Home > Kalākośa > Kalāsamālocana Series > List of Books > Prakrti Series > The Agamic Tradition and the Arts

THE AGAMIC TRADITION AND THE ARTS

[ Previous Page | Contents of the Book | Next Page ]


Ritual Sublimation of Elements

In P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama

Prabhakar P. Apte

Illustrations

The Ëgamas in general and the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama in particular, have conceived and ritually effected a sublimation of gross and subtle elements (mah¡bh£tas and tanm¡tras) in various areas of regular and occasional rituals. The noteworthy ritual item is found in bh£ta¿uddhi or elemental purification, a pre-requisite of bahihp£j¡ and m¡nasap£j¡. It can be compared to an over-hauling of a machine. The overhauling in the case of the gross and subtle body is taken to the subtlest layer of elemental composition of the human body. The process of bh£ta¿uddhi may he described as a psycho-yogic process. The elemental components are made universally pervasive and are then meditatively reduced to ashes with the help of cidagni (fire of consciousness) and later on rejuvenated by sprinkling of divine nectar thereover. Thus the gross and subtle elements constituting the body of a devotee are sublimated. In this paper, it is proposed to present a critical appreciation of this unique rituo-yogic procedure in p¡µcar¡tra Ëgama.

Elements are also found deified in Agamic rituals and are visualized in some shapes and colours. A note of this contribution is also proposed to betaken in this paper. The third area where the mah¡bh£tas are artistically made use of are the diagrams of man¸·alas in general and vastuma¸·ala in particular. The diagrams are said to be a microcosmic reflection of the macrocosm.[i] It isproposed to place before the scholars the approach towards and treatment of the mah¡bh£tas as found in the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama. 

In Ëgamas five distinct tasks have been assigned to devotees by following which one is able to attain sam¡dh¢ and finally the direct vision of the Lord. These five stages are as follows;

 (1) Abhigamana, (2) Up¡d¡na (3) Ijjy¡ (4) Sv¡dhy¡ya, and (5) Yoga, are assigned for five tasks.[ii] The first covers the period before sunrise, beginning from b¡hama-muh£rta, i.e., early dawn; the fifth take the earlier portion of the night after the sunset. The second and third accommodate themselves up to noon and the fourth ranges from noon to sunset.

The first, is abhigamana or 'approach to the Almighty' with ardent surrender coupled with japa, i.e., muttering of the divine name, dhy¡na or meditation and stotra or laudation.[iii] Immediately after breaking sleep while about half of the night is yet to pass, the devotee should meditate upon the Supreme Power and offer prayers topurify one's actions throughout the day.[iv] The action of dhy¡na may fall directly under introverts' region; but the japa and stotra are at least on border. Surrender into the Lord (Visnu)[v] with various names is more important. This period exclusively aims at a direct contact between the God and the devotee; it is a pretty long time when one finds seclusion and solitude coupled with quietude of time and atmosphere. During this period, almost everyone is required to be an introvert at least for a while.[vi]

The second portion called up¡d¡na is reserved for purely a mechanical activity of equipment of the idol worship. Having done this, the devotee is to embark on the ritual of worship technically called ijjy¡k¡la, covering late hours of the forenoon. The p£j¡ especially that in the temple and also that at the time of festivals in renowned shrines is a meticulous process of very many mechanicalactivities. However, it includes some processes wherein the performer has to shut his eyes so as to yoke his inner faculties. Two such topics which rather form independent units, and which have received a fair treatment in the Samhit¡s are the bh£ta¿uddhi or 'elemental purification' and m¡nasay¡ga or 'worship-within'. The first comes under ijjya no doubt but actually may be treated as the finishing touch to the up¡d¡na activity which has a double mission -collection of materials and their purification even the body purification of the devotee. Bh£ta¿uddhi aims at purification of the elements which go to form the body. The m¡nsay¡ga is the first part of the ijjy¡ wherein the entire function is performed with closed eyes with all abstract aid. Having done this, he is eligible to go on with the Ào·a¿opac¡rap£j¡.

Bh£ta¿uddhi: Elemental Purification.

External bath and cleansing alone does not render the human body completely pure so as to make fit for worship. Evil thought, speech and actions too go on besmearing the body particles with impurities. Ëgamas provide with a highly scientific and technical process for overhauling the entire body constitution and rejuvenating it every time before the performance of the p£j¡, since it is a must in accomplishing an atmosphere of purity, piety, sanctity, and serenity in the sanctum sanctorum, where the Lord is to be invoked to come and stay. So without the performance of the bh£ta¿uddhi, the arcaka is not recognized to be eligible for the p£j¡.  

The process of the elemental purification may be summarized as under:

The devotee shuts his eyes and open his inner sight to visualize that Lord ViÀ¸u is seated on the Supreme Altar. He then gradually elevates Him on way upwards through the right-hand portion of the 'suÀumn¡ vein', seeing Him reclining on a 'circular orb' glowing like a cluster of a thousand suns. This seat, as he perceives is made up of mantras and resting twelve angulas (fingers - a measurement) above the luminous disc (prabh¡cakra) with a substratum made of elements. The devotee further perceives the Lord to assume a body of mantras alone.[vii]

Just below the seat of the Lord, devotee sees a square shape piece of floor, yellow in colour and possessing the properties of the five elements: 'Sabda-spar¿a-rupa-rasa-gandha (sound-touch-colour-taste-odour) and having an emblem of vajra. He further sees that the entire creation marked with rivers, islands, cities, forts, etc. surround the earth. At this stage of visualization the devotee chants the p¤thiv¢mantra and finds that the earth enters his body and rests there through the mantric miracle; he allows the earth to pervade the region from foot to knee. With the force of kumbhaka wind, it is to be gradually let forth and made to merge into its subtle-element, the tanm¡ntra, called gandha¿akti.[viii] The gandha¿akti is then purged out to dissolve into the next element, i.e., ap (water) and be deposited in the majesty of Varu¸a; in the same manner all the five elements are to be made to merge back and back ultimately into the tanm¡tra of ether namely ¿abda. Each one should be inhaled with, dissolved into the next one with kumbhaka and exhaled with recaka. While with ap, he meditates on Varuna and he sees all storages and reservoirs of water in-drain within his body makes it pervade over the portion between his knee and the thigh. With dh¡ra¸¡mantra (i.e., the chant of retention), the entire quantity of water is seen to merge in its tanmetra the rasa¿akti, and that should be thrown out by recaka, in the orb of fire, and should be deposited in the majesty of Lord Agni endowed with triangular shape altar. Then the whole empire of Agni, i.e., the lightening, the moon, the sun, the stars, the jewels, etc. gush inside the body of the s¡dhaka when the chanting of the taijasamantra commences. This power is absorbed with this mantra and it rests in the region from p¡yu to n¡bh¢, i.e., the organ of generation to the navel. This by contemplation. merges into the r£pa¿akti, the tanm¡tra of light. Then this is purged out to be deposited into the majesty of V¡yu or wind. Then he experiences that all sorts of winds enter his body. By the chant of retention they are absorbed within the spar¿a¿akti, or tanm¡tras of touch. Then it should be thrown out and deposited into the vyoma-vibhava or the ethic majesty. Then entire space without is contemplated to enter one's body and then by vyom¡khya-dh¡ra¸¡mantra subtle element should be taken into one's own body, and it should pervade the region between the neck and the brahmarandhra. Then he sustains it for sometime in kumbhaka and then he pushes it out up from the brahmarandhra. Here he experiences that the j¢va is full of pure consciousness (caitanya) and is completely rid of the fetters of the cage made up of the five gross elements - (paµcamah¡bh£tapaµjara). Here the individual self, i.e., the s¡dhaka gets a prospective as well as retrospective vision. He can see his entire body as if he is a third party spectator. So does he perceive the Lord seated on the Altar-Divine. The sadhaka is then advised to remain in the body made of mantras and concentrate on the sam¡dhi-stage. Then he leaves that body also, thinking it to be impure and rises still higher and higher. He then visualizes that he is coming out of the nest of his heart as well. He proceeds with the power of wisdom (jµ¡na) alone and drops down the body of the tanm¡ntras and reaches the level of the physical vicinity of God. Here he realizes and enjoys the luminous, indescribable state of bliss- the favour of Lord ViÀ¸u. Here he experiences that he has resumed to the existence of his 'own'.

Then what he is expected to do is the act of burning down his earthly body by the strength of his will (icch¡¿akti), see to it that the earthly body is completely reduced to ashes leaving of course the tanm¡ntras which are already taken out; by the fire which resembles one which is ablaze at the time of the great annihilation of Lord's creation (yug¡nta-hutabhuk). When the function is over the blaze is to be surrendered to the Lord of the mantras. Then the s¡dhaka sees that the fire is full burnt and what remains is a heap of ashes. Then he transmits a cyclonic wind to make the ashes scatter away at random, all over. Thus the body disappears totally with no visible trace.

Then the s¡dhaka invokes the disc of mantras shining like a full moon and drizzling nectar from the heaven. He should sprinkle this nectar over the remnants whatsoever of his body and lo! he sees that a lotus springs up out of void and gradually the universe evolves in its normal order of creation. He finds that there shines for him a reborn body untainted with any impurities whatsoever. This is a body worth entering which he does by the retreating process and embarks on his worship of the Lord in the form arc¡, the tangible idol.

By way of resume one could note down following observations:

(i) Bh£ta¿uddhi is a complete and independent process.

(ii) It is a pre-requisite for the ritual of worship and a samÆsk¡ra on the body of the worshipper.

(iii) From spiritual point of view, it is a far difficult process as compared to the mechanism of the p£j¡. A sincere effort, on the part of the devotee to master this process would certainly uplift him on much higher plane and it is worth giving repeated trials. 

(iv) As for the scientific nature, its feasibility and efficacy, only those who are in that line, i.e., the introverts with adequate background alone could say anything.

(v) These various technical terms like the tackling of the n¡d¢s, the cakras and winds present within one's own body. This could be compared by an introvert to the corresponding terms in the Yoga school.

(vi) We are told of layayoga elsewhere in the Ëgamas which is the abstract process of absorption of the creation. This might be similar to the bh£ta¿uddhi.

(vii) We come across some technical processes in metaphysics of the UpaniÀads, like tri¤tkara¸a, paµc¢kar¸a and saÆvargavidy¡, where one element is absorbed into the other.  Those processes have served the source and might have played an important role in the building up of the scheme of elemental purification.

(viii) In any case, the entire process of isolating oneself from the earthly body, reaching the vicinity of the Great Soul, experiencing the discarding of the gross and subtle bodies around oneself, to have a detached visualization of one's own body from a long distance, to set it on fire by one's own fire of wisdom, seeing that it is reduced to ashes, blowing cyclonic hurricane to puff the heap of ashes helter-skelter and further, with the mystic power to the mantras, to rejuvenate the body along with the entire Universe with the help of nectar, all this is fascinating for anyone; nay one would be tempted to become an introvert. Naturally, an introvert would rejoice on finding such a fine process to grasp and to practise.

(ix) Even for a devotee havingacadmic interest, this portion would be of great help in tallying various tenets of the P¡µcar¡tra cult, especially those concerning the theories of creation and liberation. And further, it is noteworthy that in the form of bh£ta¿uddhi the tradition could retain the metaphysics of the P¡µcar¡tra; and practising the bh£ta¿udhi is making an at-a-glance revision of its metaphysics.

Whatever the merits or otherwise, one may safely announce that here lies an important treasure of our spiritual heritage. Let us not just skip it, or sleep over it, casually dismissing it as impracticable.

The purification of everything from within and without renders the s¡dhaka eligible for the y¡ga, where at the outset he is to perform m¡nasay¡ga or the 'worship-within' and then alone he may handle the paraphernalia of outer worship (b¡hyay¡ga). And m¡nasay¡ga, too, is an abstract process to be performed with one's eyes shut. This again would form a subject of introvert's special relish.

M¡nasay¡ga: The Worship-Within

There are two names for this y¡ga - m¡nasay¡ga or antary¡ga which are same in connotation and hence inter-changeable. They are used as substitutes in the texts of áaiv¡gama, á¡kt¡gama and VaiÀ¸av¡gama. M¡nasap£j¡ and m¡nas¡rcan¡ are also used to denote the same thing. All these terms indicate a process which may be described as 'Internal worship', 'mental adoration' or 'worship-within'. It is an abstract form of worship. The worship of the Lord is said to be threefold: internal worship, the image worship and the fire-worship - m¡nas¢ berap£ja ca homap£jeti sa tridh¡. What is common is the object of worship and what varies is the mode. Ëgamas cotemplate no option regarding the choice of one or more forms of worship; but instead they regard all of them to be the essential components of what may be generally called y¡ga or worship. The m¡nasay¡ga seems to be an unoptional portion of study for those who profess to follow the Ëgamic path.

On par with the m¡nasap£ja, there are some other functions wherein the mind plays an important role. There are modes of Vedic sacrifices which can be performed internally and are called antary¡ga, where instead of the concrete material, only abstract material is used. In various Upanisadic passages and other places, descriptions of (1) manomay¢:-m£rti an idol created by one's mental agency; (2) m¡nasa-sn¡na, i.e., performance of ablution by mind; (3) m¡nasa-japa, i.e., the muttering of mantras without the movement of tongue and lips;[ix] (4) m¡nasa-homa, i.e., the ritual of fire-worship within one's mind; and (5) m¡nas¢-s¤À¶i mental creation and such other concepts connected exclusively to the sphere of mind are found. It means that the mind has power to create a world of its own - a replica to the outer world. We are familiar with the fascinating picture of the par¡ta¿uddhi and m¡nasa-p£j¡ offered by Ëdi áa´kara. The yogic practices, the bh£t¿uddhi the ny¡sa, and such other topics are also allied ones, together forming a category of processes where internal faculties have a predominsmt role.

The description of the m¡nasay¡ga may be summarized as follows:

The devotee takes a padm¡sana posture and folds his palms close to the navel in an aµjalimudr¡. Having come to a steady physical composure of limbs one recalls the group of senses constantly tending outward, so as to make theme merge in the mind and apply their faculties to the intellect and the faculties of the intellect towards the path of knowledge.[x] With this preparation one proceeds to perform the abstract spiritual rites. Hereafter what is functioning is the mind alone. The interior of the body of the devotee is to serve the purpose of the divine shrine described as catu¿cakre navadv¡re dehe devag¤he pure. The sanctum sanctorum stands within one's own heart as a permanent abode of the Lord in the form of the 'Indweller' or Antary¡min. We find a detailed scientific description or the construction of all the components of the temple and the relevant deities presiding over them. In fact, it is not a construction of the scene by the mind in the worldly sense. It is rather a realization of what is already created by the Lord within oneself. All the metaphysical principles, the divinities, the elements, the celestial globes, the sages, the scriptures and the like are invoked to come and take form to receive the worship to be offered. Thereupon one contemplates the process of merger of all these into the body of the Lord. For example, the sacred Ganges is to be visualized to merge in Him in the form arghya offered to him. This process is technically called laya-y¡ga or the 'ritual of the worship of merger'. After accomplishing the laya-y¡ga one should start the bhog¡bhidha-y¡ga. This is just the counterpart of what is called the Ào·a¿opac¡ra-p£j¡ in the external worship. It begins with invocation and prayer -           

m¡nas¡n jaya¿abd¡Æ¿ca  k¤tv¡ vijµpayedidam II

sv¡gataÆ tava deve¿a ! sannidhiÆ bhaja me'cyuta !

g¤h¡¸a m¡nas¢Æ p£j¡Æ yath¡rthaparibh¡vit¡m II

                         P¡rSam, IV.134-35

The upac¡ras or the offerings to be presented are not tangible (s¡Æspar¿a) but products of will-power (saÆkalpajanita) and their specialities in their being immense in size, abundant in quality and they can be gathered from any place of choice out of the seven worlds. Besides they are through and through auspicious, holy, bestowed with finest qualities and undecayable.[xi]  All is abstract for instance, the fire to be produced is by rubbing the sticks of meditation - dhy¡n¡ra¸iÆ tu nirmnthya cidagnimavat¡rthaÆ ca. The fire also is not ordinary but a spiritual one. The ny¡sa, the mantras, the mudr¡s all are abstract. Nothing is tangible. The whole performance when accomplished is to be surrendered to the Lord and then the entire paraphernalia is to be withdrawn into one's heart and is to be treasured into one's self, by the power of will or saÆkalpa. Then the devotee has to beg permission of the Lord to perform the b¡hyay¡ga. The conclusion (visarjana) worship-within is not to be done till the completion of the worship-without.

The Ëgamic seers promise the performer of the m¡nasay¡ga various reliefs: from diseases, old age, mortality, bondage of the worldly ties, etc. and further assure him of annihilation of all demerits to his account, thereby granting him 'the eternal bliss'. It is described as the best of the paths and the follower is honoured as the best of the worshippers. It is further assured that the performance of this form of worship, though very hard to practise becomes easy by constant practice.[xii] The followers are warned against revealing this to those who have neither faith nor eligibility to perform this.

The first thing that strikes us is the completeness of the process contemplated in the m¡nasay¡ga as compared to the processes of m¡nasajapa, m¡nasasn¡na, m¡nasahoma, etc. They are small units in themselves which rather serve as component parts of the abstract worship, while this is a self-sufficient unit.

The par¡-p£j¡ or m¡nasap£j¡ explained by Ëdi áa´ikara, the bh£ta¿uddhi, ny¡sa, yoga and like topics fall under the same category with the m¡nasay¡ga as noted already. But there are a number of subtle points of difference. In the m¡nasay¡ga offered to the Goddesses, we find the Ào·a¿opac¡ra created and offered by mind alone. In the par¡-p£j¡ however, the immense finiteness of the worshipper and his equipments in comparison to 'the Infinite' which is the object of worship seriously strikes the mind of great áa¸kara and in a mood of ecstacy he expresses his inability to worship the Lord, and going a step further, he says that the action of p£j¡ is impossible due to the identity of the p£jya and the p£jaka. In the m&asayEga on the other hand, no inability is contemplated, nor the identity of the p£jya and p£jaka at least at the time of the ritual.

In the elemental purification we find a process wherein both psychological and physical agencies are at work. Besides, it is a preparation for the worship and not the body of it. In m¡nasa-sn¡na, what is aimed at, is the internal purification of the body and mind. M¡nasajapa is a practice of concentrating on the muttering of the mantras or divine names without the help of the tongue and the lips. In the ny¡sa both the physical as well as the mental activity is at work. In dhy¡na or meditataion, what is required is application of one's mind towards single object.

In the yogic practice, we find that at the stage of sam¡dhi, mind has to develop the faculty of concentration (ek¡grat¡) at the first instance and further, in the state of nirb¢ja-sam¡dhi what is contemplated, is the total merger in the object namely the Supreme Self. Besides, the n¡d¢ system is yoked to the yogic feats, which may not be employed in the Ëgamic process of the internal worship.

M¡nasay¡ga differs much from the sister rituals mentioned above. Unlike the Yoga, it is restricted to mental and abstract functions alone. In Yoga, on the other hand, the faculties of mind too are withdrawn in the manner of the limbs of tortoise. In the m¡nasay¡ga we have to develop the subtle and sublime faculties of mind, since it has to create by realization the entire expanse of the divine enshrinement within and maintain it carefully till the successful accomplishment of the m¡nasay¡ga. In technical terms, we may say, the mind has to develop the faculty of samagratva instead of ek¡gratva. Samagratva may be interpreted as 'concentration on totality'. What we find in that process, is, that the mind has to create the mental image (manomay¢ m£rti), prepare a seat for it by imagination, create the consorts and retinue deities by imagination, install them at proper places, then collect the proper material for worship, deposit it at proper places and commence the worship, keeping all the while the scene created so far firm and steady by not allowing it to vanish in the least and for even a fraction of a moment. Supposing there occurs some slip, the whole process ought to be repeated ab initio. Again the judgement of distance and interspaces of the objects must be maintained very carefully. No jumble of misplacement would be tolerable if the worship is to be ideal. Keeping this theatrical show intact, the devotee has to proceed for performance, wherein he has to bear in mind the sequence or order of the details of worship, the priority and the posteriority. If by chance some mistake creeps in, the process is to be started again from the beginning. In other words one has to be cautious about the space-perspective and the time-perspective and to effect a harmony of the two (sthal¡vadh¡naÆ k¡l¡vadh¡naÆ ubhayoÅ s¡maµjasyam ca). It is a collaborative enterprise of the p£jya, p£jaka, p£j¡sth¡na, p£j¡dravya, p£j¡nakriy¡, i.e., the object of worship, the worshipper, the place of worship, the materials of worship and the process of worship - all being samkalpajanita or the products of imagination. As such, one may feel that it is many times more difficult a task than cultivation of concentration on a single object (ek¡grat¡).

 One more speciality of this worship-within is that, it is independent of means (s¡dhananirapekÀa and upakara¸anirapekÀa) in contrast to the b¡hyay¡ga since it requires no tangible material. All the materials as already said are products of imagination or as elsewhere described products of the subtle elements. In other respect, it may be called ¿ar¢ranirapekÀa or independent of the body as well. That is if one achieves skill in its performance, it is immaterial for one whether the body is retained or abandoned, since it can be actuated with the help of the mind and the tanm¡tra or the subtle elements. The process is, however, dependent on attentiveness (avadh¡nas¡pekÀa) and not independent of it (avadh¡nanirapekÀa). Indeed, the process of external worship may be done absent-mindedly after a long practice, reducing it to a prosaic mechanical functioning of the body. Mental adoration cannot ever be performed that way. A slight absent-mindedness means invitation to duplication and further repetitions of the entire effort.

As for the comparison of this process, as treated in different Ëgmas, it may be observed that there is more similarity than difference. In the áaiva and áakt¡gamas, we are often told of the maxim ¿ivo bh£tv¡ ¿ivaÆ yajet or dev¢bh£tv¡ tu t¡Æ yajet which aims at the identity of the object of worship and the worshipper. In the Vi¿iÀ¶¡dvaita system this identification is not tolerated or entertained. In other words, differences in philosophical tenets reflect on the details or mental worship. Again, the object of worship varies as per the Ëgamas, áiva, ViÀ¸u, the Goddess or any other god may assume that place. So would he the case regarding the mudr¡s, the mantras, the ma¸·alas, the cakras and other details of worship. In the process of m¡nasay¡ga in the left-hand T¡ntric practices ( V¡m¡c¡ra) would include the well-known Paµcanmak¡ras as the case may be. It might he interesting to observe whether the abstract form of offerings in the Tantntric worship would involve any kind of hiÆs¡ or not. One can not say whether it would be admissible to the followers of the strict rules of non-violence (ahiÆs¡-dharma). There would be a counter-argument that the mental act of killing or injuring would fetch them worse fruit that accrued through a bodily act of injury. Again they may fear that indulgence in the mak¡ra of mak¡ra-m¡Æsa-maithuna, etc. even on a psychological plane may invite a mental degradation by the process contemplated in the G¢t¡ verse: dhy¡yato viÀay¡n puÆsaÅ sa´gasteÀ¡paj¡yate, etc. leading straightaway to the doom or destruction. Mental contemplation (m¡nasncintana) may prove to be more harmful than actual physical act.

 As for the relative superiority and inferiority between the inner and outer worships, it is unanimously declared that the former is superior to the latter. All the same, the two rites are not competitive but complementary ones. The option to prefer the antary¡ga by an individual devotee in his domestic worship (g¤h¡rc¡) may be tolerated. But it is no way an option for the temple ritual. It is obligatory on the part of a temple priest (arcaka) to perform it with accuracy and devotion since he is doing it for the benefit of the devotees at large in a representative capacity. It seems that the Ëgamas expect of an ideal worshipper, a capacity to perform the m¡nasay¡ga with perfection. In other words, it may be deemed as a necessary requisite for his eligibility to hold the office. Besides, sincere and devoted accomplishment of the m¡nasay¡ga paves the way for perfection and liveliness in the otherwise prosaic mechanism of the outer worship, and charge the ritual with spirituality which is automatically transmitted to the minds of the devotees who partake the worship only as spectators having full faith in the priest who actually performs the worship.

The priority and posteriority of the two rituals also is an interesting topic and may create sometimes, a controversy among scholars. In the daily routine, we find that the m¡nasay¡ga comes first and then comes the b¡hyay¡ga. The arrangement of chapters in the texts also testify this. It is however, that it is 'b¡hyay¡ga that paves the way for the antary¡ga'. There is an apparent contradiction between the two views before us. Probably the second view is based on the verse from V¡mke¿vara Tantra which runs as follows:

bahiÅp£j¡ vidh¡tavy¡ y¡vajjµ¡naÆ vidyate I 

V¡mT, 51

When we understand the proper position, the paradox will be removed. In the daily worship, the antary¡ga comes prior and brings perfection, purity and better sense of devotion to the behyayaga which follows. However, the b¡hyayaga has its own limits on the path of spiritual progress of the individual aspirants. One day or other he must cry halt to the performance of b¡hyay¡ga and it is always desired that the time should come as early as possible and that too before the aspirant is compelled to leave his earthly body. If he gains perfection in performing the m¡nasay¡ga, before the end of his life, he may continue the worship during the tenure of his further embodiments or inter embodied states. It would be interesting to note here that individual aspirants have a lattitude of acquiring the proficiency in this ritual even up to the end of this life or failing it in the subsequent embodiments. For an arcaka, however, the skill has to come at the initial stage of life. It is just like those who enter the renunciation stage (sanny¡s¡¿rama) at the initial stage of life, which for others is a final stage. For this reason, the arcaka is rightly praised as arcako hi hariÅ s¡kÀ¡t.

One more point to be noted about the m¡nasay¡ga is the purpose behind it. In the Jay¡khya SaÆhit¡ of the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama, it is explained that there exist two aspects of the v¡san¡s or the passionic precipitates of the individual self. They are originating from without or within (b¡hyotth¡ and ¡ntarika). The former are accrued to the soul from the objects around, while the latter go on accumulating even in the absence of objects tempting the senses. The former can be overcome by diverting one's mind from their temptation by yoking the same to the process of outer worship. Nevertheless, that process is ineffective regarding the internal urges (v¡san¡s) that stir the mind from within and are likely to stir the faculties of the body which are restrained by the saÆsk¡ras achieved through the b¡yay¡ga. Those v¡san¡s are not, an outcome of outer functioning of the senses. They are the sum-total of accumulations of previous embodiments and fresh creations of mind. Even after total annihilation of the exterrml urges (bhyotthav¡san¡), the inner ones remain as arrear unremedied for. What one could do, is to close the doors of one's mind for the outer objects and take a fleuroscopic or X-ray search focusing the location of the seeds of the internal v¡san¡a by the help of the power created in him by repeated performance of the mental worship (m¡nasay¡ga), and burn the seeds reducing them to ashes once for all; and then sterilise one's mind so as to leave no scope for their further germination. 

To conclude, it may be observed that the topic of m¡nasay¡ga in the Ëgamas is not only interesting and fascinating but is highly scientific as well. It has tremendous appeal to the aspirants, and scholars of an introvert-aptitude. It is a ceaseless challenge to their efforts and perseverance to grasp and master it and an intellectual feast to their scholarly thirst for knowledge. 

The third portion of the day is scrutinized and now remain two portions-the Sv¡dhy¡ya and Yoga. The period after the meals up to the twilight period in the evening is reserved for self-study, i.e., revision of the religious texts. As stated in the Ëgamas, the devotee performs his sandhy¡vandan¡ at the sun-set and then he becomes ready for the daily yogic practice.[xiii] This period brings him Brahmasiddhi - the attainment of Brahman.

At the outset, the devotee selects a spot fit for concentration of mind, preferably in a sacred but lonely and pleasant atmosphere. Then he has to purify the ground before setting for the venture. He progresses on the path of Yoga through its eight climbs, step by step. First of all he follows or rather strictly abides by the rules and regulations, the injunctions and prohibitions or the 'dos' and 'don'ts'. These things bring his physical body under desired results and make it fit for worship.

Then he assembles suitable postures, technically called yog¡sanas. Different ¡sanas may suit the body constitution of different people.  

A comfortable posture helps further tackling of the internal limbs. Having accomplished this, the yogin ventures to regulate and dilate his breath, i.e., technically to exercise pr¡¸¡y¡hra by p£raka, kumbhaka and recaka, the inhaling, retaining and exhaling the breath. This exercise is meant for regulating the five wind-movements.

The fifth stage is praty¡h¡ra process wherein one has to shut out the objects of pleasure in the world and divert the sense-organs towards the internal region. The sixth stage is dhy¡¸¡ or meditation. Lord ViÀ¸u is the object of worship. It is followed by dh¡ra¸a wherein, the one achieves the equilibrium of the internal organs. It is equated to the pacification of the waves of the disturbed waters. Here, he concentrates on the 'heart-dweller' (h¡rda-param¡tman) along with his consort Laksmi. He visualizes the divine couple Laksmi-Narayana in a direct vision of yogic insight.

When this stage of realization is attained by the s¡dhaka, he is advised to lead the Lord in abstract forms, by his will-power, gradually towards a seat prepared by the s¡dhaka, for the Lord, on the altar in his heart the via media of the right hand outlet to the passage of the suÀumn¡ vein. The devotee perceives by imagination that he has assumed pure physique in the form of the mantras. The yogin then absorbs the five elements in their proper order (as described in the bh£ta¿uddhi) within his own body and stand in the immediate presence of the Almighty - the ever-cherished goal of s¡dhaka's life. He then causes the properties of the elements, viz. ¿abda-spar¿a-r£pa-rasa-gandha to unite in one and gradually push out of the brahmarandhra the apperture opening on the supracosmic region which is said to be situated at the top of the headgear.

At this superb state of s¡dhan¡ the devotee tries to induce the soul-essence or the caitanya out of the cage of the earthly body and transplant it on the mantra¿ar¢ra. Further, the mantra¿ar¢ra also withdrawn and what he receives is the sixfold causal existence, i.e., the paµcatanm¡tras, i.e., the five subtle elements and the tanm¡tra of the mind. This also is to fall back and one receives a body of a luminous disc technically called prabh¡cakram. Resorting to this luminous disc one is led straightaway to the navel of Lord Narayana. The s¡dhaka who is completely pure, having realized the Ultimate Truth and having totally severed from the material body, becomes endowed with cit the sentient property, the basic characteristic. Like in the bh£ta¿uddhi process, he burns down his earthly body again to revive it by the help of nectar and enter the newly formed pure body.

Repeated practice of this process finally uplifts the aspirant Yogin to the enviable state of sam¡dhi- the total merger in the Supreme Being. The fifth period of the day is utilized for this exercise. The devotee is then free to go to sleep.

That completes the survey of the ideal diary of the P¡µcar¡tra and its literature, keeping in mind, the interest of an introvert as a guiding principle.

Illustrations 

  1. Plate 1.1 Sarvatobhadra
  2. Plate 1.2 Aghanirmocana
  3. Plate 1.3 Sadadhva
  4. Plate 1.4 Dharm¡khya
  5. Plate 1.5 Vasugarbha
  6. Plate 1.6 Sarvak¡maprada
  7. Plate 1.7 Amitraghna
  8. Plate 1.8 ËyuÀya
  9. Plate 1.9 Balabhadra
  10. Plate 1.10 Pau˦ika
  11. Plate 1.11 Ërogyaprada
  12. Plate 1.12 Viveka
  13. Plate 1.13 V¡g¢¿a
  14. Plate 1.14 M¡nasa
  15. Plate 1.15 Jay¡khya
  16. Plate 1.16 Svastika
  17. Plate 1.17 Ananta
  18. Plate 1.18 Nity¡khya
  19. Plate 1.19 Bh£t¡v¡sa
  20. Plate 1.20 Amogha
  21. Plate 1.21 Suprati˦ha
  22. Plate 1.22 Buddhy¡dh¡ra
  23. Plate 1.23 Gu¸¡k¡ra
  24. Plate 1.24 Dhruv¡khya
  25. Plate 1.25 Param¡nanda

[i] See the ma¸·ala illustrations (Plates 1.1 - 1.25).

[ii] Vide JaySam, XX11.68-69, N¡rSam, XXX.2-4; ÎÀir¡tra 1.1-10 etc.

[iii] . japadhy¡n¡rcanastotraiÅ karmav¡kcittasaÆyutaiÅ I 

 abhigacchejjagadyonÆi tacc¡bhigamanaÆ sm¤tam II

 - JaySam, X XII .6 8 -6 9.

[iv] samutth¡y¡rdhar¡tre'tha jitanidro jita¿ramaÅ I

kama¸·alusthbtenaiva sam¡camya tu V¡i¸¡ II

-S¡t Sam VI.193cd-194ab. 

sarnprabuddhah prabhate tu utthaya gayanesthitah I

ntimnci~ sanlkirtana? kuryat sodasanam prayatnatah II

 - P¡rSam, II.4.

[v] 5.namo v¡sudev¡ya namaÅ saÆkarÀa¸¡ya te II

pradyumn¡ya namaste'stu, aniruddh¡ya te namaÅ II

...divy¡n¡mavat¡r¡¸¡Æ da¿¡n¡matha k¢rtanam I

hariÆ hariÆ bruvaÆstalp¡dutth¡ya bhuvi vinyaset I

...namaÅ kÀitidhar¡yoktv¡ v¡map¡daÆ mah¡mate II

-p¡r Sam II.6;10;17.

[vi] Vide AniruddhaSam Ch. 18, N¡rSam, II.37, ViÀ¸utattva (iv) - 1, PauÀkara, 20-24, Vi¿V¡mitra 10.

[vii] Besides the verbal meanings, such portion always have mystic, technical and conventional meanings which the aspirants in the same and allied field only are likely to comprehend. Here, the attempt is elementary and aims at highlighting such portions without going much in details.

[viii] . One may trace this process to the SaÆvagavidy¡ of the UpaniÀads.

[ix] aÆtaryogaÆ bahiryogaÆ...

-AmanaskopaniÀad, II .36 .

manovaijµasya brahm¡

- B¤Up, IV.1.6

m¡nasap£jaya japena dhy¡nena k¢rtanena stuty¡...

- R¡ighopaniÀad, 1.6.

[x] padm¡san¡dikaÆ  baddhv¡ n¡bhau baddh¡µjalim d¤·ham I

manasyuparataÆ kury¡dakÀagr¡maÆ bahiÅsthitam II

cittaÆ buddhau vinikÀipya t¡Æ buddhiÆ jµ¡nagocare I

jµ¡nabh¡vanay¡ karmakury¡ram¡rthikanm II

 . P¡rSam, V.l-2.

[xi] saÆkalpajanitairbhogeÅ pavitrairnkÀayaih ¿ubhe I

 s¡Æspar¿aiÅ ¿aivac¡r¡khyaistath¡ c¡hyavah¡rikaiÅ II

mahadr£paiÅ prabh£testu saptalokasamudbhavaiÅ II

yathoditestu vidhivaduk¤À¶aratakÀa¸aiÅ II  

-P¡r Sam, IV.137-138

[xii] . antaryrSg&nikti p@i saruap~jottami priye I

-        VamT..0

[xiii] . tato'stangena yogena pzljlayet parames'varam I

paricamo yogasomjano yogasiddhidah //

-JaySam, X X I I .7 2.

 

[ Previous Page | Contents of the Book | Next Page ]


HomeSearchContact usIndex

[ Home | Search  |  Contact UsIndex ]

 [ List of Books | Kalatattvakosa | Kalamulasastra | Kalasamalocana ]


© 1995 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi