giovedì 4 febbraio 2010

Ánanda Sútram (chapter 1)

Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti, the founder of Ananda Marga, dictated the original Bengali Ánanda Sútram to a close devotee as they sat, in a series of night sessions in 1961, on the tiger’s grave in Jamalpur that Ánandamúrtijii and the devotees used to frequent. The devotee wrote by the light of a candle. Sometimes the candle flame was sheltered by a glass drinking tumbler as a sort of makeshift lantern.

Ánanda Sútram means, in part, “aphorisms leading to ánanda, divine bliss”. The sútra form has been valued over the centuries as a powerful tool for communicating a deep philosophy in a condensed, memorable way. The literal meaning of sútra is “thread”, implying that numerous jewels of thought can be strung on a single such thread. In the best traditions of sútra literature, the eighty-five sútras of this book serve, with breathtaking conciseness, as a framework for the entire Ananda Marga ideology.

Here in Shrii Shrii Ánandamúrti has in a few vivid strokes presented humanity with original concepts of metaphysics, epistemology, ethics and macrohistory. He has set out for the first time a socio-economic approach conceived in the light of a theistic philosophy, blending subjective approach with objective adjustment, that offers the world a well-knit and progressive social system based on economic justice. He designated Ánanda Sútram, together with the complementary book Idea and Ideology, as the darshan shástra (philosophical treatise) of Ananda Marga.

Shrii Shrii Anandamurti uses the nominative case of "Brahman" throughout his writings (Brahma).

Chapter 1

1-1. Shivashaktyátmakaḿ Brahma.

[Brahma is the composite of Shiva and Shakti.]

Purport: Brahma [Cosmic Entity] is the composite of Shiva [Consciousness, Supreme Cognitive Principle] and Shakti [Operative Principle].

A piece of paper has two sides. Although they are two for the sake of argument, they cannot be separated from the one paper entity. Removal of one side of the paper jeopardizes the existence of the other. So is the relation of Puruśa [Consciousness] and Prakrti [Operative Principle] in the Cosmic Entity. None of them can stand without the other. That is why it is said that they are an inalienable concomitance.

Although as a philosophical word, shiva or puruśa is extensively used, in common parlance the word átmá [“soul” or “self”] is more extensively used in the same sense. Shiva means “witnessing consciousness”. So does puruśa – Pure shete yah sah puruśah, that is, “The witness-ship that lies quiescent in every entity is the puruśa.” And átman means “that which is omni-telepathic”.

The physical sense of the body is telepathized on the mental plate. In other words, the physical sense is awakened in the mental plate due to the reflection that follows the impact of the crude physical waves on the mental plate. Similarly, the sense of every crude object is awakened in the mental plate as soon as the reflection takes place following the impact of the waves of the objects on the mental plate. Identical mental waves hit the soul entity, causing the reflection of those mental waves, and this awakens in the unit a sense of its indivisibility from the soul. If, in the language of philosophy, mental waves, that is, thought, be called thought-waves, then the reflection of the mental waves on the soul-plate will have to be termed telepathic waves. And so in reference to the soul-plate, we may say that it is telepathic to the mind. All mundane objects, crude, subtle or causal, consist in mental waves or thought-waves, and so in the fullest accord with reasoning and logic, we may call the Soul omni-telepathic. It is because of this omni-telepathic Átman that the existences of all mundane objects, visible or invisible, large or small, find their factual substantiation and recognition. Had there been no Átman, the existence of everything would have been in jeopardy.

1-2. Shaktih Sá Shivasya Shaktih.

[Shakti (the Operative Principle) is the shakti (force) of Shiva.]

Purport: Every object has a material cause and an efficient cause. Over and above these there is also a conjunctive agency linking the upádána kárańa [material cause] with the nimitta kárańa [efficient or instrumental cause]. The determination of the firmness or laxity of the relation of the material cause with the efficient cause depends on the degree of conjunctive functions. In the process of creation, Puruśa is the material factor, and Prakrti is the linking force consummating the relation between the material and the efficient causes. As the efficient cause, Puruśa is the primary factor, and Prakrti is the secondary one.

Puruśa is the all-pervading entity, and so no one else except Him can be the material cause. Prakrti, not being all-pervading, is sheltered in Puruśa. In the body of Puruśa, Prakrti can only work as much as She is given opportunity to by Puruśa. And so, in the science of creation, Puruśa alone as the doer entity is the chief efficient or instrumental cause; and since Prakrti has been posing as the doer with the authority given to Her by Puruśa, She is the subordinate efficient cause. The distortions or expressions which are taking place in the material cause through the efficient cause and which we call worldly manifestations, are effected by the three guńas [attributes or binding principles: sattva, rajah and tamah] of Prakrti. This accounts for Prakrti being the linking force between the efficient cause and the material cause. So the firmness or feebleness of the object-body fully depends upon the degree of the influence of Prakrti.

The role of Puruśa is foremost in all the spheres. Prakrti only acts to whatever extent Puruśa has authorized or authorizes Her to act. In the process of evolution, Puruśa gives Prakrti the authority to work, and She goes on working. The subtle Puruśa goes on attaining crudity gradually due to the bondage of the three guńas of Prakrti. In the ultimate state of His crudity, Puruśa slowly and gradually keeps shrivelling up the opportunity and liberty of Prakrti previously given to Her, and thus the crudified Puruśa, gradually regaining His subtlety, returns to His own ultimate characteristic state. The flow of manifestations of the Puruśadeha [Cognitive Body] under the binding influence of Prakrti is what we call saiṋcara [extroversion from the subtle to the crude], while the gradual process of liberation that results in the Puruśadeha due to progressive looseness of the bondage is what we call pratisaiṋcara [introversion from the crude to the subtle]. It is now abundantly clear that even though Prakrti is free to make honest use of Her acquired power, the attainment or non-attainment of this power depends on Puruśa, or Citishakti [Cognitive Principle], and so we have to say, Prakrti is but the characteristic of Puruśa Himself – Shaktih Sá Shivasya Shaktih.

1-3. Tayoh siddhih saincare pratisaincare ca.

[Puruśa and Prakrti find their fulfilment in saincara (extroversial movement) and pratisaincara (introversial movement.]

Purport: The existence of any entity is known by the process of its activity, thought or witness-ship, of which witness-ship belongs to Puruśa and the other two substantiating factors primarily belong to Prakrti; and so the fact of Prakrti being the causal entity of the stream of action and thought will be recognized only when She completely identifies herself with objectivity. This appropriation of objectivity by Prakrti depends on Her ever-increasing (saincara) or -decreasing (pratisaincara) influence on Puruśa. Prakrti’s manifestation lies in the saincara and pratisaincara processes. In all these manifestations of Prakrti, Puruśa exists not only as the material cause, but as the witness as well, in all states and conditions.

1-4. Paramashivah Puruśottamah vishvasya kendram.

[Supreme Consciousness at the nucleus of the universe is known as Paramashiva or Puruśottama.]

Purport: The trivalent Prakrti has been apparently crudifying the original Puruśa through Her own binding forces – this is one of the processes of Her activity. Her other process being that by gradually relaxing the influence of Her three attributes on the crude object, She regains the characteristic of Puruśa, thus putting an end to Her binding operation. The first-named process of Prakrti is centrifugal and the other one is centripetal. The Brahma Cakra, or Srśt́i Cakra [Cosmic Cycle], is manifested through the combination of these very centrifugal and centripetal actions. The nucleus of this Cosmic Cycle is indeed the svabháva [characteristic bearing] of Puruśa. The material cause of the entire Brahma Cakra is Puruśa, or Shiva, and we shall call this nucleus Paramashiva or Puruśottama.

1-5. Pravrttimukhii saincarah guńadháráyám.

[Saincara (in the Cosmic Cycle) is the gradual extroversial movement under the increasing influence of the guńas (binding principles).]

Purport: The object-ward movement or expression of Puruśa from the nucleus of the Brahma Cakra under the influence of Prakrti is called pravrtti (extroversial phase). As the result of the initial impact of Prakrti on the witnessing Puruśottama, there awakens in Him the sense of existence, which in the language of philosophy is called the Mahattattva [Existential “I”], and the operative force concerned, whereby this Mahattattva comes into being, is called sattvaguńa (the sentient principle) of Prakrti. (Guńa means “binding principle”.) The second impact of the operative force of Prakrti results in the emergence of the sense of doership or authorship. This changed expression of Puruśa is called the Ahaḿtattva (Doer “I”), and the operative force concerned is called rajoguńa (the mutative principle) of Prakrti. Finally, through the greater impact of the operative force of Prakrti in the wake of Her successive attacks, comes the crudest objectivity or complete objectivation of Puruśa (the crudest objective counterpart of the subjective Cosmos). This condition of Puruśa is called citta (mind-stuff). The operative force concerned, whereby such objectivation takes place, is called tamoguńa (the static principle) of Prakrti. That is to say, with the onset of pravrtti [desire and attachment], saiṋcara issues right from one and the same Puruśa through the gradual process of the guńas.

1-6. Nivrttimukhii pratisaincarah guńávakśayeńa.

[Pratisaincara (in the Cosmic Cycle) is the gradual introversial movement under the waning influence of the guńas.]

Purport: The excess of vrtti [desire] is pravrtti [attachment or the accelerated momentum of desire]. The recessive or waning momentum of vrtti is nivrtti [detachment or the loss of desire in the introversial phase]. During the centrifugal movement, desire finds its fullest expression in Puruśa under the static influence of Prakrti. The citta entity that comes into play in the body of Puruśa under the static influence of Prakrti, when accepted by the jiivátman [the individual soul or the subjective part of the microcosm] as something perceivable or knowable, appears as the five gross physical elements, ten indriyas [organs] and five tanmátras [sensible and super-sensible inferences or generic essences]. When the attributional flow reaches its finality, then starts the shedding of the guńas – that is to say, Puruśa then keeps contracting the power of Prakrti. The result is that Prakrti, attracted by Puruśa, gets drawn to Puruśottama. Consequently again, the five gross physical elements gradually get metamorphosed into body, vital energy and mind of the unit. Finally the unit mind merges into Puruśottama as the result of shedding of the binding principles. It is because of the merger of the unit mind into its primal cause that the ultimate state of pratisaincara is a non-attributive one. This may be called the dissolution of the individual life.

1-7. Drk Puruśah darshanaḿ Shaktishca.

[Puruśa is the substantiator, the ultimate witness; (the actional faculty of) Prakrti is the act of witnessing (and that which is witnessed).]

Purport: Acting is seeing, witnessing is drk [substantiation]. In the absence of the latter, seeing remains unsubstantiated. Thinking, speaking, moving, accepting – these fall in the category of action. The witness-ship that vouches for the existence of these activities, that substantive bearing, is Puruśa, and the expression of activity that takes place under His witness-ship is charged with the guńas of Prakrti. If we call the expression of the material waves actional faculty, its apparent witness will be the citta entity. If the citta-ic expression be termed actional faculty, then its apparent witness will be the Ahaḿtattva (or Ego). If the expression or manifestation of the Ego be called actional faculty, then its apparent witness will be the Mahattattva [sense of “I”-ness]. If we call the sense of “I”-ness actional faculty, then its witness-ship, that is, “I-know-I-am”-ness, will be acceptable as the ultimate witness. This “I know” is not the apparent witness of anybody or anything, it is the absolute witness of everything in all conditions. Hence candidly this bearing alone falls in the category of drk [ultimate cognition]. This in truth is the attributed consciousness of Puruśa.

1-8. Guńabandhanena guńábhivyaktih.

[As the guńas increase their bondage, they express themselves fully in the emergence of the fundamental factors.]

Purport: Guńa means “binding principle”. The stronger the bondage upon anything, the cruder the thing becomes. When in Her freedom acquired from Puruśa, Prakrti binds Puruśa, the conscious Puruśa gets metamorphosed into Mahattattva, Ahaḿtattva, citta, etc., under the ever-increasing binding factors, and then as the result of the gradually greater and still greater bondage of tamoguńa there come into being as per degrees of crudification, the ethereal, the aerial, the luminous, the liquid and (ultimately) the solid factors. Even in the latter there are degrees of bondage. On account of the firmness of bondage, the inter-atomic and inter-molecular distances go on decreasing, as the result of which the internal frictions in the material body go on increasing. The external pressure of attributional bondage and the internal frictions compel greater and greater attributional expressions in the bodies of objects.

Here one should bear in mind that “attributional expression” does not mean the excess of attributional capabilities, but that of the attributional manifestations as well as the attributional diversities. The ákáshatattva [ethereal factor] has the sound- carrying attribute. If, suppose, we fix its measure at one hundred, in that case, when the ákáshatattva gets metamorphosed into the váyutattva [aerial factor] on account of greater static bondage, the attribute of touch is also expressed therein along with the sound-carrying attribute, but the attributional capacity remains what it is – unenhanced. The sound-carrying attribute wanes in the váyutattva as compared to the ákáshatattva, but, all the same, the combined measure of the sonic and the tactual attributes still remains at one hundred.

1-9. Guńádhikye jad́asphot́ah bhútasámyábhávát.

[Due to excessive pressure of the guńas, proper balance among the bhútas (five fundamental factors) is lost and jad́asphot́a (explosion of matter) occurs.]

Purport: If, even after the transformation of the object body into kśititattva [the solid factor], the onslaught of the binding principle continues unabated, the equipoise of the elements gets lost and jad́asphot́a [explosion of matter] takes place. As a result of this explosion kśititattva, due to its excessive internal friction, gets pulverized into subtler elements such as the ap [liquid], tejas [luminous], marut [aerial] and vyoma [ethereal] factors, completely or partially, that is to say, its movement undergoes the process of negative saiṋcara. Nevertheless, the resultant subtler elements after the explosion, of course, retake the same old path of saiṋcara.

The ethereal element of the Cosmic Mind gets gradually cruder and cruder as per degrees of the ever-increasing flow of the guńas, that is, from ákásha, or vyoma, to marut, from marut to tejas, from tejas to ap, and from ap to kśiti. The more the progress of these metamorphoses, the more varied the attributional diversities noticeable in the material bodies, and their dimensions also get shrunk and diminished. The dimensional contraction means the increase of internal frictions, and this happens due to the excess or magnitude of the external attributional flow. Due to these excessive internal frictions, explosions take place in the material bodies and they get pulverized into subtler elements. These explosions owing to hyper-attributional pressure occur only when the degree of the tension of the solid element becomes abnormally high as compared to other elements. In the absence of any wide disparities (either too high or too low) in the tensional relations of the elements, living organisms come into being instead of explosion.

1-10. Guńaprabhávena bhútasaungharśádbalam.

[Due to the increasing influence of the guńas, clash occurs among the fundamental factors and bala (energy) is produced.]

Purport: The firmer the binding factor on the object body, the greater the internal friction in it. This clash or play of forces is called bala or práńa [power or energy]. This práńa exists more or less in all objects or elements, although its expression has not taken place or does not take place in them in equal proportion.

1-11. Dehakendrikáńi parińámabhútáńi baláni práńáh.

[The resultant interial force forming the nucleus within the physical structure and maintaining its solidarity, is called práńáh (vital energy).]

Purport: If the resultant force – the force that comes into being as a result of both external and internal frictions in the object-body – finds its own nucleus in some part of that body, the powers or energies active in that body are collectively called práńáh [vital energy].

The word práńáh is used in the Sanskrit language in the plural number because it really stands for ten váyus [vital forces in the body].

1-12. Tiivrasaungharśeńa cúrńiibhútáni jad́áni cittáńu mánasadhátuh vá.

[Due to excessive clash, some crude matter is pulverized, and cittáńu (ectoplasmic particles), or mind-stuff, is evolved.]

Purport: If the manifestation of energy be too great in the object-body, some portion of the crude entity gets pulverized as the result of excessive friction in the object-body and gets metamorphosed into cittáńu [mind-stuff], which is subtler than ether. That is to say, mind is born out of matter.

1-13. Vyaśt́idehe cittáńusamaváyena cittabodhah.

[Through the combination of ectoplasmic particles in the unit structure, the feeling of citta (objective mind) evolves.]

Purport: The coordinated totality of all the cittáńus [ectoplasmic particles] that remain in the individual object-body centring round its totality constitute the sense of citta of that body. This citta is the done “I”, or objective “I”, of the unit mind. Unperceived shall remain all the perceptions, whether seen or heard, of an individual, unless the citta identifies itself with their reflections on itself.

1-14. Cittát guńávakśaye rajoguńaprábalye aham.

[As the influence of the guńas wanes and rajoguńa becomes dominant, the aham (sense of doership) evolves out of the citta.]

Purport: When, by the attraction of Puruśottama [the Cosmic Nucleus], the mind-stuff is gradually goaded forward under the influence of vidyá shakti [the introversial force], the predominance of tamoguńa gradually wanes and the increasing influence of rajoguńa becomes evident. The part of the mind-body where the predominance of rajoguńa is noticeable, is called the ahaḿtattva [doer “I” or owner “I”].

1-15. Súkśmábhimukhinii gatirudaye ahaḿtattvánmahat.

[With further movement towards the subtle, the mahat evolves out of the ahaḿtattva.]

Purport: By the attraction of vidyá shakti, even the influence of rajoguńa over the ahaḿtattva gradually starts shedding, indicating the predominance of sattvaguńa. The part of the ahaḿtattva where the predominance of sattvaguńa is established, is called the mahattattva [pure “I” feeling].

1-16. Cittádahaḿprábalye buddhih.

[When the aham is greater than the citta, the buddhi (intellect) evolves.]

1-17. Ahaḿtattva mahadprábalye bodhih.

[When the mahat is greater than the aham, the bodhi (intuition) evolves.]

Purport: If the dimension of the mahattattva be greater than that of the ahaḿtattva, the surplus part of the mahat is called the bodhi [intuition].

1-18. Mahadahaḿvarjite anagrasare jiivadehe latágulme kevalaḿ cittam.

[In undeveloped living organisms, creepers and shrubs where aham and mahat have not yet evolved, there is only citta.]

Purport: It may be discernible in undeveloped organisms or creepers and shrubs that the manifestation of citta only has taken place, but not that of mahattattva or ahaḿtattva.

1-19. Mahadvarjite anagrasare jiivadehe latágulme cittayuktáham.

[In undeveloped organisms, creepers and shrubs where mahat has not yet evolved, there is aham as well as citta.]

Purport: It may also be that in undeveloped organisms or creepers and shrubs the manifestation of mahat has not taken place, but those of aham and citta have.

1-20. Prágrasare jiive latágulme mánuśe mahadahaḿ cittáni.

[In developed organisms, creepers and shrubs, as well as in humans, there is mahat, aham and citta.]

Purport: In comparatively developed organisms, creepers and shrubs as well as in human beings, all three, mahattattva, ahaḿtattva and citta, get manifested.

1-21. Bhúmávyápte Mahati ahaḿ cittayorprańáshe saguńásthitih savikalpasamádhih vá.

[When the aham and the citta merge into the Macrocosmic Mahat, the merger is called saguńásthiti or savikalpa samádhi.]

Purport: When after continued spiritual practice the mahattattva, that is, the “I” feeling, gets metamorphosed into the Macrocosmic “I” feeling, the citta of the microcosmic mind merges in the aham and the aham merges in the mahat. When the object merges in its cause, that merger is called pralaya or prańásha [utter destruction]. Since the citta of the Macrocosm grows out of the Macrocosmic Aham, and the Macrocosmic Aham out of the Macrocosmic Mahat, when in pratisaincara’s introversial movement the [unit] citta merges in the aham and the aham in the mahat, to call it prańásha is quite logical and reasonable. The state of utter destruction of the citta and the aham and the state of all-pervasiveness of the mahat constitute saguńásthiti [the state of transcendentality], or savikalpa samádhi [the trance of determinate absorption].

1-22. Átmani mahadprańáshe nirguńásthitih nirvikalpasamádhih vá.

[When the mahat merges into the Átman, it is called nirguńásthiti (state of objectlessness) or nirvikalpa samádhi (the trance of indeterminate absorption, or total suspension, of the mind)].]

Purport: The totally-absorbed state of the mahat, after merging that “I” feeling in the Citishakti [Cognitive Principle] – rather than doing the sádhaná of installing the mahat in the Macrocosmic Mahat – is nirguńásthiti [a state of objectlessness] or nirvikalpa samádhi [the trance of indeterminate absorption, or total suspension, of the mind]. Due to the absence of any guńa, this state is called nirguńásthiti, the state of objectlessness. This state is verbally inexpressible because…

1-23. Tasyasthitih amánasikeśu.

[This state (of nirvikalpa samádhi) is beyond the mind.]

Purport: This state of objectlessness being beyond the orbit of the mind, it is not mentally apprehensible.

1-24. Abhávottaránandapratyayálambaniirvrttih tasya pramáńam.

[The lingering bliss which follows this state of vacuity is the proof of that state, the means of firm belief in that state.]

Purport: In the state of wakefulness all three stages of the mind, namely, conscious, subconscious and unconscious, remain active, but the subtler condition is inconspicuous due to the activeness of the cruder condition. While dreaming, the crude or conscious mind remains dormant, the subconscious and the unconscious minds remain active. During sleep, only the unconscious mind remains active. The opinion that the state of sleep is the state of the sense of vacuity is unacceptable to a subtle philosophical judgement, because at that time the works of both the conscious and the subconscious minds are done by the unconscious mind. The real state of vacuity is verily the state of utter destruction of the mind, and so even savikalpa samádhi is not a state of vacuity. Only the state of nirvikalpa is the state of vacuity. In this state of absolute vacuity, the spiritual waves of exhilaration that fill the unit entity still continue to flow and trail on for some time even after that state of vacuity, that is, after the mind returns due to unserved saḿskáras [the consequential reactive momenta of one’s past deeds]. These very trailing waves of exhilaration and joyous exuberance keep reminding the “mindful” sádhaka [intuitional practitioner] that his or her “mindless” state had been one of absolute bliss.

1-25. Bhávah bhávátiitayoh setuh Tárakabrahma.

[The bridge between Nirguńa Brahma and Saguńa Brahma is called Táraka (Liberating) Brahma.]

Purport: The common point bridging together the empirical state of Saguńa and the metempirical state of Nirguńa is called Táraka Brahma. Táraka Brahma appears in saguńa [embodied] form as Mahásambhúti.

1962 published in: Ánanda Sútram; Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 2 [a compilation]


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