Suddha Dharma Mandalam

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Sanatana Dharma Sootras


Part 2

3.Bhavaswabhava Purusho hiyatma Paramatma bhavati sarvopasyaha.

3.  The Inherent nature of Bhava, the Purusha is Atma and paramatama which is to be worshipped by all.


After postulating the fundamental dual characteristics, which constitute the very nature of Brahm in regard to its “apara” aspect, the gracious Lord commences to elucidate further, the essential features of these dual characteristics and also their mutual relationship from this  Sootra onwards; and towards this, He chooses, the first pair catalogued in the list above – Bhava and Abhava – terms which carry the greatest significance in adhhyatma science. These two expressions carry various meanings which require to be found out in accord with a given context. What do these terms denote in the present context. The answer thereof we have in this and the next Sootra.

It may be posited in this connection that, in reference to Brahm, the topmost datum level towards which and also on its basis, all knowledge, all aspirations and all activities have any meaning at all, the terms – “Para” and “Appara” applied to it should not be confused as referring to any spatial denominations of high and low. As an eternal Presence, these terms but nindicate what is termed as its “drishti”, which may be translated to mean as outlook and insight –0 the two prima facie phases, the former turned towards Kjagar or the cosmic world process and its contents in regard to their creation, etc, and indicated by the term “Apara” and the other “Para”, which is away from the above being its own, insight and about which nothing could be stated, being beyond conceptual regions and best expressed in the Shrutis only negatively as “Neti Neti”, not this not this, as was stated already. Since Brahm in its absolute state is but a name to us, this name suggests also a form, used as we are to club the two always; and this is represented in the dual characteristics of “Apara Brahm”. In other words, a knowledge of Para Brahm is but that of what it is in its “Apara” state and not beyond. “Bhava” belonging to this “Apara” category sets afoot the flow of conceptual possibility in the realm of knowledge to start with. This knowledge as emanating from the highest source, does not belong to the categorical explanation of “how” things that have come to exist as they are got worked up. It constitutes a total understanding of the entire scheme of creational and other activities in their completeness, and such a knowledge is called “ sarva bhava samujvalam”.

“Bhava” is a positive concept. It is explained here by the Lord as “Purusha” – a term suggesting masculinity. The gracious Lord adds that it is also known as Paramatma and Atma and exhorts all to direct their devotional worship thereto. The term “Bhava is used here in its utmost abstract sense constituting a totality of positivity “ sarva bhava”, and is conveyed to mean “Being” or “Existence”. This state, if we may call it so, of total existence is the inherent nature – swabhava of Purusha or Paramatma or Atma. That is to say, a state of “non-existence” as we understand it cannot be attributed to “Purusha” in any manner whatsoever. Being absolute as such and pointing out the positive terminus of life’s sojourn, it is a concept of eternal everlastingness transcending all time and hence the Shruti dictum – Purusha evaedgam Sarvam – all this is Purusha, which points its ever-Presence as is through all time – sarvakala, with no change of any kind to be associated with it.

Though difficult to be conceived with our usual brain capacity, it is with a view to get over it the names Purusha , Paramatma and Atma are given. These names suggesting the highest abstraction in consciousness are held out as “objects” of worship, the object here being not a striving for any concrete factor, but the attainment of a state of changeless, deathless existence - a thing in itself and a personality all its own incomparable. Such a state is called “Bhava Swabhava”. It is said that this state is one in which the exquisiteness of ‘Ananda ‘ or bliss, ‘vignana’ or knowledge par-excellence embracing total life and a resting place of all Shakties or Powers in their latent state are ingrained naturally. The objectification of these as Parasha etc. is with a view to enable us the struggling Jivatmas and subject to the influence of a concrete mind, to fix it in this mind of ours, with a view to create in us an attitude of worshipfulness. And thus we find the abstract idea of ‘Being’ is given the concrete nomenclatures of Purusha, Paramatma and Atma. A capacity to do so is to peculiar privilege of the great Teachers of truths in this land, who are endowed with the secret of ‘Existence’. Bhagavan Sri Narayana, in Badari in the Himalayas, is the highest in the list of Teachers and hence hailed as Maha-Guru – the greatest Teacher.

Now, in reference to these nomenclatures Purusha Paramatma and Atma, which we saw as those attributed to Apara Brahm its aspect of  ‘Bhava Swabhava’, each of these names denote a difference of degree in the intensity of ‘Existence’; which we learn, as being modified consequent on its eternal association with the two other aspects of ‘Apara Brahm’ ‘viz’ ‘abhavaswaroopa’, which is explained in the next Sootra. Without anticipating what it connotes here, it may be stated that whatsoever be the modification, the absoluteness of ‘Existence’ is implicit.  The modification, which is in terms of degree of subtility, is due to the material vesture in which the ‘Existence’ in term of those names is incased and supplied by this other aspect of ‘Apara Brahm’ – ‘abhava swaroopa’. This material vesture is spoken of as sheath or Kosa and it is determined as five-fold. They are, Annamaya, Pranamaya, Manomaya, Vignanamaya and Anandamaya., that is food-formed, vitality-form, mind-formed, knowledge-form and bliss-formed respectively, the five primeval material sheaths of Brahm and providing each of which it gets to be know with various names. Pervading through Anadamaya, Vignanamaya and Manomaya, Brahm as ‘Bhava’ is termed as Purusha, Paramatma and Atma respectively; in the Pranamaya and Annamaya, it is known as Jiva and Akshara respectively. The order of subtility starts with Akshara and terminates in Purusha in Anandamaya Kosha. It is the highest limit and goal – sa kashta sa paragatihi and there is nothing beyond – Purusham na param kinchit. Hence it is  stated t hat the Reaching of this Purusha state goes by the name of ‘Paraprati’; the highest of the Purushharthas ordained for man in, other words to discover the spring of ‘Existence’ in one’s own self.

Thus we learn for the first time, about the significances of these names Purusha etc. which we find profusely used in the spiritual literature of this land, and for what they stand for, though the teachings of the Yogis, Rishis, Siddhas and Mahatmas of Suddha dharma Mandalam to whom ‘Kosha sankramanam’ mentioned in Titreya Upanishad, that is, passing from one sheath to the other is a natural accomplishment and adeot – attainment due to their realization of Brahm in these Koshas and these by a knowledge of the secret of Existence. Withholding the temptation to dialate further, let us go to the next Sootra.

  1. Tatsahacharaschaparo hiyabhavaswaroopaha triguhnatmaprakrititi, deviti, mayaeti, Brahma Shakti, nanaroopaeti kathayatae.
  1. It is said that ‘Abhava swaroopa’ its associate is described as Prakriti, (matter) three qualitied, as Devi, as Maya, as Brahm Shakti and as Nanaroopa.



The other aspect of ‘Apara Brahm’ and termed ‘Abhava’ is postulated by the Lord as ‘Swaroopa’ or formful. This bterm Abhava suggesting as it were an opposite feature of Bhava should not be deemed to mean ‘non-being’, as it is generally done since it is no state such as ‘non-being’ at all, but there is changefulness of ‘being’; and such changefulness is the hall-mark of ‘swaroopa’ or form, and hence ‘Abhava Swaroopa’. By denying ‘Existence’ altogether, we land ourselves in the precarious regions of ‘neti-Neti, which is a complete blackout from the highest positive point of vie of Purusha. Though this Neti-Neti is the highest, it cannot be conceived.

Buddhism also declares the highest as ‘Nought’ but it stresses on the ‘abhava’ aspect, leaving out Bhava. This it considers as ‘nought’ the highest but of this we need not to go into here. So then ‘Abhava’ in this Sootra has no reference to such an absolute negation as non being. But it carries, however, a relative negation in reference to the positive Bhava, and such relation is in the nature of changefulness to Existence. Such changefulness, not being inherent in Purusha, and by virtue of its being a necessity as a companion to the said Purusha, the swaroopa or form becomes present, and as ‘swaroopa’ we see the infinite changes that are eternally going on, no one knowing when they started and no one know when they would cease to be.

What it is that brings about this changeful existence and what it is, in fact intrinsically? The Lord declares it in five names as Trugunatma – Prakriti, Devi, Maya, Brahma Shakti and Nanaroopa. It follows therefore that the ultimate cause for this formful manifestation with its multiple changes is Brahma Shakti and ‘Purusha’ is just ‘existence’ leading aid to the said Brahma Shakti to cause the projection of this wonderful Jagat with its never ending forms.

The five names given to this ‘abhava swaroopa’ carry certain vital significance with each, which is being different from the other, in the same way attributed to Purusha, Paramatma  and Atma in the last Sootra. All these names, however, refer to Brahma Shakti which is given out as the eternal companion of Purusha. This Shakti associated with Paramatma is known as Devi, the Divine Mother, Atma is in companionship with Triguna Prakriti or three qualitied matter and the three qualities are well known Satwa, Rajas and tamas. Similarly, the term ‘Maya’ may be said to go with Jiva and ‘nanaroopa’ with Akshara, the grossest formful manifestation of Brahm and known as the ‘word’ having sound and significance. Maya is not a power of  illusion. It is a power of -transformation of Brahma-Shakti causing the One to appear as many Jivatmas. And ‘Nanaroopa’ is a conglomeration of the dazzling multiplicities, which cause a complete separativity, the characteristic of sound, its waves and intonations. Each of these is said to symbolize a form!

So it is, that Brahm Shakti or the power of Brahm that causes the appearance and dissapearance of what is called manifest existence in changefulness. ‘Absolute Existence’ is beyond the jurisdiction of Brahma-Shakti and this it cannot change its power consists in creating a pseudonymus existence and altering it always through the creation of form, Swaroopa.

Towards the creation of the form, the Shakti is said to transform itself as matter or Prakriti, so as to supply to itself the material necessary. The Prakriti or Matter that thus originates is deemed to be endowed with the three qualities naturally, and hence it is called three qualitied Prakriti. It should be also noted in this connection that the status of the three qualitied Prakriti comes to be associated with that aspect of Brahm termed as Atman. In the higher Paramatma and Purusha, the three qualitied Matter is not present. It is more exclusively shaktic; whereas the aspects of Jiva and Akshara, subjection to the three qualities is implied and hence the bondage of Jivatmas. We shall be referring to this aspect which is intimate to us, as we come to it later on.

Shakti is generally is classified as three-fold generally- masculine, feminine and neuter. What is called as neuter Shakties are those qualities Satwa, Rajas and Tamas of Prakriti. Prakriti or Matter is ‘Jada’ lifeless and three qualities which are the reflection of matter are deemed so which are more of the blind category. It is now-productive and destructive in its nature. This is what is called Prakriti-Shakti or Prakriti Guna. That which is called feminine is Stree Shakti. It is also called consequent on its creational ability. It is also known as – Vyavasaya, shakti or the power of functioning in terms of Knowledge, desire and activity – Gnana, Iccha and Kryia. We shall be dealing about this in detail when we come to the relevant Sootra thereon. Ourusha shakti is that which is concerned with the state of ‘being’ or Existence. It is this supreme power that causes other powers to operate and hence it is termed masculine.

Now let’s go to the next Sootra