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The Key of Knowledge
The Fundamental Experiences Of The Sanctified in Spirit
[The article printed hereunder is from the lectures delivered by Sir P.Ramanathan, K.C., C.M.G., (Solicitor-General of Ceylon) in America during the opening decade of this century. The lectures pertained to the Holy Bible. However the interpretation thereof was by the light of Eastern Gnaana Yoga. Siva Sri Ramanathan was a born spiritual teacher. He was at home in Saiva Siddhantam as well as Sankara Vedantam. His words would for ever carry far and wide the fruits of his profound insight into spiritual realities. The present essay formed Chapter IV of THE CULTURE OF THE SOUL AMONG WESTERN NATIONS, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, New York and London, The Knickerbocker Press, 1906. Ed.
In India those who have the “Key” called ‘Knowledge of God”1 are known as Jnanis, or Knowers of the Truth or Wisdom2; and the Light, Wisdom, or Knowledge they possess is Jnanam. They are also called Jivanmuktas, or the Freed Ones, freed from bondage to folly or corruption or ignorance. Other men are not of the Truth. Being attached to the false shows and pleasures of the world they are a-Jnanis, unwise men, men in darkness, whose knowledge is foolishness (a-Jnanam), because it makes them to think that the Body is the Self or Ego (bottom two lines of the page) that knows; to believe that the only happiness available to man is through seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and touching, or through thinking and speaking of things past, present, or yet to come; to mistake the world fro the goal to which it is the appointed way; and to rest assured that nothing exists beyond the plain of thought and the sense. IN their ignorance they esteem as folly the long-suffering humility of the Jnanis their love of all beings, great and small, good or bad; their inability to hate, and unwillingness to exact satisfaction for wrong done their sense of thankfulness under all conditions; their refusal to judge others; their want of concern for the morrow, and their disregard tor things deeply valued by the multitude. But the more enlightened of the a-Jnanis of India, who form a small fraction of the two hundred and fifty millions of Hindus who inhabit the country, feel drawn to the Jnanis, and it is to them they have always gone, form the remotest times to the present day, when craving for Light.
Europeans in India know something of the exoteric or outer side of spiritual India, as exemplified in the symbolic worship carried on in the temples, but almost nothing of its esoteric or inner side. The vast majority of the natives themselves are ignorant of its existence, though many an exegesis is to be found, especially in Sanskrit and Tamil. Such works, however, are difficulty to understand; and devotees who have been initiated inot the subjective (esoteric) from of worship,- “worship in truth and in spirit”- are unobtrusive and far from communicative. But yet earnest seekers, who fail to find satisfaction in the objective (exoteric) method, soon discover that this system, which no longer appeals to them, is really intended as a stepping-stone to the subjective (esoteric), and that the key of the latter is in the hands of the Jnana-guru or Teacher of Godly Wisdom, otherwise called Knowledge of God. Tired of the so-called enjoyments of the world and thirsting for the sanctification of the spirit, they go in quest of him, crying to him now, as in days of yore, “O saint, teach thou, for thou, are the way, and there is no other for us,” “O saint, thou art my way, thou art my way” (Maitrayana Brahmana Upanishad, translated by Max Muller, in the fifteenth volume of “The Sacred Books of the East,” pp.290, 299). Occasionally, the saint comes to the very door of the seeker.
Of all teachers, the Jnana-guru is acknowledged to be the greatest Unlike the Vidya guru, who imparts knowledge on any given secular subject; unlike the Samaya-guru, who imparts knowledge on any given religion, the Jnana-guru is concerned with the very foundation of knowledge, with Truth eternal, unchangeable. He is therefore a teacher of teachers, a guru, or Loka-guru, a Preceptor or Light of the world.
He is found mostly in secluded places from Cashmere (Kashmir) to Cape Comorin (Kumari) living in the utmost simplicity. Some are so dead to the world as to go wholly unclad, seeing nothing but the reign of God everywhere. To them (and indeed every other Jnani,) men, women, and children are all alike without any distinction whatever of sex, age, colur, creed, or race. Some Jnanis are often mighty in attainments (Siddhis)¸but power by itself is not considered their distinguishing characteristic What are called miracles are often performed by men who are not in fellowship with God, and who therefore misuse the powers entrusted to them. The truth is that God is the author of all forms of power, and He alone is the worker of all miracles, from the making of a mineral cell and the growing of a blade of grass to the suspension of myriads of stellar systems in space. Jesus always declared miracles to be God’s works and not his own, and he condemned the display of the gifts of prophecy and miracle on the part of those who did not know God as works iniquity (Matt. Vii:22). Knowledge of God and the consequent restfulness of spirit, called the Peace that transcends all thought, is indeed the only characteristic of Jnanis. Many of them are well known and much resorted to for instruction and advice; others, undiscovered, perform worldly duties in different walks of life, like ordinary folk; but ripe souls are drawn to them and learn of them in secret the way to God. These Jnanis in domestic life make the kindliest and best of fathers, husbands, brothers, and citizens, though never so entangled in those relations as to forget for a moment the grace of God, which assigned to them and others their respective spheres in life for freedom.
It is such masters, who have attained fullness in love and Godly knowledge, that demonstrate to seekers in India that God can be known by man, while on earth and in the body. Sounds doctrine is necessary to disestablish the mind from sensuous objects and establish it in the spirit, and then many an arduous work, having in view the development of righteousness and perfect love, should be undertaken. For mere study of the principles relating to God, soul, and the world will not and cannot secure for the student actual knowledge of God. What he reads in books or hears form living lips is, so far as he is concerned, only hearsay knowledge. What is needed is personal knowledge.
According to the Jnanis, beings and states of beings complete the range of the knowable. The knower of all these is the soul. It knows some of them through the senses, and some through the mind which draws inferences; and some it knows directly without the aid of either the sense or the mind. The first and second kinds of knowledge are knowledge of objects of sense, and of mind, and together constitute worldly experience; but the third kind of knowedge is knowledge of the soul or spirit and God, and is spiritual experience. The Jnanis teach that the sensible and thinkable things are all ofnature (prakriti) or “flesh” or cosmic stuff, but that God, who is the evolver of nature, mental and material, is not graspable by the senses or mind, but knowable only by the Soul, which is itself spirit, like God. Their expressive saying is, God is vedyam (Bhag. Gita, xi:17) the knowable, but avanmanasa gocaram, inexpressible and unthinkable. Just as the milk of the cow, which pervades her lymphatic system, is drawable only at the teat, Jnanis say that God, who is Spirit, knowable only in that part of this temple called the Spirit or Soul; that souls in bondage of Folly or Corruption (Avidya) are like pure water mixed with in, unable to see itself as something different from the corruption it is in; that the Soul is the being which loves and knows; and Folly the false being which hates and works lawless deeds through the instruments of the Soul, namely, the mind, the sense, and the faculties of speech and action: and that if measures be taken to separate the Soul from Folly, the Soul will first know itself and then God who is in it. Knowledge of God is impossible till the Soul renounces all its impurities and stands in the likeness or “Image” of God fit for fellowship with God. The Doctrine of Renunciation, and the practices necessary for forsaking corruption, form the sum and substance of the teaching of the Jnanis. This work of renunciation of impurity on the part of the disciple must be carried on from day to day, it may be for years together, before God manifests Himself to the seeking Soul.
When it awakens to a sense of its bondage to corruption and gradually releases itself from its carna attachments, it is said to “ascent” towards God, who is in the soul.3. That part of the Vedas which is called Upanishad treats of this “ascent” or “rise” from corruption to incorruption. “He who is perfect rest rises from worldly attachments and attains the highest light comes froth in his own proper form. This is the immortal souls” (Maitr. Brah Up, 11-12). Numberless are the books written by Jnanis to expound this doctrine of Godliness (Brahmi sthiti) contained in the Vedas and Agamas. The oldest of these books are in Sanskrit and Tamil. Some in Sanskrit are known to Western scholars but not any in Tamil. Their works in Tamil deserve to be studied, especially those in the form of hymns. ________________ at the end of the page in tamil______pg- 6_______________. One of the ancient psalms of Manikka-vasakar, daily chanted by hundreds of thousands of Tamils in South India and Ceylon, is as follows:-
“O Siva, abiding in the limitless region of holiness who, darkness dispelled, has granted me grace this day;
To abate thoughts, I thought of Thy way of rising from the bosom of the soul in the glory of the sun;
I thought of the non-existence of the everything but Thyself;
I thought of Thee and Three only, -having worn off thought, atom by atom, and drawing closer for union with Three as one;
Nothing art Thou, yet nothing is without Three.
Who, then, can think of Three?”
-Tiruvasakam, Koyil Tiruppadikam, 7
God as Absolute Being, or Being Unconditioned by quality or quantity, is indeed unthinkable, nor is he to be perceived by the sense, as Immaculate, Infinite Spirit, but yet, as such, he is knowable. He is to be known by the soul only when the mind runs down to a calm and lies quite still. When in spiritual communion thoughts are wholly abated and sleep does not intervene, the soul stands by itself like a steady flame, unobscured by sleep and unagitated by thought. In the soul knows itself and God who is in ti. The gradual elimination of thought “atom by atom”, as the Master quoted above says, draws the soul out from the dust heap of thought and enables it to see itself more and more, till at length, when the last trace of thought is “worn off”, the soul appears, as declared in the Maitrayana Upanishad, in its “own proper form” as Unconditioned Being in unspeakable repose. This is called by the Agamic Jnanis atma-darsana, or knowledge of the soul, corresponding to the “manifestation” or “appearance”4of Christ within man (John xiv: 21; att. Xxiv; 30). Then is realised Siva-darsana, or knowledge of God, who manifests himself only within the Spirit though He pervades all the Universe. This is “His way,” His usual method, of manifesting Himself to those men who worship Him spiritually, “in truth and in spirit” as Jesus said. The Vedanta Jnanis speak of these two experiences as Vikalpa Samadhi and Nirvikalpa Samadhi
Just as the soul enshrined in the body “rises” from the body, God enshrined in the Soul “rises” from the Soul. These are the two fundamental experiences of human nature, the one leading necessarily to the other; and this is the goal of life-the knowledge of God After attaining it, there is nothing more to attain here or elsewhere. Progress with all its toils ends. The long sought for Rest has come. No longer do pure and impure thoughts strive against each other for mastery; no longer do kind and unkind words flow alternately from the lips; no longer does the flesh strive against the Spirit, nor the Spirit against the flesh. Differentiation between oneself and others has ceased. Peace reigns. _______ pg 8___________In the consuming fire of Truth ‘Jnanagni’, all the beggarly elements of egotism and desire have been burnt, and infinite Bliss (ananda) survives, bearing witness to the Godly nature of man’s consciousness (atma).
Thou art the indestructible Bliss, which appears the instant all the world (agat) of thought and the senses, like nuggets of gold, is dissolved into an ocean without waves or current.
To this day I have not thus realised Thee!
Can I attain this happiness by only signing Thy praises in verse?
When, O Lord, wilt Thou establish me in the region of holiness and grant me, a sinner, the bliss of the state resulting from non-differentiation?
-Tayumanavar, Panmalai 9
The “dissolution” of the “world”(Jagat), which occurs to each man as soon as his mind ceases to differentiate, -as soon as all thoughts have run down to a perfect calm, -is also known as the “death” of the much mistaken Jiva-ahankara (or worldly spirit) which veils the true Ego (parama-ahankara), which alone knows itself and is the basis of all knowledge, temporal and spiritual.5 Another great Sage of South India, who lived about two thousand years ago, and whose psalms are on the lips of every cultured Tamil of the present day, well said,
____________________________________________________ pg 9______
I became like the dead:
Of all thought was I void:
None but I remained:
I knew no further change.
Venkadar, Arut pulambal, 49.
The Master means to say that when the Jiva-ahankara (or worldly-minded I) dissolved itself by non-differentiation, the parama –ahankara (or Divine I) stood forth unchangeable liberated from nescience or worldliness, and hence known as Jivanmikta. Another Sage sang as follows,-
My heart has hardly throbbed for thee;
But little have my thoughts dissolved:
Divorced I am not form the body, so hard to separate.
I have not died: I am still in a whirl.
The “I” that ought to die is the earth-bound or worldly I, that knows not its true status and is therefore led captive by worldly thoughts. The true Ego (or Atma) can never die it is eternal.
The death of th worldly or sinning I (Jiva-ahankara) is the “crucifixion” of the sinner- the “old Adam.”6 When old Adam is crucified, the heaven-born Adam, the Son of God, the true Ego (parama-ahankara) appears (Icon xv. 45 47)
The words “world” (Jagat) and “worldly I” denote differentiated existence. The sum of human affairs and interest, on in a restricted sense, that portion of them which is known to any one, is popularly understood to be the “world”, which in truth consists of names and forms only; and worldly I exists only when one is conscious of differentiated names and forms, that is, of thoughts. The “end of dissolution of the world” (nama rupa-nasa) is thus another expression for the “death” of the worldly I. The ‘world’ dissolving or ending is the same as the worldly I “dying;” and the “death” of the “worldly I” is the same as the “end” of the “world.” These expressions denote cessation from, differentiation in spiritual communion. When sitting for worship one is alive to the reports of the senses or is thinking of the things of flesh or worldly life, he is in the state of differentiation, which is the opposite of Unification, or Peace, or Rest.
The “world,” in the language of Sages, means everything except pure consciousness; means not only the material universe, but also mind and its products called thoughts, and the senses and objects perceived by them, And God, as Being True or Unchangeable, and the Being who pervades this ever changing and therefore untrue “world,” cannot be found in the face of the world Since He is its substrate He will not reveal Himself, in His own true character as Absolute Being, if looked for in the “world.” Well has a Master sung, -
o Thou who in all things dost vibrate !
o Thou stainless consumer and container of the World !
o Thou king of the celestial hosts !
o Thou the only one, without second !
Though, appealing to Thee alound, I have sought for Thee throughout the world (loke).
Yet I have not found Thee there.
-Tiruvasakam, Arutpattu 2
In His own true nature as He was before the beginning of the “world,” and will be after its end, He is to be “seen” (that is, known) only where the “world” is not, that is, only in the reign of pure consciousness. Therefore the Master, who declared that God was not to be found in the “world” proclaimed also that he found Him elsewhere in “resplendent Tillai” or the region of pure consciousness or atma.7
I found Thee, immaculate and blissful, in resplendent Tillai,
Having overcome the darkness of Desire,
The perception of forms, and the thoughts of “I” and “Mine;”
I, who had been drawn into the vortex of cast, family and birth, who was worse than a helpless dog;-
I saw Thee, who had cut away my bonds of misery and held me to Thy services.
-ib. Kandapattu, 5. (The ten hymns attesting knowledge.)
7. Atma here means Paramaatma. _____________________pg 12_______________
The immaculate and formless being of the Deity “seen” beyond the veil of thought, in the region of pure consciousness, is His unthinkable form, nishkala svarupa. His sakala svarupa or thought-form, assumed for purposes of grace, is according to the form in which He has been thought of He has been thought of by the earnest devotee.
The separation of the soul form thought and sense impression is known in spiritual communion as separation form the body or the flesh, s attested by the words of the great Sendanar:
Meditating on the peerless ways in which He led me captive.
Having separated me from the Body
Which knows not what it is to be established;
Meditating also on the gracious manner in which He cherishes the faithful;
Let me sing in praise of Him only who took me unto Himself, etc.
-Sendanar, Tiru-pallandu, 3.
Another Master sings,-
Hear, O Bird, dwelling in groves Laden with luscioius fruit!
Raise thy notes to the Giver of all things,
Who, spurning the celestial regions, appeared on earth for the purpose of claiming man as His subject.
Pray that the Kind may come, who spurning the
The fresh entered my soul, made it like Himself
And stood forth the only One.
-Tiruvasakam, Kuyilpattu, 4
“The flesh” or “body” includes not only the tangible body (sthula sarira), but also the subtle body (Sukshma sarira), consisting of those invisible instruments of knowledge and action which are found to function in various parts of the tangible body. The complete “spurning of the flesh,” therefore, means complete isolation from the flesh, which state is also spoken of being wholly “dead to the world” (of thought and the senses). When this occurs, the soul becomes nishkala, immaculate (unspotted by the least rudiments of the flesh), godlike. Drawing the soul from the mind-sheath (kosha) or womb (garbha) in which it has been encased, God “frees” or “separates” it from its carnal bonds and causes it to be “as Himself.” Compare the words of St. Paul, “;When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, to reveal the Son in me,” etc., Gal. i:15. This separation from the limitations of the mind is essential to the spiritual birth of the Son or Soul (atma). Then only does he, who from eternity lay hidden in the Soul, become manifest; and manifested, He absorbs the soul by His sun-like glory and remains “the Only One”.
All the doctrines and practices which are calculated to lead to the knowledge of the soul, and through that knowledge to the knowledge of God, are locked up in the mystic formula atmanam atmana pasya (know the soul through the soul)8 , which in the language of Jesus is represented by the expression, “I (the Spirit) bear witness of myself (the Spirit)” (John viii: 18)
It is necessary to try and understand in modern modes of thought the truths that lie embedded in these most holy formulas. In the darkness of deep sleep Consciousness is to obscured that it knows nothing, not even its own existence. When it first awakes it knows nothing in particular till a vague desire to know arises within it, and sets the mind to think, or the senses to perceive, something. Then begins a knowledge of some definite thing. But so rapidly do the senses strike on the Consciousness, and so constantly do thoughts present themselves from the moment it wakes to the moment it falls asleep, that Consciousness is “heated with the blear illusion” that it is identical with the body. The truth, however, as experienced by Jnanis is that Consciousness (or the Knower, or the Soul) is wholly distinct from the mind (which thinks) and the sense, just as the latter are distinct from the body. “Separate from the mind and the sense, yet reflecting the qualities of all of them, the atma (soul) is the Lord and Ruler of all”(Svetasvatara Upanishad, iii;17). Consciousness or the Soul knows the senses and the mind, but they are not subtle enough to know the Soul, their “Lord and Ruler.” It knows itself. Nothing else can know it. Hence the mandate, “know the soul through the soul.” The soul is a witness (sakshi) unto itself. The mind (including the reason) and the senses, being constructed of cosmic stuff or: flesh,” cannot know the soul !
It is difficult to establish these truths by reasoning, for the basis of reasoning is comparison of one thing with another and drawing inferences therefrom, and there is nothing in the world without us which may be compared with the soul within. The one proof possible in these circumstances is an appeal to the spiritual experience or actual knowledge of the Spirit of the class of people called Jnanis. Their experience declares (I) that the body is the tabernacle of the Soul and its instruments; (2) that the mind (or the subtle organs of thought) and the senses are the instruments of the Soul, whereby the Soul is brought into relation with the objective world; (3) that the mind is not subtle enough to know the Soul; (4) that the Soul may be freed from its primeval taint9 of evil or worldliness; (5) that when freed from evil or worldliness the soul knows itself as naturally as the bound soul knows the mind and the world without; and (6) that peace (or infinite love, irrespective of objects of love) and knowledge of (or power of knowing, irrespective of objects of knowledge) are the fundamental features of the freed soul.
How few among us recognise even the first named of these truths! Metaphysicians of repute have argued that the mind, so far from using the body as its instrument, is only a property, power, or function of the body. Professor Bain, desiring to follow a middle course, defines man to be “an extended and material mass, attached to which is the power of becoming alive to feeling and thought, the extreme remove from all that is material” (Mind and Body, p.137); and observes that the contention that the mind uses the body as its instrument” assumes for mind a separate existence, a power of living apart, an option of working with or without a body. Actuated by the desire of making itself known, and of playing a part in the sphere of matter, the mind uses its bodily ally to gratify this desire; but if it chose to be a self-contained, to live satisfied with its own contemplations, like the gods as conceived by Aristotle, if need not enter into cooperation with any physical process, with brain, senses, or muscular organs, I will not reiterate the groundlessness of this supposition. The physical alliance is the very law of our mental being; it is not contrived purely for the purpose of making our mental states known; without it we should not have mental states at all” (ib., p.132).
The learned Professor’s criticisms abound with difficulties of his own creation, which however do not affect the truths of spiritual experience. By the light of this experience, the Soul (or the I that knows) is found to be very different from the mind whose function is to think. It will be readily admitted that it is not the senses (Jnanendriyas) but the internal faculties of thought (antahkaranas) that think. The Jnanis declare that the invisible organ of thought and the other invisible organs of breath, nutrition, and action, which in co-relation form the subtle body (sukshma sarira) of the soul and function in different parts of the tangible body, are in the nature of a covering or sheath (kosha) of the soul, being “bound” to it by the “worldiness” or folly inherent in the soul (Jivatma). From olden times, they say, the soul (Jivatma) was permeated with this feeling of want and craving and lay in a stifled condition. For the merciful purpose of liberating the soul from this pitifully obscured condition, God evolved the world out of worldly rudiments and endowed the soul, firstly with the “mind-and-breath mechanism” called the subtle body, and secondly, with the tangible body as the mud-home of the subtle body, and so brought it into relation with the outer world. The craving or greed for gratification thus became (through the “subtle body”) the desires of touch, taste, hearing, sight, and smell, and the desires of the intellect. The mind-and-breath organism has, therefore been called a “lamp”, or instrument of illumination to the obscured soul. When the light of true knowledge, let into the soul through the channels of the mind and the senses, dispels by degrees the density of worldly taint or ignorance inherent in the soul, the mind and the senses find less and less enjoyment in the field of carnality. It is within out every-day experience that, with the gradual decline of desire for anything, our thoughts on that subject become fewer and less active, and it is only natural that when all desires are eschewed, thoughts should run down to ta complete calm. This truth is expressed in the formula nirasa (or non desire) is Samadhi (peace). All “enlightened” men, that is men consciously admitting light and thus actively wearing off, atom by atom, the density of their cravings, are on the high road to Samadhi. They are destined to speedily enter the spiritual kingdom, the holy and blissful region of pure consciousness. The converse proposition, that the practice of the art of pacifying thoughts leads to attainment of nirasa, that is, emancipation of desire, is found to be equally true. Without tarrying on this part of the subject it is needful only to say that, as the effacement of all desire causes thought to disappear, leaving the soul serene and limitlessly conscious, Mr. Bain’s question whether the mind may have a separate existence, and in that state of independence possess an option of working with or without the body, admits of a ready answer, If all desires have been permanently expunged from the soul, the mind becomes quite inactive and has no power over the body.
Such a contingency occurs only in the case of that call of Jnanis known as Brahma-varishta, who by unceasing spiritual communion have isolated themselves from desire so completely that it never rises from the expanse of consciousness in any form whatever. The only indications that they are not dead are warmth in the body and growth of hair and nails, if clipped. The senses do not perceive, the mind does not think, in this state. Though dead in the worldly sense, they are not dead spiritually. They live on form year to year without food or drink.
A less advanced Jnani is Brahma Varyan, in whom desire is not completely annihilated. Therefore he is able to rest in Samadhi only for limited periods, emerging therefrom for a short while, during which devotees revive his recollection of earthly affairs and pray for blessings. Granting them, he again relapses into the peaceful state. The late Raja Rajendralala Mitra, one of the most distinguished sons of India, said that in 1842 he saw a Jnani whom some woodchoppers had brought up to Calcutta from the forests of the Sunderbunds. The saint was found sitting cross-legged under a lofty banyan tree, admidst a wild profusion of heavy roots, which in course of growth had entwined themselves round his limbs. The “fools and blind” cleared the wood and carried the Sage, dead as he was to the world, to Calcutta, where he was taken possession of by two men even more ignorant that the wood choppers, for unable to rouse him “by shouting, pushing, and beating, they put fire into his hand and plunged him into deep water in the Ganges with a rope about his neck, as though he were a ship’s anchor, and twice kept him there all night. They pried his tetanus jaws apart, put beef into his mouth, and poured brandly down his throat. Finally, to prove their own shamelessness, and to make their memory hateful for ever, this Hindu Raja and this Englishman set upon the poor saint an abandoned creature of the other sex to pollute him with here unholy touch!” (Colonel Olcott’s Lecture at the Town Hall of Calcutta in 1882 on “Theosophy, the Scientific Basis of Religion”.) At last by violent method they awoke him, and all he said was, “O Sirs, why did you disturb me” I have done you no harm.” Shortly after, he attained Videha Mukti or liberation from the sthula and sukshma bodies.
A third class of Jnanis is represented by the Brahma Varan, who suspends mind and breath for a few days at a time, returning to the ways of life readily at the close of the Samadhi.
By far the largest number of Jnanis, however, belong to the class of the Brahma Vid, who isolates himself only for a few hours each day, not necessarily every day. These are the saints who are most useful to the world, because all their thoughts run with amazing fruitfulness in the groove of paropakaram or service to others. Jesus is a brilliant example of this type, for in addition to knowledge of God, he possessed Siddhis (or spiritual powers) of a very high order. When drawn too much into the vortex of worldly life he sought solitude for the the purpose of re-establishing himself in the fullness of peace. He went up into a mountain apart to pray …………….. He was there alone” (Matt. Xiv: 23) is often said of Jesus. He is also said to have been fast asleep on board a ship when a great storm was blowing and covering the craft with tremendous waves Matt.viii:24) Even a drunken man would have returned to his sober senses in such rolling and pitching, creaking and roaring, “but Jesus was asleep” He was really in Samadhi, “dead to the world” of thought and the senses. His disciples were able to move him out of that peaceful state, only because his desires, still lurking in the soul, stirred and set the mind-and-breath mechanism in motion, as demonstrated in the case of the ill-treated saint of the Sunderbunds. It is a truth worth realising that even the best of desires are, in comparison to Peace, a burden. The blissfulness of Rest is infinitely superior to un-rest, however refined. Rest is absolutely good, and all forms of Un-rest, from the highest, are bad in relation to Rest. Therefore did Jesus say on a memorable occasion, feeling the desecration of un-rest, “Why callest thou me good? There is no one good but one, that is God” (att, xix:16). Therefore also do men who have tasted of that Rest feel ever inclined to go back to it, as to a haven, from the agitations of thought, the troubles and turmoils of life, and to stand alone quite isolated from all that is worldly.
This “alone becoming” of the soul, known in India as Kaivalya, is what is indicated by the Greek phrase monogenes huios in Jonh i:18, rendered inappropriately in English as “the only-begotten son.” How can Jesus Christ be considered the only son of God, when he himself taught the doctrine that others also could be as perfect as God in love (Matt.v:48), and as gifted as himself in miraculous powers (ib. xvii:20). It will also be borne in mind that St. Paul said that it was possible for all men by due culture to attain the fullness of Christ (Eph iv:13). Nor must it be forgotten that Jesus took pains to expose the popular fallacy that Christ was the son of David (Matt. Xxii:42). “What think ye of Christ?” he asked of the Pharisees. They said, “He is the son of David.” If he be the son of David, said Jesus, how is it that David addresses him as Lord in Ps. cxi? Is it customary for a father to call his son Lord? They answered not a word, and verse 46 records “neither durst any man from that day forward ask him any more questions.” Jesus meant to say that, though flesh was necessary to produce flesh, Christ was not flesh and Christ, being pure Spirit, did not need a fleshly father like David to beget him. He expressly said that Christ was “before Abraham” (John viii:58). Who lived many centuries before David.
Christ is the Soul that has been freed from its bondage to worldliness, and blessed with the knowledge of God. “Truth (or grace of God) shall make you free,” said Jesus (John viii: 32). “Sanctify them through thy Truth,” he cried John xvii: 17, even as he himself was sanctified (John x:36). To stand alone, quite isolated from all that is worldly, is Santi in Sanskrit, from which Sanctification comes.
The experiences ofJnanis of the different degrees of Rest or “death unto the world,” as above described, ought to make it clear to “learned philosophers” that the mind and the senses are but instruments of the soul, and mind and the sense organs would fall prostate on the bosom of the soul, even as a spinning top falls on the ground as soon as its force is exhausted.
This is one of the most certain facts known in Samadhi,
When the mind, ceasing to whirl, falls like a top which has spent its force, -
Just then, the gloom of ignorance dispelled,
Did I know myself, independent, like unto space, devoid of light and shade?
Did I then, joining myself with the Infinite Peace which lies within me, pass into the transcendingly blissful state?
-Tayumanavar, Tejomayanandam, 4.
A few more words may be added in explanation of atmanam, atmana pasya. We know, as a fact, that we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell; and we know also that we think. The expressions. “I know that I feel,” “I know that I desire,” “I know that I think,” mean only that one is conscious of those states of being namely, the states of feeling, of desiring, of thinking. Consciousness, therefore, is the Be-ing which knows, and must not be confounded with the states or sensibilities induced in consciousness through the excitation of the senses and thoughts. When such sensibilities are discarded what remains consciousness pure, which soon overflows in all directions, boundlessly, like the rays of the sun through space. This experience is known as atma purana, meaning literally, in the words of St. Paul, the fullness of the spirit. This is the liberated soul (atma in moksha),the Be-ing, the “I am, “which partakes of the “glory ofGod : known as Saccidananda, that is, sat, eternal unchangeable existence; cit, pure consciousness, infinitely expanded; ananda, bliss or absolute peace. In plain words when consciousness is purified to the requisite degree, it is found as matter of fact (1) to survive all phenomena and remain unchangeable; (2) to possess the knowledge that is not limited by time or place; and (3) to overflow with an unspeakable repose and love for all living beings, the like of which is unknown in any other state.
European science admits the world of the senses (the ‘sensible” world, as it is called). And the world of thought (the “extra-sensible” world), and is quite familiar with their laws and conditions; but it refuses to acknowledge the world-I would rather say, the region –or pure consciousness (the “supra-sensible” world). “We cannot say, “wrote the late Mr. G.H. Lewes, “that a supra-sensible world is impossible; we can only say that, if it exists, it is to us inaccessible” (Problems of Life and Mind, Vol. I, p. 270) And Professor Bain declares that in the senses and thoughts “We have an alphabet of the knowable…… but we cannot by any effort pass out of the compass of the primitive sensibilities” (Sec. 19 of the chapter on the Physiological Data of Logic). The denial of the region of pure consciousness the (Jnana Bhumi, because of its fancied inaccessibility to experience, is a notoriously false argument. Mr. Lewes himself having pointed out elsewhere that, “before a fact could be discredited by its variance from one’s notion, the absolute accuracy of the notion itself needed demonstration” (Problems, etc., i;353).
When this state is attained, then will be realised in actual experience the truth that God is in the soul, 10. Also known as Dakaraakaasa. Pg 25 Upon this spiritual experience is founded the doctrine of “God in me, and I in God”
Bot hthe Vedas and Agamas teach this doctrine in those parts of them which are called Jnana Kanada (the section that relates to spiritual enlightenment).
The Agamas are a graduated elaboration of the four Vedas’ and are known as the fifth Veda. The final or eternal truth relating to God having been revealed to the Jnanis the way of attaining God has been worked out in the Agamas under four principal stages known as charya (good conduct), kriya (symbolical worship), Yoga (subjective union through sense control, breath control, and thought control), and Jnana (hearing andunderstanding the principles of eternal life). The charya stage is called san-marga, or the good way of lawful or ethical conduct, in which God is distantly or vaguely conceived; the kriya stage is dasa marga, or the way of the son, in which God is viewed as Father; and the Jnana stage is saha marga, or the way of the friend and equal, in which Soul is considered to be striving for fellowship with God.
The final or eternal truths are known in the Vedas as Vedanta and in the Agamas as Saiva Siddhanta, and the entire graduated way is known as soupana marga (ladder way, or path of ascent).
Agreeably to the needs and capacities of each people, have Religions or Bonds of Spiritual Thought been given them, marked by some one or more of the features of the stages above named. Some religions do not carry their votaries beyond the stage ethical conduct; others not beyond ritual worship; very few teach subjective union; and only one at the present day is able to impart a full knowledge of those principles and practices which result in the actual attainment of God. As spiritual thought gets mixed with error in the progress of years, owing to the imperfections of the minds of those who receive and give out such thought, religions become materialised and intolerant of each other. Hence come diversities and conflicts. Such religions parish with the people who have perverted the original germs of truth.
It matters not in what land or sphere of society a man is born if in humble spirit he acts up on the faith he was born in. In due time he will be moved to a higher form of faith, and so onward from one life to another, till all his thoughts get centred in God. Life and death are like waking and sleeping. AS the same being that is awake sleeps and wakes again. So he that lives dies, to live again on earth till full knowledge of God is attained.
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