top of page

Seven Rivers of Inner Life

Seven Rivers of Inner Life

Verse 4

One unmoving that is swifter than Mind; That the Gods reach not, for It progresses ever in front. That, standing, passes beyond others as they run. In That the Master of Life establishes the Waters.

Verse 5

That moves and That moves not; That is far and the same is near; That is within all this and That also is outside all this.

Seven Rivers of Inner Life

We have seven levels of Consciousness or Chit in our life. Out of these 7, we very well know three levels i.e. Mind, Life and Physical Body. We can call these three levels combined as the lower sphere of our existence. We are fully conscious about this lower sphere of consciousness. This existence is characterised by the principle of division and constant change under the condition of unstable harmony. Its driving force is strife between two opposite forces of positive and negative polarity. It's only stable condition is the inevitability of birth and death. All life is a constant birth or becoming (sambhava, sambhati of Verses 12-14). This in turn results in the event of death or dissolution. It creates and then it dissolves. And then again it creates anew. This stage is called mrtyu, Death. It should be our aim to transcend this cycle of birth of death (Verses 11,14).

This is not the ultimate reality of our being. It is not our pure being who is subjected to this cycle of birth and death. As against the frontal lower sphere of consciousness of body, life and mind, we have behind them a higher sphere constituted by another set of three levels. These are Sat, Chit-tapas and Ananda.

Sat is the true essence of our being. It is pure, infinite and undivided. As we have already seen that our lower and current existence is having the essential quality of constant change, mutation, division, discord, strife. Sat is the divine counterpart of the physical existence and having the qualities opposite to it.

Chit-Tapas represents pure energy of Consciousness. It is essentially free in its rest state as well as active state. It is the lord of its own will. It is contrasted with the quality of Prana – Life Energy which is obstructed in its free flow and is taken for a ride by diverse forces in life – being a slave of our whims and passions rather than its sovereign. Life energy critically depends on the feeding of physical substance. It is inevitably locked with it for its sustenance. It (physical substance) is therefore appropriately called by the Upanishads as ‘annam’ or food. However, in its original meaning prior to the Upanishadic period, the word ‘annam’ simply meant being or substance. It probably got its meaning of ‘food’ at a later stage due to the obvious connotation implied as explained above. Chit-Tapas is the divine counterpart of the lower level of nervous or vital energy.

Ananda is Pure Joy, Bliss, Beatitude. It is the bliss of pure conscious existence and energy. It exists by itself and does not drive its impetus from the life of sensations and emotions as is characterised by our lower sphere of emotional and sensational being.

The joy which we derive from our life in the lower sphere is derived from the sense of pleasure and the emotions. It is at the mercy of the outward touches of Life and Matter. It swirls around the two extremes of joy and grief, pleasure and pain. At our lower level, we need grief in order to have joy. We need pain in order to have pleasure. For us, joy without grief and pleasure without pain loses its ‘charm’. Anand is the divine counterpart of the joy of our lower sphere.

Sri Anand Yoga realises this concept in its philosophy and practice.

This triple quality of Sat-Chit-Ananda is called Sachchidananda. It is unified and self existent. It is not affected by the events of Birth and Death. It is called amrtam – Immortality. This should be our final goal or destination. We reach this state when we have transcended the state of death. (Verses 11,14, 17,18)

Between the higher sphere of Sat-Chit-Anand and the lower sphere of Body-Life-Mind is the connecting link of Vijnana. It is a causal Idea. This is not to be confused with the abstract mental idea. It is supramental Real-Idea. It is a triune combination of Consciousness-Force-Delight of the Being. It leads to the all-inclusive as well as discriminative awareness of all the truths and powers of its own existence. It carries in its self-knowledge the will of self-manifestation. It inherently incorporates the power of all its potentialities as well as the power of all its forms. It is a power that acts and effectuates. At the same time it is also an enlightened master of its own action. It means supramental Knowledge-Will.

Behind our confused state of strife and discord in the physical world, is a secret guiding force of Vijnana. It ensures and compels the semblance of harmony and order in our world. If it were not so, our present world would have ended in its self-destruction in a very short period. In the Veda vijnana is called the Truth - Satyam. Its vision of reality is direct. It is independent of any external instruments of sense and mind.

Though it embraces the visible world, it is also independent of its appearances. It is also called Right or Law – Rutam. It contains in itself the effective power of Chit or Pure Consciousness. It works out all things according to their inherent and true nature. It is having perfect knowledge and prevision. It is also the Vast – Bruhat. It is of the nature of an infinite cosmic Intelligence which is comprehensive of all individual activities.

With its power of Truth, Vijnana leads our divided consciousness back to the Undivided Unified Presence. This does NOT exclude the truth of things in their multiplicity. Vijnana is the divine counterpart of the lower divided intelligence.

Interestingly, the Vedic Rishis have called these seven powers of Chit-Consciousness as Waters. Our human consciousness is given the epithet of the Sea. They have called it ‘Hrdya samudra – Ocean of the Heart’ (Rig Veda IV.58.5). The seven POWERS of Chit are envisioned as the CURRENTS flowing into or rising out of this Sea.

Another interesting characteristic of these seven Powers of Consciousness is that they are not mutually exclusive of each other but rather co-existent of each other. They exist in this world eternally and inseparably. At the same time they are capable of being involved and re-manifested into each other. All these seven Powers are already involved in the physical Nature – though in various stages of manifestation. It is the secret purpose of our life to fully manifest all of these seven powers out of out physical Nature. They can also get fully absorbed into their original source – pure infinite Being – only to be again re-manifested out of it. This is called the In-Folding and Unfolding of the One in Many and Many in One. It is therefore appropriately called the law of recurrent cosmic Cycles.

The Concept of the Brahman

The Upanishad explains to us how to perceive Brahman in the Universe and in our own self-existence. We need to comprehend Brahman as both Stable and Moving. We must perceive Brahman as eternal and Immutable Spirit and at the same time as ever changing manifestations of universe and relativity. We have to perceive all things in the two dimensions of Space and Time. We need to grasp it as both inclusive of the far and the near (Space dimension) and as the immemorial Past, the immediate Present, the infinite Future (Time dimension). The Brahman simultaneously lives in the universe as well as possesses it.

To sum it up, the Brahman is transcendental, universal and individual existence. It is the Lord, Continent and the Indwelling Spirit. It is the object of our pursuit of real knowledge. The realisation of Brahman is the necessary condition of perfection. It is our true way to Immortality.

Sri Anand Yoga makes full use of the wisdom of ‘seven rivers of inner life’ and realises its truth in actual life through its philosophy and practice.


bottom of page