What do we mean by ‘The Divine Principles’?
What are these principles that defy a proper definition or clear understanding by human beings, however much they are intelligent, enthusiastic and try to intuitively meditate and contemplate. Having remained beyond comprehension and beyond human knowledge, the fact is that these mystic rather divine principles operate in the world of ours and the entire Cosmos itself, termed as ‘TRUTH’, ‘IMMORTAL’, ‘INFINITE’, ‘SUPREME KNOWLEDGE’, ‘TIMELESSNESS’, ‘SPACELESSNESS’ , ‘CHANGELESSNESS’, ‘SHANTI OR BLISS’ and may be many other attributes like ‘Karma’ and “dharma” which all have much to do with humanity, having been an integral part of human life, knowing which human life becomes meaningful, purposeful and goal-oriented. We are all aware to some extent of the operation of the mystic Natural Laws acting without fear, favor or discrimination of any sort, and human life, animal life, plant life are all equally and fully controlled to dance to the tune of these ever-present principles. The Self or Atman in us is also, though part of the Cosmic Self or Paramatman, gets its ‘matter’ and ‘energy’ (as per modern scientific terms) also because of the working of these eternal laws or principles. Some prefer to call it ‘Purusha- Prakriti syndrome.
All these are inter-linked in a mystic way and remain so ad infinitum. It is a mind- boggling experience just to think of even one of these principles. Because of this indistinctness involved, I have chosen this subject for study. It will be my endeavor to point out how everything ends up in one supreme whole.
Let us start from the Brihadaranyka Upanishad which in a nutshell talks of the goal humanity and contains in itself the briefest possible description of the yearning of humanity as well.
Asatoma Sadgamya Tamasoma Jyotirgamaya Mrityorma Amritangamaya Om Shanti Shanti Shanti. (Lead me from lifeless to life Lead me from darkness to light Lead me from mortality to immortality OM Peace Peace Peace.
This prayer is addressed to the Supreme Lord of the Universe. ‘From darkness to light’ really means from ignorance to knowledge. Many of the divine principles are covered in this three- line prayer.
The Upanishads, as we all know, have tried utmost to define and describe both directly and indirectly the Supreme Brahman, the Lord of the Universe, beginningless and endless.
In the same Upanishad, it is affirmed that Brahman is the Supreme Being, the cause of the Universe and the Universe is only an effect and does not affect the cause in any way.
Purnam adah purnam idam Purnat purnam udachyate Purnasya purnamadaya Purnamevavashisyate
Transcribing we come to know:
“That (Brahman) is infinite; This (Universe) is also infinite,
The infinite Universe emanated from the Brahman;
Even if you take out the Universe from the infinite Brahman
Brahman alone remains!
A little bit thinking reveals:
Brahman is invisible; Universe is visible;
Brahman being the cause of the Universe,
Even if you take the Universe from Brahman,
Brahman alone remains in full and complete in all respects.
It is from Sankhya Philosophy we get to know about the Universe, how it is a combination of five ‘tatwas’ or principles.
It is very interesting to note that most of the principles relate to living beings including Man.
- MAHAT (BUDDHI)
- AHAMKARA (Feeling of ‘I’)
5-9 THE PANCHENDRIYAS(EYES, EARS, NOSE, TONGUE & SKIN)
10-14 THE KARMENDRIYAS (WORD,
HANDS, LEGS, ANUS & GENITAL ORGAN)
15-19 THE FIVE TANMATRAS (SOUND, SMELL, SIGHT,TASTE & TOUCH)
20-24 THE MAHABHOOTAS (SPACE, AIR, FIRE, WATER & EARTH)
25 THE MIND
In the Bhagavad Gita Chapter 13 there is a description of the Universe comprising of the elements mentioned above. The general pictorial representation of Supreme Being is Virata Purusha worshipped by Hindus (given above) and the general conception of the Universe is as follows:
According to ‘Sankhya Darsanam’, it is due to the transformation of the basic energy that all that is seen in this Universe and the Universe itself has been formed with different divine principles. The world has come into being in a sequential order as per Sankhya Darsanam.
Purusha has been described as the ‘Jiva’ or ‘Atman’ and ‘Prakriti’ relates to the actions of the Jiva. Prakriti is subject to manifestation, subject to transformation, Purusha is one immutable and self- manifest. Accordingly, ‘Mukti’ or liberation means freedom from all the limitations imposed or caused by the Prakriti such as Time and Space. And identification with Purusha or Atman or Brahman means absolute bliss, absolute consciousness and beyond the limits of Time and Space.
Not only that, Prakriti, the very name indicates change in its forms and states. For example, the body disintegrates into particles, particles into molecules and molecules into atoms. Solid becomes liquids and liquid becomes gaseous and so on. Life manifests through the endless varieties of Prakriti and becomes manifold in its manifestation.
In Prakriti particles combine to form new bodies, but the power of combination is said to be that of ‘Ishwara’, however large the c ombination may be. Combinations also transform – vegetable becomes animal and animal becomes Man.
One wonderful thing in Prakriti is that before the combination, each particle or ‘Tatwa’ is considered ‘alive’. But once a combination formed, all others, other lives in the combination have to surrender themselves completely and entirely to that combination. This is another divine natural or Prakriti principle in operation continuously. That explains how a human being functions with trillions of cells as one body and one command.
For example, there is life in every cell that is part of the human body, but the cells or cell lives are all subordinated to the life of Man, the ‘Jeevatman’ ruling the combination that forms the Man. So long as the cells are attached to the human combination, they still have n o independence whatsoever even though they are alive and kicking. When the particles or cells are damaged or die, new particles take their place or they are replaced by new particles.
Karma and dharma
The two vital principles that should govern human lives are ‘Karma” and “Dharma”. On that will depend success in life, whatever goal you may follow in life. Since these are integrated by the Supreme himself, it is our duty to perform actions according to the eternal Dharma of the land. The Supreme is the embodiment of Dharma and Karma is left to Man and its consequences would also have to be experienced by him.
Delete Quote #46 from this image Now coming back, it is an astounding Universe we see, order and seeming chaos. But then everything moves in clocklike precision as if ordained by a Supreme Being. Our forefathers saw this Universe as one of promoting life, one of promoting happiness, peace and prosperity and also leading to the fulfillment of life-the liberation of the soul however much time it may take for the ‘Jiva’ to attain it.