Sunday, July 15, 2012


(From the Madras Review).

    We are glad to say that Professor Max Muller has cleared the ground before us, of many misconceptions and fallacies which were entertained about this Upanishad. He meets in his own way the arguments adduced to show that this is a modern Upanishad and that it is a sectarian Upanishad, an Upanishad of the Sankhya and of Bhakti school and so on, and his conclusions are that " No real argument has ever been brought forward to invalidate the tradition which represents it as belonging to the Taittriya or Black Yajur Veda," and he points out that it "holds a very high rank among Upanishads" and that its real drift is the same as the Doctrine of the Vedanta Philosophy.

    Professor Garbe and MacDonnell however, in their recent works,* [* Garbe's Philosophy of Ancient India (1897) and MacDonnell's History of Sanskrit Literature (1900).] speak of this as a Sivite compilation, and the latter scholar refers to the Upanishad itself ascribing the authorship to a sage called Svetasvatara, unlike other Upanishads. But this is not characteristic of this Upanishad alone. The fifteenth khanda of the last Prapathaka of Chandogya Upanishad also traces the line of teachers in a similar way and there is a similar statement in the Manduka Upanishad and others. When each Hymn of the Rig Veda has its own author, it cannot be any surprise that each particular Upanishad should have an individual author; and we don't suppose the Professor inclines to the orthodox view that the Veda and the Upanishads had no human authors, and were revealed.

    In regard to the other and deep rooted fallacy about its being a sectarian Upanishad, we shall speak here at length.

    By taking this objection they mean to imply also that it is modern. And curiously enough we read of scholars ascribing dates for the rise of these sects commencing from the 10th and 12th centuries. And Sir W. W. Hunter seriously contends that Sankara was the great Apostle of Saivism. But these writers do not see that the History of Hindu Religion is as ancient as the History of the Hindu Philosophy, and that the people must have had a popular religion, even, in the very days, these Upanishads were composed, and that the Puranas which embodied the essence of the Upanishad teachings existed in a popular form even in those ancient days, and the words Itihasa, Purana, occur even in the oldest Upanishads.* [* Brihad. Ar. Up. 2-4-10 and 4-1-2 Maitr. 6-32 and 33 Chandog VII. 1-2.] These Upanishads are quoted by name in the Puranas and particular passages are also commented on.

    And it will be an interesting study as to what was the religion of the people in the days of the Upanishads and Mahabharata and Ramayana and of the Puranas, and to compare the same with the existing phases of Hindu Religion. We may briefly indicate our own conclusions on the subject though we could not give our reasons in detail – to wit – that so far as any room for comparison exist, - the traditions and beliefs and ceremonials and faith of the modern day Saivas (among whom may be included all Saktas and Ganapatyas), who form now the bulk of the Hindu Race, were exactly the same as those of the people of the days of the oldest Upanishads and Mahabharata and Ramayana. According to the opinions of many old scholars like Lassen, Wilson and Muic and others, the worship of Siva represented the cult of the Higher castes, Brahmans and Kshatriyas, and a text of Manu mentions that Siva is the God of the Brahmans, and it is remarkable how the picture of Siva is exactly the same as that of any ancient Rishi (vide some of the Poona Ravi Varma's pictures). Dr. W. W. Hunter remarks that Sankara in espousing Saivaism combined in the system the highest Philosophy of the ancients and the most popular form of Religion.

    Regarding the conception of Siva and its growth from Vedic times, scholars love to tell us that Rudra was nowhere called Siva in the Rig Veda and that he merely represented the storm God, with his thunder, lightning and the rains, rushing down from the snow-capped hills; and that this Rudra slowly grew into Siva of the Hindu Triad, and scholars have not failed to remark about His composite and contradictory aspects.

    There is considerable truth in this, and we can clearly trace that in His person is slowly built up the conception of the various Vedic Deities, Indra and Agni, Varuna and Vayu, Surya and Soma, Vishnu and Brahma, and by the time the Vedas were arranged into Rig, Yajur and Samas and Atharvan, Rudra's position as the God of gods, had become assured; and by the time of the earliest Upanishads, when the purely sacrificial Yagnas wre being given up, the worship of Rudra-Siva supplanted the worship of the Vedic Deities, and instead of a blind worship of the elements, a marked distinction was drawn between the Supreme God who dwelt in these elements and gave them special power and glory, and this conception was stereotyped later on by Siva being the Ashtamurti, the god who had for his body, the five elements, earth, air, water, fire and akas, sun and moon and the soul, and Siva has temples dedicated to him, in which He is worshipped in these eight forms.

    Rudra is derived by Sayans from the roots, Rutdravayita, meaning 'he who drives away sorrow.' And consistent with this derivation, Rudra is called in the Rig Veda itself, as the 'bountiful' and the 'Healer' possessed of various remedies (the later Vaidyanath) 'benign' and 'gracious.' And the term Siva clearly appears in the following text of the Rig Veda (X. 92-9) "Stoman va adya Rudraya s'ikvase kshyad-viraya namasa didishtana yebhih Sivah svavan evayavabhir divah sishakti svayasah nikamabhi." * [* With reverence present your Hymn today to the mighty Rudra, the ruler of heroes, (and to the Maruts) those rapid and ardent deities with whom the gracious (Sivah) and opulent (Rudra) who derives his renown from himself, protects us from the sky."]

    Those who are conversant with the actual performing of yagnas will know how the place of the respective priests. Adhwarya, Hotri, and Udgatrri and Brahman are fixed as well as the place of the various gods. And the chief place is assigned to Rudra and apart from other gods. This will clearly explain the force of the epithet of "Medhapatim" in Rig Veda, 1-43-4 "Gathapatim, Medhapatim Rudram Jalashabhesajam, that samyoh sumnam imabe" (We seek from Rudra, the lord of songs, the lord of Sacrifices who possesses healing remedies, his auspicious favour) as also "king of sacrifices" (Rig. 4-3) And Medhapati is the same word as the more popular word Pasupati, Pasu meaning the animal offered in sacrifice, Yagna-Pasu, and symbolically representing the bound soul-jiva. As the Pati of all sacrifices, He is the fulfiller of sacrifices, 'Yajna sidham' (Rig. I. 114.4) and 'Rudram yagnanam sadhad ishtim apasam' (III.2-5). As the God of gods, He is said to '"derive His renown from Himself" 'Rudraya Svayasase' His glory is said to be inherent, independent or self-defendant God, 'Svadhavane' (Rig. VII. 46-1) He is also called Svapivata, which is variously explained as meaning 'readily understanding' 'accessible', 'gracious', 'he by whom life is conquere', 'he whose command cannot be transgressed,' 'thou by whom prayers (words) are readily received.' He is called the 'father of the worlds.' Bhavanasya Pitaram,' VI. 49-10, and the Rich story of His becoming the Father of the fatherless Maruts can be recalled in many a Puranic story, and local legend, and common folklore.

    He is 'anter ichchanti' – beyond all thought (VIII. 61-3). His form as described in the Rig Veda is almost the same as the Image of later days. He is called the Kapardin, with 'spirally braided hair.' He is of 'Hiranya Rupam' 'golden formed' and brilliant like the sun, and 'shining like gold' "Yah sukra iva Suryo hiranyam iva ro' chati" (I. 43-5).* [* Note how often the Supreme is called the Golden-coloured, and Sunlike in the Upanishads.] And in Rig Veda, X. 136-1 to 7, He is the 'Long haired being who sustains the fire, water and the two worlds; who is to the view the entire sky; and who is called this 'Light' He is wind clad (naked) and drinks Visha (water or poison) and a Muni is identified with Rudra in this aspect.

    When we come to Yajur Veda, His supreme Majesty is fully developed, and He is expressly called Siva by name 'Siva nama' si (Vaj. S. 3-63) and the famous mantra, the Panchakshara, is said to be placed in the very heart of the three Vedas, (the name occurs in Tait. S. IV. 5, 1-41 "namah sambhave cha mayobave cha namah Sankaraya cha mayaskaraya cha NAMAH SIVAYA cha Sivataraya cha"). And the famous Satarudriyam which is praised in the Upanishads and in the Mahabharat forms also a central portion of this central Veda. And this is a description of God as the all, the all in all, and transcending all 'Visvadevo, 'Viswaswarupo, Visvadiko'; and anybody can see that the famous passage in the Gita in chapters 10 and 11 merely parodies this other passage and these two chapters are respectively called Vibhuti Vistara Yoga and Visvarupa Sandarshana Yoga which is exactly the character of the Satarudriya. The Yogi who has reached the highest state "Sees all in God and God in all." In the Satarudriya and in the whole Veda, Rudra is called Siva, Sankara Sambhu, Isana, Isa, Bhagavan, Bhava, Sarva, Ugra, Soma, Pasupati, Nilagriva, Girisa, Mahadeva and Maheshwara. And the most famous mantra 'Ekam Eva Rudronadvitiyaya taste' whose very existence in the Vedas and Upanishads scholars doubted at one time, occurs in the Yajur Samhita (Tait) in 1 Canto, 8 Prasana, 6 Anuvaka, I Panchasat and this very mantra is repeated in our Upanishad, (III 2), and if the Upanishads did not precede the Vedas, it will be seen how this mantra is the original of the other famous Upanishad mantra, "Ekamevad vitiyam Brahma." In fact, we doubt if the word 'Brahma' occurs even once in the Rig-Veda as meaning God and in the Yajur as meaning the Supreme Being. And Prof. Max Muller is no doubt correct in drawing attention to the fact that the conception of a mere Impersonal Self may be posterior to the conception of God as Siva, Rudra and Agni. And the texts we have above quoted will for once prove the danger of surmises as to the date of an Upanishad for the sole reason that it uses the words Siva or Isa or Isana and Rudra.

    In the days of the Veda and Upanishads, these names Rudra, Siva, Sambhu, Mahadeva, Isa, Isana, Hara and Vishnu only meant the same as Deva or Brahman or Atman or Paramatman, and they had no prejudice against the use of the former set of words as some sectarians of today would seem to have. In the Gita itself, the words Ishvara, Isa, Maheswara and Mahadeva and Parameshwara are freely used, and Siva is used in the Uttara Gita, though the modern day Vaishnava exhibits the greatest prejudice even towards these names.

    One word about the different aspects of Siva. As we pointed out before, as the Idea of Rudra, as all the gods or the Powers of Nature, was fully evolved, in Him was also centralized the various aspects of Nature as good and bad, awful and beneficent. Kalidasa playfully brings out this idea in the following lines:

    "The Gods, like clouds, are fierce and gentle too

    Now hurl the bolt, now drop sweet heavenly dew

    In summer heat the streamlet dies away

    Beneath the fury of the God of day,

    Then in due season comes the pleasant rain

    And all is fresh and fair and full again."


    However awful the aspects of a fierce storm, with its thunder and lightning, may be, yet no one can appreciate its beneficence more than the dwellers in the Indian soil, the land of so many famines. However fierce the sun may be, yet his existence is absolutely essential to the growth and maturity of all vegetation in the tropics. It will be noted that not only in the case of Rudra but in the case of other gods, their beneficent and malevolent powers are brought out in the Vedas. The Supreme Double Personality of Siva is thus explained in the Mahabharata by Lord Krishna himself. "Large armed Yudhishthira, understand from me the greatness of the glorious, multiform many named Rudra. They called Mahadeva Agni, Sthanu, Maheswara, one-eyed, Triyambaka, the Universal formed and Siva. Brahmans versed in the Veda know two bodies of this God, one awful, one auspicious; and these two bodies have again many forms. The dire and awful body is fire, lightning the sun, the auspicious and beautiful body is virtue, water and the moon. The half of his essence is fire and the other half is called the moon. The one which is his auspicious body practises chastity, while the other which is his most dreadful body, destroys the world. From his being Lord and Great He is called Mahesvara. Since he consumes, since he is fiery, fierce, glorious, an eater of flesh, blood and marrow – he is called Rudra. As He is the greatest of the gods, as His domain is wide and as He preserves the vast Universe, - He is called Mahadeva. From his smoky colour, he is called Dhurjati. Since he constantly prospers all men in all their acts, seeking their welfare (Siva), He is therefore called Siva."* [* 'Siva' is derived from 'Vasi' which occurs in Katha-Up. See Lalita Sahasranama Commentary under 'Siva.'] And in this, we see Him as not only the destroyer but as the Reproducer and Preserver and as such the conception of Siva transcends the conception of Rudra as one of the Trinity.

    And it can be shown that the picture of God as the fierce and the terrible is not altogether an unchristian idea.

    The following paras, we cull from a book called "The Woodlands in Europe" intended for Christian readers; and we could not produce better arguments for the truth of our conception of the Supreme Siva, the Destroyer and the Creator and the Preserver (vide p. 6m Sivagnanabotham, English Edition).

    "And how about the dead leaves which season after season, strew the ground beneath the trees? Is their work done because, when their summer life is over, they lie softly down to rest under the wintry boughs? Is it only death, and nothing beyond? Nay; if it is dealt, it is a death giving place to life. Let us call it rather change, progress, transformation. It must be progress, when the last year's leaves make the soil for the next year's flowers, and in so doing serve a set purpose and fulfil a given mission. It must be transformation, when one thing passes into another, and instead of being annihilated, begins life again in a new shape and form.

    "It is interesting to remember that the same snow which weighs down and breaks those fir branches is the nursing mother of the flowers. Softly it comes down upon the tiny seeds and the tender buds and covers them up lovingly, so that from all the stern rigour of the world without, they are safely sheltered. Thus they are getting forward, as it were, and life is already swelling within them; so that when the sun shines and the snow melts they are ready to burst forth with a rapidly which seems almost miraculous.

    "It is not the only force gifted with both preserving and destroying power, according to the aspect in which we view it. The fire refines and purifies, but it also destroys; and the same water which rushes down in the cataract with such overwhelming power falls in the gentlest of drops upon the thirsty flower cup and fills the hollow of the leaf with just the quantity of dew which it needs for its refreshment and sustenance. And in those higher things of which nature is but the type and shadow, the same grand truth holds good; and from our Bibles we learn that the consuming fire and the love that passeth knowledge are but different sides of the same God:- Just and yet merciful; that will by no means clear the guilty, yet showing mercy unto thousands."

    Badarayana also touches upon this subject in I., iii., 40 and we quote below the Purvapaksha and Siddhanta views on this question from the commentary of Srikanta.

    "Because of trembling (I, iii, 40). In the Katha Vallis, in the section treating of the thumb-sized Purusha, it is said as follows:

    "Whatever there is, the whole world when gone forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath; (it is) a great terror, the thunderbolt uplifted; those who know it become immortal." (cit. 6,2).

    Here a doubt arises as to whether the cause of trembling is the Paramesvara or some other being.

    (Purvapaksha):- Here the Sruti speaks of the trembling of the whole universe by fear caused by the entity denoted by the word "breath." It is not right to say that the Paramesvara, who is so sweet natured as to afford refuge to the whole universe and who is supremely gracious, is the cause of the trembling of the whole universe. Therefore, as the word 'thunderbolt' occurs here, it is the thunderbolt that is the cause of trembling. Or it is the vital air which is the cause of the trembling, because the word 'breath' occurs here. Since the vital air causes the motion of the body, this whole world which is the body as it were, moves on account of the vital air. Then we can explain the passage "whatever there is, the whole world, when gone forth (from the Brahman) trembles in the breath." Then we can also explain the statement that "it is a great terror, the thunderbolt uplifted," in as much as like lightning, cloud and rain, the thunderbolt which is the source of great terror is produced by action of the air itself. It is also possible to attain immortality by a knowledge of the air as the following S'ruti says:

    "Air is everything itself and the air is all things together, he who knows this conquers death. (Bri. Up. 5-3-2).

    (Siddhanta):- As against the foregoing, we say that Paramesvara himself is the cause of the trembling. It is possible that, as the Ruler, Paramesvara is the cause of trembling of the whole universe and by the fear of His command all of us abstain from prohibited actions and engage in the prescribed duties; and it is by the fear of His command that Vayu and others perform their respective duties, as may be learned from such passages as the following:-

    "By fear of Him, Vayu (the wind) blows." (Tait. Up. 2-8).

    Though gracious in appearance, Paramesvara becomes awful as the Ruler of all. Hence the Sruti.

    Hence the King's face has to be awful! (Tait. Bra 3-8.23).

    Wherefore as the Master, Isvara Himself is the cause of the trembling of the whole universe."

    Before we enter into the discussion of the philosophic import of this Upanishad, we have to note the great difficulty felt nearly by all European scholars who are brought up solely in the school of Sankara in interpreting this Upansishad, a difficulty which has equally been felt with regard to the Philosophy of the Gita. Different scholars have taken it as expounding variously Sankhya and Yoga, Bhakti and Vedanta, Dualism and non-Dualism; and Professor Max Muller agrees with Mr. Gough in taking it as fully expounding the Indian school of Vedanta or Idealism. Professors Garbe and Macdonnell characterise the philosophy as ECLECTIC. Says the latter, (p. 405, History of Sanskrit Literature). "Of the eclectic movement combining Sankhya, Yoga and Vedanta doctrines, the oldest literary representative is the Svetaswatara Upanishad. More famous is the Bhagavad Gita.

    Is ever there was such an eclectic school, have these scholars paused to enquire who their modern representatives are? Or is that there are no such representatives today? The real fact is that this was the only true Philosophic creed of the majority of the people, and this philosophy has subsisted untarnished during the last 300o years or more. During the Upanishad period, the schools whose distinct existence can be distinctly marked are the Lokayata or Nastika, Kapila's Sankhya, Mimamsa of Jaimini, Nyaya and Vaiseshika and Yoga. The first three were Atheistical and the latter Theistic. And of course all these were professed Hindus* [* The Majority of every people and nation are virtually atheistic and materialistic, though professing a belief in God and conforming to the usages if society.] and none would have deviated from the rituals and practices prescribed for the Hindu, though academically speaking, he would have held to this or that view of philosophy. And this inconsistency is what strikes a foreigner even now in the character of the modern Hindu. Mrs. Besant aptly describes this as "the Hindu's principle of rigidity of conduct and freedom of thought." All these schools were based on a certain number of tattvas or categories. The Nastika postulated four and only four tattvas, namely earth, air, fire and water and would not even believe in Akas or ether. Kapila increased the number of categories he believed in, to 19 which he grouped under Purusha and Prodana. The Mimamasaka believed practically in nothing more, though he laid stress on the authority and eternality of the Vedas. The next three theistic schools believed in 24 0r 25 tatvas which they grouped under Purusha Pradhana and Ishvara or God. As all these schools based their theoretical philosophy on a certain number of tattvas,* [* Tirumular, a Tamil Saint of about the first century A. C. thus distinguishes the schools existing in his time. "The 96 tatvas or categories are common to all. 36 categories are special to the Saivas. 28 are the categories of the Vedanti, 24 categories belong to Vaishnavas, 26 categories are those of the Mayavadi." The particular thing to be noted here is the distinction drawn between Vedanti and Mayavadi.] Sankhya, the theoretic Philosophy came to be called Sankhya as distinguished from the practical Religion and code of Morality. And during the Upanishad period and even in the times of the Mahabharata the word had not lost its general significance. And it will be noticed when ascertaining what these various categories are, that, with the exception of the Nastika, all the other five schools believed in almost the same things, though the enumerations were various, except as regards the postulating of God. And even in this idea of God, there was practically very little difference between Kapila and Patanjali. To both of them, the freed Purusha was equal to Ishwara, only Kapila believed that no Ishwara was necessary for the origination and sustenance, & c., of the worlds; but that according to Patanjali there existed an eternally freed Being who created these worlds and resolved them again into their original components. And in the Upanishad period, the Yoga school was the dominant cult and these Upanishads including the Svetasvatara and Kaivalya, &c., were all books of the yoga school. And the theoretical or argumentative part of the philosophy or creed was called by the name of Sankhya and the practical part, Yoga. As this yoga postulated the highest end achieved by a study of the Vedas, which were set forth in these Upanishads, it was also coming slowly to be called Vedanta. That the word Upanishad was actually used as a synonym for yoga, we have an example in Chandog, (1-1-10). "The sacrifice which a man performs with knowledge, faith, and the Upanhishad is more powerful." 'Knowledge' or gnan here meant the knowledge of the categories and their relation, which according to Kapila was alone sufficient to bring about man's freedom. This, the Vedanta held to be insufficient unless it was accompanied by earnestness and love and by the contemplation of a Supreme Being. This contemplation brought the thinker nearer and nearer to the object of his thoughts, till all distinctions of object and subject were thoroughly merged (distinction of I and Mine) and the union or one-ness was reached and all banda or pasa vanished. This is the root-idea in both words of 'Upanishad' and 'Yoga'. Yoga means union, union of two things held apart and brought together, when the bonds or fetters which separated fell off or perished. And Upanishad is also derived from Upa near, ni quite, sad to perish. Here also the nearing of two things, and the perishing of something is clearly meant. Of course, the two things brought together are the Soul and God, and the perishable thing is certainly the Pasa; and the Soul when bound by Pasa is called Pasu accordingly.

    This was the condition of the Philosophic thought down to the days of the Mahabharat and we hold this was anterior to the rise of Buddhism and continued for some centuries after Gauama Buddha and till the time of Badarayana. It was during this time that the philosophy of India spread into and permeated the thought of Europe, and Professor Garbe has lucidly proved in his short History of "The Philosophy of Ancient India," that the influence received by the Greeks down to the neo-Platonic school was almost Sankhyan in its character. It was during this time again, that the blending of the Aryan and Tamilian in art and civilization and Philosophy took place (and we could not here consider how much was common to both, and how much each gained from the other). We have an exactly parallel word in Tamil to the word 'Sankhya' and this word is எண் (en) which means both 'number' and 'to think,' and both Auvayar and Tiruvalluvar use the word to mean logic and metaphysics: the primary science, on which all thought was built, being mathematics or the science of number. A systematic and historical study of the Tamil works will make good our position; and even today the most dominant cult in the Tamil is the Sankhya and Yoga as represented in the Upanishads or Vedanta. This system must have been thoroughly established in the Tamil language and literature before the time of Christ and before Badarayana's composition of the Sariraka Sutras. So much so, when Badarayana's system came into vogue in Southern India, it was recognized as a distinct school. As Badarayana professed expressly to interpret the Upanishad or Vedanta texts, his school of Philosophy was stereotyped by the phrase 'Vedanta' and by collecting all the texts in Tamil down even to the time of Tayumanavar (16th century) containing references to Vedanta, we could prove what the special view of Badarayana was. This will also show that the exposition of Badarayana contained in the earliest Bhashya or commentary we possess in Sanskrit namely, that of Srikanta which was later on adopted almost bodily by Ramanuja was the rue view of Badarayana. This view we may sum up in Dr. Thibant's own words:- "If, now, I am shortly to sum up the results of the preceding enquiry as to the teaching of the Sutras, I must give it as my opinion that they do not set forth the distinction of a higher and lower knowledge of Brahman; that they do not acknowledge the distinction of Brahman and Iswara in Sankara's sense; that they do not hold the doctrine of the unreality of the world; and that they do not with Sankara proclaim the absolute identity of the individual the highest self." (loe.cit Introduction to the Vedanta Sutras).

    And he proves also that his was consistent with the teachings of the Upanishads themselves.

    What gave it its special mark, however, is the peculiar relation which Badarayana postulated between God and the world, the product of Maya or Prakriti. Though he held on to the distinction of the supreme and the Human Spirit, he stoutly fought against the old Sankhyan view (comprising nearly all the six schools we enumerated above) that Matter was an independent entity from spirit, though like Leibnitz he never denied its reality. He held God was both the efficient and material cause of the Universe. This doctrine received accordingly its name of Parinama Vada or Nimittopadanakarana Vada while the Theistic Sankhyan systems stoutly maintained that God was only the efficient cause, though He was immanent in All Nature. As there was nothing inherently vicious and destructive to all true religion and morality in this system of Badarayana, the Tamil Philosophers welcomed this view also and declared they did not see much difference in the two views and ends postulated by both the old and new school. And both Srikanta Saint Tirumular and expressly make this declaration.

    But there was one other view which was gaining ground ever since the days of Gautama Buddha and which was connected with the peculiar theory of Maya or illusion. Buddha declared that all existence was momentary, that there was no world, no mind, no soul and no God, and that what really existed were the Skandhas, and when this truth was perceived, all desire and birth and suffering would cease and then there would be creation of all existence, Nirvana. And the Buddhists were accordingly called Mayavadis. But as the Buddhist theory destroyed the very core of the Indian national beliefs, and as it also afforded no stable ground for a national existence based on morality and religion, this was pronounced heterodox, but the seeds sown by him were not in vain, and a Hindu school of Mayavada slowly raised its head on the dying embers of this old effete philosophy. And its greatest exponent was Sankara. This Hindu school of Mayavada was in existence for several centuries before Sankara, but this was later than the time of St. Manicka Vachaka and earlier than Tirumular thought both of them were anterior to Sankara. Sankara's system is referred to as Mayavada in all the other Hindu prominent schools prevalent since the days of Sankara, and though South Indian followers of Sankara seem to entertain some prejudice against the word, owing to the abuse made of it by their opponents, followers of Sankara in the North even today call it the Mayavada. And in some of its extreme forms, it was also called "Prachchanna Bauddham." The great learning and the towering intellect, accompanied by the austere life led by Sankara, created a great following among the Brahmans of the Saiva faith, and it made great strides in the time of his illustrious follower Sayana or Vidyaranya who combined in himself both temporal and spiritual power. And the first interpreters of Hinduism happening to be mostly Brahmans of this persuasion, during the century when Sanskrit oriental scholarship came into being, this view of Hindu Philosophy has gained most currency among European scholars. But there were not wanting scholars in the past like Colebrook and Wilson, and like Col. Jacob, Prof. Kunte, and Dr. Thibaut in the present generation, who hold that Mayavada is not the real and true exposition of the Veda or the Vedanta. Prof. Max Muller than whom a more learned or earnest student of Indian Philosophy never existed, though he held very stoutly to the other view, slowly gave in, and has accepted Dr. Thibaut's conclusions as correct. We may add that Professor Macdonnell reiterates the old view, and Prof. Deussen is the greatest adherent of Sankara at the present day.

    There is one other great factor in the growth of Indian Religion and Philosophy which we have taken no note of, all this time; and which receives no notice at all in the hands of European scholars. And this is the bearing of the Agamas or Tantras. Such a well-informed person as Swami Vivekananda has declared, "as to their influence, apart from the Srouta and Smarta rituals, all other forms of ritual observed from the Hinalayas to the Comorin have been taken from the Tantras, and they direct the worship of the Saktas, Saivas and Vaishnavas and all others alike." But who were the authors of these works and when did they come into vogue, and what great power had they to monopolize the Religion of the whole of India? The same Swami observes. "The Tantras, as we have said, represent the Vedic rituals in a modified form, and before any one jumps into the most absurd conclusions about them, I will advise him to read the Tantras in connection with the Brahmanas, especially of the Adhwarya portion. And most of the Mantras used in the Tantras will be found taken verbatim from these Brahmanas." But it could be noted at the same time, that whereas the Brahmanas direct the use of these mantras in connection with the yagnas or sacrifices, these Tantras direct their use in connection with the worship of some deity or another. And the object of Vedic sacrifices being well known to be only the first three Purusharthas, by the worship of the various Powers of Nature, the object of Tantric or Agamic worship was the attainment of the fourth Purusharta or Moksha. By the time we get into the Upanishad period, we could see how a new and spiritual interpretation was put upon the old Vedic sacrifices and the uselessness of sacrifice as an end in itself was strongly declared. Says M. Barth: "Sacrifice is only an act of preparation. It is the best of acts, but it is an act and its fruit consequently perishable. Accordingly although whole sections of these treatises (Upanishads) are taken up exclusively with speculations on the rites, what they teach may be summed up in the words of Mundaka Upansihad. "Know the Atman only and away with everything else; it alone is the bridge to immortality." T"he Veda itself and the whole circle of sacred science are quite as sweepingly consigned to the second place. The Veda is not the true Brahman; it is only its reflection; and the science of this imperfect Brahman, this Sabda Brahman or Brahman in words is only a science of a lower order. The true science is that which has the true Brahman, the Parabrahman for its subject."

    As the story in the Kena Upanishad will show, the most powerful of the Rig Veda deities, Indra and Agni and Vayu and Varuna were also relegated to a secondary place; and the worship of the only One, without a second, the consort of Uma, Haimavati, was commenced. The Kena Upanishad story is repeated in the Puranas, the Supreme Brahman is mentioned there as Siva and Rudra. And the story of Rudra destroying Daksha's sacrifice, and disgracing the Gods who took part in the sacrifice with the sequel of His consort, named then Dakshayani (the fruit or spirit of sacrifice) becoming reborn as Uma, (wisdom or Brahmagnan) Haimavati, would seem to go before the story in the Kena Upanishad. The story of the desecration of the sacrifice of the Rishis of Darukavana by Siva and Vishmu would point to the same moral. So that by this time, the backbone of the old un-meaning Vedic sacrifices petrified in the Godless school of Mimamsa was really broken; and it was here that the Agamas stepped in and used the same ole Mantras again, but with a new force and significance deleting whatever was unmeaning and preserving only what was useful. It substituted also new symbols though preserving the old names. And from this time, therefore, Modern Hinduism and Hindu system of worship may be said to have commenced. But for the these beginnings we have to go far behind the days of the Mahabharata and the Puranas, for the Agama doctrines and rituals are fully bound up with these.

    A clear advance in the use of symbols was also made, at the same time effectually preserving the distinction between symbols and truth, by the use of proper words. The Sabda Brahman or the Pranava was only a symbol and not the truth, as fancied by the Mimamsakas, and it was called a mark or Linga. And the figured mark of the Pranava, (Linga is merely the Pranava as figured to the eye) the Linga became the universal symbol of God and object of worship as the Pranava in mantra or sound form was before. In the new system of worship, the Temples that were built were more on the models of the old yagna-sala; and the yupa stambla (Dhwaja stambha) and Balipitha, Pasu (Basava or Nandi) and the Gods in their various places were also retained; and a Brahmotsava supplanted virtually the old sacrifice.* [* In commencing and going through a Brahmostava, the priests observe technically almost the same rituals as in commencing and going through a great sacrifice. There is a Yagna Sala in every Saiva Temple in which the Fire is started by the Dikshita and the Dhwaja Arohana is made by running up a flag with the figure of a bull (Pasu or Basava) on the Yupastambha and tying Kusa grass to the Post. The Pasu and the Kusa grass standing merely for the soul or jiva that was bound and offered in sacrifice. After Avarohana, the soul or Pasu becomes freed and is no more called Pasu, but is called God or Nandi – the blissful. It will require more space for as to draw out here the parallel between the Yagna Sala and a Hindu Temple]. In the field of philosophy, it did as much to systematise and build up into a whole what was hitherto in scattered form and it did greater service in drawing out more fully the omni-penetrativeness and transcendency of God over all else, over both Chetana and Achetana Prapancha, the world of souls and the world of matter. The Postulate of God's supreme Transcendency is the special effort of the Agama Philosophy to make out, and as this was the Highest End and Truth, it was called Siddhanta Par excellence as distinguished from the Vedanta which led up the aspirant only to certain spiritual stages. It divided all philosophy and religion into four paths or Margas, called respectively Chariya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana; and these were otherwise called Dasa Marga, Satputra Marga, Saha Marga and San Marga. In the exposition of these paths, it opened out a thoroughly reasoned system of theoretic Philosophy, neither contradicting our experience, nor causing violence to the most cherished of our sentiments, both moral and religious; a system of thought which was progressive and built on an adamantine basis, step by step leading to higher, knowledge: a system* [* Cf. Garbe, The Philosophy of Ancient India. P. 30. "As for those who feel inclined to look down slightingly from a monisitic point of view upon a dualistic conception of the world, the words of E. Roer in the Introduction of the Bhashaparichcheda (p. XVI) may be quoted: "Though a higher development of "philosophy may destroy the distinctions between soul and matter "that is, may recognise matter or what is perceived as matter as "the same with the soul (as for instance, Leibnitz did) it is "nevertheless certain that no true knowledge of the soul is possible "without first drawing a most decided line of demarcation between "the phenomena of matter and of the soul." This sharp line of demarcation between the two domains was first drawn by Kapila. The knowledge of the difference between body and soul is one condition, and it is also an indispensable condition, of arriving at a true monism. Every view of the world which confounds this difference can supply at best a one-sided henism, be it a spiritualism or an equally one-sided materialism."] which by preserving and pointing out the essential difference of God, Soul and Matter, established a true religion between them; which led to the highest monisitic knowledge, a system which was at once dualism and non-dualism, Dvaita and Advaita; a system which appealed alike to the Peasant and the Philosopher. Its system of practical Religion, calculated to secure the Highest End and Bliss, was also progressive commencing from the simplest rituals in the adoration of God to the highest Yoga adapted to the means and capacity of the lowest and the highest of human beings. Readers of Swami Vivekananda's lectures would have noted how these four paths are essential to any system of thought or Religion which claims to be universal; and it is the peculiar boast of the Agama or Tantra that it was the first to systematise this fourfold teaching. And it is in modern Saivism and in the Siddhanta Philosophy, this fourfold aspect of Religion and Philosophy is wholly and fully preserved. Saivism is a ritual marga, a Bhakti marga, a yoga marga, a gnana marga. And need we wonder that the Siddhanta Philosophy of today is as much a puzzle to outsiders, as the Philosophy of our Upanishad and the Gita? And the Siddhanti's definition of Advaita as 'neither one nor two nor neither' will bring out the puzzle more prominently. It is a system of dualism, it is also a system of non-dualism, but it differs from the other schools of dualism and non-dualism. What was upheld in the Siddhanta as mere paths or marga, or Sadhana or means to reach the Highest End, had come to be each and individually mistaken for the End itself; what was upheld as the mere symbol of the Highest Truth had come to be mistaken for the Truth itself. What was declared as unprovable, indescribable, unknowable and unenjoyable as long as man was in the condition of bondage was held by these sectaries as proved and seen. What was the purest and most transcendent monotheism degenerated into a most crude Anthropomorphism and blatant Pantheism.

    Saivaism is not anthropomorphic, but symbolic. How can it be otherwise, when it draws such minute distinction between God and Soul and Matter? And a system of symbolism is quite consistent with the Highest Transcendental Religion and Philosophy; in fact, all our real knowledge is more truly symbolic than otherwise. In the view of the Siddhanti, the Upanishads, though they deal with all the four paths, are especially the text books of the Yogapada or Sahamarga, where certain Bhavanas or Vidyas calculated to create and bring about the Highest Nirvana and Union, and Freedom from Pasa, are more fully explained and illustrated.

    The above cursory view of the past history of the Indian philosophy will clear the ground a good deal for our proper understanding of our particular Upanishad in question.

    We may therefore state that the Svetasvatara Upanishad is a genuine Upanishad of the Black Yajur Veda, and is one of the oldest of its kind. It is not a Sectarian Upanishad. It more properly belongs to the Yoga Pada stage of teaching, though the other Padas are also briefly touched and alluded to. It expounds both a theoretic philosophy and a practical religion, all-comprehensive and all-embracing; a system which was at once Sankhya and Yoga, dualistic and monistic, and appealing to all classes of society.

    It lays down the distinction of three padarthas or categories in clear terms. And these are, God, the many souls, and matter or Pasa.

    "Two birds, inseparable friends, cling to the same tree. One of them eats the sweet fruits, the other looks on without eating" (iv. 6) which is explained in less figurative language in the next mantra.

    "On the same tree man (Anisa) sits grieving, immersed, bewildered, by his own impotence. But when he sees the other, Isa, contented, and knows His glory, then his grief passes away."

    That this is the Highest teaching of the Rig Veda is pointed out in the next verse.

    "He who does not know that indestructible Being (Akshara,) of the Rig Veda, that Highest Ether (Parama Vyomam) wherein all the Gods reside, of what use us the Rig Veda to him? Those only who know It rest contented."

    And need it be pointed out that the 6th verse is itself found in the Rig Veda (I. 164-20) and it is repeated in the Atharva Veda and the passage is so popular a one that Katha (iii. 1) and Mundaka (iii. II) also quote it.

    These verses bring out the distinction of God and soul, Pasa and Anisa, as the spectator and enjoyer respectively. The soul enjoys and performs Karma while encased in the body, tree; but though God is immanent in the soul and in the body, yet the works and their fruit do not cling to Him and taint Him. After the due eating of the fruits, the soul knows the greatness of God, and his own insignificance then his sufferings cease.

    The previous mantra (iv.5) is also a famous and much debated passage, and it is badly translated by Prof. Max Muller. The translation by G. R. S. Mead and Chattopadhyaya is literal and correct. "Aye, that one unborn (Aja-soul) sleeps in the arms of one unborn (nature Pradhana), enjoying (her of nature, red, white, and black), who brings forth multitudinous progeny like herself. But when her charms have been enjoyed, he (soul) quits her (prakriti) side, the unborn other, Anyata (Lord)."* [* If we read "he quits her side, for the other" makes the sense complete.]

    There is absolutely no mistaking this plain statement of the three Padartas as eternal, as well as their relation; and all three are called Unborn, Aja or uncreated. But the word to be noted here is the word 'other' 'Anya' which is almost a techhincal term or catch word to mean God, the Supreme. And it occurs again in (V.1).

    "In the unperishable, and infinite highest Brahman, wherein the twi Vidya, (Vignana-Atma) and Avidya are hidden, the one, Avidya, perishes; the other, Vidya, is immortal; but He who controls both Vidya and Avidya, is another (Anyatha)" And in the subsequent verses, this another is clearly pointed to be the only One God, without a second, the ruler of all, the generator of all and the supporter (ripener) of all. This forms the subject of discussion in the hands of Badarayana in I, ii, 21. And the famous passage in Brihadaranyanka is referred to. "He who dwells in Atma (Vignana) and different from Atma, whom the Atma does not know, whose body Atma is, and who pulls (rules) Atma within, He is thy Atma, the puller within, the immortal" (iii. 7, 12).

    In vi. 6, also, God is called the Anya – the other. It occurs again in Gita, xv. 17. The previous verse postulates two entities of matter and soul, and the next verse proceeds to postulate "another." "But there is another, namely, the Supreme Being, called Paramatama, who being the everlasting Ishwara and pervading the three worlds, sustains them." That the very use of the word is solely to emphasise God's transcendency over the the world of matter and of souls, as against people who only postulated two Padarthas, or would identify God, the supreme Ishwara, with matter or soul, is fully brought out in the next verse.

    "As I transcend the perishable (Pradhana) and as I am higher than even the Imperishable (soul), I am celebrated in the world and sung in the Vedas as Purushotama."

    The commonest fallacy that is committed when the eternality of matter and souls is postulated, is in fancying that this is any way affects God's transcendency and immanency. Though He pervades all and envelopes all creates and sustains and takes them back again into Himself, though He is the God in the fire, the God in the water, the God who has entered the whole world, in plants and trees and in everything else, (ii. 17) yet He stands behind all time and all persons, (vii. 16), and is beyond all tatvas. (Verse 15).

    "He is the one God, (Eko Deva), hidden in all beings, all pervading, the Antaratma of all things, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the Only One, Nirguna (Being) (vi. 11). And in Verse 16, he is called the first cause, himself uncaused, the all knower, the master of Nature and Man. And by the supreme statement "Ekohi Rudra nadvitiyaya tasthe, (There is only One Rudra, they do not allow a second), the complete subordination of all other things to Him is clearly postulated. There is nothing else in His presence, as no Asat can subsist in the Presence of the Sat, as no darkness can subsist in the presence of light. And Light, he is called (iii, 12) the Light, by which all other lights, the sun, the moon, and the stars and the lightning's are lighted, (vi. 14) and He is the great Purusha, like the Sun in lustre, beyond darkness. (iii. 8).

    There is only one other passage which we have to quote while we are dealing with the three eternal postulates of this Upanishad. There are the Verses 8 and 9 in the first Adhyaya itself. In these also the distinctions between the Supreme God, and the bound soul, as I'sa and Anisa Gna, and Agna, and the third, Pradhana, Unborn though perishable and ever changing, are finely drawn.

    In dealing with the personality of God, who is called in the Upanishads, as Deva, Hara, Vasi, Siva, Purusha, Brahman, Paramatma, Isa, and Ishwara, &c., we have to remark that the Upanishad makes no distinction between a Higher and a Lower Brahman; rather, there are no statements made about the Lower God or Gods, except one verse in V. S, where the Supreme Lord and Mahatma, is said to have created the Lords, and Brahma or Hrianyagarbha is referred to as such a lord. But every statement made to God, by any of the names, we have mentioned above, clearly refers to the one, without a second, the Highest Brahman, which is also Nirguna. And in various passages, this Highest Being is said to create, sustain and destroys the worlds. What some of these people would not believe is, how a Being addressed as Hara and Siva, Isa and Ishwara could be the Nirguna Absolute Brahman. And they frequently associate this name with the Rudra or Siva of the Hindu Trinity. But it will be news to these people that even the Rudra of the Trinity is Nirguna and not Saguna. Absolutely no passage could be found in any of the Upanishads or even in the Puranas and the Itihasas, in which even the trinity Siva or Rudra is called Saugna. Saguna means having Bodies (qualities) formed out of Prakriti, and when Prakriti is itself resolved into its original condition and reproduced by this trinity Rudra, this prakriti could not act as his vestment.

    But more than this the Rudra and Siva of our Upanishad is clearly set forth in other Upanishads as the fourth, chaturtam and Turiyam, transcending the trinity; and the secondless.

    "Satyam Guanam, Anantam Brahma,

    Ananda Rupam, Amritam Yad Vibhuti,

    Shantam, Shivam Advaitam."

                        (Tait Up.)


    "Shivam, shantam, Advaitam

    Chaturtham, manyante," (Ramatapini)


    "Dhyayeteesanam, pradhyayedavyam,

    Sarvamidam, Brahma Vishnu Rudrendrasthe,

    Sarve Samprasuyante, Sarvanichendryanicha;

    Sahabhutaih Nakaranam Karanam Dhata Dhyata

    Karanantu Dhyeyah Sarvaiswarya Sampannah

    Sarveswarah Sambhurakasa Madhye.

    Siva eko Dhyayet: Sivankara, Sarvam

    Anyat Parityaja (Atharva Sikha).


    [* Our learned Madras Bishop complains that the educated Hindu has only to choose one out of the six systems of Philosophy, and that he has no good practical religion and we kindly invite his attention to this paper, and then judge for himself and see if Hindu Philosophy and Religion is, after all, really so poor.]    

"Adore the most adorable Isana, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra and others having an origin. All the senses originate with the elements. The first cause and cause of causes has no origin. The Bestower of all prosperity, the Lord of all, Sambhu, He should be contemplated in the middle of the Akasa. ..Siva, the one alone, should be contemplated; the Doer of Good; All else should be given up." (Atharva Sikha) "The mystical and immutable one, which being composed of three letters A., U., M., signify successively, the three Vedas, the three states of life (Jagra, Swapna, and Sushupti), the three worlds (heaven, hell and earth) three gods (Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra) and by its nasal sound (Ardhamatra) is indicative of thy fourth office as the Supreme Lord of all (Parameshwara)* [* A Christian missionary writing to the Christian College Magazine wonders how Vemana, the famous Telugu poet, could speak of siva as other than the Hindu triad, Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Cf., Bartrihari'ss Satakas for the popular conception of Siva.] ever expresses and sets forth thy collective forms. (Mahimna Stotra). And the same mistake is committed by outsiders in supporting that the God of the Saivas is only one of the trinity. Any book in Tamil and Sanskrit taken at random will at once disillusion him, and he will find that the only God held up for the highest worship is the highest Nirguna Parama Siva, and not one of the trinity. Great confusion is caused in the use of the words Nirguna† [† By Nirugna, we mean 'without Prakritic qualities' and by Saguna clothed in Prakritic qualities'. And God could therefore be both Nirguna and Personal in Emerson's sense.] and Saguna, by translating them into impersonal and personal respectively. And Europeans themselves are not agreed as to the use of these words. According to Webster, the word 'personal' implies limitation, but other eminent persons like Emerson, Lotze, &c., say there is no such implication. Till the acceptation of these words are therefore settled, we should not make confusion worse confounded, by rendering Nirguna and Saguna, as Impersonal and Personal.

    So far, there can be no doubt on the nature of the God-head described in our Upanishad.

    "When there was no darkness, nor day nor night, nor Sat, nor Asat, then Siva alone existed (Siva eva Kevalah). That is the absolute, that the adorable (condition) of the Lord. From that too had come forth the wisdom of old – (gnanasakti) (iv, 18).

    "He is the eternal and infinite, Unborn Being, Partless, action-less, tranquil, without taint, without fault, the Highest Bridge to Immortality (vi. 19). He is the cause-less first cause, the all-knower, the all-pervader, the creator, sustainer and liberator of the world, the end and aim of all Religion and of all philosophy, He is the Ishwara of Ishwaras, Maheshwara, the God supreme of Gods, the King of kings, the Supreme of the supreme, the Isa of the Universe" (vi. 7).

    There is one other matter to be considered in the nature of the Divine Personality. God is spoken of both in masculine and in neuter, and that in the same verse, a peculiarity which is noticeable in modern Saivaism. And God is addressed in all forms as 'He' 'She' and 'It'. Sivah, Siva and 'Sivam.' *[* Sivam in Sanskrit, they say, is not the neuter of Siva. But somehow this neuter form in quite prevalent in Tamil.] And the reason is not as stated by Prof. Max Muller, in his note under Ver. 16, Chapter iii, that the gender changes frequently, according as the author thinks either of the Brahman or its impersonation as "Isa, Lord." To the Indian whether he addresses his God as Siva or Sivam, he is addressing the same supreme Personality who is neither male nor female nor neuter, and there is no jar to him in the sense, as there will be to the Christian, who could only think of and address God in the Masculine Gender.

    The Upanishad does not recognize any difference between the use of 'It' and 'He,' and it does not contemplate that by using 'It' instead of 'He', a Higher Being is reached.

    Coming now to the nature of the soul, as set forth in this Upanishad, the first thing to be noticed is that the Jiva is very often spoken of as Atma simply and distinguished from God. The other appellation it receives are Purusha, Anisa, Agna, the Hamsa, Vidya, and these are to distinguish it from the other, the Paramatma, the Parama Purusha, Isa and Gna.

    This soul is bound, because he is not God (1. 8) because he is ignorant of himself, and of the self within him, (the Antaratma). This soul is not self-dependent (1. 2). This soul is confined in the Pura (city-body) of nine gates, i.e., is limited and 'flutters about,' is changeable, and he enjoys the fruits, pleasures and pains, (even pains are a pleasure to him, the ignorant soul) and fondly clings to the body, and performs karma (iii, 18, 5 and 6).

    "But he who is endowed with qualities, and performs Karma that are to bear fruit and enjoys the reward of whatever he has done, migrates through his own works, the lord of life, assuming all forms, led by the three gunas and the three paths" (vi. 7).

    And yet this soul is of the image of God, is infinite and brilliant like the Sun, endowed with Ichcha and Gnana, and is sinless.

    The Supreme One who witnesses all his doings, dwelling within him without Himself being tainted by the contact, helps to secure the ripening of his mala, and waits till the soul attains to that condition of perfect balancing in good and evil, (v. 5) by the performance of Chariya, Kriya and Yoga (good works, Penance and meditation) with love and knowledge and the syllable Pranava, he is blessed by the Lord (i. 6) and God's grace descends on him (vi. 21 and iii. 20) and he knows and sees, with Manas (the supreme grace of God – the spiritual eye) (v. 14) 'The Purusham Mahantam Aditya Varnam, tamasah parastat,' and his fetters (Pasa) full off, and sufferings cease and he enters the Bliss of the Supreme Brahman, and Eternal Peace.

    That Ishwara Prasadam (iii. 20) or Anugraham or grace is necessary is a common belief of the people, and this doctrine is not peculiar to this Upanishad alone. The Katha Upanishad puts the same doctrine in much stronger language. "That Self (God) cannot be gained by the Veda, nor by understanding, nor by much learning. He whom Self (God) chooses, by him the self (God) can be gained." (I. 2. 23); but even the supreme Almighty (God) cannot help him, if he had not turned away from wickedness, and is not tranquil, subdued and at rest, dedicating (Arpanam), all his words' deeds and thoughts to God, (i. 24).

    That the doctrine of Bhakti is found well set forth in the oldest Upanishads and the Vedas will be apparent by reading the texts collated by Dr. Muir in his learned "Metrical translations from Sanskrit" under the heading of 'Shraddha and Bhakti.' By the way, this Sharaddha and Bhakti is not to be understood as a manifestation of feeling only at one stage of man's spiritual evolution and unnecessary at another stage, but this love is essential to the aspirant whether he is a Dasamargi, Satputramargi, Yogamargi or Gnanamargi. That these four paths grow one out of the other and are not independent, and each one of these is hardly possible to reach without going through the lower rungs of the ladder, we have already pointed out above.

    The Upanishads, all of them, discuss the particular Upasana or Upasanas which are required for the salvation of the bound soul, and these Upanishads are called also Vidyas.

    Of these various Vidyas, what is called the Dahara Upasana or Vidya is the most favoured of all the Upasanas in the Swetaswatara and Chandogya, Brihadaranyaka, Katha, Mundaka and Kaivalya, Atharva Sikha and in the Bhagavad Gita.

    The reference to this Highest Yoga practice are most numerous in the Upanishads and the sameness of the various references form the subject of a discussion in the Vedanta Sutras (iii. 3. 23).     

    The famous passages are what occur in the Chandogya Upanishad, commencing with the sentences "There is the city* [* This City is exactly in modern symbolism in the Great Temple of Chidambaram.] of Brahman" (viii. 1.1.) "All this is Brahman." (iii. 14.1 to 4). This worship or Yoga, consists in the aspirant contemplating, in his heart, the Supreme one, as the Person of Light and as Akasa, as Satchidananda Parameshwara, with the particular formula that "God is in all beings and all beings are God." And various synonyms are used to denote this heart of man, such as Dahara (subtle) Guha (cave), Pundarika (lotus), Brahmapura (city of Hrid (heart).

    And the meaning of the words Akasa, and Vyoma has also to be carfully noted. They are synonymous and do not mean the Bhuta Akasa, nor the Mayasakti or Avidya, but as interpreted by the Puranas themselves, they mean Chit or Gnana, or, Light or Grace, which is the Parasakti of the Supreme Ishwara. That this Akasa is Chit and not Achit, is further proved by the phrases, Chitakasa and Chidambara, and this ChitSakti is the Devatma-Sakti of our Upanishad, which is inherent and concealed in him. (i. 3) and the supreme Sakti, which is revealed as manifold, inherent (Sva) and manifesting as Kriya and Gnana (vi. 8). It is this which is called Uma, and Light and Bhargas † [† Cf. Mait Up. vi. 7, "Rudra is called Bhargas, thus say the Brahman teachers," cf. also vi. 28, last para. "The Shrine (Paramalaya which consists of the Akas in the heart , the blissful, the highest retreat, that is our own, that is our Goal and that is the heat and brightness of the Fire and Sun."] and Savitri and Gayatri. And when we understand therefore, this Akasa, as light and knowledge, the Supreme Sakti of God, its description as the highest light, the revealer of all forms, the Highest object of adoration, is clear. The description of God also as Akasa (Sakti) and as dwelling in Akasa (Sakti) will not be conflicting, as no distinction is made between Sun and his light, much less between God and his Power.‡ [‡ In the Yajur Veda, this God and Ambika are called Saha, which may mean equal or brother and sister.]

    It is this Gnana Sakti who gives to the Chetana and Achetana Prapancha its form and shape and life and love and light; but the substance or Upadana || [|| It is Badarayana's view that there is no other Upadana except God and these worlds arise out of God Himself. When a true springs out of the bare ground, we naturally suppose there was some seed imbedded in it without our knowledge, though the earth contained it and is essential for the support and growth of the plant. This is the Aupanishadic view. Badarayana would say that no seed is necessary and the earth alone is sufficient.] out of which this Prapancha is evolved is the Maya or Pradhaana which also dwelling in Him is drawn out and drawn in by the Supreme Power (Sakti) with just the ease and dexterity of a spider which spins out or in; or the magician who draws forth out of an empty basket fruits and flowers and sweets. The Maya (meaning also power) is also a Sakti of His (Mayasakti) but differing from the other Sakti, Ichcha, Gnana and Kriya, just as darkness differs from light. As darkness is necessary for rest and recuperation, so this power of God also works for our rest and recuperation and salvation. And God is called the Lord of Maya (Mayin) and "beyond" all forms of the tree, as transcending all the "Tatvas, Kala" &c., and as 'transcending' 'Pradhana.' Why we are required to contemplate God as Akasa, Light or Chit is, that by this Light alone we can know Him, and as such Light; and it is as Light, Chit, God is immanent in the world, and omnipresent. And this brings out again the reason why this Chit is called Akasa the most subtle and invisible and omnipresent element we have in Nature.

    God is present in all nature and pervades it, as oil in seeds, butter in ghee and fire in wood (i. 15). And this all pervasiveness is thus explained in a text of the Atharva Siras Upanishad – "Why is it called Sarva Vyapi? It is so called because like ghee diffusing and soaking itself through and through the Ruda (Milk or seed), it pervades every created thing through and through as warp and woof."

    And as by reason of this pervasiveness, nothing could be imagined as existing out of Him, the whole is called also Brahman, the whole, with the parts and limbs and bodies (iv. 10) as the Chetana-Achetana Prapancha, his antahkarana as Chit Sakti, and Himself the Soul of this vast whole. And as all of us form but parts of him, we are also enjoined to be kind to one another, for, whatever we do to each other will be also done to His body. We quote the following from Srikantha Sivacharya's commentary in which this point is discussed.

    "All this is Brahman, as beginning, ending, and breathing in Him; and therefore let a man meditate on him."

    "This passage may be explained as follows: The origin, existence and end of all this depends on Brahman. All this, both the sentient and insentient existence, is verily Brahman, and therefore let a man meditate on Brahman, tranquil in mind. Just as the water-bubbles which have their origin, existence and end in the ocean, are found to be only forms of that ocean, so too, that which depends for its origin, etc., on Brahman associated with Sakti must be made of Brahman and nothing else. Nothing distinct from him is ever perceived. Accordingly in the Atharva Siras, it has been declared by Isana as follows:-

    "Alone I was at first, (alone) I'am and shall be;

    There is none else distinct from Me."


And then was declared by him in the words "I am Brahman," that the whole universe is his own form. And in the words "He entered the more hidden from (or than) the hidden one" &c., his entering into the universe is given as a reason for the whole universe being his own form. Thus this universe having no origin, existence or end outside Brahman, is not a quite distinct thing from Brahman. Accordingly the learned say:-

    "His Saktis or energies (form) the whole world, and the Mahesa or the great lord is the energetic (Saktiman). Never can energy exist distinct from the energetic. Unity of these two is eternal, like that of fire and heat, in as much as unseparateness always exists between energy and the energetic. Wherefore supreme energy belongs to the supreme Atman, since the two are related to each other as substance and attribute. The energy of heat is not conceived to be distinct from fire" and so on.

    Vayu-Samhita too says: (Parva, 25, ch. 18 and 19)

    "From Sakti up to earth, (the whole world) is born of the principle Siva. By him alone, it is pervaded, as the jar, &c., by clay. His variegated Supreme Sakti, whose form is knowledge and bliss, appears as one and many, like the light of the sun."

    The following passages of the Sruti speak of Para brahman as possessed of infinite powers of creating, ruling and maintaining the world, all inherent in Him.

    "His Supreme Sakti is spoken of as manifold, inherent, endued with the activity of knowledge and life." (Svetas, 6-8).

    "One verily is Rudra, - they were not for a second – who rules these worlds with the powers of the ruling." (3-2).

    "In short, on the authority of the Sruti, Smriti, Itihasa, Purana, and the sayings of the learned, the Supreme Sakti whose manifold manifestation this whole universe of Chit and Achit is, whose being is composed of Supreme Existence, Intelligence and Bliss, and unlimited by space and time – is inherent in the nature of Siva, the Supreme Brahman and constitutes His own essential form and quality. Apart from Sakti, He cannot be the Omniscient, the Omnipotent, the cause of all the all controlling, the all-adorable, the all-gracious, the means of attaining all aspirations, and the omnipresent; and, moreover, such grand designations as "Mahesvara", the Supreme Lord, "Mahadeva," the Supreme Deity, and Rudra, the expeller of pain, cannot apply to him. Thus it is Brahman whose body is the whole sentient and insentient universe, and who is denoted by all words. Just as the word 'blue' denotes not the blue colour only, but also the lotus which is of a blue colour, so does the word 'universe' also denotes Brahman. Therefore such passages as "All is Rudra verily" teach that Brahman is denoted by all words. Accordingly the passages "All this, verily, is Brahman" refers to Brahman whose body the whole of the sentient and unsentient universe is. The universe being thus a form of Brahman and being therefore not an object of hatred &c., let everyone be peaceful at heart and worship Brahman. This doctrine is clearly expounded even in the puranic texts such as the following:- "The body of the God of Gods is this universe, moving and unmoving. This, the Jivas (Pasus) do not know, owing to the mighty bondage. They say sentiency is Vidya, and insentiency Avidya. The whole universe of Vidya and Avidya is form no doubt the body of the Lord, the first causes of all; for the whole universe is subject to Him."

    "The word "sat" is used by the wise to denote the real and the good, 'asat' is used by Vedic teachers to denote the contrary. The whole universe of the sat and the asat is the body of Him who is on high. Just as, by the watering of the roots of a tree, its branches are nourished, so by the worship of Siva, the universe which is His body, is nourished. Atman is the eighth body of Siva the Paramesvara, pervading all other bodies.

    "Wherefore the whole universe is ensouled by Siva. If any embodied being whatsoever be subjected to constraint, it will be quite repugnant to the eight bodied lord; as to this there is no doubt. Doing good to all, kindness to all, affording shelter to all, this they hold, is the worshipping of Siva." And so on.

    "Brahman being all-Formed, it is but right to say "all is Brahman" and every one be peaceful and worship Brahman." Wherefore it is Brahman who in the opening passage is stated to be the object of worship, that is also spoken of as manomaya, as partaking of the nature of manas, and so on. Neither should it be supposed that the partaking of the nature of man as is a characteristic mark of a samsarin; for Brahman may limit Himself by assuming a shape which can form an object of worship."

    "That which," therefore, "eternally rests within the Atma," (1. 12)," dwells in the cave (of the heart) of all beings," (iii. 11), "is the greater than the great, smaller than the small, hidden in the heart of the creature" (iii 20), "hidden in all beings; like the subtle film," (iv 16), "and subtler that subtle" (iv 14), "the wise should seize in the body (heart) by means of the pranava, within himself, and by the drill of meditation and penance, (1-14), they should , 'with the mind towards the heart,' 'love the old Brahman, by the grace of Savitri' (Light or Chit Sakti) (11-7 and 8), 'grasping by the Manas' (Sakti), (v-14,) and perceive 'by the heart, by the soul, by the mind,' (iv-17), in the Highest Turiyatita plane, where Siva Dwells alone, the Eternal and the Adorable Light, this most Ancient of Days, the Siva the Blissful, and Benign Being, the great Purusha of sunlike brilliancy, dwelling in the Highest Vyoma, then their fetters (pasa) fall off, they will cross over to the other shore, after passing through the torrents that cause fear, (ii 8) their darkness (Ahankara, Anava) will vanish, and all material bodies (Maya) will fall off, and they will enter into the supreme Bliss and Peace.

    The various steps, psychological and spiritual, by which the sanctification of the Soul is accomplished is stated beautifully in 1 10, "From meditating on Him, from joining Him, from becoming one with him, there is further cessation of all Maya (bodies-births) in the end." In a most beautiful address on the famous text of St. Paul which runs,

    "We, all, with unveiled face, reflecting as a mirror, the Glory of the Lord, are transformed into the same image, from Glory to Glory, even as from the Lord the Spirit."

    Professor Henry Drummond, who is said to have revolutionized Christian thought in the last few decades, calls these laws of reflection, and of assimilation. He instances the iron which gets magnetized and becomes a magnet, and a mirror, getting rid of its dust, reflects the glorious light and becomes merged with it and lost. And he remarks "All men are mirrors – that is, the first law on which this formula is based. One of the aptest descriptions of a human being is that he is a mirror." And our Upanishad contains fortunately the self-same description and illustration.

    "As a metal disk (mirror), tarnished by dust shines bright again after it has been cleaned, so is the ine incarnate person satisfied and freed from grief, after he has seen the real (pure) Nature of himself." "And when by the real nature of his self, he sees as by a lamp, the real nature of the Brahman, then having known the unborn eternal God, who transcends all the tattvas, he is freed from all fetters (pasa). (ii. 14 & 15). The first text would simply read, in Drummond's language, "see, reflect and become God."

    It only remains for us now to point out that the second verse of the first adhyaya is mistranslated by Roer, Max Muller, Mead and others. They contain terms which are not known to the systems they are familiar with and they are alone preserved in the Siddhanta system. The terms are 'Kala,' 'Svabho,' 'Niyati,' 'Ichcha,' 'Bhuta,' 'Yoni,' 'Purusha,' and they are also referred to as 'Yonisvabho' & c., in V.4. and in Vi. I 'Svabha' and 'Kala'.

    We stated that the different schools differed in the enumeration of the tattavas or categories but most of them stopped with Prakriti or Pradhana and Purusha, the highest in theor list, the 24th and 25th principal (Vide, Senthinathaiyar's table of tattvas, published in Madras, 1899), but the Siddhnata school postulated above this, other tatvas or principles, making up the whole number into 36. These higher tatvas were, Ragam (Ichcha), Vidya, Niyati, Kalam Kala, (constituting what is called the soul's the purusha's Pancha Kanchukam). Maya, Suddha VIdya, Maheswara, Sadasiva, Bindhu (or Sakti) and Nadam (Siva). And the terms used in our text is kala, Svabho or Kala, Niyati, Ichcha, or Ragam, Bhuta or Vidya and Yoni or Suddha Maya, and Purusha or soul. That our interpretation is genuine we could show by quoting the authority of the author of a Purana, who at any rate is anterior to all the commentators whose explanations we now possess. The following occurs in Kailasa Samhita of Vayu Purana and it refers to the Svetasvatara text,

    "Purushasyatu, Bhoktrivam, Pratipamaaya, Bhojanecha Prayanatah. Antarangatayavatva panchakam Parakiritam. Nirgateli kala, rajascha Vidyacha Tadanandaram kala Chupanchakamidam Mayotpanuam Munisvara, Mayantu Prakrutim Vidyan Maya Sruthi etrita. Tajjanegetani Tatvani struti Yugtani nasamsayah, Katasva bhavoni yatiriti Chachuka Muchyate. Ajanan pancha tatvani vidvanapi Vimudhadhih. Niyatyadhastat prabrute ruparisthah pumanayam Vidyatatvamidam proktem.

    The following verse occurs in the Brahmanda Purana:-

    "Purusha Niyathi kataragascha kala Vidyecha mayaya."

    And this is from Vayu Samhita:

    "Maya Kalamavasrujat Niyatincha Kalam Vidyam Kalatho Raga purushau."

    J. M. Nallaswami Pillai, B.A., B.L.



















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