THE TWO GEMS.
Mr. J. M. Nallaswami Pillai, B.A., B.L.,
"எவ்வெவர் தன்மையும் தன்வயிற்படுத்தும்
தானேயாகிய தயாபரன் எம்மிறை."
"To each and every one, His own nature imparting
Our Lord stands alone, Supreme, full of Grace."
We proceed to explain the two verses we quoted from Thirumular at the close of our last article. The two verses seem so like that unless they are looked into more closely, their meaning is likely to be lost. These verses explain in fact the Bhanda and Moksha conditions of the soul, and the soul's ascent through various stages, called Tatwa Darsanam, Atma Darsanam and Siva or Para Darsanam. The verse, "The gold was concealed in the golden ornament &c." has to be taken first. The object before the seer is a golden ornament. The thing can be looked at from two different points of view, in two different aspects. It can be viewed as merely gold, and then we are solely engaged in looking at its colour, its fineness, specific gravity &c., and while we are so engaged, the other view of it, whether it is a brooch, or medal or a bracelet &c. is altogether lost to view. And in the same manner when we are viewing the object as a mere ornament then all idea of the gold, its fineness &c. is lost. This happens when the object before us is one and the same, and neither the gold as gold, nor the ornament as ornament can be said to non exist, in either case, can be said to be unreal or a mere delusion. We merely change our point of view, and we are ourselves under no delusion at either moment. The delusion is neither in the gold nor in the ornament nor in ourselves. The object before us is so made that it possesses this double nature or aspect so to say, and our own Psychological structure is such that we can change from one to the other point. And each point of view has its own vantage ground. A person going to a jeweller's shop cannot afford to lose sight of either point and if he does, he is sure to make a bad bargain. What would we think of this man if he goes into the shop with the firm idea that of the jewel he is going to buy, the gold is a mere name, and delusion, or the ornament is a mere name and delusion. When bargaining, however, after he had once tested the fineness of the gold, and colour, he need trouble himself no more about it, and he can proceed to examine the shape of the ornament, its size &c.
Taking this analogy, Thirumular proceeds to point out the same relation between the individual ego, the subject, and its objective senses. The word used is தன், standing as it does for the individual ego, jiva, soul, pasu, or chit. The phrase 'தன்
கரணங்களாம்,' also brings out the meaning of 'தன்', and it cannot refer to the Supreme Brahman, as was interpreted by a Hindu Idealist. Of course he could not help saying so, as the being which he postulates above 'its senses' (தன்
கரணங்கள்) is God, the Supreme. Saint Thirumular was prophetic enough to see such a misinterpretation of his words, and it is therefore why he sung the next verse, "மரத்தை
மறைத்த்து," 'the tree was concealed &c.,' In our article on 'Mind and Body' we have fully discussed the relation which Saint Thirumular perceives between the Individual Ego, the soul and its body and senses. When the individual pasu lives a purely objective existence, by caring for his body his comforts, his wealth, his pleasures &c, his true self, the mind, is altogether identified with the world; and he himself lies buried, concealed. Look at the words, our Saint has selected. He does not cry false, false, delusion, delusion at every turn. He actually uses 'மறைத்தது,' மறைத்தது,' "concealed" and "is concealed"? Neither the soul nor the world is a myth, a delusion; but only when the mind was in an objective condition, it was concealed by the object. When the soul regains its own self, by forgetting the world, the world has not become a myth, only it lies concealed, merged in the soul itself. The thoughtless critic is apt to consider such distinctions, as mere wordy warfare, but no student of philosophy can easily afford to ignore the first principles of correct reasoning, by choosing his words, each one to express one particular idea and no other; and many a specious and delusive argument has had its genesis in such ignorant and ambiguous use of words. To proceed, when the soul lies so concealed in the world, this constitutes its bhanda, bound condition, and the thing so concealing is called bhanda or Pasa. When the soul learns to discriminate between its own nature and the nature of the world, and to rate the lower as its own worth, then its attain to Tatwa Darsanam and Atma Darsanam. And the whole field of Ethics is evolved from our perception of these relations aright. When man perceives that the more he is attached to the world, the more his own faculties get clouded and he is led more into sorrow and suffering, and the more he frees himself from such attachment, the more he frees himself from sin and sorrow and develops in himself his higher spiritual nature, then it is that his moral faculties are developed and in course of time strengthened by constant practice. But then there is this peculiarity about the mind of man, which is nowhere noticed in any other system that we know of and which we have already referred to in our last article, its intermediate nature between Sat and Asat, and which therefore gives it its name of Satasat and which peculiarity Kannudaya Vallalar (author of Ozhivilodukkum) emphasises by using the expressive name of அலி, or Hermaphrodite, neither male nor female, neither Sat nor Asat. But the rule in Tamil grammar for determining the sex of the hermaphrodite is "ஆணுறுப்புமிகுந்தால்
பெண்ணாகும்." The sex follows the more predominating organs present,' and so a hermaphrodite person will always be called either he or she and not it. The life of the individual soul is as such passed either as Asat or as Sat, and it has no life of its own. That is, it cannot exist by itself, independent of its relation with either Padartha. If either God or the world did not exist, the existence of the soul would be an impossibility. Saint Meikandan uses two analogies to illustrate the position. The soul is compared to an object suspended in air, and a flood of water. We cannot imagine an object suspended in air without a support. If the support is removed, the object falls to the ground. Saint Meikandan has as such distinctly before him the question "why does an apple fall to the ground." The actual example he had before him was a swing attached by a rope to a tree. The tree holds up the object by its own force. When this force is weakened and loosened, another force is brought into place, the force of the earth, gravity. The object was in fact held in between these two forces. The object must either be attached to the tree or to the earth. In spite of the enormous power of gravitation exerted by the earth, the tree was able to hold up the object for a time. Only for a time, for when the fruit matures, the tree cannot hold it up, however it may will to do so. The same act accomplishes the severance from the tree and the bringing it to the earth. Just so, in the case of the soul. It is bound to Maya and Mala, so long the soul is not ripe. Before it is ripe, we do not perceive its brightness and sweetness. When the soul perfects itself, fed by the juices from the earth (the Grace of God) it finds its resting place in God. When it so finds itself, united, it becomes one with God, as the fruit itself when left alone becomes one with the earth. The flood again cannot stand still unless it is held by an embankment. When this embankment is breached, it will run on and on till it finds its resting place in the broad arms of the ocean. Without either of these means of support it will be difficult to restrain the fleeting soul. The embankment or the flood gates are the Maya support of the soul. The ocean is God. This support is called in Tamil பற்று, a support, a bond of attachment, a rest, desire, love. It is this peculiarity which Saint Thiruvalluvar expresses in the following couplet,
which again is the mere echo of our Saint Manickavachaka's words.
பற்றி யிப் பாசத்தைப் பற்றற நாம்பற்றுவான்
பற்றிய பேரானந்தம் பாடுதும் கரணம்மானாய்."
This peculiarity of the soul we have been discussing above has a tremendous bearing in connection with various philosophical schools. The ancient Buddha and the modern Agnostic would not postulate this other support and resting place of the soul. And we find they are landed in Nihilism accordingly. The moment of perfection is the moment of annihilation to the Buddhist. Nay, with his modern Apostles, Mrs. Annie Besant for example, the cry of the Vedas, "whence there is no return, there is no return" is merely a vain cry. There is no such thing as final perfection, beatitude or Moksha. The soul must roll on ever and anon subject to the never-ceasing and ever-recurring evolution due to "the moral necessity connected with the central and most precious doctrine of the exoteric Vedanta, the doctrine of Samsara." Here of course we see the phenomenon of extremes meeting. The Vedantist could not deny the possibility of the soul attaining the so-called moksha, recurring back into the cycle of evolution, as the original retrogression of Brahman into Gods and men, brutes and worms is itself not explicable by him. The Agnostic not believing in God, examines into the nature of the mind or soul and perceiving how intimately it is connected with matter, denies of course, its separate personality and independent existence; and hence his denial of the soul's immortality and future existence, when once its moral coil is broken. In the case of the Vedantist, however, this peculiarity of the soul will alone furnish the excuse for his theory. And we have heard honest Vedantists admit this as the only explanation of Sri Sankara's otherwise untenable position. When in union with God, the soul has lost not merely the consciousness, (not be it remarked its self-being) it loses also its consciousness of difference from God &c. and the only perception that remains is the bare perception - the bare enjoyment of God, - the full manifestation and Presence of God as Love and Bliss alone is felt; and in such a condition, Sankara could say there is no second thing.
Sankara's experience will therefore be only one-sided one, and the statement cannot stand as a matter of proof. The state in union with God is called Thuriya or Para-Avasta, and in this condition, though the conscious perception of the world and soul may not be possible, their be-ness (existence) is not gone. And it is this condition, Saint Thirumular expounds in his next verse.
மரத்தின் மறைந்தது மாமதயானை,
பரத்தை மறைத்தது பார்முதற்பூதம்,
பரத்தை மறைந்தது பார்முதற்பூதம்.
The tree was concealed in the mad elephant;
The tree concealed the mad elephant,
The world conealed the Supreme,
The Supreme concealed the world.
The Supreme is concealed in the world (not non-existent), the world is concealed in the Supreme (not non-existent). In the sentences, 'I was concealed by the world, the world was concealed in me, note the fact that there are only two names, two categories involved, namely I and the world, soul and maya. For an intelligent understanding of the proposition no other category is required. But consider well the propositions, 'the world concealed the Supreme, the world is concealed by the Supreme. These propositions could not be true as they stand, unless both these stand as objective to the seer, as in the illustration of the wooden-toy itself. The word of the toy cannot be conscious of its being concealed or not by the elephant form, nor the elephant of the wood. In human language and expression and argument there is always an ellipsis and the suppression of the middle term. The first two propositions relating to the wooden-toy cannot be true as they stand but is only intelligible, when we supply the factor of the seer. So also, the propositions that follow though they only contain the two categories Sat and Asat, involve the presence of a third, the Satasat. What we have stated above will explain the Sivagnanabotha Sutra,
சத்தேயறியாது, யசத்திலது அறியாது,
இருதிறனறிவுள் திரண்டலா ஆன்மா."
That we are concealed by our Maya covering is a fact, the sharpest intellect and the boldest understanding cannot get over it, quibble and juggle as it may, and this being a fact, "that we are here in ignorance, sin, misery, and that we know the way out of them, but the question of a cause for them is senseless." * [* Paul Deussen's Elements of Metaphysics, p. 334] For nothing can be more senseless to ask for an explanation, when the fact to be explained is itself an ultimate fact. An ounce of fact outweighs a pound of probabilities, say the lawyers. And they only express a logical truth. But the proposition advanced by the Purvapakshi is that the jiva, being neither a part nor a different thing, nor a variation of Brahman and must be the Paramatman fully and totally himself, and as such is, clothed with such attributes as all-pervadingness, eternity, almightiness, exemption of time, space and causality, and that this jiva is hidden by the world * [* Ibid. p. 334] (maya and avidya) as the fire in wood, (or as Saint Thitumular would put it, wood in the elephant) and he asks what is the cause of this concealment? Why should the perfect become deluded into the imperfect by avidya and ignorance? Dr. Paul Deussen admits that here all philosophers of India (of his ilk - Sankara included) and Greece and everywhere have been defective, until Kant came to show us that the whole question might be the learned Doctor's understanding of Kant. The whole question is inadmissible, may the whole proposition of the Purvapakshi on which this question is based is inadmissible, it is untrue, is not a fact. The fact is not true that the Supreme Brahman is concealed by Maya and Avidya. Dr. Deussen would put his unfortunate Brahman into the dock and arraign him of high crimes and misdecneanours (our friends are never conscious of what gross blasphemy they are guilty of - our mind is extremely pained that we should even write so, for argument's sake) and before proving his guilt, with which he charges him, he would indulge in irrelevant and irreverent talk, as to why and wherefore this Brahman committed these crimes. Any ordinary judge would rule his talk as senseless; also, such talk from the accused's counsel, kindly engaged by the crown, would be ruled as senseless, when the accused admits the charge, and there is besides overwhelming testimony as to his guilt, leaving no room for doubt. The case contemplated by the learned Doctor will find a parallel in some of those occasional cases of judicial murder. A great crime had been committed, there is a great hue and cry, somebody ought to be punished, ought to suffer for the unknown criminal. The Police run down someone they have long known, an old offender, witnesses (Pseudo-gnanis, with their Swanubhuti and esoteric experience) only flock in overwhelming numbers to prove the prisoner's guilt the weight of testimony is only crushing, the poor prisoner at the bar is simply dumb-foundered and cannot find speech to exculpate himself, however innocent he might be, and his silence counts for confession and he is condemned to die. Before his bones are whitened however, the real criminal turns up, confesses his crime, and the first conviction is found after all to be based on a case of mistaken identity. We have already shown how liable is the soul to be mistaken for God, to mistake itself for God. Saint Meikandan even where he teaches the initiate to practice Sohambavana, cautions him before and after not to mistake himself for God.
' யாவையும் சூனியம் சத்தெதிர்.' 'In the Presence of the Sat, all else is Sunyam.' Why, because, 'before the Perfect and Eternal Intelligence, (Truth) the imperfect and acquired intelligence, (the semblance) is shorn of its light,' answers our Saint, and he illustrates it by saying that the Evil Asat ceases to exist before Him, as does darkness before the sun and explains that Hara cannot know them as objects, as nothing is outside Him. How well this explanation fits in with the vedic text, "There shines not the sun, nor moon, nor stars, neither these lightnings, much less this earthly fire. After Him, the Shining One, all things shine, by His Light is lighted this whole world.* [* Swetas vi. 14] And when before this shining One, even the suns and moons pale, they dare assert that darkness, maya, and avidya can dare lift up their heads and veil and conceal of this veiling, the shining One can become deluded and fancy Himself as Asat, this body and these senses, and this world. Well does the Siddhanti ask, can you show me a sun covered by darkness, for me to believe in a Brahman veiled by Maya or Upadhi.*
[* c.f. "இருள்பொதிந்த
If there is a Sun by darkness veiled
Then may a chit exist by ignorance veiled.
Having called Him Ninmala
It is madness to impute to God Avidya.]
No doubt the blind man says, the sun is hid by darkness; he would not confess his own blindness and darkness and transfers his infirmity to the Effulgent Sun. "After Him, all things shine, by His light is lighted the whole world." Yes, O Lord, we are but broken lights of Thee. The little light that shines in each one of our souls is simply borrowed from Thee. Without this light, we are but the pieces of diamonds lying in darkness. In bandha, before the diamond is cut and polished, we cannot reflect Thy Glorious Light. We are the diamond crystals, Thou, the light shining in them: வெண்பளிங்கின் உட்பதித்த சோதியானே! As crystal, we become light in light, and dark in darkness. யாதொன்று பற்றினதன் இயல்பாய் நின்ற பந்தமறும் பளிங்கனையம்யாம். Thou art like the Light from the emerald, மரகதம், lighting and colouring everything it touches after itself.
The Diamond crystal (சார்ந்ததன் வண்ணமாகும்) and the gem Emerald (சார்ந்ததன் வண்ணமாக்கும்) these are the symbols used by the Siddhantis for the Soul and Sivam. Students of Science know the structural difference between those two bodies, as mediums or distributors of light. This Divine Light is Uma, (literally wisdom or light) that Lady wondrous fair who showed to the astonished immortals, Her Royal Consort, and her colour is green emerald, and we will close this article by invoking her aid and quoting this passage from Kumaragurupara which is poetic and philosophic at the same time.
பவளக் கொடீக் காமர் பச்சிளங் கொடியதாய், பருமுத்தம் மரகதமாய்,
தண்ணாறு மல்லற்றுறைச் சிறை யன்ங்களி தழைக்குங்கலா மஞ்ஞையாய்
சகலமும் நின்திருச் சொரூபமென் றோலிடும் சதுர்மறைப் பொருள் வெளியாகும்.
O Thou parrot-tongued Maid, The emerald Light from Thy sacred body spreading,
Converts the red coral reefs into green and the big pearls into so many emeralds,
And the winged swans floating on the cool waves into so may sporting peacocks
And thus explain the truth which the Vedas proclaim,
'That after you, all things shine.'