Priti Sandarbha 5.8 :: A Divided Absolute Cannot Be the Ultimate Goal
5.8 A Divided Absolute Cannot Be the Ultimate Goal
ननु, शुद्धजीवात्मध्यानस्य परमार्थत्वं भवेत्, मुक्तिदशायामपि स्फूर्त्यङ्गीकारेण तद्रूपस्य तस्यानश्वरत्वात्, तदाच्छादनादधुना संसार इति तस्यैव साध्यत्वाच्च। तत्रोक्तमेकेन (वि.पु. २.१४.२६) —
A further option is raised: Let us take meditation on the pure jīva to be the ultimate goal. Such meditation is imperishable, since its manifestation is accepted as taking place even in the liberated stage, and it is the goal of practice (sādhya), since one's present material bondage is a result of the jīva's true nature being covered. Jaḍa Bharata raises this possibility and responds to it in one verse:
ध्यानं चेदात्मनो भूप परमार्थार्थशब्दितम्।
भेदकारि परेभ्यस्तत् परमार्थो न भेदवान् ॥ इति।
/O King, if meditation on the self is called the supreme goal [then that is also improper because] such meditation creates a difference from others, but the supreme goal is devoid of any distinctions. (VP 2.14.26)
यद्विज्ञानेन सर्वविज्ञानं भवति तदेव ब्रह्म श्रुतौ परमार्थत्वेन प्रतिज्ञातम्। सर्वविज्ञानमयत्वं च तस्य सर्वात्मत्वात्। अग्निविज्ञानं हि ज्वालाविस्फुलिङ्गादेरपि विज्ञापकं भवति। एकस्य जीवस्य तु तदीयजीवशक्तिलक्षणांश-परमाणुत्वमित्यतस्तस्य तत्स्फुरणस्य च भेदवतो न परमार्थत्वमित्यर्थः।
It has been asserted in the Śruti that the supreme goal is Brahman, by knowledge of which everything becomes fully known. Because Brahman is the self or essence of everything, knowledge of It is all-encompassing. Knowledge of fire includes knowledge of the flame, sparks and so on. The individual living entity is an atomic being, a fraction of Brahman's jīva potency. Therefore since the manifestation of the jīva is [here being taken as being] distinct from It, it cannot be the supreme goal.
That which creates a difference between Him and the meditative knowledge of the jīva cannot be the ultimate goal.
Comment by Babaji Maharaj
After eliminating the possibility that what is perishable and that which is a means only could be the the ultimate goal, Jaḍa Bharata presents another alternative. The first two propositions were sa-kāma karma and niṣkāma karma, now he raises the possibility that the goals of Patañjali's Yoga system are the ultimate goal. So he says: Let meditation on the pure jīva be the puruṣārtha. The jīva is eternal and meditation on it can continue even in the liberated stage. Such meditation does not have any end other than itself, it can be done for its own sake, and it is also blissful.
To this proposal Jaḍa Bharata replies that such meditation goes against the unitarian principal of Reality. Then there would be two different realities, which in the Sāṅkhya-yoga terminology are called spirit (puruṣa) and matter (prakṛti). Śrīdhara Svāmī comments that the "different from others" refers to the difference of the conscious being from the products of matter like the body.
parebhyo dehādibhyo vivicya ātmanaś cittālambanī-bhūtasya dhyeyatvāt dhyānaṁ bheda-kāri, paramārthaś ca na bhedavān | "ekam evādvitiyaṁ brahma" iti śruteḥ.
"Meditation that uses the ātmā as its ālambana separates it from other things like the body, etc., but the Ultimate Goal cannot admit such differences, since according to the Śruti, Brahman is One without a second."
Bhojadeva says in his Rāja-mārtaṇḍa-vṛtti to the Yoga-sūtra:
patañjali-muner uktiḥ kāpy apūrvā jayaty asau |
puṁ-prakṛtyor viyogo’pi yoga ity udito yayā ||
"All glories to the unprecedented teachings of Patañjali Muni, by which yoga is defined as the separation (viyoga) of spirit (puruṣa) from matter (prakṛti)."
But, says Śrīdhara Svāmī, this goes against the principle of "Reality is one without a second" (ekam evādvitīyam, Paiṅgalopaniṣad 1.1). The principle of non-duality has to accommodate material nature and not exclude it.
Śrī Jīva Prabhu, without rejecting this position, argues that it is inadequate from the devotional point of view because it goes against the Śruti that says, "By knowing which everything becomes known" (yasmin vijñāte sarvam idaṁ vijñātaṁ bhavati, Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad 2.2). Only such a reality is advocated in the scriptures as the object of achievement.
In the 6th chapter of Chāndogya Upaniṣad, one finds the story of Śvetaketu, son of Āruṇi. His father ordered him to go and study under a teacher. On his order, the boy went and studied the Vedas for twelve years and returned home as a young man of 24, very proud of his learning. His father noticed it and was not happy. He said to him, "O Śvetaketu, O Beautiful one, Now that you are proud of being a scholar, did you ask about that wisdom through which the unheard become heard, unthought becomes thought and unknown becomes known?" (CU 6.1.2-3).
Meditation on the self would not fit such a description of the puruṣārtha. Knowledge of jīva would not lead to the knowledge of Absolute. The bliss of knowing one’s self will not give complete satisfaction because it is very limited. Chāndogya Upaniṣad says that happiness is in that which is great. Happiness is not in that which is limited. (CU 7.23.1)
The jīva is a part of Bhagavān's marginal potency so it is one with Him, but as Śrī Jīva Prabhu has been saying, it is bahiścara, "moving outside" of Bhagavān. So therefore to know one's self without reference to Bhagavān can never be the complete puruṣārtha.