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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prama' -- Dynamic Equilibrium and Equipoise

Dynamic Equilibrium and Equipoise  [from a discourse by Srii Srii Anandamurti


Trigun'a'tmika' srs't'ima'trka' ashes'a'trikon'a dha'ra'

In the primordial phase of manifestation, the three attributional principles evolves countless geometric figures which all eventually get transformed into triangles of forces (gun'atrikon'a). Whenever there are more than three forces operating, the tendency is invariably to form a stable triangular figure.

As long as this gun'atrikon'a or gun'ayantraka is in a balanced state, the sentient force is converted into mutative force, the mutative into static and the static into sentient. This process of mutual conversion has been going on endlessly.

Due to the homomorphic conversion, the balance of the triangle of forces is maintained. But in this process of constant metamorphosis, a stage comes when, due to the pressure of the static Prakrti, the balance of the triangle is lost and the process of manifestation begins through one of its vertices: there ensues in the flow of manifestation a lokatrikon'a. Human existence is trifarious: physical, psychic and spiritual. These three aspects give rise to prama'trikon'a or lokatrikon'a in individual entities as well as in the collective body.

Now what is the actual meaning of Prama'? The word Prama' is derived from pra-ma'+d'a+t'a. The meaning of the root-verb ma is `to measure',`to fathom'. So the etymological meaning of prama' is `balance'. In English the two words `equilibrium' and `equipoise' are used in this sense. But there is some practical difference between these two words. `Equilibrium' is used in the sense of balance in physical strength and `equipoise' is used in the sense of balance in weight. Suppose there is a tug-of-war between two parties. If both the parties are equally strong, no party is able to pull the other party towards itself, i.e. there is a physical equilibrium between the two parties. Take another case. Suppose there is a one kilo weight on one side of a scale and on the other side there is one kilo of brinjal. As there is equality of weight on both sides, the scale is evenly balanced. This balanced state in weight is called equipoise. Equilibrium and equipoise are collectively known as prama'.

Just as prama' is indispensable in individual life, it is equally indispensable in collective life as well. The superiority or excellence of the social structure or the culture and civilization of a community of people is derived by the degree of prama' which that community attains in its individual and collective life. It is somewhat strange that although human beings came onto the earth about a million years ago, and although the human civilization started about fifteen thousand years ago, human beings could not bring about perfect balance or prama' in the three spheres of individual and collective life. What is more strange, is that they did not even feel the necessity of establishing prama' in individual and collective life. For instance, though the western world has made some material progress and tried to bring a certain degree of prama' in the physical sphere, the people of the west did not make any sincere effort to establish prama' in the spiritual sphere nor are they doing so even today. Of course, they made some effort to bring prama' in the psychic sphere by bringing about some development in the intellectual sphere.

India is the only country in the world where at least some attempt was made to introduce prama' in the spiritual sphere, but this too was not perfect. As in the West, India also made some attempt to establish prama' in the psychic sphere; but that attempt was not remarkably successful. If we analyse the history of different communities of people of the world, we notice that despite their tremendous physical, psychic and spiritual potentialities, they did not utilize the opportunity to establish prama' in individual and collective life. This was due to their defective ideas and practices and their faulty social and economic system. They could not strengthen the human society by developing different branches of knowledge, by evolving culture and civilization, its intellectual and spiritual advancement. In the absence of prama' they could not make the fullest possible contributions to human society by developing different branches of human knowledge, uplifting the standard of culture and civilization, and raising the level of intellect and intuition.

Lack of Prama' in the Physical Sphere

Nature has been bountiful to each and every region of the world and has endowed us with enormous wealth both on and under the surface of the earth. In fact, different areas of the world are full of agricultural, mineral, aquatic, medicinal and forest resources; yet in many economic regions of the world there is utmost poverty, low standard of life, and cultural and industrial backwardness. As a result, with the curse of acute scarcity of food, clothes and accommodation, as well as lack of education facilities, even today in the twentieth century when material science claims to have made rapid progress, millions of people are fighting for their physical survival. Due to the blessing of nature there is no shortage of physical resources in any economic region. But due to the lack of benevolent human propensities, those resources have not been utilised for social and economic development. In consequence, the people's basic physical necessities (food, clothes, accommodation, medical treatment and education) could not be met. Obviously there is gross lack of prama' in the physical sphere.

Let us take the case of Ra'r'h -- the starting point of human civilization. Nature has provided the hilly land of Ra'r'h with enormous resources. In the different strata of old hard rock there are gold, silver, copper, mercury, mica, manganese and many other minerals. There are large deposits of quartz and various types of other valuable minerals in the stratum of hard igneous rock. There is good-quality coal and sand in the stratum of ancient alluvial rock and dead stone. Western Ra'r'h is rich with mineral wealth. The soil of eastern Ra'r'h, having been formed form the sea-bed, is comparatively new: there is a great possibility that mineral ore may be extracted from it, especially in those areas which were covered by the Sargasso sea in ancient days. Eastern Ra'r'h is as rich in surface wealth as western Ra'r'h is rich in underground wealth. The sort of rich fertile land we find in Burdwan, Hooghly, Howrah, eastern Midnapur and Kandi subdivision is very rare in the whole world. The reason is that the rivers of Ra'r'h such as Damodara, Ajaya, Mayu'ra'ksii', Kam'sa'vati, Suvarnrekha, Vakreshvara, Kopai, Shilavatii, Hinglo have carried alluvial soil enriched with calcium and various mineral resources and made the surface of the land very rich; as precious as gold. In that fertile soil there can be bumper harvests of paddy (rice), wheat, sugarcane, pulses, cotton, mulberry and non-bulberry silk and many other agricultural products. The laterite soil of Ra'r'h is so rich with calcium that good quality apples, pears, oranges, papayas, guavas, grapes, castor-apples and many other fruits can be grown in abundance. By introducing various kinds of irrigation systems (small irrigation, lift irrigation, excavation of tanks, etc.) efforts may be made for the growth of orchards and for the cultivation of three crops of rice in a year (early autumn, winter and summer). On the basis of the tremendous potentiality for agricultural production, numerous agrico-industries could be established in Ra'r'h, but unfortunately, this potentiality has not been tapped so far. The forests of Ra'r'h are also full of resources: they have an abundance of sal, piyasal, hizal, palash, ashok, kusum, jam (blackberry), jackfruit trees, etc.

So although there are enormous natural resources of various types in Ra'r'h, its people are under-nourished, half-naked, poorly accommodated, illiterate and ridden with disease. Had the economic plans of the country been based on the principle of prama', the social and economic picture of Ra'r'h would have been completely different from what it is now. There is another economic region, the adjacent state of Orissa, which is equally rich with natural resources and yet equally poor. The economic potential of Orissa, abundant with tremendous agricultural, mineral and forest resources like Ra'r'h is very bright. On its long coastal belt, there is immense potential for starting large numbers of farms and factories. There are also good possibilities for the growth of iron and steel industry, ship-building industry, port industry, tidal electricity generation, etc. Moreover, on the basis of the agricultural resources of Orissa, thousands of agro-industries and agrico-industries can be started. But due to the absence of any social and economic planning based on prama' in this region, a large percentage of the people of Orissa are living in abject poverty.

Why should we single out only Ra'r'h and Orissa? Almost all the countries of the world are faced with nearly the same sort of economic crises due to a lack of prama'.

Lack of Prama' in the Psychic Sphere

The human mind has two main functions: thinking and recollecting. The human being is predominantly a mental being. So the greatness and excellence of human beings lie in their thinking capacity, intellectual subtlety and brilliance, and wisdom. Human beings, in the process of expressing their creative faculties, externalise the colourful and varied ideas of their psychic world in a variety of ways; on canvas with colours and brushes, in poetry and literature with the touch of their pens, and in sculpture with the subtle use of hammers and chisels. Their philosophical ideas, their scientific observations and experiments, and the study and analysis of various branches of knowledge are exclusively within the psychic realm of the human mind and have been honoured as the golden harvest of that realm. But if there is a lack of prama' in the psychic sphere then many ommissional and commissional errors and defects are bound to enter into their art, architecture, literature, philosophy, science and other branches of human knowledge. Dance may lose its rhythm, painting may lack proportion, music may lose the harmony of its melody and rhythm, and in the various branches of literature there may be an overgrowth of parasitic weeds of immature expression.

Suppose a painter is drawing a picture. There is a small pond. The pond is full of beautiful transparent water upon which sits a fully-blossomed lotus. Suppose the pond occupies a square inch of space, whereas the petals of the lotus occupy two square inches of space. In this case, the painter has clearly lost the basic sense of proportion and artistic balance, has violated the principle of prama' in the creation of his art. Naturally, in the absence of prama', artistic creation cannot be symmetrical or systematic.

Let us take the case of poetry. Successful poetry is a balanced blending of idea, language, metre and expressional beauty. But if a poet has only a flair for language and depth of ideas and is not skilled in metrical rhythm or cannot introduce subtle beauty in his other composition, then the poetry will suffer from lack of prama'. Poetry devoid of prama' cannot attain the height of success.

Similarly, song is the inner blending of idea, language, melody and rhythm. In the absence of any of the four, prama' will be lost and the song will lose its charm and beauty. It will be nothing but a random composition, a few lines of lifeless words.

Philosophy began in the distant past in an effort to understand the mysteries of this Universe. Various scholars in different branches of human knowledge established various schools of philosophy in different ages. Some of these philosophies were idealistic, some were materialistic. What is the purpose of philosophy? The purpose is to discover the unmistakable link between the causal factor and this sublime Universe. But philosophers, in spite of their sincere efforts, have not yet been able to build a bridge between the relative world and the absolute world. It seems philosophy has lost its way in a labyrinth of metaphysics. The defective conclusions of philosophers have made the respective schools of philosophy merely dogmatic intellectual extravaganzas. Regarding these kinds of philosophies Lord Shiva said, Lokavya'mohaka'raka -- they are the cause of psychic disease.

Lack of Prama' in the Spiritual Sphere

The main purpose of spirituality is to discover Parama Shiva who is lying quiescent in every human existence, and to establish oneness between Macrocosm and microcosms, between the Cosmic Being and human beings, between Jiiva'tma' and Parama'tma. Very often, ignorant of real spirituality and goaded by religious dogma, people undertake long and hazardous journeys to places of pilgrimage, sometimes even selling their earthly possessions like houses, cultivable land, etc. to make the trip possible. They hope to attain virtue by taking a holy dip in sacred rivers. It is needless to say that this causes a loss not only of energy, time and money, but brings much trouble and no spiritual gain. This is one of the glaring examples of the lack of prama' in the spiritual sphere.

Prama' Sam'vrddhi, Prama' Rddhi and Prama' Siddhi

It has already been said that the importance of prama' in all the three phases of human existence is tremendous. Physical progress is deeply associated with the psychic and spiritual development of human beings. When the balanced state of material development, having reached a supreme height, maintains proper adjustment with the psychic and spiritual elevation of individuals and the collectivity, it is called prama' sam'vrddhi.

Similarly, prama' rddhi occurs when the balanced psychic stratum attains the peak of progress and maintains adjustment with the material and spiritual progress of individuals and the collectivity. In this state of prama' rddhi, the ectoplasmic stuff of the mind is powdered down: it develops not only in mass and volume, but moves forward towards the pinnacled intellect (agryabuddhi), while maintaining psychic adjustment, in order to attain sharp penetration of mind.

Finally, prama' siddhi is a state when the mind, having transcended the psycho-spiritual stratum, attains a pinnacled state and absolute equilibrium in spiritual progress and at the same time maintains an adjustment with the physical and psychic development of individuals and the collectivity.

Lokatrikon'a and Stages of Derangement, Disruption and Degeneration

Lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a of individuals and the collectivity is formed in the physical, psychic and spiritual spheres. In the flow of evolution, lokatrikon'a occurs at the first phase of manifestation emanating from the sprout of Parama Purus'a. In the first phase there is balance in the lokatrikon'a of individuals, but in subsequent stages, due to the influence of time, place and person and due to clash of vrttis, the balance of lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a gets lost. This state of loss of balance in Pramatrikon'a or Lokatrikon'a is called the stage of derangement. At this stage if the lost prama' is re-established it is well and good. If it is not the lokatrikon'a in the downward movement gets worse and enters the stage of disruption. If people fail to counteract this trend of downward movement, the lokatrikon'a further descends to the stage of degeneration. Human society today has reached the stage of degeneration and, as a result, is lost in the wilderness of economic bankruptcy, social unrest, cultural degeneration and religious superstition.

Some Solutions

Once the society reaches the state of degeneration, the balance of lokatrikon'a cannot be restored. Rather, society will have to be lifted up step by stem from the stage of degeneration to the stage of disruption, and then from the stage of disruption to the stage of derangement, and in the final stage balance in prama'trikon'a or lokatrikon'a will have to be established. Although all three aspects of life, physical, psychic and spiritual, carry equal significance, the physical stage should be given greater importance in the initial stage. If prama' is lost in the physical sphere, the anti-social elements will have the upper hand in society. They will pollute the social environment. Consequently, prama' in the mental and spiritual spheres will be lost. The mental condition will tend to move towards further degeneration. So, in the physical sphere, the establishment of prama'trikon'a or lokatrikon'a is the foremost necessity.

Now the question is, what should be done to restore order in lokatrikon'a and prama'trikon'a? First, we must divide each stratum into various substrata. For example, we may divide the physical stratum into the following strata: agriculture, industry, trade and commerce, medicine, irrigation, physical education, etc. Here it should be mentioned that as far as education is concerned, the science subjects come within the scope of the physical stratum as they are directly concerned with the material world. On the other hand, the humanities (language, literature, history, philosophy, etc.) come within the scope of the psychic stratum. By forming sub-triangles for each substratum, a greater degree of balance can be established. The physical stratum will then have to be gradually elevated from the stage of degeneration to the stage of disruption. Later, after restoring a greater balance in the sub-triangles, it will have to be raised form the stage of disruption to the stage of derangement. There will be a perfect balance in lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a of the physical stratum when all the sub-triangles are in perfect equilibrium.

Similarly, there are also many substrata in the psychic stratum, such as physico-psychic, psycho-spiritual, etc. When the degree of balance within these substrata increases, the psychic stratum will be elevated from the state of degeneration to the state if disruption, and from the state of disruption to the state of derangement, and finally there will be a perfect balance in lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a in the psychic stratum.

Now let us come to the question of the spiritual stratum. It, too, may be divided into several substrata, although they will be comparatively few in number. The degree of balance within the substrata will also have to be increased gradually. Thus, the spiritual stratum will be raised through the stages of degeneration, disruption and derangement. Balance in the natural Lokatrikon'a of the spiritual stratum will then be established.

To restore balance in the lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a of the physical stratum, the following four factors should be considered:

(1) The physical demand at present and the physical demand in the foreseeable future.

(2) The physical supply at present and the physical supply in the foreseeable future.

(3) The maximum utilisation of land.

(4) The five fundamental principles of Prout concerning that item.

For example, while trying to solve the food problems of any economic zone, the sub-triangle of agriculture will have to be created. A proper irrigation system may have to be introduced, and high-breed varieties of seeds may have to be used. By extensive cultivation of land using tractors and necessary fertilizers, three or four crops may be harvested every year. The proper crops for the proper soil will have to be selected. Agricultural cooperative and agricultural producers' cooperatives will have to be started. Farmers brigades will have to be formed. Agriculture should be conducted on the basis of the principle of consumption, and not the principle of profit making. There should be a proper preservation and distribution of agricultural products. A proper balance in the lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a of agriculture will help establish balance in the lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a in the physical stratum.

In the same way, if there is a perfect balance in the sub-triangles of the substrata, there will be a balance in the lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a in the psychic and spiritual strata.

When all the lokatrikon'as or prama'trikon'as of the physical, psychic and spiritual strata collectively form the final lokatrikon'a or prama'trikon'a, its central point will coincide in a perfect balance with the central point of the Supreme Gun'atrikon'a. A perfect state of balance will be established between individuals and the collectivity and between the collectivity and the cosmos. This supreme balance in all spheres will bring a perfect state of prama' everywhere. The society will attain prama' samvrddhi in the physical stratum, prama' rddhi in the psychic stratum and prama' siddhi in the spiritual stratum. That will be the stage of all-round welfare, progress and perfection for the entire humanity, for the entire living world.

February 1987, Calcutta

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