised?

 

If we probe with some care and detachment the ultimate ideas about beatitude, we can arrive at the same conclusion. Once we are agreed that pure Ananda is the birthright and goal of the soul, there is no possibility of measuring the bliss of beatitude with any known organon or intellectual yard-stick available to us now. I have somehow a feeling that the doctrine of graded bliss as propounded by Sri Madhva-like his doctrine of the classification of souls into Mukti-yogyas, Nitya-samsaris, and Tama-yogyas is not of the essence of the dualistic system of thought. But whatever that may be, that system also predicates pure Ananda untouched by pain, as the nature and goal of the Atman. Why should we not realise and affirm that there could be diverse types of beatitude just as there are diverse types of Sadhanas? The fact that Salokya, Sameepya, Sarupya, Sarshti, and Sayujya constitute one type of beatitude, cannot and need not negate the Kaivalya type of beatitude, where the soul, freed from all taints of ignorance, attains absolute identity with Brahman-Niranjanah Paramam Samyamupaiti. The orthodox Visishtadwaita school calls Kaivalya a low type of beatitude, being the realisation of the nature of the Jivatman or Atman, while real beatitude is the realisation of the nature of Paramatman. The orthodox Adwaita school calls Salokya, etc., as a lower type of bliss compared with the Kaivalya or Bhooma type of bliss. To me it appears that the supreme, eternal, infinite bliss of communion with God and realising His government of the universe (without conducting it) is as high and satisfying as the bliss of Kaivalya. Let us not try to establish ranks and pedigrees and hierarchies in the realm of supreme, eternal, infinite bliss.

 

Thus the seeming irreconcilability of the affirmations and attacks in respect of the Maya doctrine turns put to be less formidable than it might appear to be at first sight. The apparent irreconcilability of the Nirguna and Saguna affirmations about Brahman is in the same boat in reality. When the Taittiriya Upanishad says 'Satyam Inanam Anantam Brahma', it is the starting point for both Sri Sankara and Sri Ramanuja. If we regard the macrocosm in relation to its causeless cause of Brahman, we describe Brahman as Iswara, just as a man becomes a husband and a father after marriage and parentage but is only a man before then. Husbandhood and parenthood do not supersede manhood but coexist with it and are only modes or manifestations of it. There is no compulsory causal relation between God and the universe. There is no tertium quid bringing them into relation or negating such relation. According to Sri Sankara, it is Brahman's Ikshana that projects the universe on its evolution. According to Sri Ramanuja, it is Iswara's Sankalpa that causes creation. If we ask, why should there be such Sankalpa, we get such replies as Ichcha, Dava, Leela, etc. The same replies will explain relation of Saguna Brahman and the creation and preservation and destruction of the universe. When viewed in relation to the universe Sri Sankara calls Him Saguna Brahman or Iswara. But there is no external constraint in such a relation. Viewed apart from such relation, Sri Sankara calls Him Nirguna Brahman or simply Brahman.

 

Just as we transcend all objectivity and multiplicity in deep sleep and intuit only the seer without the complications of the seen, even so in Asamprajnata or Nirbeeja or Nirvikalpa Samadhi we can intuit, according to Sri Sankara, Brahman in esse.

 

In the same manner we can realise the point of reconciliation of the Vivarta-Vada and the Parinama-Vada. The former stresses the merely apparent character of the change and takes its stand on Being. It makes becoming a mere ripple on the ocean of Being. The ripple is due to the breeze of creativeness due to the Anadi Karma of the souls. If the Karma is negated, the ripple lapses into the ocean, but the breeze will be blowing elsewhere and countless ripples will be the inevitable consequence. 'Saamudro hi Tarangah'-to use Sri Sankara's illuminating phrase which has another application as well, viz., that the individual selves belong to God and not vice versa. The phrase occurs in Sri Sankara's famous poem Acharya-Shatpadi in which he supplicates God Vishnu and prays for God Vishnu's grace. Even in Sri Ramanuja's doctrine, we may ask how God undergoes change from the Sukshma (subtle) state to the Sthula (gross) state without undergoing any change of essence. Hence it is not a total Parinama but what the Shakta doctrine calls Avikari-Parinama (transformation without change, of essence). If change of essence is not inevitable in passing from the Sukshma (subtle) to the Sthula (gross) state, need we be surprised by, such an affirmation in the passage from the real state of oneness to an apparent state of manifoldness?

 

The fact is that Sri Sankara emphasised the concept of Ananda which Buddhism of the narrow Hinayana type either omitted or negated by the Sunya concept, while Sri Ramanuja and Sri Madhva emphasised the concepts of love and grace which are externalisations of Ananda. Sri Sankara says, 'Asmadeeyaascha kechit', and thus shows his inclusiveness in respect of the other schools of thought (Darsanas) and especially the Visishtadwaitins. Vedanta Desika calls the Dwait school of Sri Madhva as near to his system of 'Matsannikrushtam Matham'. Thus the three schools can draw together and coalesce into a trinity in unity and a unity in trinity which are but an aspect of unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

 

Adwaita and Visishtadwaita and Dwaita are after all but branches of the Vedanta tree. The Brahman concept is the basis. of all-'Brahma Puchcham Pratishthaa'. Whether we regard Brahman as the infinite, eternal, nameless, formiess Absolute, or nameless and formless Satchidananda (Iswara) Or God Vishnu or God Siva or Goddess Shakti or Bama or Krishna, we are but talking in diseme ways about one and the same Being. In some asterious way we feel that we are infinite amidst the seeming flow of finite things and that we are in a vital and intimate relation (be it identity or equality or inequality) to infinite Satchidananda. According to our diverse endowments we may prefer and exalt action or meditation or devotion or knowledge. But our common faith is that all is divine and that we are pure Spirit and that bliss is our birthright. This is the Vedantic Sun of which all the systems of thought in India or beyond India are but diverse rays. The ultimate synthesis is best expressed in the famous verse:

 

देहबुद्धया तु दासोऽहं जीवबुद्धया त्वदंशकः

आत्मबुद्धया त्वमेत्राहमिति से निश्चिता मति

 

The same idea is expressed in the forty-first verse in the sixth sarga of Vidyaranya's Sankaravijaya:

 

दासस्तेऽहं देहदृष्टयास्मि शुभो ! जातस्तेंऽशो जीवदृष्ट्या त्रिदृष्टे । सर्वस्य। त्मन्यात्मदृष्टया त्वमेवेत्येवं मे धीनिश्चिता सर्वशास्त्रः

 

There is a great deal of controversy as regards the Avirodha concept as adumbrated in the Adwaitic system. It may be looked at from diverse points of view. One view is that if we eliminate the un- Vedic tenets in each rival system, we will have a coherent body of synthesised doctrine. But this means the starting of a controversy as to whether a tenet is Vedic or un Vedic. Another view is that the rival dualistic systems are at war with one another, and might be left to fight it out with one another, there being no need for fight between them and Adwaita:

 

स्वसिद्धान्तव्यवस्थासु द्वैतिनो निश्चिता दृढम्

परस्परं विरुध्यन्ते तैरयं न विरुध्यते

Mandukya Karika, III, 13

 

But in fact they carry on mutual warfare and also fight against Adwaita. The two verses quoted above give us a concept of organic inter-relatedness which negates mutually destructive strife. In the Gita Sri Krishna says:

 

ज्ञानयज्ञेन चाप्न्ये यजन्तो मामुपासते

एकत्वेन पृथक्त्वेन बहुधा विश्वतोमुखम्

 

I feel and believe that the synthesis of monism, qualified monism and dualism must be sought in this wonderful verse in the Bhagavad Gita.

 

I say in my 'Aspects of Adwaita': "Dwaita Vedanta fulfils itself in Visishtadwaita Vedanta and Visishtadwaita Vedanta fulfils itself in Adwaita just as the five Darsanas fulfil themselves in the Uttara Mimimsa Darsana." (page 250)

 

9. SIVANANDA'S VISION OF YOGA- VEDANTA AS PSYCHOLOGICAL PERFECTION

 

Sri Sankaracharya once compared the mind's self-analysis to an acrobat standing on his own shoulders.

 

न हि नरः शिक्षितः सन् स्वस्कन्धं अधिरोक्ष्यति

 

But the mind which is the supreme witness and analyst of the cosmos must know itself as it is and as it works and the forum which is its sphere of operations. In this task there are two aspects of the modus operandi. They may be briefly described as 'from within outwards' and 'from without inwards'. It has been said that as a student of human nature Shakespeare works from within outwards and succeeds, while others work from without inwards and do not always succeed. The fact is that in our present make-up the senses and the mind are so bound up with body, brain and nerves that it is difficult to say where the body ends and the mind begins or where the mind ends and the body begins.

 

It looks as if the Western countries in modern times are prone to regard thought as a mere function of the brain and to assess mental energy as a form of electrical energy. Bio-chemists at New York's Columbia University are trying to discover the nature of thought by the study of electric eels brought from the Amazon river in Brazil. The guess is that by researches on the eels, the scientists can discover how thought arises and how impulses are translated into action. The mind may have its locus in the brain but is not a function of the brain. It uses the brain as a residence and also as an archer uses the bow to send an arrow. The bow is neither the archer nor the arrow. Mental energy is co-ordinated with nervous energy in afferent and efferent nerves but they are not one and the same. I shall deal at length with this aspect below and shall content myself here with my protests against the mixing up of the mind and the brain or of mental energy and nervous energy.

 

The earliest definite revelation of the interrelations of body, senses, mind and soul is to be found in the Kathopanishad and it is one of clearest and most convincing and telling declarations. The body is the chariot, the soul is the owner of the chariot, the intellect is the charioteer, the senses are the horses, the mind is the reins which control the horses, and the world is the arena of pleasure.

 

आत्मानं रथिनं विद्धि शरीरं रथमेव च

बुद्धिं तु सारथिं विद्धि मनः प्रग्रहमेव च ।।

इन्द्रियाणि हयान्याहुर्विषयांस्तेषु गोचरान्

आ मेन्द्रियमनोयुवतं में क्तेत्याहुर्मनीषिणः

 

If the Buddhi is in its Vijnana state (intuitive and illumined state) and knows the way and the goal, the senses will be controlled with the help of the mind, and they will take the soul to its true goal of life. Otherwise the senses will run away with us and we cannot reach the goal. When Vijnana the mind-reins are hand and well-controlled, the owner of the chariot can reach the true end of his journey, i.e., the eternal, infinite and supreme Paradise of God (the Parama Pada of God Vishnu):

 

विज्ञानसारथिर्यस्तु मनःप्रग्रहवान्नरः

सोध्वनः पारमाप्नोति तद्विष्णोः परमं पदम्

 

Indian thought has analysed well the three recurrent daily states of all beings, viz., the waking state, the dream state, and the state of deep sleep. Vidyaranya's Panchadasi shows this analysis in a clear and convincing manner. The three states are incompatible with one another but we are conscious of our continuity in and through them all. The soul or Spirit is the witness of them all and regards itself as self-existing for ever. That luminary never rises or sets. It shines for ever.

 

नोदेति नास्तमेत्येका संविदेषा स्वयंप्रभा

 

Two Views are possible in regard to the interrelations of mind and body. One is that the mind is only a function of the brain. The other is that the mind uses the brain as a bow is used to let loose an arrow or as a cycle is used by the cyclist. During deep sleep or swoon or trance the mind does not function though the brain be there. The mind is different from the brain and the nerves, etc., just as the inner mechanism of a watch is different from the movements of the second-hands and the minute-hands and the hour-hands on the dial. The brain is the throne on which the royal Mind sits in the Durbar hall of the body. Indian thought holds that the mind functions in the brain (cerebrum) during the waking state, in the cerebellum near the neck during the dream state, and in the heart during the state of deep sleep, the heart being its own domain where it has its place of rest. A well-known verse says:

 

मनोदशेन्द्रियाध्यक्षं हृत्पद्मगोलके स्थितम्

नेत्रे जागरणं कण्ठे स्वप्नस्सुषुप्तिहृ दंबुजे ॥

 

(The mind is the lord of the senses and its seat is the heart. It wakes in the eyes, dreams in the neck and sleeps in the heart.)

 

The Panchadasi says as follows: (1) the mind is the derivative and evolute from the Satvic elements in the subtle Panchabhoota Tanmatras in their combined state, (2) each of Jnanendriyas (organs of knowledge) is an evolute of each of the separated Satvic subtle Panchabhoota Tanmatrs, (3) Prana is an evolute of the combined Rajasic elements in the same, and (4) each of the Karmendriyas (organs of action) is an evolute of each of the separated Rajasic subtle Panchabhoota Tanmatras.

 

We are today far away from the old analysis of the mind into emotion, intellect and will, or sensation, percept and concept. This was something corresponding to the declaration of the fourfold aspects or modes or function of the mind as declared by Indian psychology, i.e., Manas (emotion), Buddhi (intellect), Ahamkara (will), and Chitta (the coordinating function). There is also the division of the mental process as instinct, intellect and intuition. But none of the earlier analysts of the mind made a profound and scientific study of the unconscious or the subconscious strata of the mind. Indian thought was not unaware of them. It was based on the pre-existence of the embodied soul in previous births and did not confine the chances of happiness or unhappiness to the hazards of a single life. But apart from the question of the acceptability or otherwise of the theory of Karma and transmigration, the theory of many births explains instincts and mental tendencies and temperaments on the basis of repeated actions and enjoyments leaving trends, tendencies and temparamental preferences and prejudices behind, like the 'thin faint lines on the beach' (to use a famous line in Meredith's famous poem) as the result of many waves and billows dashing on the shore. According to the Indian psychology there are urges and searches in life which cannot be explained except on the basis of the theory of pre-existence (Janmantara). The concept of pre-existence (Janmantara) went along with the concept of life in other worlds (Lokantara), which also left furrows in the ever-expanding realm of the mind. The mind thus includes and possesses a complex, complicated and ever-expanding nexus of urges in different stages of statism and dynamism. The Sanskrit word for them is Vasanas. Two verses in the Bhagavad Gita may well be remembered in this connection. Sri Krishna says that the divine will, pure, perfect and poised, is above them and lets them have free play while controlling them in the interests of the ultimate welfare of the embodied soul and of the world-welfare as a whole.

 

महाभूतान्यहंकारो बुद्धिरव्यक्तमेव च

इन्द्रियाणि दशैकं च पञ्च चेन्द्रियगोचराः

इच्छा द्वेषः सुखं दुःखं संघातश्चेतना धृतिः

एतत् क्षेत्रं समासेन सविकारमुदाहृतम्

 

(Intellect, knowledge, mental alertness, for giveness, truth, sense-control, mind-control, joy, misery being, non-being, fear, fearlessness, non-injury, same-Matter, the ten senses, the one, viz., the mind, the five manifested elements which are contacted by the senses, desireful attraction, rejective repulsion, joy, misery, the self-conscious combination of the body and the senses, the mind which rules them, and the urge that keeps them all in a state of successful functioning.)

 

This is the analysis and synthesis of the supreme world-philosopher whom the Hindus believe to be incarnate Godhead. He regards the mind as one integrated entity, though it may have different names as Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara In chapter when it discharges diverse functions. X of the Gita Sri Krishna says:

 

बुद्धिर्ज्ञानमसंमोहः क्षमा सत्यं दमः शमः

सुखं दुःखं भावो भयं चाभयमेव च

अहिंसा समता तुष्टिस्तपो दानं यशोऽयशः

भवन्ति भावा भूतानां मत्त एव पृथग्विधाः

 

(Intellect, knowledge, mental alertness, for giveness, truth, sense-control, mind-control, joy, be-ing, non-being, fear, fearlessness, non-injury, same- sightedness, contentment, austerity, gift, fame, infamy all these diverse happenings happen to human beings from Ме.

 

Some of these trends belong to superconscious levels; others belong to conscious levels; yet others belong to the subconscious levels. Some belong to the realm of instincts; some to the realm of the intellect; some to the realm of mental intuition; and some to the realm of spiritual illumination. We must, if we are real and good psychologists, comprehend, sort and grade them all.

 

Another truth stated by Indian philosophy is that the mind undergoes various Vrittis or modal modifications under the stress of the three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) which are its ultimate constituents. It is said also that it is the evolute of the combination of the Satvic elements in the five subtle elements while the Jnanendriyas (eye, ear, smell, taste, and smell) are the evolutes of the five subtle elements, that the life-dynamism is the evolute of the combination of the Rajasic elements in them, while the Karmendriyas (organs of action are the evolutes of the Rajasic elements in the five subtle elements, and that the gross elements (ether. air, water, fire and earth which we see) are the evolutes of the Tamasic elements in them. Another truth is that the mind is too subtle to be perceived by the senses. Yet another truth is that the mind is capable of limitless expansiveness and yet takes the limited form of the thing with which it comes into contact.

 

Each aspect of science must concentrate on itself if it is to win new victories. It must at the same time respect other cognate sciences and must not fold its robe about itself in the spirit of touchme-notism and adopt a high-brow attitude. Each is naturally busy with its own cross-section of life. In the realms of physical sciences we are concerned with the 'how' and not the 'why'. The law of gravitation tells us how every particle of matter moves with reference to others but does not and cannot tell us why the earth should dance round the sun in a particular manner. In the same way, when we see or hear, how does vibration give rise to a sensation of form or sound? The physical sciences have no answer to that question.

 

When the mind of man began to study the external world, it isolated itself as something apart from the object of its study. The experts in physics, astronomy, zoology, and biology began to construct theories of the universe with the aid of observation and experiment. Each dealt with a cross-section of the universe and evolved his theories and went on modifying them in the light of further observations and experiments. The mind later on realised that it was itself a product of Nature which it studied, and then turned the search-light on itself. We may well say that the nine-teenth century and our century are pre-eminently the centuries of physical science. In our century the atom has been split and the mind has gone deep into the recesses of the atom. No doubt it has also led to the manufacture of atomic weapons which may be used by the mind to destroy the world and also itself as a constituent factor of the world. That is why the mind has begun to analyse itself and our century is pre-eminently the century of psychology.

 

It is now felt that psychology contacts life at all points and deals with health, conduct, religion, etc. But it is felt at the same time that it has no tools like the telescope or the microscope and has only itself as its instrument. Its instrument is one possessed by everybody and hence psvchology is the most democratic of sciences. The difficulty of the science is due to the mind being the object of its study and the instrument of its study. Each one must study the minds of others as well as his own mind. We must combine observation with introspection. Behaviourist psychology concentrates on the physical mechanism, heredity and psycho-physical parallelisms and calls itself a practical science and is proud of being so. We have at the same time Freudian psychology which tries to tap the Subconscious and the Unconscious levels of the mind-regions which hitherto were uninvestigated regions. Swami Sivananda says: "It is an admitted psychological fact that the mental processes by which you obtain knowledge are not merely confined to the field of consciousness but also cover the field of subconsciousness. If you know the technique of speaking to your subconscious mind and the art or science of extracting work from it, all knowledge will be yours. It is a question of practice. All that you have inherited, all that you have brought with you through innumerable crores of births in the past, all that you have seen, heard, enjoyed, tasted, read or known either in this life or the past lives, are hidden in the regions of your inner mind. Why don't you master the technique of concentration and the way of commanding your subconscious and superconscious mind and make the full and free use of the latent powers and knowledge?" ('Everyman's Philosophy of Sivananda', page 36)

 

The great merit of modern Western psychology is that it is the newest and most modern of modern sciences. Modern physical sciences in the West have revolutionised our conceptions of matter. The first triumph was helio-centrism over geo-centrism. Scientific logic reversed the apparent movement of the whole firmament and its luminaries, great and small, round the earth. Later on, scientists got down to the atom and harnessed steam, electricity, etc., to the service of man. In our own age even the atom has been split. We, who live in the age of the Sputnik, Atlas and nuclear weapons, are proceeding to explore the outer space, and contact the moon, the planets, the sun and the stars. In Tenny- son's words, we are out to

 

"Rift the hills and roll the waters and

flash the lightnings and weigh the sun."

 

But now and in our century man's adventurous mind has been trying to explore and chart itself and find out its own self-governing laws and find out its own utmost adventurous possibilities. The West with its objective mind has taken its own line of investigation. Of the two tests of introspection and behaviour, it has preferred the latter, including mental experiments and self-testing of the mind by itself. Once it preferred objective data and statistics to introspective data, certain results were bound to follow and did follow. Behaviourism was the new word of magic. Neuro-psychology deals with the nervous system. But science proceeds from the particular to the general and can only announce probability and hypothesis but not certainty. No man can test all cases. Each man comes out with his own hypothesis. The modern objective investigator omits to consider that introspection is an art acquired through disciplined knowledge, technique and training. He regards behaviour as a function of the contact of the organisms and the environment.

 

The special merit of modern scientific systematic psychology is such objective study. It has specially investigated the inter-relation of the whole and the parts in perception.. Physiological psycho logy has investigated the neural and cerebral elements in cognition. Modern psychology has analysed and clasified emotional responseology has anal study the complex structure of Personality. Living human beings have got the desire to learn and speak and are hence far above the level of inanimate matted and above even the level of subhuman creation, which is teachable to some extent but is unable to speak or think. They accumulate a social heritage and hand it over to the succeeding generation. Ex perimental psychology has taken long strides in recent times. The study of configurationism (Gestalt) assumed grand proportions. In a large measure we owe to it the modern cinematography by which apparent motion is produced by projecting rapidly a series of different pictures on the eye. Social psychology also has been carefully studied and developed. Aesthetic psychology also has been investigated methodically.

 

I wish to say a word about Freud and his post- Freudians and Psycho-analysts. Freud dived into the Unconscious and built up a new aspect of modern psychology. Depth psychology is related to unconscious mental life.. It investigated what it called the libido which is the inter-woven complex of self- preservation and sex. This complex is the Id (which word is only the Latin form of It). The ego tries to modify the Id. It is a portion of the Id but is a kind of critic and manager. There is also the super-ego which comprises the social, moral and force of duty and obligation. The Id which is the ethical aspect of the psyche and is based on the unconscious reservoir of instinctive urges seemed to be more powerful than the ego or the super-ego. The dream-state is the royal road to the unconsci- ous and in it we have the uprush of the libido in spite of the repressions of the waking state. The defect of Freudism is that it attributed too much importance to sex. This tendency has gone too far and must be balanced by what may be called the Psychology of Religion. Theodore Schroeder has gone so far as to say: "All religion in its beginning is a mere misinterpretation of sex ecstacy, and the religion of today is only the essentially unchanged evolutionary product of psycho-sexual perversion."! Let us remember, on the other hand, three other utterances:

 

"The throne of the Godhead is the mind of Man." (Mecarius)

 

"Reverence God in thyself, for God is more in the mind of man than in any part of the world out-side." (Whichcote)

 

"The mind of man is the cause of bondage and liberation. The attached mind is bound and the detached mind is free."

 

मन एव मनुष्याणां कारणं बन्धमोक्षयोः

बद्धं तु विषयासक्तं मुक्तं निर्विषयं स्मृतम्

 

Western psychologists have struck new ground by studying abnormal psychology. Janet regarded mental life as a flux of sensations cohering in a complex stream. In normal men the sensations form a single stream whereas in neurotics the organism has diverse streams flowing in a state of disharmony and disconnectedness. Freud did not agree with such a mechanistic behaviourist view and thinks that men have purposive goals. He investigates the instincts and the realms of the subconscious and the unconscious but errs in giving undue importance to the sex-instinct. His own follower, Dr. Jung does not accept such pan-sexuality. Dr. Adler subordinates the sex-instinct to self-regarding tendencies. Quite recently, Dr. Morton Prince and Mr. W. H. R. Rivers and Mr. William McDougall have gone still further away. The technical terms which modern psychology uses, such as 'the unconscious', 'dissociation', 'repression', 'complex', etc., show the new trends. Disintegrated personalities and neurotic states and the phenomena of hypnosis and suggestion have been keenly studied. Of course, it is the duty of psychology to study neurosis also but that is but a small part of its total range. It is the integrated personality that is the normal personality and that must be studied well. Abnormal psychology has made also a study of mesmerism, hypnotism, clairvoyance, clair-audience, telepathy, etc., and did not stop with psychoses and neuroses. It was a great help to man to have mesmeric anaesthesia in addition to external anaesthesia like chloroform and ether, and to have a special treatment of the neurotics and the mentally defectives and the criminals.

 

I wish to say a few words about para-psychology or psychical research. This branch of scientific activity has grown at the hands of F. W. H. Myers and his successors. It deals with phenomena relating to survival after death and with psi-cognition, extra-sensory perceptions (ESP) etc. It uses trance mediums who go into trance directly or by drugs, ete. The orthodox scientists laughed at psychical research. Thomas Huxley said that he was not interested in psychical research more than in the chatter of old women. But the phenomena relating to the communication with the dead and to extrasensory perception are too many and too well-classified to be ignored and laughed away. The phenomena have been observed and recorded objectively and tentative hypotheses have been put forward. Dowsing or water-divining and pre-cognitive phenomena like telepathy, clairvoyance, clair-audience, etc., cannot be regarded as unconnected with a scientific mental approach.

 

Swami Sivananda's WHAT BECOMES OF THE SOUL AFTER DEATH (1958) is an elaborate description of the experiences of the soul after death, in various Lokas or planes and deals also with the exequial ceremonies, reincarnation and liberation. Gurudev says: "Just as you move from one house to another to gain experience, the soul passes from one body to another to gain experience. Death is not the end of life. Life is one continuous never-ending process." (page 1) He says further, that the Udana Vayu (upward-leading nerve-energy) leads the soul in its subtle embodiment (Sookshma Sareera) "to the higher worlds by means of your meritorious action, to the evil worlds by means of your evil deeds, and to the world of men by the mixture of both deeds." (page 8) The soul's subtle body consists of the subtle parts of the five organs of knowledge and five organs of action, and five Pranas, Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara, and also subtle matter. These form the transmigrating entity. Gurudev explains how the Yogis and devotees go by means of the path of light (Devayana or Archiradi Marga) to Brahma Loka from which there is no return to rebirth, and from where they can attain full liberation (Moksha) by Jnana and how the doers of sacrifices, (Yajnas) and of charities (Ishta-poortha), i.e., Karma Yogins go by the path of Darkness (Pitriyana or Dhoomadi Marga) to Chandra Loka. There is no return from Brahma Loka, but there is return from Chandra Loka when the store of merit is exhausted. The third place (Tritiyam Sthanam) is being born as perishable creatures. Sinners go to Yama Loka and are punished there (pages 18 to 37).

 

Gurudev then treats elaborately the doctrine of Karma and reincarnation which is one of the foundation-pillars of Hinduism and gives instances of memory of past births. (pages 59 to 95, and pages 129 to 132)

 

Gurudev then deals with the various Lokas or planes where the soul sojourns or stays till it is fit for God-union or till the time when it takes on a new embodiment. He deals first of all with the sojourn in Preta Loka immediately after death. In that region the cravings of the senses are active. Gurudev says: "You can help the sufferer in the Preta Loka by performing Sraddha. Performance of Sraddha helps to free him (page 96, pages 139 to 150) and makes him pass on to Swarga or heaven or to Naraka or hell.

 

Gurudev refers to the total number of planes (Lokas) as seven [viz., Bhooloka (earth), Bhuvarloka (Antariksha or astral plane), Svarloka (Swarga), Maharloka, Janoloka, Tapoloka, and Satyaloka (i.e., Brahmaloka)]. Satyaloka or paradise of Brahma is eternal and consists of Suddha Satva (pure Satva) matter and there is no return from it into the world of Samsara (cycle of births and deaths). The Paradise of Vishnu is called Vaikuntha while the Paradise of Siva is called Kailasa and the Paradise of Devi is called Srinagara. I shall deal with this matter in detail later on. Gurudev says: "Brahma-loka becomes Vaikuntha or appears as Vaikuntha for a devotee of Lord Hari. It becomes Kailasa or Sivaloka or appears as Siva-loka for a devotee of Lord Siva. It is the Bhav that works." (page 129)

 

Gurudev says that these planes interpenetrate. He says: "If you keep different kinds of light in a room such as kerosene oil light, mustard oil light, electric light, the various lights inter-penetrate in the room. Even so, the Lokas interpenetrate. Each plane has its own matter of an appropriate degree of density, which interpenetrates the matter of the plane next below it. (page 126) He says further: "The astral plane or Bhuvarloka interpenetrates the earth plane and extends for some distance beyond it. The mental plane interpenetrates the astral but also extends further into space than does the latter. The vibrations of the astral world are more rapid or quicker than those of the astral plane. The vibrations of the Satyaloka are more rapid or quicker than those of the mental plane. In each plane the soul develops a new and higher sense of power. When you pass from one plane to another, you do not move in space. You simply change your consciousness. You change your focus of consciousness. You can have different sorts of vision through the telescope or microscope by using lenses of different degrees of potency or power. You have got different vehicles within yourself which correspond to different planes and which can function in different planes." (page 126)

 

Swami Sivananda gives instances of the disembodied spirits of helping or harming the persons living on the earth. There is thus a bond of affinity or affection, or of antipathy and aversion between the disembodied spirits and living beings. There have been instances of complicated problems solved with their help through mediums. There have also been instances of possession of living beings by discarnate spirits to the detriment of the former.

 

But these discarnate spirits remain in the astral plane for a time and are then heard of no more. After a short sojourn there they evidently move off to other planes to enjoy the fruits of Karma or return to the earth for rebirth. These discarnate spirits are not necessarily wiser than the living beings, though some may be so. Gurudev says: "The spirits have no knowledge of the highest truth. They cannot help others in attaining Self-realisation. The spiritualists waste their time, energy, and money in the vain hope of obtaining the favour of those spirits and transcendental knowledge through them. Therefore, give up the idle curiosity of talking to the dead on everything regarding the spirit world." (page 137)

 

Thus parapsychology deals with phenomena and experiences which are Ateendriya, i.e., beyond the senses (preternatural phenomena) and which the physical sciences do not and cannot explain because they regard Nature as a mere system of physical forces. It seeks to make a systematic study of them. The new word parapsychology means what the older terms 'psychical research' or 'psychic science' meant before. The workers in this realm of investigation began to study hypnotism, mes-merism, telepathy and other phenomena like spiritual healing, clairvoyance, clair-audience, contacts with spirits, etc. Some of the pioneers in this realm were themselves distinguished scientists like Sir Oliver Lodge, Sir William Crookes, and Sir William Barrett and distinguished psychologists like William James and William McDougall. The phenomena thus investigated are technically and summarily called E S P (extra-sensory perception) and P K (psycho-kinesis). The data resulting from such experiments are being systematically studied and collected and will, in course of time, break the fetters of the modern mechanistic philosophy. The modern man has begun to realise that there could be energies, potencies and phenomena beyond the ordinary sweep of our sense-perception which is bound by the concepts of time and space and mass. Para-psychology seems to me to be one of the doors newly opened through which we can perceive and realise the superconscious realms of religious experience and realisation. The inter-relation of body, mind and spirit has to be integrally and intensively studied even more in the future than in the past and the present.

 

Thus while the practice of Yoga gives the inner intuitive vision to see what happens after death, the scientific methods of observation and experiment adopted by the Psychic Research Society have enabled the scientists to realise that death does not terminate or dissolve the human personality. The scientific spiritualists resort to spirit communications, table tiltings, spirit taps, spirit writings, materialised hands, planchette, etc. Sir Oliver Lodge says well: "In justice to myself and my coworkers, I must risk annoying my present hearers not only by having on record our inner conviction that occurrences now regarded as occult can be examined and reduced to order by the methods of science carefully and persistently applied, but by going further and saying with the utmost brevity that already the facts so examined have convinced me that memory and affection are not limited to that association with matter by which alone they can manifest themselves here and now, and that personality persists beyond bodily death. The evidence to my mind goes to prove that discarnate intelligence, under certain conditions may interact with us, on the material side, thus indirectly coming within our scientific ken."

 

Swami Sivananda says appropriately:

 

"The Westerner with the stage of spiritual advancement at which he has reached now and the quest for scientific demonstration of every phenomenon, may find revelations and discoveries of the existence of the soul, through this phenomenon by a degree of proofs and demonstrations. To the student of Eastern philosophy, bred and brought up in the sacred scriptures of India, the existence of a soul and its transmigrations are only the beginning of his philosophy. To the West it has come to be almost the end of their researches now."— (What Becomes Of the Soul after Death, page 134)

 

After considering ancient Indian psychology and modern Western psychology, I wish to offer a few remarks on the philosophy and psychology of Yoga in particular. Yoga deals with the superconscious and supernatural experiences. In India, religion, Vedanta philosophy and Yogic psychological practice have gone hand in hand, whereas religion has parted company with modern philosophy in the West and each of them has parted company with modern Western psychology. Religion must not be confused with theology. Professor James has said well: "What keeps religion going is something else than abstract definitions and systems of concatenated adjectives, and something very different from faculties of theology and their professors. All these things are after-effects, secondary accretions upon those phenomena of vital conversation with the Unseen Divine." Similarly, philosophy in India is not a mere intellectual speculation, but a Darsana or vision of Truth. In the same manner, Yoga in India must not be regarded as mere Yogasanas for physical health or Pranayama or breath-control. Yoga is based on Yamas and Niyamas, i.e., ethical controls preparatory to our fitting ourselves for a new divine adventure of the mind. Yoga is called Chitta-Vritti Nirodhah, i.e., inhibition of mental states. When the mind is made one-pointed (Ekagra) by introspective effort aided by Asana and Pranayama, it becomes steady and poised (Dharana) and fit for the highest meditation (Dhyana). The Yoga Sutras refer to certain occult Siddhis (potencies) which result from these psychological methods and processes. When Ahimsa is perfected, living beings which are enemies give up their enmity under the stress of such perfected Ahimsa and live in mutual amity and peace (IlI, 35). When Satya (truth) is perfected, what is stated is attained (III, 36). When non-covetousness is attained, precious metals and stones become visible (III, 37). When Brahmacharya is perfected, extraordinary spiritual potencies are attained (III 38). When Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) is perfected, we can visualise past births (III, 39). We can attain knowledge of the past and the future (III, 16). We can conquer hunger and thirst by concentrating our mind on the hollow below the tongue (III, 32). Other attainments also are enumerated. These Siddhis if used in a selfish way, will hinder the attainment of the highest intuition and illumination by which alone the divine can be seen and realised, the culmination of such spiritual realisation being Nirvikalpa Samadhi (the realisation of the Absolute). The Upanishads declare that the divine can be seen by the keen and one-pointed intellect.

 

दृश्यते त्वग्रयया बुद्धया सूक्ष्मया सूक्ष्मदर्शिभिः

 

There are various aspects of Yoga such as Hata Yoga, Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Laya Yoga. Yoga refers also to Ida, Pingala and Sushumna nerve--currents and Shat-Chakras (six nerve-plexuses) etc. I cannot go into them here. My aim, desire and objective is that psychological investigations at the levels of the Unconscious, the Conscious and the Superconscious should be harmonised. Aurobindo emphasised the supra-mental plane and the supra-mental psychology. It is necessary that young Indian psychologists should master both ancient Indian psychology and modern Western experimental behaviourist psychology and integrate them and explore the human mind at all levels and re-link ethics, metaphysics and religion with such integrated psychology. It seems to me that the best result will be obtained in the realm of the self-investigation of the mind if we regard it as a unity under the control and illumination of the Spirit, while recognising that it has different functions and levels. It has such functions as intellect, emotion, will, intuition and illumination. It has such aspects and states as Manas (indeterminate state), Buddhi (determinate state), Chitta (emotional state) and Ahamkara (self-awareness). We may in the light of modern psychological cum Yogic analysis say also that it has seven levels which like the prismatic colours (vibgyor) refracted out of the white light by a prism, represent different sections of the mind, viz., Unconsciousness, Subconsciousness, half-Consciousness, Consciousness, Super-consciousness, Integral Consciousness, Cosmic Consciousness and Pure Infinite Consciousness irradiated by the Infinite Spirit. If we integrate the results attained at all these activities and levels, we can attain an integral knowledge and vision of the true inter-rela tions of Matter, Mind and Spirit.

 

I wish to conclude this exposition with an idea which struck my mind when I was thinking over the enigma of the mind. The moon goes round the earth and the earth goes round the sun. But when the earth interposes itself between the sun and the moon, the light of the sun is cut off from the moon. But as the earth moves off, the light of the sun falls on a greater and greater portion of the moon till at last the earth is opposite to the moon and

 

the whole disc of the moon is illuminated by the sun. The earth-life and all its passions and desires cut off the light of divine illumination from the moon of the mind. But when the orb of passion moves off, the ethical and spiritual light illumines an ever-increasing area of the mind till at last the divine illumination of the Atman illumines the entire mind. Let us never forget Balzac's great utterance:

 

"There is one spectacle greater than the sea; that is the sky. There is one spectacle greater than the sky; that is the interior of the human soul."

 

Similar are the supreme Vedic declarations:

 

ज्यायानाकाशात्

 

एष म आत्माऽन्तहृ दयेऽणीयान् व्रीहेर्वा यवग्द्वा

 

सर्षपाद्वा श्यामाकाद्वा श्यामाकतण्डुलाद्वा एष म

 

ग्रात्माऽन्तहृ दये ज्यायान् पृथिव्या ज्यायानन्तरिक्षाज्ज्यायान्

 

दिवो ज्यायानेभ्यो लोकेभ्यः ।।

 

May I conclude with the famous Upanishadic prayer:

 

शं नो देवः शुभया बुद्धया शं युनक्तु

 

May God link us to the Auspicious Mind

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK NINE

Sivananda's Vision of Integral Hinduism (Purna Advaita) as Religious Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

INTRODUCTORY

In a book which I have already described ('All About Sivananda') Swami Venkatesananda has given to us the very quintessence of Sivananda's Integral Hinduism. He says appropriately: "Siva's philosophy can be compared only to Lord Krishna's. It has a place for all the philosophies of the world." His concept of Reality is the unassailable Gita-concept of Reality and steers clear of the concept of illusory soul and universe, and the concept of the equal and indissoluble reality of God, souls and universe. He says: "The world is finite and dependent on God and is continuously changing and can hence be called unreal in comparison with the infinite, independent changeless Reality of God. The world is not an illusion. It belongs to a lower' order of reality than the Absolute. It is relatively real, while Brahman is absolutely real." (Precepts for Practice, page 280). His concept of Maya is the Gita-concept of Maya which is not a mere mirage or illusion but is the divine power which veils the Infinite Eternal Aboslute Reality of God and projects the dependent reality of souls and universe till such reality is absorbed, merged and dissolved and included and transcended in the spiritual experience of the One Eternal Infinite Absolute Reality in Nirvikalpa Samadhi like the waves in the ocean. The net result of such a view is that Adwaita, Visishtadwaita and Dwaita, are no longer foes but are friends. I shall quote here only three sentences from Sivananda:

"The world is not unreal; but is a lesser reality than Brahman.."

"That which hides the Real and makes the unreal appear as real is Maya."

"Dwaita, Visishtadwaita Adwaita, and Ajata Vada are the progressive realisations of Reality."

 

CHAPTER I

 

TATTVAS IN PURNA ADWAITA

 

1. GOD

 

The greatest affirmation in Integral Hinduism is the affirmation of God. The only eternal infinite supreme Reality is God, Who is called Brahman or Atman or Iswara or Antaryamin or Bhagawan. He is called Sat (Eternal Being): He is described as the One without a second (Ekam Eva Adwitiyam). The Vedas declare also that He exists always, in His own glory and by His own power. The universe is Himself and is in Him. He is im manent in it and transcends it.

 

नासदासीन्नो सदासीत् आनीदवातं स्वधया तदेकम्

(It was not Non-Being or Being. by its own power.) It existed

 

एकं सद्विप्रा बहुधा वदन्ति

(That is One. The sages call It variously.)

 

वेदाहमेतं पुरुषं महान्तमादित्यवर्ण तमसः परस्तात् ।।

(I have realised the Supreme Purusha who shines the sun beyond all darkness.)

                                                   Purusha Sukta

 

एतद्धय वाक्षरं ब्रह्म एतदेवाक्षरं परम् ।

 

(That is the Eternal Brahman. It is the Sup- reme Immutable.) तद्विष्णोः परमं पदं Katha Upanishad

 

(It is the Eternal Paradise of Vishnu.)

 

शिव एव केवलः ।

(The Eternal Auspicious Being.)

                                              Svetasvatara Upanishad

 

सदेव सौम्य इदमग्र आसीत्

                                            (Chchandogya Upanishad)

 

अदृष्टो द्रष्टाऽश्रुतः श्रोताऽमतोमन्ताऽविज्ञातो विज्ञाता           

                                             (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad)

 

आत्मान्तयाम्यमृतः अतोऽन्यदातें

शान्तं शिवं सुन्दरं आनन्दरूपममृतं यद्विभाति

 

God cannot be described in words or thought of by the mind.

 

नेति नेति; यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह

 

Yet He can be realised by intuition or purified and illumined intellect.

 

दृश्यते त्वग्र यया बुद्धया सूक्ष्मया सुक्ष्मदर्शिभिः ॥

 

We must never commit the mistake of equating the Vedic conception of Brahman with St. Paul's con-ception of the unknown God or Herbert Spencer's concept of the Unknowable Force. Brahman can-not be sensed by the senses or comprehended by the intellect. But the introverted mind purified into intuition and illumined by the grace of God can apprehend Brahman. When intuition also is dissolved in the ultimate source i.e., Brahman, Jeevahood (Jeevatwa) also dissolves and Brahman alone exists.

 

God has become the world.

 

सर्वं खलिवदं ब्रह्म तदैक्षत बहुस्यां प्रजायेयेति

आत्मानं स्वयमकुरुत, तमेव भान्तमनुभाति सर्वं

तस्य भासा सर्वमिदं विभाति

अन्तर्बहिश्च तत्सर्वे

व्याप्य नारायणः स्थितः

 

He is immanent everywhere.

 

ग्रहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थितः

 

Yasya Prithvi Sariram etc., says the Antaryami Brahmana in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad.

 

एको देवः सर्वभूतेषु गूढः सर्वव्यापी सर्वभूतान्तरात्मा

कर्माध्यक्षः सर्वभूताधिवासः साक्षी चेता केवलो निगु एश्च

 

He is thus immanent in the universe and yet transcends the universe.

 

पादोऽस्य विश्वा भुतानि त्रिनगदस्यामृतं दिवि

अथवा बहुनैतेन किं ज्ञातेन तवार्जुन

विष्टभ्याहमिदं कृत्स्नमेकांशेन स्यितो जगत्

 

Knowing God is Paravidya (Supreme Knowledge). All other knowledge is Apara Vidya. He can be attained by a pure life.

 

नाविरतो दुश्चरितात् नाशान्तो नासमाहितः

नाशान्तमानसो वापि प्रज्ञानेनैनमाप्नुयात्

 

He will reveal Himself when we are fit to realise Him and cannot be realised by discourses or by intellectual effort or by study.

 

नायमात्मा प्रवचनेन लभ्यो न मेधया न बहुना श्रुतेन

यमेवैष वृणुते तेन लभ्यो तस्यैष आत्मा विवृणुते तनू स्वाम्

 

He cannot be attained by the weak or the vacillating. He can be attained by effort, austerity, meditation and wisdom.

 

नायमात्मा बलहीनेन लभ्यः न च प्रमादात्तपसो वाप्यलिंगात्

 

I have already shown above how there is no incompatibility of the Absolute and God, God beyond name, and God with name and form-Nirguna Brahman and Saguna Brahman. The Vedas refer to both as being one see also Gita XIV, 27. The Upanishads refer to Brahman and Atman, Purusha, Siva, Vishnu and Devi. The Bhagavata mentions Brahma, Paramatma and Bhagavan as one and the same. In the Bhagavad Gita the Lord expressly says that who seek the Akshara by Jnana attain Him alone by a more difficult path while He can be more easily and surely attained by the path of Bhakti.

 

ये त्वक्षमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तं पयुपासते

सर्वत्र समचित्तं च कूटस्थमचलं ध्रुवम्

सन्नियम्येन्द्रियग्रामं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः

ते प्राप्नुवन्ति मामेव सर्वभूतहिते रताः

ये तु सर्वाणि कमर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मतराः

अनन्येनैव योगेन मां ध्यायन्त उपासते

तेषामहं समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसारसागरात्

भवामि न चिरात्वार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम्

 

(Gita XII 3 to 7)

 

ब्रह्मति परमात्मेति भगवानिति शब्द्यते

(Bhagavata)

 

 

Thus God is both the Impersonal Blissful Absolute (Parabrahman) and the all-loving all-compassionate Father of all. (Iswara or Paramatma or Bhagavan). There is no logical incompatibility between Satchidananda (Eternal Blissful Consciousness) and Jagadvyapara (creation, preservation and dissolution, and obscuration and illumination, called the Panchakritya or five activities of God). From the scientific point of view Iswara is the omnipresent, omnipotent energy and from the aesthetic point of view He is "the Light whose smile kindles the universe". He is at the same time the Brahman which is beyond mind and speech-

 

यतो वाचो निवर्तन्ते अप्राप्य मनसा सह

In the words of the Kena Upanishad He is-

 

अविज्ञातं विजानतां विज्ञातमविजानताम्

(He is unknown to the knowers and known to the non-knowers.)

 

Brahman is thus the basic substratum of everything. Let us take a few illustrations. He is like the silver screen on which we see the torrential rush of life in a cinema. He is like the canvas on which is painted the world-painting in all its glory of multiple tints. This dynamism is called the Maya or Shakti of Brahman while the Statism is Brahman in Itself. The individual existences are like lightning-flashes in the basic cloud. I shall show later on how the idea of a higher and a lower as between Brahman and Bhagavan is itself a Maya or a mirage and how there are types and not grades of beatitude. Iswara is the Lord and Wielder of Maya and is Brahman when Maya merges in Brahman. Just as all pots are in the potter's mind before his hands fashion them, the manifold universe is the thought of God till He becomes the universe and vivifies and illumines the universe and at the same time transcends the universe. This is why Hinduism declares that God is the material cause (Upadana Karana) as well as the efficient cause (Nimitta Karana) of the universe.

 

तदैक्षत बहु स्यां प्रजायेयेति तदात्मानं स्वयमकुरुत यथोर्णनाभिः

 

The worlds are like sparks from a central fire or like rays from the sun or the moon. The Gita declares that the world of matter and the world of souls are His Apara Prakriti and Para Prakriti.

 

If we remember the full infinite supreme potency of God's Shakti, we can easily understand the real significance of the miracles worked by Avataras (incarnations) and saints. Hinduism does not call for blind faith in miracles. The possibility of miracles is based upon the infinite creative transforming potency of God. Saints perform miracles by the grace of God.. Miracles exist about us in abundance though we do not realise this fact. Light, sound, chemical action, the transformation of grass into milk or food into blood, gravitation, electricity, magnetism, atomic fusion or fission, etc., are all miracles How one seed becomes a sheaf of grain is itself a miracle. Thus a miracle is not jugglery or magic or a violation of the laws of nature but is an aspect of the infinite incomprehensible Shakti of God. It is an intensification of the tempo and the potency of the laws of nature. A miracle is from the divine point of view a natural though rare phenomenon.

 

Attaining God in communion, realisation and union is supreme eternal ineffable infinite peace and happiness (Brahmananda, Brahma Nirvana). It is foolish to talk of the Trimurthies (Trinity) as three gods. As shown above, they are only three aspects of the One God. There is no question of higher or lower among them. It is absurd to wrangle about one of them being Iswara (God), the others being Jivas. Each of the Trimurthies is one with the others. Nor is there any difference between God and His Shakti, any more than there is any difference between the sun and his glory. As Sita says about Rama,

 

अनन्या राधवेणाहं भास्करस्य प्रभा यथा

(I am one with Rama as the sun and his splendour are one.)

 

When Siva and Shakti are in union, they are called the Nirguna Brahman. When Brahman becomes Siva and Chit Shakti as a dual manifestation, the evolving universe is launched on its course. Siva or Iswara is the efficient cause (Nimitta Karana) of the universe by his Sankalpa or will; and Shakti in Her Maya or Prakriti aspect is the material cause (Upadana Karana) of the universe-Maya is the three Gunas in equilibrium whereas in Prakriti the three Gunas are in a state of dynamic causal disequilibrium.

 

It seems to me that only on the basis of Purna Adwaita and Avikari-parinama-Vada and Asamyak- darsana-khyati a basis which enables us to harmonise the divinity and reality of all things which are created, pervaded and transcended by God (called Brahman in Himself and Iswara or Bhagavan in relation to the world and called also as Brahma, Vishnu and Siva when we view the functions of His Aiswarya as the three cosmic functions of creation, preservation and destruction) -we can get the real, pure doctrine of all the Vedas and the other scriptures (Smritis, Itihasas, Puranas, Agamas, etc.) which are explanatory of the Vedas. Bhagavan or Iswara call him Brahma or Vishnu or Siva is Suddha-sattva (i.e., free from Rajas and Tamas) and is in a Suddha-sattva world call it Satyaloka or Vaikuntha or Kailasa). He is one with Brahman. There is no question of higher or lower as between Brahman and Iswara or as among the Trinity (Trimurthies). Similarly, God and His Shakti are one. Nor can there be any grading among the three aspects of Shakti, viz., Saraswathi, Lakshmi and Uma. Some schools of thought would exalt Shakti above Siva. Such views also are wrong. It is not right to say that Brahmananda is higher than Iswarananda or that there is any gradation as among the bliss of the members of the Trinity or as between God and Shakti or inter se among the three Shaktis. God is both bodiless and embodied and can have many names and forms just as vapour can be vapour or rain or ice. It is Brahma Shakti which, when static, is called Brahman and when dynamic is called Shakti. The coiled snake and the moving snake are one. The divine Suddha Sattva form of Iswara or Bhagavan in His triple divine Suddha Sattva forms of the Trimurthies are merely aspects and manifestations of Brahman's Chit Shakti which is called also Siva-Shakti and which is Suddha-Sattva in its nature and is of the essence of Satchidananda. Some of the Upanishads call the power as Shakti or Haya or Prakriti but unfortunately later philosophic thinkers have used these terms in bewilderingly diverse ways and have thus brought in disconcerting confusions in philosophic terminology. We have therefore to select such terms as carry with them the least confusion. The English word God has got ideological associations of its own. Each of the other words such as Brahma or Vishnu or Siva or Devi or Vinayaka or Subramanya or Surya, etc., or such as Yahovah or Allah has got ideological associations of its own. The name does not matter. It is the concept which matters. Each religion has got its own terminology and its own budget of doctrines, rituals and stories. If we take the greatest common measure of all of them and also use our own calm reason and inner experience, we can arrive at what we may call pure and full (Suddha, Purna) religion which I choose to call Purna-adwaita or Integral Hinduism. I believe that it harmonises best all the scriptural declarations and is in accord with our highest reason or intuition or Jnana which is man's proudest and most exalted possession. It equates Brahman and Iswara, and the Trimurthies with one another and does not admit any gradation of bliss among them. It equates Shakti, Maya and Prakriti, Shakti being the Suddha Sattva manifestation, while the others have the three Gunas as their essence. It affirms the pragmatic reality of the world as Brahman has become the world and is immanent in it and transcends it. It affirms the equal bliss of the various types of Moksha or beatitude. It is against the negation of Iswara as a mere factual unreality plus a conceptual reality. It is against the assignment of a lower rank to Iswara or Bhagavan as compared with Brahman. It is against any gradation among the Trimurthies or their Paradises, viz., Satyaloka or. Vaikuntha or Kailasa. As it accepts the Avikari-parinama Vada, it accepts the equal co-existence and co-reality of God, soul and universe, though the soul is an aspect or Amsa of God and the universe is a dependent reality but is a self-manifestation of God. It affirms that the Infinite exists along with its manifestations and aspects (Prakritis or Prakaras) and has become all these and is immanent in them and transcends them while being all along its own infinite integral eternal blissful Self as Akhanda Ananta Satchidananda. It affirms the equal value and validity of all the paths to God (Karma, Dhyana, Bhakti, Prapatti and Jnana, and a synthesis and confluence and union of them all). It allows everyone to choose his Ishta Devata and Ishta Marga or Yoga. It affirms many types of beatitudes and disaffirms degrees of beatitude or eternal hell. Heaven and hell are impermanent but Paradise is permanent. We can see and serve God or become one with God. This type of religion is the real universal religion.

 

When we are trying to assess the declarations of Hinduism about God, we must remember the Hindu doctrine of incarnation. The peculiarity of the Hindu doctrine is that it brings God Himself and not merely His son or His messenger into His world. The word Avatara means descent or coming down. The purpose of incarnation is declared in a perfect form in the Bhagavad Gita IV, 6, 7, and 8.

 

अजोऽपि सन्नव्ययात्मा भूतानामीश्वरोऽपि सन्

प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य संभवाम्यात्ममायया

यदा यदा हि धर्मस्य ग्लानिर्भवति भारत

अभ्युत्थानमधर्मस्य तदाऽऽत्मानं सृजाम्यहम्

परित्राणाय साधूनां विनाशाय च दुष्कृताम्

धर्मसंस्थापनार्थाय संभवामि युगे युगे

 

(Though I am unborn and imperishable and am also the Lord of all, I, controlling My Prakriti, incarnate by My own power. Whenever virtue decays and unrighteousness lifts up its head, I incarnate in age after age to protect the good and punish the wicked and re-establish Dharma.)

 

The Itihasas and the Puranas are the treasury of this doctrine.

 

It Another vital concept is that of Para, Vyuha, Vibhava, Antaryamin, Archa in Vaishnavism. sums up and integrates our concepts of Godhead, viz,. of God the Supreme Unity, the emergence of God as Sankarshana and Pradyumna and Aniruddha to direct the course of evolution as Avyakta, Mahat and Ahamkara, incarnations, immanence and image. The Vaishnavas take the image itself as God, Other Hindus say that by Mantras God's Sannidhya (presence) in images is secured. Both these concepts converge and coalesce.

 

2. UNIVERSE AND SOULS

 

Sri Krishna refers to the universe as His Apara Prakriti (lower aspect) and the soul as His Para Prakriti (higher aspect). (Gita VII 4 to 6, VIII 13 to 21.) Neither is apart or separate from Him. He is their basis, vivifier and goal. Aqueous vapour arises from the ocean, becomes the rain; the rain flows in rivers; and the rivers fall into the ocean.

 

यदा भूतपृथग्भावमेकस्थमनुपश्यति

तत एव च विस्तारं ब्रह्म संपद्यते तदा

 

(When we see the diversity of beings as rooted in the One God and as proceeding from Him, we realise Him.)

Gita XIII, 30

 

The diversity proceeds from Him and rests in Him and has a transient, changing, dependent reality. The Mundaka Upanishad says:

 

यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृह्नते च

यथा पृथिव्या मोषधयः संभवन्ति

यथा सतः पुरुषात् केशलोमानि आयन्ते

तथाक्षरात् संभवतीह विश्वम्

यथा सुदीप्तात् पावकाद्विस्फुलिंगाः

सहस्रशः प्रभवन्तेऽसंख्यरूपाः

तथाक्षराद्विविधाः सौम्यभावाः प्रजायन्ते तत्रचैवापि यान्ति

 

The analogies of the spider and the web, the earth and the trees, the man and the hair on his body, sparks from fire, etc., are only analogies, not proofs. But they enable us to visualise the mutual relations of God and the universe. The integrity of the cause is unaffected by the results. It is under the control of God that the universe evolves to work out the Karmas of the Jivas (embodied souls). The cause is not Nature or Time. This wheel of evolution is a God-guided wheel.

 

स्वभावमेके कवयो वदन्ति

कालं तथान्ये परिमुह्यमानाः

देवस्यैष महिमा तु लोके येनेदं

भ्राम्यते ब्रह्मचक्रम्

Svetasvatara Upanishad

 

God's Shakti is the matrix of the universe. We may call it by other words if we like (Devi, Maya, Prakriti, Avidya, etc.) but the fact remains the same. The static aspect of God by His will passed into the dynamic aspect. Prakriti with its three Gunas (Satva, Rajas and Tamas) emerges as an evolute. The Sankhya terminology, viz., Avyakta (Moola-Prakriti), Mahat, Ahamkara, five causal subtle elements (Tanmatras), Manas and Buddhi and Chitta and Ahamkara, five organs of knowledge. five organs of action and five gross and manifested elements is accepted by the Vedanta. adding there- to not only Purusha or Jiva but also God about whom the Sankhya philosophy is silent. In relation to the three Gunas (Rajas, Satva and Tamas), God assumes the forms of Brahma, Vishnu and Siva (creator, preserver and destroyer), their Goddess consorts being Sarasvati, Lakshmi and Uma. The Kena Upanishad describes. Uma as the revealer of Brahman. The creator creates Prajapatis and Manus to aid Him in the creation. In this way Gods, demons, men, beasts and birds, etc., come into existence.

 

So long as the unity of soul and God is not realised, the soul is in a state of nescience.

 

ज्ञाज्ञौ द्वावजावीशानीशौ

(God, soul are the one wise and the other igno- rant, the one free and the other bound. But, both are immortal.)

 

The embodied soul takes renewed embodiments as the result of Karma by taking the elements of embodiment from Nature in accordance with the Law of Karma.

 

वासांसि जीर्णानि यथा विहाय नवानि गृह्णाति नरोऽपराणि

तथा शरीराणि विहाय जीर्णान्यन्यानि संयाति नवानि देही

ममैवांशो जीवलोके जीवभूतः सनातनः

मनः षष्ठानीन्द्रियाणि प्रकृतिस्थानि कर्षति

शरीरं यदवाप्नोति यच्चाप्युत्क्रामतीश्वरः

गृहीत्वैतानि संयाति वायुर्गन्धा निवाशयात्

 

thus: The embodied states are classified (1) Udbhijjah (born by fission as in plants), (2) Svedajah (born of exudation), (3) Andajah (born from eggs, and (4) Jarayujah (born from wombs). Thus the soul, though an aspect of God, goes from birth to death, and death to birth. But when it knows and realises its real nature, it attains free-dom, liberation, immortality and eternal bliss.

 

The scriptures refer the three Sareeras (Sthoola, Sukshma and Karana) or the five Kosas or sheaths (Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya) of the soul. The Karana Sareera is the same as Anandamaya Kosa. In it the obscuration of Brahman is slight. The Sookshma Sareera is the same as the Pranamaya Kosa, Manomaya Kosa and Vijnanamaya Kosa. In it the obscuration is denser. The Sthoola Sareera corresponds to the Annamaya Kosa, i.e., the dense physical body. The indweller in these bodies or sheaths is called the Jivatma (individual soul). The soul is called Viswa when functioning in the gross body (Sthoola Sareera), Taijasa while functioning in the subtle body (Sukshma Sareera), and Prajna while functioning in the Karana Sareera (subtlest body).

 

Various Sruthi passages call the Jiva (soul) as an Amsa (part or aspect) of God as pointed out above. But various other passages describe it as being one with God in a state of identity. The Mahavakyas referred to above and the statement-

 

योसावत्तौ पुरुषः सोऽहमस्मि

in Isavasya Upanishad cannot be explained away. The Gita says:

 

श्रहमात्मा गुडाकेश सर्वभूताशयस्थितः

क्षेत्रज्ञं चापि मां विद्धि सर्वक्षेत्रेषु भारत

 

The sutra

 

आत्मेति तपगान्त प्रोहयन्ति च

 

(Brahma Sutras IV, 3) clearly affirms the identity of the soul and Brahman.

 

The bewildering problem is, how can the soul be part or aspect (Amsa or Prakara) of Brahman and yet be identical with it? It is not sensible to expain away Tat-twam-asi as Atattwam-asi. Nor is it enough to say that the soul and God are one as body and soul are one. That is a kind of unity and not identity. Nor is it enough to say that they are separate but the soul merges into the Oversoul as the river merges into the sea. That is merger, not identity. The realisable identity spoken of in clear language in the above-said sources is a present identity and not an identity to be manufactured hereafter. In the latter case, the logical criticism that what is created in time will end in time and that the eternal must be eternal always, will arise.

 

It seems to me that the difference and non-difference of Jiva (soul) and Brahman (Oversoul) is due to the presence or absence of embodiment. When Brahman created the world and took for itself a portion of the same as body by becoming innumerable souls to experience diversity, the very fact of embodiment obscures the ever-existing identity. Even when the evolved universe is dissolved in Pralaya by a process of retracted involution, the infinite number of souls functioning in subtle bodies at the time of Pralaya continue to exist along with the infinitely subtle primordial matter which exists in Brahman or Iswara (for both are one). When the Oversoul which by its own will created the universe and entered embodiment as soul (Jiva) dissolves the recurring but perishable embodiments due to Karma with the help of the Godward Sadhanas leading to the attainment of liberation by God's grace, the soul can either go to Paradise and attain infinite eternal bliss there by functioning in an Aprakrita or Suddha Sattva or eternal body and enjoy Salokya, Sameepya, Saroopya and Sayujya or can realise the ever-existing eternal identity of Brahman and Jiva by the merger of the embodiment in toto in the cause, viz., Brahman in Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Brahma Sakshatkara or Kaivalya attained by Jnana which is consummated by God's grace. I see nothing illogical or unacceptable in affirming two types of beatitude. Vidyaranya says in Panchadasi, that the reality of the soul is clear because in the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep there is a continuity of consciousness-

 

नोदेति नास्तमेत्येका संविदेषा स्वयंप्रभा

 

that the identity of the soul and Oversoul in the Tureeya (fourth) state in Nirvikalpa Samadhi is a fact of consciousness and cannot be denied or contradicted by texts or arguments, that if you separate the world which is the body of God from God who is its soul and meditate on the Absolute without name and form,, and if you separate the Jiva from its triple bodies (Sareera-traya) or five sheaths (Pancha-kosas) the residury experience is an experience of absolute unity and identity, that such an experience is one of eternal infinite supreme bliss, and that till we attain it, we, standing in the plane of limited embodied experience, are afraid that that will lead to self-extinction. He gives the example of a person plunged into an ocean of nectar and struggling to get out lest he should get suffocated and die there!

 

समष्टिरीशः सर्वेषां स्वात्मतादात्म्यवेदनात्

तद‌भावात्ततोऽन्ये तु कथ्यन्ते व्यष्टिसंज्ञया

यदा मलिनसत्वां तां कामकर्मादिदूषिताम्

आदत्ते तत्परं ब्रह्म त्वंपदेन तदोच्यते

अन्वयव्यतिरेकाभ्यां पञ्चकोशविवेकतः

स्वात्मानं तत उद्धृत्य परं ब्रह्म प्रपद्यते

यथा मुञ्जादिषीकैवमात्मा युक्त्यां समुद्धतः

शरीरत्रितयाद्धीरैः परं ब्रह्म व जायते

परापरात्मनोरेवं युक्त्या संभावितैकता

तत्त्वमस्यदिवाक्यैः सा भागत्यागेन लक्ष्यते ।।

जगतो यदुपादानं मायामादाय तामसीम्

निमित्तं शुद्धसत्त्वां तामुच्यते ब्रह्म तद्गिरा

मग्नस्याब्धौ यथाक्षाणि विह्वलानि तथास्य धीः

अखण्डैकरसं श्रुत्वा निःप्रचारा बिभेत्यतः

गौडाचार्या निर्विकल्पे समाधावन्ययोगिनाम्

साकारब्रह्मनिष्ठानामत्यन्तं भयमूचिरे

अस्पर्शयोगो नामैष दुदर्शः सर्वयोगिभिः

योगिनो विभ्यति ह्यस्मादभये भयदर्शिनः

 

When the supreme experience of identity in Nirvikilpa Samadhi is tasted and enjoyed and becomes, continuous, the joy is indescribable, infinite, eternal and supreme. In the Vidyananda chapter (XIV) Vidyaranya describes the soul as crying out:

 

अहो पुण्यमहो पुण्यं फलितं फलितं दृढम्

अस्य पुण्यस्य संपत्तेरहो वयमहो वयम्

अहो शास्त्रमहो शास्त्रमहो गुरुरहो गुरुः

अहो ज्ञानमहो ज्ञानमहो सुखमहो सुखम्

 

In the Gita, Sri Krishna says:

 

प्रशान्तमनसं ह्यनं योगिनं सुखमुत्तमम्

उपैति शान्तरजसं ब्रह्मभूतमकल्मषम्

युञ्जन्न वं सदात्मानं योगी विगतकल्मषः

सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते

कुलं पवित्रं जननी कृतार्था वसुन्धरा पुण्यवती च येन अपारसंवित्सुखसागरेऽस्मिन् लीनं परे ब्रह्मणि। यस्य चेतः

 

In the justly famous last verse in Bhartrihari, he says:

 

"Mother earth! Father air! Friend fire! Relative water! Brother sky! This is my farewell bow to you. Owing to my contact with you and the consequent radiant pure Jnana which has destroyed Moha or limited vision, I now merge in Brahman."

 

मातर्मेदिनि तात मारुत सखे तेजः सुबन्धो जल

भ्रातर्योम निबद्धएव भवतामन्त्यः प्रणामाञ्जलिः युष्मत्संगवशोपजातसुकृतस्फारस्फुरन्निर्मल-

ज्ञानापास्तसमस्तमोह महिमा लीये परब्रह्मणि

 

Let us not forget that this mystic realisation is universal and is not peculiar to India. The mystics of the universe have at all times borne testimony to this experience. Plotinus had it; Spinoza and Schopenhauer had it; Bradley and Bosanquet affirm it. I shall quote here only what Tennyson says:

 

"For more than once when I

Sat all alone, revolving in myself

The word that is the symbol of myself,

The mortal limit of the Self was loosed,

And past into the Nameless, as a cloud

Melts into Heaven. I touched my limbs,

the limbs

Were strange not mine-and yet no shade

of doubt,

But utter clearness, and through loss of self

The gain of such life as matched with ours

Were sun to spark unshadowable in words,

Themselves but shadows of a shadow-world."

The Ancient Sage

 

Tennyson stated this unique experience in ordinary words thus:

 

"Out of the intensity of the consciousness of individuality, individuality itself seemed to dissolve and fade away into boundless being, and this is not a confused state but the clearest of the clearest, the surest of the surest, the weirdest of the weirdest, utterly beyond words, where death was an almost laughable impossibility, the loss of personality (if so it were), seeming no extinction but the only true life."

 

Vidyaranya and Tennyson have spoken in identical language. Truly is it said: "The mortals speak many tongues; but the immortals speak but one."

 

 

3. MAYA, KARMA, AND SAMSARA

 

The word Maya is one of the most puzzling words in human language. In fact the Maya which has gathered around the word Maya is the most bewildering of all human confusions. Swami Vivekananda has said well: "But the Maya of Vedanta, in its last developed form, is neither Idealism nor Realism, neither is it theory. It is a simple statement of facts, what we are and what we see all around us." We feel in our inmost nature the existence of God and we feel also that He is the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the universe. We naturally ask the question, How, if He alone existed, exists and will exist for ever, did all this infinite multitude of finite objects, subject to the law of birth and death, come into existence? Has God Himself become all this? Or, did He create all this out of nothing by His inscrutable mysterious magical power? Or, is there a matrix of Matter which has become all this infinite variety? If so, did it do so of its own accord or because of His will and command, and urge and energising? Is it independent of Him or does it exist in Him as a submissive and obedient power different from Him? Or, is it only His Shakti, or the dynamic aspect of His static being? Or, do Chit and Achit form His body which at one stage is subtle (Sookshma) and becomes at another stage gross and manifest (Sthoola) by His Sankalpa (will)?

 

In the Rig Veda the word Maya means occult power:

 

इन्द्रो मायाभिः पुरुरूपमीयते ।।

Indra takes many forms by His Maya.

 

The word Maya indicates also the power of creating an illusion, as in the case of the demon Sambara. It is this dual meaning of the word that led to the later divergences in Hindu philosophy when the philosophic systems were formulated. The Svetas- vatara Upanishad refers—

 

देवात्मशक्तिं स्वगुणौनिगूढां

 

The Shakti Upanishads stress the Shakti aspect of Brahman. On the whole the word Shakti is free from the diverse, divergent and even mutually destructive associations of ideas connected with Prakriti, Avidya and Maya. The Shakti concept is elaborated in the Shakti Upanishads, the Srimad Bhagavata Purana, the Devi Bhagavata Purana, the Agamas, etc.

 

The questions posed above clearly show to us the magnitude and difficulty of the world-problem. If we posit Brahman as something beyond space and time, and beyond the dualism of Subject-Object Consciousness, it would stand above the plane of reason, and hence philosophy must stand aside in awe and ignorance. Hence the Adwaitic solution is that the realisation of Brahman negates the world-idea and that the perception of the world negates the Brahman realisation. To take the familiar illustration of the rope and the snake (Rajju-sarpa Nyaya) the rope alone is there and the snake is merely a superimposition thereupon by our hallucination. The analogies of mother-of-pearl (Shukti) and silver (Rajata) and one moon appear-ing as many owing to eye-disease are other analogies. The fact is that in such a matter we become the slaves of analogies and ilustrations as there is no other way of handling the problem. If we take another analogy, viz., clay and pot, gold and ornament, water and ice, spider and web, pupa and butterfly, etc., the intangibilities of the world-problem become tangible in a particular way. If we take the analogy of a mirage where water appears in a desert owing to an optical illusion we get a certain philosophic attitude towards the reality or unreality of the universe. If we take the analogy of a magician (Mayavi) who performs the rope trick and makes us see a rope go up vertically and a man ascend it and stand on its top and disappear, there being no accessories for his trick but himself, we get another philosophic attitude towards the universe.

 

Thus each system of thought (Adwaita or Visishtadwaita or Dwaita, or any other religious system or Hindu system) handles one or another of such analogies. The Upanishads themselves are a treasury of such analogies. The Mundaka Upanishad to which I have referred above, gives the analogies of spider and web, herbs growing out of the earth, and hair growing automatically, on living body. a

 

यथोर्णनाभिः सृजते गृद्धते च

यथा पृथिव्यामोषधयः संभवन्ति

यथा सतः पुरुषात् केशलोमानि

तथाक्षरात् संभवतीह विश्वम्

 

The Upanishad then says that Brahman becomes magnified by its own will:

 

तपसा चीयते ब्रह्म ततोऽन्नमभिजायते

अन्नात् प्राणो मनः सत्यं लोकाः कर्मसु चामृतम्

 

The Svetasvatara Upanishad speaks of God's Shakti hidden in and by its Gunas (aspects or qualities):

 

देवात्मशक्ति स्वगुणैर्निगूढ़ां

 

It refers also to the Aja (she-goat or birthless Maya) which creates many offspring similar to itself while the Aja (He-goat or God) is by her after creative enjoyment. It says also that Maya is Prakriti and that Meheswara is the Mayi (possessor of Maya).

 

मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं तु महेश्वरम्

 

Other Upanishads give us the analogies of clay and pot (Mrittiketyeva Satyam).

 

We have thus a bewildering variety of analogies, illustrations and reasonings. In the world of scientific investigation of limited objects in their relation of cause and effect, these techniques are useful and yield correct results which are verifiable by various tests. But in the case of the origin of the world itself these techniques are only illustrative and are not verifiable and cannot be called proofs. Everything depends upon our correct choice of the illustrations, the authority for such choice, and our deductions by correct reasoning from such premises. Sri Sankara says that if we accept anything without careful, complete and proper enquiry, we will not only fail to reach the proper conclusion as our goal, but may have to face disastrous consequences:

 

तत्राविचार्थ यत्किञ्चित् प्रतिपद्यमानो निःश्रेयसात्

प्रतिहन्येत अनर्थ चेयात् ।।

 

Brahma Sutra Bhashya, I, 1, 1

 

Coming now to Parinama (evolutionary change) and Vivarta (apparent change), we must remember that Parinama imports passing into a totally new state or condition. This idea conflicts with the Upanishadic view of the infiniteness and immutability of Brahman. If Parinama means pantheism and implies that God has finally and wholly become the world and thus emptied and exhausted Himself, we cannot accept it. Brahman is Pure Spirit and the world is Pure Matter in a greater or lesser degree of subtlety and density or grossness. The soul who is ensheathed in matter can never get out of it at all. Parinama Vada will be inconsistent with Moksha.

 

On the other hand, the Vivarta Vada or subjective idealism attributed by some to Sri Sankara has got its own inherent weakness and difficulty. The theory that the world has only an apparent reality is a negation of our daily experience. The fact that the world changes or is ephemeral does not imply that it is unreal or a mere figment of the imagination. If Mava is God's Shakti, how can the world be unreal? If it is a mere illusion, how can it coexist in and with Brahman which is Eternal Reality and Consciousness and Bliss? How can illusion and Reality co-exist? Are they two or one? If they are two, how can there be Adwaita? If they are one, how can they be two?

 

It is quite inconsistent and self-contradictory to speak about the unreality of the world and yet describe God as the creator, preserver and destroyer of the world. Illusionism must be in Jiva or in Brahman. It cannot be in Brahman because exhypothesi it is totally antipodal to Brahman. It cannot be located in the Jiva, because the Jiva himself is the effect of Avidya or Maya. Sri Sankara, therefore, tries to find a via media by saying that Avidya or Maya is neither real nor unreal, that it is Bhava-rupa (of the nature of being) and is yet capable of stultification (Apavada destroying Adhyaropa or Adhyasa) in Moksha by Jnana. He propounds the doctrine of Anirvachaniya Khyati. This is subtle philosophy but the difficulty in it is that as there is only One being, there is no place in it for another entity at all to create any confusions of error.

 

It seems to me that the real meaning of Anirvachaneeya Khyati is that expounded by Swami Sivananda when he says: "The entire visible universe is the glorious Viratswaroopa, the cosmic form of the Supreme Lord. Nature in her unsullied state is the most glorious manifestation of the Almighty. Nature means Prakriti. Prakriti is the Divva Shakti of the Lord." (WORDS OF ANCIENT WISDOM, page 53). Sri Sankara postulates that the universe is neither the unchanging reality of God or a mere illusion but is a dependent changing reality. God Himself has become the world. So, the world cannot be and is not unreal. But it undergoes change. So, it cannot be Absolute Reality like God. This is the real meaning of Anirvachaneeya as Swami Sivananda understands Sankara and as I uunderstand Sankara. As Parinama means change and God is changeless, we cannot say that the universe is a Parinama of God. As Vivarta means that there is no change at all and there is only an illusory appearance of change, it cannot be reconciled with the view that God has actually become the universe while being immanent in it and transcending it, and being integrally Himself without any fragmentation. The Upanishad says:

 

श्रात्मानं स्वयमकुरुत

 

He made Himself the universe.

 

Then how can it be a mere illusion or hallucination? It seems to me that Anirvachaneeya Vada means only this and nothing more and is only Avikariparinama Vada.

 

In 'Aspects of Adwaita' which was written by my learned father and myself and published by Sri Vani Vilas Press, Srirangam, I have shown clearly the elements of realism and idealism in Sri Sankara's philosophy (pages 228 to 241). Reality is (1) Pratibhasika or apparent and illusory like the dream world; (2) Vyavaharika or phenomenal or practical like the world in our waking state; and (3) Paramarthika (noumenal or absolution).. The first is unreal; the second is real and finite, changing, dependent and transient; the third is changeless and eternal. Sri Sankara clearly and daringer proclaims that in the Vyavaharika reality of phenomenal perception, the object is a real and vital factor in perception. The material object is not a mere subjective projection upon a void. That was the Buddhist view which he combated throughout his life.

 

न तु वस्तुयाथात्म्यज्ञानं पुरुषबुद्धयपेत्तं

किं तर्हि वस्तुतन्त्रमेव तत्

Brahma Sutra Bhashya, I, 1, 2

 

अतो न पुरुषव्यापारतन्त्रा ब्रह्मविद्या

किं तर्हि प्रत्यक्षादिप्रमाणविषयवस्तुज्ञानवत्

वस्तुतन्त्राज्ञानं तु प्रमाणजन्यं ।

प्रमाणं च यथाभूतवस्तुविषयम्

अतो ज्ञानं कतु मकतु मन्यथा वा कतुमशक्यं ।

केवलं वस्तुतन्त्रमेव तत् न चोदनातन्त्रं नापि पुरुषतन्त्रम् ।।

Brahma Sutra Bhashya 1, 1, 4

 

Thus the world is as real as God though its reality is a finite changing transient dependent reality. The sum total of all the phenomenal realities is meant by the concept of Maya. The entire realm of phenomenal reality is stultified by the realisation of the Atman. In the state of Atma Sakshatkara we reach a state which is beyond the dichotomy of Subject and Object and is pure Satchidananda. But to others enmeshed in Avidya or Maya (nescience) the objectivity and externality of the world continues in an unabated measure. What is a higher degree of reality and what is a lower degree of reality? Sri Sankara declares that the causal reality is higher than the derivative reality. The famous example of Mrit-pinda (clod of clay) in the Chandogya Upanishad (VI, 1, 4) is well- known and illustrates the above truth. Pots are made of clay in different forms but they are all clay. Ornaments are made of gold in different forms but they are all gold. The Atman is one and only One and is the operative cause (Nimitta Karana) and the material cause (Upadana Karana) of the universe. I think that this is the real essence of Sri Sankara's Vivarta Vada, whatever be the Vivarta Vada of other Adwaitic thinkers.

 

In my book on SIVANANDA'S METAPHYSICS AND MESSAGE I have dealt with the concept of Maya in Sruthi, in the Gita and in Sri Sankara's works and showed how Maya is the dynamic power of God. The Svetasvatara Upanishad is explicit in this matter.

 

ते ध्यानयोगानुगता अपश्यन्

देवात्मशक्तिं स्वगुणैर्निगूढाम्

अजामेकां लोहितशुक्लकृष्णां

बईः प्रजाः सृजमानां सरूपाः

मायां तु प्रकृतिं विद्यान्मायिनं तु

महेश्वरं पराश्य शक्ति र्विविधैव

अयते स्वाभाविकी ज्ञानबलक्रिया च

 

Thus Maya belongs to the Mayi (God, the owner of Maya) and is His mysterious omnipotent power. The Gita refers to the divine power by using which He takes incarnations-

 

प्रकृतिं स्वामवष्टभ्य संभवाम्यात्ममायया

 

He refers in Chapter VII to the inanimate world as His Apara-prakriti (lower Prakriti) and the animate world as His Para-prakriti (higher Prakriti). He is above Prakriti out of whose Gunas the world has come. The Gunas are from Him but He is not involved in them and is above them (VII, 12, 14). Only devotion to Him will enable us to cross Maya (VII, 14). His Yoga May obscure Him from our eyes (VII, 24, 25). This is exactly what Sri Sankara tells us when he speaks about the Vikshepa Shakti of Maya by which God creates and projects the world and lets it evolve and the Avarana Shakti of Maya which conceals Him from the gaze of embodied beings. But the two-fold Shakti is His divine power (Parameswari Shakti) and is not separate from Him or independent power. It is not a mere dream or fiction or hallucination or non-existence, but it is His mysterious, inscrutable, eternal, supreme, omnipotent power.

 

Maya is not, therefore, an evil or a shadow or a blot or a blight upon the Atman but is God in a state of dynamism. The cause of creation of the universe is God's infinite power. The unuiverse is the manifestation of God. We should not mix up the concepts of Maya and evil. Evil is due to Karma and has nothing to do with Maya. The souls in their physical embodiments function through minds and minds have Anadi-vasanas (dateless good and evil tendencies) and are therefore centres of good and evil until the souls transcend both in God-communion and God-union.

 

The world is thus a manifestatioin of God and is non-separate (Ananya) from God. But it does not exhaust God, and God is immanent in it and also transcends it. It vanishes for the soul merged in unity in the Oversoul, but certainly exists for all others.

 

The world in its pre-Nama-rupa state of diversi- fication is Prakriti. It becomes Vikriti, i.e., diversified by manifestation and name and form. Sri Sankara says:

 

अव्यक्ता हि सा माया तत्त्वान्यत्व-

निरूपणस्याशक्यत्वात

जगतः प्रागवस्था हि परमेश्वराधीना

Brahma Sutra Bhashya, I, 4, 3

 

Prakriti is the causal seed and state of the universe (Pragavastha) and is dependent on God (Parames- waradheena). Nothing can be clearer than such a statement. This view is clearly and admirably summed up thus in Vidyaranya's Panchadasi:

 

अचिन्त्यशक्तिर्मायैषा ब्रह्मण्यव्याकृताभिधा अविक्रियब्रह्मनिष्ठा

 

Maya is thus the dynamism of Cod who is its Asraya or basis or substratum. It is the effulgence of God. That is why Sita says in the Ramayana:

 

अनन्या राघवेणाई भास्करस्य प्रभा यथा

 

I am non-different from Rama as the sun is non-different from the solar glory.

Rama Poorvatapini Upanishad says:

 

उत्पन्नः सीतया भाति चन्द्रश्वन्द्रिकया यथा

 

Rama is manifested with Sita as the moon with its effulgence.

 

Sri Sankara is at great pains to make us realise what is Asat or non-being.

 

असकृदिति व्याकृतनामरूपविशेषविपरीत-

मविकृतं ब्रह्म उच्यते न. हि असतः सज्जन्म अस्ति

Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashya, II, 7

 

Asat is therefore not absolute non-existence, whatever the Buddhists may think or say. In Asat the name-and-form condition was undeveloped and unmanifested (Sookshma-karana-roopa). But in the universe as we see it in its present state, the name- and-form state is developed and manifest (Sthoola-karya-roopa). Sankara's Bhashya on the Chandogya Upanishad where he says "as if Asat" (Asadiva). This idea is made clearer in Sri

 

तदसच्छब्दवाच्यं प्रागुत्पत्तेः

स्र्तािमतमनिस्पन्दमसदिव

सत्कार्याभिमुखं ईषदुपज्ञातप्रवृत्तिम्

Chandogya Bhashya II, 16, 1

 

सदासीत् । ततोऽपि लब्धपरिस्पन्दं तत् समभवत्

अंकुर्र भूतमिव बीजं । ततोऽपि क्रमेण स्थूलीभवत्

 

In the Katha Upanishad Bhashya, Sri Sankara says that this Maya condition is like the seed of the banyan tree-

 

वटकणिकायामिव वटवृक्षशक्तिः

 

Thus Maya is the dynamic divine power and proceeds in its dynamism from its undifferentiated state to its differentiated state. He says:

 

अव्याकृताख्यं तद्धि परमं व्योम

Taittiriya Upanishad Bhashya II, 1

 

That is why in the Gita Sri Krishna says that He is the seed of all beings.

 

बीजं मां सर्वभूतानां विद्धि पार्थ सनातनं

 

Sri Sankara affirms again and again that Maya is not non-being but is positive being (Svaroopavat- Brahma Sutra Bhashya, II, 2, 26. Brahman is unaffected by Maya though it is the substratum and the cause of the activity of Maya. He says that Maya is Parinami Nitya while Brahman is Kootastha Nitya (Brahma Sutra Bhashya I, 4, 7; I, 1, 4). This is why Swami Sivananda's view is of the essence of Sri Sankara's view and why I say that Anirvachaneeya Vada and Avikari-parinama Vada are identical.

 

Gurudev says clearly in his wonderful and highly spiritual preface to his work 'Sure Ways for Success in Life and God-realisation"-

 

"I fully believe in the theory of Maya of Sri Sankara, but I am not a Maya Vadin like the Vedantins of the old school who have misunderstood this

 

doctrine. I believe in the integral development of synthetic Yoga. I believe in the harmonious development of the head, heart and hand. The central teaching of the Gita is Self-realisation, in and through the world. The world is the best teacher and a silent Guru."

 

Thus the only way out of all the philosophical difficulties is through the Avikari-parinama Vada of the Agamas and the Shakta system, the germs of which exist in the Vedas. Brahman is Sat or static Shakti, and Shakti is dynamic Brahman. Both are in reality one like the coiled serpent and the moving serpent, or like acqueous vapour and rain. Brahman is Iswara in relation to the world, and Iswara in Himself is Brahman. The world is real and is not illusion. It is not a mere Parinama or transformation leading to the negation of its pre-universe condition. Brahman continues to be integral Brahman and yet has become the world and is immanent in it and transcends it. The soul is one with Brahman and can be in three bodies (Sthoola, Sookshma and Karana) equated to five Kosas or world-sheaths, viz., Annamaya, Pranamaya, Mano- maya, Vijnanamaya and Anandamaya sheaths. He can be in Samsara or attain paradise and be in a permanent form in an eternal world or shed all forms and be one with Brahman. I have already shown how the analogy of Akasa (ether) which becomes wind (Vayu) and yet continues to be Akasa (Gita, IX, 6) is the best analogy far better than all the other analogies put together. It is the best analogy to elucidate the Avikari-parinama Vada.

 

4. THE PROBLEM OF KHYATI (ERROR)

 

The investigation of the problem of Truth cannot become complete without the investigation of the problem of Error. Yoga Vasishta refers to four Khyatis, viz., Atma-khyati, Asat-khyati, Akhyati, and Anyathakhyati. Sri Sankara added Anirvachaneeya -khyati. Sri Ramanuja added Sat-khayti. Sri Swami Sivananda has elaborately described all the khyatis in his 'Essence of Vedanta' (pages 212 to 229).

 

Asatkhyati is the view of the Madhyamika or Nihilistic school of Buddhism. It says that the silver (Rajatha) seen in the place of Shukti (nacre or mother-of-pearl) is unreal. Atma-khyati is the view of the Vijnana-vadi school of Buddhism which says that reality is only a momentary subjective cognition which is externalised or imposed as being outside. Both these views overdo the element of unreality and negate the element of reality. They do not postulate God or soul or universe and there is no substance in talking about the superimposition of one non-existence on another. Anyatha-khyati is affirmed by the Bhatta school of Mimamsa and the Nyaya systems. It says that the one real is apprehended as another real and that Shukti (nacre) is apprehended as Rajata (silver) and that the silver is elsewhere and that a defect in the eyes leads to the superimposition of such silver on the nacre. But what we feel is an act of experience of silver and not an act of memory of silver. In Satkhyati of Sri Ramanuja there is an aspect of Akhyati and it holds that all things are real and that when silver is seen in nacre this happens because there is some silver present there as every thing present in all things. But if silver is there, how could it be sublated? Would the silver melt if thrown into fire? Can it be said that because the rope appears as a snake, a snake is really there? I have discussed the Anirvachaneeya theory. This Khyati does not explain the appearance and can hardly be regarded as an explanation.

 

The fact is that there is nothing sacrosanct about the Khyati-Vada (theory of error). It is only a recent philosophic theorising about Truth and Error. The problem of Truth and Error depends for its solution on the presence of all the factors needed for correct cognition and on the absence of some or all of such factors. When all the factors of correct cognition are in full and harmonious and co-operative action, reality is fully apprehended; and when any or all of these factors are wanting, errors of varying degrees are inevitable. For instance, if there is twilight or darkness or if there is a defect in the eyes, the rope will be seen as a serpent till the effect is removed. If there is full daylight and if there is no defect in the eyes and if there is the confirmatory experience of many persons without defective eye-sight, there will be no error at all. The real nature of the world and its dependence on God are realised and revealed by mer of clear inner vision, and we can realise this ourselves by purgated inner vision without which there will be some distortion of view. God has become the world; the world is His manifestation; He is immanent in it and transcends it. He is its ruler and Lord. It is not an illusion or hallucination but has a transient changing dependent reality. Therefore, the proper Khyati is Apurna-khyati or Asamyagdarsana-khyati. Purna Samyag-darsana (full and

clear vision) will present the full Truth. Imperfect and misty vision will present an erroneous comprehension of Truth. Full and clear vision alone can present the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth. So long as we see the Infinite Eternal Reality only as various finite disconnected aspects of Reality, there is a possibility of error due to the fragmentation of experience and to the existence of external co-efficients of error like defective vision. Thus if there is the experience of the Poorna, i.e., the Full Perfection of Reality and if there is a correct experience (Samyag-darsana) due to the absence of deflecting factors, there will be no error at all. From the mere intrusion of error we cannot infer or postulate the unreality of the world. Nor will the reality of the world in any way affect the presence and integrality of Brahman.

It seems to me that Apurna-khyati or Asamyagdarsana-khyati is the only solution of the problem of error and that the Avikari-parinama Vada (which, in my opinion, is identical with a correct formulation of Anirvachaneya Vada) is the only solution of the problem of the reality of the universe and its relation to the unbreakable integrality of Brahman (God) as Akhanda Ananta Paripoorna Satchidananda (Integral Infinite Fullness of Self-Conscious Bliss).

 

5. KARMA AND SAMSARA

 

Karma leads to birth and birth leads to Karma. This nexus is called Samsara. This Law of Cause and Effect obtains as an eternal law in the moral world, just as there is an unvarying law (Rita) in the natural world. It is the ignorance of the real nature of the soul as being divine that leads to desire which leads to action which leads to em- bodiment for the purpose of enjoying the fruits of Karma. Embodiment implies birth, and birth leads to death, and death leads to another birth and so on. Only by the realisation of God and the true nature of the soul can we break the chain of Samsara and attain liberation or salvation or beatitude.

 

सर्धजीवे सर्वसंस्थे बृहन्ते तस्मिन् हंसो भ्राम्यते ब्रह्मचक्र

पृथगात्मानं प्रेरितारं च मत्वा जुष्टस्ततस्तेनामृतत्वमेति

Svetasvatara Upanishad I, 1, 6

 

In this divinely ordained wheel of birth and death, wherein all the souls are fixed, the souls wander, regarding themselves as different from God. Once the soul is united to God, it attains liberation and immortality and eternal bliss.

 

The Law of Karma is clearly laid down in Katha Upanishad:

 

सस्यमित्र मर्त्यः पच्यते सस्यमिवाजायते पुनः

In the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

 

तं विद्याकर्मणि समान्वारभेते पूर्व प्रज्ञा च

in the Gita XV, 7 to 10, etc

 

Thus the nexus of Avidya, Kama and Karma is a powerful but breakable nexus. Ignorance of our real nature, desire and action are linked together.

 

काममय एवायं पुरुप इति स यथाकामो भवति तत्क्रन्भवति यत्क्रतुर्भवति तत्कर्म कुरुने यत्कर्म कुरुते तदभिसंपद्यते

 

Man is what his desire is; as is his desire so is his thought; as is his thought so is his action; as is his action so is his attainment.. Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV, 4, 5.

 

अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते

Unattached to God and impelled by desire and attached to the fruit of action he is bound. Gita, V. 12.

 

Karma is of three kinds, i.e., (1) Prarabdha, i.e., done in past lives and fructified in this birth; (2) Sanchita, i.e., done in past lives and to fructify hereafter; and (3) Agami, i.e., to be done hereafter. Of these Prarabdha Karma must be worked out. But the others can be destroyed by our knowledge of God, leading to His grace. Karma is, of two kinds: (1) meritorious or Punva, (2) evil and sinful or Papa. High Punva leads to Swarga (heaven): great sins lead to Naraka (hell); and a mixture of Punya and Papa leads to terrestrial life.

 

उभाभ्यां मनुष्यलोकः

 

But past Karma by itself, though it is ripe for giving fruits, needs some present activity for it to operate effectively. Vainavalkva says in his Smriti that as a chariot cannot move on one wheel, destiny cannot operate until human action opens the door for it. The same truth is clearly enunciated in Yoga Vasishta also. Further, the doctrine of Karma is in no way opposed to the doctrine of Purushakara (dynamic effort) or present action to counteract its efforts. Thus it is not fatalism. It does not destroy the sense of personal responsibility or the need for personal endeavour. Further, the Atman being free in its nature, spiritual activity with the objective of Self-realisation can break the fetters of Karma.

 

Even though the law of Karma is rigid, it can be modified by prayers, vows and sacrifices resulting in God's grace. In cases of peerless devotion and merit, as in the case of Markandeya and Savitri, the law may be even annulled by grace. Markandeya who was destined to die in his sixteenth year according to the law of Karma was saved from death by God. Savitri, by her chastity and devotion, rescued the life of her husband Satyavan. But such rare exceptions prove the rule. We must not lull and deceive ourselves into the fatuous belief that any petty prayer of ours can set at naught the law of Karma. There is the power of infinite freedom in the soul to break the fetters of Karma, but knowledge, love and realisation of God must be attained to annul the bondage of Karma. The Hindu doctrine of Karma is not fatalism or nemesis or kismet, as Karma is of our own making and the instrument of liberation can be taken up by us to break the nexus of Karma by realising and attaining God.

 

CHAPTER 11

SADHANAS IN PURNA ADWAITA MEANS OF GOD-REALISATION

 

1. INTRODUCTION

 

I have discussed above that combination of aims, rituals and virtues which alone will make life worth living as human life as distinguished from the mere existence of the subhuman species. A man must constantly discipline and purify his body, speech and mind, and live in relations of love towards all creatures. But such a life of combined ritual and ethics is not an end in itself. It fits a human being for practising those Godward Sadhanas (Yogas) by which alone he can hope to attain the summum bonum of life, i.e., union (Yoga) with God. Yoga thus signifies both means (Upaya) and Goal (Upeya), though the primary meaning is the means of such union.

 

Whichever means (Sadhana) or whichever combination of two or more Sadhanas or all the Sadhanas is pursued, one acid test must be used to test its sincerity and efficacy. It must combine ethical purity and universal Prema or love and devotion to God. In the Gita the Sthithaprajna in chapter II, the Karma Yogi in chapters III, IV, and V, the Dhyana Yogi in chapter VI, the Bhakti Yogi in chapter XII, the Jnana Yogi in chapter XIII, the Gunatheetha in chapter XIV, the man of Daivisampath in chapter XVI, the man of pure Sattva Guna in chapter XVII, and the combination of all these in chapter XVIII are described as being equal and alike. We must remember also that Lord Jesus asks us to combine the heart of a child and the head of a sage and says: "Suffer little children to come to me, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven."

 

Before the battle of Sadhanas (means of salvation and liberation), i.e., Jnana, Dhyana, Bhakti, Prapatti, Karma, Jnana-karma-samuchhaya, etc., began and before the battle as to whether each is an independent Sadhana or whether any is principal and any is secondary and ancillary (Angi-sadhana and Anga-sadhana) developed, the doctrine seems to have been that any Sadhana by itself or along with any other or others would lead to the desired result, viz., cessation from Samsara (the cycle of birth and death) and attainment of eternal, infinite, supreme, spiritual bliss. It was only later that individual teachers sought to exalt one of the Sadhanas over all the others.

 

2. KARMA YOGA

 

One of the Sadhanas (disciplines) leading to liberation through God-realisation is Karma Yoga. Sri Krishna does not make it a mere means to a further means as some later interpreters of the Gita have done. He says in chapter XIII of the Gita:

 

ध्यानेनात्मनि पश्यन्ति केचिदात्मानमात्मना

ज्ञानयोगेन चाप्यन्ये कर्मयोगेन चापरे

अन्ये त्वेवमजानन्तो श्रुत्वान्येभ्य उपासते

तेऽपि चातितरन्त्येव मृत्यु श्रतिपरायणाः

 

Some by meditation behold the Self in the self by the self; others by the Yoga of knowledge (by Sankhya Yoga); and others by Karma Yoga.-24-25 Other verses in the Gita clearly say that Karma Yoga leads to Moksha:

 

कर्मजं बुद्धियुक्ता हि फलं त्यक्त्वा मनीषिणः

जन्मबन्धविनिमुक्ताः पदं गच्छन्त्यनामयम्

 

The wise, possessed of knowledge, having abandoned the fruits of their actions, and freed from the fetters of birth, go to the place which is beyond all evil.-II, 51

 

यज्ञार्थकर्मणोऽन्यत्र लोकोऽयं कर्मबन्धनः

तदर्थं कर्म कौन्तेय मुक्तसंगः समाचर

 

The world is bound by action other than those performed for the sake of sacrifice; do thou, therefore, O son of Kunthi, perform action for that sake (for Yajna alone) free from attachment. III, 9

 

कर्मणैव हि संसिद्धिमास्थिता जनकादयः

लोकसंग्रहमेवापि संपश्यन् कतुमर्हसि

 

Janaka and others attained perfection verily by action only; even with a view to the protection of the masses thou shouldst perform action. III, 20

 

श्रयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासात् ज्ञानाद् ध्यानं विशिष्यते

ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम्

 

Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation renunciation of the fruits of action; peace immediatelly follows renunciation. XII, 12

 

This view is clearly and powerfully enforced in the Bhagavad Gita which is an epitome and summation of the Upanishads. Sri Sankaracharya says well:

 

तदिदं गीताशास्त्रं समस्तवेदार्थसारसंग्रहभूतं

 

The Gita is a compendium of all the essential teachings of the Vedas.

 

The Upanishadic teachings are scattered all over the texts in a multiform and bewildering manner and we must be thankful that they have all been synthesised and unified by the divine mind of Sri Krishna. His gospel is a gospel for all beings at all times in all places. It harmonises ethics, mysticism and philosophy. It describes the cosmic tree as having its roots above and its branches below and shows how animate beings and inanimate objects in the universe are two aspects (Prakritis) of God. It is attachment which causes transmigration of souls from birth to death and from death to birth in a never-ending chain. By detachment, dispassion and devotion we can reverse this current of life. Then the Vidya Shakti of God will come to our aid and enable us to win release from His Maya Shakti.

 

त्यक्त्वा कर्मफलासंगं नित्यतृप्तो निराश्रयः

कर्मण्यभिप्रवृत्तोऽपि नैव किंचित् करोति सः

 

Having abandoned attachment to the fruits of action, ever content, depending on nothing, he does not do anything, though engaged in actions. IV, 20 sanskrit

 

गतसंगस्य मुक्तस्य ज्ञानावस्थितचेतसः

यज्ञायाचरतः कर्म समग्र प्रविलीयते

 

Of one who is devoid of attachment, who is liberated, whose mind is established in knowledge, who acts for the sake of sacrifice, the whole action is dissolved. IV, 23.

 

ज्ञेयः स नित्यसंन्यासी यो न द्वेष्टि न कांक्षति

निर्द्वन्द्वो हि महाबाहो सुखं बन्धात् प्रमुच्यते

सांख्ययोगौ पृथग्वालाः प्रवदन्ति न पण्डिताः

एकमप्यास्थितः सम्यगुभयोर्विन्दते फलम्

यत् सांख्यैः प्राप्यते स्थानं तद्योगैरपि गम्यते

एकं सांख्यं च योगं च यः पश्यति स पश्यति

 

He should be known as a perpetual Sanyasi who neither hates nor desires; for, free from the pairs of opposites, Oh Mighty-armed!, he is easily set free from bondage. Children, not the wise, speak of Sankhya (knowledge) and Yoga (Yoga of action or performance of action) as distinct; he who is truly established in one obtains the fruits of both. That place which is reached by the Sankhyas (Inanins) is reached by Yogis (Karma Yogins). He sees, who sees Sankhya and Yoga are one. V, 3 to 5

 

योगयुक्तो विशुद्धात्मा विजितात्मा जितेन्द्रियः

सर्वभूतात्मभूतात्मा कुर्वन्नपि न लिप्यते

 

He who is devoted to the path of action, whose mind is quite pure, who has conquered the self, who has subdued his senses, who realises the Self as the Self of all beings, though acting, is not tainted.-V.

 

ब्रह्मण्याधाय कर्माणि संगं त्यक्त्वा करोति यः

लिप्यते न स पापेन पद्मपत्रमिवांभसा

 

He who does actions, offering them to Brahman, abandoning attachment is not tainted by sin as a lotus leaf by water. V, 10

 

मुक्तः कर्मफलं त्यक्त्वा शान्तिमाप्नोति नैष्ठिकीम

अयुक्तः कामकारेण फले सक्तो निबध्यते

 

The united one (the well-poised or the harmonised) having abandoned the fruit of action attains to the eternal peace; the non-united only (the unsteady or the unbalanced) impelled by desire, attached to the fruit, is bound.-V, 12

 

यं संन्यासमिति प्राहुर्योगं तं विद्धि पाण्डव

नह्यसंन्यस्तसंकल्पो योगी भवति कश्चन

 

Do thou, Oh Pandava, know Yoga to be that which they call renunciation; no one verily becomes a Yogi who has not renounced thoughts.-VI, 2

 

श्रेयो हि ज्ञानमभ्यासात् ज्ञानाद्ध्यानं विशिष्यते

ध्यानात् कर्मफलत्यागस्त्यागाच्छान्तिरनन्तरम्

 

Better indeed is knowledge than practice; than knowledge meditation is better; than meditation renunciation of the fruits of action; peace immediately follows renunciation. XII, 12

 

नियतस्य तु संन्यासः कर्मणो नोपपद्यते

 

Verily the renunciation of obligatory actions is not proper; the abandonment of the same from delusion is declared to be Tamasic. XVIII, 7

 

सहजं कर्म कौन्तेय सदोषमपि न त्यजेत्

 

One should not abandon, Oh Kauntheya, the duty to which one is born, though faulty; for, all undertakings are enveloped by evil, as fire by smoke. XVIII, 48

 

सर्वकर्माण्यपि सदा कुर्वाणो मद्व्यपाश्रयः

मत्प्रसादादवाप्नोति शाश्वतं पदद्मव्ययम्

 

Doing all actions always, taking refuge in Me, by My grace he obtains eternal, indestructible state or abode. XVIII, 56

 

Though Pravritti Dharma and Nivritti Dharma are diverse and separate, yet by the element of Nishkama Karma, Pravritti Dharma becomes the equal of Nivritti Dharma. Both curb and suppress and finally sublimate egoism to divinism and substitute the self by the Self. Nishkama Karma is the fusion point of activity and asceticism.

 

The importance of Karma Yoga lies in the word Yoga rather than in the word Karma. Ordinary Karma (action) generates Vasanas and results, and is a source of bondage and transmigration. But in Karma Yoga, Yoga introduces into Karma new elements which convert Kama, the means of bondage, into Karma, the means of liberation. That is why Yoga is called skill in action (Yogah Karmasu Kausalam-II, 50). Karma Yoga implies that action is done in a spirit of surrender of the fruits of actions to the Lord, with a conviction that it is our duty to carry out the commandments of the Lord irrespective of results, with the desire of achieving Loka-samgraha (world-welfare and world unity), and in a spirit of dedication to God (Sri Krishna Arpanam Astu). Sri Krishna calls this world as transient and unhappy-

 

दुःखालयमशाश्वतं अनित्यमसुखं लोकं

 

Yet this world becomes a means of immortality and bliss if we live lives of desirelessness, dispassion, devotion and dedication. We must do our obligatory duties in life as our Swadharma and out of a spirit of dedication to Loka-samgraha (world-welfare) and Iswara Anugraha (divine grace).

 

स्वे स्वे कर्मण्यभिरतः संसिद्धिं लभते नरः

 

Devoted to one's own duty, man attains perfection.. Gita, XVIII, 45

 

स्वकर्मणा तमभ्यर्च्य सिद्धिं विन्दति मानवः

 

Worshipping Him by doing one's duty, a man attains perfection. XVIII, 46

 

Thus in this type of Karma Yoga we have elements of Karma, Dhyana, Bhakti, and Jnana, Karma ie., obligatory action done in a spirit of duty, dispassion and devotion being the preponderant element. The Lord intensifies his concentration, devotion and knowledge and gives him liberation here and now, while getting action done by him for the welfare and upliftment of the world.

 

Thus what binds us is not the world created by God, but our Sanga or Asakti (attachment) through Vasanas. If we enjoy the things given to us by God, in a spirit of contentment and humility, if we offer them to Him as Sri Krishna Arpana, if we do not hanker after the fruits, if we do our duty as an act of obedience to God, action (Karma) will not be a means of bondage but will be a means of liberation. We must seek the Purna (full) and Infinite (Bhuma) bliss of God, and not the finite, fragmented bliss of finite thiings. But these will not bind us. Bondage is due to egoism, possessiveness and attachment (Sanga). Nishkama Karma is a liberator of the soul.

 

3. DHYANA YOGA

 

Dhyana or meditative introspection which leads to the merger or union of the soul and the Over-soul is described in great detail in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and in chapter VI of the Bhagavad Gita. While Iswara Pranidhana (fixation of the mind on Iswara or God) is one of the Yoga Sadhanas, Sri Krishna exalts such Yogi as the Yuktatama (highest Yogi):

 

योगिनामपि सर्वेषां मद्गतेनान्तरात्मना

श्रद्धावान् भजते यो मां स मे युक्ततमो मतः

 

Such Yoga leads to the highest bliss of the highest realisation:

 

बाह्यस्पर्शेष्वसक्तात्मा विन्दत्यात्मनि यत् सुखम्

स ब्रह्मयोगयुक्तात्मा सुखमक्षयमश्नुते

योन्तस्सुखोऽन्तरारामस्तथान्तज्योतिरेव यः

स योगी ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं ब्रह्मभूतोधिगच्छति ॥

यत्रोपरमते चित्तं निरुद्धं योगसेवया

यत्र चैवात्मनात्मानं पश्यन्नास्मनि तुष्यति

सुखमात्यन्तिकं यत्तत् बुद्धिग्राह्यमतीन्द्रियम्

वेत्ति यत्र न चैवायं स्थितश्चलति तत्त्वतः

यं लब्ध्वा चापरं लाभं मन्यते नाधिकं ततः

यस्मिन् स्थितो न दुःखेन गुरुणापि विचाल्यते

तं विद्याद् दुःख 'योगवियोगं योगसंज्ञितम्

सुखेन ब्रह्मसंस्पर्शमत्यन्तं सुखमश्नुते

 

Dhyana Yoga is of four kinds: Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Raja Yoga. They are described in even the earliest works of Sri Swami Sivananda such as 'Yoga in Daily Life' and 'Yogic Home Exercises'.

 

HATHA YOGA

It consists of Yoga Asans, Pranayama, Mudras, Bandhas, Kriyas, ete. Six Chakras are stated usually as located in the vertebral column (Meru Danda), viz., Mooladhara (the pelvis), Swadhisthana (the groin), Manipooraka (the navel), Anahata (the heart), Vishuddhi (the throat), and Ajna (the junction of the brows), while the Sahasrara is in the brain. Gurudeva refers to nine Chakras in his HATHA YOGA and cites Saubhagya Lakshmi Upanishad (Brahma Chakra or Adhara Chakra, Swalhisthana, Nabhi, Manipuraka, Kanta (neck), Talu (mouth), Bhroo (the meeting of the eyebrows), Ajna Chakra, Akasa Chakra page 136, 137). Gurudev has elaborately explained the realisations there.

 

LAYA YOGA

It is called also Kundalini Yoga. When the Cosmic Shakti in the universe (Anda) is located within the human body (Pinda), it is called the Kundalini Shakti. The body is the microcosm (Kshudra-Brahmanda). Kundalini Shakti sustains the microcosm.. Laya Yoga is the spiritual art of raising the Kundalini Shakti from Muladhara to Sahasrara through the intermediate Chakras. Kundalini Shakti united with God or Brahman or Siva in Sahasrara. All this is explained in Gurudev's book KUNDALINI YOGA. This Yoga requires Vairagya, Sattvic diet, etc. There are 14 important Nadis. Of them the most important are Ida, Pingala and Sushumna (i.e., spinal cord). Gurudev says: "The Western anatomy deals with the gross form and functions of the spinal cord, while the Yogins of ancient times dealt with all about the subtle (Sookshma nature." page 49, 50). Within the Sushumna Nadi is Vajra Nadi; inside the latter is Chitra Nadi. Gurudev says: "Chitra is the highest and the most beloved of the Yogis. It is the giver of Moksha." (page 51, 52) Ida and Pingala are not the outer sympathetic and parasympathetic cords but are the subtle potencies which carry the Sookshma Prana in them. Kundalini is called also Bhujangini (serpent power). She is the goddess of speech and liberation (ibid pages 87, 88). Gurudev says: "Kundalini has connection with subtle Prana. Subtle Prana has connection with the subtle Nadis and Chakras. Subtle Nadis have connection with the mind. Mind has connection all through the body. There is mind in every cell of the body. Prana is the working force of the body. It is dynamic. This static Shakti is affected by Pranayama and other Yogic practices and becomes dynamic. These two functions, static and dynamic, are termed 'sleeping' and 'awakening' of the Kundalini." (ibid page 87 to 89)

 

Gurudev says further: "Kundalini can be awakened by Pranayama, Asans, and Mudras by Hatha Yogis; by concentration and training of the mind by Raja Yogis; by devotion and perfect self-surrender by Bhaktas; by Mantras by Tantriks; and by the grace of the Guru (Guru Kripa) through touch, sight or mere Sankalpa. Rousing of Kundalini and its union with Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra effect the state of Samadhi and Mukti. No Samadhi is possible without awakening the Kundalini." (ibid pages 94, 95). The aid of the Guru is essential in these Yogas. In 'Sivananda Yoga Samhita', he says: "Though the Asans and Pranayamas are parts of Hatha Yoga, Hatha Yoga itself is part of Raja Yoga." (page 318)

 

MANTRA YOGA

The repetition of holy Mantras can lead to Samadhi.

 

RAJA YOGA

This is the control of mind (Chitta Vritti Nirodhah) as detailed in Patanjali's Yoga Sutras and chapter VI of the Gita. It is called also Ashtanga Yoga, i.e., having eight limbs, viz., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi. Occult Siddhis (powers) will come to the Raja Yogi, but he must not be distracted by them, but must persevere and attain Mukti (liberation). It is described in Gurudev's PRACTICE OF YOGA. Pranayama (breath control or rhythmic inbreathing or Pooraka and breath-retaining or Kumbhaka and out-breathing or Rechaka, is described by him elaborately in his SCIENCE OF PRANAYAMA. He says in it: "All physical forces, all mental forces come under the category Prana. The Prana is related to mind and through mind to will, and through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being. What is commonly known as power of personality is nothing more than the natural capacity of a person to wield his Prana. Prana plays a more vital part than the mind. (ibid pages 15 to 17)." He describes Raja Yoga fully in his book on RAJA YOGA (1950). It is his commentary on Patanjali's Yoga Sutras. His YOGA-VEDENTA SUTRAS (1958) contain his own aphorisms on Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Tantra Yoga, Nada Yoga, besides the main Yogas.

 

4. JAPA YOGA

 

Japa (repetition of God's names, Mantras, etc) is a potent Sadhana. It is fully described in Gurudev's JAPA YOGA (1952). It is full of the highest power in this Kali Yuga. Fix your eyes and mind on the Ishta Devata and repeat His names and Mantras. In chapter X of the Gita Sri Krishna says: "Yajnanam Japa Yajnosmi" of all Yajnas I am Japa Yajna. Manu says:

 

जप्यनैव तु संसिद्धयद् ब्राह्मणो नात्र संशयः

कुर्यादन्यं न वा कुर्यान्मैत्रीब्राह्मण उच्यते

 

We can attain Siddhi by Japa alone. There is no doubt about this.. You may do anything else or not. He is the real Brahmin who loves all beings.

 

Gurudev says that sounds are vibrations and give rise to definite forms (ibid, page 6). We can concentrate on Pranava (OM) or on other holy Mantras or on divine names. The Kali-santarana Upanishad exalts the Mantra of sixteen names as capable of giving us quick beatitude in Kali Yuga.

 

हरे राम हरे राम राम राम हरे हरे ।

हरे कृष्ण हरे कृष्ण कृष्ण कृष्ण हरे हरे ।।

 

Gurudev says that fixed hours (especially early dawn), a definite place, a steady pose, keeping the face turned north or east, using a deer-skin or a Kushamat or a rug, clear articulation, vigilance and alertness, Japa-mala (rosary), meditation, and concluding Japa by prayer and rest without mixing with worldly people are important and vital factors in Japa Yoga. The rosary should be Rudraksha-mala or Tulasi-mala of 108 beads. Do Japa verbally for some time, in a whisper for some time, and then mentally.

 

5. BHAKTI YOGA & PRAPATTI YOGA

 

Bhakti means devotion to God and Prapatti is self-surrender to God. Though in later theological controversial literature, especially the literature of the Visishtadwaita school, a determined effort was made to distinguish between Bhakti and Prapatti, and even say that Bhakti is for the twice-born whereas Prapatti is for all and brings quicker and surer and superior results, the Upanishads, the Gita and the Brahma Sutras do not make any such sharp distinction.

 

तंहि देवमात्मबुद्धिप्रकाशं मुमुक्षुई वै शरणमहं प्रपद्य

Svetasvatara Upanishad

 

प्रपद्य शरणं देवीं दूँ दुर्गे दुरितं हर

Devi Upanishad

 

Devotion must lead to self-surrender and self-surrender must lead to devotion Self-surrender implies devotion as a vital element in it, as self-surrender implies some Being to whom the surren-der is made. Devotion implies self-surrender, because if your mind is devoted to God, the mood will naturally imply and include self-surrender. I shall elaborate this matter further later on.

 

Gurudev describes at length in his ESSENCE OF VEDANTA the various Vidyas (Upasanas) in Upanishads (pages 33 to 53). In Sat-Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, VI, 2, 1 and 2) we contact Pure Being. In Bhuma Vidya (ibid, VII, 24) we contact God as the Infinite. In Maitreyi Vidya (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad) we contact Gòd as the Love that inspires all love. In Shandilya Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, III, 1) the unity of Soul and God is affirmed. Dahara Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad III, 1) says that the ether in the heart which is the lotus in the body which is Brahma-Pura (city of God) is as infinite as the outer ether and that the whole universe is contained in it. In Vaiswanara Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, V, 12 to 18) God is meditated upon as the Pervader of the uni-verse. In Panchagni Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad V, 3 to 10; and Brihadaranyaka Upanishad VI, 2) we have a description of the soul in its journey from heaven and rain-cloud and earth and the body of man and the body of woman. In Udgita Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad I, 2) God is meditated upon as OM. In Purusha Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad III, 16) we contemplate on human life as a sacrifice made up of three sections, viz., morning oblation (ages 1 to 24), midday oblation (ages 25 to 68) and evening oblation (agas 69 to 116). In Paryanka Vidya (Kaushitaki Upanishad) the soul goes to Brahma's throne. In Akshara Vidya (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, III, 8) God is meditated upon as Akshara (the Imperishable Being). In Samvarga Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, IV, 2, 3) God is regarded as Prana or Vayu (breath or air).. In Madhu Vidya God is meditated upon as the honied sweetness of the universe. In Prana Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad I, 1: and Kaushitaki Upanishad, II, 3) God is regarded as Prana. In Upakosala Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, IV, 10, 15) the meditation is on God as sun. moon and lightning. In Akshi Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishadd IV, 15) God is meditated upon as shining in the eye. In Antaraditya Vidya God is meditated upon as the soul of the sun. Aditya Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, I, 6, 6, 7) God is meditated upon as the person of golden radiance in the sun. In Satyakama Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad, IV, 4, 9) God is meditated upon as being with four feet. In Akasa Vidya (Chhandogya Upanishad) God is meditated upon as Space. In Bhrigu-Varuni Vidya (Taittiriya Upanishad, third Valli) God is meditated upon as Bliss. Anandamaya Vidya (ibid, second Valli) refers to the gradations of bliss among the Gods. In Ushasti-Kahola Vidya (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, III, 4, 5) God is meditated upon as the soul of the ingoing breath and of the outgoing breath. In Uddalaka-Aruni Vidya (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, III, 70) the object of meditation is the identity of the soul and the Oversoul. In Svetaketu Vidya also the same is meditated upon. In Jyotisham-Jyotir Vidya (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad, IV, 16) God is meditated upon as the Light of lights. In Satyainanaananta Vidya (Taittiriya Upanishad, II, 1) God is meditated upon as Satya (Truth). Jnanam (knowledge) and Anantam (Infinite). In Shodasakala Vidya (Prasna Upanishad, VI, 4, 5) God is meditated upon as the undivided Ocean into which all rivers enter losing their separate being. There are 32 Vidyas. They lead to Saguna Brahman and thence to Nirguna Brahman as the soul desires. These Vidyas have fallen into comparative disuse after the public and domestic worship and Mantra Japas of the Trimurthies and their Shaktis as described in the Puranas and the Agamas became widely popular and prevalent.

 

Bhakti is clearly and fully described in the Bhagavad Gita, the Bhagavata, Narada Bhakti Sutras, and Sandilya Bhakti Sutras, and is the theme of all the Stotras in Sanskrit and all the hymns in Tamil and other modern Indian languages. It begins as external acts of devotion (Apara or Gauni Bhakti) and ripens into supreme Prema or loving devotion (Para or Mukhya Bhakti). Sri Krishna says in the Gita (VII, 16 to 18) that devotees are of four types, viz., those who seek freedom from ailments, those who seek knowledge, those who seek wealth and the Jnani or knower of God, and that the Jnani-bhakta who knows that Vasudeva is all and loves him always with supreme and steadfast love (Ananya Ekantha Bhakti) is the highest of all.

 

In the Bhagavata nine forms or aspects of devotion are described by Prahlada-

 

श्रवणं कीर्तनं विष्णोः स्मरणं पादसेवनम्

अर्चनं वन्दनं दास्यं सख्यमात्मनिवेदनम

 

Hearing about God, singing the glory of God, remembering Him always, serving the lotus feet of God, worship of God, prostration before God, service of God, companionship of God, and absolute self-surrender to God.

 

All these acts of devotion will ripen into ecstatic love of God which can confer absolute bliss on us. The books on Bhakti describe the stages of Bhakti as Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya, Vatsalya, and Madhurya, i.e., tranquil Bhakti, Bhakti of service, Bhakti of comradeship. Bhakti of fond love of God as child, and Bhakti of perfect and indescribably sweet communion, union and merger.

 

Even in the Adwaita system of philosophy, devotion to God has a definite place. It is no doubt true that in it the highest attainment is the attainment of one's true Self which is really one with the Universal Self. But it is said also that it is by the grace of Iswara (the personal God) that we can get that realisation.

 

ईश्वरानुग्रहादेव पु'सामद्वैतवासना

 

Self-surrender to God will lead to Self-realisation. Sri Sankara expressly says:

 

द्विरूपं हि ब्रह्मावगम्यते

नामरूपविकारभेदोपाधिविशिशिष्ट

तद्विपरीतं च सर्वोपाधिविवर्जितं

Brahma Sutra Bhashya

 

In Prabodha Sudhakara he expressly says:

 

मूर्त चामूर्त च द्वेवा व ब्रह्मणो रूपं

 

Thus Brahman has two Rupas, viz., one without form (Amoortha) and one with form (Moortha). He says again:

 

एक एव तु परमात्मा ईश्वरस्तैगुणविशेषै-

विशिष्ट उपास्यो यद्यपि भवति तथापि

यथागुणोपासनमेव फलानि भिद्यन्ते

H Brahma Sutra Bhashya I, 1, 12

 

He enforces this truth by referring to the Gita verse: Yad-yad Vibhutimat Satvam. He quotes this verse again in his Bhashya on Brahma Sutras I, 1 20, and proceeds to say:

 

स्यात् परमेश्वरस्थापिच्छा।वशान्मायामयमं

रूपं साधकानुग्रहार्थ

 

In his Bhashya on Brahma Sutras I, 1, 24, he says:

 

सर्वगतस्यापि ब्राह्मणः उपासनार्थः

प्रदेशविशेषपरिग्रहो न विरुध्यते

 

last In his famous poem Acharya-shatpadi he utters the utmost devotion to God Narayana and the verse in it is an exact counterpart of the Dwaya Mantra of the Vaishnavas:

 

सत्यपि भेदापगमे नाथ तवाहं

न मामकीनस्त्वं

सामुद्रो हि तरंगः क्वचन समुद्रो न तारंगः

नारायण करुणालय शरणं करवाणि तावकौ चरणौ

 

Madhusoodana Sarasvati says in his Bhakti-rasayana that Saranagati (surrender to God) is of three types: "I am thine", "Thou art mine', and 'I am Thou'.

 

तस्यैवाहं ममैवासौ स एवाहमिति त्रिधा

भगवच्छरणत्वं साधनाभ्यासपाकतः

 

Prapatti means self-surrender. It is called Saranagati. The Vaishnavas say that while Bhakti is for the twice-born, Prapatti is for all persons. It is said to have six elements or Angas, i.e., conforming to God's will, giving up everything which is against God's will, faith in the protective power of God, prayer for protection, placing ourselves in his hands and a sense of our helplessness.

 

श्रानुकूलल्यस्य संकल्पः प्रातिकुल्यस्य वर्जनं

रक्षिष्यतीति विश्वासः गोप्तृत्ववरणं तथा

आत्मनिक्षेपकार्पण्ये षडंगा शरणगतिः

 

The Ashtakshari (Om Namo Narayanaya), the Dwaya Mantra (Sriman Narayana Charanau Saranam Prapadye Sriman Narayanaya Namah) and two Gita verses (XVIII, 65, 66) called Charama (final) Slokas-

 

मन्मना भव मद्भक्तो मद्याजी मां नमस्कुरु

मामेवैष्यसि सत्यं ते प्रतिजाने प्रियोसि मे

सर्वधर्मान् परित्यज्य मामेकं शरणंब्रज

अहं त्वा सर्वपापेभ्यो मोक्षयिष्यामि मा शुचः

 

are all-important. A careful reflection. Analysis and comparison will convince us that Bhakti and Prapatti are really one. In Bhagavata. Skandha XI, chapter XX, verses 7 and 8, Sri Krishna refers to Karma, Bhakti and Jnana and says that these are the Sadhanas suited to three temperaments, viz., the active temperament, the emotional temperament and the philosophic temperament.

 

Swami Sivananda has given to the world a lucid and learned commentary on Narada's Bhakti Sutras (1957). These Sutras are 84 aphorisms and were taught by Narada to Vyasa. Gurudev says: "The Sutras have an inexpressible charm and beauty.

 

They make a direct appeal to the heart. Narada speaks to all alike. There is not even the slightest trace or tinge of sectarianism. The Narada Bhakti Sutras are the best authority on Bhakti Marga." (page 1) In his 'Essence of Bhakti Yoga', he has fully explained Bhakti Yoga. He describes in it the nine aspects of Bhakti (Sravana, etc.) stated above, the five aspects of Bhava (Godward devotion), i.e., Shanta, Dasya, Sakhya,, Vatsalya and Madhruya. He has given in it 15 Bhakti Sutras of his own (page 75). In LORD SHANMUKHA AND HIS WORSHIP (1950) Swami Sivananda describes Lord Subrahmanya, His worship and His devotees.

 

6. NIRGUNA MEDITATION

Gurudev has given also clear directions for meditation on Nirguna Brahman. In chapter XII of the Gita Sri Krishna refers to Akshara or Avyakta Upasana, and calls Nirguna Brahman also as Anirdesyam, Sarvatraga, Achintya, Kootastha, Achala, Dhruva; but we are not told by tradition about the exact methods of such meditation. All the system-builders except Adwaitic thinkers deny that there is Nirguna Brahman (the Absolute) and hence they have no place for i Nirguna Dhyana (meditation) in their scheme of Sadhana. Adwaitic expounders expound Jnana and Sakshatkara (realisation) as a matter of verbal exposition. Though they speak about Sravana, Manana and Nidhidhyasana in regard to Nirguna Brahman (hearing, thinking and meditation), no details are taught. Gurudev gives many formulae for Nirguna meditation at pages 328 to 335 of his recent work ESSENCE OF VEDANTA (1958). I may refer here to a few of these formulae.

 

Asangoham              I am unattached

Achintyoham           I am unthinkable

Ajoham                    I am unborn

Ajaroham                 I am without decay

Amaroham               I am deathless

Akartaham               I am non-doer

Abhoktaham            I am non-enjoyer

Aksharoham            I am imperishable

Anantoham              I am infinite

Adwaitoham            I am without a second

Ateendriyoham        I am beyond the senses

Aprameyoham         I am immeasurable

Antaratmaham         I am the inner Self

Paramatmaham        I am the Supreme Self

Paripoornoham        I am fulness

Siddhoham              I am perfect

Bhoomanandoham  I am infinite bliss

Nirviseshoham        I am without attributes

Nirgunoham            I am without Gunas

Soham                     I am He

Sivoham                  I am auspiciousness

Swayamprakasoham I am self-luminous

Chinmayoham           I am Pure Consciousness

 

The supreme teacher Sri Sankara has given to us very precious ideas on this aspect in his 'Dasasloki, 'Atmashatka', Nirgunamanasapuja', 'Parapuja', etc.

(Chidananda-rupah Sivoham, Sivoham, Sivah-kevaloham etc.)

 

7. JNANA YOGA

 

Sri Sankara stresses Jnana Yoga. The Gita does so in many places. ees. Sri Sankara says that four qualifications are preliminary sine qua non for Jnana Yoga: (1) Nitya-anitya-vastu Viveka, i.e., the discrimination between the eternal and the ephemeral; (2) Ihamutraphalabhoga Viragah, i.e., renunciation of the enjoyment of the fruits of action here and in heaven; (3) Samadamadi Sampatti, i.e., the attainment of Sama (control of the mind), Dama (control of the senses), Uparati (detachment), Titiksha (forbearance), Samadhana (concentration) and Sraddha (faith); and (4) Mumukshutwa (ardent desire for liberation). These will lead to the study of the Vedanta (Sravana) which will lead to Manana (continuous reasoning and reflection) and Nididhyasana (incessant meditation) which will lead to the realisation of Brahman (Sakshatkara or Anubhava). The Jnani who attains Jivanmukti here and now, does not go to any separate eternal Paradise after death.

 

 

This type of Jnana relates to the attainment of Kaivalya, i.e., Aikya with Nirguna Brahman by means of Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The Gita, however, refers to other kinds of Jnana also.

 

ज्ञानयज्ञेन चाप्यन्ये यजन्तो मामुपासते

एकत्वेन पृक्त्वेन बहुधा विश्वतोमुखम्

 

In Gita VII verses 2 to 7, Sri Krishna says that both the Akshara Upasakas (devotees and His devotees attain Him and Him alone as the Supreme goal. I shall elaborate this point further later on. Sri Sankara exalts Jnana Yoga as the only

 

means of Brahmic realisation and says that Karma Yoga leads to the purification of the mind and Dhyana Yoga leads to the concentration of the mind, and Bhakti Yoga leads to God's grace, all these three Yogas being only Angas or means leading to Jnana Yoga. Sri Ramanuja gives the highest place to Bhakti Yoga and a subordinate place as Angas to the other Yogas. He goes even further and seems to confine Brahma Jnana to Sanyasis, and even there to those who have become ascetics and entered the fourth Asrama (Sanyasa Asrama) straight from the first Asrama (Brahmacharya Asrama). Brahmacharyaadeva krita Sanyasanaam -vide Bhashya on Gita III, 3. He makes a small concession that even a householder who is not endowed with the Sadhana Chatushtaya (Viveka, Vairagya, Shatsampath, and Mumukshutwa) can benefit by Atma-vichara and get much Sreyas or spiritual welfare, probably meaning thereby that later on they would acquire Sanyasa and Sadhana Chatushtaya.

 

साधनचतुष्टयसंपत्त्यभावेपि

गृहस्थानामात्मानात्मविचारे क्रियमाणे

सति तेन प्रत्यवायो नास्ति किन्त्वतीव श्रयो भवत्ि

Atmanatma Viveka

 

It is difficult to see why the Sadhana Chatushtaya cannot be possessed by householders also or why the Yogas other than Jnana Yoga cannot confer Moksha.

 

SIVANANDA'S SADHANA SAMANVAYA

SYNTHESIS OF SADHANAS

 

Sri Krishna says in the Gita that man comes to Him from all sides and that He can be attained by diverse paths:

 

मम वर्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सव'शः

ध्यानेनात्मनि पश्यन्ति केचिदात्मानमात्मना

अन्ये सांख्येन योगेन कर्मयोगेन चापरे

अन्ये त्वेवमजानन्तो श्रुत्वान्यभ्य उपासते

तेऽपि चातितरन्त्येव मृत्यु श्रुतिपरायणाः

 

Some see the Lord in themselves by Dhyana; others do so by Jnana Yoga; others by Karma Yoga; and yet others, not knowing thus, worship Me learning from others to do so. They also cross death owing to their faith in Sruthi or scripture.

 

यो यो यां यां तनु भक्तः श्रद्धयाऽर्चितुमिच्छति

तस्य तस्याचलां श्रद्धां तामेव विद्धाम्यहम्

 

Whatever form of God, a devotee wishes to worship with faith, I make that faith intense and steadfast.

Gita, VII, 21

 

येप्यन्यदेवताभक्ता यजन्ते श्रद्धयाऽन्विताः

तेऽपि मामेव कौन्तेय यजन्त्यविधिपूर्वकम्

 

Those who worship other gods with faith worship only Me, though not in the ordained form. We are often told that Jnana or Bhakti is the all-important and supreme, nay only Sadhana and the Gita sentences-

 

ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम् वासुदेवः सर्वमिति

 

are quoted. But we must not forget that the Jnani is described there as a type of Bhakta and that the words Yuktatma, Jnani Nityamuktah Ekabhaktih and Jnanavan Mam Prapadyate are used in combination.

 

चतुर्विधा भजन्ते मां जनाः सुकृतिनोऽजुन

श्रतों जिज्ञासुरर्यार्थी ज्ञानी च भरतर्षभ

तेषां ज्ञानी नित्ययुक्त एकभक्तिर्विशिष्यते

प्रियो हि ज्ञानिनोत्यर्थमहं स च मम प्रियः

उदाराः सर्व ऐवैते ज्ञानी त्वात्मैव मे मतम्

आस्थिता स हि युक्तात्मा मामेवानुत्तां गतिम्

बहूनां जन्मनामन्ते ज्ञानवान्मां प्रपद्यते

वासुदेवः सर्वमिति स महात्मा सुदुर्लभः

 

In Hinduism the doctrines of Adhikari and Ishta are pivotal. Every man takes up the divine path to which he feels impelled by an inner urge and he chooses the form of God which bewitches his intellect, emotion, and imagination, and the divine Mantra which leads him quickly to Mano-laya (mental absorption in God).. Hinduism is the most tolerant religion in the world, not because it equates tolerance with indifference but because it knows that all the divine Sadhanas lead to God as all the rivers fall into the ocean. In the Sandhya-worship the Hindu says every day:

 

आकाशात् पतितं तोयं यथा गच्छति सागरम्

सर्वदेवनमस्कारः केशवं प्रति गच्छति

 

The vital truth embodied in the concept of Ishta (Ishta Devata, Ishta Sadhana, and Ishta Phala) should never be forgotten, as it is the heart of Hinduism.

 

It is thus clear that what is required is total and perfect purification of the mind by Karma Yoga which will attract to itself mental concentration and God's grace as well. Similarly, Dhyana Yoga or total and perfect concentration of mind will attract to itself total and perfect mental purification and God's grace. Similarly, Bhakti Yoga or total and perfect devotion to God will attract to itself God's grace which will confer total and perfect mental purification and concentration. I fail to see why each of these cannot independently lead to Moksha. Sri Vidyaranya in his Jivanmukti Viveka talks about Tattva Jnana (knowledge of Truth) and Manonasa (destruction of mind and Vasanakshaya (destruction of Vasanas) as being indispensable preliminaries to Jnana and Moksha. I fail to see why the total destruction of the mind is superior to its total purification and concentration, or why it alone can open the door to Moksha (salvation or liberation). All the Yogas are but radii leading to one centre, i.e., spiritual liberation and realisation. There is no question of gradation amongst them.

 

Let no one think far a moment that the Sadhanas cannot be combined. We have had enough of controversies as to which is the real and effective Sadhana-some claiming it to be Dhyana, some Bhakti, and some Jnana. Every teacher tried to make out that one of these was the direct, immediate and ultimate Sadhana, the others being only mediate, proximate and accessory Sadhanas. Sri Sankara was at great pains to attack Jnana-Karma Samuchchaya (union of Jnana and Karma). But, Nishkama Karma the fruit of which is surrendered to God is expressly said and admitted to be not a source of bondage but a liberating force. It is difficult to understand why it cannot go with the other Godward Sadhanas. I have shown above how it could itself be a Sadhana leading to God-realisation. If we read with care the summation of the Gita doctrine by Sri Krishna in Gita XVIII, 50 to 55, we can see how these verses synthesise and combine all the Sadhanas. Some are active, some emotional, some introspective, and some intellectual; and some others are all these in partial or total combination. Swami Sivananda says well:

 

"The Yoga of Synthesis is the most suitable and potent form of Sadhana. The three paths are in fact one. The Yoga of Synthesis alone is suitable for this modern age. The four Yogas are inseparable. Service purifies and expands the heart; service unifies. Love unifies. Without service and love you cannot dream of attaining Adwaitic realisation or oneness, even in crores of births. Karma Yoga is always combined with Bhakti Yoga and Jnana Yoga."-'Yoga of Synthesis', page 13.

 

"Mala (impurity) is removed by Nishkama Karma Yoga. Vikshepa (tossing of mind) should be removed by Bhakti Yoga. Avarana (veiling) should be removed by Jnana Yoga. Have one basis Yoga and add others.-'Yoga Maharnava', pp 51, 52 If each Yoga can lead to perfection, why should not a combination of some or all of them have that result? Such Integral (Purna Yoga) is the best, swiftest and surest means to attain the Integral Realisation of Brahman in communion or union (Purnadwaita) which includes merger or Paradise or passing from either to the other without any sense of either alone being intermediate or ultimate. One may aim at the total transcendance of creation in a state of merger (Jivanmukti) or at the sublimation of physical life and mental life, by raising them to the height of the spiritual life and divinising them in such a way that the Light Divine will suffuse them and shine through them in such a way that any one who sees such a type of Jivanmukta will say:

 

Thy face shines like that of a knower of Brahman. The former will be dissolved in an infinite ocean of bliss while the latter will swim and disport in that ocean. Each will have infinite bliss of one type or another but neither is lower than the other. Gurudev says: "The four paths are not antagonistic to one another, but, on the other hand, they are complementary. They only indicate that the different methods of the Hindu religion are in harmony with each other. Religion must educate and develop the whole man his heart, intellect (head) and hand. Then only he will reach perfection."- SADHANA page 296.

 

In his work entitled SIVANANDA-ISM, Swami Sivananda says: "A bird cannot fly without two wings. Though the bird may have two wings, yet it cannot fly without the tail. The tail balances and directs the bird to fly in the right direction, and saves it from falling. This tail is Bhakti which balances Karma and Jnana. The two wings represent Karma and Jnana. Karma, Bhakti and Jnana are necessary to make you perfect, and to develop the head, hand and heart, and help you in reaching the goal. (page 215) The Yoga of Synthesis alone will bring about integral development. The Yoga of Synthesis alone will develop the head, heart and hand harmoniously and lead to perfection. To develop a well-balanced personality is the ideal of religion. This can be achieved by the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis." (pages 217, 218)

 

In conclusion we must remember that while the various Yogas are described throughout the Gita, Sri Krishna, when summing up His final teaching in chapter XVIII of the Gita, gives a combination of them all and finally declares that Prapatti or the Yoga of Self-surrender must be present in each Yoga or any combination of the Yogas, or in the complete synthesis of all the Yogas. Even as regards Prapatti, Sri Madhusudana Saraswathi says in his 'Bhakti Rasayana, that it can be of three types: (1) I am yours, (2) You are mine, and (3) You are I.

 

तस्य वाहं ममैवासौ स. एवाहमिति त्रिधा

भगवच्छरणार्थित्वं स्यात् साधनाभ्यासपाकतः

सिद्धि प्राप्तो यथा ब्रह्म तथाप्नोति निबोध मे

समासेनैव कौन्तेय निष्ठा ज्ञानस्य या परा

बुद्धया विशुद्धया युक्तो धृत्यात्मानं नियम्य च

शब्दादीन् विषयांस्त्यक्त्वा रागद्वेषी व्युदस्य च

विविक्तसेवी लध्वाशी यतवाक्कायमानसः

ध्यानयोगपरो भूत्वा वैराग्यं समुपाश्रितः

अहंकारं बलं दर्प कामं क्रोधं परिग्रहम्

विमुच्य निर्ममः शान्तो ब्रह्मभूयाय कल्पते

ब्रह्मभूतः प्रसन्नात्मा न शोचति न कांक्षति

समः सर्वेषु भूतेषु मद्भक्तिं लभते पराम्

भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान् यश्चास्मि तत्त्वतः

ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा विशते तदनन्तरम्

Gita, XVIII, verses 50 to 55

 

In this supreme passage Vishuddha Buddhi refers to Karma Yoga. It must go with mind-control and Dhyana Yoga as described in chapter VI; both should go with Bhakti; all of them must go with Jnana;; the aspirant becomes one with God (Brahma Bhoota); he attains utter peace and loves all beings and treats all alike (Sama); these qualities will lead to supreme devotion or Para Bhakti; it will lead to Abhijnana (the recognition of the identity of the soul and Oversoul; that will lead to Tattva-Jnana; this will lead to God-union (Pravesa). Gurudev says well: "Lord Krishna is an adept in the Yoga of Synthesis." ('Sivananda Yoga Samhita', page 168).

 

CHAPTER III

 

PHALA (BEATITUDE) IN PURNADWAITA

PURNA PHALA (FULL BEATITUDE)

 

1. HEAVENLY REBIRTH AND HELL

 

The Rig Veda refers to the path of the Pitris (fathers) and the path of the gods (R. V. X, 88, 15). The heaven where we can have the company of the gods is an abode of joy (R. V. X, 107, 2; L, 125, 5). By Ishtapurtha (sacrifices to gods) we go to the abode of Pitris. By sinful acts we go to hell which is dark and fearful (X, 152, 4; IX, 73, 8). Though there is no express statement about rebirth, the hymn (R. V. I, 164, 30, 31, 38) indicates it. In it we find the words-

 

आ वरीव तर्ति भुवनेष्वन्तः

 

goes and returns to various worlds

 

In R. V. X, 60, it is said:

 

सूर्य चनुर्गच्छतु वातमात्मा द्यां च गच्छ पृथिवींच धर्मणा

 

In this Mantra the soul is directed to go to heaven or to the earth according to its Dharma. See also R. V. X, 58, 1 and 2.

 

In the Rig Veda we have references to the world of Yama (Yamaloka) and to the souls of the departed going there. He is described also as the son of Vivasvan (sun) and as the first person who attained that world. The Rig Veda contains the germs of the later ideas about Deva-loka (heaven), Pitri-loka (the world of ancestors) and Naraka (hell).

 

It must be noted also that the description of Vamadeva by himself as having become Manu and Sun suggests the idea of the identity of the soul and Brahman (R. V. IV, 26, 1). In the Brihada- ranyaka Upanishad I, 4, 10, it is said that Vamadeva realised himself as Brahman.

 

The Rig Veda regards sin as a violation of the moral law. I have shown above how law and order in the external physical world is called Rita, whereas law and order in the internal moral world is called Dharma. Every action must lead to its inevitable result or fruit. This is called the Law of Karma. We have our duties towards ourselves, our fellow-beings and our creator. Any violation of these duties is a sin.

 

In the Ramayana, there are clear references to Swarga (heaven) but none to Vaikuntha or Kailasa. The Moola-Ramayana says that Rama will go to Brahma-loka (Bala. I, 9, 6). In the Aranya Kanda Indra goes to Sarabhanga to take him to Brahmaloka as the fruit of his austerity (Tapas).

 

मामेष वरदो राम ब्रह्मलोकं निनीषति

Aranya, V, 29

 

Suteekshna tells Rama that Indra told him that he had won all the worlds by his Tapas.

 

सर्वान् लोकान् जितानाह मम पुण्येन कर्मणा

 

Aranya, VI, 11 Sarabhanga goes to Brahma-loka which is above the worlds of Rishis and Devas (Aranya, V, 43). Jatayu is sent by Rama to the supreme Loka-Gachcha Lokaan Anuttamaan, Aranya, LXVIII, 30.

 

Sabari goes to Swarga (ibid, LXXIV, 33). In the Uttara Kanda it is said that Sugreeva and others came to see Rama who was preparing to go to Swarga and tell him that they were resolved to go with him (Uttara, CIX, 26). Rama replies to Sugriva: "I will not go to Devaloka or Parama Pada without you." (CIX, 26).

 

गच्छेयं देवलोकं वा परमं वा पदं महत्

 

This is the only place in the whole of Ramayana where there is a reference to Parama Pada. In Uttara, chapter CX, Vishnu asks Brahma to bless those who accompanied Him. Brahma sends them to Santhana Loka.

 

प्राणांस्त्यक्ष्यति भक्त्या वै

तत्सन्ताने विवत्स्यति सर्वे ब्रह्मगुणैयुक्ते ब्रह्रालोकादनन्तरे

 

Sri Govindaraja says that this means that they attain Vishnu Loka-Vishnu Lokam Prapnuvanthi. Rama is said to have entered Vishnu's glory-vaishnavam Tejah-Uttara, CX, 12.

 

In the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras and the Gita, a differentiaton is made as between the Pitriyana and the Devayana (the path of the Pitris and the path of the gods) which are called also the Dhoomadi Marga and the Archiradi Marga.

 

अग्निज्योतिरहः शुक्लः षण्मासा उत्तरायणम्

तत्र प्रयाता गच्छन्ति ब्रह्म ब्रह्मविदो जनाः

धूमो रात्रिस्तथा कृष्णः षण्मासा दक्षिणायनम्

तत्र चान्द्रमसं ज्योतियोगी प्राप्य निवर्तते

Gita, VIII, 24, 25

 

Those who perform sacrifices and do other meritorious acts (Ishtapurtham) such as planting gardens and digging tanks, etc., go to the moon and live in Swarga (heaven) and return after their store of merit is exhausted.

 

ते तं भुक्त्वा स्वर्गलोकं विशालं

क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्यलोकं विशन्ति.

Gita, IX, 21

 

I shall describe the Devayana in the next chapter.

 

It is also settled that those who commit great sins go to the various hells (Raurava etc.) Those who do acts of minor merit and minor sins are reborn in the earth in lower or higher living forms according to the sum-total and preponderance in regard to Punya (merit) and Papa (sin).

 

2. MOKSHA OR TOTAL LIBERATION AND INFINITE BLISS

 

Two Equal and Supreme Types of Moksha

 

The basic difference between the concepts of Swarga and Moksha a difference which does not obtain in other religions and is peculiar to Hinduism is that even Swarga is transient and a soul that goes there must leave it and re-enter the cycle of Samsara whereas Moksha is permanent and eternal. Negatively speaking, it is liberation from Samsaric life and, positively speaking, it is beatitude or infinite, eternal supreme bliss.

 

भिद्यते हृदयग्रन्थिः छिद्यन्ते सर्वसंशयाः

क्षीयन्ते चास्य कर्माणि तस्मिन् दृष्टे परावरे

Mundaka Upanishad

 

न च पुनरावर्तते न च पुनरावर्तते

Chhandogya Upanishad

 

एते न प्रतिपद्यमाना इमं मानवं

Chhandogya Upanishad

 

आवर्त नावर्तन्ते तेषां पुनरावृत्तिः

तयोर्ध्वमायन्नमृतत्वमेति ब्रह्मलोक मभिसम्पद्यते

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad

 

अनावृत्तिः शब्दात् अनावृत्तिः शब्दात्

Brahma Sutras IV, 4, 22

 

इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्म्यमागताः

सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च

यदात्वा न निवर्तन्ते तद्धाम परमं मम

Gita XV, 6

 

This only means that the liberated persons are free from the Karmic Law which compels their terrestrial life to work out their Karma. They can voluntarily or at the command of God take embodiment to help other souls in their Godward journey. The Puranas give us such instances. Suka Deva who was a Jivanmukta was also a devotee of God and illumined the mind of Parikshit. Nay, Narada who learnt the highest mystical realisation of Sanatkumara was a devotee of God, and went everywhere to teach and spread Bhakti. Sri Suta says about Suka Deva:

 

आत्मारामाश्च मुनयो निग्रन्था अप्युरुक्रमे

कुर्वन्त्यहैतुकीं भक्तिमित्थं भूतगुणो हरिः

नैष्कर्म्यमप्यच्युतभाववर्जितं न शोभते ज्ञानमलं निरंजनम्

 

Moksha is thus the highest Purushartha or goal of life. Negatively speaking, it is release from the pains of Samsara or the cycle of births and deaths. The persons who take to Upasana, Bhakti and Dhyana (Godward worship, devotion and meditation) go by the Devayana to the sun and thence to Paradise. The Vaishnavas call God as Vishnu and His Paradise as Vaikuntha. The Saivas call God as Siva and His Paradise as Kailasa. The Devi worshippers call God as Devi or Shakti and Her Paradise as Srinagara. The devotees of Skanda or Subrahmanya or Kumara call God by that name and His Paradise as Skanda Loka, and so on. Paradise is eternal and there is no return from it. In the Muktikopanishad, Moksha is described as Salokya (being in the same paradise as God), Sameepya (being near to Him), Saroopya (having a form identical with that of God) and Sayujya, i.e., union with God or having the same bliss as God. Why should the joy of having the same bliss as God in a Suddha Sattva body in a Suddha Sattva world be regarded as being less than Jivanmukti? In such beatitude the soul, while having the same infinite bliss as God, has not got the rulership of the universe which is the function of God alone.

 

जगद्व्यापारवर्ज प्रकरणादसंनिहितत्वाच्च भोगमात्रसाम्यलिंगाच्च

 

In the Gita Sri Krishna says that in such liberation there can be Pravesa or union and merger in God besides knowing and seeing Him.

 

भक्त्या त्वनन्यया शक्य अहमेवंविधोऽजुन

शातु दृष्टु च तत्त्वेन प्रवेष्टु ं च परंतप

भक्त्या मामभिजानाति यावान् यश्वास्मि तत्त्वतः

ततो मां तत्त्वतो ज्ञात्वा बिशते तदनन्तरम्

 

The Adwaitins postulate a different type of Mukti. They say God has no name or form and that by Jnana we can realise the identity of the soul and Oversoul. In fact Brahman alone is real, the universe is unreal, and the soul and God are one.

 

ब्रह्म सत्यं जगन्मिथ्या जीवो ब्रह्मव नापरः

 

As Moksha (or Mukti) is only a realisation of the true nature of Brahman, the Adwaitins speak of Jivanmukti (liberation even during life). At death the body falls off but the liberated state is eternal

 

This is called Videhamukti. According to this view, Paradise is not an Aprakrita, non-material, world. Nor does the soul take Aprakrita bodies and enjoy God for ever in Paradise objectively. The Adwaitins think also that those who take to Bhakti go to Paradise, i.e., Brahma-loka and study Vedanta under Him and get Adwaitic realisation when, at the end of His term of Brahmahood, he attains Mukti. This is called Krama Mukti.

 

In regard to Jivanmukti, Sri Sankara says that a Jivanmukta can take many births through his Prarabdha Karma and that he may attain Videha-mukti at the end of such series of births. Sureswara also says so. But Mandana Misra says that the Videhamukti will inevitably come at the end of the birth in which Jivanmukti was attained (see Prof. Kuppuswami Sastri's "Compromises in the History of Adwaitic Thought", pages 27, 28).

 

These are the two types of Moksha. The Muktika Upanishad calls the latter type Kaivalya. But the Vaishnavas say that Kaivalya is only the realisation by the soul through Jnana that it is not the body. But this Kaivalya is not Moksha. The soul must then cultivate Bhakti and finally go to Vaikuntha.

 

But the Sruthi and the Brahma Sutras and the Gita say again and again that Brahman is Nirguna and Nirakara, i.e., without attributes and form, and that the identity of Brahman and Jiva can be realised here.

 

यदा सर्वे प्रसुच्यन्ते कामा येऽस्य हृदि स्थिताः

अथ मत्यांऽमृतो भवत्यत्र ब्रह्म समश्नुते

 

Such a realisation is in Nirvikalpa Samadhi which is a real experience and the ultimate experience. We cannot negate a fact by citations and arguments.

 

यथा नद्यः स्यन्दमानाः समुद्र ऽस्तं गच्छन्ति नामरूपे विहाय

तथा विद्वान् नामरूपाद्विमुक्तः परात्परं पुरुषमुपैति दिव्यम्

 

Just as rivers run into the ocean and disappear there losing name and form, so the Inani, freed from name and form, attains the supreme divine Being.

Mundaka Upanishad

 

In his Sivananda Lahari Sri Sankara describes various aspects of Mukti culminating in identity.

 

अंकोलं निजबीजसन्ततिर यस्कान्तोपलं सूचिका

साध्वी नैजविभु लता क्षितिरुहं सिन्धु सरिद्वल्लभं

प्राप्नोतीह यथा तथा पशुपतेः पादारविन्दद्वयं

चेतो नित्यमुपेत्य तिष्ठति तदा सा भक्तिरित्युच्यते

 

But what does Sri Krishna say in chapter XII, verses 2 to 7?

 

मय्यावेश्य मनो ये मां नित्ययुक्ता उपासते

श्रद्धया परयोपेतास्ते में युक्ततमा मताः

थे त्वक्षमनिर्देश्यमव्यक्तं पयुपासते

सर्वत्रगमचिन्त्यं च कूटस्थमचलं ध्रुवम्

संनियम्येन्द्रियग्राभं सर्वत्र समबुद्धयः

ते प्राप्नुवन्ति मामेव सर्वभूतहिते रताः

क्लेशोऽधिकतरस्तेषामव्यक्तासक्तचेतसाम्

अव्यक्ता हि गतिदुखं देहवद्भिरवाप्यते

ये तु सर्वाणि कर्माणि मयि संन्यस्य मत्पराः

अनन्येनैव योगेन मां ध्यायन्त उषासते

तेषामहं समुद्धर्ता मृत्युसंसारसागरात्

भत्रामि न चिरात् पार्थ मय्यावेशितचेतसाम्

 

In these verses he not only declares the difficulty of Nirguna Brahma Sakshatkara, but also says, those who tread both come only to Him-Mameva. Thus we see that the two realisations are not two grades or levels of Moksha (beatitude) but two types. It is absurd to talk of 'higher' and 'lower' among them. The reality of Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Jivanmukti is affirmed in the Gita:

 

इहैव तैर्जितः सर्गः श्रभितो ब्रह्मनिर्वाणं वर्तते विदितात्मनाम् Sri Sankara says in his Bhashya on the latter verse:

 

अभितः उभयतः जीवतां मृतानां च

 

It is also noteworthy that in this verse and V, 22, and II, 72, beatitude is described as Brahma-Nirvana. Hence the primary meaning of Brahma-Nirvana is not extinction but liberation (Moksha).

 

Though only these two types of Mukti are described, one of them, i.e., Jivanmukti and the identity of Brahman and Jiva are asserted by the Adwaitins and denied by all others. I may say also that it looks as if Sri Badarayana concedes both and Sri Krishna affirms both. Sri Badarayana discusses in his Brahma, Sutras (IV, 4, 10 to 14) the question whether the enjoyment of the Oversoul by the soul is with or without the conjunction of the body and the senses. Badari denied that the body and the senses exist, while Jaimini affirmed that they exist. But Sri Badarayana says Ubhaya Vidha (in both ways). Sri Sankara says in his Bhashya on IV, 4,

 

12:

 

बादरायणः पुनराचायर्योऽत एव उभयलिंगश्रुतिदर्शनात्

उभयविंधत्वं साधु मन्यते यदा सशरीरतां

संकल्पयति तदा सशरीरो भर्वात यदा

त्वशरीरतां तदाऽशरीर इति सत्यसंकल्पत्वात् संकल्पवैचित्र्याश्च

 

Some followers of Sankara may, however, regard the Sasarira (embodied) state a stepping stone to the final Asarira (disembodied) state. I have referred to this matter already above.

 

I may point out here that Gurudev takes a wide and liberal view in regard to the persons eligible for Moksha (liberation and God-realisation) and the language needed for a knowledge of spiritual Sadhana and Siddhi. He holds that all human beings are eligible for Moksha. Moksha is not confined to Hindus alone or to Brahmins alone or to Sanyasis alone or to Sanyasis among Brahmins alone, some bigoted fanatics believe and proclaim. Nor is it attainable only by this or that scripture in this or that language. Gurudev says:

 

"Orthodox people who know Sanskrit foolishly think that Self-realisation can be attained only by those who know Sanskrit. Is there any greater folly than this? History furnishes a large list of Jivanmuktas who did not know even a bit of Sanskrit."

 

3. OTHER TYPES OF BEATITUDE

 

Though in the philosophic disputations only these two types of Mukti are discussed and one school affirms that the Moksha of identity of soul and Oversoul is a myth and the other school relegates the Moksha of non-identity to a lower level, we can easily see that other types of Moksha can and do exist. In the Uttara Kanda of the Ramayana (sarga 108) Rama takes Sugriva to Paradise but commands Vibhishana to stay on earth for ever and rule Lanka righteously and worship God, and He commands Hanuman to stay on earth for ever and carry out His command.. Thus all these attainments are equal and one.

 

1. THE MOKSHA OF SERVICE OF GOD HERE AND NOW

 

Kapila says in Bhagavata, III, 29, 13, and III, 25, 34, that some devotees of God do not desire Salokya and Sarshti (Sayujya), Sameepya and Saroopya but desire only continuous service of God.

 

सालोक्यसाष्टिसामीप्यसारूप्यैकत्वमप्युत

दीयम.नं न गृह्णन्ति विना मत्सेवनं द्विजाः

नैकात्मतां मे स्पृहयन्ति केचित

मत्पादसेवाभिरता मदीहाः

येन्योन्यतो भागवताः प्रसज्य सभाजयन्ते मम पौरुषाणि

 

2. THE MOKSHA OF SERVICE OF ALL BEINGS

 

Ranti Deva, when he beheld the unhappy lot of all, desired to be in them and take up their sorrows and release them from misery (Bhagavata, IX, 21, 12).

 

न कामयेऽहं गतिमीश्वरात् परा मष्टर्धियुक्तामपुनर्भवं वा

आति प्रपद्य ऽखिलदेहभाजा मन्तः स्थितो येन भवन्त्यदुःखाः

 

3. THE MOKSHA OF GLORIFYING THE LORD BY SONGS

 

एकान्तिनो यस्य न कंचनार्थं वांछन्ति ये वै भगवत्प्रपन्नाः

अत्यद्भुतं तच्चरितं तु मंगलं गायन्त श्रानन्दसमुद्रमग्नाः

 

4. SARVAMUKTI

 

But such The Buddhist ideal of the Bodhisattwa who voluntarily continues to live on the earth though eligible for Nirvana, till the whole world attains Nirvana, has no parallel in Hinduism. cases may occur if a devotee takes up such an attitude. The two words 'Satyasankalpatwat' and 'Sankalpa-vaichitryat' in Sri Sankara's Bhashya on the Brahma Sutras IV, 4, 112, quoted above form enough justification for such a goal. Two words 'Parasiddhi' and 'Mama-Sadharmyam' which occur in the Gita are the final and most expressive and inclusive words, as the words Mukti and Moksha imply liberation and thus embody negative concepts. Two other expressive words in the Gita are Brahma-Yoga (V, 21) and Mad-Yoga (XII, 11). The Lord uses the beautiful and expressive word 'Madbhava' in IV. 10; VIII, 5; XIII, 18; XIV, 19).

 

परं भूयः प्रवक्ष्यामि ज्ञानानां ज्ञानमुत्तमम्

यज्ज्ञात्वा मुनयस्सर्वे परां सिद्धिमितो गताः

इदं ज्ञानमुपाश्रित्य मम साधर्थमागताः

सर्गेऽपि नोपजायन्ते प्रलये न व्यथन्ति च

 

CONCLUSION

 

The highest Hindu concept of liberation is a combination of (1) the peace and prosperity of the world, (2) the preservation of knowledge and culture, and (3) the attainment of spiritual liberation (Moksha), as is clear from the last verse (Bharata Vakya) in Kalidasa's 'Shakunthala'.

 

प्रवर्ततां प्रकृतिहिताय पार्थिवः सरस्वती श्रुतिमहतां महीयताम्

ममापि च क्षपयतु नीललोहितः पुनर्भवं परिगतशक्तिरात्मभूः

 

Self-purification, world-welfare, and God-realisation are congruent and not disjunct or contradictory attainments and form a unity in trinity and a trinity in unity. This world is God's world, nay, God Himself self-manifested as the world, and each being has divinity latent in him and can attain total unity with God and merge in it, and can and shall and must realise such divinity and attain eternal infinite and supreme happiness. That is God's plan for the universe and we can and shall and must fulfil it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK TEN

Sivananda's Vision of Religious Harmony

as Inter-Religious Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIVANANDA'S VISION OF RELIGIOUS HARMONY AS INTER-RELIGIOUS PERFECTION

 

It is not enough to have in a country a unified, integrated religion. The various world-faiths must realise that they are revelations by the Universal Father and must recognise their fraternity. Further, as Swami Vivekananda warned them, they should realise that they have in materialism, a common foe which threatens to destroy them all.

 

The basic ground of inter-religious concord is found in the utterance in the Rig Veda: Ekam Sat Vipra Bahudha Vadanti (The Reality is one; but the sages call It variously). Sri Krishna says in the Gita:

 

मम वर्मानुवर्तन्ते मनुष्याः पार्थ सर्वशः

 

All men come to My path from all directions.

 

The essence of all religions is one, though the dogmas vary and came into existence owing to personal and historical causes.

 

The historical religions depend on the personality of the founder, and have become rigid and refuse to admit that the adherents of other religions also have a right to salvation. They even assert that the followers of other religions will have only damnation. That is why proselytisation is resorted to by them. Such proselytisation may be due to more selfish impulses also. But truth cannot possibly depend on the mere number of adherents.

 

That is the reason why in the name of the God of Feace religions waged the fiercest of wars. The fanatics of each bigoted religion shed more human blood than the jingoists who resorted to war to spread commerce or empire.

 

Swami Sivananda says: "At present all religions contain a mixture of truth which is divine, and error which is human. The fundamentals and essentials of all religions are the same. The difference is only in the non-essentials." (RADIO TALKS) In his WORLD'S RELIGIONS (1947) he points out that in every religion saints and prophets have appeared again and again to emphasise the vital truths of the religion and restore it to its original purity."-page vii. He says also that "Religion in effect begins with the opening of the eye of intuition."— page xi. "The only basis of true and lasting unity of religions is the religion of the heart. The religion of the heart is the religion of love." page xili. "Real religion is above ceremonials and rituals."— page xiv. The book contains the essentials of Hinduism, Zoroastrianism, Jainism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Confucianism, Taoism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Sikhism, etc. He reaffirms the essential unity of religions in his brochures WORDS OF ANCIENT WISDOM, ALL WORLD RELIGIONS FEDERATION, UNITY OF RELIGIONS, WORLD PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS, ete.

 

I have referred above to the League of Nations and the U. N. O. What is emergently wanted is a U. R. O. (United Religious Organisation) as a helper of the success of the ideals of the U. N. O. Unless the peoples of the world are unified in their hearts in regard to the whole of life including the small fragment of it in the economic and political spheres, there will be no real attainment of the Brotherhood of Man and Universal Peace. We must recognise the Indivisibility of Human Life and the indivisibility of universal peace. We cannot have war in the realm of religion and yet keep unbroken peace in the realm of economic and political life.

 

This is why Swami Sivananda convened and presided over the WORLD PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS at Rishikesh in 1953. Dr. Sir C. P. Rama swami Iyer inaugurated it.. I attended it in full. The 'World Parliament of Religions COMMEMORATION VOLUME' extends to nearly 700 pages. The first Parliament of Religions was held at Chicago in 1893. Swami Vivekananda attended it and his speech on Hinduism won the attention and homage of the world for Hinduism. The above-said Commemoration volume contains an exposition of all the world religions by competent scholars. Swami Siva-nanda said at the Parliament of Religions in 1953:

 

"A Parliament of Religions has a two-fold mission. On the one hand, it must never forget the permanent and strong links of harmony among the various religions. On the other, it must restore to religion its rightful place as the ennobling ideal of mankind, as the guiding factor in all human undertakings, as the topmost concern of man."-pages 62, 63

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOOK ELEVEN

Sivananda's Vision of Universal Ethics,

Philosophy, Religion & Spiritual Perfection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SIVANANDA'S VISION OF UNIVERSAL ETHICS, PHILOSOPHY, RELIGION AND SPIRITUAL PERFECTION

 

I have referred above to Swami Sivananda's ideal of a World State, a World Parliament and a World Army to ensure universal peace. He affirms also the concept of a World Ethics, a World Philosophy and a World Religion and the ideal of spiritual perfection of all human beings, as being another corollary of the concepts of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man. Swami Sivananda bases everything on the cardinal and basic doctrine of the unity and divinity of life which is the real basis of all the world religions.