Karanam and Karyam


Portion of Swamiji’s lecture on Shivarthri:

In the first stage of Ishwara Aradhanam we defined Ishwara as shrithi-shruthi-laya kartha. We use the word jagat kartha but in the second stage, Ishwara jnanam, the language is slightly changed. Instead of the word “kartha” we use the word “karanam”. Now we define God as the cause of the universe, the source of the universe, and origin of the universe. Even modern scientists accept that the universe originated at a particular time which they study in cosmology where they talk about Big Bang etc. We need not go deeper but what I am saying is even the scientists talk about origination or evolution of the universe. Which means from non-origin state the origin state must come for from non-existent thing nothing can come. There is a fundamental cause that exists and this karanam is called Ishwara. And the entire universe is a product evolving or originating from that karanam. That is why Bhagavan is called karaneeshwara which is a famous temple.

Once you understand Ishwara as karanam (cause) and the world is the effect then we can analyse the nature of both Ishwara and the world. The scriptures help us understand that through many examples. Like gold as the karanam and ornaments as the karyam, as clay as the karanam and pots as the karyam, or iron as the karanam and various kinds of hardware as the karyam. Based on these examples given in the Upanishad we have to understand Ishwara. Studying the examples we can know the features of karanam and the important features of karyam. On this auspicious Shivaratri day I will recount four important features of both karanam and karyam that you are all aware as upanishadic students.

  1. Gold the cause is ekam (one) and from that lump we have several ornaments. Therefore karanam ekam and karyam anakam. So how many Gods are there? God can only be ONE but HE can be invoked in several forms.
  2. The second feature is Gold is the karanam and ornaments karyam. The ornaments cannot exist without gold as gold alone is the content of all the ornaments. Therefore we can conclude karanam is the CONTENT (saaram) for the entire universe which is the karyam. Now tell me where is God? In kailasam or Vaikuntam or etc. Since god is the very saaram, god has to be behind everything. God cannot have a particular location as God is behind all the products which are like different ornaments in different names and forms. So god is saaram and world is asaaram (which is pit less and hollow).
  3.  The third important feature is “gold existed before the arrival of ornaments, during the existence of ornaments and after the melting of ornaments. Gold exists in the past, in the present, and the future but the ornaments have got a beginning. And anything with a beginning will also have an ending.” Therefore karanam in nityam and karyam is anityam. God is nityah and the world is fleeting.
  4. The fourth feature is “gold, the karanam, by itself exists INDEPENDENTLY. It does not depend on the ornaments for its existence. Therefore swantantra tattvam whereas the ornaments, the products, does not exist independently and they all have borrowed existence. They do not have real existence. Whatever has independent existence is called Satyam and whatever is seemingly existent with borrowed existence, they are called asatyam. Ishwara ekah satyah while jagat is asatyah.

When we get Ishwara jnanam we understand these four features: ekah, saarah, nityam and satyam. God is one, hold or fit, eternal, and the only real one. And the world is nekah, asaarah, anityam and asatyam. By analysing further we discover another important practical message. The ornaments are very useful for beautifying our body. Ornaments are used for hands, legs, neck, tongue and even eye-brows (new and new fashions). Ornaments have got beauty, ornaments have got variety, ornaments have got novelty. But when you want financial security, security does it depend on ornaments or gold? When ornament is brought or sold people only look at the gold. The karyam gives beauty but what gives security? The karanam alone can give security. The world is beautiful, wonderful, it has variety. But whenever you want security, you have to hold on to only God. So if you want security, if you want peace you never depend upon anything in the world (whether they are things, beings, or positions, or possessions for nothing is reliable). You have to hold on to Ishwara and Ishwara only. Initially Ishwara aradhanam and later Ishwara alambanam. If a sanyasi can renounce everything, from where does he get that courage? He does not want to depend on anything he is renouncing. Even after renouncing he has got self-confidence because he feels that his security is not the share market that is crashing every other day, not the bank money whose interest is coming down, not the people around me. I only depend on Ishwara as my alambanam. For me God is the truth beyond all forms and HE is the truth behind everything. The rationalist say God is no where while we Hindus say that the God is NOW HERE. God is there is the speck and also in the pillar. And if Ishwara is everywhere is ekah, saarah, nityam and satyam then that Ishwara must be in me also. This is the first stage of self-enquiry and then we come to the next higher state. It is very subtle and very abstract. And who is the ekah, saara, nitya, satyam Bhagavan residing in me? There are two things that are constantly there in every living being – chaitanyam (consciousness) and achatanam (matter). The body is continuously changing, the thoughts are continuously changing and what is the constant changeless factor? I am aware of all these changes and this chaitanyam is the nature of Bhagavan. The second factor is when I introduce myself as a body, male or young or old. I am old, I am young, I am handsome, I am a man etc. In all of them what is the constant factor? I AM. This is existence or satyam principle. Sat chit ananda is the Karanam Ishwara principle who is everywhere and who is in me also. And when I learn to identify with that core then I can say: aham brahma asmi. This makes my life purnam.

We start from Ishwara aradhanam and go to Ishwara jnanam and understand that Ishwara is in everything and understand that Ishwara is in me and then come to the conclusion that Ishwara is me. This is the journey of a Hindu and it is possible to achieve this purnatvam in one life itself. This teaching has been given in the Vedas and Vedas have been given by the Lord Parameshwara and hence we are always indebted to Bhagavan. Sadasiva samarambham, shankaracharya madhyamam, asmad acharya paryantam vande Guru paramparam. On this auspicious Shivaratri day we do the aradhanam of Ishwara and we receive the knowledge of Ishwara and we have to discover this purnatvam which is the journey for all of us