The Ideal of the Superman
SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA
Mysterious are the ways and many are the phases by which the universe portrays itself as an organic oneness moving towards the realisation of itself in the highest reach of Self-consciousness. Every breath that flows from man, every movement of his limbs, every form of his behaviour, is, consciously or unconsciously, directly or indirectly, an effort towards the reconstruction of his personality to suit a better purpose, to bring about an easier condition of life with a greater sense of freedom. Man represents a microscopic specimen of what happens in the gigantic cosmos in a colossal grand scale. The aspirations, the changes in the forms of consciousness, the efforts towards unity, freedom and the greatest happiness in the greatest quantity possible, which are seen to be vigorously active in man, can also be seen to be busy in the fulfilment of the scheme of the cosmos. In one’s own personal life, in family, in society, in the state, one struggles to manifest a regular system and order, abolishing chaos and confusion, an intense passion for the firm establishment of what seems to be innate in the very consciousness of all beings, especially in the self-conscious ones in whom the development of intelligence has come to the stage of possessing the ability to know the difference between right and wrong, true and false. The universe does the same thing, with this difference, that, while man strives with insufficient knowledge, the universe moves freely with unrestricted and direct expression of the tendency to recognise and establish the highest Truth, Goodness and Freedom in its infinite bosom.
The changes that take place in the parts are felt in the constitution of the Whole. As every cell in the human body attempts to live in accordance with the law that regulates the whole body, and as every error on the part of a cell in the execution of its purpose brings about a reaction from the entire body with the purpose of setting aright the wrong that has taken place, so the Cosmic Law corrects the errors on the part of the individuals constituting the cosmos. Small errors cause mild reactions and great errors cause tremendous reactions. So does a great virtue bring about a great change. Even the so-called unheeded acts in the grosser world cause mighty vibrations in the subtler region. There is nothing in all the different planes of the universe which is not known in the ether of consciousness in a very intense manner. God, the Supreme Consciousness, is the highest Law and Order, and when things go against this Eternal System, He shall correct this wrong immediately, then and there, in that length of time and with that mode of operation which will best fit that particular kind, that nature and that form of wrong. God incarnated Himself as Sri Krishna to effect such a change.
Bhagavan Sri Krishna is the immortal manifestation of God in all His splendour, that man was ever given the fortune to behold. Man! Blessed thou art, that hast visualised with thy fleshly eyes the mighty Dignity of the Supreme Sovereign of the Universe! Thou art purified; thy birthright is to realise Him; thy fortune is a part of His Greatness! Sri Krishna may be called the “Collective Man”, who represented all beings hungering and thirsting to gain the Highest Freedom and who voiced forth their deepest aspirations in the loudest possible tone. He came to release man from the thraldom of vice and correct his vision so that he could walk along the ever-illumined path to perfection. Sri Krishna is the articulation of the pure longings that are buried in the hearts of people. Sri Krishna is not merely a historical man who came and went, like others, but the Eternal Purusha who dwells even now and shall live in the everlasting future, in the core of all manifestation. It is the Symbol of the Absolute descended into relativity that we call Krishna, the ever-beloved protector of all that breathe and air.
Sri Krishna came to reorganise and reconstruct the society of beings on the basis of Dharma. Dharma is the manner by which one directly or indirectly abides and lives in conscience with the Law of the Universal Whole. That which is conducive, in whatever way, either immediately or ultimately, to the experience of absolute independence is Dharma. Mankind forgot the Law, groped in darkness, committed blunders and managed to disturb the equilibrium and harmony of the Universe. There was a reaction from the Whole, to bring back the universe to its essential and natural equilibrium, and the result is Sri Krishna. So Sri Krishna is called an Avatara, a descent of God in the world, of the Whole in the parts, of the Absolute in the relative. An Avatara is different from a Rishi or a Jivanmukta who represents an ascent of man to God, whereas the Avatara is a descent of God to man, consciously and deliberately. Sri Krishna lived the universal life, laughed a universal laughter, and walked on earth as the moving Spirit of the universe. To worship Him is to be in the Presence of God; to know Him is to realise the Self.
In Sri Krishna we find the blending of the Supreme Spirit and the Supreme Law, as a difference in unity and as a unity in difference. Sri Krishna can be characterised as one who, with the majesty of a Seer and a Divine Incarnation, touched God above and the earth below. The universe is the Glory and the Law of the Absolute in concrete manifestation. Law is the manner in which the Indivisible one appears and exists as the divided many. In Sri Krishna, the relative rarefies into the Absolute, and the Absolute fades away into the relative. The gorgeous prince and the austere sage embrace each other in Sri Krishna. In Him man and God see each other, as it were, and the world recognises its Maker. Power and Wisdom reach their climax, the earth and the heavens greet one another and peace and joy reach super-abundance in our benign Lord, Sri Krishna. Dharma and Bhrama become one, the universe becomes the sport of the Divine, when the Lila Purushottama, Sri Krishna, hoists the flag of the Infinite in the region that is mundane, and reports Himself as the representative of the Eternal among the non-eternal. The dictum that “Truth alone triumphs, and not falsehood” is picturesquely illustrated in the deeds of Sri Krishna. The power behind virtue, the spirit behind goodness, the truth behind the apparent success of evil has been demonstrated through dramatic scenes in Sri Krishna’s unfailing support to the Pandava brothers. Here He is, with everyone, as the Eternal Companion; only He must be looked to for help.
What a grand life! The householder and the Sannyasin, the great enjoyer and the great renouncer, the child and the sagacious, the sportive and the contemplative, the human and the Divine, melt together in the menstruum of Sri Krishna and exist as One! Truly, God is All, and to God all are one. “He is woman and He is man; He is boy and He is girl; He is the old one tottering with a stick; He exists pervading all things” (Svetasvatara Upanishad, IV-3). Sri Krishna’s life is a standing example of the omnipresence, omniscience and omnipotence of God, of the fact of Divine Grace and of individual instrumentality in the evolution and involution of the universe. His life is a pattern of life perfect, of the attainment of the ideal of the Superman, of the philosopher-statesman, the sage-administrator, the human realisation in life of the divine Transcendental Reality. Sri Krishna, as the ideal Superman, shows in His life the way and the goal of life of all, explains how to live and why to live. Life should aim at the direct knowledge and experience of the Absolute, and it should be lived in a way which does not, at any stage, violate the principle of this eternal Law, but affirms it in every walk of life.
Beloved aspirants! Celebrate the birthday of Bhagavan Sri Krishna, the sacred Janmashtami, making it an occasion for you to turn over a new leaf, to start afresh Sadhana for God-realisation, with added vigour and greater effort, utilise the day and night of Sri Krishna-Janmashtami for prayer, Japa, worship and meditation. Be pure. Be virtuous. Be sincere. Apply yourself with firm faith and strength of will. Yield not to beguilements and threats. Move on forward with confidence and determination. You shall succeed in achieving life’s Supreme Goal. The Grace of the Almighty is ever with you.
Peace be to you all! May the mighty Grace of Lord Sri Krishna flow through your hearts and prepare you for the memorable regeneration in the Spiritual Consciousness! May your efforts towards Self-realisation be crowned with glorious success! May you attain Kaivalya Moksha!