6. Spiritual Universe (Nitya-Vibhūti) | Śrī Vaishnavism

6. Spiritual Universe
(Nitya- Vibhūti)

Now (the Subject of the) Spiritual Universe (Nitya-Vibhūti) will be propounded.

Non-inertness (Ajaḍatva) is a property common to (the Principles:)

(1) Pure Matter (Śuddha-sattva),
(2) the Attributive Consciousness (Dharma-bhūta- Jñāna),
(3) Soul (Jīva) and
(4) God (Īśvara).

Non-inertness means Self-luminousness (Svayam-prakāśatva). Self-luminousness exteriority (Parāktva) characterises both Pure Matter and Attributive Consciousness.

Sattva or Lightness means that which, while self- luminous, is luminous to others.

Śuddha-Sattva or Essential lightness is to be Luminous, while distinct from the Substance consisting of Guṇas, or that specific uniqueness, which prevails in regions entirely exempt of Nescience (Avidya,).

This (spiritual) Universe is unbounded above and bounded below, non-Conscious and self- luminous. It is called by the name Bliss (Ānanda), for it is the medium of bliss.

As it is indicated by the Pañcopanishan-Mantras it is of the nature of the Pañcopanishads. Constituted as it is of the Five Spiritual (or Immaterial) Energies, it is said to be of that Five-Energies nature.

This Universe becomes the Objects, Instruments and Places of enjoyment to God and to the Eternals (Nitya) and the Freed (Mukta) (Souls), by God’s will.

Objects signify Fortune, etc.,

Instruments: Perfumes, Flowers, Robes, Companions, Ornaments, Weapons etc.,

Places: Terraces, Ramparts, Pavilions, Air-Cars (Vimāna), Parks and Lotus-decked Ponds.

By God’s eternal will (Nityeccha) are determined the (beatific) bodies of God and of the Eternals and the Freed (souls).

By God’s will (Saṁkalpa) alone are made the bodies of the Freed, the creation of Pitris etc., for them, the assumption of numerous bodies simultaneously etc.

The bodies of God in His Vyūha, Vibhava and Arcā Avatāra manifestations are of the immaterial (i.e., spiritual) nature.

In the case of the Arcā-Avatāra, (or Images consecrated in Temples) the spiritual body, by God’s grace won by propitiation, incarnates (in the Images) after the vitalising (Prāṇa-pratiṣṭhā) process.

How can happen a junction, between the material and the immaterial?” need not raise a doubt, for the doubt is cleared when it is shown that this is illustrated by the (spiritual) bodies of Incarnations as of Rāma and Kṛṣṇa, - authoritative (-ly known to us).

The assumption of bodies by the Freed (Muktas) is solely for the service of God, for His pleasure, like the mask donned on occasions of festivals like the Vasanta Festival.

The expression: “with Six- Qualities” is employed for God’s body by reason of its manifesting the Six Qualities:

(1) Jñāna (Wisdom)
(2) Śakti (Omnipotence)
(3) Bala (Strength)
(4) Aiśvarya (Glory)
(5) Vīrya (Might)
(6) Tejas (Light)

The glories of the Blessed Divine Personality (Bhagavān) consist of:

(1) Splendour (Aujjvalya)
(2) Beauty (Saundarya)
(3) Fragrance (Saugandhya),
(4) Tenderness (Saukumārya),
(5) Loveliness (Lāvaṇya),
(6) Juvenility (Yauvana),
(7) Softness (Mārdava)

... etc., (all) of the nature of eternal, faultless and surpassing. Its excellency is evident from such works as Gītā.

Texts, which declare that the Freed (Mukta- soul) has no body, signify the negation of Karma-determined body.

The senses (in this body) being eternal, the law of Cause and Effect does not prevail. Hence like the material (series), it needs no distinct categorising.

The school therefore which upholds a bodiless condition there (i.e., in the state of Mukti, or Freedom Spiritual) is thus rejected.

Likewise the faction, which contends that it (the Eternal Universe, Nitya-vibhūti) is a portion of Matter, is also dismissed as it is in contravention of the passage:

Beyond Darkness” (Muṇḍaka Up. II.2.6) - that it is distinct from (Ākāśa) is proved by its properties of Sound, Touch, Colour, Savour and Odour, being of immaterial nature.

That it is inert is disproved by its being of the self-luminous nature.

The Spiritual, Divine, Blessed Figure of God (Bhagavān) is the repertory of all the contents (signified) in the Chapter on Weapons and Ornaments (Vishnu Purāṇa ch. 22). It is thus:-

- Kaustubha-Gem represents Purusha (Soul);
- Śrī-Vatsa, Matter;
- the Club (Gadā), Mahat;
- the Conch (Śaṅkha), Sāttvika-ahaṁkāra;
- the Bow (Śārṅga), Tāmasa- ahaṁkāra;
- the Sword (Asi-= Nandaka), Knowledge; its Sheath, A knowledge;
- the Discus (Cakra), mind;
- the Arrows, the Knowledge of Action-Senses:
- the Garland (Vanamāla -Vaijayantī), the Subtle and Gross Elements.

This Universe (Spiritual) is fourfold: -

(1) Āmoda = the Realm of Sankarṣaṇa
(2) Pramoda = the Realm of Pradyumna
(3) Sammoda = the Realm of Aniruddha
(4) Vaikuṇṭha = the Realm of Vāsudeva

Again it is infinite-fold. It is designated by several cognomens such as:

Tripād-Vibhūti, Parama- pāda, Parama-vyoma, Parama-ākāśa, Amṛta, Nāka, Aprākṛta-Loka, Ānanda-Loka, Vaikuṇṭha, Ayodhyā etc.

In this Universe is situated the City of Vaikuṇṭha, with Seven Enclosures, and abounding in countless cupolas and ramparts.

In it is the Divine Mansion named Ānanda. In it is constructed a Hall called Maṇi-Maṇḍapa, supported by innumerable pillars made of precious stones. In it is (the Seat) Ananta of the Thousand Hoods, dazzling, carrying the Divine Throne of the composition:

(1) Dharma (Duty)
(2) Jñāna (Wisdom)
(3) Vairāgya (Asceticism)
(4) Aiśvarya (Lordship)

On it is the Eight-Petalled Lotus, served (on either side) by (maidens) Vimalā etc., holding fans (the insignia of Royalty) in their hands.

Seated on it (the Lotus) is Śeṣa, the Seat of Supreme Wisdom and Strength.

Over (Śeṣa) is the Great Being who is beyond speech.

Thus (the subject of) Nitya-Vibhūti or the Spiritual Universe has been treated.

Thus ends Chapter 6,
The Treatment of Nitya-Vibhūti, or The Spiritual Universe, in the
“Light of the School of Rāmānuja”.