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Review of the Different Systems of Hindu Philosophy

Chapter VI - The Nakulīśa-Pāśupata System

Certain Māheśvaras disapprove of this doctrine of the Vaiṣṇavas known by its technicalities of the servitude of souls and the like, inasmuch as bringing with it the pains of dependence upon another, it cannot be a means of cessation of pain and other desired ends. They recognise as stringent such arguments as, Those depending on another and longing for independence do not become emancipated, because they still depend upon another, being destitute of independence like ourselves and others; and, Liberated spirits possess the attributes of the Supreme Deity, because at the same time, that they are spirits they are free from the germ of every pain as the Supreme Deity is. Recognising these arguments, these Māheśvaras adopt the Pāśupata system, which is conversant about the exposition of five categories, as the means to the highest end of man. In this system the first aphorism is: Now then we shall expound the Pāśupata union and rites of Paśupati. The meaning is as follows:—The word now refers to something antecedent, and this something antecedent is the disciple's interrogation of the spiritual teacher. The nature of a spiritual teacher is explicated in the Gaṇakārikā:—

"But there are eight pentads to be known, and a group, one with three factors;

"He that knows this ninefold aggregate is a self-purifier, a spiritual guide.

"The acquisitions, the impurities, the expedients, the localities, the perseverance, the purifications,

"The initiations, and the powers, are the eight pentads; and there are three functions."

The employment in the above line of the neuter numeral three (trīṇi), instead of the feminine three (tisraḥ), is a Vedic construction.

(a.) Acquisition is the fruit of an expedient while realising, and is divided into five members, viz., knowledge, penance, permanence of the body, constancy, and purity. Thus Haradattāchārya says: Knowledge, penance, permanence, constancy, and purity as the fifth.

(b.) Impurity is an evil condition pertaining to the soul. This is of five kinds, false conception and the rest. Thus Haradatta also says:—

"False conception, demerit, attachment, interestedness, and falling,

"These five, the root of bondage, are in this system especially to be shunned."

(c.) An expedient is a means of purifying the aspirant to liberation.

These expedients are of five kinds, use of habitation, and the rest. Thus he also says:—

"Use of habitation, pious muttering, meditation, constant recollection of Rudra,

"And apprehension, are determined to be the five expedients of acquirements."

(d.) Locality is that by which, after studying the categories, the aspirant attains increase of knowledge and austerity, viz., spiritual teachers and the rest. Thus he says:—

"The spiritual teachers, a cavern, a special place, the burning-ground, and Rudra only."

(e.) Perseverance is the endurance in one or other of these pentads until the attainment of the desired end, and is distributed into the differenced and the rest. Thus it is said:

"The differenced, the undifferenced, muttering, acceptance, and devotion as the fifth."

(f.) Purification is the putting away, once for all, of false conception and the other four impurities. It is distributed into five species according to the five things to be put away. Thus it is said—

"The loss of ignorance, of demerit, of attachment, of interestedness,

"And of falling, is declared to be the fivefold purification of the state of bondage."

(g.) The five initiations are thus enumerated:—

"The material, the proper time, the rite, the image, and the spiritual guide as the fifth."

(h.) The five powers are as follow:—

"Devotion to the spiritual guide, clearness of intellect, conquest of pleasure and pain,

"Merit and carefulness, are declared the five heads of power."

The three functions are the modes of earning daily food consistent with propriety, for the diminution of the five impurities, viz., mendicancy, living upon alms, and living upon what chance supplies. All the rest is to be found in the standard words of this sect.

In the first aphorism above recited, the word now serves to introduce the exposition of the termination of pain (or emancipation), that being the object of the interrogation about the putting away of pain personal, physical, and hyperphysical. By the word paśu we are to understand the effect (or created world), the word designating that which is dependent on something ulterior. By the word pati we are to understand the cause (or principium), the word designating the Lord, who is the cause of the universe, the pati, or ruler. The meaning of the words sacrifices and rites every one knows.

In this system the cessation of pain is of two kinds, impersonal and personal. Of these, the impersonal consists in the absolute extirpation of all pains; the personal in supremacy consisting of the visual and active powers. Of these two powers the visual, while only one power, is, according to its diversity of objects, indirectly describable as of five kinds, vision, audition, cogitation, discrimination, and omniscience. Of these five, vision is cognition of every kind of visual, tactual, and other sensible objects, though imperceptible, intercepted, or remote. Audition is cognition of principles, conversant about all articulate sounds. Cogitation is cognition of principles, conversant about all kinds of thoughts. Discrimination is cognition of principles conversant about the whole system of institutes, according to the text and according to its significance. Omniscience is cognition of principles ever arising and pervaded by truth, relative to all matters declared or not declared, summary or in detail, classified and specialised. Such is this intellectual power.

The active power, though one only, is indirectly describable as of three kinds, the possession of the swiftness of thought, the power of assuming forms at will, and the faculty of expatiation. Of these, the possession of the swiftness of thought is ability to act with unsurpassable celerity. The power of assuming forms at will is the faculty of employing at pleasure, and irrespective of the efficacy of works, the organs similar and dissimilar of an infinity of organisms. The faculty of expatiation is the possession of transcendent supremacy even when such organs are not employed. Such is this active power.

All that is effected or educed, depending on something ulterior, it is threefold, sentiency, the insentient, and the sentient. Of these, sentiency is the attribute of the sentients. It is of two degrees according to its nature as cognitive or incognitive. Cognitive sentiency is dichotomised as proceeding discriminately and as proceeding indiscriminately. The discriminate procedure, manifestable by the instruments of knowledge, is called the cogitative. For by the cogitant organ every sentient being is cognisant of objects in general, discriminated or not discriminated, when irradiated by the light which is identical with the external things. The incognitive sentiency, again, is either characterised or not characterised by the objects of the sentient soul.

The insentient, which while unconscious is dependent on the conscious, is of two kinds, as styled the effect and as styled the cause. The insentient, styled the effect, is of ten kinds, viz., the earth and the other four elements, and their qualities, colour, and the rest. The insentient, called the causal insentient, is of thirteen kinds, viz., the five organs of cognition, the five organs of action, and the three internal organs, intellect, the egoising principle, and the cogitant principle, which have for their respective functions ascertainment, the illusive identification of self with not-self, and determination.

The sentient spirit, that to which transmigratory conditions pertain, is also of two kinds, the appetent and non-appetent. The appetent is the spirit associated with an organism and organs; the non-appetent is the spirit apart from organism and organs. The details of all this are to be found in the Pañchārtha-bhāṣyadīpikā and other works. The cause is that which retracts into itself and evolves the whole creation. This though one is said to be divided according to a difference of attributes and actions (into Maheśvara, Viṣṇu, &c.) The Lord is the possessor of infinite, visual, and active power. He is absolutely first as connected eternally with this lordship or supremacy, as possessing a supremacy not adventitious or contingent. This is expounded by the author of the Ādarśa, and other institutional authorities.

Union is a conjunction of the soul with God through the intellect, and is of two degrees, that characterised by action, and that characterised by cessation of action. Of these, union characterised by action consists of pious muttering, meditation, and so forth; union characterised by cessation of action is called consciousness, &c.

Rite or ritual is activity efficacious of merit as its end. It is of two orders, the principal and the subsidiary. Of these, the principal is the direct means of merit, religious exercise. Religious exercise is of two kinds, acts of piety and postures. The acts of piety are bathing with sand, lying upon sand, oblations, mutterings, and devotional perambulation. Thus the revered Nakulīśa says:—

"He should bathe thrice a day, he should lie upon the dust. Oblation is an observance divided into six members."

Thus the author of the aphorisms says:—

"He should worship with the six kinds of oblations, viz., laughter, song, dance, muttering hum, adoration, and pious ejaculation."

Laughter is a loud laugh, Aha, Aha, by dilatation of the throat and lips. Song is a celebration of the qualities, glories, &c., of Maheśvara, according to the conventions of the Gandharva-śāstra, or art of music. The dance also is to be employed according to the ars saltatoria, accompanied with gesticulations with hands and feet, and with motions of the limbs, and with outward indications of internal sentiment. The ejaculation hum is a sacred utterance, like the bellowing of a bull, accomplished by a contact of the tongue with the palate, an imitation of the sound hudung, ascribed to a bull, like the exclamation Vashat. Where the uninitiated are, all this should be gone through in secret. Other details are too familiar to require exposition.

The postures are snoring, trembling, limping, wooing, acting absurdly, talking nonsensically. Snoring is showing all the signs of being asleep while really awake. Trembling is a convulsive movement of the joints as if under an attack of rheumatism. Limping is walking as if the legs were disabled. Wooing is simulating the gestures of an innamorato on seeing a young and pretty woman. Acting absurdly is doing acts which every one dislikes, as if bereft of all sense of what should and what should not be done. Talking nonsensically is the utterance of words which contradict each other, or which have no meaning, and the like.

The subsidiary religious exercise is purificatory subsequent ablution for putting an end to the sense of unfitness from begging, living on broken food, &c. Thus it is said by the author of the aphorisms: Bearing the marks of purity by after-bathing.

(It has been stated above that omniscience, a form of the cognitive power, is cognition of principles ever arising and pervaded by truth, relative to all matters declared or not declared, summary, or in detail). The summary is the enouncement of the subjects of attributes generally. This is accomplished in the first aphorism: (Now then we shall expound the Pāśupata union and rites of Paśupati). Detail is the fivefold enouncement of the five categories according to the instruments of true knowledge. This is to be found in the Rāśīkara-bhāṣya. Distribution is the distinct enouncement of these categories, as far as possible according to definitions. It is an enumeration of these according to their prevailing characters, different from that of other recognised systems. For example, the cessation of pain (or emancipation) is in other systems (as in the Sānkhya) the mere termination of miseries, but in this system it is the attainment of supremacy or of the divine perfections. In other systems the create is that which has become, and that which shall become, but in this system it is eternal, the spirits, and so forth, the sentient and insentient. In other systems the principium is determined in its evolution or creative activity by the efficacy of works, whereas in this system the principium is the Lord not thus determined. In other institutes union results in isolation, &c., while in these institutes it results in cessation of pains by attainment of the divine perfections. In other systems paradise and similar spheres involve a return to metempsychosis, but in this system they result in nearness to the Supreme Being, either followed or not followed by such return to transmigratory experiences.

Great, indeed, an opponent may say, is this aggregate of illusions, since if God's causality be irrespective of the efficacy of works, then merits will be fruitless, and all created things will be simultaneously evolved (there being no reason why this should be created at one time, and that at another), and thus there will emerge two difficulties. Think not so, replies the Pāśupata, for your supposition is baseless. If the Lord, irrespective of the efficacy of works, be the cause of all, and thus the efficacy of works be without results, what follows? If you rejoin that an absence of motives will follow, in whom, we ask, will this absence of motives follow? If the efficacy of works be without result, will causality belong to the doer of the works as to the Lord? It cannot belong to the doer of the works, for it is allowed that the efficacy of works is fruitful only when furthered by the will of the creator, and the efficacy so furthered may sometimes be fruitless, as in the case of the works of Yayāti, and others. From this it will by no means follow that no one will engage in works, for they will engage in them as the husbandman engages in husbandry, though the crop be uncertain. Again, sentient creatures engage in works because they depend on the will of the creator. Nor does the causality pertain to the Lord alone, for as all his desires are already satisfied, he cannot be actuated by motives to be realised by works. As for your statement, continues the Pāśupata, that all things will be simultaneously evolved, this is unreasonable, inasmuch as we hold that causal efficiency resides in the unobstructed active power which conforms itself to the will of the Lord, whose power is inconceivable. It has accordingly been said by those versed in sacred tradition:—

"Since he, acting according to his will, is not actuated by the efficacy of works,

"For this reason is he in this system the cause of all causes."

Some one may urge: In another system emancipation is attained through a knowledge of God, where does the difference lie? Say not so, replies the Pāśupata, for you will be caught in a trilemma. Is the mere knowledge of God the cause of emancipation, or the presentation, or the accurate characterisation, of God? Not the mere knowledge, for then it would follow that the study of any system would be superfluous, inasmuch as without any institutional system one might, like the uninstructed, attain emancipation by the bare cognition that Mahādeva is the lord of the gods. Nor is presentation or intuition of the deity the cause of emancipation, for no intuition of the deity is competent to sentient creatures burdened with an accumulation of various impurities, and able to see only with the eyes of the flesh. On the third alternative, viz., that the cause of emancipation is an accurate characterisation of the deity, you will be obliged to consent to our doctrine, inasmuch as such accurate characterisation cannot be realised apart from the system of the Pāśupatas. Therefore it is that our great teacher has said:—

"If by mere knowledge, it is not according to any system, but intuition is unattainable;

"There is no accurate characterisation of principles otherwise than by the five categories."

Therefore those excellent persons who aspire to the highest end of man must adopt the system of the Pāśupatas, which undertakes the exposition of the five categories.

A. E. G.

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