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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Párthasárathi Krśńa and Sáḿkhya Philosophy – 2 (Discourse 9) by Shrii Shrii A'nandamu'rti- Namámi Krśńasundaram

Párthasárathi Krśńa and Sáḿkhya Philosophy – 2 (Discourse 9) by Shrii Shrii A'nandamu'rti- Namámi Krśńasundaram

In my previous discourse I analysed Párthasárathi Krśńa in the light of Sáḿkhya philosophy, but much still remains to be said.

It is said, Otah protah yogábhyáḿ saḿyuktah Puruśottamah – “Puruśottama, or Parama Puruśa, is associated with microcosms and the world through His ota yoga [individual association] and prota yoga [pervasive association].” It is enormously difficult to be Puruśottama: He must always remain associated with everything and everyone. None of His created beings should be neglected or slighted. He must associate Himself with everyone’s mind, listening to their thoughts and alleviating their sufferings, whether they are literate or illiterate, rich or poor, shouldering the responsibility for the entire creation. Only then does He deserve to be called Puruśottama. He who remains motionless like a distant star, indifferent to the sorrows and sufferings of created beings, but accepting their worship, is not Puruśottama. To be Puruśottama one has to remain associated with the created beings both individually and collectively through ota and prota yoga.

The personal relationship with each and every individual, with every particle of dust, every drop of water, is termed ota yoga. That is, Puruśottama is aware of your individual thoughts and feelings, your joys and sorrows, and takes suitable steps to remove your distress and afflictions. Here I deliberately used the word “suitable”, for He has to remove one’s afflictions without jeopardizing the collective interest. For example, if the sunset were delayed for one hour for the good of one individual, it would go against the collective interest. This He cannot do. So without jeopardizing the collective interest, He is bound to pay attention to the needs and feelings of every individual. This is His ota yoga.

And prota yoga is Parama Puruśa’s association with the entire creation – humans and other living creatures, the world and the universe – collectively. Here He is obliged to listen not to the individual problems of individual beings, but to the collective problems of the collectivity of all beings. It is not an easy task to be Puruśottama. He has to be associated with one and all in ota and prota yoga.

Every jiiva, as part of its birthright under prota yoga, enjoys His grace. So no one is small, no one is insignificant. If anyone laments, “I am such a useless person, such a helpless sinner, that Parama Puruśa can’t possibly wish to listen to me,” I will point out that when He listens to the collective prayer, then He naturally listens to the individual prayer too. And when He listens to every individual in ota yoga, then is a sinner outside the creation? All so-called sinners are within His mental domain and so He is inseparably associated with them too. One should remember,

Api cet sudurácáro bhajate mámananyabhák;

So’pi pápavinirmuktah mucyate bhavabandhanát.

“If even the most wicked people worship Me with a concentrated mind, I will liberate them from worldly bondages.” They should not be concerned about their future.

According to Sáḿkhya philosophy, there are innumerable unit puruśas. But actually Parama Puruśa is One. Parthasárathi is not at all like the puruśa of Sáḿkhya philosophy. Let us see what relationship exists between the puruśa of Sáḿkhya on the one hand, and the jiiva, the jagat and Iishvara on the other; and let us also see what relationship exists between Parthasárathi on the one hand, and the jiiva, the jagat and Iishvara on the other.


Párthasárathi Krśńa united Arjuna with the many other righteous Indian kings of the day. The land that was then known as Jambudviipa extended from Afghanistan in the west to Burma in the east and from the Pamir [Range] in the north to the Indian Ocean in the south. The major part of this vast land was known as Bháratakhańd́a or Bháratavarśa. Most of the world’s population at that time lived in Jambudviipa or Bháratavarśa. (The remaining parts of the world were mainly covered by jungles and forests. Gradually people cleared those forests and built new settlements.) So in those days, the only way to do good to human society was to start a war between the moralists and the immoralists in India.

Párthasárathi Krśńa concentrated on this task. He worked for the propagation of dharma. Here “dharma” denotes the path of human welfare (it is called imán in both Arabic and Persian, and not majhab [religion]). He started preaching His liberal mánava dharma [human dharma]. As previously mentioned, He was a king, and had direct contact mainly with other kings; He did not have the same degree of contact with the masses (nor would that have been natural). But His desire for human welfare was universal; it embrace all of society, from the highest stratum down to a blade of grass. And for the sake of human welfare, He selected among the contemporary kings and monarchs. The kings of India of that time became perfectly polarized: on the one side the kings who gave Him their full support, and on the other side those who vehemently opposed Him. The historic battle of Kurukśetra was fought between these two warring groups. Párthasárathi wished to establish dharmarájya [the rule of moralism].

The question may arise why Krśńa was so intent on establishing a moralistic social order. Wicked people will say that they do not understand such things as dharmarájya, but virtuous people will say, “The rule of moralism? Oh yes, it’s the only answer for society’s problems.” A poet once voiced the feelings of Duryodhana:

Sab-i sei shat́h Krśńer káj, krúr cakriir kumantrańá,

Dharmarájya, dharmarájya mukhe yár váńii vid́ambaná;

Krśńár sáthe duśt́er dal sakhá bali tár dásya kare,

Yaduvaḿsher sei kalauṋka cáláy táder hásya bhare.

[This is all the trick of that cunning Krśńa, evil advice from that ruthless conspirator. The slogan of dharmarájya is a hollow sham. The fact is that this gang of conspirators, together with Draupadi (also known as Krśńá), call themselves friends of, but are really the slaves of, Krśńa, that black sheep of the Yadu dynasty, who misguides them with a deceitful smile.]

Duryodhana raged against Krśńa. Why? Because Krśńa wanted to establish dharmarájya, the rule of moralism. Krśńa’s mission was best understood by the Pandavas. That is why the Pandava brothers and Draupadi used to give the utmost attention to Krśńa’s advice. Seeing this, Duryodhana said that the gang of conspirators together with Draupadi followed Him like dásyas [slaves, servants]. But in fact, the Pandavas looked upon Krśńa as their sakhá, their most intimate friend. Sakhya bháva is one of the different bhávas or relationships between the devotee and the Lord. In the case of Vraja Krśńa people mainly experienced dásya bháva, sakhya bháva or vátsalya bháva, but with Párthasárathi Krśńa they mainly experienced sakhya bháva. He was friendly to all, to the exclusion of none, and made it His mission in life to provide food, shelter, clothing, medicine and education to everyone – to bring those deprived of education to the light of learning.

Atyágasahano bandhuh [“One who cannot tolerate separation from his or her friends is called a bandhu”]. That person is said to be a bandhu [friend] whose bond of love is so deep that he or she constantly endeavours to come even closer, and constantly radiates love from the depths of the heart to receive one with a smiling face. Puruśottama is called Jagadbandhu [Friend of the World]. This attitude of friendliness which draws the creation close to Him is called sakhya bháva. And not only is Parama Puruśa the sole friend of humanity, human beings are the only friends of Parama Puruśa. This is the spirit of sakhya bháva. Only Puruśottama, and no other, can be your lifelong friend in prosperity and adversity alike.

When this sakhya bháva matures, when this love for Parama Puruśa deepens, it is transformed either into dásya bháva or into madhura bháva. “Parama Puruśa is my best friend. He loves me.” When a person thinks like this, he or she draws close to Parama Puruśa. From a distance one cannot feel His greatness, but when one comes within His proximity one realizes that He is unfathomable, immeasurable, and thinks: “Oh, although He is my sakhá [my friend], how great He is! How vast! I consider myself fortunate to have come so close to Him.” When one thinks in this way, one’s sakhya bháva is transformed into dásya bháva. One then feels that since Parama Puruśa is so great and loves one so much, it is one’s duty to serve Him and fulfil His desire in every possible way. One feels, “Since He is earnestly seeking human welfare it is my duty to do His work.” This is the spirit of dásya bháva. “He is my Master, my Lord – I am His servant.” And the spirit of madhura bháva is as follows: “He is so vast, endowed with innumerable attributes, yet even then He loves me. He is so great, yet He is still my most intimate friend, so very close to me. What joy! What joy!” This is madhura bháva. This friendship between the Pandavas and Krśńa was born out of sakhya bháva, out of mutual friendship, but to Duryodhana it appeared to be nothing more than a slave-master relationship. To him, the Pandavas were mean-minded and ruthless conspirators.

Why did Krśńa wish to establish dharmarájya? He was Párthasárathi, endowed with a deep love for humanity. In order to do good to humanity by eradicating exploitation one will have to work cooperatively in every stratum of life. If, for example, people work cooperatively(1) in the spheres of production, distribution and similar activities, then they can easily save themselves from the fiendish exploiters. But “If there is a demon in the mustard seed it will not drive away demons.” And similarly, if there are wicked people among the leaders of a cooperative society, then the lion’s share of the profit will be misappropriated by them. That is why the rule of morality should be established in every sphere of human life. One may argue that it is sufficient to act morally, but this is not supportable because morality is based on dharma, or imán. Without a strong dharmic base, morality cannot stand. A strong current of selfishness or a flowing river of sin can easily wash away the sandy walls of morality. The only solution is to build the concrete embankment of dharma. Permanent human welfare cannot be brought about unless dharmarájya is established.

Unless people work in close cooperation, nothing great can be achieved. In order to promote human welfare and to fulfil the material needs of human beings, Párthasárathi had to raise the slogan of dharmarájya. He knew that without dharmarájya nothing can be achieved. We also know it, and yet we are still discovering it.

The puruśa of Sáḿkhya has no relationship with jiiva and jagat [microcosm and creation]. It is merely an entity created by Prakrti which only possesses the capacity of witness-ship within a microcosmic structure. It has nothing specific to do. Yesterday I said, Yá devii sarvabhúteśu Shaktirúpeńa saḿsthitá [“The goddess who is immanent in all created beings in the form of Shakti, the Operative Principle”]. Here the manifestation of Shakti means the manifestation of Citishakti [the Cognitive Faculty], and not the manifestation of jad́ashakti [material energy]. This manifestation of the Cognitive Faculty emanates from Supreme Consciousness. But the puruśa of Sáḿkhya has no such manifestation. He is simply a witness playing no active role (rather like the Indian god Jagannatha who has neither arms nor legs), who simply looks on passively doing nothing in particular. What use do we have for such inactive gods? We want those gods who will do something for us, who will inspire us to noble deeds, who will protect honest people from sinners, and strengthen the hands of the moralists. This is exactly what Párthasárathi wanted to do. He undertook this noble task with the help of the kings of the day and finally attained success. What we understand by the puruśa of Sáḿkhya is quite different from Párthasárathi. Párthasárathi was much higher than that: He was exactly what we call Puruśottama in our philosophy.

The Puruśa of Saḿkhya

Now we shall analyse the relationship between the Janya Iishvara of Sáḿkhya, the unit puruśa, and the role that Párthasárathi played.

The Janya Iishvara of Sáḿkhya is only a causal agent, having no specific role. His role is so passive that if a dishonest person tortures an honest person, He won’t even lift a finger or utter a single word in protest. He doesn’t have the capacity to do anything. Puruśottama is not like that; Párthasárathi was not like that either.

With the help of the Pandavas and other powerful and virtuous people, Párthasárathi destroyed wicked people wherever they were dominating Indian society. (Such as Jarasandha, the king of Magadha, whom he defeated in a long, drawn-out battle). These events unmistakably prove that the Janya Iishvara of Sáḿkhya is nothing like Párthasárathi Krśńa. Things and events occur due to natural law. But a passive entity like Janya Iishvara cannot do anything about it, cannot even inspire the jiivas. According to Sáḿkhya, “inspire” is also a verb and thus the Janya Iishvara is also incapable of inspiring. If an Entity does not provide inspiration for anyone, can its existence be justified? Let such a god reside in heaven; He is of no value to human beings.

Párthasárathi is altogether different. He existed for all. He took birth in order to supply the material needs of all, to punish the wrongdoers and to protect the virtuous. He is not like the unit puruśas or the Janya Iishvara of Sáḿkhya. He is Puruśottama Himself. He is not like the star in the distant sky, or the nebula of the endless void, or the pearl lying in the oyster in the depths of the unfathomable sea; He is a brilliant jewel carefully protected in the deepest layers of the human mind. He is a rare treasure in individual life and the highest object of worship in collective life. He does not come within the purview of Sáḿkhya philosophy. In vainly trying to count the number of fundamental principles in the creation, Sáḿkhya has made its biggest mistake in forgetting to count Parama Puruśa. Perhaps he [Maharshi Kapila] did not have sufficient intellect to realize that Parama Puruśa is the Supreme Primordial Principle.

Today, we are in the advantageous position of being able to analyse Him impartially. We can also see that Sáḿkhya philosophy remains far away from the lotus feet of Párthasárathi Krśńa. It can never aspire to come within His close contact, it can never touch those holy feet, though it break its head in the attempt.


(1) “Operate” comes from a Latin verb that means “to give shape to” something or “to move” any object from one place to another. “Operation” is the corresponding noun, and “co-” means “together”. “Cooperation” means “giving shape to something by working together”.

Shrii Shrii A'nandamu'rti

Namámi Krśńasundaram

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