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Shiva Shakti Shakta, Hindu Religion and Tantra

Tantra and the Tantrik Hindu religion: Shakti and Shakta

by Arthur Avalon, $19.95 large size paperback, $10.60 ebook


This book is a profound assimilation of Arthur Avalon's essays on the mystic spiritual tradition of Goddess worship in Hinduism. An essential book for any era, the subtle, eternal truths offered within the covers of this book take the reader into the holistic realm of divine inner union. Originally published in 1918, this incredible work of scholarship, mysticism, and wisdom has been resurrected by Iconoclast Press so as to keep the treasures of understandings found within this book available to the world.  

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Hindu Religion : Tantra : Shakti and Shakta :

Chapter Twelve: Alleged Conflict of Shastras

A NOT uncommon modern criticism upon the Indian Shastras is that they mutually conflict. This is due to a lack of knowledge of the doctrine of Adhikara and Bhumika, particularly amongst Western critics, whose general outlook and mode of thought is ordinarily deeply divergent from that which has prevailed in India. The idea that the whole world should follow one path is regarded by the Hindus as absurd, being contrary to Nature and its laws. A man must follow that path for which he is fit, that is, for which he is Adhikari. Adhikara or competency literally means "spreading over" that is "taking possession of". What is to be known (Jnatavya), done (Kartavya), acquired (Praptavya) is determined not once and generally for all, but in each case by the fitness and capacity therefor of the individual. Each man can know, do, and obtain not everything, nor indeed one common thing, but that only of which he is capable (Adhikari). What the Jiva can think, do, or obtain, is his competency or Adhikara, a profound and practical doctrine on which all Indian teaching and Sadhana is based. As men are different and therefore the Adhikara is different, so there are different forms of teaching and practice for each Adhikara. Such teaching may be Srauta or Ashrauta. Dealing here with the first, it is said of all Vidyas the Lord is Ishana, and that these differing forms are meant for differing competencies, though all have one and the same object and aim. This has been well and concisely worked out by Bhaskararaya, the Commentator on Tantrik and Aupanishadic Texts in his Bhashya upon the Nityashodashikarnava, which is, according to him, a portion of the great Vamakeshvara Tantra. The second portion of the Nityasohdashkarnava is also known as the Yoginihridaya. These valuable Tantrik Texts have been published as the 56th Volume of the Poona Anandashrama Series which includes also (Vol. 69) the Jnanarnava Tantra. The importance of the Vamakeshvara is shown by the fact that Bhaskararaya claims for it the position of the independent 65th Tantra which is mentioned in the 31st verse of the Anandalahari. Others say that the Svatantra there spoken of, is the Jnanarnava Tantra, and others again are of the opinion that the Tantraraja is the great independent Tantra of which the Anandalahari (ascribed to Shrimadacaryabhagavatpada, that is, Shamkaracarya) speaks. Bhaskararaya who lived in the first half of the eighteenth century gives in his Commentary the following exposition:

In this world all long for happiness which is the sole aim of man. Of this there is no doubt. This happiness again is of two kinds, namely, that which is produced and transient (Kritrima) and that which is unproduced and enduring (Akritrima), called respectively Desire (Kama) and Liberation (Moksha). Dharma procures happiness of both kinds, and Artha helps to the attainment of Dharma. These therefore are desired of all. There are thus four aims of man (Purusharthas) which though, as between themselves, different, are yet intimately connected, the one with the other. The' Kalpasutra says that self-knowledge is the aim and end of man (Svavimarshah purusharthah). This is said of Liberation as being the highest end, since it alone gives real and enduring happiness. This saying, however, does not raise any contradiction. For, each of the four is to be had by the Jnana and Vijnana appropriate for such attainment. These (Purusharthas) are again to be attained according to the capacity of the individual seeking them (Tadrisa-tadrisha-cittaikasadhyani). The competency of the individual Citta depends again on the degree of its purity.

The very merciful Bhagavan Parameshvara desirous of aiding men whose mind and disposition (Citta) differ according to the results produced by their different acts, promulgated different kinds of Vidya which, though appearing to be different as between themselves, yet have, as their common aim, the highest end of all human life, that is, Liberation.

Shruti also says (Nrisimhapurvatapani Up. I-6; Mahanarayana Up. XVII-5): "Of all Vidyas the Lord is Ishana" (Ishanah sarvavidyanam) and (Sveta. Up. VI-18) "I who desire liberation seek refuge in that Deva who creates Brahma who again reveals the Vedas and all other learning" (Yo Brahmanam vidadhati purvam yo vai vedamshca prahinoti). The particle "ca" impliedly signifies the other Vidyas collectively. We also find it said in furtherance of that statement: "To him the first born He gave the Vedas and Puranas." Smriti also states that the omniscient Poet (Kavi), Carrier of the Trident (Shiva shulapani), is the first Promulgator of these eighteen Vidyas which take differing paths (Bhinnavartma). It follows that, inasmuch as Paramashiva, the Benefactor of the Worlds, is the Promulgator of all Vidyas, they are all authoritative, though each is applicable for differing classes of competency (Adhikaribhedena). This has been clearly stated in Sutasmhita and similar works.

Capacity (Adhikara) is (for example) of this kind. The unbeliever (Nastika i.e., in Veda) has Adhikara in Darshanas such as Arhata (Jaina) and the like. Men of the first three castes have Adhikara in the path of Veda. Similarly the Adhikara of an individual varies according to the purity of his Citta. For we see that the injunctions relating to Dharma vary according to Ashrama and caste (Varna-bheda). Such texts as praise any particular Vidya are addressed to those who are Adhikari therein, and their object is to induce them to follow it. Such texts again as disparage any Vidya are addressed to those who are not Adhikari therein, and their object is to dissuade them from it. Nor again should these words of blame (or praise) be taken in an absolute sense, that is otherwise than relatively to the person to whom they are addressed.

Yani tattad vidyaprashamsakani vacanani tani tattadadhikarinam pratyeva pravartakani. Yani ca tannindakani tani tattadan-adhikarinam prati nivartakani. Na punarnahi nindanyayena vidheya-stavakani

(Bhaskararaya's Introductory Commentary to Nityasodashikarnava Tantra, p. 2).

In early infancy, parents and guardians encourage the play of the child in their charge. When the age of study is reached, the same parents and guardians chastise the child who inopportunely plays. This we all see. A male of the three higher castes should, on the passing of the age of play, learn his letters and then metre (Chhandas) in order to master language. The Agni Purana has many texts such as "Faultless is a good Kavya"; all of which encourage the study of Kavya. We also come across prohibitions such as "He who has mastered the subject should avoid all discussion relating to Kavya". When the object to be gained by the study of Kavya is attained and competency is gained for the next higher stage (Uttarabhumika), it is only a harmful waste of time to busy oneself with a lower stage (Purvabhumika), in neglect of that higher stage for the Sadhana of which one has become competent. This is the meaning of the prohibition. Again the injunction is to study Nyayashastra so as to gain a knowledge of the Atma as it is, and other than as it appears in the body and so forth. The texts are many such as "By reasoning (Shungga) seek the Atma". Shungga=Hetu=Avayavasamudayatmakanyaya, that is Logic with all its five limbs. When it is known that the Atma as such is other than the body, is separate from the body and so forth, and the means which lead to that knowledge are mastered, then man is prohibited from occupying himself with the subject of the former stage (Purvabhumika) by such texts as "Anvikshiki and Logic (Tarkavidya) are useless" (Anvikshikim tarkavidyamanurakto nirarthikam). Injunctions such as "The wise should practice Dharma alone (Dharmam evacaret prajnah)" urge man towards the next stage (Uttarabhumika). The study of the Purvamimamsa and the Karmakanda in the Vedas is useful for this purpose. When by this means Dharma, Artha and Kama are attained, there arises a desire for the fourth Purushartha (Liberation or Moksha). And therefore to sever men from the former stage (Purvabhumika) there are texts which deprecate Karma such as (Mund. Up. 1-2, 12) "By that which is made cannot be attained that which is not made" (Nastyakritah kritena). Vashishtha says that these (earlier stages) are seven and that all are stages of ignorance (Ajnanabhumika). Beyond these are stages of Jnana. For the attainment of the same there are injunctions relating to Brahmajnana which lead on to 'the next higher stage, such as (Mund. Up. I. 2, 12) "He should go to the Guru alone" (Sa gurum evabhigacchet), "Listen (Br. Ar. II. 4, 5, IV. 5, 6), oh Maitreyi, the Atma should be realized" (Atma va are drashtavyah). Some say that the Jnanabhumikas are many and rely on the text "The wise say that the stages of Yoga are many". The holy Vashishtha says that there are seven, namely, Vividisha (desire to know), Vicarana (reflection), Tanumanasa (concentration), Sattvapatti (commencement of realization), Asamshakti (detachment), Padarthabhavini (realization of Brahman only) and Turyaga (full illumination in the fourth state). The meaning of these is given in, and should be learnt from, the Jnanashastra of Vashishtha.

These terms are also explained in Brahmananda's Commentary on the Hathayoga Pradipika (1-3). His account differs from that of Bhaskararaya as regards the name of the first Bhumika which he calls Jnanabhumi or Subheccha and the sixth is called by him Pararthabhavini and not Padarthabhavini. The sense in either case is the same. According to Brahmananda, Jnanabhumi is the initial stage of Yoga characterized by Viveka, Vairagya, and the six Sadhanas beginning with Sama and leading to Mumuksha. Vicarana is Shravana and Manana (Shravanamananatmika). Tanuminasa=Nididhyasana when the mind, the natural characteristic of which is to wander, is directed towards its proper Yoga-object only. These three preliminary stage are known as Sadhanabhumika. The fourth stage Sattvapatti is Samprajnatayogabhumika. The mind having been purified by practice in the three preceding Bhumikas the Yogi commences to realize and is called Brahmavit. The last three stages belong to Asamprajnatayoga. After attainment of Sattvapatti Bhumika, the Yogi reaches the fifth stage called Asamshakti. Here he is totally detached and in the state of wakening (Vyuttishthate). As such he is called Brahmavid-vara. At the sixth, or Pararthabhavini Bhumika he meditates on nothing but Parabrahman (Parabrahmatiriktam na bhavayati). He is supremely awakened (Paraprabodhita) and is awake (Vyuttishta). He is then called Brahmavid-vanyan. In the last or seventh stage (Turyyaga) he is Brahmavidvarishta, and then truly attains illumination in itself (Svatahparato va vyutthanam prapnoti).

The Upanishads and Uttaramimamsa are helpful for this purpose (Upayogi) and should therefore be studied,

Brahmajnana again is of two kinds: namely, Seabed and Aparokshanubhavarupa. Understanding of the meaning of Shastra (Shashtradrishti), the word of the Guru (Gurorvakyam) and certainty (Nishcaya) of the unity of the individual self (Sva) and the Atma. are powerful to dispel inward darkness, but not the mere knowledge of words (Shabdabodha); (See Yogavashishtha, Utpatti, Kh. IX. 7-16). Therefore, when the Shabdabhumika is attained one should not waste one's time further at this stage, and there are texts which prohibit this. Thus (Br. Ar. III, 5-1) "Having become indifferent to learning let him remain simple as in childhood" (Pandityannirvidya balyena tishthaset).

Between the second and third of the seven stages (Bhumika) there is the great stage Bhakti. Bhaktimimamsa (e.g., Narada Sutra, Sanatsujatiya) is helpful and should be studied. Bhakti continues to the end of the fifth Bhumika. When this last is attained the Sadhaka gains the fifth stage which is Aparokshanubhavarupa. This is Jivanmukti; Following closely upon this is Videhakaivalya. In the text "From Jnana alone Kaivalya comes (Jnanad eva tu kaivalyam), the word Jnana signifies something other and higher than Anubhava (Anubhavaparatva). In Nyaya and other Shastras it is stated that Moksha will be attained by mastery in such particular Shastra, but that is merely a device by which knowledge of the higher stage is not disclosed. This is not blameworthy because its object is to remove the disinclination to study such Shastra by reason of the delay thereby caused in the attainment of Purushartha (which disinclination would exist if the Sadhaka knew that there was a higher Shastra than that which he was studying). There are texts such as "By Karma alone (eva) is achievement" (Karmanaiva tu samsiddhih); "Him whom he selects hp him he is attainable" (Yamevaisha vrinnute tena labhyah). The word "eva" refers to the Bhumika which is spoken of and prohibits Sadhana for the attainment of fruit which can only be gained by mastery of, or competency in (Adhikara), the next higher Bhumika (Uttarabhumika). The words do not deny that there is a higher stage (Bhumika). The word alone (eva) in "Jnanad eva tu" ("from Jnana alone") indicates, however, that there is a stage of Sadhana subsequent to that here spoken of. There is thus no conflict between the Rishis who are teachers of the different Vidyas. Each one of these Bhumikas has many sub-divisions (Avantara-bhumika) which cannot be altogether separated the one from the other, and which are only known by the discerning through experience (Anubhava). So it has been said: "Oh Raghava, I have spoken to thee of the seven States (Avastha) of ignorance (Ajnana). Each one is hundred fold (that is many) and yields many fruits (Nanavibhavarupim). Of these many Bhumikas, each is achieved by Sadhana through many births. When a man by great effort prolonged through countless lives, and according to the regular order of things (Kramena), gains a full comprehension of the Bhumika in which he has certain knowledge of the Shabdatattva of Parabrahman, he ceases to have any great attachment to or aversion for, Samsara and this is a form of excellent Cittashuddhi. Such an one is qualified for the path of Devotion (Bhakti)." For, it has been said: "Neither indifferent (Nirvinna) nor attached; for such an one Bhaktiyoga grants achievement (Siddhida)."

Bhakti again is of two kinds: Gauni (secondary) and Para (supreme). The first comprises Dhyana, Arcana, Japa, Namakirtana and the like of the Saguna Brahman. Parabhakti is special" state (Anuragavishesharupa) which is the product of these. The first division of Bhakti includes several others (Avantara-Cumika). The first of these is Bhavanasiddhi illustrated by such texts "Let him meditate on woman as fire" (Yoshamagnim dhyayita). The second is worship (Upasti') as directed in such texts (Chha. Up. III. 18-1) as "Mano brahmetyupasita". The third is Ishvaropasti (worship of the Lord). Since the aspects of the Lord vary according as He is viewed as Surya, Ganesha, Vishnu, Rudra, Parashiva and Shakti, the forms of worship belong to different Bhumikas. The forms of Shakti again are endless such as Chhaya, Ballabha, Lakshmi and the like. In this manner, through countless ages all these Bhumikas are mastered, when there arises Gaunabhakti for Tripurasundari. On perfection of this there is Parabhakti for Her. This is the end, for it has been said (Kularnava Tantra, III. 82): "Kaulajnana is revealed for him whose Citta has been fully purified, Arka, Ganapatya, Vaishnava, Shaiva, Daurga (Shakta) and other Mantras in their order." Bhaskararaya also quotes the statement in the Kularnava Tantra (II, 7, 8): "Higher than Vedacara is Vaishnavacara, higher than Vaishnavacara is Shaivacara, higher than Shaivacara is Dakshinacara, higher than Dakshinacara is Vamacara, higher than Vamacara is Siddhantacara, higher than Siddhantacara is Kaulacara than which there is nothing higher nor better."

Many original texts might be cited relative to the order of stages (Bhumikakrama) but which are not quoted for fear of prolixity. Some of these have been set out in Saubhagyabhaskara, (that is, Bhaskararaya's Commentary on the Lalitasahasranama). The Sundari tapanipancaka, Bhavanopanishad, Kaulopanishad, Guhyopanishad, Mahopanishad, and other Upanishads (Vedashirobhaga) describe in detail the Gauni Bhakti of Shri Mahatripurasundari and matter relating thereto. The Kalpasutras of Ashvalayana and others, the Smritis of Manu and others come after the Purvakanda) of the Veda. In the same way the Kalpasutras of Parashurama and others and the Yamalas and other Tantras belong to the latter part of the Veda or the Upanishadkanda. The Puranas relate to, and follow both, Kandas. Therefore the authority of the Smritis, Tantras, and Puranas is due to their being based on Veda (Smrititantra puranam vedamulakatvenaiva pramanyam). Those which seem (Pratyaksha) opposed to Shruti (Shrutiviruddha) form a class of their own and are without authority and should not be followed unless the Veda (Mulashruti) is examined (and their conformity with it established). There are some Tantras, however, which are in every way in conflict with Veda (Yanitu sarvamshena vedaviruddhanyeva). They are some Pashupata Shastras and Pancaratra. They are not for those who are in this Bhumika (i.e., Veda Pantha). He who is qualified for rites enjoined in Shruti and Smriti (Shrautasmartakarmadhikara) is only Adhikari for these (Pashupata and Pancaratra) if by reason of some sin (Papa) he falls from the former path. It has therefore been said: "The Lord of Kamala (Vishnu) spoke the Pancaratras, the Bhagavata, and that which is known as Vaikhanasa (Vaikhanasabhidhama form of Vaishnavism) for those who have fallen away from the Vedas (Vedabhrashta)." The following Texts relate only to some of the Shastras of the classes mentioned. So we have the following: "He who has fallen from Shruti, who is afraid of the expiatory rites (Prayashcitta) prescribed therein, should seek shelter in Tantra so that by degrees he may be qualified for Shruti (Shruti-siddhyar-tham)." Though the general term "Tantra" is employed, particular Tantras (that is, those opposed to Shruti or Ashrauta) are here meant. The Adhikarana (Sutra) Patyurasamanjasyat (II: 2. 37) applies to Tantras of this class. The Agastya and other Tantras which describe the worship of Rama, Krishna, Nrisimha, Rudra, Parashiva, Sundari (Shakti) and others evidently derive from the Ramatapani and other Upanishads. There is therefore no reason to doubt but that they are authoritative.

Worship (Upasti) of Sundari Shakti is of two kinds: Bahiryaga or outer, and Antaryaga or inner, worship. Antaryaga is again of three kinds: Sakala, Sakala-Nishkala, and Nishkala, thus constituting four Bhumikas. As already stated, the passage is from a lower to a higher and then to a yet higher Bhumika. Five forms of Bahiryaga are spoken of, namely, Kevala, Yamala, Mishra, Cakrayuk and Virashamkara which have each five divisions under the heads Abhigamana and others and Daurbodhya and others in different Tantras. Bahiryaga with these distinctions belongs to one and the same Bhumika. Distinctions in the injunctions (Vyavastha) depend entirely on differences as to place, time, and capacity, and not on the degree of Cittashuddhi (Na punashcittashuddhibhedena). On the other hand injunctions given according to difference of Bhumika, which is itself dependent on the degree of purity of the Citta, are mandatory.

To sum up the reply to the question raised by the title of this paper: The Shastras are many and are of differing form. But Ishvara is the Lord of all the Vidyas which are thus authoritative and have a common aim. The Adhikara of men varies. Therefore so does the form of the Shastra. There are many stages (Bhumika) on the path of spiritual advance. Man makes his way from a lower to a higher Bhumika. Statements in any Shastra which seem to be in conflict with some other Shastra must be interpreted with reference to the Adhikara of the persons to whom they are addressed. Texts laudatory of any Vidya are addressed to the Adhikari therein with the object of inducing him to follow it. Texts in disparagement of any Vidya are addressed to those who are not Adhikari therein, either because he has not attained, or has surpassed, the Bhumika applicable, and their object is to dissuade them from following it. Neither statements are to be taken in an absolute sense, for what is not fit for one may be fit for another. Evolution governs the spiritual as the physical process, and the truth is in each case given in that form which is suitable for the stage reached. From step to step the Sadhaka rises, until having passed through all presentments of the Vaidik truth which are necessary for him, he attains the Vedasvarupa which is knowledge of the Self.

These ancient teachings are in many ways very consonant with what is called the "modernist" outlook. Thus, let it be noted that there may be (as Bhaskararaya says) Adhikara for Ashrauta Shastra such as the Arhata, and there is a Scripture for the Vedabhrashta. These, though non-Vaidik, are recognized as the Scriptures of those who are fitted for them. This is more than the admission, that they are the Scriptures in fact of such persons. The meaning of such recognition is brought out by an incident some years ago. An Anglican clergyman suggested that Mohamedanism might be a suitable Scripture for the Negro who was above "fetichism" but not yet fit to receive Christian teaching. Though he claimed that the latter was the highest and the most complete truth, this recognition (quite Hindu in its character) of a lower and less advanced stage, brought him into trouble. For those who criticized him gave no recognition to any belief but their own. Hinduism does not deny that other faiths have their good fruit. For this reason, it is tolerant to a degree which has earned it the charge of being "indifferent to the truth". Each to his own. Its principles admit q, progressive revelation of the Self to the self, according to varying competencies (Adhikara) and stages (Bhumika) of spiritual advance. Though each doctrine and practice belongs to varying levels, and therefore the journey may be shorter or longer as the case may be, ultimately all lead to the Vedasvarupa or knowledge of the Self, than which there is no other end. That which immediately precedes this complete spiritual experience is the Vedantik doctrine and Sadhana for which all others are the propaedeutic. There is no real conflict if we look at the stage at which the particular instructions are given. Thought moves by an immanent logic from a less to a more complete realization of the true nature of the thinker. When the latter has truly known what he is, he has known what all is. Vedayite iti Vedah. "Veda is that by which what is, and what is true, is made known."

Whilst the Smritis of the Seers vary and therefore only those are to be accepted which are in conformity with the Standard of true experience or Veda, it is to be remembered that because a Seer such as Kapila Adividvan (upon whose Smriti or experience that Samkhya is assumed to be founded) teaches Dvaitavada, it does not (in the Hindu view) follow that he had not himself reached a higher stage, such as Advaitavada is claimed to be. A Seer may choose to come down to the level of more ordinary people and teach a Dvaitavada suited to their capacity (Adhikara). If all were to teach the highest experience there would be none to look after those who were incapable of it, and who must be led up through the necessary preliminary stages. Samkhya is the science of analysis and discrimination, and therefore the preparation for Vedanta which is the science of synthesis and assimilation. Kapila, Gautama and Kanada mainly built on reason deepened and enlarged, it may be, by Smriti or subjective experience. We do not find in them any complete synthesis of Shruti. A general appeal is made to Shruti and a few texts are cited which accord with what (whether it was so in fact to them or not) is in fact a provisionally adopted point of view. They concentrate the thoughts and wills of their disciples on them, withholding (if they themselves have gone further) the rest, as not at present suited to the capacity of the Shishya, thus following what Shamkara calls Arundhatidarshana-nyaya. Nevertheless the higher truth is immanent in the lower. The Differential and Integral Calculus are involved in elementary Algebra and Geometry because the former generalize what the latter particularize. But the teacher of elementary Mathematics in the lower forms of a school would only confound his young learners if he were to introduce such a general theorem (as say Taylor's) to them. He must keep back the other until the time is ripe for them. Again the great Teachers teach whole-heartedness and thoroughness in both belief and action, without which the acceptance of a doctrine is useless. Hence a teacher of Dvaitavada, though himself Advaitadarshi, presents Dvaita to the Adhikari Shishya in such a forcible way that his reason may be convinced and his interest may be fully aroused. It is useless to say to a Sadhaka on the lower plane: "Advaita is the whole truth. Dvaita is not; but though it is not, it is suited to your capacity and therefore accept it." He will of course say that he does not then want Dvaita, and being incapable of understanding Advaita, will lose himself. This, I may observe, one of the causes of Skepticism to-day. In the olden time it was possible to teach a system without anything being known of that which was higher. But with printing of books some people learn that all is Maya, that Upasana is for the "lower" grades and so forth, and, not understanding what all this means, are disposed to throw Shastric teaching in general overboard. This they would not have done if they had been first qualified in the truth of their plane and thus become qualified to understand the truth of that which is more advanced. Until Brahma-sakshatkara, all truth is relative. Hence, Bhagavan in the Gita says: "Na buddhi-bhedam janayed ajnanam karma sanginam." Tradition supports these views. Therefore Vyasa, Kapila, Gautama, Jaimini, Kanada and others have differently taught, though they may have possibly experienced nearly similarly. Jaimini in his Purva Mimamsa differs in several respects from Vyasa or Badarayana in his Uttara-Mimamsa though he was the disciple of the latter. Vyasa is Advaita-darshi in Vedanta but Dvaita-darshi in Yoga-bhashya. Is it to be supposed, that the Shishya was Anadhikari, and that his Guru, therefore, withheld the higher truth from him, or was the Guru jealous and kept his Shishya in actions, withholding Brahma-jnana?

A Rishi who has realized Advaita may teach Ayurveda or Dhanuveda. He need not be Sthula-darshi, because he teaches Sthula-vishaya. Again Shastras may differ, because their standpoint and objective is different. Thus the Purva-mimamsa deals with Dharma-jignasa, stating that Veda is practical and enjoins duties, so that a Text which does not directly or indirectly mean or impose a duty is of no account. The Uttara-mimamsa, on the other hand, deals with Brahma-jignasa and therefore in the Sutra 'Tattu samanvayat' it is laid down that a Mantra is relevant, though it may not impose a duty ("Do this or do not do this") but merely produces a Jnana (Know this, "That Thou art"). The difference in interpretation is incidental to difference in standpoint and objective. The same remarks apply to the various forms of Advaita such as Vishishtadvaita, Shuddhadvaita; between the Shaktivada of the Shakta Agama and Vivarttavada. In some Shastras stress is laid on Karma, in others on Bhakti, and yet in others on Jnana as in the case of Mayavada. But though the emphasis is differently placed, each is involved in the other and ultimately, meet and blend. The Mahimnastava says: "Though men, according to their natures, follow differing paths, Thou art the end of all, as is the ocean of all the rivers which flow thereto." Madhusudana Sarasvati commenting on this, has written his Prasthanabheda, the reconciliation of varying doctrines. To-day the greatest need in these matters is (for those who are capable of understanding) the establishment of this intellectual and spiritual Whole (Purna). The Seers who live in the exalted Sphere of Calm, understand the worth and significance of each form of spiritual culture as also their Synthesis, and to the degree that lesser minds attain this level to this extent they will also do so. Whilst the lower mind lives in a section of the whole fact and therefore sees difference and conflict, the illumined who live in and have in varying degrees experience of the Fact itself, see all such as related parts of an Whole.

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