Narach Philosophy

SACRIFICE AND INTELLIGENCE: THE INSTINCT OF CREATION


Similar theories are governed by similar rules and dissimilar theories by different ones; the object of action is to find out this. But a theory may change if there is a change in the time or attributes of things. We must, however, accept the best theory. In the case of theories, the meaning of words, except in special cases, remains unchanged. Jaimini says that a person should reject his own theory if he finds a better one.

When Soma refers to the new and the full moon, it signifies action characterized by knowledge. Non-action is the opposite of action. All good men act and do good deeds. Sacrifice arises from an inner urge. Cooking food is not the highest form of action. There are two kinds of intelligent action, obligatory and optional and both should be done; and we should understand their meaning in the text by dividing words into parts.

The instinct to have offspring is obvious; but actual creation depends on time and circumstances. It is stronger than reason, and breaks through restraint, which is not always good. We know how it begins and ends; and can understand the meaning of the text. It does not refer to renunciation, the idea of which is different; nor does it imply intelligence, unless it is meant to do some special good.

It is necessary to know the origin and effect of an action. The principle of an action should not be deduced from the manner of its performance. It should make no difference where an action is to be performed, unless it involves considerations of breaking up things.

Theories: When a number of theories or principles are connected together by means of a common impelling force, those that are alike should be deemed to be governed by the same rule; while those that are not similar, by a different one. The object of the method of performing an action is to find out this; and we know that it is so at the time when we feel certain that we have understood what things are. But the entire principal idea of a theory may be changed if there is a change in the time or attributes of things. If there are a number of theories and we have a statement of their particulars, we should make use of the best theory, and arrive at our conclusion by its means, because that is the general purpose of a theory.

Language of the text: In the case theories, the language of the text is such that even if we change the form of words by means of their division into parts, it would make no difference, because the meaning would remain the same. This, however, is not possible in certain cases, as, for instance, in the case of the word Agni. (The common meaning of Agni is 'fire'; but if we divide it into parts, we shall get a very, different meaning, intelligence).

We must accept the best theory: Jaimini says that a person should reject his own theory if he finds a better one.

Action and inaction: There are a number of meanings of the word Soma; but where it is associated with the new and the full moon, we should take it that it refers to action characterized by knowledge. On the other hand, non-action or negation of action should be regarded as a defilement of the idea of action. Men of worth should be devoted to action, because it serves the purpose of sacrifice (The Bhagavad Gita also tells us that sacrifice is born of action). We are directed to perform good actions; but we should be devoted to them even if there be no such rule.

Soma has a number of meanings, moon, wine, etc. But its real meaning is the mind. We have explained that the new moon refers to the awakening of the mind in the form of desire or knowledge, and the full moon to its completion in action. Hence when there is a reference to Soma in connection with the new and the full moon, it means action characterized by knowledge.

An inner urge to sacrifice: There is an inner urge that makes for the performance of action as a sacrifice, for no animal goes to a place of immolation at the direction of another.

Satisfaction of hunger is not the highest end: So far as an intelligent action is concerned, we should not regard cooking food (or the satisfaction of hunger) as the highest end, because there are instances of those who have done this for a time and given it up. (The word in the text is pra-jahita, which is applied to fire that has been abandoned). There are two kinds of intelligent actions, obligatory and optional; and both should be performed as directed, because they are meant to do good. But if there is no proof of this, and we are led to a different conclusion, because we have not divided the principal word into parts, we should retrace our steps, and resort to this method of division into parts.

Instinct to have offspring: We see that the instinct to have offspring exists; but how a creature comes to be possessed of it depends on time and circumstances; and the sacred verses are meant to promote. There are a number of references to desire to have children in the sacred books.

More powerful than reason: In this desire (or function of the mind) the function of the intellect is not seen, because it is meant to preserve (the species). In the same manner a solemn vow, actually undertaken, also disappears; and that is so because it means restraint.

Not always good; how to understand it: We cannot say that this is always good, because it is different in each case. The first aim is to lay hold of an object, because that is the purpose of desire; but that is not its end, for that is what we find everywhere in Nature. (The word in the text is Visve-devas, which means 'all-gods'; and, as a god refers to the great forces of Nature, it refers to all Nature). But so far as its obvious statement is concerned, we may say that it is so. But we shall not understand this if we divide into parts the words used in the text; because they are closely knitted together to correspond to the state of what has actually happened.

Does not refer to renunciation: Even if there were a different statement of particulars, we would still not be able to conclude that it refers to the renunciation of action (The desire to have offspring cannot in any case refer to renunciation of action), because both (action and instinct to have offspring) are meant to serve a common purpose of life. The idea of eating the remnants of food is not the same as that of renunciation of action, because their meaning is different. A hired labourer receives a wage; but the idea of eating the remnants of food is not like that, because the former is connected with labour; while eating the remnants of food is in every essential part a matter of choice on the part of the doer of the deed.

The sacred books refer to living on remnants of food; but that does not refer to the renunciation of action. It signifies, as the following Sutras make it clear, a voluntary act of austerity and abasement, which is a form of discipline in action.

Not always a good or intelligent act: We cannot say that it is always an intelligent act (Sex life is not always governed by reason. The word in the text is Brahmana which, as has already been explained, refers to the intellect); but if it is meant to serve the purpose of a pious or a meritorious deed, it would surely be so. We cannot, however, say that the actions of a learned man are always pious, because no one has taught so; nor is it true of the mind, because it is connected with all kinds of actions. The mind is characterized by desire, which is not always of the best. The word in the text is Hotr which, as has already been explained, refers to the mind.

Importance of knowledge of the origin and effect of action: When we are dealing with a great action or a sacrifice, it is necessary to have knowledge in regard to its origin and the effect it is likely to produce; for then we shall know the different ways in which such an action can be undertaken, and every essential part of it can be properly done. Indeed, we should not deduce the principle of an action from the manner in which it is performed. If an action has to be performed in a different place or country, the resolution to perform it should not be changed. This, however, does not apply to breaking up things that are held together, because the object of that is different.