Who is a Brahmana? III
(Continued from P.126 Sept. 1930)
From SREE SAJJANA-TOSHANI
The spiritual community of individuals possessing the higher life can have no organisation nor objectives that are definable in terms of limited, mundane relationship. Complete freedom of the individual is the distinguishing characteristic of such a society. In the spiritual community one individual is related to another exclusively by the bond of service. No one seeks to dominate over another. The humblest of servants possesses the highest natural authority which does not require to be defined and declared by any code of so-called written ‘laws’. The pure heart instinctively recognises the need and accepts the helping guidance of another pure heart in rendering unconditional, exclusive service to the common Master. The daiva varnasrama ‘institution’ thus consists of one varna or class viz., that of the spiritually disposed (Brahmanas).
It is irrelevant to oppose the arrangement on the ground that it possesses no apparent worldly utility nor even any tangible formulation of its own constitution. Its advocates never claim such demerits for the system. It is only the fleeting institutions promising deluding worldly advantages that strive mischievously to go against their inevitable mortal nature by the construction of shady dams and dykes which strangle them to assured death at the moment of the greatest transgression.
The great point that has to be borne in mind and which is to be honestly and consistently applied in practice in order to be able to enter into and continue the higher life is that the present worldly life with all its million tempting concerns has no positive value for our souls. In this world we can but be only usufructuaries of seeming possessions and we can never be real proprietors. If we choose to forget this fundamental condition of our usufructuaril position that it is not destined to become possessory we are punished for such wilful transgression by having to suffer all the evils of an unnatural position. The camp life of this world cannot be converted into the natural eternal life by any kind of modifications. Any plan that is directed to this wrong end is bound only to multiply the difficulties of a radically irrational existence. The worldly life is a probationary period to test our fitness for being relieved of its necessity by the substantive tenure.
Every ‘stable’, ‘organised’ institution of this world tends to obscure the essentially unstable and dissolving nature of the concerns of this world and thus perpetuate our ignorance of the really stable and natural live whose very existence is perfection and which requires no artificial props and helps for its continuance or improvement. But if the experiment to live the eternal life delineated in the Scriptures be made by worldlings it is bound to end in Chaos. The impure mind cannot be made pure by merely disowning its salutary conventions. So long as the corrupt mind is not fully prepared to behave rationally in every way it is bound to find itself surrounded on every side by impassable barriers to all its activities.
The ideal is, therefore, not to be sought in the direction of a perpetuation of the slavery of untruth which is the real nature of the physical and mental expectation, but to recognise and try to learn and by learning remove the cause of the present miserable state. This is not pessimism although a section of the materialist philosophers are never tired of dinning into our ears that it is so. The truly pessimistic attitude is one of despair regarding the attainment of the higher life. The incurably pessimistic attitude is that which is not even prepared to admit the possible existence of any higher life that is categorically different from that of the average worldling.
The terribly silly cant that holds in eternal bondage the intellect of aspiring humanity is the familiar sibboleth of the conquest of Nature by man. The barren implications of this shallow misconception require to be fully laid bare before the world can agree to see things as they are. The pursuit of the wild goose must cease. It is not pessimistic to believe in this consummation. Dishonest speculation can never provide the remedy for the fell disease of worldliness and is for this very reason deliberately resolved not to recognise the disease itself. From this attitude it is only one step to begin to hug the disease.
Let us once and for all get rid of the irrational perversity that prefers the bondage of untruth to the service of truth. The service of truth, indeed, always appears in its plain garb of service. The bondage of untruth presents itself as in the garb of mastery over Nature. The vain tiny intellect of man is impelled by its innate littleness to over-estimate its own magnitude. This constitutes the offence of its rebellion against the Truth. The same impulse that leads it to go against the Truth induces it to accept the bondage of untruth by reason of its impotent and irrational desire for domination which is held out by the latter. Thus the hypocritical and truly ignorant life is born and nursed to its destruction.
This tragedy must be properly realised we are really disposed to seek the Truth for the purpose of serving Him. Then and then only shall we be able to avoid the pitfalls that have been provided by the false prophets of worldliness to encompass our ruin. The Truth does not offer Himself to us for our passive acceptance. He offers us only His willing service. He has to be wooed and won. If we choose to be indifferent to Him He fights shy of us. We must not suppose that it is the business of the Truth to appear to us of His own accord and also make us recognize and welcome Him. This cannot be the attitude of service. It is the attitude of the master. Slavery is not the denial of mastery but of service. There can be but one Master because no one can serve more than one. The show of service that is rendered to many masters, as in this world is no service at all but slavery.
The seekers of ‘freedom’ also would go astray and end in slavery if they choose to prefer untruth to the Truth. It is worth every body’s while to try to find out, that is to say to seek the service of the real Truth. He who will not do so, will not earn ‘freedom’ but ‘slavery’ by his aversion to the Truth. The only freedom is the service of the Truth, the service of Godhead. It is necessary to realise this and to try seriously to find Him. It will not do to say that it is not possible to find the Truth. Any person who will deny the possibility of our being able to know the Absolute should be set down as the real enemy of the Truth and the only pessimist. No good can come out of the advice of such a person which is a counsel of despair. If we ever take notice of his warning it will be for the negative purpose of being on our guard against his specious fallacies.
One who is disposed to seek the Truth is led by the Truth Himself to His servant who alone can instruct him regarding the search. The truth cannot be found by any person who is not prepared to search for Him. So the novitiate under the spiritual guide who is no other than the servant of Godhead is the only method of finding the truth. One who repairs to the spiritual Guru for finding the Truth with the object of serving Him is admitted by the latter to the study of the Scriptures by the method of serving submission. In proportion as the disposition to serve the Truth manifests itself in the learner the meaning of the scriptures is realised. In other words it is not the information contained in the scriptures that is of value, but only the disposition that all the body of information inculcates. If and when the disposition is actively established the necessity for acquiring knowledge by any indirect method is eliminated. In the self-realised state there is no trace of ignorance which requires to be removed by the process of study.
When the disposition to serve the Truth fully manifests itself then and then only the Spiritual teacher is in a position to impart the Spiritual vision to the disciple. The Spiritual vision is thus closely associated with the disposition to serve. The Spiritual vision cannot, indeed, be had except by grace. The disposition to serve implies this. Hence the necessity of Diksha or initiation by the Spiritual preceptor. But the Diksha should not be supposed to be a limited worldly process. It stands for the eternal and continuous necessity of grace by which alone our spiritual vision can be obtained and kept up. Diksha, therefore, belongs to the category of eternal entities and the substantive process is not really intelligible except to the initiated.
Diksha, therefore, marks the high-water level of spiritual pupillage to which the ceremony of upanayan seeks to introduce. Diksha is the higher process and implies upanyan as its preliminary. The disposition is the only thing that matters. The upanyan of a person after Diksha by the Pancharatra method brings out clearly this true meaning of the ceremony of investiture with the Holy thread. It demolishes the theory of seminal i.e. hereditary spiritual community. It puts the whole system into relationship with the spiritual guide by vindicating the supreme necessity of grace as the only sanction underlying all arrangements.
The student prior to his attainment of the grace of the spiritual preceptor in the form of Diksha has only a probationary status. The student who is admitted to the study of the scriptures after Diksha occupies the higher plane which the probationer has no access. This makes the Daiksha Savitra ceremony categorically different from the Shoukra savitra. The second birth ceremony of one who has already attained his third birth is merely doing over again what has already been done before. The Daiksha Brahmana is alone entitled to perform direct spiritual service. The twice-born student who has received only the Savitra Sanskara by reason of his seminal birth is not entitled to the worship of Vishnu which is the only function of all Brahmanas. Finally the Savitra Sanskara on the strength of seminal birth is permitted by some of the Grihya sutras and Dharmashastras, is forbidden in the Kali Age due to the degeneracy of the hereditary Brahmanas. The Diksha provided by the Pancharatra confers the tentative vision of spiritual service which is perfected by a course of training under the spiritual preceptor represented by the process to which the candidate for spiritual living is introduced by the savitra sanskara. This is the only dispensation authorised by the scripture for the present controversial Age.
It is now possible to deal with the popular fallacy that one can be a Vaishnava without being a Brahmana. This castial view of Vaishnavism and Brahmanism requires to be discarded once for all if one is sincerely inclined to understand the true spirit of those institutions. The Brahmana is not a person of this world. The true Brahmana must be a constant and exclusive worshipper of Vishnu i.e., Vaishnava. The mere twice-born is not a Brahmana. The Brahmana is the Vaishnava in embryo. The Brahman is the disciple of the Vaishnava. But he is not entirely above all activities of this world as the latter is. The Brahmana has still got to discharge a duty to the secular society. This duty consists in instructing all classes of society in the principles of the Truth. This is the practical side of his discipleship under the Vaishnava preceptor. But all this also applies only to the spiritual or Daiksha Brahmana and not to the hereditary Brahmana who is not recognised by the scriptures as possessing the spiritual nature especially in the Kali Yuga.
(To be continued)