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Now according to the devotional scriptures (Bhakti-Shástras), the first stage of this aesthetic science (Nandan Vijiṋán) is called, Rágánugá Bhakti. People may ask, when was this aesthetic science, knowingly or unknowingly, established in ancient times? Is the Bhakti Shástra as old as the cult of devotion (Bhakti Yoga)? The answer is “Yes, certainly”. Some people say, the cult of devotion is recent. They are not right. The word Bhakti is used in the Vedas also. “Yasya Devá pará Bhaktih Yathá Deve Tathá Gurao” is, only those who have devotion (Bhakti) in Guru and Deva, can attain the goal. Thus the word Bhakti is used. So the, word Bhakti is not recent. Some people say that the Sufism of Persia (pháras) took the form of Bhakti in India. It is not correct. Bhakti Shástra, i.e., Sufism was in India, it was also in Persia, it was everywhere in the world. Where there is human heart there is Bhakti, there was Bhakti and there will be Bhakti. Bhakti is fully established in Tantra and Yoga.“…

…”How can you surrender the Self without Bhakti or devotion? Therefore from the ancient times aesthetic science existed in human mind and there was the cult of devotion. While one remains in aesthetic science, one does not get entry into the supra-aesthetic science. One feels, “I am serving Parama Puruśa, I like Him, because I get pleasure in serving Him, by taking His ideation I get joy.” If you ask artists or architects as to why they are busy with their art, they will say, “we get pleasure from it.” This is aesthetic science. A poet composes a poem, because he or she gets pleasure.“…

…”In mentioning the subject of discourse, I said Bhakti Yoga. In English I said “cult”, because there is no word for “yoga” in English, so I said “cult”, but actually devotion ( Bhakti) is not a “cult.” Devotion is the terminating point, devotion is the desideratum, devotion is not a path Some people say, “Our path is the path of spiritual practice (sádhaná)”. Devotion is the goal. When devotion is established, everything is established, there remains nothing. To get established in devotion you do something, you do something else. Hence, devotion is not the path, devotion is the goal. Devotion and Paramátmá go together. Therefore the seat of Paramátmá is in the hearts of those who are established in devotion, who are devotees. When you are established in devotion, you get Paramátmá too. Then you will experience yourselves that Paramátmá is seated in your heart, you will not have to go elsewhere in search of Him.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 4 November 1979 DMS, Ahmedabad, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 19, The Supreme Aesthetic Science and the Cult of Devotion

As the sphere of knowledge increases, many secrets of the world do not remain secret. Yoga is such a secret. It is a cult, and by dint of practising this cult one comes in contact with the causal factors of many secrets. About seven thousand years ago a great yogi, Sadáshiva, systematized different branches of yoga. His spouse, Párvatii, was also a yoginii; and for the welfare of the entire human society Lord Shiva and Párvatii tried their best to create a practical cult. The questions placed before Shiva by Párvatii and the answers given by Shiva to Párvatii collectively form the shástras [scriptures].” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 21 September 1979 morning, Kingston, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 14, Subjective Approach through Objective Adjustment

So we see that as a practical matter there is no difference between yoga and Tantra. Yoga is a practical cult; Tantra is also a practical cult. There may be a slight difference in language, but there is no difference in practice.“…

…”Now we see that in the proper spirit of the terms there is no difference between yoga and Tantra, and that both yoga and Tantra strengthen the aspect of devotion in the human heart. The cult of yoga and Tantra strengthens and nourishes the devotional aspect in a spiritual aspirant. This cult has been called in the scriptures puśt́hi márga, because the practice of this cult nourishes [puśt́hi means “nourishment”] the latent devotional faculty within spiritual aspirants. The highest stage of this puśt́hi márga is rágátmiká bhakti, and Parama Puruśa is attainable by this rágátmiká bhakti. He is not attainable by the vanity of jiṋána or the restlessness of karma.(5) He is attainable by devotion; there is no other way to attain him.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 17 November 1979 DMC, Etah, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 14, Yoga, Tantra, and Kevalá Bhakti

The subject of today’s discourse is “Cult, Inference and Propensity.” The path that leads or goads the aspirant unto Parama Puruśa is “cult” in the true spirit of the term. Where the goal is something finite, where the pabulum is something limited, the path and the movement cannot be treated as cult.

Spiritual practice is based on cult: adherence to the doctrine of cult is started and practised in the primordial phase by the doer “I” of all living beings. The doer “I” keeps on thinking, “I am working, I am eating, I am seeing, I do not know anything, I know so many things.”

In living beings other than humans, the doer “I” is not properly expressed, and that is why they cannot establish their individual identity or do spiritual practice. In certain animals like dogs and monkeys, the doer “I” is a bit more expressed or developed than in other creatures. That is why in the future they may also be in a position to do this practice.

You should also remember that this doer “I” performs spiritual practice with the help of vital energy, not with the help of positive or negative microvita. In fact, the vital energy accelerates the speed of spiritual progress. Microvita, positive or negative, help the aspirant in his or her movement, but the aspirant cannot utilize the microvita.

When the doer “I” of the aspirant is goaded towards the Supreme Entity, it uses the vital energy acquired through different quinquelemental factors, passing through different planes of inferences, and through different propensities of the human mind, without suppressing those propensities of the mind. The question of suppression, repression and oppression does not arise in the realm of spiritual cult. You are simply to maintain equilibrium and equipoise – that is, you are to move maintaining proper parallelism with the fundamental propensities of the human mind. So spiritual practice is performed by the doer “I” with the help of energy, of so many energies which are converted into vital energy when they pass through the different planes of inferences.

It is not proper to think that this movement, this spiritual advancement, is something purely of individual character. No entity in this universe exists individually. Ours is a universal family. Each and every entity – living and non-living, moving and non-moving – helps others in maintaining not only their equilibrium, but also the equipoise of the entire universe, not only of this small planet Earth. We are to move together with all.

Even if an ant dies a premature death, it is bound to jeopardize the balance of the entire universe. Even if a 110 year old widow thinks that her life has no existential value on this planet, that she is a mere burden to society, it is a defective idea. No – even the life of such an old widow contributes to maintaining the balance of the universe. If such an old person dies prematurely, it is bound to jeopardize the balance of the universal society.

If people think that they will make steady progress in the spiritual sphere even if the society goes to the dogs, they are mistaken. You who are genuine spiritualists should practise spiritual cult thinking that by doing so you will become effective in maintaining the universal balance. You must think, “I will personally move towards the supreme desideratum, and at the same time I will try to assist those who are suffering from despair, those steeped in blind superstition and those wallowing in poverty.” Our family is universal, our abode is also universal.

Hararme pitá gaorii mátá
Svadesha bhuvanatrayam.

“The Universal Father, Shiva, is our Father. The Universal Mother, Gaorii, is our Mother. She is the causal matrix. And this universe is our homeland.”

This spiritual cult is the only cult; others are not cult, they are mere dogma. If the cult is proper – if it is cult in the true spirit of the term – it creates a sort of subtlety in one’s mental flow. Under such circumstances, we receive necessary help from positive microvita. This help that we receive by dint of our spiritual practices is composed of eight occult powers. These powers are known as “occult” because they are acquired through cult. But while acquiring these occult or so-called “miraculous” powers, we cannot do anything without the help of positive microvita. These occult powers are ańimá, laghimá, mahimá, iishitva, vashvitva, prakámya, prápti and antaryámitva. The entity who is endowed with all of them is known as “Iishvara”.“…

…”While practising spiritual cult, it should be remembered that spiritual aspirants must not practise in order to acquire these occult powers. The goal of spiritual practice is to realize the Supreme Entity. To search for any other thing is wrong. Occult powers are just like the dust on the roadside. The attraction for Parama Puruśa is the most valuable object – all else is only the dust of the earth.

Hence the spiritual aspirant must not run after these inconsequential occult powers, although while prasticing spiritual cult they may develop. You must not forget that all your achievements must maintain adjustment with the main propensities of the mind, and in the process of adjustment, all these eight types of occult powers present themselves to the spiritual aspirant.

Sádhaná starts in the plane of physicality and moves towards the physico-psychic plane. This first phase of sádhaná is performed by the “doer I”. Then from the physico-psychic plane to the pure psychic plane, and from the pure psychic plane to the psycho-spiritual plane – this portion of sádhaná is done by the “knower I”.

In the final stage of sádhaná, the pure spiritual phase, none of these can help the spiritual aspirant; even positive and negative microvita cannot function above the psycho-spiritual level, beyond the pituitary gland. No vibration is of any help. In such circumstances, finally you will have to depend on the grace of the supreme and nothing else. One is obliged to declare, Brahmakrpáhi kevalam, that is, the grace of Parama Puruśa is everything.

Everything in this universe is created, everything survives and everything ultimately dissolves in and through Him. Regarding this Supreme Entity, the scriptures say,

Yato vishvaḿ samudhútaḿ
Yena játaiṋca tiśthati;
Yasmin sarváni liiyanta
Jineyam tadbrama lakśanach.

“Out of the grace of the supreme, the universe has emerged; due to His grace, the universe preserves its existence; and because of His grace, everything will finally dissolve in Him.”

So the final word in the realm of spirituality is the supreme grace of Parama Puruśa. Intelligent people will understand this supreme truth and move accordingly. It is true not only in the physical level, nor in the physico-psychic level, nor in the psychic, nor in the psycho-spiritual level, but in all levels.

Finally, whatever you say or think, everything is finally embedded in the grace of Parama Puruśa. The sooner this fundamental truth is realized, the better it will be for all.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 4 June 1989 DMC, Anandanagar, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 18, Cult, Inference and Propensity

You know, spiritualism and spirituality are not the same thing. “Spiritualism” means something which concerns ghosts, and “spirituality” is something which concerns the Supreme Cognitive Principle. So there is a heaven-and-hell difference between the terms “spiritualism” and “spirituality”. We are concerned with spirituality.

Now, for all actions, be they intellectual, intuitional, or purely psychic, there must be a base, a standing point, a starting-point. And there must also be a goal – a Supreme Desideratum. For this cult of spirituality, the base is morality; without morality nothing can be done. And morality concerns two types of waves: one, psycho-physical emanations; and another, physico-psychic waves, physico-psychic movement. In the case of psycho-physical emanations, one should have proper control, proper regulation, over those emanative flows. And in the case of physico-psychic movement, one should maintain a proper adjustment between the external world and the internal world, between external physicality and the internal subjective world. The goal is the attainment of that supreme stance where there will be justice and fair play for all inanimate and animate beings.

Práńáh yathátmano’bhiiśt́áh bhútánám api te tathá;
Atmaopamyena bhútánám dayáḿ kurvanti sádhavah.

[Just as my life is dear to me, similarly the life of another creature is dear to it. Every entity loves its own existence. In the light of this truth, evolved human beings feel mercy for each and every object of this creation.]

You should remember this. This sort of remembrance is called sádhu dharma or Bhágavata dharma, and the person who practises this cult is a true sádhu [renunciant]. So there must not be any gap between your thinking and your actions. If there is any gap, that gap should be minimized step by step, and finally thought and action should coincide. So on your plane of morality, there are two divisions: psycho-physical emanation and physico-psychic movement. In Sanskrit, this psycho-physical emanation is called Yama and physico-psychic movement is called Niyama.

Preaching disparity amongst human beings, or disparity amongst living beings – human beings, animals, birds, plants, etc. – is not morality. The supreme equality, the supreme spiritual stance, cannot be achieved where there is any thought of disparity. So at the very start one must practise these two types of morality and become one with them.

Now morality is the base and the supreme stance is the goal. Morality propels the microcosms towards Him without break or pause. Since Parama Puruśa [Supreme Consciousness] is attracting all entities towards Himself, in Sanskrit He is called “Krśńa”. (One of the meanings of the word krśńa is “one who attracts”. Another meaning is “the entity on whom the existence of other entities depends”.)

Thus, on the one hand, Parama Puruśa is attracting the spiritual aspirants to move ahead; and on the other hand, the spiritual aspirants, by dint of their own efforts, their own moral force, are also moving towards Him. Because of these sources of impetus, human beings arrive at their destination. If some people feel that Parama Puruśa is not sympathetic or gracious towards them, that He is not attracting them, in that case I will advise them to become more established in morality, and then they will instantly feel the grace of Parama Puruśa, because it is through their own moral force that they will move forward. Parama Puruśa does His duty of attracting them, and they have their own duty to move towards the goal. Let the sádhakas [spiritual aspirants] do their duty, and let Parama Puruśa do His.

Then, the physical body should be sanctified by good thoughts, good actions and good food as well, and also by various physical practices that affect the nerve fibres of the body; because through the nerve fibres, through the afferent and efferent nerves, the first phase of realization comes. The highest realization does not depend upon the nerve cells and nerve fibres, but for this also good food and self-restraint are necessary.

It is not proper for one to eat whatever one gets. You should eat only that sort of food which will have a beneficial influence on your body, mind and spirit. It is not proper for human beings to eat simply whatever is available, nor is it proper for animals either. Animals do indeed discriminate between food items. In this regard, Lord Shiva said:

Phaliśyatiiti vishvásah siddherprathama lakśańam;
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktaḿ trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.
Caturtho samatábhávo paiṋcamendriyanigrahah;
Śaśt́haiṋca pramitáháro saptamaḿ naeva vidyate.(1)

[There are seven requirements for success in any mission. The first is firm determination: “I must succeed.” The second is reverence. The third is guru pújá, or constant remembrance of one’s spiritual master. The fourth is equanimity of mind. The fifth is control of the senses. The sixth is a balanced diet. The seventh – There is no seventh requirement.]

This sanctification and purification of the body through proper food and proper behaviour and various practices should be complemented by certain other practices to create a perfect adjustment in the body amongst the glands, sub-glands and their hormonal secretions. The propensities of living structures are both directly and indirectly controlled by the secretions of hormones from different glands and sub-glands located near different plexi of the corporal structure.

Now everywhere, in cent per cent of the cases, there is wastage of human psychic potentiality. The psychic potentialities of human beings are immense, but people do not utilize them because most of their valuable time is wasted in undesirable thoughts, in psychic extravaganza. Suppose human life is an average of sixty years. Twenty years of that is spent in sleep, and the remaining forty years are wasted in petty or useless activities. How much time do people really get to devote to worthwhile tasks?

This psychic extravaganza should be checked either by physical approach, or psychic approach, or by spirituo-psychic approach. People should have some control over their breathing, over their respiratory system, because the waves of respiration control the waves of thinking. Whenever you are doing something crude, your respiration becomes very active; and when you are thinking of something subtle, it becomes slow, extremely slow. And finally, when this respiration coincides, or becomes one, with one’s thought-waves, that stage is known as hat́ha yoga samádhi. That is, the physical exertions, the physical emanations, become one with the psychic emanations. So some degree of control over respiration is essential.

I have already said that the scope of rationality and rationalization should be increased more and more, and for this, unnecessary waves should be removed from the plane of physicality. From the psychic sphere also, unnecessary waves are to be removed. This will remove many burdens from the mind. “I must not bother about petty things, because that will waste my time” – people should remember this. This removal or rather withdrawal of unnecessary and undesirable thoughts emanated from the mind will help you in rationalizing the major portion of your mental faculty, so this must also be practised. The cult of spirituality is a cult of pinnacled order.

Now, one’s mental flow is concerned with both ideation and meditation. So far as ideation is concerned, it is connected with the healthy condition and proper functioning of the glands and sub-glands. And we should also remember that ideation will not have any base to stand upon without a clear-cut idea. So idea must also be there.

Kánháse haḿsá áilá
Kánhámán samáilá ho rámá
Kánhámán gad́h banáil haḿsá
Kánhá mán lapt́áil ho rámá
Saguń se haḿsá áilá
Nirguń mán samáil ho rámá
Káyá gad́h banáil haḿsá
Máyá man lapt́áil ho rámá.

[Whence did the swan (a symbol of unit consciousness) come? Where did it go? Where did it build its abode? What did it associate itself with? It came from the Qualified Supreme Entity, and then it merged in the Unqualified Supreme Entity. The swan made its own body its abode and associated itself with the Cosmic Creative Principle.]

Spiritual aspirants should always remember this idea.

What should human beings do in deep ideation? They should maintain the adjustment of their glands and sub-glands. And at the same time, they should not ask for any occult power, but they should take the ideation of the Supreme. Inspired by that ideation, they should meditate on Parama Puruśa. I will say something more regarding ideation afterwards.

Now, there is another apexed or pinnacled order of the mind, that is, meditation. Meditation means concentrated thinking, associated with several subtler and important cells of the human brain. Each and every nerve cell has got its own controlling point, and for all nerve cells there is a supreme controlling point. This supreme controlling point is called in Sanskrit Guru cakra, the plexus of the Guru. All the glands are controlled by this supreme controlling point. So one’s meditation must be properly connected with this Guru cakra, the plexus of the Guru. Shiva also says:

Phaliśyatiiti vishvásah siddherprathama lakśańam;
Dvitiiyaḿ shraddhayá yuktaḿ trtiiyaḿ gurupújanam.

[There are seven requirements for success in any mission. The first is firm determination: “I must succeed.” The second is reverence. The third is guru pújá, or constant remembrance of one’s spiritual master.]

In Sanskrit, gu means “darkness” and ru means “dispeller”. So guru means “one who removes the darkness from the mind”. The darkness of the mind must be dispelled. There should not be a festival of lights outside while one’s own house remains in darkness. There should also be illumination inside one’s own house, and this is the enlightenment of the mind, of the soul.

In the Vedic language the word guru is derived from the root gur plus the suffix un. The root gur means “to train others how to speak, how to behave in a dignified manner”. The guru teaches us to follow a methodical way of life. To love is not the only work of the guru. One who only loves you is your enemy, and one who only punishes you is also your enemy. But the one who both loves and punishes in a balanced way is the real guru.

Now, meditation must be done in a methodical way, and this concerns several nerve centres and also the collective centre of the nerve cells situated in the brain. This pinnacled order of spirituality, its pinnacled point, its apexed point, is the supreme stance. For this human beings have been making constant endeavours since time immemorial, and this effort has made them move ahead, bringing them to their present status.

Previously I said that ideation must be associated with bliss. And as you all know, ideas are mainly of three types: (1) intellectual-cum-intuitional; (2) actional; and (3) devotional-cum-emotional.

Regarding intellect and intuition it is said, Ekaḿ jiṋánam anantaḿ Brahma [“Brahma is infinite intellect personified”]. Therefore, spiritual aspirants have to attain Him through knowledge; this is what the adherents of the path of knowledge maintain. There is an infinite flow of knowledge and intuition, they say, and there is no second entity. Whenever duality comes, it is only due to our ignorance, to our lack of true knowledge.

But you should remember that in most cases human intellect and intuition are wasted in extravaganza, in useless pursuits; they are not at all utilized for constructive or worthwhile endeavours. And human intuitional power is also wasted in trying to exhibit occult powers. Such persons never get the opportunity to move towards Parama Puruśa.

Regarding action it is said, Karma Brahmeti karma bahu kurviita [“Work is Brahma, therefore work more and more”].

Everything in this universe justifies its existence by this sort of relentless mobility. This world is called jagat; the word jagat is derived from the root verb gam plus the suffix kvip, and means “a mobile entity”. It is also called saḿsára, which is derived sam – sr + ghaiṋ: that is, “the entity which constantly keeps moving”. So the karma yogiis say that everything in this universe is immersed in action, in mobility. Nothing is stationary, nothing remains fixed. So move on with your actional faculty. The karma yogiis, the followers of the path of action, say that action is everything – we achieve everything through action.

Some people think, “I am hungry, I want to eat liit́i [an Indian delicacy].” But to eat liit́i we will have to make arrangements to procure gram flour, ghee, etc. All this is done only through action. And the resultant of this action is that we can finally eat liit́i. So karma is the source of everything, so say the followers of karma yoga. Therefore keep on working: Marte marte kám karo, kám karte karte maro [“Die while working, and work even while dying”].

Now, even those who are advocates of devotional or emotional faculties say that people get propensive propulsion from devotion or emotion. When the mind moves along a particular track or follows a particular discipline in a methodical way, this is called “devotion” or bhakti; but when it does not follow a particular method, when it moves haphazardly, swept away by whim, it is called “emotion”. This is the fundamental difference between devotion and emotion. You must know this clear-cut silver line of demarcation between devotion and emotion.

Those who adhere to this cult of pinnacled order know that there must be a happy blending amongst intellectual-cum-intuitional faculty, actional faculty and devotional-cum-emotional faculty. None of these is unimportant, all are of equal importance, but the finality comes in devotion. That is, the final outcome or resultant of intellectual-cum-intuitional faculty and actional faculty is devotion, not emotion, and that is why the great sages of the past said,

Bhaktir Bhagavato sevá bhaktih prema svarúpinii;
Bhaktiránanda rupá ca bhakti bhaktasya jiivanam.

[Bhakti (devotion) is service to God; bhakti is the form taken by divine love; bhakti is the embodiment of bliss; bhakti is the life of the devotee.]

Thus we see that ideation is association with one or the other idea – knowledge, action or devotion – just as meditation is associated with ideology. Thus in meditation and ideology, the spiritual aspirant is moving toward the singular Supreme Entity, the pinnacled goal. If the mind accepts two goals, two Lords, the mind becomes bifurcated.

The ideology which is associated with meditation is more a theory than a cult, and when ideation is associated with idea, it is more a cult than a theory. And the highest expression of devotion is Ananyamamatá Viśńormamatá premasauṋgatá [“The exclusive devotion to the Supreme Entity to the exclusion of all others is called divine love”].

Where the thought-waves or thought-movements are goaded by a single idea, and where the culminating point is also a singular entity – that is, where the attraction for other entities, for the crude world or the psychic world are all goaded unto the Supreme Self, towards Viśńu – this is the supreme status of devotion. Viśńu comes from the root-verb vish which means “to permeate”. The Entity which permeates everything, which is present in each and every expressed entity, in each and every emanation of this universe, is Viśńu.

Vistárah sarvabhútasya Viśńorvishvamidaḿ jagat;
Draśt́avyamátmavattasmádabhedena vicakśańaeh.

[This manifested universe is the expression of Viśńu, the latent all-pervading entity. Therefore a wise person should look upon everything as his or her own, from an integral viewpoint.]

So on the path of spiritual progress, all three – knowledge, action and devotion – are necessary. Devotion provides the sustenance, action provides the stamina of movement, and knowledge shows why and how the spiritual aspirants should move. So all three are important. But ultimately knowledge and action are merged in devotion, and thus the devotion is not devoid of knowledge or action. Maharshi Narada was the first propounder of this sort of devotional cult, which is not blind devotion but an ideal blending of knowledge, action and devotion. This blended devotion enables spiritual aspirants to attain the pinnacled goal of their lives. It is this devotion that human beings have been seeking since time immemorial. When they finally attain the guru and get initiation, then they begin to walk on this path of devotion. And those who have started on this path realize that they are sure to reach their destination, that to reach their goal is the sole reason for their birth. You should remember why you have been born. Following the path of devotion, you will have to ultimately reach Parama Puruśa. This is the pinnacled point, the supreme point of human glory. You should always remember this, during your lifetime and even after your death.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 3 June 1990 DMC, Anandanagar, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 18, The Cult of Spirituality – the Cult of Pinnacled Order

Intellectuals and scholars say that one may attain salvation by dint of one’s knowledge and intellect. Those who are Karma Yogiis, that is, those who follow the path of actional cult, say that by dint of action one will attain salvation. (Salvation means emancipation of permanent nature.)

Now you know all are children of the Supreme Father. All the children of the same father cannot have the same intellectual standard – it is an impossibility. But that doesn’t mean that those who are intellectually backward won’t get His bliss or Grace. So this idea is a defective one – that one is to attain Him by dint of one’s intellectual knowledge or intellectual stamina. It is a defective idea. A father cannot neglect his son who is intellectually backward.

Not only this. Till recently there was a defective idea in all the corners and amongst all the groups of people on the earth, that males are blessed beings and not females. In your family life, you know, you feel, that the parents cannot have any sense of disparity in their mind regarding their sons and daughters. Both are equally important, both are equally loving. I said my sons and my daughters are just like two hands of mine. They are just like wings of a bird. A bird having one wing cannot fly.

Now the days of those defective ideas are gone. All are equally blessed human beings, and those ideas cherished by those intellectuals, that by dint of one’s intellect, one will get Him, are not only defective but foolish ideas. Similarly, the idea that by dint of actional cult one is to attain Him – this is also a defective idea because in the realm of actionality all have not got equal status. A weak boy, or say a weak girl, physically weak or mentally weak or even weak in spiritual vitality, has also got the birth-right to attain salvation.

First, what is the meaning of salvation? Salvation means becoming one with Him, and each and every child of the Cosmic Father has equal right to sit on His lap. There cannot be any differentiation.

Now what’s the guiding factor? Neither intellectuality nor the actional faculty is the guiding factor. Then what’s the guiding factor? The guiding factor is that all your ideals, all your propensities, all your thought waves, are to be goaded unto Him. That is, the cult of devotion is the only cult. There cannot be any second cult in the realm of spirituality.

Mokśakárańasamagryáḿ Bhaktireva Gariiyasi.

The intellectual giant of India, about 1300 years ago, in the post-Buddhistic era, was Shankaracharya. He says – he was a giant intellectual – he said amongst all the approaches, amongst all the cults, the best one is the cult of devotion. So that aspirant is the blessed one who has developed this cult of devotion. You may or may not be an intellectual, you may or may not be established in the actional faculty. But if you can develop love for Him, devotion for Him, you are sure to be successful.

Now how to develop this kind of devotion? The idea is that the All, the entire Universe, is His object, and He is the Supreme Subject. He sees everything and you do not see Him. Now how can He be objectivated when He is the Supreme Subjectivity? The idea, the spirit or the secret to develop devotional cult is to think, while doing anything, while doing any mundane duty or doing any spiritual practice – you should always remember that He is Subject, He is seeing what you are doing. He is hearing what you are thinking. You cannot do anything secretly. He is always with you.

This idea has got one advantage and one disadvantage. The disadvantage is that you cannot even think secretly. All your thoughts are tape-recorded by Him. You cannot think secretly. And the advantage is that you are never alone; He is always with you. You are never helpless, you are never shelterless, you are never weak, you are the strongest personality of the universe, because the Supreme Entity is always with you.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 8 May 1979 evening, Fiesch, Switzerland, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12, The Only Cult

Those who learned the science of Tantra Yoga and Rája Yoga from Lord Shiva, cultivated the physical and psychic aspects of knowledge – the expressions and waves of vibrations. Consequently, the Shaivites became followers of the cult of knowledge (jiṋána márga) whereas the non-Shaivites became the followers of the cult of devotion (prapatti márga). You should know the difference between the two.

The first question that the jiṋána márgiis pose whenever they see an object, whether psychic or spiritual, is invariably, “What is this?” Their next question is, “What is its source or origin?” Then they proceed further along that line to another source of knowledge where both reflection and refraction end. That is, the mind of the inquirer reaches a point where it fails to comprehend that plate on which the processes of reflection and refraction operate. The point where the mind loses its capacity to analyse or compare further is the Supreme Point; and this is the Shaeva cult of knowledge. Judged in this light, Ananda Marga philosophy also supports the Shaeva cult as it strives for the further enrichment and advancement of the cult of knowledge. It encourages the development of intellect and wisdom, and thus motivates people to acquire more and more knowledge. This is a great boon for humanity, as the highest treasure of human beings, which distinguishes them from the other creatures, is their intellectual superiority. Had there been no intellect in humans to distinguish them from other creatures, there would be hardly any difference between humans and animals. Therefore, this philosophical consciousness, which can also be called “Ananda Marga consciousness”, will lead humanity to greater intellectuality. And the constant pursuit of intellectuality leads one to its furthest point, the place where intuition begins. Hence in the realm of spiritual practice, it is immensely helpful. The path of sádhaná is not devoid of intellect or intuition; rather it is based on intuition. It gives no scope for superstition or blind faith. Instead it facilitates the maximum all-round progress of humanity and the manifestation of the highest human excellence.

The other cult, the non-Shaeva cult, which I prefer to call prapatti márga, is said to have a serious defect: it hampers, at the very outset, the development of humanity. It states that whatever is happening in this universe is due to the Cosmic will, without which not even a single blade of grass can move. This doctrine is called prapattiváda. A jiṋána márgii says in refutation, “Well, it is a hundred percent true that nothing in this universe, not even a blade of grass, can move without His will. This is exactly what we wish to discover in jiṋána márga: that He desired it, and then the blade of grass moved. What is the harm if we want to find out how His desire causes everything to happen?” And here lies the difference between the two cults, and the superiority of the Shaeva cult over the non-Shaeva cult.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 27 April 1980, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Yoga Psychology, The Faculty of Knowledge – 1

Spirituality as a Cult

Human existence is not merely physical, psychic or spiritual; it comprises all three. In this case, what should be the proper approach? The first step is spiritual cult [practice]. What is it? The entire Cosmological order includes the quinquelemental material world, which is controlled by the Macropsychic Entity. Again, behind this Macropsychic Entity is a Macro-Spirit.

In fact, this universe of ours is a Macropsychic conation (a thought of the Cosmic Mind), so in no case can human beings deny this physical world. One will have to deeply analyse all the inconsistencies of this physical world, and this process of analysis will be conducted by the micropsychic existence (individual mind).

There are many people with tremendous mental potentiality, but they do not have a clear line of thought. Thus they think incorrectly, and the outcome of their defective thought is defective action. Those people are not properly guided on how to move in the mental world; they are not being properly guided unto the path of the Macropsychic Entity.

When someone commits a wrong, we have a tendency to condemn him or her at every step. We should realize that such a person suffers from a sort of micropsychic ailment, and to cure such an ailment we will have to introduce him or her to Neohumanistic philosophy. We have not done so, and that was our crime.

Next, from where does that Macropsychic Entity originate? The micropsychic entity [individual mind] is a collection of many ectoplasms, and these ectoplasms emanate directly from the Macropsychic ectoplasm and indirectly from Macro-Spirit [the Supreme Spirit]. On the one hand we will have to provide proper psychic pabula for human beings to think correctly; and on the other hand, we must give proper guidance to the micropsychic ectoplasms [individual mind-particles] to move towards the Macro-Spirit. In this respect also we have failed in our duty; we have committed another crime.

To build a healthy human race we should have given them proper guidance in philosophy, in science, in all branches of human knowledge – which we did not do. We have utilized science more for destructive purposes than for benevolent aims; we have distorted the thought processes of human beings; we have deliberately misguided the people instead of leading them along the proper path. We have taught people to think about how such-and-such bomb can annihilate so many millions of people at a time – but we have never propagated a philosophy to teach them to think how millions of people could be benefited by psycho-spiritual practices. Thus human beings of today are following a defective path, and there is a desperate need for a change in direction. The only remedy is Neohumanism.

There are three stages on this path of Neohumanism. The first one is spiritual cult. What is spiritual cult? It is physico-psycho-spiritual cult. This physico-psycho-spiritual process will show you how to remove the defects of the psychic world and also the external world, and enable you to move towards the spiritual world without any delay. This movement towards the spiritual goal will also help you to establish yourself in the psychic and physical worlds, so you will be able to render greater service to the people. This is what I call “spiritual cult”. Progress in this spiritual cult starts with the elevation of protoplasmic cells, and finally ends in the attainment of the Supreme Goal. This physico-psycho-spiritual cult will help the physical world and the psyches of the psychic world directly and indirectly, and also the spiritual world, directly. But this is not enough – Eha váhya áge kaho ár; áro egiye cala(2) [“What you say is just the beginning; you have to go farther”]. Hethá nay hethá nay, anya kothá, anya konakháne(3) [“Not here, not here, somewhere else, somewhere else”].” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 29 March 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 8, Neohumanism Is the Ultimate Shelter (Discourse 11)

“In the earlier span, while explaining the root meaning of the word “Bhárata”,(1) I said the root verb tan means “to expand”. Now, the practical approach, that is, the actual spiritual endeavour, actual spiritual practice, is called Tantra. Here also the root verb is tan. Tan means “to expand”, and tra means “liberator”. The cult that liberates the spiritual aspirant by helping him in expanding his mind and spirit is Tantra, “liberation through expansion”. Unless and until the mind becomes great, one cannot get liberation, one cannot attain spiritual salvation. That’s why the spiritual cult is called Tantra.”…

…”Now, a Tantric is called, a sádhaka is called, a soldier. [Sádhanásamara] [“the battle of sádhaná”]. Samara means “war”, “battle”, “fight”. The sádhaka is engaged in fight. It is for the brave, it is for courageous people. Sádhanásamara. And this cult is the cult of Tantra. He who wants to keep himself away from fight is unknowingly committing suicide, mental and spiritual suicide. Each and every man should be ready for fight – fight in the mental stratum, fight in the family stratum, fight in each and every stratum of life. This is Tantra.

Now, in the realm of spirituality there is little scope for theoreticians. It is ninety-nine per cent practical. Sádhaka means a practical man. Sádhaná is a cult, not a theory. Now, what is this cult? Now, this cult is subjective movement through objective adjustment. Here we see regarding your indriyas, that is, the motor and sensory organs, that this world is the object and they are the subjects. But when the relationship between the indriyas and the citta [objective mind, mind-stuff] is concerned, the indriyas are the objects and the citta is the subject. And when the relationship of citta and(4) the ego, or aham, is concerned, the citta is the object, and the aham is the subject. Now in the case of aham and mahat (aham means doer “I” and mahat means pure “I”, “I exist”), the aham is the object and the mahat – “I am,” “I exist,” aham asmi – is the subject. And in case of this pure “I” and the átman [soul], this “I” – “I exist,” “I am” – is the object and the átman is the subject.”…

…”I said: “What is cult?” It is subjective approach, that is, your movement is towards that Supreme Subject, not towards bookish knowledge. Not to aggrandize yourself, but to goad yourself unto the path of beatitude, towards the Supreme Subject. Hence the approach of cult is a subjective approach. Yours is a subjective approach. But while moving towards the Supreme Subject, while moving towards the Terminus of your life, while moving towards the culminating point of your life, you have to pass through the world of objectivities. You are born; the things of this physical earth are all objectivities; but your march is towards the Supreme Subjectivity. So in you there must be an equilibrium, a balance, an equipoise, between subjective approach and objective adjustment. You must pass through this world of objects keeping a close contact and a balance(5) with this objective world; you must not ignore this world.
” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 34, Fighting at Each and Every Step

Vaeśńava Tantra aspires to lead humanity towards Parama Puruśa through the cult of sweet, divine bliss, but there is less social consciousness. Saora Tantra places much importance on medical treatment and astronomical progress, and Gáńapatya Tantra provides inspiration for people who are divided into different social groups to work unitedly.
Here I do not propose to say anything special about Shaeva or Shákta Tantra, but I must say something about Vaeśńava Tantra. It is said that Vaeśńava Tantra aspires to lead spiritual aspirants towards Parama Puruśa through the cult of blissful experiences.
“…

…”If the forward march towards Parama Puruśa through the cult of sweet, divine bliss is the basic spirit of Vaeśńava Tantra, then that spirit must have been reflected in both Vraja Krśńa and Párthasárathi Krśńa. This forward march can be effected only through prapatti.

When a devotee advances through the cult of sweet devotion, he or she prefers to avoid the path of philosophical intricacies. Suppose you have been allotted a certain duty and you have to run hard to perform that duty. If you are offered some delicious sweets you will say, “No thank you, not now. Let me run first, then I will take some rest and enjoy the sweets little by little with great pleasure.” While running, one’s mind remains at a high speed, tremendously preoccupied. That is why you cannot, at that speed, savour even delicious food. Similarly, when you advance in the cult of sweet devotion, you enjoy more and more sweetness. While advancing, you enjoy bliss at every step. Obviously, at that stage, you do not like the tormenting harshness of jiṋána and karma.

I have said several times prior to this that prapatti – that sweetness of divine ecstasy – was fully developed in Vraja Krśńa. But as I have also said, the karma yoga which is the hallmark of Párthasárathi is not opposed to prapatti. Now let us analyse whether the jiṋána márga [path of knowledge, or discrimination], as associated with Párthasárathi, is more consistent with the jiṋána márga of Shaivism or with the cult of sweet, divine bliss found in Vaishnavism.

Párthasárathi Krśńa demonstrated an enormous wealth of knowledge. All His teachings were based primarily on the cult of knowledge. He taught His philosophy to Arjuna, and it does not smack of negativism or escapism. According to Krśńa, whatever takes place in this universe is designed by the Cosmic will. Nothing can happen without the Cosmic desire.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 28 September 1980, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namámi Krśńasundaram, Prapatti, Viprapatti, and Aprapatti (Discourse 6)

Spiritual practice means practice for expansion, and this expansion is nothing but a liberation from the bondage of all sorts of dullness [or staticity]. A person who, irrespective of caste, creed or religion, aspires for spiritual expansion or does something concrete, is a Tantric. Tantra in itself is neither a religion nor an ism. Tantra is a fundamental spiritual science. So wherever there is any spiritual practice it should be taken for granted that it stands on the Tantric cult. Where there is no spiritual practice, where people pray to God for the fulfilment of narrow worldly desires, where people’s only slogan is “Give us this and give us that” – only there do we find that Tantra is discouraged. So only those who do not understand Tantra, or even after understanding Tantra do not want to do any spiritual practice, oppose the cult of Tantra.“…

…”Veda through its sacrificial rituals encourages materialism, while the Tantric cult through its mental and spiritual practice helps sádhakas progress towards the intuitional self – towards the Supreme Non-Attributional Reality.

The spirit of sádhaná is to control the extroversial trends of the mind – to guide one’s self in a proper way – so sádhaná and the Tantric cult are synonymous. Ceremonial sacrifices, prayers, and other extroversial rituals are neither Tantra nor sádhaná. Every sádhaná that aims at the attainment of the Supreme, irrespective of its religious affiliation, is definitely Tantra; for Tantra is not a religion, Tantra is simply the science of sádhaná – it is a principle.”…

…”In this regard, it may be asked whether the [strong leaders] of the world practise any Tantra sádhaná or not. To this my answer will be that, perhaps unknowingly, they have always followed Tantric principles. You perhaps know that the great hero of Indian independence, Subhash [Chandra Bose], was an ardent follower of the Tantric cult.

The caste system is based on the principle of distinctions and differences. This system has constituted the greatest obstruction to the formation of a strong, well-organized, well-knit society. This system does not provide a clue to or a seed of the possibility of unity in diversity. The caste system is recognized by the Vedas only, not by Tantra. In the Tantric cult, although there is cent per cent scope for a person’s all-round development, nevertheless, as human beings, all remain in an equal status. That is why there cannot be any compromise between Tantra and the caste system.”…

…”That is – Tantra has expressed in clear language – “Those who proudly espouse the caste system are slaves of the Vedas, while those who have risen above it or kicked it off, attain a place at the head of the Vedas or above the Vedas.” The present caste system of Indian society is the creation of those opportunist Vedic Aryans who entered the Tantric cult but because of their lack of sincerity could not attain the desired status. The deficiencies of Vedic society have in this way inflicted great harm on Tantra.
” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Shrávańii Púrńimá 1959 RU, Bhagalpur, ElEdit 7, The Great Universe: Discourses on Society, Tantra and Its Effect on Society

Everything in this universe moves, and this movement is from imperfection towards perfection. So perfect spirituality is our goal, and Neohumanism is our approach. What is Neohumanism? The collection of all natural human expressions, the collection of all natural expressions of all flora and fauna, is Neohumanism. All these movements of human sentiment and all these movements of flora and fauna are towards perfect spirituality. So that perfect spirituality cannot be the cult – it is the goal, it is the desideratum, it is the culminating point of all movements.

All the movements of human sentiment and – as I just now said – all the movements of flora and fauna are unto the perfect spirituality. So that perfect spirituality cannot be the cult, it is the goal. And what is the cult? The cult is the movement of Neohumanism. That is, the cult is the movement of all human expressions, all human manifestations – and not only human expressions and manifestations, but all expressions, all manifestations, of all living beings, including flora and fauna. This is the cult, this is Neohumanism.

So our approach, our cult, is Neohumanistic, and our goal is perfect spirituality. And this Neohumanistic approach is our human asset; it is the charm of human existence, it is the fascination of human existence, and it is the glamour of human society.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 31 December 1982, Anandanagar, ElEdit 7, Neohumanism in a Nutshell Part 1, Pseudo-Spirituality and Neohumanism

The recognized book on Ananda Marga Philosophy is Ánanda Sútram. Usually a philosophical treatise has four main sections – (1) ontology, (2) metaphysics, (3) ethics, (4) epistemology. But in Ananda Marga philosophy two more sections, in addition to the above-mentioned four, have been added. They are (1) psychology and (2) spiritual cult. In Western philosophy there is no mention of spiritual cult, because Western philosophers had no opportunity to learn such a cult. The main reason is that in the theology prevalent in the west there is no concrete spiritual cult.

According to general belief, psychology is a part of general science, and should therefore not be included as a part of philosophy. Thus psychology has been accepted as a branch of science in the West. But in Ananda Marga, psychology has been included as a part of philosophy. Moreover, according to Ánanda Márga the scope of psychology is wider than what is usually accepted by psychologists.“…

…”Spiritual Cult: Thus far all philosophers have remained completely unaware of spiritual cult. Although new ideas in the domain of philosophy have been added, philosophy has failed to establish its link with the dusty earth. And a philosophy which has no relation with the dusty earth nor with the children of the soil has no practical value. Philosophy is meant for the benefit of the human race.

Ananda Marga philosophy is unique in this respect. Ananda Marga stands to implement its ideology. In order to establish a coordination between philosophy and practical life, Ananda Marga has evolved a spiritual cult on the basis of Tantra.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 24 February 1970, Ranchi Jágrti, ElEdit 7, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 4, Our Philosophical Treatise

Thus, due to biological change, the psychological reaction or reflection will change. For this biological transformation, one should practise a spiritual cult which changes the human nerve cells and nerve fibres attached to those portions, and brings about changes in the hormonal secretions causing psychological changes. So, through the practice of a spiritual cult, changes come about in the nerve cells and nerve fibres.“…

…”By spiritual cult, spiritual sádhaná, you may bring about certain changes in your nervous system, nerve cells and nerve fibres, control the secretions of the hormones from different glands and sub-glands, and become elevated. By this process of elevation a person becomes superhuman and goes beyond the periphery of the common human psychology. Otherwise, the general rule is there. Here lies the necessity of spiritual practice. Without spiritual practice there cannot be such a change.“…

…”In the case of the Communist Party, for example, this is exactly what has happened. This is what happened to the whole world – great damage. Why? They had no spiritual cult, no spiritual goal. Thus, as long as communism exists on this earth, the world will continue to suffer. Communism has to go immediately without any delay, or it is to be removed. This is the demand of humanity. Otherwise a great danger looms over human society.“…

…”Human beings cannot go against or deviate from the recognized path of the One who controls the thought-waves of the universe (Iishvara) – the recognized path or mainstream of human life. They cannot. For all theories, for all practices, for all cults – one cannot deviate from this fundamental path.“…

…”The human psyche is guided by these four aspects. Socio-economic theory and cult have to adjust with them.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 20 July 1990, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Yoga Psychology, The Human Body Is a Biological Machine

A follower of the cult of knowledge knows that in the universe Puruśa (or Haḿsa) is One. When the unit mind is bound by limitations, only pluralities and multiplicities can be seen. But in that Entity which is beyond the periphery of mind, there is no scope for pluralities. In fact, with regard to Brahma, no numerals such as two, three or four can be used, because numerals come within the scope of psychic knowledge only.“…

…”But is the theoretical knowledge enough? Is it sufficient to know, only in theory, or through logic, that all children of all parents are equal? No, through theoretical knowledge one can only understand what one should or should not do in sádhaná and nothing more. To turn this academic love into universal love one must colour the molecules and atoms of this dusty earth with one’s love. This is not possible for an ordinary follower of the cult of knowledge. Such people can be very pedantic, but unless certain effective ways are adopted to become one with the Supreme Entity, this knowledge will become barren. Sádhakas know that to become one with Him they will have to remain absorbed in constant ideation on Him, and then only will He appear in their hearts in His most attractive form.

Sa visvakrd vishvaviditmayonih kálakáro guńii sarvavid yah.
Pradhánakśetrajiṋaptirguńeshah saḿsára mokśasthitibandhahetuh.

He is the Father of this universe: everything has been created out of His imagination. When the followers of the cult of knowledge realize that this universe is the combination of the infinite emanations of the vast Cosmic Citta, they stand awestruck by the greatness of that Entity. Through the process of thought it is impossible to measure His immensity. The depth of His depths cannot be fathomed. Ordinary microcosms can best be compared to tiny bubbles in the endless Cosmic Ocean.

The rśi observes that all the thoughts and activities of the microcosm lie within the scope of the limitless intuition of the Macrocosm. That is why the Macrocosm knows everything inside and outside the microcosmic mind. Nothing can be done secretly. If a sinner pretends to be virtuous by wearing bead-necklaces or holy marks on the forehead simple people may be fooled, but Parama Puruśa knows the truth. He knows more about the sinner than He knows about himself.

He knows everything that you know, and everything you do not know. Obviously there is no other way than total surrender to Him. When the followers of the cult of knowledge realizes this truth they surrender to Him without reservation. Those who do not do that either lack knowledge or suffer from a false sense of prestige, a type of psychic ailment.“…

…”Followers of the cult of knowledge understand that only Parama Brahma deserves the epithet guńii. How can a finite being be called a guńii? A guńii is one who possesses a binding rope. A finite being does not hold the binding rope but is bound by it, and thus is called guńadhiina (bound by guńas). Every microcosm is under the bondages of these binding principles.“…

…”However much people might pursue the cult of knowledge and action, the science of Brahma should be taught only to those who possess Parábhakti. This Parábhakti should be directed towards both Brahma and the Guru. One should remember that there is only one Guru. The actual Guru is not the physical body of a Guru but the Entity who works through the physical body. Hence, Paramátmá alone is the Guru. Through Parábhakti, one can easily transcend one’s I-feeling and attain the non-attributional stance. Those who possess parábhakti or kevalá bhakti are free from mahimá jiṋána (the notion that God is too perfect to be attained by a mere mortal). Hence, the attainment of emancipation is possible only through parábhakti. Spiritual aspirants with developed parábhakti can proclaim that the universe is all Brahma; Brahma alone is the Supreme desideratum of all microcosms.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Bhádra Púrńimá 1957 DMC, Katihar, Bihar, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 6, The Highest Category of Devotion

Those who have established themselves in their spiritual being through the practice of spiritual cult are the real human beings. Others, who do not move on the subtler and sublime path of spirituality, and behave like animals, are humans only in name. Human beings alone have the privilege to do sádhaná. Animals, because of their intellectual deficiencies, are unable to adhere to the spiritual cult.“…

…”Sádhaná, the spiritual cult, is a progress from the crudeness of matter to the subtlest entity, that is, a march, a movement, from the last point of the vibrational principle to the nucleus of the Basic Principle, the controlling point of the fundamental triangle of forces. Sádhaná is, therefore, a march to the place from where one has come.“…

…”But it is not enough to get the way, for one also needs to walk on that way, on that path. The strength to move forward lies within you – the only impediment being the encumbrance of sins that is on your head due to your past actions. Remove that burden, be light, and march on. Bhagaván [Lord] Buddha said the same thing when he asked his disciples to jettison the burden that is in the boat. Desire is, therefore, not enough. One needs to perform some tangible action. That action is called intuitional practice – spiritual cult. This cult is also called Tantra. It is not enough to read books, scriptures – one will have to be practical, will have to do something in practical life. You need to move from the fundamental negativity to the fundamental positivity. Thus, through sádhaná, a person makes himself or herself light and at the same time gets the attraction of Him. Furthermore, one needs to surrender oneself completely. Until and unless there is cent percent surrender, it is naive to think in terms of accomplishing the task.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 20 October 1967 DMC, Meerut, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 23, Mysticism and Spirituality

Lord Shiva also taught Maharshi Bharata the science of music – nrtya, giita and vádya [dance, song and percussion music].

Thus He opened various channels for the expression of human intellect and wisdom. But He did not expound any philosophy, because the people of those days were not sufficiently developed intellectually. But whether people are intellectually developed or undeveloped from the philosophical point of view, everyone is entitled to spiritual sádhaná, everyone can attain the supreme height of spirituality. One may or may not comprehend philosophy, but still one can attain Parama Puruśa by dint of spiritual cult. For that, the knowledge of the three R’s is not essential. Rather, Lord Shiva cautioned that those who were dabbling in philosophical discussions in those days were just confusing people’s minds and misguiding the masses.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 14 September 1980, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namámi Krśńasundaram, Krśńa and Prapattiváda – 1 (Discourse 4)

There was an intellectual – an intellectual giant. His name was Shaḿkarácárya. Although he was an intellectual he said – “Mokśa Kárańasamagráḿ bhaktireva gariiyasi”. That is, amongst all the approaches, all the spiritual cults, devotion is the best – devotion is the highest order. So, a man may or may not be an intellectual; and a man who has not been established in the actional faculty, may attain salvation if only he has got the Bhakti in him – devotion in him. Truly speaking, knowledge or intellectual pursuit is itself a cult. The actional faculty is also a cult. But Bhakti is not a cult. Bhakti is the goal. Devotion is not a cult – devotion is the goal.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 25 May 1979 evening, Rotterdam, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12, Puńya All Twenty-Four Hours

Bhaga stands for six different attributes collected together – a synthesis of six attributes. One of these attributes is aeshvarya, which means “occult power”. (In Latin, if we wish to say “originating from cult”, the letter “o” is placed before “cult” as a prefix; and according to the rules of English grammar, “o” being a light vowel, the consonant coming immediately after gets doubled. In the word “requisition” we find “req”, but in the word “acquisition” we find that a “c” has been added after the “a”. In the same way, what a person gets in return for “cult”, the wealth he gets in return for cult and as a result of his devotion to ideals, is called “occult power”, which in Sanskrit is expressed by the term aeshvarya.) The presence of all the different kinds of aeshvarya in a person is indeed one of the attributes of bhaga.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Calcutta, 13 January 1980, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 17, The Significance of the Word “Bhagaván”

” “Sukhaḿ váiṋchati sarva hi tacca dharmah samudbhútah.” In their search for happiness, human beings formulated the concept of dharma. With the help of their limited intellect they realized that to run after finite objects is foolish. Wise people will never do this, but will rather move along the path of dharma sádhaná in quest of the infinite entity. Dharma sádhaná or spiritual cult is mandatory for every human being, both old and young. Some of those who are young today may never see old age; they may die at the age of twenty-five. If they postpone the practice of dharma sádhaná until their old age, they will miss their chance to practice it in this life. Dharma sádhaná does not depend on age. It is advisable for people to start practising the spiritual cult at the age of five or six. If one lives a long life, so much the better, as one will get ample scope to explore the spiritual cult for a longer period. If, however, one unfortunately dies a premature death, it will not matter as one will have already started the spiritual cult in early childhood and continued it while one was alive.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 21 February 1979, Bhopal, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 8, The Earlier One Starts Dharma Sádhaná the Better

On the paths of action and knowledge, Parama Puruśa is the goal, the entity to be realized, and there is a definite cult to attain Him, to realize Him. But on the path of Bhakti (devotion), it is the goal itself and not a cult. This is the fundamental difference between devotion on the one hand and knowledge and action on the other.

Bhakti is neither a cult nor an applied science; rather it is the highest stance of a cult. Those who follow the paths of action and knowledge say, “I want to realize the Supreme Entity.” But the idea in the devotee’s mind is, “I want to serve Parama Puruśa.” That is, the idea of service is predominant in Bhakti.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 15, Service to God Is Devotion

The second factor for the progress of society is spiritual cult, a Sádhaná process. Everyone has got a physical structure. The problem with every individual is to produce more and more ectoplasmic stuff by the body and then to convert it into consciousness. There should be a proper process for this conversion. Spiritual cult consists of the conversion of the five rudimental factors into ectoplasmic stuff and then into consciousness through a special scientific process. This is a process of metamorphosis. Spiritual cult therefore, is indispensable. But only spiritual ideology and spiritual philosophy will not do.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 6, The Future of Civilization

Mahávákya viveka, the fifth stage of conscience, is the resultant of the other four. The first four types of conscience help a sadhaka to realize that the Eternal Entity, Brahma, is One without a second, Consciousness personified, and the knower of the five kośas. Mahávákya viveka teaches human beings that He is not attainable through mere knowledge. To liberate the consciousness from these five kośas, action and devotion are indispensable. Those who think that He is attainable through the cult of knowledge alone are mistaken. By cultivating the first four types of conscience a person of knowledge may become established in mahávákya viveka. At that stage he or she realizes that the mere pursuit of knowledge cannot bring paramártha (the means of attaining the supreme goal). He or she then understands that the knowledge already acquired is not true knowledge because it leads to vanity.
If ignorant people want to acquire more knowledge they should be encouraged to do so. But if so-called intellectuals (jiṋániis), puffed up with the vanity of knowledge, want to attain more knowledge they should be told to perfect the cult of action and devotion first, thereby smashing their vanity. So let the jiṋánii tell the masses that Brahma is attainable only through self surrender, proper questioning and selfless service.
” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 16 December 1957 DMC, Begusarai, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 6, The Five Kinds of Conscience (Viveka)

Dogma-centred philosophies are a blending of self-centred and matter-centred philosophies. A blended theory is not a cult. A cult has something to do with practice – where there is no practical reflection there is no cult.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 15 January 1990, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 18, The Excellence of God-Centred Philosophy

When Tantra was first invented, there was only one science of Tantra; but later various cults emerged according to their respective philosophical viewpoints. Each had a different name although their inner spirit was the same: for instance, Baoddha Tantra, Jaina Tantra, and in later times Shaeva Tantra, Shákta Tantra, Saora Tantra, Gáńapatya Tantra, Vaeśńviiya Tantra, etc. The inner idea of the Vaeśńaviiya Tantra is that there is form and colour (both rága and varńa) in the rhythmic expressions of Parama Puruśa, and those cosmic rhythms also have a sweet sonic vibration. This sonic vibration is instrumental in giving expression to various other forms in this universe as well. The resonance of the collective vibrations of the universe is called the flute sound of Krśńa, another name for oṋḿkára, the cosmic sound which reaches the ears of spiritual aspirants in various ways. When human beings attain spiritual progress step by step, they will also hear this sound with their own ears.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 1 March 1980, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, A Few Problems Solved Part 5, Spring Festival

“But this was not all. He [Shiva] also taught the cult of aesthetics. “Cult” means the practical processes. For example, He first explained to Maharshi Bharata the theoretical aspects of dance, and then proceeded to teach the practical aspects. He taught him how to dance systematically. For example, one should dance dhin in this way, dhae in that way and tá(1) in still another way. That is, He taught both the theoretical and practical sides. If the theoretical side advanced the cause of aesthetic science one hundred per cent, the knowledge of the practical aspects advanced the cause five hundred per cent. He taught both.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 5 April 1981, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namámi Krśńasundaram, Párthasárathi Krśńa and Aesthetic Science (Discourse 26)

And his ordinary human qualities are developed to an extraordinary standard of efficiency, and those extraordinarily developed qualities are called “occult powers”, the powers that one acquires by dint of his cult. That which one gets through cult is an occult power. The person may easily become omniscient, he knows everything, he will know everything – why?

Because the Supreme Creator knows everything. And why does the Supreme Creator know everything? Because everything is His internal psychic projection, and nothing is external, nothing is without, everything is within. So when, by dint of one’s practice of cult, one ensconces himself in the Supreme Existence, one becomes one with the Supreme, and that is why everything comes within the periphery of his mind – he also becomes omniscient.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 24 May 1979 evening, Rotterdam, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12, From the Physical Stratum to the Apex

All molecules, atoms, electrons, protons, positrons and neutrons are the veritable expressions of the same Supreme Consciousness. Those who remember this reality, who keep this realization ever alive in their hearts, are said to have attained perfection in life. They are the real bhaktas [devotees]. When this devotional cult(3) does not remain confined to a mere practice, but instead is elevated to a devotional sentiment, a devotional mission, to the realm of devotional ideation – when the underlying spirit of humanism is extended to everything, animate and inanimate, in this universe – I have designated this as “Neohumanism”. This Neohumanism will elevate humanism to universalism, the cult of love for all created beings of this universe.” – Prabhat, Sarkar, 21 February 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, The Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism, Devotional Sentiment and Neohumanism (Discourse 1), Humanity’s Greatest Treasure

You know, the cult of spiritual practice, the cult that leads one to the final desideratum of human life, is called Tantra. In Tantra, there is hardly one percent theory; ninety-nine percent is practice. And you also know that a good theory may not help a person, it is practice that counts.

Suppose you know how to prepare a particular sweet, but practically you cannot do it. In such a case, will you get that delicious taste? Theory will not be able to help you. In Tantra there is ninety-nine percent practice, and practice precedes theory. The theory was prepared on the basis of practice and not practice on theory.

It may be that a theory is very sweetly worded but cannot be translated into action. In Tantra, the theory succeeds the practice, that is, the practice precedes the theory. And when the Tantras were invented, there was hardly anything in black and white, because it was practice. Later the Tantras were given book form.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 24 May 1979, Rotterdam, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12, What Are You?

Today’s discourse will be in Hindi. Now I am giving a short outline in English. The short discourse will be on the omniscience of the Causal Matrix or “Citi-Shakti”. You know, this omniscience is one of the occult qualities, occult roots. What is occult? Occult power or occult root means that power which a spiritual aspirant acquires by strictly adhering to the principles of cult.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 17 November 1978, Delhi, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 5, The Omniscience of the Causal Matrix

The cult that Sadáshiva formulated and introduced into human society to ensure the removal of inertness in the physical, psychic and spiritual strata of life is called Tantra. Tantra is not at all theoretical; it is essentially practical, and on the basis of practice, its philosophy has evolved. The major portion of the science of intuition in the Vedas, on the other hand, is purely theoretical; only a small portion is practical. In Tantra, ninety percent of the intuitional science is practical, and only a very small portion is theoretical.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 12 November 1978 DMC, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 11, The Intuitional Science of Tantra

You know that Tantra is a spiritual cult. It is a cult because Tantra clearly explains how to do a sádhaná of a particular type and stage, and what the achievement will be from each such sádhaná. All possible details have been worked out. It is a systematic practical science. It is vaevahárika [practical] – not bookish. Tantra is dharma, and – since Ácárańát dharmah [“Dharma is the assemblage of all your conduct”] – one has to do Tantra practically in one’s individual life. But the practical side of Tantra is very abstract and subtle. One has to be very careful indeed in practising it. So that sádhakas might know and understand the practical side clearly, Párvatii posed questions to Lord Shiva and Lord Shiva answered them.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, June 1967, Srinagar, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 23, The Dialogues of Shiva and Párvatii – 1

In niiti there is a happy blending of the relative and the absolute. So niiti is based on certain mundane and supra-mundane principles. Dharma, on the other hand, is ácárańa [conduct] – Ácárańát dharmah. It is, therefore, something practical. It is a cult. It is not a theory but a desire, a will to do something.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 18 July 1967 DMC, Delhi, ElEdit 7, The Great Universe: Discourses on Society, Niiti and Dharma, Niiti and Dharma

There are some people who vociferously oppose any sort of personality cult. However, they have to realize that personality cults, whether good or bad, have existed since ancient times and will continue to exist in the future. This is why I said that society should be very careful in selecting its leaders. In this regard there is no difference amongst the capitalists, communists or socialists – they are all of the same hue. Leaders should only be recognized after considering the extent to which they possess qualities like intelligence, wisdom, integrity, pioneering zeal, readiness to sacrifice, etc.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 6 March 1988, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 15, Leadership – Section A

Occult power (called vibhúti or aeshvarya in Sanskrit) is the supernatural power gained from the practice of the psychic mystic cult. The eight vibhútis are ańimá, laghimá, mahimá, prápti, iishitva, vashitva, prákámya, and antaryámitva. This stage marks a great step forward. However, this is a dangerous stage also. The danger comes more from inside than from outside. The sádhaka may get intoxicated with the feeling of the occult power and be tempted to abuse it. Moreover, there is the external threat that somebody may provoke him into such abuse. Any misuse of these powers causes a setback or even a downfall in the spiritual journey. Abuse of power is bad in any sphere. Even in the temporal sphere misuse of power leads to downfall. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – unless there is the strength to control the power.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, c. 1969, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33, Yatamána, Vyatireka, Ekendriya and Vashiikára

All entities, living or non-living, are rotating around Parama Puruśa – some consciously, some unconsciously, – with so many thoughts and idiosyncrasies, so many bodies and structures. When will their movement come to an end? It will end only when they realize that Parama Puruśa and they themselves are one and inseparable; then will they become one with Parama Puruśa. The more sincerely people will follow the spiritual cult, the more their distance from Parama Puruśa will decrease; and when that distance becomes nil, the microcosms will merge in Macrocosmic Consciousness – jiiva will become Shiva. This is the parágati, the supreme culminating point of all microcosmic movement.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 25 March 1979 DMC, Midnapore, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 12, To Whom Do You Belong? Where Do You Come From?

You all know that the name of India is Bhárata in Sanskrit. The Sanskrit root verb tan [becoming ta] forms part of the word bhárata. The root verb bhara means “to feed”, so the land which has abundant food to feed its population and where there is enormous scope for psycho-spiritual expansion is called Bhárata. As ta means “that which helps in all-round expansion”, bhara plus ta [plus ań], bhárata, means “the country which supplies abundant food to its population and provides ample scope for psychic and spiritual development” – Bharata sambandhiiya ityarthe Bhárata. Similarly, tantra means “the scientific cult which provides ample scope for all-round expansion in human life and thus paves the way for the attainment of salvation”.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 18 October 1979, Sambalpur, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 15, Táńd́ava, Shástra, and the Teachings of Shiva

Shaeva Tantra [Shiva Tantra] is not a cult based on the sayings of the munis and rśis, rather it is concerned with the hopes and aspirations of the masses. It is something which deals with the subtler mystic aspect of human life.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 26 November 1981, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Discourses on Tantra Volume One, Shiva Tantra in Ráŕh

In the practice of spiritual cult there is no distinction nor can there ever be – between men and women. As jiivátmá [unit soul] is not composed of the five fundamental factors there cannot be any sex distinction in it.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 11 November 1957 DMC, Nathnagar, ElEdit 6, The Awakening of Women, Saḿskára and Gender Differences

Prańavo dhanu sharohyátmá Brahma tallakśyamucyate
Apramattena veddhavyaḿ sharavat tanmayo bhavet.
“Prańava or spiritual cult is like a bow, Jiivátma or unit consciousness is like an arrow, and Brahma is like the target. While hitting the target, one should be as concentrated as an arrow. The archer must hit the target without the least wavering.”
” – Sarkar, Prabhat, 13 April 1988, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Prout in a Nutshell Part 16, Religious Dogma – Section B

Mahájano yena gatah sah panthá.” So you are to follow the path, you are to follow the cult, and you are to do according to the approaches of the aspirants of the past, the kaolas of the past. You are to be practical in your life of occult science. Your only object of ideation is Parama Puruśa, and not any dogma, nor any scripture.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, Parama Puruśa, Not Scriptures, 13 May 1979 morning, Fiesch, Switzerland, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12

In the English language, “aeshvarya” is known as “occult power”; that is, that which is acquired by cult is “occult”.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 1 September 1978, Patna, ElEdit 7, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 1, Devotion

A religion or cult which does not encourage spiritual elevation but keeps the human mind confined to narrow limits, and depicts God in various imaginary forms, is far removed from bhágavata dharma. In bhágavata dharma there is no scope for differentiations and distinctions. The religion or philosophy which causes the human mind to become so analytical that it distances itself from the one integral Entity is contrary to bhágavata dharma. Those following bhágavata dharma strive to create unity and synthesis in the midst of disunity and analysis.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 30 December 1966 DMC, Jamalpur, ElEdit 7, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 8, Bhágavata Dharma

The initial phase of the yaogika cult is the practice of Yama.” – Sarkar, Prabhat, Ánanda Púrńimá 1957, Jamalpur, Prout in a Nutshell Part 11, A Guide to Human Conduct, NIYAMA SÁDHANÁ

Here Lord Krśńa never says that women have no right to attain salvation. So on behalf of the philosophy of Ananda Marga, and also on behalf of the cult of Tantra, I hereby announce that males and females, who are the boys and girls of Parama Puruśa, the sons and daughters of Parama Puruśa, have an equal birthright to attain salvation. Those who say that women are not entitled to the same are antisocial elements. They represent vested interests.” Sarkar, Prabhat, 5 December 1978, Madras, ElEdit 7, The Awakening of Women, An Equal Birthright

Although Shiva was accepted in the Vedic Age, He himself did not follow the Vedic cult. He accepted only the Tantric cult and adhered to it very strictly, and persuaded others to do the same. You know that the Jain religion was introduced a little more than two thousand years ago, but the Shiva Cult is much older than the Jain religion.“…

…”The phallus worshippers of Central America belonged to the Mayan civilization; thus America is called Máyádviipa [Mayan Island] in Sanskrit. However, the fact is that those people followed this phallic worship from prehistoric times more as a social custom than as a spiritual or philosophic cult.

In the Jain age, the naked idols of the Tiirthauṋkars aroused a new thought in the minds of the people, and thus for the first time phallic worship was introduced as part of the spiritual cult of Digambara Jainism.“…

…”Now, the followers of Jainism are all vegetarians. The followers of Shiva are also vegetarians. But the Shiva Cult was more practical and thus it became the valuable asset of human beings, while Jainism became estranged from the people because of its impractical nature. For example, according to Jainism, tilling the land is not permitted because it would kill many worms and insects, thereby violating the principle of non-violence. But Shaeva Dharma is quite practical. Lord Shiva said Varttamáneśu vartteta [“Live in the present”]. In other words, “Never ignore the practical realities of life.” So even in the age of Jainism, the followers of the Shiva Cult used to cultivate the land, because to refrain from agriculture was not common sense. Again, the followers of Jainism covered their faces with a piece of cloth so that insects might not enter their noses and die. The followers of the Shiva Cult did not do such things, and they even fought if necessary, for they strictly followed the instructions of Shiva. There was much similarity between these two cultures, but in comparison with the culture of Shiva, the Jain culture had some serious drawbacks.“…

…”Anyway, Shiva was worshipped as a bodhisattva in the Buddhist Age. At that time a small idol of Buddha was set on the head of the image of Shiva or on the Shiva-liuṋga. The acoustic root of this Buddhist Shiva, the Jain Shiva and the Shiva of Post-Shiva Tantra was aeḿ. This aeḿ is the acoustic root of speech and hearing, the root from which all knowledge springs.

Then came the Shiva Cult and Shákta Cult of the Puranic Age. In this age also, the worship of Shiva continued. The Puranic concept of Shiva was the consolidation of the worship of the twenty-two varieties of Shiva-liuṋga, including the jyotirliuṋga, the anádiliuṋga, the ádiliuṋga, etc., plus the Shiva-liuṋga of King Váńa. But the interesting thing is that the Shiva of this Puranic Age was quite different from the Shiva of Jain, Buddhist, or Post-Shiva Tantra. Consequently the acoustic root of Shiva also changed from aeḿ to haoḿ. The acoustic root of the Puranic Shiva became Haoḿ Shiváya namah.

The concept of a deity must change if there is a change in its acoustic root. So Sadáshiva, the very shelter of human life for seven thousand years, and this Shiva of the Jain, Buddhist or Post-Shiva Tantra, are not the same person.

There is another interesting thing which people generally ignore. You will notice that when Buddhism was gradually transformed into Puranic Shaivism, that transitional period was the age of the Nátha Cult. The word nátha [lord] used to be appended to the names of the prophets of the Nátha Cult, for instance Ádinátha, Miinanátha, Matsyendranátha (who invented Matsyendrásana), Gorakśanátha, Gohiniinátha, and Caoraungiinátha (after whom Chowringee Street in Calcutta has been named). These were the spiritual teachers of the Nátha Cult.

This Nátha Cult was the result of the synthesis between Buddhist Tantra and the Puranic Shiva Cult. All the masters of the Nátha Cult were considered as avatáras of Shiva; that is, after the death of these masters, people made idols of them and worshipped them in the temples as incarnations of Shiva. Thus just as the word nátha was appended to the names of the masters, it was also appended to the names of Shiva when He was worshipped – for instance, Tárakanátha, Vaedyanátha, Vishvanátha, etc.

These deities were the objects of worship for the followers of the Nátha Cult; they had nothing to do with the Sadáshiva of seven thousand years ago. There was a vast time gap of about 5500 years between the two. Although in the Shiva Cult and the Shákta Cult of the Puranic Age people continued the worship of Shiva-liuṋga, they used to append the word iishvara [controller or lord] to the names of Shiva just to differentiate their Shiva from the Shiva of the Nátha Cult. For instance, Tárakeshvara, Vishveshvara and Rámeshvara. Sometimes they used to name Shiva with the addition of both nátha, in the manner of the Nátha Cult followers, and iishvara, in the manner of the Puranic Shiva Cult. For instance, they would say either, or both, Tárakanátha or Tarákeshvara, Vishvanátha or Vishveshvara. (But the Vaedyanátha of Deoghar cannot be called Vaedyeshvara.)

From this one can easily distinguish which Shiva was worshipped by which cult – which was worshipped by the Nátha Cult followers, and which by the Puranic Shiva Cult followers.

Saoráśt́re Somanáthaiṋca,
Shriishaela Mallikárjunám;
Ujjayinyáḿ Mahákálaḿ,
Oṋḿkáramamaleshvaram.

[Shiva of Saurashtra is called Somanátha; in Shriishaela He is Mallikárjunam; in Ujjayinii He is Mahákálaḿ, and in Oṋḿkárnáth He is Amaleshvaram.]

Again it is said:

Váráńasyáḿ Vishvanáthah,
Setubandhe Rámeshvarah;
Jháŕakhańd́e Vaedyanáthah,
Ráŕhe ca Tárakeshvarah.

[He is known as Vishvanátha in Varanasi, as Rámeshvara in Setubandha, as Vaedyanátha in Jharakhańd́a, and as Tárakeshvara in Ráŕh.]

This is how Shiva is variously worshipped by the followers of different cults. In some places He is addressed as nátha by the followers of the Nátha Cult, in other places as iishvara by the followers of the Puranic Shiva Cult. The acoustic root for Shiva in all these cases is haoḿ, and as there has been a change in the acoustic root, this Shiva is not the Shiva of seven thousand years ago.“…

…”That laokik Shiva pervaded every aspect of social life. Even today, small girls make clay images of Shiva-liuṋga, and with a little ghee poured into their earthen lamps with cotton wicks, perform evening árati [worship] to Shiva. This Shiva is neither a Vedic deity, nor Tantric, nor Jain, nor Buddhist, nor Post-Shiva Tantric, nor of the Puranic Shiva Cult, nor of the Nátha cult. He is the laokik Shiva – the simple god of the simple people. For this Shiva there is no necessity of biija mantra, or of dhyána mantra, or of prańáma mantra, or of any priest, or of any ritualistic paraphernalia. The people have been worshipping this Shiva for ages in their simplest language and saying, Namah Shiváya namah, at the time of offering their obeisances, satisfied with the idea that this will please their god. Maybe this Shiva is not Parama Puruśa or Parama Brahma, but He is the sweet and most intimate god of the common people.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 2 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, Shiva Throughout the Ages (Discourse 5)

[I offer my deepest salutations to that goddess who is in all created beings in the form of the Universal Mother. I offer my deepest salutations to the goddess who is immanent in all created beings in the form of the Supreme Force.]

Thus the people, being inspired by this idea, developed the system of mother worship in early stages of the Puranic Shakti Cult, in the last phase of Post-Shiva Tantra. Alongside this developed the custom of kumárii pújá [virgin worship], just to please the future clan-mothers. So the custom of cańd́ii pújá gave rise to the custom of virgin worship. One who is a maiden today will be a clan-mother in due course; so it was wise to please these clan-mothers-to-be by offering them something.

Thus we see that cańd́ii pújá or kumárii pújá was essentially a social affair, but in Post-Shiva Tantra and in the first phase of the Puranic Shakti Cult, a religious tinge was added to it. This is how the worship of virgins originated. Now this system has almost disappeared.

The situation changed a great deal in subsequent periods. The matrilineal order was stopped, and the supremacy of gotramátá came to an end. Then came the age of the patriarchal system, and along with it the leadership of the clan vested in the gotrapitá.

The same tradition perpetuated itself even in the patriarchal system; that is, the head of the clan had to be kept in good humour with gifts and offerings. He enjoyed unlimited power, as the clan-mother did in the heyday of the matrilineal order.

Cańd́iká shakti is the cańd́a shakti, the great power exercised by the clan-mother. This cańd́ii shakti or cańd́a shakti reached its climax during the days of Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranic Shakti Cult. We shall say more about the Puranic Shakti Cult later. So you understand how the concept of cańd́ii originated.“…

…”But then he was elevated to the status of a god of religion in the days of the Puranic Gańapati Cult. What is this Gańapati Cult? There is a story in the Puranas that the mother of Gańesha was Durgá. Now when Gańesha was born, his maternal uncle, Shani, came to pay a visit to his nephew. In mythology, Shani is the name of a god and a planet also: Shani, or Saturn, is one of the planets of the sun. However, when Shani’s eyes fell on the newborn babe, the child’s head disappeared. What was to be done in that predicament? So the severed head of an elephant was grafted onto the child’s body, and since then Gańesha’s face has resembled that of an elephant. This is just a mythological story, and the story has nothing to do with Shiva and Párvatii, for Gańesha is the son neither of Shiva nor of Párvatii. According to mythology, he is the son of Durgá, a Puranic goddess.“…

…”According to some Puranas, Śaśt́hii is Gańesha’s wife, while according to other Puranas, Śaśt́hii is the name of Kárttika’s wife.

Now let us return to Gańesha. Gańesha was the group leader of prehistoric days. Some time after Post-Shiva Tantra, in the Puranic Age, a special cult, the Gańapati Cult, arose centring around Gańapati. You should remember that some five cults arose following the Puranic doctrine that had its origin some 1300 or 1400 years back: Shaevácára, Sháktácára, Vaeśńavácára, Gáńapatyácára and Saorácára.

Let us throw some light on Shaevácára [the Shiva Cult]. The main goal of human beings is Shivasamádhi [final enlightenment]. Human beings should direct all their outer expressions of life towards the inner world, and finally merge in Paramátmá [Supreme Soul]. This is the sum and substance of the Shiva Cult.

Yacched váunmanasi prájiṋastad yacched jiṋánamátmani;
Jiṋánamátmani mahati niyacched tad yacchecchántátmani.

This shántátmá [referred to in tad yacchecchántátmani of the shloka] means Shivátmá [Supreme Entity]; one who merges in the Supreme Entity attains Shivasamádhi, which is the goal of every spiritual aspirant.

Next is Sháktácára [the Shakti Cult]. According to Sháktácára, the static principle contained in támasikii shakti has to be merged in Bhavánii shakti, or Káliká shakti (the acoustic root for Káliká shakti is saḿ). And then the mutative principle has to be withdrawn from Káliká shakti and merged in Bhaeravii shakti (the acoustic root of Bhaeravii shakti is shaḿ).

Bhaeravii shakti means energy in action. All people want to come into contact with the mutative force. The acoustic root of energy is raḿ and that for the mutative principle is shaḿ. People want energy supported by the mutative force so that they might enjoy name and fame. So they crave for sha + ra = shra (in the feminine gender, shrii, beauty). Thus there was a custom in olden days for people to prefix their names with the word shrii. The old custom has fallen into some disuse: shrii is used less nowadays. But I hope that these days people will not become vishrii [ugly]! Then the sentient forces [or principles] have to be withdrawn from Bhaeravii shakti, and merged in Kaośikii shakti, or Mahásarasvatii, the spiritual effulgence.

These are the successive phases of the Puranic Shakti Cult. This cult begins with Káliká shakti, but Káliká is not Kálii, the wife of Shiva, nor the Káliká Shakti of Buddhist Tantra or Post-Shiva Tantra, nor Káliká the Puranic goddess. Rather, this Káliká is a philosophical term, the inner spirit of a system of sádhaná.

Next is Vaeśńavácára [the Viśńu Cult].“…

…”A devout Vaishnavite is seeing Viśńu in everything. Then he sits down to eat rice from a plate. He has a dog on his lap who partakes of food from the same plate. Another scholar who happens to discover that the Vaishnavite gentleman and his dog are eating from the same plate bursts into laughter. He asks how a devout Vaishnavite can eat food from the same plate as a dog. The Vaishnavite replies, “Viśńu in the form of a dog is sitting on the lap of a man, another manifestation of the same Viśńu. Viśńu the man and Viśńu the dog are eating rice, another manifestation of Viśńu. And why are you, another manifestation of Viśńu, laughing? Everything in this universe is Viśńu.” This is the Puranic Viśńu Cult.

The fourth is Gánápatyácára [the Gańesha, or Gańapati, Cult]. When the ancient custom of group leadership – gańapativáda, vináyakaváda or gańeshaváda – became converted into a cult during the Puranic Age, the idea was adopted that the group leader was the leader of the universe. “The Supreme Entity is the leader of our group. We will try to satisfy Parama Puruśa.” With this sort of outlook, the Gánápatya Cult evolved during the Puranic Age. They are worshippers of gańapati, the group leader. This is the Gańapati Cult.

Last is the Saora [Sun] Cult. This cult was propagated by the Brahmans who came from Shákadviipa. Shákadviipa was the southern part of Russia, with its capital at Tashkent. The original Greek name of this area was Sacdonia. These Brahmans who migrated to India from Sacdonia did not recognize the Vedas or anything else; they were astrologers and teachers of áyurveda. Since they cultivated the science of astrology and astronomy, they used to worship the sun-god, Súrya. The word saora is derived from súrya plus the suffix śńa, giving the sense of “offspring”; saora means “one who is the worshipper of the sun-god”. When it developed into a full-fledged cult, the idea behind it was that the sun-god, who was the creator of this world, was also the creator of the solar system; that is, all the planets – earth, Mars, Mercury, etc. – have come from the sun. The sun is their father. Similarly, the father of this universe is the sun-like Parama Puruśa; so the sun is worshipped as the Supreme Progenitor of this universe. This is the inner essence of the Súrya Cult, which was spread by the Sacdonian Brahmans. But it was not well accepted anywhere in India; it was only accepted to a moderate extent in some places.

These were the five main cults of the Puranic Age. None of them became widely established. Some enjoyed a limited popularity, while some barely existed at all. Some have a philosophical basis, while others do not.

I told you previously about Gauṋgá. Párvatii had a son, Bhaerava. He used to practise Tantra, and was a favourite of Shiva. Kálii had a daughter Bhaeravii. She also used to practise Tantra and was also a favourite of Shiva. But Gauṋgá’s son, Kárttika, was very extroversive in outlook. He was more fascinated with the external world, with less interest in the subjective world. This did not please Gauṋgá. So in order to remove Gauṋgá’s sorrow, Shiva was very affectionate towards her, and for that reason, people used to say jokingly that Shiva was dancing with Gauṋgá on His head.(6) The fact was different, as I have explained.

Then later on, during the days of the Puranic Shakti Cult and the Shiva Cult, this incident was symbolized by tying Gauṋgá to Shiva’s matted locks of hair, and from Gauṋgá’s mouth, the flow of the River Gauṋgá, or Ganges, originated. This was merely the imagination of the authors of the Puranas.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 30 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, All Bask In the Glory of Shiva – 3 (Discourse 8)

All this proves that the synthesis of these three systems of Tantra charted a new path. This was all made possible by the invention of script. As long as script was unknown or unused, they maintained their distinct separateness; but with the popular use of script, they began to come closer to each other. For example, Ambiká is an accepted deity of Jain Tantra. But then she also became recognized by Shivottara Tantra – she was supposed to be a wife of Shiva. (But as you know, these deities cannot be the wives of Sadáshiva, who is seven thousand years old, whereas these deities are all of comparatively recent origin – about two thousand years old – arising after the invention of script.) This Ambiká Devii has been accepted in a different manner in Paoráńik Sháktácára [the Puranic Shakti Cult], as the goddess Lakśmii, but actually she is a Jain deity.

In Ráŕh, there is a town named Kalna where there is still a temple dedicated to the goddess Ambiká. Once there was a tremendous influence of Jainism in Ráŕh. The town was named Ambiká-Kalna, after the goddess, and is now called Enbo-Kalna. Another instance: the Buddhist goddess Tárá was accepted in Shivottara Tantra, and still later, in the Puranic Shakti Cult. And her changed form was accepted in the Puranic Shakti Cult as the goddess Sarasvatii. The goddess Kálii of Shivottara Tantra was accepted in Buddhist Tantra.

Thus there came an age of synthesis. And following this synthesis, these deities were accepted as gods and goddesses in Paoráńik Shaevácára [the Puranic Shiva Cult] and the Puranic Shakti Cult in somewhat changed form. This form underwent slightly more transformation during the middle of the Pathan Age, whose influence still lingers in a minor form.

Now in the process of synthesis among Jain, Buddhist and Shivottara Tantra, there evolved a new concept, the concept of Dashamahávidyá [Ten Mahávidyás], centring around those deities who had general influence in all three systems of Tantra. The idea of Dashamahávidyá arose out of ten Tantric deities, some from Jain Tantra, some from Buddhist Tantra and some from Shivottara Tantra. These deities, in slightly changed form, were accepted in Paoráńik Sháktácára, Vaeśńavácára, Shaevácára and Gáńapatyácára [the Puranic Shakti Cult, Viśńu Cult, Shiva Cult and Gańapati Cult]. While analysing the history of Dashamahávidyá, it is interesting to see how the concept of each deity evolved – how an idea dawned upon the human mind and gradually expanded in the path of synthesis until finally its basic defects demolished its own fundaments.“…

…”Tárá is purely a deity of the Buddhist Vajrayána Tantra. But she is accepted as a deity in Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranic Shakti Cult.

Even today, you will come across boys with names such as Tárápada, Táráprasáda, etc., and girls with such names as Tárádevii. This is the history behind these names.

Tárá has no relation to Shiva. People wrongly believe that she is the wife of Shiva. I shall say something more about Tárá later, when I discuss Sarasvatii.

Then comes Śod́ashii, the third deity. In this connection, let us say something about biija mantra. At the time of Shiva, there was no use of biija mantra in Shiva Tantra. The people loved Shiva so intimately that they did not think it necessary to worship Him with a particular biija mantra. In subsequent periods the use of biija mantra became an accepted practice. In Buddhist Tantra, the acoustic root of Kálii was raḿ: this was also the acoustic root of energy. This biija mantra signifies the application of energy in action. But in Post-Shiva Tantra the biija mantra for the same purpose was changed into riiḿ. (Ra, the acoustic root of energy, plus ii suffix, indicating feminine gender, equals riiḿ.) This denotes that energy is a female entity. And in still later days, when this deity Kálii was accepted in the Puranic Shakti Cult (the present custom of the worship of the goddess Kálii is derived from the Puranic Shakti Cult), the biija mantra (riiḿ) was further changed into klrḿ: Klrḿ Káliikáyae namah.

Generally in the Post-Buddha days, during the period of the Puranic Shakti Cult, all the Buddhist, Jain and Post-Shiva Tantric deities were declared to be the wives of Shiva, otherwise the society would not recognize and worship them. But they have different biija mantras. In the Puranic Age, the commonly-accepted practice was that the controlling deities derived from Post-Shiva Tantra were designated as “Dakśińá Shakti”, and those derived from Vajrayána Buddhism were designated as “Vámá Shakti”.

For instance, Káliká: she was known as “Vámá Kálii” when worshipped in Buddhist Tantra. When an image was made of her, she would be painted jet-black; her left leg would be placed forward, her right leg behind; and there would be red patches on her left leg. This deity, Vámá Kálii, was not worshipped inside houses or in villages; she was worshipped in the cremation grounds outside the villages. These days, these deities are called by various names: for instance, Vámá Kálii, Shmashána Kálii, Rakśá Kálii and Rat́antii Kálii. These are all deities of the Buddhist Tantra Cult, subsequently declared to be “Vámá Shakti”; and the goddesses of Post-Shiva Tantra who are now accepted in the Puranic Cult are called “Dakśińá Shakti”.”…

…”Later on I will say a little more about the periods of Jain Tantra, Buddhist Tantra, Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranas, which were prevalent about 1300 years ago, and on whose basis evolved the Puranic Shakti Cult, Shiva Cult, Viśńu Cult, Gańapati Cult and Súrya Cult.
” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 18 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, All Bask in the Glory of Shiva – 1 (Discourse 6)

“Even when Buddhism and Jainism were in their ascendancy, these original people of Bengal did not give up their Shaeva Dharma. Outwardly there may have been some influence of Buddhism and Jainism on them, but inwardly they remained Shaivites, followers of Shiva. You should remember this, for later you will understand its historical importance. In those days they used to observe certain festivals centring around Shiva, which Shiva Himself did not really teach them. Nor were those celebrations held during Shiva’s time. But out of their great reverence and love for Shiva, they used to observe those festivals, which have continued in Bengal even to this day. If you observe carefully, you will find that these celebrations are popular mostly among the six groups of original Bengalees. Of these six communities, the Chakma’s later accepted Hiinayána Buddhism, but the remaining five communities adhered to their original cult. Nowadays, they have no doubt accepted the Puranic religion, but in those days they were completely Shaivite.”…

…”Cakra – cakkara – caŕaka. The word caŕaka has been derived from the original cakra. Formerly in Calcutta there were quite a few localities called Caŕakad́áuṋgá. This is how the Caŕaka Festival originated, as a result of the combined influence of Maháyána Buddhism and the ancient Shaeva Dharma. The people of Bengal gave up Buddhism and embraced the Puranic religion only about 1300 years ago. The dharmacakra system of Buddhism is still retained, but the presiding deity of the wheel is no longer Buddha; it is Shiva of the Shiva Cult, because the influence of Shaeva Dharma was always present in the social life like a subterranean flow of water.
“…

…”[I will surely worship my Lord Shiva. The absolute, eternal and supreme essence of all.]

One more important thing needs to be mentioned. With the decline of Shaeva Dharma, Buddhism and Jainism emerged. Over the course of time, Buddhism and Jainism also began to decline; their philosophical base began to be eroded. During that critical period Buddhism and Jainism were declining and the newly-propounded Puranic religion was emerging. During this transitional stage in Indian history, a new doctrine, a new cult, emerged as a result of the synthesis of the declining Buddhism (which was popularly known as Baoddha Yogácára or Vajrayána at that time) and the rising Puranic religion (which was known as Shaevácára, though it had no relation to Shaeva Dharma). This cult was the Nátha Cult, Nátha Dharma. The word nátha used to be appended to the names of the preceptors of this Nátha Cult, such as Ádinátha, Matsyendranátha (who invented Matsyendrásana [spinal twist]), Miinanátha, Gorakśanátha, Gohininátha, Caoraungiinátha, etc. This Nátha Cult had a large influence in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Bengal. Though much of Buddhism was accepted in the Nátha Cult, Shiva was the predominant god of the sect; but it had nothing to do with the actual Shiva or the Dharma He propounded.

Not only Shaevácára but other cults also blended with the declining Buddhism or declining Jainism. The Puranic Cult had five sub-cults in it – Shaevácára, the Shiva Cult; Sháktácára, the Shakti Cult; Vaeśńavácára, the Viśńu Cult; Saorácára, the Súrya Cult; and Gáńapatyácára, the Gańapati Cult.

Gáńapatyácára emerged in the Maharastra area of western India at a time when Buddhism was starting to decay and the Puranic religion was on the rise. That is, a new cult arose centring around Gańapati or Gańesha. During the same period, in some parts of Bengal, the Shakti Cult was emerging, which included the sacrifice of animals at the altars of the deities. In southern India, Shaevácára and Vaeśńavácára emerged simultaneously. In Bengal, Vaeśńavácára was yet to evolve.

Saorácára was popular only among the Shákadviipii Brahmans. (As they studied astronomy, they accepted the sun as their planet-god).(6) They were opposed to the Vedas. Wherever there is a greater concentration of Shákadviipii Brahmans, there you will find sun-temples. Their sun-god is dressed in loose trousers like the Afghans, a loose jacket on his body, a rosary in his hand, a fez on his head – the dress of an Afghan Muslim. This sun-god is the presiding deity for the Shákadviipii Brahmans of Central Asia.

Anyway, Buddhism and Jainism underwent great changes and were converted into sub-cults. In those days, Matsyendranátha of the Nátha Cult was a prince of Bengal. At that time the capital of Bengal was Maynamati – a place in the present Comilla District of Bangladesh. Maynamati is near the present Tripura State.

There was another famous yogi of the Nátha Cult – Bábá Caoraungiinátha. In those days he had an ashram at a place which is now called Chowringee. As pilgrims had great difficulties on their long journey through the forest to the Kalighat Temple, he had his disciples build a broad road to Kalighat. That road was named after Caoraungii Bábá – the present Chowringee Road. I am told that the present authorities are trying to change the name of this road. This is unfortunate; it is a distortion of history.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 25 April 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, Shiva – the Focal Point of Everything (Discourse 3)

The Mahásaḿghikas used to call themselves Maháyánii Buddhists, and the Sthavirvádii, Hiinayánii. The former is called the Northern School of the Buddhist Cult, and the latter is called the Southern School of the Buddhist Cult. The Maháyána is called the Northern School because its jurisdiction was Tibet, China, Mongolia, Outer Mongolia, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Nepal, Bhutan, Sikkim, NEFA [Northeastern Frontier Agency], southern and eastern Russia, Japan, and Korea. The Sthavirváda is called the Southern School of the Buddhist Cult because its jurisdiction was Sri Lanka, Chittagong of Bengal, Burma, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, etc. Gradually the gap between them widened more and more. The scriptures of the Southern School were written in Pali, that is, Mágadhii Prákrta. And the scriptures of the Northern School were written in simple Sanskrit, although Buddha gave his teachings in the Pali language.

The Maháyána School of the Buddhist Cult was further sub-divided in the course of time into two groups – Mantrayána and Tantrayána. Considering the psychological needs of the people, the followers of these Mantrayána and Tantrayána sub-cults invented various new Buddhist gods and goddesses. Later on, the Tantrayána group was further divided into two sub-groups, Kálacakrayána and Vajrayána.“…

…”During those days, the followers of the Buddhist Cult prayed to Buddha to provide them with various objects of pleasure.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 9 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, The Pervasive Influence of Shiva (Discourse 4)

Although Shiva was accepted in the Vedic Age, He himself did not follow the Vedic cult. He accepted only the Tantric cult and adhered to it very strictly, and persuaded others to do the same. You know that the Jain religion was introduced a little more than two thousand years ago, but the Shiva Cult is much older than the Jain religion.“…

…”The phallus worshippers of Central America belonged to the Mayan civilization; thus America is called Máyádviipa [Mayan Island] in Sanskrit. However, the fact is that those people followed this phallic worship from prehistoric times more as a social custom than as a spiritual or philosophic cult.

In the Jain age, the naked idols of the Tiirthauṋkars aroused a new thought in the minds of the people, and thus for the first time phallic worship was introduced as part of the spiritual cult of Digambara Jainism.“…

…”Now, the followers of Jainism are all vegetarians. The followers of Shiva are also vegetarians. But the Shiva Cult was more practical and thus it became the valuable asset of human beings, while Jainism became estranged from the people because of its impractical nature. For example, according to Jainism, tilling the land is not permitted because it would kill many worms and insects, thereby violating the principle of non-violence. But Shaeva Dharma is quite practical. Lord Shiva said Varttamáneśu vartteta [“Live in the present”]. In other words, “Never ignore the practical realities of life.” So even in the age of Jainism, the followers of the Shiva Cult used to cultivate the land, because to refrain from agriculture was not common sense. Again, the followers of Jainism covered their faces with a piece of cloth so that insects might not enter their noses and die. The followers of the Shiva Cult did not do such things, and they even fought if necessary, for they strictly followed the instructions of Shiva. There was much similarity between these two cultures, but in comparison with the culture of Shiva, the Jain culture had some serious drawbacks.“…

…”Anyway, Shiva was worshipped as a bodhisattva in the Buddhist Age. At that time a small idol of Buddha was set on the head of the image of Shiva or on the Shiva-liuṋga. The acoustic root of this Buddhist Shiva, the Jain Shiva and the Shiva of Post-Shiva Tantra was aeḿ. This aeḿ is the acoustic root of speech and hearing, the root from which all knowledge springs.

Then came the Shiva Cult and Shákta Cult of the Puranic Age. In this age also, the worship of Shiva continued. The Puranic concept of Shiva was the consolidation of the worship of the twenty-two varieties of Shiva-liuṋga, including the jyotirliuṋga, the anádiliuṋga, the ádiliuṋga, etc., plus the Shiva-liuṋga of King Váńa. But the interesting thing is that the Shiva of this Puranic Age was quite different from the Shiva of Jain, Buddhist, or Post-Shiva Tantra. Consequently the acoustic root of Shiva also changed from aeḿ to haoḿ. The acoustic root of the Puranic Shiva became Haoḿ Shiváya namah.

The concept of a deity must change if there is a change in its acoustic root. So Sadáshiva, the very shelter of human life for seven thousand years, and this Shiva of the Jain, Buddhist or Post-Shiva Tantra, are not the same person.

There is another interesting thing which people generally ignore. You will notice that when Buddhism was gradually transformed into Puranic Shaivism, that transitional period was the age of the Nátha Cult. The word nátha [lord] used to be appended to the names of the prophets of the Nátha Cult, for instance Ádinátha, Miinanátha, Matsyendranátha (who invented Matsyendrásana), Gorakśanátha, Gohiniinátha, and Caoraungiinátha (after whom Chowringee Street in Calcutta has been named). These were the spiritual teachers of the Nátha Cult.

This Nátha Cult was the result of the synthesis between Buddhist Tantra and the Puranic Shiva Cult. All the masters of the Nátha Cult were considered as avatáras of Shiva; that is, after the death of these masters, people made idols of them and worshipped them in the temples as incarnations of Shiva. Thus just as the word nátha was appended to the names of the masters, it was also appended to the names of Shiva when He was worshipped – for instance, Tárakanátha, Vaedyanátha, Vishvanátha, etc.

These deities were the objects of worship for the followers of the Nátha Cult; they had nothing to do with the Sadáshiva of seven thousand years ago. There was a vast time gap of about 5500 years between the two. Although in the Shiva Cult and the Shákta Cult of the Puranic Age people continued the worship of Shiva-liuṋga, they used to append the word iishvara [controller or lord] to the names of Shiva just to differentiate their Shiva from the Shiva of the Nátha Cult. For instance, Tárakeshvara, Vishveshvara and Rámeshvara. Sometimes they used to name Shiva with the addition of both nátha, in the manner of the Nátha Cult followers, and iishvara, in the manner of the Puranic Shiva Cult. For instance, they would say either, or both, Tárakanátha or Tarákeshvara, Vishvanátha or Vishveshvara. (But the Vaedyanátha of Deoghar cannot be called Vaedyeshvara.)

From this one can easily distinguish which Shiva was worshipped by which cult – which was worshipped by the Nátha Cult followers, and which by the Puranic Shiva Cult followers.

Saoráśt́re Somanáthaiṋca,
Shriishaela Mallikárjunám;
Ujjayinyáḿ Mahákálaḿ,
Oṋḿkáramamaleshvaram.

[Shiva of Saurashtra is called Somanátha; in Shriishaela He is Mallikárjunam; in Ujjayinii He is Mahákálaḿ, and in Oṋḿkárnáth He is Amaleshvaram.]

Again it is said:

Váráńasyáḿ Vishvanáthah,
Setubandhe Rámeshvarah;
Jháŕakhańd́e Vaedyanáthah,
Ráŕhe ca Tárakeshvarah.

[He is known as Vishvanátha in Varanasi, as Rámeshvara in Setubandha, as Vaedyanátha in Jharakhańd́a, and as Tárakeshvara in Ráŕh.]

This is how Shiva is variously worshipped by the followers of different cults. In some places He is addressed as nátha by the followers of the Nátha Cult, in other places as iishvara by the followers of the Puranic Shiva Cult. The acoustic root for Shiva in all these cases is haoḿ, and as there has been a change in the acoustic root, this Shiva is not the Shiva of seven thousand years ago.“…

…”That laokik Shiva pervaded every aspect of social life. Even today, small girls make clay images of Shiva-liuṋga, and with a little ghee poured into their earthen lamps with cotton wicks, perform evening árati [worship] to Shiva. This Shiva is neither a Vedic deity, nor Tantric, nor Jain, nor Buddhist, nor Post-Shiva Tantric, nor of the Puranic Shiva Cult, nor of the Nátha cult. He is the laokik Shiva – the simple god of the simple people. For this Shiva there is no necessity of biija mantra, or of dhyána mantra, or of prańáma mantra, or of any priest, or of any ritualistic paraphernalia. The people have been worshipping this Shiva for ages in their simplest language and saying, Namah Shiváya namah, at the time of offering their obeisances, satisfied with the idea that this will please their god. Maybe this Shiva is not Parama Puruśa or Parama Brahma, but He is the sweet and most intimate god of the common people.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 2 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, Shiva Throughout the Ages (Discourse 5)

[I offer my deepest salutations to that goddess who is in all created beings in the form of the Universal Mother. I offer my deepest salutations to the goddess who is immanent in all created beings in the form of the Supreme Force.]

Thus the people, being inspired by this idea, developed the system of mother worship in early stages of the Puranic Shakti Cult, in the last phase of Post-Shiva Tantra. Alongside this developed the custom of kumárii pújá [virgin worship], just to please the future clan-mothers. So the custom of cańd́ii pújá gave rise to the custom of virgin worship. One who is a maiden today will be a clan-mother in due course; so it was wise to please these clan-mothers-to-be by offering them something.

Thus we see that cańd́ii pújá or kumárii pújá was essentially a social affair, but in Post-Shiva Tantra and in the first phase of the Puranic Shakti Cult, a religious tinge was added to it. This is how the worship of virgins originated. Now this system has almost disappeared.

The situation changed a great deal in subsequent periods. The matrilineal order was stopped, and the supremacy of gotramátá came to an end. Then came the age of the patriarchal system, and along with it the leadership of the clan vested in the gotrapitá.

The same tradition perpetuated itself even in the patriarchal system; that is, the head of the clan had to be kept in good humour with gifts and offerings. He enjoyed unlimited power, as the clan-mother did in the heyday of the matrilineal order.

Cańd́iká shakti is the cańd́a shakti, the great power exercised by the clan-mother. This cańd́ii shakti or cańd́a shakti reached its climax during the days of Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranic Shakti Cult. We shall say more about the Puranic Shakti Cult later. So you understand how the concept of cańd́ii originated.“…

…”But then he was elevated to the status of a god of religion in the days of the Puranic Gańapati Cult. What is this Gańapati Cult? There is a story in the Puranas that the mother of Gańesha was Durgá. Now when Gańesha was born, his maternal uncle, Shani, came to pay a visit to his nephew. In mythology, Shani is the name of a god and a planet also: Shani, or Saturn, is one of the planets of the sun. However, when Shani’s eyes fell on the newborn babe, the child’s head disappeared. What was to be done in that predicament? So the severed head of an elephant was grafted onto the child’s body, and since then Gańesha’s face has resembled that of an elephant. This is just a mythological story, and the story has nothing to do with Shiva and Párvatii, for Gańesha is the son neither of Shiva nor of Párvatii. According to mythology, he is the son of Durgá, a Puranic goddess.“…

…”According to some Puranas, Śaśt́hii is Gańesha’s wife, while according to other Puranas, Śaśt́hii is the name of Kárttika’s wife.

Now let us return to Gańesha. Gańesha was the group leader of prehistoric days. Some time after Post-Shiva Tantra, in the Puranic Age, a special cult, the Gańapati Cult, arose centring around Gańapati. You should remember that some five cults arose following the Puranic doctrine that had its origin some 1300 or 1400 years back: Shaevácára, Sháktácára, Vaeśńavácára, Gáńapatyácára and Saorácára.

Let us throw some light on Shaevácára [the Shiva Cult]. The main goal of human beings is Shivasamádhi [final enlightenment]. Human beings should direct all their outer expressions of life towards the inner world, and finally merge in Paramátmá [Supreme Soul]. This is the sum and substance of the Shiva Cult.

Yacched váunmanasi prájiṋastad yacched jiṋánamátmani;
Jiṋánamátmani mahati niyacched tad yacchecchántátmani.

This shántátmá [referred to in tad yacchecchántátmani of the shloka] means Shivátmá [Supreme Entity]; one who merges in the Supreme Entity attains Shivasamádhi, which is the goal of every spiritual aspirant.

Next is Sháktácára [the Shakti Cult]. According to Sháktácára, the static principle contained in támasikii shakti has to be merged in Bhavánii shakti, or Káliká shakti (the acoustic root for Káliká shakti is saḿ). And then the mutative principle has to be withdrawn from Káliká shakti and merged in Bhaeravii shakti (the acoustic root of Bhaeravii shakti is shaḿ).

Bhaeravii shakti means energy in action. All people want to come into contact with the mutative force. The acoustic root of energy is raḿ and that for the mutative principle is shaḿ. People want energy supported by the mutative force so that they might enjoy name and fame. So they crave for sha + ra = shra (in the feminine gender, shrii, beauty). Thus there was a custom in olden days for people to prefix their names with the word shrii. The old custom has fallen into some disuse: shrii is used less nowadays. But I hope that these days people will not become vishrii [ugly]! Then the sentient forces [or principles] have to be withdrawn from Bhaeravii shakti, and merged in Kaośikii shakti, or Mahásarasvatii, the spiritual effulgence.

These are the successive phases of the Puranic Shakti Cult. This cult begins with Káliká shakti, but Káliká is not Kálii, the wife of Shiva, nor the Káliká Shakti of Buddhist Tantra or Post-Shiva Tantra, nor Káliká the Puranic goddess. Rather, this Káliká is a philosophical term, the inner spirit of a system of sádhaná.

Next is Vaeśńavácára [the Viśńu Cult].“…

…”A devout Vaishnavite is seeing Viśńu in everything. Then he sits down to eat rice from a plate. He has a dog on his lap who partakes of food from the same plate. Another scholar who happens to discover that the Vaishnavite gentleman and his dog are eating from the same plate bursts into laughter. He asks how a devout Vaishnavite can eat food from the same plate as a dog. The Vaishnavite replies, “Viśńu in the form of a dog is sitting on the lap of a man, another manifestation of the same Viśńu. Viśńu the man and Viśńu the dog are eating rice, another manifestation of Viśńu. And why are you, another manifestation of Viśńu, laughing? Everything in this universe is Viśńu.” This is the Puranic Viśńu Cult.

The fourth is Gánápatyácára [the Gańesha, or Gańapati, Cult]. When the ancient custom of group leadership – gańapativáda, vináyakaváda or gańeshaváda – became converted into a cult during the Puranic Age, the idea was adopted that the group leader was the leader of the universe. “The Supreme Entity is the leader of our group. We will try to satisfy Parama Puruśa.” With this sort of outlook, the Gánápatya Cult evolved during the Puranic Age. They are worshippers of gańapati, the group leader. This is the Gańapati Cult.

Last is the Saora [Sun] Cult. This cult was propagated by the Brahmans who came from Shákadviipa. Shákadviipa was the southern part of Russia, with its capital at Tashkent. The original Greek name of this area was Sacdonia. These Brahmans who migrated to India from Sacdonia did not recognize the Vedas or anything else; they were astrologers and teachers of áyurveda. Since they cultivated the science of astrology and astronomy, they used to worship the sun-god, Súrya. The word saora is derived from súrya plus the suffix śńa, giving the sense of “offspring”; saora means “one who is the worshipper of the sun-god”. When it developed into a full-fledged cult, the idea behind it was that the sun-god, who was the creator of this world, was also the creator of the solar system; that is, all the planets – earth, Mars, Mercury, etc. – have come from the sun. The sun is their father. Similarly, the father of this universe is the sun-like Parama Puruśa; so the sun is worshipped as the Supreme Progenitor of this universe. This is the inner essence of the Súrya Cult, which was spread by the Sacdonian Brahmans. But it was not well accepted anywhere in India; it was only accepted to a moderate extent in some places.

These were the five main cults of the Puranic Age. None of them became widely established. Some enjoyed a limited popularity, while some barely existed at all. Some have a philosophical basis, while others do not.

I told you previously about Gauṋgá. Párvatii had a son, Bhaerava. He used to practise Tantra, and was a favourite of Shiva. Kálii had a daughter Bhaeravii. She also used to practise Tantra and was also a favourite of Shiva. But Gauṋgá’s son, Kárttika, was very extroversive in outlook. He was more fascinated with the external world, with less interest in the subjective world. This did not please Gauṋgá. So in order to remove Gauṋgá’s sorrow, Shiva was very affectionate towards her, and for that reason, people used to say jokingly that Shiva was dancing with Gauṋgá on His head.(6) The fact was different, as I have explained.

Then later on, during the days of the Puranic Shakti Cult and the Shiva Cult, this incident was symbolized by tying Gauṋgá to Shiva’s matted locks of hair, and from Gauṋgá’s mouth, the flow of the River Gauṋgá, or Ganges, originated. This was merely the imagination of the authors of the Puranas.” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 30 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, All Bask In the Glory of Shiva – 3 (Discourse 8)

All this proves that the synthesis of these three systems of Tantra charted a new path. This was all made possible by the invention of script. As long as script was unknown or unused, they maintained their distinct separateness; but with the popular use of script, they began to come closer to each other. For example, Ambiká is an accepted deity of Jain Tantra. But then she also became recognized by Shivottara Tantra – she was supposed to be a wife of Shiva. (But as you know, these deities cannot be the wives of Sadáshiva, who is seven thousand years old, whereas these deities are all of comparatively recent origin – about two thousand years old – arising after the invention of script.) This Ambiká Devii has been accepted in a different manner in Paoráńik Sháktácára [the Puranic Shakti Cult], as the goddess Lakśmii, but actually she is a Jain deity.

In Ráŕh, there is a town named Kalna where there is still a temple dedicated to the goddess Ambiká. Once there was a tremendous influence of Jainism in Ráŕh. The town was named Ambiká-Kalna, after the goddess, and is now called Enbo-Kalna. Another instance: the Buddhist goddess Tárá was accepted in Shivottara Tantra, and still later, in the Puranic Shakti Cult. And her changed form was accepted in the Puranic Shakti Cult as the goddess Sarasvatii. The goddess Kálii of Shivottara Tantra was accepted in Buddhist Tantra.

Thus there came an age of synthesis. And following this synthesis, these deities were accepted as gods and goddesses in Paoráńik Shaevácára [the Puranic Shiva Cult] and the Puranic Shakti Cult in somewhat changed form. This form underwent slightly more transformation during the middle of the Pathan Age, whose influence still lingers in a minor form.

Now in the process of synthesis among Jain, Buddhist and Shivottara Tantra, there evolved a new concept, the concept of Dashamahávidyá [Ten Mahávidyás], centring around those deities who had general influence in all three systems of Tantra. The idea of Dashamahávidyá arose out of ten Tantric deities, some from Jain Tantra, some from Buddhist Tantra and some from Shivottara Tantra. These deities, in slightly changed form, were accepted in Paoráńik Sháktácára, Vaeśńavácára, Shaevácára and Gáńapatyácára [the Puranic Shakti Cult, Viśńu Cult, Shiva Cult and Gańapati Cult]. While analysing the history of Dashamahávidyá, it is interesting to see how the concept of each deity evolved – how an idea dawned upon the human mind and gradually expanded in the path of synthesis until finally its basic defects demolished its own fundaments.“…

…”Tárá is purely a deity of the Buddhist Vajrayána Tantra. But she is accepted as a deity in Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranic Shakti Cult.

Even today, you will come across boys with names such as Tárápada, Táráprasáda, etc., and girls with such names as Tárádevii. This is the history behind these names.

Tárá has no relation to Shiva. People wrongly believe that she is the wife of Shiva. I shall say something more about Tárá later, when I discuss Sarasvatii.

Then comes Śod́ashii, the third deity. In this connection, let us say something about biija mantra. At the time of Shiva, there was no use of biija mantra in Shiva Tantra. The people loved Shiva so intimately that they did not think it necessary to worship Him with a particular biija mantra. In subsequent periods the use of biija mantra became an accepted practice. In Buddhist Tantra, the acoustic root of Kálii was raḿ: this was also the acoustic root of energy. This biija mantra signifies the application of energy in action. But in Post-Shiva Tantra the biija mantra for the same purpose was changed into riiḿ. (Ra, the acoustic root of energy, plus ii suffix, indicating feminine gender, equals riiḿ.) This denotes that energy is a female entity. And in still later days, when this deity Kálii was accepted in the Puranic Shakti Cult (the present custom of the worship of the goddess Kálii is derived from the Puranic Shakti Cult), the biija mantra (riiḿ) was further changed into klrḿ: Klrḿ Káliikáyae namah.

Generally in the Post-Buddha days, during the period of the Puranic Shakti Cult, all the Buddhist, Jain and Post-Shiva Tantric deities were declared to be the wives of Shiva, otherwise the society would not recognize and worship them. But they have different biija mantras. In the Puranic Age, the commonly-accepted practice was that the controlling deities derived from Post-Shiva Tantra were designated as “Dakśińá Shakti”, and those derived from Vajrayána Buddhism were designated as “Vámá Shakti”.

For instance, Káliká: she was known as “Vámá Kálii” when worshipped in Buddhist Tantra. When an image was made of her, she would be painted jet-black; her left leg would be placed forward, her right leg behind; and there would be red patches on her left leg. This deity, Vámá Kálii, was not worshipped inside houses or in villages; she was worshipped in the cremation grounds outside the villages. These days, these deities are called by various names: for instance, Vámá Kálii, Shmashána Kálii, Rakśá Kálii and Rat́antii Kálii. These are all deities of the Buddhist Tantra Cult, subsequently declared to be “Vámá Shakti”; and the goddesses of Post-Shiva Tantra who are now accepted in the Puranic Cult are called “Dakśińá Shakti”.”…

…”Later on I will say a little more about the periods of Jain Tantra, Buddhist Tantra, Post-Shiva Tantra and the Puranas, which were prevalent about 1300 years ago, and on whose basis evolved the Puranic Shakti Cult, Shiva Cult, Viśńu Cult, Gańapati Cult and Súrya Cult.
” – Shrii Shrii Anandamurti, 18 May 1982, Calcutta, ElEdit 7, Namah Shiváya Shántáya, All Bask in the Glory of Shiva – 1 (Discourse 6)

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