Shakti and Shakta

by John Woodroffe | 1929 | 243,591 words

A collection of papers and essays addressing the Śakti aspect of the Śākta school of Hindu philosophy by John Woodroffe, also known as Arthur Avalon....

Chapter XII - Alleged conflict of Śāstras

[This Chapter originally appeared in the Indian Philosopical Review, Vol. II, No. 4 (April 1919).]

A NOT uncommon modern criticism upon the Indian Śāstras is that they mutually conflict. This is due to a lack of knowledge of the doctrine of Adhikāra and Bhūmikā, particularly among Western critics, whose general outlook and mode of thought is ordinarily deeply divergent from that which has prevailed in India. The idea that the whole world should follow one path is regarded by the Hindus as absurd, being contrary to Nature and its laws. A man must follow that path for which he is fit, that is, for which he is Adikhārī. Adhikāra or competency literally means “spreading over” that is “taking possession of.” What is to be known (Jñātavya), done (Kartavya), acquired (Prāptavya) is determined not once and generally for all, but in each case by the fitness and capacity therefore of the individual. Each man can know, do, and obtain not everything, nor indeed one common thing, but that only of which he is capable (Adhikārī). What the Jīva can think do, or obtain, is his competency or Adhikāra, a profound and practical doctrine on which all Indian teaching and Sādhanā is based. As men are different and therefore the Adhikāra is different, so there are different forms of teaching and practice for each Adhikāra. Such teaching may be Śrauta or Aśrauta. Dealing here with the first, it is said that of all Vidyās the Lord is Īśāna, and that these differing forms are meant for differing competencies, though all have one and the same object and aim. This has been well and concisely worked out by Bhāskararāya, the Commentator on Tāntric and Aupaniṣadic Texts in his Bhāśya upon the Nityāśodaśikārṇava, which is, according to him, a portion of the geat Vāmakeśvara Tantra. The second portion of the Nityāśodaśikārṇava is also known as the Yoginīhṛdaya. These valuable Tāntrik Texts have been published as the 56th volume of the Poona Ānandāśrama Series which includes also (Vol. 69) the Jñānārṇava Tantra. The importance of the Vāmakeśvara is shown by the fact that Bhāskararāya claims for it the position of the independent 65th Tantra which is mentioned in the 31st verse of the Ānandalaharī. Others say that the Svatantra there spoken of, is the Jñānārṇava Tantra, and others again are of the opinion that the Tantrarāja is the great independent Tantra of which the Ānandalaharī (ascribed to Śrīmadācharyyabhagavatpāda, that is, Śaṃkarācārya) speaks. Bhāskararāya who lived in the first half of the eighteenth century, gives in his Commentary the following exposition:—

In this world all long for happiness which is the sole aim of man. Of this there is no doubt. This happiness again is of two kinds, namely, that which is produced and transient (Kṛtrima) and that which is unproduced and enduring (Akṛtrima), called respectively Desire (Kāma) and Liberation (Mokṣa). Dharma procures happiness of both kinds, and Artha helps to the attainment of Dharma. These therefore are desired of all. There are thus four aims of man (Puruṣārtha) which though, as between themselves, different, are yet intimately connected, the one with the other. The Kalpasūtra says that self-knowledge is the aim and end of man (Svavimarshah puruṣārthah). This is said of Liberation as being the highest end, since it alone gives real and enduring happiness. This saying, however, does not raise any contradiction. For, each of the four is to be had by the Jñāna and Vijñāna appropriate for such attainment. These (Puruṣārtha) are again to be attained according to the capacity of the individual seeking them (Tādṛśa-tādṛśa-cittaikasādhyāni). The competency of the individual Citta depends again on the degree of its purity.

The very merciful Bhagavān Parameśvara desirous of aiding men whose mind and disposition (Citta) differ according to the results produced by their different acts, promulgated different kinds of Vidyā which, though appearing to be different as between themselves, yet have, as their common aim, the highest end of all human life, that is, Liberation.

Śruti also says (NṛṣiṃhapūrvatāpanīUp. I–6; Mahānārāyaṇa Up. XVII–5):—“Of all Vidyā the Lord is Īśāna” (Īśānah sarvavidyānām) and (Sveta. Up. VI–18) “I who desire liberation seek refuge in that Deva who creates Brahmā who again reveals the Vedas and all other learning” (Yo Brahmāṇam vidadhāti pūrvam yo vai vedāṃścha prahinoti). The particle “cha” impliedly signifies the other Vidyās collectively. We also find it said in furtherance of that statement “To him the first born He gave the Vedas and Purāṇas.” Smṛti also states that the omniscient Poet (Kavi), Carrier of the Trident (Śiva shūlapāṇi), is the first Promulgator of these eighteen Vidyās which take differing paths (Bhinnavartma). It follows that, inasmuch as Paramaśiva, the Benefactor of the Worlds, is the Promulgator of all Vidyās, they are all authoritative, though each is applicable for differing classes of competency (Adhikāribhedena). This has been clearly stated in Sūta-Saṃhitā and similar works.

Capacity (Adhikāra) is (for example) of this kind. The unbeliever (Nāstika i.e., in Veda) has Adhikāra in Darśanas such as Ārhata (Jaina) and the like. Men of the first three castes have Adhikāra in the path of Veda. Similarly the Adhikāra of an individual varies according to the purity of his Citta. For we see that the injunctions relating to Dharma vary according to Āśrama and caste (Varṇa-bheda). Such texts as praise any particular Vidyā are addressed to those who are Adhikārī therein, and their object is to induce them to follow it. Such texts again as disparage any Vidyā are addressed to those who are not Adhikārī therein, and their object is to dissuade them from it. Nor again should these words of blame (or praise) be taken in an absolute sense, that is otherwise than relatively to the person to whom they are addressed.

Yāni tattad vidyāpraśaṅgsakāni vachanāni tāni tattadadhikāriṇam pratyeva pravatakāni. Yāni cha tannindakāni tāni tattadanadhikāriṇaṃ prati nirvartakāni. Na punarnahi nindānyāyena vidheyastāvakāni (Bhāskararāya’s Introductory Commentary to Nityāśodaśikārṇava Tantra. p. 2).

In early infancy, parents and guardians encourage the play of the child in their charge. When the age of study is reached, the same parents and guardians chastise the child who inopportunely plays. This we all see. A male of the three higher castes should, on the passing of the age of play, learn his letters and then metre (Chhandaa) in order to master language. The Agnī Purāṇa has many texts such as “Faultless is a good Kāvya”; all of which encourage the study of Kāvya. We also come across prohibitions such as “He who has mastered the subject should avoid all discussion relating to Kāvya.” When the object to be gained by the study of Kāvya is attained and competency is gained for the next higher stage (Uttarabhūmikā), it is only a harmful waste of time to buy oneself with a lower stage (Pūrvabhūmikā), in neglect of that higher stage for the Sādhanā of which one has become competent. This is the meaning of the prohibition. Again the injunction is to study Nyāyaśāstra so as to gain a knowledge of the Ātmā as it is, and other than as it appears in the body and so forth. The texts are many such as “By reasoning (Śungga) seek the Ātmā.” Śungga = Hetu = Avayavasamudayātmakanyāya, that is Logic with all its five limbs. When it is known that the Ātmā, as such is other than the body, is separate from the body and so forth, and the means which lead to that knowledge are mastered, then man is prohibited from occupying himself with the subject of the former stage (Pūrvabhūmikā) by such texts as “Anvīkṣikī and Logic (Tarkavidyā) are useless” (Anvīkṣikīm tarkavidyāmanurakto nirathikām). Injunctions such as “The wise should practise Dharma alone (Dharmam evācharet prājñah)” urge man towards the next stage (Uttarabhūmikā). The study of the Pūrvamīmāṅgsāand the Karmakāṇḍa in the Vedas is useful for this purpose. When by this means Dharma, Artha and Kāma are attained, there arises a desire for the fourth Puruṣārtha (Liberation or Mokṣa). And therefore to sever men from the former stage (Pūrvabhūmikā) there are texts which deprecate Karma such as (Mund. Up. 1-2, 12) “By that which is made cannot be attained that which is not made” (Nāstyakṛtah kṛtena). Vaśiśtha says that these (earlier stages) are seven and that all are stages of ignorance (Ajñānabhūmikā). Beyond these are stages of Jñāna. For the attainment of the same there are injunctions relating to Brahmajñāna which lead on to the next higher stage, such as (Mund. Up. 1. 2,12) “He should go to the Guru alone" (Sa gurum evābhigacchet) “Listen (Br. Ar. II. 4, 5, IV, 5,6), oh Maitreyi, the Ātmā should be realised” (Ātmāvā are draśtavyah). Some say that the Jñāna-bhūmikās are many and rely on the text “The wise say that the stages of Yoga are many.” The holy Vaśiṣṭha says that there are seven, namely, Vidiśā (desire to know), Vichāranā(reflection), Tanumānasa (concentration), Sattvāpatti (commencement of realisation), Asamsakti (detachment), Padārthabhāvanī(realisation of Brahman only) and Turyagā (full illumination in the fourth state). The meaning of these is given in, and should be learnt from, the Jñānaśāstra of Vaśiṣṭha.

These terms are also explained in Brahmānanda’s Commentary on the Haṭhayoga Pradīpikā (1-3). His account differs from that of Bh āskararāya as regards the name of the first Bhūmikā which he calls Jñānabhūmi or Subhecchā, and the sixth is called by him Parārthā-bhāvinī and not Padārthabhāvanī. The sense in either case is the same. According to Brahmānanda, Jñānabhūmi is the initial stage of Yoga characterised by Viveka, Vairāgya, and the six Sādhanās beginning with Shama and leacling to Mumukṣā. Vichāranā is Shravana and Manana (Śravanamananātmikā) Tanumānasā = Nididhyāsena when the mind, the natural characteristic of which is to wander, is directed towards its proper Yoga-object only. These three preliminary stages are known as Sādhanābhūmikā. The fourth stage Sattvāpatti is Samprajñātayoga-bhūmikā. The mind having ben purified by practice in the three preceding Bhūmikās the Yogī commences to realise and is called Brahmavit. The last three stages belong to Asamprajñātayoga. After attainment of Sattvāpatti Bhūmikā, the Yogī reaches the fifth stage called Asamsakti. Here he is totally detached and in the state of wakening (Vyuttiśthate). As such he is called Brahmavid-vara. At the sixth, or ParārthābhāivinīBhūmikā, he meditates on nothing but Parabrahman (Parabrahmātiriktam na bhāvayati). He is supremely awakened (Paraprabodhita) and is awake (Vyutthita). He is then called Brahmavid-varīyān. In the last or seventh stage (Tūryyaga) he is Brahmavidvariṣṭa, and then truly attains illumination in itself (Svatahparato vāvyutthānam prāpnoti).

The Upaniṣads and Uttaramīmāṃsā are helpful for this purpose (Upayogī) and should therefore be studied.

Brahmajñāna again is of two kinds:—namely, Śābda and Aparokṣānubhavarūpa. Understanding of the meaning of Śāstra (Śāstradriṣṭi), the word of the Guru (Gurorvākyam) and certainty (Niśchaya) of the unity of the individual self (Sva) and the Ātmā are powerful to dispel inward darkness, but not the mere knowledge of words (Śābdabodha). (See Yogavāśiṣṭha Utpatti, Kh. IX. 7-16.) Therefore, when the Śābdabhūmikāis attained one should not waste one’s time further at this stage, and there are texts which prohibit this. Thus (Br. Ar. III, 5–1) “Having become indifferent to learning let him remain simple as in childhood” (Pāndityānnirvidya bālyena tiṣṭhāset).

Between the second and third of the seven stages (Bhūmikā) there is the great stage Bhakti. Bhaktimīmāṃsā (e.g. Nārada Sūtra, Sanatsujātīya) is helpful and should be studied. Bhakti continues to the end of the fifth Bhūmikā. When this last is attained the Sādhaka gains the fifth stage which is Aparokṣānubhavarūpa. This is Jīvanmukti. Following closely upon this is Videhakaivalya. In the text “From Jñāna alone Kaivalya comes (Jñānād eva tu kaivalyam), the word Jñāna signifies something other and higher than Anubhava (Anubhavaparatva). In Nyāya and other Śāstras it is stated that Mokṣa will be attained by mastery in such particular Śāstra, but that is merely a device by which knowledge of the higher stage is not disclosed. This is not blameworthy because its object is to remove the disinclination to study such Śāstra by reason of the delay thereby caused in the attainment of Puruṣārtha (which disinclination would exist if the Sādhaka knew that there was a higher Śāstra than that which he was studying). There are texts such as “By Karma alone (eva) is achievement” (Karmanaiva tu samsiddhih); “Him whom he selects by him he is attainable” (Yamevaiśa vrinnute tena labhyah). The word “eva” refers to the Bhūmikā which is spoken of and prohibits Sādhanā for the attainment of fruit which can only be gained by mastery of, or competency in (Adhikāra), the next higher Bhūmikā (Uttarabhūmikā). The words do not deny that there is a higher stage (Bhūmikā). The word alone (eva) in “Jnānād eva tu” (“from Jñāna alone”) indicates, however, that there is a stage of Sādhanā subsequent to that here spoken of. There is thus no conflict between the Ṛṣis who are teachers of the different Vidyās. Each one of these Bhūmikās has many sub-divisions (Avāntarabhūmikā) which cannot be altogether separated the one from the other, and which are only known by the discerning through experience (Anubhava). So it has been said: “Oh Rāghava, I have spoken to thee of the seven States (Avasthā) of ignorance (Ajñāna). Each one is hundred-fold (that is many) and yields many fruits (Nānāvibhavarūpinī). Of these many Bhūmikās, each is achieved by Sādhanā through many births. When a man by great effort prolonged through countless lives, and according to the regular order of things (Kramena), gains a full comprehension of the Bhūmikā in which he has certain knowledge of the Śabdatattva of Parabrahman, he ceases to have any great attachment to, or aversion for, Saṃsāra and this is a form of excellent Cittaśuddhi. Such an one is qualified for the path of Devotion (Bhakti).” For, it has been said: “Neither indifferent (Nirvinna) nor attached; for such an one Bhaktiyoga grants achievement (Siddhida).”

Bhakti again is of two kinds:—Gaunī(secondary) and Para (supreme). The first comprises Dhyāna, Archna, Japa, Nāmakīrtana and the like of the Saguna Brahman. Parabhakti is the special state (Anurāgaviśeśarūpa) which is the product of these. The first division of Bhakti includes several others (Avāntara-bhūmikā). The first of these is Bhāvanāsiddhi illustrated by such texts “Let him meditate on woman as fire” (Yośāmagnim dhyāyīta). The second is worship (Upāsti) as directed in such texts (Chhā. Up. III. 18–1) as “Mano brahmetyupāsīta.” The third is Īśvaropāsti (worship of the Lord). Since the aspects of the Lord vary according as He is viewed as Sūrya, Ganeśa, Viṣṇu, Rudra, Paraśiva and Śakti, the forms of worship belong to different Bhūmikās. The forms of Śakti again are endless such as Chhāyā, Ballabhā, Lakṣmīand the like. In this manner, through countless ages all these Bhūmikās are mastered, when there arises Gaunabhakti for Tripurasundarī. On perfection of this there is Parabhakti for Her. This is the end, for it has been said (Kulārṇava Tantra III. 82): “Kaulajñāna is revealed for him whose Citta has been fully purified, Ārka, Gāṇapatya, Vaiṣṇava, Śaiva, Daurgā (Śākta) and other Mantras in their order.” Bhāskararāya also quotes the statement in the Kulārṇava Tantra (II. 7, 8): “Higher than Vedācāra is Vaiṣṇavācāra, higher than Vaiṣṇavācāra is Śaivācāra, higher than Śaivācāra is Dakṣinācāra, higher than Dakṣinācāra is Vāmācāra, higher than Vāmācāra is Siddhāntācāra, higher than Siddhāntācāra is Kaulācāra than which there is nothing higher nor better.”

Many original texts might be cited relative to the order of stages (Bhūmikākrama) but which are not quoted for fear of prolixity. Some of these have been set out in Saubhāgya-bhāskara, (that is, Bhākararāya’s Commentary on the Lalitāsahasranāma). The Sundarī tāpanīpañcakā, Bhāvanopaniṣad, Kaulopaniṣad, Guhyopaniṣad, Mahopaniṣad, and other Upaniṣads (Vedaśirobhāga) describe in detail the Gauni Bhakti of ŚrīMahātripurasundarī and matter relating thereto. The Kalpasūtras of Āśvalāyana and others, the Smṛtis of Manu and others come after the Pūrvakāṇḍa (Karmakāṇḍa) of the Veda. In the same way the Kalpasūtras of Paraśurāma and others and the Yāmalas and other Tantras belong to the latter part of the Veda or the Upaniṣadkāṇḍa. The Purāṇas relate to, and follow both, Kāṇḍas. Therefore the authority of the Smṛtis, Tantras, and Purāṇas is due to their being based on Veda (Smṛtitantra purāṇām vedamūlakatvenaiva prāmānyam). Those which seem (Pratyakṣa) opposed to Śruti (Śrutiviruddha) form a class of their own and are without authority and should not be followed unless the Veda (Mūlaśruti) is examined (and their conformity with it established). There are some Tantras, however, which are in every way in conflict with Veda (Yānitu sarvāṃśena vedaviruddhāyeva). They are some Pāśupata Śāstras and Pañcarātra. They are not for those who are in this Bhūmikā (i.e., Veda Panthā). He who is qualified for rites enjoined in Śruti and Smṛti (Śrautasmārta-karmādhikāra) is only Adhikārī for these (Pāśupata and Pañcarātra) if by reason of some sin (Pāpa) he falls from the former. It has therefore been said:—“The Lord of Kamala (Viṣṇu) spoke the Pañcarātras, the Bhāgavata, and that which is known as Vaikhānasa (Vaikhānasabhidhama form of Vaiṣṇavism) for those who have fallen away from the Vedas (Vedabhraśta).” The following Texts relate only to some of the Śāstras of the classes mentioned. So we have the following:—“He who has fallen from Śruti, who is afraid of the expiatory rites (Prāyaścitta) prescribed therein, should seek shelter in Tantras so that by degrees he may be qualified for Śruti (Śruti-siddhyartham).” Though the general term “Tantra” is employed, particular Tantras (that is, those opposed to Śruti or Aśrauta) are here meant. The Adhikarana (Sūtra) Patyurasāmanjasyāt (II. 2. 37) applies to Tantras of this class. The Agastya and other Tantras which describe the worship of Rāma, Kṛṣṇa, Nṛsingha, Rudra, Paraśiva, Sundarī (Śakti) and others evidently derive from the Rāmatāpani and other Upaniṣads. There is therefore no reason to doubt but that they are authoritative.

Worship (Upāsti) of Sundarī Śakti is of two kinds:— Bahiryāga or outer, and Antaryāga or inner, worship. Antaryāga is again of three kinds:—Sakala, Sakala-Niṣkala, and Niṣkala, thus constituting four Bhūmikās. As already stated, the passage is from a lower to a higher and then to a yet higher Bhūmīka. Five forms of Bahirytiga are spoken of, namely, Kevala, Yāmala, Miśra, Cakrayuk and Vīrasaṃkara, which have each five divisions under the heads Abhigamana and others and Daurbodhya and others in different Tantras. Bahiryāga with these distinctions belongs to one and the same Bhūmikā. Distinctions in the injunctions (Vyavasthā) depend entirely on differences as to place, time, and capacity, and not on the degree of Cittaśuddhi (Na punaśchittaśuddhi-bhedena). On the other hand injunctions given according to difference of Bhūmikā, which is itself dependent on the degree of purity of the Citta, are mandatory.

To sum up the reply to the question raised by the title of this paper:—The Śāstras are many and are of differing form. But Īśvara is the Lord of all the Vidyās which are thus authoritative and have a common aim. The Adhikāra of men varies. Therefore so does the form of the Śāstra. There are many stages (Bhūmikā) on the path of spiritual advance. Man makes his way from a lower to a higher Bhūmikā. Statements in any Śāstra which seem to be in conflict with some other Śāstra must be interpreted with reference to the Adhikāra of the persons to whom they are addressed. Texts laudatory of any Vidyā are addressed to the Adhikārī therein with the object of inducing him to follow it. Texts in disparagement of any Vidyāare addressed to those who are not Adhikārī therein, either because he has not attained, or has surpassed, the Bhūmikā applicable, and their object is to dissuade them from following it. Neither statements are to be taken in an absolute sense, for what is not fit for one may be fit for another. Evolution governs the spiritual as the physical process, and the truth is in each case given in that form which is suitable for the stage reached. From step to step the Sādhaka rises, until having passed through all presentments of the Vaidik truth which are necessary for him, he attains the Vedasvarūpa which is knowledge of the Self.

These ancient teachings are in many mys very consonant with what is called the “modernist” outlook. Thus, let it be noted that there may be (as Bhāskararāya says) Adhikāra for Aśrauta Śāstra such as the Ārhata, and there is a Scripture for the Vedabhraśta. These, though non-Vaidik, are recognised as the Scriptures of those who are fitted for them. This is more than the admission that they are the Scriptures in fact of such persons. The meaning of such recognition is brought out by an incident some years ago. An Anglican. clergyman suggested that Mahomedanism might be a suitable Scripture for the Negro who was above “fetichism” but not yet fit to receive Christian teaching. Though he claimed that the latter was the highest and the most complete truth, this recognition (quite Hindu in its character) of a lower and less advanced stage, brought him into trouble. For those who criticised him gave no recognition to any belief but their own. Hinduism does not deny that other faiths have their good fruit. For this reason, it is tolerant to a degree which has earned it the charge of being “indifferent to the truth.” Each to his own. Its principles admit a progressive revelation of the Self to the self, according to varying competencies (Adhikāra) and stages (Bhūmikā) of spiritual advance. Though each doctrine and practice belongs to varying levels, and therefore the journey may be shorter or longer as the case may be, ultimately all lead to the Vedasvarūpa or knowledge of the Self, than which there is no other end. That which immediately precedes this complete spiritual experience is the Vedāntik doctrine and Sādhanā for which all others are the propædeutik. There is no real conflict if we look at the stage at which the particular instructions are given. Thought moves by an immanent logic from a less to a more complete realization of the true nature of the thinker. When the latter has truly known what he is, he has known what all is. Vedayite iti Vedah. “Veda is that by which what is, and what is true, is made known.”

Whilst the Smṛtis of the Seers vary and therefore only those are to be accepted which are in conformity with the Standard of true experience or Veda, it is to be remembered that because a Seer such as Kapila Ādividvan (upon whose Smṛti or experience the Sāṃkhya is assumed to be founded) teaches Dvaitavāda, it does not (in the Hindu view) follow that he had not himself reached a higher stage, such as Advaitavāda is claimed to be. A Seer may choose to come down to the level of more ordinary people and teach a Dvaitavāda suited to their capacity (Adhikāra). If all were to teach the highest experience there would be none to look after those who were incapable of it, and who must be led up through the necessary preliminary stages. Sāṃkhya is the science of analysis and discrimination, and therefore the preparation for Vedānta which is the science of synthesis and assimilation. Kapila, Gotama and Kanāda mainly built on reason deepened and enlarged, it may be, by Smṛti or subjective experience. We do not find in them any complete synthesis of Śruti. A general appeal is made to Śruti and a few texts are cited which accord with what (whether it was so in fact to them or not) is in fact a provisionally adopted point of view. They concentrate the thoughts and wills of their disciples on them, withholding (if they themselves have gone further) the rest, as not at present suited to the capacity of the Śiṣya, thus following what Śaṃkara calls Arundhati-darśana-nyāya. Nevertheless the higher truth is immanent in the lower. The Differential and Integral Calculus are involved in elementary Algebra and Geometry because the former generalize what the latter particularize. But the teacher of elementary Mathematics in the lower forms of a school would only confound his young learners if he were to introduce such a general theorem (as say Taylor's) to them. He must keep back the other until the time is ripe for them. Again the great Teachers teach wholeheartedness and thoroughness in both belief and action, without which the acceptance of a doctrine is useless. Hence a teacher of Dvaitavāda, though himself Advaita-darśī, presents Dvaita to the Adhikārī Śiṣya in such a forcible way that his reason may be convinced and his interest may be fully aroused. It is useless to eay to a Sādhāka on the lower plane “Advaita is the whole truth. Dvaita is not; but though it is not, it is suited to your capacity and therefore accept it.” He will of course say that he does not then want Dvaita, and, being incapable of understanding Advaita, will lose himself. This, I may oberve, is one of the causes of Scepticism to-day. In the olden time it was possible to teach a system without anything being known of that which was higher. But with the printing of books some people learn that all is Māyā, that Upāsanā is for the “lower” grades and so forth, and, not understanding what all this means, are disposed to throw Śāstric teaching in general overboard. This they would not have done if they had been first qualified in the truth of their plane and thus become qualified to understand the truth of that which is more advanced. Until Brahma sākṣātkāra, all truth is relative. Hence, Bhagavān in the Gītāsays: Na buildhi-bhedam janayed ajntinam karma sanginām.” Tradition supports these views. Therefore Vyāsa, Kapila, Gautama, Jaimini, Kanāda and others have differently taught, though they may have possibly experienced nearly similarly. Jaimini in his Pūrva Mīmāṃsādiffers in several reapecta from Vyāsa or Bādarāyana in his Uttara-Mīmāṃsa though he was the disciple of the latter. Vyāsa is Advaita-darśī in Vedānta but Dvaita-darśī in Yogabhāśya. Is it to be supposed, that the Śiṣya was Anadhikārī, and that his Guru, therefore, withheld the higher truth from him, or was the Guru jealous and kept his Śiṣya in actions, withholding Brahma-jñāna?

A Ṛṣi who has realized Advaita may teach Āyurveda or Dhanuveda. He need not be Sthūla-darśī, because he teaches Sthūla-viśaya. Again Śāstras may differ, because their standpoint and objective is different. Thus the Pūrvamīmāṃsa deals with Dharma-jignāsā, stating that Veda is practical and enjoins duties, so that a Text which does not directly or indirectly mean or impose a duty is of no account.

The Uttara-mīmāṃsā, on the other hand, deals with Brahmajignāsā and therefore in the Sūtra ‘Tattu samanvayāt’ it is laid down that a Mantra is relevant, though it may not impose a duty (“Do this or do not do this”) but merely produces a Jñāna (Know this, “That Thou art”). The difference in interpretation is incidental to difference in standpoint and objective. The same remarks apply to the various forms of Advaita such as Viśiṣṭādvaita, Śuddādvaita; between the Śaktivāda of the Śākta Āgama and Vivarttavāda. In some Śāstras stress is laid on Karma, in others on Bhakti, and yet in others on Jñāna as in the case of Māyāvāda. But though the emphasis is differently placed, each is involved in the other and ultimately meet and blend. The Mahimnastava says: “Though men, according to their natures, follow differing paths, Thou art the end of all, as is the ocean of all the rivers which flow thereto.” Madhusūdana Sarasvatīcommenting on this, has written his Prasthānabheda, the reconciliation of varying doctrines. To-day the greatest need in these matters is (for those who are capable of undeptanding) the establishment of this intellectual and spiritual Whole (Pūrna). The Seers who live in the exalted Sphere of Calm, understand the worth and significance of each form of spiritual culture as also their Synthesis, and to the degree that lesser minds attain this level to this extent they will also do so. Whilst the lower mind lives in a section of the whole fact and therefore sees difference and conflict, the illumined who live in and have in varying degrees experience of the Fact itself, see all such as related parts of an Whole.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: