This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

NOTICE:
This Dark Age is now available in paperback on Amazon. The print version is MUCH cleaner than this online version, which is largely unedited and has fallen by the wayside as the project has grown. If you’ve appreciated my writing, please consider leaving a review on the relevant paperback volumes. The print edition also includes new sections (Military History, War Psychology, Dogmatic Theology).

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Final Deliverance

If it be asked how one can achieve Deliverance, the answer must be clearly given: Knowledge and knowledge alone. Any practices or prescribed rituals are only of values as a means to the end of metaphysical realization, and metaphysical realization is the fruit of knowledge. Action cannot bring it about, for the simple reason that action cannot liberate from action, nor cause the being to rise above it. The yogi may reach the final goal with the help of the observances of the Yoga-Shastra of Patanjali, and may even make use of rites and particular styles of meditation (harda-vidya or dahara-vidya),[1] but the purpose of these is in every case a preparation for knowledge. It is an acknowledged truth that the necessary knowledge may be achieved without these ‘accidents,’ since,

Man can acquire true Divine Knowledge even without observing the rites prescribed [for each of the different human categories, in conformity with their respective natures, and especially for the different ashramas or regular stages of life]; and indeed many examples are to be met with in the Veda of persons who have neglected to carry out such rites [the function of which is compared in the Veda to that of a saddle-horse, which helps a man to reach his destination more easilyi and mroe rapidly, but without which he is able to reach it all the same], or who have been prevented from doing so, and yet, by maintaining their attention perpetually concentrated and fixed on the Supreme Brahma [in which consists the one and only really indispensible preparation], have acquired true Knkoweldge concerning It [Knowledge which, for that reason, is, likewise called ‘supreme’].[2]

And this is why it is acknowledged that men who reach a certain degree of realization called ativarnashrami, which means ‘beyond caste’ (varna) and therefore beyond the stages of earthly life (ashramas); for him none of the usual distinctions apply since even though he may not be yogi he has nonetheless risen above the limits of individuality.

What has been said above also carried the implication that Deliverance and absolute Knowledge are one and the same, each implying the other. And this is why it is said that action is for the sake of some result, whereas knowledge carries its result within itself. It is ‘its own reward,’ so to speak. Deliverance is a consequence of knowledge, but in the most immediate sense possible:

There is no other means of obtaining complete and final Deliverance excepting Knowledge; it alone loosens the bonds of passion; without Knowledge, Beatitude [Ananda] cannot be obtained. Action [karma, whether understood in its general sense or as applied specially to the performance of rites], not being opposed to ignorance [avidya], cannot remove it; but Knowledge disperses ignorance as light disperses darkness. As soon as the ignorance born of earthly affectations [and other analogous bonds] is banished, the ‘Self’ [Atma], by its own splendor, shines afar [through every degree of existence] in an undivided state [penetrating all and illuminating the totality of the being], as the sun spreads its brightness abroad when the clouds have scattered.[3]

To reiterate: action cannot liberate from action, but can only bear fruit in its own domain, which is the contingent domain of the human individuality. In other words, one cannot transcend individuality through action. This means that ‘Salvation’ in the sense given to it by religions such as Christianity, insofar as it is the fruit of actions, is not Deliverance. Salvation may refer to higher states within the individual domain, up to and including the Brahma-Loka considered in its inferior aspect, as Hiranyagarbha. The superior aspect, which represents the transcendence of individuality and the entrance into the formless, and which is identified with Ishvara, is accessible only through knowledge. And this knowledge may be either ‘non-supreme,’ pertaining to Ishvara which we just mentioned, or ‘supreme,’ which would amount to the attainment of Deliverance.

The Self [Atma, since there can be no further question of jivatma, all distinction and all ‘separateness’ having disappeared] of him who has attained the perfection of Divine Knowledge [Brahma Vidya] and who has consequently obtained final Deliverance, ascends, on quitting its bodily form [and without passing through any intermediate states], to the Supreme Light which is Brahma, and identifies itself with It, in an undivided and conformable manner, just as pure water, mingling itself with the clear lake [without however losing itself in it in any way] conforms itself in every respect therewith.[4]

[1] Chhandogya Upanishad, I.

[2] Brahma-Sutras III.4.36-38.

[3] Atma-Bodha.

[4] Brahma-Sutras, IV.4.1-4.

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