What is Life, Death and Samskara?

Posted By: Tapas Dev Tag: Q & A Last Update: 18/04/2019

Saccidánanda is derived from a conversion of three terms, namely: sat, cit and ánanda. These are so often translated as “existence”, “knowledge” and “bliss”. This is not only loose terminology but incorrect.

Correctly speaking, sat means “that which undergoes no change” – a Transcendental Entity. “Existence” is a relative term and conveys the sense of existence under certain relative conditions of time, place and person. Sat implies “unchangeable”. The Transcendental Entity may appear to undergo a metamorphosis but actually undergoes no qualitative change. Hence Sat can only mean the Transcendental Entity – an absolute entity which undergoes no change.

The meaning of ánanda is of course “bliss”. It may more correctly be translated as “divine bliss” – the bliss experienced subjectively and not in an objective manner.

Cit does not mean “knowledge”. It means “consciousness”. It is by the power of cit that the Cosmos is created, and it is this power that through the unit mind experiences or activates created substance. This subjectivation is only due to the Consciousness or Citishakti in Brahma.

It was seen in the last chapter that Saguńa Brahma includes in Itself all of microcosm, Macrocosm, Puruśottama and Paramátman. The whole Cosmos in Saguńa Brahma is the thought-projection of the Macrocosm. Let us analyse the process of perception of different objects in the Cosmos by the microcosm.

The microcosm possesses ten organs – five sensory and five motor organs. Sensory organs receive tanmátras from the objects which are perceived. These organs or indriyas are, therefore, the knowers of these objects. In the next stage, through the afferent nerves, citta receives the tanmátras and takes the form of the object perceived; ahaḿtattva feels the subjectivity – “I perceive” – but this subjectivity itself depends upon the existence of “I”, because one cannot work unless one feels that one exists. “I” exists first and then the “I” works. This feeling of existence is mahattattva. The combination of ahaḿtattva and mahattattva is the instrument for the perception of tanmátras which have been brought in by the organs. The mind, the combination of the three (mahat, aham and citta) is thus the knower of the indriyas, that is why the mind is said to be the master of the organs. But is mind the real knower? If not, who is the real knower?

“I exist,” “I do,” and done “I” are functional forms. There is another entity who is the master of functions and who witnesses that these functions are performed. We thus come to the entity witnessing mahattattva. This witnessing entity is the átman, or the unit consciousness. The knower of the mind itself is the átman. Hence the ultimate knowership (jiṋátrtva) lies in the átman and not in the mind; the átman, or the reflected consciousness on the unit psychic plate, is not only the active element; the knowership lies in him as witnessing entity. The átman knows because it is an active participant in the function of the mind.

The function of the five motor organs is to activate tanmátras. The organs work by translating their potentialities into action with the help of the out-going tanmátras radiated through the motor nerves, which (the motor nerves) in their turn receive the tanmátras from the mind. So it seems that the doership lies in the mind and not in the motor organs. The real doership cannot be established in the absence of the átman, who witnesses that the mind is activating the internal saḿskáras, or accumulated momenta, in the form of tanmátras. The átman is not active, but it is due to the átman – due to its omnipresence – that the mind is able to work. To this extent in the átman lies the knowership or doership. The átman itself does not work, but its existence is the ultimate cause of knowing and doing.

Any object first exists in the organ; on further introspection it depends on the existence of the organ within the scope of the mind; and ultimately the real knowership or doership is established in the átman. The ultimate existence of the mind is itself in the átman. Thus the ultimate knowership, doership and existence are in the átman, and the collective name given for the three is “witnessing entity”. This will be more clear if it is remembered that the mind is nothing but a state of never-ending clash amongst three combined principles. These correlated belligerent combined principles are the main attributes leading to the formation of the mind. As the mind is only a never-ending clash and an ever-changing relative functional organism, there must be an absolute entity to witness the mind in all the aspects of time, in all the dimensions of space and in all forms – physical and psychic. This witnessing entity is the átman, and the mind is only the result of ever-changing functional metamorphosis.

The witnessing entity must exist at all stages in Brahma Cakra. In saiṋcara, Puruśottama acts as the witnessing entity of the Cosmic Mind. The Átman of the Macrocosm is, therefore, Puruśottama Himself. In pratisaiṋcara, Puruśottama by His ota yoga reflects associatively upon the microcosm, and the reflection in each mental plate is the jiivátman, the witnessing entity of the unit mind. The átman is not an active counterpart.

The mind is an ever-changing functional organism and so it must have a momentum. From where does the mind derive this momentum? Every stage results from the previous stages. The stage after formation of the unit mind is also the effect of all the past stages. The effect of action in the past stages is called saḿskára, which gives momentum to the unit mind. The initial creation of the unit mind is the result of certain forces reacting in saiṋcara. The ultimate cause of momentum of every force is, of course, the Macrocosm, the entire working principle in saiṋcara and pratisaiṋcara. It is, therefore, the Macrocosm who works through the media of microcosms and provides the momentum for the unit mind. The attraction of the Great gives an acceleration to such momentum. At the nucleus point where the first manifestation of Prakrti took place, the momentum of creation lay in latent form. The momentum of the universe is the momentum by the Cosmos through the media of microcosms and also through the medium of the inanimate portion of the Macrocosm. This is the play of One in many forms. Before the formation of microcosms only the Macrocosm existed, and all projected activities lay in the Macrocosm, and all the diversities were in collective unity there. All the Cosmos resides in Him and, therefore, there is no question of life, death or saḿskára in this inanimate phase of creation, that is, from the first bursting out of Prakrti to the development of crudest solid matter.

In the journey of pratisaiṋcara the crude mind gets momentum from the Macrocosm. In the first stage the microcosm evolves neither ego (ahaḿtattva) nor mahattattva, so it is devoid of any saḿskára, and the eternal force of the Macrocosm moves the microcosms further towards the Nucleus. In a later stage, the ego is evolved but the unit mind feels it and accepts it as a possessor of saḿskára or momentum; and afterwards a stage comes when this ego starts controlling the mental activities.

This stage in evolution is represented by human beings. Humans instead of going further towards the divine goal according to the movement of pratisaiṋcara can retrace, or adopt the path of negative pratisaiṋcara. The momentum for this negative movement being the accepted momentum of the unit mind, it is said that the saḿskára of any living animal inferior to the human is “infused” but that of the human is “acquired”. Inferior animals, therefore, continue to march further on the path of pratisaiṋcara (because of their less-developed ego), while humans may retrace by adopting mean objectives.

While maintaining the unit structure of any object in the animated phase of evolution, proper adjustment amongst mental waves, physical waves and the práńáh is an essentiality. Any object, mental or physical, always emanates waves. If these waves from the physical body and the mental body have a parallelism, then and then only is a cooperative unit structure maintained.

This parallelism can be lost as well, causing a dissociation of the composite factors by a maladjustment or unadjustable elevation or degradation of any one of the constituent factors. In the animated phase of evolution elevation occurs due to physical clash, psychic clash, or the attraction of the Supreme. To take an example, if a dog comes in contact with a human, the mental waves of the dog contact and clash with the waves of the human and thereby the dog’s mental waves get evolved and attain a greater wavelength. A stage may be reached when the evolved mental wavelength of the dog may lose proper adjustment with its physical structure. This loss in parallelism will cause dissociation, and the dissociated mind will have to find a physical body with which it can find proper adjustment. In common parlance it will be said that the dog has “died” and undergone a corporal change.

If a psychic clash with higher thought brings about the better wavelength and thereby becomes the cause of a more evolved physical body, contact and clash with meaner thought will lessen the wavelength of the mental waves. Here, as well, the loss of parallelism shall occur and the physical and psychic bodies shall dissociate from each other. For example, if the mental wavelength of a person cannot adjust properly with the human body, the psychic body of the person will have to be associated with a properly adjustable physical structure, which may be of an inferior animal, a plant or still cruder matter. The symbolic story of the epic Rámáyańa, wherein Ahalyá, the wife of Gaotama Muni, was transformed into stone for some sin done by her, is just to illustrate the process of negative pratisaiṋcara. The imbibing of waves of higher wavelengths can rarefy the psychic body of a lower animal or plant, so that it can have an association with the human physical structure, and vice versa, if the wavelength is made cruder by inculcating meaner thoughts.

Association by proper adjustment and parallelism between the psychic and physical bodies causes life, and dissociation under adverse conditions results in death. Such association can also take place if the waves of the physical structure get cruder due to old age or any other physical deficiency. Here the physician may come to help and by some means or other attribute to the physical body the requisite wavelength. Through science the span of life can be made longer by properly adjusting the waves of the physical bodies; but if a change in the mental body be made by changing the brain, its personality itself will also get changed. Such a change will mean the transformation of the person himself, and thus not Mr. X but Mr. Y shall regain life.

For the existence of life or for association, proper adjustment between the waves of the psychic body and of the physical body is an essentiality, and also adjustment with the práńáh is necessary. Práńáh is the collective name of ten váyus, five internal and five external. The internal váyus are práńa, apána, samána, udána and vyána; and the external váyus are nága, kúrma, krkara, devadatta and dhanaiṋjaya.

The jurisdiction of práńa is between the navel point and the vocal cord, and its function is inhalation and exhalation. Apána resides from the páyu (anus) to the navel point. Its function is to control the movement of urine and stool. Samána resides in the navel sphere and its function is to maintain adjustment between práńa and apána. Udána has its place in the throat, and it controls the vocal cord and the voice. Vyána regulates blood circulation and physical function of the afferent and efferent nerves.

The function of the external váyus is as follows: Nága (meaning “serpent”) gives the power to jump or to extend the body and also to throw an object. Kúrma (meaning “tortoise”) gives the function of contraction. Krkara helps in yawning. Devadatta is responsible for thirst and hunger, and dhanaiṋjaya causes sleep and drowsiness (tandrá).

A physical deficiency or defect in any portion of the body results in the weakening of práńa and apána, and samána may become unable to maintain adjustment between práńa and apána, as a result of which there takes place a vehement fight in the navel area and in the vocal cord. In physiology, this is called “navel breathing” or nábhishvása. When samána loses its vitality, all the three váyus – práńa, apána and samána – are transformed into one and strike udána. The moment udána loses its separate identity, vyána also comes in contact with their collective force and all the internal váyus, getting associated into one, move throughout the physical body with great force and strike at every delicate point for an outlet. The combined váyus pass out, and with their passing away from the physical structure all the external váyus, except dhanaiṋjaya, also leave the physical structure. Dhanaiṋjaya causes sleep, and so to cause the deep sleep of death dhanaiṋjaya remains in the body even after all the váyus have left. When the dead body is burnt or gets totally decayed, dhanaiṋjaya as well leaves the body and remains in the Cosmos to act again according to the will of Prakrti.

The loss in the parallelism of physical and mental waves causes death. The physical cause of death is the passing away of the nine (ten minus dhanaiṋjaya) váyus into eternal space. The psychic waves, finding no proper adjustment with the physical waves, also dissociate and pass into eternal space. This detached mental body possesses the unexpressed momentum of its previous lives (which it had to express according to the universal law of Prakrti that every force must have its expression). Now it is the duty of the Cosmic mutative force to provide it a proper physical parallelism for due expression. This it does by making the dissociated mind penetrate into a subtle physical structure.

Since the mind exists, the mental plate exists, and the reflection of Puruśottama must remain; the Átman, therefore, remains associated with the jiivátman. The ultimate knowership, doership and base of existence lie in the átman. The átman is the witnessing entity without which there is no meaning of the mind working or activating the internal saḿskáras into tanmátras. Without the átman the mind cannot perceive or receive the incoming tanmátras, that is why the ultimate knowership or doership lies in the átman. As the átman witnesses the mind itself, the ultimate residence of the mind is the átman. The dissociated mind has, therefore, the witnessing entity who witnesses the mind which is in a state of inaction (or converted into karmáshaya – saḿskára, or reaction in its potentiality).

The physical cause of death has been discussed above. Let us now see the physical cause of life.

Food taken, after mixing with the digestive fluids, gets transformed into rasa, the unnecessary material being rejected in the form of urine and other waste matter. The essence of rasa is transformed into blood, waste matter once again being rejected. The essence of blood changes into flesh and the essence of flesh into meda or vasá (fat), and so on, till it changes into bone, bone marrow and ultimately into shukra. The physical body is constituted of these seven materials, of which shukra is the final essence. This vital fluid has three stages: lymph, or práńa-rasa (lasiká); spermatozoa; and seminal fluid.

The lymph forces through lymphatic vessels which run side by side with the arteries. The glands through which lymphatic vessels pass are known as lymphatic glands. The function of the lymph is to purify the blood and maintain the beauty and glory of the body; and by getting into the glands it enables proper secretion of hormones. For the proper development of innate qualities, an adequate amount of lymph is necessary. The lymph rises up and gets into the brain, thus strengthening it. For intellectuals an adequate amount of lymph is necessary. A deficiency or defect in the lymph causes some disease in the organ where the deficiency has occurred. For example, defects of the lymph [system] in the leg will result in elephantiasis of the leg.

Some nerve plexuses get developed at the age of twelve to fourteen in hot countries and thirteen to sixteen in cold countries. In the male body they are the testes and in the female the ovaries. After a due supply of lymph to the brain, the extra lymph comes in contact with the testes and is transformed into spermatozoa. By a proper system of observing fast, the excessive formation of lymph can be checked. Impure thoughts also cause excessive formation of spermatozoa from lymph. If the surplus lymph is destroyed there is no harm. Spermatozoa with lymph and other fluids collected in the seminal sac are known as “seminal fluid”.

In the female body this excess lymph is converted into ova and the unused ova together with other seminal wastages are discharged every month during the last three or four days in the monthly menstruation. If the sperms of the male and the ova of the female get together, they constitute one physical structure. When the physical structure commences formation, there is no question of extra seminal fluid or seminal wastage, and that is why in the stage of pregnancy there is no menstruation. All the seminal fluid is utilized in forming the body of the embryo.

In the uterus the basic physical structure is first formed. This structure has potential energy and emanates a wavelength. It receives the potentiality from the momentum of the spermatozoa. Spermatozoa get their motion from the vital potentiality of the male body, and that is why the living being is said to reside first in the seminal fluid of the male and then in the mother’s womb; after which the bosom of Mother Earth receives it.

Since the physical structure starts from spermatozoa, which has a positive motion and, therefore, a wavelength, the physical structure thus formed must have a wavelength accordingly. We have already seen that the dissociated mind also has a wavelength (in a potential form) and a momentum which has to be expressed. The dissociated mind needs physical parallelism for proper expression, and therefore the Cosmic mutative force causes the dissociated mind from eternal space to enter the adjustable physical structure, assuming a form in the mother’s womb.

This is how life comes into physical creation.

2 June 1959, Jamalpur