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The Chapter on Preservation

Table of contents to chapter 4:

From: Introduction:

This section deals with the Sthiti character or the preservative aspect of the mind or the universe. In the first story of Śukra, the ego is made to pass after its origin through a series of births in a time appearing very short to his father Bhṛgu who was then engaged in Nirvikalpa Samādhi near his son and hence was existing in higher planes. Students of esoteric literature know full well that, of all the planets, Śukra or Venus corresponds to our ego or the higher Manas. This higher Manas and the ray of Ātma or Buddhi pass through the different forms of humanity as well as the lower ones. Having traced thus, the author next proceeds to give out the curious story of Dāma and two others to illustrate how the ‘I’ in man concretes itself in him after innumerable births with the Ahaṁkāra we find in him now. Once upon a time, there raged a war between the Devas and the Asuras. The latter, finding themselves worsted in it, created through the Māyāvic power of their leader three men without Ahaṁkāra or the conception of ‘I’ in them to fight with their opponents; since one without Ahaṁkāra will be able to face his enemy without any the least fear, and regardless of the consequences of his actions. The Devas, finding their enemy too tough for them to deal with, applied to the higher powers for help. Viṣṇu advised them to adopt a rather queer plan. That was of again and again pretending to make war with their opponents and of again and again retiring from the field, when their enemy made onslaughts against them. Through this process, they were told by Viṣṇu that the ‘I’ in the Māyāvic personages would be provoked and hardened and that those personages would grow terribly afraid of the results of the war and be discomfited through the generation of ‘I’ in them. This procedure was adopted and the Devas gained the day. After this was over, three others of true Jñāna and hence without Ahaṁkāra were created afresh by the Asuras and sent against the Devas, Finding them too hard to combat with, the passive powers of Devas again implored Viṣṇu for aid. In this instance, Viṣṇu came directly to the field of battle and took the three Māyāvic personages away, as men of true Jñāna find their asylum in Him alone. Thus we find that the desires in the external world which have at first no hold on the subtle ‘I’ in this world get a hold over it and concrete it through, as it were, a play of spiral game with it. It thus takes a long time ere the evils desires take possession of the heart. Likewise many births are required for their eradication. Both these stages are necessary to a progressing ego. The ego should first get into desires and be tinged with Ahaṁkāra, so that, through such a course, it may learn the lessons at their hands and after the lessons are learnt it no longer needs the desires and gets out of them. This is the reason why, in that, valuable work called The Light on the Path, it says thus: “Seek in the heart the source of evil and expunge it. It lives fruitfully in the heart of the devoted disciple as well as in the heart of the man of desire. Only the strong can kill it out. The weak must wait for its growth, its fruition, its death. And it is a plant that lives and increases throughout the ages. It flowers when the man has accumulated unto himself innumerable existences.”


Then this Prakaraṇa, having in all five stories, ends with those of Dāśūra and Kacha wherein it is sought to explain the position that, though the universe appears to be real in itself in this stage, it is nothing but Ātmic Saṁkalpa or a mode of the consciousness of Ātma. It is in this Prakaraṇa that the three modes of Ahaṁkāra engendered are mentioned. The first is the stage where the man identifies himself with the physical body which is the lowest of Ahaṁkāras and ought to be shunned. The second is where one identifies himself with a thread-like small wire. In the third stage, he finds he is all this universe. These three stages correspond to the gross, subtle and causal bodies of man and are the intelligences presiding over them. Beyond these is Turya, the 4th stage where one is above the universe and identifies himself with the Spirit itself.