Crossing Over Delusion & Beyond Death
Whoso thus knows himself, and knows his soul
PURUSHA, working through the qualities
With Nature's modes, the light hath come for him!
Whatever flesh he bears, never again
Shall he take on its load.
- Ganguli XIII.23
The one who has experiential Knowledge of Purusha and Prakriti is not born again (XIII.23). Now Krishna tells Arjuna how this Knowledge that liberates (moksha) from endless transmigration is attained.
Some few there be
By meditation find the Soul in Self
There are those who see and Realize (pasyanti) the Self (atman) by perfecting their inner consciousness through meditation (dhyanena). These ‘few’ are said to be the best of yogis, for they are directed through the inner grace of their own Self and by their own adamantine efforts to Realize the Self within (XIII.24). This statement infers that the God-with can be Known by all, regardless of their background and faith.
...and some by long philosophy
And holy life reach thither; some by works:
Even though Realization of the Self by the Self in meditation is considered to be the best, liberation (moksha) is also possible via other paths. The way that studies and disciplines the mind in Samkhya is open to those who are so inclined. Immersing your consciousness in the recognition of Prakriti’s guna-maya and her relationship to the untouched Purusha will enlighten through the discernment of the Real from the unreal.
The ‘works’ of Karma Yoga will also lead to liberation when all acts are performed in total dedication to the God-within and in absolute non-attachment to their results (XIII.24).
Some, never so attaining, hear of light
From other lips, and seize, and cleave to it
Worshipping; yea! and those - to teaching true -
Krishna understands that there are many in whom a spontaneous inner Realization in meditation will not readily occur, and yet there are true hearted ones who sincerely desire enlightenment and freedom from the endless rounds of birth and death.
These who are pure in their intent and who want Knowledge, not for personal power and ego, but for the purpose of returning Home, therefore listen to others who Know (XIII.25). Honoring (upasate) what they hear, they become devoted to these teachings (shruti-parayanah); and holding them as the highest goal, they too will cross beyond (ati-taranti) death (mrtyum).
In his commentary Abhinavagupta says that they will ‘cross the ocean of samsara’ (B.Marjanovic). Samsara is the Wheel of Transmigration, those wheels-within-wheels that perpetually propel us all through the Cycles of Time. The etymology of the word Samsara is ‘to flow together’ (J.Tyberg) and Samsara is thus often perceived as an ocean.
Wherever, Indian Prince!
Life is - of moving things, or things unmoved,
Plant or still seed - know, what is there hath grown
By bond of Matter and of Spirit:
- Ganguli XIII.26
The apparent worlds come into being through the temporal illusory union (samyogat) of the Field (Kshetra-Prakriti) and the Knower of the Field (Kshetrajna-Purusha). Any moving being (sattvam) in all the myriad worlds or any inanimate unmoving (sthavara) object emerges in the temporal illusory hologram from this correlative association (XIII.26).
Later on in the Gita, Krishna tells Arjuna that there is not one creature who is free of Prakriti’s three gunas (XVIII.40). Not one being on this earth nor in any of the heavens, the myriad Loka realms of the gods and others. All are bound by guna-maya!
... through this union, the insentient evolute [Prakriti] appears as if it is intelligent [buddhi]; and similarly, also from agency belonging to the gunas, the neutral Spirit [Consciousness as Purusha] appears as if it were the agent.
- Samkhya Karika.20
The pure consciousness that you have always been allows Its Self to become confused by Maya’s power (Shakti) and gets lost in the temporal effects constantly being produced by the three gunas as they operate on their objects via the five senses.
You begin to mistake these temporal effects as your own and eventually identify them as you. You are not these ‘things’! You are not the body you are currently experiencing through. You are not your relationships, your family, your possessions, or even your accomplishments, both successes and failures. You are the Soul, the Atman, the Witness within.
He sees indeed who sees in all alike
The living, lordly Soul; the Soul Supreme,
Imperishable amid the Perishing:
- Ganguli XIII.27
The one who has the Vision of Wisdom to ‘see’ (pasyati) the Supreme Lord (Paramesvaram) in all beings (sarvesu bhutesu) as the Eternal which is Imperishable and does not die when these multitude of forms and creatures perish, as they must - that one truly sees what is the Real (XIII.27).
For, whoso thus beholds, in every place,
In every form, the same, one, Living Life,
Doth no more wrongfulness unto himself,
But goes the highest road which brings to bliss.
How can you harm yourself? Only those who are so hurt as to become unbalanced bring injury to themselves, as unrelenting suffering brings on self-destruction in madness. In the Kali Yuga we are all suffering a kind of madness brought on by the delusion of ignorance.
The enlightened ones who have seen their own Self to be the same as the Self in all beings can no longer hurt others (XIII.28). This Realization leads us to the Supreme Goal (param gatim) and that state of consciousness we enjoyed in the Satya Yuga.
You are not the Doer ...
यः पश्यति तथात्मानमकर्तारं स पश्यति .. १३- ३०..
prakṛtyaiva ca karmāṇi kriyamāṇāni
yaḥ paśyati tathātmānam akartāraṃ sa paśyati 13.30
Everything you have come to identity with as you in this lifetime - is not you. The characteristics, qualities and habits you think of as yours, your likes and dislikes, quirks and compulsions, and every act you have ever engaged in were not done by the Real you. You were never the Doer!
Seeing, he sees, indeed, who sees that works
Are Nature's wont, for Soul to practise by
Acting, yet not the agent;
- Ganguli XIII.29 (or 30)
All you have ever done, along with any quality of the small personality ego-self you falsely identified as you, was the performance of Prakriti’s guna-maya. At the moment of death in your previous life, your thoughts formed into a cumulative aggregate that generated a direction. This directive force, which is created by your acts in that life and others, moved your Consciousness (Purusha-Atman) into the body you currently inhabit.
Your current corporeal form is the best available correlative frequency of your cumulative thought in the moment of your death. This frequency is described by what we now call DNA. Your personality ego-self does not reincarnate. The Soul transmigrates to a resonance of being that correlates in frequency and thus reflects the threads being pursued by the Soul, the Real you. Your ‘now’ body is the perfect expression of your desires (kama), for better or worse here in the Kali Yuga.
You are not your body and you are not the Doer
You are the One, the Soul, eternal, pure and untouched by your 1000’s of incarnational adventures, experiences generously provided for you by Prakriti, the Unmanifest Nature who by the Shakti-power of Maya manifests the universe. Atman in the body is called Purusha, and Prakriti performs for Purusha.
Prakriti is also the one, but in the aspect of providing an endless array of experiences in Time and Space. She is the One as the feminine principle. She is the One as every goddess. She is the One whose qualities are the forces of the three gunas.
Every being in the universe is subject to the three gunas. In our human form the gunas operate through the five senses on their objects and transmit what is perceived as the temporal illusory hologram back to the brain as what is seen, heard, touched, etc. In the previous Cycles of Time we were not limited to the five senses but enjoyed access to other means of perception, such as telepathy, seeing at-a-distance, and the other ‘siddhic’ powers.
Prakriti is fueled by the Shakti-Power of Maya. Maya is also the One, but in the aspect of a power so great that it can Veil the One from Its Self and create the Appearance of Separation. This appearance is illusory because there is only the One - but Maya is far more than illusion. She is the creative power that as the ultimate artist, produces all the worlds in this universe.
The supreme self-dependence of Paramashiva [the highest reality - Paramatman], through which He brings about even that which is not possible, is known as the deity named Maya-Shakti. It serves Paramashiva [Paramatman] as a veil to hide Himself.
Maya, the divine power of the Lord, reflected by Him externally, appears as Maya-tattva [tattva is the essence of things] ... The Lord, covering Himself with it, conceals His nature of absolute purity and divinity. Making a show of His involvement in it, He [as Purusha] sees everything through a viewpoint of diversity and forgets the divinity of His I-consciousness.
Besides, Maya-tattva serves as the inanimate objective substance out of which all other insentient elements evolve. It is thus the substantive cause of numerous universes floating in it like bubbles in an ocean.
- Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta, Verse 15
Abhinavagupta was a Kashmir Saivite. Saivite refers to Shiva (Siva). The Saivite schools walk the path that is expressed by the metaphysical principles of the deity Shiva. The term Paramashiva means the highest reality and therefore is an approximate equivalent to Paramatman.
The pure consciousness, having adopted Maya as a part and parcel of Its Self, becomes [takes on the temporal appearance] impure and appears as the finite subject known as Purusha who is bound like a beast with the chains of bondage...
- Ibid. Verse 16
Putting thus playfully the machine of the circle of divine powers in motion, I am myself the Lord, with purity as my nature, working at the highest post as the master hero of the infinite wheel of Shaktis or divine powers.
[Thus] ... the aspirant realizes that he is not a finite being, but the great Lord who is the only hero having multitudes of divine powers as His heroines. He feels that actually he is himself [or herself!] activating playfully the whole circle of such powers ...
- Ibid.. Verse 47
The One in Multiple States of Being
... sees the mass
Of separate living things - each of its kind -
Issue from One, and blend again to One:
Then hath he BRAHMAN, he attains!
- Ganguli. XIII.30
Those who by their own effort and alone in silence ‘see’ (pasyati) and discern that the apparent multiplicity (bhuta-prthag-bhavam) in truth abides in the One (ekastham), they Become the consciousness that is called Brahman. Those who Know that all the myriad forms and states of being emerge and expand (vistaram) from the same Source, they reach the Immeasurable Immensity that is Home.
The Self remains Pure
The Supreme Self (Paramatman) is without a beginning (anaditvat) and beyond all Time whatsoever. Paramatman has no gunas (nirgunatvat) and as the Source of all frequency waveforms is beyond and untouched by any and all qualitative energies.
That Ultimate, High Spirit, Uncreate,
Unqualified, even when it entereth flesh
Taketh no stain of acts, worketh in nought!
Paramatman is the eternal Imperishable (avyayas). It is seated in the body (sarirasthas) through some ‘imagined’ relationship (Gambhirananda); but It does not act - It is not the Doer - and is never affected nor is Its absolute purity polluted (na lipyate) by any actions performed by the body and guna-maya (XIII.31).
Just as the all pervading (sarvagatam) space (akasham - ether) can never become polluted or tainted (na upaliyate) because of its subtlety (sauksmyat), so it is that the Self which abides (avasthitas) in the body is never stained by any impure acts. It remains untouched by the endless permutations of guna-maya’s performances. The Self abiding within us all is eternally pure.
Like to th' ethereal air, pervading all,
Which, for sheer subtlety, avoideth taint,
The subtle Soul sits everywhere, unstained:
- Ganguli XIII.32
The Samkhya Karika of Isvara Krsna states that in fact the Self, Atman in the body as Purusha, was never bound in ignorance and delusion. The entrapment in Maya’s webs is only apparent and temporal in its illusory lack of discrimination. The Self is never bound and therefore never released.
Both enjoyment and release belong to Prakriti ‘the supporter of the manifold creation’ (Samkhya Karika, Verse 62). The comparison is made to a king who is given credit for victory or defeat in battle, when the reality is that only his soldiers are either defeated or victorious. The king suffers the effects of ‘grief or profit’ as long as he supports and identifies with those who serve him.
The Lord of the Field
Just as the Sun provides light for the Earth and every planet in our solar system, so does the Lord of the Field (kshetri) illumine and cause the appearance of the whole (krtsnam) entire Field.
Like to the light of the all-piercing sun
[Which is not changed by aught it shines upon,]
The Soul's light shineth pure in every place;
- Ganguli, XIII.33
Just as the sun, which is the eye of the whole world is not tainted by the ocular and external defects, similarly the Self, which is but one in all beings, is not tainted by the sorrows of the world, It being transcendental.
- Katha Upanishad, II.ii.11
Prakriti is the Matrix
Those who through the Eye of Wisdom (jnana-caksusa) understand the relationship (antaram) between the Field and the Knower of the Field, and know that the goal of life is final liberation (moksha) from Prakriti’s guna-maya, they go to the highest reality, the Supreme (param).
And they who, by such eye of wisdom, see
How Matter, and what deals with it, divide;
And how the Spirit and the flesh have strife,
Those wise ones go the way which leads to Life!
- Ganguli, XIII.34
Gambhirananda translates the liberation of beings from Prakriti (bhuta-prakrti-moksham) as ‘the annihilation of the Matrix of beings.’ Prakriti is the Matrix.
The Language of the Gods
Judith M. Tyberg
East-West Cultural Center, 1970, LA CA.
Essence of the Exact Reality or Paramarthasara of Abhinavagupta
Translated by Dr. B.N. Pandit
Munishiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1991, Delhi
Samkhya Karika of Isvara Krsna
Translated by Swami Virupakshananda
Sri Ramakrishna Math, 1995, Madras
The Bhagavad Gita
Annotation Gudhartha-Dipika by Madhusudana Sarasvati
Translated by Swami Gambhirananda, 1998
Advaita Ashrama, 2000, Calcutta