A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 3

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1940 | 232,512 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of philosophy of the ahirbudhnya-samhita: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the fifth part in the series called the “the pancaratra”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 5 - Philosophy of the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā

In the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā Ahirbudhnya says that after undergoing a long course of penance he received from Saṃkarṣaṇa true knowledge and that this true knowledge was the science of Sudarśana, which is the support of all things in the world[1]. The ultimate reality is the beginningless, endless and eternal reality, which is devoid of all names and forms, beyond all speech and mind, the omnipotent whole which is absolutely changeless. From this eternal and unchangeable reality there springs a spontaneous idea or desire (saṃkalpa). This Idea is not limited by time, space or substance. Brahman is of the nature of intuition, of pure and infinite bliss (niḥsīma-sukhānubhava-lakṣaṇa), and He resides everywhere and in all beings. He is like the waveless sea. He has none of the worldly qualities which we find in mundane things. He is absolutely self-realized and complete in Himself, and cannot be defined by any expressions such as “this” or “such.” He is devoid of all that is evil or bad and the abode of all that is blissful and good.

The Brahman is known by many names, such as

When by true knowledge the virtues and sins accumulated during many lives are destroyed, when the root-instincts or tendencies called vāsanā are torn asunder and the three guṇas and their products cease to bind a person, he directly realizes the nature of Brahman or the absolute reality, which can neither be described nor defined by language as “this” or as “such.” The Brahman intuitively perceives all things and is the soul of all, and therefore, the past, present and the future have all vanished away from Him. Brahman does not exist therefore in time, as He is beyond time. Similarly He is beyond all primary and secondary qualities, and yet he possesses the six qualities. Of the qualities knowledge is regarded as the first and the foremost. It is spiritual and self-illuminating ; it enters into all things and reflects them, and is eternal. The essence of Brahman is pure consciousness, and yet He is regarded as possessing knowledge as a quality[2].

  1. The power (śakti) of Brahman is regarded as that by which He has originated the world[3].
  2. The spontaneous agency (kartṛtva) of God is called His majesty (aiśvarya).
  3. His strength (bala) is that by virtue of which He is never fatigued in His untiring exertion.
  4. His energy (vtrya) is that by virtue of which, being the material cause of the world, He yet remains unchanged in Himself.
  5. His self-sufficiency (tejas) is that by virtue of which He creates the world by His own unaided efforts.

These five qualities are, however, all regarded as qualities of knowledge, and knowledge alone is regarded as the essence of God. When such a Brahman, which is of the nature of knowledge and is endowed with all qualities, resolves Himself into the idea of splitting Himself into the many, it is called Sudarśana.

The powers of all things are in themselves of an unspeakable nature and cannot exist separately (a-pṛthak-sthita) from the substances in which they inhere. They are the potential or subtle states of the substance itself, which are not perceived separately in themselves and cannot be defined as “this” or “not this” in any way, but can only be known from their effects[4]. So God has in Him the power (śakti) which exists as undifferentiated from Him, as the moonbeam from the moon.

It is spontaneous, and the universe is but a manifestation of this power.
It is called bliss (ānanda), because it does not depend on anything (nirapekṣatayānanda) ;
it is eternal (nitya), because it is not limited in time;
it is complete (pūrṇa), because it is not limited by any form;
it manifests itself as the world and is therefore called Lakṣmī[5].

It contracts itself into the form of the world and is therefore called Kuṇḍalinī ;
and it is called Viṣṇu-śakti because it is the supreme power of God.

The power is in reality different from Brahman; but yet it appears as one therewith. With this power He is always engaged in an eternal act of creation, untired, unfatigued, and unaided by any other agent (satataṃ kurvato jagat)[6]. The power of God manifests itself in two ways, as static entities such as avyakta, kāla and puruṣa and as activity. Śakti, or power of God as activity (kriyā), is spontaneous and of the nature of will and thought resulting in action[7]. This is also called saṃkalpa, or the Idea, which is irresistible in its movement whereby it produces all material objects and spiritual entities, such as avyakta, kāla and puruṣa[8]. It is this power, which is otherwise designated as lakṣmī or viṣṇu-śakti, that impels the avyakta into the course of evolution, and the puruṣa to confront the products of prakṛti and run through the experiences. When it withdraws these functions from these entities, there is pralaya or dissolution. It is by the force of this power that at the time of creation the prakṛti as the composite of the three guṇas is urged into creative evolution. The association of the puruṣa with the prakṛti also is brought about by the same power. This Idea is vibratory by nature and assumes diverse forms, and thus by its various transformations produces various categories[9].

In the original state all the manifold world of creation was asleep, as it were, in an equilibrium in which all the qualities of God were completely suspended, like the sea when there are no waves ruffling its breast. This power, which exists in an absolutely static or suspended state, is pure vacuity or nothingness (śūnyatva-rūpiṇī)', for it has no manifestation of any kind. It is self-dependent and no reason can be assigned as to why it suddenly changes itself from a potential to an actual state[10]. It is one and exists in identity with the Brahman, or the ultimate reality. It is this power which creates as its own transformation all categories pure and impure and all material forms as emanations from out of itself. It manifests itself as the kriyā, the vīrya, tejas and the bala of God, mere forms of its own expression and in all forms of duality as subject and object, as matter and consciousness, pure and impure, the enjoyer and the enjoyed, the experiencer and the experienced, and so on. When it moves in the progressive order, there is the evolutionary creation; and, when it moves in the inverse order, there is involution.

From a pair of two different functions of this power the dif^ ferent forms of pure creation come into being. Thus from knowledge (jñāna) and the capacity for unceasing work of never-ending creation (bala) we have the spiritual form of Saṃkarṣaṇa. From the function of spontaneous agency (aiśvarya) and the unaffectedness in spite of change (vīrya) is generated the spiritual form of Prad-yumna; and from the power that transforms itself into the world-forms (śakti) and the non-dependence on accessories (tejas) is produced the form as Aniruddha. These three spiritual forms are called vyūha (conglomeration) because each of them is the resultant of the conglomeration of a pair of guṇas. Though the two guṇas predominate in each vyūha, yet each vyūha possesses the six qualities (ṣaḍ-guṇa) of the Lord; for these are all but manifestations of Viṣṇu[11]. Each of these forms existed for 1600 years before the next form emanated from it, and at the time of the involution also it took 1600 years for each lower form to pass into the higher form.

Schrader, alluding to the Mahā-Sanatkumāra-Saṃhitā, says:

“Vāsudeva creates from His mind the white goddess Śānti and together with her Saṃkarṣaṇa or Śiva; then from the left side of the latter is born the red goddess Śrī, whose son is Pradyumna or Brahman; the latter, again, creates the yellow Sarasvatī and together with her Aniruddha or Puruṣottama, whose Śakti becomes the black Rati, who is the threefold Māyā-kośa.[12]

Schrader further draws attention to the fact that these couples are all outside the brahmāṇḍa and are therefore different in nature from the mundane gods, such as Śiva, etc.

The vyūhas are regarded as fulfilling three different functions,

  1. the creation, maintenance and destruction of the world;
  2. the protection of the mundane beings;
  3. and lending assistance to those devotees who seek to attain the ultimate emancipation.

Saṃkarṣaṇa exists as the deity superintending all the individual souls and separates them from the prakṛti[13]. The second spiritual form superintends the minds (manas) of all beings and gives specific instruction regarding all kinds of religious performances. He is also responsible for the creation of all human beings and from among them such beings as have from the beginning dedicated their all to God and become absolutely attached to Him[14]. As Aniruddha, he protects the world and leads men to the ultimate attainment of wisdom. He is also responsible for the creation of the world, which is an admixture of good and evil (miśra-varga-sṛṣṭiṃ ca karoti)[15]. These three forms are in reality but one with Vāsudeva. These avatāras are thus the pure avatāras of Viṣṇu.

In addition to these there are two other forms of manifestation, called āveśāvatāra and sākṣād-avatāra. The former is of two kinds, svarūpāveśa (as in the case of avatāras like Paraśurāma, Rāma, etc.) and śakty-āveśa (as the influx of certain special functions or powers of God, e.g. in the case of Brahmā or Śiva, who are on special occasions endowed with certain special powers of God). These secondary āveśāvatāras are by the will of God produced in the form of human beings, as Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, in the form of animals, as the Boar, the Fish and the Alan-lion, or even as a tree (the crooked mango tree in the Daṇḍaka forest). These forms are not the original transcendental forms of God, but manifest divine functions through the will of God[16]. The primary forms (sākṣād-avatāra) of incarnation are derived directly from the part of the Lord just as a lamp is lighted from another, and they are thus of a transcendent and non-mundane nature. Those who seek to attain liberation should worship these transcendent forms, but not the others[17]. The Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā quoted in the Tattva-traya considers Brahman, Śiva, Buddha, Vyāsa, Arjuna, Pāvaka and Kuvera as inspired persons or āveśāvatāras who should not be worshipped by those who seek liberation. Another saṃhitā quoted there includes Rāma, Atreya and Kapila in the list.

Again, from each vyūha three subsidiary vyūhas are said to appear. Thus from Vāsudeva we have, Keśava, Nārāyaṇa, and Mādh'ava; from Saṃkarṣaṇa arise Govinda, Viṣṇu and Mad-husūdana; from Pradyumna arise Trivikrama, Vāmana and Śrldhara, and from Aniruddha arise Hrṣlkeśa, Padmanābha and Dāmodara. These are regarded as the deities superintending each month, representing the twelve suns in each of the rāśis. These gods are conceived for purposes of meditation. In addition to these, thirty-nine vibhava (manifesting) avatāras (incarnations) also are counted in the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā[18].

The objects for which these incarnations are made are described by Varavara as,

  1. firstly, for giving companionship in mundane forms to those saints who cannot live without it, and this is the interpretation of the word paritrāṇa (protection) in the Gītā;
  2. secondly, for destroying those who are opposed to the saints;
  3. thirdly, for establishing the Vedic religion, the essence of which is devotion to God[19].

In the form as antaryāmin, or the inner controller, the Lord resides in us as the inner controller of the self, and it is through His impulsion that we commit evil deeds and go to Hell or perform good deeds and go to Heaven. Thus we cannot in any way escape from this inner controller. In another of His forms He stays within our heart as the object of our meditation[20]. Again, when certain images are made of earth, stone, or metals, and they are properly installed with proper ceremonials, these are inspired with the presence of God and with His special powers. These are called arcāvatāras, or image-incarnations, for purposes of worship by which all desirable ends may be achieved.

There are thus five kinds of existence for the Lord:

  1. firstly as his absolute state (para),
  2. secondly as vyūha,
  3. thirdly as vibhavāvatāra (primary and secondary),
  4. fourthly as antaryāmin,
  5. and fifthly as arcāvatāra[21].

In the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā we hear also that by the power of sudarśana, or the divine Idea (by the activity of which the vyūha forms are produced), a divine location is produced which is of the nature of knowledge and bliss radiant with its (sudarśana’s) glow. All the experiences that are enjoyed here are blissful in their nature, and the denizens of this transcendent spiritual world who experience them are also blissful in their nature, and their bodies are constituted of knowledge and bliss[22]. The denizens of this world are souls emancipated in the last cycle. They remain attached, however, to the form of the deity to which they were attached in the mundane life[23].

The Lord in the highest form is always associated with His power (Śakti) Lakṣmī or Śrī[24]. In the Tattva-traya and its commentary by Varavara we hear of three consort deities, Lakṣmī, Bhūmi and Nīlā. Schrader points out that these deities are identified (in the Vihagendra-saṃhitā and in the Sītā-upaniṣad) with will (icchā), action (Kriyā), and the direct manifesting power (sākṣāt-śakti). In the Sītā-upaniṣad, to which Schrader refers, Sītā is described as the Mahālakṣmī which exists in the three forms, icchā, jñāna and kriyā. Sītā is there regarded as the power which exists different from, and as one with, the supreme Lord, constituting within herself all the conscious and unconscious entities of the universe. It exists also in three forms as Lakṣmī, Bhūmi and Nīlā, as benediction, power, and as the Sun, the Moon and Fire. The third form is responsible for the development of all kinds of vegetation and all temporal determinations[25].

In the sixth chapter of the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā the intermediate creation is described. It is said there that the power of God as the supreme ego is at once one and different from Him. The Lord cannot exist without His power nor can the power exist without Him. These two are regarded as the ultimate cause of the world. The manifestations that are revealed as the vyūhas and the vibhavas are regarded as pure, for through their meditations the yogins attain their desired end[26]. From the vyūha and the vibhava proceed the impure creation (śuddhetarā-sṛṣṭi)[27]. Power is of two kinds, i.e. power as activity, and power as determinants of being or existence (i bhūti-śakti). This bhūti-śakti may be regarded as a moving Idea (saṃkalpamayī mūrti). The process of activity inherent in it may be regarded as manifesting itself in the form of ideas or concepts actualizing themselves as modes of reality. The impure creation is of a threefold nature as puruṣa, guṇa and kāla (time). Puruṣa is regarded as a unity or colony of pairs of males and females of the four castes, and these four pairs emanate from the mouth, breast, thighs and legs of Pradyumna. From the forehead, eyebrows, and ears of Pradyumna also emanate the subtle causal state of time and the guṇas (sūkṣma-kāla-guṇā-vasthā).

After the emanation of these entities the work of their growth and development was left to Aniruddha, who by the fervour of his Yoga evolved the original element of time in its twofold form as kāla and niyati. He also evolved the original energy as guna into the three forms of sattva, rajas and tamas in succession, i.e. the original primeval energy as guṇa (called sometimes prakrti in cognate literature) was first evolved into sattva guṇa ; from it evolved the rajas, and from the rajas evolved the tamas. This original undeveloped guṇa produced from Pradyumna (which, in other words, may be termed prakṛti) receives impregnation from the fervour of Aniruddha, and thereby evolves itself first into sattva, then into rajas, and then into tamas. This doctrine can therefore be regarded as sat-kārya-vāda only in a limited sense; for without this further impregnation from the fervour of Aniruddha, it could not by itself have produced the different guṇas of sattva, rajas and tamas[28].

Aniruddha, however, was directed by Pradyumna not only to develop the unconscious power (śakti) but also the puruṣa which exists as it were inside that power, which shows itself as niyati (destiny) and kāla (time). From the unconscious power as destiny and time evolves first the sattva and from it the rajas and from the rajas the tamas. According to the Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā, Aniruddha created Brahmā and Brahmā created all the men and women of the four castes[29].

Buddhi evolves from tamas and from that ahaṃkāra and from that evolve the five tan-mātras, and also the eleven senses. From the five tan-mātras the five gross elements are produced, and from these, all things, which are the modifications of the gross elements.

The word puruṣa is used here in a special sense, and not in the ordinary Sāṃkhya sense. Puruṣa here signifies a colony of selves, like cells in a honeycomb[30]. These selves are associated with the beginningless vāsanās or root-impressions. They are but the special manifestations (bhūti-bhedāḥ) of (iod and are in themselves omniscient; hut they are permeated by azidyā (ignorance) and the afflictions which are involved in its very nature, through the power of God acting in consonance with His thought-movement[31]. I hese selves thus rendered impure and finite are called jīvas, and it is they who thus suffer bondage and strive for salvation, which they afterwards attain. The puruṣa, being made up of these selves (jīvas), which are impure, is also partly impure, and is therefore regarded as both pure and impure (śuddhy-aśuddhimaya, vi. 34). This puruṣa contains within it the germs of all human beings, which are called mamis. They are in themselves untouched by afflictions (kleśa) and the root-impression (āśaya), and are omniscient and impregnated through and through by God. Their association with azidyā through the will of God is therefore external.

The germ of the caste-distinction and distinction as male and female is regarded as primordial and transcendent (compare puruṣa-sūkta), and the distinction is said to exist even in these manus which are said to be divided in four pairs. The avidyā imitates the spiritual movement of thought, and through it the individual selves, though pure in themselves, are besmeared with the impurities of root-impressions. These selves remain in the stage of conglomeration or association through the desire of Viṣṇu, the Lord, and this stage is called puruṣa (puruṣa-pada)[32]. They are made to appear and disappear from the nature of God. Being a manifestation of His own nature, they are uncreated, eternally existing, entities which are the parts of the very existence (bhūty-aniśaḥ) of God.

Through the impulse or motivation of the thought-activity of God, an energy (śakti) is generated from Aniruddha. Moved again by the desire of God, the aforesaid manus descend into this energy and remain there as a developing foetus (tiṣṭḥanti kalalībhūtāḥ, VI. 45). The energy of Viṣṇu is of a twofold nature, as dynamic activity (krivākhya) and as determining being (hhūti), the latter being the result of the former[33]. This dynamic activity is different from God, the possessor of this energy. It is designated variously Lakṣmī and desire (saṃkalpa) or free will (svātantrya-mūla icchātmā). This will operates as an intellectual visualization (ptekṣā-rūpaḥ kriyā-phalaḥ), which again produces the other manifestations of God as avyakta, kāla and puruṣa. At the time of each creation He associates the avyakta with the evolutionary tendencies, the kāla with its operative movement (kalana) and the puruṣa with all kinds of experiences. At the time of dissolution these powers are withdrawn.

In the foetus-like condition of the manus in the energy (śakti) of God there exist the entities of guṇa and kāla. Through the operation of the supreme energy or will of God (Viṣṇu-saṃkalpa-coditali) there springs up from time-energy (kāla-śakti) the subtle Destiny (niyati), which represents the universal ordering element (sarva - niyātnakaḥ). The time and guṇa exist in the womb of the śakti. The conception of this śakti is thus different from that of prakṛti of the Sāṃkhya-Pātañjala in that the guṇas are the only root-elements, and time is conceived as somehow included in the operation of the guṇas. As the niyati is produced from the time-energy, the manus descend into this category. Later on there springs from niyati, time (kāla) through the will of God, and then the manus descend again into this category[34]. It has already been said that the kāla energy and guṇa are co-existing elements in the primordial śakti of God. Now this guṇa potential manifests itself in a course of gradual emergence through time. As the sattva-guṇa first manifests itself through time, the manus descend into that category and later on, with the emergence of rajas from sattva and of tamas from rajas, they descend into the rajas and the tamas. The emergence of rajas from sattva and of tamas from rajas is due to the operation of the will-activity of God (viṣṇu-saṃkalpa-coditāt).

Though the will-dynamic of Viṣṇu is both immanent and transcendent throughout the process of succeeding emergents, yet

  1. Viṣṇu is regarded as specially presiding over sattva,
  2. Brahmā over rajas,
  3. and Rudra over tamas.

Tamas is regarded as

  • heavy (guru),
  • agglutinative (viṣṭam-bhana),
  • delusive (mohana)
  • and statical (apravṛttimat) ;

rajas is always moving and sorrowful;

sattva is described as light, transparent and devoid of impurities or defects and pleasurable[35].

With the development of the three guṇas through the will of God, a part of these guṇas attains sameness of character, and this part is the unity of

  1. the three guṇas (traiguṇya),
  2. the equilibrium of guṇas (guṇa-sāmya),
  3. ignorance (avidyā),
  4. nature (svabhāva),
  5. cause (yoni),
  6. the unchangeable (akṣara),
  7. the causeless (ayoni),
  8. and the cause as guṇa (guṇa-yoni)[36].

This participation in equal proportions (anyūnānatirikta) of the guṇas in a state of equilibrium (guṇa-sāmya), which is essentially of the nature of tamas (tamomaya), is called the root (mūla) and the prakṛti by the Sāṃkhyists, and the tnanus descending into that category by gradual stages are known by the names conglomeration (samaṣṭi), puruṣa, the cause (yoni), and the unchangeable (kūtastha). The category of time, which is the transforming activity of the world (jagataḥ saṃprakalanam), associates and dissociates the puruṣa and the prakṛti for the production of the effects. The thought power of God, however, works through the tripartite union of time, prakṛti and the tnanus, behaving as the material cause, like a lump of clay, and produces all the categories beginning with mahat to the gross elements of earth, water, etc. Like water or clay, the prakṛti is the evolutionary or material cause, the puruṣa is the unchangeable category that contributes to the causal operation merely by its contiguity[37].

The category of time is the internal dynamic pervading the prakṛti and the puruṣa. The trinity of prakṛti, puruṣa and kāla is the basis for the development of all the succeeding categories. In this trinity prakṛti is the evolutionary cause that undergoes the transformation, puruṣa, though unmoved in itself, is that which by its very presence gives the occasion for the transformation, and time is the inner dynamic that behaves as the inner synthetic or structural cause. But these causes in themselves are not sufficient to produce the development of the trinity. The trinity is moved to develop on the evolutionary line by the spiritual activity of God. Puruṣa is regarded as the adhiṣṭhāna-kāraṇa, kāla as the principle of inner activity, and the spiritual activity of God as the transcendent and immanent agent in which the causal trinity finds its fundamental active principle.

As the first stage of such a development there emerges the category of mahat, which is called by different names, e.g.

According to the prominence of tamas, sattva and rajas, the category of mahat is known by three different names, kāla, buddhi and prāṇa, in accordance with the moments in which there are special manifestations of tamas, sattva and rajas[38]. Gross time as moments, instants or the like, the intelligizing activity of thought (buddhi) and the volitional activity (prāṇa) may also be regarded as the tripartite distinction of mahat[39]. There seems to be a tacit implication here that the activity implied in both thought and volition is schematized, as it were, through time. The unity of thought and volition is effected through the element of time; for time has been regarded as the kalana-kāraṇa, or the structural cause.

The sattva side of the mahat manifests itself as

  • virtue (dharma),
  • knowledge (jñāna),
  • disinclination (vairāgya),
  • and all mental powers (aiśvarya).

The opposite of these is associated with that moment of mahat which is associated with the manifestation of tamas.

With the evolution of the mahat the manus descend into it. From the mahat and in the mahat there spring the senses by which the objects are perceived as existent or non-existent[40].

Again, from and in the mahat there springs the ahaṃkāra through the influence of the spiritual energy of God[41]. This ahaṃkāra is also called by the names of

The ahaṃkāra is of three kinds,

  1. vaikārika,
  2. taijasa
  3. and bhūtādi,

in accordance with the predominance of sattva, rajas or tamas.

The ahaṃkāra manifests itself as

  • will,
  • anger,
  • greed,
  • mind (manas),
  • and desire (tṛṣā).

When the ahaṃkāra is produced, the matins descend into it.

From ahaṃkāra there is then produced the organ of thinking (cintanātmakam indriyam) of the manus called manas. It is at this stage that the manus first become thinking entities.

From the tamas side of ahaṃkāra as bhūtādi there is produced the śabda-tan-mātra, from which the ākāśa is produced. Akāśa is associated with the quality of śabda and gives room for all things. Ākāśa is thus to be regarded as unoccupied space, which is supposed to be associated with the quality of sound[42]. With the emergence of ākāśa the manus descend into that category.

From the vaikārika ahaṃkāra there spring the organs of hearing and of speech[43]. The manus at this stage become associated with these senses.

Then from the bhūtādi, by the spiritual desire of God, the touch-potential is produced, and from this is produced the air (vāyu). By the spiritual desire of God the sense-organ of touch and the active organ of the hand are produced from the vaikārika ahaṃkāra. At this stage the manus become associated with these two receptive and active senses.

From the bhūtādi there is then produced the light-heat potential from which is produced the gross light-heat. Again, from the vaikārika ahaṃkāra the visual organ and the active organ of the feet are produced, and the manus are associated with them.

From the bhūtādi the taste-potential is produced, and from it is produced water. Further, from the vaikārika ahaṃkāra there is produced the taste-organ and the sex-organ, and the manus are associated with them.

From the bhūtādi thjre is produced the odour-potential and from it the earth. Also, from the vaikārika ahaṃkāra there arises the cognitive sense of smelling and the active sense of secretion. The manus at this stage descend into this category through the spiritual creative desire of God[44].

The process of development herein sketched shows that one active sense and one cognitive sense arise together with the development of each category of matter, and with the final development of all the categories of matter there develop all the ten senses (cognitive and conative) in pairs. In the chapter on the gradual dissolution of the categories we see that with the dissolution of each category of matter a pair of senses also is dissolved.

The implication of this seems to be that there is at each stage a co-operation of the material categories and the cognitive and conative senses. The selves descend into the different categories as they develop in the progressive order of evolution, and the implication of this probability is that the selves, having been associated from the beginning with the evolution of the categories, may easily associate themselves with the senses and the object of the senses. When all the categories of matter and the ten senses are developed, there are produced the function of imagination, energy of will (saṃrambhd), and the five prāṇas from manas, ahaṃkāra and buddhi ; and through their development are produced all the elements that may co-operate together to form the concrete personality[45]. The order followed in the process of development in evolution was maintained in an inverse manner at the time of dissolution.

The above-mentioned manus produce in their wives many children, who are called mānavas. They in their turn produce many other children who are called the new mānavas, or the new men, in all the four castes. Those among them who perform their work for a hundred years with true discriminative knowledge enter into the supreme person of Hari. Those, however, who perform their karmas with motives of reaping their effects pass through rebirths in consonance with their actions. As has been said before, the manus may be regarded as the individuated forms of the original kūtastha puruṣa. All the jīvas are thus but parts of Viṣṇu’s own self-realizing being (bhūty-aṃśa). Now the prakṛti, which is also called vidyā, and which at the time of the creative process showers itself as rain and produces the food-grains, and which at the beginning of the dissolution shows itself as a drying force, begins to manifest itself as showering clouds and produces the food-grains.

By consuming the food thus produced by nature men fall from their original state of perfect knowledge (jñāna-bhraṃśaṃ prapadyante). At such a stage the original manus produce the scriptures for the guidance of those men who have fallen from their original omniscience. Thence men can only attain their highest goal by following the guidance of the scriptures[46]. It thus appears that the power of Viṣṇu as consciousness, bliss and action splits itself into twofold form as the realizing activity and the object, called respectively the bhāvaka and the bhāvya. The former is the thought-activity of the Lord and the latter is that part of Him w hich manifests itself as the object of this activity. This leads to the pure and the impure creation. The kūtastha puruṣa of the four manus stands intermediate between the pure and the impure creation[47]. There is nothing whatsoever outside the sphere of the Sudarśana śakti of the Lord.

On the central question of the relation of God with the jīvas the general view of the Pañcarātra, as well as that of the Ahirbudhnya, seems to be that at the time of dissolution they return to God and remain in a potential form in Him, but again separate out at the time of the new creation. At the time of emancipation, however, they enter into God, never to come out of Him. But though they enter into Him, they do not become one with Him, but have an independent existence in Him or enter into the abode of Viṣṇu, the Vaikuṇtha, which is often regarded as identical with Him. This is probably a state of what is found in many places described as the sālokya-mukti. In the fourteenth chapter of the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā mukti is described as the attainment of Godhood (bhaga - vattā-mayī mukti, or vaiṣṇavani tad ziśet padam)[48]. The means by which mukti can be attained is said to be a virtuous course of action without seeking any selfish ends[49].

The jīvas are described as begin-ningless, infinite, and as pure consciousness and bliss, and as being largely of the nature of God (bhagavanmaya); but still they are described as owing their existence to the spiritual energy of God (bhagavad-bhāvitāḥ sadā)[50]. This idea is further clarified when it is said that side by side with the bhāvya and the bhāvaka powers of God we have a third power called the puṃ-śakti, of which we hear in the Gītā as Kṣetrajña-śakti and in the Gaudīya school as tatastha śakti[51]. Apart from the three powers of God as creation, maintenance and destruction, He has a fourth and a fifth power called favour (( anugraha) and disfavour (nigraha). The Lord is, of course, self-realized and has no unachieved end, and has absolutely unimpeachable independence; but still in His playful activity He acts like a king just as He wishes[52]. This idea of krīḍā is repeated in the Gauḍīya school as līlā. All these activities of His are but the different manifestations of His thought-activity called sudarśana.

In His own playful activity as disfavour He covers up the natural condition of the jīva, so that in place of His infinitude, he appears as atomic, in place of His omnipotence, he can do but little, in place of His omniscience, He becomes largely ignorant and possesses but little knowledge. These are the three impurities and the three types of bondage. Through this covering activity the jīva is afflicted with ignorance, egoism, attachment, antipathy, etc. Being afflicted by ignorance and the passions, and being goaded by the tendency towards achieving the desirable and avoiding the undesirable, He performs actions leading to beneficial and harmful results. He thus undergoes the cycle of birth and rebirth, and is infested with different kinds of root-instincts (vāsanā).

It is through the power of this bondage and its requirements that the powers of creation, maintenance and destruction are roused and made active to arrange for rewards and punishments in accordance with the karmas of the jīvas. As proceeding from the very playful nature of God, which precedes time (kāla), and is beginningless, the bondage also is said to be beginningless. The above description of bondage as happening at some time through a process of fall from original nature is by way of analysis of the situation. Through the power of God as anugraha, or grace, God stops the course of karma for a jīva on whose condition of sorrow and suffering He happens to take pity. With the cessation of the good and bad deeds and their beneficent and harmful results through the grace of God the jīva looks forward to emancipation and is moved by a feeling of disinclination and begins to have discriminative knowledge. He then turns to scriptures and to teachers., follows the course of action dictated by Sāṃkhya and Yoga, and attains the Vedāntic knowledge, finally to enter the ultimate abode of Viṣṇu.

Lakṣmī is regarded as the ultimate eternal power of Viṣṇu, and she is also called by the names Gaurī, Sarasvatī and Dhenu. It is this supreme power that manifests itself as Saṃkarṣaṇa, Pradyumna and Aniruddha. Thus, these separate powers are observable only when they manifest themselves, but even when they do not manifest themselves they exist in God as His great supreme power Lakṣmī. It is this Lakṣmī that is called Brahmā, Viṣṇu, or Śiva. The vyakti, avyakti, puruṣa and kāla or sāṃkhya and yoga are all represented in the Lakṣmī. Lakṣmī is the ultimate supreme power into which all the others resolve themselves. As distinct from the other manifested powers it is often called the fifth power. The emancipated person enters into this Lakṣmī, which is regarded as the highest abode of Viṣṇu (paraṃ dhāma or paramaṃ padam), or the highest Brahman. This power (śakti) is also regarded as having an inner feeling of bliss; and yet it is of the nature of bliss, and is designated as the bhāva form of Viṣṇu and also as the ujjvala (shining). This śakti is also regarded as discharging the five functions (pañca-kṛtya-karī) of creation, maintenance, destruction, grace and disfavour mentioned above.

Brahman, as associated with this śakti, is called the highest Viṣṇu as distinguished from the lower Viṣṇu, the god of maintenance. This śakti is always in a state of internal agitation though it may not be observed as such from outward appearance. This internal agitation and movement are so subtle that they may appear to be in a state of absolute calmness like that of the ocean[53]. Thus śakti is also called the māyā of Viṣṇu[54]. It is a part of this power that transforms itself as the bhavya and the bhāvaka śakti, of which the latter is also known by the name sudarśana. The bhāvya shows itself as the world, and its objective import is the world.

The thought-activity by which the concept shows itself in the ideal and in the objective world as thought and its significance, the object, is the epitome of the power of Sudarśana. When all the external movement of the objective is ideally grasped in the word, we have also in it the manifestation of the power of Sudarśana, or the supreme thought-activity of God. All the causality of the objective world is but a mode of the manifestation of the Sudarśana power. Thus not only all the movements of the external world of nature and the movement implied in speech, but the subjective-objective movement by which the world is held together in thought and in speech are the manifestation of the Sudarśana power. All expressions or manifestations are either in the way of qualities or actions, and both are manifestations of the Sudarśana power of God. Our words can signify only these two ways of being. For this reason they refer only to the Sudarśana, which is attributive to God, but cannot express the nature of God. Words, therefore, cannot reveal the nature of God. The word may hold the universe within it as its mystic symbol and may represent within it all its energies, but, in any case, though it may engulf within it the whole universe and secure the merging of the universe in itself and can identify itself with God, 'such identification can only be with the Sudarśana power of God, and the entrance into God, or the realization of Him through the word or thought, can only be through the Sudarśana power, which is a part of Lakṣmī. Thus unity with God can only mean union with Sudarśana, or entrance into Lakṣmī[55].

Adoration (namaḥ) means the spontaneous acceptance of the highest Lord as the master on the part of a man who has achieved it through a wise enlightenment[56]. Superiority (jyāyān) consists of greatness of qualities and existence in earlier time[57]. God alone is superior, and everything else is inferior. The relation between the latter and the former is that the latter exists for the former or is dependent on the former. This relation is called (śeṣa-śeṣitā). The relation between the two is that one should be the adorer and the other the adored (nantṛ-nantavya-bhāva). True adoration is when such an adoration proceeds naturally as a result of such a relation, without any other motive or end of any kind—the only idea being that God is supremely superior to me and I am absolutely inferior to Him[58].

This process of adoration not only takes the adorer to God, but also brings God to him. The presence of any motive of any kind spoils the effectuation of the adoration. This adoration is the first part of the process of prapatti, or seeking the protection of God[59]. Now on account of the presence of beginningless root-impressions (vāsanā), and of natural insignificance of power and association with impurity, man’s power of knowledge or wisdom becomes obstructed; and when a man becomes fully conscious of such weakness, he acquires the quality of kārpaṇya or lowliness. A feeling or consciousness of one’s independence obstructs this quality of lowliness.

The great faith that the supreme God is always merciful is called the quality of mahā-ziśvāsa. The idea that God is neutral and bestows His gifts only in proportion to one’s deeds obstructs this quality. The idea that, since He is all-merciful and all-powerful, He would certainly protect us, produces the quality of faith in God’s protective power. The notion that God, being qualityless, is indifferent to any appeal for protection obstructs this quality. Acceptance of the Lord as the supreme master whose commands should on no account be disobeyed produces the quality of docility (prātikūlya-vivarjana). Service of God in a manner not prescribed in the scriptures obstructs this quality. The strong resolve of the mind to work in accordance with God’s wishes, with the full conviction that the sentient and the non-sentient of the world are but parts of His nature, produces the quality of submission. An inimical disposition towards the beings of the world obstructs this quality. A true adoration (namoḥ) to God must be associated with all the aforesaid qualities.

True adoration must carry with it the conviction that the sense of possession that we have in all things, due to beginningless instinctive passions and desires, is all false, and the adorer should feel that he has neither independence nor anything that he may call his own.

“My body, my riches, my relations do not belong to me, they all belong to God”;

such is the conviction that should generate the spirit with which the adoration should be offered. The adorer should feel that the process of adoration is the only way through which he can obtain his highest realization, by offering himself to God and by drawing God to himself at the same time. The purpose of adoration is thus the supreme self-abnegation and self-offering to God, leaving nothing for oneself. The world comes out of God and yet exists in a relation of inherence, so that He is both the agent and the material cause of the world, and the adorer must always be fully conscious of the greatness of God in all its aspects.

The above doctrine of prapatti, or nyāsa, or śaraṇā-gati, as the means of winning God’s grace, has also been described in Chapter xxvii and it virtually means the qualities just described[60], śaraṇā-gati is here defined as prayer for God’s help in association with the conviction of one’s being merged in sin and guilt, together with a belief in one’s absolute helplessness and a sense of being totally lost without the protecting grace of God[61]. The person who takes to the path of this prapatti achieves the fruits of all tapas, sacrifices, pilgrimages and gifts, and attains salvation easily without resorting to any other methods[62]. It is further said that on the part of the devotee following the path of prapatti all that is necessary is to stick firmly to the attitude of absolute dependence on God, associated with a sense of absolute helplessness. He has no efforts to make other than to keep himself in the prayerful spirit; all the rest is done by God. Prapatti is thus a upāya-jñāna and not a upāya\ for it is a mental attitude and does not presuppose any action. It is like a boat on which the passenger merely sits, while it is the business of the boatman to do the rest[63].

Describing the process of pure creation, it is said that at the time of pralaya all effects are reduced to a dormant state, and there is no movement of any kind. All the six qualities of the Lord, namely jñāna, śakti, bala, aiśvarya, vīrya and tejas described above, are in a state of absolute calmness like the sky without a puff of air in it[64]. This assemblage of powers in a state of calmness is Lakṣml, which exists as it were like the very void. From its own spontaneity it seems to wish to burst forth and turn itself into active operations. This power of God, though differentiated from Him, may be regarded as being His very nature. It is only when it thus comes out in active forms that it can be recognized as power, or śakti. When embedded in the potential form, it is indistinguishable from the Lord Himself. These guṇas of God should not, however, be confused with the guṇas of prakṛti, which evolve at a much lower stage in the course of the process of impure creation.

As regards the vyūhas, it is said that Saṃkarṣaṇa carries in him the whole universe, as if it were a spot at the parting of the hairs (tilakālaka). The universe as it exists in Saṃkarṣaṇa is still in an unmanifested form. He is the support of the universe (aśeṣa - bhuvana-dhara)[65]. The tnanus, time and prakṛti came out of Pradyumna[66]. It is through the influence of Pradyumna that men are actuated to perform their work in accordance with the śāstras[67]. Aniruddha, also called Mahā-viṣṇu, is the god of power and energy, and it is through his efforts that the creation and the maintenance of the world are possible. It is he who makes the world grow[68]. It is through him that the world lives without fear and ultimate salvation is possible. According to Śaṅkara’s account Saṃkarṣaṇa stands for the individual soul, Pradyumna for manas and Aniruddha for the Ego (ahaṃkāra)[69]. Such a view is rather rare in the existing Pañcarātra literature.

In the Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā, as quoted in the Tattva-traya, it is said that Saṃkarṣaṇa acts as the superintendent of the souls, and Pradyumna is described as manomaya or the mind, but nothing is said about Aniruddha. In the Lakṣmī-tantra, vi. 9-14, it is said that Saṃkarṣaṇa was like the soul, buddhi and manas and Vāsudeva, the playful creative activity. In the Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā Aniruddha is regarded as the creator of the miśra-varga (pure-impure creation, such as niyati), etc., and Saṃkarṣaṇa is regarded as the being who separated the principle of life from nature and became Pradyumna. But in the Ahirbudhnya the difference between the puruṣa and prakṛti starts in the Pradyumna stage, and not in the Saṃkarṣaṇa stage, and Aniruddha is regarded in the Ahirbudhnya as the superintendent of the sattva and therethrough of all that come from it and the manus[70].

According to the Ahirbudhnya Lakṣmī is described as the power of God, but according to Uttara-nārāyana we have Lakṣmī and Bhūmi, and according to the Tattva-traya Lakṣmī, Bhūmi and Nīlā. In the Vihagendra-saṃhitā, 11. 8, these three are regarded as icchā, kriyā and sākṣāt-śakti of the Devī. In the Sītā-upaniṣad also we have the same interpretation, and this is also associated there with Vaikhānasa tradition.

The Vihagendra speaks of the eight śaktis of Sudarśana,

  1. kīrti,
  2. śrī,
  3. vijayā,
  4. śraddhā,
  5. smṛti,
  6. medhā,
  7. dhṛti
  8. and kṣamā,

and in the Sātrata-saṃhitā (ix. 85) we hear of the twelve śaktis emanating from the Śrīvatsa of Viṣṇu: these are

  1. lakṣmī,
  2. puṣṭi,
  3. dayā,
  4. nidrā,
  5. kṣamā,
  6. kānti,
  7. sarasvatī,
  8. dhṛti,
  9. maitrī,
  10. rati,
  11. tuṣṭi
  12. and mati.

The Pañcarātra is based partly on the Vedic and partly on the Tāntric system[71]. It therefore believes in the esoteric nature of the mantras. It has already been said that the world has come into being from the Sudarśana power; so all the natural, physical and other kinds of energies and powers of all things in the world are but manifestation of the Sudarśana. The power of the Sudarśana also manifests itself in the form of all living beings and of all that is inanimate, of the course of bondage and also of emancipation. Whatever is able to produce is to be regarded as the manifestation of Sudarśana[72].

The mantras are also regarded as the energy of Viṣṇu as pure consciousness[73]. The first manifestation of this power, like a long-drawn sound of a bell, is called nāda, and it can only he perceived by the great yogins. The next stage, like a hubble on the ocean, is called bindu, which is the identity of a name and the objective power denoted by it. The next stage is the evolution of the objective power (nāmy-udaya), which is also called Sabda-brahman. Thus, with the evolution of every alphabetic sound there is also the evolution of the objective power of which it is the counterpart.

Ahirbudhnya then goes on to explain the evolution of the different vowel and consonant sounds from the bindu-power. By fourteen efforts there come the fourteen vowels emanating through the dancing of the serpent power (Kuṇḍalī-śakti) of Viṣṇu[74]. By its twofold subtle power it behaves as the cause of creation and destruction. This power rises in the original locus (mūlā-dhāra) and, when it comes to the stage of the navel, it is called paśyantī and is perceived by the yogins. It then proceeds to the lotus of the heart and then passes through the throat as the audible sound.

The energy of the vowel sounds passes through the suṣumnā nādī. In this way the different consonant sounds are regarded as the prototypes of different manifestations of world-energy, and these again are regarded as the symbols of different kinds of gods or superintendents of energy[75]. An assemblage of some of these alphabets in different orders and groups, called also the lotus or the wheel (cakra), would stand for the assemblage of different types of complex powers. The meditation and worship of these cakras would thus be expected to bring the objective powers typified lu them under control. The different gods are thus associated with the different cakras of mantras;, and by far the largest portion of the Pañcarātra literature is dedicated to the description of the rituals associated with these, the building of corresponding images, and the temples for these subsidiary deities. The meditation of these mantras is also regarded as playing diverse protective functions.

In consonance with the ordinary method of the Tantric works the Ahirbudhnya describes the nervous system of the body. The root (kāṇḍa) of all the nerves is said to be at about nine inches above the penis. It is an egg-shaped place four inches in length and breadth and made up of fat, flesh, bone and blood. Just two inches below the penis and about two inches from the anus we have a place which is called the middle of the body (śarīra-madhya), or simply the middle (madhya). It is like a quadrilateral figure, which is also called the āgneya-maṇḍala. The place of the root of the nāḍīs is also called the navel-wheel (nābhi-cakra), which has twelve spokes. Round the nābhi-cakra there exists the serpent (kuṇḍalī) with eight mouths, stopping the aperture called brahma-randhra of the suṣumnā by its body[76].

In the centre of the cakra there are the two nāḍīs called

  1. the alambuṣa
  2. and suṣumṇā.

On the different sides of the suṣumnā there are the following nāḍīs:

But there are on the whole 72,000 nāḍīs in the body. Of these, Iḍā, Piṅgalā and suṣumṇā are the most important. Of these, again, suṣumṇā, which goes to the centre of the brain, is the most important. As a spider remains inside the meshes of its thread, so the soul, as associated with prāṇa or life-force, exists inside this navel-wheel. The suṣumṇā has five openings, of which four carry blood, while the central aperture is closed by the body of the Kuṇḍalī. Other nāḍīs are shorter in size and are connected with the different parts of the body. The Iḍā and the Piṅgalā are regarded as being like the sun and the moon of the body.

There are ten vāyus, or bio-motor forces of the body, called

  1. prāṇa,
  2. apāna,
  3. samāna,
  4. udāna,
  5. vyāna,
  6. nāga,
  7. kūrma,
  8. kṛkara,
  9. devadatta
  10. and dhanañjaya.

The prāṇa vāyu remains in the navel-wheel, but it manifests itself in the regions of the heart, mouth ard the nose. The apāna vāyu works in the anus, penis, thighs, the legs, the belly, the testes, the lumbar region, the intestines, and in fact performs the functions of all the lower region. The vyāna exists between the eyes and the ears, the toes, nose, throat and the spine. The udāna works in the hands and the samāna through the body as a whole, probably discharging the general circulation[77].

The function of the prāṇa is to discharge the work of respiration; that of the vyāna, to discharge the work of turning about towards a thing or away from it. The function of the udāna is to raise or lower the body, that of the samāna, to feed and develop it. The function of eructation or vomiting is performed by the nāga zāyu, and devadatta produces sleep and so on. These nāḍīs are to be purified by inhaling air by the iḍā for as long as is required to count from i to 16. This breath is to be held long enough to count from 1 to 32, and in the interval some formsof meditation are to be carried on. Then the yogin should inhale air in the same manner through the piṅgalā and hold that also in the same way. He should then exhale the breath through the Iḍā. He should practise this for three months thrice a day, three times on each occasion, and thus his nāḍīs will be purified and he will be able to concentrate his mind on the zāyus all over his body.

In the process of the prāṇāyāma he should inhale air through the Iḍā long enough to count from 1 to 16. Then the breath is to be retained as long as possible, and the specific mantra is to be meditated upon; and then the breath is to be exhaled out by the piṅgalā for the time necessary to count from 1 to 16. Again, he has to inhale through the Piṅgalā, retain the breath and exhale through the Iḍā. Gradually the period of retention of the breath called kumbhaka is to be increased. He has to practise the prāṇāyāma sixteen times in course of the day. This is called the process of prāṇāyāma. As a result of this, he may enter the stage of samādhi, by which he may attain all sorts of miraculous powers, just as one may by the meditation of the wheel of mantras.

But before one begins the purification of the nāḍīs described above one should practise the various postures (āsanas) of which cakra, padma, kūrma, mayūra, kukkuta, zīra, svastika, bhadra, simha, mukta and gomukha are described the Ahirbudhnya. The practice of these postures contributes to the good health of the yogins. But these physical practices are of no avail unless one turns to the spiritual side of yoga. Yoga is defined as the union of the lower and the higher soul[78].

Two ways for the attainment of the highest reality are described in the Ahirbudhnxa

1) one is that of self-offering or self-abnegation (ātma-samarpaṇa or hṛd-yāga) through the meditation on the highest in the form of some of His powers, as this and that specific deity, by the practice of the mantras ;

2) and the other is that of the yoga[79]. Ahirbudhnya, however, concentrates its teachings on the former, and mentions the latter in only one of its chapters.

There are two types of soul,

  1. one within the influence of the prakṛti
  2. and the other beyond it.

The union with the highest is possible through karma and yoga.

Karma is again of two kinds,

  1. that which is prompted by desires (pravartaka)
  2. and that which is prompted by cessation of desires (nivartaka).

Of these only the latter can lead to emancipation, while the former leads to the attainment of the fruits of desires.

The highest soul is described as

  • the subtle (sūkṣma),
  • all-pervading (sarva-ga),
  • maintaining all (sarva-bhṛt),
  • pure consciousness (jñāna-rūpa),
  • without beginning and end (anādy-ananta),
  • changeless (a-vikārin),
  • devoid of all cognitive or conative senses,
  • devoid of names and class-notions,
  • without colour and quality,
  • yet knowing all and pervading all,
  • self-luminous and yet approachable through intuitive wisdom,
  • and the protector of all[80].

The yoga by which a union of our lower souls with this highest reality can be effected has the well-known eight accessories,

  1. yama,
  2. niyama,
  3. āsana,
  4. prāṇāyāma,
  5. pratyāhāra,
  6. dhāraṇa,
  7. dhyāna
  8. and samādhi.

Of these,

yama is said to consist of

  • beneficial and yet truthful utterance (satya),
  • suffering at the sufferings of all beings (dayā),
  • remaining fixed in one’s path of duty even in the face of dangers (dhṛti),
  • inclination of all the senses to adhere to the path of right conduct (śauca),
  • absence of lust (brahma-carya),
  • remaining unruffled even when there is a real cause of anger or excitement (kṣamā),
  • uniformity of thoughts, deeds and words (ārjava),
  • taking of unprohibited food (mitāhāra),
  • absence of greed for the property of others (asteya),
  • cessation from doing injury to others by word, deed or thought (ahiṃsā)[81].

Niyama is described as

  • listening to Vedāntic texts (siddhānta-śravaṇa),
  • gifts of things duly earned to proper persons (dāna),
  • faith in scriptural duties (mati),
  • worship of Viṣṇu through devotion (īśvara-pūjana),
  • natural contentment with whatever one may have (santoṣa),
  • asceticism (tapaḥ),
  • faith in the ultimate truth being attainable only through the Vedas (āstikya),
  • shame in committing prohibited actions (hṛī),
  • muttering of mantras (japa),
  • acceptance of the path dictated by the good teacher (vrata)[82].

Though the Yoga is here described as the union of the lower and the higher soul, the author of the Ahirbudhnya was aware of the yogānuśāsana of Patañjali and his doctrine of Yoga as the repression of mental states (citta-vṛtti-nirodha)[83].

The Ahirbudhnya defines pramā as the definite knowledge of a thing as it really exists ( yathārthā-vadhāraṇam), and the means by which it is attained is called pramāṇa.

That which is sought to be discovered by the pramāṇas as being beneficial to man is called pramāṇārtha.

This is of two kinds,

  1. that which is supremely and absolutely beneficial,
  2. and that which indirectly leads thereto,

and as such is called hita and sādhana.

Oneness wūth God, which is supremely blissful, is what is called supremely beneficial (hita). Two ways that lead to it are those of dharma and jñāna. This knowledge is of two kinds, as direct intuition (sākṣātkāra) and as indirect or inferential (parokṣa).

Dharma is the cause of knowledge, and is of two kinds, one which leads directly, and the other indirectly, to worship of God. Self-offering or self-abnegation with reference to God is called indirect dharma, while the way in which the Yogin directly realizes God is called the direct dharma, such as is taught in the Pañcarātra literature, called the sātvata-śāsana. By the Sāṃkhya path one can have only the indirect knowledge of God, but through Yoga and Vedānta one can have a direct intuition of God. Emancipation (mokṣa) is as much an object of attainment through efforts (sādhya) as dharma, artha and kāma, though the last three are also mutually helpful to one another[84].

Footnotes and references:


sudarśana-svarūpaṃ tat procyamānaṃ mayā śṛṇu
śrute yatra khilādhāre saṃśayās te na santi vai.
III. 2. 5.


ajadaṃ svā-tma-saṃbodhi nityaṃ sarvā-vagāhanaṃ
jñānaṃ nāma guṇaṃ prāhuḥ prathamaṃ guṇa-cintakāḥ
svarūpaṃ Brāhmaṇas tac ca guṇaś ca parigīyate.
in. 2. 53.


jagat-prakṛti-bhāvo yaḥ sā śaktiḥ parikīrtitā.
2. 57.


śaktayah sarva-bhāvānām acintyā a-pṛthak-sthitāḥ
svarūpe naiva driyante dṛśyante kāryatas tu tāḥ
sūkṣmāvasthā hi sā teṣāṃ sarva-bhāvā-nugāminī
idantayā vidhātuṃ sā na niṣeddhuṃ ca śakyate.
2, 3.


jagattayā lakṣyamāṇā sā lakṣmīr iti gīyate.
III. 9.


Ibid. III. 59.


svātantrya-mūla icchā-tmā prekṣā-rūpaḥ kriyā-phalaḥ.
III. 30.


unmeṣo yaḥ susaṃkalpaḥ sarvatrāvyāhataḥ kṛtau
avyakta-kāla-puṃ-rūpāṃ cetanācetanātmikām.
ill. 30, 31.


so’yaṃ sudarśanaṃ nāma saṃkalpaḥ spandanā-tmakaḥ
vibhajya bahudhā rūpaṃ bhāve bhāve’vatiṣṭḥate.

     Ibid. III. 39.


tasya staimitya-rūpā yā śaktiḥ śūnyatva-rūpiṇī
svātantryād eva kasmāc cit kvacit sonmeṣam ṛcchati
ātma-bhūtā hi yā śaktiḥ parasya brahmaṇo hareḥ.
v. 3 and 4.


vyāpti-mātraṃ guṇo’ nmeṣo mūrtti-kāra iti tridhā
cātur-ātmya-sthitir viṣṇor guṇa-vyatikaro-dbhavā.
v. 21.


Introduction to the Pañcarātra by Schrader, p. 36.


so'yaṃ samasta-jīvānām adhiṣṭhātṛtayā sthītaḥ
saṃkarṣaṇas tu deveśo jagat sṛṣṭi-manās tataḥ
jīva-tattvam adhiṣṭhāya prakṛtes tu vivicya tat.

Quoted from Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā from Varavara’s commentary on Lokācārya’s Tattva-traya, p. 125.


See quotations from Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā in Tattva-traya, pp. 126, 127.


Ibid. p. 128.


mad-icchayā hi gauṇatvaṃmanuṣyatvamive'cchayā. . . a-prākṛta-svā-sādhār-aṇa-vigraheṇa saha nāgatam. . . gauṇasya manuṣyatfā-divad aprākrta-divya-satmthānam itara-jātīyaṃ kṛtvā avatāra-rūpatvā-bhāvāt sva-rūpeṇanagatam iti siddham.
p. 130.


prādurbhāvās tu mukhyā ye mad-aṃśatvād viśeṣataḥ
ajahat-svabhāvā vibhavā divyā-prākrta-vigrahāḥ
dīpād dīpā ivotpannā jagato rakṣaṇāya te
arcyā eva hi seneśa sanisṛty-uttaraṇāya te
mukhyā upāsyāḥ seneśa anarcyān itarān viduḥ.
p. 131.


Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, p. 46. According to the Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā all the avatāras have come straight from Aniruddha or through other avatāras. Thus Brahman comes from Aniruddha and from him Maheśvara; Hayaśīrsa comes from Matsya, a manifestation of Kṛṣṇa.

According to the Padma-tantra,

  • Matsya, Kūrma and Varāha come from Vāsudeva,
  • Nṛsiṃha, Vāmana, Śrīrāma, and Paraśurāma from Samkarsana,
  • Balarāma from Pradyumna
  • and Kṛṣṇa and Kalki from Aniruddha

(Padma-tantra, 1. 2. 31, etc.).

But according to the Lakṣmī-tantra (11. 55) all the vibhavas come from Aniruddha. There is another kind of avatāra, called arcāvatāra. The image of Kṛṣṇa, Nṛsiṃha, etc., when duly consecrated according to the Vaiṣṇava rites, becomes possessed with the power of Visnu and attains powers and influences which can be experienced by the devotee (Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā, quoted in Tattva-traya). In the aspect in which Aniruddha controls all beings as their inner controller, he is regarded as the antaryāmy-avatāra.

There are thus four kinds of avatāras,

  1. vibhava,
  2. āveśa,
  3. arcā
  4. and antary-āmin.

The thirty-nine vibhava avatāras are

  1. Padmanābha,
  2. Dhruva,
  3. Ananta,
  4. Śaktyātman,
  5. Madhusūdana,
  6. Vidyādhideva,
  7. Kapila,
  8. Viśvarūpa,
  9. Vihaṅgama,
  10. Kroḍātman,
  11. Vaḍavāvaktra,
  12. Dharma,
  13. Vāgīśvara,
  14. Ekārnavaśāyin,
  15. Kamaṭheśvara,
  16. Varāha,
  17. Narasimha,
  18. Pīyūsaharana,
  19. Śrīpati,
  20. Kāntātman,
  21. Rāhujit,
  22. Kālanemighna,
  23. Pārijātahara,
  24. Lokanātha,
  25. Śāntātman,
  26. Dattātreya,
  27. Nyagrodhaśāyin,
  28. Ekaśrñgatanu,
  29. Vāmanadeva,
  30. Trivikrama,
  31. Nara,
  32. Nārāyana,
  33. Hari,
  34. Kṛṣṇa,
  35. Paraśurāma,
  36. Rāma,
  37. Vedavid,
  38. Kalkin,
  39. Pātālaśayana.

They are of the nature of tejas and are objects of worship and meditation in their specific forms, as described in the Sātvata-saṃhitā (xii), or in the Ahirbudhya-saṃhitā (lxvi). In the Nārāyanīya section of the Mahābhārata Vihaṅgama or Hamsa, Kamatheśvara or Kūrma, Ekaśṛṇgatanu or Matsya, Varāha, Nṛsiṃha, Vāmana, Paraśurāma, Rāma, Vedavid and Kalkin are mentioned as the ten avatāras. The avatāra Kroḍātman, Lokanātha and Kāntātman are sometimes spoken of as Yajña Varāha, Manu Vaivasvata and Kama respectively. The latter is sometimes spoken of probably as Dhanvantari (see Schrader’s Pañcarātra, p. 45). The twenty-three avatāras spoken of in the Bhāgavata-purāṇa (1. 3) are all included in the above list. It is, however, doubtful whether Vāgīśvara is the same as Hayaśīrṣa, and Śāntātman as Sanaka or Nārada, as Schrader says.

The vibhava-avatāras mentioned in Rūpa’s Laghu-bhāgavatā-ṃrta are mostly included in the above list, though some names appear in slightly different form. Following the Brahma-saṃhitā, Rūpa, however, regards Kṛṣṇa as the real form (svayaṃ-rūpa) of God. According to him, being one with God, He may have His manifestations in diverse forms. This is called avatāra as ekātma-rūpa. This ekātma-rūpa-avatāra may again be of two kinds, sva-vilāsa and svā-ṃśa. When the avatāra is of the same nature as the Lord in powers and other qualities, He is called a svāṃśā-vatāra.

Thus, Vāsudeva is called a sva-vilāsa-avatāra. But when the avatāra has inferior powers, He is called a śvā-ṃśa-avatāra. Samkarsana, Pradyumna, Aniruddha, Matsya, Kūrma, etc., are thus called svā-ṃśa-avatāra. When God, however, infuses one only with parts of His qualities, he is called an āveśa-avatāra. Nārada, Sanaka, etc., are called āveśa-avatāras. The manifestation of the Lord in the above forms for the good of the world is called avatāra.

pūrvo-kta-viśva-kāryā-rthām a-pūrvā iva cet svayam
dvārā-ntareṇa vā' viḥ-syur avatāras tadā smṛtāḥ
p. 22 .

The aṃśāvatāra is sometimes called puruṣāvatāra, while the manifestation of special qualities as in Brahmā, Vi§nu, Śiva, etc., is called guṇāvatāras. The vibhavāvatāras are generally regarded as līlāvatāras ; vide also Sātvata-saṃhitā, Ch. ix (77-84) and Ch. xii.


Tattva-traya, p. 138. The word sādhu is here defined as

nirmatsarāḥ mat-samāśrayaṇe pravṛttāḥ mati-nāma-karma-svarūpāṇāṃ vāṅ-manasā-gocaratayā mad-darśanena vinā ātma-dhāraṇa-poṣanādikam alabhamānāḥ kṣaṇa-mātra-kālaṃ kalpa-sahasraṃ manvānāḥ praśithila-sarva-gātrā bkaveyuḥ.


Tattva-traya, 139, 140.


See quotation from Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā quoted in Tattva-traya, p. 122.


śuddhā pūrvoditā sṛṣṭir yā sā vyūhā-di-bhedinī
sudarśanā-khyāt saṃkalpāt tasya eva prabho-jjvalā.
jñānānandamayī styānā deśa-bhāvaṃ vrajaty’ uta
sa deśaḥ paramaṃ vyoma nirmalaṃ puruṣāt param, etc.
vi. 21-22.


Ibid. vi. 29.


Ibid. vi. 25.


Certain peculiar interpretations of the icchā-śakti, kriyā-śakti and sākṣāt-śakti are to be found in the Sītā-upaniṣad.

The Sātvata-saṃhitā (ix. 85) describes twelve other energies such as

lnkṣmīḥ, puṣṭir, dayā nidrā, kṣamā, kāntis sarasvatī,
dhṛtir maitrī ratis tuṣṭir matir dvādaśāmī smṛtā.

See also Schrader’s Introduction to Pañcarātra, p. 55. The theory of these energies is associated with the avatāra theory.


Schrader, on the evidence of Padma-tantra, savs that god as para or ultimate is sometimes identified with and sometimes distinguished from the vyūha Vāsudeva. The para Vāsudeva becomes vyuha Vāsudeva with His one half and remains as Nārāyana, the creator of the primeval water (māyā). Pañcarātra, P- 53


bhūtiḥ śuddhetarā viṣṇoḥ puruṣo dvi-caturmayaḥ
sa manūnāṃ samāhāro brahma-kṣattrādi-bhedinām.

     Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, VI. 8-9.


antaḥstḥa-puruṣāṃ śaktiṃ tām ādāya sva-mūrti-gāṃ
samvardhayati yogena hy anirudhaḥ sva-tejasā.

vi. 14.


The Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā criticizes in this connection the Vedic people, who did not believe in the monotheistic God but depended on the Vedic sacriñcial rituals and work for the attainment of Heaven and ultimately fell down to the course of mundane life (saṃsāra):

trayī-mārgeṣu niṣṇātāḥ pḥala-vāde ramanti te
devādīn eva manvānā na ca rnam menire param
tamaḥ-prāyās tv ime kecin mama nindāṃ prakurvate
saṃlāpaṃ kurvate vyagraṃ veda-vādeṣu niṣṭhitāḥ
māṃ na jānanti mohena mayi bhakti-parāñmukhāḥ
svargā-diṣu ramanty ete avasāne patanti te.

p. 128.


sarvātmanāṃ samaṣṭir yā kośo madhu-kṛtām iva.
vi. 33.


ātmano bhñti-bhedās te Siiria-jñāḥ sarruto-mukhāh
bhogovac-chakti-mayaivuṃ manda-tīvrādī-bhāvayā
sorvato’idyayā viddhāḥ kleśomayā vaśīkṛtāḥ.
VI. 35, 36.


viṣṇoḥ saṃkalpa-rūpeṇa sthitvāsmin pauruṣe pade. 
     Ibid. VI. 41


kriyākhyo yo'yum unmeṣuḥ sa bhūti-parivartakaḥ.
vi. 29.


In describing the process of dissolution it is said that at one stage the universe exists only as time (kāla). The energy manifested in time (kāla-gata-śaktiḥ) is called kāla, and it is this energy that moves all things or behaves as the transformer of all things (aśeṣa-prakālim). Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, iv. 48. Time is described also as the agent that breaks up all things, just as the violence of a river breaks its banks: Kalaycty akhilaṃ kālyaṃ nadī-kūlaṃ yathā rayaḥ. Ibid. vi. 51.


sattvaṃ tatra laghu svaccluiṃ guṇa-rūpam anāmayam. Afiirbud/inya-saṃhitā, vi. 52; tad etat pracalaṃ duḥkhaṃ rajaḥ śaśvat pravṛttimat.
VI. 57;

guru viṣṭambhanaṃ śaśvan mohanaṃ cāprai'ṛttimat.
VI. 60.


sudarśanamayenai’va sartikalpenā’tra vai hareḥ
codyamāne’pi sṛṣṭy-arthaṃ pūrṇaṃ guṇa-yugaṃ tadā
aṃśutaḥ sāmyam āyāti viṣṇu-saṃkalpa-coditam.
vi. 61-62.

The passage is somewhat obscure, in so far as it is difficult to understand how the guṇas become partially (aṃśataḥ) similar. The idea probably is that, w hen the guṇas are moved forward for creative purposes, some parts of these guṇas fail to show their distinctive features, and show themselves as similar to one another. In this stage the specific characters of only these evolving guṇas are annulled, and they appear as one with tamas. The proportion of sattva that appears to be similar to tamas is also the proportion in which tamas becomes similar to rajas.


payo-mrd-ādivat tatra prakrtiḥ pariṇāminī
pumān apariṇāmī san sanmahānena kātaṇam
kālaḥ pacati tattve dve prakṛtiṃ puruṣaṃ ca ha.
vn. 5, 6.


kālo buddhis tathā prāṇa iti tredhā sa gīyate
tamaḥ-sattva-rajo-bhedāt tat-tad-unmeṣa-saṅjñayā.
VII. 9.


kālas truṭi-lavādy ātmā buddhir adhyavasāyinī
prāṇaḥ prayatanākāra ity
etā mahato bhidāḥ.


bodhanaṃ nāma vaidyaṃ tadindriyaṃ teṣu jāyate
yenārthān adhyavasyeyuḥ sad-asat-pravibhāginaḥ.

VII. 14.


vidyayā udare tatrāhaṃkṛtir nāma jāyate.
vii. 15.


śabdai’-ka-gnṇam ākāśam avakāśapradāyi ca.
VII . 22.


tadā vainārikāt punaḥ śrotraṃ vāg iti vijñāna-karme-ndriya-yugaṃ mune.
VII. 23-24.


Ibid. VII. 39, 40.


saṃkalpaś caiva saṃrambhaḥ prāṇāḥ pañcaviḍḥās tathā
manaso'haṃkṛter buḍdher jāyante pūrvam eva tu
evaṃ sampūrna-sarvaṅgāḥ prāṇāpānāḍi-saṃyutāḥ
sarve-ṇḍriya-yutās tatra ḍehino manavo mune.
VII. 42, 43.

Thus from bhūtādi, acting in association with taijasa ahaṃkāra, are produced successively the five tan-mātras of

  1. śabda,
  2. sparśa,
  3. rūpa,
  4. rasa
  5. and gaṇḍha,

from each of which in the same order are produced the five bhūtas of

  1. ākāśa,
  2. vāyu,
  3. tejas,
  4. ap
  5. and pṛthivī.

Again, from the associated work of taijasa and vaikārika ahaṃkāra there are produced the five cognitive and conative senses.


tat tu vaidyaṃ payaḥ prāśya sarve mānava-manavāḥ
jñāna-bhraṃśaṃ prapadyante sarva-jñāḥ svata eva te.
, vii. 61, 62.

Compare this with the Jew'ish Christian doctrine of the fall of man, as suggested by Schrader’s introduction to the Pañcarātra, p. 78.


aṃśayoḥ puruṣo madhye yaḥ sthitaḥ sa catur-yugaḥ
śuddhe-tara-mayaṃ viddhi kūṭasthaṃ tain mahā-mune.
VII. 70.

Compare the view of the Gauḍīya school, which regards the jīva as the taṭasthā sakti of God, which is between the antaraṅgā and the vahiraṅgā śakti.


Ibid. XIV. 3, 4 and 41.


sādhanaṃ tasya ca prokto dharmo nirahhisandhikaḥ.
XIV, 4.




puṃ-śaktiḥ kālamayy anyā pumān so'yom udīritaḥ.
XIV. to.


sarvair an-anuyojyaṃ tat svātantryaṃ divyam īśituḥ
avāpta-viśva-kāmoi'pi krīdate rājavad vaśī.
XIV. 13.


sadā pratāyamātiā’pi sūkṣmair bhāvairalakṣaṇaiḥ.
nirvyāpāreva sā bhāti staimityam iva co’dadheḥ.
tayai vo’pahitaṃ Brahma nirvikalpaṃ nirañjanaṃ.
LI . 49.


māyā’scarya-karatvena pañca-kṛtya-karī sadā.
LI. 58.


Ahirbuḍḥnya-saṃhitā, LI. 69—78.


prekṣāvataḥ pravṛttir yā prahvī-bhāvā-tmikā svataḥ
uikṛṣṭaṃ param uḍḍiśya tan namaḥ parigīyate.
LII. 2.


kālatu guṇacaś caiva prakarṣo yatra tiṣṭḥati
śabḍas taṃ mukhyayā vṛttyā jyāyān ity avalambate.
LII. 4.


upādhi-rcihitenā' yciṃ yena bhāvena cetatmḥ
namati jyāyase tasmai tad vā namanam ucyate.
LII . 9.


phalepsā tad-virodhinī.
LII. 15.


ṣoḍhā hi veda-viduṣo vadanty enaṃ maḥā-mune
ōnukūlyasya saṃkalpaḥ prātikūlvasya varjanaṃ
rakṣiṣyatl ti viśvāso goptṛva-varaṇaṃ tathā.
ātma-nikṣepa-kārpaṇye ṣaḍ-vidhā śaranā-gatiḥ.
XXXVII. 27, 28.


aham asmy aparādhānām ālayo’kiñcano’ gatiḥ
tvam evo 'pāyabhūto me bhave’ti prārthanā-matiḥ.
śaraṇāgatir ity-uklā sā deve'smin prayujyatāṃ.
XXXVII. 30, 31.


Ibid. XXXVII. 34 and 35.


atra navi’ ti dṛṣṭāntād upāya-jñānam eva tu
nareṇa kṛtyarn anyat tu nāvikasyeva taddhareḥ.


pūrṇa-stimita-ṣād-guṇyam asarriīrā-mvaro-pamam.
v. 3.


All the śāstras are said to have been produced by Samkarsana, and it is in him that they disappear at the time of pralaya. Ahirbudhnya, LV. 16.


Ibid. VI. 9—12.


Ibid. LV. 18. Pradyumna is also called Vīra.


There are, however, many conflicting views about these functions of the different vyūhas. See Lakṣmī-tantra, iv. 11-20, also Viṣvaksena-saṃhitā, as quoted in the Tattva-traya.


Vedānta-sūtra, 11. 2. 42, Śaṅkara’s commentary.


Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, VI. 57.


vi. 9.


sudarśanāhvayā devī sarva-kṛtya-karī vibhoḥ
tan-mayaṃ viddhi sāmarthyaṃ sarvaṃ sarva-padārthajaṃ
dharmasyārthasya kāmasya mukter bandha-trayasya ca
yad yat sva-kārya-sāmarthyaṃ tat-tat-saudarśanaṃ vapuḥ.
XVI. 4 and 6.


sākṣād viṣṇnh kriyā-śaktiḥ śuddha-Saṃvinmyī para.
XVI. 10.

This kriyā-śakti is also called sāmarthya or yoga or pārameṣṭhya or mahātejas or māyā-yogu. Ibid. xvi. 32.


naṭī’va kuṇḍalī-śaktir ādyū viṣṇor vijṛmbhate.
xvi. 55.


viṣṇu-śaktimayā varṇā viṣṇu-saṃkalpa-jṛṃbhitāḥ 
adhiṣṭhitā yathā bhāvais tathā tan me(?) niśāmaya.
XVII. 3.


Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, XXXII. II. This is indeed different from the description found in the Śākta Tantras, according to which the Kuṇḍalī exists in the place down below described as the śarīra-maḍhya.


Ibid. XXXII. 33-37. Ṭhese locations and functions are different from what we find in the Āyur-Veda or the Śākta Tantras.


saṃyogo yoga ity uktu jīvātm-paramā-tmanoḥ.
XXXI. 15.


yaḍ vā bhagavate tasmai svakiyātma-samarpaṇam
viśiṣṭa-daivatāya smai cakra-rūpāya mantrataḥ
viyuktaṃ prakṛteḥ śuḍḍhaṃ dadyād ātma-haviḥ svayam.
XXX. 4, 5.


Ibid. XXXI. 7-10.


Ibid. 18—23. Ṭhe list here given is different from that of Patañjali, who counts ahiṃsā, satya, asteya, brahma-carya and aparigraha as yamas. See Yoga-siitra, II. 30.


Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā, pp. 23-30. This list is also different from that of Patañjali, who counts śauca, santoṣa, tapaḥ, svādhyāya and īśvara-praṇidhāna only as niyamas. See Yoga-sutra, 11. 32.


Ibid. XIII. 27, 28.


Ibid. XIII.

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