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The Four Paths
BY J . M. NALLASWAMI PILLAI, B.A., B.L,
Religion Theoretical and practical.
Good deal of attention has been paid of late to the Theoretical aspects of our Hindu Religion and most people are familiar with the various system of Hindu Philosophy and of the Dvaita, Vishistadvaiata andAdvaita in particular. And in such a study one is likely to lose sight of the practical aspects of the Religion and it is to this aspect I wish today to draw your particular attention.
Difficulties in understanding Hindu religion.
To the ordinary foreigner, Hinduism appears as a fantastic combination of the grossest superstitions and the most dreamy speculations. Even the sympathetic student of our religion though he is prepared to admire and appreciate particular aspects of our philosophy, looks down with pity on our so called errors. And one Christian friend put it to me whether in Hinduism we have any real and practical religion. Of course, to the onlooker, the contrast between Temple-worship and its attendant festivals and the austere practices of the Sanyasins, the ablutions and pujah of pious people and the ‘Tatvamasi’ and ‘Ahambrahmasami’ meditations of others cannot but be bewildering. Even some of us are apt to look upon so much labor and money spent in Temples and in Temple worship as so much waste, or we are prepared to relegate these practices to the illiterate lower orders, as we are pleased to call them. Can all these various practices have any real meaning and purpose or can they not/ Can all these be reduced to certain definite principles or not? These are the questions which I propose to discuss in this paper.
Different paths and upasanas.
Of course, we have read and heard people talk about Karma-margas, Bhakti-margas and Yoga and Gnana margas as though there is less or no bhakti or bhakti is not wanted in other margas, that there are no actions or duties attached to the others, or that all those who do not follow the Gnanamargas are only ignorant people. Does men smearing themselves with ashes and namams, repeating Gods’ names constitute bhakti? Does not the relieving of the poor and infirm and the sick constitute part of one’s religious duties. Is it the highest duty of the Yogi and Gnani that he considers himself super or to others and thinks that he will be polluted by the mere touch of others and that he has achieved a great thing if he has injured none.
And then we have heard of different Upasanas and Vidyas, Sandilya, Dahara, Sakala and Nishkala and Saguna and Nirguna; and there are people who would advocate the Saguna against the Nirguna and the Nirguna against the Saguna.
To begin a statement of my views. Hindus hold as an axiom that no study is of any benefit unless it can lead one to the worship of the Supreme One,
கற்றதனாலாய பயனென்கொல் வாலறிவன்
நற்றாள் தொழா ரெனின்.
And that we cannot be rid of the ills flesh is heir to and cross the sea of births and deaths, and attain to everlasting joy unless we reach the feet of the Supreme Lord.
வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமை யிலானடி சேர்ந்தார்க்
பிறவிப் பெருங்கடல் நீந்துவர் நீந்தார்
இறைவனடி சேராதார். (The Kural.)
To get rid of our ills and to attain to His joy is our goal.
That this human birth is given to us to work out our salvation and in this mundane plane is admitted by all religions. Christianity included.
புவனியிற்போய் பிறவாமை யினாணாம்
போக்குகின்றோ மவமேயிந்தப் பூமி
சிவனுய்யக் கொள்கின்ற வாறென்று நோக்கித்
திருப்பெருந் துறையுறைவாய். (Tiruvachaka.)
How then can we attain to this end? This is the consideration of the Practical Religion. And our systematic treatises devote considerable space to the treatment of this question. This is the chapter on Sadana in the Vedanta Sutras and in the Sivagnanabhodha.
As a necessary prelude to this, the nature of the Deity and of the Soul has to be discussed.
Nature of God.
According to the greatest sage of our mother-Tamil-land, Saint Tiruvalluvar, He is ஆதி and இறைவன் our Supreme Lord and master, the author of our being and regeneration, He is the Pure Intelligence and the Transcendent one, வாலறிவன் and தனக்குவமையில்லாதான், He is without likes and dislikes, வேண்டுதல் வேண்டாமையிலான் dwells in our heart மலர் மிசையேகினான் and He is the ocean of love and mercy அறவாழி அந்தணன்?
The Upanishads speak of Him as “the Highest great Lord of Lords, God of Gods, King of Kings, the Highest abode, as God, the Lord of the world, the adorable.” “He is the one God hidden in all beings, all pervading the antaratma of all beings, watching over all works, dwelling in all beings, the witness, the perceiver, the only one, the Nirguna being. “His High Power (Sakti) is revealed as manifold, as inherent, acting as force and knowledge.”
“He is Siva (the Happy and Blissful). He brings good and removes all evil, the Lord of Bliss, as dwelling within the Atma the immortal, the support of all.”
“No one has grasped Him above or across or in the middle. His form cannot be seen, no one perceives Him with the Eye.”
“That God the maker of all things the Paramatma, always dwelling in the heart of man, is perceived by the heart, the soul, the mind. They who know it become immortal.”
“Those who through heart and mind know Him thus abiding in the heart become immortal,” “Satyam Gnanam Anantam Brahma Ananda Rupam Amritam YadVibhutiShantamSivamAdvaitam.” He is the sat, chit and anand.
In the Gita also, He is spoken of as the Lord of Lords, Ishwara and Maheswara, the spectator and permitter, supporter and enjoyer, the Paramatman, the supporter of elements, as devourer and causer. It is the light of lights and is said to be beyond Tamas. Wisdom knowable, wisdom gainable centered in every heart.
In the Advaita Siddhanta Sastras, He is called அந்தமாதி one with His Sakti, the ‘Siva Sat.’
உலகெலாமாகி வேறாய் உடலுமாய் ஒளியாயோங்கி
அலகிலாவுயிர்கள் கன்மத்து ஆணையினமர்ந்து செல்லத்
தலைவனாய் இவற்றின் தன்மை தனக்கெய்தலின்றித்தானே
நிலவுசீர் நின்மலனாகி நின்றனன் நீங்காதெங்கும்.
சிவனுரு வருவுமல்லன் சித்தினோடு அசித்துமல்லன்
பவமுதற்றொழில்கள் பண்ணிடுவானு மல்லன்
தவமுதல் யோக போகம் தரிப்பவனல்லன்றானே
இவை பெறவியைந்து மொன்றுமியைந்திடா இயல்பினானே.
சத்திதன் வடிவேதெனனில் தடையிலா ஞானமாகும்
உய்த்திடு மிச்சை செய்தியிவை ஞானத்துளவோ வென்னில்
எத்திர ஞானமுள்ள தத்திறமிச்சை செய்தி
வைத்திடு மறையின் ஞானான் மருவிடும் கிரியையெல்லாம்.
அருளது சத்தியாகும் அரன் தனக்கருளையின்றி
தெருள் சிவமில்லை யந்தச்சிவமின்றிச் சத்தியில்லை
மருளை னையருளால் லாட்டி மன்னுயிற் களிப்பன்கண்கட்
கிருளினை யொளியாலோட்டும் இரவியைப் போலவீசன்.
This supreme statement was reached in the famous lines of the great Tirumular.
அன்பும் சிவமும் இரண்டென்பர் அறிவிலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவ தாரு மறிந்திலார்
அன்பே சிவமாவ தாரு மறிந்தபின்
அன்பே சிவமாய மர்ந்திருந் தாரே.
“God is Love: and that great agnostic teacher of science who died a sincere believer in God had stated truly “what has all the science or all the philosophy of the world done for the thought of mankind to be compared with the one doctrine “God is Love.”
God is as such all Knowledge and all Love.
Nature of the soul.
To talk of the means to attain to this great goal will be futile if we don’t understand the nature of man. From the statements in the first chapter of the Kural, it may be deduced that man is ignorant and subject to births and deaths and has likes and dislikes and does sin and suffer and he could not be compared to God in any way. The following texts bring out the distinction quite plainly enough.
“The knowing one (God) and the non-knowing (soul) are two, both unborn; one is Lord, the other non-Lord (anisa).”
“PatimVivasy-atmeswaram (Lord of the soul) Sasvatamsivamachyutam.”
“He who dwells in the soul and within the soul, whom the soul does not know, whose body the soul is, who rules the soul within, He is thy soul, the ruler within, the immortal.”
“But the soul Paramount is another. Who is proclaimed as the Paramatma, who – the infinite king, penetrates all the three worlds and sustains them.”
Since I do surpass the kshara, and even do excel the akshara, I am reputed the Purushottama.”
A difficulty in reaching the Goal.
And here we are met by statements that God is unknowable and imperceptible to our senses. He is past all thought and speech.
And yet the Upanishads say that when men should roll up the sky like a hide, then only without knowing Siva, there could be an end of pain.
And St. Arul Nandi Sivachariar states the difficulty thus. “If God is unknowable, then there can be no benefit from Him. He can never pervade us, neither can we unite with him in Moksha. He cannot perform the panchakrityas for our benefit. His existence will be like that of the flowers of the sky and of the rope formed of the hairs of the tortoise.
And yet it must stand to reason that we cannot possibly know Him if his nature is as we have described above. The moment we assert that we can know him, we assert that he becomes an object of our cognition, and as all Psychologists, Hindu and European, are agreed, all objects of cognition are what is called Achit or Asat or matter. Here is St. Arul Nandi’s statement. “If you ask whether god is an object of knowledge or not, then know, if He is an object of knowledge. He will become Achit and Asat. All objects of cognition are achit; all objects of cognition come into being and are destroyed (being bound by time) they divide themselves into the worlds, bodies and organs (being bound by space) and enjoyments. They are identified at one time by the intelligence as itself (bandha) and at another time (in moksha) are seen as separate; and they are all products of Maya. Hence all such are achit or non-intelligent or Asat (other than sat).”
As God is spoken of as the inner Ruler and Soul of Soul, whose body the Soul is, the knowing Soul is itself in the position of object to the True subject God, and the thinking mind cannot itself think thought, much less can the object perceive or think the subject.
And if he cannot be known, He must be a non-entity, argues St. Arul Nandi. And this exactly is the position which Paul Carus takes in his pamphlet on the “Idea of God.” His argument is exactly that of Saint Arul Nandi that if God is knowable, he can only be known as an object, as matter, which will be absurd. But Paul Carus would however retain God as an idea, or ideal, an abstract things as redness or whiteness, a beautiful fantasy which will be useful. But as against this view, it is positively asserted by Saint Arul Nandi that he is not a Non-entity and that He is Sat and Chit. As He is chit He is not knowable, and yet He is a positive fact.
How is then this psychological difficulty to be got over?
The first possibility of overcoming the difficulty.
In the first place it will be futile to think of knowing Him as different form ourselves as an object. Says St. Arul Nandi. “As God is not different from the soul, as He is in the soul, as He is the thinker of all the soul’s thoughts, as in Him there is no distinction of I and mine, God cannot be perceived by the soul’s intelligence as different.” “God is not different from you either as he is inseparably associated with you and transcend all discriminating intelligence. As He is ever the inside of the soul, the soul can be said to be Sivam.
The first possibility of our becoming Him will lie therefore in the fact that we are inseparably associated with him and must think ourselves as one with him. We must not create distinctions between ourselves and himself, interpose our will and thought, the feelings of ‘I and mine.’ Then only will our will and thought came into rapport with Him.
“ ஏகனாகி யிறை பணி நிற்க
மலமாயை தன்னொடும் வல்வினையின்றே”
“ திரையற்ற நீர் போல் சிந்தை தெளிவார்க்கு
மனதேகல்லாலெனக் கன்றோ – தெய்வ
மெளன குருவாகி வந்து கைகாட்டி
எனதாம்பணியறமாற்றி – அவன்
இன்னருள் வெள்ளத் திருத்திவைத்தாண்டி.
O mind, was it not for me that God came under the banyan tree as silent teacher and with dumb show of hand cured me of acts called my acts, and placed me in the blissful ocean of His grace.
அருளாலெவையும் பாரென்றான் – அத்தை
அறியாதே சுட்டி யென்னறிவாலே பார்த்தேன்
இருளான பொருள் கண்டதல்லால் – கண்ட
என்னையுங் கண்டில னென்னடிதோழி.
“By grace behold all things,” He said. Not understanding. By my intelligence I beheld, differentiating. I Saw darkness. I saw not even me the seer. What is this, sister?
என்னையும் தன்னையும் வேறா – உள்ளத்
தெண்ணாதவண்ண மிரண்டற நிற்கச்
சொன்னது மோவொரு சொலே – அந்தச்
சொல்லால் விளைந்த சுகத்தை யென்சொல்வேன்.
“Of me and thee think not in my heart as two, Stand undifferentiating.” This one word when He uttered, how can I tell, dear, The Bliss that grew straightaway from that word?
(From Saint Thayumanavar’s ஆனந்தக்களிப்பு ‘Revel in Bliss’ – translated by P. ArunachalamEsq. M. A. of Colombo.)
The Second Possibility.
The second possibility lies in the fact that God is not knowledge alone. If He was so, we cannot know Him for certain. But as we have stated above, he is also all Love. It is in this Supreme fact that our salvation is based. This Love is in us, surrounds us on all sides, above, below and all about us. His Love to us passes that of the mother, says Saint Manickavachakar.
No selfish want prompts His love. His Love was ever with us from our first beginning to the very end.
The mother’s love will not suffer even if the child misbehaves and does not deserve it. If we will therefore return His love, then our salvation is secured.
St. Tirumular sums up these foregoing facts in a beautiful verse.
Love the greatest thing in the world.
Now let us realize to ourselves how it is that to know him and become one with Him, we must love Him. Let us take our human relations. Is it by birth and caste, wealth and possessions, learning and knowledge that one is brought nearer to another? Are not all these barriers dividing one from another? By all these means one regards himself as raised above all other less favoured individuals. It is learning that puffeth up a man. The ‘I’ness and ‘mine – ness’ becomes more and more developed in these men. So these means can never lead one nearer to another. Then what other means have we? It is love, love in all its gradations from pity and upwards. This is the greatest Thing in the world as Prof. Drummond truly said. It is the ideal of both theistic and atheistic systems of the world.
Love is the basis of all human society, the rock on which it is built. That this will appear so from the mere heads of the chapters in இல்லறம்in the sacred Kural. It is the one thing which binds man to man, the parent to the child, friend to friend and the woman to the husband. Possessions and learning all cease. It is this which impels the servant to engage in his master’s service, the mother to sacrifice herself to the child, the friend to give his life for his friend, the lover to forget himself in the loved. All the noblest acts of heroism, philanthropy, and martyrdom arise from this one source. It is this love which as we have seen gives rise to the other great fact in Being namely sacrifice. Even naturalists have discovered the connection of these two facts, Love and Sacrifice, even in the case of lower animals. And should not this law hold good in higher realm than the animal and social? And it is to lead to this end we have all along been trying.
And in this place the importance of knowledge cannot be ignored. One has to enter a railway platform and watch one of the ever recurring scenes.
The compartments are crowded more or less. Fresh passengers try to rush into it. The persons impelled of course by their own comfort resist the intrusion. Actual fights ensue. Some of them try to get in somehow. They stand for a while. Those who have comfortable seats are pierced by their own hard heart and they pity and relent. A small space is found for the man who stands. They naturally soon after fall to conversation. They discover soon their mutual friends and relations and by the time they leave the train they become the most affectionate of people and the parting becomes a sorrow. Whereby was this mutual hate turned into love. It is by knowledge. We are ignorant, all of us, how intimately we are related to each other. We are all god’s servants, His children in fact and maybe we can share in His fellowship. The whole world is ensouled by Him. We are members of His body. Says Srikanta.
The True worship.
“Wherefore the whole universe is ensouled by Siva. If any embodied being whatsoever be subjected to constraint, it will be quite repugnant to the eight bodied Lord; as to this there is no doubt. Doing good to all, kindness to all, affording shelter to all, this they hold as the worshipping of Siva.”
Here in this last sentence of Srikanta, do we get at the real essence of all religion. What is Siva? It is Love. What is worship of Him, Loving Him. How can we love Him, whom we do not know? Nay we can know Him and do know him though. We do not perceive each other’s souls or minds and yet we love each other. It is the body we know and it is on each other’s body we manifest all our love. We do willing service to the body only of our elders, masters and teachers and parents. It is on that body we love, we lavish all our wealth and labour. So can we worship and love Him by loving His Body which is the whole universe of Chetana and Achetana.
As I pointed out above, knowledge is an essential requisite of our love. As knowledge grows, Love will grow. The more and more we understand our nearness to each other and to God, more and more will our love grow. The knowledge and love prevailing between master and servant is weaker than between father and son; between friends it is higher and in the case of lovers it is highest.
The Third Possibility.
I must here point out a Psychological Law which I may state as the basis of this experience and which I may state as the third possibility.
It is the peculiar nature of the soul or mind, where it identifies itself with the thing it is united to. This aspect is alone fully discussed in the Siddhanta Sastras. St. Meikandan calls it அது அது ஆதல். St. Arul Nanthi expands it as சார்ந்ததன் வண்ணமாதல். St. Thayumanar paraphrases it as யாதொன்று பற்றின் அதன் இயல்பாய் நின்று பந்தமறும் பளிங்கனைய சித்துநீ. The human soul is a mirror- a crystal. It becomes dark when darkness covers it. A man can be judged by his associates. He can be good or bad as his associates are. With the world in union, the soul has become identified with the world and lost its individuality. In God it has become Sivam, losing its individuality. In God it has become Sivam, losing its individuality. In the full glare of the midday sun, I challenge one to see the mirror. What one will see if he has courage enough to see it, will be the full radiance of the glorious sun, and which will blind him at once.
Says Prof. Henry Drummond. “All men are mirrors, that is the first law on which this formula is based. One of the aptest descriptions of a human being is a mirror.”
Professor Drummond states this Law as the Law of Reflection and Assimilation, or Law of Influence or as we may call it, Law of Identity அது அது ஆதல். He instances the iron which gets magnetised and becomes a magnet, “இரும்பைக் காந்தம் இழுக்கின்ற வாறெனை” a mirror getting rid of its dust, reflects the glorious light and becomes merged with it and lost.
How the soul merges and loses itself.
Only one word about the meaning of the words ‘merging’ and ‘losing’, before I continue the thread. I quote from a text book of science:-
“When a river enters the Sea, it soon loses its individuality, it becomes merged in the body of the ocean, when it loses its current and when therefore it has no power to keep in suspension the sediment which it had brought down from the Higher lands.” Please reread the lines in this way and the application will become clear “when the soul loses its individuality (its feeling of I and mine) Ahankaram or Anavam, it becomes merged in God when it loses its karma, and when therefore it has no power to keep in suspension its mala –a with which it was associated from the beginning. This losing of self is the real sacrifice, brought about by love. It is this sacrifice பலி we are asked to make as we enter the Temple precincts and the moment we make it, our பசுத்துவம் will leave us and we will become நந்தி the Blissful Sivam.
We likened the soul to the mirror and the following passages from the Upanishads may be considered.
“As a metal disk (mirror), tarnished by dust, shines bright again after it has been cleaned, so is the one incarnate person satisfied and freed from grief after he has seen the real nature of himself.” “And when by the real nature of himself he sees as by a lamp the real nature of the Brahman, then having known the unborn Eternal God, who transcends all tatwas, he is freed from all pasa.”
“From meditating on Him, from joining Him, from becoming one with Him, there is further cessation of all Maya in the end.” In Drummond’s language these verses read – see God, reflect God and become God.”
Students of Darwin will have noted how powerful is the law of association and assimilation or identity in the animal and human evolution. Persons who are ever associated with pigs get piggy faces, and with horses horsey faces. In the case of a husband and wife, when they have been perfectly loving, it has been found, to effect a complete assimilation of their facial features சாரூபம். Such is the power of the human mind; it can lower itself to the very depths of the brute or it can raise itself to the very height of Godhood. This law is spoken of in our text books as the law of ‘garudathyanam.’
This brings us to the very end of our subject.
We cannot know God really by all our religious rites and performances, repetition of prayers and formulas by saguna or nirguna worship, with or without idols, and even by the highest yoga, except when His grace and Love fills us all and we lose ourselves in this Love.
Look at how St. Maikandan ridicules this idea of the Yogi that he knows God.
“If it can be meditated, then as an object of our senses, it becomes Asat. If you regard it as not conceivable by our organs (internal and external) even then it is of no use. If you contemplate it as beyond contemplation even then it gives you no benefit as it is a mere fiction. If you contemplate it as yourself, this is also fiction. Giving up these fictitious ideas of God, the only way to know Him is by understanding with his Arul or Grace.”
The four paths.
So that all our understanding of Him till the final goal is reached will be merely fictitious, or use a better word, symbolical. The conception whether that of the Bhakta or Yogi, Hindu or Christian will only be symbolical. We introduce a real element into it when we introduce love in our conception of God. And this conception naturally divides itself into four forms, that of master and servant, parent and child, friend and friend and lover and loved. All other conceptions can be reduced into these four. There is love and knowledge in all these different forms of Bavana or Sadana. As our Lord and master, we do him and his bhaktas, loving service and obedience and reverence. In the master, we lose our own identity. To the father and mother, obedience and service and reverence and love in a greater degree is exhibited. To the friend we can say ‘I am He,’ ‘He is myself,’ ‘all mine are His’ and ‘all his are mine.’ In real life, this ideal of friendship is rarely manifested. Our people could hardly appreciate the act of the saint who gave his wife to the bhakti who demanded her of him. How would you like the Pourtrayal of Hall Caine of the lowborn and illiterate Manxeman who loved and continued to love more and more the high born and cultured aristocrat who betrayed him, cheated and robbed him of his betrothed and forfeited all claims to regard respect. It was because his friendship on his own part was sincere and true.
It is this ideal of the friendship and the bavana required under it which reveals the meaning of the formulas of Tatvamasi and AhamBrahmasmi, given out as the mantras to be practiced by the yogi. In Yoga, the identity of bavana is fully reached. When we understand this fully, we can understand all the episodes in the life of St. Sundara, who was of the very image of SomaSundara and whom God chose as his own ‘friend.’
In life, have you felt the hundredth part of this love for your friend, the gnawing pain at heart when you are separated and the boundless joy when you met.
These are then the four paths or margasChariya, Kriya, Yoga and Gnana, otherwise called Dasa, Satputra and Saha and Sanmarga. And the various duties assigned under each are only such as our love of the master or father or friend or lover will induce us to manifest in tokens of our love. These duties are meaningless except as tokens of our love and as disciplining us to love more God and his creatures.
These duties are for the Dasa Margi.
Our Christian friends who regard our building Temples and spending in ornaments and flowers will scarcely realize why millions of money are spent on churches and church decorations. The money spent in flowers on Easter and Christmas festivities in churches comes to a million or more each year. Christ rebuked the man who held the joint purse and who objected to Mary’s wasting that precious scented oil on Christ’s feet. It was not the value of the oil that was worth anything but the love that prompted that sacrifice was worth all.
But it is not by costly gifts alone we can manifest our love.
The duties of Satputramargi are as follows.
are those of the Sahamargi. The eight forms of Yoga referred to are Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyakara, Darana, Dyana and Samadhi, and we note only here the definition of Yama and Niyama.
Yama is Ahimsa, Satyam, refraining from theft, celibacy or chastity, mercifulness, devoid of deceitfulness, contentedness, courage, taking little food and purity. Niyama is performing tapas, and japamvratam, believing in God, worshipping Him, reading and meditating on the shastras, being cheerful, fearful of evil and intelligent.
The duties of Sanmarga are stated as follows.
These four sadanas are so arranged that one may lead into the other. And the forms and symbols in each are so chosen that as one reaches the higher path, fresh meaning and fresh beauty and life may burst forth, as his own intelligence and love ripens to receive the fresh live.
The Temple built of brick and mortar becomes the very soul and heart of the Yogi and the Sivalinga becomes the Loving Presence and Light of the Supreme. The food பலி offered by the devotee gradually comes to mean the sacrifice of anava or தற்போதம்.
The beauty of such books as the Tiruvachaka, Devara and Tiruvaimozhi consists in this that it furnishes the required mental and spiritual food to the illiterate and the most cultured minds.
That these four paths are natural divisions, it will be readily perceived. The world’s great religions may be ranged under one or other of these heads. Mahomedanism and the ancient Judaism fall under the first division. It was the merit of Jesus Christ that he brought into greater prominence the Fatherhood of God. The following quotations from the Bible will show that the other paths are not unrecognized by Jesus Christ.
‘Ye call me Master and Lord and ye say well for so I am.” St. John. XIII. 13.
Little children, yet awhile I am with you; a new commandment I give you. That ye love one another; as I have loved you that ye also love one another. XIV. 33. 34.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
“Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.”
“Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what the master doeth, but I have called you friends, for all things that I have heard of my father I have made known unto you.”
“Ye have not chosen me but I have chosen you, XV. 13 to 16.”
“That they all may be one, as thou father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.”
“I in them, and thou in me that they may be made perfect in one. XVII. 21 and 23.”
When I spoke of these higher aspects of Christ’s teaching to a missionary, he observed to me that it only struck him lately that fellowship with God was a higher spiritual condition than fatherhood of God. Among ourselves, the Madhwa system may be said to be pure Dasamarga. The Ramanujah in its popular aspects, ieDasamarga and Satputramarga and little more. Sankara’s system will be Sahamarga. But the mistake is made in not understanding that these truths are only symbolic and then they are apt to become dogmatic. I have seen Christian friends contend that God is our real father, as Vedantis and Yogis may declaim that there is no other God but the self.
A true and universal religion will combine all these various paths and which are required and necessitated by the varying degrees of man’s intellectual and spiritual development.
And then we will not see the mote in our brother’s eye and will live in peace and amity for ever.
I only need quote to you one verse from the Gita where all these four paths are set forth.
“Therefore with bowing and body bent, I ask grace of thee, Lord and Adorable, as father to son, as friend to friend, it is meet, O Lord, to bear with me as Lover to Loved.” I may also observe that Saivaism of today which I regard as the true modern representative of the historic religion of the Gita and Mahabharata period combines all these four paths and their great Saints St. Appar, St. Gnanasambandar, St. Sundarar and St. Manickavachakar are regarded as teachers of these four paths.
More than all this, I wish to emphasize the fact that love is the essence of all real Religion, and real worship of God is the worship of God’s creatures and loving them one and all without distinction of caste and creed, as observed by Sri Kanta, and unless this is fully recognized and practised no real spiritual progress is possible.
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