Prakriti-Purusha, Svartha-Parartha

In Sāṅkhya-Yoga I became intrigued by the concept of

Puruṣa = svārtha, Prakṛti = parārtha.

i.e. the Spirit Self exists for itself, but Nature or Phenomena exist for another, i.e., the Puruṣa. (See Sāṅkhya-kārikā 17, 56, Yoga-sūtra 3.35 and their commentaries.)

The idea is that as conscious beings, we experience and process phenomena entirely as though we ourselves are the center of the universe. This has really nothing to do with selfishness in its ethical sense, though that is an outcome of this perfectly natural state. This is in fact one of Sāṅkhya philosophy's arguments for the existence of the spiritual self as separate and distinct from matter.

Any Vaishnava looking at Gītā 7.4-5 will recognize how the idea of the Puruṣottama adds a further dimension to this concept, but it is one that makes a huge difference.

bhūmir āpo'nalo vāyuḥ khaṁ mano buddhir eva ca
ahaṁkāra itīyaṁ me bhinnā prakṛtir aṣṭadhā
apareyam itas tv anyāṁ prakṛtiṁ viddhi me parām
jīva-bhūtāṁ mahā bāho yayedaṁ dhāryate jagat
My material nature is made up of eight separate energies: earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego. Besides these, O mighty armed Arjuna, I have a superior prakåti, consisting of the individual souls who sustain the universe. (Gītā 7.4-5)

Thus the individual soul or jiva is both Puruṣa (in relation to matter) and Prakṛti (in relation to the Puruṣottama).

Thus the Puruṣa is meant to employ Prakriti in the service of Puruṣottama.

Where is the Puruṣottama? How can we make the distinction between ātmā and Paramātmā ?

Bhagavad Gītā also takes up the Sāṅkhya concept of kṣetrajna and says there is one field-knower per field, but that the Supreme Field Knower, sometimes called "Cosmic Intelligence" by those who are reluctant to admit that Cosmic Intelligence is also attached to the Puruṣottama, pervades all fields.

But in terms of experience, the search for ātmā cannot be separated from the search for Paramātmā. One can only know the self truly in relation (parārtha) and not "in itself" (svārtha).

Sāṅkhya and Yoga say that the self cannot really be known in that way. As soon as one is self-reflective, one employs Buddhi, which is a material product. So because of this, they ultimately renounce even Buddhi to become Isolate (kevalin), where they live in splendid isolation, for themselves only.

The Vaishnava philosophy criticizes the concept of bliss that requires the renunciation of experience, especially the experience of love. Love is when svārtha and parārtha become one. That is when you know that both ātmā and Paramātmā have been realized.


Anonymous said…
Unknown said…
I wrote this a few years ago, quotes from Bhakti Shathak :
zakti mAn kI zaktiyAn agaNit yadapi bakhAn|
teen mahan 'mAyA',' jIva', aru, 'parA'trizakti pradhAn||

Lord Kishna possesses innumerable Powers, out of which the three main are, Maya Sakti (external Cosmic power), Jiva Sakti (neutral Power of unlimited souls) and Paraa Sakti (internal Divine power).

jIva tatastha zakti par, mAyA kar adhikAr|
vastutastu yaha dAsa hai, swAmI nanda kumAr||

Jiva Sakti is a neutral power- Tatastha Sakti, which has been overpowered by insentient Maya Sakti since time immemorial,
although its true nature is servitude of its Master, Lord Krishna.

kRSNa bahirmukha jIva kahan,mAyA karati adhIn|
tAte bhUlyo Apu kahan, banyo viSaya rasa mIn ||

The individual soul has turned itself away from
its Master, the Supreme Lord, since time immemorial.

Hence, Maya Sakti has overpowered the Jiva.
As a consequence of having been turned itself away from the Lord,
the Jiva, individual soul has forgotten its original, transcendental nature, and the Jiva identifies itself with the body and becomes attached to material subjects and objects.

antaraGga hai parA jo, sarva samartha kahAya|
ati vicitra gati parA kI, mAyA-pati hun nacAya||

Lord Krishna's 'Paraa' Sakti, Internal Divine potency
is extremely powerful and makes impossible possible!
The 'Paraa Sakti' (Yogamaya) is so amazing that It causes even
the Supreme Lord, to play and dance in blissful exploits!!!

(Bhakti Satak Verses 3, 4, 5, 6)

God is 'mAyAdhIza', the Lord of Maya Sakti- external illusory Power.

His Saintly devotees, Mahatmas, are mAyAtIta', beyond the jurisdiction of Maya, Cosmic power.

They come to the earth to fulfill Lord's mission and are not under the control of material laws but directly governed by Lord's internal Divine Personal power, Svarupa Sakti.

While the ordinary souls, Tatastha- neutral Jiva Sakti is 'mAyAdhIna', ever under the control of Lord's Maya Sakti, external Illusory power, and Cosmic laws, with no independence of their own until and unless they surrender to the Lord.

According to the Karma, the jivatma, individual soul transmigrates in many million species of life, killing and being killed by other jivas.

But Lord's Divine exploits are done out of His free will to bless the souls with His Divine Grace.

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