THE AGAMIC TRADITION AND THE ARTS
Sublimation of Elements
Prabhakar P. Apte
The Ëgamas in general and the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama in particular, have conceived and ritually effected a sublimation of gross and subtle elements (mah¡bh£tas and tanm¡tras) in various areas of regular and occasional rituals. The noteworthy ritual item is found in bh£ta¿uddhi or elemental purification, a pre-requisite of bahihp£j¡ and m¡nasap£j¡. It can be compared to an over-hauling of a machine. The overhauling in the case of the gross and subtle body is taken to the subtlest layer of elemental composition of the human body. The process of bh£ta¿uddhi may he described as a psycho-yogic process. The elemental components are made universally pervasive and are then meditatively reduced to ashes with the help of cidagni (fire of consciousness) and later on rejuvenated by sprinkling of divine nectar thereover. Thus the gross and subtle elements constituting the body of a devotee are sublimated. In this paper, it is proposed to present a critical appreciation of this unique rituo-yogic procedure in p¡µcar¡tra Ëgama.
Elements are also found deified in Agamic rituals and are visualized in some shapes and colours. A note of this contribution is also proposed to betaken in this paper. The third area where the mah¡bh£tas are artistically made use of are the diagrams of man¸·alas in general and vastuma¸·ala in particular. The diagrams are said to be a microcosmic reflection of the macrocosm.[i] It isproposed to place before the scholars the approach towards and treatment of the mah¡bh£tas as found in the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama.
Ëgamas five distinct tasks have
been assigned to devotees by following which one is able to attain sam¡dh¢
and finally the direct vision of the Lord. These five stages are as
Abhigamana, (2) Up¡d¡na
(3) Ijjy¡ (4) Sv¡dhy¡ya, and
(5) Yoga, are assigned for five
The first covers the period before sunrise, beginning from b¡hama-muh£rta, i.e., early dawn; the fifth take the earlier
portion of the night after the sunset. The second and third accommodate
themselves up to noon and the fourth ranges from noon to sunset.
first, is abhigamana or
'approach to the Almighty' with ardent surrender coupled with japa, i.e., muttering of the divine name, dhy¡na or meditation and stotra
or laudation.[iii] Immediately after
breaking sleep while about half of the night is yet to pass, the devotee
should meditate upon the Supreme Power and offer prayers topurify one's
actions throughout the day.[iv]
The action of dhy¡na may
fall directly under introverts' region; but the japa
and stotra are at least on border. Surrender into the Lord (Visnu)[v]
with various names is more important. This period exclusively aims at a
direct contact between the God and the devotee; it is a pretty long time
when one finds seclusion and solitude coupled with quietude of time and
atmosphere. During this period, almost everyone is required to be an
introvert at least for a while.[vi]
second portion called up¡d¡na is
reserved for purely a mechanical activity of equipment of the idol
worship. Having done this, the devotee is to embark on the ritual of
worship technically called ijjy¡k¡la,
covering late hours of the forenoon. The p£j¡
especially that in the temple and also that at the time of festivals in
renowned shrines is a meticulous process of very many mechanicalactivities.
However, it includes some processes wherein the performer has to shut his
eyes so as to yoke his inner faculties. Two such topics which rather form
independent units, and which have received a fair treatment in the
Samhit¡s are the bh£ta¿uddhi or
'elemental purification' and m¡nasay¡ga
or 'worship-within'. The first comes under ijjya no doubt but actually may
be treated as the finishing touch to the
up¡d¡na activity which has a double mission -collection of materials
and their purification even the body purification of the devotee. Bh£ta¿uddhi
aims at purification of the elements which go to form the body. The
m¡nsay¡ga is the first part of the ijjy¡
wherein the entire function is performed with closed eyes with all
abstract aid. Having done this, he is eligible to go on with the
External bath and cleansing alone does not render the human body completely pure so as to make fit for worship. Evil thought, speech and actions too go on besmearing the body particles with impurities. Ëgamas provide with a highly scientific and technical process for overhauling the entire body constitution and rejuvenating it every time before the performance of the p£j¡, since it is a must in accomplishing an atmosphere of purity, piety, sanctity, and serenity in the sanctum sanctorum, where the Lord is to be invoked to come and stay. So without the performance of the bh£ta¿uddhi, the arcaka is not recognized to be eligible for the p£j¡.
process of the elemental purification may be summarized as under:
devotee shuts his eyes and open his inner sight to visualize that Lord ViÀ¸u
is seated on the Supreme Altar. He then gradually elevates Him on way
upwards through the right-hand portion of the 'suÀumn¡
vein', seeing Him reclining on a 'circular orb' glowing like a cluster of
a thousand suns. This seat, as he perceives is made up of mantras
and resting twelve angulas (fingers
- a measurement) above the luminous disc (prabh¡cakra)
with a substratum made of elements. The devotee further perceives the Lord
to assume a body of mantras alone.[vii]
below the seat of the Lord, devotee sees a square shape piece of floor,
yellow in colour and possessing the properties of the five elements: 'Sabda-spar¿a-rupa-rasa-gandha
(sound-touch-colour-taste-odour) and having an emblem of vajra. He
further sees that the entire creation marked with rivers, islands, cities,
forts, etc. surround the earth. At this stage of visualization the devotee
chants the p¤thiv¢mantra and
finds that the earth enters his body and rests there through the mantric
miracle; he allows the earth to pervade the region from foot to knee. With
the force of kumbhaka wind, it
is to be gradually let forth and made to merge into its subtle-element,
the tanm¡ntra, called gandha¿akti.[viii] The gandha¿akti
is then purged out to dissolve into the next element, i.e., ap (water)
and be deposited in the majesty of Varu¸a; in the same manner all the
five elements are to be made to merge back and back ultimately into the tanm¡tra
of ether namely ¿abda. Each one
should be inhaled with, dissolved into the next one with kumbhaka and exhaled with recaka.
While with ap, he meditates on
Varuna and he sees all storages and reservoirs of water in-drain within
his body makes it pervade over the portion between his knee and the thigh.
With dh¡ra¸¡mantra (i.e., the
chant of retention), the entire quantity of water is seen to merge in its
tanmetra the rasa¿akti, and
that should be thrown out by recaka,
in the orb of fire, and should be deposited in the majesty of Lord Agni
endowed with triangular shape altar. Then the whole empire of Agni, i.e.,
the lightening, the moon, the sun, the stars, the jewels, etc. gush inside
the body of the s¡dhaka when the chanting of the taijasamantra commences. This power is absorbed with this mantra
and it rests in the region from p¡yu
to n¡bh¢, i.e., the organ of generation to the navel. This by
contemplation. merges into the r£pa¿akti,
the tanm¡tra of light. Then
this is purged out to be deposited into the majesty of V¡yu or wind. Then he experiences that all sorts of winds enter his
body. By the chant of retention they are absorbed within the spar¿a¿akti,
or tanm¡tras of touch. Then it should be thrown out and deposited into
the vyoma-vibhava or the ethic
majesty. Then entire space without is contemplated to enter one's body and
then by vyom¡khya-dh¡ra¸¡mantra subtle
element should be taken into one's own body, and it should pervade the
region between the neck and the brahmarandhra.
Then he sustains it for sometime in kumbhaka
and then he pushes it out up
from the brahmarandhra. Here he
experiences that the j¢va is
full of pure consciousness (caitanya)
and is completely rid of the fetters of the cage made up of the five gross
elements - (paµcamah¡bh£tapaµjara).
Here the individual self, i.e., the s¡dhaka
gets a prospective as well as retrospective vision. He can see his
entire body as if he is a third party spectator. So does he perceive the
Lord seated on the Altar-Divine. The sadhaka
is then advised to remain in the body made of mantras
and concentrate on the sam¡dhi-stage.
Then he leaves that body also, thinking it to be impure and rises still
higher and higher. He then visualizes that he is coming out of the nest of
his heart as well. He proceeds with the power of wisdom (jµ¡na)
alone and drops down the body of the tanm¡ntras
and reaches the level of the physical vicinity of God. Here he
realizes and enjoys the luminous, indescribable state of bliss- the favour
of Lord ViÀ¸u. Here he experiences that he has resumed to the existence
of his 'own'.
what he is expected to do is the act of burning down his earthly body by
the strength of his will (icch¡¿akti),
see to it that the earthly body is completely reduced to ashes leaving of
course the tanm¡ntras which are
already taken out; by the fire which resembles one which is ablaze at the
time of the great annihilation of Lord's creation (yug¡nta-hutabhuk). When the function is over the blaze is to be
surrendered to the Lord of the mantras.
Then the s¡dhaka sees that
the fire is full burnt and what remains is a heap of ashes. Then he
transmits a cyclonic wind to make the ashes scatter away at random, all
over. Thus the body disappears totally with no visible trace.
the s¡dhaka invokes the disc of
mantras shining like a full moon
and drizzling nectar from the heaven. He should sprinkle this nectar over
the remnants whatsoever of his body and lo! he sees that a lotus springs
up out of void and gradually the universe evolves in its normal order of
creation. He finds that there shines for him a reborn body untainted with
any impurities whatsoever. This is a body worth entering which he does by
the retreating process and embarks on his worship of the Lord in the form arc¡, the tangible idol.
way of resume one could note down following observations:
Bh£ta¿uddhi is a complete and independent process.
It is a pre-requisite for the ritual of worship and a samÆsk¡ra on the
body of the worshipper.
From spiritual point of view, it is a far difficult process as compared to
the mechanism of the p£j¡. A
sincere effort, on the part of the devotee to master this process would
certainly uplift him on much higher plane and it is worth giving repeated
As for the scientific nature, its feasibility and efficacy, only those who
are in that line, i.e., the introverts with adequate background alone
could say anything.
These various technical terms like the tackling of the n¡d¢s, the cakras and
winds present within one's own body. This could be compared by an
introvert to the corresponding terms in the Yoga
We are told of layayoga elsewhere in the Ëgamas
which is the abstract process of absorption of the creation. This might be
similar to the bh£ta¿uddhi.
We come across some technical processes in metaphysics of the UpaniÀads,
like tri¤tkara¸a, paµc¢kar¸a and saÆvargavidy¡,
where one element is absorbed into the other.
Those processes have served the source and might have played an
important role in the building up of the scheme of elemental purification.
In any case, the entire process of isolating oneself from the earthly
body, reaching the vicinity of the Great Soul, experiencing the discarding
of the gross and subtle bodies around oneself, to have a detached
visualization of one's own body from a long distance, to set it on fire by
one's own fire of wisdom, seeing that it is reduced to ashes, blowing
cyclonic hurricane to puff the heap of ashes helter-skelter and further,
with the mystic power to the mantras,
to rejuvenate the body along with the entire Universe with the help of
nectar, all this is fascinating for anyone; nay one would be tempted to
become an introvert. Naturally, an introvert would rejoice on finding such
a fine process to grasp and to practise.
Even for a devotee havingacadmic interest, this portion would be of great
help in tallying various tenets of the P¡µcar¡tra
cult, especially those concerning the theories of creation and
liberation. And further, it is noteworthy that in the form of bh£ta¿uddhi the tradition could retain the metaphysics of the P¡µcar¡tra;
and practising the bh£ta¿udhi is
making an at-a-glance revision of its metaphysics.
the merits or otherwise, one may safely announce that here lies an
important treasure of our spiritual heritage. Let us not just skip it, or
sleep over it, casually dismissing it as impracticable.
purification of everything from within and without renders the s¡dhaka
eligible for the y¡ga, where at
the outset he is to perform m¡nasay¡ga
or the 'worship-within' and then alone he may handle the paraphernalia of
outer worship (b¡hyay¡ga). And
m¡nasay¡ga, too, is an
abstract process to be performed with one's eyes shut. This again would
form a subject of introvert's special relish.
are two names for this y¡ga - m¡nasay¡ga
or antary¡ga which are same
in connotation and hence inter-changeable. They are used as substitutes in
the texts of áaiv¡gama,
á¡kt¡gama and VaiÀ¸av¡gama. M¡nasap£j¡ and
m¡nas¡rcan¡ are also used to denote the same thing. All these terms
indicate a process which may be described as 'Internal worship', 'mental
adoration' or 'worship-within'. It is an abstract form of worship. The
worship of the Lord is said to be threefold: internal worship, the image
worship and the fire-worship - m¡nas¢
berap£ja ca homap£jeti sa tridh¡. What is common is the object of
worship and what varies is the mode. Ëgamas cotemplate no option
regarding the choice of one or more forms of worship; but instead they
regard all of them to be the essential components of what may be generally
called y¡ga or worship. The
m¡nasay¡ga seems to be an unoptional portion of study for those who
profess to follow the Ëgamic path.
par with the m¡nasap£ja, there
are some other functions wherein the mind plays an important role. There
are modes of Vedic sacrifices which can be performed internally and are
called antary¡ga, where instead
of the concrete material, only abstract material is used. In various
Upanisadic passages and other places, descriptions of (1) manomay¢:-m£rti
an idol created by one's mental agency; (2) m¡nasa-sn¡na, i.e.,
performance of ablution by mind; (3)
m¡nasa-japa, i.e., the muttering of mantras without the movement of
tongue and lips;[ix]
(4) m¡nasa-homa, i.e., the
ritual of fire-worship within one's mind; and (5)
m¡nas¢-s¤À¶i mental creation and such other concepts connected
exclusively to the sphere of mind are found. It means that the mind has
power to create a world of its own - a replica to the outer world. We are
familiar with the fascinating picture of the
par¡ta¿uddhi and m¡nasa-p£j¡ offered by Ëdi áa´kara. The yogic
practices, the bh£t¿uddhi the
ny¡sa, and such other topics are also allied ones, together forming a
category of processes where internal faculties have a predominsmt role.
description of the m¡nasay¡ga
may be summarized as follows:
upac¡ras or the offerings to be
presented are not tangible (s¡Æspar¿a)
but products of will-power (saÆkalpajanita)
and their specialities in their being immense in size, abundant in
quality and they can be gathered from any place of choice out of the seven
worlds. Besides they are through and through auspicious, holy, bestowed
with finest qualities and undecayable.[xi]
All is abstract for instance, the fire to be produced is by rubbing
the sticks of meditation -
dhy¡n¡ra¸iÆ tu nirmnthya cidagnimavat¡rthaÆ ca. The fire also is
not ordinary but a spiritual one. The ny¡sa, the
mantras, the mudr¡s all are
abstract. Nothing is tangible. The whole performance when accomplished is
to be surrendered to the Lord and then the entire paraphernalia is to be
withdrawn into one's heart and is to be treasured into one's self, by the
power of will or saÆkalpa. Then
the devotee has to beg permission of the Lord to perform the b¡hyay¡ga.
The conclusion (visarjana)
worship-within is not to be done till the completion of the
The Ëgamic seers promise the performer of the m¡nasay¡ga various reliefs: from diseases, old age, mortality, bondage of the worldly ties, etc. and further assure him of annihilation of all demerits to his account, thereby granting him 'the eternal bliss'. It is described as the best of the paths and the follower is honoured as the best of the worshippers. It is further assured that the performance of this form of worship, though very hard to practise becomes easy by constant practice.[xii] The followers are warned against revealing this to those who have neither faith nor eligibility to perform this.
first thing that strikes us is the completeness of the process
contemplated in the m¡nasay¡ga as
compared to the processes of m¡nasajapa,
m¡nasasn¡na, m¡nasahoma, etc. They are small units in themselves which rather
serve as component parts of the abstract worship, while this is a
par¡-p£j¡ or m¡nasap£j¡ explained by Ëdi áa´ikara, the bh£ta¿uddhi, ny¡sa, yoga
and like topics fall under the same category with the m¡nasay¡ga as noted already. But there are a number of subtle
points of difference. In the m¡nasay¡ga
offered to the Goddesses, we find the
Ào·a¿opac¡ra created and offered by mind alone. In the par¡-p£j¡ however, the immense finiteness of the worshipper and
his equipments in comparison to 'the Infinite' which is the object of
worship seriously strikes the mind of great áa¸kara and in a mood of
ecstacy he expresses his inability to worship the Lord, and going a step
further, he says that the action of p£j¡
is impossible due to the identity of the p£jya
and the p£jaka. In the
m&asayEga on the other hand, no inability is contemplated, nor the
identity of the p£jya and p£jaka at
least at the time of the ritual.
the elemental purification we find a process wherein both psychological
and physical agencies are at work. Besides, it is a preparation for the
worship and not the body of it. In m¡nasa-sn¡na,
what is aimed at, is the internal purification of the body and mind. M¡nasajapa
is a practice of concentrating on the muttering of the mantras
or divine names without the help of the tongue and the lips. In the ny¡sa
both the physical as well as the mental activity is at work. In dhy¡na
or meditataion, what is required is application of one's mind towards
the yogic practice, we find that at the stage of sam¡dhi, mind has to develop the faculty of concentration (ek¡grat¡)
at the first instance and further, in the state of nirb¢ja-sam¡dhi
what is contemplated, is the total merger in the object namely the
Supreme Self. Besides, the n¡d¢ system
is yoked to the yogic feats, which may not be employed in the Ëgamic
process of the internal worship.
differs much from the sister rituals mentioned above. Unlike the Yoga, it
is restricted to mental and abstract functions alone. In Yoga, on the
other hand, the faculties of mind too are withdrawn in the manner of the
limbs of tortoise. In the m¡nasay¡ga
we have to develop the subtle and sublime faculties of mind, since it
has to create by realization the entire expanse of the divine enshrinement
within and maintain it carefully till the successful accomplishment of the
m¡nasay¡ga. In technical terms, we may say, the mind has to develop
the faculty of samagratva
instead of ek¡gratva. Samagratva
may be interpreted as 'concentration on totality'. What we find in that
process, is, that the mind has to create the mental image (manomay¢
m£rti), prepare a seat for it by imagination, create the consorts and
retinue deities by imagination, install them at proper places, then
collect the proper material for worship, deposit it at proper places and
commence the worship, keeping all the while the scene created so far firm
and steady by not allowing it to vanish in the least and for even a
fraction of a moment. Supposing there occurs some slip, the whole process
ought to be repeated ab initio.
Again the judgement of distance and interspaces of the objects must be
maintained very carefully. No jumble of misplacement would be tolerable if
the worship is to be ideal. Keeping this theatrical show intact, the
devotee has to proceed for performance, wherein he has to bear in mind the
sequence or order of the details of worship, the priority and the
posteriority. If by chance some mistake creeps in, the process is to be
started again from the beginning. In other words one has to be cautious
about the space-perspective and the time-perspective and to effect a
harmony of the two (sthal¡vadh¡naÆ k¡l¡vadh¡naÆ ubhayoÅ
s¡maµjasyam ca). It is a collaborative enterprise of the p£jya,
p£jaka, p£j¡sth¡na, p£j¡dravya,
p£j¡nakriy¡, i.e., the object of worship, the worshipper, the
place of worship, the materials of worship and the process of worship -
all being samkalpajanita or the products of imagination. As such, one may
feel that it is many times more difficult a task than cultivation of
concentration on a single object (ek¡grat¡).
more speciality of this worship-within is that, it is independent of means
upakara¸anirapekÀa) in contrast to the
b¡hyay¡ga since it requires no tangible material. All the materials
as already said are products of imagination or as elsewhere described
products of the subtle elements. In other respect, it may be called ¿ar¢ranirapekÀa
or independent of the body as well. That is if one achieves skill in
its performance, it is immaterial for one whether the body is retained or
abandoned, since it can be actuated with the help of the mind and the tanm¡tra
or the subtle elements. The process is, however, dependent on
attentiveness (avadh¡nas¡pekÀa) and not independent of it (avadh¡nanirapekÀa). Indeed, the process of external worship may
be done absent-mindedly after a long practice, reducing it to a prosaic
mechanical functioning of the body. Mental adoration cannot ever be
performed that way. A slight absent-mindedness means invitation to
duplication and further repetitions of the entire effort.
for the comparison of this process, as treated in different Ëgmas,
it may be observed that there is more similarity than difference. In the áaiva
and áakt¡gamas, we are often
told of the maxim ¿ivo bh£tv¡ ¿ivaÆ
yajet or dev¢bh£tv¡ tu t¡Æ yajet
which aims at the identity of the object of worship and the worshipper. In
the Vi¿iÀ¶¡dvaita system
this identification is not tolerated or entertained. In other words,
differences in philosophical tenets reflect on the details or mental
worship. Again, the object of worship varies as per the Ëgamas,
áiva, ViÀ¸u, the Goddess or
any other god may assume that place. So would he the case regarding the mudr¡s,
the mantras, the ma¸·alas,
the cakras and other details of
worship. In the process of m¡nasay¡ga
in the left-hand T¡ntric practices ( V¡m¡c¡ra)
would include the well-known Paµcanmak¡ras
as the case may be. It might he interesting to observe whether the
abstract form of offerings in the Tantntric worship would involve any kind
of hiÆs¡ or not. One can not
say whether it would be admissible to the followers of the strict rules of
There would be a counter-argument that the mental act of killing or
injuring would fetch them worse fruit that accrued through a bodily act of
injury. Again they may fear that indulgence in the mak¡ra
of mak¡ra-m¡Æsa-maithuna, etc.
even on a psychological plane may invite a mental degradation by the
process contemplated in the G¢t¡
verse: dhy¡yato viÀay¡n puÆsaÅ sa´gasteÀ¡paj¡yate, etc.
leading straightaway to the doom or destruction. Mental contemplation (m¡nasncintana)
may prove to be more harmful than actual physical act.
for the relative superiority and inferiority between the inner and outer
worships, it is unanimously declared that the former is superior to the
latter. All the same, the two rites are not competitive but complementary
ones. The option to prefer the antary¡ga by an individual devotee in his
domestic worship (g¤h¡rc¡)
may be tolerated. But it is no way an option for the temple ritual. It is
obligatory on the part of a temple priest (arcaka)
to perform it with accuracy and devotion since he is doing it for the
benefit of the devotees at large in a representative capacity. It seems
that the Ëgamas expect of an
ideal worshipper, a capacity to perform the m¡nasay¡ga
with perfection. In other words, it may be deemed as a necessary requisite
for his eligibility to hold the office. Besides, sincere and devoted
accomplishment of the m¡nasay¡ga
paves the way for perfection and liveliness in the otherwise prosaic
mechanism of the outer worship, and charge the ritual with spirituality
which is automatically transmitted to the minds of the devotees who
partake the worship only as spectators having full faith in the priest who
actually performs the worship.
priority and posteriority of the two rituals also is an interesting topic
and may create sometimes, a controversy among scholars. In the daily
routine, we find that the m¡nasay¡ga
comes first and then comes the b¡hyay¡ga.
The arrangement of chapters in the texts also testify this. It is
however, that it is 'b¡hyay¡ga that
paves the way for the antary¡ga'.
There is an apparent contradiction between the two views before us.
Probably the second view is based on
the verse from V¡mke¿vara
Tantra which runs as follows:
When we understand the proper position, the paradox will be removed. In the daily worship, the antary¡ga comes prior and brings perfection, purity and better sense of devotion to the behyayaga which follows. However, the b¡hyayaga has its own limits on the path of spiritual progress of the individual aspirants. One day or other he must cry halt to the performance of b¡hyay¡ga and it is always desired that the time should come as early as possible and that too before the aspirant is compelled to leave his earthly body. If he gains perfection in performing the m¡nasay¡ga, before the end of his life, he may continue the worship during the tenure of his further embodiments or inter embodied states. It would be interesting to note here that individual aspirants have a lattitude of acquiring the proficiency in this ritual even up to the end of this life or failing it in the subsequent embodiments. For an arcaka, however, the skill has to come at the initial stage of life. It is just like those who enter the renunciation stage (sanny¡s¡¿rama) at the initial stage of life, which for others is a final stage. For this reason, the arcaka is rightly praised as arcako hi hariÅ s¡kÀ¡t.
One more point to be noted about the m¡nasay¡ga is the purpose behind it. In the Jay¡khya SaÆhit¡ of the P¡µcar¡tra Ëgama, it is explained that there exist two aspects of the v¡san¡s or the passionic precipitates of the individual self. They are originating from without or within (b¡hyotth¡ and ¡ntarika). The former are accrued to the soul from the objects around, while the latter go on accumulating even in the absence of objects tempting the senses. The former can be overcome by diverting one's mind from their temptation by yoking the same to the process of outer worship. Nevertheless, that process is ineffective regarding the internal urges (v¡san¡s) that stir the mind from within and are likely to stir the faculties of the body which are restrained by the saÆsk¡ras achieved through the b¡yay¡ga. Those v¡san¡s are not, an outcome of outer functioning of the senses. They are the sum-total of accumulations of previous embodiments and fresh creations of mind. Even after total annihilation of the exterrml urges (bhyotthav¡san¡), the inner ones remain as arrear unremedied for. What one could do, is to close the doors of one's mind for the outer objects and take a fleuroscopic or X-ray search focusing the location of the seeds of the internal v¡san¡a by the help of the power created in him by repeated performance of the mental worship (m¡nasay¡ga), and burn the seeds reducing them to ashes once for all; and then sterilise one's mind so as to leave no scope for their further germination.
To conclude, it may be observed that the topic of m¡nasay¡ga in the Ëgamas is not only interesting and fascinating but is highly scientific as well. It has tremendous appeal to the aspirants, and scholars of an introvert-aptitude. It is a ceaseless challenge to their efforts and perseverance to grasp and master it and an intellectual feast to their scholarly thirst for knowledge.
third portion of the day is scrutinized and now remain two portions-the Sv¡dhy¡ya
and Yoga. The period after the meals up to the twilight period in the
evening is reserved for self-study, i.e., revision of the religious texts.
As stated in the Ëgamas, the
devotee performs his sandhy¡vandan¡ at the sun-set and then he becomes
ready for the daily yogic practice.[xiii]
This period brings him Brahmasiddhi -
the attainment of Brahman.
the outset, the devotee selects a spot fit for concentration of mind,
preferably in a sacred but lonely and pleasant atmosphere. Then he has to
purify the ground before setting for the venture. He progresses on the
path of Yoga through its eight
climbs, step by step. First of all he follows or rather strictly abides by
the rules and regulations, the injunctions and prohibitions or the 'dos'
and 'don'ts'. These things bring his physical body under desired results
and make it fit for worship.
he assembles suitable postures, technically called yog¡sanas. Different ¡sanas
may suit the body constitution of different people.
comfortable posture helps further tackling of the internal limbs. Having
accomplished this, the yogin
ventures to regulate and dilate his breath, i.e., technically to exercise pr¡¸¡y¡hra
by p£raka, kumbhaka and recaka, the
inhaling, retaining and exhaling the breath. This exercise is meant for
regulating the five wind-movements.
fifth stage is praty¡h¡ra process
wherein one has to shut out the objects of pleasure in the world and
divert the sense-organs towards the internal region. The sixth stage is dhy¡¸¡
or meditation. Lord ViÀ¸u is the object of worship. It is followed by
dh¡ra¸a wherein, the one achieves the equilibrium of the internal
organs. It is equated to the pacification of the waves of the disturbed
waters. Here, he concentrates on the 'heart-dweller' (h¡rda-param¡tman)
along with his consort Laksmi. He visualizes the divine couple
Laksmi-Narayana in a direct vision of yogic insight.
this stage of realization is attained by the s¡dhaka, he is advised to lead the Lord in abstract forms, by his
will-power, gradually towards a seat prepared by the s¡dhaka, for the Lord, on the altar in his heart the via media of
the right hand outlet to the passage of the
suÀumn¡ vein. The devotee perceives by imagination that he has
assumed pure physique in the form of the mantras.
The yogin then absorbs the five elements in their proper order (as
described in the bh£ta¿uddhi) within
his own body and stand in the immediate presence of the Almighty - the
ever-cherished goal of s¡dhaka's life.
He then causes the properties of the elements, viz. ¿abda-spar¿a-r£pa-rasa-gandha
to unite in one and gradually push out of the brahmarandhra the apperture opening on the supracosmic region which
is said to be situated at the top of the headgear.
this superb state of s¡dhan¡ the
devotee tries to induce the soul-essence or the caitanya out of the cage of the earthly body and transplant it on
the mantra¿ar¢ra. Further, the
mantra¿ar¢ra also withdrawn
and what he receives is the sixfold causal existence, i.e., the paµcatanm¡tras, i.e., the five subtle elements and the tanm¡tra
of the mind. This also is to fall back and one receives a body of a
luminous disc technically called prabh¡cakram.
Resorting to this luminous disc one is led straightaway to the navel
of Lord Narayana. The s¡dhaka who
is completely pure, having realized the Ultimate Truth and having totally
severed from the material body, becomes endowed with cit
the sentient property, the basic characteristic. Like in the bh£ta¿uddhi process, he burns down his earthly body again to
revive it by the help of nectar and enter the newly formed pure body.
practice of this process finally uplifts the aspirant Yogin to the
enviable state of sam¡dhi- the
total merger in the Supreme Being. The fifth period of the day is utilized
for this exercise. The devotee is then free to go to sleep.
That completes the survey of the ideal diary of the P¡µcar¡tra and its literature, keeping in mind, the interest of an introvert as a guiding principle.
[i] See the ma¸·ala illustrations (Plates 1.1 - 1.25).
[ii] Vide JaySam, XX11.68-69, N¡rSam, XXX.2-4; ÎÀir¡tra 1.1-10 etc.
[iii] . japadhy¡n¡rcanastotraiÅ karmav¡kcittasaÆyutaiÅ I
abhigacchejjagadyonÆi tacc¡bhigamanaÆ sm¤tam II
[iv] samutth¡y¡rdhar¡tre'tha jitanidro jita¿ramaÅ I
kama¸·alusthbtenaiva sam¡camya tu V¡i¸¡ II
sarnprabuddhah prabhate tu utthaya gayanesthitah I
ntimnci~ sanlkirtana? kuryat sodasanam prayatnatah II
[v] 5.namo v¡sudev¡ya namaÅ saÆkarÀa¸¡ya te II
pradyumn¡ya namaste'stu, aniruddh¡ya te namaÅ II
...divy¡n¡mavat¡r¡¸¡Æ da¿¡n¡matha k¢rtanam I
hariÆ hariÆ bruvaÆstalp¡dutth¡ya bhuvi vinyaset I
...namaÅ kÀitidhar¡yoktv¡ v¡map¡daÆ mah¡mate II
-p¡r Sam II.6;10;17.
18, N¡rSam, II.37, ViÀ¸utattva
(iv) - 1, PauÀkara,
[vii] Besides the verbal meanings, such portion always have mystic, technical and conventional meanings which the aspirants in the same and allied field only are likely to comprehend. Here, the attempt is elementary and aims at highlighting such portions without going much in details.
[viii] . One may trace this process to the SaÆvagavidy¡ of the UpaniÀads.
[ix] aÆtaryogaÆ bahiryogaÆ...
m¡nasap£jaya japena dhy¡nena k¢rtanena stuty¡...
[x] padm¡san¡dikaÆ baddhv¡ n¡bhau baddh¡µjalim d¤·ham I
manasyuparataÆ kury¡dakÀagr¡maÆ bahiÅsthitam II
cittaÆ buddhau vinikÀipya t¡Æ buddhiÆ jµ¡nagocare I
jµ¡nabh¡vanay¡ karmakury¡ram¡rthikanm II
[xi] saÆkalpajanitairbhogeÅ pavitrairnkÀayaih ¿ubhe I
s¡Æspar¿aiÅ ¿aivac¡r¡khyaistath¡ c¡hyavah¡rikaiÅ II
mahadr£paiÅ prabh£testu saptalokasamudbhavaiÅ II
yathoditestu vidhivaduk¤À¶aratakÀa¸aiÅ II
[xii] . antaryrSg&nikti p@i saruap~jottami priye I
[xiii] . tato'stangena yogena pzljlayet parames'varam I
paricamo yogasomjano yogasiddhidah //
©1995 Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts, New Delhi