Guru Charanam Saranam
The Truth of Spiritual Planes
There exist three different paths for God realization in the world, viz. the path of Rishis or Guru Margam (Sanatana Dharma), Deva Margam (the path of gods or the Trimurty tradition) and the path of Prophets or Pravachaka Margam. The differences of Sanatana Dharma with Prophetic religions lie in their ignorance and less or no importance given to spiritual planes, cosmic time cycles as well as the poverty of vision in regard to rebirth and karma. However, one can see that a line of thought in consonance with the ideas of Sanatana Dharma exists side by side in the mystic traditions of almost all ancient civilizations.
Sanatana Dharma puts faith in Brahman – the One Supreme God. However, it accepts the existence of various spiritual stages or spiritual skies (akashas) other than the human world viz. bhutaloka (the abode of spirits, ghosts etc), pitruloka (the abode of ancestral souls), devaloka (the abode of trimurty/deva-devis/angels), rishiloka (the abode of sages). The supreme truth of God is experienced in the formless states (shuddhakasha) beyond rishiloka. Those spiritual skies are known as Ishwaraloka and Brahmloka. To have the experience of such subtle spiritual skies, the seeker should transcend the lower spiritual planes through self-experience under the guidance of a sage who himself has transcended all such spiritual planes. Therefore, the Guru must be a Parabrahma Guru, the Supreme Guru above all spiritual zones.
There are different types of Gurus – Gurus who worship spirits and ghosts, ancestral souls etc., those who worship deities, gods and goddesses through tantra, mantra or yoga. But as per Guru Gita, the science of Guru (Guru tatwa) which Siva taught to Parvati (Skanda Puranam), one should follow only the Parama Guru, the Guru who has transcended all other stages and attained union with the formless Brahman. Such Parabrahma Gurus come in every yuga. One cannot spiritually evolve ignoring or ridiculing the truth of these spiritual planes.
The Muslims and Christians by ignoring the truth of spiritual planes cannot pretend to have crossed these planes. Jesus Christ was crucified because he could not transcend the spiritual plane in which he found himself trapped– in the plane of angels and evil spirits. The Bible mentions the encounter of Jesus with Satan. Why Prophet Mohamed towards his end wailed and said that the world is ruled by Jinns (evil spirits). The vision was related to evil spirits. The fact that Prophet Mohamed received revelations from an Angel, not from Light, itself proves that he could not fully evolve to the formless state for which he striven. Revelations should be received from the Light, from the supreme light of Brahman, the Almighty God. Prophet Mohamed strove for the formless Truth, but striving and fulfillment are two different things. The reason behind the violence, bloodshed and intolerance connected with Islam is to be found in its place in lower spiritual spheres and its association with deviated spiritual powers in the subtle which Prophet Mohamed mentioned as Jinns.
While Sanatana Dharma follows the path of Guru-disciple order (Rishi Marga) for god realization, Trimurty tradition extols the greatness of Siva, Vishnu or Devi. A temple institution is in place around which the life of an ordinary Hindu is organized. Each sect considers Shiva, Vishnu or Devi as the Supreme Brahman – saguna or nirguna. Thus the concept of oneness of God in Trimurty tradition is fragmented in its base itself. The major differences between Trimurty tradition (Deva Margam) and Sanatana dharma have been noted here.
1. Trimurty tradition chooses for worship innumerable deities, gods and goddesses under respective traditions. They include all types of positive and negative spiritual entities. The higher castes are privileged to worship auspicious gods and goddesses such as Laksmi, Saraswati and Gayatri. The low castes mostly worship ghostly spirits and deities in lower spiritual planes because of the age old societal distortions and ignorance owing to caste system. The worship of lowly spirits and deities causes physical and moral degradation and debilities in human beings.
2. Because of the heaven centric ideology of Trimurty tradition through the medium of devas, the spiritual planes above the swarga plane, i.e., above the plane of devas are unattainable, which puts the soul into a vicious circle of births and deaths.
3. The Trimurty tradition gives importance to a highly iniquitous caste system.
4. The importance given to Vedantic philosophy in the Trimurty tradition that the world is ‘maya’ – an illusion and its equation of the individual jeeva with paramatma is creating certain negativity to Indian spirituality. According to realized sages, the jeevatma cannot claim the status of paramatma and the phenomenon of creation and the principles of transmigration and evolution of souls through various spiritual planes are not to be treated as illusion.
5. The belief that whatever form of divine one may worship, it becomes the worship of Supreme God is not in tune with the concept of Sanatana Dharma as there are various spiritual planes and spiritual powers inhabiting these planes. The spiritual status of these entities varies. For example, if a seeker worships a deity or follows a guru who is the worshiper of a deity that aspirant can reach only up to the spiritual plane related to that deity or Guru. As per Sanatana dharma, God realization is through a perfect Guru, who has realized Brahman. At least the Guru should be one who has crossed the stage of deities and demigods. Such a Guru or sage comes in every yuga for the spiritual guidance of mankind.
The impersonal Cosmic Reality expresses itself through the physical medium of a Guru. Four such Gurus manifest in every yuga and a fifth one – a sandhi guru, like Sri Krishna who came as the authority of Dwapara Yuga just before the commencement of Kaliyuga. Other Gurus and spiritual masters come under the regime or hierarchy of such epochal Gurus for specific time periods, such as 500, 1000, 2000, 5000 years etc. which means the spiritual power or potency of these gurus last only to a certain period. Therefore the concept of Christianity which held that the world will end after 2000 years or the idea of Islam that Prophet Mohamed is the last prophet only brings to focus the limitation of these ideologies in contrast to the depth and all embracing cosmic vision of Sanatana Dharma.