AdvaitaVedanta Website - Introduction

Short Articles

SHORT ARTICLES

 

SHORT ARTICLES, TRANSLATIONS ETC. BY NATARAJA GURU

INTRODUCTION

These comprise short articles from the Gurukula Newsletter and various pamphlets and messages published at various times by the Guru. Some of the items are incomplete. Efforts are being made to recover the missing parts.


1 POEMS BY NARAYANA GURU

Comprising:

ADVAITA DIPIKA

BRAHMA VIDYA PANCHAKAM

NINE STANZAS TO THE ABSOLUTE AS MOTHER

SHIVA PRASADA PANCAKAM

Together with a translation of MANDUKYA UPANISHAD


2 POEMS BY NARAYANA GURU

Comprising:

A CRITIQUE OF CASTE

PRENATAL GRATITUDE

KINDNESS TO LIFE

SONG OF THE KUNDALINI SNAKE

THOUGHT AND INERTIA

SCRIPTURES OF MERCY

THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE


3 TWILIGHT OF THE GODS

The last text dictated by the Guru before his death.


4 A PARTIAL TRANSLATION AND COMMENTARY ON MAITRI UPANISAD

 

5 MESSAGES, MANIFESTOS ETC.

Comprising:

1) SEX AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA

2) SEX-LIFE AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA,

NEW YEAR MESSAGE OF GURU NATARAJA FOR 1970,

3) 1973 MESSAGE

4) OUTLINE PLAN AND PROGRAMME OF A BRAHMA-VIDYA MANDIRAM

(INSTITUTE OF THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE)

5) THE NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION


6) THE FIRE SACRIFICE


7)  SOME QUOTATIONS FROM NATARAJA GURU

 

A GLOSSARY OF SANSKRIT WORDS FOUND ON THIS SITE:

A)

B)

 

1 poems by narayana guru

 

POEMS BY NARAYANA GURU AND A TRANSLATION OF MANDUKYA UPANISHAD


BY NATARAJA GURU

 

ADVAITA DIPIKA

 

BRAHMA VIDYA PANCHAKAM

 

NINE STANZAS TO THE ABSOLUTE AS MOTHER

 

SHIVA PRASADA PANCAKAM

 

MANDUKYA UPANISHAD

 

 

 

ADVAITA DIPIKA

THE LAMP OF NON-DUALITY

 

BY NARAYANA GURU

 

1

A thousand names, a thousand Intelligibles,

Between them comprised a thousand interest items.

Such the world is real enough when not inquired into;

Only until one wakes from the dream is it true;

When awake, the awakened one is all there is!

 

This verse contains a bold statement which only makes meaning when understood dialectically as establishing a bipolar relationship between the Self of the dreamer and its own non-Self counterpart, which is the dreamer's psychic activity. Both these counterparts lie on the vertical axis of reference and are both given a thin or schematic epistemological status.

 

 

2

The visible here is not real. Viewed without the seer

One sees it as non-other; the universe makes thus

A mirage-wise flow of consciousness. What as effect stands

Without its cause is non-other;

What makes the wave is but water alone.

 

This verse, with its fourfold implications stresses the subtle participation, insertion or articulation between the intelligibles and the visibles on a basis of interchangeable purity resulting in unity.

 

 

3

From cloth to thread and cotton, and then

To complex prime elements thus traced back;

All is seen, like a river in desert sand,

To spring from consciousness;

The ultimate limit is consciousness alone.

 

One can adopt the method of tracing things or events to their source and then scientifically explain them. The source is not in the visible appearance, but in the invisible reality within consciousness. The search for the cause of things thus gives us a verticalized version of appearance, which latter is merely horizontal in import.

 

 

4

Given to a will in full functioning, there is no universe,

Nor even its seed of nescience. When a lamp is there, no darkness is near; when the flame the wick abandons, the lamp goes out, and lo, darkness comes!

 

The ambivalent or alternating functions which the structure of absolute human understanding imposes, is under reference here. The participation of the positive and negative aspects of

Understanding is located at the point of apperception, where pure horizontal and vertical functions meet in a bipolar participation.

 

 

5

Research reveals no world out there: nescience alone remains

Presenting itself as the world to a mind that can seek no truth

The ghost it is that the light can put out,

For the fear of darkness to a coward it is that a short semblance makes.

 

The equation of the negative function of darkness as the cause of the positive ghost-representation in a state of the passive understanding of a non-contemplative man, is here clarified in a dialectical language compatible with the four-sided schema implied here and in every verse of this composition. The ghost and darkness are complementary, reciprocal or cancelable counterparts in the total knowledge-situation found here.

A paradox is implied between the passivity of a non-contemplative and the attitude of the same man in active contemplation. In this verse this is brought into full contrasting relief.

 

 

6

As being and non-being alternately cognized as real,

The unreal and the real are both of primordial nescience.

On inquiry both are nought;

The snake is not in a piece of rope, but the rope alone exists.

 

Normalized ontology free from the ambivalent alternating presentiments is clarified here. One has to abolish duality of two kinds. A double correction is to be effected for an apodictic central certitude to result.

 

 

7

One alone is above all, ever asserting its being.

All else passes and is non-being

The forms of clay have no being

And what remains is but the clay itself.

 

The material cause and its possible ambivalent tendencies, extending both ways in the vertical axis, touches the neutral monistic absolute substance which is balanced between the plus and minus tendencies. The first half of the verse refers to the plus side and the second half to the minus side of the vertical axis.

 

 

8

Even at the time of ignorance the two factors

Of existing and subsisting are not recognized with value appreciation

As third; for the presentiment out there of a snake form with rope base

An adequate reference verily this makes.

 

It is evident that there are two sets of factors here, one that may be characterized as a referent and the other as a reference. The reference serves as the logical purpose of certitude. The referent is the horizontal appearance of something that is not real, though implying a basic ontological existence falling within the three categories of existence-subsistence-value.

 

 

9

Even when wisdom prevails and has effaced the whole world as meaningless

It can still persist as given to the senses.

Even after a man has recovered from his wrong orientation

For some time thereafter he will continue to see the (wrong) directions as before.

 

This verse very realistically and in a fully scientific spirit points out that there is no use in again and again saying, as many Vedantins do, that the world is Maya and therefore unreal. The visible world does not melt away because of any doctrinal conviction. Nirvana or absorption takes place only at the very core of universal and timeless life when all polarity or duality has been cancelled out by equality, parity or purity of counterparts.

 

 

10

The world has no truth in itself; as cancelled out

By wisdom everything looms even after as before

In spite of knowing for certain of no water in a mirage

The presentiment continues to be given as ever before.

 

A subtler example of a mirage is used here to explain an ontological error as in the previous verse where the error was of a more teleological order.

 

11

For a wise man the world is existence; and subsistence is of value form.

Untruth is not a source of joy; to an ignorant man this is not clear.

For one who sees, happiness is a sun that is real

And for one who cannot see, even the midday sun is a dark and empty thing.

 

The three levels of existence-subsistence-value imply each other, or one another, in a subtle reciprocal fashion in which horizontal and vertical aspects neutralize each other, correcting and complementing any lopsided asymmetry belonging to any one level in a vertical series. What is lost at the bottom point of the scale is compensated for at the top point. Thus there is an interchange of essences whereby each point of the value world is absorbed by the higher and implies the lower. The reciprocal implications are here outlined.

 

 

12

There is one seed alone, which in many forms manifests;

No possibility herein of any specific ambiguity at all

If one ignoring rope-nature should take it for a snake

Would it then have a reality distinct from the rope?

 

The seed referred to here is the normative Absolute, which when subjected to double correction is capable of no other version of the same with any attributes different from it. When all possible ambiguities are abolished within the scope of the total knowledge-situation, the certitude about the Absolute gains a fully unitive status.

 

 

13

On dividing one by one each part, when all

Is separated out, - Lo! the world is gone!

If one's inquiry of these separate parts is kept on

One finds nothing but one's proper consciousness alone.

 

This verse refers to an analytic approach to reality which is fully the method of modern science. We travel here from the radical or mechanistic world of discrete entities consisting of parts, to an attenuated world of ultimate particles that are neither mind nor matter, but neutrally participate in both.

 

 

14

The thread into the cloth disappears, likewise water into foam.

Thus, alas, by nescience the whole world is lost.

As the object of understanding, even when all things disappear

Into their varied effects, still pure consciousness alone remains.

 

Here the process is the reverse of what was mentioned in Verse 3. The synthetic a priori and the transcendental analytic refer to two opposite poles or limits. When they are reached the visible world is either merged backward or abolished forward. These limiting points are to be placed neutrally in a schematic vertical axis with a plus and minus involved in it.

 

 

15

Happiness exists; it looms in consciousness; it is one alone.

On treating oneself disjunct from it, nothing can exist

Or loom at all: the water of the mirage and the blue of the sky become unreal,

And a blossom in the sky, and the sky of a mirage gain ultimate meaning again.

 

The four possibilities of error which presuppose a structural quaternion are to be kept in mind if this verse, with its four examples, each having a different epistemological function, is to yield any appreciable degree of certitude about what is being stated. The first two examples refer to existential aspects and therefore are horizontal values. The second pair has a vertical value-reference. Even where, by exaggeration or distortion one abolishes the proper or normal vision of the Absolute, it still continues to be experienced in terms of the happiness of the Self.

 

 

16

The Self has no egoism: like a yogi, through Maya in sport,

It is here engaged in varied ways.

Established in yoga and fully immobile, assuming many hypostatic bodies,

In creative sport the yogi here enjoys.

 

The contemplative yogi referred to here is capable of estimating or stabilizing his personality at different levels on a pure vertical axis. Along this axis his nascent or active attenuated tendencies can also be made to ascend or descend. This gives him a certain type of freedom which is the basis of spiritual emancipation.

 

 

17

It is only the immature seeker of Self-knowledge

Who takes the converse position as against the man of doubt;

Not one who has attained a stable understanding.

The same presentiment as being snake or rope is a confused question,

Fully settled when the rope is seen.

 

Here the need for a normalized version between two possible opposed positions taken by a philosopher as against his rival philosophers is underlined. By taking an opposite position, philosophical certitude remains merely speculative and does not attain to the apodictic character required by a correct scientific methodology. Philosophical speculation has been vitiated with this kind of non-normalized approach. When philosophy is not based on any rivalry in the certitude it tries to establish, it gains a fully unified and scientific status.

 

 

18

Penetrating ever forward through each presented object,

Mental activity removes at every step the evil of nescience.

Even the knowledge resulting thereafter following the lead of light,

Like the eye, it cannot itself see.

 

The two movements under reference are: first of all, the negation of visibles so as to merge it into its cause which is the first stage in the process of travelling from the known (visible) to the unknown (invisible); and secondly, after touching in this way the vertical axis where all horizontal activity is abolished, in following the lead of the inner light by ascending or descending dialectics. One finds that he can stabilize himself only where the eye and its sight meet and cancel each other out. This is schematically the central point of origin in terms of the structure of the Absolute. The other aspects of this same structure are finally referred to in the last verse.

 

 

19

Lo! The eye now sees when opened. When closed, the blind man alone

Remains within, as awareness has not yet come out.

Knowledge cannot come out by itself;

It needs the eye to come as the eye the light

 

The open eye refers to the horizontal world of values. The blind man, understood in a contemplative context, can have only a negative sense of value. It is the positive power of sight conferred by wisdom that gives appreciation of the highest Good. Open wisdom represents the plus side of the vertical axis which needs to be consciously cultivated. It cannot come by negative passivity.

 

 

4.  SOME ADDITIONAL EXPLANATIONS

We will also add that we have not put forward any doctrine of our own within the whole range of these comments. By doing so we would have only added to the quantity of speculative literature which is already large and full of words that connote or denote ideas. However precise or valid such ideas might be, words by themselves tend to the strange irony of babelization or the confusion of tongues referred to by Sankara in the Vivekacudamani as a forest. We have favoured another approach to this ironical situation arising from words by suggesting what we call a schematic, structural or protolinguistic approach. This has the promise of reducing verbosity and substituting symbols by visible geometrical models that combine all characteristics of thought into a compact and global unit. Such a unit does not have any reality in itself, but like a globe is meant to serve as a reference for the correct guidance of thought. It has also an integrative and unifying function as to all physical and metaphysical knowledge. Clarity, communicability and integration have been our watchwords throughout this present work which claims to be an integrated Science of the Absolute. If the certitude implied in the Pythagorean theorem can be proved in two ways and is considered scientific, then by the same reason the scientific status claimed for this work is equally legitimate. The common structure running through the whole work is the

integrating factor. The aspects of the Absolute brought into such an integrated certitude have been outlined by Narayana Guru and is the blueprint of a foundation on which we have merely tried to erect a more elaborate superstructure.

 

The resulting truth of the whole work, while referring to the total knowledge-situation, represents the Absolute as a non-dual light which has, in the Advaita Dipika, been compared to a lamp actually present or seen in a picture. The schematic status of the notion of the Absolute adopted here by us is not therefore a new one nor is it unknown to the non-dual tradition of wisdom. Such a vision can even be considered as potent enough to make one have a new attitude to life.

 

 

 

BRAHMA VIDYA PANCAKAM

 

FIVE VERSES ON THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE

BY NARAYANA GURU

 

1.

Even through the discrimination of the lasting from the transient

Attaining well unto detachment, the well-instructed one,

Duly adorned with the six initial conditions known,

Such as calmness, control and so on,

And keenly desirous of liberation here on earth;

He then greets with prostrations,

A knower of the Absolute superior,

Pleased and favourable by anterior attentions and service;

Thereafter should he ask of such a Guru:

"O Master, this 'I' here, what is it?

"Whence this world phenomenal?

"O teach me this, great one."

 

2.

Thou art the Absolute, not senses, not mind

Neither intellect, consciousness, nor body;

Even life and ego have no reality, being but conditioned

By nescience, superimposed on the prime Self.

Everything phenomenal here, as object of perception, is gross.

Outside of thine own Self, this manifested world is nought,

And Self-hood alone does shine thus

Mirage-like in variegated display.

 

3.

What all things here, both moveable and immovable pervades

As the clay substance does the pot and jug,

Whose inward awareness even Self-hood here constitutes,

And whereunto resolved what still remains, instill with existence unborn,

And that which all else do follow

Know that to be the Real, through clear insight,

As that same which one adores for immortal bliss!

 

4.

Nature having emanated, what thereafter, therein entry makes,

What sustains and gives life, both as the enjoyer

Of the divided objectivity outside,

As the "I" of the deep subconsciousness of dreamless sleep,

Whose Self-hood even shines as the "I"

Within the consciousness each of the peoples too -

That same in which well-being stands founded firm at every step;

Such a plenitude of perfection; hear! - "That thou art".

 

5

Intelligence supreme, "Even That I am! That thou art!

That Brahman is the Self here!" singing thus full well,

And so established in peace of mind;

And reborn to pure ways of life by the dawn of the wisdom of the Absolute,

Where could there be for thee the bondage of action,

Whether of the past, present or future?

For everything is but superimposed conditioning on thy prime Self.

Thou art that existing, subsisting One of Pure Intelligence, the Lord.

 

 

 

 

FIVE VERSES ON SIVA - GRACE

BY NARAYANA GURU

 

I

0 Siva-Sankara-Sarva, Ultimate Refuge, Lord,

Auspicious banisher of the pain of all cosmic becoming,

0 peerless one, by poet-generations ever adored, Actor on the cosmic scene, save me, 0 Siva!

 

II

Riches, body, progeny, life-waves ever rolling on.

They all do evil spell: it is you alone

That can hold me up wrapped, protected

From such an ink-black ocean's taint.

 

III

Sullied and trapped, fallen into the corpses' pit,

When life functions still persist with nature's modes,

To quench one's thirst in such a plight there is only you alone.

Fill me then from bottom up to brim and thus remain!

 

IV

A neck you have by stock of kindness dark

Drunk with the poison of cosmic evil once,

Field there is with a cloud, too, ocean-based

These have bounds; for you no such, indeed!

 

V

In me place your kind regard, and that fruit

Of erotic joy let me hit off and wash my hand;

Then that ripe fruit exuding immortal bliss,

Your foot, do yield me, 0 Golden Creeper mine!

 

 

NOTES

Among the shorter compositions of Narayana Guru, I have recently come across this one of particular interest to me as it reveals a structural or schematic background showing almost threadbare, as it were, on a close scrutiny of its content, apparently meant to serve the needs of a simple worshipper of Siva on the Indian scene. The implicit and suggestive sidelights are not seen evidently as highlights on a first superficial scanning. A closer scrutiny between the lines would reveal to the keen student the underlying structural frame of reference. These suggestive lines of dim light, both clear and subdued, are to be discerned in the following suggestive and significant items under reference:

 

1. Siva is apostrophised as a dear and adorable Golden Creeper (Verse V) bearing two fruits, one of which would suggest the same as the fruit of the forbidden tree of the context of the Biblical chapter of...

 

(material lacking here)

 

 

 

NINE STANZAS TO THE ABSOLUTE AS MOTHER

 

We present here Nataraja Guru's translation with notes of Narayana Guru's Malayalam composition, Janani-Navaratna-Manjari  (Nine stanzas to the Absolute as Mother), composed in 1912.   

The value here represented may be said to occupy the negative ontological limit of the total situation called the Absolute, structurally understood.

 

The second work in this series is Narayana Guru's Siva-Prasada-Pancakam (Five Verses on Siva-Grace) written in and translated from the Malayalam with notes by Nataraja Guru.

The value here could be seen to refer to the extreme positive pole or limit of the same Absolute as understood in the former work.

 

The final selection here is the Guru's translation with notes of the twelve-verse Mandukya Upanisad, presenting a masterful analysis of the mystic syllable AUM.

This may be said to constitute the correlating principle or vertical axis linking the negative and positive poles of the total situation envisaged.

 

These nine verses were the occasion of the installation of a temple to the Wisdom-Goddess Sarada, at the ashram at Sivagiri, Varkala in Kerala State, in 1912. Sarada, otherwise called Bharati or Saraswati, is the consort of Siva and the equivalent of Sophia of Christian-Greek origin. The disciples of the Guru who took part in the function were asked to open

similar temples. The Guru praises the Goddess as the representative of the Absolute, conforming to the Advaita Vedanta tradition, after Sankara. The pure or the para-brahman can be viewed as it were, from the two sides of a shield, presenting apparently two distinct epistemological versions of the Absolute. Motherhood stands for the creative aspect of becoming in the Absolute and, as such, the attributes of the negativität, in Hegelian terminology, would be applicable only as opposed to the Absolute viewed as a positive concept. This negative has to come, up to the point of coalescing with its counterpart, the positive, and go no further.

 

The vision of the Mother here represented may be said to fill the hiatus between the positive and the negative visions possible in the context of the absolute.

 

Delicate points like these will emerge for the student who examines these verses, and their discovery will enhance his admiration for the detailed workmanship which the Guru has put into the "gem-nosegay", as this composition has been called. It should never be treated as the mere poetic effusion of a visionary lacking respect for either the method or theory of knowledge.

 

The last verse ends with a reference to the impossibility of adequately praising the absolutist status of the Mother. It is that from which "words with the mind recoil, not attaining it", as the Upanishads would say.

 

I

From that unitive mind-stuff, all encompassing,

A thousand tri-basic rays (of knowledge-knower-known) come and,

Lo and anon, self-consciousness gone,

There awakened love of food and such;

Fallen thus into the ocean of need and lost altogether,

Say when, 0 Mother, shall my inner being regain that path of hope

To be merged within the domain of pure word-import,

Bereft of all tri-basic prejudice

And, within the core of the radiance outspread of reason pure,

Reabsorbed in communion cool, ever remain.

 

II

This variegated display by Maya wrought -

Itself nothing - is no other than awareness pure.

Air, stone, sea or fire, and the void too,

Are all but prime awareness alone!

The rightness of such a view, if one should praise,

No scriptural confusion can come;

Rival claims of action shall not vie;

Such goodly gain would suffice itself alone;

0 Mother of the Wisdom that all seek, easy and exalting at once.

 

III

Knowledge that comes but to go again

Has come from times of yore; on each vision such

The limbs and the inner Self are swayed,

Filled with varied import and darkened by each,

Contracting all within the Great Unknown is reabsorbed again!

Even seeing thus, again and again, Wisdom comes not:

The learned man of good deeds is but a bee

Fallen into the lotus core, drinking there the nectar

Of the unlimited experience of bliss supreme.

 

IV

Thought, applied to waves, reduces them to water;

The snake as rope is known; the pot into clay resolved;

Likewise, the world. Only when penetrated by thought

Has anything here reality at all.

Your feet are the root for all this; that I adore.

Bestow on me this boon which you alone can grant;

Become as the Real to me: refuge there is none other

Than you, 0 Mother of the Royal Yoga Way!

 

V

0 Mother! Who within the encircling veil

Of the prime mind on high, ever dwells,

Whose free dance it is that impels here below

This clamorous medley of water, air and fire

As the world manifest - when all is but name alone;

With that delicate yarn of time and so on,

A fancy vesture overcovers your form

So none do know your true appearance,

0 one that takes your stand where all the Vedas end!

 

VI

You became the deer, and the fish too,

The snake, and the heavenly bird likewise,

The firm earth, and the river also, woman as well as man,

Even the world on high and inferno, within your name-form couple,

Assuming varied natures, cognizes here,

As the "I", that too is even you!

0, one of word-content alone, all is comedy indeed!

 

VII

That Wisdom's arrow that can smite my sin

In your flowery feet resides

My love, it is the bowstring, and an iron will the bow;

The ego-sense is the victorious one,

While you the Mother it is who victory gives.

My sin-stained self, thereupon, is transformed

In terms of awareness, with the mightily heavy body too,

The world and all else into awareness leaps!

 

VIII

As existing and then as subsisting ever,

And into a pearl combining both, conscious of all the three,

As the heart, whose seed it is, that the sky and wind

With all the ramified expanse of sense-interests

Such as the eye projecting, and even as the eater of food.

In glory abides, such are you,

0 Mother, most high, unattainable even to psychic powers rare!

 

IX

The earth and other elements here,

No basis they have, semblance only,

Specific expressions in awareness merely;

Whatever reality they have in this world

Is by you conferred alone!

In that exalted region where tongue or taste

Have no place, is where your glory abides.

Who is there to know your greatness, 0 Mother?

Words are weak, even for praising you, alas!

 

 

 

THE MANDUKYA UPANISHAD

Translated from the Sanskrit with brief notes by Nataraja Guru

 

This short Upanishad is worded with great precision although, when cast in modern language, it may be read somewhat cryptically in certain parts, due to the omission of explicit references through relative pronouns. We have tried to supply in brackets the original Sanskrit expressions wherever the translations are likely to seem too original or different from the text. If we add too much explanation, the Upanishad would lose all its delicate flavour and the correctness of its construction as intended by the author. Verse 8 is an example of the precision employed. The letters A, U, and M are symbols that could apply as a complete syllable 'AUM' (pronounced as the last two letters of the English word 'from' or singly Ah! Ooh! Mmm!) to aspects of Self-consciousness, whether considered as matter, substance or entelechy, (as Descartes, Spinoza or Aristotle would have named this) or whether considered in terms of pure conscious states, after Plato's manner. Verse 8 starts a new section which is more Aristotelian as compared with the section starting with Verse I which was conceived more Platonically. Put together, the method and theory of Self-Realization, with values of a personal order implied in each aspect of the Self, have been covered masterfully by this antique seer.

 

1

That (eternal) syllable, AUM, is all this; its further elaboration, past, present, and future, all is this AUM indeed; even what is beyond, transcending the three times, that too is AUM:

 

2

All here is the Absolute (Brahman) indeed; this Self (Atma) is the Absolute; this same Self (he) is four-limbed

 

3

In the waking state, (he is) overtly-conscious, having seven parts and nineteen faces, nourishing himself on the concrete the Universal Man the first limb.

 

4

In the dream state (he), the inwardly conscious, with seven parts and nineteen faces, nourishing himself on the well-selected is the luminous one the second limb.

 

5

That (state) wherein, on falling asleep, one desires nothing at all, that is the well dormant (which), attaining to a unitive status, filled even with a knowing-content, made of bliss,

nourishing himself on bliss of a sentient mouth, is the knower, the third limb.

 

6

This is the Lord of all, the all-knower; this is the inner negation-factor; this is the source of everything, and the beginning and end of beings.

 

7

As not inwardly conscious, not outwardly conscious, as not filled with a knowing content, not conscious, not unconscious, unseen, non-predicable, ungraspable, bereft of quality,

unthinkable, indeterminate, as the substance of the certitude of a unitive Self, as the calmer of the unmanifested, tranquil, numinous, non-dual, is the fourth limb considered to be.

He is the Self, that is to be recognized

 

8

The same Self treated as the AUM is substance. State is substance and substance is state, under letters A, U, and M.

 

9

The 'A' stands for waking state where the Universal Man is the first substance because of obtaining or being the first. He obtains all he wants and becomes first too, who understands thus.

 

10

The 'U' stands for dreaming state, which is the luminous one, the second substance, because of superiority or from being intermediate. He leads wisdom

 

(VERSES MISSING)

 

 

2 poems by narayana guru


POEMS BY NARAYANA GURU


TRANSLATED BY NATARAJA GURU
FROM "THE WORD OF THE GURU"

P269            
TRANSLATOR'S FOREWORD

Our main object in this volume has been to introduce both the life and teachings of the Guru Narayana in a general way. Now that we have covered the personal ways and attitudes of the Guru and elaborated the background and the general mythological, ethnic, religious, social, historical and philosophical setting in which his teachings and the method used, have to be viewed, we proceed here to select a few typical samples from his writings, mainly from his early compositions, where much of the imagery is that of the 'stone-language' that we have dealt with in Chapter XV.

We need hardly say why he used such imagery, or why these early writings were clothed in a language of their own, since we have already shown the inevitability of such a language as part of the socio-religious necessary world in which the Guru lived. Such mythology and iconography with all their own idioms, as it were, have been alive in the daily life and mentality of the common people of South India from the earliest times, and for everyday use constituted the readiest means available to the Guru for the communication of his own high thoughts.

Essentially, such thoughts were the same as those of his later, more positive and less iconological works and, needless to say, the mystical, philosophical, contemplative or dialectical doctrines contained in all his compositions have remained the same throughout; but there will be many readers outside India, not to speak of those in India who have lost touch with the old mystical-cultural language, who may be puzzled by the two modes of literary expression found in the Guru's writings: the
mainly figurative Indian-contextual earlier poetry, and the more openly universally-fronted later productions; and
therefore

270
it may be puzzling on the surface to see how both modes of writing are really identical in wisdom-values. This is the
background problem which we have tried to clear up.

Shorn of the difference of linguistic or stylistic mode, both kinds deal with the same subject, breathing the same spirit; always indicating by this or that mode some central human value or good as viewed in the light of pure contemplation. No means of communication or tradition is rejected if it can serve the purpose of indicating such values of help to all. Some of these approaches have academic form and finish; some are in classical Sanskrit - while others view reality from the point of view of the Indian peasant, using popular everyday Tamil and Malayalam. In his earlier verses he spoke as one South Indian peasant to another, using the familiar idiom of a common environment. In his later writings he opened out and became universal, just as he did with his personality. He then took a more positive or definitely universal stand, treating his subject in a correctly academic or contemplative manner which was not only valid for India but global, applicable in any context anywhere.

The compositions we have selected here are just samples of some of these various styles, and, mainly because of space, but also because the more serious works are reserved for future treatment, we have kept to the Guru's miscellaneous and shorter writings. The longer works, The Atmopadesha Satakam (Centiloquy to Self) and the Darshana Mala (Garland of Visions), each consisting of one hundred verses, since they require extensive comment on account of their profoundly rich philosophical content, require volumes to themselves. In them the Guru's mature and finalized wisdom is contained in a fully developed form. His supreme crowning achievement is the Darshana Mala, in which the Guru rises far above what superficially might be esteemed as even his 'own special note', a statement which lifts philosophy above the philosophical, above the systems; pure and noble, treating of all systematized thought and philosophies in the light of wisdom itself. But these must wait for future treatment. The last sample selection given in this volume is a foretaste of this kind of wisdom-writing.

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We have graded the present selections in a certain order. The first poem, the 'Critique of Caste', has a bearing on an actual problem acutely felt in India, to which the Guru Narayana finds a simple solution, without swerving from his own position as a contemplative philosopher. Then in later selections we have the theme centred round essentially real and human values such as 'Prenatal Gratitude' and 'Kindness to Life'.

We pass on to samples in which doctrines of contemplative mysticism, covering the psychological or cosmological fields, are
introduced. Many of the Guru's poems are constructed around the Shiva myth, which has a language all its own, surviving in
revalued terms from the earliest times, prehistorically at least as ancient as Mohenjo-Daro. The distinctive Indian approaches of Samkhya and Yoga philosophy with their specialized features and vocabularies are also covered in our selections. Finally we arrive at the concluding sample, representative of the most sublime form of contemplative writing extant in India or in the world. This conforms to the strict discipline of Brahma Vidya or the Science of the Absolute, as finalized in the long history of the Guru-Word. Thus through 'politics' in the Aristotelian sense, ascending a ladder of human values contemplatively reviewed and determined, we reach the end of the ladder where there is suspended the glorious crown of Word-Wisdom.                                   

In conclusion a word might be added to point out that in the following translations I have adhered closely to the original Malayalam or Sanskrit text, perhaps in fact too closely and literally for the comfort of the reader, and thus marring their
readability as 'poetry' in the living English language, or even verging into what may seem like doggerel. While conscious of this, it must be explained that this is due to a desire to adhere loyally to the original without adding any flourishes of my own, as these might detract from the value of the Guru's own words. However, in some rare instances I have taken what seemed to be an inescapable liberty with the original and employed a slightly different turn of expression. But here too, in order that the reader may not mix up what is mine with what belongs to the Guru's own words in the original, I have taken care to

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explain all deflections of this kind from the original in the word notes. On the whole, therefore, the reader can rest assured and can verify for himself, where necessary, the authenticity of the original words of the Guru.
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A CRITIQUE OF CASTE

(JATI MIMAMSA)

(The first verse is translated from Sanskrit, the four other
verses from Malayalam).

I
Man's humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
None do see this truth, alas!

II
One of kind, one of faith, and one in God is man;
Of one womb, of one form; difference herein none.

III
Within a species, is it not, that offspring truly breed?
The community of man thus viewed, to a single caste belongs.

IV
Of the human species is even a Brahmin born, as is the Pariah too,
Where is difference then in caste as between man and man?

V
In bygone days of a Pariah woman the great sage Parasara was born,
As even he of Vedic-aphorism fame of a virgin of the fisher-folk.


A CRITIQUE OF CASTE
INTRODUCTORY

This short composition has been selected as an instance where the Guru Narayana, who was essentially a contemplative mystical philosopher dedicated to wisdom (jnana), treats critically a subject which at first sight seems to belong merely to the social world, to the domain of obligation or necessity.

Normally, according to the strict methodology of the Vedanta, the Dharma Shastras or Smritis (scriptural commandments or codes) are expected to deal with such questions involving social duties. A closer examination of the contents of these verses, however, will reveal the fact that the Guru here does not treat any aspect of contemplative wisdom other than what reason should confront normally. Although he deals with a question bearing upon or implying social justice or equality, his critique is not conceived or composed as a code.

The final distinction between wisdom and action (jnana and karma) should be sought in the obligatory and necessary character of action and the permissive, contingent or commendatory nature of wisdom. When a critique strictly stops short of a programme of necessary action, it is still contemplative, and should be considered as belonging to the subject-context of wisdom. A clarified intelligence awake to reality cannot avoid any aspect of reality.

After the Buddhist period the strictly neutral position of wisdom relative to social matters was violated and the necessary aspects of social obligations were stressed by way of a reaction against the 'heterodoxy' implied in Buddhism. Here, in reviewing the whole matter critically, the Guru Narayana brings  characteristics of reality, hitherto uncritically treated, within the full scrutiny of contemplative criticism.

Sankara treated the subject of caste as part of the vyavavaharika (the world of relative, everyday life), a necessary and given aspect of social obligation taken for granted as something natural. For various historical reasons the critical revaluation of the subject of caste in the light of the full implications of

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contemplative, non-dual Self-knowledge was avoided in India. In our own times, as we know, this neglect has led to extreme
forms of social inequality and discrimination, known today as caste, exclusive and segregatory, leading to the extremism of
untouchablity. It is Brahmin versus Pariah dialectics.

But in the Guru Way and Word, contemplation and common sense come together again without distinction and distortion. Under one discipline, existence and reality meet. Everything is brought under the scrutiny of reason in these verses, but at the same time pure reason never degenerates into any kind of injunction or mandate. Here, essentially, the plea is that man should realise his true humanity and unitive solidarity, and realise also that terms like 'Brahmin' and 'Pariah' are ideas superimposed on the reality that is human nature which is essentially one, and fundamentally of one single sameness.

In the West the idea of equality became accepted publicly and forcefully after the French Revolution. The Age of Reason, with its dialectics between Voltaire and Rousseau, brought this fundamental idea into popularity for the regulation of human relations. Man respected himself and attained a status with a new value never so clearly recognized before. While it is true that, since the time of its pre-Platonic formulation in Greece, democracy had been there, it had hitherto always been qualified by theoretical considerations which complicated the issue, or limited it to a special social group.

This idea of equality is perhaps the greatest single contribution brought by Western culture to the East, where the stress on the individual and the subjective had yielded its full fruition of benefit and had turned toxic to life. As we have seen, during the days of Buddhist decadence  free spiritual life had been smothered by an overpowering weight of grammar-like abstractions; hence the breath of overt reason, a common-sense outlook and the revival of a living mystical contemplation were all necessary for the strengthening and emancipation of the life of the common man.

By his status in contemplative Word-wisdom the Guru Narayana had the right to revalue and restate the position. He

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fulfilled this role with that characteristically wistful touch of mysticism which is revealed at the end of the first verse of the poem : 'None do see this truth, alas!' They do not see the truth because the truth can only be known by the contemplative, by the one who knows it and sees it in terms of a Self-realized certitude, from the still centre where such truth resides. That certitude is unlike other kinds of knowledge which can be obtained in the market for the asking, like purchasing a set of volumes of an encyclopaedia. As we have explained elsewhere such contemplative knowledge requires the Guru-Sishya bi-polar or mutual relationship, with the necessary corollary of a wholehearted intellectual sympathy by which the intuitive understanding becomes firmly established.


COMMENTARY

I
Brahminhood and such are not thus-wise;
Man's humanity marks out the human kind
Even as bovinity proclaims a cow.
None do see this truth, alas!

This verse in aphoristic Sanskrit, while the remaining four verses are in Malayalam, conveys its own meaning, which can only be appreciated in the light of the Word-dialectics and the interplay between the two main Word-formulations as we have described them. Sanskrit is the language in which the idea of caste in the hereditary social sense came about; hence there is a kind of poetic justice in crowning this set of verses with a summary in the classical language. Malayalam itself has a large proportion of Sanskrit in its composition, grafted on to an early Tamil framework, but Malayalam belongs structurally to the non-Vedic Dravidian context. So here in this poem there is an implied ambivalence in putting the inquiry in the two languages which belong, as it were, to the group representing the Brahmin and the group representing the Pariah, respectively, out of whose interactions the false notion of caste has arisen.

Here the opening line provides the key to the main

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approach and method of dealing with the subject. First it is essential to know the truth about caste, and then whatever
sociological system there is to be can have a sure foundation. Caste distinctions have no basis in actuality. Subjected to the most drastic of scientific tests, homo sapiens falls within the human species. Racial distinctions do not amount to distinctions in the species in any strict terms. Like languages and customs, these may give an appearance of variety to the species, but they are only superficial factors of no importance intrinsically to biology.

The writer remembers once having put the following question directly to the Guru : 'If people can develop a healthy rivalry in the name of groups, imaginary or real, within the human species, would it not be good to give recognition to such groups since it would promote human welfare?' To this the Guru had a simple answer. He replied there was actually no difference between man and man. Hence whatever sociological theory or system is erected must rest on sound premises of truth or fact.

In this 'Critique of Caste' all that the Guru denies is that castes such as Brahmin and Pariah have reality. While historical, sociological, economic, or even dialectical circumstances may have caused the complex configurations of caste, this does not mean that it has a raison d'être of its own. Any number of sociological experiments for the improvement of man are possible, but this is another matter, like the dream of Utopia or some closed religious doctrine, each experiment requiring examination on its own merits. Whatever the system or theory practised or proposed, the simple fact remains that mankind is one.

Contemplation cannot be erected on a non-factual basis. The higher human values which contemplation incidentally brings to light as its obvious mark cannot ignore truth or fact without being absurd; for truth or fact is indeed the pedestal upon which wisdom of the highest kind rests. Therefore the denial of the non-factual or the non-existent or the superimposed (Sanskrit adhyasa) is the correlative and anterior aspect of contemplation, necessary before the reasonings and conclusions

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of contemplative wisdom can be made. Differences are not seen by the contemplative in any case, and all the more so when
actuality or even empirical science denies the difference. Caste therefore, from both points of view, becomes absurd.

The argument based on bovinity etc., it will be noticed, never loses its contact with actuality in the usual, factual, rational or scientific sense. Contemplation is not divorced from common sense. On the contrary, contemplative wisdom seeks erection on the strictest foundation of a realistic, existential common basis. The discipline of contemplation complements the discipline of science. In the name of the transcendental there is no foisting of any ideological doctrine on the reader, but rather the testing of the ontological, here and now put forward as a corrective to all myth-making tendencies that might arise from either the contemplative or the day-to-day practical approach. Thus exaggeration and distortion in thinking is eliminated. Hysteria is the pathological term for such distortion; and when the factual method is not strictly adhered to, there arise the pseudo-sciences which, based on non-factual premises, cause human conduct in society to go astray and awry, resulting in terrible confusion, injustice and suffering in the human world.

The history of the European Middle Ages is sufficient proof of this; while in Indian history the domain of social privileges has been a sacrosanct no-man's-land. Thus in both cases the clever ones got away with many theories whose irrationality was never, or rarely or weakly challenged - all of which worked to the advantage of the power-seekers, to the detriment of the trusting and inarticulate masses who were finally segregated to the uttermost fringes of social life without even primary human, let alone civic, rights.

If pure contemplation has nothing to do with reformist programmes, at least those who stand for it must refrain from the
semblance of support for wrong causes, so that at least there should be no possibility of any confusion regarding true human values. When such values are not clearly stated, or unclarified, there is a state of confusion, a kind of smoke-screen, wherein injustice and all manner of human wrongs begin to

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thrive. Contemplation in its 'pure' disciplines must therefore conform to actuality, and if unrighteousness is to disappear
it is equally important that the disciplines of the actual world of scientific facts must also be kept pure and in keeping with the universal front presented by contemplation. Only then can the dialectical relation between the two polarities result in a normal recognition of human values, without any extraneous considerations or diversions creeping into the process.

The Brahmin needs equating with the Pariah so that a central human reality may emerge to view as a simple truth which is both actual and real, both existing and subsisting. Brahminism is based on a racial distinction which arose from the Vedic penetration into Dravidian or pre-Vedic India. It implies such rules as the ban on marriage of Brahmin with non-Brahmin, and a refusal to dine with non-Brahmins. Two sets of considerations, some actual and some theoretical, have been confused and mixed up, resulting in the strange irrational absurdity which distinguishes caste prejudices in India from similar class-snobberies common elsewhere in the world. These absurdities are held up by the Guru for re-examination and revaluation, in accordance with the standards emerging from a science of contemplation. When intermarriage or inter-dining between castes in India are prohibited and the false theory therefore made into a dogma of practice, it is on this ground that the Guru steps in to say this is a mistake which must be abolished from the reasoning mind.

'None do see this truth, alas': In knowing that, even in a contemplative sense, Brahmin-hood, Paria-hood and all the
intermediary classified postulates are neither actual nor rational, there is a need for the Word-wisdom to bring back the true value of life at each level of social complexity. But those who have this Word-wisdom are rare, and it becomes, as the Bhagavad Gita points out, of the nature of a secret which the genuine Advaita Vedantin alone possesses. (1) The Bhagavad Gita also says that contemplatively the notion of Brahmin-hood does not

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exist even theoretically, any more than does the distinction between an elephant, cow, dog or one who eats dog-flesh.(2)

Thus, both existentially and subsistentially, the distinctions of caste become meaningless. This question is reminiscent of the relation of genus and species which puzzled theologians throughout the Middle Ages. A paradox is involved here as in the case of the interdependence of the concepts of the One and the Many in Platonic dialectics (e.g., Parmenides), and hence this apparently sweeping generalization becomes justified. Genuine Brahmin-hood, to have any meaning at all, must be a subtle personal value revealed to non-dual dialectics; something which has nothing to do with social status, biological heredity or holiness in the ordinary religious sense at all. Where there is the absence of recognition or understanding of this sole possible meaning of Brahmin-hood, the consequences are so full of ill-portent for man that the Guru deplores the situation by an apt interjection 'ha!' which we have rendered 'Alas!'

WORD NOTES:
Jati is rendered here as 'caste.' Although it is the nearest usual equivalent, 'caste' is inadequate. The English word is derived from the Portuguese 'casta', meaning 'unmixed race; breed, race, strain', and came from the Latin 'castus', 'pure, clean, unpolluted'. Jati has its own complexion on the Indian soil, where ideas of tradition, custom, culture, colour, ethnical groups and ideas of the sacred all

281
fuse together and blend to form this phenomenon of 'caste', and throw up the two extreme types called the Brahmin and the Untouchable. Class enters only feebly into the general  concept, and although economic repercussions are inevitable, they are not directly related to the main notion of jati. The dialectical revaluations that have been made throughout history between the Vedic and non-Vedic concepts, as two sets of values or refinements, may be considered to be at the bottom of the whole question of caste. The sonorous title which is sometimes given to caste, namely varna-ashrama-dharma (colour-status-duty) fails to make any definite meaning. It is a confusing compound term consisting of divergent theoretical elements; Varna meaning just colour; Ashrama normal or stable type of livelihood; and Dharma incorporating all notions of right living, whether spiritual or social. All these ideas put together produce an opiating black liquid called caste-prejudice, without any sense being left of the original meanings of the separate factors making up the compound term. The result is not only irrational but detrimental to well-being from every point of view. Innumerable people, in particular the religious-minded peasantry and illiterate women generally, tend to treat the difference implied in jati almost like a difference in species; for the word, etymologically meaning 'kind', means that to speak of this or that jati as of one man or another man, is to separate mankind into different kinds; and hence in this short composition the Guru's aim is to make this position clear.

Manushyatvam: 'humanity', means the assemblage of all specific qualities that distinguish man from other beings, including those higher values which are essentially human.

Gotvam: 'bovinity' or 'cow-nature'. In Vedanta this is a favourite example for illustrating the specific qualities of an animal.

Brahmanadi: meaning here 'the state of Brahminhood'. This appellation and others of a similar kind, it is pointed out, are not determined or fixed like the specific qualities of a species or kind of living being. They are honorific titles, like the English words 'Lord' and 'commoner': sometimes based on a certain social status, sometimes on a pattern of belief or

282                
behaviour which, at a certain period in history, may once have been valid and distinct. The Brahmin exists because he is not a Pariah; thus only doctrinal and not actual difference is involved here.

The word 'pariah' is left to stand by itself, but it should not be at all supposed that it has any derogatory significance in the present context. It is merely the existential counterpart of the existence of the Brahmin. The English word pariah is derived from the Tamil 'paraiyar', the plural of paraiyan, or 'drummer', the beater of the 'parai' or large drum. Thus we are transferred linguistically to the prehistoric age beyond Mohenjo-Daro times by this simple derivation. Drumming is pre-Vedic, even proto-Dravidian - the drums that have been thumping 'for ever', as the Guru graphically described it once, as we have noted elsewhere. The Vedic victors had no drummers of their own, and so employed the indigenous drummers, the Pariahs, who specialized in this art which was novel to the invaders, for their festivals, marriages, funerals and other ceremonies, particularly in their penetration into the depths of South India. Thus originally, as 'drummer', the word only meant those who were clearly outside the Vedic fold. Much later it became synonymous with its present meaning of social ostracism.

Tatvam: 'truth',  implies that Brahmin-hood appertains to the subsistential aspect of reality and not to the existential.
Brahmin-hood belongs to another order of reality altogether. When this distinction is not recognized the entirely false notion of caste arises; a mystical fact with a psychological implication is given an entirely wrong legalistic and social meaning. In view of the fact that even moderns like Gandhi accepted this confused interpretation of caste, the question gains an importance all its own. (3)

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II
One of kind, one of faith, and one in God is man;
Of one womb, of one form; difference herein none.

III
Within a species, is it not, that offspring truly breed?
The community of man thus viewed, to a single caste belongs.

The solidarity and equality of mankind, both in its existential and subsistential personality-aspects, is reviewed here again in the proper scheme of a contemplative science. Self-knowledge is part of this science and the deeper human values have a place in the conception of the human personality, when examined in connection with this Self-knowledge.  Here we touch the very essence of wisdom. The archetype or the phenotype of genetics to which man or homo sapiens belongs by the natural background of necessity is also valid as a general fact which has to be related to all matters involving ideals or wherever problems of a teleological nature arise.

Whether we conceive these ideals or goals by names such as 'Nirvana', 'dwelling in the presence of God', or 'attaining eternal life,' the position remains the same. In fact, as the Guru Narayana admitted in reply to a question, one can substitute some other set of values which omit the theological content or implications. Such for example, would be the case with Buddhist terminology, where the word 'Dharma' could be substituted for the terms 'one caste', 'one religion', or 'one God'. Dharma, considered in relation to necessity, equates with the idea of one human kind or caste; related or conceived as a means to Nirvana, it equates with the idea of a single faith or religion; while when it is conceived as a goal, as for example when the Buddha is referred to as the Dharma-Kaya (the embodiment of righteousness), the idea tallies essentially with the idea of a God. In such a context, prospective idealism's teleology gives us God or Dharma, a purposeful absolute righteousness. The immanent aspects of reality, when formulated, give us

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general values such as brotherhood or religion. Conceived in universal terms such values become unitive at each level, retrospective, prospective or immediate, as a series of corresponding ontological excellences.

'Of one womb, of one form' etc.
Here we come close to problems such as are dealt with by modern genetics, eugenics and allied subjects. In the West,
heredity is studied in relation to freaks in nature rather than in relation to the 'eternal' law of heredity. Freaks are the exceptions, while the law they prove is the rule. A cat which has had one of its tail bones crushed by something falling on it, may of course have kittens with variously twisted tails reappearing, according to observed laws of heredity, such as those of Mendelism. This however, does not disprove anything with regard to the main rule or law that father and offspring bear resemblances through generations.

In the search for 'objective' evidence the tendency in the modern laboratory has been to forget the laws that require no experiment. These being given to human experience by common observation and inferred without doubt, they are, for that very reason, taken for granted and forgotten. They are valid outside the laboratory, while the specialist shut up against this sunlight-like evidence, forgets it in his too-keen love for his own field of specialist research. This is a tendency needing to be countered by the new science of contemplation. As soon as this kind of 'scientific superstition', as Swami Vivekananda put it, or 'the learned ignorance' that Ramana Maharshi called it, is abolished, we have once more contemplation and common sense coming together to support the fundamental findings of perennial wisdom or Advaita Vedanta.

Homo sapiens is of the single same phenotype, whatever the dominant or recessive variations may be that enter here and there. The evolution of the species, whether through sudden mutational steps or by slow degrees, never goes beyond the essentially specific characteristics of homo sapiens as a prevalent single species or kind. Although some modern thinkers hold

285
that the emergence of a new type or 'race' of human beings is possible, such fancies are far from being strictly scientific.(4)
Nothing has so far shown the existence of more than one species within mankind, and the possibility must therefore be ruled out for the present.

'Within a species, is it not, that offspring truly breed? '
The allusion here is to the law of inter-specific sterility. A mare can have offspring (the mule) when crossed with a jackass, but the mule is sterile. This is proof of the specific limits existing between the horse and the donkey. Without being a biologist in any modern sense, the Guru is as able as any scientist to state the rule of inter-specific sterility, just as he was equally competent to deal with other questions such as evolution, etc. We have here therefore a striking example of the strictly objective and scientific method of reasoning he followed. By the aid of that science of contemplation which we have referred to, the Guru Narayana establishes the undoubted fact of human solidarity, whatever may be the approach - of one kind genetically, of one fundamental faith religiously, and of one supreme value considered under the many synonyms of God or the Grand Dharma.

WORD NOTES:
Matam: 'faith', means formulated religion, which is essentially a value regulating human conduct and relations in society. As we have seen, Dharma or righteousness, social or personal obligations or duties, are all the same everywhere when they are shorn of historical or incidental stresses given by each particular expression of religion, and they can then be equated to one or other of the various aspects of wisdom. Thus, in the light of contemplative Self- knowledge or neutral Word-wisdom, as understood in revalued dialectical terms, all variations become included under one religion, common to humanity as realized in norms of universal,

286
unitive and simple values which remain the same for all men, irrespective of time or clime.

Akaram: 'form', refers to the typical contours or outline of the body of man in its species-aspects; the phenotype, deducting those appearances that are incidentally due to variations in climate and food, such as sunburn, skin-colour, thickness or thinness of lips etc. The Negro's skin is part of his environment, as the eyelids of a Mongolian are regulated by hormones coming from other environmental conditions.

Within certain human limits, skin colours can change when stimulated by secretions produced by long years under special environments, as the study of the ductless glands reveals. The subsoil can also have a similar effect in the absorption or deficiency of certain elements through the food and water of particular localities.

A novel written in one language is appreciated when translated into another language because of the essentially human interest it evokes.  Similarly, love between different races is common and gives healthier and more virile offspring. Beauty and refinement follow in the footsteps of good economic or educational conditions. A 'Pariah' boy taken by the Guru Narayana and educated in the Ashram at Varkala was easily mistaken for an orthodox 'Brahmin', as the Guru very often demonstrated.  In any district in India, in any school, when Scouts in their uniforms are reviewed in line, the fact is again objectively demonstrated how difficult it is to sort out castes based on purely physical features. It is only by the aid of external and easily-imitated marks, such as dialects, styles in hairdressing or appropriate 'caste marks,' that any possible caste-groupings can be made under such circumstances. Objectively there is no difference, unless the term 'objectively' applies also inclusively to the incidental, superficial or extraneous accretional circumstances, which from a rational point of view are strictly irrelevant to the judgement of the subject.

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IV
Of the human species is even a Brahmin born, as is the Pariah too.
Where is difference then in caste as between man and man?

Here the Guru brings together the inevitable dialectical counterparts of the problem. For without the Brahmin the concept of Pariah as a concept would lose its meaning, and without the Pariah as a background factor, Brahmin-hood, at least in the Indian context, would lose its present import because in the dialectics of history, as we have shown in a previous chapter, the one rises up in response to the other. But both the Brahmin and the Pariah, in the pure light of reason or  ontemplation, although they may be historical counterparts, are essentially one in human content. Whatever asymmetry
there may be in the 'typical' personality of one or the other is fictitious, they are social vestiges, out of place and incidental to the changed world situation, and quite irrelevant to spirituality. Patterned after the prehistoric Shiva-who is worshipped as a God even by the Brahmin - the Pariah-drummer (synonymous terms as we have noted) is holy in his own way; while the Brahmin again embodies as a 'type' certain revalued refinements which are called Aryan virtues, more socialized than the prehistoric ones, and holy in another socialized context. These virtues held up as 'Brahmin-hood' consist of certain publicly-workable qualities, such as a clean diet, monogamy, improved housing conditions, dress and elaborated personal, social charms.
A dominant group always has this advantage, which justice seeks to abolish in favour of the common masses, the peasants and plebeians. The dominated are the 'have-nots' and 'underdogs' because of human injustice, and it is here that contemplation can help in bringing order, balance and equalization between the two opposites. Fundamentally, as Robert Burns touchingly and poetically summed it up in his grand verses, 'A man's a man for a' that'. It is the good heart and kindliness that unites all classes as 'man' and neither the wealth and extravagance of the strutting 'Lord'

288                 
or 'Earl' or the grovelling poverty and drunken illiteracy of the 'peasant' or 'worker'. Both Brahmin and Pariah belong to
one and the same essentially human context.

Although this statement is simple enough to understand and even banal when harped upon, yet it is one around which many polemical battles and revolutions have been long and vainly waged. Even Sankara, otherwise so rational and critical a philosopher, and in spite of the strict distinction which he made between the Vyavaharika (everyday practical) and Paramarthika (ultimate or final idealistic) values in life, left much alone that was irrational in the former, without comment, such as those matters of Vedic ritual and caste obligations which he treated as if they belonged to the Vyavaharika as necessities. But even the necessary need not be irrational; and this is the whole point that the Guru Narayana here brings out. Although much of what comes under the necessary has to be taken for granted as inevitable, like geographical and climatic variations; all that comes under the necessary need not be treated irrationally. If it is necessary that we should breathe and communicate, this does not mean that it is necessary to tell a lie. Reason can penetrate into the domain of the necessary in order to regulate and rearrange it, after critical scientific scrutiny based on common sense or contemplation.

Contemplation is not intended to condone absurdities, nor to confuse factual issues, but is rather a support and aid to common sense. Common sense and contemplation should be regarded properly as complementary parts of the same discipline, and should be conceived as under a strict common methodology and epistemology of wisdom.

In an interesting composition called 'Manishi Panchakam' (Five Stanzas about Man), attributed to Sankara, probably correctly, each verse concludes with the statement that whoever represents unitive wisdom, whether he is an outcaste or a Brahmin, is Sankara's Guru. According to legend the poem was written following an incident in Benares: Sankara and his followers were returning from their bath in the Ganges when they were confronted by a Pariah who not only refused to get
out of the way, but with poignant pertinacy questioned

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Sankara's caste-scruples and orthodoxy. The Pariah did so, not only on ordinary human grounds, as the story goes, but on the basis of Sankara's own Advaitic approach. From the nature of the poem, Sankara is supposed to have learnt from the Pariah counterpart the lesson of the neutral wisdom of this matter of caste and outcaste. But whether he did or not is doubtful, for a close examination of the various Bhashyas (commentaries) of Sankara on the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Brahma Sutras reveals to anyone that he still treated caste-distinctions based on Vedic ritualist gradations as something taken for granted. At the most, he is very mildly expostulatory. (5)

Perhaps he was anxious, after the Buddhist decline, to catch up with the pre-Buddhist orthodoxy of the Vedas, which
included the social distinctions of caste, and history perhaps justified his lukewarm attitude. The right of the Sudra or lowest caste to have Vedic wisdom is questioned implicitly and even explicitly. The right of a Pariah to such wisdom does not arise at all, and the inference is that he is to be eliminated rather than made even to serve the Vedic pyramidal superstructure erected on the broad base of the Indian social masses.

Further, as Sankara must have known, the Pariah represented a valid Word-wisdom belonging to his own historical context, which Word-wisdom was, as in Tiruvalluvar, even better than the later revalued Vedic-based Word. The anterior Veda
typified in the Kural was as good at least as the posterior Aryan Veda which latterly became too critically defective and esoteric. For a fuller examination of this we refer the reader to what we have said already concerning Aryan and proto-Dravidian dialectics in our discussion of Blast and Counterblast.

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V
In bygone days of a Pariah woman the great sage Parasara was born,
As even he of Vedic-aphorism fame of a virgin of the fisher-folk.

After treating the matter empirically and dialectically in its various aspects, the Guru finally supports the whole with
reference to historical fact. He selects as instances sages of unquestionable status in the authentic dialectical context of the Vedanta, which is the same as that of the Vedas, where this phenomenon of caste has to be placed if it is to be understood.

Parasara was the father of Vyasa, who was also called the Veda Vyasa (Arranger of the Vedas), said to be the author of
the Maha-Bharata and of the Bhagavad Gita contained or inserted in it, which is one of the canonical texts of Vedanta, held in high authority. Parasara must have been of the prehistoric dialectical context whose characteristics we have already indicated in earlier chapters. Vyasa and Vedanta are linked-up inseparably for ever; so in the very context of the Vedas we find nullifying evidence against caste. Orthodoxy and heterodoxy meet and revaluate themselves in terms of pure wisdom, without heredity or tradition playing any part in the revaluation, which takes place more in spite of than because of heredity. Even if some people hold that Brahminhood emerges as the culmination of a hereditary selection of aptitudes, such a theory or notion is not borne out by historical facts.

The other sage referred to is Vyasa himself, also mentioned in the Genesis-chapters of the Puranas as being born of a fisher-maiden. If, as may be, he is also the author of the Brahma-Sutras, the great stringer-together of the wisdom-aphorisms, then here at the heart of what is called roughly 'Hinduism', we have evidence that blows the false notion of caste to smithereens; for Vyasa or Badarayana - whatever he may be called, sometimes known as 'Vyasa the Dark-skinned Sage' is a recognized Brahma-Rishi, taken into the fold as a Brahmin of the Brahmins, although not of that line at all.

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The Guru's aim here is to reveal to all that these saintly characters, Parasara and Vyasa, who are recognized everywhere
as ancestors of holy cherished memory, and worshipped as such by all castes in every home in the Hindu world, are themselvesoutstanding reminders that mere prejudice lingers round the notion of caste, since they come from the much-abused and misunderstood Pariah line and not from the Brahmin stock at all; hence here to be faced is the ultimate contradiction of the Brahmin, not only accepting and adopting the Pariah Guru, but putting him on the topmost pedestal as a sage of supreme value from the Vedic point of view. In the contradictory absurdity thus proved, all caste prejudices based on heredity, dynasty and blind tradition must be dispelled, and the social atmosphere of the present ultimately and finally cleared of this major caste-impediment.

Here it might be permissible to add some concluding remarks on caste, having dealt with it more or less completely in the
form of actual textual comments. The Upanishads speak of Brahman (Brahminhood) and Kshatram (Kshattriyahood or
the warrior-pattern) as attitudes of the personality which are superimposed as secondary conditionings on the Self.  The
Katha Upanishad (6) treats of these as rice or food, to which the final consummation of specialization is the dead-end fixed sauce or pickles added on to the rice base of food, as it were, which is called 'death', the cul-de-sac terminus of artificial specialization. The basic ego is characterless and neutral, but becomes specialized with character as Brahmin and Kshatriya, which finally attains culmination in the extinction of death. The numinous Self is the neutral basis for all the secondary conditionings, social, psychological or religious, added on to it. Such is the attitude of the highest Upanishads with regard to Brahminhood.

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If this attitude is vague, we find in the Bhagavad Gita (7)further indications regarding the four castes:

'The four castes were created by me (i.e., Krishna, the
Guru, God, or Acharya) in order to divide innate nature and
(aptitudes to) action. Know me to be the author thereof as
also its undoer ever the same. '

The innate contradiction in this verse, where God creates caste and undoes it himself, can be explained only in the light
of the dialectical revaluation of caste as it prevailed at the epoch when the verse was composed. The four castes, based on
vocations and corresponding aptitudes, being necessary and inevitable in any human society (even as in the Greek society of
Plato), had elements of universal validity which were attributable to the Creator of nature. Wisdom, however, transcends nature, and in transcending the practical domain of relative, historical or sociological necessities, seeks pure reason and dissolves what has been built up by prior necessities, by means of new or revalued terms of contingent freedom. In the light of the revival of orthodoxy after the decline of Buddhism, at the time when the above verse was written, such an ambiguous revaluation was all that was possible for the author.

The Guru Narayana, however, has no need for this ambiguity and indeed his clarity restates the whole position. He has in these five verses brought about distinct conclusions. Humanity is one and indivisible in kind (jati). There is no room for any multiplicity at any level of human nature, socially, religiously or contemplatively. Neither actuality, empirically examined, let alone contemplative verities, admit of a raison d'être for caste; nor does history lend the idea any valid support.


NOTES

(l)
Manushyanam sahasreshu kashchid yatati siddhaye
Yatatam api siddhanam kashchin mam vetti tattvatah
(Bhagavad Gita, VII, 3.)

'Among thousands of men scarcely one strives for perfection; and even among those who strive and are perfect, scarcely one knows Me in truth '.

(2)
Vidyavinayasampanne brahmane gavi hastini
Shuni chai 'va shvapake cha panditah samadarshinah
(ibid., V. 18.)

'In a Brahmin who is learned and mild, in a cow, in an elephant, even in a dog and in a dog-eater, the wise see the same'.

(3)
Cf., articles on caste in 'Young India' by Mahatma Gandhi.

(4)
This possibility was alluded to by Bertrand Russell in a speech at Columbia University, New York, on 16 November 1950. The New York Times reporting him as saying that the armaments race is a genetic competition 'to breed a race stronger, more intelligent, and more resistant to disease than any race of man that has hitherto existed'.

(5)
See e.g., Sankara's introduction to the Bhagavad Gita Bhashya and his ambiguous comments on such passages as IV, 13; and XVIII, 41; and also Mundaka-Upanishad Bhashya, II, 12; also Vedanta-Sutras Bhashya, I, iii, 25;I, iii, 34-38.

(6)
Yasya brahma cha kshatram cha ubhe bhavata odanah,
Mrityuryasyopasechanam ka ittha veda yatra sah.
Katha Upanishad, II, 25.

'He for whom Brahminhood and Kshatriyahood are as food, and
death but the sauce, how can one know where that Self is?'


(7) chaturvarnyam maya shrishtam gunakarmavibhagashah
tasya kartaram-api mam viddhy-akartviram-avyayam.
Bhagavad Gita, IV, 13.

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PRENATAL GRATITUDE

( PINDA-NANDI)

( Translated from the Malayalam )

I
Within the womb, 0 Lord of Good,
Was that lump in hand - this humble self.
With what exceeding love,
Who but Thou, kind One, nurtured it into life!
Ordered by Thee, all comes about.
Thus knowing, this Thy servant
To Thee now surrenders all.

II
Of earth, water, fire, air and ether too,
From each gathered, and firmly shaping in the palm,
Who confines me within a cell with blazing fire alit
Even from the oppression great of such a feminine divinity,
Protect and nourish me in Thy nectarine Immortality.

III
Thy Grace it is that even now proclaims
This never remained a mere stone-confined creature, impotent.
The very Indra of high heaven,
Who within a vase-like lotus dwells
And all heaven's host besides,
From such a Source do all grow out.

IV
Having no kinsmen, strength or wealth -
How could this ever grow? 0 marvel picturesque!
My Master's sport is this!
No darkness is possible in thus knowing.
So to see, do grant Thy Grace, good Master!

V
For months full four or five,
Growing, becoming, by slow degrees,
Even Thou it was who eyes formed one after one,
Ever warding off Death's hand.
All that is now past,
But to my recollective weeping of that prime foetal time,
Listen, 0 Lord of Good!

VI
Yea, semen it was that mixed with blood;
And thus, by sound matured and taking form, I lay mediate.
Then for me there was no mother or father;
So by Thee alone raised, sole parent mine,
All that I am is here today.

VII
If all that now-forgotten suffering should be revived within,
I would this very day fall and perish in flames, alas!
Alone Thou didst then provide those outlets five of sense,
0 Father mine of gold.
Even thus to know, Thou, 0 Lord, permits.

VIII
That mother of mine who, as a burden bore me within,
With a tender melting heart, vainly breathing many a sigh,
Fuming hot, in pain she brought me forth,
To lie here, howling on like a jackal.
For once deign to tell me, Lord, what all this can be about.

IX
Full well aware art Thou, good Lord of all,
Hence what need is there for humble me to tell?
Do banish, pray, all agony!
Thy servant has no one here, and if Thou me disown
Then all is lost,
0 Saviour coming mounted on a bull (1)



INTRODUCTORY

Prayer, piety and questions of the hereafter are matters that are generally given an apocalyptic or liturgical form. But here, in this striking composition bearing on the subject of spiritual progress, and covering the same contemplative field, the Guru Narayana follows a new line, an unusual departure from the normal.

Consistent with the modern spirit of a scientific biologist,he takes the human foetus as his normal starting point and follows up its history, very much in the same way as an investigator in experimental science. Continuing this method in terms of Self-knowledge, the Guru is able to traverse a region hitherto overcovered with guesses and rife with age-old speculation. In Europe the hair-splitting of the theologians and scholastic philosophers of the Middle Ages made all thinking minds turn in revolt from their methods of approach, and after the eighteenth century, the age of Voltaire and the full flood of rationalism, the whole subject of piety and devotion was left far behind. Materialism then became the only firm ground upon which human beings could collectively build monuments of common human value, such as in the form of what is called civilization. Considering that civilization is a matter for which man is willing to

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lay down his life, the finding again of real values which suffer from no asymmetry of vision as between the present and the
future, the here or the hereafter, and so on, gains ever-renewed importance.

It was Bergson who broke away from the highly theoretical academic idealism of German philosophers like Hegel, and in his own direct and graphic way brought some elements of contemplative metaphysics into the philosophical world. Influenced by Plotinus in his approach, the 'élan vital' (vital spirit or force) of Bergson came nearest to a biological concept of the
'soul' of man which had gone into disrepute with the rise of scientific materialism. Biology, as conceived by Bergson in
'creative' terms of flux and 'pure becoming', gave a living and breathing reality to the whole problem of spiritual life. He saved metaphysics from being lost in the mere grammar of abstractions, and his rhetoric came as a saving factor, making
the dry winds of the desert humid and life-giving.

In like manner, the Guru Narayana here retrieves liturgical, ritualistic or unrealistic piety and gives it an intimately realistic and personal status, so that it yields Self-bliss through the common sentiment of parental gratitude.


COMMENTARY

I
Within the womb, 0 Lord of Good,
Was that lump in hand - this humble self -
Who but Thou, kind One, nurtured it into life!
Ordered by Thee, all comes about.
Thus knowing, this Thy servant
To Thee now surrenders all.

This opening verse sums up the whole position in regard to spiritual progress and the various factors involved. The foetus
represents the personality of the seeker or aspirant, as conceived in his most primal simple form without any of those attributes belonging to the world of expansion or action. In the intimate

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negative recesses of the mother's womb before birth, the self or the ego subsists in direct relation to whatever draws it out into life-manifestation. In this process of life-manifestation there are two poles. There is the self and there is the conception of a providence, an ultimate or God conceived as a light, perceptual or actual.

Kindness or love is a value that fits into this process as its natural counterpart. Kindness is of the same stuff as bliss or Self-knowledge, while piety or devotion are but words which are soaked in the essential content of kindness, mercy or compassion. When viewed without the asymmetry of a bias towards the subjective or the objective; without the prejudices attached to the 'triputi' (the three elements of contemplation), we have a central notion called mercy or kindness which covers an essential human value of a spiritual or contemplative order.

This, regarded as the kind care of Providence, is like the parental concern of a father, and may be called the Father,
as a spiritual factor, the conscious contemplative conceptualisation of the ultimate or supreme pole of the self, immaterial and invisible, subtle or subsisting, rather than merely existing. This kind one marks the principle which presides over or dominates matter, which is merely inert or negative.

It is the touch of this principle or the relation to this pole which enables the whole of life to regulate itself in progressive stages of self-realized self-expression or unfolding. Between these two poles thus marked out, the whole phenomenon of subjective or objective life becomes comprised. Pious surrender is but the recognition of this verity.

'That lump in hand' 
'Brahmanda' (the cosmic egg), in Vedantic writing, has for its antinomy its microcosmic material counterpart reciprocally in 'Pindanda'. In this cosmological context, this latter term is not merely the conventional ball of rice that is offered to ancestors in ritualistic Vedic ceremonies, but represents figuratively the substantial material principle of cosmic reality. 'Pinda' has here been rendered as a 'lump in hand', which would then correspond to microcosmic aspects of reality as implied when the human personality is considered ontologically in terms of cosmic relations.

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'With what exceeding love, who but Thou, kind One, nurtured it into life!'
The treatment here of 'what' and 'who' side by side, as if the difference between them was negligible, suggests that the generosity of the Supreme can be treated personally or impersonally. The pronoun does not make any fundamental difference. There is no limit to the implied generosity, and such an absolute and limitless bounty cannot be attributed to anything but what touches the essence of the personality itself.

'Ordered by Thee, all comes about'
This phrase seems to indicate determinism, or a god who directs and designs all according to an inscrutable will. When viewed existentially, there is a law of necessity in nature. This law of determinate necessity of the world of relativity is never abolished as long as the least vestige of duality is supposed to exist between the Supreme and the Self. As this prayer is addressed here to the idea of the Lord of Good (Bhagavan), i.e. with Good as a supreme human value, determinism shifts, in a greatly extended sense, to merge, almost, into the domain of free-will. The law of determinism itself becomes a principle or criterion of pure reason, an imperative will of goodness, culminating in reflection and Self-knowledge. The object here is to present and explain this mode of operation of the free will in relation to the actual, realistic aspects of life.  Such a treatment is meant to make extreme idealism realistic at the same time.

WORD NOTES:

'Bhagavan' has been rendered ' Lord of Good ' as the root 'bhag-' would indicate.

'Pindam', as we have said, is applicable also to the ball of rice offered to ancestors in Vedic ritual. In the Upanishads the ball of rice has been further equated to the Self or the Absolute in formulae such as 'Annam Brahmeti', etc.(l)

II
Of earth, water, fire, air and ether too,
From each gathered, and firmly shaping in the palm,
Who confines me within a cell with blazing fire alit
Even from the oppression great of such a feminine divinity,
Protect and nourish me in Thy nectarine immortality.

Here the allusion is to the negative principle which is elsewhere referred to as Maya. As long as positive spiritual progress is conceived we must also postulate for it something as its negative aspect, although in the consciousness of one who is fully established in non-dual wisdom this 'negativität', as Hegel would call it, has no place. If the positive principle of spiritual progress is to be Purushottama, the Most High God, then the negative aspect of the same principle, which is finally to be identified with that positive principle, as wisdom gains ground,is justly to be called Maya, the feminine counterpart of the same.

Like the female Parvati and the male Parameshvara of Kalidasa's opening verse in his 'Raghuvamsa', they are ever united as the word and its meaning. Every god in Indian mythology and iconography has his 'shakti' or counterpart ofmanifestation or becoming. This 'shakti' is the creative urge, which is not merely a supposed abstraction of the intellect but something here on the existential side of truth.

The Guru refers to this aspect as something to be transcended, however great its claim may be to be recognised as subservient to the methodology of the Advaita. Maya is not a reality but an inevitable epistemological and methodological necessity, to be used until Self-realization establishes the full flood of silence in the Absolute beyond words.

Suffering, sin and evil are all correlated, and dependent factors arising out of this concept of the negative side of reality in Maya. They all mean the same when viewed symmetrically, without prejudices arising from our angle of vision as between the cosmological-objective or the psychological-subjective.

300               
The good is the nectar that nourishes; while evil is the poison that corrodes the spirit as negative attributes in the gross, inert world of bondage or necessity.

Earth, water and the other elements are considered here as stages in the descending gross manifestation of the negative
principle. Although the modern materialistic and scientific view of the elements seeks to arrange them round a scheme of
'periodic' laws, the Guru adheres here to a scheme belonging to the contemplative dialectical outlook of the Vedanta, the aim of which is mainly to resolve a finally-persisting duality in terms of unitive comprehension.

Advaita (non-duality), Vishisht-Advaita (non-duality of the specific) and Dvaita (duality) all imply a recognition of this
double character in various degrees for purposes of methodological or epistemological emphasis or explanation of one or other of the aspects of reality, viewed from the personal level.

A detailed discussion of the Vedantic theory of manifestation of gross inert matter as we see it in nature, which is called 'panchikarana', deserves close attention in the light of this implicit dialectics. This we shall undertake later. In the meantime we shall merely keep in mind that the reference in this verse to the elements being gathered into a lump needs examination for its own proper merits, quite apart from the modern notions of physics. It requires discussion as a part of the contemplative discipline, as Vedantins have always done.

'Who confines me for baking within a cell'
The cell here can be understood from any of the different ways of regarding reality. Biologically, life begins in a cell bounded by cellular walls. Psychologically, the cell represents the limitations of the narrow necessities of conditioned life. Cosmologically the cell is that particular space-time system into which mind and memory are inserted or fitted, in relation to the rest of the universe. An object is subjected to gravity, while gravitation as a principle applies to the universe, which can be conceived in terms of electromagnetic or thermodynamic worlds. Whatever the theory, there is something which can correspond to the cell mentioned here, in the sense of a limiting context of the 'here and now.'

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'With blazing fire alit'
This would naturally correspond to the counterpart of the cell. Energy, described for example as electromagnetism, is like a fire; and this, psychologically, would be the fire of consciousness itself, the consciousness of otherness. The pure consciousness, which is itself unlimited, seems to accommodate at its other pole, so to say, its own limited or conditioned aspect. The duality which is the cause of suffering is compared here to baking. The Upanishads refer to cooking (pachyathi) in a similar context (2). The incubatory process in the foetal state within the womb is actually comparable to subjection to such a slow process of heat as in a baker's oven.

The oppression of the feminine divinity is balanced by the protective nourishment which the positive principle represents.
We suffer and seek happiness, thus involving the same polarized elements indicated here. One yields place to the other in any spiritual progress at whatever level it may be conceived or formulated.

WORD NOTES 
Amritu: ' nectarine immortality ' -like Soma, the heavenly juice of Indian myth coveted by the Devas and Asuras (the good and evil spirits), symbolises a common human value. This neutral or central value of Good is like food, saving life from death, which latter is negative, representing suffering. When scientists say that the entropy of the universe is tending to a maximal state, and that food represents a negative entropy, using thermodynamical language, the same positive and negative sides are involved as here.

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III
Thy Grace it is that even now proclaims
This never remained a mere stone-confined creature, impotent.
The very Indra of high heaven
Who within a vase-like lotus dwells -
And all heaven's host besides -
From such a Source do all grow out.

The life-giving principle is like 'the little leaven that leaveneth the whole lump'. It is both potent and small yet expansive and amplificatory in its effect. On this common ground of life-expression which is of the nature of the Self itself, cosmology and psychology meet. Here that transcendental factor called 'Grace' is the positive aspect of the principle. Grace is not material but is like the 'quality of mercy' which 'droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven' to nourish life beneath. This cycle, conceived inclusively both cosmologically and psychologically, is implied in the Bhagavad Gita, which refers to 'evam pravartitam chakram' (such a cylic motion) (3), where recognition is given to this same process, involving positive and negative aspects of reality. Wisdom, within the limits of dialectical method (as well as piety or prayer), implies the postulation, at least for the sake of argument, of a second pole which is sometimes vaguely alluded to as sacrifice. (4)

Whatever the name: Vishnu, Purushottama or the Most High God, this is the factor constituting the second pole. It is with reference to this alone that it becomes possible for us to discuss the Absolute in any methodical manner. Inevitably, for
otherwise the word 'Absolute' itself would fail to have any meaning, and silence on the subject would be the only other
alternative. Here Grace is to be understood in contrast with the negative principle of Maya referred to in the previous verse.

'Thy Grace it is...'
There is ample evidence of what is meant here by Grace. This Grace is not a mere theological term to be considered in a context of piety or prayer. Grace is a fact, inasmuch as, whatever its essential nature may be, it is

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capable of making an embryo develop into a full-fledged personality such as a man. Man appreciates the cosmos and gains
philosophical knowledge through books. He is interested in extra-mundane values, and thus gains a status which is unusual
in nature taken as a whole.

'The very Indra, of high heaven...and all heaven's host besides'.
As conceived in Indian myth and cosmology, Indra is the ideal of such a consummation of human values, and is shown as having originated in the hollow of a lotus-bud which symbolises creation, from which even Brahma the creator first came, with four heads for the directions. What is cosmologically great is psychologically and potently contained within the span of a hollow lotus, as in a vase. All the mental constructions which are the further elaborations of this creative urge in consciousness, resulting in hypostatic realities such as gods or angels, belong to the same order as Grace. The names are different, but the reality is the same. Such is the implication of these lines.

'From such a Source do all grow out.'
This would seem to point to the fact that the transcendent realities have their source in the immanent. According to the Guru there is no distinction even between the transcendent and the immanent.

With intuition it is possible to link these as belonging to one central reality in which there is no duality, even though its aspects are named 'transcendent' or 'immanent'. The heavenly beings are grounded in the Self here and now, as the Self is implied in all such notions of heavenly values. These and other matters need more explicit determining in the light of the whole of the philosophy of the Guru, as considered in its various applications both here as elsewhere in his works.

WORD NOTES

'Kripa': 'Grace' This could be translated ' kindness', but God's kindness is well-known as 'Grace' in the theologies of the West.

'Alpa Jantu': rendered 'mere stone-confined creature impotent', should be considered as a worm within a stone which itself is helpless and at the end of its resources in gaining power over its environment.

IV
Having no kinsmen, strength or wealth -
How could this ever grow? 0 marvel picturesque!
My Master's sport is this!
No darkness is possible in thus knowing.
So to see, do grant Thy Grace, good Master!

The object of this verse is to draw the distinction between certain secondary factors and the all-important primary factor
of Grace which is involved in the growth and progressive adjustment of an organism to its environment. It is true there
is the father and mother, and nourishment from the mother's body. But these are only partial explanations of the main cause running through them like a vertical chain of cause and effect in time, rather than in the horizontal world of space or action. The potter is secondary to the basic clay of the pot. Clay is the 'prius' in the Aristotelian sense being the basis of the 'entelecheia', the true cause which makes anything what it is, in its own perfection, which touches actuality here. The role of the father, mother, wealth or friends who nourish a human being in a social context after birth, are seen to be non-operative before birth. An invisible numinous cause of an order of the 'thing-in-itself' is then operative, as opposed to the incidental factors in which humanity seems to thrive in a socio-economic framework, as understood in the usual sense. The contemplative environment for the progress of life or of spirituality is quite another thing. Here the mysterious factors, such as Grace, Presence, the numinous Absolute, the other-worldly, the given, a priori reasoning or intuition, have their prime place. This is but in keeping with the methodology of the Vedanta, as we have seen in earlier chapters.

'0 marvel picturesque! My Master's sport is this!'
The numinous aspect of the Absolute or the 'thing-in-itself', as viewed in the light of the non-dual Word-wisdom, is bound
to have the character of a marvel or a mystery. It is part of its essential make-up. A central human value, conceived psychologically and cosmologically at once, leaves behind only a sense of wonder. Insofar as such a wonder fits in with actualities and

305
is normal and harmonised in other ways, without disruption of the personality, it is to be accepted as normally falling within the scheme of contemplative thinking. Sport ('lila' in Sanskrit) is that field of elusive 'occasionalism' where psychic and cosmic factors enter into interplay.

'No darkness is possible in thus knowing. So to see, do grant Thy Grace, good Master!' The Guru is aware that these matters lend themselves to various superstitions in the name of religion or spirituality. Followers and teachers of pseudo-sciences, and false, interested or asymmetrically-constructed doctrines have often, in the name of spirituality, erected edifices whose value to human life is often questionable or suspect in various degrees. One religion may condemn the belief of another. But whatever the variety of belief, the compromise of opposites is inevitably bound to be present in one form or another. This makes the whole matter necessarily speculative when concrete details of doctrine or faith are stated. But this does not make the position fundamentally any different. Knowledge of the Supreme must partake of light, and lack of knowledge must be of darkness. Whatever the form by which we come to know of the higher Grace and its sport or mystery; as knowledge it is illuminative and thus belongs to the side of light rather than to darkness. Grace thus seen unitively is the universal positive principle of the Good, the True and the Beautiful which, whatever its form, cannot be a superstition. Unknowing alone, which is negative, would constitute the essence of superstition. The prayer here is for that Grace which can open the eyes of knowledge towards reality, at whatever stage such reality is envisaged.

WORD NOTES:
Aho vichitram: '0 marvel picturesque'. The phenomenal world has been attributed to Maya which projects this empty vision, just as a mirage in the desert is also empty of the water imagined there. Objective reality affords no final satisfaction to the ever-present thirst for knowledge, and such satisfaction comes only when conviction about the real is gained once and for all. In the futile sojourn here, one vision after another tantalises the spirit, which is finally lost in the

306
wonder of the Absolute. Such is the goal of non-dual wisdom as known to Vedantins from classical Sanskrit times. The phenomenal world is a mere presentiment of the will to live, and in this sense is an empty picture which allures, without any reality as such. No further settlement of the problem is to be sought. Vedanta ends in the non-dual sense of wonder in the vision of the Absolute.

Andhatvam is 'blindness', or 'superstition', whichever is required by the context, as interpreted philosophically or religiously, as the case may be.

V
For months full four or five,
Growing, becoming, by slow degrees,
Even Thou it was who eyes formed one after one,
Ever warding off Death's hand.
All that is now past,
But to my recollective weeping of that prime foetal time,
Listen, 0 Lord of Good!

The transition of the foetus from a characterless lump of matter to one in which the sense-centres become pronounced
stage by stage takes a period of several months from conception, as physiology knows. During this whole period, one steady direction is maintained towards growth and life, with tendencies urging to light and not to darkness. Plants are geotropic and heliotropic, while ontogeny repeats the memory of the phylum. The steady direction is a certain development towards a mature phenotype and this is maintained continuously. Metabolism goes on through time without interference from external factors, and is protected from their interference. The embryo is thus saved from outside conditionings while innate tendencies are given a chance to assert and strengthen themselves.

In all this process, that principle which was referred to as Grace has its role, which is an important determining factor as against climatic and other adverse factors which, if given scope,could at any moment bring an abrupt end to this unfoldment.

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These are facts well known to biology; but even in an extended sense, reaching beyond the orthodox limits of biology, the same laws hold good, revealing the organic relation existing and underlying both biology and theology, scientifically and correctly conceived in the light of the method and epistemology of the Vedanta which we have already examined.

The conquest of the future is the task of the intelligence. This is the path of bliss. Regrets characterize memories which weigh on the self from an opposite direction, as it were. Retrospection has been recognized as a form of regret by philosophers and psychologists, who see in memory the negative weight of inaction and helplessness. Memory is sometimes consoling when attached to pure forms of subjective quietism; but on the whole memory in actual life is linked up with regrets. The feelings roused in the personality when brooding on the past constitute a familiar element in piety, which is not perhaps the best form that piety can take. Positive piety rejects the past and lives in possible future freedoms in terms of Self-realization.

'Eyes formed one after one'
Here the 'eyes' are meant to cover all the senses, which are directed to take cognisance of whatever is presented to them in the environment. Biologically, the senses, which are situated in close proximity and relation to the higher brain centres anteriorly, constitute together a pole which is opposite to the seat of the emotions, often located posteriorly in the viscera or in the tail of certain animals. Evidence of such an ambivalent polarity of the nervous functional centres could be collected, and this would tend to show that all the cognitive centres such as the eyes form a series, as it were, of concentric rings; the outer and most objective being the eyes, and the most subjective the ears with the sensation of hearing which puts sound and meaning together. Grace may be said to enter into the formation and functioning of the senses and  organs, such as sight and the eyes, to the extent that such functioning is independent of memory-aspects but rather dependent upon prospective intelligence. The desire to look at light wills the opening of the sense organs to light. It is in this sense that Grace is to be taken as responsible for the formation of the senses.

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'But to my recollective weeping of that time. Listen, 0 Lord of Good!'
Here we have retrospective, regretful piety turning towards the desire for prospective recognition by the higher positive principle of the supreme Good. This sentence gives us the key to the whole technique of contemplative devotion or spiritual practice. The annihilation of the past in terms of the future, and the arrival at an eternal present in the Self, is the basis of contemplation. When thus examined in detail, this prayer of gratitude adheres to the strict epistemological and methodological fundamentals of Advaita Vedanta. Faith is retrospective; hope is prospective; while the resultant charity is the essence of the bliss of Self-realization. Charity in its widest sense is therefore a contemplative human value.

WORD NOTES:
Kalan: translated here as 'Death', is more than a mythological figure, inasmuch as 'Kala' means 'Time' in Sanskrit. Time, as related to the process of becoming ever new, is a great destroyer of the past. The destructive elements of time which are detrimental to life are here personified in the term 'Kalan', the God of Death.

Karuvinkal has been rendered 'in prime foetal'.

Karu is the soft kernel or essential part of a fruit or nut. It is the
substratum of life at its inception.

VI
Yea, semen it was that mixed with blood;
And thus by sound matured and taking form I lay mediate.
Then for me there was no mother or father;
So by Thee alone raised, sole parent mine,
All that I am is here today.

The intermediate stages of the incubation and formation of the foetal personality are now under reference. The biological picture of fertilisation given here corresponds exactly to that of science. The ovaries and principles connected with them are referred to generally as 'blood', while the spermatozoa

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are referred to as 'semen'. Without going into microscopic details, this corresponds to the biological picture in general
terms, inasmuch as blood would represent the basic aspect and semen the factor which gives character and individuality to the mass fertilised. The two principles that were antinomies are again here referred to side by side.

Beyond and besides the material basis for the proliferation of the cells to form the organs, there is introduced the idea of sound as the factor which makes the whole organism mature in the contemplative sense. Sound, as we have noted, is the meeting point of word and meaning; the outer and inner principles meeting through the common 'sound', conceived as a principle. This theory of the relation of sound to the maturing of matter into organisms finds support vaguely in various Vedantic writings in connection with the theory of Panchikarana, and has been the subject of recent investigation by some Western scholars. This has relationship with the mystery of number itself, which was one of the subjects of Eleatic philosophy, dealing with order and music in regular patterns and scales, expounded by Pythagoras and beginning to be reaffirmed by scientists like Jeans and Eddington.

Whatever the final theoretical implications may be, for our present purposes it will be sufficient to know that sound is the medium where the subjective and the objective meet, and where the mind may be said to be inserted in general consciousness. The foetus is no more a mere inert lump, but gains a certain degree of self-consciousness, however low or feebly initiated at this stage. This self, thus integrated, connects positive and negative aspects, and holds them together in unitive knowledge. In this inceptual stage of consciousness, such a self knows nothing of a father or mother. It is innocent of all relations; innocent of the outer world's superimpositions which come only later. Thus by origin, the personality is essentially independent of external human relations. These belong to a social context of a later stage.

'I lay mediate' - can refer to the position of the foetus within the maternal body in an actual sense, or it might be understood in a psychic or symbolic sense. This self, at its

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inception, was neither positive nor negative in its adjustment to the environment. It was a neutral entity, balanced between the two extremes, and thus represented the principle of being in its purest form. The essential nature of the personality pertains to this neutral self, and it is in this sense that the later remark in the verse applies, namely, that the self is to be looked upon as raised solely by the Grace of God, as the child of immortality.

WORD NOTES:
En Thathan: 'Father Mine', is here rendered 'sole parent mine.' 'Thathan' is a word of endearment applied to any parent, including the grandfather, and sometimes even to a child. It has no relevance for the particular generation. Ancestor and heir become interchangeable in its intimately pure connotation. It is representative of the protective principle in the abstract, whether conceived prospectively or retrospectively.                                

VII
If all that now-forgotten suffering should be revived within,
I would this very day fall and perish in flames, alas!
Alone Thou didst then provide those outlets five of sense,
O Father mine of gold.
Even thus to know, Thou, 0 Lord, permitest.

Retrospection, when overladen with regretful memories of suffering, must be detrimental to progress in the usual sense. It
is of the nature of a self-consuming fire, as the Sanskrit word 'thapam' (regret) sufficiently well recognizes (i.e. thap - to burn). In this negative state of self-immolating memory, the senses have a corrective or balancing role. They hold the interests on newer and ever-newer objects. Life is thus diverted into progressive channels of normal activity. This helps to balance and maintain the metabolism and the life of the tender being in normal consciousness. Integrated and unified consciousness can reflect on its own nature, and thus, through the

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balancing of the senses, the personality is able to attain to full human knowledge. Such Self-knowledge can theoretically imply more. As the Guru Narayana himself points out, lucid retrospection need not be an impediment to wisdom.(5) The
implications here deserve detailed and separate examination which we shall defer for later consideration.

'Alone Thou didst then provide those outlets five of sense... '
The ambivalent aspects of life have to be maintained at a certain equilibrium so that life and Self-realization may be possible. The higher values depend on the more basic ones, as when the Bhagavad Gita says that the Gods are to be propitiated by sacrifice, and they in turn would then shower graces on man.(6) A reciprocity is suggested here between what memory implies and what the senses represent. One cannot exist without the other. Like sin and grace in theological discussions, the relation here is to be understood in both its implications at once. As the Tamil Tiru-Kural puts it, in connection with rain, 'Should the sky run dry, there would be neither festivals nor worship for the gods here.'(7) The circulation of ambivalent factors and values of good and bad goes hand in hand and has to be understood intuitively in its global entirety.

'0 Father mine of gold'
The reference to a father of gold is to indicate that matter itself is not to be thought of as divorced from any idea of the supreme principle. The thinking substance of Spinoza comes near to this way of looking at the reality which is at once immanent and transcendent.

WORD NOTES
Unarnal, rendered 'should be revived within', means more literally, 'waking to the past'. Sleep and dream are like memories in the subconscious. At the conscious level we are awake where another set of tendencies come into operation, more in relation to the objective, empirical or actual.

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Porivathal, rendered 'outlets five of sense,' would be more literally 'doors.' The senses have been compared to windows, and, together with the other bodily orifices, they have been referred to in the Bhagavad Gita as the gates of a city.(8) Reflexive thought is also a higher function involving the positive aspects of the personality.

VIII
That mother of mine who, as a burden bore me within,
With a tender melting heart, vainly breathing many a sigh,
Fuming hot, in pain she brought me forth,
To lie here, howling on like a jackal.
For once deign to tell me, Lord, what all this can be about?

The picture painted here is so realistic that it calls for little comment. There is even a touch of humour in this very realistic form of adoration, especially at its tail-end, like the sting of an epigram.

'With a tender melting heart .... in pain .... howling on like a jackal.'
The painful heat and the tenderness of feelings alternate in the mother, making life a pendulum swinging between two extreme poles. The mother has pain in giving birth, as the child shows pain in being born, by crying. The final question is therefore pertinent and cannot be answered with logic one way or the other. The cyclic rotation of Samsara or the wheel of life is here summed up. It revolves between the ambivalent factors and tendencies at the root of life itself-a continuous cyclic movement. No philosophy or science offers an answer to these questions, which involve an understanding of the numinous Absolute. Only the silence of the Guru can represent an answer.

WORD NOTES
Venthullazinju, literally 'cooked and melted loose within,' has been rendered ' fuming hot . . .with a tender melting heart' and shifted round to give the meaning in English.

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IX
Full well aware art Thou, good Lord of all,
Hence what need is there for humble me to tell?
Do banish, pray, all agony!
Thy servant has no one here, and if Thou me disown,
Then all is lost,
0 Saviour coming mounted on a bull!

In the last lines the Guru links up the whole composition with the prehistoric Shiva-tradition and affiliates the entire theme to the doctrines of the perennial philosophy or mysticism. The duality as between the Supreme Providence and the adoring Self here is the cause of all the agony or suffering referred to above. Mutual recognition of the bi-polar interdependence between the supreme and the ontological self is strikingly restated here by way of conclusion; the two aspects being brought together into close reciprocity for purposes of contemplative understanding of the one in terms of the other.

The allusion in the last line is to Shiva, who rides a bull and saves lives, as against Yama or Kala, the God of Death who is represented symbolically as riding on a black buffalo. This final reference to the Shiva-bull who is the white Nandi, adds that characteristic depth to the composition, reaching back to prehistory and to that virile principle of positive life in the symbology and mythology of Shiva which we have outlined in earlier chapters.

The Markandeya Purana describes the way in which Shiva, mounted on a white bull (the Nandi) appears on the scene at
the very last moment of the death of a young man who was destined to die at the age of sixteen. Death (or Kala) claims the
life at the appointed hour, but the saviour on the white bull comes at last as the youth's final refuge, in his hour of extreme despair. Such is one of the images which this verse revives in the time-honoured context of contemplative Word-wisdom.


NOTES

(1)
Brihad-Aranyaka Upanishad, V, xii. 1; Taittiriya Upanishad,
II, ii, 1.

(2)       
Anupashya yatha purve pratipashya tathapare
Sasyamiva martyah pachyate sasyamivajayate punaha.
Katha Upanishad, I, 6.

'Viewing restrospectively, as also prospectively, man, like vegetation, is subject to the process of becoming (or cooking) repeatedly (is born again).'

(3)
Bhagavad Gita, III, 16.

(4)
Sahayajnah prajah Srishtva ....
Bhagavad Gita, III, 10.
'Having created the peoples together with sacrifice…' .

(5)
Atmopadesha Satakam, verse 64.

(6) 
Bhagavad Gita, III, 11.

(7) 
Kural, II, 8.

(8)
Bhagavad Gita, V. 13.


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KINDNESS TO LIFE
(JIVA-KARUNYA-PANCHAKAM)
(Translated from the Malayalam)

I
All are of one Self-fraternity.
Such being the dictum to avow,
In such a light how can we take life,
And devoid of least pity go on to eat?

II
The non-killing vow is great indeed,
And, greater still, not-eating to observe;
All in all, should we not say, 0 men of righteousness,
Even to this amounts the essence of all religions?

III
If killing were applied to oneself,
Who, as a favour, would treat such a dire destiny?
As touching all in equality, 0 ye wise ones,
Should that not be our declaration for a regulated life?

IV
No killer would there be if no other to eat there was-
Perforce, himself must eat!
In eating thus abides the cruder ill
In that it killing makes.

V    
Not-killing makes a human good -
Else an animal's equal he becomes.
No refuge has the taker of life,
Although to him all other goods accrue.

INTRODUCTORY

This short composition of five verses shows that ethics arises directly out of the contemplative way of life. In fact we see here how contemplation and matters which primarily concern the commandments of a religion can be brought together under one general principle of wisdom and rational living. The ethic here is dictated by the inner voice of contemplative reasoning, when a man wants to be fully human. Leaving aside on the one hand epicurean, hedonistic or utilitarian views of life which are based upon satisfactions too ordinary for the dignity of man; and on the other hand preventing such commandments from becoming mere dead letters, which might happen if divorced from all human considerations, the Guru here follows a line of contemplative reasoning which is full of true humanity and dignity. The pious man of prayer seeks refuge in God while denying what might give a similar refuge to animals. The contradiction in such a unilateral attitude of prayer, with the subsequent conflict which it brings about, is forthrightly abolished here, with a tenderness that is touching and which even has some humour.

COMMENTARY

I
All are of one Self-fraternity.
Such being the dictum to avow,
In such a light how can we take life,
And devoid of least pity go on to eat?

When piety and kindness are hinged one on the other they together constitute an important article of faith, a law or axiom
of contemplation. In the very first verse, Narayana Guru relates

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it to the axiom of the Advaitic or non-dual reality of the Self. The Self is universal and unitive and therefore cannot
countenance conflict between life and life. This is the first corollary arising out of the pure contemplation of a priori
truth. When it is accepted that killing is wrong, the same holds good a fortiori with the question of eating.  Kindness emerges naturally as the argument of the second degree which partakes of the logic of the emotions to at least an equal measure as it is itself based on pure reason. To the Advaitin one is as valid as the other, since the principle involved is the same.

The need to be kind to one's fellow creatures does not require the support of argument. One does not have to look for this justification in any book. It is self-evident and, consciously or unconsciously, humanity treats it as such. All civilised governments provide laws for the protection of wildlife, even though instituted for aesthetic rather than ethical reasons. The promiscuous destruction of nature is beginning  to be recognized as at least undignified behaviour for those calling themselves civilised.

However, much vagueness clings to this subject. Some consider kindness as being sentimental, and others as an impractical ideal. Killing in some form being incidental to life, such as that involved, for example, in agriculture, there is a condoning of killing or a conniving of it in various degrees without any real criticism. There is even a popular saying in  Malabar that the sin of killing is abolished by eating. Killing a man is murder (except in the case of war), while slaying a beautiful deer in the woods is not. Cannibalism, again, cannot be treated as at the same level as the consumption of microscopic beings in milk or other food. Confusion between the inevitable and the contingent aspects of the question gives rise  to the prevalence of an uncritical vagueness, creating a no-man's-land of absurdities.

But here the Guru marks out the field of rational contemplative norms of conduct in terms of the dignity of man. Man is the measure of all things, as Self-realization in universal terms is his goal, when intellectually conceived. After understanding critically the position in regard to this question of killing and

317
eating, it is for each man to make up his mind where he will draw the line of demarcation between what is necessary according to him and what he should avoid in the name of kindness. But the palate here should not be the preponderant consideration.

Duty, piety, righteousness, and religion are matters involved here, more than a merely rational outlook. Here reason is affiliated to a humanitarian outlook. This attitude is of the essence of religion, whatever the verbal form it may assume.

Man is seeking spiritual consolation as a refuge from suffering and sin, or even seeking emancipation in wisdom in ultimate terms of pure reason. The generosity of the absolute principle is always there as an inevitable factor to be dealt with, whatever path of wisdom or piety a particular aspirant may place before himself as his ideal. In times of stress all men pray for mercy of some kind, and that same prayer must bind us all to acts of mercy, as Shakespeare says. A man who was sure that he would never need mercy might perhaps be the only one who could logically escape from being merciful. Only in the context of neutral wisdom is such an indifference to mercy imaginable, and when such a neutrality is really gained, it becomes tantamount to being one with the Absolute. Then the question of mercy does not arise. In all other cases mercy becomes a necessary and inevitable form of obligation, even in the most contemplative of disciplines. Mercy, however, should not be mixed up with sentimental regret or retrospective self-pity. The kindness meant in this poem is that tender feeling of universal sympathy which is based on an open and rational outlook.

In this first verse the doctrine of non-duality as conceived in universal terms is invoked to support the idea of kindness as an obligation to be rightfully recognized by man. Reason makes kindness binding. Otherwise ethics would depend upon necessity and would be left for its support on instinct or animal nature. Non-dual contemplation requires reason to be taken as a corrective to instinct. Instincts must always be subjected to the sublimating purification of reason.

'Self-fraternity': 'atma sahodarar' in the original means the same as that universal brotherhood or equality in the eyes

318                  
of God spoken of by religious people. Such terms as 'created in the image of God ' are sufficiently recognized in the study of comparative theologies of all religions to be clear to the general reader.

II
The non-killing vow is great indeed,
And, greater still, not-eating to observe;
All in all, should we not say, 0 men of righteousness,
Even to this amounts the essence of all religions?

There is no religion which does not stress one form or another of universal brotherhood, and which does not advocate kindness to all living things. The commandment 'Thou shalt not kill', which Christianity and Islam inherited from Hebraic and perhaps from proto-Hebraic sources, confirms this view and, taken side by side with facts in practice such as the prohibitions and injunctions regarding killing on certain days and of certain animals (such as a red or stray cow or bull), we can gather, even in the religions of the non-vegetarian peoples an acceptance, in principle at least, of the non-killing commandment. And there is the general acceptance by the Semitic religions that a form of grace accompanies fasting and abstention from meat-eating on certain days. Buddhism in principle (though not in practice, in Burma for instance) is solidly based on non-hurting (Ahimsa), and Jainism marks the high level of this principle. The universal principle of brotherhood of all life and general equality becomes confined to 'humans only' in those climes where animal food becomes more excusable than say, in the southern latitudes of Asia. Making allowances for local differences due to necessity, non-killing, in principle, is enjoined by all religions.

'0 men of righteousness '
This verse is addressed particularly to those who think in terms of organized and active religions which try to keep the faithful on the path of righteousness and virtue by edict and law. The more contemplative religions accept it in the axiomatic form which does not require legalisation.

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III
If killing were applied to oneself,
Who, as a favour, would treat such a dire destiny?
As touching all in equality, 0 ye wise ones,
Should that not be our declaration for a regulated life?

The appeal in this verse is to those endowed with wisdom or education. Equity leads inevitably to the notion of equality. The argument here is against unilateral attitudes of equity. Reciprocated equity applied to both sides concerned without difference, and based on a uniformly general principle, becomes equality, which the wise are here asked to recognize so that they may lead humanity along such lines.

WORD NOTES
Dharmyam has been rendered 'for a regulated life ', i.e., conducive to a life lived according to the first principles which have been stated already. When Karma (or conduct) is controlled by considerations of first principles, it becomes Dharma or right action, and anything which promotes the prevalence of such activities in group life is Dharmyam - what conduces to a regulated life.

IV
No killer would there be if no other to eat there was-
Perforce, himself must eat!
In eating thus abides the cruder ill
In that it killing makes.

We often hear the argument that someone else has done the killing and therefore one can eat without any qualms of conscience. The hollowness of such an argument is exposed here with a certain touch of humour. The picture arises of a lone huntsman having brought down a deer and being faced with the problem of consuming it all himself. This readily brings home the absurd relation between killer and eater, and in the argument, is not without its humorous side.

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WORD NOTES
Agham: 'evil,' has been translated 'ill'.

V
Not-killing makes a human good -
Else an animal's equal he becomes.
No refuge has the taker of life,
Although to him all other goods accrue.

This last verse appeals to human dignity and in its name puts in its final plea against killing. Even if all the other arguments should be logically unconvincing, here is an appeal to a higher value in man which is reasonable. Man becomes the equal of an animal by wanting to kill it for the pleasure of his palate or for the pleasure of hunting, which are motives of a very ordinary order, common to more uninformed levels of life.

'Although to him all other goods accrue.'
There are values and values. Those in the form of goods which we enjoy here are many and varied and may be had in a unilateral fashion, even when one is undeserving. But the essential good, as a value such as grace or refuge or sanctuary in God, comes from the unitive, presiding principle of Good with which a bilateral and unitive relationship is necessary. One cannot think of bribing God for a partial favour based on no principles. To be loved by God one has to love one's fellow creatures, all in all.


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SONG OF THE KUNDALINI SNAKE
(KUNDALINI-PATTU)
(Translated from the Malayalam)

REFRAIN
Dance, cobra, dance!
Thy burrow seek and witness
The bliss of grace in wild display.
Dance, cobra, dance!

I
Keep close the foot so lotus red
Sacred of the Lord who dons
The crescent moon and cassia bloom, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

II
Besmeared with ash and bright His holy form shines.
Thy tears for Him in streams do shed,
And thus steadily
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

III
Upon this burning ground
Where ghost and also corpse are born
United well with what subsists, its counterpart supreme
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

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IV
The tresses of hair so fragrant
Excelling flowers of sweet aroma
In shade they lie within you
Beside this beauteous form, which view, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

V
A spotted leopard skin surrounds
His form of tender bloom.
'Within the Self he dances' say, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

VI
Upon the silver hill what gleams
As Vedic wisdom's quintessence,
Say 'That in me is dancing too', and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance!…

VII
He for whom a sportive snake
An ornament becomes
His home it is in us; so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

VIII
No one has seen, not he of blossom's bloom
Nor even that holy garlanded one,
This flower-form of thine, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

IX
Aum and all the rest that form
The essence of ten million charms
We now do know and so keep on, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

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X
To the One who conjures down
Who all things here brings out
To His leaf-tender foot adhere, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

XI
From lettered charm of Shiva-praise
To every formula of truth -
Even from sound do they come out, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

XII
Ten thousand millions
Of that Ananta snake art Thou;
Thy million hoods then open out, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...

XIII
This body here no truth it has;
Owner another in it resides.
Such wisdom do thou gain, and thus
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

XIV
Uniting body and owner too,
Radiant, who abides as one,
Such there is to know, as well, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

XV
What swallows all, with rival none
Such is the omnipresent Word
Which swallow thou, and steadily
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

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XVI
Consuming all the words there are
As the supporting wall for all
Even on such do take thy stand, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

XVII
From very name this great expanse
And even earth as well did come
As a presentiment in thought, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

INTRODUCTORY

Kundali is the seat of the Kundalini, which is often spoken of in yoga as a snake lying coiled at the base of the vertebral
column. It is supposed to represent a ganglion, plexus or storehouse of nervous energy which irradiates upwards to the
higher centres of the nervous system. Although anatomists have tried to locate this Kundalini Shakti (basic nervous energy)
in histologic, organic or functional terms more precisely in modern scientific language, all such attempts remain unconvincing and resemble the efforts of a pseudo-science, for the very simple reason that this psychic energy is not reflected directly in objective organs or functions.

The subjective and the objective come together here, hand in hand, as the methodology and epistemology of the Vedanta
would necessarily require. Where inner and outer values are spoken of together, a certain vagueness is bound to be present,
at least according to the objective standards of science with its great stress on what is visible. Under suitable attitudes and spiritual disciplines known to yoga, the coiled-up snake at the base of the vertebral column is capable of uncoiling itself. The roused-up serpent power then reaches higher and higher levels, touching or attaining successive plexi, often referred to as lotuses or central points from which nervous energy of a spiritual order radiate.

Of these, the highest ranking is somewhere at the base of the brain, beyond the soft palate, which the tongue's tip, when

325
trained, can touch and stimulate. This is the centre of the thousand-petalled lotus (Sahasrara Padma), of the full radiance
of positive wisdom in which all relative knowing becomes absorbed. This is like the burrow of a snake situated on high.
And when the snake reaches this home on high it is lost inside it and all 'becoming' is absorbed finally in 'being'. Such is the imagery underlying this composition.

The cobra charmed by music lifts its hood and swings and sways in response to it like a dance or play. This is a familiar
sight on the Indian scene and affords the author an apt literary device around which to build his mystical doctrines and philosophy of the Self. The whole process is attended with a certain sense of exaltation, joy or bliss which the yogi feels, like a poet or artist who reaches out from one sublime vision of the psycho-physical universe to another one higher or still more superb.

In order to appreciate the suggestive meanings of mystical import in this naive-looking form of poetry, one has to be sufficiently familiar with the dancing Shiva legends. The bronze of Nataraja, now so well known in the West, represents this dance which is both cosmological as well as psychological in symbology, fused into one creative image based on the myth or prehistoric personality of Shiva, such as we have traced in ourearlier chapters.

Snake symbology has been in the tradition of many lands: Crete and Egypt as well as India (where the tradition still lives
on). The snake, cosmologically, is the principle of time, continuity, or eternity. Adi-Sesha and Ananta (the cosmic serpent of time) are two well-known snakes of mythology, inseparable attendants upon Vishnu, and whose long coils form the couch
upon which this form of the divine principle reposes.

With Shiva the snake comes in as an ornament worn round the neck of this cosmo-psychic God. It represents again the
principle of becoming, memory or time, with a personality of its own which may be said to represent some mystical attitudes on the lines of the Kundalini snake we have already referred to, particularly in the yoga context.

In the present composition of the Guru Narayana the snake symbolises the Soul or Self in its progress. It represents

326
aspects of the numinous and the Absolute made living and real for purposes of helping to explain mystical doctrines, over which otherwise we should be obliged to pass in silence. The whole composition should thus be treated figuratively as explanatory, by an apt literary device, of some aspects of Word-wisdom.

The verses are meant to be suggestive mystically, and belong to the world of intuitive imagination; and therefore we shall
refrain from explanation in cut-and-dried doctrinal terms. The elusive and ineffable character of the style is meant to be
left untouched by mere logical analysis. We shall confine our remarks to show on the one hand how the lines can be dovetailed into a context of Self-knowledge, and on the other hand to indicate the symbology which has grown traditionally around the personality of Shiva in India. Shiva-symbology pervades prehistory and comes to us even in the West through the Dionysian mysteries and frenzies into the heart of Christianity itself - especially in its mystical aspects. Perennial philosophy and mysticism with contemplative visions contain elements of this wisdom which we see represented in this example of the Guru's writings.

COMMENTARY

REFRAIN

Dance, cobra, dance!
Thy burrow seek and witness
The bliss of grace in wild display.
Dance, cobra, dance!

While the psyche seeks realization in terms of perfect Self-knowledge, the phenomenal world is seen as a presentiment to
the Self or the will. In the process of transcending this visible phenomenal aspect, the psyche takes a dispassionate view of the whole and witnesses it without particularized emotions, but with a global sense of bliss. As electricity implies magnetism secondarily; the phenomenal is secondary to the main search for truth in terms of Self-knowledge. The display is here referred

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to as wild or meaningless because the values involved in the field of the relative are all evanescent, tantalising and elusive. They have no substratum of reality except in terms of knowledge, which is the main object of the search by the aspirant.

WORD NOTES :
Adu: here rendered 'Dance', could be equally 'play' or 'swing'. This swinging movement reflects the movements in the phenomenal aspects of life which also alternate.

Kuthu is any exhibition of dance, implying movements without much meaning, here translated 'wild display'.

I
Keep close the foot so lotus red
Sacred of the Lord who dons
The crescent moon and cassia bloom, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance!

The clear tender light of the crescent moon has always been associated with the cosmic picture of Shiva who wears the
crescent on his dark knotted hair. The cassia flower is also held traditionally to belong to the Shiva context. It might have some prehistoric associations with the personality of Shiva. Saraswati is often addressed as one who lives in the forest of Kadamba trees. The red lotus foot suggests that subtle aspect of creation, tender and ruddy, like oxidised mango leaves in the Indian spring. In all references to the foot in this symbolic language the ontological aspects are implied, whereas references to the head signify teleological or transcendental meanings. The light of the crescent moon thus refers to the latter. Both foot and head aspects meet in the personality of the Dancing Shiva.

II
Besmeared with ash and bright His holy form shines.
Thy tears for Him in streams do shed,
And thus steadily
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

528            
Holy ashes are associated with the Shiva-symbolism. The burning ghat is the favourite haunt of Shiva. This indicates that death and its terrors have first to be transcended for spiritual attainment. Vitalistic levels fall short of the implied vision, while the light-grey ashes are the pure residue remaining after all the vitalistic elements which cling to the instinctive personality are burned. Passions and emotions have all to be sublimated and surpassed. This burning of the instincts does not destroy the essential principle of the Self as pure consciousness, which is immortal and which lives on in a life that is eternal, as accepted by many theologies. This uncompromising renunciation of Shiva has its counterpart in the tenderly emotional attitude of the seeker, which is here depicted by the tears which the snake is asked to shed.

III
Upon this burning ground
Where ghost and also corpse are born
United well with what subsists, its counterpart supreme
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

The two grounds of spiritual life are here distinguished. The corpse is the objective body, considered as matter.  The ghost is the immaterial counterpart. Some aspects of the human personality are just matter, while certain other aspects of the personality persist in the form of subtle tendencies. These affect the minds of others and to that extent belong to a certain order of reality which, contemplatively, there is no special interest in abolishing. The Guru thus speaks of 'ghost' incidentally, as he might speak of higher hypostatic principles, always in a figurative sense.  He is not directly concerned here with concrete scientific proof for the existence of disembodied spirits called ghosts. They are as much mental fixations to the Advaita Vedantin as the phenomenal world itself, and are treated alike as will-presentiments or dream-stuff. The concept of a concrete ghost does not arise here, in the sense which might be assumed by an objective scientist.

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Here all that is legitimately implied is that there are certain subtle tendencies, besides the material body, which go towards the total structure of what we call the personality as known here and now. This ontological, immanent aspect has its second pole in the Supreme which is 'beyond', in the Platonic sense. Although this 'beyond' has finally to be identified with the ground 'here', when the arguments and suppositions are completed, the Supreme has to be understood before a full sense of the mystery of the Shiva-presence, as representing the numinous Absolute, can be grasped even intuitively. The existing aspects have their subsisting counterparts which are supreme and transcendental.

WORD NOTES:
Peyum Pinavum: 'Ghost and Corpse' - these are ambivalent aspects of the human personality. The first is given to the mind and the second is given to the senses. In so far as suppositions affect human conduct, they are realities of everyday life. The question of the existence of ghosts with a status of their own does not arise here. Viewed empirically, this world consists of dead bodies after life has been lived; and some other factor known as 'life' which meets matter and makes the personality whole. This life-principle has to be supposed in one form or another, and the term 'pey' or 'ghost' just applies to the ontological aspect of such a factor as an entity, even though it may be treated as a mere mental hallucination.

Elum Param Porul has been paraphrased in the third line, to keep as close to the original as possible. 'Porul' would suggest a substance, while 'Param' implies the supreme or the transcendent, while 'Elum' implies 'having as a counterpart'.

IV
The tresses of hair so fragrant
Excelling flowers of sweet aroma
In shade they lie within you
Beside this beauteous form, which view, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

The reference here is possibly to the tresses of Parvati which are said to have a natural perfume.

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This would then be an indirect reference to that type of mysticism of a poetical kind similar to Solomon's 'Song of Songs' in the Bible. But the intensity of this mystical sense of beauty is weak when compared with the virile and direct expression of life which the Shiva-symbology in its pure form is meant to revive here. The Shiva approach transcends lyrical effects and bucolic comedy, reaching tragic heights in Shiva's radical dance of frenzy in the name of the Absolute. Erotic mysticism is lukewarm when compared with the full-blooded cosmic vision of the Dancing Shiva.

WORD NOTES
Pu Manakkum-Kuzhal- literally 'tress of natural perfume.' The suggestion here is that the perfume is indirectly suggested in the hair while in Shiva the bloom of beauty itself is seen directly. Immediacy of vision is here implied. A certain amount of whole-hearted, confident attachment or loyalty to the mystical principle is also implicit in this emphasis, as when a child says 'I have the best of all fathers' etc. No reflection on the merits of the Shiva cult is directly intended here, at least in the sense that it is a rival faith to Shakti worship. The aim is merely to compare levels of mysticism. As within lyrical emotional limits or in attaining 'tragic' heights of sublimity.

V
A spotted leopard skin surrounds
His form of tender bloom.
'Within the Self he dances' say, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance!…

The unconventional and anti-social ways of Shiva are well-known. Although his inner personality belongs, like that of all
such figures, to a perennial context of Word-wisdom, Shiva outwardly belongs to a prehistoric stratum, and he has never caught up with the refinements of a later age. Shiva's enemies, to test him, set a tiger or leopard to kill him, but Shiva killed the leopard and thereafter wore its skin. Then-according to the same legend - an elephant was sent, and he also killed it and its akin was also donned. Viewed in the light of mystical symbology,

331
these skins represent external material aspects of the personality of the cosmic principle. The tough elephant skin is dark - the negative side of objective life, full of inertia and lethargy. The spotted leopard represents the harsh or louder aspects of creation, the positive wilfulness of uncontrolled instinctive life. Both are but outer coverings to the spirit which dances in bliss within.

VI
As Vedic wisdom's quintessence,
Say 'That in me is dancing too', and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

Shiva's abode is often referred to as the great Hill of Silver. He is said to live in the snowy white peaks of the Himalayas, in Kailas, with Gowri, otherwise known as Parvati, Kali or Saraswati - who are all different consorts varying according to the mythological contexts of the many-branched Shiva legends. When South Indian wisdom attains the heights of Mount Kailasa and becomes allied to Vedic wisdom, this rouses the ire of Ravana, who may have been a prehistoric ruler of Ceylon. Ravana is said to have disturbed the happiness of Shiva and Parvati when they took up their North Indian abode. In the light of the historical blast and counterblast in the formulation of the Word-wisdom in India, this legend gains pointed significance. Here we note that the Guru Narayana alludes to the Vedas as teaching essentially the same wisdom as that of the ancient indigenous Shiva-wisdom. The two currents of Word-wisdom meet in the Shiva symbology which dominates India even to the present day, inasmuch as the chief deity of Benares is Shiva in the form of Kashi Vishvanath. Sankara dedicated Vedantic verses to this deity of Manikarnika, considered the holiest of holy places for the Hindus, on the banks of Mother Ganges. In thus bringing Vedic wisdom in accord with the Shiva tradition, the Guru is here conforming to the principal trend of spiritual life in India.

332
VII
He for whom a sportive snake
An ornament becomes
His home it is in us; so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

This states the converse of what was said in verse three. The earthy snake is an ornament to the supreme Absolute, just as the 'here and now' aspect of the Absolute is common to all devotees or to humanity in general. These two poles are evident also in the Christian 'Lord's Prayer' when it reads 'Thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven'.(1)

VIII
No one has seen, not he of blossom's bloom
Nor even that holy garlanded one,
This flower-form of thine, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

The Lord of all creation and the first created is Brahma, the four-faced God born out of a lotus flower. (Brahma the God is not to be confused with Brahman the Absolute). Brahma himself being produced out of a flower, as the flower itself emerges
from its stem, is poetically described as 'blossom's bloom'. Vishnu is possibly the 'garlanded one', the consort of Lakshmi, the Goddess of prosperity, in her name as Sri or Holy, summing up all that is good or auspicious in the Vishnu context. Here again is a comparison of the relative depth of mystical feeling implied in the two sets of symbols - one extolling widening values of ease and prosperity, and the other the soaring, virile, radical principle of cosmic mysticism reaching to the heights of tragedy.

IX
Aum and all the rest that form
The essence of ten million charms
We now do know and so keep on, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

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'Aum' is the key or root charm which symbolically implies all its further elaborations, variants or branches in whatever other religious or spiritual context they may occur on the tree of wisdom. 'Aum' represents Brahman, the Absolute, and contains all the mystical secrets in its single syllable. This is explained in the Upanishads, especially in the short Mandukya Upanishad, which is wholly dedicated to a discussion of complete spirituality as related to this one syllable in its articulate and inarticulate forms. The aspects of the personality and all the psychic states possible to man are masterfully correlated round this little word. Thus the ten million other symbol-words or charms are unnecessary to anyone who understands the wisdom implied in the one holiest of holy charms represented by the three letters A, U and M.

X
To the One who conjures down
Who all things here brings out
To His leaf-tender foot adhere, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

The hypostatic (heaven) world above is related to the hierophantic (priest or ritual) world below in the idolatrous or
existing sense by something like magic. The natural chains of cause and effect have to be somewhat reversed in the descending dialectics implied here. At the lower levels of realism the higher abstractions emerge with various names and forms in the multiplicity of creation; but in every creation there is a revertive unitive principle of the invisible and the Supreme which participates and neutralises the multiple and many-named into the uniate. This theory, which we have developed throughout our earlier chapters, is illustrated here by an apt instance wherein the Guru expounds some of the aspects of the mystical doctrine.

334   
The familiar image which is evoked is that of an Indian juggler who is also a snake-charmer. Sometimes the juggler
materialises a mango tree, as if drawing it into being on earth with sweeps of his arms from above downwards. The serpent
that belongs to the same mysterious or magical setting of the Absolute is representative of the Self seeking emancipation. An understanding of the whole situation can be gained by closely adhering to existing realities, here symbolized by the magician's feet, the holy feet of God or Shiva; this being the lowliest or ultimate earthy aspect of the human form which is accessible or amenable in terms of human behaviour-touching the feet of the Lord.

XI
From lettered charm of Shiva-praise
To every formula of truth -
Even from sound do they come out, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya is the five-lettered (syllabled) sacred charm which is given to a disciple as the password and motto which the disciple has to treasure as his lifetime secret. This is the holy mantram which is obtained after many years of disciplinary trials. There are other mantrams, but all gain their potency in their common affiliation to a basic truth. Sound is such a basic principle. Sound that is heard meets, mingles and coalesces with the sound that is of the inner ear, and both together form what is here referred to as the principle of sound, a principle in which all names and forms, letters and their audible sounds or even their meanings have their being. Nominalism and phenomenalism can be fitted into this basic meeting-point when the principle of sound is conceived neutrally; that is to say conceived as between its perceptual and its actual aspects, as intended in this verse. All secret teachings such as that suggested here are meant to reveal the numinous Absolute through sound.

XII
Ten thousand millions
Of that Ananta snake art Thou;
Thy million hoods then open out, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! ...
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Ananta is the snake of the Vishnu symbology representing eternity. (An: 'not' or 'without', anta: 'end'). By the
multiplication of such an idea of endless time, eternity as a new quality of time emerges. It becomes qualitative instead of quantitative. Adi-Sesha, which means 'first-remaining' or 'ever-remaining in the eternal present', is another snake which is an emergent mystical quality independent of duration. Present, past or future lose their meanings in the bliss of the 'eternal now' as Plotinus would call such a 'moment.' This moment now being full of joy, the Guru calls upon this timeless principle of pure duration so that Self-bliss may be enjoyed. The million hoods mean the many-sided appraisal of the 'eternal now' in the universe, and not mere subjectivism which is lost in the past or the future in a closed or individual sense.

XIII
This body here no truth it has;
Owner another in it resides.
Such wisdom do thou gain, and thus
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

'This mortal coil', as the body has been called by Shakespeare, (2), is divided into more and more centralised zones of subjectivity, like the successive layers of peel of an onion. These zones, concentrically arranged, are graded from the gross to the subtle, from the physiological to the psychological.

The deeper seats of consciousness have their cosmic counterparts such as moonlight or starlight, whose beauty and presence is appraised by subtle senses or a globally artistic sensibility to beauty. It is here in these inner zones that the personality attains its full spiritual stature as an abstract principle, just as when we say 'the kingdom of God is within you' (3).

336
The introspective approach to metaphysics is an inevitable part of the method of Advaita Vedanta, which speaks of five 'Koshas' or sheaths, beginning from Anna-Maya and up to Vijnana-Maya (i.e. from 'food-formed outermost sheath' to the 'subtlest innermost ground of all intelligence').

XIV
Uniting body and owner too,
Radiant, who abides as one,
Such there is to know, as well, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

Understanding the double nature of the body on one side and its subtler counterparts on the other side, is one step in knowledge.  There follows the further step of treating this dialectical pair unitively. To know the terms of an equation in mathematics is one step and to actually perform the equation, arriving at a result, is another process. But these two phases are neither mutually exclusive nor are they contradictory. Duality as a supposition is abolished in non-dual awareness, thus indicating two steps in a contemplative method whose result is the final triumph of Self-realization as a central experience.

WORD NOTES:
Deham is 'the body '

Dehi is 'one who occupies the body', the agent or subject thereof.

XV
What swallows all, with rival none
Such is the omnipresent Word
Which swallow thou, and steadily
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

Having traced the Absolute to the principle of sound and noted how reciprocal aspects meet conversely and reversely in
the manner of the terms of an equation, it is not hard to see that the Word, conceived in terms of nominalism or conceptualism,

337
can imply and contain the pure principle of the Absolute of the Vedanta. The Word can include all reality in one conceptual
synthesis of the Self-contemplative act. This act is compared in this verse to swallowing, as if intuitively making one's own the essence of a syllable such as 'Aum', with all its philosophical implications correctly understood in its Advaitic or non-dual context, as part of the science of Brahma-Vidya which we have tried to outline in previous chapters.

XVI
Consuming all the words there are
As the supporting wall for all
Even on such do take thy stand, and
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance! . . .

The universally-existing, which is the prime substance, is both transcendent and immanent as the basic support of all that can be conceived. No picture can be seen without a wall. A canvas is needed for a painting. The screen is needed for a cinema film. Similarly the experience of the mystical state becomes possible only when there is a mainstay. This is the supporting 'wall'. The phrase here is commonplace in the ordinary language of South India, but elsewhere such popular wisdom lives on the fringes of life or has to be sought out with trouble. This maintaining, supporting 'wall' is the Sat or the Satyam as explained in the Bhagavad Gita in its extended meanings and implications, comprising values, realities and existence. (4)

(4) 'The word Sat is used in the sense of existence and of goodness, and so also, 0 Partha, the word Sat is used in the sense of a praise-worthy act. Steadfastness in sacrifice, austerity, and gift-bestowing is also called Sat: and even action for the sake of That is called Sat.'

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XVII
From very name this great expanse
And even earth as well did come
As a presentiment in thought, so
(repeat refrain) Dance, cobra, dance!…

The Guru abolishes this final idea of universal substances by relating them directly to their concrete-seeming counterparts, such as the earth and other empirical realities, and by reducing all to the terms of nominalism. Such a nominalism sums up rather than contradicts the notion of the Absolute. Name is the last dividing factor keeping subject and object apart. When the nominative factor is removed and the last trace of division dispelled, then Self-realization reigns fully. Beyond this there is pure consciousness alone.

NOTES

(1)
St. Matthew, VI, 10.

(2)
Hamlet, III, i.

(3)
Luke, XVII, 21.

(4)
Sadbhve sadhubhave cha sad-ity-etat-prayujyate
prashaste karmani tatha sachchhabdah partha yujyate
Yajne tapasi dane cha sthithih sad-iti cho-'chyate
karma chai-'va tadarthiyam sad-ity-eva-'bhidhiyate

Bhagavad Gita, XVII, 26-27.


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THOUGHT AND INERTIA

(CHIT-JADANGAL)
(Translated from the Malayalam)

I
Should ten million suns rising all at once
Eclipse the earth, fire and water and all else,
That ascendant presence of Thine
Radiant ever abide.

II
Be it askance, pray give but one glance
From the corner of Thy keen eyes, 0 Uma's spouse.
Inertia shall vanish, no place has it in aught that is
Such is Thy servant's cherished desire.

III
On earth as in fire and in evenly-flowing water,
In air and in the sky, that state of Thine
Which in all these five steadily endures,
Do give again and again, this even is our sole refuge.

IV
Mind first, then smell, and wakefully all five
Up to the dark mystery, is the will's domain of mind-stuff made,
From earth we touch to darkness' boundary- Alas!
Inertia gross extends. These twain do all comprise.

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V
All of yore such doctrine held-Suka Sage and others.
Easily attained they thought it and in varied forms
They did transmit it down from age to age.
Such the Maya mystery of the Blessed One. Ah, how great!

VI
Great, small and middling too, steady and waveless it rises,
0 Mental Firmament! From sinking into Maya's dross.
From mind confused and foothold lost, 0 save
And grant Thy grace of erect immobility.

VII
0 Grace that round Thy sacred Presence wraps
0 darkness-light, 0 nook and public space,
0 core and what within the core as treasure dwells,
0 Burner famed of the cities three!

VIII
Holding aloft the flambeau, how Thy Presence divine
Descending, while reigning still in thought's blue dome,
As that city of fame - Chidambaram - is called,
Could yet the cities three burn down, a marvel that is!

IX
Fresh mango bloom, 0 flower's nectar, confection sweet,
0 honey, luscious fruit, 0 rich juice, 0 Master mine!
Ever sought by gods, both of Providence and Grace,
Thy lotus foot alone my final refuge is!

X
Refuge art Thou alone for this supplicant, 0 Thou
Who elephant's skin did strip and wear,
0 Presence of mind-stuff made!
0 chase somewhat at least this treacherous dark,
And grant this servant Thine Thy grace!

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INTRODUCTORY

The duality of mind and body and an occasionalism which made them interact was the doctrine of Descartes, for whom the body was like a machine. This picture of the relation between the two aspects of the self or the personality has held the field in spite of the non-dual doctrines that have been put forward later. Synergism, antinomianism, bi-polarity, ambivalence, and other theories implying duality, have been in vogue in various branches of knowledge. Some have been stated psychologically, and others elaborated cosmologically.

In earlier chapters we have had occasion to refer to these methods of approach under different settings, so that it will hardly be necessary for us to enter here into any fresh discussion of what they imply. If truth itself is not to be dually conceived, at least the method of arriving at truth and making truth prevail in life requires the recognition of some sort of duality. Contemplation, stated in terms of a goal or end, needs taking account of the positive and negative division of what we call right, reason or understanding, as a means for the guidance of all aspirants to higher unitive wisdom. The contemplative mind, confronted by multiplicity, has to categorise and deal methodically and critically with the subject according to an implied science, on somewhat the same rational footing as in mathematics. Understanding or certainty needs the form of an equation, and before any worthwhile conviction can result, the terms at least of the equation have to be intelligently related. It therefore follows that it is necessary for us to have correct notions about what we mean by 'mental' and 'material,' or as the Bhagavad Gita puts it, about the distinction between 'the field ' and 'the knower of the field.'(1)

342   
This distinction and the understanding of one in terms of the other is of the essence of wisdom.

In this present composition from the pen of the Guru Narayana this very problem is confronted in his own unique way, in a blending of devotion, contemplative mysticism and critical elements, the whole affording a basis of life for the
Brahmachari - for one who would walk in the path of Brahman, for one dedicated to the wisdom of the Absolute or to that
'divine Ground' which is neither thought nor inertia, but in which these are 'inserted' or basically established.


COMMENTARY

I
Should ten million suns rising all at once
Eclipse the earth, fire and water and all else,
That ascendant presence of Thine
Radiant ever abide.

The imagery here aims to sublimate, as it were, the material aspects of the five elements (earth, water, fire, air and space-ether), conceived phenomenally into a numinous presence. In such a process of contemplative transmutation of values from the grossest tangible or earthy to the spiritual, the reference to the rising of ten million suns is both apt and necessary.

343
The quantitative aspects of the vision have to be converted into the qualitative before the real import of what constitutes the divine presence can be understood with any degree of rationality or positiveness. Inert conditions of the gross, earthy, material world have to be conceived in terms of the omnipresent, all-filling principle of light. The ontological aspects of reality are thus transformed in real and living terms into transcendent or ideological aspects, disclosing the mechanism of their relation and possible interaction. The two aspects are not after all so distinct as they are represented to be in systematized doctrines or articles of faith. By an intuitive grasp of the whole in non-dual vision one can think of one in terms of the other as counterparts or ambivalent equivalents. When the contemplative vision dominates the personality, then the lethargic heavy inertia yields place to the resplendence which fills all, while the outside phenomenal world is inserted without conflict into the psychological or inner world of the Self. Transient cross-sections of reality give way to the eternal flux of pure becoming. Eternity itself gains a new and purer meaning, removed from the relative aspects of time. Such are some of the suggestions contained in this opening verse.

WORD NOTES:

Koti means 'crore', the Indian numerical term for ten million.

Kedumaru: 'So as to extinguish' has been rendered 'should .... eclipse'.

II
Be it askance, pray give but one glance
From the corner of Thy keen eyes, 0 Uma's spouse.
Inertia shall vanish, no place has it in aught that is;
Such is Thy servant's cherished desire.

'Uma's spouse' is a reference to Shiva as the husband of Parvati (also called Uma). The mystical union of the two blends ambivalent counterparts. The God who can make Uma happy by his understanding of feminine nature, and able to deal with it as befits the unitive vision of contemplation, has

344                
also a certain compassionate attitude and kind look for all. This look makes us think of one keen eye rather than of one who sees actuality with the two eyes open. Shiva is sometimes also represented as being androgynous and as having a central eye in the middle of the forehead. The Guru here does not refer to this middle eye as a distinct organ, but prefers the psycho-physical imagery of a keen meeting-point of the glance of kindness in poetic terms, familiar in the context of love.

The word 'askance' suggests that the full glance of the God of grace may not be fully deserved by the devotee with his
sense of humility and surrender to the higher principle. Being related to this higher principle of kindness or grace helps in the sublimation of the lower order of living. The inert view we take of the physical world loses its importance when the
contemplative way begins to prevail and becomes more and more firmly established, as it advances in terms of grace or
higher value.

The indirect reference here to Shiva as the consort of Uma, the daughter of the Himalaya, white-clad and pure, the principle of Beauty as mentioned in the Kena Upanishad (2), has its own relevance. Like the Beatrice of Dante, this principle of Beauty is the intermediate stepping-stone to the appreciation of the divine grace in the abstract, in relation to the Absolute principle. It takes a great God like Shiva to be happy and confer happiness on Uma. The supreme principle can transcend all and prevail as the final value of bounty or grace. When affiliated to such a higher principle, the mind is lifted out of the setting of inert matter which has no reality, no existence by itself, apart from its relation to the higher principle of all truth.

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III
On earth as in fire and in evenly flowing water,
In air and in the sky, that state of Thine
Which in all these five steadily endures,
Do give again and again, this even is our sole refuge.

Just as gravitation is a principle regulating the movements of bodies in the universe, so it is possible through contemplation to arrive at a sustaining and preserving principle which gives continuity and therefore a permanence, by contrast to phenomenal expressions. The sectional view which the mind persists in taking of the physical world results from inability to appraise the principle of continuity.

When this new or vertical view is taken we find that terra firma has a new status in reality as something of human value
which endures more than space. But thin air or space on the other hand, suggests the ineffable spiritual aspects. Between the extremes of solidity and space there are the states of fluidity, as in water, the fire that burns upwards, and the still thinner condition of air. Throughout these graded levels there is a constant axis of interrelationships which shows the same reciprocal  interdependence or bi-polarity which is the dual manifestation of the unitive reality of Advaita (non-duality). Gravitation is common to all objects and yet objects in relation to the earth in particular instances are said to come under the earth's 'gravity' as if it was a quality of the earth only.

Whatever the variation in the name, the universal principle, when conceived as it ought to be in its entirety, satisfies the  requirements of an all-comprehensive law of matter both in electro-magnetic and gravitational terms. Similarly, this
universal, ordering, unitive principle is the enduring state of grace or goodness alluded to here in this verse.
This can be seen to correspond to either a law of reality in the terminology of positive science, or as a principle of divine grace in a more or less theological sense.

346
The expositionary style, whether academic, monastic, lay or expert, should not make any difference to the subject-matter.
Without violating the methodology or terms of knowing of any one of these, the Guru is able here to state the case for a
contemplative and comprehensive view of reality with as little sophistry as possible, in a setting of reverence and devotion
which need not itself be treated as unscientific.

IV
Mind first, then smell, and wakefully all five
Up to the dark mystery is the will's domain of mind-stuff made;
From earth we touch to darkness' boundary - Alas!
Inertia gross extends. These twain do all comprise.

The central doctrine is expounded in this verse with  unmistakable clarity. The contemplative way, to have a proper method of its own in order to arrive at any convincing results, must needs divide all reality broadly into two primary categories such as envisaged in the expression in the Bhagavad Gita already referred to, about the Field and the Knower of the Field.

In this verse the question of the perceptual and the actual, which is one of the recognized problems of modern philosophers, is confronted. The categories and laws of thought have to be determined a priori. No experimental methods can be employed here to reduce such factors into the terminology of the applied sciences. Such a treatment is precluded by the pure principles involved. The only way open is to subject our own inner experience to a closely-focussed scrutiny, without confusion.

We know we have a physical world surrounding us. We touch the ground and stand on it while talking of abstract realities. On one side extends this gross aspect of reality, and when we focus our attention on it, it becomes more and more inscrutable. It is like a cloud of unknowing, of negation, fear, inertia and ignorance into which we sink as if into a deep morass of darkness. Past memories and associations make this region doubly dark with all sorts of vaguely-suggestive memory-factors in which all is lost.

347   
On the other side, mental factors begin to assert themselves. Through the mediation of the senses such as smell which, like taste, is nearest to the tactile sensations, consciousness opens out fanwise or funnel-like, giving contact with the vast world of light. The sensible light has its own limits and at its fringes it again merges into the mystery of the unknown.

The dark unknown is a mystery looked at from either end with, in each case, its own specific implications. There are negative and positive ends of unknowing, and both meet in the numinous mystery in which all is comprised, as stated in the last line of this verse.

WORD NOTES

Chin-Mayam, rendered 'of mind-stuff made'; Chit being 'mind-stuff ' and Mayam 'wholly made of.'

Jadam has been translated 'inertia gross.'

V
All of yore such doctrine held - Suka Sage and others.
Easily attained they thought it and in varied forms
They did transmit it down from age to age.
Such the Maya-mystery of the Blessed One. Ah, how great!

The perennial character and mysterious content of the wisdom which is the heritage of humanity is affirmed in this verse. The contemplative law of non-duality enunciated in the previous verse is no new invention or ingenious discovery. Even in
the setting of India from the time the Puranas were written by Vyasa and others, and especially in the Bhagavata Purana, ways of spiritual life in relation to higher values are seen expounded. The outer form of the mystical garb of holiness can vary, but the message which can be gleaned out of these varied doctrines or disciplines is common to all - an attitude and way of life always implying a correct appraisal of the two categories already mentioned. These two categories belong to the basic formula of all contemplative disciplines, whether in the East or in the West. The sage Suka of the Bhagavata is cited here as a typical example.

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Although this doctrine has been known for ages, it is not of the nature of open public knowledge, determined only by the visible and objective, to the detriment of the mental or perceptual. Actualities are more readily accepted by the public than truths which pertain to subtler facts of personal life. These subtler facts form the subject-matter of doctrines understood and expounded by a few contemplative philosophers of each generation who take the trouble of passing on the doctrine to their disciples. These hierarchical inheritors keep the doctrine alive in modified form until, kindled into flame by another intuitive soul who responds to the age-old message as if spontaneously, the torch of wisdom once again flares up brightly.


WORD NOTES :

Akhilarkum: 'All of yore' means all those original contemplative thinkers who exist in every country and every age. This is evidence of the perennial and universal nature of the 'Matam' or 'doctrine' enunciated above.

Parampara is the 'vertical line of successive generations'. In Tamil, people refer to the immortality of the banana tree, one tree being replaced by another young one growing out from the same underground stem, making for an everlasting continuity of succession, just like the immortality of the amoeba. What is meant here is a vertical continuity in time.

VI
Great, small and middling too, steady and waveless it rises,
0 Mental-Firmament! From sinking into Maya's dross,
From mind confused and foothold lost, 0 save
And grant Thy grace of erect immobility.

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In the understanding of the doctrine of contemplative wisdom, this verse recommends the need for gaining a certain steady balance. Only then can the peaceful life of contemplation and happiness be established. The upward sweep of wisdom-dialectics takes account of all things, rising into the regions of higher and higher hypotheses, and in the process constructing hierophantic or hypostatic mental entities which may be big either spatially or in psychic potency and content. When conceived unitively, all these make for a hierarchy of 'monads', with God as the greatest of them all, hidden away and unknowable in the idea of the holiest, most supreme 'Absolute' or 'intelligible' entity. This entity is the steadying factor countering all unholy haste and motion in this world of variety and appearances of the actualities seen through the senses.

Maya is that factor allied to memory, whose tendency is to drag down the spirit in its flight to the higher values attained by contemplative insight. Maya is the negative drag which, when we yield to it, displaces unitive insight by a confusing and bewildering multiplicity of phenomenal aspects.

Nature and instinct range themselves on the side of this Maya, always tending to destroy the steady calm outlook which contemplation or grace instils into the spirit of man. As the Chinese Taoist philosophy recognizes, water symbolises this
natural negative tendency. It spreads all around and is opposed to being gathered up unitively under one steadily-enduring law of solidity or rigidity. It takes any shape, while just finding its level passively without any will or effort. The ocean of Samvit (knowledge) is referred to in Vedanta in a similar way as being essentially spatial, yielding and passive; while the erect principle of immobility running through this passivity links such a principle to the principle of supreme values. The neutrality of the psychological principle of immobility gives support to the dedicatory aspiration of the aspirant, producing a steadying influence on the Self or Personality. Through this steadying influence the mind is oriented to the positive factors which transcend the dull level of nature.

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WORD NOTES

Chid-Ambaram, 'Mental-Firmament' has also been rendered in Verse 8 below as ' thought's blue dome ' with a little more freedom.

VII
0 Grace that round Thy sacred Presence wraps
0 darkness-light, 0 nook and public space,
0 core and what within the core as treasure dwells,
0 Burner famed of the cities three!

The sacred Presence is a hierophantic entity, while Grace is hypostatic, as coming from the supreme invisible God on
high. In the next line the 'darkness' is brought into close relationship with the idea of the open 'light'. The recess or 'nook' is also placed vis-a-vis 'public' or open 'space'. In both cases there is the same kind of affinity-reciprocity as existing between two aspects of the same reality.

The ambivalence is not only expressed by opposite extremes or poles, components of the same ' magnet' as it were, but it is
also to be imagined as belonging to different zones of the personality. The more interior the zone, the closer the resulting value becomes as a counterpart of the cosmic. Thought and substance meet in such a central concept - the 'core' mentioned in the third line; thought and substance becoming interchangeable terms; while hidden within is the priceless glory, the 'treasure' referred to. The virtue of the shell consists in its precious kernel, while the kernel needs the protection of the shell. Only by unitive vision is the duality of shell and kernel abolished.

The symbolic myth of Shiva as 'Burner of the Three Cities of Metal' is continued in the next verse, where it is both explained and left intact. With the touch of divine neutralizing grace, the gross inert material heaviness vanishes. Thought and matter meet in a central expression of life 'as such' in the Absolute, as revealed by contemplative introspection.

WORD NOTES :

Tiru meni: rendered ' sacred Presence.'

Irule: '0 darkness' is in the vocative case, although it remains the object of the 'wraps' of the previous line.

Karale, which has been translated as 'core ' or heart, actually refers to any inner organ such as the liver.

Arum porul: 'treasure'; Arum: rare; Porul: thing, reality.

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VIII
Holding aloft the flambeau, how Thy Presence divine
Descending, while reigning still in thought's blue dome,
As that city of fame - Chidambaram - is called,
Could yet the cities three burn down, a marvel that is!

All phenomena are based on duality. Any recognition of actuality leads us to the implied duality between aspects of
reality such as we have tried to distinguish. A neutral position has to be taken before the equation of mind in terms of matter and vice-versa can be correctly treated contemplatively to yield the non-dual reality underlying both. This non-dual Absolute is a mystery, and its functions and operations are bound to remain enigmatic. The hand of the Lord is not given to anyone here to go any further in unravelling the mystery of the Absolute.

Philosophers are in the habit of treating the idea of the Absolute without any enthusiasm or appreciation of any value implied in the concept. Only in the light of the science of Self-knowledge does this value emerge and the mystery become acceptable as a reality in itself. To say that the reality is Absolute, or that it is a mystery, or even that it is a numinous presence, are only different ways of stating the same truth.

Chidambaram is both the actual name of a city in South India where the famous Dancing Shiva is adored by thousands still today, as well as the name of the 'most high God' symbolic of a highly philosophical idea of reality, derived from the two words Chit or 'mind' and Ambaram, 'sky'.  This 'most high God' is one of the factors which, taken together with its counterpart in the sense of the 'actual here' as representing the 'field' of manifestation or phenomena, yields the key to the mystery of creation, or conversely, its destruction - the city on high is the reflected necessary counterpart of the city on earth.

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WORD NOTES

Puram is a city, but in psychological references in Vedanta it signifies psychic classes or units as when the term Puryashtakam meaning the 'eight cities of the subtle body ' (sukshma sharira) is used.  In Vedantic literature such as the Vasishta there are also cosmological references to various cities in the sky. One of the names of Shiva is Tripuranthaka, i.e., 'The One who finished the three cities', which refers to the same myth or prehistoric legend.

IX
Fresh mango bloom, 0 flower's nectar, confection sweet,
0 honey, luscious fruit, 0 rich juice, 0 Master mine!
Ever sought by gods, both of Providence and Grace,
Thy lotus foot alone my final refuge is!

Academic, philosophical or contemplative aloofness to reality
is abandoned here in favour of an intimacy such as that felt between a lover and beloved. Lavish lyrical extravagance is
unreservedly expressed to show the intimate value and personal meaning which truth, both existential and subsistential, has for the seeker or aspirant. Here is a crescendo of rhapsody. It breaks through all convention into the intimate cultivation of the presence of the Supreme in the language of ecstasy, exaltation or bliss. This marks the ultimate appraisal of reality as a value and not merely as an intellectual abstraction.

By scanning the adjectives or attributes piled up here one finds that now one leans on 'origin' or 'cause' and in the next moment on the 'result' or 'effect', 'fruition' or 'flowering'. Freshness and antiquity are both suggested side by side, making this verse a sweet delicacy, a rare joy, suggesting ideological and ontological values together and immediate.

The juice referred to here is reminiscent of the Soma juice mentioned in ancient Indian literature, which is sometimes a
herbal extract, a honey, or an ambrosial essence or drink of the immortal gods of Indra's heaven. Soma is also sometimes the principle of the moon, while the King Soma of the Vedas suggests life and vitality. Soma is always a symbol of the Ritham or the existential, as opposed to the Satyam or subsistential aspect of reality or truth. Here in this verse both aspects are referred to together non-dualistically as the underlying principle of life, both prospective or retrospective, immanent or transcendent. The reference to the gods of Providence as well as Grace in the same line is suggestive of the non-dual position taken.

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WORD NOTES

Vidhi and Madhavar : 'Providence' in the sense of necessary fate, and 'conferring principle of Grace', are justifiable by the implicit derivation of the divinities suggested by the verse. These are to be thought of as presiding principles, the one of  'necessary law' or Vidhi, the other of 'contingent Grace'. More simply, in the symbolic language of Indian religious thought, they can stand for Brahma as Lord of Creation and Vishnu as the Principle of Preservation.

X
Refuge art Thou alone for this supplicant, 0 Thou
Who elephant's skin did strip and wear,
0 Presence of mind-stuff made!
0 chase somewhat at least this treacherous dark.
And grant this servant Thine Thy grace!

In this sequence of ten verses the implied scheme of the various aspects of reality, as examined under the two primary
categories, has been covered. In this last verse we have a pointed reference to the gross-inert aspect of the harsh actuality of life where the problems of evil reside. The dark unknown beyond is on the other side of visible light, and there is also that darkness which is that other kind, thick and crude as the stripped hide of a large elephant. This typifies the monstrous, sinister, macabre side of the dark unknown aspect of the Absolute as conceived realistically.

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This treacherous dark aspect can be banished only by the light of Grace, which is the intuitive understanding; and by
relation with the opposite pole for which the lower is only an attribute. The higher Grace absorbs the lower terminal and
abolishes it, making of it part and parcel of its own higher personality. The higher category includes the lower, in the
same relation as a simple item, instance, appendage, attribute or raiment is to the supreme person. The raiment can be rejected or donned at will by the wearer. When understood, the pure principle can thus make the evil aspects of life and suffering as of no importance. These are then considered incidental, being taken for granted instead of being considered as factors of worrying import. It is in this sense that contemplation of the supreme principle as personified in Shiva or any other personality treated similarly, can be taken to be the last refuge for a suffering supplicant who is really the aspirant for Self-realization. In this a doctrine of the double negation of evil is implicitly intended.

WORD NOTES

Chin-Mayam has been rendered, as in Verse IV, 'mind-stuff made', which is vocatively employed here for one made of
mind-stuff.

The legend of Shiva stripping the elephant to make apparel from its skin, refers expressly to a gruesome aspect of reality in the name of realism. The allusion has been explained already.

NOTES

(l)
idam shariram kaunteya, kshetram-ity-abhidiyate
etad-yo vetti tam prahuh, kshetrajna iti tadvidah
kshetrajnam cha-pimam viddhi, sarvakshetreshu bharata
kshetrakshetrajnayor-jnanam, yat-taj-jnanam matam mama
Bhagavad Gita, XIII, 1-2.

'This body, 0 Son of Kunti, is called the field, that which knows it, they who know call the Knower of the Field
And understand Me (Krishna) as the Knower of the Field in all fields, 0 Bharata. Knowledge as to the field and the Knower of the Field is deemed by Me as the knowledge.'

(2)
Sa tasminnevakashe striyamajagama bahushobhamanamumam
Haimava tim tam hovacha kimetadyakshamiti.
Kena Upanishad, III, 12.

'He (Indra) beheld in that very spot a woman, Uma, very beautiful daughter of the Himalaya. He said to her, 'What is this great Spirit?' '


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SCRIPTURES OF MERCY
(ANUKAMPA-DESAKAM )

(Translated from the Malayalam)

I
Such mercy that even to an ant
Would brook not the least harm to befall,
0 Mercy-Maker do vouchsafe with contemplation
Which from Thy pure Presence never strays.

II
Grace yields blessedness; a heart love-empty
Disaster spells of every kind.
Darkness as love's effacer and as suffering's core,
Is seed to everything.

III
Grace, love, mercy-all the three
Stand for one same reality - life's star.
'He who loves is he who really lives'. Do learn
These syllables nine by heart in place of lettered charm.

IV
Without the gift of grace, a mere body
Of bone and skin and tissue foul is man
Like water lost in desert sand,
Like flower or fruit bereft of smell.

V
Those phases six that life do overtake
Invade not wisdom's pure domain;
Likewise the mercy quality, when human form has gone,
As good reputation's form endures.

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VI
That Dispenser of Mercy, could He not be that reality
Who proclaiming words of supreme import, the chariot drives,
Or compassion's ocean, ever impatient for all creation,
Or who in terms clear non-dual wisdom expounds, the Guru?

VII
In human semblance here is He a divinity,
Or perhaps the law of right in sacred human form?
Is He the pure begotten Son of the Lord Most High?
Or kindly Prophet Nabi, pearl and gem in one?

VIII
Is He that soul personified who with holy ashes once
Fever drove away and many wonders worked?
Or yet that other of psychic power who wandering in agony,
Allayed His ventral distress even with song?

IX
Else is He that sage of crowning fame who uttered once again
That holy script already known and writ in Hara's name?
Or He devoted to the value of the Lord Supreme
Who here departed bodily ere life for him was stilled?

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X
Dealing bounty here on earth and taking human form
Is He that Kama-Dhenu cow of all-providing good?
Or perhaps that wonder-tree of heaven supreme,
The Deva-Taru which to each its gifts bestows?

ENVOI
High scripture's meaning, antique, rare,
Or meaning as by Guru taught,
And what mildly a sage conveys,
And wisdom's branches of every stage,
Together they all belong,
As one in essence, in substance same.


INTRODUCTORY

Here we have another sequence of ten verses around the central concept of kindliness, compassion, grace or mercy. The slightest inclination one way or the other of the meaning of this central concept gives us various representations, some
based on hypostatic, and others on hierophantic principles.  The substance of reality can be conceived ontologically as
the immanent, the transcendent or the ideological. Generally speaking, when we take most other concepts the divergence
between these aspects seems to widen. But given a central concept or factor of human value touching life in a direct way,
it is possible to focus discussion of all possible variants of what is commonly understood to constitute the good, virtuous or holy life.

The concept of mercy affords such a pivotal factor.Shakespeare's oft-quoted passage on mercy treats the subject in this globally comprehensive impartial manner as a central common human value. It is the 'twice blest' state of the personality, irrespective of donor or receiver, subject or object. In fact it is identical with blessedness, which objectively would be grace, and subjectively would be bounty, generosity or compassion. One acts compassionately and receives grace.

Blessedness is a central and neutral state which neither refers to objective nor subjective factors. The difference between a state of being in love and that of blessedness, when conceived in their widest and most universal connotations, is negligible. The negation of such love is the negation of life and thus of all wisdom.

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Such are some of the arguments inferred here, whether explicitly stated or not. Contemplation itself depends on the middle way implied in a loving and positive attitude. Exclusiveness, hatred, a unilateral position, stressing duality -
all suggest the negation of life and love. Love and consideration for other living creatures is the basis of the good life and upheld as the central doctrine and commandment of all the world's religions. We have touched upon this theme already in the Guru's poems, but here spiritual expressions are correlated over a wide and varied range.


COMMENTARY
I
Such mercy that even to an ant
Would brook not the least harm to befall,
0 Mercy-Maker do vouchsafe with contemplation
Which from Thy pure presence never strays.

This opening verse reciprocally links the one who prays and the object of prayer through the intermediacy of the one and same concept of mercy. The kindness shown to an ant is of the same measureless quality as the mercy we expect from God in the form of grace. Both refer to one common central value belonging to the human personality. To love a brother is natural and instinctive, but to love a lowly creature like the ant demands an intelligent sympathy which thinks in universal terms.

When this universal idea of kindness applies to one and all, including the Self, without any asymmetry or difference,the essential attitude belonging to contemplation is attained. Such contemplation knows neither distinction of subject or
object but equates all factors impartially according to fundamental laws of knowing, which means reducing one factor
in accord with its natural and normal dialectical counterpart.

359
Here the 'pure Presence' is the Absolute conceived as a human value; while contemplation is the intellectual or spiritual approach implied in appraising such a personalized value. The quality of mercy which ' blesseth him that gives and him
that takes,' is the common, real, living and actual factor which induces contemplation to yield a consciousness of the presence of the pure or the sacred in the sense of the Absolute. Neutral or global awareness as Self-realization amounts to the same thing. Philosophically conceived as 'knowledge', psychologically conceived as 'self', cosmologically conceived
as 'the supreme divinity', or ethically and religiously conceived in the universal language of 'brotherhood' or 'mercy' - all these, representing existence, truth and value, meet in this central concept which the Guru has chosen as the normative principle or correlation for all the various forms of spiritual expression.

WORD NOTES :
Anu Kampa:  'mercy'.  More literally it is nearer to the word
'sympathy' (Anu: 'after'; 'Kampa': 'to move ').

Karuna Kara has been rendered  'Mercy-Maker', closely in
keeping with the original.

Chinta has been rendered 'contemplation'.

II
Grace yields blessedness; a heart love-empty
Disaster spells of every kind.
Darkness as love's effacer and as suffering's core,
Is seed to everything.

The inter-relation of factors is here stated concisely: both the joy-yielding positive and the suffering-productive negative forces. Grace is first equated to love on the positive side. Darkness and suffering are also to be understood as referring to the negative side of the personality. Just as knowledge tends to make a man generous and universal in his sympathy and outlook, opening out the restraining limiting power of the ego, so ignorance is the cause of hatred. All factors which produce the idea of value in connection with the Self or personality of man are joined together in a certain way with the ambivalent principle underlying the whole.

360
This principle regulates personal relations according to the subtle dialectics of wisdom. This consists in viewing all neutrally in the light of the Absolute. This is a marvel too great for words. In common language we refer to such a reality as God. If we do not do so strictly all the time, at least we ought to do so. For then concepts like love and grace begin to have a consistently rational, convincing, non-dogmatic and even some kind of scientific meaning. Grace is only the positive side of one's own love of life. We can place it in a heaven or in the heart of each man. Sin and grace must be taken together and fitted into a common context of self-knowledge so that all values have their place in the general
scheme. When this is accomplished it would help to minimise ideological conflicts.

WORD NOTES:
Arul: translated 'grace' is not so strictly connative of 'divine ' grace in Tamil and the South Indian prehistoric languages. It can mean just compassion or the welling-up of sympathy in oneself, in a poet or in a mystic. In English it is perhaps more exclusively used in a theological sense.

Inpam:  'blessedness'. Per inpam is 'great blessedness' and
Chit-Inpam is 'little or worldly well-being or happiness.'
Both meanings are comprised here.

Allal: 'disaster' is just 'evil' or 'ill'.

Karu, rendered 'core' is the tender nuclear part of a living organism where life-factors are concentrated and from whence all action is initiated, as in the central nervous system.

III
Grace, Love, Mercy - all the three
Stand for one same reality - Life's Star.
'He who loves is he who really lives'.
Do learn these syllables nine by heart
In place of lettered charm.

361
Here the positive factors are brought closer to one another to indicate the one dominant human value intimately related
to life itself. Doctrinal religion tends to reduce faith into dry liturgical formulae and creeds to be repeated mechanically for a promised salvation. The aspirant who seeks instruction in Brahman-wisdom or knowledge of the Absolute often becomes a slave to its deadening, mechanically repetitive word-features, which is the word that kills and not the bread of life, though such word-features can be potent in their own way in a purely perceptual context.

It is not enough to understand love as a doctrine and say that one believes in it as an article of faith. This and other
values have to enter into intimate union with the self as part of a life that is lived. But even such a life, where theory and practice meet, involves an intuitive apprehension of reality in the most intimate understanding of self-realization. On the one hand one has to enter into the spirit of the words, and then on the other hand the manna of the Word has to be made
effectively true again in the everyday living meaning of daily bread.

In the first formula the value which ought to dominate life is indicated as a star to guide the mariner on the sea of existence, and then it is related backwards, as it were, to real living in the here and now. Thus in both ways the unity of life and love is affirmed. The whole object here is to bring ethics, piety and knowledge unitively under one dominant conception of a human value, in accord with the fundamental method and theory of the Advaita Vedanta which affirms ' That Thou Art' (Tat-Tvam-Asi).

WORD NOTES :
Arul, Anpu and Anukampa:  'Grace, Love, Mercy' have somewhat the same connotations in both English and Malayalam. Sympathy, compassion, misericorde and pity contain also the same value, some implying more distinction between subject and object than others. The attempt here is to strike those meanings of value which are common to subject and object and, if possible, to abolish all asymmetry and thus reveal the central single value of Good implied in Self-realization.

362                            
IV
Without the gift of Grace, a mere body
Of bone and skin and tissue foul is man
Like water lost in desert sand,
Like flower or fruit bereft of smell.

The frustrated Self buried in its own desert sands does not emerge into positive levels of goodness either to humanity or
to its own true nature. When grace has gone and love has weakened, the body loses its beauty. A flower through its
fragrance confers some benefit, and fruit too has its positive smell-taste virtue. These are the opposites of the inert bodily aspects. Flower and smell complement each other, producing the total value of a good flower. Similarly the bird and bird-song can be equated, together resulting as joy for the poet.
Water lost in sand cannot allay the traveller's thirst or be of use to plants; and with the non-satisfaction of simple needs, more refined cravings for luxury are out of the question. At the personally hedonistic, the collectively utilitarian and the universal Platonic levels there are corresponding emergent factors which tend to complete the personality, bringing into existence an integrated central value compounded proportionately of both 'positive' and 'negative' factors. Contemplation stabilises, harmonises and equalises these opposing factors, producing the good life at all levels in different forms, as indicated in the various ways discussed in this composition.

WORD NOTES :
Sira has been rendered 'tissue.' What is meant is the small lymphatic or other vessels taken collectively. The idea of cell
units as seen microscopically, which constitutes tissue, as understood today, was not meant by the term Sira.

363  
V
Those phases six that life do overtake
Invade not wisdom's pure domain;
Likewise the Mercy quality, when human form has gone,
As good reputation's form endures.

The perfume of a flower can leave its traces in its surroundings till breezes carry the scent across the fields. In a similar way, when we come to human values which are subtler than the perfume of a flower, it is possible to imagine how the behaviour of a good man in a certain locality can createaround him associations and memory-factors which we generally call, vaguely, the 'atmosphere' of a place. Sometimes this results from the contributions of many personalities who have lived a life of goodness.

In the case of a highly spiritual man of the status of a harmonised contemplative or sage, this ineffable influence
affects the surroundings almost permanently. The reputation of a Christ or of a Buddha belongs to this category. It does
not depend upon the passing away of the body. The body is the phenomenal aspect of reality which suffers change.
Metabolic changes, and changes through the larger cycles of life and its extinction (such as the six phases usually
mentioned in the terminology of Vedanta, viz., existence, birth, growth, transformation, decline and death) affect only
one aspect of the personality. The subtler, purer or inner life tends to become independent of states, and the last lingering traces of duality vanish in Self-realization, which is the innermost awareness of all, the Vijnana Maya Kosha (zone of pure consciousness), where Plotinus' 'flight of the alone to the alone' takes place.

Even when this final consummation is unattained, at whatever intermediate level it may be that we consider the matter, the antinomian principle makes for a fundamental distinction between the bodily and other subtler, positive aspects, successively sublimating and approaching pure reason as contemplation gains ground. When human values enter into the conduct of a wise man, as they ought to in a normal way at every stage of his spiritual progress fromthe real to the ideal, the higher aspects of the personality leave various traces on

364
his environment. Actually, all this good influence remains as a favourable appreciation on the part of humanity, which is often grateful for the good implied in a certain way of life. This reputation is the life after death recognized here. There is no confusion of false esoterics in a public or scientific sense.

VI
That Dispenser of Mercy, could He, not be that reality
Who proclaiming words of supreme import, the chariot drives,
Or compassion's ocean, ever impatient for all creation,
Or who in terms clear non-dual wisdom expounds, the Guru?

The allusions here are to three ways of appreciation of the central human value called kindliness in three different contexts. God Himself is first referred to as the 'Dispenser of Mercy' as He was 'Mercy-Maker' in the first verse of the poem.

Functionally, God is mercy's author. Generosity, goodness and bounty are integral parts of His absolute nature in the usual
sense of the positive, transcendental immaterial principle. As representative of this principle, conceived as a human value which makes human beings more human, in the same sense that they are distinguished from less intelligent animals, we have Vyasa who, in the Bhagavad Gita, represents Krishna as a guru or teacher of contemplative wisdom. Krishna drives the chariot of Arjuna into the midst of the battle. In this capacity Krishna was Arjuna's friend and equal, but as a teacher of  wisdom he was at the same time an acharya or guru. The historical Krishna is the friend, but when the Bhagavad Gita refers to Word-wisdom, the teacher-quality gives Krishna another status. He then represents in his person the Word or the Wisdom such as the Logos meant to the Greeks. This is an objective aspect of reality, but should be conceived in pure terms. Such a reality is the 'stuff' or 'substance' here. (Porul in the original).

365
In the third line of the verse the reference is to that type of wisdom which expresses itself realistically at the level of daily life. Buddha's ethics had this character. The boundless human sympathy which welled up within the Buddha overflowed and reached out to all life in the quest of a universal synthesis, taking in life as a whole realistically and rationally.

The universal elements present in Buddha's sympathy gave it a mystical character which is described here as a restless ocean ever seeking to make good prevail in human affairs.Sankara can easily be taken to be a typical example of the Guru referred to in the last line, although many others could also be taken as examples.

WORD NOTES:
Bhuta Daya: 'Kindness to creation'; here translated 'ever impatient for all creation.'

Sarala: 'clear', 'unequivocal'.

Advaiya-Bhashya-Kara : 'Commentator on Non-dual wisdom' suggests Sankara as directly as necessary.

VII
In human semblance here is He a divinity,
Or perhaps the law of right in sacred human form?
Is He the pure begotten Son of the Lord Most High?
Or kindly Prophet Nabi, pearl and gem in one?

When we say ' Son of God', this means the same as when in another place we read 'Son of Man'. The second person of the Trinity is the meeting point of two aspects of reality. In Vedanta we have the famous example of the sentence 'This is
that Devadatta'. The syntactical and grammatical relations of the different-seeming but semantically identical 'this' and
'that', help to fix the identity of Devadatta, as if from two opposite poles of reality. Much Vedantic scholasticism has
been continued round these attributes which meet in the Absolute neutral, central, actual or numinous reality. This central Value is to be recognized intuitively by the contemplative mind. By the reversal of a proposition, e.g., analytical judgement in synthetical terms, and so on, we arrive at central notions.

366 
In the present verse the same contemplative method of examination is carried out. The 'man-god' is the same as the 'god-man'. In some cases it is easy to see the antinomian features. In other cases where the pure and the practical coalesce more closely in the person of a prophet or spiritual teacher, the two aspects adhere almost without distinction, like the two sides of the same gold coin.

According to the Guru Narayana, the Nabi or the Prophet Muhammad has this last described quality. He is called 'kindly Prophet Nabi, pearl and gem in one'. The pearl found in the ocean's depth represents perfection. It symbolises an integrated normal value in human affairs. The gem is a similar beauty-value with many facets. There is a certain pure severity combined with a lavish sense of richness and kindness combined in the character and personality of Muhammad the Prophet. The Quran is full of practical injunctions based on a sense of justice in the name of the most high and generous God. Muslim art provides an example of this double character. The gems inset in the Taj Mahal and the pure pearly perfection of Islamic architecture reflect this austerely severe love of purity, combined with beauty and justice. Islam's success as a religion further testifies to these qualities.

WORD NOTES :

Paramesha: 'Lord Most High'.

Pavithra: 'Pure',

Puthran: 'Son'. These three words refer to Christ.

Dharma: 'Law of Right' in the second line, refers again to the founder of an ethical religion, and could mean Mahavira of
Jainism or Buddha.

VIII
Is He that soul personified who with holy ashes once
Fever drove away and many wonders worked?
Or yet that other of psychic power who, wandering in agony,
Allayed His ventral distress even with song?

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Reference is made here to the early seventh-century Tamil saints, last representatives of the Shiva tradition, who, after the decadence of Shaivism in the South, by a strange appeal to the emotional aspects of the ancient traditional religion, were able to give it new life once more in the Tamil country at a time when foreign ideologies from the North were beginning to confuse the life of the people. They were able again to revive in the masses a simple pious response to Shiva. The ashes and the snake were inseparable counterparts of this old prehistoric cult which we have elsewhere traced from the times of the Mohenjo-Daro seals.

When Jaina influences came to the South, and when the ruling families were being converted one after another to the Jaina ways, these saints demonstrated how healing and psychic wonders of faith occurred when older, atavistic or memory reactions in reference to wisdom were revived. Ventral troubles are often due to emotional maladjustments which get healed when deeper memory factors are revived by atavistic group behaviour or the like. Even fever can come from excitement and overwork due to lack of balancing interests in life.

The devotional character of these saints is revealed in the profuse songs they poured out in praise of the ancient god Shiva. All the accumulated imagery, rich in mystical import - the heritage of ages of the Tamil genius, reaching back into prehistory - came back to the surface and gave a specific character to these songs. With all these connected associations, and with the 'miracles' which, as in the case of Jesus, were possible and actually in the air, along with rumours of all kinds, these Tamil saints lived and moved among the kings and the common people of the period.

Appar, Sundarar, Manikkar and Tirugnanasambandar were four of the great names in this early era. The first two lines here refer to Appar who is said to have healed the Pallava

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king, Mahendravarman I, of his chronic fever. It was evidently faith-healing to the credit of the Shiva cult, by which Appar became famous. The last two lines refer to Sundarar. The object here is to show that bodily health depends on a balance of emotional and intellectual factors. Most 'miracles' examined in the light of the ambivalent factors in the psyche lose their mystery. This domain of psycho-pathology must not lure us into any lengthy discussion here.

IX
Else is He that sage of crowning fame who uttered once again
That holy script already known and writ in Hara's name?
Or He devoted to the value of the Lord Supreme
Who here departed bodily ere life for him was stilled?

The author of the Kural, that monumental Tamil masterpiece dating from the beginning of the Christian era or earlier, and based on the background of prehistoric Shiva, who is also known as Hara, is referred to here.

The Hara cult was widely prevalent in ancient times, and it is even likely that its influence was wafted across the seas and deserts to far-off shores and lands outside India, as we have tried to depict in previous chapters. It had its own scriptures, some of which are extant to the present day, but much of it has been overcovered by the debris of time. The allusion to favourite trees, stones and animals in the seals and ideograms through its long history reveal sufficient of its character to identify it with what still persists in popular myth, legend and fable even to this day.

Tiruvalluvar, the author of the Kural, is held in high esteem in the Tamil country, and the Kural itself with its ethical and philosophical implications of deep significance is understood by Tamil scholars who can still read meanings into its 1330 verses correctly and with great richness of insight. The work being conceived correctly as Word-wisdom is a monument

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of remarkable importance in the Tamil world, and no child is unfamiliar with at least a few of its proverbial apothegmatic sayings. The Guru Narayana revives here this classic and its author who is so often forgotten and overlaid by later expressions of spirituality on the Indian soil. The perennial nature of the Word-wisdom as formulated in the systematically and critically constructed chapters of the Kural draws out the just homage from a Guru of a later age, who gives it an honoured place in these verses extolling representations of the Word-wisdom throughout the world.

The idea of the dialectical revaluation of the Word-wisdom is suggested in the second line and at the end of the first: 'once again'. Wisdom lives on, ever and again revalued and restated by great sages and the person of such a sage capable of revaluating Word-wisdom critically and methodically attains a supreme status as the counterpart of such wisdom, when objectively and correctly considered.

In the last two lines the reference is to the common belief held in the Tamil-speaking South India that certain great
saints like Nandanar and other more recent devotees were able to pass from this state of life here to one beyond the threshold of life by a new adjustment of their life-tendencies in relation to ultimate and transcendental values. The Guru here seems to give some verisimilitude at least to the theory implied in such a belief, though not in realistic terms of actuality.

The death of certain saints can be of the type of an enigma as viewed in the usual sense, inasmuch as they did not die
in the normal sense of death where life-energies get spent in a certain way. On the contrary the Guru here implies that
it is possible for a person who dedicates himself to the life of the hereafter, and to those transcendental values which lie on the side of the Ultimate and the Supreme, as personified in a divine being, by earnest dedication to such ideals, to die a special kind of death. The physiological aspects do not come to their end by fatigue but by a special exaltation which occurs in which nervous stress or pressure increases due to intense otherworldly interests.

370
Cases have been known of bursting of certain blood-vessels due to psychic intensity rather than to physiological causes.
The passing away of Swami Vivekananda, as gathered from the intimate personal reports given by those present at the time,
as the present writer heard directly, bore some resemblance to these ultra-biological traits. Some yogis go into long-lasting trances and lie without any consciousness (like hibernating animals) in the normal sense. Food looks strange in their eyes, and they do not seem to need it, and ultimately, by a long process of wasting away, life comes to a radiant and beautiful end.

The Guru Narayana himself was one who passed away in this gradual and willed fashion, as those who have been at his
bedside during his last days had ample evidence to know. After recording some details in the earlier chapters, the present writer has had additional confirmation on this matter on his return to India from his first visit overseas. The body of the Guru was absorbed by gradual stages of unconsciousness into peaceful Samadhi or passing into the peace beyond.

Such a happening can be seen to be normal and possible if the two-sided nature of the psyche is imaginatively understood and applied to the case of understanding of the phenomenon known as death. The lyre becomes its music, and this is seen to be its death here. But contemplatively it is a fuller life.

WORD NOTES:
Mara is the name applied to any scripture of the status and canonical authority of the Vedas in India. The Kural is often
spoken of as the Tamil Veda.

Ma munindran: 'the great Indra among Munis (sages)' has been rendered simply 'sage of crowning fame.'

Pararthya:  devoted to the Value of the Lord Supreme', from Para : 'beyond', and arthya 'something desired'. It is in relation to 'bhaktan' devotee. '

X
Dealing bounty here on earth and taking human form
Is He that Kama-Dhenu cow of all-providing good?
Or perhaps that wonder-tree of heaven supreme,
The Deva-Taru which to each its gifts bestows?

371
After alluding to various forms in which the counterparts make the Absolute Presence real to us in its various
manifestations in different contexts, we come here to more matter-of-fact expressions of the emergent value of good in
human affairs.

The pragmatic 'good' consists of distributing benefits in a concrete sense. The Kama-Dhenu is the fabulous cow of
plenty. It is a mythical symbol of certain values of general good or prosperity. It stands for the common-weal, as when
social reformers speak of 'the greatest good of the greatest number' in collective or individual terms. The man who wants
to do good becomes elevated to a status of holiness by his very intention. He aims at an ideal which, equated with
himself, yields that numinous factor which is a supreme value.

The heavenly cow is like a generous man on earth. Aspects meet to reveal the same value, though in apparently different forms. This central value is kindness or mercy. A tree or an animal can have, hierophantically, the same status in the Absolute as hypostatically-conceived angels or spirits. Good is always the centrally emergent factor and mercy is that same good stated in realistic language. A good man can be equated to a tree, and, vice versa, a cow of plenty can be equated to a generous man. Whatever the terms used in the understanding of value it has the same worth as a 'guiding star' in contemplative life.

WORD NOTES:
Anukampa Andavan: 'the one who  mercy has' has been translated according to the grammatical  needs in each verse.
In this verse it is the 'Is he ....' etc. 'Andavan' by itself stands for God, thus 'Anukampa Andavan'z would denote divinity or humanity indifferently, according to its usage and derivation.

ENVOI
High scripture's meaning, antique, rare,
Or meaning as by Guru taught,
And what mildly a sage conveys,
And wisdom's branches of every stage,
Together they all belong,
As one in essence, in substance same.

372
This concluding verse sums up the position in conformity with convention, as the first verse also did in a certain way, in
explaining the general subject-matter without entering into it
too deeply.

The mystical doctrines contained in the body of the composition apply directly to a spiritual life without any
special religious or academic coloration. In fact it is above such distinctions and considerations. Vedanta, particularly
Advaita Vedanta, is no substitute religion or scripture, but is a synthetic approach to all scripture. The verses above should not be taken to be a new religion or any religion based on mercy as a creed or doctrine. Mercy is a transcending human value running through all expressions of spirituality, whether pre-Vedic, Vedic, post-Vedic or non-Vedic. The Agamas are all the various later ramifications and elaborations of the primary attitude of mercy implied in the highest scriptures. The Guru is generally one who teaches in critically systematic and philosophical terms instead of through myth or fable. The 'Muni' is the silent recluse who does not talk much, but by practising self-control in seclusion conveys his message of mercy and who, examined closely in the light of the discussion above, is not different from the Guru.

In this verse the Guru wants to ensure that there is no mistake made in this matter. The Vedas, the Upanishads and the later wisdom-literature based on them, whether they take the form of philosophy or asceticism, express the same human value which has been chosen as the central subject-matter of this composition.

WORD NOTES :

Arumamara: ' High scripture ...antique, rare'.

Artham can be ' meaning, ' or ' value ' such as wealth.

Muni is generally a silent ascetic of self-control. The Guru-type and the Muni-type represent the same wisdom expressed in two personal styles which are only to be treated as incidental.

Porul is the substantial content which is the Same as the Artham
or value. Both indicate value, which is here the central idea of mercy.

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THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE

(BRAHMA-VIDYA-PANCHAKAM)
(Translated from the Sanskrit)

I
Even through the discrimination of the lasting from the transient,
Attaining well unto detachment,  the well-instructed one,
Duly well adorned with the six initial conditions known,
Such as calmness, control, and so on,
And thus keenly desirous of liberation here on earth;
He then greets with prostrations
A Brahman-knower superior,
Pleased and favourable by anterior attentions and service;
Thereafter should he ask of such a Guru:
'0 Master, this 'I' here, what is it?
Whence this world phenomenal?
0 teach me this, great One'.

II
Thou verily art Brahman, not senses, not mind,
Neither intellect, consciousness, nor body;
Even life and ego have no reality, being but conditioned
By nescience, superimposed on the prime Self.
Everything phenomenal here, as object of perception, is gross.
Outside of thine own Self, this world manifested is nought,
And Self-hood alone does shine thus
Mirage-like in variegated display.

III
What all things here, both moveable and immovable, pervades,
As the clay substance does the pot and jug,
Whose inward awareness even Self-hood here constitutes,
And whereunto resolved what still remains, instil with reality unborn,
And That which all else do follow -
Know That to be the Real, through clear insight,
As That same which one adores for immortal bliss!

IV
Nature having emanated, what thereafter, therein entry makes,
What sustains and gives life, both as the enjoyer
Of the divided objectivity outside,
As the 'I' of the deep subconsciousness of dreamless sleep,
Whose Self-hood even shines as the 'I',
Within the consciousnesses each of the peoples too-
That same in which well-being stands founded firm at every step;
Such a plenitude of Perfection; hear! 'That verily Thou Art!'

V
'Intelligence Supreme, even That I am! That verily Thou art!
That Brahman is the Self here!' Singing thus full well,
And so established in peace of mind;
And reborn to pure ways in life by the dawn of Brahman-wisdom,
Where could there be for thee the bondage of action
Whether of the past, present, or future?
For everything is but superimposed conditioning on thy prime Self.
Thou verily art That existing-subsisting One of  pure intelligence, the Lord.


INTRODUCTORY

In this our last selection of this volume, we have a Sanskrit composition of five symmetrically-conceived verses dealing with the Absolute value in the terminology of Self-knowledge. Such wisdom has a long tradition as a branch of exact knowledge or science. It is the flowering and culmination of the Vedantic trend of thought on the Indian soil. This composition has for its subject-matter an ultimate personal value which is appraised through contemplative dialectics. Immanent and transcendent realities are considered in such a way as to reduce them all unitively in relation to Self-realization, to Brahman or the Absolute. The composition is a complete and positively-conceived whole.

Brahma(1) is the cosmological god of creation of Hindu mythology. He is the first person of the Hindu Trinity, consisting of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshvara (or Shiva). Although called a 'Trinity' because of the three divinities brought together, this is meant to be understood historically, or at the most cosmologically, rather than theologically as in the case of the Christian Trinity. Brahma as the first member of a trio of divinities who have dominated the Indian mind through its long history, is considered the first of all creation - although Maheshvara or Shiva, can claim historical priority and precedence. The rival claims of these divinities finds place in many a legend bringing these three together. When they are taken together, different values of the spiritual world are fused, but

(1) This word Brahma which is masculine, should not be confused with Brahman which is neuter (see explanation in next paragraph).

376    
the discussion of their relative primacy is a favourite subject of the Indian pundit.

Brahman, the Absolute of the Upanishads. should not be confused with any divinity, whether theological, cosmological
or historical. Although arising terminologically from the male Brahma of the Vedic background, in the effort to explain reality in as 'real' terms as possible, in the post-Vedic literature the philosophical nature of the Brahman stands out unmistakably. Here it is the unknowable Absolute, the numinous presence which can be conceived cosmologically or psychologically at the same time, and in which transcendence or immanence have no importance. Its truth is meant to be both ontological and ideological, and all philosophical approaches and religious attitudes only lead up to it.

In some of our earlier chapters we have attempted to lay the foundations for the proper understanding of the concept of the Absolute as implied in the meaning of Brahman as it belongs to a science of Brahma-Vidya (Brahman-wisdom). Here in these stanzas the Guru Narayana outlines the scope, method and epistemology of this Brahma-Vidya as understood dialectically as a revision or a revaluation of human knowledge of high import.

The Guru and the sishya, the teacher and inquiring disciple, are inevitable counterparts of such a dialectical revaluation, or progressive culmination of Vedantic wisdom A bipolar relation is established between them when the preliminary conditions have been fulfilled. When such a relationship gains firmness and directness, the Guru begins to represent in his person those aspects of the unknown which are outside or complementary to himself. The silent teaching of the Guru implies special lines of reasoning which are outlined here as an indication of its nature, content or scope. One inquirer approaches the great subject ontologically and cosmologically while another has a psychological bias. Each has his own way of stating problems.

The problems themselves are first clearly stated in the form of questions of the typical kinds put at the end of the first verse by the Sishya to the Guru. After covering the

377
questions in a certain order in which all philosophies and theologies and ethics are incidentally brought to a focus on the subject of the Absolute in terms of Self-knowledge, the stanzas go on to cover the whole field of wisdom. They leave no major gaps in free and easy reasoning for either the pragmatist's or idealist's 'buts ' and 'its. ' Both theological and philosophical questions are answered by implication. Ethics and eschatology are also brought into the scheme. The four walls within which contemplative wisdom has to live, move and have its being are definitely indicated.

Action is not wisdom's domain. According to these verses knowledge is freedom and all-sufficing power. Self-knowledge is the foundation or opening for all other knowledge which is secondary to it. The duality of man and God is finally and boldly abolished, not in favour of self-conceit, egotism or self-deification, but as a dedication to the high cause of self-realization. In this sense as the Upanishads declare, the Brahman-knower attains the status of Brahman itself. Knowledge and Brahman thus mean the same, the value underlying all values.

COMMENTARY
I
Even through the discrimination of the lasting from the transient,
Attaining well unto detachment,  the well-instructed one,
Duly well adorned with the six initial conditions known,
Such as calmness, control, and so on,
And thus keenly desirous of liberation here on earth;
He then greets with prostrations
A Brahman-knower superior,
Pleased and favourable by anterior attentions and service;
Thereafter should he ask of such a Guru :
'0 Master, this ' I' here, what is it?
Whence this world phenomenal?
0 teach me this, great One. '

378                    
The unmistakable imprint of the Sankara tradition is to be recognized here in this first verse. The metrical form and the style of all the five verses are also strongly reminiscent of some similar compositions of Sankara, such as the Dakshina-
Murti-Stava, where Vedanta is discussed with the name of the ancient Guru of the South as the object of adoration. This
accepted Guru tradition is carried over by the Guru Narayana entirely in the present composition.

In this verse all that Sankara discussed through the first part of his famous work, the Viveka-Chuda-Mani (Crest Jewel of Wisdom) which altogether consists of nearly 600 verses, is summarised and quickly reviewed by way of preparation of the ground for the four later verses. Here the basis is laid for the construction of the superstructure of doctrines to be stated later as the findings and conclusions of the Vedanta. The basis indicated covers such topics as the requirements and qualifications on the part of the seeker for wisdom, the main problems of the contemplative philosophy stated in brief, and the necessity of having that bi-polar relationship which inevitably belongs to the dialectics of wisdom.

Within the span of these five stanzas there is a symmetry and methodical presentation of the whole inquiry and its result, dealing with preparation, complication and resolution in the progress to wisdom. The facets of each step are well defined. The six initial conditions or qualifications required of the Sishya are found in verses 22 to 26 of the Viveka-Chuda-Mani already mentioned in Chapter XIII. These are Sama (calmness), Dama (control), Uparati (breaking of other interests), Titiksha (endurance), Shraddha (earnest trust) and Samadhana (steadfastness). These mark the six stages of withdrawal from actual action while gaining self-control as training and practice before actual wisdom is imparted. It represents the preparing of the soil before the implanting of the seed.

379
II
Thou verily art Brahman, not senses, not mind,
Neither intellect, consciousness, nor body;
Even life and ego have no reality, being but conditioned
By nescience, superimposed on the prime Self.
Everything phenomenal here, as object of perception, is gross.
Outside of thine own Self, this world manifested is nought,
And Self-hood alone does shine thus
Mirage-like in variegated display.

The Absolute Brahman is the real, and 'That Thou Art'.
This is the finalized doctrine of the Vedanta as taught by the Guru here in response to the question of the disciple in the
previous verse.

By a process of systematic elimination of the outer or extraneous factors related to the Self, beginning from the mind
to its various bodily and other appendages and attributes, one succeeds by the 'Neti! Neti' (Not this! Not this!) of the Upanishads, identical with the 'via negativa' of the teaching of Dionysius the Areopagite in Western mystical theology, to
arrive at what constitutes the ' thinking substance,' which is the essence of the Self, which itself is neutral to subjective and objective aspects, as the Absolute Brahman as represented by the purest state of the prime Self of man.

The phenomenal vision which we see ever-changeful and tantalising, with its many value-contents, is a mirage-like play of psychic constituents, which has no reality but is only appearance. Its reality, if any, is the same as that of the Absolute. The inside reflects the outside or vice-versa and, put together, they meet in the mirror of wisdom, which reflects reflections as well as originals indifferently. The Self on one side and the phenomenal on the other make for the variegated display by alternation of conditioned mental states. The whole doctrine of the Vedanta is thus summarily reviewed in this second stanza, in answer to the problems stated in the first.

380  
WORD NOTES:
Buddhi has been translated as ' Intelligence.'

Manas means 'Mind'. When this mind expresses itself in a more integrated and unitive manner through the ego, it attains different levels of willed thinking, the totality of such functional expression being named Buddhi. it is thus just will above just passive thinking which is the normal function of the mind.

Chittam is here translated 'Consciousness', is also on the side of intelligence, implying purer reasoning.

Avidya, rendered 'Nescience'.

Svatmani: ' on the prime Self. '

Kalpitam means conditioned or superimposed secondary reality outside the Self.

Jadam : 'Gross'.

III
What all things here, both moveable and immovable, pervades,
As the clay substance does the pot and jug,
Whose inward awareness even Self-hood here constitutes,
And whereunto resolved what still remains, instil with reality unborn,
And That which all else do follow -
Know That to be the Real, through clear insight,
As That same which one adores for immortal bliss!

The conscious substratum of all life, responsible for all the actual and subtle manifestations of reality here, is like the clay to the pot, the common universal and primal basis. Ontologically approached in this manner, we reach our own Self as the factor involved in our appraisal and awareness of the world around us. Consciousness turns rounds the Self, and is of the same stuff as the matter which it represents round itself in its outer zones. We know ourselves and our own ego.

It is here that the 'mind' and 'self' come into our being, with the visible world as one of its aspects. This outer aspect is manifested and absorbed again into consciousness, according to its life-phases or states.  Even when absorbed or dissolved into the prime nature of the Self it remains a reality as a 'prius'. Conversely, it can be thought of as something which leads and is followed by all. By whatever method it is treated, according to an ascending or a descending dialectics, it remains the same reality. Intuitive insight has to result in such a contemplative wisdom, and the attitude of mind implied in the insight is the same as reverence, adoration or worship as known in other and different spiritual contexts. The result is bliss in Self-realization.

381  
WORD NOTES : Mrith satta has been rendered 'clay substance'.

Dhi, Buddhi and Manas are degrees of integration of consciousness:
Manas being the mind in its most general non-integrated sense,
Dhi representing 'will' or well-integrated consciousness.
Nirmala Dhi is 'pure or clear insight'.

IV
Nature having emanated, what thereafter, therein entry makes,
What sustains and gives life, both as the enjoyer
Of the divided objectivity outside,
As the 'I' of the deep subconsciousness of dreamless sleep,
Whose Self-hood even shines as the 'I',
Within the consciousnesses each of the peoples too -
That same in which well-being stands founded firm at every step;
Such a plenitude of Perfection; hear! 'That verily Thou Art!'

Reality is viewed here from the side of nature. The actual manifestations of variegated nature and multiplicity are one
extreme pole of reality. The existing aspects of reality are pervaded by the subsisting principle which comes to it, as it were, from the other pole. In the Upanishads also there is this same idea of two aspects of the Absolute, one being manifested and absorbed into the other.

The creation of nature first, without form, like water, and its later characterisation as the Absolute principle, is a figurative illustration bringing out the bi-polarity inherent in reality. The Taittiriya Upanishad discusses this later figurative entry of Brahman into its own creation in a very striking passage which reads: 'Having performed austerity he created this whole world, whatever there is here. Having created it, into it, indeed, he entered' (2) The figurative nature of this entry has been explained by Sankara in his commentary on this passage. In the light of the bi-polarity and ambivalence which we have discussed in our earlier chapters the 'figurative' nature of the twofold character becomes further clarified. No duality is to be finally countenanced in Advaita Vedanta. From the point of view of the actual, however, it becomes necessary to recognize duality, at least for purposes of argument.

382
WORD NOTES:
Pravibhakta Bhuk: ' Enjoyer of the divided objectivity outside.'

Sushuptau is 'dreamless sleep' being a technical name  for the third state of life where the Karana or Causal Body or  Self is marked out for discussion. This is Prajna.

Jagra, Svapna, Sushupti and Turiya are the four states of  'waking' 'dream', 'deep sleep' and ' absolute consciousness' respectively.

Prathyantharangam : rendered 'subconsciousness', could also be translated 'unconsciousness.' Inasmuch as the word refers to the collective and individual ego it implies one and many (vyuha).

(3) Taittiriya Upanishad, II Valli, 6th Anuvaka.

V
'Intelligence Supreme, even That I am! That verily thou art!'
That Brahman is the Self here!' Singing thus full well,
And so established in peace of mind;
And reborn to pure ways in life by the dawn of Brahman-wisdom,
Where could there be for thee the bondage of action
Whether of the past, present, or future?
For everything is but superimposed conditioning on thy prime Self.
Thou verily art that existing-subsisting One of  pure intelligence, the Lord

383               
The Aitareya Upanishad reduces all into unitive terms of intelligence. It reads:

'All this is guided by intelligence, is based on intelligence.
The world is guided by intelligence. The basis is intelligence. Brahman is intelligence.' (3)  

Here we arrive at a finalized doctrine of the Vedanta which takes the extremely pantheistic and idealistic position of reducing all into the unitive terms of intelligence which is supreme and all-inclusive. The Maha-Vakyas (Great Utterances) like Tat Tvam Asi (That Thou Art), etc., are variously stated in different texts in the first, second or the third person, according to the psychological, metaphysical or cosmological setting. They are all meant to mark the supreme synthesis of all dual factors into one unitive idea. Consciousness and its aspects are all equated, one to the other, till all differences vanish in a final contemplative vision.

The present verse brings out such a culminating doctrine of the Advaita Vedanta. The Guru here recognizes the divine and absolute nature of the disciple, whom wisdom has made one of pure reborn ways, as when one is called a Brahmin or when he is said to be baptised in the Holy Ghost. Whether the baptism is with water or with the fire of wisdom, it is accomplished by supreme and final knowledge of all reality in unitive absolute terms. Peace comes to the man who has this understanding, and all those considerations of relative good and bad, virtue or vice that are associated with the Self, as conceived in relative consciousness, have no reason or need any more to be. From the position thus taken these questions do not arise. Karma is transcended. Duality, even in a theological sense as between the worshipper and the worshipped, is finally effaced, as implied when we say one ' lives in God.'

384
(3)Aitareya Upanishad, III, v, S.

WORD NOTES :
Vipra Charah: Vipra is the twice-born Brahmin, here 'one of pure life ';
Charah means 'one who moves or lives ' (as when we say Brahmachari, i.e., 'One who walks in the path of Brahman.')
The combined meaning of Vipra Charah has been rendered
'reborn to pure ways in life.'  

3 twilight of the gods

 

THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS



The following was dictated by Nataraja Guru on 1st November 1972 at Trivandrum Medical College Hospital, and was sent to the editor for publication.
It was thus the last thing the Guru had to say, and could perhaps serve as a kind of epitaph.


On a certain full moon evening, the moon was rising on the eastern side of the horizon,
and on the western side the sun was setting.
The following, is an imaginary conversation intended to show that duality
and Unitive Understanding are not the same.

RISING MOON:
Hey, you there! What is the relation between you and me?

SETTING SUN:
Don't you agree that we are basically the same?

RISING MOON
Do you mean to say that I have no individuality ? 

SETTING SUN:
Your individuality, which, if it exists at all, does so only insofar as it tries to make
a distinction between you and me, has no basis in reality.
Truth is always one, and you cannot divide it into a half truth and a full truth.
It's either one or the other, and there's no alternating. There's no choice left.
If, truth is always one and the same, the light with which you shine is the light I have lent to you.     
You shine with the light you have borrowed from me...
Thus, we are two apparent versions of the same light.     
Let us both renounce whatever superiority we might claim for ourselves,
and we can come to a solution which is both just and favourable to both of us.         
Such a solution implies double gain, and a cancellation of counterparts by double negation.    
"Omnis determinatio negatio". We are both indeterminate factors.
Let us both agree about this, and the great solution is right here.     
It is the greatest contribution of Advaita Vedanta,
and an example of what I prefer to call Unitive Understanding.
That is all, AUM, Amen     
Peace, Peace, Peace.

RISING MOON:
AUM, Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

4 messages, manifestos etc

CONTENTS:


1) SEX-LIFE AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA,
NEW YEAR MESSAGE OF GURU NATARAJA FOR 1970

2) SEX AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA, 1972

3) 1973 NEW YEAR MESSAGE

4) OUTLINE PLAN AND PROGRAMME OF A BRAHMA-VIDYA MANDIRAM (INSTITUTE OF THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE)

5) THE NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION

6) THE GURU ENIGMA




1) SEX-LIFE AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA,

NEW YEAR MESSAGE OF GURU NATARAJA FOR 1970,
GIVEN AT VARKALA ON JANUARY 1, 1970.

It is said that "marriages are made in heaven", but the game is also to be to played hereunder. There is a paradox hiding within this situation in which we have to recognize the perfect equality of man and woman as members of the human species, as also that the game, when it involves sex interests, has necessarily to be played with two reciprocally different or complementary counterparts.  Thus, there is basically a conflict between man and woman, when viewed horizontally.  When viewed vertically, they belong together for the fulfilment of life.  Sex is sin when viewed in one of these basic perspectives; but Sri Krishna himself says that Kama, or passion could be viewed under the aegis of the Absolute and therefore he himself in his person, in principle, represents this value (Bhagavad-Gita VII, 11). 
In the famous dialogue between Yajnavalkya and Maitreyi, the latter is told that it always the same Self-happiness that is involved then a wife loves in husband, or vice-versa.
Narayana Guru in his Darsana-Mala (VIII.7), also underlines this basic relationship.  We have therefore to view this all-important question, both in his basic perspectives as well as in a realistic, work-a-day sense. 
The Quran makes perhaps the boldest attempt to view the matter closely from both these perspectives at once.
Hinduism, on the other hand, has suffered from the original vice of giving different rights, based on the discrimination between Aryan and non-Aryan.  Narayana Guru, in the Smrti (code) - indirectly taken cognisance of by him at the instance of Atmananda, a disciple of his, who actually wrote it - abolishes such invidious, racial or other discrimination and, like the Gita (IX.32), confers perfect equality of status to all men and women, while admitting a basic reciprocity between them (Smrti, X.261 ff.).


THE TWO-SIDED APPROACH OF THE GURU:
When the question of starting a Gurukula was first mentioned to Narayana Guru, about the year 1923, one remembers how, before the sentence was finished the Guru interrupted the present writer and said that in the Gurukula marriage should not be obstructed.  At the same time we find that in composition called Ashrama, laying down the articles of association of an institution, such as the Gurukula called by him the Advaita Ashrama - he stipulated definitely the condition that the institution should have separate places for men and woman. One another occasion he supplemented this by saying that boys and girls in a coeducational institution could come together when both of them stood to again by such association, but that they should be separated as soon as their relation degenerates in to dualistic levels of double loss.  One may recognize the subtle dialectical spirit in which he viewed this problem of mixed life.
Thus, marriage and sex should be viewed in a normal and natural perspective, and the institutional life regulated in such a way as to yield maximum happiness for the parties concerned, while minimizing possible nuisable situations.

NEED FOR REVISION OF SEX RELATIONS IN MODERN LIFE: 
The myth of Adam and the apple is being questioned by youth in revolt the world over at the present day.  Catholic priests are demanding permission to get married.  The thousands of Buddhist nuns, when shorn of their secondary sex embellishment, become an eyesore in the light of the freer morals of today.  Woman do not like not to treated as chattels and are clamouring for a kind of mechanistic equality with men which is adding other error instead of taking it away.  Men and women can be seen to be built differently for occupations that are natural to functions as bread earners or nursing mothers.  The duality here cannot be overlooked without double loss to both.  On the other hand, experiments recently made by heterodox or unconventional communities have revealed that promiscuity, as with some animals, does not yield the happiness arising out of a stable and monogamous companionship, within reasonable limits (see Life Magazine, Vol.47, No.6. p 46 ff.)   These limits must accord with basic instincts, going hand in hand with that intelligence which distinguishes homo sapiens from mere animals.  Monkeys do not have national libraries.

THE ANALOGY OF A GAME PLAYED BETWEEN TWO SIDES:
We have compared the relational life between men and women dynamically and openly to such games as, say football.  The ball is the central object of interest, and the game consists of seeing that the ball does not attain one goalpost or the other so as to stop the game.  The goalkeeper on each side sees to this, and there are successive rows of forwards, halfbacks, and fullbacks on either side.  The ball should not go outside the boundaries without penalty to the one who caused it.  Touching the ball is a foul, except in the limited way allowed to goalkeepers.  All obey the whistle, and cornering and offside-play are against the rules of the game.  Most deceptive of all the foul plays is the offside, where men or women go and dominate on a side where they do not belong, often with the connivance of some member of the opposite side.  The referee, better called the umpire in cricket, does not take part in the game directly himself; he is an impartial onlooker.  The overall value implied in the game is the joy of sportsmanship, independent of the winning side.  The fullbacks, the halfbacks and the forwards are grades within participants, symmetrically conceived as belonging to either side.  The toss is the element of chance, and the centre forward is more important than his comrades of the right or left wing.  These structural features give for our purposes a sufficiently convenient frame of reference to discuss sex and marriage relations within the Gurukula.  This takes for granted that men and women have a reciprocal, complementary, compensatory and cancellable relationship, which has to be kept in mind for making healthy, natural and normalized rules for the playing of the game between the sexes - involving mere companionship or even marriage, which latter should not be ruled out when conceived under the aegis of the Absolute Value of human happiness.  First and foremost, therefore, we have to think, in theoretical terms at least, of what a normalized relation between the sexes within the Gurukula is to be.  St. Paul is credited to have said somewhere that when you are married you should behave as if unmarried, and vice-versa.  Love or affection within the Gurukula must avoid partial favouritisms of every kind, and one's own children should not be treated differently from any other's children.  The least discrimination would be a violation of the basic principle of equality.  The paradox here is evident and, having admitted it, if we are asked to give the picture in detail of a human couple conforming to perfect normative requirements, we can only cite the case of Siva and Parvati as outlined in the one-hundred memorable verses of Sankara - in each of which the paradox could be seen be abolished to the extent humanly possible.  Like word and meaning, Parvati and Paramesvara represent a central human value, as the first parents of humanity.  A better normative model cannot be proposed by us, but the norm is so perfect that only approximations to it could be expected in actual life.  The possible approximations, on the side of men and women respectively, could be visualized as in the football game as consisting of three sets, with a right and left wing, and with the goal-keepers bringing up the positive and negative limits - the positive being more natural to men, and the negative to women, although exceptions can also prove the rule.

THE POSSIBILITY OF ERRORS TO BE TAKEN FOR GRANTED
No game is ever played without errors, which are quite human, and the forgiving of which is praised as divine.  The here-and-now perspective of sex morality gives a cross-section view of the total situation over which Absolute Goodness or Happiness, through intelligent living, is the numerator factor or omega point.  The prophetic religions have laid stress on the day of judgement and the commandments, while pagan religions have tended to be less strict, allowing more room for human mistakes. Prophetic and pagan tendencies have to balance each other, and in doing this we have to take into account both the ontological here-and-now perspective, as well as the teleological and more idealistic viewpoint.  The latter is the vertical reference, and the former is the horizontal referent.  These two parameters intersect at the point of their normative origin as a reference to all right morality.  The negative limit of the vertical parameter is the alpha point; both the alpha and the omega points have got equal dignity under the aegis of the Absolute.  They can both be normalized and renormalized, so as to yield by cancellation a constant, which sees no difference in terms of Absolute Value, wherever placed in the total vertical parameter.  A father's function is necessarily positive; and a mother's function is necessarily negative in this sense, when correctly understood.  The dignity that Absolutism confers, whether on the functions of motherhood or fatherhood, is always the same.  Thus, the game can be played with permissible errors, when it pleases Allah to pardon them.  An error once committed cannot be corrected afterwards.  Such errors could be considered irregular, but not void.  For intentional errors referring to the future, all should remember that the Absolute Consciousness at the omega point, whether called Allah or Jehovah, knows all human frailties.  When falling within the scope of such frailties, pardon is normal, but a hard-boiled criminal must pay his penalty one way or the other in the interest of the general good of all.  It is the conscience of the umpire or referee that can blow the whistle.  The laws themselves have to be derived from a high source "oceans apart", as Rousseau puts it in the Contrat Social, (Bk. II, Ch.7.)     

A word to the wise and good sense must always prevail, without crude obligations or punishments.  Time is a great healer in such matters.  Absolute Generosity is the regulating principle here, and this is a qualification required of all heads of all Gurukulas and their branches, whether men or women.  The highest head can be the umpire and the arbitrator herein in such matters, without the counting of majority votes.  Narayana Guru set the precedents for such matters when he was alive.

SANNYASA NOT TO BE TREATED LIGHT-HEARTEDLY:
The Gurukula is primarily meant as a home for tyagis (renouncers), as understood in the Gita (XVIII. 2, 11, 12 and 40).  Tyagis can be, in principle, married or unmarried.  When tyaga, or renunciation, attains to the high pressure or white heat of Absolutism, we have the full-fledged sannyasin.  Both the Gita and Narayana Guru refer to the distinction between tyaga and sannyasa as referring to the lower and higher limits, respectively, of the possible degrees of renunciation within the scope of the Gurukula way of life.  The Brahmachari (acolyte), the grhastha (married man) and the sannyasin (man of full renunciation) could all conform to this Gurukula way of life without contradiction or conflict, if all should agree to put Absolute Value as their goal for ever.  For legal purposes, however, for keeping the Gurukula properties from getting mixed-up with family properties and thus complicating issues, a senior sannyasin, fulfilling the qualifications recommended by Narayana Guru in his composition called Ashrama, could be chosen to fill the place of headship of the Gurukula and, as far as possible, even of its branches.  In exceptional cases, a woman sannyasini of the same qualifications could belong to the same hierarchical succession, and thus become head; but the tragic case of Hypateia as a wisdom teacher of Alexandria should be kept in mind as warning in such matters.  It is found to be more normal for elderly women to be occupied with the care of children, not excluding general educational and nursing activities, so as to give them the quiet and the peace that they naturally desire when they are of advanced years.  This, however, does not rule out the possibility of a woman as a head of a Gurukula branch, or even as head of the whole.  Madame Blavatsky and Mrs. Besant, and many others in modern life, are examples of such founders of big spiritual organizations.  The name of St. Theresa of Avila could also be mentioned in this connection.  Sannyasa taken by young people is fraught with dangers of an unstable equilibrium, and immature women wandering in the streets as sannyasinis do not do any honour to society, in which they have often only a great nuisance value as misfits, or those who have lost their proper vocation.  Narayana Guru discouraged all such premature claims to sannyasa, and fixed the age of sixty and beyond as safe enough for such a vow to be stable and natural. (Smrti V. 131 and X. 260)

THE SENTIMENT OF TRUE LOVE NEVER TO BE DERIDED
Classical examples of true love between men and women such as could be held up as examples, include those of Abelard and Heloise, the Nouvelle Heloise of Rousseau, the case of Dante and Beatrice, and of Goethe's Gretchen.  Cosette and Marius and Sophie and Emile give other more normal examples of man-woman relationships based on pure love.  Kalidasa's Sakuntala, and Shakespeare's Tempest and the story of Nala and Damayanti, with Savitri and Satyavan, afford other examples of ennobling love between man and woman.  To put an impediment to such a noble urge would be outside the scope of a properly conceived Gurukula life.  As with Heloise and her Paraclete, the noble woman in love with a man could still live within the precincts of a Gurukula with separate sections for men and women, each complementing the work of the other, and each imbibing high ideals or teaching them.  One provides, however, for occasional errors and accidents, for which an intelligently conceived Gurukula organization must provide contingent aids to save the situation from being more nuisible than necessary.  Thus, a maternity ward, a children's crèche, a pre-nursery school and nursing home are normal provisions to be made to meet possible contingencies.  A nursing home for the superannuated and the sick could also be provided, at least in one of the Gurukulas.  Burials are to be without gravestones, and graveyards should become orchards or gardens, as indicated in Narayana Smrti.  Children born within the Gurukula could be brought up as a common charge of the whole.  When, however, the ends and means of livelihood of the parents involve other matters than those within the Gurukula, it is better that such couples establish homes outside the Gurukula, without necessarily being excluded from the spiritual consolations of the Gurukula.  Married Protestant pastors or priests of the Greek or Syrian Orthodox Church are examples in point here.  In cases of promiscuity of sex relations, the Koran contains the precious hint of the iddat, which is of a duration of weeks or months.

IRREGULARITIES NOT ALTOGETHER VOID
Outside of accidents of this kind due to promiscuity, which can always be regularized when not void, by formalities such as witnessing, arbitration etc., all other accidents could be considered as coming within the scope of the Will of God, who is all-knowing and all-kind.  Forgiveness is the highest of all divine attributes.  When not within the scope of such accidents, it is possible to think also within the scope of a companionate marriage, in which a woman might be allowed to keep company with a man, not necessarily with a view to progeny, but only in order to compensate and cancel out the negative tendencies found in woman against the positive tendencies found in man.  An emotionally frustrated man or woman could add to the nuisance value found in any society.  Such companionate marriage has been tried in America, but has not been popular.  The form need not be ruled out in the Gurukula, but monogamous stability for a reasonable period seems normal.  Marital holidays, long or short, could be envisaged hereunder.  Regularization could be based on practical considerations, or in the name of the Will of God.  The Head of the Gurukula shall act as a referee or umpire in all such matters.  We have necessarily to travel from precedent to precedent cautiously in such matters, without violating overall principles such as stated in the Narayana Smrti, or an equally authoritative book acceptable to other religionists.  Man can be a natural mate for woman, or vice-versa, without brute sex coming into the picture at all.  Such is the picture to be held up as a model to regulate marital and sex relations within the Gurukula life.  A prescribed form will help the Gurukula inmate to take his/her position correctly in such matters vis-à-vis the Gurukula so as to avoid legal or other complications possible in the future.

The Absolute is All-Merciful and Great.       











2) SEX AND MARRIAGE WITHIN THE GURUKULA, 1972


GENERALITIES
Sex is sacred when viewed in its correct perspective.  Otherwise it tends to have at best only a nuisance value. To ask any human being to be free from sex directly or indirectly would pose an almost impossible problem.  It would largely depend on the person or persons concerned. The New Year Message of 1970 and that of 1971 have cleared the ground on such an enigmatic question, but the clarification of the more specific question of married persons still belonging to the Gurukula (Narayana Gurukula, literally, 'family of a guru'. A Vedantic teaching institution founded by Nataraja Guru) is intended now.

There is nothing irregular or extraordinary for a father and a mother, a brother and a sister to live together in the Gurukula as a glorified family based on discipleship in the context of wisdom. It is open to all to avail themselves of this way of living. The Valmiki, Kanva and Sandipini (ancient gurus) Gurukulas or Ashramas have given us hoary and correct precedents herein.  When an Ashrama gives primacy to Advaitic wisdom teaching, the term 'Gurukula' becomes adequately applicable to it.  That place where one gets ready to make the final effort (Shrama), in view of ultimate freedom or emancipation from suffering while preparing for Self-Realisation, comes under the more general term 'Ashrama' ('up to the limit of making spiritual effort').

Sakuntala was brought up in the Ashrama of Kulapathi Kanva. Sita gave birth to twin sons in the Ashrama of Valmiki, even without the approval of the then King Rama, who had banished her; These classical examples and many others referred to in the Upanishads give valuable precedents on this question. Women students like Gargi and Maitreyi had the benefits of coeducational education in a manner perhaps better understood then, though the latter was a rishi's (sage) co-wife.                            

The trend in modern times is not to consider the fruit as forbidden any more. The Pope himself is faced with this problem, and thus a clarification of this question is both topical and imperative. Monastic orders, whether Jain, Buddhist, Christian or Hindu have more or less rigid attitudes herein. Sometimes exceptions prove the rule and unwritten laws are better than those rigidly laid down by authority.  Some conjugal relations could be irregular but not void because of it. Sometimes we might have to avoid the lesser of two evils which might both be possible or probable. Without being dogmatic on such a delicate subject this message only aims at indicating some subtle guidelines derived from both the ancient wisdom of the East as well as from scientific notions becoming more and more acceptable to the modern West.

It should be sufficiently clear from the two previous messages under reference that Narayana Guru stood for normal against a form of rigid or sterile life based on vows treated mechanistically and dualistically, as in the case of many monastic orders. Sannyasa (the status of being a Sannyasi, a 'renouncer', who is normally celibate) should not be given light-heartedly to immature young men whose sex instincts might still be operative in the full force of vitality, as it should be in the best of them. Many promising young sannyasins have died premature deaths by repression of sex urges. This and similar sad disasters must warn us and clearly tell us that sublimation would be better than repression of sex. Even if such young and premature sannyasins should survive such a dire disaster as death, they will have to do so by facing Death with a capital letter, in principle at least, as young Nachiketas in the Katha Upanishad is said to have done in three instalments before attaining to the fully Vedantic life of a true Brahmachari (one who follows the way of the Absolute). There are thus three portals of the house of the God of Death through which a Brahmachari has to pass before entering the final of the four ashramas known to Upanishadic wisdom. When Narayana Guru forewarned us against the dangers of premature sannyasa, and saw at the same time that married life could be normalized and included within the life of an Ashrama, he was only correctly toeing the line of the wisdom tradition of India. Buddhistic and Jaina standards have deflected from this ancient verticalized track with which we have now to catch up in revalued modern terms.  The Gurukula movement has to profit to the maximum from experiences of more modern times at home or abroad, as well as from the precious lessons once learnt during the long history of this ancient land.

SEX AS AN APPLE OF DISCORD
The Ramayana (an ancient epic) speaks of the trouble that started with the mistake that Ravana made in respect of Sita. Iphigenia had to be sacrificed by Agamemnon, her father, because of the trouble that started with the beautiful Helen of Troy. Medea and Jason had such marital rivalries in the face of which two of their screaming sons were put to the sword by their own mother. Subrahmanya had the trouble of vanquishing the demon chief interested in the beautiful damsels of Indra's paradise.  Adam and Eve ate of the forbidden fruit and God had to chase them away as if functioning as a policeman. Bhima had to kill Kichaka in a fully polygamous or polyandrous context of the proto-historic context of the Mahabharata (another epic).

Sex jealousy is at the bottom of the tragedy of Othello who killed Desdemona when passion possessed him.  Promiscuous communities, especially when steeped in poverty and dirt, need police intervention in the mornings when the sanctity of the marital bed has been violated. The front pages of the newspapers of any big city often contain pictures of disasters, big or small, due to the development of triangles of jealousy in the relations between men and women. When dirt, poverty and sex brawls are put together, we get slums or ghettos of different grades of nuisance value. The kitchen is most often the epicentre where, even in otherwise respectable families, trouble starts overtly or tacitly with sensitive or hysterical women and their megalomaniac or sadistic paramours or husbands. Endless are thus the ramified instances that we could cite, from the days of Sita and Savitri to the present day, where we see in an illustrated newspaper that even in a free and modernmost drop-out community, the child is seen crying while holding to the apron of its mother and asking, in its hunger, for which of her lovers she is preparing the morning breakfast.

MAN AND WOMAN AS CANCELLABLE COUNTERPARTS
Man and Woman have different functions in life but they have the same rights to seek wisdom or the fulfilment of their lives for happiness, the common goal for which all strive at all times anywhere. A reciprocity, a compensation, a complementarity and a final cancellability of counterparts is implied in their relationships. Biologically speaking, they manifest an ambivalence.  When correctly related to each other, the resulting value would be doubly profitable, but otherwise there will result double loss to both and for all involved. Narayana Guru laid down, as a general rule, that men and women live separately. In other words, they have to play the game of Gurukula life from opposite sides of the court. Every game has what is called fair or foul play, and when one of the teams involved does not respect the whistle of the umpire, the joy intended in the sport gets compromised. No player is to play offside. Promiscuous dribbling of the ball is never more enjoyable than what all children will agree results when the teams are properly divided and one side wins the toss.

Although seeking wisdom may not be like a game, the community life of men, women and children together needs some minimum ordering in order that slum conditions may not prevail within the Gurukula.   Pregnant women need protection and meditative inmates like peace and quiet from screaming children near their huts or rooms. Sick people might have to be segregated. Decent burials might have to be guaranteed, at least for those who die in harness working long years in the Guru cause.  Illegitimate children should not be abandoned. Women or girls might need protection or privacy from perverted individuals likely to molest them. Widows, orphans and the aged or blind should be given succour or shelter. Travellers from distant lands could be treated with the deference due to them in a generous spirit. Various other services could be rendered to fellow men, without duplicating what states are normally expected to do. Ends and means in life could be matched correctly within a structure or four-fold hierarchy of life-values covering the total amplitude or spectrum within the limits of the possible significant human values treated inclusively. Respecting the rules of the game and the structural ground on which the game is to be played are equally important for securing maximum benefit out of the game called Gurukula life in terms of one and all. With Siva as the archetypal male and Parvati as his feminine counterpart it would be possible for all persons who love peace, purity and renunciation to lead a common Gurukula family life creating surplus-value momentum, both self-propelling and retroactive, as the movement expands. When basic imperatives in life are overlooked, the movement can come to a standstill, tending to become sterile, effete or extinct. Sometimes when standards fall low, one or several ships of the flotilla may have to be scuttled by general consent.  Such are some of the necessities or contingencies through which the Gurukula ship must weather the storm to cross the ocean of relativistic cyclic life, steeped in uninteresting or humdrum purposelessness, living an existence of doubt or suffering.              

FINDING THE MIDDLE WAY
Men and women have separate retiring rooms in travel stations. Orthodox Hindus do not treat the sexes in terms of a mechanically conceived equality, but treat women as antar janam  (inside people). In Islamic practice, zenana and mardana (men's and women's quarters) are kept distinct by a purdah (a thin curtain, to be understood in principle). In modern coeducational boarding schools various forms of mixing are at present tolerated.  The 'drop-outs' or 'flower people', as a new generation of youth are sometimes called, push the freedom one step further, shocking some, but approved of by others or at least condoned or connived at by the general public.  The possible varieties of such mixing or promiscuity are endless. It is for us now to find a marital middle path in this important matter. Evil is accentuated when a dualistic approach is allowed.  A unitive solution is to be sought herein.

The delicate duality implicit herein cannot be explained more clearly than in the words of the greatest of poet-seers of India, Kalidasa, who put the following question into the mouth of King Dushyanta speaking to the female companions of Sakuntala on the most delicate subject of the latter's possible marriage. The alternative implied and his own final decision to have a questionable form of marital union, conventionally called the Gandharva form of marriage, still leaves the mind unclear on this point.   The Immaculate Conception of Christ does not clarify the issue any better. It is Kalidasa again on whom we have to depend for a full elaboration within the scope of the eight cantos of this epic, Kumara Sambhava, (The Birth of the War God).  The alternative types of marital relationship in the case of Sakuntala will become evident when we scrutinize carefully the words of the King here. He alludes first to 'vaikhanasa vrata', a dualistic form of celibacy binding on her, rigidly and conventionally. As a second alternative, there is a less dualistic form of mystically erotic relationship applicable to the simple and natural lives of deer 'with intoxicated regard'. Whether male or female, which latter conforms to a more unitively conceived form of marital felicity.  Translated freely, the verse of Kalidasa under reference here reads:

'By this (your female friend) is it decreed that, with Eros' function banned, she should live up to the eventuality of being given away (in marriage)?
Or rather is she, to the ultimate limit, to live like the young female fawns in the company of her drunken-eyed male companions?'

If divine intervention, either in the from of an immaculate conception or of such an ideally normalized version as the birth of Ganesha or Subrahmanya in Hindu Puranic (legendary) lore, is to be ruled out, we shall be left with three alternatives of regular married life: one in which the contracting parties are united in the form of a mutual social contract with a magistrate witnessing it; or one in which the priest represents the witness in the name of the Absolute. Registered marriages serve the former purpose while religious marriages conform to the latter case. The verse from Kalidasa cited here indicated a third intermediate alternative by analogy with what prevails very naturally and beautifully among the fawns of the groves of the Ashrama of Kanva. The question of a formal rite of marriage does not arise in a pure state of Nature. There is nothing here that one should rigidly accept or reject. The innocent fawns belong to the world of normal nature and what is decreed by Nature itself is its sanction and no question even of right or wrong morality arises at all. No fruit is to be forbidden or recommended either by God or by the devil, as in the case of Marguerite in Goethe's Faust. Sakuntala's case comes nearest to this model that Kalidasa must have kept in mind. To give further details of how such a model human marriage could take place, he has written this immortal masterpiece of a royal personage committing a fully human error within the pure precincts of an Ashrama where absolute standards of marital or sex morals have been preserved by Kanva-Guru-Kula-Pathi (Kanva, the Guru and head of the Gurukula). A detailed study of this epoch-making work alone can give us any further directives for our guidance in the matter of a model for a marriage within the Gurukula

It is true that all men or women cannot be said to be like Dushyanta or Sakuntala, who have their respective Ashrama or Kingdom, with which alone presupposed, could such a most natural or normal absolutist marriage take place.  Even such an objection would lose its force when it is stated here that this model could at least serve for the Gurukula as a practical as well as a theoretical reference or referent in the matter of regulating married life within the Gurukula.

Sex in animals is free from prudery. The dedicated life in the context of natural erotic mysticism does not agree with the languishing of lovers in the marital bed. The sanctity of the marital bed of a Rishi or a Paramahamsa is not to be light-heartedly questioned.

We could think of the correct court or playing field with its structural limiting lines and the rules of the game treated as normalizing or re-normalizing reference-counterparts to make natural marital relations possible in the over-all context of a super-morally or mystically conceived way of life in which sex would at least not be tabooed as altogether out of place.

Irregularities are always to be expected as much as the miracles of a perfectly lived married life. Because of the possibility of error in human life we cannot consider sex relations as totally prohibited. Pardon is always possible, given the generosity implied in the Absolute.

THE ASHRAMA GROUND AND ITS SPECIAL ATMOSPHERE
If the Gurukula life is to be treated as a game, it has to presuppose a ground, at least schematically visualized, on which alone it can be played. Like sacred groves or dedicated islands, every place has its value by the numinous value due to its past history or its future purpose. Whether such a presence that one feels is called a vibration or an atmosphere of calm or reverence, there is definitely such a factor which distinguishes - or ought to distinguish - a Gurukula from any sundry locality, whether in a slum or classy part of a town; whether in a forest or a palace grounds. Calmness and cleanliness with kindness to animals, domesticated or half-wild, and plain living can only heighten the contemplative value of such a place. One has only to read carefully between the lines of Kalidasa's description of Kanva Ashrama where Sakuntala lived, dressed in bark garments and hair only oiled from what was obtained from some nuts that fell from some trees in the Ashrama grove. There is a memorable verse therein which demands close scrutiny, which would reveal to anyone intuitive enough the suggested meaning to be seen, as it were, between the lines where the markings on the playing field or the ground on which Gurukula life is to be played are clearly revealed to the intuitively trained and penetrating person capable of grasping the lakshanartha (the total indirect meaning implicit in what is known as dhvanyartha, which is a kind of analogy having the status of a super figure of speech).

'Schematismus' is the term Kant used for this kind of protolinguistic structurally dynamic schematic ground on which life in a Gurukula can be visualized as normalized between a reference or, a referent as existing between the perceptual and the conceptual aspects of the total situation.

Tantra is a discipline beginning to be understood by moderns that deals with this same idea, although tantra, mantra and yantra must be treated as presupposing one another. (Such matters have been too many times discussed by us elsewhere that going into them here would be superfluous). (See under 'Saundarya Lahari' on this website)

Those factors or features that together constitute the special vibrations or atmosphere that distinguished Ashrama life on its proper grounds have been referred to by Kalidasa in a systematic and graded order. Our task is therefore made easy because, instead of inventing our own postulates in the matter, we could treat of this most subtle of subjects by extrapolating or interpolating what is revealed adequately by modern science and what hoary traditions of the Rishis has taught us long ago.

Relativity theory and quantum mechanics with its various spaces, numbers and structural representations have such factors as parameters, perimeters, curves, dimensions, references, limits, constants, time-like space and space-like time - sometimes requiring double correction in a back-to-back arrangement. These employ the same formal language as was known to the Rishis of the Upanishads, to master poets like Kalidasa, to critical philosophers like Sankara and further down the line of Gurus to the date of Narayana Guru.

As King Dushyanta stops his hunting and finds himself in the precincts of a typical Ashrama of ancient India, the first appreciative appraisal of its value or significance is the value called shanti or peacefulness that prevailed there. Next he hints in the same breath, as it were by the question 'What is the purpose of this?' He answers the question himself by saying alternatively, 'Or, the doors of possibilities in life are found in principle at every place'. In other words an Ashrama is a place where intentionalist opportunity gets a chance for fulfilment in a universal and generalized context. Each man or woman is placed in a universally concrete environment, within the frame of which he could work out his own salvation intelligently. The highest Good or Happiness must be such a goal.

After this preliminary appreciation of peace and then removing his ornamental clothes in submission to the humility that befits the calm Ashram life, he enters into the Ashram precincts. A classically perfect verse sums up the four aspects of the life there conforming to the quaternion structure which the Mandukya Upanishad postulates when it says, 'Ayam atma chatushpad' (This Self is of four limbs). What applies to the Self here would apply equally well to what could be referred to as the Absolutely Metaphysical Non-Self. The Self and Non-Self have one-one correspondence between them, and when they are subjected to double correction or normalization, we have a central unitive reference for use as an instrument of research of great beauty and fecundity in revealing truth. The relevant verse, translated freely, would read:

'Corn is (seen) falling from the parrot-granary-mouth of the tree hollow.
By confidence, fawns are not dispersing as they are seen to remain, enduring noise.
There is a thin film of oil under the trees, bearing evidence of ingudi nuts having been cracked on stones,
And the path to the water-source is seen traced by markings from water-drops from the tips of bark garments.'
(I, 13)

The atmosphere or the vibrations of a Gurukula cannot be touched upon more delicately, methodically and in due order of graded importance, and totally or globally than by what Kalidasa has been able to do here.

CALMNESS NEEDED FOR THE PURSUIT OF CONTEMPLATIVE FELICITY
Shanti is the first and foremost desideratum for contemplative life besides the non-ostentatious submissiveness before entering into the Gurukula precincts.
We can glean the following four features that should characterize a Gurukula or Ashrama that Kalidasa pictures for us protolinguistically and schematically implicit in each of the four peculiarities seen by him as he enters the grounds:

1. The reference to parrots gathering grains in the hollow of a tree: The implied suggestion here is that the Gurukula has a self-sufficient abundancist economy, in which food is made available through nature, as with the lilies of the field or the birds of the air.

2. The thin film of oil on the stones is to show a schematic dividing line separating percepts from concepts, form from name, unostentatious simplicity that is proper to high thinking, and a host of allied features associated with Gurukula life.

3. The fawns that are not startled or perturbed by noises such as that of cars or chariots refers to the ignoble strife outside, in contrast to the calm confidence inside, felt even by deer that are easily startled. This puts a limiting circle on the numerator or conceptual side of the Gurukula atmosphere, well above the 0-point.

4. The water-source would be a value factor on the negative side, placed below the 0-point as indicated in the figure below. The dripping water-drops trace perimeters circumscribing the structural unit whose total form can now be globally visualized in broad and general outlines.

5. The personality of Sakuntala and that of Dushyantha will reveal themselves as the play unravels to represent the descending negative dimension, participating at the 0-point where the horizontal and vertical parameters intersect.            

Schematically we could give visual form to what we have stated in the following structural language (See figures on page sixteen).

EQUILIBRIUM AND STABILITY OF UNIT ENSEMBLES
What we have clarified so far does not answer directly the question of how ordinary families with, say, a husband, a wife, and children, could be fitted correctly into the life of the Gurukula. The degree of dedication of the whole family as a unit or ensemble to the ideals expressing articles of faith or patterns of behaviour involved in the dedication, has first to be guaranteed. When such a radical decision has been taken voluntarily in the name of seeking happiness through wisdom of the Absolute, as understood in the case of the Narayana Gurukula, it would be possible to place the group as a unit within the four walls of what constitutes Gurukula life, conceived as conforming to various degrees of dedication - all coming within the scope of the total structure of the Absolute. The sanctity of the marital bed around which the particular family regulates its life will be a consideration based on which they could be given legitimately central or a peripheral position, vertically positive or negative, within the Gurukula fold. Besides recognizing the lines with reference to which the Gurukula game is to be played, it has also to be underlined here that the appreciation of the vertical minus value aspect is of primary importance in the matter of affiliation to Gurukula life. This aspect could be referred to in terms of the bark garment that Sakuntala is made to wear by Kalidasa. In other words, Peter is at least as important as Paul in the biblical context.

As seasons fit without conflict into the year; and as twilight hours of sun or moon, rising or setting, can merge into a streak of magenta in the aurora borealis; and as various chakras or adharas in yoga coexist in the yogi's consciousness; and as all polygons could be comprised within a circle; and as multiplication and division could cover addition and subtraction; and as parameters and perimeters, correlates, conic sections, ellipses, parabolas and hyperbolas are all capable of being fitted together into what constitutes microcosm as well as macrocosm, unitively treated according to a possible theory of Unitive Science - it is possible to so arrange the community life of the Gurukula so that monastic and married life proper to men or women could be adequately accommodated together to secure the over-all purpose of human happiness and peace without inner or outer conflict.

As disciples of Narayana Guru let us respect his indications contained in his composition called "Ashrama", and what he indirectly indicated in his Smriti, as also other suggestions and hints given to the present Guru. Further, let us today take the bold step of resolving that married life should be accommodated normally within Gurukula life without compromising the highest standards of monastic life. In respect of the actual modus operandi of the decision about marriages taken above, further precedents and publications can be expected to regulate them year after year. 

(Note: a final paragraph dealing with day-to-day administrative matters has been omitted.)








3)

1973 MESSAGE

Higher wisdom or realization can come to rare individuals among human beings who may be said to have tuned themselves to the Absolute.

The time-honoured alternative to others is of establishing bi-polar relations with a master who has already attained to the awareness or attitude implied in Self-realization. As the understanding of the attitude is not possible by the usual didactic methods of learning and teaching which are mostly based on an a posteriori, pragmatic, empirical, or logical approach, the only way to get it is through a global intuition which has its favourable conditions. By means of a subtle rapport and a mutual personal adoption between the seeker and the teacher, the personality becomes better adjusted to the absolutist way and will be able to absorb something of the master's attitude to the seeker when all the conditions required for transmission of the teaching are present together.

Mistrust and disadoption between the two concerned in such a bi-polar wisdom situation would tend to make the search futile.

The wavering mind, caught between rival interests has to be steadied. This can be accomplished only by a body and soul affiliated to the context of wisdom.

The whole-heartedness of the affiliation requires that the whole man, which does not exclude the physical, is made to comply or bend as it were, to listen to the Word of wisdom represented by the personality and attitude of the Guru.

A disciple has to be uncompromising like his Guru. Pampering of both body and mind is to be abolished to gain a full absolutist state of intense light within. The way whereby contemplation becomes actually established may be a slow one, but the attitude of the aspirant has to be whole-hearted and drastic.

The relativistic context of time and becoming, with a duration tending to be historical rather than pure, is not the proper world of the contemplative. The contemplative seeker should therefore live in a neutral middle position of detachment between the two extremes of time's pointer as it indicates opposingly to the past or the future. He is balanced and neutral, as it were, between the rival tendencies involved.

When one has succeeded in eliminating the horizontal tendencies adhering to the Self, and it is thus purified, the very Self asserts itself and grows into power or perfection by double assertion and double negation.   In the process, if one again rests peripheralized in interests, one might become some sort of a distorted absolutist in the deprecatory connotation of the term. In the name of institutional forms of holiness we have examples of distorted personalities with ego exaggerated or awry in one sense or another. These pitfalls have to be avoided by the aspirant to contemplative life. The ego should not be allowed to suffer bloating, warping or distortion.

If we should think of social duties, it can be of items which are free from the relativistic taint. The good work of a Good Samaritan in the Bible is disinterested and correctly altruistic, while many good-intentioned works in the name of religions suffer from relativistic taints or partialities which have no real spiritual value.

The Absolute is a wonder and is adorable as the most supreme of human values. The wise Lao Tzu says:

'Like a baby that has not yet learned to smile
Listless as though with no home to go back to
The multitude all have more than enough;
1 atone seem to be in want.
My mind is that of a fool-how blank.
Other people are clear;
I alone am drowsy.
Other people are alert;
I alone am muddled.
Calm like the sea;
Like a high wind that never ceases.
The multitude all have a purpose;
I alone am foolish and uncouth.
I alone am different from others
And value being fed by the Mother'.

The wise man is likened to the child sucking the Mother, Nature, or the Absolute. This Supreme Absolute is that about which nothing can be predicted. It is usual in the context: to describe the Absolute as a mother.

The circulation of the subtlest of contemplative thinking takes place by a kind of alternating figure of eight process within consciousness. When such an alternating process occurs between the poles that are horizontal and vertical at the same time the resulting event tends to refer to the purest aspects of contemplative life. When cultivated properly by self-discipline, the Word and its meaning would meet and merge into one meaning referring to the Absolute which is the real subject and object of all wisdom. The norm that has to guide our interpersonal relations is the ever-abiding awareness that 'the other man's interest is even mine; what is beneficial to oneself should be beneficial to the other also'. The ethical core of Narayana Guru's teaching is:

'All acts aiming each man's self happiness must spell
At once the happiness of the other fellow-man.'
Jesus said, 'Love thy neighbour as thyself '. Narayana Guru endorses it. Treating, thy neighbour as thyself implies the equation of the Self with the non-self. Guru-wisdom rests not only on our realization, but its application in our own ethical life. Just as intense pain in the tip of one's toe would suffice to upset the balance of the whole person in suffering, so the subtle reciprocity implied in the slightest discrimination made between favourites or enemies can bring unforeseen quantitative or qualitative effects. Consequences flare up into a general conflagration. The sum total of human suffering consists of small sparks of partiality shown by men somewhere or other, at-one time or another. The general cause of war should be thought of in this way.  Like one spark setting fire to the neighbouring faggot, the continuity of the process of evil effects is to be imagined as operating ceaselessly in the world of human relations. Clashes of clan with clan, time-old feuds, racial, national or other rivalries, jealousy and bickerings between disciples, all work together to keep the flames of the inferno constantly fed with incessantly burning fuel.

When the dualistic attitude is once abolished and generosity spreads evenly like sunlight without distinction, on all human beings, even on the publican and the sinner, that kind of generosity belongs to the context of the absolutist way of life and in the context of Self-realization, is very important to keep in mind. The Self can itself become the worst enemy of the Self. Let us learn to make our self its own best friend, to raise the Self by the Self.

Petty interest in utilities or pragmatic interests have to be transcended, and they have to be replaced by higher interests of a pure spiritual order before one could arrive at the full term of contemplative life.

When the Christians took up arms against Saracens both were right and both were wrong, which is the same as saying that neither were right nor wholly wrong or without any justification. To get round this double-edged situation a new yet time-honoured kind of unitive approach in reasoning is required. Narayana Guru shows this very clearly to us.

Do not forget that while a zealous follower of a certain faith or cause is highly conscious of the importance of his own mission, his tendency to find fault with the honest faith of others acts itself at the same time as a subtle veil.  The full recognition of the fact that the other man is just like oneself in his own zeal for the particular value or course that he prefers to call his own is absent.   There is easy vertical adoption and difficult horizontal recognition of the values involved in rival courses or faiths which could be reconciled only when looked at unitively.

What prevents this unitive vision is the retrospective orientation of the psyche, which is often filled with the dross of personal reminiscences which result in regret or regression of the spirit harmful to a healthy psychic life.   Reminiscent moods are often signs of mental debility. As a corrective we should free ourselves from attachment and avoid references in the first person.  Be endowed with firmness and zeal. Let us not be moved by success or failure. Remember the teaching of the Gita. The actor who is passionate, prompted by desires for benefits, who is greedy, violent-natured, maladjusted with moods of exaltation and depression is called affective-passionate. The actor who is a misfit, crude, stubborn, deceitful, malicious, lazy, despondent, procrastinating, is called the dark.

Bearing all these in mind, let us search our own hearts and make sure that our dedication to the Guru and his wisdom-teaching is made in the spirit of a true consecration of our body, mind and self.










4) OUTLINE PLAN AND PROGRAMME OF A BRAHMA-VIDYA MANDIRAM (INSTITUTE OF THE SCIENCE OF THE ABSOLUTE)

BRAHMA-VIDYA, which is both the subject matter and the object-matter of Vedanta or Advaita philosophy (Non-dual Wisdom of the Absolute) has been called "the fairest flower of the Tree of Wisdom" by a well-known Western authority. The Upanishads themselves refer to it as sarva-vidya-pratishta (the basis of all knowledge). India can claim no other heritage so great and precious. It is but natural therefore that the larger world should look to India for some initiative in this matter especially after Indian Independence. In the interests of the unity, peace and security of the world the message of Brahma-Vidya needs to be revalued and restated and presented to suit the needs of today and tomorrow.

Bharati, the Goddess of Wisdom known in India, has to be presented to the larger world as 'Visva-Bharati'. Unfortunately however, many of India's sons and daughters are turning away from Her in favour of other outside values which have merely a closed and relativistic status. The open dynamism implied in Brahma-Vidya is thus being lost to many of the present generation of Indians.
A proper Brahma-Vidya Mandiram or Institute of the Science of the Absolute is thus an idea that deserves the support of all to whom the wisdom heritage of India is still dear.

THE NEED OF A GURU: The place of a Guru in the context of Wisdom teaching should or ought to be well enough understood in India.

The Guru and the Sishya (the teacher and the disciple) are inseparable counterparts in any wisdom teaching. Without personal affiliation to Guruhood, wisdom-transmission from one to the other will not take place. Further, Brahma-Vidya demands truthfulness, Brahmacharya (walking in the way of Wisdom) and Gurukula-vasa (life in contact with a Guru in a fraternity called the Gurukula). Such intimate bi-polar relations with a Guru who is well qualified, together with the transmission of the Wisdom in vertical succession through generations called the parampara sampradaya are some of the other implications and presuppositions of the teaching of Brahma-Vidya known from the most remote times.
If it be asked if real Gurus do exist in modern times - which is a question that is natural and pertinent - the answer is in the affirmative. The question itself has to be understood as fitting the context of perennial Wisdom, which is synonymous with Brahma-Vidya. One could with equal justice put the question whether there are real rulers now as there were in olden times such as Rama, or whether there are real husbands and wives such as Sita. Given the true seeker for Wisdom there will not be lack of real teachers corresponding to it just as no flower can normally lack a ray of the sun to open its petals. Such an answer is fully valid because both the question and answer have to belong to the same context of Wisdom.
There has never been the lack of Gurus in India: India has never lacked Wisdom teachers. In this respect India's soil has ever been a favoured one. From the most remote times a succession of Gurus have been born on its soil, the present time being no exception. From the days of Adi Narayana, the first prototype of all Gurus, through Vyasa and Sankara down to the latest of them in Guru Narayana we have been blessed with a never-ending line whose course is still to run. Given a true sishya it will never be for the lack of a proper Guru that he goes without Wisdom teaching in any generation. The sishya has to seek him earnestly and wholeheartedly to find him. If he knocks it shall be opened to him. The teacher makes his appearance, historically too, when there is need for him, as promised in the Bhagavad Gita.

A GURU APPEARS AT THE SOUTHERN TIP OF MOTHER INDIA:
Not far from Cape Kanyakumari the extreme southern tip of India, between the years 1854 and 1928 there appeared a Guru called Narayana whose life and teachings conformed to the spirit of the Upanishads and who was in every way a personification of the Wisdom of the Absolute. Born of humble parents, he was steeped in the culture and spiritual heritage of India in its full sense, coming roughly one thousand years after Sankara and establishing an Advaita Ashram on the shores of the same river in which the original Sankara, while bathing himself, took Sannyasa and taught Advaita, there arrived another Guru of great learning and purity of life. Millions of people flocked to take the dust off his feet and the masses instinctively recognised him as a Guru and even a Jagat Guru come to guide humanity in its dire need. His name has already become a household name in that part of the country and at the present time his message is spreading by virtue of its own intrinsic value to many parts of the world. In the well known motto that he gave to his followers 'Man is of One God, One Faith and One Family' which is day by day becoming the popular spiritual slogan of the masses in South India where his influence is felt, he succeeded in transferring to the masses an intellectual and a moral enthusiasm for the same Truth which was implied more philosophically in Advaita Vedanta. His samadhi is being observed as a public holiday in Kerala and as a partially public one in the neighbouring parts. His influence is a potent integrative force which is bringing together the Malayalam, Tamil and Kanarese-speaking people of this region, and his message is also spreading beyond the seas in South-East Asia, Europe and America at present.

BRAHMA VIDYA AS A FULL-FLEDGED SCIENCE: Apart from having been able in his lifetime to touch the life of the masses in a historic sense, the best contribution of Guru Narayana has been to have re-stated in revalued terms the Upanishadic teaching. He did not favour in this matter much reliance on analogy or parable as all traditional scriptures largely do, but wished to bring Brahma Vidya to the full status not only of a positive philosophy but of a Unified Science with its own method, theory of knowledge and scale of values.  His two major compositions, the Atmopadesha Satakam (Century of Verses on Self-Knowledge) , and his Darsana Mala (Garland of Visions of the Absolute), reveal to the critical Vedantin of our time how this almost impossible task has its foundations at least properly laid by this last and most recent of Vedantic    teachers.

THE IDEA OF A BRAHMA-VIDYA MANDIRAM: Many attempts have been made in recent years to establish a centre of Vedantic teaching which would state the case of Brahma-Vidya in a modern scientific form suitable to our times. Here the forces of orthodoxy and heterodoxy need to join hands, inspired by one great purpose. Understanding the science from the traditional angle has to go hand in hand with the ability to explain it in the light of modern knowledge. Neither punditry nor mere academic profession suffices here. A new generation of dedicated men and women has to come forward, inspired by the great work and its significance. Such wisdom has been known to be parampara-praptam (to be attained by hierarchical succession) in the Gita, which could be considered, next to the Upanishads and the Brahma Sutras, as the greatest of canonical source-books for its propagation. In other words such an Institute has to be in a setting known as a Gurukula (a family of the Guru) where, like sons and daughters, a fraternity of wisdom-seekers can be nurtured and educated in a spirit in keeping with the ancient forest schools of India but with a revised programme and methods adapted to modern conditions.

A GURUKULA FOUNDATION ALREADY EXISTS: It was the wish of the Guru Narayana who attained Samadhi in 1928 that no memorial of the usual static type would be built for him but that instead an institute of Brahma-Vidya which will bring the light of wisdom to future generations should be established.
The taints of ancestor worship (pitriyana) and the relativistic implication of a mere ritual place of adoration, were thus to be bypassed according to such a wish of the Guru in favour of a Brahma-Vidya-Mandiram.
At present at Sivagiri, where the Guru attained Maha-Samadhi, there stands an impressive monument called the Maha-Samadhi Mandiram. This monument is not fitted for actual instruction in wisdom. Built at a cost of several lakhs of rupees as an expression of the loyalty of the people of Kerala mostly, it is more of a memorial to the Guru than a seat of learning. The present Brahma-Vidya Mandiram is to complement this edifice as an actual seat of learning if possible from the larger public, in recognition of the Guru as a Wisdom-Teacher rather than as a religious head. Wisdom gains primacy in the present undertaking. There is thus no duplication of effort and the last special wish of the Guru himself is only being fulfilled by it.

TEACHING PERSONNEL AVAILABLE: More important than land or buildings which forever have been set apart for this purpose next to the Samadhi Hill at Sivagiri, Varkala, Kerala State, India, is the question of teaching personnel of the proper kind and of wisdom seekers who will be willing to be students. The Gurukula movement which was started in 1928 by a Sat Sishya of the original Guru Narayana, in 1923, has within it already a nucleus of teachers and disciples who have dedicated themselves to the cause in terms of a life-time. Headed by Nataraja Guru, who can truly be said to be the best-known successor of the original Guru, there is a group of well-educated Sannyasins who have each their own Gurukulas in different parts of the world both in the East, South East Asia and in the West. They include John Spiers, the immediately next disciple of the parampara, who is well versed in Eastern philosophy generally and edits from Bangalore the Gurukula magazine  called 'Values'. There is Swami Mangalanda who is well known in the Malayalam speaking area as a leading Vedantin and public speaker. Nityachaitanya Yati has been teaching philosophy in the Universities of Madras and elsewhere and is a whole-time follower of the Gurukula movement. Dr. Marc Gevaert of Belgium and Harry S. Jacobsen of New Jersey have each their wisdom centres of which they are heads with a body of disciples in each place. The Gurukula movement is day by day expanding in geometrical rather than arithmetical proportions and will need a central Brahma-Vidya Mandiram in a few years, towards which the present project is only a natural stepping-stone. There is thus a growing body of qualified men of all nationalities, both Eastern and Western who will be available to make the undertaking a working concern.

THE CHOICE OF THE PLACE: It is true that there are many places that could be thought of in India as the fit locality for an institute of this kind. There are however certain inner considerations which favour the choice of Varkala (ancient Janardana) for the purpose. Just as the Ganges and Benares are linked and fashions and Paris are inseparable, so Varkala has its particular claims which cannot be altered for innate reasons. Dakshina-Murti, the archetypal Guru of proto-Vedic times, and Sankara too of the historic period have to do with the South. Between Kanyakumari and the Mount Kailasa there has been a dialectical interplay of values in the course of Indian spiritual life whose course cannot be deflected easily. That an actual Guru of the quality and stature of the Guru Narayana selected this place for his own Samadhi, is sufficient reason for disciples at least, rather than the general public, to prefer this place as in keeping with svadharma in spite of rival claims of many other places which might be more suitable or attractive. The place has been actually sanctified by the life of a Rishi, Muni or Guru of modern times. This is an asset that no money can buy
This choice however need not necessarily exclude other similar foundations for the same purpose being established, each with its own aspect of importance, whether spiritual or practical. When one model has been established, even on a smaller scale, it becomes easy to duplicate the model on a larger scale in any number of places, just as plants have to go from a miniature nursery to the whole area to be planted later on. Such is the idea we have in mind when starting such a highly spiritual undertaking.

THE APPEAL OF JANARDAN: The prehistoric place of pilgrimage called Janardan is situated in an undulating countryside overlooking the cliffs which jut into the Arabian Sea about twenty miles north of the capital of Kerala, Janardan enjoys  sea breezes and the amenity of rare mineral springs that rise on hillsides to run gurgling onto the palm beach by the famous kaolin and peaty red cliffs that served as a landmark for Greek manners of ancient history. The temperature is roughly that of the human body through day and night and through the seasons. The distant rumbling of the sea, the canals and backwaters, give a unique antique setting to Varkala which is the more modern name for this charming seaside resort. About three miles in the interior is the Sivagiri hill where the impressive granite memorial to the Guru at present stands. Across the paddy field in the valley that separates it from the next hill of equal height is a plot of land already owned by the Gurukula movement, of about an acre in extent, dominating a whole hillock which seems to be destined to supplement and thus fulfil the wish of the saint who dreamed of this project first.  Plenty of spring water is available for storage by pump at the foot of this very hill and the silver gleam of the sea is visible from the top where the building is to come. Accessible by canal, road and rail, this place seems to enjoy by dint of providence most of the natural amenities for a Wisdom Institute.

WORK ALREADY STARTED:  Earth work on the top of the  hillock chosen has already been started after a regular contour  map has been prepared by professional surveyors under the  direction of Sri K. K. Krishnan, formerly of Malayan service.  Enough ground on the top is available for a fairly big building to house an assembly hall to seat one thousand, a balcony space for a library of all source books for comparative religion and the Science of the Absolute. There will be a cellar providing for miscellaneous amenities, the most important of which is a safe vault and archives, cloakroom etc, emergency kitchen, bathrooms and sanitary fittings for both occasional visitors and residents such as librarians, visiting professors, or secretariat clerks etc. A portico and roads leading up and steps by which pedestrians could come and go without disturbing the quiet work of the students will all be provided. The hillock with the dominating buildings will be laid out terraced with parapets and gardens, fountains, etc. according to good taste.

THE USE OF THE BUILDING: Many well-endowed institutes of this kind are seen to have become places where all original work becomes numbed by rules, committees or red tape, whose dead weight of formalities often kill the living and growing creative spirit of such a place. It is necessary therefore that this does not happen in the present case. The hall for seating a thousand will be used once annually at least for the Gurukula Convention or a Vedanta Conference conceived on an All-India and inter-religious and International basis. Other Conventions are possible in between these annual ones, which latter have become already a permanent feature of the Gurukula Movement
A visiting professor of university status or a learned Sannyasin could live in the building, off and on, for long or short periods, imparting higher instruction in Brahma-Vidya. There should be one or two smaller classrooms in the balcony or above the platform of the hall where smaller meetings, classes or courses could be conducted. The library located on the balcony floor with full French doors, opening out into the outer air all round will give a quiet place for the study of source books of all traditions, cultures, and religions from a comparative and unitive point of view. The work of publications such as translations and editions of valuable works in Sanskrit or other languages could also be undertaken as occasion presents. Student seminars could be arranged to create interest in Brahma-Vidya and allied subjects under the guidance and presence of an actual Guru who will be both a Srotriya (well-instructed in the Sastras) and Brahmavit (knower of the Science of the Absolute).  A university chair of Brahma-Vidya could be instituted here and it would attract research students from far and near. Such are some of the uses that we could envisage for preventing the institute from degenerating into a mere dead letter. Preference will be given to people who live the life of spirituality rather than to mere pundits or professors. The existing Gurukulas must be considered as feeder institutions in this matter and more could be started in different parts of the country or the world.

PLANS AND ESTIMATES: Detailed plans and estimates for the institute have been ordered. Meanwhile a rough blueprint of the proposed buildings, has been prepared. Excluding the terrace, which will be of pre-stressed concrete, and the ground-floor or the cellar, there will be two other floors in between. The first will be the floor of the Assembly Hall for One Thousand, the second floor will be a balcony combining a balustraded outside terrace going all round the amphitheatre where partitions could be made for rooms for special sections removable for big meetings. At the northern end there will be a portico with two rooms above and another two rooms flush with the third floor of the balcony and balustrade. On the terrace there will be a glazed chapel-like room for meditation or worship, individual or in group. A water tank at the very top and a terrace garden are possibilities as also a well-laid garden all round with terraced lawns, fountains etc. The cost of the whole plan is expected to come to five lakhs of rupees on first estimate.

ADMINISTRATIVE MATTERS: The Prospectus of the Narayana Gurukula Foundation presents the details of the origin and status of that body and the present Brahma-Vidya Mandiram will be considered as being constituted under its auspices but will have a separate committee of its own with the Head of the Gurukula at the time being as the Head of the Central Committee. This body shall meet at least once a year, at Varkala during the Christmas-New Year Season. No notice or quorum will be needed for this fixed annual general meeting. Besides the Head of the Gurukula there will be a full-time disciple of the Gurukula Foundation who will be appointed as the Recording and General Secretary of the Institute. There will be other members and office bearers chosen every three years, or for life, according to their interest in the undertaking and their help. As far as possible they will represent a cross-section of the various departments and interests implied with due respect to regional or religious representation. The number of such members shall not exceed twenty, in all of whom four shall be active working members of the Central Committee. The other committees shall be (1) Academic or Teaching Committee, (2) Building Committee, (3) Finance Committee. The functions of the committees shall be consultative, advisory and directive. The properties shall be earmarked and set apart for the purpose of the Institute only and shall vest in the Head of the Gurukula under by-laws framed and approved from time to time by the Central Committee. The Head of the Finance Committee shall act as Treasurer to the Institute Trust thus made.


5)
PROSPECTUS

NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION
(ESTD. 1923)
HEADQUARTERS:         
VARKALA P. 0., KERALA STATE, INDIA.

The Narayana Gurukula Foundation is a Guru-disciple foundation according to Indian (Hindu) tradition, based on parampara or vertical hierarchical succession, for teaching unitive understanding and universal brotherhood, which is non profit-sharing and open to all without distinction of race, sex etc. who seek in living terms the Wisdom of the Absolute (Brahma-Vidya), of which the Guru Narayana (1854-1928) is a model and exemplar. This is founded by the successor-disciple of this original Guru with his consent in 1923. The Greater Gurukula, with its organization, the Yellow Fellowship, is meant for a larger circle of lay disciples who wish to conform to the Gurukula way of life by accepting its motto of  'One Caste or Race, One Religion and One God', with the vow of non-killing (Ahimsa) without full Guru-disciple commitments applicable to whole-time disciples.                                         


(1)
DECLARATION by Nataraja Guru, Varkala,
Jan. 1st, 1956.

This is to let it to be known generally, and in particular to those interested in the Gurukula Foundation, that I, Dr. Natarajan, also known among my disciples as Nataraja Guru and more plainly to be known as Natarajan), being the Head and Founder of the Narayana Gurukula Foundation, Varkala P. 0., T. C. State have this the 1st Jan. 1956 overtly adopted Sannyasa (pattern of life of a man of renunciation) as understood in the Indian contemplative tradition. This is in spite of the fact that I have since 1923 been a thyagi (relinquisher of benefits of effort), and even received in 1926 the yellow cloth from the Guru Narayana, expressly given to me in recognition of my life-long dedication to the Guru cause. The sannyasa (renunciation) at present assumed, after crossing my sixtieth year of life, is meant to confirm the thyaga (relinquishment) and to be a more open and objective re-dedication of the same life of detachment in a maturer form, as implied in the Bhagavad Gita (XVIII. 49), and as laid down and permitted in the Narayana Smriti (Code of Life written under the direction of Guru Narayana verse 131 Sri Narayana Dharma P. 56)

I further desire by this declaration and this re-dedication to make it known that having now fully conformed to the requirements of a sad sishya (true disciple) of Guru Narayana, I can claim in principle all abstract and concrete privileges and rights that accrue normally in favour of such a disciple in Hindu Law as supported by Narayana Smrithi and the older Yagnavalkya Smrithi. The Guru-Sishya parampara sampradaya (method of vertical hierarchical succession of Guru by Disciple), expressly envisaged in the Will and Testament of the Guru Narayana has hitherto been vitiated by certain flaws* and setbacks in the process of succession of the very first recognized disciple of the line and further compromised by wrong registration of the body of disciples according to English Trust Law which is now recognised by the highest authorities as totally repugnant to the spirit and functioning of the foundations of the type of Ashrams or Mutts and the like. Even the original spirit of the teaching of the Guru Narayana has been violated and deflected from, as pointed out already in my Declaration dated 1st Jan. 1953.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

* Extract from Judgement of O.S. No. 127 of 1954.  Attingal sub-court: '...but it has to be borne in mind that Swamiji (Guru Narayana) himself is not a party to Ext. V what Sri Bhodananda could do at the best -if that could be done at all- was only to clothe the Sangham with all the Powers he was clothed with by Ext. III. The right which the Sangham has obtained under Ext. III and V is only one of management, and Ext. II, Will, does not improve that situation.'
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In these circumstances it so happens that by virtue of my openly adopting Sannyasa, the Narayana Gurukula Foundation gains a revised status in a factual, just and normal manner as being the earliest established body of disciples of the Guru Narayana as envisaged in his own Will. I finally desire also to make it clear by this declaration that by openly assuming Sannyasa to-day I have in legal parlance suffered 'civil death' and that all properties and rights, both abstract and concrete, that vest in me shall go after my life to my chief disciple, chosen from among my first-degree disciples, whom I hereby reserve the right to nominate by Will when thought opportune. In other words, natural blood relations shall have no claims whatsoever on the properties in my name. Any gifts made to me or the Gurukula Foundation are absolutely unconditional ones with no strings attached nor any return benefits implied in them, to be treated as Dakshina (pious offering) to be used in a just manner for the Foundation as known in tradition. (For further clarification of these and various other points see the Gurukula Memorandum published under my authority in the Gurukulam Magazine of Varkala, December
1955 issue).


(2)
GURUKULA MEMORANDUM
Being a short statement concerning the
NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION
(Est. 1923)
Officially released by Head and Founder of the Gurukula, Dr. Natarajan, at Varkala, T. C. State, on 1st Jan. 1956.


I. NAME, DATE AND ORIGIN:
The 'Narayana Gurukula', also hereinafter referred to more shortly as the 'Gurukula' or 'Gurukula Foundation' or the Foundation) is the name of an institution conforming to what is well-known in the traditional life of India from most ancient times and which is also sometimes referred to as 'Mutt' or 'Ashram'* It consists of a Guru (spiritual preceptor) and Kula (family consisting of his disciples who together constitute a spiritual family) headed by the teacher of wisdom.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*  'Mr. Justice West in a classical judgement...has pointed out that The Hindu Law like the Roman Law and those derived from it recognizes not only corporate bodies with rights of property vested in the corporation apart from its individual members but also juridical persons and subjects called 'foundations'. The religious institutions called 'mutts', choultries and other establishments obviously answer to this description of foundations in Roman Law'. Cf. §p. 43 'Hindu Law of Religious and Charitable Trust' II, by Bijan Kumar Mukerjea' Judge of the Supreme Court of India (Calcutta, 1952).

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In the present case they together follow the teachings and conform to the way of life represented by the Guru
Narayana of South India (1854 to 1928), who in his own life-time taught contemplative wisdom recognised as Advaita Vedanta (non-dual philosophy) or Brahma Vidya (science of the Absolute), which is not other than Atma-Vidya (Self-knowledge), conforming to the spirit of the Upanishads and following the general lines of the teachings of Sankaracharya (788 A. D.), though in a somewhat revised, restated and revalued form. Thus the foundation unlike the 'Trusts' known in English Law* conforms to a special type of institution particularly belonging to the Indian background from most ancient times.
**********************************************

* 'A trust in the sense In which it is used in English law is unknown in the Hindu system pure and simple' Ibid, pp 199 - 200.

**********************************************
The present Gurukula was founded in the name of the original Guru Narayana by his sat-sishya (true or direct disciple) now recognised by his own growing circle of disciples as Guru Nataraja, belonging to the parampara (vertical hierarchical line of succession) of the original Guru Narayana. Otherwise also known as Dr. Natarajan because of his western education and travel, this disciple has now attained to the full status of a sannyasin (man of renunciation), having as early as the year 1926 received from the Guru Narayana the yellow cloth expressly given to him as a token of his dedication to the Guru's ideals while at Colombo.

He has thereafter consistently led the life of a celibate disciple and thyagi (relinquisher), severing connection with his family and residing in the Gurukula itself and thus suffering what is called 'civil death' (1) as one dedicating himself to the propagation of the teachings of the Guru Narayana in terms of a whole lifetime.

**********************************************

* Justice Mukherjea explains 'civil death' as follows: 'It follows that neither he nor his relations can succeed to the property held by the other. If he acquired any property subsequently it cannot be inherited by his natural relations but passes on his death to his spiritual heirs Including his chela who is recognized as his spiritual son'. Ibid p 330. 

**********************************************

In order to doubly and overtly ensure his status as a sannyasi in conformity with the Narayana Smrithi ** code of conduct written under the guidance and direction of Guru Narayana) and in the spirit of the implications of the Bhagavad Gita, Chapter 18, Dr. Natarajan has on the 1st January 1956 decided publicly to re-dedicate himself as a sannyasi declaring himself as such in the presence of his disciples and the public interested in the Gurukula Movement.
(cf. Relevant announcement after the event on P. (1) here.)

**********************************************

** See verses 133, together with 226 and following, on the nature of Sannyasa as understood in the Narayana Smrithi as also two articles explaining the institution of Sannyasa as understood in the Gurukula, published in Malayalam in the 'Gurukula Magazine', published at Varkala, Oct-Nov and Dec issues of 1955.

**********************************************

It is the life-desire and intention of the present founder of the Narayana Gurukula, now called Guru Nataraja, to preserve and propagate the original teachings of the Guru Narayana together with the way of life that the Guru Narayana represented in its purest form by the time-honoured method known as the Guru-Sishya parampara-sampradaya - the method of vertical hierarchical succession of Guru (teacher) by Sishya (disciple). This method, further, is what may be seen to be envisaged in the will and testament* of the Guru Narayana, written at Varkala before his passing away. It will be noticed therefrom that, by founding the Narayana Gurukula, his sat sishya (direct disciple), Guru Nataraja was only anticipating the desire and intentions of the Guru Narayana himself.

**********************************************

* Cf. Will of the Guru Narayana, text of which, as published in the Gurukulam Magazine of Varkala,
Feb. 1953 issue, page 22, also on P. 22 below.

**********************************************

The Gurukula was first established at Coonoor, Nilgiris, with the blessings of the original Guru Narayana while he was still living in 1923 and conducted in Varkala also in the year 1926. This was prior to the formation of any other body of disciples of the Guru Narayana.


II. IDEALS, OBJECT AND AIMS:
The primary object of the Narayana Gurukula foundation, as has already been indicated above, is that of promoting or propagating, irrespective of race, 'caste' nationality, sex or creed etc, among the people at large that body of exact knowledge known as Advaita Vedanta
(non-dual wisdom) in its various forms, indicated above. (See Section I). It attempts to preserve in its purest form the way of life of the original Guru, Narayana, for successive generations to emulate or follow. As corollaries to the above, if we add the principle of Ahimsa (non-hurting of fellow beings), and the open, universal and unitive outlook in life implied in the motto 'One Caste' (or race) 'One Religion', (or faith) 'One God' (or supreme Goal) as formulated by the Guru Narayana, all the main ideals objects and aims that the Gurukula may be said to represent or stand for may be said to have been enumerated. These ideals and objectives are sought to be attained through the medium of the spiritual family or fraternity which is the Gurukula foundation.


III. THE GURUKULA FOUNDATION IS A 'CHARITABLE' AND 'PUBLIC' ONE:

The Gurukula foundation represents a body which is a juridical person represented by the Head of the Foundation, who is the Guru for the time being. The Foundation is both 'charitable' and 'public' in character as understood in law. In India it is more usual to refer to such an establishment as a dharmasthapanam* (foundation for the advancement of a righteous life).

**********************************************

* 'In the Hindu system religion and charity overlap each other and do not admit of any differentiation. They are both Integral parts of 'Dharma' or the rule of righteousness.' Justice Mukherjea (Ibid 15)

**********************************************

It is charitable in as much as its funds without any reserve are applied to religious or educational purposes or for helping the needy spiritually, morally and in so far as is incidental to and in keeping with the primary purpose of the Foundation, to what might pertain even to the physical well-being of persons with whom the foundation is in organic contact. The Foundation is not a profit-sharing body but its Head and its first degree disciples are thyagis (or relinquishers) who willingly give up luxuries in life and conform to a simple mode of life in which 'plain living' is as far as possible combined with 'high thinking'.

The foundation is a 'public' one inasmuch as admission to it is not confined to any arbitrarily determined or statically circumscribed group of individuals*. 

**********************************************

* The fundamental difference between a 'private' mutt and a 'public' one is discussed on page 308 of Justice Mukherjea's book, cited above, of which the relevant portion reads as follows:
'By private Mutt should be meant those institutions where the Head or Superior holds the property, not on behalf of an indeterminate class of persons or a section of the public, but for a determinate body of individuals, namely the family and descendants of the grantor.'
The close resemblance that the Gurukula family bears to a natural family should not lead us to mistake it for a private Mutt. (This supplementary remark is meant to correct any wrong impression regarding the character of the Gurukula left by reading para 10 on page 3 of Pamphlet No. 1 published in Varkala in connection with the Centenary of the Guru Narayana, 1954-55.)

**********************************************

Through an indeterminate and dynamically growing and open group of first-degree disciples selected by the Head or the Guru on the basis of certain spiritual qualifications the Foundation is meant to benefit finally the public at large. The Foundation has thus a 'public' character both in its end and in the means adopted to attain the end.


IV. THE CONSTITUTIONAL STATUS OF THE NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION:
The Narayana Gurukula is a Foundation that derives its status in law from Art 19 of the Indian Constitution by which in 19 (1) it guarantees freedom to acquire hold and dispose of properties involving concrete and abstract rights.

By Article 25 of the Constitution there is guarantee of freedom of conscience and free profession and practice and propagation of religion and Article 26 further provides that an institution of the type of a Mutt has freedom to manage its own affairs: Sections B and D of Article 26 make the status of a Foundation like the Gurukula or Mutt clearer than ever before. Further, recent judgements pronounced by the Supreme Court of India have thrown ample light on obscure aspects in regard to the status of such foundations, their autonomy and freedom from outside interference*.

**********************************************

* 'The Mutt or the spiritual fraternity represented by it can legitimately come within the purview of this article (i.e. Art. 26 of the Constitution declared a judgement on behalf of the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court on March 18, 1954 - Reported in the 'Indian Express of March 18, 1954).
The same judgement has the following further elucidation:  'Under Art. 26 B therefore, a religious denomination or organisation enjoys complete autonomy in the matter of deciding as to what rites and ceremonies are essential according to the tenets of the religion they hold and no outside authority has any jurisdiction to interfere with their decision in such matters. Of course the scale of expenses to be incurred in connection with these religious observances would be a matter of administration of property belonging to the religious denomination and can be controlled by secular authorities in accordance with any law laid down by competent legislature '

**********************************************

These pronouncements succeed in saving the institutions like the Gurukula foundation from being led to unnecessary litigation by those who claim interest in the affairs of the Foundation who, according to English Law, have too easy a right of dragging the institutions of the nature of trusts into prolonged sufferings of litigation and consequent drain of funds intended for benefiting the public more directly.


V. THE GURUKULA ORGANIZATION:
The Gurukula Foundation proper has to be distinguished from its affiliated and ancillary adjuncts which might be indirectly affiliated to it through bye-laws or other relations. A shrine or temple present in a Gurukula is only ancillary to the main purposes for which the Foundation stands and any worshipper who frequents the shrine cannot claim direct interest in the institution. The Guru who is the Head of the Institution and the fully dedicated first-degree disciples together form the innermost core of the Gurukula organization. The second-degree disciples who might belong to the Greater Gurukula or the Yellow Fellowship* or other affiliated formations of the Gurukula Movement form only the peripheral aspect of the organization.

**********************************************

* For clarification of these aspects of the Gurukula Foundation there are two pamphlets published in connection with the Narayana Guru Centenary Celebrations in Sept. 1953, with a translation of the same into Malayalam inserted in the Gurukulam Magazine, Varkala, of September 1953, pp 37 to 48.

**********************************************

The relation between the central Foundation and the affiliated peripheral aspects of the movement is regulated by various by-laws depending on the nature and merits of each case based on certain differences in principles between the two aspects of the organization. Both these aspects however have a common Head in the Guru of the Foundation for the time being. Even this peripheral aspect of the Gurukula organization merges imperceptibly into the larger Gurukula movement, which comprises the whole of the public without any limitation. The supreme example, together with the teaching of the Guru in its pure form, as represented in the person of the Head of the Foundation is meant to radiate outward from him as its centre representing as he does in himself the Good of All and the General Good.


VI. THE RELATION BETWEEN THE 'GURU' AND THE 'SISHYAS' (FIRST DEGREE DISCIPLES):
Both the Guru (preceptor) and the Sishyas (disciples) conform to the pattern of life of the religious bhikku or mendicant so that squabbles for rights to wealth or comfortable living are out of place in the Gurukula Foundation in principle. If need be both Head and members have to prove their preparedness to live by begging as is normal with Sannyasins or even Thyagis. This does not however mean that legitimate conveniences for a quiet life of contemplation should not be provided in the various Gurukula residential centres. There should be maximum generosity and fair play on the part of the head in such matters, and the disciples have to behave like brothers and sisters between themselves.

There is a subtle dialectical reciprocity regulating the relation between the Guru and the disciples about which only tacit unwritten laws and usages that are healthy, sane and just, built up within the Foundation itself, can be mostly possible. Slogans such as 'All for One and One for All' and 'From each according to his ability and to each according to his need' express aspects of the subtle reciprocity that we have referred to. All these matters are fairly understood in the Indian tradition. Further there must be maximum dependence between the disciple and the Guru and minimum dependence between disciple and disciple*.

**********************************************

* J. J. Rousseau in his 'Contrat Social' touches upon this subtle prerequisite for harmony between a ruler and his subjects by pointing out that the relations of the members of the state between themselves should be as small and that the dependence or relation between them and the head of the state as great as possible. See Chapter VII,
Contrat Social.

**********************************************

Uniformity among the disciples is not the ideal, but 'unity in variety'. The Head has absolute powers in regard to permitting or disallowing or vetoing any proposal, including the power to disinherit or dismiss disciples without assigning reasons, and for admitting disciples even when a majority of disciples are against such an admission. The total nature of the interest and risk that each disciple is prepared to take for the Foundation may be said to be one of 'unlimited liability'.


VII. THE HEADSHIP OF THE GURUKULA:
The Foundation is a juridical person represented in all matters by the Head. He is the highest executive authority although he is allowed to delegate such authority conditionally and partially for specific functions to his immediate disciples who might be acting as his subordinates in administering institutions that make up the foundation.

The Headship of the Foundation is both 'office' and 'property' and, unlike a trustee in English Law, the Head of the Gurukula as also the first degree disciples are beneficiaries, with some responsibilities of a trustee in the case of the Head. The Head thus enjoys the rights of a 'limited owner' although answerable as a trustee in the general sense for maladministration. Unquestioning submission to the Head and obedience of his orders is always normally expected from disciples and willingness to be transferred at short notice is a minimum requirement from them. Succession to the properties left by the Head or the disciples is regulated by the principle in Narayana Smrithi, Verse 284, which itself is based on Yagnavalkya Smrithi Chapter II verse 137 (Quoted by Justice Mukherjea)*.

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*The heirs to the property of a Brahmachari  (life-long-student), a Yati (Ascetic) and a Vanaprastha (hermit), are respectively: the preceptor, a virtuous pupil, and a religious brother residing in the same holy place.' (Ibid P. 318)

**********************************************

Discipleship cannot be claimed as a matter of course, but there must be evidence or record expressly stating that a disciple has been admitted to such discipleship. No-one other than one so admitted has the right to sue the Head for maladministration or injustice on the basis of interest; and indirect interest, such as worshipping in a temple found connected with a Gurukula Foundation does not give any such right to any member of the public as in English trust law*.

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* 'A shrine or a temple present in a mutt is not a necessary part of it; it is only ancillary to the main purpose for which the mutt is established and the presiding element in the mutt is always the Mohunt or the spiritual preceptor' Justice Mukherjea, Ibid p 329.

**********************************************

Succession to Headship is on the principle that the most direct, virtuous, wise and loyal of the disciples succeeds to the previous Guru. The present Founder Head, however, reserves the right to make a will in favour of a disciple that he freely chooses from those available before his death. In cases of similar succession after this first successor so nominated the regular first-degree disciples will have right to elect the best from among themselves after the model set in the Will of the original Guru Narayana himself. For serious failings or miscarriage of the objects or the Foundation the Head can even be deposed as implied in the final clause** of the Will of the Guru Narayana giving full right to the general body of all disciples to do so.

**********************************************

** For the text of the Will of the Guru Narayana see Gurukulam Magazine, published at Varkala on Feb 1953, also below in this document.

**********************************************

VIII. CONDITIONS OF DISCIPLESHIP:
The requirements of a disciple of the Gurukula Foundation is regulated by what is implied in the Upanishadic or Vedantic way of life, which has a large body of unwritten laws, conventions, and tradition behind it. These need not be outlined here, as they are found formally treated in the Narayana Smrithi expressly written at the direction of the Guru Narayana. Further clarifications will be found in Vedantic textbooks such as the Vivaka Chudamani of Sankaracharya and in the other sruthis and smrithis, as subject to the corrections applied by the Guru in his own teachings. The Head of the Gurukula has full right to interpret the implications of such conditions, rules, or usages and in no case will the interpretations violate the general spirit and trend of authoritative teaching in these matters. Outside interference in such matters is not to be recognized or allowed.


IX. THE HEAD OFFICE AND BRANCHES:
The administrative Head Office of the Gurukula Foundation will be located at the Narayana Gurukula, Varkala. Now T. C. State (Kerala State in formation), which will be the official seat of the Head of the Gurukula. Branches in various other provinces and districts will be administered under the authority delegated by the Head or directly by the Head himself as thought desirable by him in each case and from time to time. There will be a hierarchical succession of disciples each of whom may be appointed for each branch or for the administration of the affairs of the Gurukula within each district, province or sub-division thereof. The properties, if any, of the Gurukula Foundation will consist of those personally gifted to or acquired by the Founder-Guru or his successors, or through demise of disciples who have merged their properties in the Gurukula according to the rule of succession already referred to, found in the Narayana Smrithi, V 283, and supported in the Yajnavalkya Smrithi, Chapter II, Verse 137. As far as possible the properties of the Foundation proper thus belonging to the Gurus and the first-degree disciples will be administered apart from affiliated or connected properties belonging to the Greater Gurukula aspect of the Foundation; but when law and justice permit, there is no objection to the latter properties also being absorbed into the Foundation proper for being applied for the purposes originally intended, as the merits of each case requires.


X. MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS:
The Will of the Guru Narayana already referred to has a final provision by which, in case there is grave failure due to maladministration on the part of the Guru or Head of the Gurukula of a particular period, the general body of all disciples have the power to intervene, and set right matters by fair and just methods. As a further elaboration of this general provision it is here recommended that a general convention be held of all who have claims of discipleship, at least once in ten years, in which such a matter will be reviewed after due notice in the papers.
A group of three arbitrators - one to be selected by the General Body of the Convention; one to be selected by disciples in power; and one by those who are against those in power - will constitute a private court of arbitration and the findings of such shall be enforced by even a court of law when appealed to.

XI. CONCLUDING PROVISION:
In all matters of dispute or lack of clarity in implications, interpretations, meanings or doctrines herein and to supplement this Memorandum, the following texts are recommended :

1. The Will and Testament of the Guru Narayana, printed in the Gurukula Magazine Varkala on page 23 in the Feb. 1953 issue, and below in this document.
2. Narayana Guru Centenary Celebration Pamphlets Nos. I and II (translated and printed in Malayalam in the Gurukula Magazine Varkala Sep. 1953).
3. The Narayana Smrithi compiled and written under the direction of the Guru Narayana - especially the final section on Sannyasa - see below in this document.
4. Bijan Kumar Mukherjea, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India: 'Hindu Law of Religious and Charitable Trust', Calcutta 1952.
5. Various announcements and articles officially published from time to time in the three volumes of the Gurukulam Magazine, Varkala for the years 1953, 1954, and 1955. 
6. Declaration by Dr. Natarajan made on the 1st Jan. 1956 to be published on that date. See beginning of this document, section (1).


(3)
ASRAMAM
by Narayana Guru 

Translated from the original Sanskrit, revealing the plan and intention of the original Guru.

(1)
In the Asrama proposed there should be a Guru
Learned, saintly and generous-minded
Who treats all with equanimity, calm dignified
Who is in control of his sense-attractions

(2)
Altruistically inclined and compassionate to the needy,
Who is truth-speaking and able,
Given to good conduct and prompt
In all matters necessary to do.

(3)
Having accepted the leadership of such a one
Should be constituted an auspicious assembly,
Whoever comes to such a man
Shall all consider themselves as brothers.

(4)
As in this case even here, likewise
For women and for men, separate, for each
Should be created in different places
Schools as well as Asramas always.

(5)
For each of these there should be head
Each one of them well qualified;
And all these treated together
Shall be known as Advaita-Ashrama.

NOTES:
The first verse lays down the need of a Guru who will be the Head for all matters. The rest of the two first verses enumerates the qualifications of the Head chosen, which included promptness or efficiency as a necessary item

The third verse suggests that disciples will come to such a man, and when there is good number of such disciples a body is naturally formed who will conduct themselves as members of the same fraternity.
The fourth verse is devoted to branches and insists that the organization of the branch should follow the model of the original. It further lays down that men and women should have separate Ashramas. This process of spreading the foundation or fraternity should go on forever unhindered.

The heads of branch Ashramas treated as organic part of the mother Institution and conceived together with all their members as one body will be named the Advaita Ashrama.

This composition came directly from the Guru when he established the Advaita Ashrama in Alwaye and had a Sanskrit school there under his personal supervision about the year 1920. It is valuable to the Gurukula disciples now as the intention of the original Guru and the broad lines on which he conceived a Gurukula organization are clear from it. Further extracts and documents will give more definiteness to the same. The monarchical pattern implied here should be noted. The Guru was not a believer in institutions based on mere brute majority without inner harmony and it is therefore that he is content with laying down fraternity as the requisite for the running of the institution here. He often spoke distrustfully of counting votes with show of hands The Quakers have meetings whose decisions are recorded by a clerk, without quantitative treatment of votes. Healthy precedents here have to be developed suitable and in keeping with the spirit of discipleship.

Although the Assembly alluded to here is of disciples, well-wishers and advisers could be present for help in matters where secular expertness may be involved. Sympathisers and members of the Greater Gurukula could be co-opted to serve on special committee as needed.

(4)
RELEVANT EXTRACTS FROM THE NARAYANA SMRITHI AND OLDER CODES.
As understood in the ancient Yajnavalkya Smrithi (code), the rights of succession to the property of a Yati or Sannyasi are recognized to be vested In the parampara or vertical succession only and not in any outside person or body. In Verse 283 of the Narayana Smrithi, written at the instance and direction of the Guru himself, this principle of succession is categorically laid down as follows:

'The properties of a yati (Sannyasi) should devolve in favour of his Guru or (conversely) the mutt (institution) of the Guru in favour of his own disciples only and not in any other for any reason whatsoever. (Cf. p. 115 Sri Narayana Dharmam, Verse 283, Varkala, 1957)

The relevant part of the ancient law of Yajnavalkya accepted here by the Guru and still recognized by Hindu tradition is:

'The heirs to the property of a Brahmachari (lifelong student), a Yati (ascetic), and a Vanaprastha (hermit) are respectively: the preceptor, a virtuous pupil (sat sishya) and a religious brother residing in the same holy place', (Quoted on p. 318, 'Hindu Law of Religious and Charitable Trust' by B. K. Mukherjea, Calcutta, 1952, originally from Yajnavalkya Smrithi II, 137). 

About the right of women to become Sannyasinis, the following is found in the Narayana Smrithi, p 108:

'A woman with santhi (calmness) and other sadhanas (such as the four recognized qualification of nitya-anitya viveka (discrimination between the lasting and the transitory values in life), passionlessness (vairagyam), samadi-shatkam (the six qualities of peace, endurance etc.), is fit for sannyasa just the same as in the case of men.' (v. 261)

The right of a man to take Sannyasa of his own accord after attaining 60 years of age is recognized in the Narayana Smrithi, p 57, as follows:

'One who has fulfilled all his obligations in proper manner, if he should wish to renounce his responsibilities, he could do so of his own accord after attaining his sixtieth age.' (v. 131)


(5)
THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE ORIGINAL GURU NARAYANA,
REGISTERED IN VARKALA, KERALA STATE, ABOUT 1925.
(translated from the Malayalam)

'This Will is being executed by us so that all religious and charitable institutions such as temples, sannyasi mutts, schools, industrial workshops etc. which belong to us and which are at present in our full possession and management, together with all movable and immovable properties pertaining thereto, should be inherited by Bodhananda, chief disciple residing at the Sivagiri Mutt which is the headquarters of all our charitable institutions, who has been this year formally ordained with water ritual according to usage on the eleventh day of Kanni (about September). During our lifetime these establishments and properties attached to them shall still be vested in me under my full rights of possession and management, and only after my life shall this instrument come into force. If it be deemed necessary in the meanwhile to make partial or wholesale changes in this Instrument we reserve full right to do so. After the term of our life the above-mentioned religious-charitable foundations and all other establishments belonging to them, together with any future properties that might come into our ownership hereafter, shall be taken possession of by above-mentioned Bodhananda, and after the term of life of the said Bodhananda the right of succession to these properties and establishments shall vest in a sannyasi chosen by majority from among the disciples who constitute the parampara (vertical hierarchical succession) of disciples, and in this manner this succession right shall continue to be vested always in this parampara way. Further it is laid down here that there should never come about any setback to the purity of the objectives or to the sustained progress of the said religious-charitable establishments whatever, even for once, and in case there is noticed any misdirection that might take place, then the remaining members of the said body (or bodies?) of disciples have full power to control the situation in legitimate manner.
(Sd) Narayana Guru.

Note: The first person plural 'We' is used as usual with the Guru. 'Dharma-sthapanam' has been translated 'religious-charitable establishment', as nearest equivalent. Ashramas could include Gurukulas. At the end of the text the ambiguous reference to body (or bodies?) of disciples is not without justification and is found in the Malaya- lam text itself.
The English equivalent of the year and month given above are only approximate to the lunar calendar which obtained in Kerala at the time.

N. B. The stress on the absolute one man succession according to Hindu tradition of the Parampara
Sampradaya is quite clear in this document.
Many existing organizations at present in the name of the Guru give only scant respect to this feature. Hence the justification for a proper Gurukula constituted in keeping with the Will and intentions of the original Guru Narayana.


(6)
THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF THE FOUNDER OF THE NARAYANA GURUKULA FOUNDATION,  NATARAJA GURU
(Translated from the Malayalam)

This is the Will, executed on the twenty fourth day of the month of February of the year one thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine at Chemmaruthi Pakuti in the Muttappalam Desam in the Srinivasapuram locality by Nataraja Guru, a Sannyasi residing at Narayana Gurukula, son of Dr. Palpu, sixty four years of age.

This Will is being executed so that John Spiers, residing in the Narayana Gurukula at Kaggalipura, Bangalore South District, who is my successor and chief disciple and one who has adopted the Sannyasin way of life, should inherit all institutions run on Gurukula lines including all mutts or Ashramas, together with all properties pertaining to them after my lifetime. During the term of my life all rights pertaining to these mutts and Ashramas, together with all properties thereof shall remain vested in me and only after my lifetime shall this Will come into force. I reserve full right to alter or nullify this instrument. After the term of my life all the above said mutts, Ashramas and all movable and immovable properties belonging to them and all properties that hereafter come to be mine shall be taken possession of by the said John Spiers, to be administered by him and after his lifetime the suc cession rights of all these mutts, Ashramas and properties shall vest in Swami Mangalananda and Yati Nitya Chaitanya respectively, who belong both to my parampara (vertical hierarchical succession) of my disciples who have been duly nominated by me this year on the first of January. In this manner this succession right shall and should endure in this parampara way always. There should never, in respect of even one of the religious-charitable establishments above mentioned, under the administration of any one of the Sannyasis occupying at the time as the Guru, any setback or deflection from the pure aims or to the sustained progress as indicated in the
Memorandum published together with announcements made each year, as made known. In continuation of the same and if any such misdirection should be seen to take place, then the remaining disciple members shall have every right in legitimate manner to control and set matters right. This Will is being executed voluntarily by the sad-sishya (true disciple) of our original Guru Narayana in order to respect his final wish as expressed by him which was to perpetuate a way of succession conforming to the Guru- Sishya Parampara of teacher-disciple way of continuity through generations, and is being recorded under his full initiative and responsibility.

Sd. Nataraja Guru. (Registered at the Varkala Sub-registry)


(7)
BRANCHES, RECORDS, STATEMENTS, BYE-LAWS, ANNUAL CONVENTIONS AND MISCELLANEOUS MATTERS.

The full-fledged branches after an interim period shall conform to the principle and model set by the Head or Centre Institution at Varkala. Interim arrangements could always be ordered by the Gurukula Head In case of newly founded branches till they become stable. An authorized representative who has become a disciple may be helped by a local advisory committee during the interim period. A certificate of affiliation will be issued after the interim period when greater conformity will be required.

The main records of each branch will be a logbook in which important events will be entered date-war by the person in charge from time to time. Special circumstances, if any, justifying any action of the person in charge, shall be duly explained therein. A daybook of accounts reflecting the finances of the institution with helpful remarks under each entry wherever such will clarify matters further should be maintained.

These records read together should give a correct picture and idea of happenings visible or calculable in the Gurukula.

Once a year before the annual convention at the
Headquarters in Varkala, a statement of affairs and transactions, with accounts, must be sent by each branch to the Head Office for incorporation in its general report. Quarterly statements may also be called for by the Head Office at its discretion. A standing-orders book is also to be maintained. The names of office-bearers etc. must be made known at least annually.

The Greater Gurukula and the Yellow Fellowship which Is meant for part-time or lay disciples will have a register opened and maintained for them at each branch. The list of members and the dakshina (token gift) shall be sent to the Head of the Gurukula each year at least before the last day of each Christian year sufficiently early as to reach him by the 1st. Jan. of the next year. Duplicates will be required so that an approved copy may be filed at the branch itself. The branch itself may hold Annual Conventions on the lines of the General Convention of the Headquarters to regulate clarify and find agreement on all matters of importance. No quorum will be required nor notice to each member for any measures adopted under the guidance of the Guru of the branch or head office on the 1st. January at the most important sitting of the Convention there, which will be on the morning at ten on that date each year. A paid or honorary records clerk may be appointed wherever necessary.

In case the Gurukula fails to function it shall merge with any original trust that might survive at the Sivagiri Mutt at Varkala. This contingency however is not expected to arise and what actually happens by the will of the Absolute might be the contrary.

The Head of the Gurukula at Varkala Narayana
Gurukula will have all powers of the Head in case the Head is not available at the spot. He could deputise for him in all matters of usual administration.


N. B.
a) The properties of the Gurukula form a Trust according to Indian (Hindu) tradition as explained in the Gurukula Memorandum above.
They are vested absolutely in the Head of the Gurukula; at any time in question he will appoint regional heads from among his chief disciples from time to time who will hold properties and legally represent him in each branch region as deemed suitable from time to time. In case of his own absence from Headquarters at Varkala the head of the Varkala region will have full authority to hold office and deal with property representing him legally in all matters of routine administration.

b) No next of kin of the founder or any office or property holder of the Gurukula Foundation as such can have any voice or right in the Gurukula affairs, nor can they claim any rights, as also outside members of the public, unless according to the spirit and scope of the rules and precedents of the Gurukula itself which is an autonomous body.

c) The basis of the organization itself being thyaga (renunciation), it goes without saying that no sharing of benefits or profits are envisaged as a matter of individual right. All give up in the interests of the whole and the Foundation as a whole will help those in special need. 'From each according to his ability and to each according to his need' is the principle involved besides equality and justice, based on Truth. Mechanical methods of counting heads or votes are discredited in favour of a spirit of give and take on all occasions. All gifts are supposed to be freely made and accepted as dakshina to the Guru as unconditional offerings to be used with his full discretion with no artificial strings attached nor personal expectation of any return benefit for oneself.


6

THE GURU ENIGMA
By NATARAJA GURU 
The short piece which appears below was written by the Guru in 1962, and treats of the enigma of the Universal value of Guruhood as embodied by Narayana Guru. What was applicable to the Guru Narayana may be seen to be at least as applicable to the disciple, the Guru Nataraja.

The notion of a Guru is an enigma to modern man. In the West, people in respectable company will not use this word because, to the ordinary man there, it would suggest a mystery-man belonging to the world of magic or hocus-pocus where pseudo-science thrives. The Yogi and the mystic associated with oriental thought and spirituality have in them some element which makes the respectable society man or even academic people raise their eyebrows in wonder or mistrust when such names are suddenly brought up in conversation. There are, of course, a smattering of people who are disposed in the opposite way and nourish an enthusiasm for oriental spirituality.
In India which is the one country where, from the Himalayas to the Cape this one word, above all others, is supposed to be traditionally understood, we are at present witnessing a strange phenomenon. Those who have come under the influence of the West and have been struck by the triumphs of modern science and technology, and who fill the ranks of the educated middle and upper stratifications of Indian society at the present day, have developed a strange attitude towards all that was once taken for granted. Some of them go to the extent of being more royalist than the King himself in the repugnance they exhibit for higher spiritual subjects as well as values. They out-do their counterparts in the West. It is easier any day to hold a pleasant conversation with a Westerner on such subjects than with a young man or woman of India who has had even a superficial veneer given to his Western educational finish. The poorest and the unsophisticated, however, whether in the North or in the South of India, are the only custodians of the precious heritage of which even the modernized ones may often be heard to boast, off and on, when advantageous to them. Drab utilitarianism verging on low practical vulgarity often passes for high rationalism or virtue in our time. The well-dressed and England-returned young man who is successful in life often cultivates the wrong attitudes and vices that have spelt the fall of Western Civilization.

The Guru Narayana presents to the rising generation of present-day India a challenge as well as an enigma. Both rightist and leftist ideological adherents alternately claim him and quote his words to their own advantage. This in itself is not a bad sign; but when they fail to recognize in the Guru the veritable Guru-quality which is the one distinguishing feature of Guruhood so well understood by the masses of India through the thousands of years of its history, the situation is nothing short of a tragic one. The Guru Narayana must be looked upon as a veritable teacher of Wisdom, and thus belongs to mankind.

SAFEGUARDING GURUKULA INTEGRITY
The Gurukula is a foundation devoted to Absolute Wisdom teaching. A Guru as its Head lives with his disciples to make it into a family based not on blood, but on the love of knowledge. Men and women normally live separately. Marriage is not to be obstructed, but all disciples irrespective of sex, race or religion, kind to life and generous in disposition, live a dedicated life of Thyaga (renunciation) without lucrative or sensuous motives, as Vidyarthis (wisdom seekers) free from relativistic affiliations. Thus it is a corporate body, owning properties for its free and exclusive functioning to fulfil its high purpose. Its total structure reflects that of each sub-unit, to make a central Gurukula of all Gurukulas united by the same overall purpose of securing the Good of All and the General Good without conflict whether internal, external or intrinsic. Succession to the Headship is with absolute discretionary powers to admit or refuse disciples follows the vertical hierarchical pattern known as Parampara on the Indian soil. (These principles are already clearly outlined in the Will of the original Guru Narayana, as in his other writings known as the 'Ashrama', the 'Smriti' etc., for which please see above). The integrity of such a unique body, though not unknown to cultured Indian minds, sadly needs to be defended again so as to safeguard it against internal as well as external dangers, of which red lights are still coming into evidence even now with their alarming warnings. This message is meant to fulfil the function of reaffirmation of the solidarity of the Gurukula and its re-dedication so as to re-integrate it as a self-sufficient, self-propelling, auto-adjusting, self-regulating retroactive double-sided cybernetically balanced economic unit, cancelling at each stage getting with spending, one against many, surplus numerator value against the negative drag of necessity, in its progressive function of saving humans from the ocean of relativism (samsara) which is its main purpose - to help them cross over to the Absolute shore beyond. Further features of this body are its non-competitiveness, its impersonal anonymity, its unlimited liability and all-out co-operation between man and man, without counting of share-based votes and without money or sensuality as leading motives. Ends and means cancel out neutrally here. 'From each according to his ability and to each according to his need' is the guiding rule. Thus Salvation, Samadhi, or Nirvana can spell the same freedom of non-duality.

By NATARAJA GURU