This Dark Age

A manual for life in the modern world.

By Daniel Schwindt

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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Purusha is unaffected by individual modifications

To return again to the Bhagavad-Gita,

There are in the world two Purushas, the one destructible and the other indestructible; the first is distributed among all beings; the second is immutable. But there is another Purusha, the highest [uttama], which is called Paramatma, and which, as imperishable Lord, pervades and sustains three world [the earth, the air, and the heavens, representing the three fundamental degrees between which all the modes of manifestation are distributed]. As I transcend the destructible and even the indestructible [being the supreme Principle of the one and the other], I am extolled in the world and in the Veda under the name of Purushottama.[1]

These two Purushas are the two birds, connected and perched in the same tree. The first is jivatma, the separate existence of which is contingent and passing; the second is Atma considered in its relationship to the individual and as its ‘personality’; the third, as the text states, is Paramatma, or Atma unconditioned. It is in this way that we are enabled to speak of a ‘personality’ for each being. Purusha as the personality of the individual being is likened to, ‘a portion of the Supreme Ruler [who, however, is really without parts, being absolutely indivisible and ‘without duality’], as a spark is a portion of the fire [the nature of which is wholly present in every spark].’[2] And just as the spark contains the entire nature of the fire in itself, and it not affected by any of the conditions which determine the individual, for it is Prakriti that is affected thereby, so Purusha is not affected by individual modifications. It is Prakriti that can be said, in Aristotelian terms, to pass from ‘potency’ to act. According to Vijnana-Bhikshu: ‘All modification from the original production of the world to its final dissolution, proceeds exclusively from Prakriti and her derivatives.’ By derivatives is meant the twenty-four tattvas of the Sankhya. Purusha, on the other hand, is the principle which determines the development of all these possibilities, without ever entering into manifestation itself or being affected in any way:

Thus the solar or lunar light [capable of manifold modifications] appears identical with that which gives birth to it [the luminous source, considered as immutable itself], but nevertheless it is distinct therefrom [in external manifestation; likewise modifications or manifested qualities are, as such, distinct from their essential principle, in that they can in no manner affect it]. As the image of the sun reflected in water quivers and fluctuates in accordance with the undulations of the water, yet without affected the other images reflected therein, much less the solar orb itself, so the modifications of the one individual leave other individuals unaffected and, so much the more so, the Supreme Ruler Himself.’[3]

The Supreme Ruler is, in the context, Purushattoma, and it is this principle with which the Personality in all its universality is identical, just as all sparks are identical with fire. The image of the sun–that is to say, the reflection of the sun on the water, and not the sun itself–is the living soul, jivatma. It is the reflection in the individual realm, in relation to each individual, of the Light of Atma. We can also mention that the ray of light which connects the reflection with its source and which is in this way responsible for its existence, is Buddhi, the higher intellect, standing just beyond the individual order. Buddhi is formless and supra-individual, but manifested; and because Buddhi is manifested, it can be said to derive from Prakriti as its first production. The water, which reflects the solar light, is the plastic principle Prakriti. In this context, however, it must be noticed that the water represents the possibilities of formal manifestation, or manifestation in individual mode. This is appropriate due to the subject, but it is important to acknowledge otherwise one may forget that Buddhi in truth part of manifestation.

[1] Book XV.16-18.

[2] Brahma-Sutras II.3.43.

[3] Brahma-Sutras, II.3.46-53.

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