Posts Tagged ‘kāran’

Darshan (Philosophy) XXIII

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Swaminarayan philosophy – Parabrahm

Parabrahm, Purushottam, or Narayan: Part I

God in Hinduism is known as Parabrahm. Parabrahm means Param Brahm, that is transcendental to Brahm. After describing Brahm, Swaminarayan philosophy describes the fifth, final, and the topmost eternal reality called Parabrahm (God). Parabrahm is described to be the one and only one, unparalleled, all-transcendental, permanent (avināshi), all-powerful (mahāsamarth), and the Supreme Reality. Parabrahm Purushottam Narayan is transcendental to Brahm who is transcendental to everything else except Parabrahm. Parabrahm (God) is the final authority of all authorities, the final power of all powers. He is the soul of all the souls. He is the soul of Brahm also. Purushottam is the Final Cause (Kāran) of all causes. He is cause of even transcendental Brahm or Aksharbrahm – His divine abode. The whole creation is His effect (Kārya).

2. Parabrahm, Purushottam, Narayan, Paramatma, Parameshwar, the Supreme Being or God:

Parabrahm (God) is described to be the one and only one. There cannot be more than one supreme. No one even can be like God. Shri Swaminarayan says that, “Only God is like God. Many have attained qualities similar to His by worshipping Him, yet they certainly do not become like God. If they did become like God, this would suggest the existence of several Gods. As a result, the governance of the world would not remain orderly. One God would say, ‘I will create the world,’ while another God would say, ‘I will destroy the world.’ One God would say, ‘I will make it rain,’ while another would say, ‘I will not.’ One would say, ‘I will instill human instincts in animals,’ while another would say, ‘I will instill animal instincts in humans.’ A stable state would not be possible in this situation. But see how orderly everything functions in the world! There is not even the slightest irregularity. Thus, the governor of all activities and the lord of all is one God. Not only that, it seems that no one can ever challenge Him. Therefore, God is definitely one, and no one can become like Him.” (Vachanāmrut: Gadhadā III-39)

Parabrahm (God) is described to have four basic characteristics:

Sarvopari (Supreme Being or transcendental to all); Sarvakartāhartā (all-doer and all-un-doer), Antaryāmi (inner guide) Prerak (inspirer), and Niyantā (controller); Sadā Sākār (always having the divine form and never formless); and Sadā Pragat (meaning, forever present in this world (brahmand) in person, without even leaving His abode, for establishing the four basic elements of the religion, namely, Dharm (religious and social vows), Gnan (ultimate knowledge of the Truth), Vairagya (dispassion and detachments from the worldly objects), and Bhakti (utmost devotion) of Ekāntik Dharm (universal religion) in the heart of all Human beings. In Hinduism His presence being mentioned in two ways: 1. As a “chal” form (mobile as Satpurush or Sant) and 2. As an “achal” form (immobile as Murti or Vāni).

Darshan (Philosophy) XII

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Shad Darshan – Vedanta philosophies (contd.):

Shuddhadvaita philosophy

Shuddhadvait philosophy of Vallabhacharya:

Pure non-dualism or Suddha Advait (Shuddhadvait) philosophy is given by the 15th century scholar of Hinduism Shri Vallabhacharya (1479-1531). As one may think, the pure non-dualism may mean Advaita or Monism, but it is not. Advaita philosophy of Shankaracharya and Monism of the Western world are different than pure non-dualism. About the relationship between two realities, namely, the world and God, Vallabhacharya believes that God (Brahm) is pure and non-dualistic, but at the same time, unlike Shankaracharya, he strongly believes that the souls and Nature (universe) are not illusion but real. His philosophy is known as Shuddhadvait Brahmvād. This is opposite of Kevala Advait philosophy of Shankaracharya, in which, the world and souls are all considered as one with Brahm. The difference between Advait philosophy of Shankaracharya and the Advait philosophy of Vallabhacharya is that, in Shankaracharya’s philosophy the soul, Nature (universe) and everything else is Brahm but look different because of the illusion created by the ignorance (avidyā) and veil of maya. In Vallabhacharya’s philosophy the soul, Nature (universe) and everything else is real but appears distinct from Brahm until one is totally engrossed in the bhakti of Krishna (God), at that time everything is realized as God, just as Gopis used to see and realized everything as Krishna and nothing but Krishna. Foe example, when they were selling butter they used to see Krishna instead of butter.

Surprisingly, in the non-dualistic philosophy the general belief that God is unparalleled, the one and only is still maintained. Vallabhacharya strongly believed that Brahm means personal God – the Supreme Being and he could not accept the nirgun and nirakar nature of Brahm. He firmly believed that God is in the personal form only so as to accept his devotion and services (seva bhakti). The difference in Vallabhacharya’s tradition and other Vaishnav Acharya’s traditions is in the style of worship or devotion and in the use of specific terminologies. In Vallabhacharya’s tradition, also known as Pushti marg, the initiation to the tradition means “brahmsambandh.” The word “pushti” literary means “the grace of God” and “brahmsambandh,” literary, means the relationship (sambandh) or union of the soul with Brahm (the supreme entity or God). Brahmsambandh is needed to transform the ordinary jiv (soul) to Pushti jiv (pure or graced soul). “Pushti marg” means the path of spiritual nourishment and of the grace of God. The one who is admitted to the Pushti marg gets the kind of purity of one’s soul, which is needed to be eligible to pursue bhakti (meaning, the daily worshiping or services called sevā of the murti (as if it is living deity) which is known as Pushti Swaroop) and relationship with God (Brahm). The pure love for God (Shri Krishna in His child manifestation) is shown through seva (services to God) and smaran (remembering God). In Pushti marg the exclusive rights to grant brahmsambandh are only given to the descendants of Shri Vallabhacharya. In Pushti marg, the enjoyment of God’s bliss and God’s grace are considered as the primary goals of the devotee, seeking the liberation is secondary to it. Achieving the knowledge (gnan) – brahmgnan or atmagnan is not considered as important as the personal services (seva) to God for the liberation.

Vallabhacharya was a contemporary of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. Just as Chaitanya’s tradition is known by the Kirtan Bhakti of adult Krishna, Vallabhacharya’s tradition is known by the Seva Bhakti of child Krishna (Lālji). Philosophy wise both traditions – the tradition of Vallabhacharya and the tradition of Chaitanya are almost similar except some minor differences in worshiping. Vallabhacharya’s tradition is known as the path of grace of God or “Pushti Marg.”

According to Vallabhacharya’s philosophy, as with other Vaishnav philosophy, there are also three basic realities: soul, universe, and God. Soul is characteristically not much different than God. However, God or the Supreme Being is believed to be the whole (purna), whereas, individual soul is a part (ansh) of it. Soul, itself, is Brahm with one attribute bliss or happiness (Ānand). It is considered both doer (kartr) and enjoyer (bhoktr). Maya is not regarded as unreal but as real and the power of Ishwar. Ishwar is both the creator and the creation (which includes universe and souls) itself. Brahm desired to become many so He became individual souls and the universe. It is the pure Brahm that is the effect (kārya) and cause (kāran) of this world. According to this philosophy, though the knowledge (gnan) of God is needed, it is the devotion to God or bhakti which is considered as the means of liberation. The philosophy stresses utmost love, devotion (bhakti), activities related to personified God and complete servitude to God rather than aiming the goal for the liberation called “Mukti”. Liberation automatically follows the total surrenderance and devotion. Vallabhacharya’s philosophy considers Brahm as Purushottam (God). Everything that was created from brahm that ultimately ends in the Brahm after dissolution by the time. Souls or living objects are considered as part of Brahm and non-living objects are considered as modifications of Brahm. After death and destruction or dissolution, Soul (jiv) and universe, both mixes with the Brahm. The object of worshiping in this philosophy is Krishna who is considered as Narayan or God himself (Svayam Bhagavan). Krishna is considered as the cause of all avatars including Vishnu. His “Satchitanand” (also called Sachchidananda) form is considered as the Absolute Brahm. His abode is called “Golok” (Goloka) which is consider beyond Vaikunth or Vaikuntha (the abode of Vishnu), Satyalok or Satyaloka (the abode of Brahmā the Creator), and Kailash or Kailas (the abode of Shiv). Thus, God and His abode are considered two separate things. The reason for the creation is considered, according to this philosophy, as no other than the sport (leelā) of Shri Krishna, and is unlike illusion (maya) of Vedanta. The liberation of jiv occurs by God’s grace only, as a result or reward of giving-up of oneself solely with the heart, mind, and body called “Atma-nivedana” and nine kinds of worship called “Navadhā or Nava Vidha Bhakti.”

Body in Hinduism III

Thursday, January 14th, 2010

Sharir – Sthul, Sukshma, and Karan

Hinduism describes that the non-liberated soul are born (jiv) in “Mrutyu Lok” – the realm of the universe where life exists. They born, live, and die in this realm (lok), so, it is called Mrutyu (death) lok. Scientists have found that life can sustain even in the most extreme or harsh conditions. This is because of the superb structural and functional engineering of the body. Thus, body is an important unit of living being. In Hinduism, body is known as sharir, deh, tanu, or tan (ta´n). The Sanskrit word “tan (ta´n)” rhymes with man (ma´n means mind) and dhan (dha´n means money or wealth). Middle Persian language (3rd to 7th century BCE) also used to have word tan (ta´n) for the body. Hinduism describes all living beings have three kinds of body, namely, Sthul (gross), Sukshma (subtle or psychological), and Karan (causal). This body of living beings is consisting of 24 physical entities, called tattvas.

1. Sthul sharir: It is a gross physical body of the soul or jiv. Sthul body is made of different parts and organ systems called “Ang” and “Upāng” in Sanskrit. For the lower animals and microbes, their gross body is microscopic and they have tiny angs and upangs. Out of 24 elements, the sthul body of living beings consists of five gross elements known as Panch-bhuts. They are: Pruthvi, Jal, Tej, Vayu, and Akash. These five bhuts are created from Tāmas Ahamkār, which in turn is created, along with Rājas and Sātvik Ahamkārs, from Mahattattva. Mahattattva, which is equivalent to Chitt, is the primordial element of the body. Sthul sharir is perceptible by our five senses. According to Hinduism, an important function or the main purpose of Sthul sharir is to gain the ultimate knowledge of the Truth, to enjoy the bliss of God and God related spiritual pleasure in this very life, and to transcend to the abode of God after the death. But because of its nature of experiencing happiness and sorrow of panchvishays it has become an object or vehicle for Bhog-vilās (worldly pleasures) causing more attachments to them, instead of achieving moksh, detaching from worldly pleasures, or achieving the highest spiritually enlightened state.

2. Sukshma sharir: It is subtle, psychological or functional body. For higher animals it is psyche or mental body for the soul. It is not perceptible by our senses or sensory organs but its existence can be inferred and experienced in our day to day life. For the lower animals and plants sukshma sharir is functional and can be understood by their intelligence and activities related to survival and feeling of pleasure and pain, such as, food gathering, cell division and multiplication, mating, hibernation, running away from danger and developing bodily resistance against harsh environment, experiencing shock, sadness, crying, etc. Sukshma sharir carries with it the basic instincts for the protection and survival of a living organism, such as āhār (to eat food), nindrā (to sleep), bhay (to fear), maithun (to procreate), sukh (to feel pleasure), and dukh (to feel plain). In the modern time of luxuries we still feel unhappiness in our life. In the modern time of comfort we still feel that our world’s peace is at stake. This is because we are still harboring, in our sukshma sharir, the vices, such as, lust (kām), avarice (vāsanā), anger (krodh), greed (lobh), egotism (mad), infatuation (moh), jealousy (irshā), enviousness (matsar), hope (āshā), deep and intense desire or crave (ishnā, trishnā or trushnā), grudge or animosity (ver), etc. We create our own mental body around us. For example, I am such and such person of such and such race, with such and such name, with such and such nationality, with such and such skin color, with such and such qualifications, with such and such social and monetary status, and such and such creed. I am doctor, engineer, actor, or businessmen, etc. I am rich or poor. I am brother or sister, father or mother, uncle or aunt, etc. Even animals, tiny creatures, and microscopic organisms also create their own such mental (sukshma) body around their soul and that is why they recognize their kind and also stay, mingle, and mate with their kinds. When we call an animal by its name it will look at us and respond, because, the animal has created a mental body around its soul. Our sexual orientation, irrespective of our chromosomal, hormonal, or physical orientation is the result of our mental (sukshma) body. A common person may think of himself as a king and a king may think of himself as a common person and behave accordingly because of his sukshma body. Sukshma sharir consists of rest of the 19 elements, namely, five Prāns, Vishays, or Tanmatras; ten Indriyas, four Antahkarans, namely, Man, Buddhi, Chitt, and Ahamkar.

Panch-prān-mano-buddhihi dashendriya-samanvitam, a-panchikrut-bhutotham sukshma-angam bhog-sādhanam.

Man (Mana) and Buddhi are part of sukshma or subtle body. Sometimes Ahamkar and Chitt are not included as part of sukshma sharir, which makes the total of 17 elements for sukshma sharir. The reason may be, Hinduism also describes that both Chitt and Mahattattva has indifference (abhedpunu). Because, just as Mahattattva is the primordial form and cause of three kinds of celestial body of Ishwar, namely, Virāt, Sutrātmā, and Avyākrut; Chitt also is the primordial form and cause of three kinds of terrestrial body of  Jiv, namely, Sthul, Sukshma, and Kāran. If this is the case, then chitt obviously, as a cause of other bodily elements, could possibly the part of kāran sharir. From chitt, three types of Ahamkār are evolved and from ahamkārs rest of the 24 elements are evolved. Thus, ahamkar would also become the part of kāran sharir. Probably, because of this reason both Ahamkār and Chitt might not have been included, by some, in sukshma or subtle body, instead they may be included as a part of kāran or causal body. In short, Antahkarans – man, buddhi, ahamkar, and chitt (mind or psych as a whole) is the cause of attachment and detachment with the worldly objects and their relatives. “Man eva manushyam kāranam bandh mokshayoho.”

3. Kāran sharir: Hinduism has described Kāran sharir around our soul. It seems to be, the karan sharir of the soul has not been described before by any other religion except Hinduism. Kāran sharir is a causal body which is the sole cause for the gross and subtle bodies in the next birth of the soul that is not liberated or detached from the causal body. Causal body carries the information or knowledge acquired during the previous births. The infatuation and intense or deep desires for the worldly objects and pleasures, called vāsanā, goes along with it. Soul is firmly attached to this causal body or kāran sharir. Kāran sharir consists elementally of Māyā, so it has all the characteristics of Māyā. It is described to have attributes like, anādi (without the beginning and end), avidyā (ignorant in nature), and anirvāchya (indescribable or inexplicable). On death the sthul and sukshma bodies become “dust unto dust” or parts of natural physical elements. But the causal body or kāran sharir, after death, goes with the non-liberated soul (māyānvit meaning covered with maya) wherever the soul goes, unless, the soul is completely detached or freed from it. Once the soul is completely detached from its causal body made of Māyā, it goes to the abode of God called Brahmdhām.  This liberation of the soul is known, in Hinduism, as final redemption or “Ātyantik moksh”. Thus, final redemption in Hinduism is the detachment of soul from its three bodies consisting of maya and its attributes. It also means liberation forever from the cycle of birth and death, also known as Samsār chakra, because the soul has never have to come back to world again except for the God’s wish.