The Mother Divine
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Carl Gustav Jung in investigating different folklores and mythologies all over the world, found common symbols. For instance, we find the swastika, in the Indian mythology and in Māyā or Inca, western Indians' mythologies as well. The symbols which are common to man all over the globe, whether primitive or advanced, are termed archetypal images which for thousands of generations have been passed on in men's consciousness. That is called tradition. But it is not paramparā. Paramparā means we get the right knowledge from the supreme. It is not something archetypal.

Bhagavad Gita says evam paramparā -praptam imam rajarsayo viduh (4:2)

This supreme science was thus received through the chain of disciplic succession, and the saintly kings understood it in that way.

True, the saintly kings became the bearers of highest wisdom, but paramparā begins with God. Srimad Bhagavatam, in this context says tene brahma hṛidā ya ādi-kavaye muhyanti yat sūrayaḥ (Bhāgavatam 1.1.1). God revealed this knowledge at the beginning of creation in the heart of the first-born Brahma, and the tradition continued from him.

The truest understanding of the word paramparā is not just tradition, or not any tradition but most specifically a tradition, a stream of wisdom, or a way of life that has sprung from God directly.

God is the first Guru,
God is the first man,
God is the first manifestation,
God is the first song,
God is the first dance…

The story begins with God and that is Paramparā. When we trace this authentically back from the root i.e. Param of God, we understand Paramparā.

The root is mula, the support at the root is adhara; thus the tradition begins with muladhara, the solid foundation upon which everything rests.

In Hinduism all wisdom is ratified by testing it against the agama shruti, aapt ashruti, the smriti and itihasa.

Paramparā is the tradition par excellence, the supreme path, the way to the supreme or the highest (param) obtained by falling back on the pristine origin of things. Because all answers, all purports are enshrined in the point of origin.
That point of origin is Brahma.

In practical life highest level of the supreme spiritual knowledge can only be obtained by physically being seated at the feet of the realised Guru. The recipient thus becomes the shishya who in turn, if he is able to prove the spiritual worth to his/ her Guru, receives the same power through the mantra or kriya for the sake of would-be shishya. After obtaining the duty of creating a ‘suddha bhakta’ from the old Guru the new guru follows the same process, and the lineage continues. At the heart of it is this process of imparting ‘the highest, the finest, the subtlest, the supreme, the ultimate level of para (vidya)’ by the Guru to the Shishya. So Paramparā in a societal context means the Guru lineage or the Guru.

It is worthy to mention that while we may be tempted to increase the span of the context of Paramparā – we must not infect this term, which is contextually out-and-out spiritual, with some aspects of social norms via tradition i.e. prathā and heritage i.e. uttaradhikara. It should be the utmost duty of an ‘adhikari’ or influencer as we like to call it today to be able to differentiate the colloquial notion from the grammatical actual span of the word paramparā.

At no point the sense of the supreme Para, the divine and the ultimate can be allowed to slip from the mind.

It must be understood that the original purport is deeply spiritual, it is to connect with God in all things.

Sometimes we find God missing. Some things are handed down to us from earlier generations including karmakanda, property or customs, these deal with actions or rituals but these may merely be sectarian beliefs or bonds of tribal cohesion. Without the God-touch in any tradition, we are referring to prathā and that actually means traditional practice – there is no justification of including every second thing that is older than yours to be a part of paramparā.  

Mahatmas exhort us that we should not give up this paramparā.

Paramparā means coming from disciplic succession or from generation. My father did it, my father's fathers did it. No wonder they did it across generations because what is Sanatana or eternal does not change. So, every religious ceremony according to Vedic rituals, must spring from paramparā, the supreme, be it related to the family, society or community.

Let us invoke the Source in following any tradition, let us belong to the sanatana paramparā.

~ Raj Supe (Kinkar Vishwashreyananda)
Editor, The Mother