The outermost coating is called the ‘Annamaya Kosha’ – the sheath derived from food or in other
words the body. This body is important because its functioning is the purpose of life and on its
proper functioning i.e. the karma depends the salvation which means the shedding of the various
sheaths one by one the Purusha and getting liberated attaining its innate pure form and
accomplishing the goal of oneness with the Supreme Being.
The ‘Prakriti’ is basically endowed with three attributes viz. ‘Sattwik’ (the noble one) which,
like clear transparent glass, facilitates clarity of thought and altruism of motive. The next
quality is called ‘Rajasik’ or materialistic which makes a person feel important and inflates his
ego. He looks upon the world as if through coloured glasses, as a field for display of his power
and enjoyment. The third quality is called ‘Tamasic’ or the ignoble one, which is like a dark
glass. It makes a person lazy, ignorant and superstitious. All beings have all the three
attributes though in varying proportions. By appropriate action, one overcomes the tamasic
quality, subdues the rajasik or egoistic tendencies and ultimately concerts himself into
preponderantly sattwik or altruistic. Thus one rises in level and finally shedding even the
ultimate sattwik quality becomes one with the Supreme Divinity.
Just as ‘Prakriti’ is endowed with three qualities, religion also exists on three planes. In the
highest plane, altruism and tolerance predominate and one is nearest to God but even these
persons are engaged in doing good work, not for social or political gain but for the good of the
humanity as a whole. Here a person’s belief is not only monotheistic but supertheistic or ‘Nirgun
Bramha’ as explained later in the book. In the middle level, religion is more rajasik. Pomp,
splendour and rituals predominate and there is more emphasis on the way one prays rather than the
essence and direction of the prayer. In Hinduism this is also manifested as polytheism though the
physical deities represent the power of the only one Supreme Divinity by whose grace alone a
person can reach the only sublime God. To emphasize this, prayers to all of them are preceded by
chanting ‘AUM’ – the spiritual essence of the ‘Supreme Divinity’, At the lowest level religion
degenerates into fundamentalism, hatred for followers of other faiths, conflict and violence.
Those indulging in it keep on falling to lower and still more lower levels in the continuous
cycle of birth and death.
It becomes evident that the functioning of the actions or Karma should be such that one keeps an
attaining the higher levels of existence spiritually, The question may arise – what is the
appropriate action? The answer is – action which commensurates with one’s capability, training,
station in life and is in accordance with one’s scriptural teachings from the highest level to
the lowest (which we may call the course of behaviour that society has prescribed as law).
The Bhagvadgita prescribes four different ways which are complementary to one another for ascent
to various planets of progress to God-head i.e. divinity. First comes the ‘Karma’ which can be
enriched by ‘Gyan’ or knowledge, by dialectical discourse, deep meditation on the divinity which
is the true self of everybody and by devotional practices. Karma is the backbone of all
behaviour, not only for those who are trying to ascend but also because one cannot remain without
action (such is our nature). Even when one has attained the highest level, he goes on performing
karma as an example for others, though at that stage he is beyond all karma.
The present treatise is an attempt to highlight all these facets and begins with a summary
discourse of the most ancient Hindu texts as available today and tries to draw lessons from it
about the nature of God-head, the essence of Hindu worship, prayers and sacred symbols and on sin
and salvation. Special chapters have been devoted to the essence of karma and attempts have been
made salvation and how karma a long with gyan attain salvation and how karma a long with gyan
i.e. knowledge leads one to higher and higher spiritual levels. Some of the author’s thoughts
have been expressed in prose and some in verse.
References have been made to the original sources of material, wherever applicable but chiefly,
these have been the Rig Veda, the Upanishads and above all the Bhagvadgita. The objective of this
book is to give the reader an insight into the basic philosophies of Hinduism by examining some
of the beliefs in the light of modern knowledge.
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