Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):
Swaminarayan philosophy – Summary
Swaminarayan philosophy can be summarized as one of the major philosophical trees in the garden of the main stream Hinduism. Its main trunk of Dharma, Gnan, Vairagya, and Bhakti is based on the five fundamental realities (tattvas), namely, Jiv, Ishwar, Maya, Brahm, and Parabrahm. Its religious rituals and observances, such as, observation of tapa, vrata, dāna, yoga, yagna, kriyā-kānd, dharma, dhyān, gyān, vairāgya, pujā, pāth, and bhakti are its branches and leaves. Aksharbrahm is its flower and Parabrahm Purushottam (God) is its actual (sākār) fruit having real existence.
Looking to its features, Swaminarayan philosophy can be summarized as the sum total of the essences of all other philosophies of Hinduism. In it one can always find something good of other philosophies and other religions of the world. One can possibly find from it the answers for many of the ontological and philosophical questions arising in understanding the other philosophies. Not only that, for those who are interested, it also mentions some of the major scientific (physical) aspects of the creation or physical world (cosmos) first given by Hinduism to the mankind, such as, the ideas of multiverse or many universes (anant koti brahmands), the Fifth force (akshar) which pulls or accelerates galaxies away from each other, invisible shields (ashtāvarans) of forces or energies around the universe (brahmand), radiation (sutrātmā) body, Black Hole (avyākrut), White Hole (Chidakash), Worm Hole (Archi Marg), space (ākāsh) in atom, divisions of mind (four types of antahkaran), consciousness (chitt), division of living-beings (udbhij, svedaj, andaj, and jarāyuj), superbugs (antahshatrus and swabhāvas) which are subtler than even viruses and the main cause of the social epidemics, disturbance of the world peace, malfunctioning of the society, loss of mental peace, and physical health of the individual body.
All of the realities that we see or observe in the cosmos could easily fit into one of the above five categories of fundamental ontological elements or tattvas.
The question may arise, why five fundamental elements and not just three? The two new fundamental realities or elements are not new or newly discovered. They were there in the scriptures of Hinduism, but, the scholars did not, somehow, specify or identify them until Shri Swaminarayan came, explained, and identified them.
Now, let’s try to understand their presence, by elimination method, to see what happens if we take them out or eliminated one by one. Jiv (soul) and Maya (matter) or Nature (material world) cannot be eliminated from the religious philosophy. If we eliminate soul tattva then the whole system of salvation and worship falls apart. Who will get salvation and from what? If the category of Ishwar tattva is taken away or removed, then either many Purushas (universal souls of each brahmands) will become many Gods or God will be directly involved in the creation, sustenance, and destruction of each and every brahmand. This will be like the president stepping down to the position of CEO. If the category of Brahm is eliminated, then the souls will have to become God-like instead of Brahm-like or the souls will have to be at the God’s level for salvation and the unparalleled God would be paralleled by many God-like figures. If Parabrahm or God’s category is eliminated, then it would be like removing the head leaving behind rest of the body. The whole creation would be without Godhead. The abode of God (Brahm) would be without his master. So, five fundamental categories of Tattvas seem to be necessary to explain everything that exists in the nature or creation. We can reduce all the realities, whether they may be one, two, three, or five, to finally just one reality – God and can say it the “Spiritual Theory of Everything” (S-TOE), as against the material Theory of Everything (TOE).
This concludes the major philosophies of the Hinduism in a nutshell.