A Probe Into Life's Relativities
Jul 14, JAGANNATHA PURI, ORISSA (SUN) By HDG Srila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakur - Published in The Harmonist (Sree Sajjanatoshani) -Part One.
Relativity and Absolutism may prove to be conflicting with each other at the first sight. But the harmony wanted by both of them should be secured to reach the unique position of the Truth who has no deviation. The negative idea of our present-day experience through inadequate senses on the temporal plane does not include a full description of the Absolute Truth in Whom some other phase cannot have lien to co-share. The synthetic method need not be confused with the analytic process, neither should the darkness be accepted as light to explain our observing stand.
The activities of our present senses over phenomenal representations have impressed us with a particular designation which should in no case be ascribed to the manifested region of the Absolute where our deformed senses and their objects should not be thrust with such vehemence as we are apt to apply in our present sphere. The transcendental specification does not submit to any limited sense of an enjoyer, but the cogent energy of transcendence always exhibits a supernatural predominating and justifiable aspect to regulate the shortsighted views entertained in the temporal region. A close attention will, I am sure, convince every observer if he is amendable to see things from different positions; so I take the liberty of asking everybody not to submit to the current views of many who are subject to an enjoying mood. A real enquiry with submission will ensure the safety of Truth. In cases of non-absolute subjects, an opposite party can have full claims to contradict or challenge, whereas in the Absolute no such second party is possible.
Among the considerate who were watching the Career of the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya on His return to Nadia from Gaya, the people of Sree Mayapur noticed His marked deviation from the former character of the Lord. They observed Him discouraging the impersonalism of the ascetic Prakashananda who was alleged to have been inculcating an unassorted epistemology which went to show the dragging of the conception of the Absolute to a region devoid of manifestive sentiency. The Supreme Lord compared the ascetic’s ways and methods to those of a villain wanting to rend asunder the All-charming eternal limbs of the Personality of Godhead. The discouraging tone and positive nullification of the theory of the ascetic from the lips of one who was a storehouse of theistic principles, brought a revolutionary effect on the pedantic mentality of the members of the then center of learning. But these discouraging remarks of the Supreme Lord made them to hold a poorer conception of the Lord Whom they found to have been belittling the mental powers of the pedantic coterie. Consequently the pedagogic function of the Lord Vishwambhar (Sri Chaitanya) was changed into that of a platform-speaker or a World-Teacher who was closely sticking to His instructions in practice. This simple method of combining principle with practice gave a right perspective to those who had the scope of comprehending the Absolute Eternal Blissful Knowledge. They understood that it was a part and parcel of blasphemy to relieve the different parts of the Transcendental Structural Entity of the Fountainhead Who is instrumental, ablative and locative of all Immanence, Transcendence and phenomena. The disclaiming of the spiritual Aspect of the Absolute had done great mischief in the cosmological enterprise of tracing the genesis of phenomenal existence. The sensuous speculation of the phenomena made them confident of their vaunted advance in the search for knowledge in their alleged thesaurus. The impersonalists have found facilities to explain by a suicidal policy of amalgamating the three manifestive positions. The relativity observed among sentient and insentient phenomenal things has got qualitative difference among them; where, among the sentients the distinctions are traced by the rhetoricians in five different connections. The esoteric interpretations of sentiency are more or less associated with the insentient as their conceptions are drawn from the mundane and the concrete. So they cannot be strictly relied on as being free from the contamination of a foreign opposite element. The quantitative as well as qualitative feature have participated a good deal in the discourse on relativity of knowledge.
The Supreme Lord, during His association with the inmates of the theistic society, conceived the idea of proceeding to the den of impersonalists at Benares where He could meet all who had proselytized themselves to subscribe to the erroneous views promulgated by Prakashananda, the then head of the so-called monistic community; and, in order to do so, He thought also that He should pose Himself as an ascetic of that order who could influence the members of that pedantic society despite their hollow arrogance. The fourth order of life was considered as the civic guardian of the society. So the Lord wanted to show Himself as an ascetic to attract the attention of all, instead of being received as one of them or less, in their comparative vision. Thought the Supreme Lord underwent the different stages of life, He exhibited the highest position of the fourth order by not sticking to the rigorous regulations and privations and not abstaining from dancing, singing and playing with musical instruments, which are essential concomitants of transcendence.
In all the manifestive stages, distinction and difference have got the upper hand in distinguishing each from the rest and differentiating them from the unique conception of the Integer; in other words, the quantitative and qualitative relations are established where there is a convergence of all the diverse course. In the theme of relation we find the necessity of numerical difference as well as of distinctive features when the conception of the Integer or Whole is held prominent. In both cases relation is the essential factor which can never be avoided by a knower in his activities on the other two planes.
The word ‘difference’ is used in our synthetical view of qualities and the word ‘distinction’ in the analytical view. If we avoid examining the distinctive and differentiative view of a particular subject we can get rid of the relativity of knowledge. The three distinctive locations are ignored to dismiss the idea of space; and the differentiative mood, when neglected, would drive out the factor of Time in the Entity, as differentiation presupposes the relativity of time. The synthetic method, adopted to eliminate the relativity or to remain ineffective to view the perspective of the Absolute, may, at some angle of vision, appear to be successful, and it will hover afterwards to fix its position in indistinctive or undifferentiated monism. These perplexing questions are asked to the Supreme Lord Shri Krishna Chaitanya at Benares by one of the late principal lieutenants of the then King of Bengal.
When there was a quest for knowing the true position of Relativity, the renouncing attitude of the monist was detected in the instructive reply of the repository of wisdom. The delineation of Full Knowledge of the scope of non-co-operation with mundane relativity gave us the occasion to survey the true manifestive plane of transcendence which is far removed from our impressions of a degraded mundane sty [sic]; though the obstinate mentality of opponents persisted in its objectionable move of getting rid of relative Blissful Knowledge. There is a qualitative relational difference between the transcendent and the phenomenal; so relativity cannot be ignored; if such a purpose is maintained of establishing the undifferenced and non-distinctive Unit, the rationalist school would not be able to set much value on its postulate. The undesirable imperfection observed in the temporal relativity of Nature should not be carried to an unknown region where there is no room for such anthropomorphic ephemeral defective functions. The weight of such measuring temperament would prove too heavy to be carried by the feeble porter with his mundane relative reasons and he will find it impossible to ascribe the same shortcomings to transcendence.
Our imperfect knowledge is now captivated within the mundane horizon, and we earnestly crave a release from the prison-walls of unwholesome relativity. That experience will necessarily lead us to conclude the desirability of non-co-operation with finitudinal relativity; for when infinite relativity is talked of we should not ascribe to it any defects of finitudinal experience here. The Supreme Lord did not confirm the Impersonal Phase of the Fountain-head of Nature and Eternal Super-Nature, but prescribed a long track which we should adopt in our sojourn in this temporal world as well as in proceeding to Transcendence. He did not prescribe the short-sighted policy of non-co-operation with perishable limited things of this world but instructed us to utilize them in a proper direction to get our desired end. No doubt our reliance on petty reasonings about mundane relativity would show an unwillingness to receive the Transcendental Truth unexplored hitherto by our defective aural reception; but a lucky moment would give us an accidental opportunity of paying a little more attention to the remedy which in its miraculous power proves the greatest relishing sauce of a thirsty soul.
Too much attachment to any limited thing will deny us the facility of extensive gains, though the policy of concentration is talked of very highly for our amelioration. Too much affinity for a thing produces marvelous results in a research scholar whose object is to bring to our view the hidden knowledge inherent in the outward object. The operation of Time has set up the function of durability acquired thereby, as for example in our existence of an ephemera. As the research-scholar or the lover of transitory object is observed to be shifting elsewhere from the object of his quest and as the object has got a temporary existence with the susceptibility of transformation, such exertions are meant to be analogous to time-serving exploits. The inadequacy and the exuberance involved will also prove the undesirability of such temporary fruitive acts. In the emporium of phenomena, our senses are found to engage themselves with all earnestness. When the senses are gratified from the ample service of their need, the satiative sequel does not later on suit their purpose.
The problem therefore that has to be solved is where to keep those objects of senses if we require any relief from their exploiting invasions. Are we to stop the actuating of our senses, or destroy the objects of our senses by devising some means? The enjoyer of the objects as well as the enjoyed objects are both situated in a tentative position of time. As the provisional existence and activities are captivated in a part of Time, these discrepancies should be redressed somehow to have a proper solution of these puzzling questions. We deal with shaky non-Absolute things. So we should have an inner desire to know the direction of the Absolute. We have had an irrepressible function of handling the phenomena by our senses, and the objects which manipulate our senses are found to be transformable. Because we are compelled to select our position in a place where there is no such trouble, therefore we seek for shifting ourselves from all limited platforms to one which is secure.
Association with the phenomenal objects has given rise to disruption, so dissociation is readily picked up as a remedy. And how to handle this function should be the next question. By dissociation we mean to get rid of the relativity of knowledge, i.e., to sacrifice our cognitive principle, which is inculcated by a certain school. Maximisation of knowledge might swallow up the two different positions of observed and observer, and will be transformed into a single observation. In that case the uninterrupted knowledge without the two wings of Eternity and Bliss cannot fly rationally though this seems to be secured by persistent dissociation from the manifested world.
When we ascertain that non-co-operation will give us what we have sought, do we mean to make ourselves abstain from all necessaries of life in order to gain perfect dissociation from the imperfect objects? The answer will be ‘no’. We need not put a stop to receiving the necessaries of life, but we accept only those functional activities that are necessary for our definite purpose. We will welcome the manifestive aspect and finite inadequate things to serve as ingredients facilitating a move towards the Eternal Blissful Knowledge without any reference to our misdirected enjoying mood. If they prove to be of any use to the Absolute, the temporal and faulty phases are indirectly removed from the conception of such things. So we need not have any apprehension of the unsuitability of these things and will discern their immaculate aspect without which they may prove to be snares making us utilize them for our impure purpose. The insipid situation of an impersonal conception need not predominate over us as a settled fact. On the removal of our enjoying propensities in connection with our temporal entities we would naturally shift the connection of such things into elements incorporated with the Absolute. Then comes the question - ‘What are the salient features of the Absolute and what should be the nomenclature of the Absolute?’ The Absolute is evidently to welcome all sorts of manifestive nature, instead of lurking merely as the unknown in a region behind our sensuous scope. Our sensuous activities are hitherto confined to the non-Absolute and when we care most for the immutable situation of the Absolute, no mutability should dissuade us from our covered object. If we want to clear out of the position of serving transformable objects and have only a single motive of serving the Immutable Absolute we must trace the connection of all manifestive things with Him. This will give us the much-coveted situation of continuing our vital activities in His service in this world too without an undesirable aptitude for mundane enjoyment. The burden of enjoyment is now shifted to the Absolute and we, being His irregular subservients, help Him in serving with these ingredients which are His imperishables, though they have been acknowledged by us to have been meant for our use. So the greatest facility is afforded by our serving temper in place of our wrong enjoying mood which proves fruitless in the long run.
Dissociation from undesirable things, when we have in view the Eternal Blissful Knowledge, will exactly serve the purpose if we can trace out their connection with the Absolute, having no bearing with their origin, and simply welcomed with a consideration that they have had only Eternal association.
We meet men who cherish the view of dissociating themselves from all manifestive features of phenomena in their attempted emancipation and want to deprive them of their utility in order to gain the full scope of impersonation. They are found to non-co-operate with the earthly phenomena under the apprehension of having been entangled with such association. As they have no knowledge of their self, or have a misguided conception of self like a cow mistaking, under the influence of an old apprehension that the red clouds are flames of burning fire, they want to flee from the very nature of the transitory perspective of the phenomena. A failure to detect the truth compels them to exhibit great diffidence in accepting the wholesale manifestive nature including the Transcendent. They want to carry the defective impression to the Transcendence considering the Transcendental region to be identical with the prison of mundane phenomena. So it should be a matter of grave consideration whether to show our back to all aspects by diverting ourselves to follow the undifferenced monistic phase of the Absolute. The view of the Transcendental subjectivity in our present activity is more or less misunderstood. So to get relief from such erroneous impression we must not neglect to utilize everything as far as possible for the service of the Absolute and must not participate in the views of the mistaken decision of the Impersonalists. If we do not do so we will class ourselves among the imprudent.
Four years after Shri Chaitanya’s meeting with Rai Ramananda, the Supreme Lord as an ascetic met Sanatana for the second time, when the latter asked his Master to enlighten him regarding his own self and the three-fold troubles he had to meet with during his journey of life. The Lord taught him that human souls are eternal Karsnas (servitors of Krishna); they form to have originated from the Borderland-Energy (Tatastha-shakti) of the Absolute Lord Krishna with two neighbouring dominions of phenomena and transcendence on two sides. The sub-servient souls being simultaneously associated with and dissociated from the Absolute are themselves no positive substratum but merely distinguished from the Absolute by their quantitative designation of energy. Forgetful of their true situation they are susceptible to isolate themselves by enwrapping with foreign quality from the Absolute; whereas they have the same quality with the Absolute with a magnitudinal variegated position. This very Transcendental Absolute Truth has disclosed the two-fold aspects of relativity reigning in the temporal mundane sphere as well as in the Transcendental Eternal Plane. So the question of relativity is to be treated in these two aspects independently, without subscribing to the opinions of impersonalists who have only one way of explaining away the phenomena in a derogatory manner.
On the western banks of the Ganges, close to the Panchanada Bathing Ghat, the retired administrative authority did welcome the transcendental description of Full Knowledge Who was never confined to the empirical activities of the learned renunciators including Prakashananda Saraswati who was inculcating avoidance of mundane relativity of knowledge. His high-sounding pedantic feats were properly cowed down by the Lord Shri Chaitanya. The band of impersonalists, who were known to have gained the civic guardianship of India from time immemorial, got the true impression of Ever-Immutable Undeviated Knowledge.