A KEY TO SIVAGNANA-BODHA
Transl: Since the Cosmos – as Effect – indicates That in which all that are 'he,' 'she,' 'it' & ., are involved (or implicated0, That Cause is. Because That, after withdrawing, projects again, That is the Lord – the Mover (or the Premium Mobile) = Hara.
Transl: Different, yet identical by reason of impervasion,‡ [‡
The translator evidently meant to say 'pervasion,' judging from the meaning of the Sanskrit verse. But, happier renderings might still be suggested. – Ed.] He is the Maker (or Dispenser) according to Karma. By means of His will Indissoluble, He ordains souls union with matter.
Transl: Because (1) of negation, because (2) of the dawn of 'my-ness' (=self-consciousness), because (3) of wisdom derived from suppressing the senses, because (4) of cessation of experience in sleep, because (5) of presence of consciousness during waking, the subtle (soul) dwells in the body.
Transl: Albeit different from the inner organ (antah karana), the soul is yet in correlation with it, as a king with his minister. Implanted in five-fold conditions (of being), self-luminosity and freedom of will are curbed by sin (mala).
Transl: Neither the senses, nor the soul itself, perceive the objects (of search); but it (the soul) perceiveth through the Graceful Lord*, Who, Himself not undergoing modification, actuates the soul, like magnet the iron. [* With all deference to the sense of accuracy of the translator we must demur to the use of the word 'Graceful' to bring out the meaning of the word 'Sambhu.' 'Gracious' would be more appropriate, and certainly more in accordance with good English usage. – Ed]
Transl: If it be non-existent, because of invisibility, - and non-intelligent (or inert = jadimd) because of visibility, the wise declare that the Graceful Lord* is to be known as differing from both. [* Sambhu = The Graceful; Siva = the Blissful]
Transl: Not, with matter (achit) and soul (chit); nor do these (the latter) understand each other; Who knows the objective (prapancha) and the (Subject) Graceful (Lord), He is the Self (soul) different from both.
Transl: Captured in the net of the netting senses, by 'Thou understandeth (Him) not,' is he (the soul) enlightened by the (Holy) Teacher; The soul dismissing them (senses) and becoming blest, strives to attain to His (the Lord's) estate.
Transl: Having, by the eye of intelligence, perceived the Lord in the self (soul), and abandoning (all) illusive wandering, the cool shade of the Bliss-ful's feet is reached; the sage shall (then) meditate on the five-lettered Holy Formula (Mantra).
Transl: The victor (siddha) entered into perfect union with the Blissful (Lord), hath all his will (thence) of, and after, Him; assoiled of sin and infatuation, he becometh the possessor of (eternal, spiritual) beatitude.
Transl: Of even Intelligence, the Intelligent (soul) is the Illuminer; of the latter, again the Blissful (Lord) is the Illuminer. Perfervid love shall hence be shown to Him, the soul's Benefactor.
Transl: Associating with the wise to secure liberation, their status in the Blissful Lords' Abode shall be won. Such, understand, is the proved thesis of the Followers of the Blissful in their work called the Sivajnana-bodha, or the Instructor of the knowledge of the Blissful.
A GLOSS ON THE STANZAS.
Stanza I. This Stanza is a short and trite definition of God, as the Cause of all. He is Cause, because everything originates from Him. The visible cosmos is His effect, or His manifestation from the potential into the kinetic. From the effect, cause is necessarily scientifically inferred, and their un-disreputable connection traced. The effect is the sum of all names and forms: (she, he, it). These are effaced at one time (pralaya) and traced out again at another time (sargu). God is the cause of this alternate and contiguous states of rest and motion; and He is therefore rightly epithetted as Hara, the Prime Mover, the Spring of all existence.
Stanza II. This Stanza expands the foregoing definition, so that the Cause may be understood not only as the One, but the All. He is the One, because as Spirit, He is different from individual souls and matter. (This is monotheistic). But he is not therefore far and away from us, and removed from the world, - in other words he is not a mere extra-cosmic Deity. He is immanent, meaning that his spirit permeates and interpenetrates all the objective and subjective Cosmos, - in other words He is intra cosmic as well. God's function in relation to souls is now illustrated in that he watches the works of the free-will of souls (karma), and awards or dispenses justice as these deeds warrant. Justice metes out pain and pleasures, which can only be suffered by confinement in a material organization. The union of souls and matter is thus brought about. They cohere together as long as the effects created by Karma the law of causation get exhausted.
Stanzas I and II thus teach what the three-fold constitution of the Universe is, viz., God, soul and matter, and how they stand in relation to each other, and their several functions in the economy of Cosmic constitution.
Stanza III now undertakes to define what soul is, thus:-
(1) Because of negation:- Infatuation arises as to whether our body is the soul, or the senses or other organs, or the vital breath, or the sensory (manas), or thought (buddhi). But none of these, i.e., the negation of all these, is the soul, standing out as the Distinct Intelligence, apart from all the category or collocation of non-intelligent (or inert) mater, or its (matter's) permutations and combinations.
(2) Because of the dawn of 'my-ness:' My-ness here is the I-making faculty or the self-consciousness: 'I am I and these are 'mine.' This self-consciousness is unique to soul and absent in the rest of creation. This is therefore a proof per se of soul's existence, and its distinguishment from non-soul.
(3) Because of wisdom derived from the suppression of the senses: - The senses deceive and betray, so much as to produce the illusion that their Lord – the soul – is but the sum of themselves. But when the operations of the several senses are stopped by concentration and meditation, resulting in introspection, illumination comes on, called Yogi-pratyaksha, or direct intuitional proof – a proof so patent and positive as to set aside all the hitherto inferential and metaphysical arguments for the existence of soul. This illumination is what is called 'wisdom' realized when the distractions of the senses are stilled.
(4) Because of cessation of experience in sleep. Experience here relates to objective experience, of two kinds. (a) external, viz., 'I and this,' 'this and that;' (b) internal, viz., 'I am happy,' 'I am miserable.' Sleep is the sublation of all this. But before sleep, they existed, and after sleep again they come to exist. Between the past and the present, here must be a link, because in the present the past is remembered. This link then is the soul, or the thread which continuously runs through all the vicissitudes of experience.
(5) Because of presence of consciousness during waking: This consciousness is partly the memory (pratyabhijna) alluded to under (4) and premonition, peering into the future. The past is thus linked with the future, proving that consciousness (or Intelligence, the essential attribute of soul) is, but for the limitations imposed by matter, timeless, thus proving the eternality of the soul, - the container of consciousness.
But of what manner are these limitations, contracting the otherwise all-expansive Intelligence (or all-consciousness). This is answered by Stanza IV. The soul's Intelligence is first filtered through, or in contact with the Inner-organ [antah-karana-the (manas) mind]. The mind is the subtle body, and is the nearest material vehicle or medium for the propagation of intelligence (buddhi). This relationship is aptly illustrated by the 'king and his minister.' For, to give is for the king, and to take is for the minister. The king acts not, but the minister does. The king remains behind the scene, but the minister enacts the drama before the curtain. The king can withdraw the delegated power from the minister. This means that when the soul departs, the mind is de-functioned and dead. The mind's outer covering is the body with its senses &c, going under the name of the gross body. The soul's instrument is the mind; the mind's instrument is the body. When both do function, it is called the (1) waking state; when mind alone functions, it is called the (2) dreaming state. When soul alone functions, it is called the (3) sleeping state. When soul alone functions, unlinked to mind and body (as in Samadhi) it is called the (4) fourth state. When soul alone functions without any more returning to its tethers, the mind and body, it is called the (5) state beyond the fourth. State four is temporary release (jivan mukti); whereas state five is eternal release (mukti) from all limitations. These five states are in order called jagrat, svapna, sushupti, turiya and turiyatita. Every one of them is a condition of consciousness, which is attributed to the influence of sin (mala) or the moral resultant of karma, or the acts of the unfettered (or free) will of the souls. Will is no other than the determinative phase of intelligence (or consciousness), in concerns material or objective. The soul dabbles in matter, and is there by slushed. It's will is thus hampered. Will is power potential, exhibited in act. Will hindered thus means intelligence contracted and free-action curtailed. Mala-ruddha-sva-drik-kriyah, (see original of stanza). To become freed, the minister must be disarmed and dismissed, the delegated powers withdrawn. Royalty must thus again become self-possessed, self-contained, and self-helpful; in other words, the sovereign soul must regain the kingdom usurped by the rapacious minister.
Self-luminosity (=svasmaibhasa manatvam, or pratyaktvam) means the inherent glory of intelligence, before robbed and misappropriated, now recovered and restored to the owner. Union with God is the Sixth State, beyond all conditions.
This fifth state, goes by the name of Kaivalya-Moksha.
Stanzas I and II defined God and His three-fold constitution (Himself being one of the constituents) of the Universe. Stanza III defined the constituent soul and its attributive intelligence, and its states, under conditions of intelligence, were described by Stanza IV, showing the soul's 'descent' into matter, and its struggles consequent thereon. Stanza V, next, takes up the thread of the argument and shows the part God has been playing all the while during the conjoint concerns of soul and matter. In this concourse – or objective concerns (Samsarah), is their any subordinate and a final purpose latent? Yes, is the answer, What are they? Pumsartha (vide stanza) or Purushartha. This is of four kinds, dharma, (1), artha, (2) kama (3) and moksha (4) Dharma and artha are means for kama and moksha, the ends. Dharma, Artha and Kama, pertain to the material kingdom, whereas Moksha pertains to the spiritual kingdom. In its search for these several ambitions of life, helped by the senses (called the Horses by the Upanishads), the soul is unable independently to realize any of them. Unless God has always been with the soul – the soul being the House of God -, the soul cannot even exist. In Stanza II, above, the immanency of God was mentioned, - this is the proper sense of Pantheism, as expounded by the Visishtadvaita Vedantins, not the Pantheism of Advaita, which is so much ridiculed by the Monotheists.* [* In our view, the term
is the least satisfactory to describe Ramanuja's theology, much less Sankara's philosophy. – Ed.]. The Monotheistic idea was mentioned in the same stanza I. (ahyah), and the Pantheistic idea was expressed by 'by impervasion, identical (vyaptito ananyah). Monotheism without Pantheism, as well as Pantheism without Monotheism, are incomplete. If both are combined together, we get a complete idea of the God-head. In his anxiety to establish Pantheism, the non-dualist (advaitin), resorts to the expedient called vivarta, or proclaiming God's world as false – the most heinous charge that can be laid against God.§ [§ The Monists never say that God's world is false, but only man's vision is blurred. – Ed.] But philosophers like Ramanuja also are Pantheists, and it has of late become the fashion, especially among the Bengalis, to call his Pantheism parinama, or as if he preached that God's substance itself underwent modification! No, never do the Visishtadvaitis – be they Vaishnavas or Saivas – preach that God's essence undergoes modification, but that His adjectival body, the real universe of chit and achit, rotates in a circle of half manifestation and half resolution, but never vanishes into non-being, nor springs into illusory being from God's essence, as the extreme Pantheist (advaitin) would have it. Now, leaving the long terms of dialectics and polemics, and the confusion of intellect they must cause to the non-initiates into their mazes and mysteries, in plain words, the mono-pantheistic complete idea of the God-head may be understood by the simple proposition that the 'One God is everywhere'‡ [‡ Now, this is the burden of the monist, again! – Ed.] The above exposition was necessary for the proper comprehension of the sentence: Tad-vikari Sivachet, na' = 'Himself, not undergoing modification' (see Transl. of stanza). Well, God is thus always with us, in us, about us, and in fact everywhere. Were it not for such intimates union and presence, how could He be logically called infinite, or Omniscient. (Monotheists! Or Extra-cosmic-Deists! Answer this.) Were it not for His constant companionship with us, how could we be, think, do? He is thus our magnet, whose influence is constant and supreme, and whose movements are followed by the iron, - His universe. But in the reciprocal action set up between the Magnet and the Iron, the Iron is magnetized, not the Magnet ironized. Hence the stanza says: 'Himself, not undergoing modification.'
Stanza VI. The refractory iron is gradually influenced by the constant presence of the Magnet. The iron is beginning to divest itself of its rust, and beginning to get magnetized. The soul must leave its influencer, God. Doubts arise as to visible and non-visible. 'The visible is not God', the Advaitin idealists cry on the one hand, 'the invisible does not exist at all', the Positivists cry on the other hand; but if we should tell both; 'Find God in the visible existent', the scientific materialists, or atomists might turn round and say,:- "Yes, the visible, I admit, is existent, but it is the work of the non-intelligent atoms, their spontaneous, heedless, design-less movement; and therefore where can be God, where it seems all non-intelligent." The wise men come to the rescue, and teach the doubting iron soul thus:- 'Because a thing is invisible, it is absurd to call a thing non-intelligent, if its existence is admitted on the score of visibility. Understand that visible and invisible are both existent, and their existence and all work contingent on such existence, is due to Intelligence interiorly and exteriorly directing all towards a definite purpose. If you so understand God, you are installed on to the first rung of contemplation. This contemplation is called the Para-svarupa contemplation, the beginning of spiritual enlightenment for the soul.
Stanza VII teaches the Sva-svarupa contemplation, or what one's own soul is like with reference, and in relation to matter on one side, and God on the other. The expression nadchit-chit-sannidhan = 'Not, - with matter and soul' (see Transl) is susceptible of two interpretations. The 1st is that God is forgotten or hidden from view, when soul is in conjunction with matter. The 2nd is that God (Isvara) is neither soul (chit), nor matter (achit). When soul and matter are in conjunction, 'they understand each other not.' For if soul understood the nature of matter, it (soul) would reject it (matter); and if matter understood soul's inklings (sic!) towards Divinity, it (matter) would desert it (soul). Time comes, when the soul understands matter, and understands God, and understands itself as different from both; the soul to renounce its old attachments to matter and re-establish relations with God. Stanzas VI and VII put together mean the mode of meditation to be practiced by the soul, viz., meditation of God's nature (para svarupa) as the base, to which meditation of soul's nature (sva-svarupa is adjunct). Here it might be asked why Stanza VII, teaching soul-contemplation, should not have preceded Stanza VI, teaching God-contemplation. The reply is that it would have been so, if the Goal of spiritual Pilgrim had been Kaivaly-anubhava-soul-realization-instead of Braham-anubhava-God-realization. Kaivalya is isolation from Brahman (God), and as such belonging to the fifth conditioned state – the turiya-atita, mentioned in stanza IV (supra). The unconditioned Goal is God; and Sivajnana-Bodha, dealing as it does with the Aspirant soul for this Goal, rightly do the Stanzas VI and VII stand as they are.
The epithet 'Graceful' for God occurs in each of the verses V, VI and VII. This is with reference to salvation by Grace. On this subject a short note will be found appended at the end of this Treatise.
Stanza V (supra) refers to the secret influence of the Holy Spirit over the soul, acting from eternity. Stanza VI, then refers to the wise men or the already God-ripe (Budha), showing the way to the struggling soul, whose beginnings of enlightenment are seen in stanza V. Stanza VII refers to soul being then made to reflect on itself and as correlated to matter and God. And now, Stanza VIII shows God as coming more forward to the Soul's help, as Teacher. In Stanza IV, God acted without Soul's knowledge. In Stanza V, He acted through His messengers and ministers. In Stanzas VI and VII, the Soul was being prepared to meet Him directly; and here in Stanza VIII, He is seen face to face. He teaches him by showing the snares of the senses by which he is trapped. Forthwith the Soul's face is turned against its capturers, and turned towards the Liberator (God).
After contemplation, there is Divine Revelation; and now the Path is entered. Stanza IX tells us how when the Pilgrim-Soul had passed the sharp boundary between earth and Heaven, all the tendencies and proclivities for the former gradually drop off. These tendencies are compared to the deception caused by mirage. The soul has ceased to run after them after entering the Path, but though the chase has been given up bodily, the mental impressions or traces (vrittis) remain; and these get obliterated, when the antaryamin, or the Teacher alluded to in Stanza VIII, has been, found, by one's introspective faculty developed by contemplation, to be dwelling in one's own heart. In this stanza IX, devotional religion, or the religion of the heart begins. Indeed does it truly begin when the cool shade of God's feet comes to refresh the soul, parched and baking in the fires of worldliness, hitherto fore (sic!). That devotion is embodied in the Five-lettered Mantra, the repetition of which and musing on its meaning, serving as the beacon-light to guide the Godward soul. He becomes now the sage (sudhih). God is here named as 'the Blissful.' After 'the Graceful,' 'The Blissful' of course Contemplation comes from Grace, and devotion or love from Bliss.
1. The meaning of this Holy Formula is briefly this: "Not for me or mine I am, but for Thee and Thine," implying unbartered love and non-rewardable service for Him.
Further stage on the Path. The notion of separation from God, the feeling of distance from God, these begin to wane, as Stanza X points out. God-intoxication produces self-forgetfulness. Intense devotion to an object, leaves the object alone, the devotee seeming to have entered into the object and identifying himself with it. All the Alvars exclaimed like this. Even in our own matter-of-fact (!) days, Sri Paramahamsa Ramakrishna Deva haved like a mad man when carried away by ravishing visions flitting across his God-consciousness. This attitude of the entranced devotee is known by the phrase: 'Bhramava-Kitanyaya,' or the chrysalis developing into a winged creature by intensely absorbed attention*. [*The larval metamorphosis of Hexapods was unfortunately never present to the inner consciousness of our wise ancestors! – Ed.] Devotion is concentration with love, or such deep thought strong enough to materialize, like the stigmata on the person of the Roman Catholic Saint. From sage, the soul is now become saint (or from sudhih of Stanza IX to siddha of Stanza X). The sage is still the Fighter on the Field, but the saint is Victor. After the victory won, what on the battle-field is his own. He is now become the king's own son. The son's orders carry weight as if they emanated from the King Himself. The son's acts are after the King. The soul has entered into God (during devotion); his will is harmonized with God's will for the time being. His feeling is one of completer deliverance from all contamination and illusion; and tastes for the first time what the halcyon of bliss is. This is the purport of Stanza X.
Now then to Stanza XI. Stanza X showed the beginning of love to God (or God-love). This love has many stages, grouped under para-bhakti, para-jnana, and parama-bhakti. Sight of God is para-bhakti; joining Him is para-jnana; and fear of separation from him characterizes parama-bhakti. This last is what the phrase 'param
Bhaktim' in Stanza, signifies. God is here again the Blissful; for out of his inordinate (sic!) love, He shows to the soul the Highest spiritual Truth, that he is the Illuminer of which the soul is the co-inherent illumination, just as light co-exists with the sun and disappears with his disappearance, and appears with his appearance, and just as intelligence co-exists with the soul (the Intelligent), departing with its departure and existing with tis (soul's) existence. Soul in its freed state, not only co-exists with God, but co-acts, and co-shines with him. The divine will and human will are harmonized, the two strings of the cosmic harp are attuned; and the cosmic work is one concord of Divine music. Is not God the Benefactor? We must ever sing to him Halleujaha, says the Upanishat: 'Etat Sama gayan aste.' The benefaction consists in the allaying, by God, of the fear of separation, the soul may feel, by pointing out to it the groundlessness of the fear by the illustration of Illuminer and illumination, which can never exist in separation. 'So I and thou,' says God.
In Stanza XII, the Goal is reached. Hitherto, it was only the three aspects of Moksha, viz: Samipya, Salokya, and Sarupya. Now it is sayujya, or union with God, not transient union during moments of devotion. The sayujya here, is meant for the complete disappearance of man from his earthly tabernacle, the complete divestment of all his previous disguises and appearing in his true and genuine color of Divine Sonship, and as enlisted into the company of the Celestials for Divine Service for ever and ever.
If man desires Mukti (salvation), let him first cultivate the friendship of the 'good' (satah), and he then gradually rises to be one of them himself. In this way this stanza is a resume or summing up of the Teachings of the Holy work, called the: sivagnana-Bodha.
Note on Grace referred to in the gloss on Stanza V:-
God's methods of salvation (or saving man) are six in number which are,
(1) Salvation by desire (apeksha)
(2) Salvation by relation (anvaya)
(3) Salvation by liberality (udara)
(4) Salvation by force (udara) §
(5) Salvation by love (vatsalya)
(6) Salvation by grace (Kripa)
(Adapted from Sri Periyavacchan Pillai's Commentary on Stanza 19 of Tiru-nedund-andakam).
[§ The Sanskrit word is by no means the right one. - Ed.]