Wednesday, October 13, 2010

shAkta siddhAnta – 12

This worldly soul is technically known as sakala, being endowed with body, senses etc. corresponding to the tattva or bhuvana to which it belongs. Such souls range from the lowest plane to the plane of kalA and migrate from plane to plane according to their karmans. There is another state of the soul in which the mAyIya mala as described above is absent, but the other two malas continue as before. This is a state of pralaya or dissolution in which the soul is free from all the creative principles, is in a disembodied condition and remains absorbed in mAyA. Such souls are called pralayAkalas or pralaya-kevalins. These are bodiless and senseless atoms with karma-samskAras and the root Ignorance clinging to them. When, however, the karmans are got rid of through discriminative knowledge, renunciation or such other means, the soul is exalted above mAyA, though still retaining its atomic state. It is then above mAyA no doubt, but remains within the limits of mahAmAyA which it cannot escape unless the Supreme Grace of the Divine Master acts upon it and removes the basic Ignorance which caused its atomicity and the limitation of its infinite powers. This state of the soul represents the highest condition of the pashu known as vijnAnAkala or vijnAna-kevalin. This is kaivalya. Among these souls those which are thoroughly mature in respect of their impurity are competent to receive divine illumination at the beginning of the next creative cycle. The dawn of divine wisdom which is the result of the anugraha (divine grace) acting upon the soul is the origin of the so-called shuddha-vidyA.

The illumination of a mature vijnAnAkala is either intense or mild according as the kaluSha or original taint attached to the soul has run its course completely or otherwise, the former types of souls are raised to the status of vidyeshvaras and the latter become mantras. The sakala and pralayAkala souls, too, in which the mala is mature, are favored with divine grace and raised to the position of:

1. Mantreshvaras (and AchAryas) and placed in charge of the different divisions of brahmANDa or the planes belonging to pR^ithivI-tattva, and of
2. Bhuvaneshvaras or lokeshvaras with powers over the planes belonging to the higher tattvas beyond pR^ithivI.

The pralayAkalas, however, where mala is immature but karma mature, are associated with subtle bodies called puryaShTaka at the beginning of the next cycle and made to assume physical bodies and migrate from life to life, thus maturing the mala through experience. The shAkta belief in threefold nature of the soul is comparable to the conviction of the Ophites and their predecessors the Ophici in the West – it presupposes a faith that the division corresponds to the degrees of grace and does not imply any essential difference. It is true, however, that according to the dualists, some difference does exist between shiva and paramashiva. The Valentinian conception of essential distinction in human souls has also its parallel in India as evident from the views of sections of Jainas, Buddhist and vaiShNava writers, but finds no recognition in the Tantras.

The states of the soul which follow are not those of a pashu but of shiva himself, though certain limitations still remain. These limitations are those of adhikAra, bhoga and laya according to the dualists (shrIkaNTha in ratna-traya). They are removed in due course of time through fulfillment of experiences etc., in the pure order. The pure order of shuddha-adhvan represents the higher world of pure matter beyond the influence of mAyA.

The successive stages of spiritual perfection consequent on the dawn of wisdom are represented by the tattvas to which the souls are attached. Thus the lowest stage is that of a mantra which corresponds to shuddha-vidyA. The higher states are those of mantreshvaras corresponding to Ishvara-tattva, of mantra-maheshvaras corresponding to sadAshiva and of shiva corresponding to the tattva known under that name. the state of shiva is really transcendent, being that of pure and absolute consciousness, but the true Absolute is paramashiva bhaTTAraka where identity with all the tattvas as well as their transcendence are present simultaneously.

Due to the limitation of its powers the Self is bound. The shAktas hold that there are certain hidden forces latent in chidAkAsha, known as mAtR^ikAs, which reside over the malas referred to above and over the kalAs or letter-sounds of the language. The supreme mAtR^ikA, known as ambikA, has three aspects: jyeShThA, raudrI and vAmA, each of them having a specific function. The kalAs are the ultimate units of human speech with which thought is inextricably interwoven. The mAtR^ikAs beget in each soul, in each act of its knowledge, determinate or indeterminate, an inner cognition (antaH-parAmarsha) and produce a sort of confusion there on account of intermingling with shabda. Knowledge in this manner assumes the form of joy, sorrow, desire, aversion, conceit, fear, hope, etc., under the influence of these forces. This is how bhAvas originate and govern the unregenerate human soul. mAtR^ikAs are thus the secret bonds which bind down a soul, but when they are truly known and their essence is revealed, they help it in attaining siddhi.

These forces function in chidAkAsha so long as the brahma-granthi is not rent asunder. This granthi is evidently the node of identity between spirit and matter and is the spring of ego-sense in man. The moral effect of kuNDalinI is so far clear. It is maintained that if the mAtR^ikA is not propitiated and if the node is not removed, it is likely that even after the rise of truth-consciousness the soul may, owing to inadvertence (pramAda), be caught up in its snares, get entangled in the meshes of shabda and lapse into ignorance or go astray.

The Divine Will is one and undivided, but it becomes split up after the origin of the mAtR^ikAs which evolve out of the nAda co-eternal with this Will. This split in icChA or svAtantrya causes a separation between jnAna and kriyA, its constitutive aspects. This is practically identical with what is described as a divorce between svAtantrya and bodha or vimarsha and prakAsha, which takes place on the assumption of atomic condition by the Supreme Self. In this condition jnAna evolves into three inner and five outer senses, and kriyA into five prANas and five motor organs connected respectively with the vital and reflex activities of the organism.

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