A View of Santhigiri Ashram

A View of Santhigiri Ashram
Lotus Parnasala and Sahakarana Mandiram , Santhigiri Ashram, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Cosmogony of a Universal Religion

The avatars and messiahs of God appear when there is utter emotional unrest or social dissatisfaction in the society. At the summit of such social and spiritual turmoil, a messiah appears as the guide of man, who inspires the hope of his betterment and salvation. God, that Master Craftsman who conceived and projected this universe, presides over human evolution through the medium of such spiritual masters. We know that all religions in the world have originated from such messianic movements. However, the truth is that despite the work of any number of such gurus and prophets, humanity is still groping in the dark unable to get on to the path of universal peace and spiritual fulfilment. Today people are getting more and more convinced about the desirability of evolving a universal spiritual culture and harmony.

There is an underlying unity among religious doctrines although the rituals and attires differ, said Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru. The evolution of a universal spiritual culture depends upon the discovery of such a unifying belief system, which can bind the humanity in a common bond. The life mission of Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru was the rediscovery, reinterpretation and revitalization of this unifying spiritual concept that would constitute the basis of a universal religion. In the Indian spiritual tradition, this concept had already existed, which the sages called as Sanatana Dharma, i.e. the eternal religion. However, this differs in a major way from the concepts of popular Hinduism.  

A universal spiritual culture can evolve only on the premises of universal spiritual truths that can stand the test of time and science. The disagreement between different religions and schools of thought on the basic concepts about God, the origin of creation, its purpose and the scheme of divine dispensation in the human world have led to the present conflicts. The sages of India had brought to light convincing ideas about the origin of the universe and about the existence and evolution of man through many cosmic ages. The avatar theory in the Hindu scriptures points to the gradual evolution of man. In the long course of a cosmic age, there are many cosmic dawns and dusks corresponding to the origin and dissolution of different human civilizations. The rishis in India had known about these cosmic ages and the process of human evolution occurring through the unending play of cosmic energy. No other religions have revealed so much about the cosmic age calculations and the scheme of evolution as the rishis in ancient India did. 

According to creation myths in various cultures, when the creation of human universe started, God first conceived himself in the form of a human. However, this does not happen in an earthly level. It is an astral process. Then God halved himself as a man and woman. In the mystical language, this archetypal human is known as Manu from whom proceeded the subsequent creation. (The concept of Adam has some resemblance with this idea of an archetypal human). However, this does not happen on the earthly level. First, it happened in the astral level, equivalent to the Sankhya concept of purusha and prakriti and its subsequent cosmic processes resulting in the evolution of the physical universe. The concept of Manu, the archetypal human ancestor and his pairing as a man and woman mentioned differently in the creation myths of various cultures is related to this initial cosmic process. It is this astral pairing that has caused the pairing of all living beings in the form of male and female in the world.

The age of the universe is equivalent to the age of fourteen archetypal Manus, from whose conception emerges human civilizations during successive cosmic ages. Hence, in the Indian tradition, the age of the universe is calculated in terms of Manvantara after the name of Manu. The human universe evolved from the conception (sankalpam) of Manu in association with the seven primal rishis. These primal rishis could be the planetary spirits constituting the architecture of the solar system. The planets are the primary nodes with specific qualities and cosmic functions in the ordering of the solar system and life in it. Life manifests and evolves with the help of life-giving cosmic rays from the sun, moon and the surrounding planets and stars.

The rishis had discovered through their inner vision that God is achintya and avyakta, i.e. God is the unintelligible and indefinable Principle, which they named as Brahman. The understanding of the rishis is proving to be scientific verities. Now science has discovered that there exists a God Particle, an ‘invisible field’ from which the universe has sprung up. The good part of such scientific advancement is that it would lead to the convergence of science and spirituality compelling man to cast away all atheist and rationalistic pretensions and accept a universal theory about life and creation. It would also dismantle the dogmatic beliefs of those who try to appropriate God within the rigid walls of their religions. 

For the bodily manifestation of life on the earth, there should be the five gross physical elements (fire, air, water, earth and sky - the panchabhutas). There are a few more collateral elements like mind (manas), time (kaala) and the four directions (dik) etc. required for the soul’s existence and mobility. The soul further gets enclosed in five wrappings known as panchakoshas. These five sheaths are the food sheath, energy sheath, mind sheath, intelligence sheath and the bliss or consciousness sheath. Enclosed inside these physical as well as metaphysical enclosures, the soul has now a form and starts experiencing pain and pleasure through the medium of five sensory perceptions (sight, touch, hearing, taste and smell – panchendriyas) in accordance with the threefold qualities or gunas (satva, rajo and tama). The evolution of the soul means going back to its source breaking the conditioning associated with each astral stage. The soul gets awakened to its pure nature only after innumerable births and deaths expanding its horizon of consciousness. This is in short the architecture and the life science of our soul or atma

Like the sunrays that help to evolve a flower from a bud, an external agency is required to evolve a soul from its unconscious state to more evolved states. GURU is that external agency, which illumines or evolves the souls, as the sun does to a budding flower. These earthly gurus preside over the transformation of individuals and society during the successive cosmic ages. This is the basic framework of Sanatana Dharma, the eternal universal religion, in which there is a place for the chronology of all gurus and prophets. The religious tolerance of India is rooted in this concept of spirituality. Conflicts arise when the different messiahs and their followers refuse to accept the truth of this ever-evolving divine dispensation, which is not static or limited to the work of earlier messengers, who had appeared at historic intervals for specific spiritual missions. 

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru exhorted us to move on to the path of rishis or gurus coming under the cosmogony of Manu. Guru said that the spiritual power of devas was relevant in the yugas of Treta and Dwapara, while the way of the rishi or guru belonged in particular to the Kaliyuga as this is the order according to the path established by Manu and the Gurus in his line.  The eternal divine dispensation of Manu is extinct now because of the dominance of the Trimurti tradition in India, which has placed Manu below the Trimurti gods, through the mythology in the puranas, tantras etc. The monotheistic teachings in the Upanishads, Bhagavat Gita, Guru Gita and philosophical systems such as Sankhya are inseparably mixed with the puranic teachings that complement the Trimurti tradition, which makes it impossible for the development and independent existence of monotheistic jnana tradition. The glorious spirituality of India is stuck here.

While almost all major religious movements in the world since the dawn of Kaliyuga have already done away with the dependence on gods and goddesses for salvation, the Hindu tradition is limiting itself to the Trimurti tradition. Because of the trilateral split in its cosmology, it is impossible to find spiritual unity among the followers of the Trimurti tradition. For a society to progress and retain its culture, spiritual unity is the foremost requirement. Although there is a deceptive sense of spiritual unity among Hindus, the Trimurti tradition undermines the spiritual unity of people at a subtle level, when it comes to the question of basic beliefs. One of the major challenges before India towards the goal of social integration and harmony is this spiritual disunity, which is further worsened by the worn-out caste order devised by the unscrupulous vaidikas thousands of years ago.

Navajyothisree Karunakara Guru’s mission is related to this ideological deviation and the consequent degradation in the practice of spirituality. Although this spiritual perversion pervades the whole republic of religions in different forms, the work of spiritual reorientation should begin first from India, where the spiritual distortion is stronger. In order to initiate the intended spiritual reorientation and social reformation, it is imperative that India becomes acutely aware about these spiritual distortions. It is imperative that all people, irrespective of their religious affiliations, accept the secular cosmogony of the soul and the universe for the transition to a universal spirituality.

 Mukundan P.R.

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