Sanatana Dharma is a Universal Law
Sanatana Dharma has been established as the eternal law. Just like one need not be told that fire burns a person meddling with it and one need not be aware of the law of gravity for it to work on him/her, Sanatana Dharma works on each and every entity, animate or inanimate. It sees no differences amongst the people of the world.
Whoever is in abidance with the universal spirit of the Dharma is saved by the Dharma. Dharma delineates the path of moksha and whoever abides by this universal path shall well be on the way to moksha. Such is the efficacy of Sanatana Dharma.
3 Components of Reality
One of the most authentic system of Vedic application appear in the Vishishta Advaita School. There are three features identified in the Vishishta Advaita Philosophy of Vedic Study namely (तत्व-हित-पुरुषार्थ tattva-hita-purushartha) which stand for (Realities-Means-Goal). There are three fundamental Components of Reality (तत्व-त्रय tattva-traya). They are:
(ब्रह्म- जीव- प्रकृति) or 1) Brahman- 2) Jiva- 3) Prakriti. Brahman represents Ishwara or God. Jiva stands for the living entities who exist forgetful of their original nature along with Prakriti or Matter.
What are the 3 Paths to Attain Life’s Destination?
There are three means through which the Jiva can reach its final destination namely: 1) Jnana Yoga, 2) Karma Yoga and 3)Bhakti Yoga.
Bhakti Yoga can be further subdivided as Devotion to God, Complete Surrender to God, Devotion to Acharya or Surrender to Acharya. Depending on one’s inner alignment or faith, one can choose God or Acharya. For a common man God is only a concept which is not within one’s field of experience. It becomes easier for a devotee to surrender to a living being who can be experienced through the senses. Hence there is importance for Surrendering to the Acharya or acting through devotion to the Acharya.
What does Dharma and Svadharama?
Purushartha (the goal of human endeavour), is five-fold namely (धर्म-अर्थ-काम-कैवल्य-मोक्ष) Dharma-Artha-Kama-Kaivalya-Moksha.) Dharma stands for the fundamental adherences to principles of Sanatana Dharma. They are the basic guidelines that need to be followed or things to be avoided so that life’s various duties and responsibilities are executed the correct way. Dharma reflects the principles on which consciousness conducts itself. If one follows Dharma it always works for the good of all. A single action of man affects the entire universe.
This is the basic principle on which Dharma is formulated. The Vedic Scriptures have delineated Dharma as per time, place, circumstances based on the temperament and character of the person who wishes to execute his Dharma. When a person follows his Dharma well, it is known as (स्वधर्मा Svadharma)
What does Artha Mean?
When action is carried out in line with what is appropriate, as per Dharma it leads to generation of wealth or prosperity, also economic development.
This is called (अर्थ- Artha), the means with which one can satisfy desires. Through Artha one can take care of (काम- Kama) Kama. When a person discovers that desires are unending and in spite of trying his level best to quench the thirst of Kama, it only increases, he becomes fed-up of Kama. He starts looking at the source from where these desires appear. Thus his journey towards the Self begins. When the person attains the source, the Self, he attains (कैवल्य- Kaivalya).
When is Moksha attained?
Although he attains Kaivalya, self-realization, he still feels incomplete because he does not feel the closeness of relationship. He is desirous to share the higher moods with the Absolute which is the manifestation of the Supreme Self, God. He wants to enter the Abode of His eternal father and enjoy eternal relationship with Him and so through the process of Bhakti He attains (मोक्ष- Moksha) following which he never returns to mortal world.
Who can attain Moksha?
There are many routes to moksha.
There are routes for those who had acquired an eligibility to enter Paramapada (परमपद), or the final course through various Upasana (उपासना), spiritual discipline and practices. Seekers who acquired Vidya (विद्या) specific knowledge prescribed in Bhakti Yoga, also get access to these means to attain Moksha.
Let us discuss 5 categories of people who are eligible for Moksha
(i) Those who practice Madhuvidya (मधू-विद्या) obtain positions like those of Vasus. Vedic gods are usually enumerated as thirty-three, among whom the ‘Aṣhtavasus’ (अष्टावसु) or ‘Eight Vasus’ form the first group.
Who are Vasus?
The Vasus are a class of deities, chiefly known as attendants of Indra. The word ‘Vasu’ is derived from the root ‘vas’ (‘to dwell’, ‘ causing to dwell,’ ‘to shine’) and hence the ‘Vasus’ are deities representing all spheres of extension or space, and height. They are personifications of nature and natural phenomena.
The eight Vasus are: Aapa, Dhruva, Soma, Dhara, Anila, Anala, Prathyusha, and Prabhasa
Other Paths to Attain Moksha
(ii) Those who meditate on the four faced Brahma as the body of Narayana reach his Satyaloka. Devotees stay with in Satya Loka till the end of Brahma’s life called Pralaya (प्रलय), when dissolution takes place. Having fulfilled themselves they enter the highest seat Paramapada along with Sri Brahma; so says the Kurma Purana.
(iii) Certain others reach Aniruddha, the Devata who appears as the grandson of Sri Krishna. He is an expansion of Sri Krishna, in His earthly pastime.
After staying with Him for some time they go to Pradyumna. Latter is also an expansion of Sri Krishna, who appeared as the son of Krishna in Dwaraka Leela. Their journey proceeds further as they go, to Sankarshana (the Devata who came as the elder brother of Lord Krishna in His earthly pastime). He is the personified power expansion of Sri Krishna, and finally to Para Vasudeva (Narayana).
How do Bhaktas attain Moksha?
(IV) Jayakhya Samhita mentions another route for Bhaktas who practice some other Vidya. Devotees go from the earthly platform to Svetadweepa and reach Hari who has the Universe as His Form.
Then, they reach Hari in his form as Aniruddha who is in the Ocean of Milk. From there, they go to Hari who is the Lord of Brahma and all others. Then, they proceed to Sankarshana and finally to the Eternal Bhagawan, Vasudeva. These are known as ‘Krama Mukti’ (क्रम मुक्ति Release by gradation) and are applicable to those who practice Bhakti Yoga.
(v) For people who are completely surrendered (Prapatti) to the guru or the Supreme Lord Narayana who are also called Prapannas (प्रपन्न), the simplest, shortest, surest, and settled route is the royal route of Archiradhi marga (अरचिराधि मार्ग).
Brief intro to Archaradi Marga
In the Archiradhi Marga the soul travels with his astral and causal bodies till it reaches the cosmic Viraja River. On reaching the river, depending on the deity of the devotee either Sri Garuda or Sri Hanumanji come to escort the soul to Sri Vaikuntha (Abode of Lord Narayana) or Saket Dhama (The Abode of Sri Rama) after casting off the astral and causal body and adorning a perfectly splendid spiritual form.
He, the omniscient Lord, who resides in the shuttle space in the heart (हृदय ) like a father who enters the muddy tank to rescue His child that has fallen inside, at the time of departure. He escorts the jiva in his travel out of the body, avoiding the nadis (nerve currents) that lead to heaven (स्वर्ग Swarga) or hell (नरक narak), through the pathway of a special nerve current, called murdhanya nadi (मूर्धन्य नाड़ी).
With the support of the rays of the Sun, in the shining path, Archiradhi to the eternal Sri Vaikuntha, the permanent abode of Lord Narayana.
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