Four Aims of Being

THERE is but one thing which all seek — happiness — though it be of differing kinds and sought in different ways. All forms, whether sensual, intellectual, or spiritual, are from the Brahman, who is Itself the Source and Essence of all Bliss, and Bliss itself (rasovai sah). Though issuing from the same source—pleasure differs in its forms in being higher and lower, transitory or durable, or permanent. Those on the path of desire (pravrtti marga) seek it through the enjoyments of this world (bhukti) or in the more durable, though still impermanent delights of heaven (svarga). He who is on the path of return (nivrtti-marga) seeks happiness, not in the created worlds, but in everlasting union with their primal source (mukti); and thus it is said that man can never be truly happy until he seeks shelter with Brahman, which is Itself the great Bliss (rasam hi vayam labdhva anandi bhavati).

The eternal rhythm of the Divine Breath is outwards from spirit to matter and inwards from matter to spirit. Devi as Maya evolves the world. As Mahamaya She recalls it to Herself. The path of outgoing is the way of pravrtti; that of return nivrtti, Each of these movements is divine. Enjoyment (bhukti) and liberation (mukti) are each Her gifts.(1) And in the third chapter of the work cited it is said that of Visnu and S’iva mukti only can be had, but of Devi both bhukti and mukti and this is so in so far as the Devi is, in a peculiar sense the source whence those material things come from which enjoyment (bhoga) arises. All jivas on their way to humanity,(2) and the bulk of humanity itself, are on the forward path, and rightly seek the enjoyment which is appropriate to their stage of evolution.

The thirst for life will continue to manifest itself until the point of return is reached and the outgoing energy is exhausted. Man, must until such time, remain on the path of desire. In the hands of Devi is the noose of desire. Devi herself is both desire (3) and that light of knowledge which in the wise who have known enjoyment lays bare its futilities. But one cannot renounce until one has enjoyed, and so of the world-process itself it is said; that the unborn ones, the Purusas, are both subservient to her (prakrti), and leave Her by reason of viveka.(4)

Provision is made for the wordly life which is the ” outgoing” of the Supreme. And so it is said that the Tantrika has both enjoyment (bhukti) and liberation (mukti).(5) But enjoyment itself is not without its law. Desire is not to be let loose without bridle.(6) The mental self is, as is commonly said, the charioteer of the body, of which the senses are the horses. Contrary to mistaken notions on the subject, the Tantras take no exception to the ordinary rule that it is necessary not to let them run away. If one would not be swept away and lost in the mighty force which is the descent into matter, thought and action must be controlled by Dharma. Hence the first three of the aims of life (trivarga) on the path of pravrtti are dharma, artha and kama.

1. As also Svarga (sec S’aktananda-tarangini, chap. i).
2. Including, according to a caustic observer, the large number of men who may be more properly described as candidates for humanity.
3. See Candi. Devi is manifested in desire, etc.
4. And so S’ruti (Taittirlya-Aranyaka) says I
Ajamekam lohita sukla krsnam,
Bahvlrn prajarn janayantim sarupam,
Ajo hyeko jusamano’ nusete
jahatyenam bhukta-bhogamajonyab :
and see Sarn khya Tattva-Kaumudi
5. See Mahanlrvana Tantra chapter IV, verse 39 and Chapter I, verse, where the Tantras are described as the givers of both bhukti and mukti. See notes to same as to bhoga.
6. As to sveccha, see notes to Chapter III, verse 96 ibid.