By P.R. Sarkar
You know that the path of Gaotama Buddha was the path of abnegation (nivrtti márga). To speak the truth, he peaked on the path of abnegation. As a seeker of the path of emancipation Buddha chose the path of abnegation. Although his path was not the path of extreme austerities like Varddhamána Maháviira [the founder of the Jain religion], yet abnegation had a predominant role in his philosophy. As far as abnegation goes, Varddhamána Maháviira considerably deviated from the part of reality. Buddha did not go that far, yet there was no perfect adjustment between material acquisition (saḿvrtti) and abnegation, that leads to perfect balance in the spiritual sphere.
Human existence is trifarious – physical, psychic and spiritual. The balanced development in the three spheres brings synthesis in the lives of animate beings. It brings about their existential fulfilment. The physical stratum may be compared to a sweet and lovely radiant bud which is about to blossom into a flower. In the process of metamorphosis from the early stage to a matured stage of bud lies its inherent vitality, its rhythmic and graceful dynamism. The psychic stratum can be compared to a newly blown flower full of charm – the tenderness of its petals, the softness of pollen, the sweetness of honey fill life with the exhuberence of joy and vitality. And the third factor, that is, the spirituality, is simultaneously the witnessing entity, the faculty of witnessing and the guiding entity. All the three strata together create the balanced triangle (Pramátrikońa or Lokatrikońa) of entities.
In the flow of emanation starting from the noumenal cause of Supreme Essence (Paramá Tattva) emerges the perfectly balanced triangle based on dynamic equilibrium and equipose (Pramá). Human beings, goaded by their psychic propensities, begin to strike blow after blow at the triangle of forces and thereby destroy the inherent balance and also the perfect triangle. Their action destroys its sequential order, the successive stages of its forward movement. In a word, it causes derangement of the main flow of emanation from its actional path. After causing this derangement human beings do not stop. They continue to strike blow after blow.
The triangle undergoes further deterioration and comes down to the stage of disruption. People wonder why nature is so cruel with them, why the Supreme Being (Parama Puruśa) plays thus with innocent human minds. They don’t care to realize that their very activities have brought about derangement and disruption of the balanced triangle.
In the next stage of the flow of emanation when there is frustration on all sides – if food is available, there is a shortage of clothes, if clothes are available, there is a shortage of drinking water; if water is available, there is a shortage of fresh air – then existence itself becomes a big burden. If the degree of psychic awareness increases beyond this limit and goes beyond check or control, people take to the path of suicide. They become nihilists or cynics. Otherwise, by becoming as humble as dust, they want to make us realize the ultimate result of senseless egotism. This is the stage of degeneration (Viparyasta Avastha). At this stage the existential triangle is totally unbalanced.
Earlier I told you that the path of Buddha was the path of abnegation. Even his spiritual efforts (Sadhana) was based on the spirit of abnegation, as, indeed, were his teachings of Right Vision (Samyak Darshana), Right Determination (Samyak Saḿkalpa), Right Speech (Samyak Vák), Right Livelihood (Samyak Ájiiva), Right Exercise (Samyak, Vyáyáma), Right Finishing (Samyak Karmánta), Right Memory (Samyak Smrit) and Right Realization (Samyak Samádhi).
As these teachings do not include material acquisition they lack charm and do not give a good reason for living. This explains perhaps why Buddha never considered the idea of forming a society or outlining a system of social ceremonies such as child-naming, marriage, etc. Nor did he attempt to bring balance to economic activities or harmonize the norms of social obligations. He gave no directions to establish equilibrium in social life, either.
Everyone cares for the interests of one’s own group and in a glance draws innumerable pictures of self-interest. One who relishes rasamalai [a type of sweet], likes to get satisfaction by entertaining guests with rasamalai. Buddha wanted to carry humankind on the singular path of abnegation. Had he prescribed an adjustment of spirituality with worldly (social, economic, etc.) activities, there would have come into being a beautiful existential triangle, a great triangle advancing through and nurtured by dynamic equilibrium and equipose.
From: "Prama-3", Neohumanism in a Nutshell Part 2, and Pramá Copyright Ananda Marga Publications 2012