Posted in Artha Panchakam, Pillai Lokacharya

Artha Panchakam – Sva Svarupa

Svarupa means “Nature”, “Principle”, “Property”, or “Essence”. The knowledge of a thing consists in knowing its Nature, or knowing that Principle, by means of its properties. It is this truth, or knowledge, which is epitomized in this treatise. The Own-Self is the Soul, so called as being owned as the Self or what is connoted by the expression “I”, the sum, and the meum contingent thereon. This Truth, or Principle, of Own-Self, or the Soul, is subsumable under five categories –

A1. The Nitya, the Free (Ever-Free)
A2. The Mukta, the Freed
A3. The Baddha, the Bound
A4. The Kevala, the Isolate or the Aloof and
A5. The Mumukshu, or Would-be Free

A1. The Nityas, or the Ever-Free, are those angelic spiritual beings, or blessed souls, who have never known conditioned existence; in other words, who are never involved in the wheel of worldly careers (samsara); – beings who are ever in a state of bliss; – beings whose wills are ever in conformity with the will of Bhagavan (the Blessed, or God); – beings who are endowed with the privilege, or possess the estate, by virtue of which they are able to perform the function of supreme advisers in all His schemes of the cosmos; -beings with the powers, by delegation, to make and unmake worldly systems; -beings who remain at the side of God, His constant comrades and surrogates in all His doings, accompanying Him in His various incarnations, or avataras – beings who are entitled to perform the high offices of anointing and installing God Himself upon His throne; – [beings who, in the phraseology of other theologies, are known as “Thrones”, “Powers”, “Estates”, “Principalities”, “Hierarchies”, “Archangels”, and so forth]: – the constant servants of God, as free from systems of samsara, but as interested in it as God Himself, and bearing such significant epithets as Visvaksena (the High Lord of Hosts), Ananta, Garuda, etc.

A2. The Muktas, or the Freed, are those who, by the grace of Bhagavan (God), have been liberated from all the pains and taints contingent on their conjunctive existence with matter (prakruti); who taste in the fullest measure the blissfulness of Bhagavan in all His several aspects of Essence (svarupa), Person (rupa), Excellence (guna), and Glory, or the Pageant* (vibhava); who, by reason of such divine joy overflowing the bounds of their being, burst into paeans of praise, and so dwell for ever and ever, drowned in rapturous delights, in the eternal regions of heaven, called Vaikuntha, never more to return into the migrations of material existence.

A3. The Baddhas, or the Bound, are those souls who are turned away from Bhagavan (God): (1) by reason of their illusorily identifying their Selves (Souls) with the bodies which they wear; constituted as these bodies are of the five material elements – impermanent cause of joy and grief – corrupt, so that in the absence of the indwelling spirit (soul), they are unfit for sight or touch – and which breed the mental aberrations, such as ignorance (ajnana), misapprehension (anyatha-jnana), and reversed apprehension (viparita-jnana) ; and (2) by reason of their notion that pandering to the pleasures of the body (catered to by the fivefold thralls of objects, sound, touch, sight, taste, and smell) is the be-all and end-all of their existence. To secure such pleasures of sense, they infringe all the salutary dictates comprised in the system known as varna and asrama, become slaves to worldlings, inflict cruelty on creatures, seize others’ wives and wealth, and thus swell the ranks of the mundane.

A4. The Kevalas, or the Isolate or Aloof, are those souls who feel like creatures stranded in solitude and who, stung by hunger and grown listless, devour their own flesh for food. They aspire to escape from the fires of samsara (consortship with matter) that consume them, and seek retirement into their own Solitary Selves. These take sedulously to studies of the science of the soul, because they have come to discern that the soul is an entity distinct from the body, and that the latter (the body) is the Seat of Sorrow and the Compound of Corruption, while the former (the soul) is the 25th category, distinct from and above the sum of the 24 material categories that comprise the body, – self luminous, blissful, eternal, and the Spiritual Substance. By reason of the intensity of suffering endured by these souls in the samsarika state, as soon as they find a haven of refuge in the trivial enjoyment of their own soul-isolation, they rest so satisfied, and become on that account oblivious to the infinitely more joyful nature of Bhagavan (God), failing to know Him as such a Higher Entity. These are the men who embark particularly upon the path of jnana yoga, which is chiefly the means to secure this coveted “zoistic” state – a disembodied or bodiless existence, hanging, as it were, in mid-heaven in aeonic suspension, – a state past redemption.

A5. The Mumukshus, or the Would-be Free, are those souls in whom a longing desire for salvation (i.e. reaching Bhagavan) has arisen. These are of two classes, viz. the Upasakas, or the Strivers, and the Prapannas, or the Resigned. The former seek salvation by self-effort, and the latter leave the same to Bhagavan’s (God’s) care. The former thinks of salvation as his concern, whereas the latter thinks of it as His concern.

We shall look into the second principle “Para Svarupa” in the next post on the topic.

Article Credits: “The Artha Pancaka of Pillai Lokacharya” by Alkondavilli Govindacarya Swamin,  Journal of Royal Asiatic Society, 1910

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