This section presents Samkhya Theory for liberation from pain and suffering from life. Liberation from cycles of birth or reincarnation cannot be achieved as we discuss in this section.
Liberation of human life or soul is the process of experiencing life to acquire true knowledge. Once you acquire the knowledge, this knowledge then must be experienced using yogic meditation.
We have discussed global destiny which guides how the soul will progress. We have also discussed about eternal recurrence which says that life comes back to the same state and does the same thing again.
However, soul evolves all the time and at some point it will acquire enough experiences and it will know the ultimate truth that soul is not nature, it is inactive, it is a witness, and at that time it will not feel any pain and pleasure. This is the liberated state. But the soul will still stay with the subtle body. Subtle body never dies as mentioned in [SK, 39] and therefore will still reincarnate.
Moreover, human being does not have freewill and is bound by the global plan of the destiny. Thus no individual effort can allow an individual soul to escape reincarnation. We take birth not only for own self but also for others according to the global plan defined by the simultaneity law. Once we understand these concepts, life will be easier, we will not feel the pain, and will be liberated from the cycles of suffering.
Using intelligence a man learns about nature. The nature creates different objects for intelligence to learn about them. The only purpose of doing this by nature is for the evolution of the soul. By practicing meditation soul then achieves the ultimate truth.
Experience: It gathers all the information received from all other organs, analyzes, coordinates, generates the knowledge, experiences, and communicates to the soul. It passes on the enjoyment of feelings of pleasure and pain.
Discrimination: It is the intelligence only that discriminates between the root material or nature and the soul. Discrimination is the knowledge of knowing the difference between nature or the creation and the soul. This understanding of the difference helps to create the salvation or liberation. Thus in every life soul gains two things – experience about nature and knowledge about its own difference with nature.
Selfless: Thus nature helps to liberate the soul. Nature created the subtle body for the soul. The soul does not do any good to the nature. Soul is inactive, but nature is active because of the Rajas guna. Nature does not derive anything back from the soul because nature is unconscious. The entire process of evolution is generated by the nature for the evolution of the soul only. Thus selfless activity or the Nishkam Karma is an inborn activity of our body. We know how to do it by our heart and soul. Thus whenever we violate it and perform adharma we automatically recognize the adharma. Nobody needs to be taught what an illegal or selfish activity is.
Like a dancing girl showing her skills to spectators the nature also shows all her skills to intelligence, I-principle, mind, subtle body, and other sensors which are enjoyed by the soul. Once the soul acquires a specific experience and knowledge then that specific action by the nature also ceases to continue. Such sequence of experiences is used by nature to help in the acquisition of knowledge by soul.
Thus nature comes to the soul in many different forms, divine, human, sub-human and gives soul to enjoy life with pleasure, pain, and delusion only to let the soul realize you are different than me, the nature. The soul in return does not give anything to nature because the soul does not have the three attributes – Sattava, Rajas, Tamas, and is also not active. The nature is really very kind and grand and full of things to enjoy for the sole benefit of the soul.
Thus the desire to acquire knowledge is built into our mind body and soul. The idea that nobody will go for education in a moneyless economy is false. In an MLE people will be more naturally attracted to acquire the true knowledge of soul, nature, and emancipation.
Through a long practice, involving yogic methods, one experiences the knowledge of distinction between the soul and the matter. This knowledge is pure, absolute, and unique truth. Only this knowledge can help in liberation. When the soul realizes that ‘I am not’ an agent as stated in [SK, 20], ‘I am not the I’ then the knowledge is complete. This knowledge helps to remove all feeling of pleasure, pain, and delusion. The soul can then perform selfless karma, remain active, and yet detached.
The nature continues, repeatedly, life after life, give experience to the soul, until the soul acquires the discriminative knowledge. Thus enjoyment of the sense objects remains as long as the erroneous knowledge remains in the soul.
The experience and release are both the purposes of the spirit. It is this purpose that motivates the nature to make it visible to the soul. It remains visible, as long as nature realizes I have been seen. This act of nature should be considered as sequence of acts. One act for one time in one life time by nature cannot provide such knowledge to the soul.
Physical pain can be for eternal. But nature helps you to acquire knowledge to remove this pain. Once you acquire this knowledge the nature stops evolving for you.
Life always and continuously suffers from pain. Minor diseases, major diseases, body and joint aches are always there. Dry and itchy skin, cracks and wounds, improper sleep, indigestion are always giving pain. Normal doctors will not be able to help. The pain will come back again in different forms. Modern medicine always comes with side effects.
Thus to release from this pain it will require salvation by using yogic means – exercise and meditation. A yogi does not suffer from pain and die by casting off his body. There are some great souls who die with momentary disorders, like heart attack when sleeping in night; otherwise they maintain a clean health. Thus by acquiring the true knowledge, i.e., we are not our bodies, and we are our souls; we can relieve us from the pain.
Rabindranath, a Nobel Laureate, was the greatest Bhakta (devotee), philosopher, and poet of modern India. He confirms the liberation along the Samkhya way:
As long as my heart and soul are with the infinite, no matter how far I go, I do not see pain, death, and separation. Realization of your own self all the time in my life, relieves me in moments from internal suffering, and burden of life [Tagore, Tomaro aseeme].
This verse 57 gives an example of how nature works for the benefit of others. Non-intelligent milk flows only to help the calf. Note that this action cannot be considered as the action of a sentient being, the soul. The soul itself is inactive. All actions come from nature only. Nature is active because of its Rajas guna. Thus nature acts only to relieve the soul by motivating the soul to acquire true knowledge. Pain is also created for the similar reasons by the subtle body.
It says there are seven forms of evolution: virtue, vice, ignorance, dispassion, passion, power, and weakness. Thus evolution will cease when all seven characteristics become complete. This completeness can take very long time and many life times. It may stop temporarily but again ignorance may start because of the evolution of the global plan. Thus the soul will always remain in contact with the intelligence and the subtle body to perceive the nature.
Moreover, as we have mentioned, we are all guided by the global destiny, which is based on the simultaneity law. Thus I may be needed by someone else. Thus my ignorance, which may be due to lack of my knowledge that someone else needs me, can never end.
The verse states that “Soul attains both absolute and final Freedom”. But it does not say “what the Freedom from” is. Is the freedom from cycles of birth or freedom from the sufferings in life due to reincarnations?
The Smakhya Theory starts with the concept of finding the truth. It says if you know the truth only then you can be happy. Therefore the theory is not about how to avoid reincarnation but how to avoid suffering. Thus this verse SK 68 is about freedom from suffering.
The author of this book believes that freedom from reincarnation is not possible for various reasons: (a) reincarnation is a law of nature and no human can overcome that (b) Gita verse [G.2.27] says a person who has died must be born again, and who has born must die. Thus this Gita verse establishes that reincarnation is a law of nature (c) Another Gita verse [G.4.5] says both Krishna and Arjun were born many times before Mahabharat period, Krishna remembers all his previous births but Arjun does not. Thus Krishna, who is considered as god by many, does not have freedom from reincarnations.
(d) Another Gita verse [G.4.8] says Krishna will come millennium after millennium to reestablish dharma in the societies. Thus Krishna could not escape destiny. (e) [SK, 39] says subtle body is ever lasting. Therefore it will be born again. Verse [SK, 39] means soul cannot escape the bondage of subtle body. (f) Nobody can escape destiny. A soul does not have freedom to achieve freedom from reincarnations; it is tied by the simultaneity law which created global destiny. (g) A soul is born for helping other souls. Soul does not take life only for himself. So the soul will continue with rebirth. (h) Soul cannot learn everything about universe. The universe is continuously changing, so knowledge is changing also. (i) Gita verse [G.7.26] says nobody can learn soul completely. Thus a soul cannot learn itself. Thus the knowledge is never ending and therefore reincarnation cannot be escaped. Therefore the condition of [SK, 68], the “purpose have been fulfilled” only means liberation from suffering.
When a soul learns the difference between soul and the nature, then he learns to become detached from nature. The soul becomes free from suffering and pain. The soul is a yogi now.
Happiness is the goal for every human being, but Samkhya says you can get happiness only by acquiring the ultimate truth. All other methods will give you temporary solutions. Pain is eternal, from [SK, 55] described before; we see that as long as the subtle body is with us we will have pain.
Three kinds: There are three kinds of pain and they are intra-organic, caused by external influences, and caused by supernatural agencies. Intra-organic is twofold – bodily and mental. Pains due to external influences are due to man, beast, animals, viruses etc. The pains due to supernatural causes may be due to destiny: accidents, floods, earthquake, wars, cold, heat etc.
But there are many remedies for removing such pains. However sooner or later we realize that such pain removing methods are not permanent and create other kinds of pain, called side effects. For example mental pain can be removed by having objects like charming women, pleasing drinks, foods, cosmetics, houses, cars etc. There are similarly easy methods for removing other kinds of pains also.
But we see that these obvious methods do not cure the pains permanently. Sometimes the old pain comes back, sometimes side effects appear or the original pain appears in a different form. Or the cure of one pain creates another pain of different kind particularly of mental types. Therefore the question still haunts us, or will haunt in some life as we gain more experiences about life: how to get rid of pains permanently. The Samkhya philosophy provides that knowledge, which will permanently remove the pain and bring happiness.
Knowledge: We must learn the truth. It is necessary to practice this truth by yogic means over many life times. This truth is the knowledge that gives the ability to discriminate between the soul and the nature. The distinction among manifest, unmanifest, and the soul can only help to know that the soul is inactive, it is the nature that creates the pleasure and pain and not the soul. It is the desire of the soul that causes the pain, so we must understand the soul and objects it creates, and their differences. Only this knowledge can give us happiness. This knowledge will allow us to remain detached from nature, become a yogi, and perform selfless karma for the society. This approach to life will bring permanent relief from pain.
This true knowledge, that is, the discriminative knowledge between soul and nature, and then experiencing this knowledge via yogic meditation will allow us to create a body with certain combination of three gunas that will make the body free from all kinds of pain.
To create an object we need some material and some effort. The root material and the root effort, according to Samkhy Theory, are both unmanifested objects. This root material is called primordial nature, or simply the nature, and the root effort is provided by the soul.
The soul always wants to enjoy the nature. Therefore nature joins the soul to create objects. The soul is conscious but inactive; the nature is unconscious but active. Thus when joined together they can sustain life together.
In one lifetime it is not possible to know the universe, so the soul reincarnates eternally life after life. However, in every life besides enjoying nature, it also suffers from pain. Suffering from this pain, the soul eventually learns to meditate and becomes a yogi in some life.
Using this meditation process, a man learns that he is a soul and not the body. He understands that the nature is separate from the soul. He then does not feel any more pain and feels liberated. The soul still takes birth, because we are born for others, but he does not suffer anymore. A true yogi never becomes sick; he can heal any sick person also. A true yogi learns how to castoff his body.