[Query] Why does a kaula who has taken saktopaya need japam or worship? My guru guided us saying this is anupaaya maargam. Please clear my confusion.

There are two things you are trying to link here: kaula and shAktopAya. Let’s take what is relevant to this discussion, which is shAktopAya. There are three upAyas: shAmbhava, shAkta and ANavopAya. While what you speak of as kaula or simply shAkta upAsanA (be it vAma or dakSha) can be fit into this scheme roughly, possibly between the last two upAyas (ANava is the least or the lowest but abhinavaguptapAdAcharya always starts with the highest and following the same tradition, vidvAns have regarded shAkta and ANavopAyas as the last two). But the fourth and the highest path is of anupAya which is beyond the three. anupAya or no-means technique is not a technique per say but simply a glorious experience of the anuttara beyond the twin aspects of transcendence and immanence aka shiva and shakti. Thus anupAya denotes liberation itself and not a pathway to it for it is summarized by abhinavaguptapAdAchArya as svAtmavishrAnti, although it is allegorically represented as AnandopAya. While anupAya is simply this, shAstra classifies it into two: anAkhya and sUkShmopAya. The highest category of Yogis in who shines the shivadR^iShTi resplendently, appear on material planes fully enlightened and they are true adhikArins for anupAya as they need no upAya or practice. This experience which is indescribable is anAkhya. This indeed is true anupAya. The next category of Yogis who are completely purified and almost ready to embrace anupAya are eligible for sUkShmopAya or the subtle path where a gaze of the guru or tattvopadesha is sufficient to immediately propel the consciousness of the disciple into the sphere of transcendence. Thus, sadyaH muktAH are those yogis who adopt sUkShmopAya. One can refer to shiva dR^iShTi where somAnanda says:

When Shiva who is omnipresent is known just once through the firm insight that arises of pramANa, shAstra and deshika vAkya, no upAya serves any purpose and even bhAvanA is of no further utility.

It is up to oneself to conclude if he/she qualifies for anupAya.

Hare krShNa

guru pAdukA

[Query] Respected Sir, What is the correct order to worship? Guru, paramaguru and paramesthi guru or other way round?
Should we add om before guru mantram?

namaH shrIpurabhairavyai

The general order for worship is guru, paramaguru and parameSTi guru. The pramANa for the same is hAdimata:

svaguruM prathamaM pUjya tatpashchAt paramaM gurum |
parameShTiguruM pashchAtpUjayedgurumantrataH ||

There could be exceptions, when there is an explicit shAstra pramANa to reverse this order, like during the gurumaNDala pUjA.

As for pAdukA mantra, there are various versions. Many including vidyAnandanAtha have used praNava before tritArI and there have been several threads on this topic in the past. Searching the group archive would pull them out. I can only speak for what I am taught. The pAdukA mantra we are taught is from hamsa mAheshvara and it does not use praNava at the beginning:

tritAraM cha kumArIM cha haMsaH shiva samuddharet ||

vande gurum shankaram

sAMkhya-yoga: 1

By mahAmahopAdhyAya j~nAnaku~njastha shrIgopInAtha kavirAja

In the history of Indian Philosophy, the controversy over the doctrine of causality is very old indeed. Although the nature of the controversy has varied from time to time, the fundamental problem has persisted. It is this: what is the relation between the cause and the effect? Does the cause contain the effect in its implicit form or is the effect a new thing altogether? What are the presuppositions of the genetic process? Does it imply simply a gradual unfoldment of what lies within, as eternally existing, or is it a creation ex nihil?

We know that various answers can be given to these questions according to the differences of our viewpoint. The naiyAyika, with his commonsense and realistic assumptions, would naturally be inclined to favor the view which maintains an absolute difference between the material cause and the effect. To him, the cause and the effect are two distinct concepts, though bound together by a mysterious tie of relationship; for it cannot be gainsaid, the naiyAyika would say, that though the effect is distinct from its cause, indeed from everything else in creation, by virtue of its own apparent individuality, it still inheres in it during its existence, and that even when it does not exist, i.e. before its production and after its destruction, its non-existence, technically known as prAgbhAva and dhvamsa, is predicable of its cause alone. As to what constitutes this bond of affinity, nothing is said beyond the fact that it is in the nature of an effect to be thus intimately related to its own material cause. It is an ultimate fact and has to be accepted as such.

This appeal to “the nature of things” on the part of the naiyAyika amounts practically to a confession of weakness of his theory. The yogin, who is an advocate of satkAryavAda, rejects the naiyAyika hypothesis and affirms that the effect, in so far as its essence is concerned, is identical with the cause from which it comes forth. The s-called production and destruction do not really mean that the product comes into and passes away from existence. Every product being an aspect of the supreme prakr^iti in which it exists somehow involved and identified as an eternal moment, creation out of nothing and annihilation is an absurdity. Production, therefore, is differentiation and dissolution is re-integration. The process of becoming, with which the problem of causality has to deal, does indeed imply a change, but it is a change conceived as the transition of a dharma from an unmanifest to a manifest state and from the manifest back into the unmanifest condition. The substrate of change is everywhere and always an existing unit.

The sum and substance of the satkAryavAdin’s contention seems to be this. We all must start from the assumption, under the necessity of our thought, that being comes from being and not from not-being, and that an absolute void giving rise to being is inconceivable. The denial of this principle would land us in contradictions. We conclude, therefore, that the effect is real or sat.

In the text-books of the school, we find a set of five arguments brought forward to establish the reality (sattA) of the effect, even before its origin:

1. The fact that what is asat or unreal cannot be subject to the causal operation or kAraka vyapAra.
2. The fact that an appropriate material (upAdAna) is resorted to for bringing about a certain effect; in other words, that every material is not by nature capable of producing every effect. This means that the material cause, which is somehow related to the effect in question, brings about that effect. But if the effect did not exist, there would be no relation and consequently no production. An unrelated material is no material at all.
3. And if the necessity of the relation between the material and the effect be not admitted, it would imply that the fitness of the material is not a condition of production and that any effect could result from any cause. This would be subversive of all order and so against our experience.
4. This difficulty cannot be got over by the assumption of shakti, as the mImAmsakas seem to do. They declare that an effect, before origin, is indeed non-existent or asat and that the cause is therefore indeed unrelated. Still, there would be no irregularity, for we admit, they say, that the cause, in so far as it possesses a Shakti favorable to a certain effect, does produce that effect. As to the question whether the cause possesses a particular Shakti or not, it can only be answered a fortiori, for it is inferred by observation of the effect.
5. The last argument is that the effect is nothing different from the cause. If the cause be existent, there is no reason to maintain that the effect, which is only a mode of the cause, should be non-existent (asat).

We have already said that according to sAMkhya, unlike nyAya-vaisheShika, the relation between cause and effect is declared to be identity (tAdatmya). The naiyAyika, with his pragmatic attitude towards reality, makes utility the criterion of existence and approaches the problem in a semi-Buddhistic fashion. To him, therefore, the effect, say a jar, is altogether a distinct entity from its cause, clay, for both do not serve the self-same purpose. This is artha-kriyA bheda. Besides, there are other grounds, which help a realist philosopher to differentiate one object from another. These are buddhi (pratIti), vyapadesha and arthakriyA vyavasthA. On these grounds too, the naiyAyika seeks to establish the difference of the effect from the cause. Thus, the notion of jar is distinct from that of clay and consequently corresponding to this notional or logical difference, the naiyAyika would say, there must be a real difference in the objective world. In other words, jar and clay, as objective realities, must be mutually different [Note: So too, differences of names and functions point to a difference in reality - edit].

These are some of the stock arguments of the naiyAyika. But they do not appear to have much weight against the sAMkhya-yoga position. They lose their point as soon as they are aimed at a system in which the so-called Realism finds little support. The arthakriyAbheda is really no sure test of objective difference, for the same object may have different arthakriyAs; nor is arthakriyA vyavasthA a test, for different collocations of the same cause may serve different purposes. The difference of names, viz. clay and jar, is no proof of difference either, for in that case, a forest would have to be postulated as different from the individual trees composing it.

The true relation between the cause and the effect, therefore, is that the effect is a dharma, an aspect of the cause and constitutes a mode of it. The primart prakR^iti being the equilibrium of the three guNas, the effects or vikAras are nothing but various modifications and collocations of it. In essence, the cause and the effect are identical, for both consist of guNas and it is in difference of collocation (samsthAna bheda) that the difference between the two, as it reveals itself to our consciousness, consists. And this difference in collocation is a peculiar manifestation. That of which it is a manifestation remains always in the background, unmanifest. In the last resort, the cause, the prakR^iti, the Materia Prima, is the unmanifest and the effect, the vikAra, is the manifested world, as always held within the bosom of that unmanifest, universal being [Note: Observe the use of the word bosom; shrImAn discusses elsewhere the inspiration drawn by shAkta tantra and Mother Worship from sAmkhya and yoga].

The doctrine of satkArya, therefore implies, as we often find in Indian Philosophy, that the universe, with an infinite number of cosmic systems belonging to it, is always existing in prakR^iti as its aspects. The evolution of a universe out of void has no meaning. The Buddhists, together with the naiyAyika and the vaisheShika, believe that the product has no existence prior to its origination and that it loses its existence as soon as it is destroyed. What this really means and how far it is justified we shall try to explain elsewhere. But we may just observe here that the whole doctrine of satkArya is a blow to this position.

To make the Yoga thesis clearer, we give here a brief analysis of its concept of substance or dharmin. In the technical nomenclature of Indian Philosophy, the term dharmin bears the sense of substrate, subject, that in which something is held, that of which something is predicated etc. Dharma means the aspect of dharmin, predicate, content and so forth. All predication, and therefore all judgment, involves the affirmation (vidhAna) or denial (niShedha) of a particular dharma with reference to a particular dharmin. In fact, every preposition, which is an expression of judgment, bears testimony to the fact of predication. Now, though predication is made and our entire phenomenal existence is necessarily based upon this, the subject of predication remains always, so far as its nature and essence are concerned, a point of controversy. When it is said that the flower is red, the proposition is certainly intelligible to commonsense, but on closer examination, the meaning of the proposition furnishes a topic for discussion. It reveals the same old problem which nAgasena raised before Menander more than 2000 years ago. What is that to which I am attributing redness? What is meant by the flower? Is it a mere bundle (samghAta) of sensible qualities or is there a real objective ground, a substrate, to which the qualities are attached by some natural relations? There are two answers that are generally given to this question. The first answer is of the Buddhists and in a certain sense of the vaiyAkaraNas. The second answer comes from the naiyAyika. The Vedantic position on this question is one of compromise between Idealism and Realism, but it tends towards the former. And the yoga view too is more or less idealistic, though with an important qualification.

In other words, the Buddhists deny the existence of a substance away from the qualities and a whole as a distinct from the parts. Bu the Realists, to whom the external world has an objective, extra-mental value, are not satisfied with this view. They posit a real substance in which various qualities inhere and which is not a mere collection of guNas but has an independent existence. So too with the whole (avayavI) which results, as a distinct and independent object, from the combination of parts. In vedAnta, also, the former view is favored. AchArya shankara, in bR^ihadAraNyaka bhAShya, plainly denies substantiality to the atoms and describes them as mere guNas. The Yoga theory is clearer on the point. It is said indeed that dharma is the guNa or a set of guNas by which the dharmin is made known to us and that this guNa may be any of the sensible qualities, viz., color, sound, etc. or any of their combinations. But this ought not to imply that there is any fundamental distinction between dharma and dharmin. Both these are, paramArthataH, one. They are different only in vyavahAra. And since this difference between dharma and dharmin and between one dharma and another is founded on the appearance and disappearance of the dharmas, which is due to time limitation, it is evident that in eternity, where there is no distinction between past and future, all the dharmas are in a sense identical, not only with one another but even with the dharmin to which they are referred. This ultimate dharmin is the unmanifest prakR^iti whose infinite modes (vikArAH) are the infinite dharmas, of which those which are present to our consciousness are called present and the rest is characterized either as past or as future. The dharmas are, therefore, only the varying manifestations of the guNas of primary Matter. That is, prakR^iti as modified in a particular manner is known as a particular dharma or vikAra.

The Yoga philosophy, especially the system propounded by pata~njali and vyAsa, accepts in the main the views of the rival school of the sAmkhyas. The yoga view of causality is, therefore, in all essential features almost identical with the sAmkhya.

From what we have said regarding satkAryavAda, it must have been made clear that the yoga (and sAmkhya) notion of causality has a distinct character of its own. The word cause means indeed a necessary pre-condition of a subsequent event; this meaning is common to the other systems; it also accepts the anvaya and vyatireka as the guiding principles for the discovery of causality. But the characteristic doctrine remains to be noted.

If we observe the world of change and analyze it carefully, we find that every change involves a double element:

a. A transitional one
b. A permanent one

When clay is molded into the form of a jar, we are accustomed to speak of this molding as an instance of change. Evidently here too, there are two elements present, viz., clay and the forms that appear and disappear in it. The forms are all transitional, they come and go, but the matter, the clay, for instance, is relatively permanent. It is, therefore, said to be the substrate of these changes of forms, through all of which its unity remains unbroken. Before the production of jar, clay had a definite form viz, lump, which disappeared and made room for the appearance of a new form, viz., jar, and the destruction of the jar again is nothing but the disappearance of the jar form and the appearance of a fresh one in its place, and so on till Universal Dissolution when Matter will absorb within itself all its forms and regain its pristine formless and blank character. But during creation, it stands as the background for the play of these countless fleeting forms. From this will be obvious what the relation between matter, the dharmin, and the form, the dharma is. Every change being a kind of causation, true causal relation must be understood as meaning the relation of the form to the matter and not as the Buddhists would contend, of one form with another. In the chain of causation, of course, one form may be spoken of as the cause of another, but it is not by virtue of itself but of the matter which is its content. In the technical language of sAmkhya-yoga, all causal relation is prakR^iti vikR^iti bhava, prakR^iri being the cause and vikR^iti the effect.

But the meaning of the term prakR^iti is very often misunderstood. It is generally supposed to stand for the samavAyi kAraNa of the vaisheShika or for the material cause of the Scholastics. There is no doubt that what is meant by samavAyi kAraNa falls under prakR^iti, but the latter includes the so-called nimittas as well. If we leave aside for the present the question of asamavAyi kAraNa, which is a peculiarity of the vaisheShika alone, we may conveniently divide prakR^iti into a two-fold aspect, upAdAna and nimitta.

Thus although prakR^iti is one and the question of causal classification is, therefore, out of place is sAmkhya, it becomes intelligible why we find mention of a two-fold division of the causal principle. This division is really a concession to the demands of empiric consciousness, and is resorted to just as in vedAnta, truly speaking, sAmkhya-yoga, as much as vedAnta, is an advocate of the identity of nimitta and upAdAna. In other words, the distinction between nimitta and upAdAa is a pseudo-distinction, and has no existence on the plane of pure prakR^iti which is universal Being and Essence. It is only when prakR^iti has evolved herself into the first stadium, into the mahat, that we find this distinction, of nimitta and upAdAna, like every other distinction, probably brought out. The function of the nimitta, therefore, is not to serve, as with the vaisheShika, as an external principle of movement, the effectuating factor in the universal Becoming. prakR^iti is self-moved (svataH pariNAminI), motion is inherent in it by nature and does not come to it from without. It (as rajas) is an aspect of its Being. The efficiency of nimitta, and this is all that we mean by causal operation, consists only in the removal of the prohibens in the way of prakR^iti (tamaH, AvaraNa) and in the consequent liberation of the vikAras, the forms, held so long in confinement within the womb of prakR^iti.

For practical purposes, therefore, we may distinguish in our system between two kinds of causes at work, the material and the efficient. What Aristotle designated as formal causes does not seem to possess here a causal character at all. And we shall find that the so-called final causes of Aristotle fall under the category of nimitta.

Let us try to understand the position more clearly. We have said that the material cause, the prakR^iti qua upAdAna, possesses an eternal
motion inherent in itself and is not an inert substance required to be moved from outside. It possesses in potential infinite forms towards the manifestation of which it has a natural proneness; but this manifestation is held in check by a retarding force which, as we shall find later on, is identical with the merit or demerit of jIva with whose personal experience the manifestation is directly concerned. As soon as this force is counteracted by an opposite force, e.g., merit by demerit and vice versa, the path of evolution becomes clear and the material transforms itself into the appropriate effect. The block of stone for instance, contains involved within itself any kind of image, but it is able to manifest a particular image, and this manifestation is called production, only when the particular AvaraNa which stands in the way of its manifestation is removed by the sculptor’s chisel. The removal of this AvaraNa constitutes the efficiency of the nimitta, and is the sum and substance of all causal operation. The nimittas do not lend any impulse to the material nor can they bring out what is not implicitly contained in it. The apt illustration in the yogabhAShya (4.3) of the water in a reservoir on a higher level flowing of itself into the lower fields when a leakage or an outlet is made in the embankment, will clear up our point. Further, since every subsidiary prakR^iti, finite cause, is ultimately permeated by and coincident with pure prakR^iti, it naturally follows that every individual thing in nature contains every other thing potentially. The arguments in sAnkhyakArikA viz. upAdAnaniyamAt etc. are in consonance with our ordinary experience which justifies this restriction. An effect, to be brought forth, requires an appropriate material (and appropriate subsidiary causes). This is so, because we are dealing with limited prakR^iti and with limited human resources. But to the yogin, to whom the entire prakR^iti is open, it is easy to evolve anything from anything.

Thus, we need not seek for a principle of effectuation in prakR^iti outside of its own nature (svabhAva). This independence, on the part of the prakR^iti, of an extrinsic influence is called her svAtantrya or freedom. Vij~nAna bhikShu shows (yogavArttika) that the only possible cause of pravR^itti is the nature of the guNas (guNasvAbhAvyam tu pravR^ittikAraNamuktam guNAnAm). It is universally admitted that the particles of matter (aNu) are in perpetual motion in space. This motion is the vague vibration characteristic of the atoms and is to be distinguished from the definite motion which brings two atoms together (dravyArambhaka) so as to form a substance. This motion does not serve any moral purpose, i.e., does not produce bhoga; hence merit and demerit cannot be its cause. Nor is this motion due to a special act of God’s will, for it would be assuming too much. It is more reasonable, therefore, to think of it as natural. Vij~nAna bhikShu further points out that the nimittas are not found to be necessary and indispensable in the manifestation of an effect, for the yogin, by a mere act of his will, can bring forth anything that he pleases and for creation he does not stand in need of any human instruments. Similarly, in the beginning of creation, things, e.g., seeds, are produced by God’s will merely, without the help of any positive precedent conditions, e.g. similar other seeds. All this goes to corroborate the view that the nimittas have not a direct causality in the production of an object. They help, each in its own way, to rouse the evolving power of prakR^iti, viz., karma (merit and demerit) by breaking the AvaraNa which is a dharma opposed to itself, God’s will by breaking all kinds of AvaraNa beginning with the greatest one i.e. state of equilibrium, kAla by rousing karmas etc., and the ordinary instruments, danas etc., by retarding the possibility of manifestation of other effects.

But what is the aim of all this manifestation? What is its end? An answer to this would furnish us with what Aristotle calls final causes of creation. It is admitted that all movement presupposes an end to be realized; without an end there can be no activity:

prayojanamanuddishya na mando.api pravartate |

This end is however variously conceived:

1. Firstly, it is pleasure or pain, which the jIva is bound to experience in consequence (i.e. as the fruits or phala) of his previous karma. In common parlance, this experience is known as bhoga and jIva as bhoktA.
2. The author of yogabhAShya sets forth that this aim is twofold, pleasure or absence of pain. The former is bhoga and the latter is apavarga. It is either of these two which is the object of a man’s striving (puruShArtha). Pleasure or bhoga, when further analyzed, would be found to embrace the three varieties of end, viz. dharma, artha and kAma. But the Supreme end is indeed apavarga.

In the sAnkhya kArikA (42), it is clearly stated that the puruShArtha actuates the li~Nga (pravartaka). This artha is:

a. Experience of pleasure and pain on the ascertainment of viShayas, or
b. Denial of viShayas on the ascertainment of distinction between prakR^iti and puruSha.

In other words, every movement is either towards viShaya bhoga or towards bhoga tyAga i.e. peace. But as bhoga is the necessary precedent of tyAga, and must eventually be followed by it, sooner or later, it may be said with reason that the end of all movement is this tyAga, which in its highest form is dissociation from prakR^iti and self-realization. It is the One Event to which the whole creation moves.

The perpetual unrest and agitation which we observe around us will have their close only when this Supreme End is attained. The course of evolution, for each individual, will terminate when he realizes the essential nature of his own self:

tataH pariNAmakramasamAptiH guNAnAm |

For apart from the individual for whom it is intended, the evolution of Nature has no other meaning. As to the further question whether Nature as a whole will ever cease we have nothing to say here. This concept will be discussed separately in connection with the doctrine of praLaya.

Without going into further detail at this point we may note that the conception of causality in sAnkhya yoga is as much mechanical as it is teleological. Leaving out the other auxiallry factors and confining ourselves to karman alone we kind that it both efficient (though negatively so as already pointed out) as well as final. Everything in Nature has its end. It will be found that even the objective inequalities in creation are not explicable except on the hypothesis of the determining principle. A thing is what it is, not by chance but, as it were, by necessity. If the external world exists, and has come into being, to serve as the object of experience (pleasure or pain) of a conscious subject and would vanish for him, as soon as that purpose is fulfilled, it is easy to follow that its varieties must be occasioned by that principle, moral in its nature, which governs the varieties of such experience; and consequently all instruments and efficient factors must work in subordination to this Supreme Governor. So far, therefore, the whole scheme of Nature, appears to be teleological.

But karman is not the last word. It is worked off partly in natural course by fruition and is ultimately transcended by the light of Supreme Widsom which reveals the Self as it is and as distinct from prakR^iti. This is the final term of the evolutionary series. From this point of view, too, the scheme of Nature would be found to be pervaded by finality.

This analysis of ours leaves out of account what Aristotle calls formal causes. Though the forms, as conceived in the sAnkhya-yoga and even in the nyAya-vaisheShika are not considered to have a causal character strictly, they are not important in the order of creation, so far as the specialties of the individuals are concerned. They will be discussed elsewhere.

Margazhi Raagam

“People from all over the world come to Chennai in the Tamil month of Margazhi (Dec 15 to Jan 15) to experience the music that mingles with the chill and mist in the air. Hundreds of concerts everyday for 30 days makes the Chennai music festival one of a kind in the world. Bombay Jayashri and T.M. Krishna come together in Margazhi Raagam to take this Chennai magic all over the world. Conceived and directed by Jayendra, with cinematography by P.C. Sreeram and audiography by H. Sridhar, this 110 minutes concert is set to change audience perception of live concerts, and open their eyes to a new musical experience. This concert, to be released in digital cinemas across the world, is sure to take Carnatic music beyond the conventional classical music audiences and reach people who love music from different cultures across the globe.

Aghal Films spontaneously decided to take Jayendra’s concept of Concert in Cinema forward. The idea was to give Carnatic music an evocative visual appeal and the sound quality that the music deserves. Using the latest high end, 4k RED Digital Cinema Camera in a seven camera shoot, digitally recording sound on Protools, editing on Avid systems, confirming and colour correcting on Digital Vision tools, mixing the sound in Media Artists - a THX certified stage, Real Image has put an array of technologies to use to make Margazhi Raagam a one of a kind musical experience”.

Legacy of Higgins is Alive!

Kudos to Sri Balu for being such an amazing inspiration.