Kashmiri Shaivism

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at BRAINCELLS.COM
Tue May 7 11:00:10 CDT 2002

On Mon, 6 May 2002, Shrinivas Gadkari wrote:

> Some examples from pauranic accounts:
> When Sati burnt herself, Bhagvan Rudra was immersed in grief. And Bhagvan
> Vishnu had to intervene.
> Bhagvan Rudra had to run to save himself from Bhasmasura again Bhagvan
> Vishnu had to intervene.
> In the amarnath episode, Bhagvan Rudra told Parvati that he knows may
> secrets to avoid death. That is to say, he has to practise yoga.
> Bhagvan Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra were cursed by sage Brighu, showing that
> even they are a subject to curses.
> Two residents of Vaikuntha were cursed to take birth as Hiranyaksha and
> Hiranyakashapu. Nahusha fell from heaven to become a snake.
> Indra has been cursed many a times, e.g. Ahilya episode and had to suffer.

The parshads (attendents) of the Lord like Jaya and Vijaya do not count as
liberated beings neither do the devatas like Indra or Nahusha.  They have
reached their position due to karma and if they fall again it is also due
to karma.  In fact Nahusha is a good example of a person who reached his
exalted position due to punya and lost it due to paapa.

>From the Vedantic point of view such beings are actually somewhat worse
off than we are because they are in a fixed position due to their previous
deeds whereas we have the freedom to better (or worsen) our lot.

In the Puranas Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesha are described as the saguna
Brahman (representing, rajas, sattva, and tamas respectively) while the
nirguna aspect is different--Narayana, or Sadashiva, or Jagadamba depnding
on the emphasis of the particular work.  It is the saguna aspect that
appears to be subject to curses, emotions etc. not the "supreme being"

> Such accounts make me suspect that one cannot assume that it is possible
> to establish oneself eternally in perfect yoga.

Of course not.  That is why the goal is to remove the bonds of time and
space altogether.  In mukti there is no more jiva thus there is none that
can fall.  The samadhi (perfection in yoga) of samkhya/yoga is considered
a lower step than mukti in Advaita Vedanta.  But even those who have
attained nirvikalpa samadhi but have been unable to maintain it do not
fall.  They are reborn in higher worlds where presumably they have better
chances for success.  (This is called krama mukti)

>Small lapses will be
> there. What is important is to have the knowledge and skill to recover
> from such temporary lapses and prevent them from snowballing. This in
> my view is liberation.

But as time is infinite there will never be an end to the temporary
lapses.  So you cannot call yourself free.  You are a prisoner of time.

> Then what is this big deal about brahma jnana ?
> On acquiring brahma jnana/ atma jnana, the practice of yoga becomes
> effortless. This is the great value of brahma jnana. Hence acquiring
> brahama jnana is equivalent of liberation.

It may make the juggling easier but going by what you previously said, it
can never become truly effortless.  So again why bother?  Why not expend
the effort on improving your material position instead?

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>
It's a girl! See the pictures - http://www.braincells.com/shailaja/

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