RUDRA SCHOOL OF THOUGHT
AND SOCIAL REORGANIZATION
The teacher who used to arrive at his academy on his white horse was drawn attention to the questions raised by Brahmavadis, the ideologues of the Atharvan (Brahma) school.
They asked whether according to him, the socio-political constitution (Brahma) was the cause (karanam) (for the emergence of the then existing social system). They wanted to know what the status of the natives (jata) of that region was before they were acknowledged as so. (kuta sma jata).
Having been granted that status what means of livelihood were made available to them, the ideologues wanted to know from that scholar who was presenting a new social charter. They wanted to know what factors he had taken into account to ensure that these natives were established securely as groups with assured means of livelihood.
How the constitution, Brahma, dealt with economic needs and acculturation of the re-inducted individual (bhuta)
The Brahmavadis who were ideologues as well as social activists asked the teacher who knew Brahma, and presided over the constitution (Brahma) bench to explain which head (adhishtha) of the political setup (vyavastha) ensured that every one continued to live his way of life and follow his economic activities that led him to comforts (or sufferings).
The Brahmavadis asked whether while admitting the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery to the new social polity, the judiciary gave weight to the time that was to elapse for acculturation and the natural traits (svabhava) of the individual.
Did the judiciary ensure that the conduct (niyati) of the individual was such that he could be safely admitted to the janapada?
Or did it depend on chance (yadrccha) and would he admit the new members by random selection? Did the judiciary give weight to the traits of the mother who nurtured the new-born since even when in the womb (yoni) or to those of the man (purusha) who brought him up as a dynamic youth? (1-1)
Constitution: The attitude (bhava) of the individual (atma)
The ideologues refused to accept the claim that all these factors should be taken into account for then very few would be found eligible to be admitted newly to the janapada polity.
They argued that the constitution gave importance to the views (bhava) of the individual who as atma functioned apart from and unbound by his social group.
The teacher replied that one might be such an autonomous individual (atma) but he did not have the power to ensure that he obtained the happiness (that he desired) and warded off the sorrows (that descended on him because of other men or because of nature) (2).
An independent capable noble presides over the bench
The followers of the schools which emphasized meditation (dhyana) and yoga noticed that the individual (atma) who belonged to the nobility (deva) had a power (sakti) hidden in the traits (guna) of an autonomous noble (sva). In other words not all aristocrats willy-nilly subscribed to and stood by the orientations and pattern of behaviour prescribed for the nobility.
There were some individuals among them who were aware of the might that they had by virtue of their membership of that nobility which granted them total freedom to assert their talents and potentials.
Such an individual member of the nobility who is aware of his ability to act independently in a dignified manner presides over the bench (adhishtha) that takes into account all the factors mentioned in the previous verse while admitting a member (bhuta) of the social periphery to the new organized native society of the janapada (3).
Brahma-chakra: Constitutionof the confederation of states and its fifty units: Smaller alliance of twenty states
Some of the participants in the discussion are seen to draw attention to the features of the Brahma-wheel that represented the process of social activities. It had one felly (nemi) that had three tires (representing the three traits, sattva, rajas and tamas). The fifty radials were attached to the wheels at sixteen points.
The confederation of states was expected to have fifty units and its movements could be checked effectively by even a smaller alliance of twenty states. There were twenty spokes which moved in the opposite direction. One could notice six sets of eights.
[The explanation that the teacher was referring to the six aspects, the eight elements of prakrti, eight constituents (dhatu) of the body, eight forms of lordship (aisvarya), eight conditions (bhava), eight classes of gods (deva) and eight virtues (atmaguna) does not fit in the theme discussed.]
It would appear that the constitution was taking note of the responses of each of the eight constituents of the state (svami, amatya, janapada, durga, kosha, sena, mitra and amitra) to the six types of inter-state policy (shadguna) (samdhi, vigraha, asana, yana, samsraya, and dvaidhibhava) that were to be considered while making any new movement. The artisan who prepared this model of the larger society, visva, had tied them all with one rope.
[The purusha of Kosala had created sixteen departments (kalas), according to Prasna Upanishad (6-1)].
The officials connected with the fifty spokes were attached to one or the other of these departments. The wheel (chakra) represented a well-knit society of fifty aspects of state administration most of which were bunched in six sets with each set having eight units and moving in three different directions because of the three traits.
The teacher might have had in mind the three levels (varga), high, middle and low of the responses of the units to the challenges before them.
Of the fifty spokes two stood apart and made the viewer wonder why they stood so. They were not affected by the counter-pressure exerted by twenty units that had not been brought under the control of this constitution, Brahma (1-4).
The comment, the world is compared to a rotating wheel or a flowing stream fails to explain why Brahma-chakra, the wheel that represented the provisions of the constitution took note of the powers that resisted its movement.
Emergence of Fifty states with five units each:
Five thoughts and practices and five peoples
In the next verse, the teacher states that the structure and functions of the federal polity may be visualized as a mingling of five streams flowing down with force through their crooked paths from their sources.
He would notice in the confluence of these streams five groups of beings (prana) at the bare existence level with the five correlated to the five aspects of breath (prana, apana, vyana, samana, udana).
The unified population also inherits the traditions set up by five schools of intellectuals (buddhi). The five thoughts and practices and the five peoples themselves are churned in the (five) whirlpools which signify the functions of the Brahma-chakra. The churning and speed of the whirlpools do cause pain to the peoples. They result in the emergence of the fifty states, each having five units.
Fifty states were not different ethnic or cultural units
Combination of five different traditions
The teacher was commenting on the efforts that were made to create fifty nation-states with their populations no longer having separate ethnic identities and with the orientations of all being determined by a combination of five different traditions.
The fifty states were not different ethnic or cultural units. Such a rational interpretation of the verse (1-5) is called for. The claim of the commentator that the reality of the world and the relation to the Supreme Isvara are brought out here does not stand.
Acculturation: Every living individual (jiva) and institution (samstha) imbibing all the diverse orientations imbued with unified orientations
The teacher claims that his Brahma wheel constantly brought together all beings (jivas) that were at the bare existence level and imbued them with all the cultures that were inherited from different sources and placed them under institutions (samsthas) that were all imbued with similarly unified orientations.
But this constitution took care that every individual (atma) retained his separate identity and was aware that he was not the one rotating the Brahma wheel.
This constitution that enabled all individual citizens of all the states to imbibe the diverse orientations and to mingle with others did not seek to destroy the identity of the individuals.
The new social polity: Right to individuality and Best of culture as had by aristocrats (Svarajam)
The new social polity and its constitution enabled them to enjoy the best of culture (amrta) that granted every one the right to individuality, even as the aristocrat had.
This right is termed svarajam and it rejects the move to enforce uniformity and subservience to others.
[The comment that both Isvara who is the mover of the wheel and the individual belong to the manifested world is irrelevant. Headings like The Individual Soul in Distress may be eye-catching and the statement that the soul of a man is a traveler, wandering in this cycle of Brahma may appear solemn, but the above three verses do not indicate that the teacher talked about such themes.] (1-6)
The teacher told his students that the above view of the highest authority, Brahma, the social constitution was contained in the loud chant, Udgita, of the pranava (aum) which brought together the three (social worlds).
Their unity was well established (supratishtha) and permanently (aksharam) in that constitution.
The scholars who know this constitution (Brahma) get absorbed in it when they know its contents and become its staunch adherents. They are then freed from their original attachments.
The transliteration, The knowers of Brahman by knowing what is therein become merged in Brahman, intent thereon and freed from birth fails to bring out the message.
The exhortation of the teacher to the Brahmavadis, the ideologues of the Atharvan school was to give up their original stands and adopt the concept of a unified social polity that merged all the five original orientations to create a new culture that would however uphold the identity of every individual despite his being part of a social body.
The sages of the Upanishad were not satisfied with seeking the integration of the three social worlds (lokas). They dealt with the theme of five social sectors.
Besides the three social worlds, commonalty, frontier society and patriciate, the expanded society had the thinly populated free open areas (akasa) and the social periphery to which those (bhutas) who had failed to conform had been shunted. (1-7)
The teacher who belonged to the Rudra school of thought would describe the enlarged society that brought together the three social worlds (lokas) of settled communities, the social universes (jagats) of mobile groups and individuals and the subaltern of the social periphery as visvam and bring it under the control of the charismatic chief (isa) who would concede their prayers for help.
The individual (atma) who is not bound to any social group is not the master of his own destiny. He cannot achieve by himself what he seeks. He is not isa.
By knowing how to assert his individuality like the independent noble, deva, he is freed from all social bonds and from the fall-outs of the concept that an individual suffers or enjoys (bhokta-bhava) what has been ordained for him by other forces. (8)
[The commentator draws attention to and Bhagavad-Gita XV 16-17 and to the concepts, pasu, patipasa.]
The new constitution goes beyond simplistic dichotomy
The socio-political constitution, Brahma, recognized three groups of persons who were not its products, that is, were in existence before it came into force. As the students were aware, the learned (jna) and the ignorant (ajna) were present even earlier.
There were rulers (isas) and others who were not rulers (anisa), that is, who were ruled by the former. The dichotomy drew attention to the concept of consumers and objects of consumption. The ruling elite consumed what the powerless and illiterate workers (manushyas) produced.
The third group which had arisen anew was not connected with this scheme of dichotomy. It was concerned with the individual (atma) who was not a functionary or producer (akarta) but represented for ever the larger society, visva.
One acquainted with the new constitution, Brahma, notices the presence of the three sectors, the higher class that included the learned, the mighty and the rich, the lower class that included the ignorant, the weak and the deprived and the third category of individuals who identified themselves with the larger society. (1-9)
[The interpretation that the individual soul, the personal god and prakrti or nature, are all contained in Brahman is untenable. The commentators of the medieval times and their followers of the modern times have failed to notice the implications of the rejection of the view that all men could be brought under a simple scheme of dichotomy, ruling elite and masses, devas and manushyas.]
The teacher notes that the chiefs at the primary level (pradhana) are at their posts only for a brief period and their authority is bound to wane (kshara). [We depart from the interpretation that the term, pradhana signified primal matter.]
Status and role of Hara a cultural aristocrat who recognizes the spirit of the unattached individual, atma
But Hara belonged to the cultural aristocracy (amrta) and his influence never waned (akshara). The lower classes which were described as kshara and the individuals (atma) were both under the authority of one noble (deva) who functioned like a highly desired benefactor and ruler (isa).
The teacher would place Hara, a noble (deva) and desired benefactor (isa) in charge of all sections of the population other than the learned, the mighty and the rich (Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas).
The teacher said that by meditating on the role of that authority (Hara) and by identifying with his task and by partaking his nature (bhava) one is finally freed from the illusions (maya) that some have evoked about the concept of the larger society (visva) (1-10).
As one understood the roles and the influence of the noble (deva) which was only over the illiterate and weak workers, all bonds fell off, that is, one ceased to have traits that constrained him to follow the dictates of the ruling elite.
When his sufferings become less, he ceases to be concerned with issues pertaining to birth and death. By paying attention to the constitution one recognizes the existence of the third alternative, to be neither a rich noble with executive power nor a common ignorant worker.
As he gets free from his social group (sarira) and functions as an individual (atma), he finds that the sovereign rights (aisvarya) promised by the concept of an universal society (visva) are available to him. His desires are thus fulfilled by remaining alone (1-11).
[The comment, This verse describes the different sides and stages of liberation. Negatively it is freedom from birth and death; positively it is oneness with Isvara, so long as there is the manifested world and oneness with Brahman when the manifested world ceases to exist, does not convey its import correctly.]
Atmasamstha, the personal department of the ruler
Isvara constitution protects the free individuals (atmas)
The teacher states that one (a ruler) should recognize the talents that are always (nitya) present in his own institution (atmasamstha), that is, the department of the state that is under him directly and exclusively. It is not necessary for him to know anything else.
The constitution, Brahma, covers all aspects of sociopolitical control by calling for knowing who the beneficiary is and what the benefits are and how both are controlled by an external agency.
The higher classes who thrive on what is produced by the working masses no longer have direct access to the latter. All economic activities are controlled by other institutions and not by the king or by the nobility (1-12).
Introduction of the class of free individuals to keep out social conflicts between rulers and subordinates
The Isvara (Isa, Rudra) school of thought intervened on behalf of the independent individual (atma) to ensure that the ruler no longer exercised totalitarian authority.
The new constitution, Brahma, had introduced the concept of three classes, rulers, subordinates and free individuals and vested the third with the duty to ensure that the commoners were not vexed by issues pertaining to life and death and the powers of the rulers were restricted.
[Comments like, The yogins see the Lord in the self and not in images are irrelevant to the theme of this verse of this Upanishad.]
Some members of the audience wondered whether the introduction of a vast class of free individuals to keep the ruling elite and the working masses from coming into conflict and at the same time to ensure wholesome relations between the two would succeed for all times.
The teacher agreed that as in the case of the volcano the antipathy would be only suppressed and not totally extinguished. It has to be destroyed at its root repeatedly.
[The transliteration, As the form of the fire when latent in its source is not seen and yet its seed is not destroyed, but may be seized again and again in its source by means of the drill, so it is in both cases fails to present the enigma correctly.]
The two classes, the higher and the lower (compared to womb and penis, yonilinga) have both to be tackled to ensure that the laws were not breached and violence did not erupt. The concept of pranava calls for self-control of the social body (deha), the teacher says (1-13).
By establishing link between ones social body (deha) and the concept of pranava (aum), that is, by using the two sticks to ignite fire, through meditation (dhyana), one may observe the latent characteristics of the noble (deva) (that are present in one). In other words, pranava enables every one to realize that he has the traits of a noble (sva) who can order his life by himself (1-14).
[The comment that we are asked to meditate on Godhead and bring Him out of the recesses of our heart is not pertinent to this verse. The remark that in overcoming the obstacles which prevent the realization of Brahman on the part of the individual, suffering is involved is unwarranted.]
Everyone exhorted to discover his personal talents
The teacher recommends that one should adhere to the principles of truth (satya) and be engaged in constant strenuous endeavour (tapas) to discover the personal talents hidden in him (atma atmani) (1-15).
The teacher states that the mystic doctrine (Upanishad, that is, a corollary to the teachings of the Vedas) pertaining to the socio-political constitution (Brahma) is: The concept of an individual (atma) not bound by any social group (deha) is applicable to the entire larger society; it has to pervade all social sectors.
The science (vidya) that stresses the latent talents of the independent individual and is based on constant strenuous endeavour (tapas) as the method to bring them out is underlined by the Upanishads which are a corollary to Brahma (the Vedas) (1-16).
Status and Role of Savita
According to the teacher, Savita who controlled the thinkers (manas, mind) and could discern (dhi) between good and bad, instituted first the post of Agni, a luminary (jyoti) and selected the incumbent from among the commonalty (prthvi) (2-1). The teacher continued the Vedic tradition while presenting this stand.
He implied that the earlier incumbents to the post of Agni did not belong to the nobility. He called for controlling the mind (the thinkers, manas) and obeying Savita who was a noble (deva) so that one might obtain the power (sakti) to join that good cadre (suvarga) of nobles (2-2).
The teacher prayed that Savita who trained (yukta) through thinkers (manasa) the new nobles who rose from the commonalty to the level of the intellectual (dhiya) aristocracy (divam) might inspire them to shine as great (brhat) luminaries (jyoti) (2-3).
The great (brhata) scholars who belonged to the cadre of vipras and taught the other scholars controlled their mind (manas) and power of discernment (dhi). The teacher explained that the ceremonial rites to be performed by the hotr priest were ordained by one who knew the rules.
He had been asked whether he agreed with the activities of the vipras who officiated at the rites performed by the commoners and even by those who were outcast. He said that Savita, a great noble (deva) had permitted it.
Savita seems to be a noble belonging to the agrarian tracts (mahi) who adopted a liberal approach so that the entire population was trained and encultured by the wandering vipras (Brahmans). (4)
Aspects of the ancient socio-political constitution Brahma
The teacher joined the ideologues and nobles (suras) who honoured the ancient socio-political constitution (Brahma) and followed the directives issued by Savita. He advised the sons (putra) of the nobles (amrta) who belonged to the larger society (visva) and aspired to inherit the status of visvedevas and also those who had already been admitted to the fold of the aristocracy to follow the path recommended by Savita for the scholars, vipras, and for the brave nobles, suras (2-5).
The free thinker (manas) emerges from social cadres of the (upper crust of the) commonalty (manushyas) which honour the directives of the civil judge (Agni) and from among independent intellectuals (gandharvas) who had good thoughts to spread and came under the jurisdiction of the official designated as Vayu and from among the sober sages of the forest who followed Soma (2-6).
[The comment, Mind is born where the routine or automatism is broken is irrelevant.]
One inspired by Savita would rejoice, according to the earlier socio-political constitution, Brahma. The teacher advised the students to be inspired by Savita so that their meritorious work was not impaired (2-7). The ancient constitution, Brahma, called for treating all the three higher sections of the body politic (later identified as Brahmans, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas) on par.
If the learned (vidvan) ruler followed this directive and treated the (five) organs (indriyas) of the state and the thinkers and counsellors (manas) with kindness (hrde) he would be able to get the support of the constitution (Brahman) andcross all the streams that were in floods and caused fear, that is, gain mastery over all violent social movements (2-8).
The teacher was against treating any of the above three classes as superior to the other two. Social unrest was the result of violating this counsel of the judiciary that interpreted the constitution. Of course, illiterate workers could not be given the same status as educated sections had.
[The remark that body, mind and spirit form one whole and that here what is known as bodily prayer is mentioned needs to be rejected as being totally off the mark. The assumption that the term, Brahma, refers to the syllable, aum, cannot stand.]
Students advised to follow yoga
The next three verses instruct the students how to perform the exercises prescribed by the science of yoga as mentioned explicitly in the ancient constitution (Brahmana).
[Fog, smoke, sun, wind, fire, meteors, lightning and moon were the forms in which the high functionaries of the constitution were presented. The attempt to read high spiritualism in these instructions is unwarranted.]
Yoga used the concepts, prthvi, apa, teja, anila and kha (earth, water, fire, air and ether) as the five traits (guna) that influenced the activities of the individual (atma).
Yogic practices helped ones body to be free from illnesses, old age and insentience. They enabled one to feel easy and lead a healthy and pleasant life. This is the first benefit resulting from the practice (pravrtti) of yoga. (9 to 13)
Trained constructive free, untainted individual
The teacher would however advise the students to note how a member of a social group (dehi) who had realized the (innate) traits of the individual who was not functioning as such a member (and was functioning as an atma) was able to lead a holistic (eka) and constructive (krtartha) life without sorrow (vita soka) (2-14).
He posited that in addition to realizing one's potentials (as by looking in a mirror at oneself) from the concept (tattva) of a life as a free individual (atma) rather than as a member of a social group, one should get enlightened on how the principles (tattva) of the constitution (Brahma) had endorsed such a free and integrated life.
Then he learns (jnatva) the traits of the noble (deva) who is not born as such (aja), belongs to the centre of the state (dhruva) and is not tainted (visuddha) by any of the concepts in existence (sarva-tattva) and becomes free from all social bonds (2-15).
In other words, the constitution helped the individual to lead the life of a noble who was free from social bonds and physical needs. This individual becomes an aristocrat (deva) having influence as an admired benefactor (isa) over the peoples of all regions (outside the central capital). He was originally born in the interior (garbha) of those regions (that were brought under the janapada). He is born with the characteristics of one who can rise to become a noble and such a noble can be born again.
Not every commoner has the potential to become an aristocrat
The teacher implied that not every one of the commonalty was born with potentials that would enable him to become a cultural aristocrat. Birth of such nobles among the commonalty was not a rare incident. He stood facing the natives of the janapada who were all around him; in other words, he was in the midst of the rural masses and facing them all and was not keeping himself away from them. (16).
[The translation of this verse as, He, indeed, is the God who pervades all regions. He is the first-born and he is within the womb. He has been born and will be born. He stands opposite all persons, having his face in all directions, fails to present the stand of the teacher about the charismatic benefactor, isa, of the masses.]
The teacher pays homage to this noble (deva) who has identified himself with (entered) the commonalty of the plains (represented by the official designated as Agni), the mobile people of the river economy (apa) and the larger society (visva) of the tamed moors and forest (aushadi and vanaspati) economy (bhuvana) (2-17).
Status and Role of Maharshi Rudra
The teacher claims that those persons who are acquainted with and are loyal to (caught in the mesh of) the highly admired and desired (isa) personage who exercises influence over all the social worlds through his charisma and beneficial deeds that they pray for, and remains the one benefactor while situations that need his interference and aid arise and continue to exist are admitted to the cultural aristocracy (amrta) (3-1). [The interpretation of the tem, jala as maya is inapt.]
The teacher was referring to Rudra and claimed that no other chieftain or personage had the charisma of a benefactor of these social worlds (lokas). He pointed out to his disciples this personage who was standing in front of the (native) people of the janapada.
After bringing together all the social worlds and organizing the larger society (visva) on the pattern of bhuvana, the industrial society of forests and mountains which permitted every one to utilize his talents in such a way as to gain happiness, and protecting them during that period of unification, he withdrew when the mission was over (anta-kala) (3-2).
The translation, Truly Rudra is one, there is no place for a second, who rules all these worlds with his ruling powers. He stands opposite creatures. He, the protector, after creating all worlds, withdraws them at the end of time fails to present the role of Rudra, correctly. The claim that the Highest Reality is identified with Rudra who is assigned the three functions of creation, protection and dissolution is not warranted.
Rudra headed the school of thinkers and activists like Siva, Hara, Mahadeva and Samkara who brought into existence the new unified janapadas but did not stay to exercise political control over them.
The view that in Rgveda, Rudra is the personification of the destructive powers of nature, exemplified in storms and lightning and that in its later portions he was identified with Siva, the auspicious and as Mahadeva, the great god, needs to be re-examined in a rational manner as indicated above.
The Purusha statuette and the new Janapada
The teacher pointed out to his students the figure of a personage who had on every side an eye, a face, an arm and a foot facing every direction of the larger society (visva).
It was the figure of a noble (deva) who was keeping together by the arms on his sides (protective like the wings of a bird over its egg) the two sections, nobility (dhyo) and commonalty (bhumi) of the new janapada (3-3).
Statuettes of Purusha like the one described in Purushasukta were located in different places. These statuettes were not all alike. The concepts represented by each of them are to be taken into account while interpreting the verses. The teacher was not advocating idol-worship. The students must note that the new janapada would retain the dichotomy, nobility (divam) and commonalty (bhumi).
The new wider cadre of nobles (devas)
Maharshi Rudra who was the chief (adhipa) of the universal society (visva) had brought into existence (prabhava) a new and wider cadre of nobles (devas). Earlier he had put forth the concept of Hiranya-garbha, the golden egg which had two portions (yellow and white of the egg) separated also surrounded by water, the fluid sections of the larger society.
The teacher prayed to that sage to enable him and his students to have a good (subha) understanding (buddhi) (about his mission) (3-4).
The interpretation that hiranya-garbha meant a person endowed with clear ideas is unacceptable. The claim that the stress in the previous verse was on the cosmic form (virat-svarupa) and in this verse is on the cosmic spirit, the world-soul (hiranya-garbha), is untenable. Such interpretations only misguide.
The teacher was removing the fear that the concept of the new larger janapada might, in an effort to be plebeian in approach, overlook the need for an aristocracy and might even allow it to wane.
The new larger janapada and the role of the nobles
The teacher prayed to Rudra who was presented in the form of a miniature (tanu) of Siva and was not a frightening figure and had no evil intent. It was a serene and calm personage. The teacher prayed to this resident of the mountains to manifest himself to them (the teacher and his followers who were mainly residents of the janapada) (3-5).
He appealed to Siva who was a resident of and protector of the mountains and had an arrow in his hand to use for beneficial purposes prayed for and not to harm the social leaders (purusham) of the social universe (jagat) (whose population was not organized as settled communities) (6).
The teacher is worried about the success of the efforts of the social leaders who did not want these social universes (jagats) to be kept away from the new janapada that would have a larger commonalty (bhumi) and also an expanded nobility (divam).
Inclusive Rudra constitution and Social Ascent
The teacher tells his students that more important than the move to secure the success of the efforts of the leaders (purushas) to merge the non-settled populations of the social universes (jagats) in the new dichotomous janapada of devas and manushyas was the success of the supreme, greater constitution (Brahma) that represented the hidden aspirations of all the discrete individuals (bhutas) (especially of the social periphery).
The functions of the sole upholder of the constitution that covered the larger society (visva) and the charismatic guardian of its welfare (isa) need to be known. This knowledge would help one to enter the aristocracy (amrta) (3-7).
Aditya authorized to admit new members to the aristocracy
The teacher told his students that he was acquainted with the great personage (purusha) who belonged to the cadre of Adityas (who were in charge of the administrative machinery and the army).
This official was far away from the commonalty characterized by ignorance (tamas). Only with the permission of this personage with whom one had established acquaintance it would be possible to cross over to that aristocracy (amrta) leaving the bounds of the insentient (mrtyu) commonalty. He agreed that there was no other way than the one shown by the school of Rudra and Siva to rise to that higher level (3-8).
[It is unsound to claim that the sage Svetasvatara said that he has seen the Supreme who dwells beyond all darkness, that he has crossed the world of samsara.]
The teacher claimed that there was none belonging to sectors (other than the nobility) who was greater than this personage, purusha, who stood fast (stable) in the nobility (divam) and whose charisma filled completely (purna) all (social areas) (3-9).
That authority who is beyond purusha (the personage who controlled the administrative machinery and army as Aditya) is formless and faultless. The teacher was referring to the constitution, Brahma, and not to its interpreter, the chief judge.
Those who know this aspect are eligible to be admitted to the intellectual and cultural aristocracy (amrta) and enjoy the privileges and happiness promised by it. Others go to areas where only sorrows await them (10).
Siva a charismatic and influential teacher, Bhagavan
The statuette of Siva showed the faces, heads and necks of all bhutas (discrete individuals of the social periphery who were his devoted followers) in whose heart he had a place. Siva was a teacher (bhagavan) whose influence was spread over all areas (sarvavyapi) and he moved everywhere (sarvagata) (3-11).
[The interpretation, he who has the six qualities of complete lordship, righteousness, fame, prosperity, wisdom and renunciation is Bhagavan, is irrelevant to this verse though these qualities may characterize a great spiritual-cum-temporal leader.]
Siva could become Isa, a charismatic director of the universe. The personage (purusha) mentioned by the teacher was a great chief of the larger society (maha prabhu) and was director (pravartaka) of the activities of the gentle (sattva) charismatic chief (isa). He had the ability to attain the status of that chief (isa) who was faultless (nirmala) and was a luminary (jyoti) whose power of enlightening never waned (avyaya) (12).
Isa reflects social conscience of the natives (jana)
According to the teacher the dwarfish personage is the inner conscience (antaratma) which is ever present in the hearts of the people (jana). He is a charismatic (isa) personage and thinker (manas) who is kept in their heart and mind by them (though he may not be present physically in their midst). They who know this aspect about the isa reflecting social conscience of the natives of the janapada are eligible to be admitted to the aristocracy (amrta) (3-13).
It would appear that the teacher was referring to the status of Agastya (who was visualized as being not more than the length of a thumb in height) in the new janapada. [The above status was applicable to Vamana too.]
The face, head and neck of the statuette of the purusha with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes and a thousand feet and enclosing the commonalty (bhumi) of the larger society (visva) on all sides rose ten fingers length, the length of a palm, above that commonalty.
The Rgvedic hymn, Purushasukta too follows this description. The intellectual and cultural aristocracy was shown to be superior to the commonalty that it protected (3-14).
[The comment, Though the Supreme manifests Himself in the cosmos, He transcends it is irrelevant to this theme.]
The Purusha statuette represents the entire society as envisaged by Rudra school of thought
The teacher holds that the statuette of the social leader (purusha) represented the entire society as envisaged (by Rudra) as well as the society as conceived in the past and the society that was bound to come into existence (shortly on the completion of the mission undertaken by Mahadeva and other ideologues of the Rudra school of thought).
This leader was a charismatic chief (isa) of the aristocracy (devas) too and also of all those who grew up on food, that was needed by all sections of the larger society (including the nobility, devas, for maintaining whom the agriculturists worked hard) (3-15).
[The commentator notes that Sayana has explained that he (the purusha) is the lord (isa) of all immortals, that is, of the gods (devas), because they grew to their high estate by means of food.]
The statuette which the teacher showed his students had a hand and a foot, an eye and a head and a face and an ear on every side.
It stood encompassing all in the social world (loka) (of the expanded commonalty). It was different from the form of Purusha described in the Rgvedic hymn, Purushasukta (3-16).
This statuette reflected the traits (gunas) of all the organs (indriyas) of the social polity but they were devoid of senses, for it was but a statuette of a charismatic chief (isa) who was the head (prabhu) of all those who belonged to the larger society and the great personage in whom all took refuge (saranam) (17).
The concept of prabhu invokes the picture of the palace of the head of the gandharva city of Puranjana which had gates on all the eight sides and an opening at the top of the dome.
The light lit inside could be seen through all the nine gates and it was teasing the people outside (with its many colours coming on and going off). It reflected how the chief attracted (vasi) all the social worlds whether they were settled (sthavara) communities or they were mobile (cara) groups.
The teacher points out that the people of the earlier times visualized the great ultimate personage (mahanta purusha) leading all the social worlds as omniscient and not as a commoner with feet and hands and eyes and ears.
That personage could swiftly take hold of others(even as a serpent which had no visible organs pounced on its victim and swallowed it).
The prabhu of the ancient undifferentiated society presided over a polity that had no distinct administrative units. This feature has to be recognized by the thinkers.
The sage was commenting on why the followers of Siva worshipped him in the form of linga (a stone whose shape resembled that of the penis). (3-18, 19) The teacher claimed that he knew that the chief who controlled the larger community of all the individuals (atma) during the ancient times was free to move everywhere and his power and authority to do so as vibhu never waned.
The ancients said that the form of the linga symbolized (not sex and procreation but refraining from sex as it has been sanctified) end to birth (that is, end to the cycle of birth and death). According to the Atharvan ideologues (Brahmavadis) the omniscient and omnipresent power is eternal (nitya) (3-20).
[The interpretation that this chapter makes out the Impersonal and the Personal, Brahman and Isvara, are not two different entities but the same in two aspects is unwarranted.]
Movement for an undifferentiated single society
The teacher would treat that figure (of linga) as the symbol of a society with no classes (varna), that is, a single holistic unit. Its chief using his several administrative and executive powers (yoga-sakti) distributed that society into many classes. What his purpose was remained hidden, the teacher said. Even as in the beginning the larger society (visva) was a single structure and without classes it would at the end of the present movement be again one and without classes.
The teacher expected the noble (deva) who led this movement to give them the wisdom, the intellect (buddhi) to appreciate this beneficial (subha) purpose behind what was feared to be a move to destroy the existing social order (4-1). [The commentator has missed this note of the purpose behind the move to end the existing disunity to recreate the united society.]
He points out to his students the different officials nominated for this purpose. The new unified larger society would be guided by the officials designated as Agni, Aditya, Vayu, Chandra, Brahma, Apa (Varuna) and Prajapati. The teacher noticed this administrative structure in the science of polity attributed to Sukra.
Agni represented the agrarian commonalty and Aditya the ruling elite, Vayu was in charge of the population of the open space and Soma of the sober intelligentsia stationed in the forests. Brahma would head the constitution bench and Varuna would be the ombudsman ensuring that every one carried out his duties. Prajapati was the chief of the people and was entitled to admit new members to the social polity.
This pattern of administrative structure was intended to create again a society without sharply defined classes. (4-2).
[The interpretation that this verse indicates that the different Vedic gods are not independent but are forms of one Supreme is based on irrational postulates.]
The statuette (linga) without features like eyes and ears, hands and feet may be visualized as that of a married woman or of a married man, of an unmarried youth or of an unmarried maiden or of a old person walking with a stick. It was created in such a way (born, jata) as to face the people of the larger society in every direction (4-3).
The observer may visualize it as a blue bird or as a green parrot with a red beak or as a cloud concealing the lightning or as seasons or as seas, different aspects of nature.
Vibhu, head of the larger community and Visva, the larger society
But he would visualize the Ultimate as one without a beginning but as functioning (varta) as an authority (vibhu) over the larger community. The concept of a larger society (visva) enveloping all the prosperous social groups (bhuvanas) (especially of the industrial frontier society) has emanated from that personage and authority (vibhu).
The teacher implied that the ancient school of Rudra to which Siva belonged recommended the concept of a universal society (visva) (4).
Every new social group to be composed of members characterized by all the three traits
The teacher visualizes the creation of many new social groups from the unclassified larger society with every such group having members reflecting all the three traits, dynamism (red), sobriety (white) and inertness (black). He does not expect all human beings to be alike in their innate traits though every one has all the traits in him but in proportions different from others.
He was pointing out to the students the different pups born to the mother-animal and the father-animal standing nearby and rejoicing. Though it was clear that the latter had sown the seeds of this new generation another animal had been enjoying that mother and it had to silently move away leaving the parents alone.
For diversity in every social class and against classes based on didtinct natural traits (gunas)
The teacher was criticizing the views and activities of the social thinkers who did not contribute constructively to the creation of a new social order which would have diversity in every social unit and not social classification (varna) based on distinct natural traits (gunas) (4-5).
The next two verses (4-6,7) are identical with the verses 3-1-1,2 of Mundaka Upanishad. The teacher calls for a correct appraisal of the contents of the hymns of the Rgveda. All the nobles (devas) of the highest stratum (vyoma) of the universal society (visva) dwell in 'akshara. In other words the pranava represents the traits of all these nobles.
One who does not notice this note of the Rgveda is said to have not gained from the study of the Vedas. One who has understood this aspect may stay satisfied that he knows the meaning of the Vedas (4-8).
[The remark that the Vedas are intended to lead to the realization of the Supreme and that for those who study them without undergoing the inward discipline, they are of no use, is not warranted here.]
Past practices to continue in the new larger society
According to the teacher, the organizer of the larger society(visva) has endorsed the chants (chandas), sacrifices (yajnas), rituals (kratas) and pledges (vratas) that were in the past as mentioned in the Vedas and which should continue to be practised by all in the new larger society too.All other suggestions are misleading illusions (maya), he states(4-9).
The stand that the whole world proceeds from the imperishable Brahman and the actual creator is Isvara, the Personal God, who is acting through his power of maya, devatma-sakti, is a distortion of the intent of this verse.
The transliteration, all this the maker sends forth out of this, in this the other is confined by maya is not satisfactory.
Undifferentiated mass society (prakrti)
The concept of an undifferentiated mass society (prakrti) is illusory (maya). The great charismatic leader, Mahesvara (Mahadeva) had used this principle, maya, to show that the real characteristics of his scheme might be kept hidden while making the entire society amenable to his mission.
The entire social universe (jagat) of mobile groups is composed of discrete individuals (bhutas) who retained their original identities and who are parts of the organs (avayava) of the new social polity (4-10).
[The translation, Know then that prakrti is maya and the wielder of maya is the Great Lord. This whole world is pervaded by beings that are parts of Him fails to bring out the message of the teacher who is not impressed by the claims of the advocates of maya. The interpretation that here the Samkhya Prakrti is identified with the maya of the Vedanta is irrelevant.]
Isa determines admission of newer members to the new universal society
The one chief who presides over every source (yoni) of recruits to the new universal society in which they all merge (losing their separate identities) is referred to as the charismatic leader Isa who grants boons (vara) and as the adorable noble (deva). By discerning his traits correctly one would gain peace (santi) (mentioned by the Vedic hymns) (11).
The teacher prays again to Maharshi Rudra who had brought into existence the wider cadre of nobles and raised many of them from the commonalty and had witnessed the emergence of the dichotomous society (hiranyagarbha) to endow him and his students with a good (subha) understanding (buddhi) about his noble intents in bringing all together (4-12).
He asked that sage who was the chief of all nobles (devas) and on whom all the social worlds (lokas) depended (for support) and who was the charismatic chief (isa) of all, bipeds as well as quadrupeds, to tell them to which noble (deva), he and his students should pay homage (4-13).
The teacher is told that he and his associates should recognize the importance of Siva who in a highly subtle manner created the different structures of the larger society (visva) and embraced (protected) them all by himself. This would give them immense peace of mind (santi)(4-14).
Status and role of Siva
The teacher explains that Siva was then the protector of the forest society (bhuvana) and was the head of the larger society (visva) and was present hidden among all the discrete individuals (bhutas) (of the social periphery in particular).
The Brahmarshis (who meditated on the Ultimate Truth unlike the Brahmavadis who were ideologues and activists following Brahma, the Atharvan socio-political constitution) and the Devatas, (nobles of the other society who were plutocrats or technocrats and enjoyed a status marginally lower than that of devas, cultural aristocrats) were united behind Siva. One who recognized this factor would become free from his bonds to the insentient commonalty (mrtyu) (4-15).
[The translation, by knowing Him thus one cuts the cords of death is not to the mark. The comment that the knowers of Brahman as well as the deities know that their reality is in Brahman is untenable.]
The teacher explains that by knowing the traits of Siva who is hidden in all discrete individuals (bhutas) (of the social periphery) even as a thin film is covered by ghee (clarified butter), and who is a noble (deva) who by himself gives protective cover (embraces) to the larger society (visva) one is freed from all (social and personal) bonds (4-16).
He praises Siva as a charismatic chief (isa) (loved by the people), as a noble (deva), as the creator of the larger society (visvakarma), as a great individual (mahatma) not connected with any social group and as one who was seated always in the hearts of the (native) peoples (jana) (of the janapada).
They had a picture of him framed in their hearts and minds. Those persons who realized this aspect of Siva and followed him would obtain a place in the cultural aristocracy (amrta) (17).
The teacher says that when ignorance is removed one would realize the presence of Siva as the sole prevailing influence whether it is day or night and whether the laws of truth prevail or laws other than these do. Siva's influence is for ever and is as bright as that of Savita.
The awareness (prajna, wisdom emanating from wider knowledge) of the ancients about their socio-physical environment proceeded from this basic note (4-18).
[The remark that the characterization of the Supreme which transcends the duality of subject and object can only be negative and cannot be a field of clear definition and demonstration is an unwarranted conclusion.]
The teacher avers that none had grasped the traits of the top ruling stratum or of the wide external areas or of the middle classes or of the social periphery of the figure of the larger society that was represented by the figure (of linga) in front of them.
There was no likeness (pratima) of the highly successful person who may hence be named yasa (4-19). No one can see with his eyes that great personage in his real form. Those persons who keep him in their hearts and minds get to know his real traits and become eligible to enter the cultural aristocracy (amrta) (4-20).
[Radhakrishnan says that these verses demand the recognition of the absolute transcendence of God in relation to the world. Svetasvatara does not seem to put forth such a claim.]
Rudra who was honoured since the earliest times as the unborn (aja) was a terror-striking figure to some persons. They dreaded to meet him face to face. But the teacher would visualize him as a kind person and prayed the latter to protect him for ever (4-21). He requested Rudra not to harm his lineage, his child and grandchild and not to harm his life or his cattle or his horses.
Svetasvatara was representing the warriors, viras, who were attached to the Rudras and had been raised to the status of nobles. The teacher appealed to Rudra not to be angry with the Viras and not to harm them. They promised to be loyal to Sage Rudra (4-22).
The new eternal constitution meets the needs of all
The teacher points out that the endless and non-decaying socio-political constitution took into account the needs and approaches of both classes, of those who had acquired formal education and knowledge (vidya) and of those who had not acquired these (avidya). The wealth of the uneducated was bound to decay (kshara) and those who were educated could rise to the level of the nobility (amrta).
The charismatic leader (isa) who granted the boons and met the expectations of the educated classes (vidya) has to be distinguished from the one who met those of the other (anya) classes lacking formal knowledge (5-1).
Isa and the structure of the universal society, Visvarupa
The sole charismatic benevolent leader presided over the structure of the universal society (visvarupa) that was constituted by bringing together all the beings from different social origins (yoni). This was the stand of the sage (rshi) Kapila.
The benevolent leader bears in mind and sees the knowledge (jnana) that lies behind this Samkhya dichotomy advocated first by Kapila (5-2).
[The remark that wisdom is prior to the world-soul is irrelevant to this theme. It is not sound to hesitate to accept that this verse refers to Kapila and his Samkhya philosophy.]
The teacher asks his students to visualize Siva as a fisherman (or a trapper) who threw his net to capture the fish (or bird or animal) one after another.
In different ways Siva brought together all the elements in the different sectors. He also created a new cadre of nobles (devas) with suitable persons drawn from among the different social sectors.
The chief (isa), Siva, was a great person (mahatma) who exercised lordship (adhipatyam) over all sections (5-3).
Diversities and right to individual identities protected
The teacher adds that the noble who was the sole head of the larger society thus formed and was the highly respected head of academy (bhagavan) (even as the dark-brown coloured Kapila was) presiding over it (adhitishtha), enlightened every unit of this larger society whether of higher or lower or middle status while permitting every sector to function in accordance with its nature and original habits (yoni-svabhava). There was no attempt to introduce uniformity while bringing into existence social integration (5-4).
[The remark that the so-called causes are not in themselves causes and that they operate only because God works them is unwarranted here.]
The teacher says that the organizer of the larger society (visva) allows the new generations that are born in this society to develop their natural traits (gunas, svabhava) to the fullest level and does not suppress them or prevent them from maturing.
He aids those traits that have ripened to mature and yield the best benefit.This sole chief presides over the entire larger society and distributes among all its members these traits and the benefits accruing from their ripening and maturing (5-5). The secret messages of the Vedas are hidden in the Upanishads.
Brahma, the head of the constitution bench knows these messages as the source of the socio-political constitution, Brahma.
The nobles (devas) and sages (rshis) of the past knew these and while functioning as members of the larger legislative bodies (sabha and samiti) of the Vedic times functioned in accordance with these secret instructions and were hence eligible to be members of the cultural and intellectual aristocracy (amrta) (5-6).
[The translation, That which is hidden in the Upanishads which are hidden in the Vedas, Brahma knows that as the source of the Vedas. The gods and seers of old who knew that, they came to be of its nature and have become immortal fails to bring out this note.]
Svetasvatara tried to impress on his disciples and on the ideologues (Brahmavadis) who followed Brahma (Atharvaveda) that Mahadeva (Siva) not only brought into existence a larger society where every member of every sector had all the three innate traits but also enabled every one to develop his talents to the fullest level and arranged that the benefits of the endeavours of these new generations of talented persons were distributed amongst all.
Svetasvatara had reservations about Krshnas scheme to classify the society on the basis of the innate traits of the individuals. [The description of the Vedas as teaching sacrifices and their rewards as karma-kanda, of the Aranyakas which teach the worship of Brahma as yoga-kanda and of the Upanishads which teach the knowledge of Brahman as jnana-kanda, is irrelevant to this theme.]
Svetasvatara's interpretation of Rudra's stand on work
While the nobles and sages who were not members of the working classes were assured of a place in the aristocracy and survived on the surplus produced by the commonalty, the common worker (karta) who has the traits (gunas) and does the work (karma) that bears fruit (phala) is enabled to enjoy as consumer (upabhokta) the fruits of his constructive work (krta) and is not expected to surrender them to those who do not work.
Svetasvatara seems to stress that the scheme advanced by the Rudra school of thought required every one to be involved in constructive activities and be able to enjoy the fruits of his labour.
The injustice and inequity behind the dichotomy (devas and manushyas), with the non-working aristocracy enjoying what the working masses have produced are undone by this scheme. The larger society represented by the concept, visva-rupa, covering all from the lowest stratum to the highest, has every one of its members endowed with all the three traits (gunas), sobriety, dynamism and inertness (sattva, rajas and tamas).
The classes, intellectuals and rulers who are not workers, are brought on par with the workers and the latter too have opportunities to become educated and participate in the governance of the society. Every member of the larger society is involved in all the three activities (vartma), educating, governing and working.
Having provided for this arrangement the chief of the people at the bare subsistence level (pranas) goes about wandering in their open terrains organizing them and giving them succour which is the personal duty (svakarma) of a ruler (adhipa) (5-7).
The director of the larger society, Visvarupa
The statuette (of Visvarupa) which represented the creator and director of the above larger society was however very small in size (of the height of a thumb) but it was white and pure, like the sun.
He had resolved (samkalpa) to carry out the above restructuring as his personal mission (ahamkara). He had the traits of an intellectual (buddhi) and of an individual (atma) not attached to any social body. He seems to be goading all to bring about the new social order (5-8).
The soul (atma) is said to be very subtle, a hundredth part of the thickness of a hair at its end. Yet its capabilities are infinite (ananta), the teacher points out (5-9). According to the teacher the issue of sex is irrelevant to the concept of soul (atma). It is neither female nor male nor is to be considered as a eunuch. It protects the body it assumes (5-10).
Emergence, development, transformation of the individual
The individual (atma) who is not bound by the social body but is capable of protecting that body is born and grows in stature by means of his resolve (samkalpa) to survive against all odds and carry out his mission, his ability to be aware of the traits of his environment through touch and sight and his attractions (moha) and by the availability of ample food and drink.
According with his deeds (karma) the soul (in the body, deha) assumes different forms depending on the situations (5-11). He chooses many shapes, gross and subtle in accordance with his innate traits (gunas).
The teacher says that the individual has of his own united with those bodies through the traits (gunas) of his acts (kriya) and innate (atma) traits (gunas) and seems to be one different from his original self (12).
The stoic with a mission
The teacher was explaining how it was the same personage though essentially a stoic not engaged in any work or attached to any social or personal interests who could play different roles and present himself in different forms while carrying out the mission that he had resolved on.
One is freed from all (social and personal) bonds if he recognizes the noble (deva) as one who is without beginning and without end (as immortal, in common parlance) and who has from amidst social chaos created a larger society (visva) with many structures (rupa) and embraces that larger society (visva) (5-13).
The teacher pointing out the small linga that represented Siva says that the traits of the latter, who is body-less should be grasped by the mind. Siva had created both whatever was there and the things that were not there (that were in the past or would be in the future). He had created the larger (mobile) society and also its different branches. One who recognizes this trait of that noble will become free from his (social) body. He will no longer be concerned with the smaller groups of which he had been a member (5-14).
Constitution of the confederation of states prescribes constant social change
According to some thinkers who were legislators (kavis) the inherent nature (svabhava) of an individual is such that he may be deluded by happenings around him. Some others would attribute such being deluded to (the passage of) time. In other words social change which is bound to happen as times change perplexes individuals.
The teacher would however notice that it is change prescribed by the socio-political constitution (Brahma). This change is because of the Brahma-wheel by which old order yields place to new with new incumbents taking over the reins of administration at the instance of the noble (deva) who is held in great esteem (mahima) in the social world (loka) (of jurists) (6-1).
[The comment that the cosmic process is generally represented by a rotating wheel may be appreciated but not the remark, It is ever moving, thanks to the greatness of God. It is the moving image of eternity.]
The teacher would describe the controller of this social change as one who always envelops this entire larger society and as jna, as one who knows (all that has happened and is happening) and as one is the creator of times and as one having (all noble) traits (guna) and as one who had studied all sciences (sarvavid).
Controlled by him the scheme of work (karma) unfolds itself. This work was distributed among the officials (mahabhutas, elements of nature) designated as prthvi, apa, agni, vayu and kham who headed the five sectors of the larger society (6-2).
Social philosophy, work and equality
The great personage had determined what work the officials were expected to do and assigned them each his work. Then he retired from his work and entered into the activity (yoga) of bringing about equality in accordance with the social philosophy (tattva) developed by him.
He determined whether the work was to be done by a single individual or by two persons together or by a committee of three members or by a larger board of eight members. He also prescribed the time within which the work was to be completed and the subtle personal qualities that were expected in the members of this executive (6-3).
[The transliteration, Having created this work and rested again, having entered into union with the essence of the self, by one, by two, by three or by eight, or by time too and the subtle qualities of the self fails to bring out the message of the teacher. The interpretation that one referred to the purusha of samkhya and two; to purusha and prakrti and three to the three traits, sattva, rajas and tamas and eight to the five senses and mind, intellect and ego-sense is not to the mark.]
Rudra school of thought and Social reorganization
The charismatic chief of the larger society began determining what duties (karma) required specific traits (gunas) in the officials to whom they were to be assigned and then distributed them among the then incumbents.
The teacher implied that it was not felt necessary to appoint new persons to those posts. The chief did not embark on a total change of the administrative machinery.
If the incumbent did not have the required traits the work assigned (karma) and done (krta) would be destroyed (nasa) and as the duty is performed in a poor way (kshaya) he introduces other persons qualified to carry them out in accordance with his social philosophy (tattva) (behind the creation of a larger society where every unit would have members excelling in every one of the three traits and not assigned to separate classes) (6-4).
[The interpretation that this verse tells us that if we dedicate all our works to Isvara, we will not be subject to the law of karma is unacceptable.]
The teacher claims that this charismatic chief (a member of the Rudra school of thought) was the first to propound the above scheme and philosophy and to attempt a union (samyoga) between the original purpose (hetu) and the circumstance (nimitta, the immediate cause) that called for the scheme being embarked upon.
His plan is seen to be one not limited to a particular time (past or present or future). The form (rupa) of the larger society (visva) does not indicate the presence of separate parts (kala).
He is a noble (deva) who is desired by all the existing (bhava) discrete individuals who had a respectable past (bhutas). One has to keep him in his thoughts (cittam) (5). The teacher tells his students not to be satisfied with comparing that great chief (Siva) with the tree (vrksha) or with time (kala).
Because of the charismatic chief (isa), Bhaga, who brings dharma (justice) and removes sin (papa) the entire cosmos is undergoing change (parivarta). That he is the personage on whom the larger society (visva) rests (dhama) is known to the cultural aristocrats (amrta) (6-6).
The teacher advised his students to know that the chief he was referring to was accepted by all the charismatic benefactors (isvaras) as being superior to them and as having the status of Mahesvara. He (who was normally stationed in the social periphery or in the forests or mountains) was the highest devata among the devatas (the nobles of the frontier society). [The devatas who were plutocrats or technocrats ranked marginally lower to the cultural aristocrats, devas.]
He was the chief of the heads (patis) of clans and groups. He was a noble and the charismatic chief (isa) of the bhuvana, a sector of the frontier society. (6-7)
What the purpose of his mission (karya) and the organs (karana) of the (state) through which Mahadeva functioned while bringing about the organization of the larger society were are not known. It can be said that there is none seen to be equal to or superior to him. However his great power (sakti) is revealed in his various acts.
That great chief was a born (svabhava) genius (jnana) and had the innate strength (bala) to carry out that mission, the teacher told his students (6-8). Mahadeva who was known as the chief of the people (prajapati) and known as the Vratya for his dispassion had no master (pati) in the world (loka), was not the subject of any head. He functioned on his own. He was not functioning under any charismatic leader (isa) for he himself was an isa.
The newly inducted domiciles were known as prajas and they along with the natives (jana) constituted the population of the larger commonalty.
Mahadeva was not represented by the figure in the form of linga. He was the person who initiated the mission (was the karana). He was the head (adhipa) of the heads (adhipas) of the organs of the state (karanas) that functioned under his direction. He was not the native of any state (jana) nor could the chief (adhipa) of any janapada claim rights over him as having been born to one of its natives (6-9).
[The interpretation of the term, linga as mark, any sign from which we could infer the existence of God is totally irrelevant and inane.Mahadeva who had undertaken the mission to establish neo-nation-states all over the continent was identified by his special marks. He was not wearing the amulet of linga, a practice of later times.]
The teacher would liken the working of this great social leader to that of a spider which weaves around him a web drawing the needed substance from his own body. It was his charisma that attracted all to him even as the flies were attracted to the web and got caught there but could not get at the spider. The chiefs (pradhanas) of communities were such charismatic personages who did not depend on support from others.
The teacher prayed that he and his followers might be admitted by him to the high academy of scholars and jurists (Brahma) (6-10). [The translation, May He grant us entrance into Brahman is not an instructive one.]
The teacher noticed that the Brahmavadis who were ideologues and activists revered Mahadeva. He wanted to join them in carrying out the mission of organizing the larger society that Mahadeva, a Brahmavadi, had initiated.
Siva's charismatic influence over all discrete individuals
While other nobles (devas) had each his small section of followers, Siva was the only noble (deva) who had charismatic influence over all (sarva) the discrete individuals (bhutas) of the social periphery and resided amongst them and influenced them all and represented their interests and will as their atma.
He presided over their activities (karma) and was a witness to their deeds and was the thinker (cetas) who guided their ways of living. He did not belong to any social sector as he was above and different (kevala) from others who were bound by their innate traits (6-11).
[The teacher calls upon the students to visualize the Ultimate as an abstract force with no traits (nirguna) rather than as a personage with all traits (saguna).]
The teacher notes that the sole great charismatic leader (isa) who kept all under his influence was not personally an executive (nishkriya) of the larger social polity or state. He (like the agriculturist) cast the seed that grew manifold, that is, he started the mission which grew into a mass movement. Those who could discern (dhira) noticed his presence in their own departments (of activity or administration).
Those (among the administrators of the larger society) who were loyal to him and not to other claimants from the frontier society to such leadership were able to enjoy permanent comforts and benefits (sukham) (6-12). The teacher clarifies that the leader whom he referred to was not on the scene for a temporary purpose. Among the many officials who were on their posts he too was one (as Prajapati).
Among the many thinkers of the school of Cetas or Pracetas (socio-political counselors) he too was one. He was a benefactor granting the desires of his followers. The purpose of his mission (karanam) may be apprehended through discrimination (dhi) (between opposites) by methods of Samkhya dialectics and disciplined endeavour (Yoga). One who knows the traits and deeds of that noble (deva) is freed from all social and personal bonds (6-13).
[The teacher was an admirer of Kapila, propounder Samkhya techniques and Siva was a Yogi. It may be noted that the approach of Svetasvatara was not different from that of Krshna though his concept of the new larger society (Visvarupa) was different from Krshnas.]
The social sector (of the periphery) over which Siva had influence was not controlled by the Vedic officials designated as Surya (who controlled the administration and the army, kshatram), Chandra (and his associates who directed the activities of those sections other than kshatras), Vidyut and Agni who were enlighteners in charge of the distant society and the nearby commonalty. As this official functions all the individuals become active and his brightness illumines all (6-14).
The teacher would compare that great chief to the lone swan in the garden, the separate administrative sector constituted out of the frontier society. He would also compare him to the submarine volcanic fire that lay submerged and muted. Rudra was no longer the ferocious personage that he earlier was.
By knowing his traits one might go beyond the commonalty over whom Mrtyu had jurisdiction and enter the distant social periphery which was becoming gentle and free from turbulence. Only the path shown by the Rudra school of thought can lead one to that distant social area (6-15).
[The translation, The one bird is in the midst of this world. This indeed is the fire that has entered into the ocean. Only by knowing Him does one pass over death. There is no other path for going there is inept.]
The teacher would extol him as the creator of the larger society (visva) and as one who knew all the traits of that large society and one (atma) who emerged by himself and who knew all (that had happened in the past and was happening then) and who was determining what should be done and when (kala-kara) and who had (governed the people with all) the traits (gunas), sattva, rajas and tamas, serenity, dynamism and inertness).
He was a scholar who knew all the disciplines of study. He was the chief figure in the community where he functioned and knew the traits of his field of administration and was a charismatic figure (isa) by trait (guna).
The teacher was expecting the head of the enlarged social polity to stay in the social periphery amidst its discrete individuals in order to fulfill his purpose (hetu) of freeing them from the bonds of worldly life. They would be aided to think of activities higher than the ones called for by membership of families and clans. (6-16)
Institution of the post of Isa
The aspirant to that position (samstha) of a charismatic benevolent leader (isa) has to be an aristocrat (amrta) and know all that has happened and is happening and move in all areas.
He will have to be the protector of the attractive administrative centre (bhuvana) set in the remote periphery. He will have permanent jurisdiction as Isa over the mobile population of the social universe (jagat) too. Except for these activities no other purpose is seen behind the instituting of this position of Isa, according to the teacher. He implied that the Isa did not have jurisdiction over the three organized social worlds, commonalty, nobility and frontier society (6-17).
The disputation between Svetasvatara and the Brahmavadis and other students of social polity over the mission that Mahadeva had embarked on and the status of Siva who was seated in a remote place then leads to what the intents of the original author who drafted the Atharvan socio-political constitution (Brahma) in the past were.
That sage had required that noble (deva) to adhere to the Vedas but expected him to use his personal (atma) intellect (buddhi) to enlighten (prakasa) the mumukshus, seekers of liberation (from worldly bonds) who had taken refuge with him (6-18).
The teacher would pay homage to the head of the new larger polity which had no separate sectors or ancillaries (kala) and who had no personal duties (kriya) and who was calm and serene (santa) and who was irreproachable and had no blemish.
By following his directives one could cross over (setu) from the world of cares of the commonalty to the world of nobles (with permanent happiness, amrta). The poet compares this transit to a fire that has ceased to burn with its fuel burnt out (6-19).
When the followers of Manava school of thought shall roll up the open space (akasa) as if it were a piece of leather there will be an end to the life of sorrow (that the commoners have to experience).
The teacher implied that the Manavas who were not bound by the codes of clans and communities should lead a life of free citizens as those in the open space did. Besides they would come to know more (than what they knew already) about that noble (deva) (6-20).
[The interpretation, To roll up space like a piece of leather is an impossibility but when that impossible becomes possible, only then will sorrow cease, without knowing God. There is no other way for ending sorrow than the knowledge of God is too simplistic and not to the mark.]
The reporter says that Svetasvatara by the influence of his strenuous endeavour to discover the unknown (tapas) and by the grace (prasada) of the noble (deva) spoke in the proper manner about the high and pure constitution (Brahma) to the audience comprising members of the final (ati) asrama (ascetics) and sages (rshis) (6-21).
He added that this highest mystery of Vedanta which was declared in a previous session (purvakalpa) should not be conveyed to one whose passions had not been silenced (prasanta) or to one who was not a son or a pupil (of one of the students of Svetasvatara (6-22). He also extolled the topics covered by this Upanishad.