Sunday, 9 February 2014

Prakriti: What is "the truth"?

Please welcome guest writer* Rishi Raj Manglesh, a Senior IT Consultant in the Nordic region. He has a keen interest in Indian studies and is happy to give his perspective on almost everything if it helps... Today he shares his views about the concept of 'satya' often translated into English as 'truth'. But is it as unidimensional as that? Read on to find out. A bit of thinker Rishi Raj enjoy tackling serious questions, so please connect with him for via his twitter handle @rmanglesh

When we try to understand Truth or "Satya", derived from the Sanskrit word Sat, it means that which always exists, unchangeable and consistent. What would it actually mean?

It would mean that truth is the same for me, you and everyone else. Moreover it would also be the same in the past, present and future as well. It is static and also called as Absolute or Eternal truth which doesn't change with time.

But due to limitation of expression and inability to know all at once, we might require a different versions of truth which suits to our context to understand the absolute truth. Such a dynamic narrative which evolves with our spiritual development may be/could be or can be different to me, you or anybody else. Such a truth which is not static but expresses absolute truth can be called Relative truth which changes with time.


Why truth is so essential to know?

Because it is part of our existence. Our physical being along with the narrative of relative and absolute truth put together is our existence actually. "Our being" is not just physical manifestation but also an attribute of several qualities due to our life situation and original nature - known as Prakrti.

Relative truth is the illusion (maya) which is rajasic in nature. The absolute truth is playground of existence which is sattvik in nature whereas physical being is a manifestation of tamasic energy.

We can hopefully go further into the details of gunas in future but perhaps it is enough to understand now that our existence has three main pillars: ourself, illusion which exists temporarily and absolute truth or very fine balance between our self and real nature.


How does relative truth manifest itself in our life?

The relative truth is rajasic thus creative and related to the creator thus our self.

Therefore my illusions are just mine. My perception of self, others, family, society and future goals, ambitions makes my world and my world is always different then someone else world.

To realize the illusion or our own world, the GOAL of life is education. Education will give individual enough skills, abilities and knowledge to achieve our world.


How absolute truth manifests in our life?

This is sattvik and always perfectly balanced thus providing stability to continue our existence. It is a link of our prakrti to eternal prakrti. This is not about an individual world but a shared world. To live in shared world, the GOAL of life is dharma so that we strike fine balance with ourselves and others who makes up the real world.

Thus, education can vary in how it drives the individual, but dharma is a common code which everyone should follow to have a balance in life with others. The rise of adharma would simply mean indifferent conduct to other and would create imbalances thus threatening the very of self, or the object of existence.


Why is Dharma goal of our life along with Artha, Kama & Moksha?

It is natural to chase our world and one will most likely follow an efficient and effective mean to individual achievement and survival. But it is not easy to realize that too much individualism can create disharmony in the society and nature. Thus, dharma has to be goal of life to live and let others live and strike a balance with nature.

To add further, the dharma should be based on absolute truth. We could ignore and let all such traditions and beliefs go which are specific to certain time and social realities.

* I may or may not agree with the views of guest writers, but I respect their right to be heard.


Nithin.S said...

Firstly I would congratulate the author. This is a well articulated blog written in a simple but lucid manner.Kudos to you.

I have just few points to make.

1. Absolute Truth or Satyam as mentioned in the upanishads are not part of our existence, it is our existence. Brahman/Atman is described as Satyam, Jnanam and Anantham. Here the 3 words are not qualities or descriptions of 3 attributes. They are simple three words that point out true Nature of Brahman as distinct from the world. Example- The world is Mithya or temporary and hence Brahman is Satya that is true always and is birthless. World is full of duality of (relative) knowledge and ignorance, of sentient and insentient. Distinct from this is Brahman who is Jnana,the Knowledge/Consciousness itself beyond duality of subject-object. Similarly, Anantham or Infinity. Hence, "Sat" or "Satya" is not a part of our existence, but is the Existence itself.

2. In your points about manifestation of Absolute and Relative Truth, you say that relative truth manifests as individual illusions and Absolute Truth manifests as the shared world. I am not sure I understand you properly. But, the question of God, Individual and the world and their mutual relationship can be dealt from 3 standpoints.

From the standpoint of Objective Universe, God is the Creator of both Individual and the World. And hence, it is God/Brahman who is the substratum of Jiva and Jagat both. Hence, it is Brahman/God alone who manifests as both Jiva and Jagat.

From stand point of Subjective Experience (of a Mumukshu), an Individual or Jiva is the subject and everything else including the world, the people etc are only objects that are projected from his mind. Hence, Jiva alone exist. This Jiva mistaking himself to be a body, differentiates between himself and others. But, the body, mind, the world, other people everything is just an object. Atman, the True InnerMost Self is the only Subject, the substratum. Hence, This Atman which manifests the Jiva and Jagat both.

From Absolute Standpoint i.e. standpoint of Atman/Brahman, it alone exist. There is no creation hence no destruction either. What appears as world and duality is merely an appearance, a mirage which is in Truth Atman alone.

Hence, a person first understand the Reality/Truth from Objective standpoint called as Paroksha Jnana/Indirect Knowledge. Then, he experiences/realizes the Reality from Subjective standpoint that his Atman alone is Truth/Existence. This Realization is Aparoksha Jnana/Direct Realization. And when one attains Aparoksha Jnana, one becomes free-Jivanmukta and perceives Absolute Reality alone.

3. You are right about Dharma. It is the very basis of our existence.

Once again, I congratulate you. I enjoyed your blog.

Nithin S

Unknown said...

Thanks a lot for kind words and I also enjoyed your detailed comment.

Although, I also agree with your version but there are subtle variations here.

Since, my main theme is prakriti not purush (spirit) thus I started with concept of duality at first instance. Thus, I totally understand both of your points. But I would request you to take this assumption into consideration and rethink to see if difference still stand.

Our existence (with qualities) change with time where as absolute truth is static thus it has to be more than that.

If you read above, I have come around same conclusion "Because it is part of our existence. ,Our physical being along with the narrative of relative and absolute truth put together is our existence actually. "

Nithin.S said...

Yes I agree that Absolute is anejat-without movement, and the world is always changing. And hence, it conceived that for Brahman or Purusha to become active, it does so through his power of Maya like a appearance or mirage, what is called as Prakriti.

I feel, if you had used the certain terms used in the tradition and explained in some detail it would have made your points more clear.