IV. THE UPANISHADS. The Integral Yoga in the Upanishads

 

The Integral Yoga, the divine life founded on the Self, in a human body, and the integral Lila conducted by the Divine Power, these we preach to be the supreme goal of our human birth; the fundamental basis of this conclusion does not rest upon a mentally constructed new thought, nor does it derive its authority from the letters of any ancient manuscript, the proof of any written scripture or the formula of any philosophy. It is based upon a spiritual knowledge more integral; it is based upon the burning experience of the Divine Reality in the soul, life, mind, heart and body. This knowledge is not a new discovery but old and indeed eternal. This experience is the experience of the ancient Vedic Rishis, of the supreme Truth-Seers of the Upanishads. It is the experience of those Truth-Hearing Poets. It sounds new in the low-aspiring, fruitlessly busy and despondent life of a fallen India of the Kali-yuga. Where most people are content to lead a semi-human existence, and so few ever make an effort to develop even their full manhood, there cannot be any question about the new godhood. But it was with this ideal that our strong Aryan forefathers shaped the first life of the nation. At the rapturous dawn of the Sun-knowledge, the fervent call of the Vedic chants sung by the bird of felicity, self-lost with Soma wine in its voice, rose to the feet of the Universal Being. The high aspiration of enshrining the glorious image of the immortal Universal being in the soul of man, in the life of man, by shaping an all-round divinity, was the primary mantra of the Indian civilization. Gradual enfeeblement, deformation and forgetting of that mantra are the causes of the decline and the misfortune of this country and the nation. To utter that mantra again, to strive for that realisation again, are the only perfect path, the only irreproachable means for their revival and progress because this mantra is the eternal truth where both the individual and the collectivity find their fulfilment. This is the profound significance of the effort of man, the building up of nations, the birth and the gradual development of civilisation. All other aims whose pursuit tires our mind and life are minor and partial aims, aids to the true intention of the gods. All other fragmentary realisations which gratify us are no more than rest-houses on the way, fixing of victory flags on the peaks along the path. The true aim, the true realisation is the unfolding of the Brahman, its self-manifestation, the visible diffusion of the Power of the Divine, the Lila of His Knowledge and Ananda, not in a few great souls, but in everybody in the nation and the entire humanity.

We see the first form and stage of this knowledge and this sadhana in the Rigveda, the earliest characters inscribed on the Stupa near the entrance to the temple of the Aryan dharma at the beginning of history. We cannot say with certainty that it finds expression for the first time in the Rigveda, because even the Rishis of the Rigveda admit that those who were before them, the early ancestors of the Aryan race, ‘the primeval fathers of the human race’, had discovered this path of truth and immortality for the later man. They also say that the new Rishis were only following the path which had been shown to them by the ancient Rishis. We find that the mantra of the Rigveda is the echo of the words of the ‘fathers’, of the Divine speech they uttered; consequently, the form of the dharma that we see in the Rigveda can be said to be its earliest form. The knowledge of the Upanishads, the sadhana of the Vedanta are only a very noble and generous transformation of this dharma. The knowledge of the supreme Divine and the sadhana for attaining the Divine life of the Vedas, the Self-knowledge and the sadhana for realising the Brahman of the Upanishads, both of them are based on a synthetic dharma; various aspects of the cosmic Purusha and the cosmic Shakti, the supreme Divine unifying all the truths of the Brahman, the experience and the pursuit of the All-Brahman are its intimate subject-matter. Then started the age of analysis. The Purva Mimansa, the Uttara Mimansa, the Sankhya, the Yoga, the Nyaya, and the Vaisheshika of the Vedantas, each of them took up a partial philosophy of the truth and developed different ways of the sadhana. Finally, the parts of the partial philosophies gave rise to Monism, Dualism, Qualified Monism, the Vaishnava and the Shaiva schools, the Puranas and the Tantras. The attempt at synthesis also never stopped. We find that effort in the Gita, the Tantras and the Puranas; each of them has been successful to a certain extent; many new experiences have been gained but no longer do we find in them the comprehensiveness of the Vedas and the Upanishads. It looks as if the ancient spiritual message of India took its birth in some all-pervading brilliant light of knowledge where even to reach, let alone the question of crossing beyond it, became impossible or difficult for the predominantly intellectual later ages.

(Vividha Rachana, 1955)

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