THE PARABLE OF THE CHARIOT--ADHYATMA YOGA--YOKING THE SELF WITH THE SUPREME
(Compilation for a Discourse by N.R. Srinivasan, Nashville, TN, December 2017)
The third Valli (creeper or string) of Katha Upanishad declares that Jivaatman and Paramaatman are residing in the same cave of the spiritual heart of the human being. This Valli expounds that conquest over the sense organs is a necessary prerequisite for attainment of Paramaatman. Constructive suggestions are mads for conquering the senses (Indriyas). This Upanishad exhorts humanity to arise, awake (Uttishthata Jaagrata) and learn by approaching superiors. This powerful message is contained in seven mantras in this Valli which is being discussed in detail in this discourse.
Parable of the chariot teaches us to control the senses and the mind, burn all desires, aspire fervently and intensely, kill fear and anger. This will attain Liberation or the Final Beatitude. Let us think of Brahman, meditate on Brahman, be devoted to Brahman, get merged in Brahman and get established in Brahman. This is what Adhyatma Yoga is to which Swami Chinmayananda refers while elaborating on the parable of the chariot in Kathopanishad.
May I draw your attention to my discourse “Gita unmistakably bears the influence of Kathopanishad” This statement is no exaggeration because the editor of Kathopanishad and author of Bhagavad Gita is Vedavyasa only. It looks as though he got all the inspiration from the seven mantras contained Chapter 3, mantras 3 to 9 in Kathopanishad which deal with discussion of an analogy, famous in the Hindu philosophical literature often quoted by religious and spiritual orators—Parable of the Chariot . These mantras describe the Self as the rider, and the body as the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer and the mind as the reins. This analogy of the chariot is dramatically portrayed in Mahabharata Gitopadsesa, Lord Krishna (Parmaatman) holding the reins and Arjuna (Jivatman) listening. We have here also a picture of chariot led by the five surging horses with Lord Krishna as the Supreme Consciousness (intellect) at the driver’s seat. Arjuna (jivatma) the confused and confounded sits in the chariot as its traveler. On both sides of the chariot stand the armies of the Kauravas and the Pandavas drawn up in battle array ready to strike and open their total war. Presenting this as a battle field document Vedavyasa stresses on the importance spiritual education needed by all of us to fight the battle of life. It may not be an exaggeration if I say that the seven mantras described in this discourse inspired Vedavyasa to come up with his compendium of Yogopanishad presented as the Song of the Celestial or Bhagavad Gita, a master-piece in Spiritual education. I am also therefore planning to conclude my discourses with two topics on spiritual education inspired by these mantras.
There is a similar reference to Ratha in Svetasvataropanishad:
Praanaan prapeedyeha sa yuktacheshtah ksheene praane naasikayocchvaseeta |
Dushta-asva-yuktamiva vaahamenam vidvaan mano dhaarayetaapramattah || 2-9 ||
He (the performer) being regulated in his actions should hold his breath and when the vital force becomes weak, should breath out through the nostril of the nose. The person adept in controlling the mind should bring the mind under control, without being inadvertent, even as the chariot yoked to unruly horses by the charioteer.
[Here the way of pranayama is described. Of the eight-fold yoga, “yama” is the abandonment of the prohibited whereas “niyama’ is the practice of what is ordained].
With earnest effort hold the senses in check. Controlling the breath, regulates the vital activities. As a charioteer holds back his restive horses, so does a persevering aspirant holds back his mind.
These mantras if we closely study also throw light on Pravritti marga and Nivritti marga. Pravritti means what to do in life and Nivritti means where to withdraw from. We need (Liberation) which can be achieved by controlling our senses and focusing on Parabrahman. The goal of this journey is mentioned as Place of Vishnu or Parmapadam. It thus clarifies the existence of two souls Jivatman and Paramatman and the means by which the individual may yoke himself to the Supreme and realize his identity with the Eternal (salokatam apnoti-MNU) as explained by the parable of Chariot. Svetasvatara Upanishad also distinguishes the Jivatman from Paramatman very clearly any number of times. The Supreme principle is to be known as dwelling in the Jivatman as his Antaryamin or inner-self. The Jivatman and Parmatman are described as two birds of similar qualities perching on the same tree. Of these one, the Jivatman tastes the sweet pippala fruit or the fruit of Karma whereas the other one, Paramatman is witnessing without eating.
Dwa Suparna Sayuja Sakhaaya Samanam Vriksham Parishaswajate |Tayor anyah pippalam swaadu atti, anashnan anyo abhijchaakashiti (Sv.Up. 4-6)
Two birds of similar qualities which are inseparable from each other are perched on the same tree. Of the two, one tastes the sweet Pippala fruit and the other is witnessing without eating. [Pippalam means the result of Karma. The other one is not subjected to karma but is glorious on account of the fact of His being opposed to all that is defiling. The tree is verily the body. Though both Paramatman and the Jivatman are in the body one is subjected to experience of the result of Karma whereas the other, the Parmatman is not subjected to such experience as He is beyond Karma.]
The same view is expressed in Mundaka Upanishad also.
Dwa Suparna Sayuja Sakhaaya Samanam Vriksham Parishaswajate |Tayor anyah pippalam swadu atti, anashnan anyo abhijakashiti. - Mundaka Upanishad 3.1:1
Samane vrikshe purusho nimagno 'nishaya shocati muhyamanah Jushtam yada pashyati anyam isham asya mahimanam iti vita-shokah - Mundaka Upanishad 3.1:2
Yada pashyah pashyate rukma-varnam kartaram isham purusham brahma-yonim Tada vidvan punya-pape vidhuya niranjanah paramam samyam upaiti - Mundaka Upanishad 3.1:3
Meaning in English:
Two birds living together, each the friend of the other, perch upon the same tree. Of these two, one eats the fruits of the tree, but the other simply looks on without eating.
Although the two birds are on the same tree, the eating bird is fully engrossed with anxiety and moroseness.
If in some way or other he turns his face to his friend who is the Lord, at once the suffering bird becomes free of all anxieties
One who sees the golden colored bird, the Lord, the actor, who is the source of the Supreme Brahman, is liberated.
Such a person becomes wise. He becomes free of both pious and sinful karmic reactions. He becomes pure. He attains a spiritual form like that of the Lord Himself.
--Sadguru Jaggi Vasudev
Summary the seven mantras in Kathopanishad
Know that the Self is the rider (Jivatman), and the body is the chariot; that the Intellect (Paramartman) is the charioteer (driver) and the mind (the organ of perception) the reins. The senses, say the wise, are the horses; the roads they travel are the mazes of desire. The wise call the Self the enjoyer when he is united with the body, the senses and the mind. When a man lacks discrimination and his mind is uncontrolled, his senses are unmanageable, like the restive horses of a charioteer. But when a man has discrimination and his mind is controlled, his senses, like the well-broken horses of a charioteer, lightly obey the rein. He who lacks discrimination, whose mind is unsteady and whose heart is impure, never reaches the goal, but is born again and again. But he who has discrimination, whose mind is steady and whose heart is pure, reaches for charioteer reaches the goal and having reached it is born no more. The man who has a sound understanding for charioteer, a controlled mind for reins—he it is that reaches the end of the journey, the Supreme Abode of Vishnu (Brahman) in his all-pervading aspect (salokataam saaujyam aapnoti)
Seven Mantras In Kathopanishad
Aatmaanam rathinam viddhi sareeram rathameva tu|
Buddhim tu saarathim viddhi manah pragrahameva cha || 3-3 ||
Know the Self as the master of the chariot and know the body as the chariot itself. Know the intellect to be the charioteer and the mind as the reins. [He who presides over the body is the occupant of the chariot.]
Indriyaani hayaanaahuh vishayaan gocharaan |
Aatmendriya-manoyuktam bhoktetyaahur-maneeshinah ||3-4 ||
The wise speak of the senses as the horses and their objects as the paths in which they tread. Hey say that the individual soul associated with the body, senses and the mind (BMS) is the enjoyer (bhokta).
Yastva-vijnaanavaan bhavati ayuktena manasaa sadaa|
Tasyendriyaany-avasyati dusahta-asavam iva saaratheh || 3-5 ||
The sense organs of that person who is ignorant forever with his mind uncontrolled, become uncontrollable just like wild horses for the charioteer.
Yastu vijnaanavaan –bhavati yuktena manasaa sadaa |
Tasayendriyaani vasyaani sadasvaa iva saaratheh || 3-6 ||
But for one, who has gained knowledge of the Aatman and who has his mind always controlled his sense organs become controllable just like the good horses for the charioteer. [The horses of that person who has a good charioteer and reins become obedient to him. In the same way the Indriyas becomes controlled, only in the event of mind and intellect being good].
Yastv-avijnaanavaan bhavati amanskah sadaa asauchih |
Na sa tatpadam-aapnoti saamsaaram chadhigacchati || 3-7 ||
He who is impure with uncontrollable mind and without knowledge, does not attain the abode, but gets involved in samsara.
Yastu vijnaanavaan bhavati samanasakah sadaa suchih |
Sa tu tatpadam aapnoti yasmaat bhooyo na jaayate || 3-8 ||
But the one who I endowed with knowledge, and is ever pure with his mind unde control attains that abode in which he is never more born.
Vijnaana-saarathir-yastu manah pragrahavaan narah |
Sodhvanah paaram-aapnoti tad-vishnoh parmam padam ||3-9 ||
He who has sound intellect as his charioteer and controlled by mind as the bridle, reaches the end of the road which is verily that Supreme abode of Vishnu. [He gains the nature of Paramatman—samaanatvam aapnoti]
Most of the Upanishads seem to declare body is controlled by both Jivatma and Paramatma. It also says Jivatma is an amsa of Paramatma and is subservient to it. Thus Parmatma is the Self of Jivatma or Mahanatma. Kathopanishad as well as Svetasvatara Upanishad say that both Jivatman and Paramatman are seated in the cavity of the heart, where intelligence resides. It is also gratifying to note Kathopanishad while glorifying the path of meditation is not against the life of house-holders. One need not be a Sanyasi (recluse) to gain the insight—a vision of Sathyam or Truth that is Brahman.
Explanation by Swami Chinmayananda
In the analogy of the chariot the Self is the master of the Chariot; the pure discriminating intellect is the charioteer; the body of the individual is the chariot; and the reins with which the intellect guides the movements of the body are the mind.
The senses are the horses. In modern psychology that a child born without any of the sense organs is still born or deaf. Rarely we find a person with more than one defective sense organ. It is also unusual that a blind person has extra power of hearing. Without sense organs our embodiment is defeated. Intelligence creation therefore sees that no child is born with none of the sense organs. Upanishads say that the horses that draw the body-chariot are sense organs. The word Indriyas collectively means not only sense organs but also organs of action. Hence Indriyas means organs of sense s and instincts. Upanishads say sense-horses trot on the sense objects. Sense organs because of which body exists, function only in its own field of activity.
The Supreme intelligence as conditioned by the body and mind is Jiva-ego center. It is this that seems to enjoy and suffer the passing circumstances of the evanescent life called the Samsara. Thus we have to realize the two entities says Sankara--one the Truth principle, the non-doer and the non- enjoyer; the other, the delusion created ego-center Jiva which is but a reflection of the Supreme Intelligence in the mental lake.
An inefficient charioteer allows his reins to be loose and naturally the sturdy wild steeds run wild and mad dashing the chariot to pieces. Thus if we allow indiscriminate intellect to let our minds loose, then Indriyas running wild among the sense objects shall wreck the body in sensuous excessive indulgence. If individual seeker wants to lead a spiritual life of perfection and hasten his evolution he has to keep his mind steady with his discriminating intellect and thus guide the sense horses properly in full restraint and perfect control. Such a Sadhaka (accomplice) controlling the impulses of the mind with a clean discriminating mind is called Yoked One or Yukta and he is complimented in the scholarly circles as Vijnaanavaan. One who is not constantly bringing his discriminative understanding in curbing the impulses of his mind is one who is unyoked (ayukta) and the wise laugh at his animalism and ridicule him as Avijnaanavaan. All kirtanas, and bhajans, japa and tapa, temple visits and feeding lavishly and indiscriminately other calling it Annadanam are waste of time and money if the devotee is not prepared to keep his mind always under control and thus ultimately come to control in slow degrees the mad –on-rush of the sense organs! Men of no self -control not only fail to reach the supreme state of joy and peace but also fall back into the sorrow-pit at the very center of birth and death.
Concluding the analogy of the chariot Kathopanishad says that the individual who has allowed his Indriyas to function under the dictatorial of his Pure Intellect alone can reach the Supreme Destination of Parama Pada, the abode of Vishnu, all sages aspire for. Vishnu here is to be conceived as Vasudeva, the Parmatman of Pancharatra concept and not as one of the Trinities of Purana. It is worth recalling here the concluding mantra from Shoedasa Upachara Puja addressed to Parabrahman. Unless we bring the play of the mind under strict and continuous supervision of an ever-vigilant intellectual discrimination in us, we shall not during our life progress steadily towards life’s goal:
Om tad vishnoh paramam padam sada pashyanti surayo diviva chakshur-atatam |
tad vipraso vipanyavo jagrivamsaha samindhate vishnor yat paramam padam |
"Just as the sun's rays in the sky are extended to the mundane vision, so in the same way the wise and learned devotees always see the supreme abode of Lord Vishnu. Because those highly praiseworthy and spiritually awake Brahmajnaas (those who have the knowledge of Brahman are able to see the spiritual world, they are also able to reveal that supreme abode of Lord Vishnu." (Rig Veda 1.22.20)
Vishnu means the Supreme Person. The Absolute Truth is ultimately a person, a divine entity. His lotus feet are the most negligible part, the lowest part of His transcendental form and they are above all in this world. They are like the sun that passes in the sky. The sun is seeing all and blessing all. Similarly the lotus feet of the Supreme Lord are above all in this world, seeing all and blessing everyone. Before any work is performed, before any activity is taken up, the Vedic way is to remember the lotus feet of Vishnu. We are moving under the watchful eye of the Supreme Lord at all times – we are under His glance, we are under His care, we are under His guardianship. Therefore there is no need for fear.
Fear in the Vedas is called bhaya. In varying degrees everyone is fearful in this world. Because of fear so much suffering is there. But there is no need of fear if we always remember that above everything the Supreme Lord is there, the Supreme controller. His watchful eye, His grace is always upon us. If we remember this then there is no need of fear and one can live life free from anxiety.
How to approach transcendence? That is the main subject of the Vedas. For those who are not ready to accept transcendence, for those who are not ready to accept the guardianship of the Supreme Lord, there are many other departments of knowledge to help in this temporary life. And gradually they may awaken to understand the ultimate value of human life.
Ancient Vedic civilization based itself on the transcendental goal, not on material achievements. Temples were grand and gorgeous whilst people’s homes were very simple. Why did they live like that? We look back on them now and wonder that if they had the ability to build such marvelous wonders in stone, why didn’t they build homes for themselves that would last for hundreds of years? It is because they knew that ultimately this world is not our home. The temple represents transcendence –the abode of the Supreme Lord. That is grand and glorious. That will stand forever. But our life? Thousands upon millions of us we will simply come and go. This world is not our home – we cannot stay here forever. They applied this idea practically and lived very simply. Why do you want to build a home here? You cannot remain here forever. You have to fix your gaze, your consciousness, on the higher world and pass this life in a simple manner. At the end, when our body falls into the dust or is consigned to flames, our eternal consciousness will reach that transcendental world.
The Vedic people lived by the conception that the Supreme Absolute Truth, Vishnu is always above all. In this way they lived happily.
--Narasingha Chaitanya Asram
Scientific Purport of Parable of the Chariot by Karthikeyan Sridharan
“Third Valli of Kathopanishad starts with the parable of Chariot, Adhyatma yoga—Yoking of the individual soul (Jeevaatman) with the Supreme soul (Parmaatman). In verses 3.3 and 3.4, Ātmā is depicted as the lord of a chariot driven by Buddhi (the reasoning faculty), wherein the chariot is the body and the rein is Manas (mind). (Buddhi and Manas are two of the four antaḥkaraṇas – अन्तःकरण – organs of internal organs. The other two Antaḥkaraṇas are Chitta and Ahaṃkāra. The English equivalent of Antaḥkaraṇa is Psyche. The sense organs are the horses of the chariot. Where do they proceed to? They chase their respective objects (object of ears is the sound, that of eyes is the sight and so on). Ātmā, the senses and the Manas together are known as the enjoyer. The idea sought to be presented in 3.3 and 3.4 is the Ātmā-body relationship. It also furthers the concept that Ātmā is seated in the heart. It is the duty of Buddhi to guide the chariot by harnessing the horses of the sense organs, using the rein of Manas. The goal obviously is what the master directs. Since the master, the Ātmā, is the origin of everything, he attracts everything to himself; everything is attached to him just as the beads of a rosary (Gīta 7.7). So the final destination of the chariot is Ātmā himself (vide verse 3.11 mentioned below). It goes without saying, that if the rein or the horse is bad, or if the driver is negligent, the goal will not be attained (Verses 5 to 9).
Sense-objects (such as sound, touch, etc.) are superior to (subtler than) senses; Manas is superior to the sense-objects; Buddhi is superior to Manas; that which is superior to Buddhi is ‘Mahān Ātmā’. It is the expanding state of Ātmā; mahat indicates that which expands. How is this expanding state like? As a prelude to manifestation of the physical world, Ātmā invokes Prakṛti which is its inalienable power to appear in different forms. With the Prakṛti invoked, Ātmā is known as Puruṣa. This Puruṣa- Prakṛti combine is called Brahma and it is the Brahma that expands and differentiates into various names and forms constituting the universe. Before this expansion starts, the state of Brahma is known as Avyakta (undifferentiated). When the differentiation is in process, it is called ‘Mahān Ātmā’.” says Karthikeyan Muralidharan in his “The Science of Kathopanishad.
Significance of Ratha Yaatra
In South Indian temple tradition it is usual to conclude Brahmotsava with Ratha-yatra which is also conducted on a grand scale in Puri -Jagannath though they do not conduct Brahmotsava. What is the significance behind this grand final conclusion?
Our Sastras say that once you realize the deity with devotion on the Ratha as Brahman, you will be liberated from repeated cycles of birth and death and attain Moksha or salvation. Kathopanishad describes the life of a human being as a journey. Any journey has a destination to reach. The destination is the goal of the journey. The aim of life is to reach that goal, and that goal is limitless and full. All the equipment to carry on this trip has been provided to man. Man's chariot is his body; the horses are the sense organs; the reins are the mind; which control the sense organs. The charioteer is in the form of the intellect. With the help of this chariot, everybody is constantly traveling in life reaching different places, attaining different goals worshiping different devatas.
The journey of life is fulfilled only when one reaches that desired goal. So, one must understand the ultimate goal, the desired end of life to be achieved. When the goal is clear and kept in view, the journey will be directed and followed appropriately and the goal can be achieved. The goal of life to be achieved is called Saadhya. The means by which the Saadhya is achieved is called Saadhana (spiritual pursuits). The person trying to reach a desired goal is called Saadhaka. At the beginning, the Saadhaka is a seeker. When the goal is achieved, the seeker becomes Siddha. When the seeker accomplishes the desired end, he or she is no more a seeker. The person becomes Siddha Purusha. This can be achieved only by meditation on the Supreme.
Yatra means journey. Ratha is the jnaani's, body, mind, sense complex (BMS), provided to complete the journey to reach the desired goal in view, that is to reach the desired end. Only then is the journey complete. When the goal is not clear, the journey is misdirected. One will be wandering everywhere without reaching the ultimate goal. Bhagavad Gita says:
Yanti devavrataa devaan pitrun yanti prituvrataha|bhootaani yanti bhootejyyaa yaanti mad-yaajino -api vaa ||
The worshipers of the gods to go to the gods, the worshipers of the manes (pitrus) go to the manes, the worshipers of the spirits go to the spirits, and MY (GOD’s) worshipers come to ME.
“The ideal society is the vehicle of the indwelling Godhead of a human aggregate, the chariot for the journey of Jagannath. Unity, Freedom, Knowledge and Power constitute the four wheels of this chariot....
The day the Self-born unity will come into being by the harmony and integration of knowledge, devotion and work, as impelled by the Will of the Virat Purusha, the Universal Person, on that day the chariot of Jagannath will come out on the avenues of the world, radiating its light in all directions. Satya Yuga, the Age of Truth will descend upon earth; the world of mortal man will become the field for the play of the Divine, the temple-city of God, the metropolis of Ananda”
--Sri Aurobindo in the book "The Chariot of Jagannatha"
1) Swami Chinmayananda, Kathopanishad, central Chinmaya Mission Trust, Mumbai, India.
2) Anantharangacharya N.S., Principal Upanishad, Bengaluru, India.
3) Swami prabhavananda, The Upanishads, New American Library, New York.
4) Swami Visvesvarananda, Bhagavad Gita, Ramakrishna math, Chennai, India.
5) Various Internet Sources
6) Karthikeyan Sridharan, The Science of Kathopanishad, IndsiaDivine.Org
THE CHARIOT OF JAGANNATH
(Sri Aurobindo Writings in Bengali Translated into English)
The ideal society is the vehicle of the indwelling Godhead of a human aggregate, the chariot for the journey of Jagannath. Unity, Freedom, Knowledge and Power constitute the four wheels of this chariot.
The society, created by human intellect or by the play of the impure life-impulses of Nature, belongs to a different order: here it is not the chariot of God who directs the destiny of the collectivity, but a masquerading deity who deforms the divine intuition by covering up the God within; it is rather the vehicle of the collective ego. It wanders aimlessly along the path heaped with numerous pleasures, pulled by the immature and incomplete resolutions of the intellect, and the old and new dull urges of the lower nature. As long as ego is the master, it is not possible to find the goal — even when the goal is seen it is not possible to drive the chariot straight in that direction. The truth that the ego is an obstacle to the divine fullness applies not only to the individual but holds equally good in the case of the collectivity.
Three main divisions of the ordinary human society are noticeable. The first is the well-built chariot, polished, shining, clean and comfortable, fashioned by skilled artisans; drawn by strong well-trained horses, it goes forward cautiously at an easy pace without any haste along a good road. The Sattva ego is its owner-passenger. This chariot goes round the temple of God situated on a high region above it. Unable to go very close to the high ground, it circles it at a distance. If anyone wants to go up, the rule is to get down from the chariot and climb on foot. The ancient Aryan society which came after the Vedic age can be called a chariot of this type.
The second is the motor-car of the luxury-loving efficient worker. It rushes forward restless and tireless, at a break-neck speed, roaring through the storm of dust and shattering the street beneath it. Ears are deafened by the noise of its horn; it relentlessly pursues its way knocking down and crushing anybody that happens to be in its path. Danger to the life of the passengers is great; accidents are frequent; the car is often smashed and repaired with difficulty, yet proudly it continues. There is no fixed goal but whenever a new vista is seen not too far away, immediately the owner of the car, the Rajas ego, drives in that direction shouting, “This is the goal, this is the goal.” One derives much pleasure and enjoyment in riding this car; yet peril is unavoidable, and to reach the Divine impossible. Modern society of the West is a car of this nature.
The third is the dirty, old, dilapidated bullock cart, slow as a tortoise, drawn by emaciated, starving and half-dead bullocks, and going on the narrow country roads; inside the car is sitting a lazy, blind, pot-bellied, decrepit man in shabby clothes; smoking with great pleasure his mud-stained hukkah and listening to the harsh creaking of the cart, he is lost in the profusion of the lazy and distorted memories of bygone days.
The name of the owner is Tamas ego and that of the cart-man book-knowledge. He consults an almanac to fix the time and direction of his departure. His lips repeat the slogan, “All that is or has been is good and any attempt to introduce something new is bad.” By this chariot there is a bright and early prospect of reaching, though not the Divine, at least the Void of Brahman.
The bullock-cart of Tamas ego is safe as long as it rolls on the dusty unpaved village roads. We shudder to think what might happen to it if one day it got on to the broad streets of the world here fleets of rapid automobiles rush about. The danger lies in the fact that it is beyond the knowledge and capacity of the Tamas ego to recognize or admit the time for changing the vehicle. It has no inclination to do so, for, then its business and ownership would be undone. When a difficulty arises, a few among the passengers say: “No, let it alone. It is good because it is ours.” These are orthodox or sentimental patriots. Some say: “Why don't you repair it here and there?” — as if by this simple expedient, the bullock-cart could be immediately transformed into a perfect and priceless limousine. Such patriots are known as reformers. Others say: “Let us have once more our beautiful chariot of yore.” At times, they even try to find ways and means of accomplishing this impossibility. There is no particular indication anywhere to warrant that their hopes would ever be fulfilled.
If we must choose one of these three vehicles, giving up still higher endeavors, then it is logical to construct a new chariot of the Sattva ego. But so long as the chariot of Jagannath is not built, the ideal society will also not take shape. That is the ideal and ultimate image, the manifestation of the highest and profoundest truth. Impelled by the Universal Godhead, the human race is striving to create it, but owing to the ignorance of Prakriti it only succeeds in creating a different image either deformed, crude and ugly or, if tolerably fair, incomplete in spite of its beauty. Instead of creating Shiva, it fashions either a dwarf or a demon or an inferior deity of the intermediate worlds.
Nobody knows the true form or design of the chariot of Jagannath, no artist of life is capable of drawing it. Hidden under many layers, this picture shines in the heart of the Universal Godhead. Manifest it, gradually through the effort of many divine Vibhutis, seers and creators, and establish it in the material world is God's intention. The real name of the chariot of Jagannath is to society but commune. Not a loose human association with diverse tendencies or merely a crowd but an unfettered indivisible organization, the gnostic community created by delight and the unifying power of self-knowledge and divine knowledge.
Society (samāj) is the name given to the organization, that device which allows a human collectivity to work together. By understanding the root of the word, we can also seize its meaning. The suffix sama means united, the root aj signifies to go, to run, to fight. Thousands of people come together for the sake of work and to satisfy their desires. They pursue numerous aims in the same field — who can come first? Who can get to the top? —and because of this there is struggle and competition, quarrel and fighting not only among themselves but with other societies as well. To bring about order into this chaos, obtain help and satisfy mental tendencies, various relations and ideals are established; the result is something temporary, incomplete and achieved with difficulty. This is the image of society, of the lower existence.
The inferior society is based upon division. A partial, uncertain and short-lived unity is constructed upon that division. The structure of the ideal society is entirely the opposite. Unity is the foundation; there is a play of differentiation, for the sake of multiform delight, not for division. In the society we find a hint of physical and mentally conceived unity arising from work; but unity based on the self is the soul of the spiritual commune.
There have been a number of partial and unsuccessful attempts to establish a commune in a limited field, whether inspired by the intellectual ideas of the West or in order to follow unhindered the discipline of inaction leading to Nirvana as among the Buddhists or because of the intensity of spiritual feeling like the early Christian communities. But before long all the effects, imperfections and normal tendencies of society infiltrated into the spiritual commune and brought it down to ordinary society. The idea of a restless intellect cannot endure; it is washed away by the irresistible current of old and new life-impulses. An intensity of emotion cannot bring about success in this endeavor; emotion is worn out by its own impetus. One ought to seek Nirvana all alone; to form a commune for the love of Nirvana is a contradictory action. A spiritual commune is by its very nature a field for the play of work and mutuality.
The day the Self-born unity will come into being by the harmony and integration of knowledge, devotion and work, as impelled by the Will of the Virat Purusha, the Universal Person, on that day the chariot of Jagannath will come out on the avenues of the world, radiating its light in all directions. Satya Yuga, the Age of Truth will descend upon earth; the world of mortal man will become the field for the play of the Divine, the temple-city of God, the metropolis of Ananda.