Hari Om

From Srimad Bhagavatam, SKANDHA III., CHAP. 25-33.

We now come to an important part of the Bhâgavata Purâna, the teachings of Kapila to his mother in the Yoga philosophy of the Bhagavat Purâna. They adapt the Sânkhya and the Yoga systems to Bhakti or devotion. For a full knowledge of the teachings I refer my readers to the Purâna itself, I shall only give the salient points and avoid details as much as possible, without breaking the continuity of the discourses. “Yoga directed towards Âtmâ brings about Mukti. Chitta attached to the transformations of Gunas causes Bondage; attached to Purûsha, it causes Mukti. When the mind is pure and free from distractions, man perceives Âtmâ in himself, by Wisdom, Dispassion and Devotion. There is no path so friendly to the Yogins as constant devotion to Bhagavân. Company of Sâdhus opens wide the door to Mukti. They are Sâdhus who have forbearance and compassion, who are friendly to all beings, who have no enemies, who are free from passions, and above all who have firm and undivided Bhakti in Me. They give up all for My sake and they hear and speak no words that do not relate to Me. Their company removes the impurities of worldliness. Men first hear about Me from the Sâdhus. By faith their heart is drawn towards Me, and they have devotion for Me. Devotion causes Dispassion and makes easy the path of Yoga. By indifference to the Guna transformations of Prakriti, by wisdom fostered by Dispassion, by Yoga and by Bhakti (devotion) offered to Me, the Jiva attains Me even while in this body.”

“When the Indriyas (the senses and the mind), that manifest the objects of external and internal perception, become trained by the performance of Vedic Karma, their spontaneous Vritti (or function) in a man of concentrated mind is in Satva which is the same as Vishnu. This Vritti which is void of all selfishness is Bhakti in Bhagavân. It is superior to Mukti. It instantly destroys the Kosha (Astral body) as the digestive fire consumes food. The devoted have no yearning for that Mukti (Sâyujya or Nirvâna) which makes the Jiva one with Me. But they prefer ever to talk with each other about Me, to exert themselves for My sake and ever to meditate on Me. Mukti comes to them unasked. My Vibhutis, the eight Siddhis (anima &c.) and all the glory of the highest Lokas are theirs, though they want them not. I am their Teacher, their Friend, their Companion, their all. So even Kâla cannot destroy them.”

“Purusha is Âtmâ. He is eternal, void of Gunas, beyond Prakriti, all pervading, self luminous and all manifestating.”

“Prakriti is Pradhâna, one in itself, but is also the source of all differences (visesha), possessed of three Gunas, unmanifested (avyakta) and eternal.”

“The twenty four transformations of Prakriti called Prâdhânika or Saguna Brahma are: —

“5 Mahâ Bhûtas — Earth, Water, Fire, Air and Akâsa.

“5 Tanmâtras — Smell, Taste, Rûpa, Touch and Sound.

“10 Indriyas — Ear, Skin, Eye, Tongue, Nose, Speech, Hand, Foot, Upastha and Pâyu.

“4 Divisions of Antahkarana — Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahankâra.”

“Kâla is the twenty-fifth. But according to some, Kâla is Prabhâva or Śakti of Purusha. Those who identify themselves with Prakriti are afraid of Kâla. Kâla as the outer aspect of Purusha disturbs the equilibrium of Gunas in Prakriti.”

“Purusha energised Prakriti and the Gunas led to transformations following the action of Daiva or Karma, (Jivic record of the previous Kalpa). Prakriti brought forth the refulgent Mahat Tatva. The seed of the Universe was in the bosom of Mahat, and it manifested the Universe and destroyed the darkness of Pralaya by its own light.”

“Chitta which is Vâsudeva and Mahat, is Satva, transparent and pure, and the perception of Bhagavân is achieved by this division of Antahkarana.”

“Transparence (fitness for the full reflection of Brahmâ) immutability and tranquility are the characteristics of Chitta, as of water in its primal state.”

“Mahat Tatva was transformed into Ahankâra Tatva, with its Kriyâ Śakti. Ahankâra became three-fold — Sâtvika (Manas), Râjasika (Indriyas) and Tamasika (Bhûtas) i.e. Kartri or Cause, Karana or Instrument and Kâryya or effect.”

“Sankarshana is the Purusha of Ahankâra. He is the Thousand-Headed and Ananta (endless.)”

“Manas is Sankalpa and Vikalpa. It is the generator of Kâma (or desire.) So Aniruddha, the king of Indriyas, blue as the blue-lotus of autumn, the Purûsha of Manas, has with patience to be got over by yogins.”

“Buddhi is Râjasa transformation of Ahankâra. The perception of objects, dependence on the Indriyas, doubt, wrong-knowledge, right-knowledge, memory and sleep these are the functions of Buddhi. (Pradyumna is the Purûsha of Buddhi.)”

[The terminology here adopted will appear strange to the Vedantin scholar. The divisions of Antahkarana are here adopted to the sacred Tetractys or Chatur-vyuha, consisting of Vâsudeva, Sankarshana, Aniruddha and Pradyumna. In Devotional practice, Antahkarana should be made the channel for higher communion and its divisions are the divisions of spiritual perception.

Chitta is the highest aspect of Antahkarana corresponding to Mahat Tatva in the Universe, with the Purusha always reflected in it. This aspect corresponds to Vâsudeva, the highest Purusha in the Tetraktys.

Ahankâra is the bare individuality, transformable into peculiarities, but not so transformed. Sankarshana is the corresponding Purusha.

Manas is Kâma or desire brought on by likes and dislikes. It consists of the mental tendencies of attachment, repulsion and indifference. Aniruddha is the corresponding Purusha.

Buddhi is in one word the Chitta of Patanjali, — that which functions through the physical brain.

Pradyumna is the corresponding Purusha.]

“The Indriyas are also the Rajasika transformations of Ahankâra.”

Prana through its Kriyâ Śakti gave rise to the Karma Indriyas. Buddhi through its Jnâna Śakti gave rise to the Jnâna Indriyas. The Tanmatras and the Maha Bhûtas then came out in order of transformation. All these principles could not, however, unite to bring forth the creation. Purusha then permeated them, and the Cosmic Egg with its covers was formed. Details are given as to how the Indriyas and Antahkarana with their Adhyâtma, Adhibhûta and Adhidaiva appearing in the Virâta Purusha, rose up from sleep as it were only when Chitta finally appeared.

Kapila then dilated on the relations between Purusha and Prakriti, using the illustration of the sun reflected on water and re-reflected on the wall. He showed how Mukti could be attained by discrimination of Prakriti and Purusha — the seer and the seen.

Devahûti asked how Mukti was possible when Prakriti and Purusha were eternally co-existent, and inter-dependent in manifestation. A man might for a time realize that the Purusha was free from the fears of relativity, but his Karma had connected him with the Gunas and the fears would recur as the ultimate cause could not be removed. Kapila replied, “By unselfish performance of duties, by purification of mind, by intense Bhakti in Bhagavân fostered by the recital of His glory, by wisdom based on the knowledge of the Tatvas, by strong dispassion, by austere yoga, by intense concentration on Âtmâ, Prakriti becomes daily subdued and it is finally consumed, even as the wood is consumed by its own fire, caused by constant friction. Given up as already enjoyed and constantly found fault with, Prakriti does no harm to the Purusha centred in Self. Dreams do harm in sleep. But when a man wakes up, they lose all power to injure, as they are then found to be dreams only.”

Kapila then explained the Ashtânga Yoga of Patanjali, as adapted to Bhakti and gave a graphic description of Vishnu as the object of meditation.

He then explained Bhakti Yoga. Bhakti Yoga is either Saguna or Nirguna. As Saguna it is either Satvika, Râjasika or Tamasika.

Nirguna Bhakti Yoga is that in which the mind runs towards Bhagavân, even as the Ganges runs towards the Sea, with a constant spontaneous flow. The Devoted spurn Sâlokya, Sârshti, Sâmipya, Sârûpya and Sâyujya union1 even when offered to them and they prefer to serve Bhagavân ever and ever. Compassion and friendliness to all beings are the essential qualifications of the Devoted. They must be humble, respectful and self controlled. They must pass their days in hearing and reciting the glory of Bhagavân.

Kapila then described in vivid terms the life and death of a man of the world and his passage after death to Yâma Loka. He described the rebirth and went through every detail of fœtal existence. The fœtus acquires consciousness in the seventh month and gets a recollection of previous births. This recollection is lost on being born.

Those who selfishly perform their Dharma and worship Devas and Pitris go to Sōma Loka, and after partaking of Sōma, they are again re-born. And even their Lokas are destroyed with the daily Pralaya of Brahmâ.

Those who unselfishly perform their duties and give themselves up entirely to the Supreme Purusha go through Sûrya (Sun) to the transcosmic Loka of Parama Purusha. The worshippers of Hiranyagarbha (Brahmâ) reach Brahmâ Loka or Satya Loka and there wait for two Parârddhas i.e. for the life time of Brahmâ and upon the final dissolution of the Brahmânda go to the trans-cosmic plane of Parama Purusha.

Brahmâ, Marichi and other Rishis, the Kumâras and Siddhas do their assigned work unselfishly, but their Upâsanâ admits of distinction. So they are absorbed in the Second or the First Manifested Purusha at Pralaya and become re-born at creation.

Devahûti heard all this from Kapila. Her doubts were all removed and she found the light within herself. She remained fixed in meditation as long as her Prârabdha was not exhausted. She then attained Mukti.

Kapila first went towards the North. The sea then gave Him place, where He still lies in deep Samâdhi, for the peace of Trilokî. (Gangâ Sâgar or Saugor is said to be the seat of Kapila). (From “The Study of Bhagavata Purana)

GF’ Blessings.