bhU is an interesting verb in Sanskrit.  Its origin is possibly older than the language. It has the sense (meaning) “to be”.  Everything in the universe has a bhAva, a concept “to be.”  When an object gets created it’s a bhUta, a “being.”  The object that creates all bhAva in the universe and also is responsible for the creation of all bhUta, is prakRti, loosely translated as “nature.” A bhAva or a bhUta receives its animation through the grace of “consciousness” and this is the purusha part of the equation.  purusha helps manifest the bhAva in the bhUta, but doesn’t create them.  Both bhAva and bhUta have time scales designed by prakRti and exist for the signature they are created for.  All bhAva and bhUta have a purpose and the purpose is the maintenance of the universe, which also is the creation of prakRti.

As we observe, the production and dissolution, birth and death, strength and weakness – are all part of this “natural process” and prakRti makes the rule.  prakRti conceives and designs each element, its structure and gives it the properties.  The sky and its blue, the air and its flow, the water and its smoothness, the fire and its dread, and the earth and its dust are the design of prakRti. prakRti gives us the metals and the strength in the metals. prakRti gives us the trees and the fruits of the trees.  It gives us the flowers and the fragrance of the flowers.  It gives us the animals, the birds, the men and the women.  prakRti creates snakes and insects with as much care as it creates the human beings. Bacteria, virus, disease and pain are also prakRti’s creations.  Anything we do becomes possible because of it. It is too large and too powerful for us to go around.  We travel to deep space or to deep oceans to admire its creation. Metaphorically and scientifically it is the Mother of the universe.


For prakRti, each object is special and each object is created with care and thoughtfulness.  No object is good or bad, each has a role; each is serving the grand design of prakRti.  Each object has a bhAva and the purusha animates this bhAva.  Like purusha, bhAva is eternal. The bhUta perishes, bhAva does not.  In order that we need to know an object, we have to know its bhAva. Exploration of this knowledge is the goal of yoga.


Why is knowing bhAva of an object so difficult for us?  Here we are confronted with an object “mind” which has the bhAva of “wandering around.”  Mind is a mysterious element.  Not only its habitat is unknown to us, it becomes an obstacle from exploring our own bhAva.  When we are true in our own bhAva, we are sat. When we are confounded in our own bhAva, we are asat. When in asat, the entire universe is asat to us; we perceive as we “observe” rather than perceive through our bhAva.  All creatures and objects in the universe maintain and display their bhAva in a predictable way.  The conduct of the human beings becomes unpredictable when the true bhAva is missing.  True bhAva and predictability is sat, unpredictability is unphysical and is hence “unnatural”.  Small errors evolve into large errors, small deviations make big deviations and our trajectory goes further and further away from sat. prakRti doesn’t “mind” us to be in asat.  asat stays in our mind and we become a prisoner to it.  We can cure it by curing the mind and removing the cover that hides our true bhAvaprakRti has prescribed a rescue plan and like all knowledge, such plan must be pursued to gain back our original bhAva.


What path we must pursue to gain back our bhAva?  First we have to ascertain if it’s the mind that is causing the distortion.  This we discover by observing ourselves and noticing various states that we ourselves go through.  Once in a while, we do hit a tranquil state when an event, or a scene, or a thought absorbs us completely and we physically lose ourselves from the surroundings for a period of time.  This state which is not one of pleasure but of joy is the original bhAva that we are designed to possess.  Our tranquility is a function of the association of our inner bhAva when our mental agitations die out.  The question is: what happens to the mind in such tranquil state?  Since all realizable states are due to prakRti, mind possibly suspends itself and creates a window for us to realize our inner self.  The discipline we may go through when we can arrive at the tranquil state more frequently becomes the principles of yoga.


Kapila and sAnkhya declare that our misperception of the universe is a doing of the prakRti through our mind and our true self remains always pure and pristine.  Such misperception is a part of prakRti’s design but our self does not get affected by it.  Hence the pleasure and pain are external and our inner bhAva can always be rescued from the local wanderings. This is different than the western thinking which would suggest that our misdoings are a part of our personality driven by an internal soul.  Such soul may suffer through punishment inflicted after death.  The concept of pure consciousness through the practice of yoga did not take root in the west.


That our bhAva is influenced by our mind and we are comfortable through the aptitude caused by it, was the discovery of legendary SriKrishna who possibly flourished long time before Kapila.  He said we are best in our performance when we are in our svabhAva, our “own bhAva”.  This bhAva may not be the pristine bhAva when we find joy in everything, but this is our personal bhAva, unique to us and in which we express our aptitude.  Because it’s our aptitude, the mind can get fully occupied in our action.  So, there is less room for wandering.  By training the mind to pursue our aptitude we can pursue a line of yoga where our performance marks the excellence. All we have to do as part of our life is to determine what our duties are.  Thus becomes the definition of dharma that we will discuss in the next article.


Let Sai bless all.


Bijoy Misra