The whole world exists either for the sake of the soul or of Prakrti; and the proof of it lies in the nature of desire and the character of Prakrti. Desire arises from the mind or the intellects and we must know the nature of both, which involves that of ahankara or the I-as-an-actor too. At the same time we must safeguard against certain errors in regard to the idea of action and the character of the mind.
Action involves the function of the senses as well as of prana or vital breath; and it is of many kinds. It can be painful as well as not painful; but it is only when all kinds of actions come to an end that a person feels happy and free. There are a number of factors of action, the senses, mind, ahankara, intellect, as well as an Unseen Power.
The purpose of the universe: The whole world exists either for the sake of the soul or of Prakrti; and the proof of it lies in the nature of desire and the real character of Prakrti.
The origin and scope of desire: Desire of all kinds arises from the mind or the intellect, and creation itself is the result of desire. All this exists for the sake of the soul, as we find from an examination of country, time and place.
Intellect: Intellect means the understanding of objects by means of mental effort, and its special function is to settle Dharma.
Ahankara: Ahankara is an erroneous conception regarding one's self, and it acts in association with the ten senses and the mind and the five properties of the "elements".
Mind: The mind is characterized by the quality of goodness, and is produced from ahankara. It dwells within, and functions through the senses of knowledge and action.
Certain ideas and errors: We see that ahankara can act, but not material things. We also know that a person must cease to act, but not at the commencement of his life, and the idea of it arises when he thinks of death. It is only confused people who mix up things and believe that, since the senses are different, there can be no unity in action; and they hold that the mind is of the nature of the senses. There are some who believe that the difference between things arises from the effect of the passage of time.
The senses: The senses of knowledge and action have their respective attributes which do not change, and their special functions are to see, hear, etc. The whole manner of action is affected by prana or vital breath; and the action of the senses can be regular as well as irregular.
Action and its cessation: There are five kinds of activity, painful and not painful; and when they all cease, a person attains to calmness, aversion to all desire, and health of body and mind, and his whole life becomes fragrant and beautiful.
The factors of action; an unseen power, the senses, mind, ahankara and intellect: There is an Unseen Power; and when we say that all action is for the sake of the soul, it is because we give prominence to the idea of this Power. Action consists of thirteen parts, the function of the ten senses and the mind, ahankara and the intellect, which constitute an internal organ. Of these the most important is the intellect, for it puts together or arranges all things. We know this by means of memory and inference; but we cannot trace the origin of the intellect, for it is not self-illuminated. But it is the most powerful factor of action, and it is for that reason that it is honored most.
Man and the universe: There is a law of life according to which things with special characteristics arise from those which are without such special characteristics; and the whole world is subject to this law. But the ultimate origin of all things is beyond what is differentiated or not differentiated. Nevertheless, the birth of a creature is the effect of a cause; for the soul is always accompanied by a "subtle body", which is the cause of its birth and the difference between individuals that we see.
The soul is small like an atom, but all things exist for its sake; and this vast universe cannot be destroyed. But the soul seeks freedom from its bondage, and that can arise only from knowledge, and the elimination of all desire. Desire is associated with objects, which can all be classified; and Prakrti itself is said to consist of the three Gunas.
Freedom consists in freedom from the action of Prakrti, and the recurrence of birth and death; and it can be achieved only by refraining from all action. Prakrti acts entirely for the sake of the soul; and the soul can make itself free by means of knowledge, and when the two become indifferent to each other. It is possible to achieve this freedom, for the impressions of previous actions made on the soul can become fainter and fainter, till at last they finally disappear, and the soul becomes free forever.
The law of evolution: Things with special characteristics arise from those which are without such special characteristics. The body, with its differentiated parts, arises in the same manner, and so also the whole world out of its seed.
But the origin of things is beyond what is differentiated or not differentiated. It is said that a creature is born of its parents; but it is not so; for the birth of a body is an effect, the cause of which lies in a previous birth. There is a "subtle body" which accompanies the soul through all its transmigrations, and it consists of seventeen parts; and the difference between individuals is due to their different actions in a previous state of existence.
The soul and the world: When we understand the nature of the soul we come to the conclusion that it must be small like an atom, and is covered by a body which is made up of food. We also find that the course of activity of all things is for the sake of the soul.
The universe cannot be destroyed: The body consists of the five "elements", although there are some who say that it consists of only four, or even one. In any case we know that the "elements" do not possess any consciousness, and that this vast universe cannot be destroyed.
Freedom and bondage: Freedom arises from knowledge, and bondage from its opposite. But events which occur in a normal, natural course do not make for bondage; nor does freedom mean freedom from everything, real as well as unreal.
Elimination of desire: When a person has no desire to act, all his actions may be said to have been done. Desire is destroyed by means of meditation, which comes of restraint of action, concentration of mind, a certain posture of the body, and one's own effort. Control is affected by means of suspension of breath; the posture should be steady as well as comfortable; while effort should be in conformity with one's own stage of life. All this can be attained by means of indifference to worldly objects and constant discipline.
Different divisions of things: Bondage is of five kinds; the incapacity to act of twenty-eight kinds; satisfaction of nine kinds; attainment of eight kinds; while the intermediate divisions of these are of similar kinds; and we can describe all things in this manner. The attainment of objects is achieved by means of deliberation, inference, etc.; but there can be no freedom without renouncing everything.
Prakrti and its gunas: There are a number of divisions of what relates to the great forms and forces of Nature; and the whole universe has been created in this manner. It is characterized by the Gunas, of which the highest is Sattva, the lowest Tamas, and the intermediate one Rajas.
The problem of freedom: The action of Prakrti is like that of a born slave for its master. There is a recurrence of birth and evolution into higher and higher forms of life by its means. It is in accordance with the same law that there is sorrow born of old age and death; and we can get rid of it not by plunging into action, but by refraining from it. He who does so attains to all knowledge, and may be said to have done all his deeds. It is possible to prove the existence of an Isvara or God of this kind, namely, a soul that is free.
The action of Prakrti: As Prakrti cannot be the experiencer of its own actions; they are all performed for the sake of the soul, though unconsciously so. It acts without any self-interest of its own, like a servant for its master, because it is its nature to do so.
The freedom of the soul: When the pure soul acquires knowledge, it ceases to have any interest in Prakrti; and it attains to freedom either when it becomes indifferent to Prakrti, or the latter become indifferent to it, or when both become indifferent to each other. But, in spite of the desire of the soul to make itself free, it continues in its bondage through lack of discrimination, because of the service tendered to it by Prakrti. But there is always a cessation of action when the purpose of action has ceased to be served; and so when Prakrti ceases to serve the purpose of the soul, the latter becomes free. The bondage and freedom of the soul do not arise by themselves; for there can be no bondage except through lack of discrimination on the part of the soul, and the devotion of Prakrti to it; and freedom is attained by means of discrimination. In this way a person can make himself free even during his life-time.
The continued existence of the body is like a wheel that goes round and round for ever; and the proof of the possibility of freedom lies in the fact that the impressions of actions made on the soul can be made fainter and fainter, till at last they finally disappear. But it is only when, as a result of discrimination, there is a complete end to sorrow, that a person can become free.