AN ANALYTICAL STUDY OF UPAMITI – BHAVA – PRAPAÑCA – KATHĀ
STORY of UPAMITI – BHAVA – PRAPAÑCA – KATHĀ
There exists the “City-of-Man’, (Manujgati Nagari) since beginningless time which is the stage of many kinds of dramas and events, as enumerated in the narrative of Samarāditya Kathā. None can draw or colour a perfect picture of this city as it is diversified and manifold. Since time immemorial many legends and great personalities have taken birth here and created history. When people become tired of wandering in other existences they are relieved here, as this city is capable of tranquilizing all kinds of afflictions and karmic conditioning. Natural bounty and resources are abundant in this city. It is full of wonders and the wonderful sights are breath taking. Nothing is impossible to acquire here. Intellectuals, philosophers, logicians, accomplishers and laymen have added glory to this land. No other land can be credited of enabling anyone to accomplish righteousness, affluence, pleasures and emancipation completely.
This “City-of-Man’ is ruled by the king “Maturing-of-Deeds’, (Karmapariṇāma) who is merciless and has conquered the three worlds. He seems to have mastered the art of dramatics and the profession of stage business. He makes even powerful people dance to his tune and there are no specific laws and rules for him. He has a whimsical attitude and his whims and fancies are incredible and ruthless.
He is amused by the drama enacted by the inhabitants of this city, as it is he who makes them enact enchanting as well as sorrowful and mysterious plays. He is the master of the drama of the worldly sojourn, where the characters are disguised in diverse fashions and manners.
The king is delighted when the denizens of hell lament and scream in acute agony, while others who are scared of him, amuse him by dancing to his tune as animals and humans. They act as crows, donkeys, cats, rats, lions, deers, elephants, camels, oxen, pigeons, eagles, lice, ants, and other small and large insects, animals and birds. Other beings enact as humans be it in the form of hunch backs, dwarfs, lame, blind, deaf, and dumb, old, poor, invalid, unfortunate, faithless or detestable. Still others are made to suffer in heaven because of jealousy, hatred and fear. This enactment by the people caught in the web of transmigration amuses the king immensely.
Thus the king who enjoys a self willed unrestrained power inflicts endless torments on the poor and ignorant people, but there is none who can save them and protect them against the mighty power of the king ““Maturing-of-Deeds.’’
Attachment and Aversion are the musical drums, wickedness, anger and pride are the singers, delusion is the stage manager, desire for pleasure is the jester, the thought process of the characters are the colours, the sources of existences are the costumes, natural instincts of hunger, sleep, fear and sex are the cymbals, the stage is the entire city and all matter constitutes the articles required for the stage show. Thus the king entertains himself by directing the play of the worldly sojourn in all its forms and diversions.
“Fruition-of-Time’ (Kāla-Praiṇati) is the Queen of the King “Maturing-of-Deeds’, who is most beautiful and charming. It is she who actually manages all the affairs and accompaines the king everywhere. The king does not forsake this consort of his, even for a while and both of them are forever united in managing the drama of the worldly-sojourn.
Samaya, second, minute, hour, day, night, fortnight, month, year, decade, century, palyopama, sāgaropama, pudgalparāvartana are the escorts of the queen, who influence the lives of young and old, dead and alive wise men and fools. “Fruition-of-Time’ directs them to be dead and burried and gone only to reappear in another existence with another karmic pattern. She sees to it that none is unemployed and out of work. The king and queen delight in seeing this uninterrupted drama of life and death and consider it to be a wise decision and able administration.
One day when the Queen “Fruition-of-Time’ was enjoying in the company of the King “Maturing-of-Deeds’, she expressed her desire to have a son. She said she had enjoyed all the pleasures of ruling the world, but the sorrow of not fostering a son deprived her of fulfillment. The King too expressed the same desire and in course of time the Queen gave birth to a son who was predicted to be virtuous and meritorious. It was told he would relinquish the world and become perfect in course of time.
The soft-spoken maid informed the king about the birth of his son, and the king gave orders for grand celebrations of the birth of the son in the entire city. The king christened him as “Man-of-Prosperity’ (Bhavyapuruṣa) while the Queen wanted to christen him as “Good-Spirited’ (Sumati) as she was “Good-Spirited’ and inclined to carry out charitable and noble deeds during her pregnancy. Thus the christening ceremony of “Good-Spirited’, alias “Man-of-Prosperity’, was conducted amidst much fanfare and jubilation.
“INNOCENCE’, “RICH-INSIGHT’ AND THE “THE-TRUE-DOCTRINE’’
“Innocence’ (Agrahītsaṅketa) and “Rich-Insight’ (Prajñaviṣāla) are the two friends who are instrumental in conducting a meeting between the prince and the teacher “The-True-Doctrine’ (Sadāgama). As the name suggests the former is not so intelligent while the latter is remarkably intelligent and smart. She further reveals about the personality of “The-True-Doctrine’ who is competent and causative of learning and “Wisdom’. He too is very fond of the prince “Good-Spirited’ and predicts that the Prince will grow up to be a very handsome intelligent and famous personality. He reveals that the Prince will be humble, self-less, brave, generous and shall conquer all external and internal foes. He said that the prince is the son of “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and “Fruition-of-Time’ and his destiny and time will be favourable for him to accomplish the impossible- this thought makes “The-True-Doctrine’ happy and he reflects upon educating the prince in future.
“Rich-Insight’ then told “Innocence’ that not all people are happy to meet the teacher “The-True-Doctrine’ as it is the teacher alone who cares and gives advise to all concerned. Some ridicule him, some shun him, while others are fearful of him and dread him. Only few people apprehend his importance and associate themselves with him to be liberated from the worldly sojourn.
“The-True-Doctrine’ alone is capable of liberating the mundane souls from the evil clutches of “Maturing-of-Deeds’. Hence the King is apprehensive of the “The-True-Doctrine’ as he impairs the King’s plays. He has been instrumental in liberating many of the actors and taking them to the city of bliss and emancipation (Nivṛtti nagara i.e. Nirvāṇa).
Hearing this, “Innocence’ expressed her desire to meet “The-True-Doctrine’ and see for herself his real nature and magnanimous personality. So both “Innocence’ and “Rich-Insight’ reach the place of “The-True-Doctrine’ and serve him for many days.
“The-True-Doctrine’ ordered “Rich-Insight’ to become the governess of “Good-Spirited’ and ordered her to get the prince to him in course of time, “Rich-Insight’ followed the orders of “The-True-Doctrine’ and when the Prince grew up to be a handsome young man “Rich-Insight’ took him to the “The-True-Doctrine’.
“Good-Spirited’ was highly impressed by the personality of “The-True-Doctrine’ and his words influenced him immensely. “Good-Spirited’ expressed his desire to study under him and learn all the arts and crafts. “Rich-Insight’ informed the King and Queen and in due course “Good-Spirited’ was admitted in the school of the “The-True-Doctrine’, where he began to learn the lessons of life. “Rich-Insight’ accompanied “Good-Spirited’ and enabled him to pursue his lessons.
THE WORLDLY SOUL
One day when “The-True-Doctrine’ was engaged in a dialogue with the “Good-Spirited’ and “Rich-Insight’ in a market- place, “Innocence’ came and sat there after paying her respects to the teacher, the prince (“Good-Spirited’) and her friend “Rich-Insight’. Many people had flocked to hear “The-True-Doctrine’. Suddenly there was turbulence and unrest in one of the directions and the multitude gathered near “The-True-Doctrine’ and became curious to know about the occurrence. They saw that a thief “The Worldly Soul’ (Saṅsārijīva) was being led to the altar of judgement. He was in a very pathetic state and fear was written large on his face.
“Rich-Insight’ took pity on him and advised him to seek refuge in “The-True-Doctrine’. She was sure that no one else could protect him. When “The Worldly Soul’ saw “The-True-Doctrine’ he became still and later shouted. ““Oh! Lord! Save me, Oh! Lord! save me.’’ Then the “The-True-Doctrine’ blessed him and asked him to become fearless. The soldiers who accompanied the thief knew the powers of the “The-True-Doctrine’ so they went aside and left him in the company of “The-True-Doctrine’.
When “Innocence’ enquired about the cause of his bondage. “The-True-Doctrine’ ordered him to reveal his past. In the presence of the Prince “Good-Spirited’, “Rich-Insight’, “The-True-Doctrine’ and “Innocence’, Emperor Anusundara, who appeared in the guise of a thief began to narrate his experiences in different existences, beginning with the most insensitive form of existence. Here begins the story of “The Worldly Soul’ ie. the journey of the Worldly Soul in manifold existence.
The Worldly Soul began narrating his story and his encounters in Manifold existence. He first narrated his experiences in the motionless existence which is very much like the vegetative kingdom where the creatures lie in deep infinite stupor and insensibility. As there is literally no activity this existence is called “Motionless Existence’. This Kingdom is ruled by the King “Maturing-of-Deeds’ and his attendants are “Ignorance’ the General and “Delusion’ the Governor. Lokasthiti, the sister of the King is instrumental in determining the stay of each soul in each existence. A messenger from higher existence arrives there and gives the message to send a few souls higher up as “The-True-Doctrine’ has been instrumental in liberating many other souls. To fill their gap “destiny’ (Bhavitavyatā) sends “The Worldly Soul’ and others to higher existence. Thus “The Worldly Soul’ is liberated from “Motionless Existence’ where he had resided from beginningless time.
ONE-SENSED EXISTENCE (EKĀKŚA NIVĀSA)
Accompanied by destiny, ignorance and delusion. “The Worldly Soul’ landed in one-sensed existence, which was spread over five huge colonies.
I COLONY – PLANT KINGDOM (VANASPATI KĀYA)
“The Worldly Soul’ then resided in the plant kingdom where he took innumerable births, lying unconcious and submerged in inexpressible agony and affliction. The difference between the previous existence and this one is that there the souls remain for infinite time and here there is to and fro transmigration from other existences. Innumerable beings breathe, live and die together and are closely packed together. Here the beings are born as seeds, sprouts, flowers, fruits, leaves, trees, grass, climbers, shrubs, herbs, etc., where they are cut, ground, burnt, pierced, twisted, sliced etc., After being here for a long time destiny took him to another existence.
II COLONY- EARTH KINGDOM (PRITHVIKĀYA)
From the plant kingdom “The Worldly Soul’ was removed to the world of earth bodies where he was born as mud, stone, salt, mercury, charcoal etc., Here too “The Worldly Soul’ takes innumerable births in various colours and experiences all kinds of acute inflictions in the form of cutting, grinding, throwing, burning, mining, etc.
III COLONY- WATER KINGDOM (APKĀYA)
Then destiny designed him to be born in the colony of water bodies. In the water kingdom “The Worldly Soul’ was fashioned in many colours, tastes, smells and touch, either as snow, ice, dew, water, etc. Here he experienced acute heat, cold and other aches and pains relating to water bodies.
IV COLONY- FIRE KINGDOM (TEJASKĀYA)
After being in the water kingdom for a long time destiny brought him to the fire kingdom where he suffered infernal crucifixion in various forms be it as a spark, flame, lightning, firework, missile, etc.
V COLONY- WIND KINGDOM (VĀYUKĀYA)
From the fire kingdom, destiny brought “The Worldly Soul’ to the wind kingdom where he underwent many births in the form of air, wind, cyclone, storm, tornado, hurricane, current, etc., in all layers of the atmosphere spread over the entire cosmos. In these five colonies “The Worldly Soul’ transmigrated to and fro umpteen number of times for a long span of time.
THE KINGDOM OF TWO, THREE AND FOUR-SENSED BEINGS (VIKALAKŚANIVĀSA NAGARA)
Destiny brought the “Worldly Soul’ to this kingdom where he was born as bugs, flies, moths, beetles, ants, worms, snails, lice, mosquitoes, fire-flies and in these lowest existence of animals, he suffered incredible infernal afflictions, but here too he was unable to express his feelings. Although his consciousness was manifested to a certain degree in these three existences, he remained impaired and disabled in the absence of the faculties of mind and speech.
THE KINGDOM OF FIVE-SENSED ANIMALS (PAÑCĀKŚAPAŚUSAṀSTHĀNA)
After suffering silently in the above denizens, owing to karmas, “The Worldly Soul’ was then born in the animal kingdom of five- sensed beings, sometimes with a mind (Manas) and other times without a mind.
“The Worldly Soul’ was born as water- animals like fish, turtle, whale etc., Land animals like rabbit, pig, deer etc., Reptiles and mammals like snake, mongoose, elephant, lion, etc., Birds like crow, eagle, owl, etc., and experienced all kinds of sufferings related to animals and birds. In these births “The Worldly Soul’ experienced acute hunger, thirst, shelterlessness, fear, fatal killing and death. In the later stages “The Worldly Soul’ was born as a deer and as an elephant where he was subject to severe agonies.
Then as destiny would have it, he was born as as a human being. But before reaching there destiny sent “Good Fortune’ (Puṇyodaya) with him and said that henceforth “Good Fortune’ will accompany him wherever he went. Thus to be born as a human being is considered a result of good fortune.
CLARIFICATION FOR GOOD-SPIRITED
Thus “The Worldly Soul’ narrated his experiences in the plant and animal kingdoms. “Good-Spirited’ could not grasp the meaning of the narrative, so he enquired from “Rich-Insight’, ““Oh Mother, who is the person who is telling such an imaginary tale, how can a creature take so many forms and stay in one existence for such a long time? Please reveal to me the secret of all this mystery.’’ Thus “Good-Spirited’ pleaded for clarification.
“Rich-Insgiht’ then told “Good-Spirited’ that the thief had not revealed his present status. But he was generally narrating his experiences in the plant and animal kingdom. The soul is indestructible and eternal, hence is never born and never subject to death. But due to the fruition of karmas, he is said to be born in various existences. There is no such birth in the entire universe which the soul has not taken and experienced the afflictions prodcued in those existences.
Thus “Rich-Insight’ clarified the doubts of “Good-Spirited’ and promised to reveal further when the time came.
CONCLUSION OF SECOND CANTO
The author concludes the second chapter by saying that the birth of “The Worldly Soul’ as a human being shall take place when the time is ripe and fruition of karma takes place and this shall be narrated in the following chapters.
According to the “The-True-Doctrine’ this narrative is told to enlighten “Innocence’, hearing which “Rich-Insight’ and “Good-Spirited’ are inspired to realize their purpose in life.
Finally the author adds that the description of the Manifold existence and the never ending afflictions and sorrows, inspires the virtuous to relinquish the world, while the ignorant souls remain absorbed in the worldly affairs who are beasts in the guise of humans.