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Pujya Dr. K.C. Varadachari - Volume -1



The word Purusa is used to denote the soul (atman). It is used in the Veda (Rg. Yajus, Saman, Atharvan) in connection with the creation and praise of the Purusa (Purusa-sukta). Usually it is translated to mean the embodied being or Personality. Its first use is Cosmic or even transcendent and creation itself is shown to be a kind of Sacrifice of Purusa, Yajna. Later we find that embodiedness or having a body was dropped and the term Purusottama was used by the Bhagavad-Gitacarya, Sri Krsna, to designate the Supreme Creator.Whether it is a body of matter or from which all matter came into being, the Supreme Self of all is called a Person or Purusa.

The word has been derived by some from another word used in the Rg-Veda : Purisa, meaning abundantly filling (pur : to fill and isa, as abundant). Some have tried to derive Purisa from the Pur to mean the city or town and isa to be the lord : the embodied soul is said to the lord of the City with nine gates (navadvara-puri), the human body.

However, it appears that Purusa can be derived also from the root pu : meaning to purify. The Purusa is one who is pure and untouched by all the works of the body or the effects.  It is seen that this conception has been a metaphysical concept in respect of the Purusa in Sankhya and those who follow it.

Purusa means the pure Being. The concept parallel to this is the concept of God as Actus Purus : pure activity. This is the view held by Aristotle of God, who is the opposite of the world wherein impure material mixed activity is available. Indeed the self or soul is utterly free from the material activity and thus its pure nature as inactive is affirmed as a resolute differentiam from matter, even as the word Nirguna is the refutation of the triguna in respect of the soul.

Purusa as actus purus or pure activity which is detached from the triple activity of matter which are darkening and capable of causing suffering is the very nature of the Purusa in sankhya. Indeed one type of activity is granted to the soul which is otherwise stainless or guiltless in respect of matter : it passively looks on and identifies itself with material modifications (vikrtis) and enjoys too. This Saksi-caitanya is its nature and this theoretical on looking is pure in so far as it is not affected by the dances of Nature.

Thus it is suggested that the word Purusa seems to reflect two concepts viz. (i) the pure activity concept as suggested in the word purusa (Ö pu) and (ii) as the self indwelling in the body with nine gates (purisa). But see Brh. Up. I. iv. 1. where  purusa is so called because purvo’smat sarvasmat sarvan papmana ausat tasmat Purusa ausati’. . . He is of all things consumed by fire of all sins. The above suggestions get a peculiarly prominent affirmation from quite an unexpected source. It is the concept of the Person. Person is usually held to be the embodied being : so it has metaphysical and even morphological affinity with the Vedic word Purusa. The use of this term in a technical sense as representing a function or a mask in Greek drama leads us to suspect whether it has not quite a natural origin. Especially the gods have each a representative divine function and this function demands a dress or apparel or form, which goes along with its name. The actors who have to impersonate really, that is, to act as another, have to take up the form suitable to the name. This form-adoption is done by means of making a likeness which will suggest the original. In other words, the persona is an impersonation for an original which is thus suggested when one perceives the impersonating form which is similar to that. By itself without that knowledge of the original this would hardly convey any sense. Indeed it is this that makes drama a mirror of reality which it evokes through suggestion made through masks (forms similar or identical to the original).

In Sankhya philosophy this becomes very luminous indeed because all the processes of prakrti are but masks of the Purusa and ahankara really is the basic mask of the Purusa (impersonation), and it is that which makes one mistake the copy for the original, the persona for the person. This is the basic illusion which has to be transcended. When some philosophers compared our life to a drama it was clear that the function of an enacted drama is to lift the veil of identity between the persona and person, and make us see the person without the veil. This cathartic conception and midwifery conception of drama have been lost sight of and the enjoyment theory is substituted. But real enjoyment consists in this discovery of the duality of persona and person, and transcendence over persona so to attain the person. The purusa and person concepts are so close that it is quite likely that the two were originally from the same root (dhatu).

The denial of the atman whilst accepting the purisa concept in Buddhism throws some light over the struggles with this concept of the embodied self.

Really that which is clear is that there was a time when the self in so far as it entertained creativity created for itself a body (out of elements already existing). The person was a potential enjoyer and created for itself by its activity (which resembled thought or buddhi) sustained by an original desire (trsna) (Iccha) its body or a sequence of bodies : at the beginning sheaths are the intellectual body, mental body, subtle bodies and gross bodies which went pari passu with the worlds of the different elements or its own environment. Then it became what it can call its extension of person or personality. Even now this stage is seen when we claim rights which are defined as personality. Even property is said to be an extension of Personality.

Psychological definitions of personality have this same exterior behaviour pattern. Thus these indicate a person but consider that without these personality-factors the person is a ghost or something like that.

The metaphysical philosopher on the other hand discovered that the person is the eternal witness sustaining the process of creation upto the limit and enjoying the inventiveness that he has. The person discovers his potentiality or personality in creative adventure in evolution.

The Purusa thus is said to sacrifice in creation (yajna) by projection of himself. The whole process of creation is the projection of the personality of the Divine Person. It is his aisvarya, virya, jnana, bala, sakti and tejas that are exhibited at each point.

The individual soul in its person has thus same possibility but due to lack of inward stability of jnana or saccidananda, it identifies itself just as an actor or even as the audience does, and feels intimacy with the created rather than with the creator.

There are two types of persons, those who have finished their creativity for it is shown to be finite, and those who have not. The first type returns to the person from its own personality and the second moves from person to the personality losing consciousness of its own person.

The one which has seen the limits of its own personality yearns no more for it : whereas those who have not progress hoping for an infinite enjoyment of their creation. Of course the latter is bound to discover the limits for it is seen that there is an automatic reverse after reaching the end of the creativity in the organic or material world.

The concept of the Purusa thus is closely linked up with the concept of the Person and as such it is likely that one would be able to discover an Indo-Germanic root which will place them together. The euphonic element also suggests this identification. Person has been derived by some scholars from per = through, son = sound. Thus a person is one who is known through sound. Sound would probably mean talk or language. It seems in drama a character is known through his sound or talk. This derivation is most fanciful. Here we have a case of deriving the meaning from the character. The persona as a mask or garb or make-up for a character to represent a character or person is understandable, though to derive person from dramatis persona is rather a reversal of interpretation.

Therefore it appears that person is the original word, and it closely corresponds to the Sanskrit word Purusa which has had a hoary history.

It appears that the word person or purusa had undergone many changes. One of them at least is that it because paras and later parasu. The great Rama of the Axe (Parasu-Rama) was originally Purusa Rama (Rama Jamadagnya). Waddell has made certain remarks in his Indo-Sumerian studies.

The Vaikhanasa Agama considers that the original Transcendent Godhead is Purusa.

My studies on the correspondences between the Five Nights, Five Daytimes and Five Agnis lead me to the conclusion that the avatara known as Parasurama was in fact the fulfilment of the Fivefold Fires – Bhrgu, Cyavana, Apnuvana, Aurva and jamadagni, who were all discoverers of the five levels of Fire or five different kinds of fire – (my Idea of God : chapter on the Pancaratra Conception of God).


4.2  The Sensory and the Supersensory Perceptions

The recognition of a supersensory perception on the part of scientists has been quite tardy. The physiological scientists could not believe how our ordinary senses-and they are five-could ever grant us knowledge about things as they are in themselves. But they had also to admit that knowledge for man is entirely restricted to the indriyas, organs, mainly because these sense – organs are our instruments of knowledge of objects. Whether the objects stimulate our sense – organs or our sense – organs reach out to them and get stimulated, it is not very much important, for this depends upon the urge from within or pressure from without. Our sense – knowledge then, is our only knowledge of facts or objects and this type of knowledge is what we observe or experiment with, to gain. We do not know exactly what the objects or things themselves are in themselves without these sense – characteristics which they have for sense – dependent and sense – organised beings like ourselves. We have our knowledge of the external world both through the jnanendriyas enumerated as the organs of sight, hearing sound, taste, smell and touch but also, through the karmendriyas known or rather enumerated as vak (mouth and speech) (organ of food), hands, legs, excrement and enjoyment or production of offspring (sex). All these variety of knowledge belongs to the objects of the world which offers goals of satisfaction of organic needs. Our artha – purushartha and kama purushartha get realised through the knowledge provided by the jnanendriyas and karmendriyas.

We can have exact knowledge of these objects provided we have developed objective observation without attachment, provided we have sense – organs and motor organs in healthy condition, and provided also we avoid conditions which are likely to distort our sense – motor knowledge. The scientists have prescribed that our scientific sensory knowledge should be as exact as possible, as precise as possible, in order to be true (prama). The development of instruments of scientific knowledge or observation has helped us in providing instruments not only of precision but of depth. Measurement also has been rendered possible of all that host of scientific discoveries in respect of optical and auditory and other kinds of wave – lengths and vibrations and in fact our ever – growing and widening horizons of observation of even the subatomic particles only reveals that there is possibly no end to the dimensions of our sensory knowledge. But all these are not non – sensory and in a sense, the gross senses, unassisted by these inventions, could hardly help us to affirm either their existence or their truth. Thus, broadly speaking, our sensory knowledge is strictly limited in its range but, with the help of instruments, one could extend it very much. These perceptions in a sense, could be called extra sensory if we accept the meaning to be extended sensory knowledge. Microscopes, electronic scopes, tele scopes and etc. are accessory to sense extending the area of perceptions.

The modern writers on Extra-Sensory Perceptions like Prof. Rhine had demonstrated that we can ‘see’ without the instrumentality of sense organs. This has been tested under experimental conditions and with a great deal of probability affirmed to take place. Thus we do have sense – experiences such as seeing forms, hearing talks, or feeling presence of scents and so on, without the help of the physiological organs which are said to be absolutely necessary for the knowledge of objects for the normal man. The whole question is whether this kind of sensory experience (not sense – organ perceptions, indriya – janya jnana) is normal to man or is specially gifted to some persons. We are aware that among animals and birds and bats a high degree of acuity is present in the sense – organs themselves. But there must be some kind of reception of stimuli from objects which these sense organs pick up. Do we have any reason to think that the specially gifted individuals of ESP are possessed of such highly evolved or acute sense – organs? Further in ESP, it is also known that there is interruption of a direct impac or the sense – organ with the object and yet the object is sensed. If this is the case, then the animal or insectual acuity is over – ruled. It is definitely a case of non – sensory sense – experience or non organic sense – experience. This of course opens up the problem whether in fact there can be sensorial experiences without sense organs and if so should we not conclude that objects have senses which are necessarily grasped by sense – organs.

Indian theoretical or metaphysical thinking had concluded that since the sense – organs themselves evolved out of a subtle substance called buddhi (chit) (some have held it is subtle I-activity, ahamkara) these properties of sensory experience which are potentially or subtly and more eminently in it, present us with a subtle knowledge inaccessible to the sense – organs. It is the gross properties that these sense – organs are enabled through their physiologically constructed organs help to gather. Thus man can recover this capacity which undoubtedly operates even under our present  conditions by shutting out the sense – experiences brought to man through his sense – organs. If our sense – organs could only give us present knowledge or knowledge before us now, it is quite possible that the ahamkara or buddhi could present knowledge – sensorial – sensorial of the past and present and future as well, of that which is distant and near and beyond the sense – organ ranges too. Thus buddhi – pratyaksa or aham – pratyaksa is atindriya – beyond sense – organ ranges of comprehension. This may include the ESP. This may be possible for one and all under certain conditions of insulation of the sensory organs or when there happens a tremendous psychic need that enforces the operations of the higher mind and will (buddhi and ahamkara) for the sake of preservation of the individual. Such conditions are precisely those that some teachers train some to enable them to have these buddhi-ja or atma-ja experiences which do have sensory nature but very much subtle and fulfilling or exact.

Yoga pratyaksa has been claimed to be an important supersensory means of attaining experience of the subtle forms of matter, like the atoms and their constituents. In fact the descriptions given of an atom (anu) as having six sides and so on or as having subtle properties are claimed to be got through the yogic pratyaksa or that perception which develops under the yogic states of Sanyama or concentration. The yoga sutras indeed speak of the supersensory means of  knowing the properties of the anus or tanmatras which are the causal states of the gross elements known to us through the respective sensory organs. It is this capacity to be able to perceive the tanmatras or anus that perhaps renders the sensory organs of the yogis super-subtle. In any case, it is well known that even the yogic powers of walking on water and flying in air and so on are super-activities of the motor organs as well. The strict disciplines of yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara and dharana are necessary for this development. Through hathayoga one masters these processes. In fact so advanced is the yogic technique in the earlier periods that the yogic pratyaksa could see how the transformation and re-formation of objects take place by the subtle changes taking place in the atomic structures of the objects. Thus the black brick becomes red brick and with different properties by the introduction of the fire-atoms and the throwing out of the water – atoms and this takes place in either of the two ways, pilu-paka or pithara-paka according to the Vaisesikas who seem to have turned out to be the earliest alchemists in India. This branch of study of the subtle changes or modifications or substitutions and transformations of micro-elements is now a forgotten chapter in Indian alchemy.

The Yoga – ja pratyaksa however shows that we do have the knowledge of subtle tanmatras or ingredients of the objects through subtle sensory organs. However so far as we are aware, though we have mention of the subtle tanmatras or atoms or sub-atoms which are said to be the cause of the gross elements or objects which are composite substances, there is hardly any mention of the existences of the subtle sensory – organs generally in Indian physiological literature. However, there instead, we find mention of the nadis and chakras and which are invisible to the naked eye and which indeed operate to bring up the experiences of the subtle changes in the body to the individual. Here we find Yogic psychology of invaluable help for the supersensory cognitions.

Though we reach up to this level of sensitivity, we are said to be yet in a field wherein there can be much disillusionment or rather we are yet in the region of Maya or Illusion, only more subtle and therefore more invidious than our gross experiences of objects. The fact that an experience is yoga – ja does not ipsofacto make it true or veridical.

Saints therefore did not feel it right to develop these supersensory cognitions of the atomic and sub – atomic elements that are at the bottom of all the changes that we witness in the outer world. It is the province of physical scientists and though excellent as knowledge, these discoveries do not lead to the attainment of the liberated individual. It is however true that, science does give one a sense of liberty from the ignorance about matter and its infinite permutations and combinations of sub-atomic (paramanu) forces which today we are calling nuclear energies. They could be misused for the destruction of man, they could be misused for misguiding man and also for putting the clock of evolution back. Our very knowledge might become an instrument of human torture and misery. Our knowledge of  the technique of creating deceptions based on the laws of light and photographical innovations has been in fact quite a success in two directions : the discovery of the psychological truth that man tries to escape into these deceptions as condition of security against boredom and outer misery and, secondly, as a great phantastic alienating man from his goal.

The supersensory cognitions however showed one thing that they are the field of operations of most pseudo mystics or saviours. The performance of miracles strikes terror as well as induces confidence in those who are witness to these miracles. They are invaluable faith – inducers but nonetheless they have a tendency to arrest the inward aspiration for the higher than the supersensory fields. The supersensory fields are undoubtedly very vast, and indeed, we can hazard the statement that the possibilities of our knowledge of the Cosmos are very definite and within reach. Cosmic Consciousness seems to be very much involved in the supersensory cognitivity. Therefore, it is held that, one sign of the arising of the Cosmic Consciousness in man, is the development of supersensory cognitivity. However it is clear that though one meets with poets of sensitive vision of this Cosmic Consciousness, their awareness of liberty is conditioned by the area of their cognitivity which is not infinite.

The supersensitivity of the cosmic area opens up quite a vast field. The siddhis of the yoga school in fact lead us up to the very knowledge of the creational event or the continuous process of arising and passing of all things. The words of the luminous and the dark are opened up to the cognitivity of the Yogi. Cosmological intuitions seem to be possible at this level. The real difficulty of proving these to be true lies in the subjectivity of these objective realities – there is much mix up of illusion and reality – a dream world illuminated by the psychic light – taijasa – full of tejas, power and light, where at one point there is an inverse relation between them and at another cordinated relation.

The true intuitive consciousness or insight however comes from a still higher level of Being. Though in passing through the sense organs even of the supersensible order (nadis and cakras) they do have both the visual and the auditory qualities, these intuitions sometimes do not bear any such trace. So much so it has been held that these are achromatic and so on and they are purely mental or supramental, only meanings flash into the consciousness or they have the quality of lightning – flash (vidyutva). They illumine the inner consciousness and later on are given imaginative bodies so to speak. This level of consciousness or cognitivity is said to be in terms of ‘ideas’, ‘insights’ ‘intuitions’ and ‘sphota’ (Illuminations). That these are inner auditions and inner visions having no mediations of the subtle or gross sense organs seems to be clear. In so far then as these are beyond the range of the supersensible Cosmic Consciousness (which is about closest to the poetic imagination when it is directed not towards fancy but towards apprehension of eternal cosmic or universal realities), these sphotas or illuminations are of the ideal or Soul-order or spiritual. This means that so far as the cosmic and other visions are concerned, they are all of the material order – prakrtic or maya – order of being. Though omnipotence and power and knowledge are available for this supersensory cognitivity it is not that suffices for the full cognitivity, of the Self of spiritual nature.

The reflected illuminations are no substitutes for the original light of self which is perhaps incapable of being equated with the cosmic and terrestrial sensory lights of our understanding of matter. It is an invisible light, inaudible sound and equally intasteable taste, intactual touch and infragrant fragrance, which the upani sadic teachers called brahma – rupa, brahma – sabda, brahma – rasa, brahmagandha and brahma – sparsa. It is this spiritual cognitivity that is the aim of the true yogi, who is true jnani as well, who knows his own supercosmic awareness to be the sole Reality of his own ultimate nature or God. This is the divya jnana which is also para – jnana of the paraprakrti, that develops into certainties or indubitabilities of the nature of Reality and God and self and Nature in an all – embracing cognizance.

This experience is divya and original got by the Grace of the Ultimate which means, that it is something that is absolutely beyond both the senses and the super-senses and the mind that is tied down or up to these material objects.

The Isa Upanisad says that it is this attainment of  supercognitivity that makes one see reality in all its forms and manifestations in its eternal nature – in its essence or satya. This is what grants liberation from all ignorance and massive delusions and as such, takes one beyond all imperfections and ignorances which bind man to the eternal chain of causes and effects, or desire for continuous next births and deaths for the sake of having new births.


Samadhi is not yogic trance which is associated only with the oblivion of physical and mental selves. In samadhi, there is neither oblivion nor knowledge of any object. Forgetfulness and remembrance are with reference to an object and a state of mind’s objective awareness. Samadhi is attainment of absolute Consciousness. In the Absolute, there is no world, of which body is a part. When the world itself has no existence in the Absolute, where is the sense in saying that one forgets the body and the world during the experience of samadhi?

- Divine Mother

Children, for ages, you have wept. Stop weeping. Awake to the consciousness of your divine, blissful nature, and to the ecstasy of devotion. Three types of tears are holy and pure – the tears of mercy, the tears of repentance and the tears of God – love. These tears move the heart of the Almighty to compassion.


- Divine Mother


Pratibha 1 is identified with imagination that throws suggestive light on any subject to which it is directed but mainly in respect of aesthetic enjoyment (rasa). Though it is appropriated to aesthetics there is also a general application of this term.

It consists of a twofold activity (i) the act of imaginative grasping and (ii)  the luminosity that it throws on the object sought to be grasped.

Literally it means the reflected light cast on the mind of the knower or seer from the object – a light that was earlier sent towards the object for knowing it.

Knowing is the process of grasping the object by sending mental light towards the object and get it back. This activity brings back the jnanakara (form or idea or impression) of the object which produces a kind of delight of having got the knowledge. Attainment of knowledge itself yields a kind of pleasure or delight. It may be painful or pleasant – frightful or attractive – but also this is the affective accompaniment to the knowing-process. It is thus a reflected knowledge activity – prati-bha. It throws light of the form on the mind and as such it is said to be a kind of illumination about the object attained by the subject, the knower.

In pratyaksa – perception through the sight – it is the same process: the seeing light in the eye induced by the mind goes to the object and brings back the impression to the mind – a kind of return light – or counter-light or reflected light. All knowledge thus is reflected light from the object, but the knowing light is of the subject knowing and the return light is from the object and is the second stage of the subject-light laden with the impression of the object. This reveals the object to the subject; but it is the subject’s light that is attained now laden with the impression of the object. All knowledge is in this sense a knowing which involves the movement of consciousness to the object and return from it. Since all knowledge is of this kind – idealists hold that the object itself is knowledge whereas all that we can call knowledge is only the impression of the object in the mind of the subject. It is true that it would be difficult to know what the object is in itself, for all that can be known is only its form as received through the knowing-light.

That all objective knowledge is of this order can be fully known by the terms used to signify knowledge activity: we have already referred to praty-aksa: praty-abhijna or memory is also a kind of returning light from memory which is the store-house of all impressions – and is objective knowledge.

Pratyaksa is a reflected knowledge of the object confronting the subject. Pratibha is the reflected knowledge of the object as idea confronting the individual. Pratika is the revelational confronting of the Divine Form to which we grant a special status, and have it as an object of worship. Pratyabhijna is just memory or remembrance of things forgotten – may be of the metaphysical relationship as with God or of the ordinary remembrance of events or of previous life friendships or animosities etc.

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The above section dealt with only the use of the prefix prati. In fact there are other uses such as pratyaya, pratyagat, etc. which are used as words of knowledge activity or attainment.

In Grammar pratibha is used as vakyartha or the meaning suggested by the words or proposition. The word pratibha is not found in the Mahabhasya. But the analysis of the word has led to a two-point view: (i) the meaning from the speaker’s point of view and (ii) meaning from the listener’s point of view; or rather since the above is clumsily stated, we can say that the first is meaning as grasped by the subject or the person uttering the sentence or word or proposition and the second is meaning as grasped by the listner of the same sentence or  word or proposition. A proposition or even a word cannot be without some meaning. In fact it is meaning that illumines the mind and thus all knowledge is meaning. Non-sense words are meaningless so long as they are not given some conventional meaning. In fact we always perceive that we attach meaning to nonsense syllables or words or conjunct sounds arbitrarily too in order to remember them. Experiments in memorizing has clearly pointed out that the very tendency of the mind or intelligence is to give arbitrary meaning or lighting to the sounds that we hear. On this basis some thinkers have universalized or rather generalized the view that all meaning is imposed or conventionalized and made customary usage. Whilst we may grant this view, the study of the origins of language shows that somehow the so-called arbitrary attribution of meaning to sounds, letters, words and even group of sounds, letters and words (idiom) go beyond the human invention theory.

Not only is a meaning just a light thrown or returned from the object perceived or sounds grasped but also it is involved in action. Kamalasila seems to have argued that pratibha is an insight leading to an action. If we remember that all knowledge is also for action, and the verification of knowledge lies in its use in action (arthakriya-karitva) then it would follow that pratibha is basically a dynamic meaning – not a passive knowledge but an active agent for action, either as an obligation or imperative. Thus we could understand why the Mimamsakas emphasized that all propositions entail an imperative (a vidhi or a  nisedha).

All knowledge is also activity, and is intended for activity. They cannot be separated from one another. In fact they are one activity, though distinguishable and separable too in some cases. Jnana and karma are in fact one activity, mutually reinforcing and attaining the result. Isavasyopanisad has given a classic guidance in this matter: vidyanca avidyanca yas tad veda ubhayam saha avidyaya mrtyum tirtva vidyaya amrtam asnute//


This leads us to one other consideration, namely, the relationship between the buddhindriyas and karmendriyas in Indian psychology.

The evolutionary theory of Samkhya and the Bhagavad Gita are similar except for the fact that ahamkara is earlier than the buddhi in the Gita, whereas it is an evolute of buddhi (mahat)1 in the former. This of course shows that buddhi as universal is earlier to the individuating empirical ego in Samkhya, but in the Gita the buddhi is already an individuated intellection – reflecting the self to itself in its individuated condition. In fact the activity of cognition is clearly one by which the buddhi is reflecting back the consciousness to the ego along with the experiences of objects which it has evolved. Prati-bha at this level is just prati-bimba or reflective knowledge of the objects, or the self itself. This of course entails a distortion or inversion in knowing itself before it reaches the self whose consciousness it is that is thus reflected.

This is not an important fact as much as when we consider the fact that all the five buddhindriyas and the five karmendriyas are arising out of the ahamkara or the manas. In fact the Gita mentions manas sastan indriyani and perhaps excludes the five karmendriyas. But if we examine closely it should be seen that the five buddhindriyas pair with the five karmendriyas and they have also as objects the respective tanmatras which are five and bhutas which are five and these twenty form an integral unity in knowledge. This is not a far-fetched ingenious view at all for it is in fact the way things happen.

       Thus we can see that see that

       Srotra               sabda                akasa                vag

       Caksus             rupa                  tejas                 pani

       Tvak                 sparsa               vayu                 pada

       Ghrana             gandha              prthivi               payu

       Rasana             rasa                  ap                     upastha

The above table will show the corresponding objects and the activities of the karmendriyas in respect of those objects. Knowledge of an object is not complete without the ability to use it. That this activity in so far as it is not efficient or is unadopted may and does lead to failure and sorrow is a fact. But in order that knowledge may be definite and exact it must satisfy both the criteria of virtual action and actual action. If we consider that sense-knowledge is virtual action as Bergson has said, then action-knowledge results in efficient and skilled knowledge that leads to action unconditionally.

Thus though it is argued by some that action is an extraneous test of truth, yet in another sense it is intrinsic to all truth that it can be used to bring about a result. This fact is realised in the explanation of the Nyaya’s so-called paratah-pramana but it is really intrinsic svatah pramana according to Mimamsa. It is when we do not see the integral oneness of knowledge and action, vidya and avidya, we begin to think that avidya will lead to bondage and knowledge alone will lead to freedom. This is not true, for knowledge guiding action or towards knowledge is the proper direction towards freedom and efficiency or skill, whereas action not so guided but guiding knowledge may lead to bondage for it is the reverse method.

Returning to Pratibha, we can see that in true insight that is dynamic the two are not separated – knowledge guides through the light that it has secured all action. Meaning in a proposition thus is rendered dynamic for action as well as expression, and freedom is achieved and this grants real pleasure or aesthetic pleasure (rasa). It is in fact a great truth that real rasa is only possible when it has both the characteristics of light and being (sat and cit sat typifying existence (activity) and cit exemplifying light – pratibha).

IVtc "IV"

Naturally the problem of pratibha is connected by certain thinkers with the concept or experience of sphota or flashing illumination of meaning whenever one sees anything. This involves the view that every object does illumine our consciousness even before we try to see it. This kind of knowledge is stimulated or given by the object as a self-revelation, not something that is got by the effort of the individual’s consciousness or cognitive activity to get the jnanakara (formal idea) of the object. The view held is that every object is a unity of name and form (namarupa), and when we perceive the form (rupa) the name is flashed back and when the name is heard the form is flashed back. This is an original synthesis in creation. In our conventional language- patterns the form and name are in the form of conditional reflexive unity. The ancient view is that though the modern conventional language is arbitrary, if we look sufficiently back we will find that there is an original name-form unity. It is to this unity that Poet Kalidasa refers in his famous sloka: vagarthav iva samprktau. In fact I have tried to show2 that the usual method of explaining the six-fold contact in all perception given in the scholastic textbooks on Indian Logic have bungled all along. The contacts are stated to be (i) samyoga – the contact between the indriya (manas) and the object (dravya): (ii) this gives rise to the knowledge of the quality of the ‘that’ (dravya), and since this quality is inherent in the dravya this contact is called samyukta samavaya: the (iii) contact is with the samanya (generality) which is inherent in the quality (guna), and this is called samyukta samaveta samavaya: The next (iv) is said to be the perception of hearing or sound and since sound is said to be the quality of the ether in the ear (srotra-akasa) it is stated to be samavaya: But it is here that we meet with a difficulty. It is not then a sound that is objective but subjective and therefore it is impossible to concede that this is any real perception of an objective sound with which the ear should be in contact. Thus really this is a case of samyukta-samavaya or mere samyoga with the sound. But suppose we take it that this sound comes from the thing or dravya with which it is inherent then it would be a case of samyukta samavaya – the name being in the same status as the form (quality) and thus a dravya now gets both a name and form, and this is a complete knowledge than an unutterable (anirvacaniya) form – experience. Of course  (v) this sound can only be meaningful in the context of a universal language or that language block and also the complete knowledge of a thing would not only include name and form but also location in space and time. The (vi) contact thus is with respect of the existence of an object in space and time expressed in terms of reciprocal existence-non- existence (visesana and visesya and abhava). Sphota as illumination is a natural power but when it is sought to be made into a mysterious power of each letter and each sound or even half sound, and when it is further sought to be made into a Godhead or the final Godhead (Brahman), the Vedantic thinkers rejected it in that form as an ultimate reality. Rightly too.

If sphota is the original sound (vibration) illumining the object with meaning – then its objective reality is something that is grasped in relevation. We have enough examples even in the Upanisads to show that meanings are given to sounds or individual sounds and these are not conventional at all: they look arbitrary and conventional symbolic language – and they called it mantrika meanings: that which transcends thought as human beings know it. But these mantra – sphota are also known through pratibha so far as the individual is concerned.

These are twin-concepts and to deny the one whilst reducing the other to the aesthetic sphere is to have lost sight of the basic integrality of experience as both name and form and not easily to be equated with the empirical knowledge alone. The yogic knowledge reveals the importance of both and makes mantra meaningful as also attain the goal of realisation (tantra).

If sabda or sruti is the meaningful means towards real and true knowledge of Brahman, it follows that in a sense the knowledge of sabda in all its fullest capacities should be got. The illuminative character of sabda is not capable of being had by the mere ratiocination of the texts without the luminous light of the sphota and pratibha mingling to make one enter into the sanctum of Reality. That we worship the Veda as the sabda-brahman only shows that the really valuable sabda that can straight lead us to insight into Brahman is this incomparable Veda Sabda. It is not an independent Brahman, claiming a separate allegiance but an altogether valuable means to the Ultimate Brahman who is the illuminator of all these and illumined by these reflexively so to speak and is the sac cid ananda.



The doctrine of parakiya has been interpreted in various ways-we can distinguish the right interpretation from the wrong interpretation by a consideration of the purport of this concept. Kalidasa, the eminent poet of India, has stated the view about parakiya in his Sakuntala:

            Artho hi Kanya Parakiya eva

            tamadya sampresya parigrahituh

            Jatmamayam visadah prakamam

            Pratyarpita nyasa ivantaratma.                       (III)

The girl belongs to another (not to the parent) and has to be returned to him even as one places oneself at the feet of the Suprems Self (of all) by way of returning one’s treasure to him real owner.

In this profound analogy Kalidasa illustrates the fact that the returning of God’s treasure to him is the act of nyasa (offering or placing) the soul (the individual soul) to its owner, God. This was so well known in his time that he uses it as the upamana whilst making the returning of a girl to her husband is the upameya. Here it is legitimate and legal and profoundly social. It would certainly be wrong to suggest that since a girl is another’s or man’s she could be given to any other man as his legally wedded wife. Such cannot be the meaning that Kalidasa gives. He always showed the path of dharma of righteous conduct.

The upamana is interesting from the metaphysical point of view. The soul is compared to a kanya - one who is of the age of marriage or one who has come to the state of having chosen marriage or married  whose business or urgent need is to go to her husband. The Supreme Being or God is said to be the real master and support of the souls and the urgency of the soul is its maturity of knowledge that it is no longer its own (svatantra) but that of another (partantra). The Other in this case is God alone, the Transcendent being known as the Para-ultimately transcendent. The choice of the Ultimate Being has been intimated by such phrases as Original (Adi) Source (Mulam). The Pancatatra makes out that though there are vyuha, vibhava, harda and arca as the other or lower statutes of the Godhead the soul should seek para-sayuja etc rather than vyuha, vibhava, harda and arca-sayuja . Thus the alvar says that the supreme Narayana speaks of the granting of the Para (Final or Ultimate Being) rather than the more familiar and other forms of vyuha, vibhava, harda and arca. (Narayanane namakke parai taruvan; Goda’s Tiruppavai).

Thus it is to be known the one ultimately belongs to and should be supported by, enjoyed by and determined by the Supreme Para, the truly other than every other soul or status of God Himself.

The Visnu Purana speaks of the souls being female and the Divine Lord alone as the only male and therefore all females should wed the One Deity. All these will show that the Divine the Para has to be surrendered to or offered oneself to as one’s own Self one’s own(svakiya).

The problem of love has been one of the most baffling problems in the history of mankind. It means indeed the assumption that one cannot be truly one’s own but that one needs another for completing one’s existence. The need for another felt and yearned after is one of the baffling problems of sex-biology. The biological need for another is for the sake of the progeny - a biological arrangement for the continuance of the species or race or community or some such institution. The biological unfortunately is not the main factor in human evolution. We find that this need that is felt for another of one’s own sex or the other sex is not at all based on the biological need for continuance of the species or kind but personally as a sense of completeness of one’s life through another. This non-biological need is the human development of need for another. That this cuts across the biological makes many think that this is an abnormality and it is well known that D.H. Lawrence used to portray this abnormal type in his novels. He called this a blood craving or need, and this breaks all the conventions that man has made for the biological need. This ‘human need’ of another for the sake of another or more precisely for the sake of completeness of perfection of one’s own personality through integration or union with another male or female is said to be what one should aim at in social reconstruction.

This concept of union not for the sake of progeny or the survival of the species but for the completion of one’s personality can be called the principle of marriage in human society; and perhaps its efficacy will be emphasized by its being consciously opposed to the biological sexual relations which depends on the principle of survival of race.

This is of course to be substantiated by the metaphysical discussion as to the basic relationship fundamental to the existence of sexual relationships in human society or higher rational society - which is conceived more and more as a-sexual or supra-sexual.

The Bhakti schools of India had postulated that the individual soul in so far as it seeks, yearns and devotes itself to finding out that ‘Other’ which can complete it or perfect it or fulfil it is basically of the nature of a female, dependent on one superior to it. But this is not of course the only relationship which is that of dependence for in a deeper sense one’s body can be considered to be dependent on the soul than a woman on her husband or male. Still others have raised the dependence to the level of power or sakti on the owner of power, just as the rays depend on the Source of light more than the body is dependent on the soul. These analogies had supplied degrees of dependence as capable of being visualised. The Upanisads have indeed held these views. The need for the ‘Other’s or God is in fact the entire aspiration for realization, perfection, salvation etc, Yajnavalkya has expressed this in his most inimitable manner na va are patvuh kamaya paith priyo bhavaty atmanastu kamaya paith priyo bhavati; na va are jayayai kamaya jaya priya bhavaty atmanasti kamaya jaya priyo bhavati ...

Thus every thing becomes objects of love or affection because of the Self or the ‘Other’ (Para) by whom everything lives and moves and has its being.

He has also stated that everything is His body* - utterly dependent on Him for their existence, continuance and emancipation or release; though none of them knows to be so; All are His body, individually and collectively. That is the nature of the Inner Self (antarartma) to which Kalidasa makes reference. It is clear that this antaratma is also the Para the transcendent Person know as the Purusottama, or Uttama Purusa, who is other than (anyah) the other purusas, know as the Ksara and Aksara in the Gita.

The individual soul in society attains several types of relationship and the most intimate is said to be that of husband and wife. This relationship though conceived and fomented by the desire for progeny ultimately at the human level is that which culminates in the desire for each other. This is said to be the nature of Sringara and of all the sentiments (rasas) this sentiment of love ¾ the need for the other ¾ is said to be the most dramatisable and productive of greatest happiness or joy. It is not necessary at this point to refer to the sophistication that has developed this representation of this sentiment into a formal method and an art. That might be truly a decorative method (alamkara) for communication of what the nature of emotional stimulation of this sentiment should be like. Bhakti as a Rasa has been claimed to be capable of being represented and dramatized and made into a technique with whom God as hero and the souls as heroines seeking union with God. The sentiment of devotion when mixed up with Sringara or love seeking union with the Para has been represented by the Alvars as legitimate ontologically sanctioned by the concept of relationship of the souls with God as similar to that of the bride to the bridegroom rather than of lover to the beloved though the former contains the latter.

There has always been an attempt to make the illegitimate relation or extra-marital relationship enjoyable and exciting than the legitimate. It is this tantric twist that lead to the supreme expression of love as most effective when it is illegitimate love for another who is not one’s husband or one’s wife. It is one which has relationship with the pancamakaramaithuna being one of them ¾ a sexual relationship with one who is other than one’s own legally accepted and recognised. The utilisation of Radha for this motif among the tantrically inclined has given slant to this most holy of existential relationships between God and soul. The love of the soul to God is personified in Radha; love it is that sustains the soul (dhara) in its relationship to God and it is the reciprocal love of God for the soul that makes him the supporter (dhara) of the entire universe of souls. Since he bears the burden of the entire universe He is the bharta, supporter, bearer and therefore husband of the entire universe of souls, whose number is mystically in numerology put as 16,000, sixteen being the number for fullness or perfection or completeness.

The soul in so far as it has love in fact is the power which compels so to speak the Divine reciprocity of love and union of the soul with God is the greatest play of the world-creation-nitya-lila which is nitya-kalyana. This in fact is the nityotsava of God-soul relationship.

The soul’s love of God has led to certain assumptions namely it means the giving up of the relationship of any kind with any other souls. Thus father, mother, children, husband or wife etc, are all asked to be given up ¾ this being perhaps one of the meanings given to the famous sloka of the Bhagavad Gita-Sarva-dharman-parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja ¾ giving up all duties (to all other individuals, relations etc) seek me alone as your own dharma, Svadharma a sole dharma, eka dharma. This is in fact the meaning of sannyasa renunciation or tyaga of everything other than God (the Para), and as such it is a doctrine of Parakiya. The love of God is said to demand this total or integral self-giving by which all social and other ties are severed. Thus the giving up of one’s wife or husband for the sake of God-love is counselled and admired. This choice of God is even when one has married another and in preference to the socially recognized and accepted husband or wife is admired by all. But this parakiya is not wrong though perhaps it is not really what is intended by the integral love that loves God and through that pure Godly love enriches the love towards one’s husband or wife or children or parents. The counsel of Yajnavalkya seems to suggest that the sole love of God in fact enhances and increases the love of one’s husband or wife or relations rather than otherwise as is usually thought of. God may be jealous in certain religions but in the Bhagavata and the Upanisads He is the inner Self of all and the love of Him increases and enhances one’s love for all others too. Thus one loves all more rather than less by God ¾ love.

The parakiya of the illegitimate kind unfortunately treats of the test of love as the giving up of all conventions or breaking up of them in order to show an utter disregard for all of them ¾ a kind of perverse egoism (viryam) that results in fouling the love that is pure and can be pure. God alone can truely be loved and God alone loves without jealousy. It is this that makes bhakti a play of love of all in and through God, it is that which completes one and perfects one by union with one’s transcendent counterpart onself the inner ruler Immortal. Parakiya Bhakti is illegitimate whereas parakiya priti or prema or sexual love is illegitimate, The reason is obvious; bhakti or devotion of two persons husband and wife, to God is possible for both acknowledge the primary duty of serving God in every way. Their unity in mind and speech and body is forged by the sprit of devotion to God, and they grow nearer to one another as comrades or companions or friends (sakha). But when God is reduced to the level of another man or human being sexually attracted as in the case of certain kinds of bhaktas then it becomes very difficult to bring about a unity of minds. The competitive or jealous mechanism or complex is set up and the two persons loved by a woman become rilvals so to speak, though God does not claim to be the exacting lover who demands the discarding or divorce of the human partner. However the entire story of rasa-krida is riddled at least in the minds of the less informed and badly mysticised minds so that the whole dramstization savours of the undivine. Whilst the attempt has to be sublimate the carnal, what has resulted was the carnalisation of the sublime. The Bhakti cults of Krisna thus degenerated into the carnal sensual love of a humanized Godhead and hardly in popular minds exalted itself to the level of divinisation of the sexual love. No wonder it was firmly rejected by those who have always thought of pure transcendent love ¾ a love that is the result of the metaphysical realisation of man’s relation to God the supreme Self of all, through whom alone such transcendent love, acosmic even, for all can flow forth in supernatural abundance. Truly therefore whilst the great acharyas of the Radha-Krisna cult ¾ Rupa Sanatana and Jiva avoided mention of the parakiya ¾ bhava in their writings, though they seem to have given rise to the divine concept of the parakiya rather than the humanised concept of the parakiya. (Dr Sushil Kumar De in his Early history of the Vaisnava Faith and Movement of Bengal), has noted this clearly (p.350*) and he noted however that their followers Yadunandan and Syamananda and Srinivasa had made popular the concept of Parkiya. However the reason for this doctrine seem to be not so much to exalt the (vyabhichara) as to show that really the Para (or God or Krisna as the adulterous dramatization in most cases leads to the degeneration and transcendent not as the avtara) is the Self (one’s own atman or antaratma) and the love of man or woman is in fact metaphysically a vyabhichara staying unless the Divine Para is accepted as the real counterpart of the soul, Whereas the so-called Parakiya is indeed svakiya ¾ the sadachara. However dramatization in most cases leads to degeneration and alamkaric use of the Divine concept leads to perversion. The saintlies celebates however avoided this pitfall which lesser men have failed to avoid.

To conclude the parakiya doctrine meant the doctrine of belonging of oneself to another as in the case of a girl and bride, and in the case of the soul. Just as the soul is to be returned to the Divine Inner Ruler Immortal by the mind so too the parent of guardian should return the girl to her husband.

The metaphysical relationship between the soul and its Lord is shown to demand the return of the soul to God. Considered as such the ‘return’ (nivritti) is the natural relationship whereas the straying away from one’s Lord is (pravritti or vyabhichara.)

The parakiya doctrine was expertly used by the Mystics for the purpose of sublimating carnal love. Their yearning for God was clothed in sexual symbology in order to help transforming the same into one of divine love ¾ atma-kama or divyakama. But its use is extremely governed by restraint of all lower impulses and carnal suggestions. The Rasa-krida of the Bhagavata is a very symbolic and in reality an ontological depth can only be appreciated by those who have loved God and in a supreme transcendental way. It is the transmutation of human nature in terms of divine relationship that is the essence of this science of divya-sringara.

It is hazardous to practice this for its emanations are very much difficult to control except under except guidance. Sri Chaitanya therefore recognized its value no less than its dangers but he had shown in his own life how it is to be practiced with saintliness and chastity.

Kalidasa however it may be stated hinted the practice of this parakiya in his triology of dramas¾by inventing the ‘Other’ woman in the triple forms of Mala vika: Sakuntala and Urvasi. But there is hardly the real transformation effected though Kalidasa felt that the higher the stature and nature of the ‘Other’ woman the more profoundly transformative of the male is She. But this almost inverts the male psychology and provides the efficacy of the female principle which is also conceived as the Ultimate Divine. This does not provide for the sringara motif or rasa but it is sometimes held to be possible and permissible.

†    cf. My paper on: Kalidasa and Mysticism and Sri Aurobindo.  The Mother: Suvenir p. 36 ff. Symposium published by Sri Aurobindo Bangavani Nabadwip. W. Bengal 1960.



(The Logical Phase of Mind)

The evolutionary theory of life has been able to trace the growth of mind in three well-defined stages: the tribal or mythopoetic, the logical and the present realistic. The tribal horizon of man was deeply concerned with the magical and religious means or action for averting harm, or securing the benefits of power. It was conscious of the inherent but inscrutable power behind nature; and though vaguely conscious of its universal presence in all Natural objects, it was definitely  ‘concretistic,’ and particularistic, and its highest flights of imaginative fancy were definitely expressed by mimesis and dramatization. It did not use abstractions. But the transition to the logical phase was developed even during the mythological phase because the fundamental expression of even the mythical demands a profound understanding of symbolism and its distinctive patterns of correlation with things. Though the symbolical pursuit was strictly confined to the interpretation and even to the building up of myths, it made for the liberation of mind from the confines of the purely sensory experience, and ‘fear’ of Nature.

The transition from the mythological age to the logical age was in one sense the tradition from the sensory and emotional reaction to Nature and tribal society to the intellectual and impersonal reactions to the self-same Nature. This transition in the history of the human race was achieved generally gradually due to the growth of reflection on the phenomena of life. But as Prof. John Murphy stated we find that the tribal was succeeded by the revolutionary prophetic horizon, about B.C. 4000. This was helpful in making man the master of nature in respect of his food and general wants. Closely following prophetic horizon, the logical mind ‘intolerant of contradiction within itself and making no compromises with untruth in any sphere ‘initiated the modern’ epoch. Nature was de-peopled of its gods and all the sense of awe and the ‘numinous’ and inscrutable were removed from it. The dethronement of the ‘idols of the crowd’ was followed by a return to actual experience available to man. Conceptual thought or abstraction from a host of concrete instances led to the formation of concepts of Matter, Space, Time, Change, and permanence; and even concepts pertaining to the sphere of ethics such as justice, truth, goodness and other values came into being. Thus the first philosophers of India, Greece, and China were materialists. This interpretation of Nature was from a purely secularised and antisupernaturalistic causal explanation. The mythologists of course had their own ways of explaining causally but it was not impersonal, formal truth or scientific. Causal explanation, which is the clearest indication of the activity of the intellect, was made to rest not on the whims and fancies of the unknown spirits or Chance, but on the discovery of laws that governs the relations between things, laws that exhibit necessary connections between things. It is essentially relational ; it unites the disparate or manifold things of nature. It is predictable or deduceable-relationship that intellect or reason demands. Further it also sought the One Unitary reality, substance, system, Absolute, from which all things, all types of relationships and multiplicities could be shown to be deducible. Polytheism yielded place to monism through the monotheism of the prophetic intuition. In due course, the discovery of the unitary substance led to the affirmation of the nature of the ultimate category of existence as Reason or Idea. Mathematical accuracy and self-evidence of axioms became the ideal of knowledge. The structure of reality was made more and more to conform to the ideal of necessity in thought, and much time was taken to define the terms of thought. And laws were discovered in almost every sphere of life, morals and politics, and art and psychology. But this experiment with Nature with the help of intellect or reason was not successful all at once. But the step was taken, the irrevocable step towards the liberation of mind from the bondage of myths and superstitious veneration and blindness. Clarity of intellect, the precise perception of interrelations between facts based on the absolutely verifiable necessary laws was firmly established. Though the intellect was made to depend upon sensory experiences, it was not made to become subordinate either to their content or to their demands. Intellect conferred order on the chaos, and granted permanence to the transitory. Indeed at a most critical period in the history of modern thought when empiricism and rationalism were competing with each other, it was pointed out by Kant that it was thought or mind that imposed order on sensory data, and not that thought was discovering order in the   sensory data. Mind gave order. Indeed without Mind Nature could not exist at all. The discovery of this magnitude was rendered possible by the fact that man began to discover that without a seeing mind or seer there is nothing seen, and all that is seen is indeed dependence on the mind of matter or the phenomenal universe ultimately resulted in a demand for a new approach to the problem of metaphysical truth. Whether we could even make any distinctions between the primary sensations like touch and the secondary sensations like colour, smell, and taste, was a question of great importance and it was held that since both of them were sensations dependent upon the seer or mind, they too must be referred to the activity of the mind itself. But thought or reason was not content with this declaration of the omnivorousness of mind. Esse est percipi (to exist is to be perceived) was too patently unacceptable to the ordinary man, but it was too irrefutable to be challenged. It was clear then to both the empiricists and the rationalists that a new methodology of thought was necessary. A new logic was essential. Consciousness was to be defined in a somewhat different way. It was dynamic ; it was universal as reason. Its higher form rested on the dynamic activity of its two-fold activity as Nature on the one hand and as Mind that confers or discovers or exhibits the unity and system in the manifold or multiplicity of Nature on the other hand. The goal of this process of development or evolution of thought was the realisation of the Ideal or Absolute that was working in and through the differences, It was the identity in Nature as well as in Mind, that is leading towards the rich and concrete System or Reality. Indeed the process of the explication of the identity in and through the multiplicity gave mind an objective reality as it operated by a process of dialectical opposition, between being and non-being leading to the synthesis of becoming. This dialectical process being a logical process was necessary as the basis of the reality and realisation of the Absolute.  This Absolute is ideally and necessarily present in all the stages and epochs of development. Any philosophy of Nature ultimately is the reality of the Absolute, and History is also governed by the dialectical process. The State is the visible manifestation of the Absolute on the plane of society. But then it was a type of philosophy that left things very much in the same state as before. The theory that reality or the Absolute operates as a unity in opposition or in and through opposition was fruitful in giving dynamic content  to the Absolute’s self-impelling and self-manifesting quality. The logical mind thus, while saving itself from the inanities of static conceptuality, emerged as the one all-embracing statement of the nature of Reality that is inner-connected in a coherent and non-self contradictory manner and is a unity, universe, identity. It was described as organic too in its structure in the sense that none of its parts could have reality apart from it. The logical mind left nothing to chance; all chance was ignorance, irrational. The business of the logical mind is to extend the frontiers of knowledge and bring all irrationality into the sphere of knowledge by transforming it into elements of rational knowledge.

This process meant a complete abstractification of reality, though it was pointed out that the Absolute was more concrete with meaning than the sensory experiences which were only concrete in the sense of being sensible, but otherwise dumb, inchoate; yet the logical intellect only gave concepts or the conceptual world. The two aspects of logical thought, one in the direction of the discovery of the laws of Nature, uniformities and identities in the behaviour patterns of phenomena, psychical and physical, and the other in the direction of evolving a system or universal order based on the principles of non self-contradiction, have facilitated the simultaneous growth of the logical mind. Today we have in the apparent opposition of empirical and positive sciences with their realistic trends, to the absolutistic, abstractionistic and idealistic constructions a full picture of the path traversed by the logical intellect, the path of affirming unity in opposition, of identity in difference. This has been the guiding pattern of the intellect or logical reason.

I have so far sketched very briefly the development of the logical mind in the West leaving out the string of names that have made its developments possible. Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Francis Bacon, Des Cartes, Spinoza, Berkely, Kant and Hegel have all had the honour of contributing to the building up of the logical mind. The names are unimportant but the tendency has been continuously at work during the past two thousand years and more.

The development of logical thought in the East ran on parallel lines. Buddha’s logical method, anticipated though it was considerably by the Upanishadic meditations, was utilised for the purpose of emancipation. His break away from the Vedic thought was due to a variety of reasons, the primary reason being of course the need to understand all process with the aid of the omnipotent causal principle. The Brhaspati school of materialism was also the first scientifically directed effort to lay down the instrument of knowledge as perception. The Schools of Kanada and Gautama depended upon logical thought of unravelling the mystery of the constitution of matter and relations. So also the Samkhyan school of Kapila undertook the investigation into the psycho-physical relationship between Matter and Mind, Subject and Object. The supremacy of the subject over the object was firmly established by Kapila. Buddhist thought developed almost parallelly the representationalist, solipsist and nihilstic schools. In all the above schools it could be found that authority was scarcely indented upon for the proof of the nature of the world. The atheistic trend was emphasized by some of these more than the others, their atheism consisting  mainly in the disregard for the sacred revelational authority qua authority. The Mimamsa schools which came into being to lay down the principles of canonical interpretation in respect of Vedic directions and prohibitions were able to lay excellent fundamental principles of deduction. In the direction of Sciences, Alchemy, the father of modern chemistry, was studied. Ayurveda was built up; great engineering efforts were undertaken. We have silpa-sastra, ganita-sastra, gola-sastra and other sciences. Indeed the rules laid down in these sciences are even today considered to be excellent principles and valuable. The Vedanta sought to explain the whole of reality on the basis of Upanishadic thought which very early in the history of Indian Philosophy released itself from the bondage to the natural and the supernatural mythology of the Vedic-Brahmanic horizon. But here we find a departure from the tradition of Western development Instead of becoming realistic, it has tended to become alogical; logical thought now initiated the process of transcendence. Unlike Buddhistic thought and Jainism, it sought to explain the place of nature and the supernatural and the logical in the integral structure of supralogical experience. Logical thought sandwiched between the two limits of concrete private experience and concrete universal absolute or Divine experience, had sought to systematise these in the unity of its canons and principles. Confronted with the disclosures of a higher experience than  the perceptual, it had to transcend its own earlier preoccupation with the perceptual and immitigably private experiences with which it had dealt with considerable success, in order to evolve systematic knowledge. By this inevitably necessary adaptation or orientation of itself it had paved the way for the mergence or manifestation of the supralogical concrete, universal, transcendent Intuition. The mind was prepared by Vedanta for the third step of the evolutionary transformation by the mystical disclosures of the Universal Consciousness (supramental Saccidanada), which more completely than even the logical consciousness conforms to the pattern of Unity in and through Multiplicity which exceeds and transforms the logical unity in opposition.

Thus the Mind has for the past three thousand years been passing through the logical phase. Roughly these three thousand years have led to the emergence of mind from its primitive phase to the state of abstract thinking in terms of the universal values of truth, beauty, goodness and others. But thanks to the emergence of great figures of religion, the third phase had not been lagging far behind. For mind is a unity seeking an integral manifestation of itself in its triple being as mythological, logical and supralogical Experience. In the realisation of the definite pattern of the higher and integral consciousness consists the possibility of the survival of Mankind.





I      Samkhyan Theory of Knowledge

1.    The most important problem of any school of thought is the problem of how and by what means one knows. Four important factors are involved in any act of knowing: (i) the subject who knows or wills to know and who gains knowledge for himself (ii) the object of knowledge, which may be other than oneself or even oneself; and (iii) the means of knowing - the consciousness of the self which relates the subject with the object and brings the knowledge of the object to the subject and lastly (iv) the knowledge of object. There is lot of confusion in the minds of many who equate the third and the fourth but it is clear that there is difference between the content of knowing and the act of knowing.

2.    Knowing is an all-comprehensive term that can be visualised or recognized as (i) direct - the subject without the mediation of the sense-organs or other organs of intellect can know the object. But this kind of knowing is possible only when there is the subject as consciousness. However this consciousness is different from or the original of the consciousness that we have when we perceive any sensory object through the senses. Indeed to most people consciousness itself is a resultant of sensory or other stimulations (internal or external): so much so one school of thought has affirmed that the soul is subject only when its sense-organs or motor organs are stimulated by objects. This view of course is materialistic but it stems from the real distinction between the consciousness that is supersensory and the consciousness that is sensory and vital: thought it is the same consciousness in so far as knowing is concerned the contents that it brings forth are different in kind. If consciousness then is the instrument of knowing it is seen that the subject of this activity of consciousness is also in a sense the source and ground of consciousness and remains both the subject and means. However it is clear that whatever may be the nature of the soul, it is only when it is subject that its consciousness functions as knowing and brings knowledge of objects. The question is whether the soul when not subject(when it is no longer knowing the object, prakrti) is conscious or not. Samkhya here says that in this condition the soul is having itself as object and thus the object and subject become one and knowing is knowing oneself - the object-subject identity in self-consciousness is different from the object-subject difference in external knowing and knowledge. The attempt to claim that in self-consciousness the subject and object disappear is of course to affirm consciousness as the stuff of both subject and object and is an ontological extension. Samkhya does not go to this point. It recognizes that the soul is consciousness because it has consciousness and the identity between the two is clear, though its own explanation of knowing entails that the consciousness itself is objectified in knowing the object, and the subject though knowing is not so objectified.

The Object known is known through three ways: if it is the Subject it is only known through Aptavachana or svanubhava: for the subject (soul) is not either a cause or an effect. Objects are either causes or effects or both causes and effects. This general assumption colours the division of the pramanas: the Cause is known through inference or reasoning from effects the effects are known through perception or observation. The effects for the most part are the elements of nature (bhautika) and the sensory and motor organs. Even manas is known through observation or introspection but in relation to its causes. The basic knowing then is closely linked up with the causal theory in so far as objects are concerned. It is true that whilst generally causes can only be known through inference (sesavat anumana) it is also possible to arrive at the Cause through a direct awareness. But of this there is no mention. Speaking about the characteristics of Buddhi, it is stated that it is jnana, dharma, vairagya and isatva. The cognitive point is clearly jnana or knowledge rather than an activity of consciousness or knowing when conceived not as an activity or instrument of activity, since activity is equated with causality.

The whole apparatus of Prakrti is intended to be instrumental to knowing or acquiring knowledge and for the preservation of knowledge: for inspection rather than itself being knowing.

The conception of causality will explain why it must be that knowing and knowledge are indeed differentiated and the one is put on the object side and the other on the subject.

Usually there are recognized there kinds of causes: the material (upadana or samavaya), the efficient (nimitta) and the instrumental (asamavaya) and a fourth is recognized as the prayojana (final cause of Aristotle), the purpose of the creation or effectuation. In Samkhya we can clearly recognize that the material cause is Prakrit, the nimitta cause is the nearness (Sannidhya or samyoga) of the Purusa, and the purusa is not involved in the cause nor in the effect but has to be near for the creative evolution to take place, the instrumental causes are the karanas, buddhi, ahamkara, tanmatras which are at once made up of prakrti but are not present in the effects except in so far as they are made up of by the prakriti of three gunas. This point of course is to be considered seriously on the parallel of the naiyayika version where only the material cause is present all through, but not the instruments like stick, wheel and so on, or the Godhead or carpenter or potter who are the efficient cause. The final cause or prayojana is patently the enjoyment of the soul or use or utility.

If knowing is said to be a kind of causality then there is serious difficulty, in respect of the involvement of subject in knowing. Even sannidhya is a kind of causality but it is not immanent causality or satkarayavada. It is asat-karyavada if we have to say it, the effect is not in the cause (immanently) but it is causality in the sense of being necessary for the process of creativity to take place.

3.    Another important point we have to consider is whether we should not make a distinction between having and knowing: We have knowledge but we know the object: the knowing gets the knowledge of the object but is not itself knowledge:

Ancient psychologists did have this distinction in mind when they distinguished between cit and jnana. Cit is the consciousness and is knowing whereas jnana is the having of the form of the object or artha-jnana. Thus whilst Brahma is called Sat cit ananda it is something different from Satyam jnanam anantam Brahma. The Samakhyan attributes jnana to buddhi and not to the purusa and as such jnana cannot be the attribute of the purusa. That it can be knowing cit rather than having knowledge is clear. If this view is accepted then it follows that the purusa is not having jnana form the beginning, except in the case of Isvara or Kapila the founder and those souls or persons perfect form the very beginning, but gain this knowledge. Thus it is clear that only souls which have cit but not jnana or ajnanis who fall under the spell of prakrti and her evolution, and their engagement in the perceiving or seeing or witnessing of the drama of prakrti results in its getting rid of ajnana and attaining jnana. Thus we see that the souls have to be of  three kinds, the ever-free Kapila like or Isvara, and the freed souls who have gone through the witnessing of the drama, and ajnanis. Thus we find it is stated in the Upanisads - isaanisaujnaajnau - the lord and not lord, the knowledge possessing one and ignorant (non-knowledge ajnana). This is consequent on the very process of describing the founder and the freed ones, his disciples, Jnana then is something that arises from the experience: it is perhaps therefore a derivative of Ö­ ja: to be born. Knowledge is a growth in and through experience and it is that which abolishes the ignorance which is the condition of non-knowledge. That is why we pass from ajnana to jnana - though ajnana is usually equated with works like avidya it is clear that our knowing is a doing - an activity and vidya arises as a consequence of knowing.

The Purusa is thus characterised by jnatrtva: knowing capacity and activity, and bhoktrtva: enjoying capacity or activity which are described as saksitva : witnessing the drama. But activity is the most important thing – for it is that which reveals the necessity for iksatva: desire to know, to perceive, to observe the objective world. Kartrtva or activity is precisely what is involved in the two other modes of consciousness or cit, and all the three lead to jnana or its arising. But kartrtva is omitted from the functions of Purusa and referred to prakrti. The reason is not far to seek, it arises from the postulate again of satkarya vada: the cause must contain the effect: the final knowledge must already be present in the cause – kartriva or karta – and the result is that one is jnani from the very beginning and never an ajnani – and threrfore liberated from the very beginning. The prakritic drama is either a lila for itself or not existent at all. Non-creationism ajatavada alone can result. Gaudapada or Vaisnavism will result with a difference that Vaishnavism considers that it is the play of the Divine for the Divine by the Divine who is the Master of Prakrti and its self.

The postulate of inactivity (passivity) and activity respectively in respect of Purusa and Prakriti is open to serious objections. Indeed almost all the Vedantas seem to assume that to be conscious or is cit to be passive rather than active. This original assumption brings about the divorce between the theoretical and the practical: vidya and avidaya – when the former is assumed to be the passive realisation of the Self and the latter an activity that takes one away from Self. But activity need not be directed outside oneself – and then it might be called caitanyata rather than jnana – and the externalised activity might well be called jnana that is arrived at through activity. This postulate of contradiction between vidya and avidya or theoretical knowledge and practical activity has been accepted without question by most samkhyan exponents. However this is manifestly wrong: for jnana develops out of karma or action and that is clear even in this system. The Buddhi in its tamasic aspect is said to have the attributes of viparyaya (delusion, illusions etc., adhyasa too perhaps of the Advaita Vedanta), disability, contentment which are obviously the first fruits of contact between the Purusa and the Prakrti, that leads the soul downward into involvement and enjoyment through the wondrous powers revealed by prakrti. But it is indeed this anubhava of its depths that leads to knowledge which releases the soul from its identification(akhyati). Thus in respect of  bond souls it follows that activity of identification is a kind of jnatrtva that leads through suffering to knowledge ultimately. The pravrtti is followed up by nivrtti – a descent is followed up by an ascent. The claim made by some that one must have experience of evil so that one can discern the good and conversely that nothing is good which is not known and chosen as such and evil therefore is fully to be known and guarded against is clearly on the postulate that total knowledge included both the descent into evil and ascent towards the Good. But then whilst it is inevitable, in a sense it is something that has to be known from a seer who knows the totality of the process of Good and the evil; the former is valuable and the latter unworthy. Therefore the teachers of wisdom comprehending both the paths – the devayana and the asuryana – taught the blind seekers of pleasure in the downward and external path that the Good is to be chosen – and the good is that which will set one free from suffering and darkness – the tamasa and andhatamisra, the moha and the mahamoha and the tamas that are the five forms of error (viparyaya).

Thus knowing is an activity, it may be external and that leads to identification with object when it tries to bring the knowledge (jnanakara – ideas) of the object to the subject. This may be wrong –for they are not the self at all. This may lead to activity(karma) and kalpana imagination and active participation. Ahamkara is this stage of involvement and identification. But to separate the theoretical from the practical activity is to make the very process of knowledge; and the arising of knowledge from activity impossible.

The Upanisad rightly has stressed that avidya or activity (karma)leads to darkness, but knowledge can also lead to greater darkness as it were. Therefore knowing this that though the results of activity are one thing and that of knowledge another, one should practice both of them, so that one result of all activity, conquest over death as also attain the immortal. Death being the result of all activity, conquest over death would mean to know how of the process of descent and the ascent through perfect acquaintance of the Nature, and thus gain the state of being utterly free from its effect and delusive possibilities (viparyaya). (of Isavasyopanisad).

Activity (kartrtva) alone cannot be relegated to Prakrti whilst retaining jnatrtva and bhoktrtva to the purusa. Theoretical activity is as much activity as enjoyment also is an activity. The Purusa thus is impoverished but that is because it was felt that activity is always involvement and disinvolvement is what is aimed at in Moksa. The path of reflection and renunciation being negative activity it may be considered that that it is contrary to outward activity. Samkhya however is assuming that every effect must be found in the cause, and since activity is of the nature of causal activity it must already possess potentially the effect. This postulate of sat-karya-vada vitiates its whole conception of knowing, knowledge, activity and enjoyability.

Thus the theory of knowledge of Samkhya suffers from causal presupposition and the process of knowing and knowledge are confused and riddled with contradictions.

We have discussed about the nature of the knower. Turning to the nature and process of knowing it must be clear that there are at least four ways for knowing:

(i)    The direct knowing by the Purusa which arises at the last when it is capable of saying ‘I know prakrti.’ This is not mediated even by Buddhi for this is also discarded at that stage being a material instrument (karana).

(ii)    The kind of knowing that arises when the purusa perceives the modifications of prakrti through its first evolute buddhi. Buddhi is said to be the instrument of knowing and the cause of anubhava of prakrti. Nyaya too considers that buddhi is the karana for anubhava and describes that it is capable of being our source of knowledge. Buddhi alone can be used to perceive but such a knowledge can fall into either intellectual knowledge which is non-sensory  or of the form of reasoning based on the sensory (anumana). Sabda obviously does not fall into this category.

(iii)    The knowing that happens through the mediation of manas is sometimes said to be a kind of manasa-pratyaksa different from indriyagrahya jnana which is sensory knowledge.

(iv)    The sensory knowing which is had through the mediating of the sense organs. These can be considered to be four levels of knowing:-

(i)     Caitya arising from cit of the Purusa.

(ii)          Buddhigrahya

(iii)        Manograhya

(iv)        Indriyagrahya

It must be remembered that all are involved in the fourth kind of knowing: three involved in the third, two involved in the second and only one in the first. Thus the purusa knows through buddhi, manas and indriyas in indriyagrahya jnana. It is clear that the higher types of objects cannot be known by and through the lower. Sense-organs cannot grasp objects relevant to buddhi or manas, though manas and buddhi can grasp the object of the senses. Further the knowledge got through them may be considered to be truer but of this there is no mention. However the falsity of a thing is rendered possible when there are too many intermediary instruments.

We have omitted one karana namely ahamkara - there is a kind of knowledge that is got from and through ahamkara - which is more like ‘doing’ rather than passive knowing though there is hardly a doctrine of passive knowing in Samkhya (&Nyaya). The individuative principle of ahamkara isolates the knowledge as personal and particular and unique. (Ahamkara is the cause of individuation into atomic particles in tanamatra). It is said to be perceived only in yogajanya jnana or manasa-pratyaksa. Ahamkara has kalpana or imagination as function or that which is divisive consciousness or knowledge.

Thus the instruments which help knowing are buddhi, ahamkara, manas and indriyas. These give mediate knowledge of jnana. The faults of the instruments will infect the nature of knowledge granted, by them. The object knowledge becomes erroneous due to faults of the instruments.

Samkhya does not mention except broadly about Nature Pakrti. It has three qualities, gunas, that it is inconscient, acit, that it is in a state of avyakta and becomes vyakta owing to the disturbance of the state of equilibrium by the sannidhya or nearness of Purusa. The Samkhyan knowledge is true when it is found that buddhi is disinterested (vairagya), and capable and can lead to dharma or right conduct.¹  Thus if the Buddhi is satvika knowledge will be true and capable and good, otherwise knowledge will be delusive, incapable and leading to wrong conduct. Thus much weight is attached to the quality of the buddhi, and ipso facto of the ahamkara and manas and the indriyas which have all to get purified by the sattva-Buddhi. That knowledge that originates in attachment and delusion is incapable and wrong.

The true knowledge of the nature of Prakrti and its modifications or objects in possible only when the karanas are purified. Thus Samkhya insists upon the purity of the knowing process and the instruments used by the knower. If the knower is ignorant and pursues nature in a spirit of thirst for experience without understanding (trsna) and wonder-curiosity, then prakrti cannot be properly understood. There is for Samkhya no theory of illusion as such as illusions arise from the nature of the buddhi itself. However it is due also to the ajna nature of the conscient (cit) purusa.


1.  This interpretation takes all the 4 characteristics of Sattvika Buddhi as integra: Dharma-jnana-Vairagya-isatva, contra:iwise Tamasic Buddhi, S.K.

The theory of akhyati or non-observation is usually claimed to be the explanation of illusion or delusion in Samkhya. It is not however evident in the Karikas. It is true that the Purusa tends to identify itself with the activities of the prakritic gunas and modifications. This identification or acceptance of the activities of prakrti as belonging to oneself or as one’s own may be the cause of illusion for it is attachment to or interest in it. The kartrtva of the Purusha which is cognitive is different from the kartrtva of the modifications of prakrti which are karanas or instruments at best. The owning of instrumentality and thinking that the errors and disabilities of them is one’s own is the cause of sorrow for the soul. The non-observation of the distinctness of one’s self from prakrti may be the cause of delusion or error. But more correctly we are not to think of the akhyati in respect of the self and prakrti but in respect of objects in perception as such. And if viparyaya, error due to moha, tamisra and tamas etc., are the causes they lead to anyathakhyati rather than to akhyati.

The cause of illusion is always due to a superficial similarity in the objects and not the similarity between the kartrtva of the Purusa and the activity of gunas. All similarity that leads to illusion is based upon non-observation when simple but mal-observation when complicated by trsna, fear etc., The objects would be similar, so much so delusion regarding them, that is mistaking one for the other, is always possible. The theory that holds akhyati seeks to solve the problem of error by recourse to mere jnana or knowledge, whereas it considers that anyathakhyati will demand practical verification of the doubt arising in the mind about a thing as different from what it is. However verification of the hypothesis, first assumption, happens sooner or later. The question is whether knowledge is merely passive or active: and knowledge which can remove a delusion, and bring about the withdrawal of prakrtic activities must be dynamic rather than passive sentience. However it is clear that akhyati is not mentioned as the cause of error or falsity or unreality of objects previewed in Pratyaksa.

There is need to assume the distinctions between cit and citta. Cit is the substantive nature of the Purusa. Citta is the functional inseparable attribute of purusa. Citta can undergo expansion and contraction but not cit for it remains unaffected in essence. This concept of substantive-attributive relationship between cit and citta is clearly envisaged in Patanjali’s declaration that union is arrived at through the control of the modifications of cittacitta-vrtti-nirodha –a control that brings it to itself or its substrate – Cit. This is clearly seen in the development that Ramanuja made - when he called cit as dharmi-bhuta-jnana and citta as dharma-bhuta-jnana. Here the substitution of jnana in the place of cit is undoubtedly ambiguous for jnana is always knowledge that arises whereas cit is the inherent nature which makes knowledge possible. The contraction of the dharma-bhuta-jnana or its contracted state is the state of ignorance, but its fullest state is the state of freedom. In other words it does not identify itself with the modifications of prakrti or its karanas. The Upanisads however have used both words synonymously.


What is the psyche with which we are concerned in Samkhya? This is naturally the Purusa or Person.² Usually it is said that this term refers to the indwelling soul in a body – an embodied being. However this does not appear to be the original meaning in so far as the soul or purusa is considered to be independent of and having characteristics other than that of prakrti or original cause of all manifest world. Prakrti means cause in Samkhya, and this cause is conceived as having three gunas, sattva, rajas and tamas. Purusa takes interest in prakrti or cause and the evolution vrttis, arise. Corresponding to the changes or inequilibrium in prakrti there happen changes in a sense in purusa himself. The purusa is said to have cognitivity (witnessing the cause saksitva), it is also said to have enjoyability (bhoktrtva); it has no kartrtva or power to do but it has undoubtedly desire to see the manifestation of the cause. This can be said to be conativity. These three can be recognized as having a kind of correspondence to the three qualities of sattva (which illumines), rajas (that which moves and manifests) and tamas (that which being at rest gives enjoyability). The three modes of consciousness of the purusa (citta-vrtti) are exhibited through the three gunas of the Cause, and thus the usual delusion or illusion that the body is the soul arises.

These three characteristics enfold the entire psychology of experience of Nature (prakrti). Purusa is said to be a substance in so far as it has pratyaktva (interior knowing or awareness cit), but it has paraktva, exteriority, also in so far as other purusas and prakrti and its evolutes are concerned. The self or soul cannot be known it is said in its real nature except by aptavacana (words of the attained persons who have gained the inner knowledge or awareness of themselves). It cannot be known from the observation of prakrti or even its evolutes. This is because of the delusion that the soul suffers from - thinking that it can know itself by observing its transactions with Nature. This is to treat the soul as part of Nature and the study of Nature is concluded to be the study of self or soul. Behaviorism is the result if not materialism. If all the activities of the individual soul are identified with the activities of the body and the environment and the nature of the soul is sought to be got at by observing the behaviour of the several organs of the body, mind ego and buddhi then there is only a psycho-physical psychology not a pure psychology.

(i)    The soul is said to be cit. (consciousness or awareness). It is capable of witnessing and enjoying Nature and it is said to be a kind of efficient cause of Nature’s evolution by its sannidhya (nearness).

(ii)    The interest taken by the purusa in witnessing prakrti is due to its original ignorance (ajnana) because it is said that even this nearness (sannidhya) cannot provoke any pravrtti, evolution, on the part of the prakrti, when the soul becomes fully aware of all the evolutes and formations of prakrti and finds itself to be different from prakrti. Cognitive, volitive and affective curiosity is what stirs prakrti and makes its triple gunas which have been in equilibrated motion (sadrsa-vrtti) into inequilibrated (visadrsa-vrtti) motions.

Ignorance ( as curiosity or lack of knowledge) of prakrti is then the characteristic of the purusa. But this means also that there are two stages of the purusa, the ajnana stage that leads to prakrtic evolution, and the jnana stage that leads to prakrtic involution. The jivas or purusas are thus of at least two kinds, the liberated (jnani) and the unliberated (ajnani).³ A third kind of soul or purusa must also be accepted; viz., the nitya mukta or eternally free like the founder of the Samkhyan School, Sage Kapila. This becomes plausible because he has never been under the curiosity of Prakrti having known all from the very beginning.

Another reason also may be adduced. It is not clear whether one gets at the cognitive or affective or conative mode of consciousness (cit) in any regular order. Any one of these may predominate funcitionally. The influence of these on prakrti’s gunas equally is not clearly envisaged. The Samkhya disjunction of Buddhi into good (sattva-dominant) and bad (tamas-dominant) shows that the purusa may by chance get the good first and almost immediately get the awakening without having to know prakrti in its rajas and tamas aspect - though for complete knowledge of prakrti (anubhava) they too have to be known, but with the guidance of the higher buddhi it is just possible that this may be done almost immediately. Thus whilst it is possible for one who starts with good buddhi to end up in bad and then laboriously move up again, it is equally possible for the bad buddhi to go down and ascent to the Good (sattvika) and attain liberation. The nisus in purusa is for full knowledge of prakrti (jnana) which is the liberating force. (Bhagavad Gita mentions about the asura prakrti taking it downward into darkness whilst daivi prakrti takes it out of darkness and ascends towards light sattva).

The analogy of the lame man and blind woman reveals the characteristics of privation which brings about their cooperative adventure in creation together. Lame man means who cannot act, an ajnani, and the other has no seeing capacity. Both are in a sense ajna. But the purusa is cit and prakrti is acit. The analogy reveals that when the soul knows or becomes a jnani it no longer needs prakrti for its enjoyment or what ever that means. So too Prakrti no longer needs the Purusa. In a sense both of them attain divorce from one another after a long eventful history of sorrow, joy or dualities.

The conclusion is that when the soul or purusa withdraws its inherent interest or curiosity after anubhava (prakrtic experience) it is no longer seized with curiosity. Citta-vrtti (modifications of functional consciousnesss) stops or comes gradually to a halt. The continuance of the association with prakrti is at the physical or gross level alone and when at this level also it fails then there is final liberation. These two stages are known as jivan-mukti and mahanirvana or videha-mukti, the second is final (mahanirvana) the former is just nirvana, in Buddhist terminology.

Thus if Citta-vrttis are our empirical modes of consciousness, and these modes are in different degrees present in each act of theirs, yet they are also terminable, capable of supension. Unless we say that waking, dreaming and deep sleep are states of cognition, volition and affection or feeling, respectively, we can see that the soul, cit, is other than these three. This the Soul or cit can be stated to be the fourth as in Mandukya, the turya, which is the source or ground of the three. They are citta and that is cit. Sri Ramanuja makes the distinction between these two in a luminous way; the soul is jnana-substantive, (dharmi-bhuta-jnana) the modes of consciousness are (dharma-bhuta-jnana) jnana-functional; qualitative, or modal. It is this modal consciousness that is known as attributive consciousness also and it is this that is available for introspection, not the substantive, for it is basically the ground of all experiencing. It is not capable of being the object of consciousness or attributes as such, being that which makes consciousness itself possible. The dimensions of experiences of this substantive consciousness, cit, are not given at all in Samkhya. They have to be gleaned from the Upanisads, if at all. There are of course three views: (I) that thought or consciousness-function expires in this introspective absorption (laya) in the Self: (ii) other consider that soul or self itself can perhaps inform the functional consciousness about itself in some way in revelatory terms; (iii) that this can be made to know the Self by direct transcendental experience. The self is always subject and never the object, according to some, and as such self-knowledge means something very different from knowledge of objects. But since the Self is counselled in Vedanta as something to be known, seen and entered into or known, thought about and meditated upon, and lastly attained so as to become It, there is to be assumed that it is in a different sense an Object of man directly known by the soul without the mediation of material organs – buddhi, ahamkara, manas and the organs of sense and action.

The question whether a purusa can exist apart from any body is answered in the affirmative. In liberation the purusa is isolated (kevala) and it attains kaivalya mukti or liberation of freedom form all bodies. Ordinary bond souls continue to have some body or other. Thus they firstly have a linga sarira starting with buddhi,  ahamkara, manas and the ten organs and tanmantras. This develops the gross bodies which are discarded and assumed according to desire (kama-karma), till finally both the sthula(gross) and linga (subtle) sariras (bodies) are discarded. It is this liberation from linga-sarira that is liberation really, for it is the cause of the transmigrations of the purusa.

The liberated soul has no kind of prakrtic body whatever nor can it acquire one.*

That is the reason why the incarnations of God are not said to be of the order of prakrti at all: they are divya, divine, luminous. Samkhya is not concerned with the problems of the Rsis or the liberated beings who incarnate for the Good of all.

The necessity to explain the nature of prakrti arises because of its being the source of bondage to the purusa. To give the knowledge about its evolutes or modifications is to help the crossing over of ignorance. Ignorence leads to curiosity and wonder and from it arises investigation or enjoyment or both - anubhava. The ultimate attainment of jnana means the end of the search or the loss of interest arising out of viveka discrimination or samkhya.

The psychology of the Samkhyan system is strictly limited to the process by which the bondage to the soul arises and the kinds of forces that help in the process. It also points out forces which lead to the loosening of the bonds also and finally the cycle of education or anubhava is completed.

The souls are purusa, are really total personalities when they have gone through the body of prakrti and have mastered its knowledge. In this sense the cit becomes a purusa (purisa lord of the body or city of nine-gates as they playfully say) or person and is emancipated from ignorance of prakrti (triguni).

The nature of Buddhi is described in two ways its sattvika aspect which enables it to attain dharma, wisdom, dispassion and power. In general, it is said to be of the nature of will (adhyavasaya). Dharma, or virtue, leads one to attain higher planes of life or enjoyment; jnana (which is in a sense ambiguous word being used for the Purusa himslef) is wisdom about Nature or Prakrti that leads to beatitude of liberation; vairagya or dispassion leads to that state when buddhi gets absorbed into the avyakta that annihilates it as linga-sarira that leads to transmigration, and lastly power or aisvarya which is described as granting the power of laghima, anima, garima, mahima, vasitva, Isitva and prapti. These mean mastery over the elements of Nature as a whole. There is however mention of the tamasic buddhi which produces the contrary effects of sinfulness, ignorance, attachment and asakti impotence, which lead to dwelling in lower planes or worlds, bondge, transmigrations and impediments in the body, disability. Vacaspati Misra commits the serious mistake of saying that aisvarya means non-impediments to desires; it should be non-impediments to freedom or control over the entire nature and its modifications.

Speaking about the faults that arise, there is mention of four kinds of faults - namely error (viparyaya), disability and these two are surely what make knowledge impossible. The wrong type of contentment is said to be to be contented with attainments restricted to buddhi; one should go to the final liberation. Mere knowledge is not enough. Nor should it be said that abstinence from eternal objects of sense is a sort of contentment. Vacaspati says that abstinence is due to difficulties in earning, saving, wasting, enjoying and killing. One is tempted to ask vacaspati Misra whether these can be considered to be bad or wrong. Bhagavad Gita definitely says that one could abstain from all objects of sense and foods and taste. These of course occur only when one attains the Param or the Transcendent Godhead or here in Samkhya are knowing the self as different from prakrti.

The explanation of siddhis in Samkhya is unusual and it is said to be an interference to Jnana, though it is suggested that it is not so by Vacaspati Misra.

They are said to be Uha: guess or insight not necessarily due to previous life remembrance. (2) Sabda or apta-vacana oral instruction by a great teacher, (3)  adhyayana:  study of the Vedas in addition to hearing it, (4) duhkhavighata, triumph over sorrow of the three kinds, adhyatma, adhibhautika, and adhidaivika, (5) Suhrtprapti: gaining of a true friend or Guru and (6) danam or charity which is purifying of the individual. The siddhis are not like aisvarya with which usually these are identified in the Yoga Sutras but helps towards the jnana. These siddhis or attainments are surely those indispensable help or aids towards purification of oneself and one’s entire adhara.


Samkhya as it has come down to us in the Karikas does not refer to God. But it does refer to some attributes such as Isatva of Buddhi. Istava would only mean that one is master of the categories of prakrti and as such is capable of enjoying them fully. Or it may mean that the soul acquiring this purified satvika buddhi is not deluded by the allurements which had previously led it down the ladder of evolution towards disability and contentment with ignorance and one’s lot.

God as we know it is considered to be (1) the creator of the entire universe and its sustainer and destroyer too - this is the definition given by the Vedanta sutras I (1.2) God in the samkhyan system is prakrti for it is that which evolves and involves and supports the entire evolution of the categories and diversifies itself. But God is not only the creator and sustainer and destroyer, he is also said to be the material and efficient cause of the Universe. Surely the material cause of the world is Prakrti in Samkhya. But as to efficient causality it is rather doubtful though by making it active or rather changing thanks to its triple gunas is an attempt to grant efficient causality of a kind to prakrti. The real efficient causality in Samkhya is the nearness (sannidhya samyoga) of an ignorant (ajna) purusa to prakrti. We have to insist on the purusa being ajna (ignorant) because the jna purusa will not take interest in the play and evolutionary lila or drama of prakrti. The jnani is one who declares, “I have seen the prakrti,” and at that movement prakrti also withdraws from all activity and arrives at its own avyakta state (laya) saying “I have been seen.” Thus ajna purusa is the causa efficience of the prakrtic evolution. The God is thus either an acit prakrti or an ajna purusa and the need for the Brahman of the Vedanta or isvara is out of place. However our usual definition of god as omnipotent and omniscient Creator and destroyer of the Universe has no relevance in Samkhya. There can hardly be the process if such a God exists. Nor can he be proved at all. The Samkhyan system thus cannot find any way by which it could prove from the existence of prakrti or the purusa as a bond soul the existence of Omniscient Creator etc., God.

However the existence of Kapila, the all-knowing Teacher, gives some scope for exploring the nature of God, as the Teacher the original Purusa who knowing all about Prakrti, a perfect jnani, out of compassion for the souls (ajnas) teaches them the path out of the duality of sukha-duhka (pleasure and pain) and others and makes them emancipate themselves by knowing the nature of Prakrti and of themselves. This adi-purusa-jnani is the Isvara who redeems, all souls out of infinite compassion. He being unaffected by prakrti is also one whose very nearness to all prakrti will extinguish the activities of prakrti in all its forms. His very presence near a soul will entail extinguishment of all processes in respect of that soul.

Prakrti begins to withdraw from such souls which have come into contact with the Jnani-Isvara. The experience of peace in the company of the Guru Jnani is about the first intimation that vairagya is developing in the Buddhi, and it leads to jnana, and dharma. Prakrti by itself may take the whole cycle of creation-sustention-destruction or the evolution-involution cycle called samsara (janana-marana-cycle being included in the large cycle of Nature) and the freedom of the purusa from prakrtic bonds may be inevitable at the general pralaya. The dependence on prakrti to bring about salvation or emancipation is undoubtedly the materialistic approach. But it is something that may not entail the attainment of jnana as such. Jnana is essentially the knowledge that arises in and through anubhava or experience of all sorrow in respect of material creation. But there are inevitably many souls and in different stages of ascent and descent and the cosmic Prakrti moves at its own pace.

The assumption of plurality of souls is empirical and the seeking for liberation is individual and God is sought as guide and helper on the path of ascent and out of prakrti. He is the ready means for salvation or liberation, for being ever perfect and compassionate God as Teacher has taught and instructed and helped every soul that has turned towards him. The freed souls in turn have also become teachers on the path. Thus Kapila - the Isvara - trained Pancasikha, Asuri, Isvara krsna and other freed souls - who have become gurus on the path. Kapila therefore is regarded as the avatar of God in theistic Samkhya. The difference between Buddha and Kapila lies in the fact Buddha claimed to achieve the Buddhic liberation by his own efforts without the help of any adi-guru or sub-guru. Herein lies the difference between the Isvara of Theistic Samkhya and Buddha. Patanjali Darsana accepts Isvara as Adi guru; the nitya mukta Godhead. Thus it counsels that devotion to Isvara is necessary for liberation in the shortest possible time. This is again perhaps the meaning of the Samkhya karika that speaks about one of the siddhis as getting good company - satsangha -  a good teacher to teach is a siddhi.

Thus whilst Samkhya is said to be atheistic it is only in the sense of denying a creator etc., God or efficient cause God, but not a God who is the teacher of the Highest path to liberation, the Primal Jnani who knows all prakrti and perhaps of all souls and their nature so that he could led them to the Ultimate condition of freedom, moksa. About atma-jnana or nature of the soul as such in itself Samkhya hardly speaks. Obviously it belongs to another discipline, the Vedanta.


Though upamana is included under anumana or omitted in Samkhya, this System utilises graphic similies to bring home its point. In fact it goes much farther than illumination or illustration, they tend even to become something like proofs - self-evident assertions.

The similies are analogies used are:

I.   The action of the gunas are such as they are unified in their action: Karika 13 saya “Their action like a lamp is for a single purpose.”  cf. Karika 36: external organs.

II. The Union of Purusa and Prakrti “takes place like that of the lame and the blind “(Kar. 21).

III.  Karika 41 states that linga (buddhi etc.) does not subsist without a particular body – ” as a painting stands not without a ground, nor a shadow without a stake.” This analogy somehow appears to be an inversion. The gross body subsists or is supported by linga as cause according to this system, though the gross body appears to support the linga. The analolgy almost suggests that the effect supports the gross mind surely.

IV. Karika 57 speaks about the unconscious teleolgy of prakrti “ As the insentient milk flows out for the growth of the calf so does Nature operate towards the emancipation of the Purusa. Here Nature is compared with a Cow and milk with experience of jnana and growth with emancipation. One may well be reminded of the famous sloka comparing krisna with the Cowherd who milks the Upanisad cows and grants knowledge-Gita-milk for the emancipation of the bond souls.

V. Karika 58 gives another analogy “ As people engage in acts to satisfy desires, so does the Unmanifest act for the emancipation of the purusa.” Avyakta is compared to people who are seeking to satisfy desires - but the analogy is surely difficult as prakrti has no desires of her own being inconscient.

VI. This analogy is about as famous or notorious as the one of andha-pangu-nayaya as it speaks of prakrti as dancing expert. “ As a dancing girl having exhibited herself to the spectator ceases to dance(having no other scores) - so does Prakrti cease to operate when she has made herself manifest to operate when she has made herself manifest to the Purusa.”            
The analogies are all anthropomorphic    and Nature is made to be a   living entity rather than an unconscient entity.

VII.            Karika 67 speaks for the condition of the survival of the body of the liberated purusa  as continuing even like the revolutions of the potter’s wheel after  he had stopped moving it “ As the potter’s wheel continues to revolve by the force of the impulse previously imparted to it.”

These analogies are not poetic embellishments or ornaments. They help us to picture the operation and communicate clarity or suggestion for a deeper understanding.

tc ""


The Chandogya Up. Ch. VIII. describes brahmacarya. Brahmacarya is well-known as the first stage of studentship in life. It is an asrama. The duties and responsibilities of this stage of life are a need for aspiration to know the Veda from a teacher through hearing(sravana) and then alone is he fit to enter upon life’s arduous other work.

The Chandogya mentions five conditions of brahmacarya:

(i)    It is the ista or adoration of the Supreme Being which becomes his goal or can be held to satisfy his aspiration for the Ultimate Knowledge. Ista, the desirable and desired goal of all students, is the Ultimate Knowledge, knowing which one can be said to know all or to be fit for doing all things in wisdom. This linking up of oneself with a goal (the Ultimate) is achieved by yajna (dedication or offering of oneself to the achievement of siddhi).

(ii)    The second condition prescribed by the Upanisad is satra yana: or feeding hermits or protecting the good persons. It is also said to be the performance of karma (yajna-karma) which is according to the Veda. The reference may be to the doing of karma (yajna or yaga) presided over by many agents. But it appears that the simple meaning that it is to take care of good persons is more appropriate than the technical meaning having reference to sacrifices called satras, as Anandagiri holds.

(iii)    The third duty is the practice of mauna or silence. Talk is not permitted but contemplation. The hearing (sravana) is to be followed by manana-minding or silent reflection on the heard and lastly nididhyasana (contemplation on the occult or hidden meaning of the Veda). Brahmacaris should not indulge in loose talk or frivolous talk. Silence is one of the earliest fruits of dedicated life.

(iv)    Anasakayana: the method of not eating-or fasting. Eating is one of the mistakes of the mouth even like talk. Vak is to protected by silence and the mouth to be protected from overeating. Control of taste or tongue means quite a lot. In fact it is ahara-suddhi - or purity of food. It is one of the primary disciplines of a student - necessary and obligatory. To this there is reference made at the end of this section of the Upanisad itself. The Gita has emphasized almost this. Ahara-suddhi leads to sattva-suddhi or purity of being which leads to the possibility of dwelling in the Divine or Brahman. Brahman is the goal : realisation of Brahman is the imperative for all life : the control of the sensory and motor organs and the mind are necessary means or preparations. In fact they occur naturally to one who has fixed his goal.

The goal is Brahmaloka itself at the beginning. Obviously in Brahmacarya one attains the Brahmaloka, then would follow the Brahma-samipya, the Brahma-sannidhya and sayujya. The World of Brahman is described as having two samudras (oceans) called Ara and Nya where one has to abide. Of course the description goes on to state that there are groves and there is a tree known as Aparajita-the attainment of which means that one has conquered the lower worlds (apara).

The meaning of the two terms ara and nya give some difficulty. In fact the commentators are silent on the meaning of these. Combining the two terms we get aranya: the forest or wood. The asramas used to be in the forests - (aranyas) and the Brahmacari might be counselled to live in the forest haunts. But the aranya or vana it is to which the third-stage men, the vanaprasthas have to resort. But aranya as wood comprising aranis which rubbed together by friction give rise to fire seems to be not capable of being equated with ara and nya which are samudras, streams or oceans. Surely they cannot mean the faggots or bits of wood. To say that they are well-known oceans in Brahmaloka does not explain anything, for it counsels that those who live the life of Brahmacarya are those who practice these two - certainly not oceans or swimming in them. Most probably then it means that these are two virtues - which are unfathomable imperatives in which one must live.

Virtues are described as oceans - jnana and daya are spoken of as oceans (sindhu).

Ara means spoke of a wheel; it means that it is always rotating and we may be able to consider whether it means by any means the word connected with Rta. But if it is taken to be negative which is of  course the word for discipline - then it means one who has given up desire (ra which also means fire, love etc). It is clear that the brahmacari has to give up passion - sexual or otherwise which are in fact ari : enemies of brahmacarya. There seems to be a faint echo of this when in tamil aram means dharma. Further it is a period of quiet and silent meditation and dedication with discipline of study all round and that is dispassionate condition. Ara would refer to this. This is a vast depth of consolidation of conduct and regularity in the duties ‘round the clock’ as they put it.

The word Nya again is a significant word and it means surrender or giving up all other efforts except the development of true dharma-consciousness. Nyasa is the procedure of dedication of placing oneself absolutely at the service of the Guru of God. It is this total dedication which comes out of a disciplined conduct and supports it all the life that makes for such a development of Brahma-bhava, which is the Bhuma.

Nya also means the renunciation of all individual interests to follow the lead of the Master who is the leader (Nayaka) who really leads (nayati).

It is clear that Brahmacarya really involves the practice fully and without limit of dispassion and self-dedication rather than self-renunciation. Renunciation is for those who have finished their work in the world but not for those who are seeking to get that point of view of the divine, that divine perspective that Brahmaloka or salokya with Brahman for doing their duties in this world - dharma itself which supports all and is unfathomable.

It can be seen that in these five instructions about Brahmacarya there is no mention of sexual abstention. It is true that another Upanisad pointedly says that Brahmacarya is a life of abstention from sex. (Prasnopanisad I.) The importance of abstention from sex arises from the need for dispassion, non-passion for worldly goods and pleasures which are in fact what prevent a person from attending to the studies or for the break up of studies.

Brahmacarya as one of the yamas is basic to search for truth or proper understanding-along with Satya and dama, it forms the tri-ratna of discipleship.

It is true that Brahmacarya may be taken as whole life’s business - but then it has to be developed into Brahma-sayujya through Brahma-samipya and Brahma-sannidhya and finally Brahma-bhutatva. If all the four asramas are considered to be involving and improving on the earlier ones, then there is a gradual attainment of the ultimate status of one who lives and moves and has his being in Brahman.



The concepts of Buddhi and Manas have been used to denote certain faculties of functions of the activity of thought or intelligence. The original word for consciousness or intelligence which is said to be the nature and function of the self (knower) was cit and cit-sakti. Thus the ultimate nature of the self was cit and obviously the derivative citta is word for conscious-activity. However it was shown that the words denoting the activity of consciousness in the body should be differentiated from this original cit. The word caitanya is also a derivative of cit, and it denotes the awareness of the content of consciousness. Thus Krsna-caitnya would mean one who has been informed by Krsna or whose consciousness has its content only Krsna or the form of Krsna. Thus when cit works through the organic nature formed by Prakrti (Nature), there are modifications of this cit: thus buddhi is the consciousness of the objects in their pure nature (sattvika), ahamkara is the consciousness of the objects in their individuated or particularity and subjectively self-consciousness of objects as the possession of knowledge of objects, and manas is the consciousness as in the feeling aspect and as connected with the sense-organs and motor organs. Thus we find that buddhi, ahamkara and manas are different levels of the organic consciousness, revealing increasing grossness. All are in a sense the operations of citta (original activity of consciousness, cit, or cit-sakti). It we consider that this is the meaning of the word citta in the Yoga Sutras then all these are material modifications of that citta or cit which belongs to and is the nature of the purusa (soul). The vedic seers thought of manas as derived from Candramas1 and Dhi from Savitr. Candramas has been shown to be Rayi and Savitr or Surya or Aditya from Prana.2 The Gayatri makes the concept of Dhi the more important as soul-consciousness or Citi itself. (dhiyo yo nah  pracodayat).3

The light of the Moon is of ignorance or darkness and full of illusion. Any one knows that moon-light can deceive; it is of shadows. The most exciting moonlight is of a deceiptful nature. Whereas the light of the sun is capable of revealing the real nature of things or objects. The word Buddhi is in one sense a derivative of dhi; bud-refering to the flowering nature of that dhi, or arising or bubbling up (embryonic form of the knowledge of prakrti or in prakrti:budbuda). The derivation of buddhi from bodha etc. appears to be later for dhi is the more important root for direct and real and ultimate knowledge of the permanent. It almost appear that this original word dhi formed the meaning behind the word used for the knowers of the Brahman dhirah: (iti susruma dhiranam: sarvani rupani vicitya dhirah).

This concept of the dhira as the person who is endowed with the self-knowledge that grants the true knowledge of all things in their eternal nature (yathartha) is very important for the arisal of this knowledge in prakrit is called buddhi or jnana which has its relation to prakrtic knowledge alone and not of the self. It is true that buddhi may lead to that knowledge which reveals the soul or purusa to be different from matter. Indeed we also see that buddhi is compared to a mirror within which the self is reflected and from this arises the other speculative or imaginative meanings. Thus this reflected knowledge (buddhi) is said to arise from candramas itself or since candramas is Prakriti or Rayi in Mythological language it is said that Buddha is the son of Candramas even as Buddhi is derivative of Prakrti owing to the reflection of Purusa in it and such being the myth it is even said that this Buddha is an illegitimate child or product. Prakrti really belongs to Guru (Brahma or Brhaspati) as Tara but conceives the Buddha for Candramas. We are not called upon to unravel this myth here, but it is clear that the ancient knew that the original word for Intelligence is dhi not Buddhi, for Buddhi is the word of dhi in relation to knowledge of Prakrti or Rayi not its original status as cit or cit-sakti.

When certain yogins claim that the nature or man’s mind is of the same nature as the primal thought of the Brahma it is to be assumed that the stuff that makes knowledge possible is the self’s consciousness (cit) and not the instrument known as manas or ahamkara or buddhi. The same cit operates throughout and the knowledge or thought is identical, only it is in a conditioned and obviously even inverted kind (vivarta) owing to the law of invertendo (i.e. all movement follows the law of inverson or wave-movement which is one form of inversion vivarta).

Therefore to speak of manasapratyaksa as a kind knowledge is to sanctify the moonshine knowledge which misleads.

Broadly speaking the above leads to certain reflections about man and his future.

Man as the name signifies is one who has a mind (manas). The grammarians usually derive the word manas from man to think. But the proper meaning of the word man should be to imagine rather than think, for thought leads to truth whereas imagination more often leads to fanciful expectons and illusory glamour. Think or Know the Real as it is in its plenary nature is a property of the Dhi.

Mankind today whether it knows it or not or realises it or not is a creature of imagination, utoplanism and idealism. Its whole range of ideas and notions are all dedicated to enjoyment. Even literature in so far as it is a medium of imagination or so called creative construction is of the order of illusoriness however satisfying to the illusory-experience of such standards. When therefore certain daring spirits councelled the transcendence of man in evolution, the whole of mankind in a fit of redicule, or horror or amazement and finally in desperation about its own future has made all ethics service the human programmes of imaginative satisfactions of man’s survival urge as men not as evolution would demand the increase and transcendence of man and his race itself. Humanism as against super-manism is precisely this declared horror of higher evolution for it condemns man to extinction in due course if not at once. No wonder many are against the whole adventure of Sri Aurobindo to announce the birth of the Gnostic man (buddha or Dhirah). But it is something that is decreed. If mankind has to survive it can survive only by advancing forward and not by staying on as it is. Humanism of all kinds plead for the preservation of all error of man and seek indulgence. But it has been seen that all error is self-defeating and cannot be universalised and so too indulgence can finally make all such indulgence impossible or a crime. The folly of man is in thinking that compasssion which obviously means not kindliness as such but all round indulgence to error is a solvent of human troubles. Tolerance and compassion are necessary in so far as they help the condition for rethinking and realistic thinking and those to whom these are shown are able to profit by it. Helpfulness is about the most important on the path of evolution to higher type of consciousness and intelligence.

Man’s whole nature must undergo drastic changes. Till now they have been encouraged by qualities of force and power. Here after they have to be brought about transcendental pure thought (cit or cit-sakti). Whether we assume a descent that has brought thought to its lowest form of mechanical perception and emotional power or imagination, it is clear that these have to yeild place to the primal cit-force whose nature is one of transcendence of all moonish imagination or manas in one word. Manas is the cause of man’s bondage and the renunciation of manas is the cause of his freedom: manaeva manusyanam karanam bandhamoksayoh means this much alone.  Yoga vasista had shewn the power of imagination (manas as imagination). The so-called divine imagination also would fall into sheer speculative creativity. The divine imagination creates realities and as such all objects are of the stuff of reality or the theory of real idea is a view that has to be thought of not in respect of manas but in terms of dhi and not even in terms of Buddhi. In fact Gautama, the Buddha, made a great point when he pointed our that Buddhi helps the destruction of material creation, and produces nirvana-cessation of all creation in terms of human existence, Even the buddhi-yoga of Shri Krsna helps the attainment of the awareness of the ksetra-ksetrajna and leads to Brahma-nirvana. Beyond this is the realisation of the Brahma-bhutatva or Suddha-sattvatva or the real Cit-existence ananda.

A firm understanding of the psychological use of the terms by the several darsanikas and their commentators had reduced all of them to synonyms and confusion.

Creation is originally Real and is based on the Dhi cit sakti of the Divine.Thus all can be said to be produced by and sustained by the One Dhi or will, satya-sankalpata. This so long as it remained at the level of the Self or Soul remained the Pure Creation, without the modifications of the Cit or matter (rayi) which has infinite potentialities in modification. The descent of the one Cit-Sakti undergoing several modifications tends to lose the original thoughtforce but more and more reveals Force-thought (inversion of the former) till finally we have force and still descending we have even the loss of force. Thus this condition in one sense veils the entire process and it has to be lifted up so that its prior conditions may be studied. The ascent then reveals in full the prior processes. It may thus be seen that the practical realization of the lowest process lies in showing how it involves the entire process of descent itself.

The theory of degradation of energy or thought-energy to the level of matter stresses the monistic impulse. Ancient writers have stated that this energy moves in three level so to speak (i) the upward moving or leading Agni which usually resortes the process its primal coinditions of pure thought, (ii) the solar thought-energy that reveals the entire reality of objects anf self without distortion or modification, and (iii) the lunar or energy-concealing thought and productive of shadows and illusions (cave-images or reflections) and finally the matter known through senses and manas.

The first is called Dhi or cit, the second is called dhi also whereas the third is called manas. As a matter of fact there is surely some appositeness in calling the Pitrs as manas–the moon-lining and reincarnating souls which unliberated.



The roots for the word Buddhi can be traced to two sources :

1. _/Dhi : 6 P.  Dhiyati :  to hold have, possess.

2.:Dhinv : 5 P. Dhinoti :  to please, delight, satisfy :

3._/Dhi       : 4 A. Dhiyati : to propitiate, to hold, contain, accomplieh:           to disregard, disrespect.

4.Dhiyam- 1. a. intellect,understanding, b.mind.

                 2.  Idea, imagination,fancy, conception.

                 3. Thought or intention, propensity.

                  4.  Devotion,prayer.

                  5.  Sacrifice.

                  6. Knowledge, science.   

            Cf. Upanisadic; Sravana. Manana, and nidhi-dhyasana.

It can be seen that in Apte’s Dictionary no clearly idea is given regarding the use of the Dhi in Dhimahi in the Gayatri (Nor is there any clear indication given about the use of the word Dhyana (dhi-yana or the path of the Dhi or the way of Dhi) Brahaspati is called Shiyam-patih. The word Dhira: Dhiyam rati dhirah; is said to refer to the one of firm resolve or thought rather than the consequence of such firm thought leading to courageous action or bravery. It us said to be the name of Buddha  (Apte) Whitney in his Roost, Verbs notes that _/Dhya : to think is a secondary form of the root  Dhi : to think. (p. 85 ).

Ancient Vedic writers did know clearly the distinciton between the functions of the manas and did not confuse it as later writers have done. For it is a fact that it Is dhi that worked though the organs of manas, ahamkara and the sense organs and motor organs not to speak of Buddhi.

The word Buddhi is sometimes claimed to be derived from the root budh: to know, wake up. Bodhi is that of a person who has woken up or one who is illumined. But this is quite different from dhi as such which is assimilted into cit (er sat-cit-ananda) which is entirely of the soul or spirit or atman and is unconditioned by the material apparatus of Prakrti or Rayi. One who is a Sage is a dhira one who courageously or firmly carries out the purposes of the soul in matter for it is Pure Thought that can carry out the entire purpose in Matter (Rayi) even like an Isvara or Lord.

In ancient thought individuated function words coalesce to bring out the integrated meaning. This integrated multiple meanings tends to become synonymous and then disintegrated and lead to misunderstanding and misuse. Again and again the yoga (yaugika) use of words has to be restored in order to bring out the technical accuracy in the use of terms or restore their function. It is this that restores the spirit to the letter and letters being to breathe new meaning so to speak.

Philosophy requires the air of accurate philology but philology may also betray the trust reposed in it.


The eight-limbed yoga comprising yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi is said to form part of bhakti-yoga by Visistadvaita teachers. The interpretations of these practices, of course, will undergo certain modifications when considered in the context of bhakti-yoga, which definitely aims at union with God. The yoga-sutra affirms that yoga means only the control of the modifications of citta (mind, including the whole apparatus of buddhi, ahamkara, and manas).

The procedure adopted by the Visistadvaita School for this practice of union with God includes the yama, niyama etc. Yama means control and this applies firstly to the basic control and this applies firstly to the basic control over the motor organs. Thus satya or speaking the truth is control over the speech (vak), ahimsa, aparigraha, and asteya (non-cruelty, non-grasping, and non-stealing) refer to the control of hands, legs and mouth (in eating), and brahmacarya (chastity) refers to the control of the organ of generation. Thus, we have the first insistence on the control over the vak, pani, pada, payu and upastha. These are the preliminaries and control over these organs is the first step.

The second step involves niyama, which helps further control of the organs. There are regulations which help the realization of purity of the body and the other organs of sense, in addition to that of the motor organs. The most important of these is cleanliness (sauca) in speech, body and mind. This means that one has to gather things which are not tainted with asatya, steya, parigraha, and so on. Physical cleanliness is obtained by wash or bath in clean or sacred waters, mental cleanliness by divine thoughts, and cleanliness of speech by uttering only divine words, or singing devotional songs. The Divine manifested as Parama Purusa Isvara (God as supreme Person) for accepting adoration and worship of devotees and granting grace to them has to be surrendered to. But that can be done through the help of one who is considered to be the most eminent person in this respect, having himself crossed the samsara and attained the highest state of spirituality. This person is the guru or the acarya (preceptor) who lives the life of inseparable union with God. To such a guru one should utterly or give himself up heart and soul for spiritual transformation not merely for crossing over samsara comprising births and deaths, but also all this is between these two ends. This is Isvara-pranidhana, surrendering or placing oneself at the feet of God through the guru, who is the leader on the path of salvation and the mediator for union with God.

Asana is the third step. This means that for meditating on God, one should sit down in an easy posture like the siddhasana or the padmasana. This should be steady and easy, not tortuous. There are many postures which are mentioned by the writers on this susbject, but they are merely physical exercises hardly useful for meditation. When worshipping God one is also instructed to sit in kurmasana (tortoise posture), withdrawing the legs into oneself, so to speak. This is very significant, because the yogin is said to withdraw his senses into himself even like the tortoise. (Vide Gita, II-58) At present, people make a seat with the form of a tortoise and sit on it. But, in regular yogasana intended for union with Brahman or God, what is prescribed is not the symbolic seat, but the real steadiness in sitting for a considerable time. Some cultivate this so as to be able to sit for a number of hours. In any real concentration of work, the attainment of steadiness in sitting or posture (which is another meaning of the term siddha) is an absolute necessity. A wandering and fidgety body hardly makes for control of the mind.

Pranayama is control of prana or the vital force. For this prupose, rhythm is sought to be established in breathing. Without entering into the question as to what breath means or does, it is suggested that the regulation of breathing is necessary, so that steady breathing is established. Therefore, the control of breath takes the form of inhalation, retention and exhalation of air through the two nostrils. As a matter of fact, any observer can see that breath flows in one nostril only at a time. The flow changes once in about an hour or an hour and half, from one nostril to another. (The science of prediction, based on this flow, has ben developed and is known as svara-sastra). The health of a man can also be determined by the loss of this rhythm in change. The puraka (inhalation of breath), kumbhaka (retention of breath), and recaka (exhalation of breath) have to be done in a certain definite way and proportion of duration. Ordinarily, the inhalation, retention, and exhalation should have their duration in the proportion of 1:2:1. The kumbhaka can be extended, but then the two processes of inhalation and exhalation have also to be extended. In any case, the breath control or rather regulation of it, as in the other two cases of yama and niyama is very necessary. Health means regulation (yama), not abolition or utter destruction. Before any ritual or religious work is done, including sandhya worship, pranayama has to be performed.

These having been done, one is seated before the deity or guru, either actually installed or present or imagined, and having performed pranayama, one begins to worship the Divine, praying for Union. The Divine is to be the object of one’s meditation and adoration. The senses, however, wander about in search of food or visaya (ahara). The proper diet  for the senses, which are now under control or regulation, has to be found. The proper or right objects of consumption for a yogin or seeker after union are detailed by the saints. The mouth must praise God, that is its food; the hands must adorn the Divine; the eyes must behold the beauty of God; the ears must hear the songs on God or hear about His exploits. Indeed, all senses need such food, and one can grant this to them. It is not in denial of all food (nirahara), but in giving pratyahara food contrary to that, which leads them away from God. God’s infinite nature is such that it can supply untiringly food for the senses and the mind even. It is often said that Pratyahara means controlling the senses and the mind by force. But patanjali himself has said that, when the mind or the senses tend to go outward to sensual and other objects, they should be supplied with adequate objects of purity which will counteract this outward movement (vitarkabadhane pratipaksa bhavanam, yoga-sutra, II 33) Pratipaksa means here Pratyahara—granting contrary food which is much sweeter and healthier than the spiced wretchedness that with wrong taste. Thus one should contemplate on God through meditation on His wonderful qualities. During worship or aradhana, God is offered dhupa (fragrant smoke), dipa (light), sandal paste, flowers, leaves, fruits, and water as part of the offering and these are, indeed, pratyahara. The worhsipper breathes the fragrance etc. offered to the God with pure and dedicated heart. This interpretation  may seem to be new, but the actual practice of such worship by the ancients shows that they did, in fact, feel that the spiritual food for the individual should be these godly things, and they really provide the most satisfying experience for even the entire physical nature.

Dharana is the process of holding the object of concentration in the mind. This, in bhakti, becomes equivalent to continuous bearing or remembrance of God unbroken like the stream of oil (taila-dhara avicchinnavat). This means continuous japa, combined with remembrance and aspiration. When this remembrance is continuous and unbroken, one gets established in Him. This is in one sense smarana or manana. The individual who has so far trained his mind also to be in continuous memory of God is led forward to the higher levels—the path of dhi or dhyana. One should see at this point that this is not merely establishing oneself in the buddhi or the seat of discrimination. Dhyana may be said to be the path of higher light. The Vedhi dhi, as found in the Gayatri hymn, makes one go forward towards Divine Union. Some may equate it with dhyana-yoga and that rightly, too. The higher vision begins to open up, and one is led towards samadhi. In this sense dhyana, leads to samadhi, which means dwelling in the highest light that transforms the mind and grants it real vision—upanayana, the eye competent for the vision of Truth.

Samadhi is usually said to be trance state—the state of prajna which the Upanisads equate with deep sleep (susupti), when the senses and the mind have all come to a standstill. This trance state is called samprajnata-samadhi. The state that leads to the turiya (fourth condition), where the realization transcends this trance state and one is in constant spiritual awareness i.e. in the state of sahaja, is called asamprajnata samadhi, the supra-trance state.

This expalanation, of course, is strange to persons who think that the samprajnata and asamprajnata have to be equated with savikalpa and nirvikalpa or sarupa or nirupa forms of highest Brahman. The condition of trance in dhyana is known to be lesser than the sahaja or the turiya condition which is the condition of godly existence in the waking condition itself. This is the condition of the liberated ones or those in whom the descent of the Divine, avatarana, in some form has taken place. Such a person is truly considered to be the person in whom God dwells—bhagavata or Divine-like.

Bhakti thus shows that these eight limbs of Yoga-sastra are capable of being utilized for God-realization. Therefore, Sri Ramanuja was able to say that the Rajayoga of Patanjali is verily the Bhakti-yoga itself provided we can emphasize the real nature of Isvara-pranidhana in pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi. Bhakti-yoga is the culmination and fulfilment of Jnana-yoga, which seeks oneness or union with God as the highest knowledge. It is this jnana called Semusi that develops into Bhakti-pravaha, the stream of Bhakti or Dhyana, uninterrupted by any other influence till it mingles with the Ocean of Ananda—Jnananandamayam or Jnanadayasindhu, and so on.

Suddhabhakti is thus attained and leads to enjoyment of oneness with Brahman-Guru-Isvara, all in one’s nature and without any possibility of separation (viraha or vislesa).



It is usual to speak about three bodies (sariras) of man in Vedanta. They are called Causal (karana), suksma (subtle) and sthula (gross). This classification would recall at once that both the suksma (subtle) and the sthula (gross) are karya-sariras (effects) of the karana-sarira (causal body). The Advaita Mayavada Vedanta holds that the causal body is avidya (ignorance), and the suksma and sthula bodies are the linga sarira (the body that accompanies the soul on its transmigratory cycles) and the sthula sarira (the body that is born and grows and dies and is cremated or buried, whose elements thus join their respective elements).

Avidya itself as cause is not merely Ignorance, it is ignorance on the part of the individual soul that it is one with and is Brahman: it may also be stated that it is karma also in the sense that all activities of the individual in a life, whether ritual and obligatory or optional, or ordinary karmas or actions performed with interest in certain goals, are those which impel the individual to take births for fulfilling their desires and thus effectuate births. Thus avidya is both ignorance and karma both in its causal and effectual or fruit states.

The Ignorance however is stated to be independent of the soul and attaches itself to the individual and thus becomes the karana or cause. There are certain schools of thought which consider that karma is anadi (beginningless), so too avidya. This concept of anadi or beginninglessness is itself as intriguing for it is attempted by this to avoid infinite regress. Of course it is certainly not avoiding it by this word.

There are therefore karma and avidya (whether these be synony-mous or not does not much matter). The question is whether they are upadana or material cause or efficient cause or both. The attempt to make avidya itself the material cause by equating it with prakrti or primerdial Nature will have to explain the efficient cause as avidya or as karma. There is a Vedantic attempt to make Brahman both the material and the efficient cause, and this is difficult to prove on the basis of pramanas such as perception or inference or analogy too. Dvaita and Vaiseshika schools recognize that it is natural to have the upadana and nimitta causes as distinct. So too Samkhya. Organic relationship between Nature and God can help to explain the unity of material and efficient causes: this is not possible to a theory of pure or absolute Monism.

Thus the Causal (karana) sarira must be more than mere avidya (karma) and must include the Nature and also God or Ultimate Spirit. Being a sarira it must be something that envelops the soul and limits it and produces the chain of causes and effects, and also it must be capable of being discarded. But if we hold that the soul itself is not a product of avidya (as in Mayavada), but is a real entity which is entirely dependent on the Ultimate Godhead and is sustained and enjoyed by that Being alone and as such is His body (according to Sri Ramanuja) the soul is not a sarira in the usual sense but in an ontological sense and becomes the cause of the evolution of itself in conjunction with Nature and karma. Karma must be some occult function (dharma) granted to each and every soul primordially which it has to work itself out and perfectly for the sake of the Divine.

This might be the meaning of the word anadi (beginningless) in a further sense that every soul is eternally dependent on the Divine for its existence itself and its works are ordained from the very eternity. A secondary meaning of the word causal might be more germane to us in so far as we are concerned with our cycle of births and deaths. Karma which is primordial gets forgotten or diverted to lesser subjective ends and thus twisted it loses its original impetus and urge which it got from the Divine Self. Thus there happens self-limitation for personal enjoyment and avidya becomes dominant. Indeed it appears plausible to think that the wonderful power of God which illumined the functions of each and every one of the souls itself turned out to be inexplicable and turned towards ignorance losing illumination and basic creative power. There is truth in the assertion that when the souls are godly Maya of the Supreme is jnanam, vayunam and liberating whereas when the souls invert this the very maya becomes difficult to understand and cross over (mama maya duratyaya as Sri Krsna says) and forms itself into avidya. The sattva or luminous nature becomes dark (tamas). In this sense Sri Ramchandraji of Fatehgarh calls sattva the karana, rajas as subtle and tamas as gross sarira of the soul, from the psychological point.

Man’s desires form the causal body according to Buddha. Trishna or desire or craving is the cause of all formation of instruments or karanas for realizing them for a soul. The soul itself ultimately appears to be nothing but the grouping or constellation or pattern of desire.

These karmas or desires themselves become subtle and gross bodies into two stages. Thus activity produces material itself for forming bodies. This implies a view explicated or explained by the Jainas that activity itself produces matter (pudgala) that enters the soul and binds it by sheaths. The linga sarira is the subtle sheath comprising in samkhyan philosophy buddhi-ahamkara, manas and the sense-organs and motor-organs which are all of the infinitesimal size: this linga sarira is supported by the karma (avidya) pattern growing from life to life and thus modifying life after life. This subtle or ling sarira along with the karma-body (karana-body) so to speak is the traveller from body to body so as to enjoy or experience bhoga (experiences) sought by it or wrought by its desire. The sthula body is of course the last body which is composed of gross elements which undoubtedly are according to the subtle condition of the tanmatras and sensory and motor organs.

Thus we have the karana sarira which supports the subtle karya śarīra which in turn is the karana of the sthula sarira.

There is an underlying idea however at this point which demands clarification, and that is whether the causal sarira contains in embryo or potentiality all that the effects reveal both in the linga (suksma) and the gross (sthula) bodies. It is held that all events and future not merely the past is contained in the karana or occurs in the Karana (which of course is quite a different thing). Thus it is held that any outer or gross change should have been preceded by the inner subtle and causal changes. It is thus held that thought works firstly in the causal and then in the subtle effectual and then the gross effectual conditions. One who can perceive- the causal condition of any person can determine what he would or could do in his life later. And it is possible to change the causal by cutting out the desires there and thus bring about healthy changes in the subtle and then in  the gross. This theory of causal determination of course faces a serious challenge when it is held that the effects are entirely new products and not present in the cause. Be this as it may, it is clear that plans precede execution and thus the idea precedes action, and ideas can be causative forces for effectual executions of the ideas. In this sense the cause pre-visages the effect and changes in the idea can alter the effects accordingly. Thus if desires are annulled or modified effects do not ensue in the effect of the subtle and gross bodies. There are thus elements in life which permit this modification of the causes of our existences or patterns of being and this should embolden one to undertake the precise place where we have to seize the effect. Indeed the aim of life is to attain that original purity of Being and thus arrest the causal condition that has brought about the trail of subtle and gross body-building.

Whether we assume three bodies or two only it is clear that the causal body is conceived as the ideational form of the effectual. The getting rid of the causal nexus is the aim of all teaching and yoga. A clear concept of the nature of the causal is necessary. Our desires form the cause and seek to project themselves into the effect, and they are the dynamic causes moulding the very pattern of evolution and birth. They are in fact the continuing causes till the last effect or fruit is realised. Our bondage and misery is due to the fact that our individual desires are not all effective in realisation and get interferences and obstructions. Bondage becomes clear and patent in the effect; even like a disease awaiting its diagnosis one has to discover the nature of the cause. We have found that desire and wish are the germinal facts and counter desires and wishes have to be made in order to break up the causal body. Thought moving downwards and exteriorly has to be turned inwards and break up the patterns or knots of causality (karana); thus handled the knots that have framed themselves into subtle  and  gross bodies begin to get loosened and tension is lost. One gains the first feeling of peace – non-tension. The reverse movements first set up reverse vibrations in the whole body starting with the heart, the grossest formation as the seat of mind citta. Moving upward these vibrations unknot all the subtle and gross bodily knots and finally break up the causal body. The cause being thus extinguished the effects do not have any effect nor do they arise thereafter. This is the withering of the causal body – nisprapancikarana.

The ultimate condition of the soul or self is thus beyond these three bodies –karana, sukama and sthula.


SAMADHI  is the final state in the practice of Yoga.  It is not however the goal of Yoga.  The goal of Yoga is liberation moksa, or realisation of union with the Infinite, the ‘infinitising’ of the soul by the infinite.  Samadhi however has been used in both senses as means (upaya) as well as end (purusartha), because of its proximateness to the end.

The Minor Upanisads deal with the nature of samadhi as completely as possible. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is almost a summary of the teachings of the Upanisads in respect of the sadhana.

Samadhi is the state of complete absorption or trance of concentration on the self or Atman.  There are two stages in this trance-the samprajnata and asamprajnata or kala and nishkala, murti-taraka and amurti-taraka.1 

Samprajnata samadhi is characterised by lucidity of perception, firstly of oneself, and secondly, of all objects in their subjective form or intrinsic reality. This is the first stage of the samadhi; it is in this stage the prajna is full and enjoys peace and completeness.

Asamprajnata stage is a deeper stage when the individual soul finds absorption in the Highest or the Infinite One, Secondless Brahman.

If the samprajnata stage corresponds with the prajna or deepsleep state of the Mandukya upanisad symbolised by the letter (M), the asamprajnata stage corresponds to the turiya or fourth state symbolised by the bindu.

In the Nada-bindu meditation when the pranava (Om)   sabda rises to the level of Nada, bindu, kala cakras with help of prana2,     which are placed about the region of the bhru-madhya and above it, to the crown of the head, it passes through the stages or centres named nadanta, niskala, unmani and etc. The first stage is the ajnacakra stage of prajna, the others are the transitory stages to the asamprajnata turiya stage. Some writers consider that there are stages beyond the turiya, namely, the turiyatita or beyond the fourth; most probably they mean the transcendental stage beyond the creative manifestation.

Even at the bindu  and kala levels, consciousness is recollected and intuitive, direct , and all objects are perceived  in their depths intrinsically or in the causal-condition that is about  to manifest objective reality. The suggestion contained is that it is a consciousness that evaluates and knows the direction and purpose of the manifestation in time space, of the possibilities in things which  a superficial knowledge of them by the senses and mind even cannot give. It is supra-inferential and supra-perceptual knowledge, a knowledge by a type or identity or modified identity.

Some kind of transcendence over the mind (manas) happens even in the stage of the prajna-state at the ajna, but a more complete transcendence occurs only beyond the ajna. The ajna centre is the mediating centre which acts both in the interests of the mind and beyond mind thus passing on the higher to the lower and the lower to the higher. It is the santa-state or state of peace, beyond the dvandava (pairs of opposition or polarities). Though roughly the ajna and the sahasrara mark the two important centres for samprajnata and asamprajnata samadhi, yet there are several intermediary levels such as savicara, nirvicara, savitarka, nirvitarka, saksi and asaksi.3 The highest kind of samadhi is beyond all these differences and polarities or rather both the polarities are upheld by a superior self-consciousness4.

Well may we consider that this stage is the Khecari-state, a state when one lives and moves and has his being in the unlimited expanse akasa.  Again we are told that this akasa is the daharakasa in the heart5. There is the oneness that is said to be attained when the ghatakasa (daharakasa) becomes one with the Mahakasa, the indivisible great akasa or the parakasa (transcendental  akasa) which is indescribable tejas or jyotis, omnipervasive and of unsurpassable delight: as the Mandalabrahmana Up. Says.6 It is then that the microcosm and the macrocosm attain unity (pinda-brahmandyor-aikyam) as the Yoga Kundalini Up. Says7. Everything becomes united in this consciousness, and the illusory view of the mind which distinguishes and separates all things and makes them appear as separated and opposed to one another is transcended. The individual soul becomes such that it is united with or merged in the Transcendent: saindhavapindavat. The Mundaka Up. has described this as the union of the rivers with the ocean.

I shall now consider the experience of the samadhi-state in greater detail. The physiological process of trance is fundamental in this experience of oneness. In Raja Yoga and Hatha yoga this is unavoidable. It is to be noted that in this stage the soul or psychic being is withdrawn from the outer activities and even reversed so that the condition of the body is such that it subsists only on the minimum of nutrition, water, prana.  It is a state of sole subsistence on the Universal Power meditated upon, as Sakti, Sadasiva, or Isvara.  Though the eyes do not see, the ears do not hear, and the mind does not think or mind, the individual is aware of everything that occurs about him directly. This is the alaukika pratyaksa or Yoga-pratyaksa of the yogi in samadhi-state. Though like a stick, stiff and absorbed with vision inturned within the bhru-madhya or tip of the nose (nasikagra) he is in the fixed state of sthita-prajna.

The individual becomes master of the body and the elements on which the body depends because no longer is the body sought to be maintained by recourse to any external body or element: Isvaratvam avapnoti Sadabhyasaratah pumān.

The Minor Upanisads suggests almost that the Divine begins to pervade the body in all its parts. Thus the Brahma Vidya Upanisads states that just as oil pervades the sesamum-seed, fragrance the flower, so the Divine pervades(the body) both within and without:8 Alvars describe this descent of the Divine in the sarira of the individual as synchronising with the pervasion of the soul itself within the body. This is the establishment in the golden Meru-Rock of Gold- the Hiranmaya Purusa which grants utter felicity and delight and essential Be-ing.9

We have to notice that this state of attainment is the most difficult to describe. The Soul it is stated merges in the Divine All; even its identity is annulled as a separate creature of name or form. Not merely is the soul withdrawn into the Divine All, even the activities in the separative body seem to be replaced gradually by the Divine activity, the individual becoming in turn the spectator of this osmosis.  Every pore or cell of the body, every nerve and ligament and muscle become suffused with His light-power or under the control of the Divine Self directly and the body ceases to be the instrument of action or knowledge of the individual soul but of the Divine All. Linked up with the universal Force and active in and by it there happens a transformed world, of which the previous vision was an illusion or appearance. The striking contrast between the individual world and the Divine world almost reduces the former to the status of a mirage. The Minor Upanishads indeed dwell on this contrast; and impressed by this reversed nature of the seen world, the point out that the world in which we live is a dream-world, a phantasmagoria.9

The individual soul practices the identity with the Brahman10  in the Samadhi states, and gradually begins to feel with joy and deep experience  the trance of interpenetration, firstly a poise of freedom from all limitations between the individual and the universal, secondly a perfect universalisation of its own nature when naught else exists except the one Brahman. All pervading. There is a perfect outpouring or down pouring of the Divine into each soul that has offered itself to Him, purified, rejecting every thing and every other desire, steadfast in renunciation, steady in meditation and brave in heart with the light and flame of faith and surrender.

Thus Sandilya is taught by Atharvana thus “known that by wisdom He who is one, the shining, the giver of the power of the atman, the omniscient. The lord of all, and the inner self of all beings, who lives in all beings, which is hidden in all beings, who is reachable only through Yoga, and who creates, sustain and destroys everything. He is atman; know the several worlds in the atman. Do not grieve O knower of atman, thou shalt reach the end of pains11”.

The instruction given by Lord Siva  to Kumara to look at the Atman alone, to know it as one’s own to enjoy the Atman as oneself and to stay in peace and contentment in the Atman and to wander in the Atman, is one more fact that has to be taken into consideration, for it is said that this leads to videha-mukti or emancipation after death.12

In the later sections of the same Upanisad Rbhu tells Nidhaga “There is nothing that you see which is not your self:—— everything seen or heard or thought is unreal and have no basis without Brahman.  Brahman is, all  are within Brahman, because Brahman is within them.”

The Tejobindu Up. emphasises the utter realisation of self-realisation in all respects:

..Svacaitanya svayam sthasye svatmarajye sukerame  |

Svatmasimhasane sthitvasvatmano’nyanna cintaye  ||   III. 25

Svayameva svayam hamsah svayam eva svayam sthitah  |

Svayameva svayam pasyet svatmarajye sukhe vaset  ||  IV. 31

Svasvarupe svayam jyotih svasvarupe svayam  ratih  |

Vacamagocaranando vangmano’gocarah’svayam  ||  IV.52.

Nor are the words less significant when the Lord of the Sun embracing Yajnavalkya says “I am thou alone.  There is no difference between thee and me owing to the fullness of Paramatman.” This is why perhaps we have in the Brhadaranyaka Up. the most mystical utterance “I was Manu. I was the sun ”-a thought 13, characteristic of the statements of SriKrsna when He delineated the vibhutis or greatness of Himself in the Gita.

The words of Varaha to Rbhu are most instructive again of this mystic unity : “He is an undaunted person who by his own experience cognizes as his  own real nature, all that  is the all witness.  That is the noumenal vijnana, that is the blissful Atman and that is the self-resplendent.  He is one who should be known as I myself.  O Rbhu, May thou become that ”- svasvarupataya sarvam veda svanubhavena yah : sa dhirah as tu vijneyah so’ham tat  tvam bhava.”14

This state is capable of being attained renouncing the objective world of sense or samkalpa and becoming lost in the   Divine:- tanmayo bhava says the Annapurna Up.15

This is the samadhi or Brahmasamadhi: samadhi sabdena paraprajnocyate buddhaih.

The experience of Brahman thus leads to two stages ; (i) of being lost in Him and (ii) the finding of oneself in the state of Brahmic vastness as well as the Brahmic-selfness of all things.  This state of the self or rather status of the soul is of course quite distinct from the status of the finite, conditional soul that it was before samadhi-experience, because the soul now almost feels its universality and omnipervasiveness-which are characteristic of Brahman alone as the Unconditioned Universal. The experience of course is real whatever may be the philosophical justification of this experience, which we shall try to state later.

The mystic revelatory realisation then is to be distinguished from the actual process of the realisation.  Though the practices are fundamentally of the order of identity, yet the fact is constantly emphasized that the realisatioin is always after death.

13.    Brhar Up.I.iv.11

14.    Varaha Up.II.30

15.   Annapurna,Up.I.43-45

The body has to be finally shoved away.  It is not considered to be such that  it can continue, for it is part and parcel of Nature which has been perceived to be sublated or annulled or, to be precise, found to be illusion apart from the Brahman who is now found to be its essence and truth and also because its nature is to be ever-changing.

There is however one aspect to which we must refer in this connection namely to the conception of samadhi as enunciated in the Yoga Sutra and the Gita.

Contemplation or dhyana itself becomes samadhi, trance, when only the object of contemplation remains and the meditator loses consciousness of his self.(III.3) The Yoga Sutra (IV.29) mentions that “even after illumination there arises in one who works without attachment the constant flow of pure discrimination called the Cloud of Merit (dharma-megha) which is the best samadhi.” The description of this dharma-megha or the cloud of dhrma  (which M.Dvivedi translates as merit) is an important state in so far it almost describes the descent of the Universal which is described as the cloud which is full of rain, of truth, which is the support of all life.  The Yoga Sutras accept the twofold division of samadhi as samprajnata and asamprajnata. The asamprajnata samadhi does two things by two steps: the first is bhava pratyaya,which suppresses the modifications of citta(citta-vrtti-nirodha), and a deep  Ignorance overpowers his consciousness, or else he remains a sheer witness : the second is upaya pratyaya where all modifications are burnt up, and a perfect detachment of the soul (purusa) from prakrti (matter) occurs.

The Bhagavad Gita gives a deeper and significant account of the Samadhi.  We come across the concept of Sthita-prajna in the second chapter.  Sri Krsna defines samadhi as vyavasayatmikabuddhi jnana-yoga; the buddhi in samadhi is well trained.  Sri Ramanuja says that samadhi is manas: samadhiyate asmin atma-jnanam: atma-jnanam ti samadhir manah.  Again samadhi is atmavalokanam ; it is Prajna pratisthita; it is atmanyevatmana tosah which in the words of Sri Ramanuja  is the final point of jnana-yoga  jnananisthakastha. Samadhi state is the state identical with the sthitaprajna-state described by the Gita…Thus there are four finds of sthita-prajnas : (1) enjoyer in the self alone having renounced all desires: (2) the muni who has renounced love and hate, sorrow and joy in possession, free from  fear of loss and anger; (3) one who loves or and hates none, and one who rejoices not in honour or dejected by dishonour or humiliation; and (4) one who is self controlled and observes as witness the movements of the gunas withdrawing his consent to them.

But a more interesting meaning is given to samadhi when it is said to be the state of considering Karma as Brahman: brahma-karma-samadhi. (IV.24)

Nor should we forget that this dynamic samadhi is a state corresponding to the later development of the transference of the workings of the organs and mind to the Divine within. The transition or exchange is facilitated by the doctrine of service and sacrifice and offering to the Divine, through absolute detachment in respect of all fruits: matkarmakrt matparamo madbhaktah samgavarjitah nirvairah sarvabhutesu…and manmana bhava madbhaktah madyaji mam namaskuru… By these offerings there is the state of Brahma-bhutatva, the filling up of the individual by the Divine – a descent of the Divine.  This close interpenetration of the consciousness of the individual and the Divine has closely to be attached and the individual keeping up his dependence-consciousness firmly and abidingly, must see the Divine in all and all in the Divine: as sarvantaratma and the sarva and sarvesa, jagannivasa.

Thus we find that ultimately our normal understanding is transcended. Our actions become more and more divine or divinely worked or worked by the Divine the more they are offered by devotion on our part and we do our allotted work with faith and absolute one-pointedness, ekagrata – which is the focus of inner self towards the Divine. Devotion strongly tinctured by sacrifical love for the Divine transforms the activities and fits us for the great vision of the Divine which is a grace-event, not something got at by force of askesis or even by detachment or sheer rectitude of conduct. Divine pratyaksa is different from Yoga pratyaksa –for the Divine pratyaksa is supra comic and supramental whereas the yoga-pratyaksa is yet of the order of the individual and natural because it is yet of the instruments of buddhi, manas, and subtle indriyas. Their subtle possiblities become manifest when the individual become detached from the movements of prakrti, from selfish and desireful actions, in one word, sattvika.  The siddhis are of this order of Nature. But Divine Siddhi is of the Supermental order even as Divine Pratyaksa granted by Sri Krsna to Sri Arjuna was.

This obviously must be at the back of the concept of samadhi as the consciousness which is of the Sama, the Supreme Divine which grants us samadarsana, salokya, sayujya, sarupya and in one word samatva.

Our true jnana-yoga starts with this realisation of the Purusottama beyond the Aksara- kutastha purusa and the Ksara pursusa, the individual souls in their transmigratory cycle described in the XVth chapter of the Gita.  Some yogas stop at the Aksara beyond the Ksara, but it is necessary to pass beyond to the Highest–the Purusottama, who supports everything–both the jagat and the ajagat, the indweller in all hearts and who is all-pervading. The aim of the Yoga is to see the Divine in all and all in the Divine, and know the Divine to be the power and perfection within all things, activities and manifestations.  This is the perfect knowledge that it is a fruit of surrender to the Adya purusa–tam eva sadyam purusam prapadye yatah pravrttih prasrtapurani: freed from all egoism or self-estimations–nirmanamohah–freed from subjection to the faults of association and contact jitasamgadosah–ever-established in oneself-adhyatmanityah-turned away from all desires–vinivrttakamah– and beyond the polarities of pleasure and pain & etc., a procedure that makes one a krtakrtya, one established in Yoga.  The adyapurusa is the Purusottama.

The Bhagavad Gita is a wonderful work which gives in a nutshell the central teaching of the Upanisads and rightly may Lord Krsna claim that he is the vedantakrt and Vedavit and or also that all Vedas teach him alone.

This is the samadhi that is tranceless, because it is a product of jnana and not a psychological effortful path. The great Divine author of the Gita rightly stresses that with effort the Yogins seek to see him with their jnana-caksus, purified vision as at the back of all activities of the mind and the sense-organs yatanto yoginascainam pasyantyatmanyavasthitam.  But this is available through the acceptance of the Grace of the Divine who is to be surrendered to, offered to, and submitted to so that one becomes a willing instrument of the Divine. This is the message and the final word of the Gita sarvadharman parityajya mam ekam saranam vraja.16 Sri Venkatanatha insists upon this divine factor in Yoga, following  the great instruction of the  Kenopanisad, who therefore becomes the guiding and leading principle in human conduct and action.  The divinisation of man becomes possible only when the Divine is the transformer and leader and seer or one who grants the divine vision which obviously is superior to the yogic vision.

Sri Aurobindo writes “Trance is a way of escape–the body is made quite, the physical mind is in a state of torpor, the inner consciousness is left free to go on with its experience. The disadvantage is that trance become indispensable and that the problem of waking consciousness is not solved it remains imperfect.”

This apparently is the reason why Sri krsna insists upon a new methodology of divine union in waking consciousness itself which happens through prapatti, surrender completely and without reservation, mental, moral, or physical. The earlier Yoga insisted upon the individual renouncing and rejecting and repressing  the sense and the samkalpa and the mind and finally the buddhi which are all the formations of the mind and finally the buddhi which are all the formations of the eight fold prakrit.  The New Yoga insists upon offering every one of these organs and samkalpa and mind and buddhi to the Divine which would thereafter become the property of the Divine directly and supported by Him alone.  This is the bhara-samarpana of the Sri Vaisnava doctrine of Ramanuja and the alvars.  The burden of conducting the unequal battle of sense-samkalpa and Mind with Nature is thereafter God’s alone: to bear, to preserve, to transform and transmute the individual in all his triple parts too is His alone.  The earlier Yoga emphasised the control of the citta or its concentration as the means of realisation of the Brahman or Isvara Self, and was afraid of the siddhis or temptations offered by the powers of the prakrti- the threefold enchantress of the souls, purusas. “Be brave ; be bold; be not afraid” is the call of the Teacher.  In the New Yoga of the Divine Lord we have the call to accept the Teacher and to follow faithfully Him, and no dangers and temptations can affect us.

Sri Aurobindo makes a further modification, in the Yoga of Sri Krsna. The descent of the Divine within the individual happens when the individual has completely offered himself in all his parts, sarvabhavena.  But this descent itself is a divine unfoldment within the individual which happens in a series of steps.  One begins to feel the general presence; then a voice from within becomes heard, which the more it is listened to becomes recognised as the voice eternal, of the real guide and light and  leader – the guru in the heart or rather speaking through the heart, the centre of audition for the psychic being. Then visions of the inner master and the worlds  may intervene–all of which only intimate His omnipervading characteristic.  The mind  becomes calm and quite, the senses being to be irresponsive to the objects of desire, but in another sense seem to be seized with a new vitality which is not of the individual . Then comes a stage when the individual psyche is just a witness of the processes ;  and more and more confidence and belief  in the inner values becomes possible. The individual is discriminative as these judgements are of the witness-level and do not hamper the activities and movements of the Divine there is no difficulty.  The quiet sure power of the Divine takes up the individual’s being wholly and entirely but almost it appears watches carefully for the manifestations of the lower forces and powers of the material body and the psychic ego so as to rectify them or turn them inward.  But the real transformation starts when the Divine is felt to come into the city of the individual to be the master and no longer a mere guide.  The alvars have described this movement. The Pancaratra has intimated this descent of the omnipervasive Divine as antaryamin during sadhana to take a personal possession of the offered soul. This is a special descent of Grace. It is at this point that Sri Aurobindo envisages the formation of a new mind – the supermind.  The alvars have intimated that the power of Brahman–Mother Sri the supreme power of the Divine , who is eternally inseparable conjoined with the Divine, descends also into the individual’s heart and is infact the Daya, the Love, that the individual feels within, which being inexpressible he cannot adequate-ly thank the Divine, She  is called the purusakar–the agency of transformation of acceptance of realisation or release-mukti .  It is to this Mother that one has to surrender in order to gain the brahma-sayujya.

Sri Aurobindo points out that the particularised minds, and even the buddhi which is capable of being merely a mirror of the purusa and the source of illusive or ignorant identification must be and are replaced by the formation of a new mind, which includes the double function of perceiving and acting jnana and aisvarya and virya. No longer is it a particularised mind but a universalised mind and true mind–the Supermind.  This is not a state but an instrument of the divinised consciousness, which perceives the Divine or Atman in all and all in the Atman, which combines the power and puissance of the Divine. It is not of the level of overmind, intuition of even the higher mind which for the Yogi typify only the more purified statuses of the mind, ahamkara, buddhi which have more tenuousnesses and clarities, but yet are of the Ignorance or apara-prakrti. We must first develop the vision by the psyche and then the supermind.

There is of course the possibility of considering that the direct soul-sight-atmajnana itself can know. But then the difficulty in one arising from its inherent incapacity at present to act directly. The soul-consciousness, atma-caitanya, illumines itself is svayamprakasa, but is svasmai  prakasa also but not capable of illumining the world. Subjective omniscience it gets but not the living objective omniscience. This is capable of being achieved individual’s ‘consciousness’ (dharmabhuta-jnana) becomes unconditioned, universal. Trance which is necessary in the former case becomes unnecessary, for it is normal for the Divine to work in and through the senses and the mind or the forms of Ignorance in a luminous creative way. They are no obstructions to its workings, though obstructions to the unevolved mind or soul.

Obviously the supermind cannot be considered to be identical with the dharma-bhuta-jnana of the Visistadvaita1 for its undoubtedly infinite in its free state but it requires for its free function no limitation whatsoever from the Ignorance or the body of the prakrtic-nature. In a suddha-sattva body it is infinite. Indeed we see in yoga this expansiveness of the dimensions of this dharma-bhuta-jnana which is contracted to the minimum in lowest kinds of souls and gradually becomes bigger and bigger as they rise in evolution to higher forms. The dharma-bhuta-jnana is a quality of the soul, a dharma or function of the soul. Supermind is a product of the Higher prakrti or the suddha-sattva prakrti known as the Mother-Consciousness, the Eternal power of the Divine, an instrument shaped by Her even like the other indriyas namely manas, jnana and karmendriyas, which have served the lower levels of evolution. This is the pivotal conception of Sri Aurbindo which makes his thought distinct and unique. The Mother herself is four-fold in her operations or personalities or functions. The Supermind as an organ corresponding to the cosmic consciousness is universalised integral consciousness or for the purpose of perceiving the integral One in the many even as our mind is the organ for the perception of the disjuncted or disparate parts of the whole which laboriously it seeks through reason, anumana, to recollect or unite or synthesise.

The function of Samadhi is to make for this development of the new organ of knowing-being-feeling-acting universally but by itself it is nothing. It establishes a contact which might be established much better perhaps by other methods of prapatti and sacrifice understood in the adhyatmic-sense and fullness as expounded by the Rahasyatrayasara of venkatanatha and Synthesis of Yoga of Sri Aurobindo.     

The discovery of the Supermind is the special contribution of Sri Auribindo to Yoga and the most excellent and important link in the chain of higher evolution.  It not only points out that evolutions is happening but must happen so that a superman is not merely a dream, nor even that the superman is but a jivan-mukta waiting for the Videhamukti till the sancita karma works itself out, who till then is acting in a detached manner in the world cognized by him as a dream, phantasmagoria, like Vasistha of the Yoga Vasistha.

To the Superman the world is not an unreality, it becomes  more significant rather than less significant for the play of the Divine Consciousness. His absorption in the Divine proceeds to express or manifest the Divine in everything, for everything is verily the Divine.  His identity-knowledge becomes direct and universal and true, not merely causal.

In a sense we find that this Vijnana consciousness is not a mere consciousness like the so’ham-consciousness or tattvam asi consciousness or sarvam khalvidam-consciousness of the Mahavakyas to which the Minor Upanishads grant a very important place but also the status of a plane and organ. To have disabused yogins and vedantins alike of the view that identity-consciousness is but the nature of the soul or self is the greatest work done by Sri Auribindo. The Divine is incomprehensivebly superior to this consciousness. Sri Aurobindo admits that  a direct mergence with the Divine is possible , but it is perhaps not necessary, perhaps never really attained, for it is the truth of the Divine that is missed and no seeker really is permitted by the Divine to miss the truth of the Manifestation of the Divine in His supreme multilplicity. Andham tamah pravisanti avidyayam upasate tato bhuya iva te vidyayam ratah ||  Isa Up.

Every great mystic almost feels a perennial interest to serve and lead others in the world before he leaves for other worlds. It is clear also from the Minor Upanisads that they counsel two types of evolution, the gradual krama-mukti and the direct bird-path which are known by the names of Vamadeva and Suka.1 The former covers slowly and painfully but none the less effectively the whole process and categories of the Whole till it comes to realise the One Brahman who is the self of oneself and all, when one lives and moves and  has his being in Brahman in a state of complete unity even in His manifestation. The Suka-path is the path of orientation by means of an Idea which transforms the entire view and being, flies over the entire gamut of details to the Ultimate and from thence descends to understand the place of the details in the context of the whole.  There is consummateness of the divine consiousness from the beginning for one has surrendered to the Ultimate at the very start and then the Divine or Ultimate takes care of the individual and his evolution, transformation or whatever is needed for the release. Though it is a long and narrow path of avyabhicara-buddhi, to use the expression of the Gita, yet it is the lighted path.

Human effort consummates itself in the Vamadeva path, the Divine energy consummates itself in the Suka-path; the former is the path of toil and tears;  latter is the path of joy and delight and fearlessness. But there is in experience no such pure paths: human effort is assisted by the Divine Grace; Divine Grace compels and demands human co-operation: this is the essence of the liberty of the individual.

The Bhagavad Gita as treated by the Masters on the Path like Sri Ramanuja fully reveals this Suka-path or the Path of light, which is easy to tread, for one walks under the guiding and protecting wings of the Lord Sri Krsna Himself - the Purusottama, the owner of the Vehicle which is the Suparna-the Celestial Bird. There is an important aspect of the Supreme Principle of Surrender as enunciated by the Agama. The saranagati is said to be of five or six stages such as anukulya samkalpah, pratikulyasya varjanam, gotriptva varanam, mahavisvasam, atmaniksepam and karpanyam. The soul has by these six steps to attain the complete or integral surrender.

 The study of the nature of the Divine Descent (avatar) gives an interesting and suggestive (though by no means non-ingenious) example of the Divine responsive surrender (causal or effectual, I shall not attempt to define). The Vamana-Trivikrama avatar as the alvars are never tired of repeating reveals the anukulya samkalpa of the Divine who has in one supreme act of self-giving assume the sovereignty of the world and prepared for the surrender of the souls to Him. The next avatar of Parasurama is a remarkable unsurpassed attempt to remove the pratikula, the forces that are against the Divine and thus the Divine himself has removed the conditions in the environment which prevented the renunciation of the obstructive forces. Dasaratha Rama shows the election by God of man’s body–God needs man just as man needs God– this is the goptrtva-varanam of God.  Sri Krsna exemplifies the Mahavisvasa– the faith in the soul’s possibility. Remember the extraordinary behaviour of the desciples such as Bhisma and Drona, Arjuna and others. If we again remember the faith in the possibility of the soul at last yeilding to the Divine appeal to submit to be transformed, we can see that Sri Krsna reveals predomidantly the will to faith in man and the soul. Such faith in man alone makes man gain the mahavisvasa of the sarana. There is no doubt at all that if we concede, as Jayadeva does the avatarhood of Buddha a new light begins to be thrown on the principle of self-annihilation or sunya taught by Him. It is the Divine atma-niksepa and love (karpanya) that abolishes Himself so that the individual souls may be utterly saved. God’s divine descents thus fulfil the very conditions that the soul has to fulfil in its upward ascent.

Samadhi  utterly can be possible only when the Divine and the soul have the same apparatus of complementary fulfilment so much so the unity realised is an integral, all-sided, whole some, synthesis in being, knowledge and delight.


Itc "I"

In my article on Psycho-physiology in the Minor Upanisads (Which was part of my work at the Andhra University in 1929-30)1   I  stated that the Mundaka Up. mentions the seven flames. The RgVeda passage (X.v.6), “The seven wise ones (dhyanis) fashion seven paths, To one of these may the distressed mortal come.” The seven wise ones or rsis refer to the seven rsis of Atri, Bhrgu, Kutsa, Vasista, Gautama, Kasyapa and Angirassas (even as the Aitareya Brahmana states it ) and the seven paths refer to the seven planes and their corresponding cakras, as each individual according to his evolution and fitness aspires to the higher level and path which would fulfil him or liberate him.  Meditation (sanyama) on these centres or planes (or element representative of the plane)  (these are interchangeable terms according to the Correspondential realism of the Vedic knowledge suggested by the upamanas and dhvanis though not identical terms) – leads to the attainment of siddhis. The Aitareya Brahmana (I)  synthesises the planes of bhuh, bhuvah, Svar, maha, jana, tapa and Satya by stating that the respective seer Atri, Bhrgu, Kutsa, Vasista, Gautama, Kasyapa and Angirasa see them, and the devas realized by them as of those planes are stated to be Agni, Vayu, Arka, Vagisa,Varuna, Indra and Visvedevas. Visvedevah are equated with Visnu in the opening lines of the same Brahmana when it states “Agnir vaidevanam avamo visnuh paramas tad antarena sarva anya devata.”

The six centres or plexuses are identified with certain elements in Yoga Psychology. Siddhi or knowledge or power over such elements result from the control of that centre through meditation, The aim however is to triumph over the entire process of subordination. Liberation is the aim of life. Realization of oneness is also the condition of freedom. The principle of meditation or dhyana or samadhi is precisely the attainment of unification of the organic with the spiritual and the celestial, the divine powers of seeing (rsis), the divine powers of power-consciousness (chandas) and the attainment of oneness with the Divine personalities (devas). The inner fire Agni, secret in the being of each individual is to be led steadily through sacrifice of all that one holds dear and which lead him to devious ways of sin, to the highest point of the head (sahasrara cakra).  The kudalini-sakti which is of the form of lightning is to be led through the knots and united to the crest. The Krsna Yajur-Veda has the following passages:

(i)         Thee, O Agni, fron the lotus

Atharvan pressed out from

The head of every priest (iv.1. 3)

(ii)        Be born noble in the forefront of the days

Kind to the kindly, red in the woods,

Bestowing seven jewels in every house

Hath Agni sat him down as hotr.


(iii)       Seven are thy kindling sticks,  O Agni,

Seven thy tongues,

Seven seers, seven dear abodes,

Seven hotras, seven-fold sacrifice to thee,

Seven birthplaces with ghee do thou fill.

                                    (A.B.Keith’s trans.

                                    H.O.S.Vol.19 p.293)

The number seven is significant.  But we know that the Vedic seers also used to mention either three or five.  The principle of trivrtkarana or pancikarana as the intermixture of elements prior to the creation may be mentioned. We also know that the Upanisads were aware of the existence of five fires, five airs (breaths), five ether, waters etc.  This sometimes leads to varied readings.  But what seems to be intimated is that, according to the Vedic view, when any element has arisen out of another it can be described by the same term  that had been applied to the cause.  Causes and effects have an identity and it is possible to designate the cause by the same word as the effect or vice versa.  Further in organic explanations as in the Upanisads, mainly yogic or adhyatmika, there is explained the co-existence of the five elements in integrated unity.1   The words have to be taken in their yoga  significance rather than in their rudhi.2

The lighting of the three fires or the construction  of the Fire-altar known as the Naciketagni is explained by Sri Aurobindo as the transformation of the physical,  vital and the mental by the Divine Will Agni, which is a result of Divine Grace-knowledge. It is the immortalizing Fire.  Fire always stood for this great process of offering of oneself to the workings of the Divine Lord. He is the messenger and the leader of the path. Divine aspiration or will is Agni. From the point of view of outer life the building of the fire-altar is a correspondential, mimetic or symbolic phenomenon or construction.  Truth is triple: It is a cognitive, conational, affective unity,-saccidananda.

I should in this connecton also mention the function of the seven metres (chandamsi), which are also stated to have the function of measuring out or granting the appropriate siddhis by leading the individual to the different respective planes.  They are the mothers, jna-devis, who preserve the several planes of being in unity.  Again the Aitereya Brahmana gives the clues regarding the Gayatri, Usni, Anustubh, Brhati, Pankti, Tristubh, Jagati.  (I. i.5): Gayatri grants beauty and knowledge, usni grants long life, anustubh heaven, brhati wealth and glory, pankti grants love of sacrifice, tristubh strength, jagati confers cattle and the viraj metre grants food.

The sandhyavandan of the Hindus in its nyasa relates the rsi, karana (chandas), deva and loka (saptavyahrtis).

The Brahmanas have yet to be fully interpreted from the adhyatmika point of view which will integrate the adhibhautika and the adhidaivika aspects. The writings of Sri Aurobindo (Secret of the Veda, Hymns to the Mystic Fire), Krishna Prem (Yoga of the kathopanisad). Dr. Ananda K. Coomaraswami, promise us a rich future.  The Yoga approach is necessary and urgent.

II  Brahmacaryatc "II  Brahmacarya"

Writing on the relation between Pancaratra and the Upanisads in the New Indian Antiquary (April-June 1946), I stated the close correspondence between the Prasna conception of the five Ratris with the Pancaratra conception and in addition showed there that Sri Krsna the supreme of the Pancaratra is stated to have been born in the Five Nights so as to dispel the darknesses of the Five Nights.  One of the Profound results or fruits of the descent of God or Avatar is, as Sri Aurobindo has conspicuously shewn, the upliftment of the stage of evolution of the plane into which the avatar descends. Each one of the planes of the physical, vital and the mental are states of ignorance and though it must be said that the vital is higher than the physical, the mental higher than the vital.  The description of the progress of descents or ten avatars is sometimes ingeniously equated with the evolutionary process. But the conception remains as the central doctrine of the Pancaratra and the Lord Teacher of the Gita emphasises the avatar-secret of His own supreme Descent into the five nights to release the forces of light and puissance and grandeur and sovereignty and Love.

The correlation of the rayis with ratris is, I then showed, adopted by Manu in the Manusamhita. There is however a slight difference between  the two versions.  Manu writes:-

            Pitrye ratryahani masah pravibhagastu paksayoh |

            Karmacestasvahah krsnah suklah svapnaya sarvari  ||1  I.66.

The Prasnopanisad states : Maso vai prajapatis tasya krsna-paksa eva rayih suklah pranas tasmad ete rsayah sukla istim kurvantitara itarasmin ||  (12)  First Prasna.

It appears that this divergence between Manu and Pippalada requires elucidation. I have no doubt that the Pippalanda-version is correct, unless we consider that Sukla paksa is the waxing period of Candra or the Moon and cannot be the period of the solar fulness. Not at all a bad or valid reason.  The Births of Sri Krsna and Sri Rama, the Lunar and the Solar deities so to speak as I have shewn in the article in the New Indian Antiquary in the five ratris and the five ahanis respectively makes me decide against the variation of Manu.

I am further fortified in my reasoning by the internal evidence in the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, the works devoted to the Solar and the Lunar lines so to speak.

In the Srimad Ramayana Sri Rama is instructed to go to Sugriva by Kabandha and make acquaintance with him and not with Valin. The point is as Sri Valmiki states it Sugriva is the son of Surya whereas Valin is Indra’s son (indu, Indra being almost identical since Soma is the favourite drink of Indra).  There are other reasons of corresponding lot of losing their wives which would evoke sympathy. But Sugriva with whom friendship is sought, is Suryaputra.  The unity between them became proverbial ‘ramasugrivayor aikyam’ is  stated to be the most perfect unity that all souls can seek if devoted. The lunar power was slain, both Valin and Ravana.1 

In the Mahabharata Arjuna, Indra’s son, is the companion, bosom friend of Sri Krsna, and Karna, the Bhanuja, son of Surya is the foe.  The alliance here with the lunar by Sri Krsna of the five nights is obviously a mystery to many, but to those who see the pattern of dharma, in both cases, will observe that both the night and the day have to be governed by a higher and supremer consciousness, the Divine. Sri Rama and Sri Krsna are the Divine, in the double forms suitable to the dharma which is to be established and the adharma which is to be dethroned and annihilated.

The importance of brahmacarya need not be overstressed. Brahmacarya implies the preservation of the vital-fluid, the prana in the form of ap, subjectively speaking without misusing it.  Misuse consists in using this vital fluid during the day-times (understood in the triple manner of uttarayana, suklapaksa and day-times). There is thus correspondance and connection established by Prasnopanisad. Brahmacarya does not entail absolute celibacy but celibacy or self-restraint and proper use in the nighttimes. Sri Krsna is sometimes said to be the Nitya-Brahmacarin- the eternal or ever celibate, though a perfect grhastha. This is because he was like gods, pitrs and men observing all the three daytimes in perfect celibacy. There is of course more in all these mystic suggestion. It is at once a guide to the ordinary man to ascend to the levels of spiritual consciousnesses typified by the pitrs and the devas, they are at least not so much the dead and the divine alone. The purpose of the Pranavopasana is the preservation of the prana in all seasons and for all creatures, gods, fathers and men. This is the reason why the Prasnopanisad takes the disciple-questioner-to the meditation on the Pranava and the use of the Pranava.

Thus there is an integral connection between the several planes, which is to be achieved by the pranavopasana, the metaphysical basis of which is stated clearly in the first prasna itself.  We know from the Yoga literature in the Upanishads themselves that Ida and Pingala are also called the Candranadi and the Suryanadi and the Susumna is the Agni.  It is clear that there can be seen personality-differences between the different types of men as to whether they are solar-dominant or lunar-dominant and to both the Susumna is the integrating force and thus in its proper direction in righteousness and sinlessness alone there is found to be salvation. The mystic symbolism is not merely a convenient fiction but also a realistic attempt to integrate the several layers of individual consciousness and being with the cosmic and universal and eternal Truths and consciousness and Intelligences and Powers of the Divine.

The avatars of Sri Rama and Sri Krsna have the respective  pancalaksana  of the five day-times or pranas and five rayis respectively.


The development of Vedantic psychology is independent of any external influence in general. But it has been conceded by most people that the influence of Buddhistic practices and methods of attainment of ecstacy which lasted at least for a millenium could not have left Vedantic thought without influencing it .Indeed the most important revulsion against the Buddhistic practices was the fact of the repudiation by Sri Sankara of everything that savoured of the buddhistic yoga.. His limiting idea has been the practice of hearing, thinking and meditating on the highest truths expressed by the mahavakyas.  This may be said to have been the strict method followed by the Upanisads which counsel the Buddhism also constantly instilled this may be said to have 

Been the strick method followed by the Upanisads which counsel the hearing, the thingking about and the meditation on the law of Buddha.  However it happened that later Buddhism developed the principle askesis and ascetism and began to built up quite a profoundly interesting psychological structure of planes of counciousness ; and these have their counterparts in the serveral systems of meditation. It became a psychological undertaking on the part of schools of Yoga, whether purely intellectual, or physiological is devotional, to explain the several planes of consciousness. This meant generally speaking that during the great interval between the decline of Brahmanistic practices and the decline of Buddhism and jainism, there had been happening great experiments in the psychological sphere. It was very evident, thanks to the activities of jainism which was more and more concerned in the development of that final peace and happiness through its scientific interest in nature, there  had come into being lot of literature concerning the physiological, astronomical and psychical life of man.

The relationship between the jaina and the Yoga philosophy had yet to be clearly understood.  In the meanwhile there has come into being a great amount of literature which shows the indebtedness and correspondences between the Buddhist and Yoga Philosophy. It has been well-established that the Patanjala-yoga-sutras could not  belong to the post-christian era.  Rather it must be placed early enough in the 2nd century B.C. This seems to be right since the systamatisation of the Yoga literature must have started considerable early so as to prescribe the minimum conditions which are necessary either for a theistic or an atheistic preparation for the mystical or religious experience. If occult training means the fitting of oneself to experience. If occult training means the fitting of oneself to experience the inward strength and possibilities of the human being, then we have in the Yoga-sutras the absolutely minimum conditions of moral and physical and vital preparation, as seen in the control of mind, (citta), prana(pranayama) and yama and niyama.  For the theist the Isvara-pranidhana; for the atheist this Isvara can well be exchanged for the Guru, the Teacher of the Doctrine, the Dhamma, the Marga or the Dharma.  Thus we find that in these Yoga Sutras we do not have the highly elaborate satcakra-nirupana, which is such an important part of the Tantrika and Pancaratra literature and the Yoga-Upanisads and other Upanisads. The Hatha-yoga posses were well known but only other Upanisads. The Hatha-yoga poses were well known but only the meditation pose of siddha or padma was counselled as the sthira-sukhasanam.  The meditational poses of Buddha are those belonging to these types alone, mainly the Pasma-pose.

Pranayama was also a part of the practice of all mystics and occultists.  Thus the Yogavacara Masual contains the following statement.

“O Bhikkus, under this rule, a Bhikku, one who was truly felt the fread of the stream of becoming, goes to a solitary forest, to the foot of a tree or to a lonely place far from thew haunts of men, sits down cross-legged and holds the body straight, Setting mindfullness in front of him, with Nibbana as his goal, not wavering nor turning thought to other things, he breathes in mindfully and mindfully breathes out. As he draws in a long breath he knows” Along draw in;” as he breathes out a long breath he knows “ along breath I breathe out.: As he draws in a quich breathes out a quich breath he knows, “A quich breath I breathe out.”

This practice pf ‘mindful breathing in and breathing out’ is a deliberate process of breath-control.  This may be compared with the pranayam which comprises of three stages, Recaka, Puraka and Kumbhaka, which are also timed in the ratio of 1,1,2. The Mantra used normally when in breathing or out-breathing or retaining is the famous Gayatri.

There are variations of the pranayama, and the Buddhist variation merely suggests that general principle of conscious control of breath.  Thus in the preamble of the Manual of the Mystic it is written

“Knowing the body in all the parts, throughly grasping the true nature of this way, that is, the breathing which starting from the tip of the nose, passes downwards to the navel and the out-breathing which rises from the navel and passes up wards to the tip of the nose, and nature of their rise and fall.  He fixes his sight on the tip of the nose and grasps the truth that he sees the tip of the nose the sight-mind firmly in the heart the thing he attanding to ; such is the preparation or preamble” (p.1).

The pose and others are clearly envisaged in the Gita V, 27, and VIII, 12-13. It may be clear from the above description and the descriptions of the process of pranayama.  The detailed process of pranayama as to how and by what nose should be inhalation take place, whether the exhilation should take place before the deep breath is taken, and by what nose whould the exhilation take place or whether the process should be revereded between the noses are not at clear from the Buddhistic accounts Obviously this pranayama like the yama and niyama are considered to be just purificatory accessories as Yoga also deems them to be.  It is the mind that cause bondage.

It is the states of contemplation, concentration, and absorption that reveal the closeness of the Dhyana of the Yoga with the jhana of the Buddhist. There are four stages of this contemplation or dhyana, all mental in nature, and involving no physical or vital process but whichnevertheless have been sufficiently controlled so as not to interfer with the smoothness of the process of mind control. These form the five stages in all. Pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi of Yoga are repeated as savicara, nirvicara, savikalpaka and nirvikalpaka. The process of the first Jhana according  to Mrs. Rhys    Davids is as follows :

When aloof from sensuous ideas, aloof from evil ideas, he enters into and abides in the First Jhana, wherein attention is applied and sustained (sa-vitakka,sa-vicara), where is born of solitude and filled with zest and pleasant emotion : when next, from the subsiding of attention applied and sustained, he enters into and abides in the Second Jhana, which is in ward, tranquilizing of the mind, self-contained and uplifted from the working  of attention, is born of concentration, fullof Zestr and pleasurable emotion; when next, through the quenching zest, he abides with equal mind, mindful and disering, experiencing in the body that pleasure where of the Ariyans declare; ‘ Happy doth  he abide with even lucid mind, and so enters into the abides in Thirs jhana: When next, by putting away both pleasant and painful emotion, by dying out of the joy and misery he used to know, he enters into and abides in Fourth Jhana, that utterly pure lucidity and indifference of min, wherein is neither happiness nor unhappiness- this is the training  of the higher consciousnes.”1   

Thus the process is not very much different from the process adumbraed by the Yoga-sutras which counsel the nirodha of the citta.  The attainment of this highest consciousness reveals as interesting  feature. There is no feeling of merging into any higher being or entity or state.

“The Jhanin seems to be always master of himself and self-possessed, even in ecstacy, even to the deliberate falling into and emerging (as by a spiritual alarum-clock) from trance. There is a synergy about his jhana, combined with an absence of any reference whatever to a merging or melting into something greater, that for many may reveal defect, but which is certainly a most interesting and significant difference.”2  

There is here at this state what may be called the realisation the self-nature as self-contained, and the description of this fourth Jhana state clearly indicates the same.  This is the atma-saksatkara state.

“With consciousness thus concentrated (inFourth Jhana) made pure, translucent, cleared, void of defilement made supple, wieldy, firm, imperturbable, he applies  and bends over the mind to knowledge  and vision.”3    

The siddhis attained by a mind thus concentrated and having achieved saksatkara of itself are almost identical with what are stated in the yoga.  But these powers are considered by Buddha himself to be errors of the soul.

 “I see danger in the practice of these accomplishments ; loathe and abhor and am ashamed of them.”says Buddha.4   

But the mastery of these accomplishments and renunciation of these is self-mastery. That such is also the view of Yoga can clearly be seen when the Yoga asks the seer to pass beyond the sattvaquality and know himself as undefined.

The main feature of siddhis or iddhis seems to be that they are yet the activities of the vijnana or sattva, and as such limiting the pure atta or satta or purusa nature.  The samkhyan concept of Buddhi is similar to the concept of Vijnana in Buddhism.

“To him, Bhikkus, who lives intent on enjoyment in things that tend to enfetter us, there will be descent of vinnana.and where vinnana gains a footing, there is descent of mental and bodily life…for this nutriment vinnana is the cause of our taking birth and coming again to be.”5

The Samkhya Karika 20 and 21 clearly point out that mere contemplation of matter by spirit is enough to start the process of which the first sign is seen in the Buddhi from which the whole host of modifications take place.  And we find that it is true to say that “Conditioned by contact arises feeling : what one feels, one percevives; and what one perceives one thinks about ; what one thinks about, one is obsessed withal.”6 so also the Anguttara Nikaya “ I say cetana is action; thinking one acts by deed, word and thought”.7

The process by which this attachment to sense-objects or objects that are other than the self, is certainly throught Yoga or Shyana Jhana. The senses have to be yoked, which leads to the yoking of the mind, which is turn leads to the yoking of the Buddhi or vinnana and finally to the yoking of all change or process.  This results in the Nirvana, the Kaivalya, or Samsdhi.

The soul is freed utterly from the conditions of and dependence on matter and realises that the world of objects is other than itself unatta, unsubstantial so far as it is concerned. Its really it finds finally to rest not in the attainment of objects of the senses or even in the attainment of powers which are shewn really to belong to the material order.  Buddha of course foes not positively hint at this supreme state of Nirvana to be anything other than the state of Voidness of objectivity or subjectivity too. It is quite a matter for speculation.  What he denied was positively the existance of material objectivity and impermanence of objects and not the self (atman).8


6.BUDDHIST PSYCHOLOGY p.88    Cf.ch.up.VII.2.26 : Tait.up II.3.5  : Katha.Up I.iii.10.


8.   GOTAMA THE MAN: Mr. Rhys Davids London, 1928.

Mrs Rhys Davids inher ‘Sakya or Buddhist Origins’ goes further and specially analyses the concept of Jhana. Jhanashe defines as a formula-produced  higher state. In this constant repetition of the mantra or formula, which is mystic, consists the induction of supernormal or abnormal states of consciousness.  But whilst this jhana may be considered to be something akin to the experience of Tennyson when he repeated his own name, yet in the higher concept of Jhana what really transpired was a high state of tension of the mind, the dhi. It is a kind of musing, solitary experience of special kind.  This view is of the svetasvatara Up. (I.14) and Maitri Up. (VI.18).  This is different from meditation, for, it is a kind of inner concentration.  This is preceded by dharana which is the nagative exercise of arresting outer experience.  The samadhi is the realization of the highest concentration of inner concentration. It is the supersaturated state of tension so to speak.  In early Buddhism says Mrs. Rhys Davids, Jhana is a deliberate explicity putting off (pahana) of applied  and sustained thought.  What is left is sati   and indifference (upekkha), it is a state of tabula rasa, and is a waiting to learn. Thus it is a state of  what might be called dynamic recipience on the one hand and absolute quiescence on the other, of what Mrs.Rhys Davids calls ‘alert receptiveness’. This is the fourth Jhana.  Thus we may find some correspondence between the fourth Jhana and the state of utter reception which excludes all outside experience which is what we find to be the state of dhyana on the  Supreme or Iswara pranidhana. But as pointed our by  Mrs.Rhys Davids, whilst we may accept a common form as the origin of both the dyuana of Yoga and Jhana of the Buddhistic school, their only identity or similarity consist in their musing rather than on  what they muse. The object of Buddhist Jhana is not clear though many such as Dr, Helier see it be moksa, (vimutti). This is not the Vedic view where the object of dhyana in God or Brahma-sampatti itself. (p. 167).  “Both in sakyan Jhana  and in yoga, the process of concentration  sets out with the individual, the man, the solitary aspirant.  But as soon as we touch on attainment, the values alter.  In Buddhist jhana, the man vanishes, we are left with his mind only, purged,emptied to a state of ‘purity’ indifference and mindfulness”. And we hear nothing of any object partly or wholly won beyond the mental state itself.  But in Yoga, the Yogin, the man, is in full view from first to last, and there is no doubt about what is sought. It is the man and not his mind only that is before us, the man breaking his bars and bond, waking in strength and fearlessness, winning absorption in to a vision of the  Atman in him, who also is that Atman.” In the opinion of Mrs. Rhys Davids then we find that the most important  earnestness of Buddha got blotted out or blurred in the buddhist schools.  For it is the most recurring aim of man in himself to surpass his limitations,  the man in travail seeks to be the Man the Absolute, the That.  This tendency Buddhism gains hold in the ZenBuddhism or the Dhyana-cult of Buddhism “ In  ZenBuddhism or the Dhyana-cult of Buddhism “In Zen, jhana regains that cventral well-spring of the man .his nature, his objective which was in Yoga but which became blurred and lost in sakya “ (p. 177). In  so far as Buddhism ceased to be realistic  and sought epistemological  idealism as its truth, its concerned or rather its predominating fault appeared , fault which Sankara and Ramanuja and other Vedantins had vigorously to counter, the fault of exalting mind over the knower, the man the Self.  The tragedy that befell the practice of dhyana was that it became  not a musing on the self or the Man that was identical with or indwelling  in all but on mere mind-control.  Yoga in Patanjala-darsana, and the Anguttara’s (II. 195) definition of Jhana mean something very identical, just the control of citta (emotive or out going mind) or an appurtenant thereof-citta-pari-suddhyanga.

The mystical experience of a ‘more’ which is achieved by the musing is however the central fact about Yoga in Vedanta.  In Yoga of Patanjali as well as in Samkhya it appears that Mukti or kaivalya or mere isolation from matter is the object. In Buddhism according to ancient Sakya, the aim is to create utter vacuity, which in later Buddhism resulted a state of emptiness of all existence, a pure mind-purification.

The nature of the will is represented not by tendencies of mind to activities, cittavratti but rather by the inhibitionary power that stops all such movement.  In Psychology what is more important is the power to create or restraint.  Or more properly greatest will power to create or restrain.  The words such as tanha, chanda, kama, asa (longing), kratu, sankalpa, do to a certain extent reveal the conative aspect but the words viriya, vayama and padhama refer to energy and effort which may therefore be closely linked up with will. Will is the power to do , but not all power to do can be will. Will is sometimes cannot by Udaya and Bhava, the will to bring forth something,  will  however is not completely expalined by the terms mere desire or craving or longing  or wven the will to do or create, for these activities may well belong to the instinctive drive.  On the other hand, will is in one definite sense a conscious activity not a mere thought ; it is a choice of the better, varam, The psychology of will is the fact of choice or decision of the better cource of action dictated by the most adequate choice of ideal rather  than strength  of tendencies or pull or even  achievements limited  by movement. Will thus involves planned activity. It is yoga of will that we have in the primary fact which involves a twofold activity of nirodha of all normal activities of all tendencies, of breath, of posture, and regulation of all according to the relationship to volitional in Veda according  to the highest inward  aim.  The word ‘cetana’ though mainly thinking involves  volition in Veda according to Mrs. Rhys Davids, and the relationship to volitional action is all that is referred to by involving thought.  But above  all, will is developed as negative or restraint leading to sthita-prajnatva or vacuum of  being, which is the only means to discover the real nature of the self of reality or existence void of its modifications.  It is true that the buddhistic employment of  will is almost identical with the place where the creation of real entities is stated.  There is in most creative activities no clear scope for the fullest employment of will as such in mystic or religious concentrate on any object.  This positive aspect of varanam is used  in Pancaratra philosophy as an important ingredient of Prapatti or self-surrender .  Those who hold that self-surrender does not mean anything more than abandonment of will, will be surprised to find that the fourth is the varanam of the object or the Choice which is a positive election of the end, comparable to the svayam-varam of the ancient princesses.  This is the only place where we find that volition1 or varanam has the positive aspect fully inculcated.  Thus when Mrs. Rhys Davids says that words for will are absent in the East whereas they are available in Herbrew and Aramaic and Greek, we have demut.(sakya: p .76).

Thus we find that will is characterised by the endeavour to choose the better course.  It may, and in fact it always does, involve two processes which may be simultaneous or successive, the negative nirodha of the avara, the election of the para, the one a continuous checking of the mental activities of all kinds, and the other the contemplation or musing on the supreme self of all and oneself. The one without the other is mere abstraction.  In one sense the two-fold counsel o following sambhuti and vinasa  in the Isavasyopanisad, refers to this restraint of the mental activities which obstruct or destroy the integrity of the being or obstruct the unfoldment of the nature of the self, the Becoming to be, or the begetting or causing to arise of the Divine or the Man or the More, which can well be called the birth or sambhava, or samghuti.  Thus the word ‘will’ is connoted by the word ‘bhava’.

In one sense all activity that is consciously chosen leading up to achievement of an end is clearly a matter of will.  That the will is not a kind of activity like thought or, even for that matter, feeling, is clear, for it is the fact about the individual personality. Its exercise is continuous and sustained whether for or against, that is , in inhibition as well as in  inhibition as well as In projection, in destruction as well as in creation, in movement as in rest.

1.   Anukulyasya sankalpah pratikulyasya varjanam,

      Raksisyatiti visvaso gotrptva varanam tatha,

      Atmaniksepa karpanye sadvidha saranagatih.  (Ahir.Bud.Sam. 37.18)

      Here we have sankalpa,varjanam,visvasa, varanam and niksepa as five equivalent processes or will, or progressive reenforcements to the will.



Experience, as has been well remarked by Prof. James Ward, is that which has been experimented  upon by an expert. The expert in this case, is the mystic or religious seer, and our deductions must be based on their experiences.

There are two personality-types, the mystical and the religious. Religions are made or rather founded by the one, whereas the struggles for freedom, liberation or liberty are made by the other. Religious consciousness is typically one of surrender to whatever is conceived to be the highest Person, Principle or System. The feeling of dependence is its characteristic feature. The aim of transcendence is there but it is not clamant . Thus whatever be the definition of religion, the fact of dependence on something that is Other and More,the surplus of Rabindranath Tagore, greater than the individual cannot be denied. The mystic, on the other hand, is quite a different type of personality. He has none of the air of subservience and surrender. He has the sense to feel that he is at one with the Infinite but as one who is participating or rather seeking to participate in the richness and splendour of the Infinite. He does not normally lay stress on the unity of all, of himself with All or the whole, but only on the fact of finiteness which he cannot tolerate, much less admit. For him, the law  ‘as in the macrocosm so it is in the microcosm’ must be extended to the fullest limit so as to grant for the individual an equal participation, power and plenitude of existence with the All. The idealistic tendency is of mysticism and finally it emerges as the instinctive struggle for moksa, liberation. The mystic is a pioneer, an asura so to speak, who is anxious to break the bonds of existence, for he dimly feels that he shares the fullness in power, light and being with the All.

Psychologists obsessed by the abnormal types of personality or paying attention only to physiological types, underestimate the distinctions that exist between the two types above mentioned, namely, the mystical and the religious. Religious consciousness and mystical experience are however not contraries.

If a modern classification of types is to be attempted in terms of extrovert and introvert , we might say that the mystic type of personality would appear to be the extrovert and the religious as the introvert, since according to Jung(Psychological Types), we find that coercive force, struggle for mastery, and individuality pertain to the extrovert, whereas subordination, resignation to fate, surrender to higher powers and quiet  patience belong to the introvert. This division as will be seen cuts across that proposed by psychologists who hold mystical personalities to be introverts.

In the study of the lives of the pioneers in spiritual experience, the two types we have mentioned are clearly distinguishable. It is the truth of the religious man to be conforming to that which exists as established custom or usage or tradition, whereas the truth for the mystic is to be an iconoclast. This distinction in attitudes is fundamental to any understanding of the Philosophy of Religious Consciousness. So fundamental is this distinction that it is strange that there should ever have been confusion. Religious Consciousness is definitely dogmatical ( in the Mac Taggartean sense), whereas the mystical is pantheistic, is nebulous, and shows itself as the vital overflow of idealistic tendencies rather than as the intuitive understanding that defies all dogmatism. Not that this vitalism is all. Far from it. This characteristic it has because it is essentially a struggle against limitation, social, philosophical or religious. The protest is commensurate in strength with the felt heaviness of the bonds.

The via media between these two tendencies has rarely been found. We find mystics who having revolted strongly against all limitations finally discover their destination to be a nihilistic nirvana, a contentless existence. Buddhistic thought characterized as it is by mysticism having struggled against all dogmatism ended in an experience that might well be called non-existence. Advaitic thought is essentially mystical, and its struggles against all forms and names, all definition and determination, has led it to an experience  that is the culmination of limitless existence , abstract Freedom-experience.

Religious Experience naturally moves on the wake of previous revelations. It is, we already said, characterized by the feeling of dependence, may be on the past experiences of the race garnered in proverbs and maxims, or on past speculations and affirmations on the nature of the Supreme Being or Reality. Des Cartes in reviving the Ontological  Argument of Anselm really showed his inner indebtedness to religious experience. As a matter of fact the rationalist  cannot  but finally end in religion. The determination by law of thought, regulation of the present by past experience and revelation, is the significant feature of the religious attitude. It is not often that we find psychologists defining religion in this manner. Prof. Mac Taggart in his Some Dogmas of Religion affirmed that true religion consists in the acceptance through reason the probable reality of the Deity, a probability that is almost equivalent to an assertion of its reality.

If Bruno revealed his mystical iconoclasm, and Shelley the promethean revolt against all confirmity, Leibnitz revealed the strict loyalty to the Deity and Browning the inner synthesis of religion that has devoutness to the Deity who is the inward ruler of all life and being. It is always the mystic who revels in the destruction of barriers to freedom qua barriers. The problem of freedom is not and has not been the chief concern of the religious. Religious Consciousness abides with those who surrender to the Divine Spirit and with those who live in the life of the Divine and struggle to achieve participation and at-oneness with their Lord, whatever be the changes, crises and calamities that might assail them. Not that it does not love freedom and does not plead for extinction of barriers, but the barriers that it seeks to remove are the barriers to knowledge, which thwart mutual love between the Infinite and the finite and promote separation.

Thus there is a clear-cut distinction between the two types, or the two attitudes. The dualism is a serious one. Interpreters of the Upanishads have sought to explain the text according to their mystical or religious predilection and have tried to create a dualism in the texts themselves. This dualism is possible because two attitudes are real attitudes, and the personality of the Seer determines the attitude that he reveals in his utterances. This is not to state that the content of the revelation or utterance is of either partially true or untrue character, but to affirm that the truth gets itself revealed through the individual medium of mystical or religious bias. Vamadeva reveals himself as a Mystic whereas Vasistha is truly representative of the Religious Consciousness. However in their revelations, whatever the particular attitude, the contents of their experience are relieved from the insularity of either.

Just as there are no pure types like introvert and extrovert, so also, mystical consciousness is not stable in itself, and religious respectively manifests itself as a dynamic struggle after liberation from all limitations and separation from the beloved. A careful student of mystical experience will find that mystical consciousness, when strong, proceeds from one destruction to another, by a deliberate and well-aimed exclusion of all that interfere with final free experience, even as Indra proceeded scientifically from one realization to another, from the discovery of one sheath to another by a process of unveiling of the curtains of ignorance, till finally he was confronted with the realization of his dependence on some Highest Consciousness full with the plenitude of infinite richness and delight, bliss and beauty, in which he must in thraldom live. Such knowledge is got at slowly and is of the whole and the integral Being, wherein the individual himself shares the life of the whole, and finds this ultimate sense of unity with the All itself to be freedom and perfection, reality and realization. Mystic consciousness may start with a pantheistic sense of Oneness of all life or law, experience or ecstasy, but at its terminus it transcends the impersonal as it is gradually drawn into the bosom of the Super-personal Being that is not less personal but more personal, fundamentally divorced from the limitations arising out of the inefficient lower nature. Mysticism thus, strange as it may appear, becomes a champion of intellectualism, which defeats intellect.

Religious Consciousness proceeding from dependence to dependence on the All, the sarva, and Isvara, the Lord, is able to throw away the minor dependences on  forms and names and progressively all that are not of the Lord. Growing in this illuminated consciousness, it finally discovers that it has liberated itself from all its bonds without knowing it. What is essential to it is the fundamental effort or thirst to love, the attachment to the Highest that it knows, there is implied the method of liberation from all others, all attachments and seekings other than the Highest. If ever, it struggles to hold on to mere forms and names and clings to them tenaciously, it is because these names and forms are constellated in its consciousness with the Being that it knows and which it cannot conceive apart from them. If , however, it  clings to these through indolence of spirit, then what happens is a catastrophe, followed by a terrible dark night of the soul.

Whether it be the mystical or the religious consciousness, eternal vigilance is an absolute condition. That is why the end of Mysticism is religion, and the result of religion is the realization of the ideal of mysticism. Psychological experts of the Upanishads were aware of these transformations in attitudes and the conditions under which such transformations can be brought about. The several vidyas taught  in them clearly reveal the purposive technique of transference which will lead to the integral realization. Knowledge is the goal, since knowledge alone can solve the problems of instincts; the mystical and the religious tendencies are instinctive in their nature which have to be sublimated. Abnormal Nietzsche, the mystic,ended in the lunatic asylum; the religious dogmatists enveloped in their own darkend sanctuaries have brought about the proverbial Dark Age. Synthesis of both these, samuccaya, or  samanvaya , is possible through the substitution of the ends of Knowledge and  Vision of the All in the places of greed and selfishness. The multiplex nature of man’s personality requires an ordering of his inner and outer being according to the integral unity that he seeks blindly and vitally and instinctively.

The inner meaning of the dialectic of forces, mystical and religious, occult and mediumistic, gnostic and practical, have to understood through the concept of Integral Personality. These instincts proceed from different planes and intersect with one another. We cannot dismiss their existences. What the Vedic seers did, modern psychologists might yet discover, On us, as it did on Jung, the Upanishads and Vedic insights produce an amazement at the depth of understanding of the real forces of personality.


Consequences on the distinction made between the mystical and the religion ‘instincts’, we might say there emerge two ways of approach to the realization of the highest. These might be called Yoga. The mystical proceeds on three lines, in none of which there need be any postulation of a Diety. Karma Yoga  is the line of action, action that makes it necessary  for the individual to break through the superstructure 50 religious dogmatism and involves the consistent practice of the freedom and responsibility that one inwardly feels to be one’s own reality. This Karma Yoga is  very modern  in conception it might be said; but this kind of yoga it was that was at the bottom of the Carvakan ideal of existence, free as the air, irresponsible and living one’s own desires out. This ideal no doubt was what even Buddhism sought in its affirmation of the inward law as against the outer conformity that Brahminism was said to have imposed. Hence their practices were non-confirming to the ritualistic. Even the protest of Samkhya was against the ritualistic Karma of the orthodox. In all these, there was acceptance of Action undoubtedly, but it was something quite different from what the religious temperament accepted. The activity of the Karma-Yogin who happen to be a mystic, moves between the activities of iconoclastic revolutionary fervour and protestant activity.

The Jnana-Yoga of the Mystic again is different from the aim of the religious Yogin. The aim is to discover the real which would liberate the individual. The belief in reality is dependent on its capacity to liberate. The practice of Oneness or Nothingness, is consequential on the liberation-motive, and so long as the yogin believes intellectually that any otherness is a limitation, there is no alternative for him except the annihilation of all otherness in and through an oneness that shall be the indescribable womb of all. But the religious yogin knows that all determination is negation, and equally that all negation is determination1. He does not see the need for any contradiction between things that could co-exist.

Real opposits contradict one another and might annul one another, but that co-existent things should compete and swallow up one another even like some serpeuts, it is not possible to admit when the terms describe rather than limit. Jnana or knowledge is of the whole not of the One. The individual knowing this whole or unity really understands his place in this whole and therefore does not feel afraid. As the Isa-Upanisad says, He who sees everything in Him, for him there is neither fear nor revulsion. The mystic ideal of Immortality lands the Mystic in his intellectual effort in the abstract realm of ideas or essences or an absloute that can contain nothing without ceasing to be itself.

Even so  is the Bhakti Yoga . The Bhakti of the Mystic is the devotion to the impersonal ideal of Freedom rather than to any individual whatsoever. The Personal exists, if at all, as a concession to devotional needs, a fiction or even a real being much inferior to our own fullest ideal. Yoga of Patanjali postulates an Isvara who is a beau ideal, a desirable object (alambana) for meditation, but certainly not the ideal or our own existence which is fullest plenitude of Knowledge, Bliss and Being. The dhyana is the concentration and loving devotion, even if only of a ficitonally posited being, and as such at a later stage what needs to be done is to give up this and trancend the limits of the object. The meaning of the Bhagavad Gita Carama Sloka which insists upon the surrender of the Individual to the Lord is said to be merely a tentative position, whereas the most important teaching of the Gita is said to be the famous sloka,

            “Matkarmakrt matparamo madbhaktah sangavarjitah

             Nirvairah sarvabhutesu yahsa mameti Pandava.”

“Whose work is unto me, whose goal I am, my votary, free from attachment, void of enmity to any being-he comes to me. O son of Pandu”XI.55.

The mystic view then consistently persists in its realization of the immortal which it equates with liberty or freedom Moksa. Our Whole question is whether this is a true identification. Religious conciousness might make certain concessions to this view, but in the main it repels the idea of abstract liberty. It is more realistic and tends to value the true idea of liberty which consists in the realisation of happiness through the aid of theHighest Being of which it is aware.

The foundation of the philosophic aspiration lies in the discovery of the “immortal sense is mortal existence,” “in the divination of the Godhead,” or in the realization of the Highest of which the individual progressively becomes aware. This process of growing into the consciousness of the All is a slow progress or rapid one according to the intensity of fervour and loyalty, sraddha, and this is the sine qua non of all praxis, mystical or religious. An unenlightened consciousness without the capacity or willingness to the experiment will only lead to disaster and perdition. Gnosis consists in the perception of the All, and in having, so to speak, the religious attitude. Deity must be perceived in all things, to which all things are tending, in whom all have their birth, bliss and being. Without this original fundamental knowledge the mystic effort at freedom, is mere action that is egoistic and selfish, and can only lead to darkest darkness, blindest Ignorance. ‘Egoism is the bar.’ The individual must forsake the sense of possession of anything. Renunciation of the sense of possession coupled with the sense of the Allness or Omnipervasive-ness of the Lord is absolutely the Yoga. Such a fundamental renunciation of individual possession is the preliminary need. This too is the method of the Buddhist and the Nihilistic mystic. The mystic abjures all possession, for it is essential to be free from all bonds, and possession has the incubus of bondage. Freed from this bondage to matter and material possession, the mystic entertains the hope that he would be free utterly, and realize the Pure existence of his own self. However, this renunciation that is of the mystic, is different from the renunciation of the Religious.  The attitude is different though the results are identical. Vairagya of the one is poles apart from the vairagya of the other. Consecration to the Divine, because of the realization that nothing is really one’s own but belongs to the All, is the essence of the religious theirstic attitude, wheres the attitude of the mysticreveals the obession of bondage.

It is true that the mystics or the religious persons do not realize the wide gulf that exists between the two attitudes, and facilely and interchangeably speak about bondage and the body.  Even when the religious person feels the weight of his body on his soul, it is not because of its own defect as a body but because the body that he has happens to be a result of his own ignorance in previous lives and activites. Not so  the own ignorance in previous lives and activities. Not so the mystic view. The mystic will strive to realise the Ultimate in his own privateness, where the privateness somehow will realize the infiniteness of the All.

The mystic pratice of Raja Yoga as we have remarked takes up the occult siddhis also into consideration. The Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana,Dhyana and Samadhi, which are the eight steps of Yoga are intended to purify the individual internally and externally and develop self-control and mind-control, till finally the mind is prepared in a such a manner as to be able to experience utter internal absorption-Nirvikalpaka Samadhi . This is usually said to lead to Nirvana and even the Buddhist ‘Manual of the Mystic’ corroborates this procedure.

Religious praxis, on the other hand , devotes all its yoga to the realization of concentration on the one and sole object of its efforts, to achieve the unique  relation of dependence aprthaksiddha sambandha, consciously and fully. Isvarapranidhana  for him has the fullest significance and is all in his Yoga. The Yoga is left, as it  were, into the hands of the Divine, and nothing is left for the individual to do but to wait on the Highest. He depends upon the love, the grace and the bounty of the Divine. The Highest as the Upanishads says choses its men; it is not left for the individual to dictate to the Lord. You cannot take the heavenes by storm; you must only willingly supplicate to it for your deliverance from your deliverance from ignorance which creates ruffles in sraddha, faith.


It has been one of the most difficult things in religion to fix the roles played in spiritual evolution and liberation by God and the Guru.

For those who recognize the two as End and means respectively there is hardly any difficulty. The Guru is just the means to God and claims nothing more than a mediating role. He does not identify himself with God nor claim any more kinship with God than that which every other soul has, though he does claim to be able to lead the soul to God. There his work ends. He claims no wages beyond this task of having served His God with zeal. Men may offer all homage to him for his efficiency and skill in the discharge of his holy duty to God. Surely one expects a true Guru to be in closest nearness to God and inseparably linked with Him. It would be a travesty if such a Guru did at any time lead the seeker or led to feel that he is himself God or His delegate or vice-regent. The means should never be made an end, however much the means may be invariably effective and efficient.

However though the Guru had escaped this temptation though it is unfortunately not the present tendency - this cult of identifying the Guru with the Godhead has become rather a vogue. Men have created icons and images or statues which they have begun worshipping with all the paraphernalia and ritual offered to God. Any religion which is true to the goal of God realisation through the help of knowers and leaders of spirituality cannot permit identification of the Guru with God, except when it is realised that God Himself sometimes directly becomes the means also. When no means can lead to God except God himself then God takes on the roles of the Guru and the means. This involves the assumption that no one other than God can be the means to God. It is this principle of identity of end and means which had led to several men to equate God with Gurus and vice versa. It is only in respect of the Ultimate knowledge that this happens not in respect of other ends.

The commandment of the Veda, Let your mother become your God, Let your father be deemed to be thy God, or the final command let thy teacher become thy God were instructions which had only a limited application. On the other hand the mystics had uniformly asserted that Let God become thy Mother, thy Father and thy Teacher or Leader to the Ultimate.

The controversy about the role of the Guru or Acharya thus is very important and the attitude of the seeker or the disciple should be to presume or seek such a personality who is God Himself. No one is competent to lead one to the Ultimate.

it is therefore understandable that all teachers claim to be God themselves. They call themselves or accept to be called Bhagavan God rather than Bhagavatpada, those who have reached the world of God or His feet. But the question is, can there be so many individuals on Earth who are God? If one alone can be God the rest must be not Gods. However this question is of such practical importance that it has become almost headache to philosophers as well as laymen.

The real fact seems to be that one is likely to be followed only if one claims to be God Himself rather than a messenger or servant of God who has been instructed to lead the souls to God only. Though this works pretty well with a large mass of mankind yet sooner or later one is confronted with the fact that the claimants claim is not bonafide or rather unverified or disproved.

God has to be God and man demands that God is more than just a leader to His own state, though this latter function of God is our immediate concern.

It has been most difficult except for the exceptionally faithful to identify a mortal being however ideal with God, the supracosmic creator, sustainer and saviour of the worlds. So apparent is the disparity and so irremediable the gap that is well nigh impossible to say that any human personality even of the status of the avatars is God. A new vision is needed, even as Sri Krishna himself felt the need when he endowed Arjuna with divine vision - divya cakhsus. Even then it would be necessary to reveal the identity of the status of the Ultimate, God and the Descent, not to mention their identity with the inner ruler within each and every individual or oneself.

So the identification sought to be asserted as necessary for personal attainment of vision or not even that is rather putting the cart before the horse. The Guru has to develop in the individual seeker the capacity to have divine vision and then if He be God, make him seen Him as the Guru also. Then alone can we say that the Divine God has himself become the Guru. It must not be made to rest on faith either self-induced or imposed. Evolution of the individual into being with divine vision etc. alone could rightly be the test of this identity. For most it has to be just a chanting formula or unnecessary for higher evolution. To insist that God and Guru should not be distinguished or differentiated is too much of a demand on personal belief since it does not rest on personal experience at all.

As stated above only in the case of the Ultimate Realisation of God does God become the exclusive means (upaya). He does not seek any other help or mediator except His own powers. This is the uniqueness of the Divine Guru. Therefore for attaining the supreme Liberation and Perfection or Reality God is stated to be the only Guru. Therefore has God to be chosen as the Guru. Let God be thy Guru. May He Himself direct and guide thy steps on the path of Sahaj for this is the most natural way to God, suited to spirituality.