(This is a modest attempt to put in a nut-shell the basic principles of Life in all its Cosmic Totality according to the Vedic System of the Shastras.-J.D.B.)
1. Truth Absolute is that which is unaffected by Time, Space and Substance-that which is ever true, ever-realizable and ever verifiable.
2. The Soul,-perceived of all this Cosmos is the only Absolute Reality Eternal; embodying Life, Light and Delight. All else is but visionary.
3. All this Cosmos is the Manifestation of the Absolute Soul of Spirit Eternal or God almighty designed just for his Self-enjoyment or Recreation.
4. This Cosmos is neither quite real nor quite unreal. It seems true for the time being life a dream or a cinema-show-a tentative reality,-every-changing, ever elusive, ever incomprehensible in its vast totality and practically ever varying with every Spectator or Visualizing Mind. All its knowledge or Vision is relative and its duties and responsibilities are merely relative and tentative.
5. This Cosmos is based on three Impulses or qualities: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, (S.R & T) and is a manifestation of their interplay which the Soul perceives as a Spectator. This Soul Spectator is One but sees through appertures of different eyes, senses and minds and hence sees differently on account of the differenting media like the coloured glasses, water, or visuality.
6. The three Impulses or Qualities S.R. and T, sattwic-(sellubrious), Rajas (Recreative) and Tamas (Torporous) permeate all. S. leads to Knowledge and Delight, R to activity and troubles and T to error and infatuation and destruction. Hence the difference in men. All these are in their own was useful, necessary and functional in this variety-show of the Cosmos. S can prevail over R and T.
7. The visualizing Mind is also a part of the perceived, it is material in nature, it is the magic-instrument through-which alone we realize this Cosmos in all its variety of time, place and substance. It is the greatest potency within the Universe embodying the Ego, the Intellect and the mental apparatus that experiences, knows, remembers and feels. The couplets Happiness and Misery, Love and Hate, Good and Evil, Right and Wrong, Pure and Impure, Joy and Sorrow, are realized through it. Its five aspects are Love, Hate, Concern, Ignorance and Egoism.
8. Control of Mind, therefore, is they Key to the working of the Cosmos; and it can be acquired by Righteous Life i.e., life of Righteous Thoughts, Words and Deeds. The Mind can be purified and concentrated by good, simple and devout life. Men, women, all animals need the control of the Laws of God.
9. With the creation of the Cosmos, came also the laws of the Cosmos. They are revealed in the most ancient Revelation called the Vedas and are expressed in the most wonderful language and passed on for man’s enlightenment from generation to generation of saints and sages. The Vedas being the Expression of God they are beyond man’s measure and speculations.
10. One of the principle Laws of the Cosmos is: As is the deed, good, bad or indifferent so will the fruit of it be. “As you sow so you shall reap.” Hence, the way of happiness for all men (whether individuals or groups) is through good deeds and to misery through bad deeds. Good deeds are those by which one goes nearer to God, bad ones are those by which he goes away from Him, and Indifferent ones are those Common ones of worldly ways which in spite of labours as of a Mill-ox keep men practically remain where they are.
11. The Divine Cosmic Plan is of wonderful, perfect and mysterious design coming as it has done from the Supreme God who knows all the laws working in the Universe. Man’s Summum Bonum or supreme good is to follow the laws of God in their negative and positive injunctions, for the sake of his own welfare and that of the whole Universe. God just witnesses what men do; and under his Plan they naturally enjoy or suffer the fruits of their actions. This law of Karma or Action and Its Fruition is inexorable except through His grace. Men’s own Wits are not guidance enough, its basis should be God’s Directive.
12. The Chief Ingredients of Right Activity or Good Behaviour are Truth, Non-hurt, Austerity, Purity, Devotion to God and realization of the highest Knowledge. The Right perspective of Life is look at it as a Holy Sacrifice devoted to God; for, He is the only Ultimate Reality we have to reach. The derivative duties, negative and positive are many and various, compulsory and optional, but they radiate from those noted above. The Sages and Saints have expressed them variously. Women is the Angel of the Home and she should be protected all through her life.
13. This Universe is a mighty Empire, ruled by One God Supreme, through various Divine Potencies in accordance with the laws of Right and Wrong, to the end that by rewards and retributions all may receive justice in this great Wheel of Life. The State which is a prototype of it works well, and is in time with God’s Design of the universe.
14. The Religious paths as shown in the Vedas are the primordial paths of Religion or Dharma given by God for all Men. Various are the faiths coming therefrom or based upon the knowledge thereof. They vary because the Intellects and Reasoning of men and the fitnesses of Men vary on account of the three Impulses, R. S. and T. mention before. To follow one’s own Recognized duty or faith or Religious tradition is good in the interests of the Individual. For it carries him further up from where he is and unto God. Men are in various stages of R. S. T. impulses and therefore they are formed properly into Cognate groups so that they may least harm themselves or others. Hence there should be a discrimination in the heirarity of classes viz., (1) the wholly Religious, (2) the protecting Military, (3) the Agriculturists and traders, and (4) the labourers and artisans. Human is or should be worked out on these lines for best interests of all men and [text missing] junctions are ultimately for [text missing] better control of Mind.
15. The greatest incentives to Good Life, public and private, are the faith in and company of saints, devotion to God and purity of life; and those to evil life are intoxicating Drinks, meat-diet and looseness of character. Those who are addicted to these three evils cannot easily assimilate the Right Knowledge, for they carry and effectively evil influence in the Mind. Some praise worldliness while some praise Asceticism. Those who know both carry on through the World by Wordliness and proceed beyond it to salvation through Asceticism.
16. “Truth alone Conquers”. “There is one Reality; Sages express it variously”. “All this Cosmos is verily the Expanding Spirit”. “There is nothing Else”. “This, our soul is really the Spirit Supreme Ultimate.” “Knowledge is the Supreme Light incarnate “We can worship God through his great symbols Sun, Fire, Water, Men and in the Heart itself. The whole world is His Symbol. The sacrifice unto the soul and from the Soul and by the Soul-there were the primordial Religious Rites of Gods and Men.
17. The Cosmos is a dream but it is the Almighty’s dream; and hence it is wonderfully perfect, mysterious, systematic and variegated in its Creation, Continuation, Catastrophes and Collapses also. The great aim of Man’s life is Righteousness in Life to gain peace happiness prosperity and spiritual emancipation. There are four objects for which men strive. (1) Duties (2) Necessities, (3)Desires and (4) Redemption. The Necessities should be limited by Duties and Desires should be limited by the aim of Redemption. In fundamentals the Revelation Divine should be the authority, in the details of their application, the writings of the Rishies and Sages, in new rising’ problems, the Righteous Men around, and in personal disposals the Voice of the Inner Self may well be the authority.
18. Thus herein are given (1) The Theory of Knowledge, (20 The Absolute Reality, (3) The purpose of Creation, (4) Relativity of Vision, (5) The Three Impulses, (6) Their Nature, (7) Mind-the Visualizer, (8) Righteous Life, (9) Law of Life, (10) Law of Karma, (12) Righteous Activity, (13) The Empire of the Universe, (14) Religious Paths, (15) Ways of Good and Evil, (16) Symbols of God, (17) Almighty’s Dream and (18) Purview of these Principles. Unto to all men we say that herein are unlocked the treasures of Life, Light and Delight, and peace, happiness and prosperity. By foloowing these principles all men and women, individuals and peoples can be at ease. They are the greatest assets of the human race and every phrase is pregnant with deeper thoughts and solutions than meet the eye. Herein is the way to Redemption in this very life. Peace Unto Us, Peace Unto You and Peace unto All.
N.B. Our esteemed friend learned Prof. Durkal has given a nice picture of the cosmic situation as visualized by the three qualitative Vedic knowledge. Vedic knowledge is within the category of S.R.T. as agreed by the professor but according to the instruction of ‘Bhagwat Geeta’ one has to transcend the qualitative Vedic knowledge by ‘Suddha Satwa’ or Vasudeva realization which is the ultimate goal of Vedic knowledge. Therefore Vedic knowledge ends in ‘Vedanta‘ knowledge and Bhagawan Sree Krishna is Himself the ‘Vedantabid‘ or the perfect knower of ‘Vedanta‘ and He is ‘Vedantakrit‘ or the creator of ‘Vedanta.’ Genuine exposition of ‘Vedanta‘ is ‘Sreemad Bhagwat’ (Bhasya Ayam Brahma Sutrrnam) and ‘Brahma Sutra’ or ‘Vedanta Sutra’ is chronicled in a very systematic way with reason and philosophy. Unauthorized commentation of the ‘Vedanta Sutra’ has pulled down the ignorant scholars to the status of Vedic knowledge mainly dealing in the path of religiosity, economics, sense gratification and liberation at the end. Conception of liberation in the quality of ‘S’ or cosmic sattwa guna is a sort of happy bondage by realization of the spirit soul as one without a second. But in the spiritual realm there is spiritual variegatedness unknown to the happy man in the quality of ‘S.’ Therefore Sreemad Bhagwat describes its contents in the following manner in confirmation of the statement of the Bhagwat Geeta,
Bhagwat Canto I Chapter I Sloka 2 (SB 1.1.2)
Dharma, Projjhita, Kaitaba, Atra, Parama, Nirmatsaranam, Satam.
Vedyam, Vastabam, Atro, Vastu, Shivadam, Tapatraya, Unmulanam.
Sreemad Bhagwate, Mohamuni-kritey, Kimba, Parai, Iswara, Sadya, Kridi, Abarudhyate, Atra, Kritivi, Susruvi, Tatkshanat.
We shall try to explain this sloka in a different article in the pages of ‘BACK TO GODHEAD’ EDITOR.
Bhaktivedanta Book Trust