Bindule, Nandule and Zilmilai
Dr. N. V. Kulkarni
The sadhak writer was enchanted from the beginning with his sampradaya’s bhajan viz.
“नाम भजे, गुरु नाम भजे”
Wherein the following line appears :-
“नाद बिंदु कलि एक बना तो दुनिया डुबकर पिचडे है।”
This particular bhajan is a selection of Shri Bhausaheb Maharaj, the spiritual Guru of Shri. Gurudeo Dr. R. D. Ranade.
Therefore, the sadhak thought to trace out the pilgrimage of a spiritual seeker from whence Nada, Bindu, etc. appear to him till their culmination into ONE as depicted by Shri Gurudev in his words. An attempt made to trace the journey from Bindu to Sindhu lies before the readers. Incidentally the dictionary meaning of the word “पिचडे” is “squeezed”.
It need not be emphasized that the sequence adopted in serializing the excerpts is of the sadhak writer who is responsible for any shortcomings.
“Bindule, Nandule and Zilmilai”: The Morphics, the Phonics and the Photics
The Bhajan “Nama Bhaje Guru Nama Bhaje” of the Nimbargi Sampradaya’s Bhajanawali announces that:
“नाद बिंदु कलि एक बना तो
दुनिया डुबकर पिचडे है।।”
Shri Gurudev Ranade has brought out the progress made by a spiritual aspirant in his spiritual endeavour especially with respect to Bindule starting with its first appearance till the final culmination cited above in his various books. (An effort has been made to seriatim and categorize, being fully aware of my limitations.) However, the temptation to gather the multicolored flowers and presenting a bouquet to the Lord is overwhelming and may be excused by the more knowledgeable.
Shri Gurudev has said that “one of the earliest experiences in mystical life is Bindule.” This morphic “seed” has two brothers or qualitative equals the “Nandule” (The Phonics) and the “Zilmilai” (the photics). Mention of the later two is rare in his writing. Nevertheless, in the cumulative experience as these are referred, it is felt to trace whatever path is available in Shri Gurudev’s books.
BINDULE: The vital Principle of Life – BINDULE – SPIRITON –
In his Presidential address delivered at the 13th session of the Indian Philosophical Congress held at Nagpur in December 1937 (included at the end of this article for your reference), reconciling the advent made with the realms of Sciences with the conclusions of great Indian sages, Shri Gurudev established once again that Spirit was the only Reality. Coming to Biology, Driesch postulates that in the case of higher animals, especially in man, the existence of the principle of ‘entelechy’ or ‘Psychoid’ that governs all vital processes such as assimilation, circulation, reproduction and so forth had to be accepted. Shri Gurudev further stated that ‘This Principle’ however, if we may be allowed to coin a new word for it, may be called a “spiritoid”, or a ‘Spiriton’ corresponding to the ‘Bindule’ used by Jnaneswara and other mystics.
Beginning of Spiritual Life:
“The first experience described above is a sort of morphic experience. It is called bindu or bindule. It might be called the spirited atom or it might also be termed as ‘spiriton’, as I, for the first time, called it in my presidential address at the Philosophical Congress at Nagpur in 1937. I coined that word. We are now-a-days very familiar with such terms as ions, electrons, protons, position etc.; then why should we not like-wise coin a new word ‘Spirton for spiritual atom as bindule of our Maharashtrian saints? One of the earlier experiences in mystical life is the experience of the spiritual atom … able to visualize that bindu”. It is only then, it may be said that you have begun with your spiritual life.
What is this SPIRITON and from where does it come?
In his commentary on the song ‘Havu Kaccitamma (हावु कच्चितम्मा), Shri Gurudev has first expounded the above question and then replied – “This is exactly what the Maharashtra Saints call Bindule, and Kannada Saints have called it Bindu, and the author of the present song speaks of Gorali (i.e. termite or white ant).”
Continuing to quote from the commentary on the above song “the body” which the author compares to an ant hill, has got nine holes or ports of entry, as it were. Through which hole the serpent might enter we do not know. But when it does so through any of the senses, we become subservient to that power. The serpent had entered through the holes of the ant-hill and driven away the spiriton that had been living there; but with the help of the spiritual charmer, the Spiriton re entered and devoured not merely the serpent but destroyed even the ant-hill.
Now a question arises where were the spiritons before they entered the first ant-hill? Where had they been? That the spiritual power comes is out of question. How and where it comes from, we cannot say.
“GOD is full of knowledge and the light of knowledge. The light is reflected in the form of Bindu “Spiriton or spiritual atom” is the mirror of one’s mind and that Bindu is known to the devotee.”
Spiritual experience may often be said to begin with a vision of ‘spiritual seed’. These have got seeds which form a circle within a circle… a red outer fort or outer wall says Tukaram… It is the spiritual seed that matters, and with it we have to begin our spiritual experiences. These seeds are sweet and fragrant.
In the experience of the poets (Bindule) colors develop and one color gives place to another; the brilliant black is interpreted as ‘too much light is darkness.’
A very important statement about the pearl, (Bindule) which a saint like Cidananda alone can make, is that there is a variety of changing colors in this pearl… It has the infinite possibility of colors, the color being inside it, and not merely hanging on it or hanging in the air.
“काळ्या बिंदुल्यातून सर्व रूपे (Forms) तयार होतात”
In spiritual experience there is some field centre around which it grows, the central point is quite steady. All further experiences evolve from this central nucleus and evolve round it. Nothing can move without a nucleus.
“The conjecture whether there may be an infinity of circles round about a circle is not ruled out. But for our small intellects and small experiences one circle or another is enough; though ultimately it is infinite.”
The macrocosm is fully present in the microcosm.
NANDULE and ZILMILAI:
“Nada, Bindu and Kala.” These are very important words. Nada of course, means sound; bindu is form… and Kala means light.
Now the word Nandule ‘Nada’. “Slender tunes that break forth at the time of the samadhic experience of the aspirant” though not categorically referred by Shri Gurudev, appears in one of Shri Jnanshwara’s abhang quoted below:
दृष्टीचे सुख अंतरी देख। ॐकार आरुष बोलतासी।।
नांदुले ऐकसी बिंदुले ने देखसी। कोंदले चोपासी सावरेना।।
उफराटिये दृष्टी निवृत्तींचा शेवटी। ज्ञानदेवा भेटी होऊनी ठेली।।
As regards Zilmilai, Kabir has said:
“कोटी झिलमिले जहां तहां झलके …..”
Which Shri Gurudev points out as intermittent sparks, twinkling light.
Berecynthia of Further Experience:
“Even here it is not necessary that there should be any order between photic, phonic and morphic experiences. These experiences may cross or anticipate one another, and all these put together may make a riot of spiritual experience …”
Finally, let us turn to Shri Gurudev’s commentary on the pada, बंधनो की शृंखला. The released person has to thank his very earthly vesture because it paved the way for his spiritual realization. The earthly life which was nevertheless the support of spiritual light, form and sound (कला, नाद, बिंदु का आधार) has now fulfilled it’s “raison-and-d’etre”. “The poet now proceeds to a very fine and acute description of the musical experiences of such a person. “The tune, beat and the pitch of spiritual sound having reached the limitless, a state of creative equanimity has been produced. Here the conception of the सम or creative equanimity is a remarkable one, and is the Berecynthia of all further mystical experience.
Most of us know that though this song was written by his student, Shri Gurudeo had suggested many corrections and has recreated the poem. Hence the importance of this concept of ‘Creative Equanimity.’ is emphasized in this article.
A Philosophy of Spirit
An abstract of the Presidential Address delivered at the 13th Session of the Indian Philosophical Congress held at Nagpur in Dec, 1937.
‘Your Excellency, Mr. Vice-Chancellor, Rajasaheb of Aundh, Sir Radhakrishnan, Ladies and Gentlemen, – The honour which has been bestowed upon me by the working committee of the Philosophical Congress is too much for me. I am a man humbly working in my own way. I am indeed very much indebted to the organizers of the Philosophical Congress for inviting me to preside at this XIIIth session of the Indian Philosophical Congress. The honor goes round, and I am a participant in that round for this year. It is only in that capacity that I stand before you to-day.
‘You all know how times are fast changing in India. According to the advent of the new age, we shall have to take account of our own Indian philosophic thought, and to see the place which it might occupy in the national life of India. Before we can collate Western thought with Indian thought, we shall utilize the knowledge that has been given to us by the great researches in the various departments of philosophic thought in the West so as to support and broadcast the message which Indian philosophic thought gives to us, and through us to the world.
‘It is only too true, as Sir Hari Singh Gour has just now told us, that philosophy is beset with difficulties, subtleties, obscurantisms, and so on. I do not deny that these things exist. But I beg to submit that the kernel of philosophy is not the difficulties or the obscurantisms, but a metaphysical and moral pith which constitutes the essence of all philosophy whatsoever.
‘I will, at the commencement, take a general survey of the recent discoveries in modern Physics, Biology, Neurology, and so forth, and explain how they all tend to prove that Spirit is the only reality, and how Western thought can be brought into harmony with the conclusions of the great Indian sages and philosophers.
‘I will first take up the contribution which has been made by Sir James Jeans to the development of modern Physics, because that will help very much an interpretation of philosophy in terms of spiritualistic idealism. I would particularly draw your attention to the presidential address to the British Association for the advancement of Science which he delivered in 1934, and I hope that as President of the Indian Science Congress to be held in Calcutta very shortly, he will give further support to the doctrines he enunciated in his earlier address. When Sir James Jeans addressed the British Association, he said that space and time were merely mental constructs, and he postulated a theory of these in terms of seven dimensions, as he said that two independently moving electrons required six dimensions of space, and one of time. Sir James then mentioned two parables, the particle-parable and the wave-parable, as the governing principles of all physical thought hitherto. Photons, protons, positrons, negatrons, gravitrons – all these come under the first heading. If Sir James Jeans may be regarded as sympathetic to either of these theories, he may be supposed to sympathise with the second, namely the wave-parable, even though he thinks that that itself does not give us a final explanation of reality. Nature, he says, is thus nothing more than waves of our knowledge, or waves of imperfections of our knowledge. All this is in consonance with the spirit of philosophical idealism, which, he says, governs modern physical theories. The next question that he asks is, supposing Nature is only one’s own knowledge, how is it that all of us perceive the same Sun, Moon, and Stars? And the answer that Sir James Jeans gives is, that this is so because there is one continuous stream of life which runs through the whole of Nature, and which permeates us all. This line of thought, he says, is in harmony with the spiritual idealism preached by philosophers from Plato to Berkeley. All this is good enough, and there is no very distant step from this theory of Idealism to a theory of Spirit which is immanent in the whole universe.
‘Coming to Biology, we find the researches of Driesch most interesting from the philosophical point of view. Roux had disbelieved in the autonomy of life on the basis of his experiment consisting in the destruction of one of the two cleavage-cells of a frog’s egg immediately after the first cleavage had been completed, because, he said, in such cases the remaining cell develops only the left or the right side of the embryo. Driesch approaches the problem by a different method, based on his experiments on the sea-urchin’s egg, where the remaining cleavage-cell develops not half of the embryo, but a complete embryo of half the size. Driesch applies the method also at the four-cell stage, as well as to the blastula, which is a hollow sphere built up of about a thousand cells. He also applies the method in the case of the Ascidian Clavellina, whose branchial apparatus is the very type of an equi-potential system. From his experiments, Driesch concludes that life is an autonomous principle, which he calls the “entelechy”. Disarrange a part of a sea-urchin’s egg, and it will tight itself. Injure a part, and the injury will be made good. Take only a fragment, and it will develop a complete embryo. All this points, he says, to the existence of the “entelechy,” which, according to him, has no chemical basis, nor any location in space. It governs all vital processes such as assimilation, circulation, reproduction, and so forth. Further, it cannot be divided or cut into pieces. Driesch suggests that in the case of the higher animals, and especially in man, it may be called a “psychoid”. This principle, however, if we may be allowed to coin a new word for it, may be called a “spiritoid”, or a “spiriton,” corresponding to the “Bindule” used by Jnanesvara and other mystics.
‘I want now to call your attention to certain contemporary researches in the field of Neurology, and particularly, to the researches of Mr. Head on the function of the “Thalamus”, which has been proved to be the seat of emotions. By the application of the three methods of (1) the study of lesions, (2) the study of pathological cases, and (3) the extirpation method practiced especially on higher animals, we arrive, says Head, at the conclusion that the Thalamus is the seat of the emotions. It has been for a long time admitted that the cortex is the seat of intellection. Now, cut below the cortex, and there is exaggerated emotion, e.g., excessive weeping, excessive hilarity, excessive sexuality, and so on. Again, cut below the Thalamus, and we find that there is mere automatism. Thus, says Mr. Head, the Thalamus may be regarded as the seat of emotions. The Significance of the discovery of the function of the Thalamus for philosophy is that we clearly see how the intellect is meant to “control” the emotions, following the idea of the control of the higher over the lower in Sherrington and Hughlings Jackson. But, at the same time, emotions are more internal; they are “antaratara,” that is to say, nearer reality. Thus neurological discoveries bring to light the problems concerning the conflict and co-operation, the inhibition and summation, to use Sherrington’s phraseology-of intellect and emotion, or of Jnana and Bhakti. The ideal would be a perfect harmony and co-operation between intellect and emotion.
‘We now come to a discussion of the significance of the analysis of moral and religious consciousness by Bergson in his recent work – “The Two Sources of Morality and Religion”. According to Bergson, intellect and intuition are the two sources of moral and religious consciousness, and action is superior to contemplation. A contemplative, he says, is an arrest of Nature. Bergson’s dimorphism, however, is ultimately unacceptable, because there are not two sources of morality and religion, but only one, viz., intuition as may be seen most clearly by reference to his earlier works; and the exclusive stress laid on action ignores the temperamental differences among mystics. Bergson’s elan again, is a biological principle, and not a spiritual principle. Ultimately, however, in the analysis of religious consciousness, the Christian in Bergson asserts himself, and he says that true mystical experience is to be found not in Plato or Plotinus, in the Buddha or the Hindu sages, but in Paul and Augustine. Buddhism, he says, following the usual traditional interpretation, reels on the edge of Nothingness.
Among the existing historical religions, Buddhism is often supposed to be advocating the view that Nothingness is the only reality. I have continuously thought through the last quarter of a century, though I was not able hitherto to substantiate it by a detailed study of the Sources, that a great religion like Buddhism cannot be based upon the foundation of No-spirit. This line of thought has found remarkable corroboration in the contributions which Mrs. Rhys Davids has lately made to the interpretation of Buddhism during the last 8 or 10 years, entirely contradicting her original views about Buddhism, a result which has been highly approved of by such critical scholars as Prof. Keith. Buddhism has thus to be interpreted anew on the lines of Mrs. Rhys Davids, who says that the negative side was due to the development of Canonical Buddhism, which was separated from the original doctrines of the Buddha by a period of three long centuries. The question which confronts us in connection with the Buddha is whether his spiritual illumination consists only in (1) an uncommon insight of moral comprehension, or (2) a discovery of the law of casualty, or (3) an actual mystical experience. If we just cast a glance at the Buddha’s soliloquy immediately after his spiritual illumination, we shall see that he refers to the Soul, the Builder of the body, whom he has found out, but whose house he has entirely demolished. This passage which occurs in the Dhammapada is really in Majjhima, which is a fairly old collection, and may give us the words of the Buddha himself. “Gahakaraka ditthosi….. sabba te phasuka bhagga” might really be the spiritual experience of the Buddha in the very manner in which Trisanku in the Upanishads tells us what he felt when he had reached a mystical apprehension of reality. Then again in the Alagaddupama-sutta, which is a very old record, we are told that in reply to a critic who has charged the Buddha as having been mistaken in denying the existence of the soul, Buddha said that what he meant by preaching a doctrine of No-soul or Anatta was that the body or the mind or the senses were not the Soul, but that it would be a sacrilege to deny the existence of a spiritual principle. Further, in the Mahaparinibbanaa-sutta we are told how there were two occasions of light or nimbus in the case of the Buddha, one at the time of his spiritual illumination, and the other at the time of his passing away. These facts point unmistakably to the Buddha’s teaching about the reality of the Self, as well as to the mystical experience which the Buddha enjoyed.
‘Coming to a so-called spiritual philosopher of the present day, Croce, we find that he believes in an ever-evolving ever-changing never-ending Absolute. And though he repudiates the Hegelian dialectic, his system could legitimately be described as a hybrid of Hegelism and Bergsonism. His intuition is nothing more than imagination, and his view that a philosophy of history and a history of philosophy are both impossible is falsified by the logic of the Sciences. Croce’s is a bastard spiritualism; his spirit is nothing but mind or thought. Both Croce and Gentile decry religion, and elevate moralism and infinite progress; and their doctrine of approximation, though true of the individual, is false about the whole. Croce’s ever-evolving absolute is the very philosophical prototype of Mussolini’s never-ending political ambition. Mussolini’s Fascism, might well be regarded as rooted in Croce’s philosophy of the never-ending Absolute.
As we look at history, we see that all politics is determined by the prevailing philosophy of a nation. It was Rousseau, Voltaire, and Diderot who paved the way for the French Revolution. It was Hegel, Nietzsche, and Treitschke who paved the way for the great World- War of 1914. It is the new philosophy of an ever-evolving Absolute which is responsible for modern Fascism, whose ambition is never-ending. As against these theories, we have a theory of politics based upon the principles of non-violence and truth, resuscitated by Mahatma Gandhi from our ancient lore. Non-violence and Truth are not new principles, but have been advocated from very ancient times. It is to be remembered, however, that our politics cannot succeed without a spiritual basis. When the teacher of Krishna told him to make Ahimsa and Satyavachana his initial mottoes, he said that they were merely the alms that he was to give. “Akshitamasi, Achyutamasi …..” – Thou art the imperishable, Thou are the unchangeable-indicated verily the Spiritual Principle that governed all moral action whatsoever. Non-violence has been the basic principle of Christianity, Jainism, and Buddhism. It has also been preached by the Bhagavadgita in many a context; but these have been made to repose there definitely on a spiritual foundation. Non-violence and Truth are merely the flower of which the root is Spirit. Let us beware that in our modern political ambitions we do not follow the irreligious Soviet ideal. I entirely agree with His Excellency Sir Hyde Gowan that universal brotherhood should be the foundation of our politics during times to come. But this brotherhood, I submit, should and could repose only upon a spiritual basis. A study of the Philosophy of Religion would contribute greatly to the bringing together of all creeds and faiths and races. Hindus and Muslims, Nazis and Jews, Communists and Fascist could never be reconciled by any political or moral theories. It is only when all humanity comes to recognize the one Spiritual Principle which underlies all things, that we can bring about a harmony between different creeds, nations and races. Sir Radhakrishnan is such an ambassador of Indian Thought to Western Culture. One could wish that chairs of Philosophy of Religion, as at Oxford, were established at all the Universities in order that all humanity might meet in the Philosophy of Spirit. It is not by an appeal to the dogmas of the different faiths that we can bring together the warring sects. It is only by bringing them to a common consciousness of spiritual life that we can realize the end which we are striving for. The Philosopher’s work is not done when he has realized within himself the peace of mind about which Mr. Joseph speaks, and to which His Excellency refers. His supreme business is to bring about peace and harmony in the Society, the State, and the World at large. From this point of view, it may be said, without exaggeration, that the future of the world rests with the Philosophers.’