Narach Philosophy

THE MEETING PLACE OF THE SYSTEMS OF BRAHMA AND MAHADEVA


We have observed that when we attain to the topmost point of the system of Brahma, we find ourselves at the bottom of the system of Mahadeva, and that is the connection between them. That is so because, though the topmost point of the former is Vaiseshika and of the latter Nyaya, their points of view are the same; for Nyaya, as we have explained, has two points of view in regard to the idea of God, as a mere spectator, and as a creator but having a smaller share than Prakrti. We have seen that the Vaiseshika has three such points of view the share of God being less than that of Nature, the two being equal, and the share of God being greater than that of Nature; and we notice that the first of these is the same as the second point of view of Nyaya.

Man-lion and Nyaya: As we have observed, the system of Mahadeva begins with Nyaya, but with its second point of view, where God is conceived to be a creator, but has a smaller role to play than Prakrti. This is the same as the first point of view of the Vaiseshika, the highest point of the system of Brahma. But, as the idea of God in that system is represented by animals, and by man in the system of Mahadeva, and the two meet at this point, its "incarnation" of God is a Man-Lion, a combination of a lion and a man the highest of the animal world, and the lowest of the world of men.

There is also a similar correspondence between the idea of the Boar and the Man-Lion. We have seen that the former represents the highest conception of goodness in the world of Nature, where individual good coincides with general good; while the latter represents the essence of joy in life without which it would not be possible to exist; and the idea of goodness is closely allied to that of joy.

It is this substance of joy that is represented in the story in terms of the preservation of Prahlada, the demon-devotee of God.

Prahlada (pra-hlada) means "(pra) great (hlada) joy". The idea of God preserves joy in the world of Nature, for God himself partakes of the character of joy. He is Sat-chit-ananda or Goodness, Intelligence and Joy.

The dwarf and the Vaiseshika: After this we are concerned with the highest ideal of the life of man, and begin with the life of a boy at a stage where he is able to express his mind; for after Nyaya we come to the Vaiseshika, which is based on the character of the mind. This is represented by Vamana, the Dwarf, an intelligent boy, six years of age, and the number six represents the mind, as we know, He has his desires, the most elementary ones, for food, shelter, and clothes; but, because they are not opposed to Dharma, they need to be satisfied. And so this is our next idea of the character of the soul and the "incarnation" of God.

Parasurama and Yoga: After the Vaiseshika we pass on, to Yoga; and the next stage of life after that of a boy is that of an intelligent student, who acquires pure knowledge for its own sake, and is devoted to Yoga; and, as this is our idea of the soul, it represents also our idea of the "incarnation" of God. That is the next "incarnation" of Vishnu, Parasurama.

Incarnations and the system of Vishnu: After the system of Mahadeva come the system of Vishnu and its range of thought extends from Vaiseshika to Yoga and Vedanta. But we have seen that the idea of the Vaiseshika in this system, namely, that God and Nature are joint creators, but the share of God is greater than that of Nature corresponds to that of Yoga in the system of Mahadeva; so that when we attain to the topmost point of the latter system, we find ourselves at the bottom of the system of Vishnu; and that is the connecting link between them.

We have also seen that the highest point of the system of Vishnu, Vedanta, based on the character of the soul, can have no "incarnation", for it is impossible to understand the character of the soul in terms of the soul or as it really is; and so, even as we have to be satisfied with the idea of the soul in terms of the intellect, we have to be satisfied with the idea of "incarnation", based on the character of Yoga, as the highest that the mind of man can, conceive. The system of Vishnu has accordingly hut two "incarnations" of God, corresponding to His idea in the Vaiseshika and Yoga.

Rama-Chandra and the Vaiseshika: The system of Vishnu begins with the Vaiseshika; and, as it is but a continuation of the system of Mahadeva, we begin with the next stage of human life after that of a student, and that is that of the householder, the most perfect embodiment of which is Rama-chandra; and so he is the next "incarnation" of Vishnu. We have seen that this point in the system of Vishnu is similar to that of the highest point in the system of Mahadeva; and the common link between them is represented by the word Rama, which occurs in both Parasu-rama and Rama-chandra.

Krishna and Yoga: After the Vaiseshika we go on to Yoga in the system of Vishnu, and according to it God is the supreme creator of the universe, and Nature is but a spectator of His work. Corresponding to this the next stage of human life is one where a man extends the principle of his family to the whole world; and the highest conception of life in accordance with this idea is that of Krshna, said to be the most perfect "incarnation" of Vishnu. Indeed, the whole "story" of his life, as described in the Bhagvad Purana can be explained in this light in accordance with the method of interpretation explained in the Mimansa; and his sixteen thousand "wives" express the idea of the whole world being of the family of God.

Buddha and the descending scale of thought: We have traced the course of human thought in connection with the idea of God from Sankhya to Yoga, and it is impossible for us to go any further. Krshna is accordingly the most perfect "incarnation" of God, because he represents the idea of the most perfect soul or the most perfect man, to whom the whole world is but one family.

But even the most perfect of men must die, even as the most perfect idea of God disappears from the world, as, indeed, it has done. We have gone to the highest point in the ascending scale of thought, and must now go down, and prepare for death; and corresponding to this the next stage in human life is sannyasa or renunciation of all action. And this is represented by the next "incarnation", Buddha, who personifies a life of perfection in the path of death.

Kalki, the last: We have traced the idea of perfection of the soul, that is God, from the beginnings of life to the highest point of human thought, and thence to death, and there is nothing more that it is possible to know. After this, wherever we turn, we shall find nothing but the essence of God, only we must remember that His basic conception arises through purity of life, from the senses to the soul.

A detailed explanation of the ten principal "incarnations" of Vishnu, after the manner set out here, will follow in a separate work, as soon as necessary arrangements can be made. The whole idea has been worked out in detail in accordance with the method of interpretation explained in the Mimansa, and only the barest outline has been given here. But it would serve to show what the original idea of the ancients was.

The real idea of these "incarnations" can, in a number of cases be obtained by dividing words into their parts, while in the rest, by means of other ways referred to in the Mimansa. For instance, the word Matsya (Fish) may be divided into ma, t, s, ya, when its meaning would be "(ya) the intellect, (s) mind, (t) the senses of action and (ma) the senses of knowledge". It thus gives us an idea of the soul in terms of the different faculties of man, without which it would be impossible to understand it.

Similarly Kurma (Tortoise) may be divided into k, u, r, ma, when its meaning would be "(ma) the senses of knowledge and (r) the senses of action (u) woven with (k) the intellect". Thus, it represents the idea of the senses being under the complete control of the intellect.

In the same manner the word Varaha (Boar) may be divided into vara, a, ha, when its meaning would be "(ha) the mind (a) associated with (vara, "better, best") what is good or the very best". Another word for the Boar in the text is Sukara, su, kara meaning "(kara) doer of (su, equal to su, meaning "good") what is good"; and so we see that both the words mean the same thing. The Boar accordingly symbolizes the idea of one who does good to others; and we know that a hog or pig serves as a natural scavenger. In living on filth or refuse it does good not only to itself, but to others too, though unconsciously. It symbolizes, therefore, the element of natural goodness in life, which, while serving its own ends, serves the purpose of something else as well. All other names are like this, and would be explained in due course.

The incarnations of Vishnu and the system of philosophy and religion: We have seen how the systems of philosophy are linked up with those of religion, and both with the idea of the "incarnations" of Vishnu; and the whole idea may now be represented as follows:

1. SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHY      
DIVISIONS OF LIFENATUREMAN    
MEANS OF KNOWLEDGENatureSensesMindAhankaraIntellectSoul
SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHYSankhyaNyayaVaiseshikaMimansaYogaVedanta
2. SYSTEMS OF RELIGION      
DIVISIONS OF LIFENATUREMAN    
MEANS OF KNOWLEDGENatureSensesMindIntellectSoul 
SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHYSankhyaNyayaVaiseshikaYogaVedanta 
SYSTEMS OF RELIGIONSystem of Brahma     
JainismDigambaraSvetambara    
BuddhismHinayanaMahayana    
System of Mahadeva      
System of Vishnu      
 AtheismAgnosticismDualismQualifiedMonismMonism

We have explained why there is no place for the Mimansa in the systems of religion. This system is based on the character of ahankara or of I-as-an-actor; but, as all systems of religion regard the soul as an actor there can be no separate place for the Mimansa in this scheme. It has, however, a most important role in the systems of philosophy, as has already been explained.

3. INCARNATIONS OF VISHNU      
The Ascending Scale of Life      
DIVISIONS OF LIFENATUREMAN   
MEANS OF KNOWLEDGENatureSensesMindIntellectSoul
SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHYSankhyaNyayaVaiseshikaYogaVedanta
SYSTEM OF RELIGIONSystem of Brahma    
INCARNATIONSFish (Soul)Tortoise (Control of Senses)Boar (Goodness of Life)  
SYSTEM OF RELIGIONSystem of Mahadeva    
INCARNATIONSMan-lion (joy of life)Dwarf (An intelligent boy)Parasurama (An intelligent student)  
SYSTEM OF RELIGIONSystem of Vishnu    
INCARNATIONSRama-chandra (A perfect house holder)Krishna (A perfect man, having the world as his family)   
The Descending Scale of Life      
SYSTEM OF RELIGIONBuddhism    
INCARNATIONBuddha (Perfect in death)    
A Universal Conception of God     
KALKI