The Run of Mankind
The run of mankind after death finds no rest in the three worlds: the physical, the astral and the mental. The souls freed from the physical vesture are carried on, up and down, in the giant Brahmanic wheel of life by the momentum of their own thoughts, words and deeds. It is all a play of the individual mind with its vast field of ramifications spreading out from the lowest, the physical, to the mental worlds wherein one builds his own tabernacles in the hereafter, for a temporary stay, long or short, according to one’s needs for learning the lessons of Brahman; as he advances on the Path towards perfection, and each soul gathers as rich a harvest as he can; before exhausting the causes set in motion through the external stimuli from powers that be in his surroundings in the various planes in the three worlds thus described.
The causal or the seed-body of the human soul, the innermost vest, has yet two more very subtle and sublime linings underneath respectively called the Buddhic – the Vigyanic – and Nirvanic – the Anandic or blissful. It is only a brave soul, very brave indeed, like that of prince Siddhartha, who may enter into Buddha-hood and become Buddha, the Enlightened One and enjoy the bliss of the creator of the three universes; and comes to the earth-plane to give the law – the law of Dhamma or Dharma unto the world with emphasis on desirelessness so as to free the mind of all attachments and then to tread the eight-fold Path of righteousness leading to perfection. Again, it may be a Jain Tirthankara, the Mahavira, the bravest of the brave, who could dare approach the divine throne of Brahman and give out to the world the law of Universal Love and Ahimsa, Love for all creatures from the tiniest insect, helplessly crawling in the dust and the water and air spirits floating in countless numbers, in their respective spheres, invisible to the naked eye.
In the Buddhic plane, one develops the intellectual side of divinity in him and begins to see and realise the selfsame Self in him, as in all around him, and he is as much in that Self as others are. Thus he comes to the great fundamental unity of existence, the Sutra Atma, carrying everything from an ant to the elephant as so many beads on the string of a rosary; in spite of the differences in shape, size and colour, both within and without, due to climatic conditions, and mental make-up and Inner Development and Growth. Now the human monad, the out-breathed life of Brahman, dwells in the inbreathed life of Brahman, with divine powers and attributes, and aspires for the bliss-aspect of the divinity in him – the Atmic or the Nirvanic consciousness of Sat Chit Anand – the heart and soul of the universe, which now becomes his, and he is one with it.
It is indeed a long and weary process to understand correctly the Brahm Vidya and then to successfully practise it, and to traverse the Brahmand from end to end, stage by stage, from the physical world of coarse matter to Brahm Lok proper, the region where Maha Maya in its finest and most subtle form reigns. The Brahmand is the manifestation of the power of God, lodged in Om, the most sacred syllable in the Vedic lore; hence it is the akar or form of Om – Omkar. It is the Logos of the Greeks and Ek-Onkar of the various scriptures.
This is the ultimate end of human attainment, says Vedanta – the highest teachings as given by the later Vedic teachers and scholars, the rishis of old, as a result of their intense meditative experiences in the snow-capped mountain fastnesses or in the thick forest dwellings. Brahman is the very life of the universe, comprising, as it does, the three worlds described above with all that exists in each – the Triloki Nath, the lord of the three-fold panoramic life in its fullness. Their words of wisdom, we find in aphoristic form, as gems of purest ray serene, in their valuable treatises known as Upanishads which are rightly considered as Vedantas or the final rungs or parts of Veda, the efflorescence of divine wisdom; which ends with the Maha Vakya, the great Truth: 'that thou art' meaning that man is Brahman in his real nature and essence and when one realises this fundamental truth, he involuntarily proclaims
aham Brahm asmi – I am Brahman
I and my Father are One,
I speak nothing on my own but as my Father bids me do.
St John 12:49-50
The greatest lesson that one derives from Vedanta is – we are all One; One in our origin, One in our make-up, both inner and outer formation, One in our potentialities and powers, however latent and involved they may be, but equally capable of developing the same, may be sooner or later, but the process of development or unfoldment of the self is essentially the same for all; and then the goal too is One for all mankind, for all of us are worshippers of Brahman. In this way, the out-breathed life constituting as it does, the individual mind merges in the in-breathed life of the Universal Mind or Mahat, – the 'great mind of the cosmos' – the third Logos or divine creative intelligence, the Brahma of the Hindus, the Mandjusri of the Buddhists, the Holy Spirit of the Christians, and Allah-hu of the mystics and Sufi darveshes.
Here in Brahm Lok souls live for long, and in close proximity to Brahman, imbibing the love, the intelligence and the bliss of that being or power and again so long indeed is the stay, that one is prone to believe and call it a veritable salvation, the flame merging in the flame – of Brahman. But the stay there, however long it may be, is not eternal and it lasts only till the Brahmand itself dissolves, and the Universal Mind rolls up its life, absorbing all the souls in its fold wherever they may be. This drama of infolding and unfolding of life called Brahmand is repeated again and again; and the grand play continually goes on in and through eternity.
The divine philosophy deals with it so beautifully:
How charming is divine philosophy, not harsh and crabbed as dull fools suppose but musical as is Apollo’s lute, and a perpetual feast of nectared sweet.
It is from Brahman that there spring the three great powers – Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva –, creating, sustaining and dissolving all that is of the matter or maya in one form or the other. These three offsprings or powers come into being by his Shakti or Maha Maya called the Mother of Universe, not in the sense of sex as we ordinarily know it to be, but once again we have to take the simile of the spiders’ light filmy substance that comes out not from without but from within the spider’s body or the cocoon or a silky case as is spun by a larva from fine threads of its own making to protect itself as a chrysalis especially as a silkworm; wherewith we in course of time prepare all sorts of silken garments of so many designs and colours to cover our nakedness and take delight to stunt in borrowed clothings.
Nanak, speaking of the working of God’s creation, also refers to the triple principle concerned with creating, sustaining and destroying it – all working according to the will of the Supreme Being, as Vice-regents, only exercising delegated authority; and strange as it may seem, it is not given to them to know Him, since they are but the part of the objective creation and He, the Supreme Being, is subjective and formless:
The Great Mother, conceiving, brought forth three regents; the first creating, the second sustaining, and the last destroying. What He desires, they perform, they work under His will. But great the wonder, though He watches over them, they behold Him not. Hail, hail to Him alone, the Primal, Pure, Eternal, Immortal, and Immutable in all ages!
Jap Ji, Stanza 30
As to the vast and stupendous work connected with the running of the three worlds in the creation, including all sorts of hells and heavens in them, Vishnu, the second counterpart of Brahma, in the great triumvirate or trimurti, wields the power of administration. Once questioned as to how he – Vishnu – could manage such a big show and make elaborate arrangements for the innumerable souls entrusted to his care for providing all sorts of comforts and woes in the supernal and nether worlds in his domain, he just smiled and said:
Oh! I have nothing to do at all, for whosoever comes into any of my worlds, he brings with him his own load of pains and pleasures, thereby creating his own hell or heaven both on the earth-plane and thereafter. Whatsoever each one needs in any of my realms, he arranges the same for himself and I simply look on unconcerned at the human drama, tragic or comic or tragicomic as the case may be, unfolding the infold in himself.
Thus runs the Divine Machinery automatically, all on its own and by itself but all under His will.