in the fields of poetry and spiritualism, Pandit Banarsidas was a great
poet and spiritual scholar of the seventeenth century.
He was born
on Sunday, the eleventh day of the second half of Magh month, in
the Shrimal dynasty at Laia Kharagsen's house. He was then named
Vikramjeet. When he was on a pilgrimage of Banaras. he was named
Banarsidas, after the birth place of Bhagwan Parshwanath. He was the only
son of his parents.
He saw many
ups and downs in his life. He had to face financial difficulties many a
time and his family life was also not very happy. He married thrice and
had nine children, seven sons and two daughters, but none remained alive.
He did not lose his patience even in such difficult circumstances, because
he used to be absorbed in spiritual thinking.
He was a
born poet. At the age of fourteen he began to compose verses of a high
order, but in his early life he wrote verses on love and sex. His first
work 'Navras' was ready when he was barely fourteen. This has poems
of a corporeal nature. It was an important work on corporeal subjects.
However, the poet threw it in the river Gomati, when spiritual wisdom
dawned upon him.
all his life was full of spiritualism. Four works written after that are
available e.g. Banarsi Vilas, Nam Mala, Ardha-Kathanak and Natak
Vilas is a collection of different writings and Nam Mala is a
Ardha-Kathanak is the first autobiography of the Hindi language and is
a fully developed work of art. The fifty-five years of the life of the
poet have been described in it, as in a looking glass.
Samaysar is, in a way, a poetic translation of the verses of
Amritchandracharya. However, due to the keen insight of the poet, the
study of this book gives delight as that of an independent work. This book
is full of spiritualism.
has been prepared on the basis of the chapter 'Fourteen Gunasthans' of the
Natak Samaysar. For detailed study one should read the original
The poet is
unmatched both. in his poetic art and the pursuit of truth.
Eleven Stages of the Householder
Fifth Scale of the Spiritual Development
Swami has said that the combination of Right faith, Right knowledge and
Right conduct is the path of liberation. The man having Right faith has
developed correct belief and accordingly his knowledge has also become
correct. Since he has developed partial stability of the soul, the path to
liberation has begun, but this partial stability does not acquire the name
of conduct as such. On this account such a being is in the fourth stage of
development and is called Avirati householder.
householder of the fourth scale by dint of his effort develops endurance
of the soul and reaches the fifth scale of his pursuit. That endurance is
the partial conduct and one having that is the householder in the fifth
scale. Thus, the stability that grows and the failing degrees of
attachment are the real conduct of this scale. That stability has
automatic softness of passions and that is the conventional scale or
partial conduct of the fifth scale. The outward manifestation is in
accordance with the real conduct. In fact that is not even conventional
conduct, but it is called as such due to accompaniment of softness of
experience of the eternal sentient soul, the softness of passions alone
and the outward activities are not the stage of development. The
householder having the purity of the fifth scale alone can have these
faith and the matching stability of the fifth scale one has the partial
conduct and intrinsically that is the stage of spiritual growth, which is
not possible without self-experience.
Banarsidas has described the nature of the householder of the fourth scale
in his Natak Samaysar. One who has developed faith in the
correct nature of the soul, whose faith grows with time and who has
developed partial detachment, is the householder of the fifth scale i.e.
development of the spiritual experience in the absence of the second kind
of passions i.e. Aprityakhyanavaran is the state of the fifth
householder of the fourth scale has the spiritual experience of the bliss
associated with it, but the effort of being one with it has been weak. As
such the experience does not appear oft and on and stays only for a short
while. In this state he does not have leanings for the observance of the
conduct rules. However, the person in the fifth scale has by his strong
effort at stability in the absence of Aprityakhyanavaran passion,
got such experience again and again and with swiftness and it stays for a
longer period and detachment in the behaviour pattern increases. It is due
to this that his attachment towards this world, his body, and the
pleasures of senses decreases and he develops a natural indifference
towards these. He has also got a tendency to abjure demerits and observe
certain rules of conduct, by which a change in his external behaviour is
Acharyas have divided the state of this internal and external purity
in the different stages into eleven Pratimas, and have named the
internal state of purity as the wave of consciousness and the accompanying
merits and demerits as the karmawave.
traveller on the path to liberation tries to increase the stability of the
soul. Accordingly detachment increases and some attachment remains. The
external manifestations of such a state is called the conventional
conduct. He understands and measures the stability realising his
background and recognising the rise and decrease of passions. He is not
disturbed by the presence of the element of attachment and aversion, but
tries .his best to minimise and control them and thus develop the desired
stability: He knows that attachments and aversions are present and that
such a state is due to his own weakness. These are the blemishes of his
scale of development and he tries to remove them by his inner force.
possible for a person to have softness of passions and consequent external
activities, without real faith, consciousness and stability; but it is not
possible for a man following the path of development to have acquired the
spiritual experience of that stage and yet to have such attachments and
aversions and outside activities as are not befitting in these stages.
This is the real and the conventional view point of these stages.
Now we take
up the nature of these different stages
Observance of the eight fundamental rules and renunciation of the seven
addictions, as a matter of course, with internal purity and softness of
passions are the characteristics of this Pratima. The eight
fundamental rules are renunciation of wine, meat and honey and the five
udambar fruit. The seven addictions are gambling, meat eating,
drinking, prostitution, hunting, theft and indulgence in other women.
These addictions have to be shunned totally. Right faith without any
blemish is the purity of the attribute of faith. The purity of behaviour
with the background of right faith is real Darshan Pratima and the
concurrent natural softness of passions and external behaviour is
conventional Darshan Pratima.
According to Acharya Samant Bhadra five Anuvartas are also
observed in Darshan Pratima. Pandit Jaichandji Chhabra clarifies
this as below :-
sacred books hold that eight fundamentals are the observance of five
Anuvartas and abjuring wine, meat and honey. This does not mean any
contradiction. The difference is only relative. Abjuring wine, meat and
honey and the five udamber fruits means that the person holding
this Pratima does not eat those things, which have moving creatures
and does not kill or injure moving creatures for offerings to gods or for
purposes of medicine. This covers the Anuvarat of non-violence and
renouncing untruth, theft and indulgence in women cover seven addictions.
Abjurement of strong greed has been covered by limiting possessions. Thus
all the five Anuvarats are covered. Since the mistakes in
observance of these are not avoided, the person does not hold the title of
Anuvarat. However, considering his observances he is an Anuvarati,
as it is included in partial householder's conduct."
and detachment of the first Pratima increase in intensity in the
second Pratima, where lower type of attachments are not found and
so the follower treats these as rules of life. The purity and behaviour
befitting the second Pratima is the real Pratima and the
twelve observances by way of softness of passions are conventional
of greater steadiness in spiritual inclinations, the person of the third
Pratima holds equanimity of mind and body, leaning towards one's
soul, contemplates on the soul supreme thrice a day for forty eight
minutes, at least, each time, and treats friends and foes as equal,
leaving inauspicious reflections and retaining all the attention in the
supreme glory of the spirit. This householder having greater experience of
the bliss of the spirit, externally develops greater detachment.
sitting in loneliness for forty-eight minutes and reciting certain verses
does not mean real contemplation, which, in fact, is the developed
equilibrium and sentience qualities.
state of contemplation continues at least for twelve hours and may last
for twenty-four hours, the person is said to be observing the fourth
Prashadhopvas Pratima. The person in this stage is one with the soul
for a greater period than that of the previous one and consequently he
observes fast at least on every eighth and fourteenth day of the month
abjuring all sinful activities. His attachment towards world, body and
pleasures has become less and as such he resolves to fast abandoning food
The fast on
these four days does not suffice for the growth of this stage and fast is
not abjuring food only. The real fast is abandoning passion, pleasures of
senses and food; the rest is starvation.
Sachitta Tyaga Pratima
towards the soul in the fifth stage are stronger than in the fourth stage.
Attachments are decreasing gradually. He does need food to keep the body
and soul together, but abandons food that means injury or destruction of
living creatures, and takes boiled water. The intrinsic purity of the
fifth stage is the real Pratima, while the merit and softness of
passions associated with it and abandoning food entailing killing of
creatures is the conventional observance thereof.
Vegetables having the capacity to grow again are included in Sachitta
Maithun Tyaga Pratima
necessary for the development in this stage is the real sixth Pratima,
while external renunciation is the conventional one. In the second
Pratima the follower had resolved to be satisfied in his spouse only.
Now the attachment grows still less and he observes celibacy on all the
days and nights of the eighth and fourteenth days of the month and
resolves not to entertain such evil thoughts. Acharya Samant Bhadra has
called this Pratima as Ratribhukti Tyaga Pratima
also. Even an ordinary householder does not take his meals during the
night, but the follower in this stage stops taking all the four kinds of
food himself, does not ask others to do so, and does not give his assent
for such indulgence.
assimilation of the soul having been increased, the holder of the seventh
stage has developed more detachment and he follows celibacy throughout day
and night with nine enforcements and does not allow his mind to run away
from the resolution. Such a householder is called a great conduct-holder.
Arambha Tyaga Pratima
natural purity of this stage is the real Pratima, while
indifference towards this world, body, and the pleasures of senses that
come, by way of lessening of the fury of attachments and the abandoning of
external indulgence in householders' affairs, is the conventional
following thereof. More devoted to the pursuit of the soul, he abandons
all trade and commerce and other sinful occupations e.g. doing written
work, fighting, agriculture and trade of all kinds.
Parigraha Tyaga Pratima
growth of this stage lies in the consequent purity of the soul, and the
abandoning of all the ten kinds of possessions, retaining a few necessary
articles only, is conventional Pratima. The holder of this
Pratima is full of detachments, satisfaction and equilibrium and other
Anurnati Tyaga Pratima
of demeanour has again developed to a very great extent in the tenth
stage, which is real following of the same, while withholding assent in
the matter of marriage, trade and other household entanglements of his own
family and friends is the conventional observance. This householder is
held in great esteem.
Uddishta Tyaga Pratima
This is the
last stage of the householder's development on the path of the spirit.
Such a householder is of two kinds e.g. Chullak and Etak,
the last one being the higher stage, after which the householder accepts
of detachment here is greater than in previous stages and the state of
detachment comes off and on and lasts for a longer period. This internal
purity and behaviour are the real observance, while the external merit and
softness of passions are the conventional; following which induce the
follower to abandon food etc. prepared for his sake.
follower here develops greater indifference towards the world and the
physical aspects of life. The householder just like a monk, at this stage
abjures food prepared for his sake and does so with all his mind, body and
speech and does not encourage anyone else also to do so for his sake. He
moves freely leaving his home and family connections.
leaves all worldly possessions except a loin-cloth and water-can, while
the Chullak still having more attachment retains a piece of cloth
for covering his body partially, gets himself shaved by the barber and
keeps some sort of utensil for taking meals.
experiences the bliss of his soul at least within forty-eight minutes,
which is the emblem of his spiritual development and the observance of the
twenty-eight rules of conduct and the physical activities associated with
it are the conventional observance of the monkhood. Likewise the
householder of the fifth grade has concurrent detachment and spiritual
experience, though not so often as in the case of a monk and that is the
real following of the Pratima, while softness of passion as
prescribed in the spiritual texts for such a. holder is the conventional
fifth Pratima. Being associated with real growth of the soul, these
physical activities are also called conventional Pratimas.
having the external acceptance of the conditions of these Pratimas
only, will call for bondage due to wrong faith. Along with, the softness
of passion, that is there, he will invite merit bondage also, by which he
becomes entitled to heavenly lives but cannot end the worldly existence.
development of the eleven Pratimas is according to the rule of the
retention of purity of the first in the next stage. The purity in the
higher stage increases invariably without discarding that achieved in the
previous stage. Holders of the first to the sixth Pratimas are the
lowest, those in the seventh, eighth and the ninth stage are the medium
stage, while the holders of the tenth and the eleventh Pratimas are
the best holders of these.
By Dr. H. C. Bharill