To celebrate himself is the credo of man today, his article of faith as it were. He would not submit to Mother Nature, he would rather make her and her creation obey him, creation the inert no Iess than creation the living. This creature of the Universe would be its Sole Master, if not its Maker.
Humanity in the pre-scientific age would master Nature with its prayers and good karmas, its good actions. Humanity of today would master the Universe with its knowledge and power. The two dispositions arc the same in respect of being ego-centric, rather man-centric. They forget that Man is not a mere adhyatmika (human) being, he is also an (cosmic) and all adhidaivika (divine) being, the latter two being the constitutive others of the former as the former is of the latter two. And, what is more, there is also an urge in him to transcend these cosmotheandric dimensions of his being. As man's being is cosmotheandric, so is his pain, his suffering and his tragedy. That tragedy will not end unless and until this cosmotheandric being comes to its end, unless and until this seeming beauty, this freedom and this ecstasy comes to be extinct, this is our fall the ultimate. As for our obsession with humanism, it will bring us only ruin and destruction. The Subject of this biography ( 1903-1954) gave this prophetic message long ago. Are we ill a position to pay heed to his call or have we, in our arrogance, already lost the opportune moment? Has our beastly oblivion already decided our fate?
A direct disciple of the Master, Som Raj Gupta (Retd. Associate Professor of English, Kirori Mal College, Delhi University) is the author of 'Flip Word Speaks to the Faustian Man, a modern contemplation on the Prasthanatrayi. Five volumes comprising the Upanishadic part of the series have already been published. His other publications include the radiant sameness: Satpurusa Mangatramji’s samtavilasa; and Mere Gurudeva: jivanacarita Satpurusa Sri Mangatramji Maharaj.
The subject of this narrative was a puzzle for the writer, a mystery hard to face, even to bear. He was also a man the ordinary, even, for the sophisticated, less than ordinary - a man born at a village remote from civilization, hard to connect and get to. No means of transport, no rail lines, no newspapers or other means of communications were available there. And, of course, no medical treatment. Poverty abject and dismal, superstitions adamant and stubborn, land barren and unproductive, diseases frequent and fatal sum up the conditioning factors that were to fashion the course and the style of life of one born in that, for very many, scary and chilling atmosphere.
And yet a man was born there that, despite being conditioned by these disabling factors, transcended all these, transcended them at his birth itself. An extraordinary man he was, more than extraordinary, a being superhuman in almost the literal sense of the term. And there was also the Word speaking unto the world, inert and living, through him, the Word that redeems our speech, our human speech, through descending into it. Our speech is a frustration as much as our desire is: it cannot find its being unless and until it turns into the Word, at once the knowledge and the being of the Real, as much as our desire cannot get appeased unless and until it attains to the Being that it ever seeks but never finds. In the Word are appeased both - our desire and our thirst for knowledge.
But the Word comes to be our being and knowledge only in relation to us; it is we who give it the status of the Real and the Bliss. It is conditioned by us, by our teleological passion, by our desire for Being. That passion does not let us pause and consider, pass and consider why we were banished from our Being and Bliss. In other words, why our Word, our Word, fell into words and our Being into beings. The fall of our God into Creation, Creation ever miserable and sinful, ever disinherited and dispossessed, no Revelation can explain, no Testament and no Message and no Prophet. Revelations discard themselves, the Word turns mute and silent when they find themselves confronted by the question of the fall of God. So the man on the Path finds himself deprived of the Path because the End of his pilgrimage he finds to be ever dying into Creation from which he would escape and flee. With Speech the Revelatory discarding itself, the Man of Revelation has to die with his God into the misery and the pain and sinfulness of Creation. Therein, he finds, lies the glory of God, in His sacrifice into Creation and his own, this pilgrim's, redemption, in sharing in that glory, that sacrificial glory. For, we have lost our paradise not to regain it but to find in our loss the gain and in our Sin the Original our Redemption the Final, in our mortality our immortality. That is what the story of my preceptor's life revealed unto him, revealed unto him not easily but through severe and unbelievable tapas, through constant self-burning and self-extinction. We mortals have to pass through many a purgatorial test before we can hope to realize the glory of our fall. We are to see with an equal eye both our fall and redemption, our bondage and liberation. This is what the life of my preceptor teaches us, this is its message, its final testament, the testament of samatuam or samata, of sameness.
There have been thinkers and reformers, visionaries and statesmen, even some seers and mystics that have dreamed of a Geist or a Spirit shaping beings into selves, into genuine gnostic beings and the inert into the living and individuals into constituents of the Absolute. They have also dreamed of ideal societies as creative wholes moving towards Being, Being the Absolute. Before Creation every being remains, for these gifted souls, a mere unmanifest potentiality for a fully evolved being and every society, the unman fest constitutive other of every potential being, a mere potentiality for a genuinely evolved society, in which latter a part lives for the whole and the whole for the part. But all this talk has been a talk about Utopias, more than Utopias, dangerously more than Utopias; for led has this talk to destructive wars and endless oppressions. The first half of the twentieth century saw the devastatingly barbaric effects of these idealistic dreams in the shape of Hitlerism and Stalinism.
Since the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, there has also been a constant attempt to accept the 'given' individual as an end in himself, sleeping over the transcendental urge in him. Instead of his seeking God as his end, he has anointed himself as God, his desires and passions attaining to the status of norms: ethical, epistemological and ontological. Today the world is fast asleep to the destructive dimensions of this its fidelity, even fealty, to this blind, pernicious and annihilate self-obsession. The teachings of my Master give a stern warning against this suicidal passion that would make one asleep to the real self, the self that is the unknowing witness of our cognitions, of our thoughts, of our knowledge, of our theories and practices, of our discourses, passions and desires. Today, we may be conscious of barbarism implied in the idealistic dreams of a Hegel or a Heidegger but we are blissfully unaware of the latent barbarism of our liberal dispositions, with their thoughtless commitment to knowledge and power and consumer culture. We also in our arrogance have confused, like the aforesaid thinkers, our discourses with reality, all forgetful of the gap that falls between the Real and our knowledge of it. To wake up people from this arrogance, from this ignorance, Gurudeva, my Master the Revered, made a long and strenuous effort, effort that drained out all his physical energy. However, his message was not for the sophisticated elite but for the simple and unsophisticated. For, unlike the elite they were yet to be burdened with the potential decadence of modernity, decadence that was to show its destructive bankruptcy, ethical and spiritual, soon, rather too soon. From village to village he went, from towns to towns, amidst the beasts of prey he did his tapas, his ardent absorption in atman, in self the true, to make people aware of the internal way to the Real as against the external ways fabricated by modernity since the days of Enlightenment.
And yet he had to, as reading of this work will show, give up even this urge in him, urge that would save contemporary world from the doom that awaits its gnostic oblivion. Men of sight and wisdom almost always fail to save people from the doom that awaits them; they strive for that purpose only to get disillusioned in the long run. But prakrti, Nature, has its own way to deal with our illusions and deviations.
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