Narach Philosophy


The motive of pleasure is powerful enough to lead to the attainment of objects. But it should not cause pain. Pleasure (or joy) should be the motive of the knowers of the Vedas too; and it exists also in deeds of service. But sometimes it is also not there.

Cooking meat for pleasure is forbidden, as it is contrary to the idea of sacrifice; but it may have some other meaning too.

None but living creatures have a desire to procreate, and it serves the purpose of Nature. The female is more active than the male at first; but the male becomes more active later. It is an act of sacrifice, and has no room for vulgarity. It is a creative act, and requires harmony; and involves in particular the function of the mind.

A law or usage is that which is followed by most men; and that is how we should understand the meaning of the text. Meaning is more important than elegance of expression; but language, like a garment, should have both utility and beauty. But utility or meaning comes first, as in the case of the word yupa; but when we understand its meaning, by dividing it into parts; we find beauty in it too.

We cannot always understand the desires of animals; and they are described in the sacred books in a special form, which may appear to be new, but it significant, and would be found to be appropriate too.

Power of pleasure: In the case of average ordinary men it is pleasure that directs them to their object, because it is powerful enough to do so. But it should not cause pain; and it is for this reason that the cooking of meat for pleasure is prohibited. It has specially been mentioned that pleasure (or joy) should be the aim of knowers of the Vedas too. We see that there is pleasure also in deeds of worship or service; but sometimes we also see that it does not exist. Vedas are books of knowledge; and knowledge should give joy. That is the test of highest knowledge.

Pleasure and sacrifice: The prohibition against cooking meat for pleasure is an enjoined or strict prohibition, because of its connection with the idea of sacrifice; or, if it means something else, it should be taken to refer to what is intended to complete an elliptical sense in connection with a description that has just begun.

Sacrifice is an action meant for the benefit of all, without exception, and it includes animals too; and so slaying animals and cooking meat for pleasure would be contrary to the idea of sacrifice. Hence it is strictly prohibited. But if it is permitted, we are told in the next Satra the idea would be very different; as we find in the case of the Sacrifice of the Horse.

Desire to procreate: There is, in connection with the function of the mind, a desire on the part of an animal to cover an opening in the lower region of the body; but there can be no such desire for such a purpose on the part of anything else. This action takes place to serve the purpose of Nature (The word in the text is Devata, which refers to Nature); and we can see the proof of it ourselves.

The word in the text is Savaniya, which means "relating to Soma libation"; and we have explained that Soma refers the mind, and libation or sacrifice to action. Savaniya refers, therefore, to the function of the mind.

An act of sacrifice: This desire ceases to be active in those who are devoted to deeds of sacrifice. It is a law of Nature (Prakrti) that, if a suitable female is invited to a male, it is she who should act; and we find that it is so. But the male, while under the influence of desire, becomes more active, because that is how the mind and the senses complete their purpose (or are satisfied). But their union is an act of sacrifice, and they become free when the bond is released. It has clearly been taught that in this sacrifice of the night there is no room for those who are vulgar; and the difference in the means to secure the result is due to the difference in connection with time and speech. It should, however, take place when there is no desire to destroy the vital energy of the mind. In the midst of the process, and while it continues, all the means relating to it correspond to the function of the mind. In case of imperfection, it should not be resorted to; but if it is meant to serve the purpose of Nature, it may yet be done. Those about to begin should not be in a state of agitation or hostility, and should act in the even course of natural time, bearing in mind the object to be achieved. But it may be done at once if a beginning cannot be made, or if there is no time for making a beginning, or if there is a break at the very start.

The words in the text are Soma and the two Asvins; and the former refers to the mind and the latter to the two kinds of senses, of knowledge and action. The two Asvins mean "two horses"; and the "horse" in sacred literature, as has already been explained, refers to the senses. The "two horses" would, therefore, refer to the two kinds of senses, of motion and action, or knowledge and action.

It may be of interest to observe that in the story of the Mahabharata Nakula and Sahadeva, the two twins, are said to be the sons of the two Asvins and, as a son is said to represent his father, the twins of the Epic refer to the senses of motion and action, or the legs and arms of man. Indeed, the five Pandava brothers would be found to refer to the five parts of a man, intellect, mind, prana or vital breath as a vehicle of the soul, legs and arms.

The word in the text is vaidyut, which means "arising from lightning"; and lightning or electric energy is the energy of the mind.

Conception of a law: When there is a conflict of opinion in regard to law or usage that should be deemed to be so which is followed by most men; but the principal law should be that which arises from ancient direction, as is common among the people. It is in this manner that we can understand other meanings of the text.

Utility and beauty in language: If there is a conflict between the divisions of the words of a hymn into parts on the one hand, and elegance of expression on the other, we should accept that which gives a suitable meaning. A garment is meant for both utility and beauty, and should have both qualities (and the same is true of language). For instance, in the case of the word yupa, a new interpretation becomes necessary, because of the conflict between beauty and utility; and we have to see that there is no break in the continuity of the principal idea (that utility should come first). The word comes to have a different meaning because of the statement of particulars in its place in the text; and then we see that the connection between its parts makes for both utility and beauty.

The common meaning of the word yupa is "a sacrificial post"; but that does not make much sense. It has been defined to mean action meant for the benefit of all; and if we divide it into parts we shall find that it not only makes sense, but makes for beauty too. The whole idea would then appear to be very beautiful. This has already been explained.

Desires of animals: In the case of the desires of animals, there can be a doubt as to their exact idea, if they are not natural (or are subject to change), because both (the pair) are not always characterized by reason. As there is a special mention of animals in the sacred books, and the text makes little sense it should fill us with doubt as to its exact idea. If we are told that an animal is "dragged away", it implies that it is in the middle of the act, because that is the rule of this mode of expression. It is quite new in its basic form, for were it otherwise, and were its main points similar to other expressions, since the act is of an occasional character (and so different from other) the whole idea would be rendered meaningless. In this case if we divide words into parts, it would be an additional point of beauty, because there is no inconsistency in their common meaning; and it is like the case of one who, though he is not the chief, enjoys his drink from a cup of brass or bell-metal. But, as it is necessary to exercise restraint in such matters, the idea, so far as animals are concerned has been described in well chosen words. But it may not be necessary to exercise it if it does not cause injury. It is, however, necessary, if its effect is evil or contrary to the teachings of the sacred books.