I AM ONE : I AM MANYVedic Articles
In the beginning of creation there was nothing, the only element that was there was called brahm. The whole creation proceeded from him. In the beginning the power of the brahm, known as maya, was inoperative. Therefore, nothing came into creation. The moment the power awoke, brahm had the feeling, “ekoham bahusyam” -- I am one, I have to become many. This feeling of the brahm was the cause of creation. That the basis of the entire creation is so, there is nothing new because brahm is our repository. The entire creation is creation through the union of opposites. The creation of the sun or celestial bodies beyond the sun is known as the creation through the union of fire and water (soma). Two opposite feelings create a new feeling. The pair of opposites disappears after its time.
Our sages saw, studied and felt this circularity very deeply and thus fixed four kinds of goals as essential for life. These were dharma (righteourness), artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha (liberation). Out of these, dharma and artha have become synonymous with life. Kama can be understood in terms of feeling, wish, desire etcetera. Moksha means freedom of the soul from the compulsions of rebirth. This means life consists of two major goals; desire and moksha. Desire, in itself, is a very complex subject. It includes within itself the will of ishvara as well as the will of the jiva.
The will is the seed of the mind (kamastdagre manaso retah). There are many levels of desire in the mind. The external world is nothing but the projection of desire. Our senses are all the time joined with the external world. Our eyes light up when we see something beautiful. The mind craves the same sight again and again. Through the ears we hear something melodious. The mind craves the melody again and again. The tongue favors a particular taste and the mind seeks it again and again. The senses influence the mind and the mind generates every moment a new desire. No sooner a desire is fulfilled, than the other desire takes birth. These desires multiply with the passage of time. In due course of time the meaning of ‘kama’ came to be dissociated from desire in general and became connected with sexual desire as meant in the kamasutra. The media have also been using the word in the same sense. That signifies that even dharma and artha should also be used for the satisfaction of the sexual impulse. In that case the word moksha should be deleted from the dictionary because it serves no purpose as a guiding principle of life. Today, the environment all over the world is in favor of seeking satisfaction of the sexual impulse. All the tensions of life are sought to be released in the same way. In fact, it is an attempt to extract oil from sand.
Even if we accord primacy to this meaning of ‘kama’- the satisfaction of the passion or sexual impulse - and think about ‘ekoham bahusyam’ along those lines, it becomes apparent that this meaning does not take us anywhere. Nature itself puts a stop to these kinds of activities after the age of 50. Thereafter, kama must link itself with the vanaprastha and stages of life. If we fail to do so, we will be creating a society without restraint. Self-reflection is no longer an activity that engages us. We have become impatient to live the life of the senses to the full, which is the external life. But the meaning of external life is clear: that which is not mine, is a loan to me. How can the external be of any use to me? Whatever is within me that alone is mine. That has to be analyzed. That which is within, has to be expanded, put to use. It can be put to use for the welfare of others. Such questions will, then, assail us. In searching for the answers, we will be able to find the inner world.
The soul is the purusha, and prakriti motivates it. The mind is for all times covered by multiple layers of prakriti. All the three characteristics of nature (sattva, rajas and tamas), continue to influence the mind. In accord with the influence of these characteristics the mind functions. When the mind accepts or rejects something, it creates vibrations. Commands are, then, issued to the brain, planning is done and the body engages in limbic movements. Efforts for satisfying the desire are made.
One of the grounds of the mind is attachment, i.e., affection or love. Attachment, enmity, possessiveness, self-allurement and jealousy attach themselves to the desire in various ways. Self-allurement is one of the most powerful passions which catches hold of the individual. Self-allurement is the original form of maya. It increases our attachment to things. The mind clings to these different forms of desire. The more it clings, the more the mind is covered with layers of passion. Desires multiply in the form of a complex web. Memory and imagination, then, create a new world of desires.
As long as one’s desires are fulfilled one feels happy. The mind is unable to accept any kind of obstacles in the fulfilment of its desires. Pride, then, comes out in the form of anger. Anger is another name for venting one’s frustrations. When a man finds himself unsuccessful in some enterprise, he wants to cover his failure. He wants to appear courageous, though within he is wounded. Every negative reaction is indicative of some kind of fear. In order to conceal his fear, man undergoes a whole series of reactions. Therefore, understanding fear is to understand oneself. The moment one comes to understand one’s fear, one comes to know one’s weakness. It, then, becomes easy to remove such weakness.
Behind every kind of intoxication and habit, which a man subjects himself to, is always some kind of fear. One should check one’s reactions whenever they become overpowering and try to go deeper within oneself in order to find the source of these reactions. He will come face to face with his weaknesses and the injury caused by them. He can, then, remove the weaknesses through determination. Attachment to needless things is the root of all fear. One by one such fears can be removed, the veils can be removed. Having thus arrived, man realizes himself. This is the real freedom, moksha. Man will then be free from all the bondage. Dharma and artha, which were supportive of this kind of inner journey, are no longer required because desire itself has been eliminated. A body without desire is known as a corpse.
Therefore, all thinking should be focused on the transitoriness of things. The mind should at all times be focused on the eternal rather than on the transitory. In transitory one focusing mind runs after the other, once it is fed up with the current occupation. Nothing is going to be achieved out of this tendency. Boredom itself should be used as a ladder to attain a state of desirelessness. To be in absolute control of one’s desires at all times is moksha. If you have been able to become many out of one, the next stage of development has also to be achieved this way.